England Travel Guide – What You Need to Know

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England Travel Guide – The UK, or the United Kingdom, offers a multitude of things to see and do – the area may be incredibly small, but the arts, entertainment, and historical sites make up for it’s size.

From history to adventure and dining and relaxation, the UK offers something for everyone! 

Beautiful Cities In The UK

England Travel Guide - What You Need to Know
England Travel Guide – What You Need to Know

England Travel Guide

Stonehenge – One of the Fun Places to Visit in the UK

Built around 3100 BC, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous sites.

It is located in Wiltshire, England which offers a vast countryside full of beauty and wonder.

Stonehenge consists of prehistoric rocks and boulders which are scattered in a circular fashion.

There has been no proven theory of how or why Stonehenge exists.

Many people believe the rocks were placed in the area by aliens and UFOs while others believe they monument was built as a prehistoric joke.

The reason doesn’t matter because a visit to Stonehenge will have people amazed!

Windsor Castle

If you’re a fan of history, beauty, and architecture, the Windsor Castle is a must see place in the UK.

Located approximately 30 miles west of London, visitors can easily arrive from train or bus to the castle for tours.

Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and is known as being the longest inhabited royal castle.

Windsor Castle is not only an educational experience but a unique one.

The architectural design of the castle is known to overwhelm many due to it’s detailed beauty.

Bath

The area of Bath is located in Wiltshire, England.

The area consists of ancient Roman baths that date back to approximately 2000 years.

Residents during these ancient times believed the water to have healing and anti aging qualities to it.

Many of the world’s richest people would travel to experience the baths for themselves.

Today, any tourist can experience the historical baths or visit the hundreds of spas located in the area.

Bath is a great place to visit and have fun in the UK summer holidays: it’s a beautiful city that not only offers pools and spas, but also amazing shopping and dining establishments.

Buckingham Palace

The United Kingdom is nothing without it’s Royal Family so it’s imperative to include Buckingham Palace on the list of places to visit.

Located in the southern part of the United Kingdom, the palace is an official resident of the Queen.

It is also a main attraction and seen by millions of people each year while the royal family is not there.

Every visitor to the United Kingdom should get a glimpse of the gorgeous beauty that boasts phenomenal history.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is another important area of the United Kingdom that is a must see for travelers.

Located in the center of London, Trafalgar Square is open to the public.

Some of the best times to go is in the summer bank holiday as there will be plenty of events on the square, especially for children.

Many pieces of famous contemporary art and sculptures from hundreds of years ago.

There is a great deal of history due to it being created to commemorate the 1801 Battle of Trafalgar.

England Travel Guide to the Best Beach Towns in the UK

There are only so many French riviera towns and Greek island villages you can visit until you’re longing for a beach town that offers something completely different.

For that, the UK is perfect.

Not the typical sunny beach holiday destination, the UK has some picturesque and wonderful beach towns that offer a unique and typically British experience.

Walberswick, Suffolk, England

Not far from Southwold (another quaint beach town) is this picturesque beachfront hamlet just past the River Blyth.

To cross the river from the Southwold side to Walberswick you can take the row boat ferry or the bridge.

The small community is nestled in the idyllic Suffolk countryside.

There is a harbor trail you can follow and several beautiful beaches almost overshadowed by forests.

The town has ancient ruins and the 15th century St. Andrew’s Church as well as cozy pubs serving local dishes.

From the 13th century until World War I Walberwick was a major trading port but now half the houses in the town are holiday homes and the tourist industry is the heart of this great beach town.

The town has marshlands and heath which attracts flocks of birds and the town is surrounded by protected wetlands.

Walberswick is also a popular spot for celebrity holiday homes.

In August the town hosts the British Open Crabbing Championships where the prize goes to the one who catches the largest crab within 90 minutes!

Camusdarach, Inverness-shire, Scotland

Travelers come to this beach near to Morar and Glenancross in the Highlands for the wide windswept beach of white sand facing the Isle of Egg.

The beach was the location for the filming of Local Hero.

The austere landscape and stunning sunsets makes this a quiet peaceful beach town perfect for long walks on the beach and getting back to nature.

Woolacombe, Devon, England

This is a beach town for those who really want to spend their time on the sand and in the sea, unlike other towns on this list where the focus is more on the town itself, Woolacombe is all about the beach!

It is known as a good surfer’s beach and you can get lessons here.

The Blue Flag beach runs for 2 miles and in the summer can get crowded with people enjoying both the family atmosphere and the perfect surroundings.

If you prefer a more secluded stretch of sand then walk along the coast to discover some of the hidden coves.

You can take boat excursions out on the open sea to see dolphins, seals and maybe even sharks.

Above the water on the cliff tops is a path following the edge of the cliffs and in and around the town are marked cycle routes.

In July Woolacombe hosts the Woolacombe International Sandcastle Competition.

Margate, Kent, England

This is one of England’s typical seaside towns like Brighton, Blackpool and Ramsgate.

The town has been a magnet for tourists for the last 250 years and was once a thriving port city.

Today many historic buildings remind us of the town’s illustrious past and the Victorian pier gives the seafront a certain elegance.

One of the town’s attractions is the Shell Grotto, a Grade I listed building of unknown origin.

Inside the rooms and tunnels the walls are covered with over 190m² of shells.

Also in the town you can see a 16th century timber framed Tudor house.

Margate has a Blue Flag beach where you can swim and take surf lessons.

You can discover the place where the Vikings landed by following the Viking Coastal Trail past historic buildings and magnificent Kent countryside.

For those seeking culture there is the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery and the Margate Museum.

The Theatre Royal is the 2nd oldest theater in the UK. The Tom Thumb Theatre is the 2nd smallest theater in the country.

Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales

This is a fortified Norman town with picture perfect Georgian buildings colored in a rainbow of pastels.

Many of the small narrow lanes are pedestrian-only and perfect for exploring the unique stores and tearooms.

Facing the sea are rolling dunes which break onto the Blue Flag beaches considered some of the best in the country.

Tenby is at the entrance to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park so you can connect up with the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path which can be followed from Tenby to Pembroke. Take a boat trip to Caldey Island.

On the island you can visit the Cistercian Abbey, see a large seal community or sun yourself on Priory Beach.

England Travel Guide to the Most Popular Beaches in the UK

With the glistening, white beaches of France, Spain or Italy within easy traveling distance, there are not many people who cherish the idea of holidaying along the British coast.

Gloomy skies and grayish waters is the picture that most of us conjure up, however, during summer, this idea couldn’t be further from the truth.

Popular Beaches in the UK

Coastal wildlife is abundant and beautiful, as is the variety of plants and geological makeup.

Many of our beaches offer a variety of water sports and activities for any thrill seekers too restless to relax beside the water.

I’m going to list a few of my favorite beaches and hopefully convince you that British beaches should not be put out of sight and out of mind this summer.

Tynemouth Longsands

One of the finest beaches in the UK has to be Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside.

A jewel in the crown of the North East and home to surfers, fishermen and a steady stream of sandy-footed beach lovers.

In the North of England it doesn’t actually matter if the sun is out or not, the beaches are so beautiful and atmospheric that they are a year-round attraction for families, dog-walkers and runners.

Longsands is a glorious stretch of golden sand and is nestled just below Tynemouth town-center.

The seaside settlement is an up-market Victorian town with tall, terraced houses and cobbled streets.

The town center is nostalgic and cheery and a relatively easy town in which to book accommodation.

It is home to an array of high-end bars, restaurants and appealing little boutiques full of one-offs and surprises.

The perfect setting in which to relax after a brusque walk along the beach.

Rhossili Bay

Rhossili Bay in Wales, often tops the ‘Best Beach in UK’ polls and rightly so.

It is huge and encircled with luscious green grass.

The perfect contrast to the nearby sea which is always a perfect, crisp blue.

The water is clean and inviting – perfect for a splash about – and always lively with surfers and swimmers!

Rhossili village is traditional and unspoiled, despite having a lot of visitors from ramblers, hikers and surfers, and has held onto its quaint charm.

There are plenty of bed and breakfasts or camping spots so it makes an ideal location for a weekend break.

Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head at Bournemouth is a superb choice for families; the pebble beach meanders gently around a pale-blue sea.

The area is dotted with traditional multi-colored beach-huts which really add to its charm.

The beach is surrounded by an unspoiled environment and has stunning views across the Dorset coastline.

Highcliffe Castle is a nearby rambling option (to break up your day at the beach) with its cliff-top grounds, ancient architecture and breath-taking view of the sea!

Cornwall

Cornwall, of course, has an expanse of beautiful beaches, which will leave most visitors utterly spoiled for choice.

Penzance, the seaside town, has some of the best.

The drawback – as the most westerly town in Cornwall – it’s quite a trek (for most) to get there.

On the plus side, it has a noticeably warmer climate and has a gorgeous Georgian high street speckled with quirky shops, art galleries and lovely places to eat and drink.

The area is dotted with great beaches, including Longrock Beach, which is perfect for families, and is close to the town of Penzance so isn’t a long walk from the action.

Make sure you head to one of the restaurants in the town serving fish caught that day – a real treat!

Don’t write-off Britain as a destination for a coastal holiday.

Check it out this summer and you’ll, without question,  be glad you did…

How to Enjoy the Southern Coast of England

Framed on one side by towering white chalk cliffs and the other by rolling pastureland, the South Coast of England is literally packed with things to see and do.

Whether it’s exploring a national park on bike, learning how to windsurf or dive, marveling at Regency and Victorian architecture, or learning about the unusual customs of past inhabitants.

Dungeness

The immediate area surrounding a nuclear power station might not sound like the ideal tourist destination, but the eerie other worldliness of Dungeness is definitely worth a visit.

The desolation is offset by the ramshackle self-built cottages seemingly randomly dotted about the place.

These were erected by people in the aftermath of WWI when housing was at a premium.

As one of the largest shingle expanses in the world, Dungeness is of vital ecological importance, playing host to over 600 plants and designated as a National Nature Reserve, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation.

Brighton

No visit to the South Coast is complete without a trip to Brighton – the region’s most notorious city – re-live Regency England with a stroll down the promenade and a wander round the opulent Brighton Pavilion.

Sample the city’s wild nightlife and vibrant cultural scene.

When the bustle gets too much, the newly designated South Downs National Park is less than half an hour away.

Lewes

With its hilltop castle, winding streets and independent spirit, the historic market town of Lewes is a wonderful place to explore.

In the 16th century, seventeen Protestant martyrs were burned at the stake in front of what is now the Town Hall.

To enjoy Lewes at its explosive best however, wait until early November to visit, when the town begins its bonfire night celebrations.

The event sees various ‘bonfire societies’ dressing up and parading through the streets letting off firecrackers and carrying flaming torches.

The proceedings are anarchic to say the least and justifiably famous.

Easy access.

The South Coast is ideal for language students hoping to see as much of England in as short a time as possible.

For those studying at an English school London provides easy access to towns and cities along the entire coast.

For example, for those enrolled in Portuguese classes London to Brighton takes less than an hour.

Traditional Local Foods To Try In Britain

Traditional Local Foods to Try in Britain

Britain has some incredible holiday destinations, and many choose to rent a little cottage for a few days on the British countryside  to truly soak up the British culture and traditions.

But sadly many people forget to seek out the typical British cuisine, since there is such a variety of exotic foods in Britain.

In London, especially, will you be able to find Chinese and Indian restaurants much easier than a traditional restaurant serving British cuisine.

But by making that extra effort, we can promise you won’t be disappointed.

Here are three cheap eats that will give you a true taste of Britain, and will be easy to find…

Eel, Pie and Mash

if you ever find yourself in London – which you likely will on a holiday to Britain, you might want to try something which is very much a London-invention.

Eel, pie and mash is a traditional London working class food, dating back over 300 years.

In the 18th century eels were cheap, in fact they were just swimming about in the Thames, but strangely enough the dish didn’t become popular until later on when there were no longer any eels in the polluted river.

Today you get other variations with fillings like minced beef and onion.

Fish and Chips

Fish and chips are fillets of deep fried fish served with French fries.

The chips are plain and doused with salt and vinegar, which are great when on the move, and barely have time for a full course meal.

They serve the fish in tartar sauce, a white sauce made of egg yolk based mayonnaise, finely chopped prickles.

You will find this dish in pubs as well as fish and chip shops all over the country, but have a look online for some recommended places in the city you’re in because quality varies highly!

Scones with Cream And Tea

Visiting a proper tea house on a visit to Britain should almost be customary.

The afternoon tea is more than just a snack in Britain, it’s an important and respected tradition, and the tea houses like to keep it traditional.

Order a pot of tea to share, and a couple of scones with cream and jam (often there will be a range of different kinds of scones, our favorite are the date scones!).

Visiting a tea house is a fun experience that you will want to do more than once.

England Travel Guide to Visiting London

London is a city that basically has it all, but for many it’s often hard to know where to begin, it has great shopping, beautiful architecture, awesome nightlife, parks, markets and lots of things to look at!

There are many free child friendly things to do in London as well.

A weekend in London will be packed with stuff to do – here is my guide to a great weekend trip to London:

Getting Around London

Many of the places of interest are concentrated in one area so you can walk between them, however, the public transport in London is quite good and by using the subway you save a lot of time.

A day pass is a good idea to get, it costs 6£ and is valid from 9.30 am and lasts all the day until 4.30 am the next morning.

You can use the pass both on subways as well as buses.

Royal Garden London
Royal Garden London

Parks and Speakers Chair London

London is full of beautiful parks to hang out in on a nice day or stroll along the green alleys, so take some time to slow down the pace in the parks between shopping.

St James park and Hyde park are two big parks located right in town which are both very nice.

In Hyde park they have something called ”speakers chair” every Sunday, where  people stand on a stage and talk about whatever they want in a microphone for whoever wants to listen.

If you have the guts, you’re welcome to get up there yourself!

St James park is a beautiful park to check out after or before a visit to the Buckingham palace.

Changing of the Guard London

The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace at 11.30 every morning is a big tourist attraction.

Don’t hold any high expectations on the actual ”show”, especially not in bad weather (which isn’t too rare here), but it’s worth a look just to experience the crazy crowds.

London Eye

The London eye actually gives a great view over London, and it’s especially beautiful at night.

But even the area itself is worth a tour, there is a pretty cool area full of Graffiti art right nearby.

The best view of Big Ben is from the Westminister bridge going between the London eye and Big Ben, and who doesn’t want that iconic photo shot?

Shopping in London

Oxford street is the place for shopping.

There is something for everyone here, and for most budgets.

But for an actual experience, head to Harrods.

Perhaps buy something really small as a souvenir from this place, or just window shop around this historic, exclusive shopping complex.

Camden market
Camden Market

Markets in London

London has HEAPS of markets: small, big, famous and unknown.

Camden Market is one of the more popular ones, and it’s a fun place to buy things from local unknown designers.

Be sure to check out Covent Garden. It also has a market, and after some shopping you’re likely to see some awesome street performers on the square.

This is the square where famous street performers do their acts.

London Nightlife

For a beer at a cozy pub with good atmosphere and intimacy, The Cittie of York on High Holbourn is a good choice.

The pub has a very traditional design, and you sit in little wooden booths.

For the cheapest beer in town, Ye Olde Cheesire Pub on Fleet street is the place to go.

The pub is the oldest in London, and they brew their own beer out of town.

For a real club experience, Cafe  1001 is a cafe and DJ bar on a side street in Brick Lane which we got a tip about from a local guy.

Many tourists don’t know about the place, but it’s a huge hits among the people living in London.

Where and What to Eat in London

It’s almost more “typical” to eat international food than the traditional British food in London.

Cuisine from all corners of the world can be found here, so make the most of it!

Restaurants that are located a bit out of the central areas are of course a lot cheaper.

The smaller streets around Kings Cross have some good deals, but chances are that you will be in the center for lunch.

There are a lot of  “all you can eat” buffets spread around the city center in London, especially Chinese cuisine, but also a lot of Indian restaurants.

For good Mexican food, Chilango is a great Mexican eatery located at five different places across the city.

We ate at the one in Chancery Lane 6, and the burritos and nachos were awesome.

Clink 78 hostel
Clink 78 hostel

Where to Sleep in London

We recommend Clink 78 hostel, a hostel right next to Kings Cross.

It’s located in a nice area with a village feel to it, with small streets and cozy cafes and pubs.

The staff at the hostel are very helpful and informative, and more than happy to share their local tips and favorite spots around the city.

Ask them anything and they will know, if not they will check it up for you.

You get a big breakfast buffet included in the stay, and they also have a pub downstairs which is very popular with the guests.

If you want to cook your own food there is a big kitchen there as well.

A pretty cool detail about the hostel is that it’s actually a restored 200 year old Courthouse with a few authentic prison cells. and a courtroom used as an internet room.

Get out: Take the scenic train to Wales, and experience the Welsh culture only a few hours away.

And since London is, well, London, cheap flights leave the airport every minute!

Best Nightclubs In London
Best Nightclubs In London; photo credit: GordonsPictures

Best Nightclubs In London

Far from the stuffy establishment brush that this town is often painted with, this grand city on the Thames by contrast offers a world of gritty and exciting capers to be had!

London’s nightlife is a playground waiting to happen for all and sundry, so if you’re up for one heck of a wild time away, sort your flights to London and get among it!

Clubs, and more clubs

There’ no shortage of clubs in London –  many of which be found in the most unlikely of places, such as former theaters, warehouses and railway arches.

In fact, many of the most famous clubs here started their life out as illegal party venues, over timing growing into some of the world’s most popular (and now legal, obviously) party spots.

There’s a massive music scene in London, needless to say, and the real draw card for party goers is the all-nighters for which London clubs are most renowned.

Locals and tourists alike pack the dance floors early in the evening, partying all night at spots both glaring and secluded.

Fabric

London’s posh club Fabric is located on the former site of a Victorian meat cellar.

This diverse nightclub on Charterhouse Street sets itself apart from many of the others by putting on music rather than the traditional DJs that typify the club scene.

Their eclectic line-ups of talent include new artists as well as established musicians.

The floor fills up early, with the night kicking off talent early evening.

It’s not until late, though, that the real action starts, with the best acts usually coming on around 3:00am!

KoKo

If you’re keen to take in a bit of London’s rich history while partying, you could do worse than to make a stop at KoKo.

This club, located in an old theatre in Camden Town and originally built in 1900, is famous for hosting live bands.

Guests from decades past have included the Sex Pistols, The Eurythmics and Madonna. Need we say more?

The deep red decor and old-theater feel of KoKo add to the throwback ambiance that makes this club great for those feeling slightly nostalgic or wishing to experience a retro setting while being privy to some of the best live music of today.

Pacha

If you’re up for a glamorous adventure while out hitting the pavement, you can’t go past Pacha.

Located behind the industrial Victoria Station, this club oozes glitz and sophistication.

The club’s 1920s building features a stunning stained glass ceiling, and opulence is reflected in its numerous elegant chandeliers – attendees here are expected to match their surroundings by dressing in vogue fashion…so, this is no place for dowdy duds!

Proud Camden

Back in Camden Town, this hard-to-find gem of London’s nightlife is packed to the rafters by locals.

After sundown, this art gallery transforms into club that attracts a crowd of thirsty bohemians!

This 200-year-old building located in Camden Stables Market has been meticulously restored, and you can often see band on the cutting edge of London’s music scene.

Egg

If you’re into partying into the wee hours of Sunday morning, Egg is where it’s at.

Egg, in King’s Cross, is a club that was prepared in anticipation of the smoking ban years in advance, with a gorgeous garden and terrace that will happily host you until the sun comes up.

Indoors, the three-story building features different atmospheres on each floor, with the ground floor giving a much more industrial vibe than its counterpoint – a posh loft bar that might feel more at home to those sporting a velvet jacked!

This dance-music Mecca is at its wildest on Sunday mornings when North Londoners welcome the sunrise over an after-party breakfast.

London is renowned for being one of the best cultural hot spots that sometimes borderlines dingy, but in that very cool, understated manner.

Pick one of the best flights available and get on board for a low-down tour of one of the most fun places to party on the planet.

Go on!

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Free Child Friendly Things to Do in London

London is one of Europe’s most popular cities to visit, and there are many reasons for this; the city offers a variety that few other cities in the world can compete with – best of all, many of the great things to do in London are free!

To give you an idea for some free things to do in London on your next visit, check out our top picks…and this excellent London Guide Book

Child Friendly Things To Do in London
Child Friendly Things To Do in London

Go to the Museums

In most cities, museums charge hefty entry fees – in London however, all of the major museums are completely free!

The Museum of London is an all-time favorite, and the famous art gallery Tate Modern is also a must with some amazing contemporary art.

Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard

No trip to London is complete without Buckingham Palace – and when you visit, make sure you do so during the changing of the guards!

Every day at 11.30 am this military tradition begins, a spectacle with music and a great chance to see the interesting outfits the guards wear.

London Street Performers

Walking down the street is an event in itself in London, especially on the square at the Covent Garden Market.

There, street performers entertain huge crowds every afternoon, and many of the performers are well seasoned professionals that are well worth seeing.

Although it’s free to look, if they’re really good a small tip doesn’t hurt.

Hang out in the Parks

London has plenty of green oasis to relax in and rest your feet for a few hours. St. James’s park offers stunning views over Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are huge green oasis in the middle of the city, and Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens in Regent’s Park is a favorite among many.

A free event in Hyde Park is the well renown “Speaker’s Corner”, a sort of “event” which has been held every Sunday since the right of free assembly was recognized in 1872.

In the Speaker’s Corner people from all walks of life gather to listen to speeches about anything and everything… and to heckle.

The speeches can range from political to sausages to alien invasions, you really have to go there to know what it’s like

With so many free things to do you might want to splurge on some nice and comfortable accommodation.

Some great apartments in the city that are well worth checking out, and keep in mind that a kitchen will also help saving a lot of money rather than eating out every day.

We hope you found these tips useful for your next trip to London…

Child-Friendly Places to Visit While in London
Child-friendly places to visit in London

Child Friendly Places to Visit While in London

The Cartoon Museum

Who says a museum has to be full of paintings of weird people and abstracts we all think we could paint better?

The Cartoon Museum is a serious collection of cartoons, seriously, that date back to the 18th century.

The kids will enjoy seeing them and won’t even realize that they’re getting a history lesson as they learn about how cartoons have developed and become a part of our everyday culture.

There are also many fun events you and the kids can participate in.

Queen’s Ice and Bowl

Kids love ice skating and bowling, though it’s advisable not to do both at the same time. That does sound fun, though, doesn’t it?

Let the kids work off some of that energy for a day of ice skating and bowling all in one place.

There’s also an arcade, cafe, and bar.

Thames River Cruise

One of the best ways to see London is from the river as you cruise past many of the most famous sights like the Tower of London and Canary Wharf.

The kids will think it’s cool floating past Westminster Abbey and Big Ben from atop the open upper deck.

You can take the cruise even when the weather is less than perfect, as the boats offer a lower saloon with a panoramic view.

You and the kids will be wowed by the experience.

The London Bridge Experience

Your kids will think you’re the coolest parent ever when you take them on this tour which has won it’s second Screamie award for “Best Year Round Scare Attraction.”

It might be too intense for kids under ten years old, so be sure your kids aren’t easily traumatized by creepy special effects and people in spooky costumes that you will meet along the way.

The tour starts within the arches of the London Bridge and is a two-part experience.

The second part of the attraction, the London Tombs, will have you face-to-face with the un-dead in a spine-tingling adventure not for the faint of heart.

For kids under eleven, the Guardian Angel Tours offer a guide to accompany them through the Tombs and protect them from anything that may be too frightening.

Gamerbase Piccadilly Circus

You might have to drag the kids out of this place after they get involved in an intense, multi-player game they can play online or with anyone else in the centre.

This state-of-the-art facility has several X-Box 360 and PS3 consoles and PCs that allow for online gaming that include many of the most popular games available such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.

Your kids will probably enjoy challenging you to a grueling game where they can annihilate you in public, so be prepared to be humiliated. It’s all in fun, right?

Whether your kids are very young or in that awkward, brooding teenage stage, they’re going to have a hard time complaining when you take them to these fun spots in London.

They might even have to grudgingly admit that their parents are pretty cool as far as parents go, at least for a while.

Get Active with London’s Summer of Sport

Get Active with London’s Summer of Sport

Swim the Serpentine, row the Thames, and touch down at Finsbury Park…

With hopes of British sporting glory cruelly dashed at Wimbledon this week, Team GB will be hoping to make up for it as London’s Olympic summer of sport gets underway.

In true British spirit, it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part, and the nation’s capital is packed with fun sporting activities the whole family can break a sweat to this summer.

Serpentine Swimming Club, W2

If you’re willing to get up early, and we mean early, the Serpentine Swimming Club offers up the briskest way to start your day.

The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park is open to the club’s open air swimmers before 9.30am each morning, 365 days a year.

Take a dip in the bracing depths and get up to speed for the weekly Saturday morning races.

Water temperatures can get up to a tropical 20˚ in summer, but take a sharp dive come the autumn, and this hardcore swimming group turn their noses up at wet suits, even for their famous Christmas Day race.

If you’re not the competitive type, or you just don’t fancy hauling yourself out of bed for a shockingly cold 6am bath, try the Serpentine Lido or Hampstead Heath ponds, where you’re free to swim outdoors with the ducks all summer between 10am and 6pm, May to September.

Thames Rowing Club, SW15

Cruising the Thames on a tourist-packed tour boat is for chumps.

Put your oar in and see the city’s iconic river in a whole new light with the Thames Rowing Club.

Established in 1860, this historic club offers up competitive rowing to men and women, beginners and professionals alike.

They pride themselves on their past record of transforming beginner rowers into national team winners, with their women’s rowing teams becoming regular Henley champions.

Their clubhouse at Putney, dating back to 1876, is a treasure trove of British rowing memorabilia, and if you don’t want to race competitively, there are Veterans and Casuals groups designed for those who want to take it easy on the river.

Frame, EC2A & W10

A dance school with a difference, Frame has set out to make dance fun, affordable and open to everyone.

Forget the torturous world of the Black Swan, the emphasis here is on getting your body moving in a way that you enjoy.

With two dance and fitness studios, one in Shoreditch, the other at Queen’s Park, classes are designed so you can drop in any time you want to try something new.

Alongside the limb-lengthening yoga, Pilates and ballet, there’s hardcore boot camps, and Saturday workshops designed to target specific areas, lifting bums, slimming hips and working off those bingo wings.

Boost your confidence on the dance floor with their range of quirky dance classes, where you can work up a sweat with 80’s aerobics Jane Fonda-style and master the moves from your favorite music videos in your lunch break.

London Blitz, N4

Formed in 1995, London’s championship-winning American football club welcomes players of all ages, from 7 and up.

With a senior team competing in the BAFA Community League Premiership, and four junior teams too, now’s your chance to score your very own touchdown in Europe’s answer to the Superbowl.

Head to London Blitz team HQ in Finsbury Park to join the training and workshops, and you could be going for gold in the Eurobowl tournament next year.

Accessible London – A Perfect Holiday for People with Disabilities

London has more accessible attractions to visit than any other city in Europe, travelling for a good cause is much more convenient.

Paris may offer grand 18th-century houses containing vast museums crammed with artwork masterpieces, and Rome may offer the ancient ruins of the Forum and Coliseum, but if it’s a hassle-free break with plenty of wheel-chair accessible sites you’re looking for, it’s London that can provide the perfect city break.

London offers tourists with reduced mobility so much to do that you could easily plan a week’s break in London and still be left with plenty to return for.

Accessible London Choose your accommodation

London is a big city with a great variety of neighborhoods.

A little bit of research will help ensure you select a suitable hotel for your needs.

There are an ever increasing number of hotels that are especially adapted for people with a range disabilities.

Take your time and choose to stay close to the tourist attractions you wish to see.

Make sure there are some easily accessible fine restaurants nearby.

Choose your attractions

There’s so much on offer it’s important to be realistic in your planning.

Trying to cram the British Museum, Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery into one day will not help you make the most of them.

The British Museum, for instance, could easily merit a whole day, or even two half-days.

The collection is vast, and it contains iconic objects from all over the world, such as the Rosetta Stone, which was instrumental in helping Egyptologists understand ancient hieroglyphs.

The British Museum building itself is stunning, and what’s more, it’s all easily accessible, with elevators between floors.

Vary your sightseeing

Some districts are perfect for exploring at leisure, without the need to use public transport…and they are free child friendly things to do in London as well.

Westminster is one of these, with attractions such as Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Cabinet War Rooms all close by one another.

One leisurely way to see London is to take a boat tour on the river Thames.

The sights of London float past you as you drift down the river enjoying a warming drink or something stronger.

For something a little more exciting, the London Eye offers views of London from a big wheel located on the Thames.

For the ultimate rush, however, you can avail yourself of one of the many pleasure flights that are available.

Helicopter flights over London let you see the big picture and offer an experience you’ll remember for a long time.

Reach for the stars

If you enjoyed cruising through the sky over London, why not mingle with the stars in London’s West End?

You should always check theater accessibility before booking, as many of the buildings are old and offer limited access.

No stay in London is truly complete without seeing a musical or a play.

Check out the listings and contact numbers for theaters and enjoy the show.

Enjoying London

With just a little planning, your visit to London can include so many different experiences, and this year you may even catch an outdoor Olympic event in the streets of the city.

We hope you find this guide to London useful, and if you have any further tips leave them in the comments below!

Be Savvy About When You Fly in UK

Fly in UK – Our airports are getting busier and busier and so are our roads.

This can make your journey to the airport a bit like running the gauntlet when you are trying to make your way to your flights for your holiday or business trip.

If you have flown from one of the many UK city airports before then you will no doubt have felt the agony of being stuck in a traffic jam whilst you are trying to get to the airport to meet your plane.

The Highway VS Railway

The hit and miss nature of the M25 and the current congestion on the roads means that your journey to the airport can be very stressful and can leave you thinking about whether or not it would be wiser to get the train.

If you do get the train then you will also have to contend with potential delays on the train lines, as well as having to stick to the train timetables.

If you are flying as a family then individual train tickets can also all add up.

Travel Off-Peak Hour

One possible solution would be to still drive but to book a flight time that was not in line with the major travel times and rush hour traffic on the roads infrastructure.

This would of course mean that you would have to travel either late at night or very early in the morning, but it might be worth it if it means that you are almost guaranteed a clear run to the airport.

If you do drive at an unsociable hour then you will be pleased to know that the airport car parks that surround most of the UK airports are open 24 hours a day and if you need to make your way to the airport straight away then they will usually offer you a free shuttle bus that will take you straight to the airport terminal.

Stay in an Airport Hotel

Another way that you could avoid traffic chaos would be to travel at off-peak times on the roads and stay overnight at an airport hotel, as this will mean that you will be able to take your time driving and not have to worry about getting stuck in traffic as you will have plenty of time to get to your flight.

You will wake up the next morning refreshed and very close to the airport and you will then be able to drive to the airport car park and then get the shuttle bus to your check-in desk.

You will be able to find Airport Parking at all of the UK airports and a quick search on line will bring up Heathrow Parking, Gatwick Parking and Liverpool Airport Parking.

Cumbria UK for a Proper British Holiday

There is so much more to England than just London. The city is fun with many events, happenings, museums and shops.

But if you want to experience the true spirit of England, I suggest you go elsewhere.

To Cumbria, for example, this northern rural county is one of England’s most popular tourist destination, and for a good reason.

From mountains to the coast, forest to the towns, there are so many things to explore:

The Lake District

With its mountainous landscape with fells, lakes and abundance of flowers, there is no doubt that most of the 15.8 million visitors are drawn to Cumbria for its natural beauty.

One of the most popular places to visit is the Lake District and Lake District National park, which is one of England’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty.

The scenic hills and lakes makes it a perfect place for hiking, and there are many famous hikes like the ”coast to coast” walk and Pennine Way.

While there are many long walks lasting for days, most people prefer to base themselves somewhere and go for day walks in the Lake District.

One of the best towns to base yourself in Lake District is Grasmere and Keswick.

Keswick

While the Lake District often is the main reason people visit Cumbria, many of the little towns pride on long history and quaint architecture, and definitely deserve a visit as well.

Keswick is the northern hub of Lake District National Park, and a favorite base for the more serious walkers and climbers.

Many artists and photographers also like to base themselves here because of the beautiful lake and mountain scenery.

The great thing about this area is that you don’t have to take exhaustively long walks to see some natural beauty that Lake District is so famous for.

Many walks can be done starting from the town, some just a ten minute stroll away, and unlike many other hiking areas in the UK you don’t need your own car, there are many buses to use.

The streets of Keswick are very quaint, and the Saturday market with a history dating back several hundred years, is also worth a visit.

After a long day of walking and exploring the area, reside in one of the Keswick cottages and rest your feet before heading out to the local pub for some traditional pub grub.

Grasmere

Grasmere is Cumbria’s most popular village, with most of its buildings dating back to 19th or early 20th century, but the farms around the village are much older than that.

There is also a church, St Oswald’s church, which dates back as far as th 13th century, built in traditional Lakeland style with rendering on the walls.

The church is the most popular tourist attraction, and people also like to visit the graveyard where Wordsworth, the most famous writer and poet in the Lakelands rests.

Grasmere is also a popular place for its many Grasmere cottages, B&B’s and hotels which makes this town a good place to base yourself in when exploring the Lakelands.

How To Spend Your Holiday In Northumberland

Northumberland is one of the top destinations in the UK and offers a lot of things to see and do for tourists.

Holiday In Northumberland

Below are some great things to do in Northumberland:

Explore the Coast, Nature & the Castles

Northumberland offers a wide range of attractions and activities, but taking a walk along one of the beaches is essential.

There are many very nice beaches close to the towns where people enjoy spending some time on.

As Northumberland is the driest county in the country there are often opportunities to relax by the beaches, go swimming, windsurfing, and even go horse back riding on 27 miles of shoreline!

There is plenty of wildlife and you can take boat trips to sea hundreds of grey seals basking on the rocks.

Northumbria coast and country is also famous for its bird watching, and is sometimes referred to as ”a birder’s paradise”.

There are also quite a few castles in the area, all with their own charm and perfect picnic destinations.

A beautiful castle ruin is Lindsfarne Priority on Holy Island, which are full of history from the Viking invasions and the monks who lived on the island, and you can stroll around the Monastic buildings where they used to live.

Just remember that the crossing to the island floods at high tide, so check the tide times before you go so you don’t get stuck over there!

One of the most famous castles however, is Alnwick Castle.

It’s one of the largest inhabited castles in England, and has dominated the town since medieval times.

It’s been featured in the Harry Potter movie, but the main reason why people visit is the Alnwick garden, which is somewhat of a floral wonderland.

To visit this place you don’t need to pack a picnic as the tree house restaurant (which is actually in the tree house) offers some really good food.

The garden is one of the best in the country offering a lot of things to see and do. You can visit the ”poisonous garden”, paddle in the rills, visit the serpent garden, a labyrinth etc.

Finally, to finish the holiday with some history, a visit to Northumberland wouldn’t be complete without checking out Hadrian’s Wall.

It was built by the Romans to protect their colony in England from the Scottish tribes.

The wall is 87 miles long, and today you can see the remains of some forts and ruins of bath houses and temples, and there are some great museums in the area, like Vindolanda.

Having the Proper British Experience

To really make the most out of your holiday and experience English culture to the fullest would be to stay in one of the traditional Northumberland cottages and always make time for some afternoon tea and traditional Brittish cuisine.

Pinnacles in Seahouses offers some of the best traditional fish and chips in the county, so that would be a perfect place to start!

The best place for your afternoon tea is at Earl Grey Tearoom at Howick Gardens, a traditional tea room which makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time!

Fun Ways to Enjoy Wales

Wales is a country rich in natural beauty and history, with a culture different from the rest of UK and proud inhabitants.

There are many reasons to visit Wales, but to give you an idea of what the country has to offer, here are a few popular and fun things to do on a visit to Wales.

Fun Ways To Enjoy Wales

Walking

What attracts tourists to Wales is the beautiful nature, and for those who have been there that’s often the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Wales.

To protect this beautiful environment, certain parts of Wales have been designated ”National Parks” or ”Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.

These places are excellent for walking and a great way to appreciate the unspoiled beauty of Wales.

Walking is a big thing in Wales, and they even have several Walking festivals in different parts of the country every year.

With 800 km of National trails, there are many walks to choose from, and to make it easier for you there are heaps of luggage transfer companies and tour operators offering guided tours.

You can walk for miles in rural landscape, arrive by lunch time at a traditional Welsh pub and later in the evening relax by the fireplace in one of the holiday cottages in Wales and rest your feet after a long days walking.

Quirky Towns

There are many fun towns in Wales to visit for different reasons.

One very small town, has made a big name of itself: Lanwrtyd Wells – it’s the smallest town in UK, but is famous for other things than merely the size of it.

Some people visit this little place to participate in one of the most unusual events in the world:

Bog snorkeling… It’s a sport where competitors complete two lengths of a 60-yard water-filled trench cut through a peat bog.

The competitors must wear snorkel and flippers and complete the course without using conventional swim strokes!

Another quirky town is the ”book town”, Hay on Wye, famous for its abundance of book stores and second hand book shops.

Take a Food Trail & Try All the Tasty Welsh Food

The Welsh cuisine is known for its meat and cheese, and to get the best of the Welsh food there are many so called ”food trails” you can seek out.

Some of the highlights on a food trail includes visiting Derimon Smokery.

Try the smoked cheddar cheese and their Welsh Oak Smoked Anglesey Wild Seabass Fillets – they’re delicious.

Close by you can find a great place for dessert; Popty’r Bryn. There you can try the traditional Bara Brith (a type of fruit cake).

It is of course possible to sample the Welsh cuisine in the comfort of your ”own” home, so if you stay in cottages in Wales you will be able to try cooking some Welsh food in the kitchen, or you can take the easy way out and buy some ”take away” food from the local restaurant and some Snowdonia Ale or local wine.

Peak District Film Location Guide

Peak District has been attracting tourists for centuries for its captivating natural beauty and royal buildings.

It’s one of the most diverse landscapes that England has to offer, from the Dark peak with its moorland to the White Peak with its limestone hills.

It’s not surprising that the Peak District National park is Britain’s first created National Park.

Many people escape the cities to the Peak District cottages to relax, soak up the surrounding nature and fresh air, and exploring the area.

A fun twist to your itinerary is to follow a movie-location map and visit places where famous movies have been filmed, and trust us, there are many of them.

The beautiful nature and stunning royal buildings have made the Peak District a very popular place for costume films.

Peak District Film Location Guide

Here are the top movies filmed in the Peak District and locations to check out.

Pride and Prejudice

The film locations to Pride and Prejudice are actually very accurate to the original novel, set mainly in the Peak District in the counties of Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

Chatsworth in Derbyshire was used as Darcy’s family home, and where Elisabeth unexpectedly met Darcy.

Stanage Edge is a very beautiful spot where Elisabeth stands on the peak with an incredible view from the grit stone formation.

The spot is very famous for rock climbing. 

Lyme Park is one of the most famous places to visit for people on Peak District holidays, which was the location where a very wet Darcy emerged from the lake.

Harry Potter

The Malfoy Manor in ”Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows” was the beautiful Hardwick Hall, and they are very proud of it.

So much so, that if you visit Hardwick Hall today you will find a ”Chamber of Magic” where kids can try out Wizard wands and wizard capes, pretending to be part of the movie Harry Potter and his world.

Various Movies – Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall is perhaps the most popular film locations of them all.

Both Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Other Boleyn Girl and Elizabeth have used the place as a filming location – and rightly so.

It is very well preserved, with a great collection of English, French and Flemish tapestries, and a kitchen which has basically remained unchanged for centuries.

You get a good insight into what life was like here, both for the workers as well as the duke and his family.

Birmingham Music Scene Cultural Olympiad

Musical extravaganzas to look forward to in Birmingham as part of the Cultural Olympiad

Birmingham Music Scene Cultural Olympiad
Birmingham Music Scene Cultural Olympiad

From the Brum Beat scene of the 60s giving us The Spencer Davis Group, The Move and The Moody Blues, through the thriving 80s reggae scene of Steel Pulse and UB40, the birth of heavy metal thanks to Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, and The Streets, Broadcast and Felt for good measure, Birmingham is a city with vibrant musical roots.

The UK’s second largest city celebrates those roots this summer with a range of exciting musical events taking place as part of the UK’s Cultural Olympiad.

The London Festival got underway this month as a culmination and celebration of the Cultural Olympiad, designed to showcase the cultural talents of the host and visiting nations, and Birmingham plays a major part.

Offering up some of the most spectacular musical offerings in the festival program, including one hugely ambitious world premiere, here are some of the highlights taking place in and around the city over the coming months.

The unabashed highlight of the festival takes place from 22nd August at the Argyle Works on Great Barr Street.

Here the Birmingham Opera Company will stage Karlheinz Stockhausen’s monumental opera, Mittwoch aus Licht – complete with helicopters.

The notoriously challenging five-hour epic has six parts, which have never before been staged together.

In the first ever realization of Stockhausen’s ultimate musical vision, the result promises to be truly spectacular.

Featuring two full choirs, octophonic sound, leading musicians, Radio 1 DJ Nihal, flying solo instrumentalists and requiring two separate performance halls, the opera culminates in a string quartet performing in separate helicopters, with the whirring blades intended to become part of the music.

The London 2012 Festival promised to be a once-in-a-lifetime festival, packed with once-in-a-lifetime performances, and if this isn’t one of them, I’ll eat my hat.

Another aim of the festival is to celebrate the arts and culture of all 204 Olympic and Paralympic nations.

With 25,000 artists from all 204 countries performing over the course of seven weeks, Birmingham welcomes New York bhangra group Red Baraat to the UK for the first time.

This brassy nine-piece fuse together jazz, funk, Latin and go-go, with a heavy dose of North Indian bhangra.

Fresh from wowing the crowds stateside at the TED Conference in California, NY’s Lincoln Center, the Chicago World Music Festival and the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival to boot, a good time is guaranteed.

Hot-foot it down to Birmingham Town Hall for this free gig on 7th September.

From 7th to 9th September, head for Birmingham Town Hall to sample even more of the talented world music artists flocking to our shores for the festival.

Mandala is set to be an uplifting event, blending South Asian dance, music and large-scale 3D projections.

Live contemporary and classical dance takes place outside the town hall, with vibrant 3D projections onto the hall and Nottingham Council House.

With live music from Talvin Singh, featuring the music of the legendary Anoushka Shankar and Zakir Hussain, alongside performances by Devika Rao and Aakash Odedra, there are three nights of non-stop dancing in the streets to look forward to.

Spend the Day in Liverpool UK

Who has been to Liverpool, knows that there is no other place like it.

Liverpool is famous for its Middle Age’s architecture, clean and narrow streets, countless pubs, one of the best football clubs and the first and perhaps most famous rock band of all time – “The Beatles”.

There is plenty of things to keep you busy for several days, but if you only have one day you better make the most of it.

Here is a quick guide to where to go and what to do when you have one day to spend in Liverpool.

Albert Dock

One of the biggest attractions of the city is “Albert Dock”, a UNESCO World heritage spot that was triumphantly opened by Prince Albert more than 150 years ago.

One of the most important ship factories in the past has gathered the most racy attractions of the city.

The area has wonderful and interesting museums such as Tate Modern Art gallery and Merseyside Maritime Museum that will surely leave a lasting impression on any visitor.

Just a few minutes from the avenue you will find famous Royal Liver Buildings with a legendary Liver bird, which is a main symbol of the city.

Don’t forget to visit Albert Dock’s pubs – O’Neils is a great pub that we would recommend, but there are plenty of other options as well.

The Beatles Tour

Surely, a trip to Liverpool cannot be complete without exploring the rock & roll spirit and history of Liverpool.

The best way to get to visit all the places in a short time is to join a sightseeing tour around the most famous Beatles spots in the city.

On the tour you will visit Cavern district with The Cavern Club and the most popular pub in the city: The Grapes, famous for having hosted The Beatles for their first gig.

Walking the streets you will find that many of them were the inspiration for The Beatles songs, such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields.

The tour will take you to the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, which are now properties of a national trust, and will give you a glimpse into Lennon and McCartney’s humble beginnings.

But while they’ve had a huge impact on the city, they are not the only ones who made their footprint in Liverpool.

There are numerous places dedicated to Queen and Freddy Mercury, including a 15ft tall statue in the city center.

The Anfield Stadium

Anfield Stadium Day In Liverpool UK

Apart from famous musicians, Liverpool is also famous for its football team, Liverpool FC, which is considered to be one of the best in Europe.

Liverpool FC is a 5 times champion of the UEFA Champion League and 18 times winners of the Championship of England.

Even if you have only a day in this fabulous city and there is no game, you can always visit the glorifying Liverpool stadium – Anfield.

Visiting Anfield will give you a wonderful opportunity to see the stadium from the inside and come to the holy of holies – Liverpool’s changing rooms.

This is more than enough to keep you busy for a day, and if you ever choose to come back there is much more to explore!

Tour De France: Why You Should Visit Yorkshire in July

In July, Yorkshire is set to host the ‘Grand Depart’, the opening stages of the lauded Tour De France, the world’s largest annual sporting event.

The route will start in Leeds, and will take riders twice through the Yorkshire Dales, passing through Harrogate, York, Huddersfield and Sheffield as it goes.

The tour is one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar, drawing in a worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people.

The race is broadcast in 188 countries and receives 4700 hours of television coverage.

In a typical year, the route will be lined with 12 million spectators.

On the 5th July the opening stage of the Tour will make its way into Harrogate & District through the market town of Masham after an exhilarating route through the Yorkshire Dales.

The riders will start to jockey for prime position as they pass through Ripon, arranging their lead-out riders along the A61 as they approach the finish line.

By Ripley the main sprint teams will be jostling for the front of the peloton, with the lead-out riders doing their best to give their sprinter the greatest chance of success before racing into Harrogate.

The race finish will be unique with a short climb to the Flamme Rouge, after which the riders will hurtle down Ripon Rd, past the Royal Hall and Royal Baths, before climbing once again before a dramatic make-or-break sprint finish by the Stray, after which the first Yellow Jersey will be awarded.

There is every chance that first jersey will be placed on the shoulders of Mark Cavendish, former World Champion, who’s mother is from Harrogate and has said of the Harrogate finish “If I had to choose one stage of the 21 in the Tour, that’s got to be it”.

On Sunday the 6th July the Tour will leave York and make its way through Knaresborough, then down the historic High Street in Starbeck before cutting through High Harrogate and then leaving the district with a dramatic climb on the A59 through Blubberhouses to Kex Gill.

Knaresborough and Harrogate will see the first breakaways as the riders begin the fight for the King of the Mountains title.

Each town will offer great viewing opportunities for spectators, as well as a warm Yorkshire welcome to visitors from around the world. 

But the race itself will be just one part of a carnival of events across the district to celebrate this amazing event.

Over the coming months Masham, Ripon, Harrogate and Knaresborough will release the details of their Grand Depart events; so keep checking back to Visit Harrogate’s Tour de France page for more details of this once in a life time spectacle.

Whether travelling from other parts of the UK, or flying in via our nearby aiport, Harrogate and its surrounding Market Towns will give you the best Tour de France experience you could have!

The Tour De France will plunge Yorkshire onto the world stage for the opening of the world’s foremost bike race.

If you can’t wait to cheer the riders along, then get right into the heart of the action and join the greatest county in England in celebrating the greatest of events.

July Is the Perfect Time to Visit Yorkshire

With ‘Le Tour’ fever gripping Yorkshire, there couldn’t be a better time to visit.

Here is a sample of what’s on offer.

Tour De France Yorkshire

In Leeds

On the 4th of July, the Dare 2b Festival of  Cycling will launch at Harewood House in Yorkshire, the official starting location of this year’s Tour De France.

Spanning two days, it will offer a variety of events to amuse the whole family, including specially organized led-rides.

By coordinating with Yorkshire Police, the festival’s sponsors have planned routes to take participants to the premier spots.

On arriving at their viewing points in and around the Yorkshire Dales, cyclists can kick back and unwind at roadside hubs, congregating to watch the race as it goes by.

Get yourself kitted out by sponsors Dare 2b and get in on the action.

In York

York plans to celebrate this epic event in style. The Tour De France in York is envisioned as the biggest celebration Yorkshire has ever seen, offering huge screens to view the race, themed campsites, street performers, live music, great food, a supreme shopping experience and the largest free urban festival in England.

In Harrogate

Harrogate and District is in the unique position of seeing the peloton twice over the Grand Depart weekend.

The location will offer great viewing opportunities on both days, and a warm Yorkshire welcome is guaranteed.

The race itself will be just one facet of a carnival of events to celebrate ‘Le Tour’.

The city’s offerings promise to be a once in a lifetime spectacle.

In Sheffield

Sheffield has organised a series of hospitality packages, offering visitors preferential viewing of the finish line.

Included in the program are a warm greeting by a Tour hostess, a welcome drink, Yorkshire buffet lunches with wine, beer and soft drinks, a behind the scenes tour of the technical zone and a Tour De France gift.

In July the eyes of the world will be on the Harrogate & District for the Yorkshire Grand Depart, the opening stages of the Tour de France.  Harrogate & District is in the unique position of seeing the peloton on both days over the Grand Depart Weekend!

In July the eyes of the world will be on the Harrogate & District for the Yorkshire Grand Depart, the opening stages of the Tour de France.

Harrogate & District is in the unique position of seeing the peloton on both days over the Grand Depart Weekend!

Explore our Tour de France pages for all there is to know…

Leeds Weekend Shopping Guide

Yorkshire’s top destination for pubbing, clubbing, dining and shopping, Leeds has cast off its industrial cocoon and emerged a shiny, new cultural haven.

You’ll find cool music venues, arts spaces, delis and eateries all over, especially in the hip and student Headingley, but we’re here to get serious about shopping.

Leeds Weekend Shopping Guide

Leeds ain’t been dubbed the Knightsbridge of the North for nothing.

This city is home to more designer boutiques than even a seasoned WAG could handle.

The first city outside of London to be deemed worthy of a Harvey Nichols store, since the uber-department store moved in, the arcades of the city’s gorgeous Victorian Quarter have been transformed into a home away from home for the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry.

With five indoor shopping centers and 4.3 million square feet of retail space packed into five miles of shopping streets, you might want to swap those heels for flats as we take you on this shop-til-you-drop tour of the city.

Victoria Quarter

If you’re serious about shopping, and aren’t afraid to flash that credit card, the Victoria Quarter is the destination for you.

With a mix of designer fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores contained within the jaw dropping architecture of the quarter’s ornate arcades, you’ll find over seventy stores in all.

Alongside the aforementioned Harvey Nic’s, Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry, there’s Karen Millen, Jo Malone, Reiss, Whistles, Diesel, Space NK, Paul Smith, Kurt Geiger, Kiehls, Louis Vuitton, French Connection and more.

The Corn Exchange

Leeds’ self-proclaimed Home of Boutique Shopping, The Corn Exchange is a unique Grade I listed building, and it’s fitting that the shops that it houses are unique too.

Home to endless delicious cafes, as well as exhibition space and music events, it’s also one of the only corn exchanges in the country that still operates as intended – as a center for trade.

This is the place to head for independent boutiques like Lou Lou Puchalka the milliner, silver jeweler Outrage, and vintage/reworked/handmade clothier Mad Elizabeth.

Kirkgate Market

The largest covered market in Europe, and home to over 800 regular traders, Kirkgate Market is a real Leeds institution.

Dating back to 1822, the Edwardian building which houses the market is worth a visit in itself.

A great place for a bit of bargain hunting, you’ll find clothing, arts and crafts, DIY goods, fishmongers, bakers, butchers, world foods, florists – anything and everything you could ask for from a local market and more.

The Bowery

Head into Headingley and you’ll find an area buzzing with bars, vintage stores and charity shops, with a cool vibe thanks to the high student population.

The Bowery on Otley Road is a retail, education and arts space that serves up delicious coffees and treats in its coffee bar, regular creative workshops on everything from digital photography to made to measure blinds, and a fabulous independent shop.

Designed to showcase the work of emerging artists and designers, many of whom have taken part in and taught workshops here, you’ll find art work, ceramics, jewelry, cards, textiles and more – the perfect place to pick up unique gifts that you won’t find anywhere else.

How to Spend Your Holidays in Devon

How to spend your holidays in Devon – Devon has long been regarded as one of the top holiday destinations in Britain – here are just a few of the many wonderful attractions that this beautiful coastal county has to offer.

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!

There’s no doubt that many people flock to Devon in the spring and summer months for the sun, sea and sand, and with the stunning Atlantic ocean on one side and the calmer and more sheltered waters of the English channel, there’s no doubting Devon has its fair share of all ingredients listed!

The North coast of Devon really does have everything.

Head to any area of the north coast and you will see wet suit clad surfers heading to the shores.

Ready to catch the superb waves generated by thousands of miles of swell from across the Atlantic.

The strength of the waves over hundreds of thousands of years means that the sand in this part of the world is fine to the point of being almost perfect.

Thankfully, despite the full force of the Atlantic hitting many beaches, there are plenty of sheltered coves on the north coast if you don’t fancy ‘Hanging ten’!

Hele Bay in particular is a lovely family beach. Located just to the east of Ilfracombe, it has been awarded the blue flag for its outstanding waters.

Swimming is considered safe here, and there are plenty of rock pools to get stuck into at low tide.

Head Inland

Devon is known as a coastal county, and most people make the assumption that holidaying here should be all about the sea.

The great thing about Devon is that there is so much more to it than the water that surrounds it.

Head inland and you will come across the mighty Dartmoor National Park.

Spanning an incredible 368 square miles, Dartmoor is one of the largest National parks in the country.

For anyone who embraces the great outdoors, it is a place that has to be seen to be believed.

The tors – large hills with rocky outcrops – punctuate the horizon in every direction.

It truly is a unique place to be.

Whether you love to get your teeth into a proper hike over miles and miles of rugged terrain, or you just want to take in nature at its best, Dartmoor will be right up your street.

Beautiful Buildings

Devon is full of wonderful  places to visit, and there is some truly stunning architecture within the county.

A trip top Exeter is well worth it from any part of Devon, if only to see the incredibly beautiful Exeter Cathedral – a stunning and now unusual example of decorated Gothic architecture.

It’s well known for its two Norman Towers, and its collection of historical documents, including the Exon Doomsday book.

Devilishly Devonish foods!

Whilst Devon is very well catered for in many culinary ways, we have to talk about the wonderful Devonshire cream teas, which are of course famous all over the world.

The Fingle Bridge Inn in Drewsteignton is reputed to offer the best cream tea in the whole of the county, but we don’t think the venue is that critical.

Find yourself a nice pub in any of the hundreds of rural pubs in Devon, and you are likely to find a great cream tea.

Once you’re looking across the rugged beauty of this magnificent county, it would be hard not to enjoy a simple scone, some tasty Strawberry Jam and some locally churned clotted cream!

Where to stay & how to stay

When it comes to finding accommodation, Devon comes up trumps.

There are hundreds of options available to you – there are some amazing campsites in Woolacombe, and the entire North Devon coast is littered with lovely campsites that will suit everyone, regardless of interests or budgets.

Devon is so hard to beat in so many different ways.

With beautiful coastlines, incredible rural sights, great food, warm weather and a welcome as friendly as you’ll encounter anywhere, it’s hard to think of a reason why you wouldn’t visit while travelling for a good cause!

Cotswold Way Walking Trip
Plan your visit: Important Visitor Information

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