Make the Most of Your Time in Britain
376 pages
English
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Make the Most of Your Time in Britain

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Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus
376 pages
English

Description

Make the Most of Your Time in Britain is a celebration of the most extraordinary places you can visit in Great Britain.

From historic houses to eccentric festivals, this incredible photography collection features the best things to do, see and experience in Great Britain. High-quality photography brings each place to life, from the seascapes of Cornwall and dazzling northern lights of Scotland to the skiing wonder of Snowdonia in Wales. Lively descriptive text accompanies each entry, which will inspire even the most intrepid traveller, highlighting exactly what makes it so special to visit now. The book reaches almost every corner of Britain, with each place carefully selected by experienced experts and specialists.

Features of Make the Most of Your Time in Britain
- Uncovers the top places to visit in Great Britain
- Stylish coffee-table book with inspirational, high-quality photography
- Employs Rough Guides' "tell it like it is" ethos
- Carefully curated by expert authors and editors

About Rough Guides: Rough Guides have been inspiring travellers for over 35 years, with over 30 million copies sold. Synonymous with practical travel tips, quality writing and a trustworthy "tell it like it is" ethos, the Rough Guides list includes more than 260 travel guides to 120+ destinations, gift-books and phrasebooks.


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Publié par
Date de parution 15 avril 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781789196931
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 88 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0042€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

MAKE THE MOST
BRITAIN
OF YOUR TIME IN
365 BRITISH TRAVEL EXPERIENCES
MAKE THE MOST
OF YOUR TIME IN
SECOND
EDITION BRITAINPublishing information
This second edition published 2021 by APA Publications (UK) Ltd
Distribution
UK, Ireland and Europe
Apa Publications (UK) Ltd; sales@roughguides.com
United States and Canada
Ingram Publisher Services; ips@ingramcontent.com
Australia and New Zealand
Woodslane; info@woodslane.com.au
Southeast Asia
Apa Publications (SN) Pte; sales@roughguides.com
Worldwide
Apa Publications (UK) Ltd; sales@roughguides.com
Special Sales, Content Licensing and CoPublishing
Rough Guides can be purchased in bulk quantities at discounted prices. We can create special editions,
personalised jackets and corporate imprints tailored to your needs. sales@roughguides.com.
roughguides.com
Printed in China
All rights reserved
© 2021 Apa Digital (CH) AG
License edition © Apa Publications Ltd UK
Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2021
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system,
or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without
the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
The publishers and authors have done their best to ensure the accuracy and currency of all the information
in Make the Most of Your Time in Britain, however, they can accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or
inconvenience sustained by any traveller as a result of information or advice contained in the guide.
Credits and acknowledgements
Commissioning editor: Tatiana Wilde
Assistant editor: Zara Sekhavati
Picture editor: Tom Smyth
Cartography: Katie Bennett
Head of DTP and pre-press: Rebeka Davies
Layout: Dan May
Head of Publishing: Sarah Clark
Thanks to all our writers and photographers, credited at the back of
the book, for their great ideas, fne writing and beautiful pictures.CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
URBAN ADVENTURES 001–026
HOUSES, CASTLES AND GARDENS 027–052
FOOD AND DRINK 053–078
HISTORY AND HERITAGE 079–104
OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES 105–130
PLACES TO STAY 131–156
NATURAL WORLD 157–182
ADVENTURES FOR KIDS 183–208
COAST AND BEACH 209–234
CULTURE 235–260
SPORTS AND GAMES 261–286
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS 287–312
ART AND ARCHITECTURE 313–338
QUINTESSENTIAL BRITISH JOURNEYS 339–365
MAPS
SMALL PRINT & INDEXESINTRODUCTION
A shift to more responsible, sustainable travel – not to mention
a fuctuating exchange rate – means that many are looking to our
home shores for the ultimate adventure. Our expert Rough Guide
writers have delved into British history, heritage, culture and
landscape to turn up an amazing collection of 365 in-the-know,
of-beat or just plain wonderful experiences – from singing sea
shanties in Cornwall and attending a Burns supper in Edinburgh, to
trampolining in a cave in Wales, watching the Boat Race in London
and eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant (or award-winning street
food market), this is a nation with plenty to be proud about.
We hope this fully revised second edition will inspire you
to discover the very best of England, Scotland and Wales. All
entries were up-to-date at the time of writing; however, due to
the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to check for any recent
changes to ensure you “Make the Most of Your Time in Britain”.
Tatiana Wilde, Editor MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAINURBAN ADVENTURES
001–026
The majority of British people live in
cities and urban areas, so where better
to look for adventure? Ever-changing,
novelty-seeking London needs no
introduction – though we’ve uncovered
a few unexpected treats alongside the
iconic big-hitters, so by all means take a
tour of Parliament or the British Museum,
but don’t miss a swim in a lido or a
wander around Camden Town. Cities such
as Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow
are classy, vibrant destinations and we
celebrate everything from speed-cycling
around a velodrome to shopping and
live music. If history is your thing, walk
the walls of Chester, unlock the secrets
of Georgian Bath or explore Edinburgh’s
creepy past. There’s a unique story in
every corner of urban Britain.
URBAN ADVENTURES001 Touring Highgate Cemetery
LONDON Follow the trail of goths and American tourists through but it remains a magical, wild place, and gloomily beautiful still.
North London’s quaintest village to Highgate Cemetery East, a The otherworldly light reveals eroded tombstones, brittle as
grand Victorian burial ground of lovingly tended graves, fresh bone, scratched with the ghostly scrawl of long-gone creepers.
fowers and clipped shrubs. Nip of the main path, however, to Toppled columns have smashed neighbouring gravestones; a
encounter something far less civilized: overgrown wooded tracks, marble angel’s lonely arm lies beside a melancholy mound of
thick with blackberry bushes and thorny wild roses, where ivy- rotting crab apples.
tangled tombstones seem to grow from the earth. Thick roots This being Highgate, there are countless freethinkers
thrust entire casings upwards, while rusty iron railings crumble buried here – artists, eccentrics, revolutionaries – and several
into the damp soil. The names of those who lie beneath may not oddities among the familiar Celtic crosses and Victorian draped
be legible, but here are endless simple eulogies to long-lost lives urns. On one unmarked grave a distraught Sisyphus pushes his
– babies and octogenarians; Londoners felled by war or illness or colossal stone; another, belonging to Thomas Sayers, Cockney
old age; the couple who after 41 years are reunited in death; “Old pugilist and publican, is guarded by a likeness of his hulking
Pals Forever”. dog. Seek out the big-hitters on the east side, of whom there
The cemetery’s once exclusive western side is even more are many: Karl Marx, naturally, his lumpen colossus topped
overgrown; strange to think that these towering ash and with that familiarly hirsute visage; George Eliot, marked by an
sycamore trees didn’t exist when the place was built in 1839. obelisk and surrounded by deceased friends and fans. Malcolm
Once a grand private enterprise, selling its manicured lawns McLaren’s gravestone is poignant in its rawness, “Malcolm Was
and sweeping city views to London’s fnest, Highgate Cemetery Here” freshly carved on a rough wooden slab. Perhaps most
West is being tidied to resemble more closely its original state. startling, however, is Patrick Caulfeld’s stark, self-designed
Trees are being lopped and paths cut through the undergrowth – stone, spelling out the simple truth: D-E-A-D.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN002 A night out in Newcastle
NEWCASTLE It’s time to banish the cliché: no longer is sawdust place with a magnifcent beer garden overlooking the
Newcastle’s nightlife solely about indecently cheap drinks, river. A smarter nightlife scene is also on the rise: cute wine bar,
indecently short skirts and indecent behaviour. Of course, if you’re Vineyard, at 1 Grey St, is a lovely spot for a glass of wine, Toyk o
into that malarkey, there’s still plenty of it – the city is a perennial at 17 Westgate Rd, with its chic roof terrace, is a stylish pre-club
location for riotous stag and hen parties – but there are alternative warm-up, and The Stand at 5 York Place is a fabulous comedy club.
scenes to enjoy, from supping local ales in traditional boozers to Newcastle is a honeypot for live music lovers – not just at the
shaking your hips at a salsa class, and from raucous punk-rock gigs enormous spaces like the Metro Radio Arena and the Sage, but at
to elegant cocktail bars. more intimate locations, too. The little cellar bar The Black Swan,
Newcastle being where it is – eight miles from the wind- at the Newcastle Arts Centre, doles out folk, jazz and salsa
whipped North Sea – means that most of the time it’s a pretty music, while rock and punk fans should head straight for Trillians
chilly place. Best spend the evening by a crackling fre in a snug Rock Bar at Princess Square. The city’s best live music venue,
pub: pick of the bunch is the Crown Posada at 31 The Side, a though, is The Cluny, nestled in the heart of the burgeoning
diminutive Victorian inn, all etched glass and wood panelling. Ouseburn Valley at 36 Lime St; gigs change nightly, showcasing
Local and loyal, the crowd knocks back guest ales from nearby anything from fedgling indie bands to rock. That said, if all you
breweries like Wylam near Hadrian’s Wall. Another great pub is want is a bottle of Blue WKD and a boogie to S Club 7, you’re
The Free Trade at St Lawrence Road, a gloriously shabby, spit-and- certainly in the right city.
URBAN ADVENTURES003 Viewing Portsmouth from the Spinnaker Tower
PORTSMOUTH Portsmouth harbour is something of a At this point, suferers of vertigo should look away. The glass
geographical marvel, a shipping motorway protected by the foor – Europe’s largest – ofers a vertical drop, straight down
lobster claws of Portsea on one side and Gosport on the other. You to the tourists in the plaza far below, who from this height
can only really appreciate this layout, however, by rising up to the resemble matchstick Lowry fgures. Children – and the odd
heights of the Spinnaker Tower, the UK’s most beautiful viewing foolish adult – seem compelled to lie face down on the
twoplatform. inch-thick glass, as if daring it to give way.
A sleek white structure with a steel ribbed sail that indeed Deck 3 ofers a diferent thrill. The top viewing point, known
resembles a billowing spinnaker, the tower rises to nearly 560ft as The Crow’s Nest, is open to the elements. Go on a windy day
above Gunwharf Quays. Only the top of the ribs is accessible to really appreciate this, and be reassured by the wire mesh
in the form of three viewing decks. Visitors are led into a lift, roof, designed to keep visitors frmly anchored.
and within seconds of the doors closing (28, to be precise) – The middle deck is where you can get your breath back,
virtually before the guide has explained what’s happening – with various multimedia stations explaining how the tower
you’ve arrived at Deck 1, unaware you’ve moved at all. Despite fts in with the history of the harbour, the cradle of Britain’s
being the lowest of the three levels, this is surely the most naval feet. In 1545, Henry VIII watched aghast from the top
impressive: a glass space giving awesome views across all of of Southsea Castle as his fagship, the Mary Rose, sank in the
Portsmouth one way and over the ferries, tankers and naval harbour while engaging French forces. If only the Spinnaker
ships towards the Isle of Wight to the other. But just when Tower had been around then, he would have had a far better
you think the views can’t get better, you realize that a large view. As it is, you can now look down at the new Mary Rose
proportion of the deck’s foor is made of glass. Museum, lying in wait at the nearby Historic Dockyard.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN004 Shopping in Manchester
MANCHESTER Caution. Do not judge the Manchester shopping Outftters, and a food market selling great fresh produce and
experience by the bleak emporia leading down from Piccadilly a range of world cuisines. From here, stroll along Exchange
train station. Avert your eyes (and soul) until you reach Oldham Square, created during the city’s reconstruction after the
Street and then hang right and rejoice in this compact, quirky 1996 IRA bombing, and now home to the glitzy likes of Harvey
retail scene. The few streets that make up the self-styled Northern Nichols and Selfridges. For the pinnacle of posh, head over
Quarter are packed with independent record stores, of-kilter to King Street and Spring Gardens, where the biggest names
Oxfam shops, retro and street boutiques, and, on Saturdays, the – Armani, Westwood, DKNY – huddle in a gleaming clique.
Tib Street Fashion Market (parallel to Oldham Street), showcase Nearby, dodge the street performers on pedestrianized St
for the region’s trendiest new designers. Hip jewel of the quarter’s Ann’s Square and check out the row of contemporary jewellers
crown is the mighty Afeck’s Palace, a four-storey indie treasure- inside the Royal Exchange Arcade, or pop into the buzzy Royal
trove that’s been keeping the city’s alternative set in the sharpest Exchange Theatre itself to browse the marvellous craft shop.
vintage and street clothing since 1982, selling everything from The best things about central Manchester are that it’s
bowler hats to bovver boots, plus posters, piercings, kitsch walkable and there’s always something new to see, with a
homewares and more. changing calendar of specialist markets – books, crafts,
Back in the mainstream, wander along Market Street for jewellery, food – all over the place. Most magical are the
all the usual names, many housed under the sizeable roof of Christmas markets (from mid-November), where, as evening
the Arndale Centre, the UK’s largest inner-city mall, with 240 falls after a happy day’s shopping, you can enjoy a mulled wine
outlets, including natty branches of All Saints and Urban under the twinkling lights of this magnifcent city.
URBAN ADVENTURES005 Cycling Birmingham’s canals
BIRMINGHAM Venice may be famous for its canals, but medley of red-brick buildings – and ends in Wolverhampton.
Birmingham has more – though no one should stretch the The cycleway stays close to the Birmingham–Wolverhampton
comparisons too far. There are no fewer than eight canals and 32 rail line, so if the rain comes down you can hop on the train at
miles of waterway within Birmingham’s boundaries and together any one of half-a-dozen stations.
they weave a complicated pattern through the city and connect it The Birmingham Canal Main Line was designed by Thomas
with the neighbouring towns of the “Black Country”. Telford in the 1820s to replace longer, more convoluted
Birmingham’s canals have a long and intriguing history. waterways. The new canal was a great success, though the
Until the arrival of the railways in the nineteenth century, imposing industrial landscape was not to everyone’s liking –
almost all heavy goods were transported by water. The Queen Victoria is said to have drawn the curtains of her railway
railways made the canals uneconomic, but they struggled on carriage when she passed this way in the 1840s.
until the 1970s when tourism gave them a new lease of life; The cycleway uses the old (but upgraded) canal towpath as
today herds of brightly painted narrowboats nose and nudge it threads its way through cuttings and embankments, tunnels
their way across them and hundreds of cyclists pedal along the and locks, warehouses and old factories. For the most part,
old canal towpaths. the going is easy, but the tunnels need some care, especially
Of all the area’s cycle routes, the Birmingham and Black the longest, the dark and dank Coseley Tunnel. Up above are
Country Cycleway is the most enjoyable. A ffteen-and-a-half- dozens of bridges, the most impressive of which is Thomas
mile route that follows the Birmingham Canal Main Line, it starts Telford’s mighty Galton Bridge of 1829, once the world’s
at Gas Street Basin at the heart of Birmingham – an attractive longest single-span, cast-iron bridge over what was at the time
junction of waterways surrounded by an immaculately restored the world’s largest man-made excavation.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN006 Explore London’s ever-changing Docklands
LONDON Take a trip east from central London on the Docklands awe-inspiring. Nowhere else in the city is there a feeling of such
Light Railway (DLR) – high over the interesting borderland between tremendous space: vistas that stretch to the vanishing point
the City of London and the east – to an area of enormous forms, like an illustration in a manual of technical drawing.
vast symmetries and rapid change. Every few months a whole new If you have more time, keep walking further east to the Royal
crop of buildings appears with minimum fuss, usefully flling an Albert Dock, where you can watch the planes landing on a narrow
awkward space. First stop is Canary Wharf, the most mature of all strip with water on either side at London City Airport. Further east
the Docklands developments, a place given over to the generation again, at Cyprus DLR, you can stand at the eastern end of the
of wealth like nowhere else – it’s fascinating to wander around and docks and look west towards Canary Wharf and the rest of London
enjoy the feeling of being in a place where the superfcial efect is – there’s a real edge-of-the-world feeling in this particular spot.
everything. Come back west via Canada Water on the Jubilee Line (changing
Next, continue your journey on the DLR to Pontoon Dock at Canary Wharf) and take a stroll along the river’s south bank,
on the Woolwich Arsenal branch, where a very pleasant and again with superb Thames views. Near the Mayfower pub in
imaginative park has been built alongside the river – right next Rotherhithe (117 Rotherhithe St), there’s a charming statue
to the Thames Barrier, London’s defence against its mighty of a pilgrim staring in wonder at a newspaper that shows him
river and a fascinating structure in its own right. Alight again what will happen in America in the centuries to come. He could
and return to Canning Town, changing to the Beckton branch express as much amazement about the future of the place he’s
for Custom House or Royal Victoria stations and the highlight of leaving: a stretch of London’s historic riverside that continues to
the whole area – the Royal Docks. The scale of these docks is change with astonishing speed.
URBAN ADVENTURES007 The perfect Martini at Dukes
LONDON You may never get to drive an Aston Martin, or enjoy Vesper (Crown Jewel gin, Potocki vodka, Angostura bitters)
a dalliance with a beautiful Russian spy, but one sure-fre way was Fleming’s Martini of choice, but this elegant hotel bar,
to indulge in a little James Bond fantasy is to savour one of the located in a discreet corner of London’s Mayfair, ofers a wide
exquisite Martinis at Dukes Bar, a regular haunt of Ian Fleming selection, including the fery Tiger Tanaka: for genuine action
and said to be his inspiration for 007’s favourite tipple. The heroes only.
008 Watching starling murmurations in Brighton
BRIGHTON You’re not sure what it is at frst. A rain cloud, maybe? of Brighton’s West Pier, in what’s thought to be one of the most
Perhaps a shadow? But it’s moving too fast, swirling and swooping sensational roosts in the UK. They do it to keep warm and to
and diving; contracting and expanding, almost as though it’s exchange information, but mostly they do it for safety – imagine
alive. It’s a murmuration. Towards the end of each year, around trying to pick out an individual bird in this vast, hypnotizing fock.
forty thousand starlings arrive from as far away as Scandinavia In the early evening, just before dusk, step out onto
to join their native cousins and converge on the derelict frame Brighton’s pebbly beach and before long you’ll see them.
009 Harrogate’s Turkish baths
YORKSHIRE Spas are everywhere now. What you won’t fnd on restored Victorian detailing is beguiling, and the palatial scale of
your high street, however, is the grandeur of Harrogate’s Turkish the place – there are three grades of hot room as well as a steam
baths. The combination of bright, Moorish-style decor and room – is breathtaking.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN010 Punting on the Cam
CAMBRIDGE The experienced professional punter – propelling This slow river is lined with some of the grandest architecture
boatloads of tourists along Cambridge’s River Cam – speaks of in the country. Perhaps the two most notable sights are the
the simple sensory pleasure in the interaction of the frm riverbed, chapel at King’s College, a structure of forbidding
singlethe massive punting pole (wielded with a masterful delicacy) and minded authority, and Christopher Wren’s library for Trinity
the punt itself, pushing against the springy upthrust of the gentle College, which has the same rigorous perfection that some may
waters. In fact, it is like driving a people carrier with a joystick from fnd refreshing (others overwhelming). If you’d prefer to recline
a seat where the luggage would usually go. as the great buildings rear around you in a succession of noble
Your punt will naturally be attracted to other punts, blocking set pieces, then do as many visitors do, and arrange a tour. No
the river under the mirthful gaze of the city’s youth, who stop to need to book, just stroll in the vicinity of Magdalene Bridge,
watch your ineptitude from one of the many pretty bridges. Your and the touts will fnd you.
response should be to afect an ironic detachment; something When you’re done punting, the colleges are wonderful
achieved more easily when you console yourself with the idea that places to explore, if they’ll let you in; the rules of access vary
perhaps punting was never meant to be done well. The point is to from college to college and season to season, although you can
drift (keeping to the right, of course) with languorous unconcern, always behave as if you have a perfect right to walk wherever
admiring the beautiful college gardens and architecture, while you like and see what happens.
disguising incompetence as abstraction and reverie.
URBAN ADVENTURES011 Jingle them bells: Lincoln’s Christmas market
LINCOLN For four days in early December a quarter of a million band of elves, but without his reindeer, who – as everyone knows
visitors descend on the handsome cathedral city of Lincoln to – have to rest up in early December.
enjoy its famous Christmas Market. From modest beginnings as The setting for the market is hard to beat, its fairy-lit stalls
a German-style traditional market with just eleven stalls, this clambering up the steep cobbled lanes that connect the newer
festive market has expanded to three hundred stalls, selling just part of Lincoln with the older part up above. Here, at the top
about everything seasonal you can think of – and then some. of the hill, the severe, stone walls of Lincoln Castle are on one
There are stalls selling photographs, paintings and ceramics, side, the cathedral, one of England’s most beautiful churches,
jewellery and hand-blown glass, candles and handmade wooden is on the other. Pop inside the church to peek at the town’s
toys, with many of the most distinctive items coming from mascot, the Lincoln Imp, a fnely carved little chap attached to a
Germany and Scandinavia. Nor is there any lack of things to eat column in the Angel Choir. No one took much notice of him until
and drink: chestnuts roast on charcoal fres, mulled wine steams the 1880s when a local jeweller, James Ward Usher, devised a
in giant vats and whopping German sausages turn golden brown. legend and then, with real entrepreneurial fair, sold the trinkets
In the background, carol singers, dressed in Victorian costume, to match. Usher’s tale had a couple of imps hopping around the
entertain the crowd, as does the brass band. And then there’s cathedral, until one of them is turned to stone for trying to talk
the Ferris wheel, the largest of several fairground rides. Father to the angels carved into the roof of the Angel Choir. His chum
Christmas gets in the act too, venturing out from the North Pole to made a hasty exit on the back of a witch, but the wind is still
sit himself by the fre in the Judge’s Lodgings along with his merry supposed to haunt the cathedral awaiting their return.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN012 Touring the Houses of Parliament
LONDON It’s so small. That’s what most people say when they For Joe or Jo Public, who knows that he or she will never be
enter the chamber of the House of Commons. It’s as if the heart elected as an MP (or, indeed elevated to the Lords), there’s a
of the British parliamentary system and the cradle of modern satisfying sense of getting at something that’s usually
ofdemocracy should be epic in scale. In fact, it isn’t even big enough limits. That feeling gets even more intense when you’re shown
to hold all the UK’s 650 Members of Parliament. the Queen’s gorgeously neo-Gothic robing room, or the Division
The chamber is grand, however, and on tour days Lobbies, either side of the Commons chamber, where MPs
(Saturdays and most weekdays during Parliamentary line up before getting their vote counted. The walls are lined
recesses) it resonates with hushed importance. The ribbed, with bound copies of the parliamentary archives, with an old
green-leather benches – which you’re strictly told must never phone directory lurking haphazardly in a corner, some bills and
be sat upon – step up from the green-carpeted foor. The posters announcing committee activities on notice boards, and
two sides of the house are divided by thick red lines that, a sign in old-fashioned script announcing, “All demonstrations
it’s said, are two swords’ length apart. Above, ornamented by strangers in the gallery are out of order”.
wooden galleries rise steeply towards a faux-medieval roof. There’s a surprise at the end of the 90-minute tour: the huge,
The chamber of the House of Lords, just down the hall, is medieval Westminster Hall. Its astonishing, lofty timber roof
more sumptuous still, with its red, buttoned-leather benches has presided over everything from coronation banquets to
and utterly resplendent gold throne, which is used by the the trials of Guy Fawkes and Charles I and, while the Hall isn’t
Queen on the one day in the year when she’s allowed in: for now used for anything of real governmental importance, it is
the State opening. breathtakingly, humblingly vast.
URBAN ADVENTURES013 Walking the walled city of Chester
CHESHIRE People fock to Chester from throughout the northwest after a thirteenth-century fre devastated the city. A few of
for serious retail therapy, for the glitz of Browns department store the galleries you see today are Tudor, though many are highly
and the Grosvenor Hotel, the grande dame of luxury in these convincing Victorian reproductions. Either way, while chain
parts. But beyond these genteel modern attractions you can stores predominate on ground level, a walk up the steep steps
also discover some seriously impressive history dating back to to the Rows brings you a fne array of one-of, family-run stores
Chester’s foundation as the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix. From selling everything from antique jewellery to gourmet cofee
the amphitheatre to its Tudor-fronted pubs and the ancient River beans. Be sure to check out Lowe & Sons, the silversmiths, and
Dee, Chester has mastered the art of nurturing its glorious past. the Scented Garden spa, both on the Rows above Bridge Street
The Roman city walls are in remarkably good condition – – both bespoke gems, one ancient, one contemporary.
two miles of walkways, peppered with turrets, towers and The city’s Roman amphitheatre is reputed to be the largest in
gateways that take no more than an hour to wander. From the the countr y, and was the closest Chester had to a theatre, before
western stretch, there’s an exceptional view of the Roodee – Storyhouse opened in 2017. Only half of it has been excavated,
the oldest horse-racing venue in the country. But whatever you though there’s more than enough uncovered to get a sense
do, don’t be fooled by locals who tell you that it’s legal to shoot of what it must have been like during one of the cockfghts,
a Welshman with a bow and arrow from the walls on a Sunday – military drills or gladiatorial combats that took place here in
this arcane bylaw was fnally repealed in the 1970s. the frst century. There’s nothing nearly so bloodthirsty here
A later addition to Chester’s cityscape is the Rows, a now, though occasional outdoor summer concerts make sure
unique second storey of arcades on all four of the main that, far from being neglected, Chester keeps the incredible
shopping streets, which were frst constructed sometime legacy of its past very much alive.
014 Seeking out hidden Oxford
OXFORD Oxford has some truly grand vistas: the college-lined Magdalen College is best known for its magnifcent chapel
curve of The High; the generous piazza of Broad Street, overlooked (where the professional-standard choir sings evensong, daily),
by the Bodleian Library and the classic student pub, the King’s but its treasures are the deer park and water meadows – and
Arms; the tree-lined avenues leading across the grassy fats of to get to them you have to bypass the chapel, traverse the
Christchurch Meadow to the river. hushed Cloister and cross a small stream. The confusingly
Oxford’s fnest moments, however, need seeking out. The dome ancient New College (which has another superb choir), hides
of its centrepiece library, the honey-coloured Radclife Camera, its arcaded medieval cloisters at the end of a passage leading
rises out of a plaza that is virtually walled in by forbiddingly of Front Quad – and to get there, you have to pass through the
machicolated ranks of colleges and libraries. Approaching from disconcertingly fortress-like New College Lane Gate.
the west, and college-crowded Turl Street, you squeeze down Even the best pubs are hidden away, in Oxford. The Turf,
Brasenose Lane between the ranks of student bicycles. From with its courtyard gardens and absurdly low-ceilinged bars, is
the north, it’s best to approach via the gargoyle-watched gates buried in a warren of backstreets behind New College’s ancient
of the Sheldonian Theatre, then duck through the passageways tower. The Bear, a cosily ancient pocket pub, lurks at the end
and hushed courtyard of the Bodleian Library. From The High (as of Alfred Street, among the cobbled lanes that surround Oriel
Oxonians call the High Street), the most atmospheric route is via College. And The White Horse, though bang in the middle of
the winding, palpably medieval Queen’s Lane, passing between Broad Street, is so tiny that you could be forgiven for missing
high, blank walls, then under the so-called Bridge of Sighs. it altogether.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN015 Gazing over Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat
EDINBURGH New York has Central Park; London wouldn’t be The 820ft crest of Arthur’s Seat itself is easier on the inner
London without the Serpentine and Speakers’ Corner; but no city ear, though the 360-degree panoramas are just as breathtaking.
save Edinburgh sits cheek-by-jowl with an urban wilderness quite The climate is gentler and crowds thinner – often non-existent
like Arthur’s Seat. An ice-age relic ringed by an asphalt moat, this – down in the lee of the peak, at the bottom of glorious,
glaciercluster of green slopes and sheer rock has served as the city’s scoured slopes lined by young trees and ravishingly scented
lungs since the days when belching chimneys earned the place its gorse; sit on the right stone at the right angle, and not a trace of
smoky sobriquet, “Auld Reekie”. Edinburgh’s skyline is visible: the ultimate urban escape.
With the smog clouds long dispersed, views from the basalt eyries From here it’s an easy meander over the lower fanks and
of Salisbury Crags on the massif’s eastern fank are intoxicating, down a stone stairway to Duddingston village, a venerable
arcing across the New Town’s genteel cobbles and across the Forth enclave guarded by a twelfth-century church and home to
estuary to Fife. Shorten the angle of your gaze, if you dare, and the Scotland’s oldest pub, The Sheep Heid Inn. It certainly feels
architectural incongruity of the Scottish Parliament just across ancient, its atmosphere enriched by fraying tomes, a roaring
the road swims into view; shorten it further and you risk inducing fre and the ghosts of those who’ve drunk here before, regulars
vertigo. Not for nothing are there crimson-trimmed triangles warning like James VI and Mary Queen of Scots, not to mention Bonnie
of falling rocks while, further up the crag’s dizzying crescent, Prince Charlie. None of them, alas, can have enjoyed a
posthelmeted climbers limber up for something scarier. hike pint quite as satisfying as a Sheep Heid Guinness.
016 The Imperial War Museum North
MANCHESTER Plenty of museums teach you things, but not many about war as it is, as they experienced it. Their testimonies
museums make you feel something. At the Imperial War Museum are personal, harrowing and disturbing. Some visitors are
in Manchester there are no dusty weapon displays, no dioramas merely impressed, some are shocked and some even weep, but
of glorious battles with toy soldiers, no bullet-ridden fags and no everyone speaks a little more softly afterwards.
regimental histories. Of the three presentations (they rotate through the day),
What makes this museum really diferent is the Big Picture. Weapons of War is the most detailed, showing not just how
There’s no need to look for the theatre – the whole museum weapons have been manufactured over the last hundred years
becomes one. Every hour, the museum galleries are transformed or so, but how they were used – how their victims experienced
by a series of audiovisual shows, hypnotic presentations that and feared them, the part you never hear about on the news. The
explore the impact of war on people and society. As the lights War at Home focuses on the homefront in World War II, the story
dim in the main exhibition hall, everyone shufes to a halt while of how the British public kept going despite the threat of bombs,
images begin to splash over the tanks and guns, the walls, foors rations and terrible loss. Finally, and perhaps the most poignant
and even the ceiling, and voices boom out of the darkness. The of all, is Children and War, which explores the experience of
images and stories, told by real people, are often very moving. children in Britain and Germany during World War II, contrasting
This is not a history of great battles, victorious generals and that with experiences of war up to the present day. You don’t need
grand armies. You’ll hear soldiers, civilians and observers talk a degree in history to appreciate any of this – just an open mind.
URBAN ADVENTURES017 Unearthing Edinburgh’s spooky side
EDINBURGH “Who indeed that has once seen Edinburgh,” These tours have their fair share of scares, but if you are
wrote Charlotte Brontë, “but must see it again in dreams waking after a truly terrifying experience head to the Edinburgh
or sleeping?” And, perhaps, in nightmares too, for Edinburgh – Vaults. Situated beneath an arch of the South Bridge, this
although forever associated with the rationality of the sciences, labyrinth of eighteenth-century tunnels originally housed
philosophy and medicine – is also steeped in the supernatural. taverns, tradesmen and – reportedly – the victims of notorious
This duality is expressed most famously in The Strange Case Edinburgh serial killers Burke and Hare. As conditions declined,
of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. One of his the businesses were replaced by the city’s poorest citizens,
inspirations was Deacon Brodie, who lived in Edinburgh during before the atrocious surroundings forced even them to depart.
the seventeenth century, spending his days as a respectable These dark, dank and often claustrophobic vaults are now
businessman and his nights as a thief and murderer. The tale the site of overnight “vigils” where intrepid visitors are led by
of Deacon Brodie is told on the many night-time walking tours guides equipped with “ghost-hunting equipment” in search
of Edinburgh that explore the city’s dark side. These ghost of paranormal activity. Frequently they fnd what they are
tours take place in the atmospheric Old Town, which is flled looking for: small children have been sighted; people have
with dramatic Reformation-era architecture, cobbled streets, reported being grabbed; strange smells, lights and sounds
forbidding buildings, churches and graveyards. The charismatic have appeared; and torches and cameras have suddenly failed.
and theatrical guides tell the tales of Auld Reekie’s murderers, Before you head into the vaults, however, one piece of advice:
plague victims, witches and ghouls, as well as the city’s be sure to take a good look at your guide – an apparition named
nineteenth-century bodysnatchers, who would steal the corpses “The Watcher” has been spotted on several occasions and has
of the recently departed and sell them to local medical schools. been mistaken for a guide by some unfortunate visitors.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN018 Enlightenment at the British Museum
LONDON With three full miles of objects produced by the world’s own magpie instincts. Between high glass cases lined with
greatest civilizations, the British Museum is nothing if not wonderful old tomes – from Burnes’ Travels into Bokhar tao
daunting. And from the ancient unknowability of a 13,000-year-old Boswell’s Account of Corsica – you can see a hummingbird’s
carved mammoth tusk to the dazzling modern lines of Lord Foster’s nest found during one of Captain Cook’s voyages, fossils once
Great Court, it can on occasion be, well, just a little too much. believed to be the devil’s toenails, and compounds of ground
Thank goodness, then, for the Enlightenment Room where, mummies’ fngers, used by Sir Hans Sloane, the
physicianas the library of George III, the British Museum began its collector who founded the museum, to treat bruises. You’ll
days. With its warm parquet fooring and elegant Neoclassical also fnd a distressed-looking “merman” (in fact a withered
lines, this reassuringly old-fashioned – and gratifyingly monkey’s head sewn onto a fsh tail), Mesopotamian clay
quiet – space has an immediately soothing efect. Themed bricks inscribed for the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II
displays ofer a whistlestop tour (actual tours are daily at and an exquisite Roman mosaic of writhing sea life. You can
12.30pm) through not only the museum’s collection, but peruse a shopping list, written on limestone, from Thebes
also the impulses that led to the collection; the lofty ideals (1100 BC) and read ancient Egyptian poetry complete with the
of the great age of Enlightenment, with its compulsion to scribe’s editorial corrections. You can even touch a copy of the
acquire, classify and understand the world. There are no Rosetta Stone, which is a surprising thrill.
towering Egyptian gods or perfectly hewn Assyrian reliefs Taken back to seeing as those early collectors did, with fresh
here, no colossal Greek statues peering down at you through and curious eyes, you are restored, ready to battle through the
the centuries. Instead you can browse themed cabinets of crowds in the other, better-known rooms of the museum. Better
curiosities and treasures, following either a reasoned enquiry, still, you might even fnd yourself ready to discover the world,
aided (very Enlightenment-style) by succinct captions, or your and the endless scope of human achievement, anew.
URBAN ADVENTURES019 Secret symbolism in the buildings of Bath
BATH Blanketed in soft, honey-coloured stone, Bath is one of buildings’ details themselves. The spectacular carved frieze
the most beautiful cities in England. But it wasn’t always thus. that runs around the entire length of the Circus is decorated
Its transformation from a seasonal resort of just two thousand with over fve hundred emblems: look out for compasses (a
people in 1700 was thanks largely to the work of two architects: feature of the Freemason’s shield), the moon and sun (classic
John Wood the Elder, a Freemason whose set-piece designs are Masonic images when given faces, as they are here) and
studded with symbology and built using the geometric rules of “circular” snakes – known as Ouroboros, the snake devouring
pagan Britons; and his son, John Wood the Younger. its own tail represents eternity and is found on numerous
The Circus, considered by many to be Wood the Elder’s fnest Masonic seals.
work, forms a tight perimeter of magnifcent townhouses at If the Circus is the sun, then you need only walk a few
the top of Bath. Taking the shape of a circle, an ancient sacred hundred metres to fnd the moon, Wood the Younger’s Royal
symbol – Wood wrote that, “the works of the Divine Architect Crescent, a grand arc just to the west, and the earth, Queen
tend to a circular form”– it has a much smaller inner ring, Square, south along Gay Street, designed by his father. Queen
where trees now grow; a circle with a central dot is historically Square’s sides measure 316ft (again, just like Stonehenge), and
associated with sun worship. More intriguing, however, is that at its centre stands an obelisk, another Freemason favourite.
the diameter of the Circus is exactly the same (316ft) as the But the most striking symbology of all is invisible at ground
diameter of the stone circles both at Stonehenge and at nearby level – when viewed from the air the Circus, Queens Square and
Stanton Drew. Draw three lines connecting the three points Gay Street form the shape of a key, a Masonic symbol indicating
of entry into the Circus and you get a triangle within a circle knowledge that should be kept secret (you can get a bird’s-eye
– for Freemasons, the representation of the Trinity in Eternity. view of their layout from the replica model at the Museum of
Masonic symbology, however, is far more evident in the Bath Architecture). The question is: what was their secret?
020 Getting on track at a velodrome
STRATFORD, MANCHESTER, GLASGOW, NEWPORT Great you might, if you’re competent and confdent enough, be whizzing
Britain is considered one of the world’s leading cycling nations and along like the professionals at an angle approaching 42.5 degrees
the track team have dominated in recent world championships, – more-or-less horizontal and utterly thrilling.
Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. If you think you’ve got The National Cycling Centre at Manchester is home to the
the pace to tackle one of the fastest indoor tracks in the world, beating heart of British cycling. It’s here that the sport’s national
book an introduction to track cycling at velodromes in Stratford, government body and entire GB team operate from, including
Manchester, Glasgow or Newport. Novices learn how to stop and British cycling golden couple Jason Kenny CBE and Laura Kenny
start on a fxed gear bike and need to be signed of before taking (née Trott) CBE. However, indoor velodromes across Britain
part in race training sessions. Safety is paramount as cyclists host high-profle events, including the 2014 Commonwealth
spin along the steeply banked racing track at up to 60mph, often Games in Glasgow, at the velodrome named for Sir Chris Hoy,
tucked just inches behind the rider in front. After an initial spot of and the 2012 Olympics in London’s Stratford 6,000-seat arena.
equipment checking, you’re talked through the basics and start by The National Stadium in Wales has its own home-grown hero
wobbling along on the fat for a couple of laps. Then you’re taught and was renamed for Geraint Thomas, in 2018. If two-wheeled
another set of skills and inch your way up on to the banks lower high-speed horizontal laps all sound a little too much, it’s also
slopes, and so on until by the end of the (oh so brief) 60 minutes, possible to take a guided tour or book a seat as a spectator.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAINURBAN ADVENTURES021
Alternative culture in Camden Town
LONDON This northwest London neighbourhood has long since
been a stomping ground for an eclectic group of artists, musicians
and writers, from Charles Dickens to Amy Winehouse. Its current
incarnation as a cool place to shop, eat and drink came about in
the early 1970s when some friends bought a run-down timber yard
next to twin locks on the Regent’s Canal. Camden Lock Market
was developed as a small arts and crafts fair and Dingwalls Dance
Hall was launched – emerging bands The Clash, The Sex Pistols,
The Stranglers and Blondie are all legendary performers from the
seventies.
Camden Town’s grungy punk rock legacy is still tangible,
despite the best attempts by big business to gentrify the
area (the old lock keeper’s cottage is now, you’ve guessed it,
a Starbucks). Its markets, which are strung along the single
thoroughfare of Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road,
are still the neighbourhood’s life blood: more than 100,000
shoppers show up to Camden Lock, Stables and Buck Street
markets each weekend to browse the independent fashion,
jewellery and New Age stores and stalls (fuoro trance music HQ,
Cyberdog, is a crowd favourite), and eat at one of the hundreds
of outstanding international street food vendors.
Markets aside, Camden Town’s hidden vinyl, vintage and
charity shops are well worth seeking out, and Regent’s Canal ofers
the chance to stroll the towpath or jump aboard a narrowboat
along a pretty stretch to Little Venice (passing by London Zoo).
But, when evening falls, it’s all about Camden’s longstanding
pubs and live music venues. Neighbourhood institutions –
birthplaces of Britpop, British Rock ‘n’ Roll and psychedelia –
include KOKO, Roundhouse, Electric Ballroom, Dublin Castle and
Camden Assembly (formerly Barfy). Camden’s thriving music
scene is edgy, exciting and a great place to pay homage to your
musical heroes. Just don’t loiter too long around Camden Town
underground station, which is a petty crime hotspot.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAINURBAN ADVENTURES022 Swimming in an urban lido
LONDON, CHELTENHAM, BRISTOL, PLYMOUTH Taking a including reducing stress and boosting the immune system)
dip in an outdoor lido is a cherished British tradition that’s seen has seen a resurgence in swimmers wanting to connect to the
a resurgence with the growing popularity of wild swimming, great outdoors – but in a safe environment. City dwellers in
a passion that some attribute to Robert Deakin’s 1999 book particular have taken lidos to their hearts and London is awash
Waterlog: A swimmer’s journey through Britain. In Waterlog, with charming outdoor swimming holes, some seasonal, but a
Deakin swam the lakes, rivers and lidos from the Isles of Scilly handful that stay open year-round. Winter swimmers cherish
to the tip of Scotland; he wrote that, “Lidos are to swimming the heated lidos at Charlton and London Fields, but the hardiest
pools as lingerie is to underwear. Their outrageous fountains and take a dip at Brockwell, Tooting Bec or Parliament Hill, where
curvaceous terraces celebrate the exuberant beauty of the water temperatures drop to an unforgiving 2 or 3 degrees Celsius
they frame, so that a special sense of freedom comes over you (neoprene and starting with just a length is recommended).
when you stand poised to plunge in.” Outside the capital, some of the most spectacular urban lidos
In cities and seaside towns up and down the country, local are found in Cheltenham, Bristol and Plymouth. Cheltenham and
campaigners battle to restore and reopen faded Art Deco lidos Plymouth are Grade II listed Art Deco beauties – Cheltenham’s
and modest open-air community pools, many of which have lido is set in landscaped Sandford Park and Plymouth’s Tinside
been crumbling for decades. In the 60s and 70s, cheap foreign overlooks the sea at the tip of Plymouth Hoe. Bristol’s lido was
holidays in warmer climes and indoor leisure centres left lidos originally a Victorian swimming pool (1850) and it’s nestled in
out in the cold. But today, a renewed interest in pushing the historic Clifton.
boundaries of our comfort zones and a nod to mindfulness and Wherever the lido and whatever the weather, come on in, the
health (cold water swimming is said to have myriad benefts water’s lovely.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN023 Spotting deer in Richmond Park
LONDON Richmond Park was established by Charles I in the given – the herds move freely and are often found deep in the
seventeenth century and at enclosure the park was thought to park – but it’s all the more exciting when you do catch sight of
have some 1500 deer – the majority of the boundary wall is still a group. Top tip: You can tell the breeds apart, as the fallow
the same red-brick (now Grade II listed). Three times the size deer are generally smaller, with white spots on their back.
of New York’s Central Park, it takes 2–3 hours to walk the main Keep a long lens on your camera, or carry a pair of binoculars,
perimeter trail, but endless trails zig zag the hills, grasslands and as you should always keep at least 50m from the deer. This
woodland gardens of the interior. Ancient trees include some of is particularly important in autumn during rutting (breeding)
the oldest oak trees in London – near the gate entrance at the top season when gratuitously antlered roaring red stags and fallow
of Richmond Hill, one oak is thought to be 800 years old. But above bucks compete for females, as well as in May, June and July,
all, Richmond Park is a deer park. when mothers will be protective of their skittish fawns. The
The grazing herds of 330 Fallow deer (Dama dama) and tussocky wet grassland of Pond Slade in the west of the park
300 Red deer (Cervus elaphus) are integral to the ecology of is a hotly contested area, and rutting activity is often intense
park and careful management harmonises their impact on here just after dawn.
the landscape. Management includes culling of females in Hand feeding the deer is frowned upon – no matter the
November and males in February, with the intention to keep a Instagram likes – and touching young deer may cause them to
sex ratio of 2 males to 5 females. Spotting them isn’t always a be abandoned.
URBAN ADVENTURESMAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN024 Views of Clifton suspension bridge
BRISTOL A symbol of British ambition and ingenuity, Clifton the Clifton bank, where steamers used to take passengers on
Suspension Bridge was originally designed for horse drawn daytrips to Newport in Wales. The bridge sways in the wind and
carriages, but in the twenty-frst century is ft for use for up to if you look up, you’ll see the wrought iron chains vibrating. If
10,000 vehicles a day. 33 years in the making, this stunning feat of you can, time your visit for three in the afternoon on weekends
engineering opened to great excitement in 1864. Spanning the River or bank holidays and join a guided tour (no need to book). It’s
Avon and the sheer, exposed rock of Avon Gorge, the bridge crosses also possible to organise a hard hat underground tour of Leigh
from Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. On the tower closest Woods Vaults, the deep hollow chambers discovered in 2002
to the woods, you can read SUSPENSA VIX VIA FIT, a Latin inscription inside the stone foundations that support the bridge’s towers.
that translates as, “A suspended way made with difculty”. Views of the bridge are as stirring as views from it, and
Crossing on foot through the old turnstile is free, but cars it’s worth taking one of the footpaths that meander up to
pay a £1 toll at one of two toll booths (modern innovation means Clifton Observatory – the café on the roof has an unbeatable
that contactless cards are accepted). The bridge is 75m (245ft) perspective. After dark the best view is, happily, from a pub.
above river level – the bridge had to be high to give clearance Head to the White Lion at Avon Gorge Hotel and sit on the terrace
for shipping – and you can look down over the old jetties on with a drink in hand to see the bridge lit up against the night sky.
025 Gigging in Glasgow
GLASGOW Pop stars, travelling from coach to bar and from plane Opened in the 1930s as a ballroom, the Barrowland was the
to arena, are notoriously oblivious about the city they happen hunting ground of the killer known as “Bible John” in the late
to be performing in. There are countless stories of frontmen sixties. It’s still a fairly rough-and-ready place – the Barras
bellowing “Hello, Detroit!” when they’re actually in Toronto. But market is just outside, and its location in the Celtic heartland of
some places have a genuine buzz about them. London is fne, but Glasgow’s East End makes it a favoured venue for rambunctious
all too often its crowds sit back and wait to be impressed. If you traditional bands. Shane McGowan’s been there, drinking lurid
want real passion, vibrant venues and bands who really play out of cocktails, his slurred vocals drowned out by a roaring crowd. So
their skin, Glasgow is where it’s at. have Keane, fushed with early success and looking bemused at
Scotland’s biggest city has an alternative rock pedigree that the small fghts that broke out near the front at their performance.
few can match. Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, the Jesus & Of course, most gigs fnish without the drama getting violent.
Mary Chain, Simple Minds, Snow Patrol and Belle & Sebastian With a 2000-person capacity that’s atmospheric but intimate,
have all sprung from a city that Time magazine has described and without any seats or barriers to get in the way of the music
as Europe’s “secret capital” of rock music. Its gig scene, which or the pogoing, the Barrowland is a wonderful place to see a live
stretches from gritty pubs to arty student haunts, marvellous performance, full of energy and expectation. You could have
church halls to cavernous arenas, is enthusiastic, vociferous witnessed PJ Harvey transfx the crowd, the Streets provoke
and utterly magnetic. Nice ’N’ Sleazy and King Tut’s Wah Wah wall-to-wall grins, the Mars Volta prompt walkouts, Leftfeld fll
Hut (where Alan McGee frst spotted Oasis) are legendary in the space with spine-shaking bass and The Libertines perform
their own right, but if one venue really defnes the city, it’s the their epic, edgy, reunion gig. This is the stuf of music legend.
Barrowland Ballroom. Head to the Barrowland and be part of it.
URBAN ADVENTURES026 Walking London’s hidden highways
LONDON Go to Venice or Amsterdam, and you can hardly cross It’s not all idyllic: for every lovely patch of reeds of or drifting
a street without tumbling into a canal. In London, you have to duck, there’s a bobbing beer can or the unmistakable judder of
dig deeper. The Regent’s Canal stretches from chichi Maida Vale trafc. Stroll the busier stretches on a summer Sunday, when
to Thames-side Limehouse, cutting past London Zoo’s aviaries, the walkers, cyclists and barges are out, and the canal can feel
Camden’s pop kids, Islington restaurants and Hackney high- more like a major thoroughfare than an escape route. But this is
rises on its way. Built in the early nineteenth century to connect a dynamic, breathing space: its energy is what makes it so vital,
London’s docks with the grand Union Canal to Birmingham, its and makes the moments of quiet feel so special.
trafc was almost entirely lost to truck and rail by the 1950s. There are countless highlights: the spire of St Pancras
Now (mostly) cleaned up, the canal and its tributaries station, soaring over a surprisingly secluded corner near
feel like a wonderfully novel way to delve into a compelling, revitalized King’s Cross; Mile End’s picturesque nature reserve;
overexposed city. That’s in part down to its submerged nature: and the bridges and wharfs that connect Limehouse to the Isle
much of its length is below street level, hidden by overgrown of Dogs. The poet Paul Verlaine thought the isle’s vast docks
banks. Spend time by the water’s edge and you feel utterly and warehouses classical in their majesty, calling them,
removed from the road and rail bridges above. When the route “astonishing...Tyre and Carthage all rolled in to one”. Turned
rises up or spews you back onto the street momentarily, you into smart apartments or left to crumble, they are no longer
catch a brief glimpse of people seemingly oblivious to the the heartbeat of an industrial nation, but with their forgotten
green serpent that stretches across their city. corners and fascinating history, they still feel magical.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAINNeed to know
001 Note that admission to the West Cem- 011 There’s no parking near the Christmas mation about the Museum of Bath Architec -
etery is by guided tour only. See Whighgate- Market; use the park-and-ride. See Wlincoln- ture, see Wmuseumofbatharchitecture.org.
cemetery.org for details. Map 1, F3 christmasmarket.co.uk. Map 3, D11 uk. Map 2, C6
002 For Newcastle listings see Wthecrack 012 Tickets can be bought at Wseetickets. 020 National Cycling Centre, Manchester
magazine.com. Map 4, E16 com or see Wparliament.uk. Map 1, D4 (W n ation al cy c lin g c entr e.c om); L ee V al l ey
003 See Wspinnakertower.co.uk. Map 2, D7 013 The city walls and Roman amphitheatre VeloPark, Stratford (Wvisitleevalley.org.uk);
004 Manchester has three main train sta- are free and open 24 hours a day. See Wvisit Emirates Chris Hoy Stadium (Wemirates
tions, the main one being Piccadilly, from cheshire.com/chester. Map 3, B11 arena.co.uk); Geraint Thomas National
Velowhere it’s a short walk into the city centre. 014 Choral evensong is sung on Mon, Tues, drome of Wales (Wnewportlive.co.uk). Map
For information on Manchester’s markets Fri & Sat at 6.15pm, Sun 5.45pm (New) 1, F4; Map 2, C6; Map 3, C10; Map 4, C14
visit Wmanchestermarkets.com. Map 3, C10 Mon– Sat at 6pm (Magdalen). Map 2, D5 021 For what’s on in Camden see Wlove
005 The Birmingham and Black Country 015 Maps and leafets available from Ho- c amden.org; for Camden Market see
Cycleway begins at the Gas Street Basin, a lyrood Lodge Information Centre, next to Wcamden market.com. Map 1, C1
10min walk from New Street train station, Scottish Parliament. See Wvisitscotland. 022 See Wwildswim.com or Woutdoor
and ends in the centre of Wolverhampton, com, Wthesheepheidedinburgh.co.uk. Map swimming society.com. Map 1, F4; Map 2,
close to the train station. See Wcanalriver 4, D14 B7, C6 & D5
trust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/cycling. 016 Entry to the museum is free. See Wiwm. 023 Pedestrian gates are open 24 hours
(exMap 3, C12 org.uk. Map 3, C10 cept during culling) and entrance to the park
006 DLR trains run every 5–10min. See Wtf. 017 Mercat Tours is one of several compa- is free. See Wroyalparks.co.uk. Map 1, E4
gov.uk. Map 1, F4 nies that run daily (and nightly) ghost tours. 024 See Wcliftonbridge.org.uk. Map 2, C6
007 See Wdukeshotel.com. Map 1, C3 See Wmercattours.com. Map 4, D14 025 See Wbarrowland-ballroom.co.uk. Map
008 See Wrspb.org.uk. Map 2, E7 018 Entrance to the British Museum is free. 4, C14
009 See Wturkishbathsharrogate.co.uk. See Wbritishmuseum.org. Map 1, D2 026 See Wcanalrivertrustorg.uk. Map 1, D1
Map 3, C10 019 Queen Square, the Circus and the Royal
010 See Wvisitcambridge.org. Map 3, E12 Crescent are in Bath’s Upper Town. For infor -
URBAN ADVENTURESMAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAINHOUSES, CASTLES
AND GARDENS
027–052
There’s a British obsession with the
concept of home that’s hard to explain
to visitors, and harder still to explain to
ourselves. We cherish our privacy, pull up
the drawbridges, pour our personalities
into our houses and lovingly tend our
gardens – and then for pleasure like
nothing better than to poke around
someone else’s house and garden, great
or small. This ongoing fascination with
seeing how the other half lives powers
much of the house-and-garden industry,
whether it’s marvelling at the theatrical
opulence of a royal palace or – at the
other extreme – imagining life in a
Victorian back-to-back.
HOUSES, CASTLES AND GARDENS027 Dennis Severs’ House
LONDON When sitting idly at home, do you ever try to picture As you explore, the spaces – both temporal and mental –
who has lived there before you? Dennis Severs did. In fact, his between you and your surroundings seem to dissipate. In the
imagination gripped him so powerfully that, when he bought a kitchen, a teacake browns in front of the crackling fre; lulled
run-down eighteenth-century house on a narrow, cobbled street by the warmth, the house cat curls contentedly on a chair. In
in London’s East End, he re-created a living image of its Georgian the parlour the rich aroma of bubbling gravy flls the air, and
and Victorian pasts, furnished and ornamented in meticulous a half-eaten pomegranate and almost-drained glass of claret
period detail, and flled it with a cast of fctional characters. He sit abandoned on the table; did you interrupt Mr Jervis’s meal?
then opened it to guests, inviting them to partake in a unique In another room, a Hogarthian tableau – the aftermath of a
theatrical experience. drinking party – is re-created: the punch bowl is empty, chairs
Stepping across the threshold of 18 Folgate St is like passing are overturned, tobacco strewn across the table. You’re rather
through a picture-frame into a painting. As your eye readjusts to sorry you missed it.
the candlelit gloom, your nostrils to the burning tallow, and you Wandering in mesmerized silence, you’ll feel as though
move through the shadows across the hall’s creaking foorboards, you’re taking part in a story – of which Dennis himself, though
it becomes obvious that this is no museum. A dark-clad, slightly long dead, is the narrator. Playful, cryptic notes, artfully left
sinister gentleman introduces “the game” that’s about to unfold: on sideboards and mantelpieces, encourage you to take part in
the house’s owners, the Jervises, a family of Huguenot master this “adventure of the imagination”. And as imagination takes
silk-weavers, have departed suddenly, moments before your over, you become as much a part of this otherworldly house as
arrival. You’re about to be immersed in their world. the Jervises themselves.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN028 A glimpse of Eden
CORNWALL Whichever way you consider it, the Eden Project humidity at 60 percent; a tumbling cascade powered by
is extraordinary. For one, it’s an amazing sight – its futuristic recycled water adds to the efect. It’s interesting to see acai and
bio-domes seemingly submerged in the earth, a fash of rubber trees up close, but equally fascinating to learn about
postmodernism in the Cornish countryside. Second, its the many uses tropical species can be put to. Did you know, for
construction was unthinkable – built in a 197ft-deep disused clay example, that pineapples are used to make cloth and cashews
pit, it required 1.8 million tonnes of debris to be shifted and 83,000 to make brake pads? All the more sobering, then, to discover
tonnes of soil to be created out of mineral waste from the mines. that an area of rainforest equal in size to the dome is destroyed
And its aims, to showcase the richness of the world’s natural every ten seconds.
environments and educate visitors in the properties of plants and As well as the biomes, the Eden Project also has an education
how to live more sustainably, has been a runaway success. and arts hub called The Core – with flms, school workshops
The stars of the show are the two indoor “biomes” – the and exhibitions on the importance of plants – and a stage that
geodesic domes in which the climates of the Mediterranean hosts theatre, comedy and live music. The Eden Sessions, a
and rainforest are re-created. The former is scattered with series of one-day music festivals, pulls in big names from Martha
olive, citrus, fg and peach trees, lending the air a rich favour Wainwright to Mika. Eden really does have something for everyone
of the South; Californian and Cape species get a look in too. – and its mission, to make us more respectful of our environment,
In the rainforest biome, automated misters keep the daytime is an increasingly critical one for everyone to grasp.
HOUSES, CASTLES AND GARDENS029 Aberglasney Gardens
CARMARTHENSHIRE Aberglasney’s horticultural curators immediately west of the mansion, digging down through the
describe it as “a garden lost in time”. It’s a romantic image for a centuries to discover a formal garden dating back to late Tudor
site that is part stately mansion, part archeological dig. But the or early Stuart times. Even more astonishingly, coins dating
truth is not quite as tragic as the phrase suggests: while much has back to 1288 were found among the debris.
been lost, much has been found, too. Now that a re-creation of the early seventeenth-century
Once a grand Carmarthenshire estate, Aberglasney fell on layout is in place, you can wander the raised stone path that
hard times during the twentieth century and by the mid-1990s tops the cloister walls to admire its geometric lawns and think
the house was totally derelict: its windows empty sockets, yourself back to the grandeur of the era. In spring and autumn,
its masonry crumbling and its gardens choked with weeds. the grass is studded with fowering bulbs, a splash of colour
Just when it seemed doomed to collapse, a Restoration Trust that, at the time, would have seemed extremely exotic – and
stepped in, led by a team of experts who were determined to a sure-fre way to impress the most distinguished of visitors.
patch up the damage and perhaps reveal some of the glories On the south side of the house is another superb
of the past. The gardens were the main focus of their interest: development: the ruined masonry of an ancient courtyard
they were known to date back well over 500 years, making them has been shrouded in glass, creating a subtropical hothouse.
a perfect candidate for research. Their hunch has already paid Named the Ninfarium after the glorious Italian gardens of Ninfa,
of: little by little they have made some astonishing discoveries. there’s a Zen-like calm to its shady, orderly pathways. Healthy
One of the earliest revelations was a real breakthrough. palms reach high into the atrium, sheltering cycads, magnolias
Carefully, the team excavated the stone-walled cloisters and orchids, their petals as delicate as a cloud of butterfies.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN BRITAIN030 Peacocks and a parterre at Drummond Castle Gardens
PERTH & KINROSS The long beech-enclosed drive that leads to modern creation: the ornamental garden and the terracing
Drummond Castle has a sense of drama but gives no inkling of the were designed by Lewis Kennedy in the early nineteenth
exotic vision ahead. The Perthshire castle itself is a bluf medieval century. But the origins of the garden are much older – the frst
keep surrounded by turreted domestic buildings, all heavily Lord Drummond began building the castle in the late ffteenth
restored in the nineteenth century. You pass through a courtyard century, and there is evidence that the estate supplied cherries
to access a wide stone terrace, and the garden is suddenly to James IV in 1508 when he was on a hunting trip. The sundial
revealed: a symmetrical and stately Italianate vision in the shape created by Charles I’s master mason was put in place in 1630;
of Scotland’s fag, the St Andrew’s Cross. The lines of the cross in the following century the family was more preoccupied with
are punctuated by urns and Classical statues, and at their centre assisting the Jacobite uprising than pruning the roses, but
is a seventeenth-century obelisk sundial. It’s an artful garden in in calmer times in 1842 Queen Victoria planted two copper
every sense: steep steps lead down to the sundial, and beyond beeches here, and enjoyed walks in the garden with Albert.
the topiary and the neat fower beds a wide avenue cuts through It remains in feel very much a courtly garden. The paths seem
dense woodland, continuing the line of the parterre’s central path tailor- made for stately strolling, giving you the space and time
but making a visual connection between the formal garden and to admire the marble statuary, snooty peacocks and neatly
wider, wilder estate. clipped foliage. When you’ve explored the parterre, don’t miss
Although the garden conjures visions of an old French the abundant blooms in the glasshouses, and the impressive
chateau or Italian palazzo, in its current form it’s a relatively kitchen garden.
HOUSES, CASTLES AND GARDENS

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