Scenic Drives in the UK – It’s no secret that the UK has some of the most beautiful landscape, and together with its long history and charming culture it’s an amazing country to explore. The best way to make the most of your time is to explore the country by car, as you simply can’t reach and experience many of the best gems by train or bus – and many drives are worth the trip alone for vacation in the UK
Where to begin when planning on traveling to UK and want to make the most of it?
When planning your travel schedule, you want to maximize your time there.
Our Traveling to UK articles, with their easy-to-read format, will inspire you.
Find what is most interesting to you, depending on how long you have on holiday in the UK. England Travel Guide
Traveling to UK
It may seem overwhelming to decide between visiting England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Maybe you will be lucky enough to have time to visit all the countries in the UK.
Once you narrow it down, you get to decide what to do in each country.
Learn about infamous sites as well as out of the way places.
Get a real feel for areas in the UK, including topics such as where to go if you have one day in Liverpool; fun ways to enjoy Wales; the best beach towns in the UK; child-friendly things to do in London; exploring Scotland, and much more.
Here are The Best Scenic Drives in the UK
Scenic Drives in Cornwall
Named one of the world’s most beautiful drives by National Geographic, Cornwall has everything it takes for a scenic drive; rugged coastline, whitewashed seaside villages, lush green countryside and Celtic ruins.
The long and winding road along the north Cornwall coast known as the “Atlantic Highway” is a must, where you drive through some of the country’s most dramatic coastline.
Bedruthan Steps, Constantine Bay (B276) and the lighthouse at Trevose Head are three of the highlights along the way.
The Scottish Highlands
Scotland is beautiful at any time of the year, but I found autumn to be absolutely spectacular.
The landscape almost looks like it’s on fire in a hundred shades of gold, and early autumn (such as September) are also some of the drier times of the year in this otherwise very wet area, so I highly recommend going there then!
The drive from Loch Lomond to Glencoe is especially beautiful!
Keep in mind however that many of the roads in the Highlands are curvy and tricky and not for the hesitant driver.
You can use “Carole Nash routes to ride page” to find popular routes and the levels of difficulty for each route (as well as where to find petrol stops).
Lake District is one of the most popular destinations in the UK, and was the inspiration to many of the country’s best known romantic poets such as Coleridge and Wordsworth.
The Lake District has to be one of my most favorite places in the UK.
The lakes are surrounded with beautiful green fell land, a spectacular array of Flora and Fauna and with an air of tranquility that could calm even the most stressed of soles.
It’s easy to see why it’s been labelled as an area of outstanding natural beauty and receives hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.
For a truly scenic and memorable drive, take the circular route which begins in Kendal (on the A5284) and passes through Ambleside, Keswick and Windermere, taking in the variety of lakes to be found in the area.
The 30-mile stretch (A591) between Kendal and Keswick is one of the most beautiful drives in the district, as it’s the only road that runs through the heart of the National Park, passing meadows, peaks, the famous Grasmere and five lakes.
The drive from Penrith to Haydon Bridge (A686) has been named one of the best drives in the world by AA Magazine, thanks to its wild nature and scenic views from the Hartside Top Cafe (on a clear day you can see as far as Scotland).
With an estimated 22 million visitors per yeat, the Peak District is said to be the second most visited national park in the world, after Mt Fuji.
Even those who have never been there are very familiar with the beautiful landscape if they’ve ever seen the movies Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, which were filmed there.
This area is full of history and charming British culture, with lots of picturesque village and spectacular landscapes.
UK’s Most Scenic & Interesting Drives
When it comes to beautiful scenery and stunning vistas, the UK has much to offer drivers.
From the spectacular lakeside scenery of Cumbria’s Lake District, to the visual feast of Dover’s white cliffs and everything in between, there are many scenic drives awaiting you.
If you fancy getting into your car and heading off on a road trip within the UK, here are my top drives to excite your eyes:
Black Mountain Road (Powys, Breacon Beacons National Park)
Arguably one of the most stunning drives to be found in the UK, a short but beautiful 5 mile stretch running through the Black Mountain Range and giving drivers elevated views of the surrounding countryside.
The Breacon Beacons National Park in it’s own right is well worth a visit if you want to experience some of the UK’s best scenery.
At its highest, the road reaches 1,617 feet above sea level and there are of plenty of places to stop for some truly spectacular photos.
With many a quiet and solitary glen, loch’s galore and scenic roads a plenty, the Highlands should definitely be on your wish list.
After all, who hasn’t heard of Loch Ness (and the Loch Ness Monster)?
There’s plenty to see and do; castles and forts, fascinating hydro-electric power station’s and dams, and scenic road after scenic road awaits you.
To really experience the changing scenery from bustling city to isolated wilderness, take a drive from Glasgow on the A9, through to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.
The Snowdonia National Park contains some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery and many picturesque villages can be found whilst you wind your way through the area on its scenic roads.
The mountains of Snowdonia provide a majestic backdrop to the coastal scenery – an area that has been shaped by the activity of humans over countless millennia, it is classed as a semi-natural wilderness that over time, has become steeped in legend and myth.
The Snowdonia National Park was created in 1951 with the sole aim of identifying ways to preserve and promote the wild beauty of the area and weave the context and the threads of the lives of people who have lived there, with the myths and legends that have been passed down through the ages.
Any visit to the area can be enhanced by some knowledge of the myths and legends, tales of mortals and immortals, giants and goblins and other fables passed down through the mists of time.
Here we list some places to visit and link them to the myths and legend that are associated with them…
King Arthur is perhaps the best known legendary figure associated with the area.
There is a stone on the bank of Lake Barfog near Betws y Coed that is said to bear the footprint of Arthur’s horse Llamaraii that was made during a notable event when Arthur and his horse dragged a monster from the depths of the lake.
Other lakes that are linked to the Arthurian legend are those of Llydaw, Dinas and Ogwen.
All of them at one time or another have been thought of as prime candidates for the location of the magical sword Excalibur.
If you ever find yourself at the summit of Mount Snowdon you might ponder the fact that King Arthur has been there before you when he fought a battle to the death with the giant Rhitta; a fearsome warrior who used the beards of his enemies to make a giant cape for himself.
Arthur killed the giant at the summit of the mountain and had his men bury the corpse under a cairn of huge stones.
A search for Merlin might take you to Bardsey Island off the coast of the Llyn peninsula.
A place that many people think could be the mystic land of Avalon.
The magician Merlin, a key figure in Arthurian legend is thought to be buried there in a glass coffin.
At the Southern end of Snowdonia stands the iconic mountain of Cadair Idris.
It has three peaks; Llyn y Gadair (Head of the Chair), Cyfrwy (the Saddle) and Mynydd Moel (the Bare Mountain).
Legend has it that this is the seat of Idris the giant.
There are three large stones at the base of the mountain that Idris is supposed to have kicked down the mountain when he got angry.
Legend has it that the lakes surrounding the mountain are bottomless and locals say that it is haunted and that anyone spending the night there will end up going mad or … becoming a poet.
Rhys and Meinir
This is a very sad legend based around Nant Gwyrtheyrn where it is said that cousins Rhys Maredudd and Meinir Maredudd fell in love and were due to be wed at Clynogg Church.
During their courtship their favorite meeting place was under an old oak tree in the valley between the farms they were each brought up on.
In those days the bride had to hide from the groom’s friends until once found she gets escorted to church by them.
After searching and searching they never found Meinir and so went on to the church expecting her to be there but she was not.
She had obviously found a very good hiding place. In the event, she never did turn up to church and wasn’t found.
A distraught Rhys took to walking the countryside with his dog Cidwm.
One night a storm broke when he was out looking for Meinir and he took shelter beneath the old oak that used to be their favorite meeting place.
A huge bolt of lightning hit the tree and split it in two to reveal the skeleton of Meinir still in her wedding dress.
Rhys was so shocked he dropped dead.
His faithful dog Cidwym lay down beside his body, went to sleep never to rise again.
If you are considering heading for Snowdonia, these are just a few of the places you might like to visit to get a feel of this amazing area that has inspired not only these legends but many more besides.
To experience the best North Wales has to offer, why not start your journey at Conwy Castle on the coast and make your way through the winding A & B roads, passing through Snowdonia (why not stop to take the Welsh Mountain Railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon), the beautiful village of Betws-y-Coed and travelling on to the spectacular tourist village of Portmeirion (once used as the film set for The Prisoner).
Cheddar Gorge (Somerset)
The second greatest natural wonder in the UK, Cheddar Gorge is a spectacular cleft in the landscape caused by melt water flooding during the last ice-age.
The scenery is quite literally other worldly as you drive on the B3135 that passes through the gorge.
Also home to a spectacular cave system and visitor center (definitely one to bring the kids along for), it’s well worth a drive through the gorge to take in the 27 cliffs, steep green slopes and variety of wildlife to be found there.
Top Scenic Bicycle Routes in England
England is a fantastic country to see by bike due to its varied and mostly flat terrain, lush countryside, and the preponderance of pubs and cafes along the paths.
From lazy family outings to serious ascents, England’s cycle paths have something to offer everyone.
Here are five scenic bike routes where you can experience the beauty of England.
hile some will take more than one day to complete, cycling portions of them is also rewarding.
C2C or S2S
Whether you call it the Coast to Coast or the Sea to Sea, this 140 mile (230 km) route connects the Irish Sea and the North Sea, and traditionally starts and ends by dipping your bike’s wheels in water.
Riding east to west is recommended, as the wind will be in your favor.
Moody moors, old mining towns, green valleys, and the dreamy Lake District are featured along the way, and make this a rewarding, and challenging, trip.
Isle of Wight
The 62 mile (100 km) route around the island is easier if completed in a clockwise direction, but with plenty of paths and shortcuts to explore the interior of the Isle of Wight, cyclists are free to make up their route as they go.
Choose between scenic coastal views and charming country lanes, or tackle the hills out of Shanklin’s Old Village.
There is an annual cycling festival held in early autumn, which provides great information and entertainment for biking enthusiasts.
London to Cambridge
The 60 miles (96 km) between London and Cambridge is the final leg of the British portion of the Tour de France, and can be ridden in either direction.
Often used for charity rides, this route winds through the flat, scenic, countryside, although it does begin to climb as you near Cambridge.
Riding out, exploring the ancient city, and taking the train back to London is completely acceptable!
Penzance Circular Route
This 23 mile (37 km) showcases Cornwall’s dramatic landscapes and is one of the best coastal routes in the country; its quiet routes and picturesque villages make this circular route a popular one.
The Grand Tour of Pendle
At 35 miles (56 km) long, and with 4,286 feet of ascent, the Grand Tour of Pendle is a hilly but enjoyable circular route through Pendle’s rugged terrain.
It’s not recommended for beginners, but is ideal for road biking enthusiasts seeking a challenge.
It’s important that you choose the right road bike from someone to get the most out of this route.
The Thames Path
There are loads of long-distance walking paths in the UK that can cover 100 to 200 plus kilometers of fascinating country.
The Thames Path is one such long-distance adventure that covers more than 280 kilometers starting at Cirencester and ending in London.
The entire path can take up to around 14 days or more depending on your pace.
It switches from one bank to the other and its start is easily reachable from Birmingham airport.
For those less adventurous walkers, it is possible to walk just a portion of the trail.
The path covers the entire length of the river and goes through cities like Oxfordshire and Wallingford to name just a few.
A map for the path can be found online on the National Trail website.
There are hostels, pubs, and restaurants all within easy reach of the various stopping points along the way of path.
The route takes you through some of the most beautiful villages and towns in the country.
Those looking for shorter routes can take the five mile walk from Goring to Pangbourne, or the just over six mile route from Reading to Shiplake.
Both can be found within easy reach of the local train stations, and allows backpackers to get a taste of the walk without spending all 14 days on it.
Once it’s reached Goring-on-Thames, the path meets up with the Ridgway, and goes through some of the most beautiful woodland in the area.
Goring is easily reachable by bus or taxi from here.
There are great restaurants to be found here like Masooms and Jan Marie, plus the standard local pubs.
The Thames starts to widen through this area meaning little towns and villages become more frequent.
The last leg of the trip brings you within easy distance and the flight home.
The last leg is also the most populated as it brings you closer to London.
The path goes beneath Windsor Castle and also provides a stunning view of Hampton Court as well. It goes all the way into London finally ending near Greenwich.
The last section also provides a great view of many of the docks and quays to be found in London amongst the warehouses.
Exploring England’s Most Scenic Destination
Green hills, quaint cottages, lakes and mid eval towns sound like the English paradise right?
Well – it can all be found in Lake District Park, the largest national park of England – known as the most scenic destinations and drives in the country, tourists flock the small little villages around the park every year to go for walks, picnic by the lakes and stroll around the towns.
‘Fishing at Windermere – image by Cumbrian-Cottages.co.uk’
Lakes & Fells
The main attractions are the lakes and fells in the area – there are as many as 16 lakes and several “waters”, which are all unique in their own way.
Windermere is the largest one, and is also the largest natural lake in the country – it has been one of the country’s most popular holiday places every since 1847.
There is no shortage of accommodation in Windermere, and it’s the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the area.
The fells (a local name for hills or mountains) are England’s only true mountain range, and although it’s not very high compared to other mountain ranges in the world, it’s still a nice hike, and there are so many routes and paths to choose (and get lost in!), so don’t forget a map…
The highest one is also the most visited, so if you want a more quiet and peaceful hike, I suggest you go to the smaller ones, some of them actually have nicer views than the big one..!
Another popular place to stay in the Lake District is Ambleside, which is just a short busride away from Windermere.
It’s located on the northernmost point of Windermere lake, and can also be reached by boat.
This small little town has been around since Pre- Roman times, and this is where you’ll find the most photographed site in the region:
The Bridge House (built in 17th century as an apple store).
Ambleside is a very traditional town full of traditional artifacts, houses and culture, with most of the Ambleside cottages are kept traditional, which is really part of the charm of Ambleside.
Keswick, another town in the area, is the place for nature lovers – both artists and photographers mix with hikers and climbers to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
A great thing about this town is that there are other things to do than scenic walks and climbs – if there is a rainy day (which is, let’s face it, common in England), you probably won’t want to go out hiking.
So luckily there are quite a few nice pubs to spend a few hours, and live music is also very popular around. There is also a very active theater by the lake if you want a more cultural night out.
You will find cute Keswick cottages everywhere, but since it’s such a popular place it’s good to book a place to stay at in advance – also note that few places have car parks, so the best way to visit would be by bus.
There are a couple of pay and display car parks in the town center, and another close to the lakeside, but on busy days it might still be difficult to find a spot.
Feel tempted to go yet? 😉
Exploring The Best Of Britain
With London being the focus of the world for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II, many tourists may be considering a trip to the British Isles – this coupled with the Olympic Games being held in London this summer, tourists are bound to be flocking to the ‘Big Smoke’.
Whilst London has a lot to offer tourists, there are many, equally impressive hidden gems in the capital and around the rest of the country.
This year, you’d be forgiven for thinking everything going on in Britain has something to do with the London Olympics – press coverage of the games has brought unprecedented worldwide attention to the city and, as so many people flock to the capital, it’s easy to forget just how much Britain has to offer beyond the showpiece of the games.
If you’re planning a getaway this year, why not explore the British countryside – and find the events, destinations and activities that are right on your doorstep?
Awesome way to discover the stereotypical Britain
Gundog Training & Falconry – Gleneagles
The famous Gleneagles Hotel hosts an impressive range of country pursuits, allowing guests to explore the beauty and drama of its 850-acre rural Perthshire estate.
Two of its most popular attractions are the Falconry and Gundog schools – working with the hotel’s own specially-bred animals – and trained professionals – you’ll have the chance to master two ancient sporting disciplines in a test of agility, skill and animal handling.
It’s a special experience – and a unique introduction to Scotland’s rich sporting heritage.
It is hard to imagine that London, one of the world’s most famous cities, has anything left to hide.
While you should not rule out visits to the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, and Tower Bridge, you could see the whole lot in one go.
To the North of the city lies Regent’s Park – the park itself is full of natural wildlife and is the ideal visit on a nice day.
But the main attraction is Primrose Hill where which stunning views of the London skyline can be seen.
The Lake District
The Lake District lies to the north west of England and while it is a well-known tourist spot, it has to be classed as a hidden gem because every visitor discovers something new each time they visit.
Whether that is the district’s largest lake Windermere, or the towns of Ambleside and Keswick – everyone has a personal favourite.
For me, it’s getting back to basics in the stunning and picturesque setting of Langdale where you can really get drawn into the natural beauty.
Equipment is key for adventures like this and I would advise sleeping hammocks from RV Ops to really be at one with the countryside.
The Lake District is a hugely popular destination for water-sport enthusiasts and offers the opportunity to try out activities like kayaking, water-skiing, wind-surfing and power-boating.
Explore vast, open lakes against a backdrop of rolling hills and mountains – the perfect setting for an action-packed aquatic experience!
Whether you’re already an expert, or still a novice looking for something new to try, getting out on the water is a fun, exhilarating option for all ages and abilities.
As the nation’s largest county – Yorkshire has a lot to offer.
Whether that be the historic city of York, the modern metropolitan that is Leeds, the breath-taking east coast or the industry, culture and UNESCO world heritage site of Saltaire in the city of Bradford – Yorkshire has everything.
But in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, at the bottom of the second highest peak Ingleborough, is Gaping Gill.
A relatively unknown site and not one for those scared of heights.
Gaping Gill is a huge cave and one of the largest known underground chambers in Britain.
It also holds the record for the tallest unbroken waterfall in England and is accessible via a winch down the shaft and 344ft to the bottom – not one for the faint hearted!
The West Country
The West Country has many unique attractions, from ancient wonders of Stonehenge, the historic Roman settlement of Bath or the town and Tor at Glastonbury.
There is also a natural wonder hidden away towards the coast.
Cheddar Gorge is accessible by a road going right through the heart, meaning you can see Britain’s biggest gorge via your car.
The stunning 450ft cliffs, nature reserve and caves provide a really great day out.
On the border of England and Scotland lies the northernmost county of Northumberland.
This is the most sparsely populated county in England with the majority protected as a national park.
The most impressive attractions are largely man-made however.
In terms of man-made sights to see for tourism in Northumberland, the Roman fortification Hadrian’s Wall is the obvious attraction that comes to mind.
However, for a complete mix of natural and man-made wonder, the tidal island of Lindisfarne is a must.
Also known as Holy Island, the tide determines whether Lindisfarne is accessible by foot or car as low tide reveals Pilgrim’s Way which acts as a natural bridge from the mainland.
Once on the island you will be able to access the stunning castle situated on the top of the mount.
Deer Stalking – Northumberland
A practice stretching back hundreds of years, deerstalking is a crucial part of maintaining populations of deer across Britain.
Northumberland has a rich hunting tradition, and for those searching for that authentic historical experience, deer stalking offers a unique perspective on the natural world.
If you think you’re up to the challenge, tracking deer through the quiet, forested hillsides of northern England is a tense and unforgettable experience.
Canyoning – Gloucestershire
Take on the south west’s roughest terrain the hard-way with a canyoning trip that brings you closer than ever to the natural environment.
Guided canyoning tours take you over, under and through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and present an impressive range of obstacles – mixing climbing, body-rafting and spelunking.
Not for the fainthearted, canyoning is an exhilarating adventure for anyone looking for a physical challenge.
You don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy the summer of 2012 and, if the Olympics just isn’t for you, don’t spend the time moping – get out there and find something to make your summer a memorable one!
5 Alternative UK Holidays to Try This Summer
Tired of the usual UK city break? Craving for something different and memorable for your vacation in the UK?
If yes, keep on reading and we will provide you with recommendations on five of Alternative UK Holidays that can be taken into consideration for your UK holiday this year:
Log Cabin Holiday in Cotswolds
When you are in Cotswolds, forget the idea of staying in a lavish and crowded hotel. Instead, you should settle with a log cabin, which can offer a more authentic experience.
They are also more private, and hence, perfect for romantic getaways.
Many of these log cabins are also equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, giving you a more enjoyable time.
More than just staying in a log cabin, you will also enjoy a wide array of activities.
Glamping in Dorset
Gone were the days wherein people hate the outdoors and camping.
Nowadays, with the concept of glamorous camping, more and more people are enticed to spend the night in camp sites.
In Dorset, you can find a wide array of glamping sites, many of which are available at affordable rates.
At Caalm Camp, for instance, you can enjoy staying in traditional Mongolian yurts, which are made luxurious with duvets and crisp towels.
In Willow Woodland, on the other hand, you can stay in shepherd’s huts and live just a few minutes away from Jurassic coast.
Sailing in Hampshire
If you are looking or something more different to try this summer, sailing is another possibility that should be on your list. Solent in Hampshire is one of the best places that you should check.
With attractive harbors and marinas, there is no doubt that sailing is one of Hampshire’s main tourist activities.
There are even schools where you can learn the fundamentals of sailing if you are just about to get started.
Yearly, there are also annual regattas held in Hampshire.
Camper van Tour in Cornwall
If you have a least a couple of days or a week to spare, rent a camper van and explore the beauty of Cornwall.
Whether you are with family or friends, you will surely have a good time on the road.
Aside from scenic drives, you will have a variety of choices on where to stay for the night if you want to rest.
Some of the places where you should stop include Fowey, Polperro, Dartmoor and Exmoor.
Of course, your itinerary should also include a visit to North Devon, which is known for its pristine beaches.
Go on a Food Trip in Berkshire
The UK is a place that is known for its food, but if you just have to choose one, there is no doubt that Berkshire should be on the top of your list.
It can offer a gastronomic feast that your appetite will surely thank you for.
It is home to two three Michelin stars restaurants, which will already give you an idea of how enjoyable the food will most probably be.
Specifically, you should be focused in exploring Bray, which is recognized as the culinary capital of UK.
Its narrow streets can lead you to some of the best restaurants you will ever find.
Somewhere Unique to Stay on Your Travels?
That title question isn’t rhetorical – are you currently looking for some lesser known places to stay in the UK as you make your way around the United Kingdom, but perhaps a little fed up with staying in your everyday, average hotel?
Do you fancy something a little different from the rather predictable norm?
If you answered yes to our questions, then you have definitely come to the right place, friend!
We’ve been looking out for the more unusual places to stay for some time now, ever since we got a bit tired of staying in the same old places every time we went for a weekend away.
We feel that the place you stay should be every bit as interesting as the city or town you’ve gone to visit, so we decided to start collating some of the better locations.
Now we’re sharing those lesser known places to stay in the UK with you, you lucky, lucky guys.
Lesser Known Places to Stay in the UK
The Castle Snug in Edinburgh
Only about 200 metres away from the more famous of Edinburgh’s castles (known as er…), the Castle Snug is a rather more subdued affair.
It was, and has been stayed in by a number of esteemed individuals, including Dr Samuel Johnson (the dictionary guy).
It’s set inside James’ Court, which dates back around 400 years, and proudly shows off the original, exposed stone walls and a beautiful cedar wood ceiling.
Edinburgh It’s a great place for a nice romantic getaway, relaxing in the leather seats as dinner simmers away on the cast iron stove.
The Cottages of Portmeirion Village
Portmeirion is a lovely little village, almost like a slice of the Italian riviera was plonked down in Wales one summer’s day, and was the brainchild of the wonderful architect, Mr Clough Williams-Ellis.
With bounteous beautiful beaches, colorful homes and gorgeous sights galore, it’s a fantastic place to spend a long weekend, which makes it fortunate that there are plenty of cottages to stay in!
Cliff House offers up some pretty spectacular views, the Chantry overlooks the entire village, and White Horses sits on the waterfront – you’re spoiled for choice!
The Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth
Man oh man is this the absolute dream location for any chocoholic!
Located nicely within Bournemouth’s most fashionable Soho Quarter,is a Grade II listed building housing just thirteen bedrooms.
This is no bad thing – it gives the place a charming, homely and intimate feel, and quality is always superior to quantity is what we say!
Each and every bedroom shares a similar theme, and that theme is (yep, you guessed it) chocolate!
They all house some fantastic furnishings and décor, with super comfy beds just waiting for you to jump right in.
Voted one of the six best novelty hotels on the planet by the Sunday Times Travel mag, it is the only chocolate-themed hotel in the world, and they sure take their passion seriously – just book yourself into one of their truffle-making workshops to see for yourself!
We hope you enjoy these lesser known places to stay in the UK.
Also, we encourage you to check out this awesome infographic on the Denbighshire area.
5 Quirky Places in the UK
Some of my favorite places and attractions I remember from my travels are not the most famous ones that are high on every “must-visit” list online, but the small and quirky places that most guides don’t even bother to mention.
While many travelers only pay attention to the most famous attractions, there are many quirky attractions that give value for money in the UK August holidays which most people don’t even know about.
Here are five awesome quirky places to visit in the UK this summer …
Mother Shipton’s Cave
This cave contains a well (named the Petrifying Well) with such high mineral content in the water that it turns everything in its path into stone.
It leaves behind mineral deposits that build up over time and form a crust of new rock: you can see shoes, teddy bears, a hat belonging to John Wayne and Agatha Christie’s handbag hanging from the rock face, all with a thick rock crust around them.
Where: Prophecy Lodge, Harrogate Rd, High Bridge, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
When: Daily in April – October between 10am and 5.30pm. Only on weekends in February and March.
Phone Box Museum
Definitely one of the smallest museums in the world, the phone box museum in Wales, is exactly what it sounds like: a small museum inside a red phone box on the side of the road.
The phone box is a tiny gallery dedicated to a local photographer Tom Matthias who lived very close to the phone box.
Where: It’s located just outside of Cilgerran at the junction of Garnon’s Mill Road.
The Kinema in the Woods
If you’re a sucker for all things retro and nostalgic, you will fall head over heels for this little cinema.
The Kinema is a traditional 20’s cinema showing all the latest flicks, complete with intermissions, old-fashioned paper cinema tickets, a lovely sweets counter and a Compton organ that plays during the intervals (coming up out of the stage floor).
Where: Coronation Road, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
When: It’s open whenever there is a movie showing (check their movies and book online here).
The box office opens approximately 15 minutes before the showings.
Blackpool Model Village
A favorite among kids, this miniature village transports you back to bygone days where imaginary stories unfold before your eyes in each of the 40+ village scenes.
It’s a great choice of entertainment in the August bank holiday and you also get a quiz to fill in while walking around which gives hints and clues to things in the villages you otherwise would have missed.
Where: East Park Drive Stanley Park, Blackpool, Lancashire
When: March to October, daily from 10am. Price for an adult is £6.95.
Smallest House in Great Britain
From one small attraction to another, a tiny red house in Conwy, Wales, is famous for being the country’s smallest house (once a whole family lived there!).
The last resident who lived there was a fisherman called Robert Jones, who at 6”3 understandably struggled to live in the tiny house which surprisingly had two stories.
He was forced to move out in 1900 when the local council declared the house unfit for human dwelling.
For 75p you can enter the house and look around.
Where: The Quay Conwy LL32 8BB
When: April – Oct: Mon-Sat 10am to 5.30pm. Sun 11am to 4pm
Fun Things To Do In Manchester
With its mixture of fantastic shopping, buzzing nightlife and fascinating museums, there are so many fun things to do in Manchester, which makes it perfect destination for a short break.
So, if you’re keen to get away from it all for a few days, and you are looking for a few short breaks in the UK – there are few better places to head to than Manchester!
The city is world-famous for its musical heritage:
Oasis, The Smiths, Joy Division and The Happy Mondays are just a few of the acts who started out playing in small venues across the city before going on to sell millions of records.
So if there is one fun things to do in Manchester that shouldn’t be missed, it’s checking out the live music scene during your break you may be able to see the next big band in action.
From smaller venues such as the Roadhouse and the Night and Day Cafe to the MEN Arena, the Bridgewater Hall and the Manchester Apollo which seat thousands of people, you will not be short of places to see the hottest names in music take to the stage.
After watching a live band, why not carry on your night by going to a bar or club?
The Deansgate area of the city contains a number of trendy drinking spots, as well as high-end restaurants.
If you want a stylish night on the town, be sure to head here.
Oxford Road and its surrounding streets are home to a number of bars and pubs that are popular with Manchester’s student population, while you can dance until the early hours of the morning at one of the nightclubs in the Printworks complex.
For the sport fan visiting Manchester, the things to do in Manchester most definitely involve football.
As well as its top-quality nightlife and fascinating museums, Manchester is also a top destination for sport – particularly football.
The city’s two world famous teams – Manchester City and Manchester United – are fierce rivals and you can see some of the world’s best players at either of their grounds.
To get a further insight into the city’s football history, why not go on a guided tour of Old Trafford or the City of Manchester stadium?
Lancashire County Cricket Club also play their home games in Manchester, so whatever your sporting interests you are sure to find something for you.
If you’re looking to take in a little history and art culture, you will find that Manchester is home to a wide array of art galleries and museums, including the People’s History Museum in the Spinningfields area of the city.
Alternatively, you may want to visit the Museum of Science and Industry, the Manchester Gallery and the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester.
Meanwhile, a trip to the Imperial War Museum North could be ideal if you’re a history buff and are keen to find out more about Britain’s past in armed conflicts.
If you’re looking to indulge in some retail therapy, then you will find Manchester to be the perfect place to splash the cash.
The Arndale Centre is home to some of the biggest high street names, while the Afflecks retail unit – located in the Northern Quarter – contains a variety of independent stalls and boutiques.
Whatever your budget, there’s accommodation to suit your requirements during your stay in Manchester.
There are a huge number of Manchester hotels to choose from which cater for all needs.
If you’re after an affordable hotel then you may be able to find accommodation for under £15 per person based on a couple sharing a room.
For those after a slightly more luxurious stay in Manchester, there are some fantastic hotels in Manchester that are renowned for their superb all around service and quality accommodation.
No matter where you stay, one thing that is for certain is that you will fall in love with this great city.
How To Spend A Night Out In Newcastle, UK
Many of those who’ve never been to Newcastle think that the city is all about coal and industry, in other words: not much fun.
But Newcastle has changed a lot during the years, and has turned into a really cool, stylish urban city perfect for travelers looking for some awesome nightlife – because if it’s one thing they know how to do in Newcastle it’s to party.
The best way to enjoy their famous nightlife is to stay in the center, and if you book early you can definitely find some great deals on Newcastle hotels in good locations close to bars, clubs and restaurants.
There are more bars and pubs in this city to count, but here are my 5 favorite places for a night out in the “toon” (Newcastle lang for town)
Sam Jacks – For The Rodeo King
Located right in the middle of the action, in a heaving nightlife area of Newcastle, Sam Jacks is part of the Gate Complex on Newgate Street.
It’s a two-floor venue, with a capacity of 1000 people; no wonder it’s said to be one of the busiest venues in the “toon” – open six days a week and all day on a Friday and Saturday, you’re guaranteed to have plenty of fun here.
With a built in rodeo bull, available to ride for £1 a go, and the UK’s only “Dentist’s Chair”, where you clamber on stage, sit in the chair and drink a signature smoking cocktail for a bit of good-spirited fun.
The Cluny – For The Artist Wannabe
Definitely a bar for more of the artistic type, The Cluny is found by the river, on Lime Street, in a converted warehouse.
With a gallery at the rear of the venue, and regular new exhibitions, combined with live music frequenting the stage, this chilled out bar is an artistic hub of the city and well worth a visit if you’re after a bit of down time away from the hectic Haymarket.
Browns – For The Super Stylish
Part of the popular chain of bars, this new establishment is on Grey Street in the city center.
Super stylish, offering good food as well as quality drinks, Browns is already building a fabulous reputation for itself.
Ideally located if you’re seeing a production at the Theater Royal, it is often heaving with diners and drinkers, local or otherwise, and has easy listening piano music played throughout the day.
Brewdog – For The Beer Lover
The Scottish beer bar is new in Newcastle and is well worth a visit to sample some of their quality bottled and draft beers.
There’s surely something to suit your taste and, despite being found in the center of sport-loving Newcastle, there’s not a TV in sight.
With two bars to choose from, including one on the mezzanine level overlooking the main entrance, Brewdog is a refreshing addition to the toon pub scene and should be checked out if you’re in the area.
Trillians – For Rockers & Metal heads
One for the alternative types among you, Trillians is a rock and metal bar with DJs on Friday and Saturday nights and live music events during the week.
Popular during the day with occasional drinkers and at weekends by the seasoned rocker, it’s believed by some to be the only rock bar in Newcastle so is a must for rockers and metal heads.
What is your favorite city in the UK for nightlife?
Reasons to Holiday In Dartmouth, UK
Does summer still seem like it’s ages away?
Are you desperate for some relaxation or a much needed holiday or long weekend?
Why not consider taking a break in a holiday cottage in Dartmouth?
This charming, maritime town boasts an array of award-winning restaurants, quaint cafes, art galleries and eclectic boutiques.
Take a wander along the town’s cobbled streets and marvel at the tranquil River Dart and you’ll soon see why this town has such a huge and ever increasing fan base.
Here’s a snapshot of what’s on offer in Dartmouth and the surrounding area…
For Lovers of the Great Outdoors
If you’re a fan of the countryside, then you will be spoiled for choice by what’s on offer in Dartmouth and the surrounding areas – seasoned hikers should try the 10 mile route from nearby Kingswear to Brixham, which takes in breathtaking views of the River Dart and Kingswear Castle.
Those preferring more casual saunters are also catered for, with a varied choice of short strolls available in this beautiful area.
For Old Romantics
For couples looking for a special evening, seek out the renowned restaurant The Seahorse in Dartmouth situated adjacent to the River Dart.
This indemand restaurant run by well known chef Mitch Tonks serves up a variety of exquisite locally sourced seafood and shellfish and is the perfect destination for an intimate dinner for two.
Dine on freshly prepared crab and lobster accompanied by a selection of fine wines.
For those watching their wallet, a two course menu for £20 is also offered.
For Naval Fans
Why not take take a guided public or private tour of Britannia Royal Naval College?
The College is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy and has a stunning hilltop location.
2013 marks the 150th anniversary of Royal Navy Officer training in Dartmouth and tours are available in May and throughout 2013.
For The Family
Woodlands Theme Park near Dartmouth offers a host of rides and activities within its sprawling 60 acre grounds.
This all-weather adventure park is hosting fun-filled performances every day during the Half Term with the park playing host to themed entertainers including clowns and jugglers.
Plus the admission fee includes indoor play centers, a petting zoo and a falconry center.
The award-winning Pennywell Farm in Buckfastleigh has planned a host of activities for the Half Term week.
These include ferret racing and pond dipping.
The week also sees the return of the Two Legged Gymkhana and the daily miniature pig racing – guaranteed to entertain children and parents alike!
For Sailors (or would be sailors!)
Dartmouth is synonymous with sailing, with the River Dart providing a great setting for a day on the water.
Seasoned sailors can charter a yacht and complete novices can learn the basics from one of the many sailing schools.
Have these ideas whetted your appetite for taking a holiday in Dartmouth, South Devon?
Then check out the selection of quality Dartmouth holiday cottages provided by Coast & Country Cottages.
Romantic Holidays to Dorset Coast Cottages
One of the best places to enjoy a romantic getaway in the whole of the United Kingdom is the Dorset coast.
Located along England’s southwestern shores and bordered by the English Channel, Dorset’s coastline is visually stunning.
In fact, it’s the perfect setting for enjoying long, intimate strolls while soaking in the gorgeous sights.
Best Luxury UK Cottages – Packed with literary and historical significance along with some of the most charming cottages found anywhere, Dorset is an ideal escape for new lovers or for those looking to rekindle a romance.
Cottages are by far the best accommodation choice along the Dorset coast.
An amazing assortment of cottages is found throughout the shire, and nearly any of them promise the perfect setting for a romantic escapade.
Choose from a Dorset Holiday Cottages set amid colorful fishing villages or a house that’s perched above the rocky shore.
Either way, guests are certain to enjoy lovely gardens, homey décor and all of the modern conveniences wrapped in historic structures.
Many of the cottages are converted barns or stables that have been extensively renovated.
Loaded with charm and with comfort to spare, these cottages are perfect for a weekend, a week or even longer.
Among the typical amenities in Dorset coast cottages are gourmet kitchens that make it simple for guests to prepare delicious homemade fare for every meal.
However, many of these accommodations are situated conveniently close to local pubs and restaurants, so letting someone else do the prep work and cleanup is always an option.
Bedrooms are frequently spacious and always well appointed.
Guests will find top of the line bed linens along with luxurious mattresses that offer the perfect night’s sleep. Many properties are just big enough for two with plenty of cozy niches to ensure romantic evenings.
The Dorset coast is also a romantic place to go exploring.
Many historic manor homes and their gracious grounds are open to the public.
Visitors enjoying a romantic getaway won’t want to miss Thomas Hardy’s two homes in the area.
These include the cottage where he was born in 1840 and the stately Max Gate.
This is house Hardy designed himself.
He lived in it until his death in 1928.
The breathtaking Kingston Lacy house is an excellent example of a country manor that was inspired by Italian art and architecture.
With displays of priceless works of art by world-renowned painters like Titian and Rubens, a tour of the house is a necessity.
Do not miss the picturesque grounds, which include a charming Japanese garden.
Dorset Coast’s Knoll Gardens
A stroll through the lovely Knoll Gardens is another excellent means to while away a romantic afternoon in Dorset.
These gardens are simply spectacular in any season, and make for the perfect backdrop for a lovely photograph to commemorate any visit.
Tourists can also pick up a number of specialist plants at the local nurseries.
There’s no better way to remember a wonderful weekend in Dorset than with an azalea or rosebush that blooms year after year.
The wild and enchanting coastline is the scene for romantic lounging in the sand or hand-in-hand strolls along the waterfront.
With 100 miles of beaches there is always more to explore, and much of the landscape is quite secluded.
This makes couples feel like they are the last people on Earth.
If the temperatures are warm, then a stop at Weymouth may be in order.
It’s one of the best places in Dorset to bathe in the sea.
The awe-inspiring cliffs of West Bay are worthy of dozens of photographs, and a stop at Lyme Regis is essential for Jane Austen devotees or those who enjoy golden sand and beautiful views.
Being active in the outdoors can also be part of a romantic Dorset coast escape.
A horse ride is the perfect way to survey the countryside or enjoy the grand seascapes.
There are numerous reputable stables in the area.
This makes it possible for both novice and seasoned riders to partake in this romantic, old-fashioned adventure.
Couples who love to golf, hike or fish will also find many opportunities to indulge in their favorite shared hobby.
It’s a wonderful way to build memories.
Dorset Hambledon Hill
Dorset has so many fascinating ancient sites.
Trekking to Hambledon Hill is an unforgettable effort that repays visitors with a hill fort from the Iron Age.
Several ramparts are easy to view, and the spot’s archaeological importance is undeniable.
Visitors who would rather see a fairy tale kingdom can visit Corfe Castle.
With its tumbledown walls and majestic air, it’s a tangible reminder of an earlier era.
It’s impossible to not feel romantic and adventurous while traversing this magnificent site.
With so many fun and fascinating things to do, the Dorset coast makes for an ideal couple’s getaway.
Prepare for your holidays and learn about the wealth of cozy and well-appointed cottages.
They are the perfect complement to a sojourn in this picturesque destination.
Ways to Be an Effective Parent Without Losing Your Cool
Ways to Be an Effective Parent: The moment the pregnancy test came back positive, you were determined to be an amazing, fun and cool mom.
Maybe your own parents tended to be somewhat uptight, or you have seen other moms who are so focused on rules and regulations that they end up having poor relationships with their children.
Regardless of your motivation, you are now a devoted mom who loves her kids more than life itself.
And, thanks to the following tips, you can still achieve your goal of being a cool mom.
Check out the following suggestions:
Essential Items Can Still Be Fun
As you probably know quite well, kids of all ages require a stunning amount of paraphernalia.
From clothes and accessories to even the car that you drive, being a parent will impact your shopping choices in a number of ways.
If you have babies or other young children at home — essentially, small humans that still allow you to dress them.
Skip the boring monochromatic onesies, t-shirts and pants for outfits that have a high cool factor and then wear something that complements your kid’s look.
For example, Band-Tees has a wide selection of rock and roll related outfits for babies and toddlers as well as adults; this includes Pearl Jam onesies and Grateful Dead t-shirts.
Your toddler can rock the Eddie Vedder look while you sport a Nirvana t-shirt.
Another great example of buying essential items that are still cool is the ubiquitous minivan.
Yes, minivans are amazing vehicles for growing families, but no, they do not have to be boring rides.
For example, if you are in the market for a new mom-mobile, you may want to check out the Chrysler Pacifica.
The Pacifica is a great option for a cool mom like yourself; it comes with awesome features like touch screens, a 20-speaker sound system (to play the aforementioned Pearl Jam while driving the kids to school), and the ability to go from zero to 60 in under 7 seconds.
Get to Know What They Like and Join In
If you ever felt like your parents had no clue about what shows you liked or music you listened to, you can break this cycle by joining your kids in their interests as much as possible.
Spend time asking your kids about what they like to do, and then take part in the activities as often as you can.
For younger kids who adore video games, resist the urge to let them play in the family room while you catch up on chores.
Ask your son to teach you about his favorite game and say that you’d like to play too.
He will probably be delighted to share everything he knows about Mario or Crash Bandicoot.
If your daughter loves to play golf, talk with her about her lessons, practice sessions and upcoming tourneys and truly listen to what she has to say.
Suggest a mom-daughter golf outing; she may cackle at your inability to putt, but she will be thrilled that you are taking an interest in what she loves to do.
Give Them Some Space
As much as your adore your kiddos, a great way to be a “cool” mom is to back off from time to time and give your precious kids some space.
Keeping your distance in certain instances can also help to strengthen your bond with your kids.
Resist the urge to question your middle schooler’s desire to wear mismatched socks, and let your tweens spend the afternoon in their rooms on weekends texting their friends.
While you may want to be friends with your kids on social media, don’t post comments on their photos and try not to hover when they have friends over.
By playing it cool, you will be cool — and your kids will definitely thank you for it.
Being a cool mom does not mean canceling household rules and letting your kids take over.
It basically boils down to being there for them, getting to know them and their interests, and purchasing items that express your uniqueness and theirs too.
Unique Day Trips in the UK with the Kids
With the usual string of walks and adventure parks on most families’ agendas, it’s always nice to shake things up a bit with Days Out In the UK.
In the UK, we have no shortage of quaint – and just plain weird – things to do and sights to see for interesting unique day trips in the UK with the kids.
For a quirky trip with the kids, look no further than the following attractions:
Calling all pencil fanatics, this is your idea of cloud nine.
Hopefully, your kids love coloring, because you won’t be able to turn around without spotting a pencil or two.
Within the rooms of the pencil museum, you can find the largest pencil in the world – standing at 8m long, it was clearly made for a giant.
The Cumberland Pencil Museum offers art workshops throughout the year on how to achieve stunning pencil masterpieces.
When you picture days out in Scotland, you probably think of piling on the clothes, rather than taking them off.
However, at the Isle of Arran, you can bare all to the unforgiving Scottish weather.
At least it’s unlikely to be crowded…
If your kids have grown up with a whole farmyard of toy diggers, this odd day out may go down a treat.
Diggerland is in fact a theme park where you can drive these huge behemoths yourself.
Just think of it as digging practice for your vegetable patch later.
This has got to be even less fruitful than bird watching, but travelling to Loch Ness, you can stand by the giant lake yourself and see if you can catch the legendary beast with your own eyes.
But let’s face it; you’re going to be waiting there a loooooooooong time.
If you don’t mind exposing your children to the utter craziness that is the theory of Creationism, this could a rather…enlightening… experience.
Effectively, this whole museum flies in the face of science and says “you, sir, are wrong.”
Warning: you may leave significantly stupider than when you arrived, but it may be an enjoyable way to kill some time (and brain cells).
Probably the most ‘normal’ day out on our list, Knowsley is pretty standard, as far as safari parks go, but the animals are weird and wonderful.
From Egyptian fruit bats to the feathery Rheas.
Expand your wildlife knowledge with the kids in tow, and marvel at how evolution must have been drunk when it created the Pink Fairy Armadillo.
National Space Center
So…the UK isn’t exactly famous for its exploration of the universe…unless you count our surplus of sci-fi writers.
But hey, you can still look at some retro astronaut suits at the National Space Center.
We may not have the credentials of NASA but it does have a planetarium (yay, stars!) and a 3D simulator.
And who knows, you may have the next Neil Armstrong on your hands!
Family Fun Days Out in Blackpool
When you think of Blackpool, you think of a seaside town in Northern England, quintessentially British with battered fish and chips eaten with wooden forks followed by multicolored sticks of rock.
Images of the Pleasure Beach fill your mind, with ear-piercing screams of thrill-seekers riding the Big One.
Visions of the Illuminations filling the skyline once a year.
There’s a lot more to Blackpool though, not least of which is the fantastic zoo and sea life center that attract tourists all year round.
A perfect day out for you and your family, Blackpool Zoo and Sea Life Center are too large to do all in one day.
Have a browse through the available Blackpool hotels and make a base for your family overnight to ease the madness of doing everything within a measly time frame.
Celebrating 40 years this year, this fantastic site offers a huge range of things to do including seeing animals from all over the world.
Be sure to check out the largest primate in the world, the majestic gorilla, in the custom built Gorilla House which opened in 2000.
With the latest addition to the gorilla family, Meisie, being born in 2010, you’ll be able to watch as she grows in a human like fashion.
Watch as she tantrums, runs rings round her mum and explores her fabulous home.
Explore the Lost World and come face to face with terrifying dinosaurs of the prehistoric age on a dinosaur safari.
Explore the theories as to what made these gigantic beasts extinct all those years ago.
Also available at the zoo is an experience of a lifetime.
Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most beautiful creatures with an animal encounter.
Meet Zambar, a stunning Amur tiger, or learn the secrets of an animal trainer on a Trainer for the Day experience which is available until the end of September.
Play with the lemurs and the tapirs and treat your family to a fabulous rendezvous with some fabulous characters.
If you can wait until new dates are released, you could also organize to be a Keeper for the Day and see what it really takes to care for the animals in Blackpool Zoo.
Although these experiences are fully booked for now, 2013 dates will be available to book from the 3rd September and costs £175 or £325 for two people – well worth it considering the treats that the program has in store.
The following day, make your way to the Sea Life Center on the Promenade.
New is the Turtle Shelter and Behind the Scenes tours, where you team up with an expert guide to learn more about what it takes to be an aquarist.
Check out the interactive rock pool and the shark-infested waters that a tunnel will guide you through, before letting the kids loose in the soft play area and pirate adventure golf course.
Fabulous days out for the whole family, you can’t go far wrong with high quality zoos and sea-life centers and Blackpool has both!