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Tom's Big Fat UK Holiday Wiki.


[edit] Getting started

So… I've two weeks holiday in June. The plan is to see as much of the UK as possible and to meet some interesting people. Yes, this may be other people's Hell…

Click on the 'edit' tag to the right of the date, then type your stuff. I need ideas of where to go and a rough route plan.

Shift dates around so that I have to do the minimum of driving and so I can meet as many people as I can. Leave notes with your entries so that it's easy for people to move things around.

Think of it as my UK tour. T-shirts not included. Dates where there are no plans are *random* and I'll wander around depending on the flavour of my brain.

If you are feeling clever, or have edited Wikis before, feel free to leave links all over the place.

I fancy taking in the entirety of the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland. I'll even head over to Ireland if it's interesting enough and I have the time.

Please no revision wars or spam. It will make me sad, and angry, I will know your IP address and it will be like the end of the movie "Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back".

I finish work on the 15th of June at 14:30

This time make a note and remember that you are going on holiday!!!

[edit] Random Ideas Without a Date

  • Get rid of some stress, go paintballing or airsoft shooting. You have fun and if it's local you can invite your mates to come with you and relieve some of that EMT stress.

You should come to Pembrokeshire - "Little England beyond Wales" is the hidden jewel of the Principality. St davids cathedral, Pembroke Castle (birthplace of Henry VII) over forty fabulous beaches, beautiful rolling countryside and twenty two miles of coastal path. The night life is far from raucous but there are some good restaurants and some lovely pubs and friendly people and it's a great place to chill out. Lest you think I am a mole from the tourist board, I am a Mancunian who moved here a few years back - the converted always make the best zealots!

If you have an idea of somewhere to visit but don't want to specify a date then put it here, then Tom can move it around as he sees fit.

  • Just watch out, because if you do even 5% of the things we're suggesting then you're going to spend most of your holiday criss-crossing the country in your car, and have very little time to actually see anything!

Go to Northern Ireland. Start in Belfast, do the historical pubs walking tour, and a black taxi tour of the Falls and the Shankill. Then get the Antrim Coaster bus up round the coast to the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, Giants Causeway, and then get the wee train to Bushmills and do the Bushmills distillery tour. Then go on over to Derry and stay there for a few days - its the best place ever! You can get the Bus Eiran bus down to Donegal Town and have a mooch around tehre - ther's a boat trip in the harbour where you can see seals, and a castle and stuff. On the way back to the Uk, you can get the boat from Belfast to the Isle of Man and see that.

Are you sure you want to go around England with a report from today's news??!

  • Go way way back in time and visit the Isle of Wight. Lots of public transport, everybody is unfailingly polite, good availability of cream teas and ice creams and sand.
  • If you're going anywhere near stonehenge, then you should do Avebury. It's way cooler. The stones are bigger, the circle is bigger, you can walk right up and touch them, etc. Oh and they don't charge to get in either. The village is actually in the circle. There's a "museum" which will sell you a postcard or two, and a nice looking pub. From another reader: Absolutely go to the pub. Nice outdoor area to eat, and GREAT food.

If you do Avesbury there's also Lacock Abbey, Home of photography in the UK and used for period dramas and Harry Potter if memory serves. Tewkesbury Cathedral also good.

  • Ely is a very pretty town for walking along the river etc and supposedly has AMAZING stained glass but we weren't able to see it because the stupid BBC was filming in there and nobody else was allowed in. Grr.

I wouldn't go to Ely, there's bugger all there apart from the cathedral and the public transport is naff.

  • If you make it to Ely, why not travel a bit further North to Kings Lynn? A charming little market town and active port with loads of places of interest. Several of the scenes of BBC period dramas are filmed in the town due to the medieval architecture.

  • Alternatively near Ely there's Cambridge. The best way to see round it is by taking a punt on the river (with Pimms etc.) - if you did want to try this, I'd be happy to show you around, although it'd have to be during the second of your two weeks. Also, since Cambridge is only 45min from London by train, you might be better off using your time off further afield and trying this if you have a summer "weekend". Stumo Then of course you could pop out and vist the Old Vicarage at Grantchester and wonder if there's still honey for tea? or may be just pop into the Orchard Tea Rooms.
  • If you're coming up to the Secret Bunker, then you should come to St Andrews. The scenery/history is great, the weather is really rather good around this time, and the beaches are amazing. But I'm biased. The end of June is graduation, so it'll be fully booked, but before then it should be worth a visit.
  • You should try and visit Peak Cavern in the peak park, there's tons of things to do round there and this cavern is called the Devils Arse (childish I know but actually really cool)
  • Come and visit Folkestone, the highlights of this seaside town are the long since forgotten rotunda amusements, the dog muck filled beaches, the stunning serene calm evening entertainment provided in venues such as Indigo & The Beach and many more. Many nights I have spent wiling away the hours listening to Pedro and his Spanish guitar in the courtyard of Pipers. The area is very safe with police patrols at least twice an hour. You will be greeted with a smile in all of our high quality shopping stores such as Wilkinson, QS, Sportsworld and Pound Land. We have a university offering short courses as well, perhaps you could get your self booked on the 'Avoiding dangerous encounters in the evening' course, I hear its free.
  • South West Scotland is really nice and the weather is, perhaps bizarrely, usually quite warm and sunny. There are loads of castles and abbeys to visit - lovely driving scenery - beaches - plus lots of Robbie Burns connections. Plus, lots of local food and and farm shops - yum, sausages and smoked salmon.
    • Eh?! I spent the first 18 years of my life there and all i remember is rain! - Actually there are nice parts and some things to see but it's not the most exciting place, and rural dorset does the stereotypical rural idl a bit better.. and with more cider and less grumpy locals**

  • Hire a mountain bike at Glentress Forest, near Peebles, Scottish Borders - range of routes you can take through the forest from easy to hard - you get to enjoy the great outdoors and go really fast downhill if you're brave enough!!! [1]
  • If you're near Peebles, go the the Puppet Theatre [2]! and then since you're close to Edinburgh, the Royal College of Surgeons has a great museum with stuff in jars (and if you look keen, they sometimes take you into the stores... [3]
  • Something else near Edinburgh - North Berwick and Tantallon Castle. The Seabird Centre [4]in North Berwick has live remote-controlled cameras on the nearby islands, where you can see loads of seabirds. The puffins are there until early June (everyone's favourite), not to mention 100,000 gannets on the Bass Rock, the world's largest single-island gannet colony. You get some seriously close-up views with those cameras... (I worked there last summer). Even better on a nice day is Tantallon Castle [5] a couple of miles further down the road. It's a ruin but there's enough left that you can still climb up the staitcases to the top of the battlements. Amazing views, the castle is built in a defensive position with cliffs on 3 sides...
  • Sound mirrors on the coast as mentioned in the, er, Coast series. Seconded. If you do the ones on the south coast at Hythe & Denge, make some time to go to Dungeness too (especially if you're into photography).
  • If you like walking, the Cheviots near Hadrians wall are really nice.
  • West Wycombe Caves are worth a look. Also known as Hell-fire Caves, they're hand-dug chalk tunnels where bored aristocrats got up to all sorts of naughtiness. Close to London and they won't take even half a day, but they're difficult to beat for unusualness.--- and if you do, check out the Royal Standard of England pub for lunch.
  • Wherever you end up you might like to combine geek/tech with walking/cycling by trying geocaching. It isn't as dire as the linked website makes out, and it will take you to some amazing unexpected places. Can lend you a hand-held gps for your hols if you want to try it.
  • Enjoy a pint or two at the highest pub in the UK - the Tan Hill Inn at Swaledale - - and they have the highest free wi-fi access in the UK to keep the blog up to date!! Ideal if you're travelling North towards Northumberland / Scotland....
  • Ex Nuclear Bunker Why not visit this secret nuclear bunker in Essex? But shhh - it's a secret Not a bad idea, but I've spent a fair few nights there when we hired the place to play airsoft around. Reynolds
  • You should certainly visit the Ayrshire coast and the Electric Brae in particular... the scenery looking down to Culzean Castle is just phenomenal but the electric brae has to be seen to be believed (my mate works in the sweetie shop in the castle, talk nicely to her and she'll give free stuff!!)
  • This is a different secret bunker [6] which has a huge ammount of the original stuff in, almost too much to take in on one day but very interesting.
  • Coming from Sydney, Australia, last time I can to the U.K. I Left Heathrow by car and drove to the west coast of Wales and then up to Edinburgh only using roads of three numbers or more on them ie: A100 up. It was a wonderful trip seeing so much of the countryside and some very lovely small villlages and having many a wild nightin some very interesting pubs. I would say we spent 90% of our time on roads of three numbers
  • Go to Hay-on-Wye, but stop in Llanthony(The Half Moon Inn is good value) over the pass. A very old small pub, a runined abbey and the chance to go out walking the next day.
  • If you are in the North heading to Scotland I highly recommend going through Northumberland and visiting Alnwick and Alnmouth, taking a boat trip to the Farne Islands, walking the beach by Bamburgh Castle and of course driving across to Holy Island (Lindisfarne)- although make sure you go when the tide is right otherwise there's no way to cross the causeway! Phenomenally beautiful and relatively untouched/undiscovered areas of Britain. I also seem to recall having some of the best fish and chips in that area of the country too!
  • Devon has some great locations if you are at all interested in walking and or history. [7] Dartmouth is a lovely little town & you can walk from there around the South West coastal path to a nice beach at Blackpool Sands and then on to Torcross past the fresh water lake & bird sanctuary. It'd take a day to walk a bit, sit a bit, swim a bit walk a bit etc.. Up the river Dart is Dartmoor - some fantastic walks & spots there; best get a guide book to suggest itineraries & routes etc.. Plymouth is a bit naff, but worth seeing the Mayflower steps just for the record. Go up the Tamar towards Tavistock to see Morwhelam, Sir Francis Drake's house etc.. [8]
  • When you've decided on a plan, if you want lifts, maybe B&B for a night or two, I'm sure your readership would help out. If dates, weather & availability worked out, I'd even give you a quick aerial tour of South Devon to eyeball the terrain.
  • If you're heading up to Scotland, the area around Inverness is lovely, particularly the Moray Firth at sunset. I'd also recommend visiting the Isle of Skye.
  • The Bodyworlds exhibition at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry is worth a visit. I'll try to dig out the link for you. I second body worlds it very interesting and not at all gross or icky
  • How about meeting a reader who gives the best reason for wanting to meet them?
  • Plymouth. Its just all round brilliant. Moors, sea, city, villages, beaches and a good atmosphere.
    • Also has a great aquarium.
  • Bury Market (Wed., Fri., Sat.) for a black pudding sandwich and maybe buy some tripe. Then Rochdale. Catch a train to Manchester Piccadilly, then bus or train from Manchester Victoria). If you get to Rochdale, let me know and you can meet K and Rochdale's best curry takeaway! If you fancy something "medical" in the area, I would strongly recommend RMCH. All suggestions so far seem very picturesque and ungritty. Angus.
  • If in Manchester watch out for the farmers market in the middle of town - well worth a side trek for all the delicious home grown / home reared / home made deliciousness. (2nd & 4th Friday and Saturday of each month)
  • Nottingham - we have pubs and caves, and you can go to the castle museum that tells you how important Nottingham Castle was, just a pity the old castle isn't there any more. plus you can be robin hood for a day in sherwood forest ,and the imp in lincoln cathedral!
  • On the way to (or back from) the South West, Malmesbury in Wiltshire - 7 miles north of J17 on the M4. Oldest borough in England, ruined 12th century abbey, and a great boozer (Rose & Crown) at the bottom of the High Street. If there's some strange bloke doing a crossword at the end of the bar, that'll be me...
  • Liverpool. The Capital of Culture.
  • Goathland in Yorkshire - Beautiful countryside, wonderful walks, a steam train - there is even a waterfall!! Oh and it where heartbeat is filmed but you can ignore that bit. Also only a short drive from Whitby, go and have fish and chips on the beach. or i think from memory its the Magpie fish and chip shop thats the best.
  • You have just missed the Peace Festival, which is on from 14-15 June, if you can get away at the weekend at all.
  • The National Space Centre in Leicester is well worth a visit if you have never been, mainly for the *actual rocket* and space suits etc. Some bits are a little 'kid-u-cational' but there is enough there for the slightly nerdy adult to be very enjoyable (and you can buy astro ice-cream in the gift shop)[9]
  • The Lake District, Plenty to do, see and also lots of time to be able to relax. There is a number of walks, rivers, lakes, hills and best of all no one cares who you are, your just another person enjoying yourself in the Lake district.
  • Bath, for the most beautiful city in England, followed by a bus or train to Bristol Temple Mead and then the river ferry to see SS Great Britain, the first iron steamship. Connections to the rest of the country from that station as well as being a gem in its own right.
  • If you are going to Stonehenge/Avebury and Bath stop off in Winchester on your way through. Beautiful Catherdral city, pleseant walks down by the river and past Winchester College, (Tudor) King Arthur's Round Table, check it out:

  • Durham Cathedral, Bede's World in Jarrow, and Lindisfarne are all worth visiting.
  • A nice simple one but Chislehurst Caves are great for a couple of hours with a wonderful ghostly feel - even So Haunted spent 2 days there!
  • Hi Tom!

First of all a small correction......... Bury St Edmunds is in Suffolk on the A14, nice little market town, try Abbey Gardens, I can remember them being nice when I grew up near there!

As for the Scotland part of the trip......... I will be happy to help if you wanna come over to Glasgow.

While your in Edinburgh take a walk up Aruthers Seat or Carlton Hill for cracking views of the city and the Forth.

Perth.......... try going a little further north on the A9 (about 15 miles) to Dunkeld. Theres a brilliant pub called the Tay Bank Inn as you go pver the bridge into Dunkeld turn right. A little way passed Dunkeld there is place called the Hermitage, a lovely walk through woods and some waterfalls!

While your heading west, take some time passing through Glencoe, some of the most breath taking scenery I've found in Scotland yet.

Like I say, if you want a guide for some of your trip give me a shout and I'll gladly help you out. Just contact me through blog......... Ambulance Nut.


  • Come down the Metropolitan Line, Rickmansworth has gorgeous canals and if you go further Chorleywood and then Chesham, delightful countryside and walks in the green Chiltern Hills, I'll even cook supper and home made cookies if you do!
  • The Peak District. Go and see a well-dressing (many in June - or simply take in our stately homes (Chatsworth, Haddon, Hardwick etc). Climb Mam Tor, the Shivering Mountain, or walk the very peaceful Lathkill Dale. Get your Stilton from Hartington and take the waters at Buxton. I'll be your guide for a day if you like.
  • Make it a themed holiday. Visit all the places that were used in either The Avengers or The Prisoner (or both) from the 60s.
  • If you're doing a grand tour of the UK (as I have planned for Western Europe) please make sure you visit Colchester...afterall it's the oldest recorded town in England, befitting for a tour of the country! On a slightly more random note there is the oldest sweet shop in England at Pateley Bridge which I believe is Yorkshire!

[edit] Day by Day

[edit] 16th June - East Anglia

[edit] Suffolk

You can't do Suffolk without visiting Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Sizewell, and these can be pretty easily walked from one end to the other along the beach. You haven't said whether you're going by car, train or otherwise, but it's a fairly easy drive up from Londinium (A12 all the way pretty much.)

[edit] Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh is a great wee town, birthplace of Benjamin Brittain, with lots of interesting quirky stuff to see and do - and the best fish and chips in the east of England (imho!) I'd suggest the following: -The Moot hall, a 400 year old meeting hall with a museum -The Martello Tower - part of our Napoleonic Defences, Aldeburgh has the only Quatrofoile shaped one in the world! -The Scollop - the beach statue dedicated to Britten -Did I mention the chip shop - voted possibly the best chip shop in the East by the times. -Buy a freshly caught and cooked lobster on the beach

--2nd vote here for the fish and chips: The Golden Galleon do THE BEST fish and chips in the country IMHO!

- And a great pub The White Hart

[edit] Thorpeness

A quaint village, built in the early 20th Century as a holiday retreat for posh bods by Glencairne Stuart Ogilvie, who wanted a unique getaway location - and it's certainly that! Beware, the village seems much older than it is due to the styling and the dates on some of the buildings being "elaborated". Things to see/do here: -The boating meare - have a cream tea on the banks of the meare then hire a row boat and go visit the man made islands. -See the crocodile - That's all I'll say, if I tell you more it will give the game away -The house in the clouds - a Watertower made to look like a house floating 40ft up in the air -The post mill - well it's opposite the house in the clouds!

[edit] Sizewell

Ok, I'll admit, there's not a huge amount to see at Sizewell, but be amazed by the size of the Sizewell Nuclear power plant (and the constant hum) and then stop for a quick cuppa at Sizewell Tea, the teabar on the beach.

Not far away, have a pint (or two, or three) of Aspall cider at the Eel's Foot in Eastbridge. It is outstandingly good.

[edit] Bungay

The quaint little town of Bungay hides a couple of really nice little attractions. There is St Peter's Brewery [10] which has a wide and varied selection of beers. Alternatively there is Flixton Aircraft Museum [11] which is free entry and has plenty to look at.

[edit] Norfolk
[edit] Norwich

It's only a short (well 1h45) train ride away from london, or a slihglty longer car journey... It's not all like it's shown in Alan Partirdge (!) and is apparenlty the most complete medival city in Britain. Norwich apparently has 1 pub for every day of the year (sadly I havent managed to get round them all yet) and has 1 church (not all of which are churches now) for every sunday of the year... it's also just been voted one of the most 'liveable' cities in europe.

You could do some of the following:- -see the wonder that is puppet man - probably the most wierd, silly and derranged old man begger type people around... but everyone loves him and he's apparenlty got done for tax evasion on his collectings! * ( this is true he has, the poor guy is so good he earn't TOO MUCH??! )

- See the lovley cathedral (the anglican one... the roman catholic one isn't as lovley!) (if that's your kind of thing) or failing that have a nice pint/drink of your choice in some of the lovley bars/pubs that are convientalty near by in tombland.

- Visit the really old windey street (elm hill) that has been used in loads of movies, and feel like you've gone back in time.

- Take a trip on the norfolk broads

-check out the UK's largest pernament open air market

- Take a trip out to Great Yarmouth, or one of the other, less tacky lovely seaside resorts around.

- Do some shopping- Norwich is one of the top 10 shopping cities in the UK and has loads and loads of popular shops, all within a small distance of each other.

- Go see a show at the Norwich Puppet theatre- puppets aren't just for kids!

- Check out the sainsburys centre for visual arts, based at the University of East Anglia, for lots of world art type things, and whilst your at the University, take a nice walk around the lake, or visit the best University sports faclities in the UK.

- Sample the delights of 'the belgium monk' all belgium beer pub or 'the fat cat' for real ales from around the world.

- Have a bacon bap at harry's place in the market.

- If you like that sort of thing the castle museum is a lovely place to spend a couple of hours too.

- Walk down St Benedicts street my favourite in Norwich, purely for the characters and the mix of people, whilst your there have a snack/meal at the kitchen next to pizza express, it's only recently opened and uses only local produce in all it's food and drink.

  • For frothy coffee breaks, pass the big chains by and visit No33 and/or Espresso for good food, friendly service and great homemade cake.
  • If you fancy a proper meal in a tudor-esque building, visit Take 5 after you've walked around the Cathdral and admired the Green Man.
  • Go up to the North Norfolk Coast to Cromer, enjoy a seaside heart attack, with the brilliant fish and chips, and hot donuts.
  • Even better, go a little west on the North Coast and spend a day at Holkham beach - miles of yellow sand with hardly any people. Go far enough west on the beach and let it all hang out - it's a naturist beach there.Take a big kite to Holkham beach. Go to the Bygones Exhibition at Holkham Hall. Visit Wells- Next-The-Sea just a mile to the east.
  • Take a boat trip to see the seals in Morston.
  • Visit an artists' gallery - Made in Cley - amazing stuff.
  • Take a trip on the WWLR - the worlds longest 10 and 1/4 inch guage railway. Lots of fun to be had, especially if you like proper steam engines.

- move out of the city and spend a while in southwold and walberswick then walk down to dunwich and try the world famous fish and chips!!!

[edit] Bury St Edmunds

How about a visit to Bury St Edmunds? Check out the Abbey ruins and the spot where the Magna Carta was drawn up - and dont forget the smallest pub in the UK - The Nutshell.

Just out side of Bury St Edmunds is Ickworth House - over 1000 acres to walk round and its a stunning house (I think so at least as I get married there next March!)

Bury St Edmunds is actually in Suffolk... well worth a visit, the Abbey Gardens are beautiful

[edit] Cambridgeshire
[edit] Cambridge

Is also a very pleasant place. You can come and have a cup of tea on our narrowboat if you like.

This time of year the centre, where all the colleges are, is full of tourists and can be frustrating to visit (and live in). Although it is one of the most picturesque places that you can go to. Visit a few of the colleges, take a punt along the backs (join up with a group of American's, you'll get first class treatment). You can also visit on of the pubs in the city (some dating back to the 15th century).

There's also Duxford a bit down the road (Imperial War Museum).

And if you fancy a bit of a flutter, Newmarket is not too far away. Newmarket Racecourses also have Friday night events with some half decent bands playing.

[edit] 17th June - North East England

[edit] Derbyshire

Go to the Peak District and visit some of the caves they have there, like the Blue John cavern, or go to the Heights of Abraham near Matlock Bath. If you like caves that is.

[edit] West Yorkshire

Try Holmfirth for summer wine country, or slaithwaite for the canal and the countryside. the pub where where where the heart is, was filmed.

Thackray's Medical Museum at St James Hospital in Leeds - if you fancy a busmans holiday? [12] Then on to Harry Ramsdens for a meal - the real original place, not the cheap copies - the biggest fish and chip shop in the world! [With the emphasis on NOT and CHEAP]

you could try castleford free port, for some shopping or the snow zone next door, the sledging is fab but take warm clothes, or hire them it is wonderful, you can climb or bowl there too(although note; its identical to the one in Milton Keynes).

[edit] East Yorkshire

The Deep in Hull, if you like aquatic life.

Bempton Cliffs has the biggest colony of seabirds in England: loads of gannets, guillemots, razorbills and puffins. The sound and sight is awesome but they do smell of fish, unsurprisingly. You can have a lovely walk along the clifftop. Then go and eat fish (and chips) yourself somewhere along the coast, perhaps in Bridlington.

[edit] North Yorkshire

Try a turkish bath in Harrogate really good way to unwind.

Swing through York on the way and walk through the Shambles or take a boat trip along the river with a glass of wine and relax for an hour or so. Go to the brilliant breadshop whilst there, you can find it on Like Durham and Salisbury, The Minster is always worth a visit; if only to see the effects of sunlight through the Rose Window. If you don't visit it person you can always click here

If you're going to York, spend some more time there and in the surrounding area. Try the Jorvik Viking centre, or the Dungeons. Go for a walk in the dales. Start at a village, and end in their pub! Go for a red boat ride on the Ouse (if it's sunny) and try the Yorkshire wheel - it's a baby version of the Eye, probably best to skip the railway museum tho'. Or go to the Railway Museum, if you're a train geek - it's free entry so nothing to lose even if you only go in for ten minutes, and if you're travelling by train its location next to York station is a winner. York Minister is worth a visit too.

While in York, hunt down the fudge kitchen. Watch them make it, buy a box, crawl back on your hands and knees all the way from London to get more....

Try taking the North Yorshire Moors railway from Pickering to Whitby, take a drive down sutton bank and you could try cycling down Staxton Hill on the way to Scarborough and stopping yourself in the sand trap at the bottom.

Whitby, on the North Yorkshire coast, and in fact any of the coast from Scarborough to just south of Redcar

On a tipsey note you could go to Masham and visit the Brewery. Even if you can't get there, make sure you sample some of the excellent bitters available across the North East including BlackSheep and Hambletons. Unleash your inner child and visit The Forbidden Corner while taking in the amazing views of the dales. [13] Some rich bloke build this for his children! They do a hog roast on sundays... mmmm.

Plenty of other things to see en route (Yorkshire Dales, High Force (Teesdale), steam railways) - Yorkshire was recently voted the most beautiful county in England. Lots of nice pubs to stay in or if you are on a budget we have a spare room with views of sheep and open fields.

If you are passing through this way, you should stop in at Richmond, North Yorkshire on 20th for an open-air performance of 'The Prisoner of Zenda' in Richmond castle by the North County Theatre. It's our very own local theatre company, their productions have won national awards and been performed around the world. (All those '39 Steps' posters in the tube - that is one of theirs).

You haven't said how you're going to travel, but York is less than 2 hours from London by National Express. Who will transport you you there and back for £20 - provided you book in advance. Because its a holiday, you could just teat yourself and go First Class for £65

[edit] County Durham

Just before Durham, you'll pass through Darlington. Burn it to the ground. Please. It would give me an excuse to leave. (YES! This man speaks truth!)

While you're on your way up to Scotland pay a visit to Durham. Oh, how beautiful this town is (as well as its cathedral!), and you really need to see it in person to believe it. More history than you can shake a number of sticks at in a small enough city to save on your sole-rubber. Bill Bryson, in Notes From A Small Island, said "Why, it's a perfect little city. If you have never been to Durham, go there at once. Take my car. It's wonderful."

Dude, take his car, come here. It's wonderful. Durham is a wonderful little city, there is practically everything, and walking round the riverside is lovely in summer. Go into a couple of the Bailey colleges while you are there: University college is quite stunning... I went to Van Mildert - you can go and look at that too, if only for the "unusual" building style...!

[edit] Tyne and Wear

After you leave Durham, jump on a train and come to Newcastle. Wander along the Quayside, pop into the Cluny for a beer, and drop me an email at and I'll pick up the tab.

[edit] Northumberland

While in the North East if you enjoy walking and its a good summer day, then there is nothing better than a stroll along Hadrian's wall, but if you dont like the walking, go to one of the fort/museums. Then again if you dont like the romans this is slightly pointless.

If you're visiting Newcastle upon Tyne, pop into the Crown Posada for a pint. Visit the Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland it's wonderful. Seahouses is nice the Ship is a great pub. Go on a boat to the Farne Islands, seals ,puffins eider ducks. Chiilingham castle well worth a visit. Do the Northumberland Coast route

Visit Kielder Forest and see the bird of prey centre

Go to Tynemouth and take a dip in the bracing North Sea or even surf the waves. Revel in the fact you are visiting R2D2's home planet. In the run up to episode 1, Fox released some pictures including one of R2D2 "on his home planet of Naboo" [14] (sorry, i couldn't find a better copy). The ruin you can see in the background there is Tynemouth priory. After that walk down the coast to lighthouse at whitley bay [15]

[edit] 18th June - Northern Scotland

[edit] A Texan's View

I spent 6 weeks touring Northern Scotland in June of 97. It's amazing.

Consider catching one of the many jump on jump off bus tours. They roll north from Edinburgh to through Loch Ness to the Isle of Skye. Then south by Ben Ness through Glasgow back to Edinburgh. Full of interesting travelers to share adventures with, and no need for a car. Get on and off the bus as many times as you like. I made 1 circuit in 6 weeks.

Also - Call the Scottish Tourist Board. I got a 4 bed room house for really really cheap for a week.

Things you must see:

  • Loch Ness - the Bus Tours stop at a hostel between the pub, the town and the famous castle as the last stop for the night. As a result a fresh bus load of tourists arrives at 5 pm each night. A local fisherman will take you out on the loch to catch lake trout for about a pound. You get to keep any fish you catch. They always seem to bring back 2-3 big trout. Fire up the barbi (cuz there will be tons of Aussies around). Make a communal meal of the fresh fish and a loaf of bread or rice or spaghetti. If you go fishing, it only cost you a pound. If you don't, it only costs you a loaf of bread. Either way a great meal for cheap. Then hit the pub. Buy the first round for all the bus people. Typically, there will only be 2-4 early. Then drink free the rest of the night as each adding member buys the next round. Once everyone is good and lit, head to the castle. The fees are ridiculous during the day, but no one minds the gate at night and with the midnight sun, it might as well be day. Talk at least a few of the women into skinny dipping. Don't try this yourself as the water is crazy cold. Crash back at the hostel as you see fit. In the morning by 8, the bus people have to catch their bus and leave. Sleep in until 10 in an empty hostel. Hike the hills. Have lunch. Pet the big red furry cows. At 5pm, start the day over with a whole new bunch of bus people. I spent 7 days in loch ness.

There is one B&B very near the cave. It only has a few rooms, but the cave itself is rarely visited. Camping is another option as long as you don't bother the sheep. I saw otters while waiting for the tide to change and came across an amazing glen near the water with an ancient hut and head stone.

The tide change is dramatic and huge. The cold water hitting the black rock heated by the sun causes regularly shaped bricks to break off. Tourists stack these into various sculptures and art. A fun day of playing with stacking stones and watching the water rise 10 feet in an hour.

[edit] Edinburgh

June is free of the 'attraction' of the Festival - which many would see as an advantage (certainly the price of B&B is a whole lot cheaper outside August). If you link this with a rail based journey up from York then make sure you have lunch/dinner on the train going north from Newcastle - the food is usually excellent and the views from this moving restaurant stunning.

There's always the Castle, The Royal Mile, St Giles Cathedral and Holyrood Palace.

The Pentland hills outside Edinburgh host a dry ski slope, but also an Iron Age Hill Fort. The scenery and tranquility of the Pentlands is well worth absorbing on a break, and there is a handy pub when you have finished walking.

[edit] Aberdeen - The Granite City

How about Balmoral castle in the highlands You should go up to Achmelvic or Carn Dearg. Dead quiet but abslutely gorgeous!!

Old Aberdeen & King's College (1495), very nice! Also Marischal College (1593) in the city centre which has a rather interesting museum (free!)and just so happens to be a fantastic building. And the beach is really very lovely - just don't go in the water unless you fancy frostbite!

If you're driving I'd recommend fish & chips by the harbour in Arbroath or the Ship Inn in Stonehaven for some food - it's also a lovely drive down the coast and avoids the A90 which permanently has some sort of roadworks.

Stonehaven - south of Aberdeen on the A90 or by train. Has an open air heated sea water pool , worth a go just for the experience There's also quite a pretty beach and Dunottar Castle is nearby

Balmedie beach is north of Aberdeen. Now is the time see it, before Donald Trump gets permission to build his golf resort over half of it. If you stayed till the 19th you could come to the Balmedie Beach Bash. Under Races/Summer Series pages on

[edit] Perth

Is very nice at this time of year; its "the gateway to the highlands" so a good place to access further up north. You can head up the A9 from here (which will take you up to very northerly parts of Scotland) and has some fantastic mountain scenery on the way up but the road also has a reputation for having a lot of RTAs. Alternatively the A93 has nice twisty roads through countryside (tallest hedge in UK) then through mountains up to Braemar and Balmoral.

West of Perth is a little town called Pitlochry. Pop by and drive past the vile Bell's distillery and out of town to the Edradour distillery instead - the smallest in Scotland. Great whisky, and even if you don't like the stuff it's a fascinating our or so's guided tour. The tour is free and on-demand. The Bell's one is a fiver (I think) and 2-3 times a day. (added by Mosh

Have a wander thro the Trossachs and pay a visit to the Lade Inn just outside Callander, nice food and excellent beers - they brew their own and have a range of bottled beers from around Scotland (and a huge selection to buy in their shop).

[edit] Dundee

You could always stop into Dundee and visit Scott's polar research ship, The Discovery, the oldest floating battleship, the Frigate Unicorn, or perhaps just get your photo taken with the statue of Desperate Dan in the center of Town, being as Dundee is the home of DC Thompsons, the company who are responsible for the Dandy, the Beano, Jackie Magazine, the Sunday Post and much much more...

While you're in Dundee, pop down to 'the Ferry', ie Broughty Ferry, seaside suburb, home of nice beach and the finest ice-cream parlour in Scotland at Visocchis

Head out to Scone Palace for some history lessons on the Scottish and English monarchy battles over the last few centuries; might give you ideas for your Wargames malarky...

[edit] The Western isles

While you are in Scotland have a trip over to the Isle Of Mull, take the ferry from Oban and explore the island. From Mull you can also visit Iona and Staffa. Seeing the best bits of Scottish countryside really needs a car - so hire one if you're not driving elsewhere; before I've got a train to Inverness, then driven to Fort William and on to Stirling and Edinburgh. (Staying overnight in Fort William works well) and are good.

Sorry to say this but Fort William is a dump. Unless you desperately want to climb ben nevis then this is a place to miss or pass through en route to other places. The Western Isles are wonderful, well worth a look if you have the time.

Fort William *is* worth it as the start point for the steam train up to Mallaig[16], a great way of seeing the (insert many many superlatives here) westcoast scenery.

Or even better - you could drive from Fort William to Mallaig along Britains final single track trunk road. If you do - around Arisaig and Morar you will find some of the best beaches in the world (Like Camusdarach - where they filmed the beach scenes from Local Hero...) look up for ideas in the area. Then a quick boat trip to Skye... across the island and back via the Skye Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh - then to Inverness... Or... you could cross Skye and sail from Uig to Lochmaddy in North Uist - across to Harris and Lewis then back via Stornoway to Ullapool -look at for round trip (island hopscotch) tickets...

Wester Ross (on the mainland) is amazing. You stand a good chance of seeing eagles. Drive up Bealach na Ba and cack your pants at a) the mindboggling road and b) the fantastic scenery.

Loch Ness Cruises are great and there's the Malt Whisky Trail if you like the occasional dram or five. Also, if you like great scenery, CairnGorm is amazing.

I'm the person that described fort william as a dump, but I do agree with the entry about the steam train to mallaig - definitely worth doing if you have the time.

[edit] 19th June - Southern Scotland

And vist Glasgow, loads of free stuff to do (always the best!) Got loads of cool museums like The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Burrell Collection. And if you are in Glasgow, head up to Loch Lomond and Inchcailloch Island for a day. It's awesome.

- Seconding the vote for Glasgow, if at least only to stop on your way through. Some of the most friendly people on the planet.

Other lovely things to do in Glasgow are the Lighthouse design museum which is down a side street off of Buchanan Street and is fascinating, although the gift shop isn't quite what you'd expect. the Botanic Gardens and the West End in general are lovely, quite artsy and studenty with some very good foodie places - the Ubiquitous Chip (Scotland's top restaurant - contact 'Von' from your blog if you intend on going there) is down there as are some good curry houses - and lots of pubs on ashton lane - it's all within spitting distance of Glasgow University and the Kelvingrove which are must sees.

Also, do try and get up to loch lomond or loch fyne, loch fyne is a bit of a trek but there's some breathtaking scenery on the way.

A wee tripe to bonnie scotland? Some fantastic things to see. Just a couple of suggestions:


No visit to the South West would be complete without immersing yourself into the life and times of Robbie Burns.. There's the house at Alloway his father built. There's also the Auld Kirk where Tam O'Shanter came face to face with a host of warlocks and witches. Visit Tarbolton and see the famous Batchelors Club or go on to the village of Mauchline which has so much Burns History. From there its but a short trip to Dumfries, stopping off at Ellisland Farm where he lived for a while. Whilst in Dumfries call in at the Globe Inn as well as the Mausoleum

If time permits, do try and fit in a trip to Leadhills and its Lead Mining Museum and also its wee railway

In Edinburgh, Mary Kings Close, the old town street under the City Chambers. It's haunted... How about some wildlife? The osprey chicks should be hatched at the Loch of the Lowes reserve. (I saw an osprey take a trout last week!) Red Squirrels abound as well. Potential for golden eagles as well. This is near Dunkeld. If you get as far north as the very top of Scotland, A visit to Durness has whiter, quieter beaches and warmer temperatures than the Med. John Lennon used to holiday there, and there is a memorial. If you go even further north, go to Orkney and visit Skara Brae. About as old as the pyramids, and even more cool. Also, I know you don't do religion, but the chapel that the Italian POW's built when building the barriers is a nice place. It's made from an old Nissen hut and whatever scrap steel and concrete they could get their hands on.

Instead of following the UK road network for 2 weeks go and do something different; learn to sail at The Tighnabruaich Sailing School its tyne-a-bru-ich by the way. Its located on the Cowal Peninsula - catch the ferry from Gourock to Dunoon.

[edit] 20th June - North West England

If you're heading south from Scotland, try driving down the A68 and then West on the B6318. Heartbreakingly beautiful with sweeping views of hills, relatively few tourists, and Roman ruins.

Go to the Western part of the Lake District. The further you get away from the M6 the more peaceful it is. Hire a canoe and canoe in the only lake in the Lake District, Lake Bassenthwaite - all the others are bodies of water ie Coniston Water, Derwent Water).

Visit the busy veterinary hospital overnight of the 20th in Manchester, get a flavour of how the "other" emergency service works. Jodrell Bank, while it's still open, is quite a sight if you're driving past or flying into Manchester airport. Also, if you head out to Scouseland, check out the metal statues on the beach at Crosby. Been planning to take the kids there meself! Check out Fitzpatrick's Temperance Bar - apparently the only "original" temperance bar in the country.

While you're in the area go up the Borrowdale valley near Keswick. Keswick is touristy -and packed solid, usually-, but Borrowdale ie beautiful. If you drive from Keswick up the valley to Seathwaite then go up over Honister Pass to Buttermere valley the scenery is truly spectacular. If you then call in at Cockermouth (birthplace of poet William Wordsworth and Mutiny on the Bounty leader Fletcher Christian) you can send a postcard 'from Cockermouth' to your embarrassed friends back home. The local brewery, Jennings, by the castle, does a tour and sells beers such as 'sneck lifter' found across the country.

If you're interest is films - in particular Brief Encounter, then do make time to visit Carnforth

If you've got a couple of hours in the evening, its worth a walk up to the top of Winter Hill. Park at the pass between Rivington and Belmont, and its about a half hour walk to the summit, where you can watch the sun set into the sea. The masts themselves are worth the walk.

Chester Zoo is well worth a visit, but leave at least a day as its huge!!! does a really good curry in the cafe though. Last time I want actually saw monkeys throwing poo! If you like animals - and if I recall, you do - check out Chester Zoo. Worth the entrance fee for the Bat Cave alone. A big warehouse-type-building with subdued lighting and bats of all sizes free-flying. Great fun to watch the fruit bats squabbling over their food hangers, and a good one for people-watching - mostly for all the squeamish folks!

You could try the Salt Museum in Northwich, if you are looking for the unusual - no really, I'm not making it up: ----and if you are in that area try Anderton Boat Lift.

Hebden Bridge (just outside Halifax, about an hour from Leeds and Manchester)is worth a visit a really alternative hippy capital of the north,lots of good cafes/independent shops. There is a good music/art scene with Wednesday at the Stubbing wharf (good food) an open mic night and bands on at the trades.



Haworth is about 7/8 miles from Hebden just outside Keighley and home to the Bronte family, its impossible find something not named after one of them, even the Bull Pub where Bramwell Bronte drank himself to death(he died of cirrhosis of the liver) has a blue plaque. Both Hebden and Haworth have an old fashioned Apocathry where you can buy loads of old fashioned 'remedies' like zambuk and coal tar soap. They scenery on the 'tops' (moors)is spectacular and this is the best way to get between the two places - drop me an email if you visit -Isla :)

Hadfield - near Glossop, on the edge of the Peak District - a typical small town of the Manchester/Peaks area. Also known as Royston Vasey.

If you're going to try Chester Zoo, might as well drive 20 minutes down the road and check out the Blue Planet Aquarium by Cheshire Oaks. Well worth a visit.

[edit] 21st June - Isle of Man and/or Northern Ireland

Possibly a visit to the Isle of Man? It would likely require an overnight stay somewhere, due to the long ferry crossing, but if you are looking to wind down then it would definitely be a good starting point. The tourism departments website can be viewed at

Take a ferry from Heysham [ tickets can be booked online at]. Visit the 1000 year old Stone Graves at Heysham before you set off.

Watch out for getting jolly sea sick though.

Today and tomorrow the 501st Garrison (cosplay clone army - fantastic people) are at Armagh planetarium for an astro fun day [17]

Visit the Frog and Bucket

Visit Newgrange in Ireland. Limestone megalithic passage tomb older than the pyramids in Egypt.

[edit] 22nd June - North Wales

Lots of things to do here, first off why not visit the Ffestiniog Railway, a 13 & 1/2 mile long joureny from the Harbour town of Porthmadog widing up though valleys and through woodland to the Slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, whilst at Blaenau Ffestiniog you can visit the Famous slate caverns at Llechwedd. The Ffestiniog Railway was built because of the Slate caverns in 1832 to take the finished slate down to ships waiting in the harbour. It is now run mainly by volunteed labour ad usually runs a full steam service. Why not also visit one of the many castles in the area Caernarfon, Criccieth and Harlech to name but a few. If you still have time!!! and feel like some walking there is the Highest mountain in England and Wales, Mount Snowdon, if you dont feel like the climb you can catch a train to the top. In Llanberis, at the base of Snowdon is the National Slate mining museum (free entry!!) and you can visit the Hydro electric power station. I hope I have given you a few ideas!! Dan

More impressive is the Welsh Highland Railway running from Caernarfon to the foot of Snowdon at Rhyd Ddu.

I know you only have a day, but if you like walking try climbing Tryfan and the confidence step (its not really a jump!) between the Adam and Eve Stones. The glyders, next to it are also great (castle of the winds and the cantilever stone). In Llanberis, Pete's Eats is legendary among climbers.

How about Portmeirion? Picturesque setting of 'The Prisoner' cult TV series.

Come and visit Bangor with its stunning views and historical pier you can even visit some of your biggest fans there if you want!

Don't forget the bit inland between the border and Snowdonia! The Vale of Clwyd's pastoral with lots of scenic villages and small towns like Ruthin, Denbigh, or St Asaph (home to the smallest purpose-built cathedral in the country).

[edit] Mid-Wales

Visit the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. Whilst there pop along to the Corris Railway one of the *new* Great Little Trains of Wales.

The lovely beaches of mid wales where I spent most of summer holidays as a child; Penbryn, Newquay, Cwmtydu, Mwnt and Llangrannog. Excellent costal path walks between some of the beaches too. Save on parking with some if you are a national trust member.

Aberaeron - pretty little Georgian planned town with harbour (but stony beaches) - nice hotel for dinner - The Harbourmaster or the Hive on the Quay for lunch & honey ice cream if you are feeling less flush then walk it off on the path up the river Aeron (used to be the railway) to Llanerchaeron

Aberystwyth is a nice place to go. some of the attractions are, Electric Cliff Railway, Camera Obscura,Vale of Rheidol Railway that go to Devil's Bridge. and many others. close by is Ynyslas National Nature Reserve as seen on the BBC one Kite flying ident.

Pistyll Rhaeadr is a really lovely waterfall near Llanrhaeder which is near Welshpool, so fairly near the border with Shropshire. It is very isolated so it feels quite special, although on sunny days quite a few people tend to visit. Nearby (in rural terms!) is the Lake Vyrnwy reservoir which is also very pretty, has lots of walks around it and a visitor centre which tells you all about how they drowned a whole village to provide water for Liverpool. Sometimes if the water is low you can see walls etc. So, a good combination of nice views and slight creepiness.

[edit] 23rd June - South Wales

South Wales has a large number of attractions along the M4 corridor. The South Glamorgan Heritage Coast is a large section of the South Wales coast, that has been preserved and maintained by the trust. Cardiff has undergone years of transformation, take the chance to travel across Cardiff Bay in a water taxi, and visit the Cardiff Barrage. Can you discover the purpose of the mysterious yellow lines? (If so take a picture!)

The Taff Trail along the river Taff is a fantastic walk, it starts in Cardiff (I recommend starting at the castle) and finishes all the way up in Brecon although you can go as far as you like then get the train back.St Brides' Bay, and the coastline south of St David's my photos

3 ideas - picnic breakfast on the beach at Pembrey, Pembrokshire. Visit to St Fagans, Cardiff (shows you all the old stuff that some people enjoy - it is basically a village which has been put together and goes through the years. See the waterfalls near Ystradfellte - they are bloody lovely. There is a car park called Gwaun Hepste or you can get more info here [18]. My photos from our day there are here [19].

comments... I can heartly recommend the's a video from a month or so ago when we went walking... The Taff Trail is ok, and you walk along a really lovely stretch by Quakers Yard where the track runs along the track of the first commercial railway in the world (I'm biking it later today) but it is too long to walk in one day and the bit after the outskirts of Cardiff is not exactly riveting. My vote is for the waterfalls, or if you want a walk in the wide open Brecon Beacons and see some stunning views with that lovely bleak feeling, walk up the roman road from the N euadd Reservoir you will also get onto the second highest summit in Wales, Pen-y-Fan being 2907 ft tall with wonderful views to the coast and into mid Wales. have a good time.Take a picnic with you...remember Wales doesn't have a burger joint every 5 minutes(yet...) Hope you enjoy Wales, plenty more videos of the surrounding areas on my youtube channel, type in Blumpher to see them( mostly mountainbike related, but you will see what the area is like) .Abergavenny /Crickhowell/Brecon all very pleasant places to spend an afternoon.... Jonathan

Someone else has mentioned Hay on Wye in the miscellaneous section; I thought I would second the idea here. It is near the border of Powys so you could visit either from Wales or from Shropshire. It's a lovely town; ruinous to one's wallet and bookshelves, but lovely. -LucyK

We always used to holiday in Little Haven in Pembrokeshire and all around that area is lovely. The beach walk from Little Haven to Broad Haven when the tide is out is beautiful, as are the walks along the coastal path. The main town in the area, Haverfordwest, has some interesting shops, but can get quite busy. St David's has a beautiful cathedral and you can take some good wildlife spotting boat trips around Skomer island from there as well. If you want a bit more culture, Pembroke Castle is a fascinating place, especially the cavern underneath it. Food-wise, it's work taking a trip to Letterston to the "Something's Cooking" restaurant - large range of beautifully fresh fish with tasty chips! And in keeping with the anti-healthy food scheme, the Llanboidy Chocolate Farm is definitely worth a visit - best chocolate I've tasted so far! E.T.

Three Cliffs Bay is a really beautiful spot on the Gower Peninsula - don't miss it!!

[edit] 24th June and 25th June - Cornwall

If you're planning on doing the Land's End side of things, don't bother with the actual Land's End - Theme Park hell hole (hmm who let them do that!)- visit Lizard Point instead. Very close by, and absolutely beautiful.

I agree. see the radio station on top of the cliff then walk down the very steep runway to the (disused) lifeboat station - and wonder how ever the crew got down there and launched the boat in a howling gale to go rescue others. Then go along the west coast of the Lizard to Mullion Cove and Gunwalloe; stunning.

And if you need to do the west thing for completeness, Cape Cornwall is worth a visit - almost all the westness of Lands End with no added nonsense.

There's the Minack Theatre very close to Lands End - - worth a look during the day, but seeing a show in the evening is fantastic. *Seconded* - went to the second show I've seen at the Minack last year - on the 17th you can see the opening night of Life of Pi - but to be honest, it doesn't matter what you see, the setting is just incredible - and if you're lucky, dolphins and killer whales sometimes show up in the bay beyond the theatre. If you're doubly lucky, it won't rain - take waterproofs, blankets, and whatever you need to keep warm (how about a pasty from the horse and jockey in helston - my favourite pasty shop). The beach next to the Minack is quite picturesque too.

St Michaels Mount near Penzance is very beautiful and worth the walk. Make sure that you have a few real pasties whilst you are out and about. Definitely go to St Michaels Mount and (if you haven't been already)then visit Mont Saint Michel in France (

While you are down that way, and if you're feeling geeky, check out goonhilly satellite station before it closes for good this year. Do check out goonhilly, I remember spending many a damp day there in the years we visited it - I can't believe that it's closing.

Near the Goonhilly and Lizard area is Kynance Cove, well worth a visit with the camera and roll your trounsers up for some bracing paddling.

Minack - yes, Goonhilly - yes, Lizard - yes. Also consider St Ives for Barbara Hepworth's sculpture gallery, the Tate and Padstow for fish salads at one of the cafés - most of the chefs learned chez Rick Stein and the food is out of this world. As for St Michaels mount, the view from the A30 Falmouth-Helston is great, but the one in France is better. To Meet no-one but gorgeous scenery St Just in Roseland via King Harry Ferry (usually get to see some big ships moored up in the Fal Estuary) , St Mawes &/or Pendennis castles, for pubs the Blue Anchor in Helston is one of the four independent home brew pubs, see Camra. Forgot to mention Jamaica Inn, just north of Truro, bit touristy but nice nevertheless.

another excellent one nearer lands end. in the loveley village of beaminster.

If you're in St. Ives' and want to get out of town, Zennor, a few miles down the coast, is lovely. It's a moderately challenging but beautful walk along the cliffs from St. Ives, or you can just take the bus. There's a great 13th century pub with nice Cornwall ales, some standing stones put up by the faerie, and the Zennor mermaid in the old church...

And while in Cornwall try the mine tour at the 'Poldark' tin mine (Near Redruth). It'll REALLY make you glad you aren't a 19th century tin miner. Their life expectancy was 33, according to the guide when we took the tour last week. St Ives is gorgeous, but watch out for the predatory seagulls, apparently they make a bombing run on tourists with chips/pasties/icecream and then smack into the back of your head so you drop the goodies. Perranporth beach is also wonderful, and you can watch the 'Seaside Rescue' helicopter crew pluck silly buggers off cliffs if you're lucky...

Don't forget to get an ice cream with clotted cream on, the clotted cream goes all gooey and toffee like, and Cornish ice cream is wonderful to begin with.

Eden is also nice but not cheap and I don't think as beautiful as some of the naturally eveolved sights. I like the Eden project for it's architectural merit, I was surprised by how interesting the whole experience was though.

I have to disagree on the above - I visited the Eden project this year, and it was brilliant, you need to allow at an absolute minimum half a day to do it justice and if you gift aid your entrance fee you get free access for the next 12 months which has to be worth your while not to mention help support the project with tax relief.

The guy responsible for the Eden Project Tim Smit, was also responsible for the Lost Gardens of Heligan a step back in time to how gardening was in the edwardian period. Again it is a big space and you need time to do it justice, but consider stopping here for tea as they make their own home made produce/cakes for the restaurent (or did when I went there last).

The beach at Polkerris (between Par and Fowey) is a relatively quiet one at this time of the year. Make sure you have a proper Cornish pasty too (crimped)! Not far from Par is a town called Lostwithiel, a bit off the beaten track, and in the centre of the town, near the bridge over the River Fowey (pronounced FOY btw) is a Co-op and behind that you will find Fran's Pantry, they make the best pies and pasties in Cornwall, and I should know, cos I've researched this. The Pasties are just fantastic and far too cheap as I keep telling the owner (my father-in-law, Martin). However Tom, should you visit, I'll make sure you get a free one! Lostiwthiel also boasts some fine pubs!!

I love the coast in Cornwall in general (somehow Birmingham just isn't the same), and with the weather like it is you could see some amazing sunsets. However, below are my must sees built up over a number of visits from 'oop norf':-

1) St. Ives - lovely place and people are pleasant. Good pasty shops too. can recommend the Seafood Cafe, and also the cafe on Porthgwidden beach is nice too. Mermaid restaurant is also very good and has lots and lots of old photos etc of St Ives in its prime. If you fancy a bit of a drive, Godrevy Beach through Hayle is lovely, and seals can often be seen there too. Its owned by the National Trust so no crappy tat! The cafe at Godrevy does excellent food. Check out the sprawling, random St. Ives Museum if you like miscellania; don't miss Tiny, the world's smallest dog...

2) Bedruthan Steps - a jaw droppingly amazing place. Nowt else to say about this place other than the face its a little isolated but no bad thing. Campsite on top of the cliff if you're interested.

3) Padstow - Rick Stein has his own little empire here but its a quaint place with good places to eat and lots of little shops to explore. Mr Stein's Fish and Chips are especially good but get there early and prepare to queue because they usually run out of some things

4) Trevose Head and Treyarnon Bay - not too far south from Padstow (and keep your eyes open on the road, sign is well hidden) is a horseshoe shaped beach facing full west - great sand and good for messing about with kites as its very flat. Ideal for a BBQ and some cold cider to watch the sunset.

5) And last but not least, Tintagel is quite interesting. Thought to be the place of King Arthur's Camelot, its built on the cliff. To get to it you have to walk through Tintagel (nice pasty shop on the right) and down a track to the bottom of the castle. Its rather steep so there is a landrover that will bring you back up once you're down there! They even take dogs! owned by English heritage and so a little pricey but worth a look. Some good caves on the pebble beach as well.

Hope you enjoy yourself!!

Polperro. Go and have a nice pint of Stowford Press cider in the Three Pilchards after a walk to Looe.

My friend runs a nice B&B near Tintagel..former healthcare person who decided to do something different!

I love Cornwall, but I couldn't think of going all that way and not going the extra mile (or 30) and ending up in the Isles of Scilly. Beautiful beaches, few cars, peace and quiet. The perfect way to wind down from a hectic, stressful rest of the year.

Just to add, I would reccomend Parc Drae Holiday Cottage [20] as my parent's own it and it may be avaliable for these dates. I recomend going to Falmouth, to Pendennis point and having a "Jazzer" ice cream from the ice cream van - they are great! I have lived in Cornwall for years and when I return that is always one of the things I do! You should also visit Truro - not sure if it has been mentioned but as the capital city it is worth a visit to say that you have done it! In Redruth, there is a chip shop called Morrishes which is absolutley fabulous! If you change your mind and are in Cornwall on 14th July, then go to Stithians Show - it is a huge agricultural and trade show and you will see a lot of Cornish things there!

[edit] 26th June - London

London - PR Week conference I'm doing some talk there - I'm yet to work out what I'm talking about… This is the one appointment that cannot be changed.

If you have some spare time do a touristy thing - nobody who lives in London ever bothers. Go up in the Eye or round the Tower or visit Buckingham Palace or something. - err Buck Palace doesn't open until Liz leaves for Balmoral (roughly end July/early August)

Do the Duck Tour - I've always wanted to to it, it looks fun! (It gives an interesting perspective on an albeit small area of London - JM) Do you have a "tame" MP/Lord/Baroness in the Reynolds fan club? If so get them to invite you in for afternoon tea at the Palace of Westminster - its good!! Come visit BERR - I'll buy you a coffee in the staff coffee bar!!

The Planetarium at Greenwich.

Forget the museums and pay for events in London just go to Oxford Street and start walking (down Regent Street) though to Trafalgar Sq and down whitehall to the river. Branch off at any point that looks fun and interesting. One word of caution eating in this area will be expensive and isn't necessarily the best quality food. I would however recommend stopping off any pretty much any of the back street pubs you find along the way - pick something local to drink (eg Fullers ales) though please.


Obviously a Smithfield breakfast is a must but why not check - the A&E staff at 892 used to go to the Savoy for breakfast after their night shift and that always was a worthwhile trip.

Why not spend the day taking in the cultural variety of Newham? (The cafe in East Ham leisure centre is v nice ...).

Or why not be a 'punter for the day'. As part of some sort of cultural exchange you too could go for that authentic patient's-view experience of the LAS by grabbing 'a few' (i.e. several) cans of Tenants Special (assuming that is the beverage of choice in your neck of the woods), settle down on your local park bench and wile away the day into a drunken haze. Free accommodation will no doubt then by available in one of the Presidential Suites at Newham General.

Take an afternoon to wander around the markets in Camden, stopping off for one of the delicious burgers and brownies from the street vendors. Enjoy a nice cold pint and people watching by the canal.

[edit] 26th June - West Midlands

- Unrelated note, this date seems to be duplicated!

Everybody needs to go to Kenilworth Castle once in their lives. And Warwick Castle. And Warwick in general. Pure Edwardian/Georgian Architecture.

Also try to spend time in Leamington Spa. Original Pump Rooms, Spa Water and Jephsons Gardens. Warwick students have the choice of living in nearby, sensible, Coventry, or further away, hipper, Leamington (guess where I lived?!). So it's a student town, but without being a big city, with a wealth of laid back pubs and clubs.

Leamington is nice in the daytime but will probably be a bit remeniscient of a Friday/Saturday night shift if you go on one of those evenings. It does have a nice "curry belt" though as Leamington and Warwick tend to have less of a varied ethnic mix, and large Indian and Polish communities dating from the post-war period. If you go for a curry and a drink the night before...

You absolutely must not miss the best cooked breakfast in Britain. Visit Wellesbourne, which is between Warwick and Stratford in Warwickshire, and find the touchdown cafe. (If lost, find the airfield, it's big enough!) It is all locally sourced, very good quality food, and unlike most places if you say no tomatoes, they will give you extra beans or mushrooms. You can sit and watch the planes take off while you eat, and it costs under £5. There's also an RAF museum which I haven't been to but is apparently worth a look if you are at all interested in the war or planes. Probably best to go in the morning or middayish as I think they stop serving at 2, but that might just be Sundays. Someone please edit this if you know!

And while you're round the Leam/Warwick/Kenilworth area, Coventry is actually worth going to for a few hours, if only for the cathedrals. I'm sure you read Diamond Geezer's recent writeup - better than any tour guide.

Try spending time round the West Midlands (we have some beautiful country side for relaxing in, and getting lost :P), Worcester, Birmingham, Hereford, etc. in the West Midlands.

  • Worcester Cathedral
  • Hereford Cathedral
  • West Midlands Safari and Leisure Park
  • Gloucester Cathedral
  • Tewkesbury Abbey

etc. There's some attraction lists on the internet somewhere :P

- Hereford houses the original 22nd Regiment SAS base. You can drive by and see the armed guard (But thats all you see), and dont even try and stop :P.

--- Worcester has good pubs, restaurants and shopping, and as far as touristy things go - the cathedral is lovely, the Commandery (a civil war hospital and command post) is remarkable and there is also a gruesome medical museum at the hospital.

That's exactly what I was going to say! Staffordshire Is gorgeous and if you like taking history in then Lichfield and Stafford are fabulous places to visit: Did you know Lichfield is where Samuel Johnson was born....and for those who don't know he's the guy who penned the first ever dictionary, and without that we would struggle to read your blog, Tom! And then there is the amazing Three Spired Cathedral which is the only one in the country (or one of two) - Im sure you may have seen it on the television.

yes, I agree Tom. Come to Lichfield! Its often over looked and such a great place. The Cathedral is really amazing, and you can see it (The Ladies of the Vale) from virtually any direction you approach from.

Stafford has the castle, Victoria Park, Shugborough Hall, Sandon Hall, and if you fancy it RAF Cosford (Museum).

If you go to Worcester Cathedral, which is definitely worth a visit, then you should stop by the Malvern Hills as they're only a 15 minute drive away and they look like this:

My darling kids would suggest that a visit to the midlands is not complete without a trip to Cadbury's World! After all, churches are churches... but chocolate is something different! Cadbury world is fantastic! You should SO go! (You get a free bar of chocolate for every flight of stairs that you go up!)

Seconded - I went to Cadbury World years ago and it was fantastic. If you want somewhere to kip in Warwickshire, just say. (Batsgirl)

My suggestions are more Cotswolds than West Mids, but well worth the effort. If you want to get out into the fresh air and see some truly ancient history, I'd strongly suggest the short hike up to Belas Knap for stunning views across Gloucestershire. A short drive across the ordinance survey map will bring you to The Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire another peaceful experience with numerous good walks and brilliant pubs near by.

Buxton, and the Peak District. I've been there more times than I care to remember, and love the area to bits. Coming from London, the sheer amount of sky never ceases to amaze me, and you can walk for miles in the most beautiful country, and not meet a soul.

The quintesential English village.. and of course the village pub. One of the best

...or Wakestock 27-29 June at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

Ludlow in Shropshire is foodie heaven and there is loads of walking country around it. Shrewsbury - I discovered two weekends ago - is the best place to do a real ale pub crawl in historic settings. Both have plenty of history to read about and see.

Try Cosford RAF Museum, Entry is Free

If you want an interesting place to have a drink try the crooked House

And for dinner a trip to Leicester for a curry in the golden mile

[edit] 27th June - West Country

I know it's a cliche, but how about Stonehenge on the morning of the summer solstice? It's the only day of the year that English Heritage open up the site for free, although you may have to share the experience with some, erm, enthusiasts. See the stones, watch the sunrise, smell the patchouli oil. Admittance from 8pm the evening before, sunrise at 0458, and chucking out at 8am.
(except, now you're not going to be in the West Country on June 21st, obviously this no longer applies)

Go to Glastonbury and see the alabama3? those PR folk must be able to get you in.. or just turn up in an ambulance with the lights on.

[edit] Exmoor

Exmoor is nice in the summer. Dunster is probably the most touristy focussed village, (and can get quite crowded) but if you just want a base to have a little bit of an explore Dulverton is very nice. Local attractions include Tarr Steps, a 3000 year old clapper bridge. If you want some nice secluded out of the way spots then Exmoor is brilliant for them as well

[edit] Bath

Bath is a truly beautiful city to just wander round, look at the architecture, and maybe do a spot of shopping. People travel from all parts of the world just to marvel at the Royal Crescent. The Roman Baths are also well worth a visit. If you want a visitors parking permit for a bit (I live in the city centre), email me on and I'll send you my real contact details. Course I could show you a pub too!

Walk up Pulteney St towards the Holburne Museum. At the end turn right then right again. (errr....don't you mean left then left again? I can see the Pulteney Arms from my kitchen window! - from me up in the last paragraph with the parking permit.) Go into the Pulteney Arms, get a pint, maybe order some food from Carla and then start chatting to someone. A good opening is "So when do you have the gas lights on?" or "didn't Bath (rugby, of course) play well?"

If transport history is your 'thing' then spend time in Limpley Stoke and Dunkerton, exploring the heritage of The Titfield Thunderbolt.

[edit] Somerset

You can't miss Wells, smallest city and star of Hot Fuzz, we have a beautiful cathedral and a fantastic community responder group that would be happy to put you up and show you the sites. Wells makes an excellent base for visiting all of somerset, including: stonehenge, cheddar caves, wookey hole caves, Glastonbury, Ebbor gorge.

Check out Cheddar Gorge and the Somerset Levels for scenery. Try Weston-super-Mare for beaches, candyfloss and donkeys . If you're partial to a walk and a pint, you have to try Dolebury Warren before visiting the Crown Inn at Churchill - recommended by CAMRA and a lovely little tucked out of the way country pub.

Dunster has better, prettier and quieter beaches than Weston-super-Mud - a nice steam train and castle as well, if that's your kind of thing. If you do Cheddar Gorge, swing through Wells as well. It's a beautiful, tiny cathedral city and the House at Fudge Corner does the best fudge in the country, no contest.

Don't forget Glastonbury and the Great Western in Bristol docks. Weston also has the Jill Dando memorial garden which was built by some telly gang. If you do visit Weston, drive along the front, the road to Sand Bay is very pretty. Weston also has the only Helicopter museum in Europe, and probably the largest one in the world. Stop by the sign welcoming you to Portishead for a quick photo, the town is named after the band.. or is it the other way around?

Ebbor Gorge is pretty. Relatively off the tourist trail last time I looked but all be different now.,+somerset&jsv=111&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=9.337858,20.083008&ie=UTF8&latlng=51234000,-2682000,17298316007644128641&ei=-pQqSPT7Jp3G2gKhydnNAw&cd=1 (link to someone else's content on Google Maps)

And Glastonbury festival is on as you pass through the area - you could always try and talk to the people that do the medical services and see if you can get to look around/get a story ?

[edit] Gloucestershire

Take a trip to the Forest of Dean - beautiful walks. Try the Sculpture Trail through the woods and discover a huge stained glass window hanging between trees. Or Symmond's Yat for the views. There's also a place called the New Fancy View which offers amazing 360 views over the forest.

You can't beat sitting on the common on a hot day eating an ice cream direct from the factory whilst taking in the view over the valleys, just the right sort of relaxing activity for a holiday! Just watch out for the cows as they'll be out and about.

Of course there's loads more to do than that if you are feeling active just take a look on the following sites - and

Have to put in a plug for Gloucestershire Gloucester Cathedral is an exemplar for architectural styles - still has French stomemasons working on it, but you can check out ecclesiastical architecture in one visit. And the Wsterways museum and the Severn bore are quite fun too. Gloucestershire is marketed as the undiscovered Cotswolds - it's a lot more undiscovered than Pembrokeshire - and it's full of pretty villages and weirdness - it also includes the Forest of Daen, canoeing down the Wye, and other fine occupations, such as the sculpture trail, a great walk, with fab sculpture every few hundred yards).

You can pay for a tour of Pangolin foundry and watch Damien Hrist's sculptures get cast in Chalford and learn the joys of lost wax casting. You can drink in some excellent pubs - or check out the orchids on Rodborough and Minchinhampton Commons (the cows are out this weekend and will queue for ice-cream soon). You can consider the correct treatment for a man with a red hot poker stuck up his arse through a cows horn (to leave no external marking) the apocryphal legend of how Edward II was killed at Berkeley castel, or potter round the Jenner museum, or look for fossils in Severn mud. Edit: A new reader--I grew up in Stroud and now live in the States ... going for an ice cream up on Rodborough Common at Winstones is an absolute MUST whenever I manage to get home. I highly recommend the plain ice cream tub with lime sauce and a flake. Bring your own nuts. For the ice cream. Up at Nympsfield there's a car park/ice cream van area near the Long Barrows. I'm blanking on the name, but it's a pretty walk with some nice views on a clear day. Hopefully someone can come up with the name for you.

[edit] 28th June - Southern England

[edit] Dorset

Pop down to sunny Weymouth for a day (and night) and take in the lovely sea air. Visit the Devonish brewery on Brewers Quay- go up to Portland and see the young offenders prison, the floating prison and Portland Bill. Mooch about on the sandy beach- see a show at the Pavillion- walk along the sea front. Play arcade games and in the evening, eat fish and chips on the beach and go to Verdi's nightclub- good for indie.

  • If you do manage to go to see Portland Bill, go on a Sunday morning when they test the air horn, I think they test from 11am to midday. It certainly blows away the cobwebs!

Go round the museum where you will be led by a talking cat, well worth it for the sounds and smells of the area long ago.

Take the bus from Dorchester to West Lulworth and walk along the coast to Weymouth. Some steep climbs, but well worth it. Fantastic scenery, and thankfully the walking gets easier the closer you get to Weymouth.

  • Tank Museum if you are in a martial mood? Or, of course, any of a number of aircraft museums.
    • If you are in that part of dorset, visit monkeyworld [21] it is madness to keep monkeys that close to all those tanks but I for one welcome our new simian overlords.
  • If you visit south Dorset as suggested by another poster above, you're welcome to stay in our comfy spare room - drink tea made on the Aga in our ex-council house, and look out at the thatched cottages opposite - and do the whole Dorset-village-thang. We're a couple of miles from Monkey World and the Tank Museum, but very close to the south west coast path with Durdle Door, Bats Head, Ringstead Bay and Lulworth Cove within walking distance. Or we'll lend you a mountain bike.
  • Also nearby in south Dorset / Purbeck is the pub which is frequently cited on the British Mac podcast as being the best in Britain, the Square and Compass at Worth Matravers. It doesn't have a bar, just a couple of serving hatches - but it does have a small museum containing fossiled dinosaur poo. And it only serves homemade pasties. Yum.
  • Can I highly recommend the area around Bridport in West Dorset. Have been there on family holidays for several years now and it never fails to disappoint (I don't think you really mean that do you?!). Bridport itself is an incredibly picturesque market town that was the centre of the England's rope industry for several years, giving rise to wide streets and incredibly long shops. While the town itself is gorgeous - the surrounding countryside is even better. Practically the whole of West Dorset is an area of outstanding natural beauty, while the coastline is Britain's only natural World Heritage Site. The unique nature of the underlying rock lead to the area being a dinosaur fossil hotbed and is known as 'the Jurassic Coast', a term surely coined by the local tourism agency. While West Dorset is slightly lacking in 'big attractions', the whole area is just the perfect place to unwind and realise the sheer unadulterated beauty of rural England. Go and stay in a village pub such as The Three Horseshoes and just go on long walks. There's nothing quite like it.

If you are interested in history then do take time to follow the T E Lawrence trail by visiting his former home at Clouds Hill not far from Bovington Army Camp. He is buried in the churchyard at Moreton. The church alone is worth a visit, not for its sainded glass (it doesn't have any) but for its engraved glass windows, created by Laurence Whistler the whole effect is magical.

If your visit coincides with a weekend then try and visit the lost village of Tyneham now part of the Lulworth Ranges. Unfortunately you'll not be able to visit Imber which isn't open to the pubic until August. You're also not far fromDurdle Dor

another excellent one nearer lands end. in the loveley village of beaminster.

Go to Newton Poppleford and have a cream tea at the Southern Cross. And stay a night at the Royal Glen hotel in Sidmouth - has a swimming pool and is like Fawlty Towers but without Mr Fawlty (but with the Major ...)

There's no way you can head for Dorset and miss the 'conurbation' of Bournemouth and Poole. I reccomend a walk along Bournemouth beach, lunch at Cafe Shore (as seen on the Sandbanks telly programme) and maybe even a trip to Brownsea Island. Also Don't miss the market town of Wimborne. Enjoy a pint of cider in the garden of the White Hart, off the corn market.

[edit] Hampshire

Winchester! Quaint and lovely, has a shop devoted to tea and a grand cathedral. aldershot! its the home of the british army and there are a few good museums to visit.

[edit] Isle of Wight

Then pop over to the Isle of Wight! The beaches are lovely and sandy, and it always seems to be sunnier there then anywhere else in England. If you want to you can visit the 'proper' villages and towns (i.e. ones with thatched roofs and cobbled pavements).

Or if you prefer something more modern you can visit Cowes (recently visited by Prince William and Harry on a Stag Do, also yachting central), Newport (the location for the Isle of Wight Festival which you would have just missed, also areas where various celebrities have been spotted), or Ryde (lovely beaches, and the town is usually thriving).

[edit] Sailsbury and Wilton

But if its Cathedrals you want then head out to Sailsbury. The cathedral has the highest spire (404 ft) in the UK. Also very worth while is the house of John A'port in Queen Street. Take a stroll across the water meadows to Harnham Mill (excellent pub) and see what inspired John Constable to paint his famous view of the cathedral.

Wilton House is but a short bus ride away and contains a wonderful array of treasures. The parish church of St Mary and St Nicholas should also be included. A few miles to the west of Wilton lies Fovant with its military badges carved into the chalk downs.

[edit] South Devon Coast

Anywhere along the south Devon coastline - my favourite spots are Slapton Ley ( on the A379 between Kingsbridge and Dartmouth) where the road is right next to the sea and the river/estuary runs down the other side of the road, the most beautiful sight in the world combined with the sunset. Also, quite off the beaten track is Soar (on the way to Salcombe from Kingsbridge). The narrow track of a road ends in a small car park right on top of a cliff. It all links up with the South West costal path and there are the remains of a WW2 airfield there too (you can even see where the runway was by the difference in colour of the grass on the field!). Well worth a visit!

Best restaurant: Steamers in Beer. Uses local products as much as possible - look out for the daily fish specials.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ from missbliss :) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I've grown up and lived in South Devon, I've been all over the world and there is no place like home. On my world travels on a train in Switzerland with absolutely stunning scenery around I spoke to a woman who said it had always been her DREAM to live in Devon. I thought she was mad at the time. I now know how lucky I've been to have been brought up here.

Some of my pics from Devon [22]

My suggestions: (many of the pics were taken here) Bolt Head, walking over to Salcombe is absolutely divine, leading to a fantastic view over the estuary. Very SOuth Devon

Shaldon is a very very small village. Easy to miss, easy to overlook. But once you're in it's charming. Park in the ness beach car park (Geri Halliwell loves it, apparently - if that recommendation thrills you) and walk over, down and along the tiny harbour. Relish the post offices and small pubs. Who knows when they'll be gone.

Shaldon is near Dawlish Warren which has soft, pale sands, dunes and a large nature reserve and bird-watching area.

Cockington village near Torbay is very touristy, but a lovely place to walk around. You can walk into the village or drive in. There's a large country manor, church, duck ponds, lakes, old game keeper cottages, an old forge. Delightful and easy to enjoy (no seeking out something lovely). Don't bother with Torbay, it's where I live and it's your run-of-the-mill seaside town with foreign language tourists thrown in for luck.

Totnes is a fantastic little kookie town - unmissable. It's the new-age, hippie centre of the UK and has its own currency! Lots of local markets, produce, and some GORGEOUS tea rooms. Perhaps a nice spot to stop off at and have a gander.

If you want any more details, email me lissy_uk1 [at] hotmail [dot] com

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I also think that the South Hams is the nicest bit of the UK, if not the world. I'd highly recommend the walk around Start Point, which can include a (hugely interesting and good value) tour of Start Point Lighthouse if you get your timing right, as well as seeing seals on the rocks below. After that, the best fish and chips ever are available at the Start Bay Inn in Torcross. DON'T go next door if they're full - its horrid - much better to have a pint or two and wait for a table to be free in the bar (not the kids room, which is a bit plasticky).

Swimming off the beach at Strete Gate (don't go too far along under the cliff if you want to avoid the unofficial nudist bit) is wonderful in hot weather. Going from Torcross to Strete Gate takes you past Slapton Ley (which is recommended above - though I find it too fly-y at this time of year).

Parking at Little Dartmouth and walking around the headland into Dartmouth, with lunch at the Dartmouth Arms pub, is fantastic - wonderful views of cliffs, ships and the castle. If your feet get tired, there's a boat back to the castle from central Dartmouth, and then a shortcut back over the headland to the car park.

Not quite the South Hams, but going up on Dartmoor for a day (with full preparation - compass, first aid kit, iron rations, water etc) is wonderful as long as its not raining. A good jumping off point is Shipley Bridge car park - then work out a route from the map. Up to the reservoir, then along the Two Moors Way and down the tramway is a nice one. The Dartmoor National Park Authorities do guided walks - haven't tried them but might be more fun than going on your own. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

[edit] Sussex and The South Downs

Start off at the Amberley Working Museum then if the weather is good, take a walk to Cocking. Or just walk to Arundel to visit the castle, the Seat of The Duke of Norfolk, The Earl Marshall, England's senior Roman Catholic, which acounts for the adjacent cathedral home to the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

May be fit in a trip to Bognor Regis and discover why King George V didn't think much of the place?

If you're driving down the M23/A23 then don't forget to stop off at Jack & Jill the Clayton windmills. This is a delightful area to explore with the ornate entrance to Clayton tunnel a suggested circular walk or may be visit Ditchling and discover the work of Eric Gill who founded an artists community as well as giving us Gill Sans type

No visit to Sussex would be complete without time spent in Brighton, you can get an idea of what's on offer via the Panoramas; be it walking the Lanes or just visiting the Royal Pavilion. If time permits visit Alfrison and the near by Long Man of Wilmington. If your looking for a drink or some food in the area then stop off for a drink at the Giant's Rest whilst your waiting for the food all the tables are equipped with a variety of board games as well:-) It is easy to walk over the Seven Sisters from Birling Gap to Beachy Head and marvel at the Belle Tout lighthouse perched on the cliff edge. Then its all down hill into Eastbourne. No visit would be compete without visiting the Bandstand and listening to a concert

Personally I would avoid Eastbourne, not a place I would want to spend an evening, particularly since I come from near the place (born and bred in Crowborough East Sussex). My alternative suggestion to you would be (if you have time) to head to Rye. Its a gorgeous old fishing town with some good pubs, great for a peaceful wander to take in the scenery, although I would look around if you plan on B&B-ing there, cos some of the places can be a bit pricey.

[edit] Surrey

or .. if you want to stay closer to home how about an evening walk and tea with the llamas of Surrey!

Although many people think of Surrey as being all commuter belt with associated commuter housing estates, if you enjoy walking there are some brilliant walks on and around the North Downs. Start off by taking the train to Boxhill and West Humble and then walking to the top of Boxhill then spend the rest of the walk walking/wondering/training to various villages that make up the are known as Holmwood. Do make sure you walk at least some distance along the Pilgrims Way

Just past Guildford on the A3 take the turn off for Godalming and stop at Compton. There is a beautiful memorial chapel built by the wife of the Pre Raphaelite painter G F Watts. Watts' wife taught the villagers craft skills and with them built one of the most amazing building in Britain. Very beautiful, very peaceful and utterly unique.

May be, and its a stiff walk from Dorking, visit Abinger Hammer

[edit] Oxfordshire
[edit] Oxford

Ok, so we've heard from Rough Guides how horrific England is and how we are all alchoholic, sexaholic, insular, celebrity obsessives (or something rather similar -, but fear not, even RG recognise Oxford as 'superb'. Since it is only an hour from London (maybe nearer 2 hours from your end, Brian), I might even suggest this as a first stop.

So, firstly soak up some of the amazing architecture (IMHO some of the best in the UK) by having a walk around town. I am sure that the tourist info office (on Broad Street) would be able to give you a free map, but nonetheless Oxford is pretty small. Be sure to catch the Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian [library], maybe taking a tour of those. Then I would suggest getting on the inside by touring a few colleges. My favourite is easily Christ Church, right in the centre of town, but since I studied here I am probably rather biased. That said, Lonely Planet suggest it is the best too :). It is nearly 700 years old (having been founded by Henry VIII) and the backdrop of films from Harry Potter to Brideshead Revisited. The [dining] Hall has to be seen to be believed. Maybe check out Trinity or Magdalen too. Also, you'll be there in the middle of exam season, with town colonised by swarms of nervous students dressed up in 'sub-fusc' - an amazingly antideluvian costume of suits, white bow ties, carnations and gowns - frankly a rather entertaining sight, especially when you see the students nonchantly walking around Tescos in it as they grab their lunch!

When you've worked up an appetite, time for a proper pub lunch, which (again IMO) Oxford does like nowhere else. My personal recommendation would be [23] the turf' (just ask any local for directions) - the pub where Clinton apparently 'smoked but didn't inhale [pot]' and where John Howard, the former Australia PM, made the then world record for the yard of ale. Anyhow, this is a classic English pub, with dozens of local beers, all with wonderfully odd names (I recommend the 'Old Hooky' for a little village nearby).

After lunch why not walk down to the river, through the free to enter and very beautiful Christ Church meadows and past the university boathouses to see if you can catch any rowing and if feeling adventurous, rent a punt, or otherwise, move on for a stroll in the Botanic gardens, or to take in one fo the University's numerous (and very good) free to enter museum collections for example, the Ashmolean, the Natural History or Pitt Rivers (home to the famed collection of 'Shrunken Heads!)'

Also try the Covered Market in the centre of town (this place is like no other market I have ever seen before really and is well worth a look). Try and squeese in a moomoo's milkshake and a ben's cookie they are both amazing!

If there is like to spare after that, try and head off to the bohemian area of Jericho, just north of the city, for a pleasant evening stroll.

Finally, whatever you do, be sure to pop into G&Ds ice cream shop opposite Christ Church for the best ice cream ever!

[edit] 29th June - Postcards

Write postcards telling people what a great time you had.

I'm back at work at 30th June at 07:00 am My holiday is over and I go back to picking up people with man-flu.

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