UK

Discovering the Beautiful City of Chester

We recently spent a long weekend in the historic city of Chester in Cheshire. The cobbled streets and unique Tudor buildings immediately make you feel as though you’re in one of England’s most historic and picturesque cities, reminding us very much of York. We walked on the famous city walls, strolled through the Cathedral grounds, shopped in the Chester Rows and relaxed in one of the quaint pubs, taking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful place.

The following day we visited the zoo! Chester Zoo has long been named as the UK’s number one zoo and as animal lovers, we just had to go! We spent 6 hours here and can honestly say it is the best zoo we’ve ever been to!

Below are some snaps of the weekend …

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Events Not to be Missed this August Bank Holiday

It’s that time of year again where we’re all looking forward to a long weekend as the August bank holiday arrives! Many of you will be jetting off to sunnier climates whilst the rest of us are stuck in the UK preparing for another washout. OK, so the weather’s not looking good, but why stay indoors? There are some fantastic events taking place all over the UK, and  you don’t want to waste your extra day off by sitting in front of the televison now do you?

If you didn’t manage to get tickets to Leeds, Reading or Creamfields, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other exciting events to choose from! Here are some events that you really shouldn’t miss this bank holiday:

Notting Hill Carnival

Europe’s largest festival is back! Taking place this Sunday and Monday, the Notting Hill Carnival brings the streets of West London alive with twenty miles of colourful costumers, Caribbean food stalls, Calypson music and steel bands! You’d be mad to miss this!

Edinburgh Festival

The world’s largest arts festival comes to an end this weekend, all the more reason to hurry and see it! Scotland’s capital city is once again host to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where thousands of performers take to a number of different stages all over Edinburgh to present some amazing shows covering everything from theatre and comedy to dance, music and exhibitions.

Durham Streets Festival

On Saturday and Sunday, the streets of this historic city will be filled with international musicians and street performers in the Durham Streets of Festival. The Futureheads will also be performing at Durham Cathedral on the Saturday, playing songs from their new a cappella album, Rant.

Liverpool International Beatles Festival

Celebrate every era of the fab four during International Beatles Week from the 22nd to 28th August. The programme includes the 20th Mathew Street Festival as well as gigs, exhibitions, memorabilia stalls and sightseeing tours.

West Dean Chilli Fiesta

Held at West Dean Gardens in West Sussex, this Chilli Fiesta is the largest event of its kind in the country. Running from Saturday to Bank Holiday Monday, the event gives devoted chilli fans (like us!) the chance to immerse themselves in the heat, flavour, history and variety of the chilli, with over 250 varieties to try! There’s also plenty of entertainment including salsa dancing and cocktails!

Manchester Pride Parade

The Manchester Pride Parade takes place this Saturday to coincide with Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend. Amongst the great music, comedy, clubs and bars, the carnival will invade the streets of Manchester with over 100 colourful floats and glamourous participants!

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A Trip to High Street, The Lake District

In July, we spent a long weekend in the beautiful Lake District. Having only ever read about this stunning part of England, I knew what to expect and boy did it live up to expectations! The scenery really is breathtaking and although the mountains and lakes create a dramatic presence, there’s something quite calm and tranquil about this place.

As well as spending time visiting the charming towns and villages of Keswick and Grasmere, we did plenty of walking! After all, this destination is famous worldwide for being a walker’s paradise, it would have been rude not to!

One hike in particular that was most memorable was walking High Street,  a mountain standing at 2,718 ft. It is named after the Roman built road that ran over the summit and is the only high street I know that doesn’t consist of any shops, at all!

The 8 mile walk took around 5 – 6 hours and although it was exhausting climbing up, reaching its summit and witnessing the spectacular views was totally worth it!

Here are some of the photos we took along the way;

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5 Incredible Places Worth Visiting in England

London has a lot to offer the first time traveller to England, especially in 2012, but there are hundreds of little towns and cities tucked comfortably in and all through England; so beautiful, you might not ever want to leave.

Of course it can depend on the time of year you choose to visit.  The countryside is diverse and dependent on weather, such as the South East England being full of cherry blossoms and daffodils in March. So do a little research for the time of year you choose to visit.

Here are five incredible places we thought were worth mentioning:

1. Bath

It’s funny that every time you ask anyone who has spent extensive time, or even just a few weeks in England, where they think the most beautiful place to visit in England is. Inevitably they come around to mentioning Bath.  It is known as one of the most beautiful historic cities in the world. Maybe it’s the 2,000-year-old pavements surrounding the Roman baths that are fed by natural hot springs, or the West Country or Stonehenge?  The 18th Century architecture, Roman remains and green landscapes couldn’t hurt either. The point is that this place offers everything from history and excitement to pure relaxation and romance.  And according to experts and visitors over the years, it is well worth the trip.

Roman Baths in Bath, England. Sourced by writer.

2. Stratford-upon-Avon

If the 16th century buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon isn’t enough to draw you to this amazing place, perhaps the fact that William Shakespeare was born here just might.  The cottage where he was born can be toured and you can also pay your respects to this literary genius at the Holy Trinity Church, where he and his beloved wife Anne Hathaway were buried (no not the actress). This lovely place offers a market town with over 800 years of history, and a variety of farmers markets, quaint shops, pretty accommodation and restaurants. Be sure to take in a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

3. Isles of Scilly

This is a treasure trove of five islands and many other rocky islets just off Lands End, the South-westerly point of the British Isles.  The climate is mild, the beaches are golden and soft and it is literally a haven of peace and tranquillity loved by most everyone who visits. Marriages can be performed at the historic St. Mary’s and include luxury horse-drawn carriages.  Or why not take a boat trip to one of the uninhabited islands? For the more energetic, rent a bike to tour this beautiful place.

Higher Town bay beach, St. Martins Isles of Scilly. Sourced by writer.

4. Salisbury

Home to the famous Stonehenge, Salisbury has a history dating over 5,000 years. In this amazing and versatile city, nestled in southern England’s heartland, there’s something for everyone. Some other great places to visit are the Salisbury Cathedral, a number of amazing stately homes and beautiful gardens, and numerous farm parks and award winning museums. Some places in Salisbury date back to the 13th century and some of these places are now restaurants and pubs.  There is a lot of shopping on offer including street markets and shopping malls and the walking and biking opportunities in the area are superb.

5. York

Since York is one of the world’s oldest cities and was in existence during medieval times, there’s plenty of history and beautiful architecture to see here. You might catch a Viking ghost in a historic castle tour or perhaps you’d prefer to visit the biggest Gothic medieval cathedral north of the Alps. There are several museums, the Jarvis Viking Centre, which is full of history, as well as jewellery, and sea fossils.  William the Conqueror built Clifford’s Tower in 1069 and if you climb to the top you’ll get some fantastic panoramic views so be sure to take a trip here!

York Minster

Author Bio: Kristy Alexander is an avid traveller, writer for HotelClub and history buff. She enjoys the thrills of a new adventure and the culture she is able to enrich her children with. Be sure to check out hotels in York with HotelClub for some great options on you next trip.

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North Wales Trip Photo Diary

We’ve also been busy in North Wales this summer, spending quality time with the family.

Staying near to Caernarfon in North Wales, we had a fantastic time! We saw some amazing scenery and the weather stayed dry too! The only negative was that England lost in Euro 2012 whilst we were there!

Below are some of our favourite photos taken during the trip:

Welsh Flag

Pen-y-Pass Route

Mountain Scenery

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

Beautiful Snowdonia Scenery

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