Waterfall in the Lake District

After the quiet life in the lake district

The Lake District is one of the most beautiful and scenic areas of England. But despite its remoteness (and often shabby weather), the region can often get overrun with tourists, especially in the summer months. So where can you go to truly get away from it all and spend some time off the beaten track?

Waterfall in the Lake District

Windermere

Lake Windermere, at over 10 miles long, is the largest lake in England and a magnet for visitors drawn to the picturesque views, the boating and sailing. Large parts of the coast are owned and maintained by The National Trust. To experience the quiet life, steer clear of the main towns of Ambleside and Bowness unless you have a penchant for expensive pottery mugs. One of the most stunning locations on the lake is Fell Foot Park found right at the southern point. Here you can head down for the day and splash around in a row boat, or simply sit on the banks admiring the view. The National Trust offer camping during the summer months, so you can stay relatively cheaply without the hustle and bustle of town life.

Bassenthwaite

Lake Bassenthwaite is one of the few lakes in the Lake District that doesn’t have a town on it’s shores. It is the perfect place to stay if you are planning to climb Skiddaw which looms ominously like a giant shadow over the waters. Once of the most serene churches in Britain, St Bega’s church is found on the west coast and is well worth a visit in storm and sun. The church is in the grounds of Mirehouse who have a gorgeous little open-air theatre with performances throughout the summer. Bassenthwaite Lakeside Lodges are just up the road from here, and the lodges are wonderfully well-equipped and comfortable if you are looking for somewhere to stay.

Ullswater

Many tourists visit Ullswater to ride on the glorious steamers that run up and down the lake. If you’re looking to get away from the masses however, hire a bike from Pooley Bridge and head up through the hills. The glacial formation of the lakes have made the scenery spectacular. If you are looking for somewhere to stay, The Quiet Side in Watermillock have made the most of blending their accommodation in with the scenery. This carbon-neutral site offer quaint timber camping pods nestled in the hills above the lake. A little rustic perhaps, but it is a great place to stay if you are looking for some tranquillity.

And finally…

To truly get away from it all in The Lake District visit during the winter months. Wrapping up warm is very much worth it to see the snow lining the hills of this dramatic landscape. It gives you a feeling that The Lake District is an ancient and special place, virtually unchanged by modern development.

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Quaint bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lush muntainside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue lake

 

 

North Wales countryside

Top UK destinations for a staycation

So you have decided to stay in the UK this year for your annual two week break. With so much going on in this Jubilee and Olympic year there is every reason to make your holiday slightly more localised. However, herein lies the dilemma. With so many places to choose from, where do you head for? Let’s take a look at some of the top UK destinations.

Wales

North Wales countryside

Wales has so much to offer the would be visitor. From the jaw dropping scenery of the Snowdonia National Park, to the inspiring Brecon Beacons where you can have the adventure holiday of a lifetime. Luxury accommodation in Snowdonia and the surrounding area is aplenty so if you’re looking for some pampering as well then this is the place for you! If you want to kick back and relax, then you may want to check out the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline which has no less than 45 blue flag beaches. If you fancy a really ‘British’ holiday experience, then why not head to some of the great seaside resort such as Llandudno, Tenby, Prestatyn or the Mumbles. Each resort has its very own style and are very popular with holiday makers. Alternatively there are some great coves and hideaways up and down the fabulous Gower peninsular. If it’s history you’re after then Wales certainly has more than its fair share. Visit Carmarthenshire for some of the most spectacular castles in Europe. Castles such as Carreg Cennen and Kidwelly harp back to a time when the Celts were constantly under threat from their English not so friendly counterparts. All in all, Wales has so much to offer the whole family and for this reason it really is a must see place.

Newquay

Surfing in NewquayWhen we think of Newquay we think of glorious beaches and of course surfing, as Newquay is indisputably the number one surf destination in the UK. However, even if you are not into water sports per se, then this surfing capital is still a real must see destination. From excellent shopping to great accommodation, sporting activities such as cycling or walking, or relaxing retreats such as Spa’s, this Cornish town has plenty to offer the would be tourist. So find your favourite Newquay bed and breakfast and get ready to ride the waves!

Cumbria

For those who prefer to get away from it all, then a great place to visit would be Cumbria. It houses some of the best scenery in the country including rolling hills and mystifying peaks which makes it superb walking country or the fabulous Lake District where you can windsurf, take out a boat or simply relax by the serene shorelines.

So there you have it: 3 of the best UK destinations for your ‘staycation’. Wherever you decide, 2012 is a great year for UK holidays and with so much going on you could find yourself spoilt for choice.

Hard Days Night Hotel bed

What to see in Liverpool for a Perfect Mid-week Break

At Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool we consider ourselves massively happy and privileged to operate in what we think is one of the greatest cities in the UK. Packed full of heritage, culture and countless things to do, Liverpool is a rather unlikely however utterly fantastic destination for any mid-week break.

Hard Days Night Hotel bed

Liverpool is an amazing city packed full to the brim with heritage, culture and is massively popular as a drop off spot for people interested in music and the arts due to numerous permanent art attractions such as the Tate Gallery which boasts amazing works of art for people to get up close and personal with.

If you are apprehensive for any reason about spending a little bit of time or taking a mid-week break in Liverpool, hopefully we will be able to bring you to your senses and help you on your way to making an informed decision. Below, find all of the reasons we would pick Liverpool as the perfect mid-week break destination:

Art

Liverpool boasts a wealth of amazing art galleries for you to visit. The most well-known and arguably the best one if the Tate Gallery located at Albert Dock which is houses in one of the very best buildings of Liverpool; a grade I listed converted warehouse. If you love art you should also check out the Liverpool Walker Art Gallery and Liverpool Bluecoat, both of which offer up truly breathtaking works of art to admire.

Music

The worlds biggest ever band The Beatles came from Liverpool and started out their music career in the city playing to small crowds which grew and grew before they made it big time. Liverpool is also the official World Capital of Pop. If you love live music you will also find that Liverpool has literally hundreds of live lounges scattered across the city with local artists performing songs across all genres.

Sport

Liverpool has been completely sports mad for hundreds of years and boasts Liverpool F.C which is in the Premier League, a world-class golf course called the Golf Coast which is considered to be the best stretch of golf course in the whole world and although Liverpool don’t have their very own Rugby League team, the city widely supports St. Helens and Widnes Vikings, two very high quality teams. If you love sport you will fit right in at Liverpool.

Shopping

Love shopping? Then you will love Liverpool. Whether you choose to go to Bold Street, Liverpool ONE, Metquarter or Cavern Walks, you will be treated to a wealth of mainstream and boutique stores offering up amazing products which you will cherish forever. All in all the shopping in Liverpool is world-class and considered to be one of the best shopping destinations in the UK.

The Cavern Club in Liverpool

Music tourism in the north-west of England

The Cavern Club in LiverpoolIn terms of popular music, the north-west of England has always been at the forefront when it comes to innovation, legacy and being able to create a scene. Between the cities of Manchester and Liverpool there have been countless new subcultures and genres.

Consider the pop and rock’n’roll of the Beatles, the post-punk pacesetters Joy Division, indie gods the Smiths, the rave and baggy culture of Manchester’s famous club the Hacienda and later bands such as the Stone Roses, to the Britpop years, which although often associated with London, gave us Oasis’s undeniably Mancunian Gallagher brothers.

If you are a big music fan and looking for somewhere to visit to pursue your passion, then forget about New Orleans, Memphis, Graceland or any other far-flung destination, because the north-west of England has just as much to offer. And, if you think about the number of artists associated with the region, it is perhaps the most influential place for music on the planet.

Liverpool

Where else to start? Liverpool is understandably Beatles obsessed. Every corner you turn around you will be reminded of the city’s favourite sons – be it John Lennon airport when you arrive in the city, the many shops and cafes that take on one of the fab four’s names, or even a tacky mask of John, Paul, George or Ringo in a souvenir shop.

Down at the beautiful, under-appreciated Liverpool Albert Dock, next to the Tate art gallery, is a museum called the Beatles Story, which attracts tourists all year round. This is certainly worth a visit and can be done in around an hour.

Super fans can take a tour around all of the band’s childhood homes as part of the aptly titled Magical Mystery Tour. As well as visiting where they grew up, you are guided through their schools, colleges and some of the most memorable places they spent their childhoods. You will finally top the tour off at the legendary Cavern Club.

There are plenty of places to stay in the city, and while you are there, you won’t have much trouble finding a Beatles tribute act to sing along to in the evening.

Manchester

Manchester can offer numerous musical luminaries among its past and present residents. A good place to start in Manchester is perhaps one of the city’s organised walks, which last two hours and take you to many destinations and venues relevant to the likes of the Happy Mondays, the Fall, John Cooper Clarke and many others.

If it is a particular band that you are obsessed with, then you can go on a guided tour that is dedicated to that artist. There are speciality tours for Smiths/Morrissey fans, Oasis/Gallagher brothers enthusiasts, as well as outings for Joy Division/New Order fanatics.

It offers a fantastic location and affordable prices. When out for an evening’s entertainment, the Northern Quarter is where the current hip breed of kids drink and hang out, while you can still catch many of the legendary bands, with the Stone Roses performing sold out shows in the city this summer.

Salford, Manchester

Anywhere else?

Although Liverpool and Manchester are the most recognised music destinations in the region, if you are going to stick around for a while, then there are certainly other places worth a trip. In recent years it may have slumped into a much-parodied Donk music obsession, but Wigan is the place most associated with the Northern Soul movement.

There are still nights held to showcase rare soul tracks, complete with idiosyncratic dance moves and retro fashion. If you fancy something different, consider Blackpool and a blast from the past with its ballroom dancing scene still thriving.

The current crop

Many popular modern bands hail from the north-west. The Lake District has spawned the falsetto-voiced buzz band Wild Beasts.

Manchester has new scenes popping up every couple of months, with hip-hop, indie and ambient currently in vogue, while the city also continues to play host to the old guard, such as Elbow.

Liverpool is also on the cusp on everything cool, with the Wirral’s dub-electro solo man Forest Swords currently receiving plenty of praise in the press.

Get to know more on Manchester and Liverpool:

www.visitmanchester.com

www.visitliverpool.com

Picture credits:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/victoriapeckham/7066915047/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/salford_ian/4241707026/

 

Inverary Castle in Argyll and Bute

Touring Argyll & Bute in your own home-from-home

Inverary Castle in Argyll and Bute

It is an incredible thing to realise that quite a number of UK holidaymakers tend to look southwards for their holidays – including many of those in Scotland!

Okay, nobody can dispute that the British Isles has a reputation for delivering up unpredictable summer weather and there may also be an element of truth in the fact that the further north you go, the more unpredictable it may become.

Nevertheless, it is often overlooked just how beautiful parts of the British Isles actually are and one such area is Argyll and Bute.

Where is Argyll and Bute?

If you look to the West and North-West from Glasgow, you will quickly enter into an area of western Scotland known as Argyll and Bute.

This is the land of hills, glens and remote islands, though it is not to be confused with what is typically called the Highlands of Scotland – which is a not very precisely defined area running north from about the city of Perth to Inverness and beyond to John O’Groats.

Argyll and Bute and the more northerly stretches of the west coast of Scotland have their own quite distinctive culture, which has a heavy Gaelic influence. In some parts of this region people will still speak Gaelic as their native tongue and English as their second language.

How is best to see it?

This is a geographically large and diverse area. It is also relatively lightly populated and one of the last great true wildernesses of Western Europe.

Although there are some much loved rail lines that offer the opportunity for some spectacular scenery, in reality it may only be possible to visit vast areas of this region by using a car or a car and caravan.

In fact, touring by caravan is immensely popular in Argyll and Bute given the stunning locations of some campsites and the relative shortage of major towns and conventional accommodation.

If you are going to take one of the numerous ferries over to islands such as Islay (pronounded Eye-Lah) or Jura, do remember to check your caravan insurance, as some may only cover caravans for UK mainland use unless you upgrade your cover.

What are some of the major attractions?

If you are heading due west from Glasgow, the first town of any size in Argyll and Bute is the charming and rather genteel small town of Helensburgh.

Famous as the birthplace of John Logie Baird (the man who first demonstrated working television), it is also famous for The Hill House – a property entirely designed and furnished by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

From Helensburgh, you can head northwest around some beautiful loch-side roads through villages such as Arrochar, until you reach a high point by in the mountains called The Rest And Be Thankful. This is really little more than pull-in off of the road but the scenery is stunning.

From there, you can meander down to Loch Fyne and the town of Inverrary, watching out for eagles and deer as you go.

There you can take in not only Inverrary Castle and the charming local town but also sample some incredible locally caught smoked fish and shellfish.

At this point, space does permit us to go much further into Argyll and Bute but suffice to say we have only just scratched the surface. Find out more about local experiences by making full use of technology.

This is an area you simply must see for yourself.

Could it rain? Yes, absolutely! Yet that might be half the fun!

Standing Stones - Orkney Isles

5 Unusual UK Attractions

If you’re growing tired of the usual kind of day trip of taking photos of famous landmarks and following heavily beaten tourist trails, then you may want to discover some of the slightly more unusual hidden gems that the UK has to offer. There are plenty of strange days out to be had around the country. Here are five of the best.

Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, Essex

Secret nuclear bunkers might sound like something you would expect to see in an Eastern European country – not in the UK. However, Kelvedon Hatch, located in Brentwood, Essex, is a particularly unique attraction. It was built and maintained during the Cold War to serve as a potential emergency headquarters for the regional government. Decommissioned in 1992, the bunker is now open to the public. It also boasts a museum with various exhibitions on the Cold War. Most interestingly, the entrance to the bunker is through a very ordinary looking house among the trees.

The Museum of Witchcraft, Cornwall

Located in the Cornish town of Boscastle, the Museum of Witchcraft is one of the best-known and most unusual museums in Cornwall. As the name suggests, the museum is dedicated to exhibitions on the history of witchcraft as well as the neo-pagan Wicca religion. The museum mostly displays artefacts and information from Cornwall and the rest of England, although there is also a significant collection of artefacts from the rest of Europe. There’s also a small exhibition on Satanism.

The Crooked House, West Midlands

The Crooked House is located near the town of Dudley in the West Midlands. Originally built as a farmhouse in 1795, it started to lean precariously after a mining subsidence in the 19th century, resulting in one side of the building sinking four feet lower than the other. Fortunately, the house was rescued from demolition by the Wolverhampton and Dudley Brewery which made the structure stable by adding buttresses to the sinking side. It is now a unique pub and restaurant. The floors are straight, making for some strange optical illusions when you go inside.

Maeshowe, Orkney

Standing Stones - Orkney Isles

The Orkney Islands are steeped in history having been settled for thousands of years. One of the most fascinating and unusual attractions is the Maeshowe cairn on the main island of the Orkney archipelago. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Neolithic tomb was constructed around 5,000 years ago. It is one of Britain’s best-preserved examples of Stone Age craftsmanship. Inside the burial chamber are various passageways and chambers which are open to the public. Funny how stones are popular in burial sites – check out the Wassu Stone Circles in Gambia.

Dennis Sever’s House, London

Dennis Sever’s House is a Grade II listed building dating back to the Georgian era. During the last two decades of the twentieth century, it was lived in by Dennis Severs, an eccentric Londoner. During the time he spent there, he recreated each room as a time capsule, displaying an amazingly realistic exhibit of life in previous ages of the house’s existence. It is one of London’s most eccentric attractions. Each room looks as though it has been abandoned without any notice on a normal day at some point during the nineteenth century.

Beautiful landscape in Cumbria

5 Most Enjoyable Rural Tourism Spots in England

Beautiful landscape in Cumbria

So you’re looking forward to spend a couple of days exploring the English countryside? In that case, you’re in for a treat! There are plenty of awe-inspiring natural sceneries available throughout rural Britain, and this article will present you to the most enjoyable of them all. From suitable places for rock-pooling to the most pleasurable trekking routes, you are about to learn about the other side of the UK. Away from the metropolitan hubs, you may just find that your piece of mind is at heights, and your energy levels are quickly restored.

Cornwall: the world’s largest greenhouse complex

If you’re the least bit interested about ecology and sustainable living, you’ve probably heard about the Eden Project in the outskirts of Cornwall. With around a decade of existence, this project comprises the largest set of bio-domes (greenhouses) in the world, where you can observe thousands of plant species – both local and tropical.
Additionally, the Eden Project also focuses on cultural and educational initiatives; this includes musical and visual performances by some of the nation’s best known artists, as well as regular workshops and conferences aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and the preservation of the flora. Highly recommendable, for anyone who’s interested in agriculture and/or gardening.

Wembury: best beaches for rock-pooling

In case you’re not familiar with the concept, rock-pooling involves the exploration of beaches during low tide. This practice is most interesting in sites where several pools of salt water are formed whenever the sea recedes, in which case an interesting display of the local sea life is usually formed.
One of the best places in England (and even the world) for adepts of rock-pooling is the region of Wembury, located at Devon county. Within the beaches at Wembury, the geography is such that multiple pools of water are formed between the rocks during low time: allowing visitors to observe several marine creatures (such as limpets, multiple species of crabs, sea scorpions, starfishes, the Cornish sucker fish and many others) in their natural habitat, without need for scuba gear.

Yorkshire: finest rock climbing routes

If you’re rather climb rocks rather than peek at their recesses during low tide, you will probably do well to visit the county of Yorkshire, which many recognize as the best place in Britain for rock climbing. This area features some great sites for climbing enthusiast of all skill levels, so if you want to become good at this sport, you may as well rent a holiday cottage around here.
Absolutely inexperienced climbers should probably begin by getting some training at the indoor climbing walls available in towns such as Leeds, Ingleton or Hull. Climbing beginners will be pleased with the gritstone outcrops throughout the region, whereas advanced climbers will be delighted with infamous limestone cliffs such as Kilnsey, Gordale Scar or Malham Cove.

Dorset + East Devon: exploring the Jurassic coast

For anyone who’s looking to explore a beautiful stretch of land and sea, the Jurassic Coast is surely the best available option. It covers nearly 100 miles of England’s southern shoreline (from East Devon to Dorset), and features stunning landscapes and multiple geological highlights, including some of the oldest rock formations in the country.
Should you decide to trek across the Jurassic Coast, you may get the feeling as though you stepped on a time machine, while walking across areas with rocks dating back to the Triassic, Cretaceous and of course the Jurassic period. Some of the rock formations in the area date as far back as 200 million years, and provide great geological insight into the Earth’s past.

Cumbria: largest natural park of England

There are no less than 13 natural parks across England, the largest and most interesting is most assuredly the Lake District Natural Park, located in the modern county of Cumbria (on the NorthWest). If you could use a rural vacation of enjoyment and natural contemplation, this is probably the place to go.
The Lake District Natural Park comprises both the country’s tallest mountain (Scafell Pike) and the deepest lake (Wastwater), as well as a vast expanse of natural grounds well worth exploring – nearly 900 square miles featuring some of the most beautiful displays of fauna and flora in the country.

If you’re still on the hunt for a truly rural destination but away from the crowds of the UK, you should try the Bijilo Forest Park of Gambia.

Lambing time

6 things to do in Harrogate spa town

Lambing time in the Yorkshire Dales

Often overlooked, North Yorkshire has more to offer than you think! The beautiful town of Harrogate is known its friendly atmosphere, buzzing nightlife and wide variety of restaurants and cafes. Harrogate might not be the first place you would choose to visit, but it should be. Nestled alongside the famous Yorkshire Dales, this Victorian spa town is a popular tourist destination with a whole host of excellent activities to keep you entertained.

1. Turkish baths

There are a number of well-known tourist hotspots in the town, one of them being the Turkish Baths and Spa for which Harrogate is famous. A great way to wind down, treat yourself to one of the exhilarating and calming therapies to really kick-start your holiday!

2. Betty’s Tea Room

Another tourist treasure is Betty’s Tea Room, the original establishment now over 90 years old. A must-see for anyone visiting Harrogate, the tearoom serves a wide range of delicacies, including a range of rare and exclusive warm drinks, fresh homemade cakes and chocolates and much more. Advance booking is advisable due to the high number of visitors.

3. Valley Gardens

Next walk off the cakes and chocolates with a visit to the Valley Gardens, with play areas for the younger members of the family whilst older members can take in the mineral springs, historical buildings and woodland. The Valley Gardens are listed as English Heritage grade II, and contain flowers and plants from around the world (including New Zealand!) and even attracts a large number of weddings each year.

4. Ripley Castle

Just three miles from, Harrogate is the historic Ripley Castle, with separate sightseeing tours for children and adults, to cater for all interests. Ripley Castle has been home to the same family for over 700 years, and boasts attractive landscaped gardens and even ornamental lakes.

5. Yorkshire Dales

For even more historic countryside, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is the ideal place to go walking, especially during the summer months. First established in 1954, the National Park is 680 square miles and home to a rich variety of wildlife and cultural heritage. The hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Dales were formed by glaciers in the last ice age, and there are a whole host of caves open to the public for tours, caving and potholing. The Dales are even home to a British RAF intelligence base, which can be seen on the southern border.

6. The Great Yorkshire Show

Finally, for three days each year the Harrogate Showground hosts the Great Yorkshire Show, the UK’s top agriculture show. During the show there are a number of events and displays suitable for all ages and interests, meaning there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you plan on making the trip to Harrogate it’s worth booking well in advance, as money can be saved on tickets that are purchased early for various attractions, and many Harrogate hotels get booked up very quickly during tourist season.

Llandudno Wales

5 reasons why people should visit the UK in 2012

Llandudno Wales

When it comes to the United Kingdom, what is it that people think? Whether it’s the history of the country or the stereotypical bad teeth that get banded around about the British, there is always more to the sovereign state than meets the eye.
But, why should you visit the UK in 2012? There are many reasons but we’ve been able to narrow it down to five of the best for the tourist.

Brighton Japan Festival

Taking place in the Brighton Dome and Pavilion Theatre among others in 2011, this has grown to become the largest Japanese cultural festival that can be found in the United Kingdom. With Japan growing as a world power, you can enjoy the “matsuri” street festivals that happen between June 23rd and July 1st.
Bringing the culture and art of Japan to the city, there is food and music for everybody to enjoy, and the length of time that it is on for means that you could even find one of the many coastal cottages in this region for the perfect base.

The Olympics

This event brings a buzz to every country and city that hosts it, and while it’s unlikely that there will be any tickets on offer this is the perfect chance to soak up the excitement of the games. There are likely to be whole host of activities on offer that allow you to enjoy the atmosphere that will come to London with the Olympics.

The rise of Birmingham

England’s second city has never really done anything to make its mark on the country, or the world. This has changed recently as gourmet ‘experts’ earmarked Birmingham as the United Kingdom’s “foodiest town”. Some achievement that is ahead of the likes of Edinburgh and London, so is it time that you got yourself there to enjoy not only the city’s attractions but also its food.

Wales Coast Path

When it comes to a relaxing holiday, it’s all about the location and the property. Using holiday cottages as a base for your trips is a perfect way to enjoy the cosiness of home whilst being away from home. With this pathway to cover the entire coastline of Wales, this has been named the great region on Earth to visit in 2012 while also being home to some beautiful cottages to enjoy.
Check out: Ysgubor Hen, Cilan – Finding the right cottage in North Wales and Snowdonia can be difficult, but this spot near to Abersoch is a beautiful farmhouse in a lovely harbour village. With amazing scenery as standard, up to six people can sleep here and if you go at colder times there is an open fire to enjoy. What more could you want?

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Welcome in the New Year in style by heading to the Scottish capital and taking in the torchlight procession, concert in the gardens and the loony dook for fun and games between 30th December 2011 and 1st January 2012. Edinburgh is a city that charms every visitor no matter what time of year, but by taking in the excitement and atmosphere at this time is the perfect way to party in Scotland.

And to finish off, if you like music and are a fan of the Beatles especially, why not visit Liverpool and the north-west of England, rich in pop music history and innovation.

 

Corfe castle in Dorset

Experience the south-west of England

Corfe castle in Dorset

The sout-west of England has many delights to offer, from beautiful beaches and rolling countryside to coastal villages and vibrant cities.  A lot of the time, it also benefits from better weather. If you’re looking to take a trip somewhere different, for a day, a weekend or longer, then south-west England is the place to go.

Devon

The county of Devon has something for everyone. In Exeter you’ll find superb shopping, fine dining and attractions including Exeter Underground Passages – medieval tunnels that stretch under the city’s streets. Along the coastline you’ll find golden beaches which are a haven for surfers and other water-sports enthusiasts. Further inland, you can explore quaint villages and drive along small country lanes which are lined by flourishing hedgerows and vast fields.

Cornwall

In the most remote  south-west corner of England you will find Cornwall, and to the end lies the aptly-named Landsend. Cornwall is famous for its pasties so make sure you don’t miss out on an authentic Cornish pasty, which is guaranteed to beat any you’ve had previously. Also be sure to enjoy a Cornish cream tea in a pretty town like St Ives, sample the surf at world-famous hotspots including Fistral Beach in Newquay, and see spectacular ancient monuments including The Hurlers Stone Circle on Minions Moor.

Somerset

The county of Somerset is home to two main cities, Bath and Wells. Bath has become a major centre for tourism thanks to its variety of museums, theatres and cultural and sporting venues, so there is plenty to do, should you decide to visit. With an exceptional countryside to admire such as the Mendip Hills, Exmoor National Park and large, open expanses of land such as the Somerset Levels, Somerset is perfect if you wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Dorset

The last county making up the south-west corner of England is Dorset. With seaside towns like Weymouth and less famous gems including the Isle of Portland, there are so many things to see and do it’s difficult to know where to start. Gold Hill, made famous by pretty picture postcards, is a great place to take some photos that you’ll treasure forever. Wareham Quay is home to attractive waterside pubs where you can refresh yourself with some great food and drink. Durdle Door is a spectacular coastal rock formation that is equally as stunning in winter as it is in summer.
Wherever you choose to go, the most convenient way to get to the South of England is probably by train. If you book in advance online, you can get great deals on cheap train tickets – so you can travel for less, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a reserved seat. If you want that little extra comfort, then opt for First Class train tickets, so you can benefit from larger, reclining seats, more table space and a calm environment.

Travelling by train also allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the view as you speed through the countryside. So your journey to the south can be as enjoyable as the visit itself.

After the south-west, try a tour of the north-west of England for its music.