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Leave London!

This is my list of things I've reviewed that are in England but not London. Because England does NOT stop at the M25. Some of the prettiest landscape, coolest bars and most interesting random stuff is outside the capital, at a fraction of the price...

Updated September 10, 2012
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  1. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Avebury, England, UK
    Avebury Stone Circle is a huge complex of standing stones located in the heart of Wiltshire. It is less famous than Stonehenge, and lacks the moody moor location and impresive lintels, but personally, I prefer it. At some point in the middle ages…
  2. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Devizes, England, UK
    Caen Hill means Lovely Hill in Celtic, and it is a really nice place. Built during the start of the industrial revolution as a way to get canals up the hill to Devies, the restored canal climbs an impressive set of 16 locks in a few kilometres, an…
  3. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Cerne Abbas, England, UK
    The Cerne Abbas Giant is a mysterious chalk figure in Dorset. As such, you would have to have another reson for being in the area - Stonehenge, perhaps, or sailing at Weymouth, both of which are nearby. It takes very little time to stand at the vie…
  4. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Bristol, England, UK
    Clifton Suspension Bridge, built by legendary engineer Isembard Kingdom Brunel, spans the Avon gorge between Clifton (the posh bit of Bristol, where the zoo is) and Leigh Woods. Even now, it's a genuinely impressive structure - I never look at it wi…
  5. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Kenilworth, England, UK
    Kenilworth Castle is a red ruined castle near Coventry and Warwick. It is the historic home of John of Gaunt, who was Henry V's grandad, and Robert Dudley, who had an affair (allegedly) with Elizabeth the First. Kenilworth is beautiful. Really…
  6. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Odder is a very, very cool bar near the University. What makes it so cool, I hear it say? Well, there is Fruli fruit beer on tap. There are many interesting Lagers. And there is velvet. wallpaper. in. the. girl's. toilets. It does not get any…
  7. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Bristol, England, UK
    The Apple is a bar on a barge, and all my friends call it the Cider Barge. Mostly because by the time we leave, we are struggling to remember things like where we are and what city we are in. The Apple serves a range of real cider. Not the mucky…
  8. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Bristol, England, UK
    The Cooler is about £4-5 in. It is an Indie club on Park Street, and I have been there quite a lot. The bar is about average priced, small, but well staffed, and the dance floor usually starts filling by 1am. The playlist - poppy indie, for the m…
  9. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Bristol, England, UK
    The Hatchet is the world's most friendly, least scene-ey, Rock pub. It is, conveniently enough, near the Carling Academy, but it was there first - it turns out that my dad got drunk there several hundred years ago, which was a strange conversation a…
  10. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Battlesbridge, England, UK
    The Hawk is a fairly upmarket chain pub - I'm not sure which chain - in Battlesbridge. It has a nice menu, well cooked, and a nice wine list. The pub itself is fairly big, but divided into little rooms so you never feel like you're in a big place. …
  11. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Swindon, England, UK
    I don't know about good- but it's certainly not forgettable! When I moved to Swindon, the only thing that anyone knew about the town was the Magic Roundabout. Everyone said, "Swindon - that's got that roundabout, hasn't it?" So this review is a…
  12. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Avebury, England, UK
    How many pubs have you been to that are slap in the middle of a prehistoric stone circle? I mean, surely, nuff said! The Red Lion is a nice pub in the middle of Avebury stone circle. It is in a nice building, and does great lunches and real ale.…
  13. Ridiculously Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Bath, England, UK
    Thermae Bath Spa is the posh modern spa in Bath city centre. It is £22 for two hours or £32 for four hours, but I think that for an occasional treat, that's still much cheaper than going out and getting drunk. It uses the genuine hot springs - th…
  14. Expensive "General Tips & Advice" in Manchester, England, UK
    Things you need to know about getting trains in the UK: Book ahead No - really. Book ahead. A single to London from Swindon can cost between £7.50 and £45, depending on restrictions and how organised you've been. And almost all tickets you…
  15. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    Urbis has now shut, to be replaced with the national football museum. This is a good thing for the economy of Manchester, but a tragedy for people who are not the least interested in bloody football but are interested in Factory records and Manga. …
  16. Cheap "Hotels & Accommodations" in Bristol, England, UK
    This hotel feels a little like a single room only hostel, in a nice way. The staff are a) all Australian and b) lovely, and I was allowed to check in three and a half hours early for a nap so I was very, very happy. It is the yellowest hotel I …
  17. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Bristol, England, UK
    Watershed is a three screen independent cinema and part of the European cinema network for European films. It is reasonably priced, and right on the very cool floating harbour. The box office has really cool postcards and greeting cards. There is …
  18. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Wells, England, UK
    Wells Cathedral is in the centre of Wells, and you would have to close your eyes and ears very tightly to miss it. It has a very elaborate facade, and is terribly beautiful from the outside. Inside is gorgeous - there are some very unusual arches c…
  19. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Bristol, England, UK
    Weston pier and beach are close to Bristol, and it's worth warning you I went in Winter - summer is probably far more crowded and parking might be an issue. Weston super mare has an enormous tidal range, so there is a wide, sandy beach and then …
  20. Average priced "General Tips & Advice" in York, England, UK
    I'm putting this up because someone only gave York one star, which I totaly disagree with. York is a small attractive city in the North of England, and it is a very nice place. Not big, not high rise, probably not the place to go if you want bang…
  21. Cheap "General Tips & Advice" in London, England, UK
    The M25 is a road that can strike terror into the hearts of almost any Brit. It is essentially a large motorway (that's highway, to our American visitors) that circles London. Theoretically, anyway. I've seen it described as the world's largest ca…
  22. Cheap "General Tips & Advice" in United Kingdom
    This is a reprint of a previous Blog entry - someone said it wa smore of a review than a Blog, so I apologise to those of you who've read it twice. Round about the two month mark in any trip, people start asking me if I'm homesick yet. I'm not.…
  23. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Tintern, Wales, UK
    The 365 steps are a forestry commission path in teh woods in teh Wye valley. The woods are apparently unique, and look a bit like the temperate rain forest in a Botanic garden. Except with more yew trees. The steps ascend the steep hill on the…
  24. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Tintern, Wales, UK
    Tintern Abbey is a historic ruined abbey in South Wales, on the banks of the river Wye. the Abbey was held by the Cistercians, an unusually hardy bunch of souls who refused to allow fires for most of the winter, and lost out to Henry the Eighth in t…
  25. Average priced "General Tips & Advice" in United Kingdom
    Ordinance Survey, or OS maps, are the standard maps you would need for hiking in the UK. I think most Brits take them for granted, but apparently the level of detail that the maps include are rare internationally and non-Brits don't necessarily know…
  26. Free! "General Tips & Advice" in Bristol, England, UK
    OK, it's only free if you have much, much better self control than me. But no-one's going to MAKE you buy stuff. It's not like there's a cover charge. Bristol is one of the few cities in the South West that feel like cities, rather than just big…
  27. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Winchester, England, UK
    Winchester Cathedral is a Norman Cathedral in the South of England. It is close to the M3 at Southampton, and well worth a short trip. The cathedral itself is not that impressive from teh outside, with a short tower and pleasant surroundings. In…
  28. Expensive "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Shrivenham, England, UK
    The Woodman is a village pub in rural Gloucester. It has great food, real ale, and nice wine. The menu is quite pricey, but well worth it for what you get. The two courses and wine each we had the night we went came to about £22 each. The food…
  29. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Cressing, England, UK
    Cressing Temple Barns were constructed over several hundred years, initially by the Templar Knights. No, not like in Dan Brown books. The real ones. The buildings continued to be added to until about the 18th Century. It is now owned and run by t…
  30. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Salford, England, UK
    The Lowry is a theatre and gallery complex in Salford, which is a city that is part of Greater Manchester. It is interesting architecturally, and focuses on contemporary and modern art. The gallery is free. Theatre ticket prices depend on the pe…
  31. Expensive "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Ramsbottom, England, UK
    Fisherman’s Retreat is high in the hills behind Ramsbottom, up a rough farm track (so watch out for oncoming jeeps). It serves really good food, excellent cask ales, has an amazing range of whisky (and possibly even whiskey – but I was too busy …
  32. Expensive "Hotels & Accommodations" in Bristol, England, UK
    This hotel is lovely. I could only afford it because of an internet deal, but if you can get it on the internet or have the sort of employer who doesn't cap the room rates, then this place is really worthwhile. The rooms are lovely, the staff are n…
  33. Cheap "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Koffee Pot is a café in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and one of the best places in the UK to try that most British of culinary delights, the Full English Breakfast. It is open, well, pretty much when they feel like being open. As a genera…
  34. Cheap "Hotels & Accommodations" in Birmingham, England, UK
    I stayed in the Paragon purely and simply because it was the second cheapest hotel in Expedia for that night - £32.50 or so. And possibly the last single room in the UK - a tiny little room, in fact, so if that bothers you this isn't the place for …
  35. Cheap "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Bath, England, UK
    the Real Pizza co is down a sidestreet between Bath Abbey and the River; it might be on York road, or something similar. It is a very nice little independent Italian restaurant with very little on the menu except Pizza, and one of my favourite place…
  36. Cheap "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Musselburgh, Scotland, UK
    If you had to guess where you would find the best ice-cream in the UK, I would imagine your first guess would be some five starred hotel in London or Manchester, or edgy bar in Glasgow. Perhaps a Michelin starred pub somewhere in the Cotswolds doing…
  37. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Manchester Apollo is an incredible venue on the outskirts of the city centre of Manchester. To get there, you have to walk North-ish out of the centre, past the station and under the Mancunian Way, and follow the crowds of gig going people. The…
  38. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Swindon, England, UK
    North Meadow is in Cricklade, near Swindon in the South West of England. It is close to the A419, and near the highest point on the Thames where you could theoretically take a boat. It is an ancient meadow which, for reasons lost in history, never …
  39. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Cirencester, England, UK
    The Corinium museum is a museum in Cirencester, a small town at the edge of the Cotswolds region of England. It is home to artefacts about the history of Cirencester and the surrounding countryside. Corinium is the Roman name for Cirencester, whi…
  40. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The MEN Arena is a mixed use arena in Manchester, used for sports, gigs and comedy. I will endeavor to review it, and not the band I saw. The MEN is a bit confusing when you go in. It has helpfully put the merchandise stands out of the way in li…
  41. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Manchester Bog Wheel is the large, floodlit observation wheel in the centre of Manchester, between the Arndale Centre and Urbis. It costs about £6.50 for adults. Although this sounds quite expensive, teh wheel does take you round several tim…
  42. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Cirencester, England, UK
    Soushi is a sushi restaurant in Cirencester, which is a small market town on the edge of the Cotswolds near Swindon. The restaurant does have a website in you are interested in checking what they have on offer. It is based in a side street in a…
  43. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Cheddar, England, UK
    The Mendips are a range of hills to the south west of Bristol, and most of the area is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. Most of the nature reserves are free; there are rights of way across the other fields but please bear in mind…
  44. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Southampton, England, UK
    The New Forest is a large area of Forestry Commission owned land managed for the British Public, in the South of England. It is an unusual ecosystem, and an area of outstanding natural beauty. The first thing to note is that in this case, "new" m…
  45. Free! "General Tips & Advice" in Oxford, England, UK
    Shopping in Oxford Oxford is apparently the second most popular tourist destination in England, after London. It certainly feels that way when you visit – it can be hard to move past the crowds of tourists, people signing petitions, and buskers…
  46. Cheap "Hotels & Accommodations" in Cricklade, England, UK
    The Old Bear Inn is a pub in Cricklade, that offers rooms to stay in. There are three altogether; one is en suite and the other ones share a bathroom. But why would you want to stay in Cricklade? Basicaly, most of the hotels in Swindon are sou…
  47. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Malmesbury, England, UK
    Malmesbury Abbey must have been huge in its day. Now, all that is left is an unusually large church with an enormous arch leading to nothing round the side. Malmesbury abbey was founded very early on, and was well established by 800. About then, …
  48. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Glossop, England, UK
    The Peak District is a national park covering large swathe of Northern England, covering parts of several counties including Debyshire and Cheshire. It is very close to the major cities in teh North of England, especially Sheffield and Manchester. …
  49. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Cirencester, England, UK
    The Costwolds are an area of outstanding natural beauty (that's the official term, not just me!) in the South West of England. They stretch from just north of Bath, up past Gloucester, to just south of Stratford on Avon. The Cotswolds are typif…
  50. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Bristol, England, UK
    The Arnolfini is an arts centre in bristol, specialising in contemporary art. It is not for everyone; many of the exhibitions I have seen here are utterly incomprehensible - there was one in particular featuring found objects, including rotten t…
  51. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    This review refers to the branch of Bem Brazil on the edge of the Northern Quarter, near the Ancoats road. There is a chain, and apparently the other ones aren't as cozy. Bem Brazil is a Brazillian style steak house. Basically, this makes it a t…
  52. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Briton's Protection is such a good pub that I am actually wondering if I should review it, in case you all go and see it and it gets busy and crowded. I almost want to keep it to myself. It is very definately a pub. There is no music, and no…
  53. Expensive "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Zinc is a nice restaurant in Manchester. I was part of a large party so they gave us a shorter version of the menu. All of the food was excellent, and considering the number of large parties there, very promptly served. The seasoning was spot o…
  54. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Manchester Academy is a music venue a little way out of the city centre, near Manchester University. ALthough lacking the distinctive decor of the Apollo, it is a very nice venue. The accoustics are good, and the stage is big enough to allow …
  55. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is a really interesting museum focusing on the industrial and scientific heritage of Manchester, which is far, far more interesting than I just made it sound. It is housed in Castlefield, a short dist…
  56. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Liverpool, England, UK
    Korova, which I am not at all sure I am spelling right, is a small bar and gig venue where I saw New Young Pony Club. It is in Liverpool. Liverpool crowds seem to be just as nice as Manchester crowds, so there will be no partisan slating of Live…
  57. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Pi is a bar that serves Pies. That in itself is enough to endear the place to me. And the pies it serves are pieminster pies! There is no finer savoury pie anywhere in the UK. I had left Bristol with a heavy heart, assuming that pieminster pies…
  58. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Cord is a bar in the Northern Quarter in Manchester, close to the Craft centre. Cord is a great place to start an evening, although the basement always smells a little funny until you get used to it. The decor is quite cool. The upper level (a…
  59. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Fringe is a fantastic little pub on the other side of the Ancoats Road from the Northern Quarter, making it pretty much the edge of the known universe as far as going out in Manchester is concerned. There is a sort of rock/ new age feel to t…
  60. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Macclesfield, England, UK
    The Cat and Fiddle is a pub at the top of a pass across the peak district, between Buxton and Macclesfield. It is at the intersection of a number of hiking paths across the peaks, above Three Shires Head which is a beauty spot where Cheshire, Derbys…
  61. Cheap "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Moho Live is a sweaty little venue in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, not to be confused with Noho, which is a bar with cool art on the walls. Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that I do not use the term “sweaty little venue” …
  62. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Noho is a bar with cool art on the walls, not to be confused with Moho Live. I have no idea who names places in the Northern Quarter, but they don’t make it easy for the casual visitor. Such is life. The things to note about Noho are that it…
  63. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Bull’s Head is on its way to becoming my favourite pub in Manchester. It might not be quite as beautiful as the Briton’s Protection, and it certainly doesn’t do pies, but it is still ace. It is a proper, traditional pub – the walls are …
  64. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Blackpool, England, UK
    The Empress Ballroom is a fantastic venue in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The Winter Gardens are themselves something of a diamond in a dunghill – a fantastic, beautiful set of venues and exhibition halls that somehow manage to remain classy t…
  65. Expensive "Hotels & Accommodations" in Cardiff, Wales, UK
    St David’s Hotel is on Cardiff Bay, a short bus ride out of the city centre. It is the big white building on the opposite side of Mermaid Quay from the Millennium Centre. I stayed here for one night, and am impressed to the borders of gob sma…
  66. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Cromer, England, UK
    Cromer Pier is a short, pretty pier in Cromer, North Norfolk. I cannot for the life of me imagine how most travellers would randomly find themselves in Cromer, but if you ever do, the trip will be rewarded. Cromer pier has a little theatre, and a…
  67. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Mr Thomas's Chop House is an absolutely incredible restaurant near the Royal Exchange Theatre in the centre of Manchester. It specialises in traditional British Food, which is very good indeed. The food is well prepared, looks fantastic, and is mad…
  68. Free! "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Royal Exchange is a theatre-in-the-round in Manchester. It has a great company and does some really interesting plays, but as this is a travel site, Pygmalion may well be over by the time you come to visit. I'll be concentrating on the building…
  69. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Fac251 (aka The Factory) is a new-ish club and live venue in the former offices of Factory Records, near the student part of Manchester. And Factory Records is as much a part of the history of Manchester as the cotton mills were. I will try –…
  70. Cheap "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Sweet Tooth Cupcake and Milk Bar is the latest reason I've found to fall in love with Manchester. It sells, predictably enough, fantastic cupcakes, milkshakes and tea and coffee. Sweet Tooth is located in the cool Northern Quarter, near the city …
  71. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Whitworth Art Gallery is one of the museums owned by the University of Manchester, and it is a much better gallery than the City Art Gallery. Located a short distance out of town, beyond the main campus of Manchester University, it is set in…
  72. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Canal Street is one of the few places in Manchester with outdoor tables for drinking, which is good to know if the sun shines. The heart of the gay community, there is a wide range of bars and clubs here, ranging in prices and with varying approache…
  73. Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    At the moment, your intrepid reporter is learning to ski. In summer, in Manchester. Chill Factore is an indoor ski slope, with actual snow rather than dry ski slopes. It is conveniently located near the Trafford Centre, and is easy to get to and…
  74. Ridiculously Expensive "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Michael Caines at Abode is probably the best restaurant I’ve ever been to. Given that I have no immediate plans to head off to The Fat Duck, let alone El Bulli, that might well stay the case for a long time. We went there for my fiancée…
  75. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Phetpailin is a Thai restaurant in Manchester’s China Town. It is currently my favourite Thai restaurant in the city, although obviously I haven’t tried them all yet… Phetpailin is small, and slightly away from the centre of China Town. It…
  76. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Sweet Mandarin is a Chinese restaurant in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. It aims to be more contemporary than a lot of Chinese restaurants, which means that there is a shorter menu than lots of restaurants, and your favourites might not be o…
  77. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Ritz is another gig venue and night club in Manchester. It is small, but has nice lighting and the carpets aren't too sticky. It's obviously a converted cinema, as many venues round here are, but that always means that the acoustics are goo…
  78. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Stockport, England, UK
    The Hat Works is a cool little museum in Stockport. It is a museum, unsurprisingly enough, of hats. Entrance is free. Getting to Stockport is very easy; there are frequent, cheap trains from Manchester Piccadilly to Stockport, and the Hat Works …
  79. Free! "General Tips & Advice" in United Kingdom
    Can I trust this review?  Many travellers now rely heavily on online reviews to choose hotels and other attrachtions.  But it is a real issue deciding who you can trust online.  With some sites having hundreds of reviews saying wildly different t…
  80. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Imperial War Museum North is in a shiny new building in Salford Quays. The architecture is quite impressive on its own, designed to reflect earth, air and water (well, that’s what the architect said) and plated in steel. Entrance is free and …
  81. Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    I can't go travelling much this year, so I must search for the exotic, interesting, and down right mad on my own turf. Not least because my ever beloved fiance is spending six weeks in Africa without me. Sigh. But, on the plus side, it doesn't get…
  82. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    Manchester cathedral is one of the few old buildings in Manchester. It's medieval, although it looks modern because it was extensively remodelled by the Victorians. As cathedrals go, it isn't very grand. It doesn't have a great steeple or an in…
  83. Free! "General Tips & Advice" in London, England, UK
    When I was small, my father travelled a lot for work.  I told him how jealous I was, and he said it sucked.  “I see the inside of a train, the inside of a hotel, the inside of a meeting venue and then the inside of a train,” he said.  I though…
  84. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    Clayton Vale took me by such surprise I didn’t even have my camera or phone with me.  I went out for a walk to clear a hangover, and somehow stumbled into a beautiful park hidden in a valley surrounded by housing estates.   About three or fo…
  85. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Panacea is a bar in Manchester.  It seems to exist purely to help girls with hair extensions and nice dresses meet boys who claim to be in the Manchester United reserve team.  This is obviously a useful and valid mission, but I suspect that if yo…
  86. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Alchemist is a nice restaurant that does excellent cocktails in the Spinningfields area of Manchester. It has a large bar, with a huge clock and very cool lighting.   The food is lovely.  More or less European in theme, there are sandwiches,…
  87. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Fort William, Scotland, UK
    Climbing Ben Nevis   Fort William is a relatively sleepy town, that probably wouldn’t be nearly as well known to tourists if it wasn’t for one thing – one looming, mighty, brooding thing glowering over the town.  Ben Nevis – the UK’s hi…
  88. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Fort William, Scotland, UK
    The Ben Nevis Inn is at the foot of the main path up Ben Nevis at Achintee.  It is fantastic.  It would be fantastic anywhere, as it has lovely food and is a warm, pleasant building to be in, but it is particularly amazing when you are limping off …
  89. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Battlesbridge, England, UK
    Battlesbridge Antiques Centre takes up most of the village of Battlesbridge, a small town between Chelmsford and South Woodham Ferrers in Essex.  It is a very good place to go to if you like antiques, and a very bad place to go to if you do not.  …
  90. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Liverpool, England, UK
    The world museum is in Liverpool, close to Lime Street Station.  It would be a great place to take a small child, but is not so great for older children and wandering museum junkies like myself. It has a very nice aquarium, surrounded by small ch…
  91. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Liverpool, England, UK
    The Liverpool Maritime Museum and the National Museum of Slavery share a building, a front door, and a staircase, so I am reviewing them as if they are one museum.  They are both in a building on Albert Dock, a renovated area of Liverpool not far fr…
  92. Cheap "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    I know I have a new favourite restaurant about once a month, but I have a new favourite restaurant. Samsi is a Japanese restaurant in Manchester, on the edge of the city centre. Housed in an old warehouse (as is most of Manchester) above a gym,…
  93. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Liverpool, England, UK
    Tate Liverpool is the northern branch of the Tate Gallery, which has four galleries altogether – Tate Modern on Bankside, London, Tate Britain on millbank,, London, and Tate St Ives in Cornwall.  The Tate galleries have a sort of core mission to m…
  94. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    The Cameo is a cinema in Edinburgh, just outside the city centre towards where the students are. It is an Edinburgh institution, in the middle of a renovation. It’s sort of an art house cinema. I say sort of – it basically has a policy o…
  95. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Marble Arch is a pub and microbrewery on the outskirts of Manchester, and it is a thing of joy.  It looks slightly unimpressive from the outside, and we had passed it many times without thinking twice about it, until a man we met in one of our other…
  96. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Port Street Beer House is in a normal looking store front in a windswept part of the Northern Quarter, far from the normal haunts of the area’s hipsters and junior yuppies, almost as far as the Ancoats Road.  In this unimpressive corner of the…
  97. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    TV21 is a bar in the Northern Quarter.  It does food, but I’ve never eaten there and am reviewing it as a bar and night venue. It is slightly mad.  For a start, there can be very few bars, even in Manchester, where you are greeted by a full si…
  98. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Rudyard, England, UK
    Rudyard Lake is a pretty reservoir built in the Industrial Revolution, to supply the canal network with water. It is in the rolling green landscape of the southern Peak district, just over the Staffordshire border. As time went on, people decided t…
  99. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Wakefield, England, UK
    The National Coal Mining Museum in Yorkshire is housed in a former working pit.  This makes it a very different experience from other coal mining displays I have seen in the past, including Beamish, which are either reconstructions or housed in the …
  100. Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    Cloud 23 is a public-ish bar on the 23rd floor in the Hilton, Manchester. I say public-ish. The only way up is past a bouncer and into a lift, and the door policy is idiosyncratic. I’m unaware of an actual official dress code, and I suspect it d…
  101. Ridiculously Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Haydock, England, UK
    Haydock Park is a Race Course in the North West of England, and a totally brilliant place to go people watching.  Entrance to the racing varies according to what’s on (we paid somewhere around £27), and you need to lay aside some money for gambli…
  102. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Taps is a bar in the Great Northern area of Manchester, not far from Deansgate. It is a little Gimmicky, in that there are beer taps on the table (you can order other drinks or more glasses at the bar)and they give you your tab at the end of the nig…
  103. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    In the Northern Quarter of Manchester, there is a small, free museum dedicated to the Manchester Police force. There are two parts, some displays, and the preserved police station itself. By far the best part is the guides, retired police officers…
  104. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Blackburn, England, UK
    One of the things I love most about Britain is the parks.  I know other nations have parks, but I’ve never been anywhere where every town with any pride makes such a good job of them.  And if I was going to lay out a park that had all the element…
  105. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Haslingden, England, UK
    For a sculpture designed to be visible from two separate motorways, it is surprisingly hard to visit the Haslingden Halo Panopticon.  It isn’t signposted from anywhere, and neither is Tip O’Slate, the park it is in.  Although when you eventuall…
  106. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Burnley, England, UK
    The Singing, Ringing Tree is a large sound sculpture on a bleak expanse of moor above Burnley.  It is a tree made of pipes, that “sing” in the wind.  By “sing”, read emit a chorus of spooky noises rather like those made by metallic aliens i…
  107. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Rochdale, England, UK
    Toad Lane is the least impressive conservation area I have ever seen.  It consists of one pub (I didn’t go in, but I am sure it is perfectly pleasant), one toymaker, and a building that at the time of writing is entirely hidden by scaffolding.  I…
  108. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Rochdale, England, UK
      Touchstones is a small municipal museum in Rochdale.  It is a good place to get out of the stinging Lanashire rain for a half hour (in which time you can see most things), although probably not worth a special journey.    I love small munici…
  109. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Ruby Lounge is a small gig venue in the centre of Manchester, with club nights sometimes.  It’s just opposite the Arndale.   For a venue just opposite the arndale, it’s surprisingly loveable.  Down a little flight of stairs (aren’t the…
  110. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Band on the Wall is a gig venue in the Northern Quarter.  Taking its name from an old incarnation as a dance hall, where the band perched on a tiny stage half way up the wall, it is recently and gloriously refurbished.  The venue is not huge,…
  111. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Fab Cafe is another little slice of randomness in the heart of Manchester. It is an indie/rock bar with a little bit of a dance floor, a good DJ, and a real thing for science fiction. It is not to be confused with TV 21 in the Northern Quarter,…
  112. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Home Sweet Home is a café and coffee shop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.  It is a lovely place to get a cup of tea and a cake, and has an alcohol license for later in the day.  It also does fantastic milkshakes.  The baked cakes and things a…
  113. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Oh, how I wish I could recommend this bar. It has so many things I love. The tunes are laid back, lounge and cool as cool can be. The bar staff are so knowledgable about spirits that when my boyfriend asked if they had an obscure kind of gin, th…
  114. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Manchester Art Museum is much bigger than it looks, and is free. There is a perfectly nice Gormley statue in the roof, some pleasant Lowrys and Vallettes, and some contemporary stuff that can be interesting in passing. Unfortunately, the muse…
  115. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    Manchester puts a lot of effort into its Christmas markets.  They are, according to the locals at least, one of the largest Christmas markets outside Germany and Austria, and aim for a similar sort of feel.  And the markets are huge, with different…
  116. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    I say free - no one makes you buy things. But it's really hard not to. Manchester Craft Centre is a converted market full of artists' and jewellery makers' studios. It's lovely. The studios have ceramics, paintings, textiles and lots of beaut…
  117. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Southend on Sea, England, UK
    Southend is a small, run down town in the south of Essex, which faces out onto the Thames Estuary.  Before package tours came into their own, it was a place where people from London could afford to go for a day and it became a resort town.  It …
  118. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Swindon, England, UK
    Swindon town gardens are lovely. A classic example of British town parks at their old fashioned finest, most of the time, town gardens have the benefit of both a traditional bandstand and a Bowl. The Bowl was built n the early twentieth century and…
  119. Average priced "General Tips & Advice" in Tebay, England, UK
    Why on earth am I reviewing a motorway service station? I know, I know. It looks suspiciously as though I am trying to bulk out the number of reviews I’ve written. Given that this is review number 246, I’d be suspicious too. Please bear with …
  120. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Birmingham, England, UK
    The Barber Collection is a small art museum in the grounds of the University of Birmingham. I had been keen to go for a while; I’ve spent time on the campus for various courses but never with time to spare. Today, I finally had a chance. …
  121. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    have been struggling to write a review of the Birdcage that didn’t sound more negative than I felt about it, because I had a lovely night here.  Lets say that first – I had a lovely night.  But the Birdcage is a funny sort of place to write a r…
  122. Expensive "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Grill on the Alley is a very nice restaurant near Deansgate in Manchester in, unsurprisingly, an alley.  It serves excellent steaks in a laid back atmosphere.    It specialises in meat, although I am sure there are vegetarian options on the …
  123. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Bristol, England, UK
    Thekla is a nighclub and gig venue in a boat in teh Welshback harbour part of Bristol. Entrance depends on the night club or which band is playing, and is free if there is nothing much going on. the boat also serves food in the day time. They do…
  124. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Lass O' Gowrie is in Manchester, and it is a bit of a gem. It manages to combine indie music and a bit of an obsession with computer games from the 1980s with really nicely kept real ale and organic cider. I love this city. Located close…
  125. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Living Room is a bar at the city centre end of Deansgate. It is a long narrow bar, and it can be difficult to get a table on the weekends as many of them are reserved. It does food, which looks nice, but I didn’t eat there so I can’t confirm…
  126. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Heybridge, England, UK
    I love small, random, independent museums. And this one is particularly good, because it is free. The museum of power is on a backroad near the lovely and historic - although frankly, dull - town of Maldon. It is housed in the former pumping s…
  127. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    The People’s History Museum is a wonderful museum about the rise of the working class as a political force. I know that doesn’t necessarily sound like a light hearted day of fun, but actually, it’s fantastic. The museum is best toured …
  128. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Deep under Manchester Piccadilly Station, is a car park. So far, so expected. The brick vaults have to be used for something. But for a few months every year, from late September until New Year, the car park finds a far more exciting use. …
  129. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Bristol, England, UK
    One word - Ichthyosaur! The City Art Gallery and Museum is a city museum at the top of Park Street, with free admission. And marine reptile fossils. There are two giant icthysaur fossils. It can't get better than that. There are also some ol…
  130. Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Chester, England, UK
    Chester Cathedral is a lovely cathedral in the North West of England. Like Gloucester, it has intact cloisters. The cathedral itself is made of red sandstone, which is really pretty. It appears to charge quite a high admission fee, but when I we…
  131. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Coventry, England, UK
    Coventry Cathedral, built in the 1950s to replace the bomb damaged medieval cathedral, is an unusual example of a modern cathedral and an extremely beautiful symbol and monument to peace. Coventry was almost destroyed in the war, because of its …
  132. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Dry Bar is a bar in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, with a large bar and a live venue.  It is more of a Northern Quarter Indie music place than a dance or hip hop place, and has a long standing association with Peter Hook from Joy Division and N…
  133. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Epernay is a bar in the Great Northern area of Manchester. It specialises in champagne, and if that is what you want, it is an expensive place to go. But it also has reasonably average priced cocktails, wine and beer, including Beer Lao which c…
  134. Expensive "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    K2 is a karaoke bar with a sort of a nightclub in it in Manchester’s china town.  Initially, we were told that we could only come in if we paid for three hours, but we pouted and they let us have an hour instead.  The general set us is that you…
  135. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Liar’s Club says it is a Tiki bar.  I have absolutely no idea what that means.  It seems to mean “fake Hawaiian with lots of rum,” but I’m prepared to be corrected on that – the website talks about aiming for a 1950s American atmosphe…
  136. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Ning is a lovely restaurant in Manchester’s northern quarter, specialising in Malaysian food. I really recommend it. I tend to believe that in Britain at least, the bigger the decoration budget, the smaller the kitchen budget. Ning prove…
  137. Average priced "Restaurants, Cafes & Food" in Manchester, England, UK
    Northern Tea Power is a tea shop in the heart of the vintage clothes district of Manchester.  It’s a very nice place to get a cup of tea or coffee, and is close to the Arndale end of the Northern Quarter so it’s worth a detour from the shopping …
  138. Expensive "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Prohibition is a bar in the Deansgate area of Manchester.  It has very recently been refurbished (as of November 2011) – when I went it still smelled vaguely of paint.    We went on a Friday night.  It was pretty empty when we arrived, at abo…
  139. Average priced "Hotels & Accommodations" in Birmingham, England, UK
    Conveniently right next to Birmingham New Street, the hotel tower meant that we were a nice long way up in the sky and got a great view of... some trees and a roundabout. We were staying in Birmingham, and that's what you get. But the windows w…
  140. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    Room is a cocktail bar and restaurant in the centre of Manchester, which has a fairly good happy hour after work on week nights. I am reviewing it as a bar – I didn’t eat, which turned out to be something of an error because if you start on the …
  141. Average priced "Nightlife & Entertainment" in Manchester, England, UK
    The Gas Lamp is a basement pub housed on a backstreet near Deansgate, in the former “Street Children’s Mission” near Deansgate.  Follow the sign down a steep flight of stairs (no disabled access I’m afraid) to a white tiled, fireplace decked…
  142. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Hereford, England, UK
    Hereford Cathedral is beautiful, and has large portions dating from about 1200. The central nave has some massive columns from the 13th century, which are unusual in British Cathedrals (most naves are more recent than the 13th Century). There ar…
  143. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    Victoria Baths were built in the Edwardian Era, as a state of the art swimming pool for the people of Manchester. They were known as "Manchester's Water Palace" - coming in at the incredible (for the time) sum of £58000 pounds to build, they cost t…
  144. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in York, England, UK
    The National Railway Museum in York is one of Britain’s best known museums. It attempts to cover the whole history of the railways, from static winding engines that pulled coal trucks out of mines through to Bullet Trains, but of course the focus …
    This review was featured on Monday June 11th, 2012
  145. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Manchester, England, UK
    Fletcher Moss is a pretty park and botanic garden in Didsbury, a very nice suburb of Manchester (although not *every* doctor and solicitor in Manchester lives in Didsbury, I wouldn’t be surprised to find it was somewhere near three quarters of them…
  146. Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Buxton, England, UK
    Poole Cavern is a cave in the Peak District of England, near Buxton. It is set in a very nice country park. The cave has a little visitor centre and you are only allowed into the Cave itself with a guide. The cave has several chambers, star…
Vipin says:
great idea for a list!!
Posted on: Jun 16, 2011
sarahelaine says:
Thank you! I'll keep up my campaign to get the trav buds to leave London then?
Posted on: Jun 02, 2010
travelman727 says:
Sarah, what a fantastic collection of places to visit :-) I'm going to have to move to England just to experience half of your list :-D
Posted on: Jun 01, 2010
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