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Days Out & Attractions


elcome to the Summer 2009 edition of Choice Days Out & Attractions. Our quick and easy-to-use design allows you to locate your family day out even faster. Choice Essentials (p8) is full of new product reviews and reader giveaways and Out & About (p10) features some great Summer Airshows. We also have a great competition to win a theatre break to Northampton, page 12 has entry details. We’ve retained our popular regional format with local information and useful websitelistings with suggestions for fun and interesting places to visit.

Choice Essentials


Reviews & giveaways

Out & About


What’s on where you are? UK Summer Airshows

Choice Competition


A theatre break to Northampton

South-West England South-East England

Published by: Travel & Leisure Magazines Ltd, 103 Cranbrook Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 4PU Tel: 020 8477 1529 Fax: 020 8514 4536 Email: Printed by Wyndenham Heron ©Travel & Leisure Magazines Limited 2009

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London East of England Heart of England East Midlands Yorkshire Scotland Wales

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Editor: Keeley Gordon Editorial Assistant: Loretta Prince Advertising Sales: Elaine Smith Admin/Accounts: Wendy Barfoot Publishers: Peter Lewsey Terry Stafford


Choice Essentials Get Trollied – at the beach, picnic or festival! The new Turtle Bag Trolley with its chunky wheels and eco Fair Trade credentials looks set to be the perfect accessory this summer, whatever the weather. The Turtle Trolley comes in a choice of two designs – lime green, cotton canvas or red, recycled cement bag. Offering a 30 litre capacity, the bags are attached to the funky frame to get your gear across even the most stubborn terrain. The original string Turtle Bag has already become one of the UK's leading, sustainable shopping bags. Turtle Bag Trolleys cost £34.95 for the bag and frame whilst additional bags cost £14.95 and are available on-line at

Choice giveaway: 2 Turtle Trolleys

Don’t miss: The 2009 Cheltenham Music Festival 3–18 July Marking its 65th anniversary with a 16-day programme of music ranging from a celebration of six decades of soundtracks from the Silver Screen to anniversary celebrations of Haydn, Handel and Mendelssohn. 0844 576 8970

Full steam ahead! The Steam Heritage Guide 2009 is the only publication to cover heritage railways, industrial archaeology, transport, ship, aircraft and military museum sites and contains over £100 of discount vouchers. This compact guide is ideal for carrying in your bag or pocket or leaving in your car glove box, giving you constant inspiration for unique and exciting places to visit which are perfect for days out for families, friends and couples. There are over 1000 events and hundreds of locations listed and categorised by date, attraction type, geographical location and alphabetically. The Steam Heritage Guide 2009 is available now from Tee Publishing at or to order call 01926 614101.

Choice Giveaway: Five Steam Heritage Guides

New Mac Formatted Drives Offer Simplicity and Value Simple to use, light and easy to carry, and no power adapter – your My Passport for Mac will become your favourite accessory. Store thousands of songs, videos or photos on there and always have them to hand. • My Passport for Mac is a portable drive for the evergrowing Mac community • Available as 320 GB and 500 GB external hard drive • Pre-formatted for Mac • USB powered – no need for external power adapter • Reliable and easy-to-use • Compatible with Apple® Time Machine™ • Sleek design • Shock-resistant enclosure • 3-year limited warranty • Price for 500GB WD My Passport: £104.99

Don’t miss:

The BugWorld Experience opening on 1 July Albert Dock, Liverpool The BugWorld Experience is the first of its kind in the UK. It will show visitors the world through a bug’s eyes, testing their bravery, wit and skill with interactive challenges and games along the way. Guided through simulated environments from a rainforest to a savannah to the everyday British home, visitors will see, find out about and even interact with the bugs that inhabit each.

Reviews & Giveaways New car fragrance from Yankee Candle® Say goodbye to over-powering fragrances when you open your car door! The new Pump and Go™ allows you to control how much fragrance is released. Simply clip onto your car’s vent, pump and go – the Yankee® fragrance is released into the car only when air from the vent flows through it, which means your car is fragranced when you sit in it, not when it's empty on the drive! From the masculinity of Leather, to the freshness of Sun & Sand™, each exclusive Yankee Candle® fragrance is blended with an odour eliminating agent, so instead of simply masking bad car odours, Pump and Go™ will eliminate and refresh. Price £6.99.

Wash it, squash it, and go – every parent should have one!

Cool Crocs! The new Captiva flip flops from Crocs are great for the summer months. They are ultra comfortable, lightweight and available in a choice of bright colours such as jade, citrus and berry – your feet will be smiling along with the summer sun! With a soft toe stump and over the foot straps, the Captiva looks equally stylish when worn on the beach or around town and keeps your feet happy in the hot weather with its pillowed footbed and added flexibility. Being made of Crocs traditional Croslite material means the Captiva will give your feet antibacterial protection while also being really easy to clean. RRP £25.95. To see Crocs full range of summer styles go to

Win a wonderful journey through wonderland! The Cambridge Touring Theatre, is vibrant and bursting with energy and enthusiasm performing fun family theatre at some of the most picturesque spots in the country. It takes to the road on 12 June for the seventh successful year with its lively and often hilarious performance of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ – they’ll sing, dance, steal your sandwiches and spray you with water! Also launching this year is a programme of drama workshops aimed at 5–12 year olds which run alongside the performance. For dates, venues and tickets go to:

Choice giveaway: A family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) to see Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at a venue of your choice* The closing date for this giveaway is 26 June. *subject to availability

The wonderful washable, squashable highchair is now available with alfresco fasteners to fix to outdoor and pavement style chairs. The Totseat converts chairs of all shapes and sizes (including camping chairs) into a safe haven for a tot who can sit unaided, it’s the ideal accessory for summer days out and picnics – minimal luggage (folds up into it’s own bag), and maximum impact. Totseat is the most adaptable product of its type in the UK, and is the only one to carry the logo of the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) in recognition of its safety credentials. The Totseat comes in a range of funky colours and costs £21.50 +postage from

Choice Giveaways How to enter:

Entries can be made by going before Friday 24th July 2009 and entering your details under ‘competitions and giveaways’. The winner will be announced and published on the website 2009. Terms and conditions on the website. Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 9

Summer Airshows


As Bournemouth prepares to take on Eastbourne to become the best of the south coast, we take a look at the ever popular airshows taking place around the UK this summer


isitors to the World’s Biggest FREE Seafront Airshow will have four chances to see crowd favourite the Red Arrows as the famous fast jets with their red, white and blue smoke formations will display on every day of Airbourne. This year the iconic red jets will zoom through Eastbourne skies over the beautiful seafront setting on all four days of the seaside airshow entertaining crowds with their breathtaking loops and twists overhead. With Bournemouth only seeing three appearances from the Red Arrows, visitors to Eastbourne will not only be treated to four incredible flying formations but will also get a rare opportunity to greet the Reds arena-side on Saturday 15 August as they touch down in Eastbourne for a special ground appearance. Not to be outdone, Bournemouth is the regions premier event this year for the Fly Navy 100 Naval celebrations. The resort will be receiving RFA Mounts Bay as well as the HMS Cattistock, Black Cats Helicopter Display Team (featuring Lynx helicopters), beach assaults, demonstrations from the Royal Marines Commando Display Team and music from The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines will ‘beat retreat’ in the award-winning Lower Gardens every evening.

Airbourne: Eastbourne International Airshow 13–16 August Displays include the F16, the US Fighting Falcon, plus the Eurofighter Typhoon making it a truly international event. With rival resort Bournemouth seeing a lack in international flying displays, Eastbourne is keen to uphold its reputation as the biggest international seafront airshow. Visitors to Airbourne can also look forward to the welcome return of the Guinot Wingwalkers who amaze spectators with their daredevil displays, plus the Blades Aerobatic Formation Team, famous for flying at prestigious events including the Beckham’s pre-World Cup Party. With plenty of entertainment on the ground too, including actionpacked arena demonstrations, trade stands, children’s beach entertainment, full size replica aircraft and the chance to chat to the RAF Careers Team; Airbourne makes a packed day out for any visitor.

More Bus Bournemouth Air Festival 20–23 August


After the incredible success of last year, visitors, holiday makers, residents and aviation enthusiasts can expect another four days of breath-taking aviation entertainment at Britain’s largest free summer event. Recently confirmed are the The Matadors, one of the UK’s most dynamic aerobatic teams; the Spitfire & Mustang will be displaying together and Sally B (also known as B-17 and Flying Fortress), the last remaining airworthy B-17 in the UK will also be taking to the skies. ’Night Air’, taking place in the Lower Gardens, will include amongst other highlights a hot air balloon show featuring more than 20 hot air balloons, which will be accompanied by a laser show on Friday and Saturday night; displays by the Royal Marines Combat Display Team, street entertainers and fireworks on Saturday night.


Sunderland International Airshow 25–26 July 10am – 6pm FREE entry Winner of the “Best Tourism Experience” at the North East England Tourism Awards 2008 Celebrating its 21st year the airshow programme consists of four hours of flying featuring front line jets, vintage aircraft, parachute display teams, aerobatic teams, the Red Arrows, the Blades and the RAF Falcons. On the ground, there will fantastic displays from the RAF, Royal Navy and Army, children’s entertainment and a huge range of exhibition and traders offering a wide variety of products. The Airshow first started in 1989 as a one day event and attracted 250,000 visitors and in 2008 the show attracted over one million spectators over the two-day event! Sunderland

Out & About Wales National Airshow: Swansea Bay 11–12 July 10am–7pm, air displays between 12noon and 4pm. The highlight of the Swansea Bay Festival with a displays from the Red Arrows, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Royal Air Force Typhoon Eurofighter and the Royal Navy’s crack helicopter team the Black Cats and much more on the ground.

RAF Leuchars Airshow: St Andrews, Fife, Scotland 12 September 8am–6pm The last official military airshow of its type in Scotland and one of only three in the UK, the RAF Leuchars Airshow will feature spectacular flying with displays including The Red Arrows, Typhoon, The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and a variety of aircraft from around the world. The RAF will showcase many of its assets and demonstrate operational capability by featuring a role demonstration. Adult ticket prices start at £16 and concessionary charges start from £7. Group and family tickets also available. Paid car parking. Tickets will be on sale from 13 July.

The Victory Show, Foxlands Farm, Leicestershire 5–6 September 8am–6pm Commemorating the end of hostilities during WW2 the two day event provides historical societies and re-enactments through various forces from several era's and theatres during the period of 1939-45. From Airmen to Infantry, the Victory Show opens a window in time to the fabulous 1940's. For the first time ever at the Victory Show the "Avro Vulcan" with be performing a “bombing run”. Our professional pyrotechnic crew will be spectacularly choreographing all the explosions. Adults £10; Children 5–16 £5; Under 5’s and WWII Veterens Free. Airbourne, Eastbourne London City Airport Funday & Airshow

London’s only airshow London City Airport Fun Day & Airshow, Newham 4 July • FREE entry 2.30–6.30pm

London City Airport Funday & Airshow

Just two miles from the site of the 2012 Olympic Games, the London City Airport Fun Day has a sporting theme to celebrate the Olympics and Paralympics coming to London. Visitors can try sporting activities including basketball, football, taekwondo and rowing, javelin and shot put with elite coaches on the lookout for talented young sports people. British Airways pilots and crew will be giving once-in-a-lifetime tours of the cockpit of an Avro RJ100 or RJ85 and one of the main highlights of the afternoon is the jaw dropping airshow. The only airshow in London will have everyone looking up to skies to watch an array of aircraft performing breathtaking stunts. Fun Day is a spectacular day out for the communities surrounding the airport and provides the opportunity to raise much needed funds for Richard House Children’s Hospice.

Airbourne, Eastbourne

Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 11


f you have never considered Northamptonshire as a holiday destination you may want to think again. With more and more people choosing to stay in the UK this summer, Northamptonshire has much to offer, whatever you’re into. Those who like to live at a more leisurely pace can enjoy a picnic and a stroll through the many country parks including Fermyn Woods Country Park, Irchester and Brixworth Country Park. For a more exhilarating way to experience the prime British countryside there are 15 cycle tours to choose from including The Brampton Valley Way, The Nene Valley Way and The Bluebell Line. If you fancy living the “high life” take the ‘Tree-top walk’ in Salcey Forest, it’s 20 metres up in the trees and 300 metres long with look out towers and a rope bridge. For the culture vultures among you there is an array of cultural heritage events and modern art galleries on offer. For something a bit special take a trip out to Fermynwoods Contemporary Art Gallery. This delightful, unusual and intriguing gallery has been described as a “jewel in Northants and in England”. Set in beautiful countryside and with fascinating exhibitions that change throughout the year you will leave truly inspired. Other cultural attractions include the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery housing fascinating footwear throughout the ages, and the beautiful Grade 1 listed Abington Museum and Art Gallery. The county is also home to the biggest concentration of stately homes and castles in England. Standing

on the edge of an escarpment giving stunning views over five counties and the Welland Valley below, Rockingham Castle takes you on a fascinating journey through history, from William the Conqueror right through to the Saunders Watson family who live there today. Enjoy 12 acres of gardens including the rose garden, magnificent wild garden, and the curious “elephant” hedges. There are plenty of events lined up this year including open-air theatre, battle reenactments and a Craft & Food Fair.


or those who choose to live life at a faster pace you will find all you need in Northamptonshire for adventure and adrenalin. You could find yourself tank driving at Tanks A Lot in Helmdon, Skydiving at Hinton-inthe-Hedges Skydiving Centre, White Water rafting at Nene White Water rafting centre or cycling off road at Get

Further information: Whittlebury Hall 0845 400 0001 Whittelbury Hall Say Spa 0845 400 0002 Silverstone Racing Experience 08704 588270 Royal & Derngate Theatre Box office: 01604 624811 Fermynwoods Contemporary Art Gallery 01536 373469 Rockingham Castle 01536 770240

Out & About Mountain Biking. Those with a need for speed will not be short of stimulation in the home of British Motorsport. Four major racetracks can be found here including the Silverstone Circuit where you can try your hand at Lotus Driving.

Rockingham Castle


ith award winning hotels and country houses, camping and caravanning sites, self-catering and B&B accommodation, you will find the digs to suit your needs. For those seeking luxury and relaxation, indulge in a stay at Whittlebury Hall; an impressive four-star hotel with three restaurants and leisure and spa facilities. The hotel has 211 spacious double or twin bedrooms and 3 suites and is located adjacent to the Silverstone Circuit. The award-winning spa incorporates a unique heat and ice experience and facilities include a sanarium, soft steam bath and ice cave. Other facilities include a Hydrotherapy Pool, Roman Salt Steam and a Hamman Steam Chamber. Check the website for more information and for spa package offers. Northamptonshire is only an hour from London and is within easy reach of all major UK rail/road networks. With stunning countryside, world class action and adventure, culture, history and events throughout the year, Northamptonshire would be a great choice for your UK holiday. Royal & De rngate Theatre

Win a fantastic theatre break to Northampton Prize includes a double room with bed & breakfast at Holiday Inn Northampton, two tickets to see one of the plays in the Ayckbourn at 70 season and transfers from the hotel to the Royal & Derngate theatre and back.


lan Ayckbourn has made an unparalleled contribution to popular theatre, and as he reaches his 70th birthday, Royal & Derngate celebrates his life and Just Between works, in a season of events including three Ourselves major productions of plays from different periods in his writing career: Just Between Ourselves 22 May–13 June; Private Fears in Public Places 22 June–11 July; and Man of the Moment 27 July to 15 August.

Music, Comedy, Theatre, Cabaret, Literature, Art, Film, Poetry, Dance, Children's Art Theatre The pioneering, award-winning Latitude Festival returns to England’s Sunrise Coast for another spectacular year. Taking place on 16–19 July, near Suffolk’s stunning seaside town of Southwold, organisers Festival Republic are promising Latitude will be the perfect British summer destination. The open-air Obelisk Arena has been the stage of some epic performances over the past three years and Latitude 2009 will be no different. Lay out your picnic blanket, bask in the sunshine and get down to some of the best music around.

Pet Shop Boys, Regina Spektor, Grace Jones, Doves, Editors, Pretenders plus many more Man of the Mom ent


Holiday Inn Northampton is offering a fantastic hotel and in PublicFeaPlarsces theatre package for the Ayckbourn at 70 festival. For just £99 guests can enjoy a room for two, bed and breakfast, two theatre tickets and transfers from the hotel to the show.

Tickets: Weekend tickets £150 plus booking fees • Day tickets Fri, Sat, Sun £60 plus booking fee. Weekend ticket prices include car parking and camping. Days include car parking only. Credit Card line: 0871 231 0821

To book for the hotel and theatre package, call Royal & Derngate on 01604 624811.

How to enter

To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize simply go to

before Friday 3rd July 2009 and enter your details under ‘competitions and giveaways’. Terms and conditions on the website.

Images: © Jon Appleyard

Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 13

Newquay Beach, Cornwall ©

It’s hard to imagine that one region could have so many contrasts and that in even the most hectic of cities, the sheer beauty of the west-country can force you to relax. A place that is real, where the countryside villages resemble those on chocolate boxes and where beaches are so spectacular they take your breath away.

Cornwall offers more miles of unspoilt coastline than anywhere else in Britain. It’s vibrant image is the result of a rich history and culture that still lives and breathes through the sites and scenery scattered throughout the county such as stone circles, castles and remains of iron-age villages. Cornwall’s fishing industry still survives in harbours like Newlyn, Mevagissey, Padstow, Falmouth, Looe and Polperro, and many smaller boats still work out of coves such as Port Issac, Cadgwith and Mullion. Release the artist within you and fall in love with the light and landscape that the far end of England’s south-west peninsula has to offer. Cornwall has a wealth of small gallery’s and art cafes to pass the time away – that’s if you’re not too busy surfing, which is another of Cornwall’s pastimes, but that’s another story! Devon benefits from having two very different coastlines, in

the north you will find dramatic, rugged headlands and surf-washed sands whilst in the south, you can enjoy golden coasts, white pebbled beaches and sheltered bays. There are many reasons to visit Devon and one of the most popular is to sample the traditional Devon cream tea or to enjoy a fresh seafood platter – Devon is as famous for its culinary delights as it is for its magnificent coastline. Devon is perfect for family fun with miles of blue flag beaches and the best sand in the UK for building sandcastles! Devon is England’s greenest county and has been declared the number one organic county according to the latest figures from Defra. The spectacular coastal path, rolling countryside, stone circles, historic market towns and literary connections all add to the wealth of Devon’s rich heritage.

Somerset is a land of contrasts, from the 40 miles of coastline and the popular seaside resorts of Minehead and Burnham-on• First Great Western Sea, to the smallest city in England, Tel: 08457 000 125 Wells and the • South West Trains legends that surround Exmoor Tel: 0845 6000 650 and Glastonbury. • National Express Somerset is a haven for explorers Tel: 08705 808 080 – for walkers, South • Flights Somerset has over 1,100 miles of paths • Route Planner and tracks to lose yourself in! For the

Getting there

Further info 1 Cornwall Tel: 01872 322900

2 Devon Tel: 0870 608 5531

3 Somerset Tel: 01934 750833

4 Dorset Tel: 01305 251000

5 Bristol & Bath Tel: 0906 711 2191 (Bristol: 50p/min) Tel: 0906 711 2000 (50p/min)

6 Wiltshire Tel: 0870 240 5599 (charged at standard rate)

7 Gloucestershire Tel: 01452 505345

perfect rural retreat, visit the Heart of Somerset, home to the Blackdown, Brendon and Quantock Hills, Somerset Levers and Moors and the historic towns of Taunton, Wellington, Wiveliscombe – all with their own unique character and style. Somerset is alive with history and legend – walk in the footsteps of King Arthur and King Alfred, explore Exmoor – home of Lorna Doone and visit the mysterious Glastonbury Tor, rising out of the Somerset Levels (ancient wetlands) like a beacon.

Dorset is home to the World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast and its fossils dating back more than 190 million years. With seven miles of golden beaches, parks and gardens, Bournemouth is Dorset’s little gem, combining traditional splendour with modern facilities. Poole Harbour is Europe’s largest natural harbour and is a stunning location for all types of watersports. Amongst the scenery, attractions and picturesque villages, the spectacular and much photographed geological features of Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Old Harry Rocks are worth seeing. From historic market towns such as the County town of Dorchester, to seaside fun, dramatic cliffs and sweeping beaches, West Dorset truly offers something for everyone! Walkers can choose the magnificent Heritage Coast or the many way-marked routes inland. Bristol is famous for Brunel who designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Actor Cary Grant and Sir Humphrey Davy who discovered laughing gas and invented the miners’ safety lamp. In the 18th century, Bristol was the second largest port in the country and it was here that Brunel’s ss Great Britain was built. Launched in 1843, this was the first iron, propellant-driven ship to cross the Atlantic. Today, much of the character and charm of Bristol’s maritime past still remains and is used mainly for leisure and recreation. Bristol will cater for your every need with an array of new and old shopping areas, arts and museums, green spaces and parklife and for the adventurous, you can go rock climbing in the Avon Gorge, paddle through the harbour or mountain bike through Ashton Court Estate. Bath is home to the Thermae Bath Spa, the only place in the UK where you can bathe in natural hot waters. The World Heritage Site of Bath is one the most stunning places in Britain with some of the most famous architectural masterpieces in Europe such as the Roman Baths & Pump Room, Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey and Pulteney Bridge. Apart from being the perfect base in which to explore the north-east of Somerset and the Cotswolds, Bath itself offers its visitors a wealth of quality attractions, shopping experiences, theatre and restaurants in traditional yet modern surroundings.

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Wiltshire unites the districts of Kennet, West Wilts, North Wilts, Salisbury and South Wilts with the Borough of Swindon. With a population of nearly 430,000, much of the county is designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. The mystical force that surrounds the world-famous Stonehenge can sometimes overshadow the sheer beauty of this area. It’s breathtaking countryside, the open downland where uninterrupted views stretch for miles, ancient forests, picture postcard villages and the sparkling clear waters of the river valleys are perfect for outdoor activities all year round. Explore Europe’s largest man-made prehistoric mound, Silbury Hill and the White Horse Trail where you can search for the eight white horses that are carved into the hillside, some of which can be seen for miles. Wiltshire has over 7,500 walking paths and cyclists will love the traffic free country lanes with a series of routes range from family friendly off-road routes to the 160 mile, long distance, Wiltshire Cycleway route. Gloucestershire is the ideal place to visit at any time of the year. Covering most of the Cotswolds, the ancient Forest of Dean and the Vale of the River Severn, long summer days can be enjoyed kayaking or 4x4 racing, or drinking in one of the many lively pubs. Stroll amongst the Bluebells in Spring on your way to an antique shop or castle and in Autumn, watch the sleepy villages come to life as the trees change colour. In Winter, cosy restaurants with log fires and magnificent cathedrals are more than welcoming. Many historic towns, villages and splendid manor houses can be found in the county, including the homes of many celebrities. In ehenge e – Ston addition to the Wiltshir spectacular countryside, Gloucestershire has some outstanding historical buildings, including Gloucester Cathedral, Tewkesbury Abbey and the stunning Regency buildings of Cheltenham Spa. D orset – Corfe C astle

Whether you go in seek of the Jurassic coastline and dramatic cliffs of Devon and Dorset, the magnificent cathedrals of Salisbury and Gloucester, the famous spa in Bath or the maritime history in Plymouth, the south-west of England has a delight around every corner. Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 15

Cornwall Devon 16 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Devon Dorset

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Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 17


TOLPUDDLE MARTYRS’ MUSEUM Tolpuddle nr Dorchester

One dawn, in the bitter February of 1834, six Tolpuddle farm labourers were arrested after forming a trade union. A frightened squire’s trumped up charge triggered one of the most celebrated stories in the history of human rights. That dawn arrest created the Tolpuddle Martyrs who were punished with transportation as convicts to Australia. Packed with illustrative displays this interactive exhibition tells their story. Admission free; Open Summer Tue–Sun and Bank Holiday Mondays (except Christmas and New Year). Winter Thu–Sun.

Free Annual Family Festival held third Sunday in July.

Call 01305 848 237 for a free colour brochure

18 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Dorset Somerset

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Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 19

Oxford, Dreaming Spires

The South-east of England has been an inspiration for many storytellers and writers over the years. Idea’s for the children’s classics Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Chronicles of Narnia all arose from this region which includes the counties of Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire and Sussex.

Kent is divided into three main areas – Medway and Maritime Kent; The Heart of Kent and Canterbury and Coastal Kent and together they create a unique combination of coast, countryside and historic attractions. Medway is the historical capital of Maritime Kent and is the ideal destination for a relaxing short break. Step back in time with a visit to The Historic Dockyard at Chatham where over 400 years of naval history are brought back to life. Canterbury and Coastal Kent has the famous White Cliffs of Dover, the traditional Victorian seaside resorts of Ramsgate and Folkestone and a blend of culture, heritage and tradition. The Cathedral city of Canterbury is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sits on the River Stour in one of the most attractive corners of rural Kent. The Heart of Kent offers more castles, stately homes and gardens open to the public than any other region in Britain.

Sussex is home to miles of dramatic coastline, from the golden sands of Camber in the east to the inlets of Chichester Harbour in the west. Family-friendly beaches can be found at Worthing, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Eastbourne and Brighton – England’s city by the sea. Within the Sussex countryside, the beautiful South Downs has over 2000 miles of well-managed trails ideal for walking, cycling and horse-riding. The 160km South Downs Way takes you from the coast at Eastbourne to the city of Winchester in Hampshire, passing across the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs and the Devil’s Dyke. Delve into Sussex’s towns for even more treasures. The town of Battle is the site of the most famous battle in English Heritage, The Battle of Hastings. Amberley is a beautiful town on the River Arun with many flint walled, thatched cottages and a medieval castle • Chiltern Railways (now a hotel) and the Tel: 08456 005 165 medieval town of Rye, now a thriving • National Rail Enquiries market town 0845 48 49 50 overlooks Romney Marshes and was • Green Line Buses once surrounded by sea! Tel: 0870 608 7261

Getting there

Surrey is the most wooded county in the country and has the highest point in the south-east of England with

• Metrobus Tel: 01293 449195

• London Gatwick Airport Tel: 0870 000 2468

breathtaking views of the Surrey Hills and surrounding countryside. The Surrey Hills is a 1 Buckinghamshire treasured landscape, rich Tel: 01296 382157 in wildlife and woodland and was one of the first 2 Oxfordshire areas in England to be Tel: 01865 792422 designated an Area of Outstanding Natural 3 Berkshire Beauty back in 1958. Tel: 01635 30267 Surrey is also home to many towns and villages 4 Hampshire all with their own Tel: 01962 841841 ambience – Richmond is a lively cosmopolitan 5 Isle of Wight town full of boutiques, Tel: 01983 813 813 cafes and fine restaurants and Kingston is the place 6 East & West Sussex where kings of England Tel: 01243 382244 were crowned. With the Thames on its doorstep, 7 Surrey Kingston gives you the Tel: 08456 009 009 ideal opportunity to stroll along the Thames path at 8 Kent one of its most beautiful Tel: 01271 336020 parts. The towns of Esher and Epsom are home to two of the country’s finest racecourses.

Further info

Hampshire is a haven for nature-lovers. Escape to the woods and heaths of the New Forest where ponies and cattle roam freely and wild deer hide deep within the forest. The city of Winchester is the ancient capital of England and home to a fine Norman Cathedral, King Arthur’s round table and one of the oldest schools in Britain. Hampshire’s famous royal and military connections have provided a feast of places to visit like Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, one of the top ten heritage attractions in the UK and home to the World’s most famous ships – Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860. Havant, Emsworth and the Blue Flag beaches at Hayling Island lie between the cities of Chichester and Portsmouth and are perfect for relaxation and tranquillity and the pretty villages of Langstone and Emsworth have great views of the harbour. Holiday-makers have been flocking to the Isle of Wight for years to enjoy their traditional seaside holidays. The 60 miles of coastline, hidden coves and golden sandy beaches are spectacular, whilst inland the countryside is fantastic with lots of colourful paths and trails to explore. The Isle of Wight is renowned for sailing but also offers all kinds of sports from golf and fishing to windsurfing and flying. Cowes and East Cowes are the Island’s most northerly towns and a mecca for yachtsmen, hosting many international sailing events – during the sailing season you can see a blanket of colourful sails covering the water. The historic town of Newport in the centre of the Island is its principle town and most popular shopping centre. Here you will find fine Georgian and Victorian houses, the Museum of Island History, markets, arts centres and much more. From lazy days spent in the Royal Borough of Windsor, to the hectic nightlife of Reading, Berkshire is a delightful county that can adapt to anybody’s pace of life. With parts of the North Wessex Downs and the Chilterns, both Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this county is ideal for walking, cycling and horse-riding with many excellent routes along The Thames Path, the Ridgeway and The Jubilee Path. West Berkshire is a delight waiting to be discovered from the Kennet and Avon Canal to the arts, history and heritage.

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Donnington Castle was once the Stronghold of Charles I and saw action during the civil war battles of 1643 and 1644. All that is left now is the Gatehouse but visitors are attracted by the views and children love to play amongst the ruins. Whether you choose to cruise along the River Thames, take a tour of Eton College or have some family fun at Legoland, Berkshire is perfect for a relaxing break.

Oxfordshire is full of natural beauty and charming villages and the city of Oxford is architecturally stunning with its famous colleges and riverside setting. Oxford has many literary links and has been used for numerous film locations. It was here that Lewis Carroll met Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland and Christ Church College was the setting for ‘Hogwarts’ in the Harry Potter films. In the south of Oxfordshire you will find the towns of Didcot, Wallingford, Thame, and Henley on Thames and to the North of the county are the historic market towns of Banbury and Bicester. Enjoy a cruise on the Oxford Canal or shop until you drop at Bicester’s famous shopping village – there is plenty on offer. Escape to Buckinghamshire for the day or a weekend and walk in the gentle rolling Chiltern Hills, stroll along the Thames Path at gorgeous Marlow or explore the famous beech woods at Burnham Beeches. There are plenty of fun attractions in Buckinghamshire for all the family to enjoy such as the oldest model village in the world – Bekonscot and the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery in Aylesbury. For the sporting type, Milton Keyne’s Xscape is Europe’s largest skiing and leisure complex and Waddesdon Manor is also a delight to see – now a National Trust property, it houses one of the finest collections of iew tainonv nt ©bri French 18th Century n Seafro to h g ri B decorative arts. Buckinghamshire Cha ©britain has four beautiful onview/K tham, Kent ent Tou Alliance rism country parks, Black /Daniel Boswor th Park, Langley Park, Denham and Thorney Park country parks with hundreds of acres of woodland, heathland, parkland, lakes and rivers that are open every day of the year for visitors to enjoy.

You can enjoy the best of both worlds in the south-east of England with gorgeous beaches and breathtaking countryside – you can even cross the Channel, but that’s another story! Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 21

Berkshire Buckinghamshire 22 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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The National Trust

WINCHESTER CITY MILL Bridge Street (near King Alfred’s statue) Tel: 01962 870057

Visit our historic 18C mill in the heart of Winchester with its waterwheel and machinery turning daily. Learn about milling through the ages with our displays, models and video presentation. Be amazed by the awe-inspriring millraces. Relax in the delightful island garden. Browse in the National Trust Gift Shop.

Fun for all the family! Children can hand-mill flour, follow our quiz trail, draw and colour mill animals and see where the otters pass through the mill.

Summer at the Mill

Admission to Mill: Admission prices apply Quiz Trails, Hands-On Activities and arty National Trust members Free crafty events, regular inner city otter Mill open watch updates, milling demonstrations. 11am to 4:30pm Every Saturday and Sunday Wednesdays to Sundays between 2pm & 4pm And daily in School Holidays Open until Christmas and on

It’s a cool place to be

New Year’s Day

Open daily in School Holidays

Experience a Millennium of Milling History



Enjoy this magnificent 20th C. garden which unites formal design with varied and informal plantings in pastel shades. Scented plants, unexpected vistas and fine topiary combine to provide enduring interest. The house contains a fine collection of English furniture, hardstones and Italian paintings. Tea Room.


Open Mid March–End October. 11.00am–5.00pm closed Thursday & Friday. Tel. 01962 771305 or email for details.

24 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Kent Oxfordshire


recreating the golden age of the Great Western Railway Open weekends all year – daily during school holidays & 20 June–6 September Write, ‘phone or visit our website for a programme of Steamdays, Days Out with Thomas and other special events. Entrance at Didcot Parkway rail station – signed from M4 (junc 13) & A34 DIDCOT RAILWAY CENTRE : DIDCOT : OXFORDSHIRE : OX11 7NJ

Tel 01235 817200

A hillside woodland created in the 20th century, now contains over 1,000 different shrubs and trees, many of them rare. Spring bulbs and magnolias, bluebells, azaleas and stunning autumn leaf colour. Ideal for family picnics in the summer months. Open all year round, dawn to dusk. Tearoom open Wed to Sun, 1 Mar–21 Nov, and Bank Holidays. Weekends during winter months. Tel: 01483 208477 For admission prices and further information see our website NT members free. Please quote CDO when replying to ads

Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 25



Hascombe Road, Godalming, Surrey GU8 4AD

Surrey Sussex 26 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Chinese New Year ©Visit London

London is a place where the historic past and the vibrant present come alive. A blend of history, ground-breaking architecture and culture has created an amazing and constantly evolving city. London is one of the world’s most remarkable and exciting cities and has something to offer every type of traveller. Split into five distinctive areas, London’s east, west, north, south and central areas all offer a very different perspective on this vibrant metropolis that embraces the diverse cultures of its population, reflected through cuisine, shops, music and colourful festivals.

West London attracts millions of visitors each year with its live music venues, parks and riverside villages. It’s renowned for its plush and expensive areas such as Kensington and Belgravia and is the home of many major attractions, from the Royal Albert Hall to Kew gardens, and has excellent shopping grounds and beautiful architecture. Some of the country’s top chefs have opened fine restaurants and bars in Hammersmith, Chiswick and Ealing, and whether your preference is Caribbean, Indian or Oriental – try Edgware Road’s Oriental City foodhall – you’ll find something to tease your taste buds. Famous for Chelsea and Fulham football clubs and the new National Stadium, built to replace Wembley

Stadium, West London is also home to Wembley Arena, the Hammersmith Apollo and the BBC’s headquarters in White City. London’s reputation as a destination for fine food continues to grow and has been rated as “the world’s best place to eat”, underlining the fact that it has become one of the gourmet capitals of the world. At the heart of Central London, you will find everything usually associated with a trip to London from the lively streets of the West End and Theatreland, to the historic sites of the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. Most places within this area are in walking distance of each other so with a basic city map, you’ll be able find your way around easily and take in some sights on the way. A more recent landmark is the world’s largest observation wheel, the BA London Eye, standing 135m high beside the River Thames and the country’s most popular paid-for attraction, welcoming 3.7 million visitors annually. Also home to the National Gallery, the delightful South Bank, Chinatown and the unique atmosphere of Soho. The River Thames divides the city into northern and • Transport for London southern halves, with Central London • National Rail Enquiries loosely described as being within the loop 0845 48 49 50 of the Underground’s • Route Planner Circle Line to the north bank of the • London City Airport river. Haute cuisine now comes from India 020 7646 0000/88

Getting there

and the Orient (try Yauatcha, the capital’s first dim sum restaurant) as well as from Europe and 1 Central London Britain (head to Lindsay 2 West London House for modern British, or Rules for traditional 3 North London English). There’s everything from top-end, 4 East London five star restaurants to 5 South London café-style options and plenty in between. What • Visit London could be more English than afternoon tea? The Art Deco Palm Court at London’s Park Lane Hotel has become a member of Britain’s Tea Guild, which promotes high standards in the art of afternoon tea. Renowned for its elegant teas since the 1930s, it is the perfect escape from the bustle of the capital’s streets. The hotel has also featured in well-known movies, from James Bond’s Golden Eye to The Poseidon Adventure. Like all great cities, London never stands still. Approaching the magnificent National Gallery, you no longer dodge London’s traffic, for the north side of Trafalgar Square is pedestrianised - and site of an open-air café and regular entertainment. (And there is less traffic in the city altogether, since a charge, now £8, has been levied to drive in the centre).

Further info

Shoppers can find all the best high-street names in North London with a visit to Brent Cross, plus boutiques and

restaurants in the villages of Islington, Crouch End, Walthamstow, Hampstead and Muswell Hill. Those in search of international flavours should head to the Turkish enclave of Green Lanes – if you time it right you might catch a music festival in Finsbury Park. And further to the north is the 19th century Alexandra Palace, set in 196 acres of parkland and offering ice-skating in the winter and open-air events in the summer. Not far away is Epping Forest, a 10,000-year-old woodland that was once a hunting ground of Henry VIII, the RAF Museum in Hendon, which boasts more than 100 planes, and a museum dedicated to William Morris, founder of the British Arts and Crafts movement. From Richmond upon Thames in the west to Bromley in the east, South London is packed full of history, culture and charming neighbourhoods. Picturesque riverside settings provide the perfect opportunity to roll out the picnic blanket. Outdoor attractions include the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the London Wetland Centre – 100 acres of wetlands in Barnes – and Richmond Park, London’s largest open space, where deer roam free. Historical buildings such as Down House – where Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species and Hampton Court Palace are brimming with colourful tales. Shoppers will marvel at the choice of shopping in places like Clapham, Barnes, Kingston upon Thames and Croydon. Children find the capital especially exciting and there’s so much for families to do, from a ride on one of the River Thames cruise boats, to a visit to a museum or a trip to a theme park. Nowhere does the old sit more comfortably beside the new than in East London, where diverse cultures and maritime heritage make for great exploring. This is London’s fastest growing area as it prepares for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Head to the Bangladeshi and Indian restaurants on Brick Lane for a delicious and authentic taste of the Asian sub-continent or visit the once rundown areas of Hoxton and Hackney, now transformed into buzzing scenes



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boasting great nightlife and eclectic markets like Spitalfields and Columbia Road. London has a new Sunday market in the heart of the trendy and ethnic Brick Lane area of the East End. The Sunday (Up) Market is within the 11-acre site of the Old Truman Brewery, within walking distance of Liverpool Street station. Products on sale, from a wide range of traders, include vintage clothes and shoes, hand-made handbags, jewellery, art, lighting, home-wares, accessories, food and drink. The market aims to be a platform for designer-makers and is set to join the capital’s other markets, including Old Spitalfields, E1; Camden Lock, NW1; Greenwich, SE10 and Portobello Road, W10, as ‘must see’ attractions for shoppers. Despite a population of over seven million, more than 30% of London is made up of parks and green space, greater than any other city of its size in the world. This space provides the perfect opportunity for walks, relaxation or sporting activities. London also offers some of the best shopping opportunities in the world. From major department stores to designer boutiques and street markets – the choice is immense. As if that wasn’t enough, London is hard to beat when it comes to nightlife. There are huge numbers of restaurants, pubs, cinemas, theatres and nightclubs plus live music and comedy venues. So, at any time of day, whatever the weather, you’ll always find something extra special in London. For those on a budget, in the last few years several economy hotel chains have moved into the city. There’s plenty of choice from names such as Travelogde and Holiday Inn Express. Attractive weekend rates are available at some of London’s best hotels, to attract leisure business once the corporate clients have gone home. don isit Lon Park ©V d n London is a very o m Rich accessible city; it has five international airports, an efficient road network and extensive Underground, train, bus, and taxi services. The city is famous for a wealth of history and culture. Home to Britain’s national art collections, the Royal family and a host of major attractions, London’s rich history, striking architecture and over 200 museums offer a unique London Eye ©V cultural experience. isit Lon don

Not surprisingly the capital has become a mecca for visitors and a great place to live. There is something to appeal to everyone and whatever your interests may be, the city has it covered. Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 29

London 30 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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THE GUARDS MUSEUM Situated in the heart of ‘Royal’ London this marvellous museum is a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and houses a superb collection of artefacts tracing the 350 year history of The Sovereign’s Foot Guards. A visit to this hidden gem is a must for anyone who enjoys British ceremonial at its best and who wants to learn more about the proud traditions within the five regiments who protect Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace. The collection has many royal artefacts and key exhibits from the turning points in our nation’s history. There is also The Guards Toy Soldier Centre where kids of all ages can marvel at the stunning displays of these collectable model soldiers. Great DVDs and videos are also available on various aspects of The Foot Guards. The museum is also available for private hire and can accommodate lunches and dinners for up to 80 guests and receptions for up to 200.

Open 10am–4pm daily, Feb–Dec. Please contact The Curator on 020 7414 3271 for availability. Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk SW1E 6HQ

32 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Hertfordshire – Much Hadham © / Rod Edwards

The East of England is based around the ancient Kingdom of East Anglia, which was originally made up of Norfolk and Suffolk; these are now joined by Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. Fabulous historic cities and towns, great country houses and gardens, bustling seaside resorts, picturesque villages, and miles and miles of beautiful countryside and coastline await your discovery.

Hertfordshire is home to Borehamwood, ‘Britain’s very own Hollywood’, the wonderful open-space of Lee Valley Park and the Grand Union Canal. St Albans is a popular town surrounded by countryside and was Britain’s third largest Roman city, called Verulamium. It’s Cathedral is particularly impressive. North of St Albans is Welwyn Garden City, taking its name from Welwyn, a separate village situated several miles north of the town. Perfect for modern shopping at the Howard Centre and a visit to the Roman Baths which are preserved in a steel vault underneath junction six of the A1(M)! To the east of the county, the lakes and open spaces of Lee Valley Country Park will provide more than just a day out whether your interests involve sport, wildlife or family activities. You can also visit the county town of Hereford with its castle and antiques shops,

Hatfield House (Queen Elizabeth I’s childhood home) and Bishop’s Stortford, birthplace of Cecil Rhodes.

Bedfordshire has a rich and varied rural landscape, fine towns and villages and is home to the highest point in the East of England, the Dunstable Downs. The county town of Bedford is noted for its fine river setting and connections to author/preacher John Bunyan and his famous book ‘The Pilgrims Progress’. To the north-west are pretty limestone villages such as Harrold and Stevington and in the east, the gigantic airship hangers at Cardington are a reminder of the area’s rich aviation heritage, more recently used as the set for the blockbuster movie “Batman Begins”. Britain’s first hot air balloon landed there too! As you head south of Bedford you will come across the lakes and wildlife of the Marston Vale and antique lovers will appreciate the fine Georgian town of Ampthill, set on the wooded slopes of The Greensand Ridge. Leighton Buzzard, set on the Grand Union Canal has always been • National Rail Enquiries famous for its sand, and Woburn for its Tel: 08457 48 49 50 wonderful abbey • National Express (home to the Dukes of Bedford), and Woburn Tel: 08705 808080 Safari Park.

Getting there

Cambridgeshire is the only county in the East of England to border all five other counties in this region

• Route Planner

• One Railway Tel: 0845 600 7245

so is the ideal base for touring the area that some still refer to as ‘East Anglia’. One of the best 1 Bedfordshire ways to explore Cambridgeshire is by boat Tel: 01234 408063 – you can hire a punt, a 2 Cambridgeshire traditional flat-bottomed boat, from the famous Tel: 0845 045 5200 university city of 3 Norfolk Cambridge, renowned for its historic churches and Tel: 01603 222222 ancient colleges – the first 4 Suffolk was founded in 1284. Explore some of the finest Tel: 01473 583000 buildings in Europe as you glide past the colleges on 5 Essex route to the willowTel: 0845 600 7373 shaped waterfront at Grantchester, inspiration 6 Hertfordshire for the poets Byron, Tel: 01438 737333 Tennyson and Rupert Brook. Cambridgeshire’s history spans back over 3000 years and at Flag Fen, near Peterborough, you can see how Bronze Age people lived. Oliver Cromwell was born and educated in Huntingdon and his former grammar school is now The Cromwell Museum. In Ely, Oliver Cromwell’s House recreates 17th Century life as he would have known it.

Further info

Norfolk is a refreshing place to visit with a pretty village around every corner and miles of unspoilt beaches and countryside. One of the most popular holiday areas is the Norfolk Broads with 200 kilometres (125 miles) of waterways to enjoy. Explore the Broads by boat – hire one for a week or for a day and you will soon learn to appreciate the nature that surrounds you. At the centre of this county is the vibrant city of Norwich, voted one of Britain’s top ten shopping destinations. Norwich is the most complete medieval city in Britain with fascinating museums, a magnificent cathedral, a Norman castle, half-timbered houses, a jumble of medieval lanes and a delightful old watergate down by the riverside. Norfolk’s coastline is An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, consisting of pleasant beaches, salt-marshes, cliffs, flint villages and nature reserves. Cliff-top Cromer is worldfamous for its crabs, and Yarmouth for its herrings and kippers. At Sheringham you can ride on a steam train to the antiques centre of Holt or visit the port of Wells-next-theSea, the pilgrimage centre of Little Walsingham and Lord Nelson´s birthplace at The Burnhams. For seaside fun, head to the sandy beaches at Hunstanton and Great Yarmouth. Directly south of Norfolk is Suffolk – the 8th largest county in England and one of the most attractive and interesting, much loved by writers and painters. Hills are not in abundance but the soft landscape holds hidden treasures for all visitors to explore. The choice of destinations within Suffolk offers the visitor options for all occasions from peaceful countryside, ideal for walking and cycling to busy coastal resorts and bustling market towns. Many of Suffolk’s meadows, heathlands and woodlands are nationally important wildlife reserves, making the county extremely popular with nature lovers. With open countryside and 45 miles of stunning coastline, Suffolk offers plenty of opportunities for picnics and other countryside recreation activities. Suffolk’s dry and sunny climate is ideally suited to the development of vineyards and orchards and there are a number of highly respected producers




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within the county that supply very fine quality wines and fruit juices. Numerous independent breweries such as Adnams and St Peter's still exist and ensure that the historic tradition of brewing within the county continues to thrive. The production of fine ales and good wine takes place alongside a thriving food retailing market and there are many reputable restaurants that serve food and drink prepared using locally sourced ingredients. The ancient Saxon county of Essex, is situated between Suffolk and Hertfordshire. Essex offers a wealthy mix of historic woodlands, pretty fishing villages, old towns, sweeping skylines and rolling fields. From the outskirts of East London to the borders of Suffolk, Essex has so much to offer and a good place to start exploring is Britain’s oldest town of Colchester. Discover the largest Norman Castle keep in Europe, now an award-winning museum and the nearby narrow streets of the Dutch Quarter, where the cloth industry once flourished. The Essex coastline is diverse and mainly unspoilt – from the traditional seaside resorts of Clacton-on-Sea, Southendon-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze to the yachting centre of Brightlingsea and Burnham-on-Crouch and not forgetting the hidden gems in between such as Mersey Island and Maldon. Whether you are looking for family fun, good nightlife, shopping, a quite retreat, fresh fish or the ideal place to s Edward eness launch your speedboat – Thorp / Rod Suffolk nv o in ta ri or jet-ski, there is a ©www.b piece of Essex’s coastline for everybody. Almost bordering Cambridgeshire, Saffron Walden is an ancient town with lovely timber-framed Essex – Lay buildings, many decorated ©www.b er Marney To we ri with pargeting (ornamental Rod Ed r wards / plasterwork) and the parish church is one of the largest in Essex. The Stour Valley is situated on the borders of both Essex and Suffolk and is one of the prettiest parts of the region. It was home to the artist John Constable (1776– 1837) and is enriched with picturesque medieval villages.

From historic houses, gardens and miles of coastline to food, culture and entertainment, Essex aims to please with a special air of romance and mystery. Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 35

Welcome to Stondon Museum, seeing bygone vehicles from the beginning of the century up to modern day classics, most of which originate from the largest private collection in the country plus more recent aquisitions making a total of more than 400 exhibits. There are 8 halls to view, each with their own individual and interesting collections. Vintage & classic cars, military vehicles and more! Plus life-size replica of Captain Cook’s ship the Endeavour! Station Road, Lower Stondon, Henlow, Beds SG16 6JN T: 01462 850339 F: 01462 850824 Open 6 days, closed Friday. 10am–4pm. Adults £6, Children £3, Seniors £5, Family ticket 2 adults+2 children £16.









36 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 37


Reg. charity


Visit the home, studious and grounds where Sir Alfred Munnings, KCVO, PRA lived and painted for 40 years. Castle House and its collection is a fitting memorial to Sir Alfred Munnings who lived at Castle House for over 40 years, calling it “the house of my dreams”. See his original studios where he painted some of his most famous paintings and where many of his original work materials are displayed. The museum prides itself on the diversity of its collection of paintings and sculptures on view – so why not come and make your own mind up? Permanent d Collection an Annual Special n tio Exhibi

Open 2–5pm every Sunday, Wednesday and Bank Holiday Mon from 1st April to 30th September. Also 2–5pm Thursdays and Saturdays in July and September. Light refreshments available. Admission: Adults £4, Children £1 Concessions £3 (Organised parties by arrangment). Free car parking.

Castle House, Dedham, Essex

38 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

Telephone: 01206 322127

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Recently described as ‘interesting & inspiring’ by a visitor, the Warner Textile Archive is a unique record of the history of textile manufacture and design since 1800. Visit the Archive’s Gallery to explore this stunning nationally important collection of textiles. Combine your trip to the Archive with a visit to Braintree District Museum just 5-minutes away.

Archive location: Warners Mill, Silks Way, Braintree. Please telephone 01376 557741 for the Gallery’s opening hours. Admission: small charge. Parking: close by.


320 Camp Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire Tel: 01727 869693/ 768652 A permanent working exhibition of musical instruments.

Organs by Decap, Bursens and Mortier; Mills Violano-Virtuoso; reproducing pianos by Marshall & Wendell, Steinway and Weber; Musical boxes; Wurlitzer and Rutt Theatre Pipe Organs.

For information on current opening times please call the theatre answerphone on 01727 869 693. Adult £4.50; child £2.50; family ticket £10; concessions £3.50. Organised groups by arrangement Registered Charitable Trust No. 276072 Please quote CDO when replying to ads

Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 39



Hertfordshire 40 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Hertfordshire Norfolk Suffolk

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Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 41

Warwickshire – Warwick ©

The Heart of England is at the centre of England’s road network making it easily accessible from wherever you are. Well known as a walking destination,

Herefordshire has four long-distance trails

passing through the county as well as its very own Herefordshire Trail, totalling 154 miles altogether. Herefordshire is ideal for garden lovers, with over 26 National Collections there are old and new gardens to suit all tastes plus numerous specialist nurseries. Away from the rolling hills, black and white timbered houses are present all around, as are historic castles and the famous Norman Cathedral in the city of Hereford where you can see the oldest map of the World, the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library. Artists, musicians and creative minds have been encouraged to settle in Herefordshire over the years by the natural beauty and calm pace of life. As a result, there are a wealth of galleries and exhibitions for both locals and visitors to enjoy. Before you leave Herefordshire, be sure to sample some of the well-known local produce of cider and Herefordshire beef – this county is also proud of having the first Michelin star pub in the UK. Despite being one of England’s quiet counties, Shropshire has over 90 places to visit,

including the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge and the birthplace of Charles Darwin. Shropshire is situated on the English Welsh border, gets more hours of daylight than anywhere else in the country and has over 32 castles with Ludlow, Stokesay and Clun claiming to be the finest. The historic town of Shrewsbury has over 660 listed buildings and black and white ‘magpie’ half-timbered houses that are so typical of the Welsh Marches. The old medieval street plan can be explored through Shrewsbury’s Shut and Passages – a unique maze of narrow alleys that criss-cross the town centre. Or, make the most of the River Severn which almost completely surrounds Shrewsbury by hiring a canoe or rowing boat or by doing a bit of fishing. Charles I once said that Bridgnorth has the finest view in England and indeed, the view remains as stunning today as it was 350 years ago, with the High Town perching a hundred feet above the Low Town and the River Severn. Also, Shropshire’s gastronomic capital of Ludlow boasts two Michelin starred restaurants, more than anywhere else outside London and is also home to a terrific food festival. The historic inland waterways of Staffordshire provide a playground for narrow boats. There are plenty of attractions to visit and places to see along the • National Rail Enquiries way from major Tel: 08457 48 49 50 theme parks like Alton • National Express Towers and Drayton Manor to delightful Tel: 08705 808080 towns such as Tutbury, a centre for crystal • Route Planner and glass blowing or

Getting there

Lichfield where the three spires of the Cathedral tower over the Samuel Johnson Birthplace 1 Herefordshire museum and the Erasmus Darwin Centre. Tel: 01432 260621 Stoke-on-Trent is 2 Shropshire known throughout the world for its fine china Tel: 01743 462462 and ceramics and 3 Staffordshire otherwise known as ‘The Potteries’. Since the 18th Tel: 01785 277397 century, visitors to 4 West Midlands Staffordshire have admired the skills of the craftspeople who 5 Warwickshire produce quality goods Tel: 0870 160 7930 for renowned names such as Wedgewood, 6 Worcestershire Spode and Royal Tel: 01905 728787 Doulton. There are museums, factory tours, visitor centres and over 30 factory shops for you to enjoy. The uplands and dales of the Peak District are perfect for leisure and activity holidays, with opportunities for walking, hang-gliding, rock climbing and caving. Staffordshire is perfect for short breaks – how about a Landrover safari through Cannock Chase or a movie map tour, taking in some stunning sceneries and historic houses used for film locations – the most recent being Jane Eyre.

Further info

Situated at the heart of the Heart of England you will find the West Midlands, providing easy access to the history and heritage of the region. Birmingham is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city brimming with culture and nestled in the middle of lush rolling countryside and beautiful quaint villages. Known as the 'workplace of the world', Birmingham began as a small rural manor and was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book as being worth 20 shillings; the town was established in 1166. Apart from the village where the market, church and castle of the Lord of the Manor were located, there was just a large expanse of park and heath land to the west and north. Now, it’s one of Europe’s biggest cities, with an area of 80 square miles and a million people benefiting from the diversity and vibrancy of the communities that make Birmingham what it is today. Famous for being the home of the NEC arena, Birmingham is also superb for shopping, with pedestrian friendly squares and streets. You can book a specialised shopping break in conjunction with Harvey Nichols and Selfridges including a personal shopper experience, lunch and a hair or beauty treatment or wander around some fantastic shops and museums at the Jewellery Quarter or the Balti Triangle – Birmingham has a big Asian culture and all aspects of this can be experienced here. Combining the best of town and country, Warwickshire’s array of attractions range from two renowned motor museums, a living Roman fort and Britain’s national organic garden situated between country churches, canals and battlefields. The medieval Warwick Castle is one of the finest in England and was home to generations of the powerful Earls of Warwick, including the 13th Earl, executioner of Joan of Arc. The fortress towers over the banks of the River Avon, on a site first fortified by William the Conqueror in 1068. The fashionable town of Royal Leamington Spa is worthy of a visit, even if only to visit the Royal Pump Rooms to taste the spa water which made the town famous and of course




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there is beautiful Stratford, otherwise known as Shakespeare Country, named after its most famous resident. William Shakespeare was born and grew up in Stratford and as you can probably imagine, there are a wealth of attractions associated with him including his final resting place at Holy Trinity Church. Six hundred years ago, the city of Coventry was ranked fourth among England’s cities and it still possesses the monuments of that glorious past – one of the finest medieval guildhalls in the country, almshouses and monastic foundations – it’s also the birthplace of the motor industry in Britain and famous locals include St George the dragon slayer, Lady Godiva and jet pioneer Frank Whittle. The county of Worcestershire offers a mixture of stunning countryside with acres of fruit orchards, riverside towns and picturesque villages with the cathedral city of Worcester in the centre of the county. Worcestershire is home to Malvern Water and Malvern is famous for its hills, some of the oldest in the World at around 650 million years old. Walking in Malvern can be as gentle or strenuous as you wish and the views are spectacular – it has been claimed that you can see 15 counties from the summit of Worcestershire Beacon – this beautiful place is also where Sir Edward Elgar got his inspiration to compose ‘Pomp and Circumstance’. The Wyre Forest is England’s s Potterie Sadlers second largest forest after the shire – rd o ff ta S v ritainon New Forest and from here, ©www.b The Severn Valley Steam Railway will take you on a journey through the some of the best riverside scenery in the country. Worcestershire also boasts numerous waterways where you can hire a narrow boat on one of the canals or set sail down the River Stour, River Avon, River Teme or Britain's longest river, the River Severn. Whichever Stafford sh ©www.b ire – Alton Tow county you chose e ritainon rs m to visit, they are all equally stunning and have their own individual treasures waiting to be explored – you just have to decide where to go first!

Home of Shakespeare, the potteries, the Black Country and Alton Towers, the Heart of England is a charming region to visit with a feast of things to see and do. Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 43

Herefordshire Shropshire Staffordshire 44 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Staffordshire Warwickshire West Midlands

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Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 45

Derbyshire – Ladybower Rsvr

The East Midlands consists of Northamptonshire, Rutland, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire and can be found in the centre of the UK, just east of the Heart of England.

Northamptonshire is scenically beautiful, rich in tradition, heritage and charming stone villages. Walk knee deep in blue bells, along serene waterways, through winding country lanes and footpaths, and around charming villages. There are plenty of things to do in every season, immerse yourself in the history of the region by visiting one of the majestic stately homes, gardens or castles. Tread where warriors battled at Naseby, meander along historical waterways or feast your eyes on the renowned boot and shoe collection in Northampton – just one of many fascinating museums. Little of Northamptonshire’s countryside has changed over the years and surprising for a county surrounded by land, you are never far from water with an abundance of canals, rivers and lakes. An extensive network of bridleways, byways, towpaths, reservoirs, country parks, forests, cycle routes and canal systems provide every opportunity for visitors to enjoy the great outdoors. A gourmet lovers delight – most of Northamptonshire's towns hold monthly farmer's markets, where you'll find tables laden with home-made jams, meats,

cheeses, cakes and organically grown fruit and vegetables.

Rutland is England’s smallest county and a little piece of old England, hidden away in the heart of the country. A place where Kings once hunted deer in the valleys, where tiny villages were bequeathed to Mercian queens and where charming thatched cottages and fine Georgian architecture are reminiscent of a bygone age. Rutland's county town of Oakham was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and lays claim to England's smallest man, Jeffrey Hudson. Its castle, a fortified Norman manor house, has a collection of horse shoes gathered from visiting nobility including members of the Royal family. Both Oakham and Uppingham are historic market towns and full of pretty honey-coloured buildings, medieval churches, interesting shops and galleries. Rutland Water is Europe’s largest man-made lake and offers many outdoor watersports and activities, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and fishing. Throughout Rutland you'll find a host of villages to explore, each with its own unique character and local charm, like Exton with its thatched cottages or Clipsham, with its topiary walk featuring dozens of trees shaped to commemorate local, • National Rail Enquiries national and international events.

Getting there

Leicestershire is

adiverse county with a lively and vibrant city teamed with traditional British countryside and stunning waterways.

Tel: 08457 48 49 50

• National Express Tel: 08705 808080

• Route Planner

Leicester itself is an energetic city with great shops, restaurants, bars, 1 Northamptonshire museums and entertainment. From Tel: 0845 658 6696 award-winning 2 Leicestershire & 3 Rutland attractions to some of the best curry houses Tel: 0906 294 1113 (25p per minute) in the UK, Leicester 4 Derbyshire offers a great mix of culture and style. Tel: 08456 058 058 Ashby de la Zouch lies at the heart of the 5 Nottinghamshire flourishing National Forest, an area that Tel: 08444 77 5678 embraces ancient 6 Lincolnshire buildings, interesting visitor attractions and Tel: 01522 526450 miles of hidden nature trails. The market towns of Hinckley and Market Bosworth lie in the west of Leicestershire, surrounded by rolling countryside and pretty villages. Hinckley itself is a thriving market town and evidence suggests that it dates back to the Roman era. Picturesque Market Bosworth is certainly worth a visit for its thatched cottages, Georgian architecture and interesting specialist shops. The Melton area is a delightful and traditionally English place where quality produce, real heritage and country pursuits are not the exception, but the norm – offering a real taste of the countryside. Soak up the atmosphere of the bustling market town of Melton Mowbray, home of the authentic pork pie – and snap up a few bargains too!

Further info

The diverse scenery of Derbyshire and the Peak District is a paradise for walkers, cyclists, extreme sports enthusiasts and the more relaxed lovers of the great outdoors. The Peak District is Britain’s first national park and has plenty to discover. The High Peak is home to the elegant spa town of Buxton, the wild moorlands of Kinder Scout, the depths of Castleton’s show-caverns, the Pennine Way and Derwent Valley’s historic dams. Belper is a small but lively market town that has its origins as a former Georgian Mill Town and lies in the Derwent Valley district, eight miles north of Derby. Originally there were five water powered cotton mills, of which now only one remains, the North Mill. This now houses the Derwent Valley Visitor Centre that exhibits the various developments of the Mills and the community that developed around them. In the Derbyshire Dales you will find craggy gritstone edges, attracting some of the world’s best climbers, as well as limestone valleys vibrant with rare flowers. Visit the historic market towns of Bakewell and Ashbourne and discover the rich industrial heritage of Matlock Bath, Cromford and Wirksworth. To the south west, the Staffordshire Moorlands offer spectacular vistas just a few miles from bustling towns such as Leek, or you can find peace and solitude in Dovedale or the Manifold Valley. Visit the lively Cathedral City of Derby and enjoy the city’s bustling shops, cafes, free museums and Derby Arboretum, England’s first public park. The city is also considered to be one of the most haunted places in the UK!

Nottinghamshire is home to the world’s most famous out-law, Robin Hood and the legendary Sherwood Forest. It has also turned out many creative greats including the poet Lord Byron and the designer Paul Smith, and is well known for its vibrant nightlife. Those who were born to shop are spoilt for choice in the city of Nottingham with all the big

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retailers you would expect to find, alongside individual boutiques and exclusive designers. Nottingham Castle is a magnificent 17th Century ducal mansion built on the site of the original medieval castle and at the Tales of Robin Hood, you can re-live the days when good was good and evil was most foul! Kids will love getting lost in their imaginations in Nottinghamshire, from swinging through trees in Sherwood Forest, feeding the lambs in the beautiful Trent Valley or searching for wildlife in Bestwood Country Park with Mill Lakes teeming with water birds, ancient oak woodland and meadows full of wild flowers. The largest county in the East Midlands, Lincolnshire, is holder to many interesting facts – did you know that Scampton is home to the Red Arrows, the famous RAF Aerobatic Team; Newport Arch in Lincoln is the only Roman arch in the country still used by traffic; Grimsby was named after a Danish fisherman called Grim; the first military tank was designed and built in Lincoln and Belvoir Castle and Harlaxton Manor were used as film locations in the film The Haunting in 1999? Lincolnshire has a wealth of qualities for you to enjoy from some of England’s cleanest beaches at Skegness and Mablethorpe to the tranquillity of the Wolds, from the vibrant city of Lincolnshire to the elegant stately homes and castles in the Vales. The past and present is all around in the city of Lincoln from the cobbled streets and antiques to the modern art scattered throughout the city. From any direction, as you approach Lincoln you will be drawn to the magnificent silhouette n – Ketto of the Cathedral stretching Rutland Pleavin y n o T / m into the skies, brooding over ritainon ©www.b 2000 years of history. Leiceste rshire – For 30 years, the Foxton Locks Lincolnshire Wolds has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with curvaceous landscapes, pretty villages and the market towns of Alford, Horncastle, Louth, Spilsby, Tattershall and Coningsby. There is so much to explore in Lincolnshire that a weekend may not be long enough!

From the unspoilt Lincolnshire Vales and the magical Fens to the well-kept secret that is Rutland, there is a piece of unspoilt East Midlands for everyone! Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 47

Derbyshire Lincolnshire Nottinghamshire 48 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 49

York Minster South Front ©

Yorkshire is as diverse as they come. Situated in the north of England between the north-east of England and the East Midlands, this region offers a unique mix of stunning landscapes, breathtaking coastlines, vibrant cities, traditional villages and fantastic green countryside. Yorkshire has more square miles, 1000 in fact, of national parkland than any other region in Britain – visit the wildflower meadows in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, feel the presence of the substantial landscapes of the Peak District National Park or explore the blanket of purple heather uplands of the North York Moors National Park. If a change of lifestyle is what you require, then Yorkshire is your ideal place, a real pick and mix of not only landscape and sea but atmospheres and history too. It’s a rare pleasure to escape to one of those incredibly pretty villages, complete with traditional pub and tea-rooms, that remain unchanged from the days of the Morris Minor. Or, if a faster pace of life excites you, there’s a decidedly 21st-century Yorkshire out there waiting to entertain in cosmopolitan centres like Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford and Hull. The one common factor you’ll come across in this dynamic, diverse region is an engaging, welcoming atmosphere. Yorkshire folk are

inviting and involving. They’re down to earth, approachable and friendly. Yorkshire’s coastline also has something to suit all tastes from popular seaside resorts and traditional fishing ports to miles of unspoilt sandy beaches to explore. Seaside holidays were invented in Scarborough, a resort which has long been a popular holiday resort ever since its glorious Victorian days – stroll along the esplanade and elegant gardens, build sandcastles on the fine beach and reveal in the amusements and entertainment that so many people love about Scarborough. To get away from the masses, visit the ancient fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, a short distance from maritime Whitby. Extremely picturesque, its narrow cobbled streets, rock pools and cliffs make this village a treasure to visit. Also worth a visit are the safe, sandy beaches of Cleethorpes, the quieter resorts of Hornsea and Withernsea and the award-winning beaches at buzzing Bridlington. Yorkshire has an array of attractions to offer like wildlife parks, steam railways, museums and some fantastic Millennium • National Express: attractions such as The Deep at Hull, Tel: 08705 808 080 Magna at Rotherham, The • National Rail Enquiries Earth Centre near 0845 48 49 50 Doncaster and of course, the biggest • Route Planner Gothic Cathedral in Europe – the • Leeds Bradford Airport magnificent York

Getting there

Minster. The York Minster overlooks the City of York and is renowned worldwide 1 Sheffield, South Yorkshire as an artistic and & The Peak District architectural 2 Leeds, Bradford & Pennine masterpiece offering a wealth of history West Yorkshire for you to discover 3 North Yorkshire and plenty of things 4 Hull, East Yorkshire & The to see and do for all ages. Yorkshire Wolds Yorkshire has two • Yorkshire Tourist Board World Heritage Sites and both portray very E-mail: different eras in the region’s history. Fountains Abbey is a golden-stoned 12th Century Abbey perfected by an immaculate Georgian water garden and one of Europe’s most amazing places. Saltaire near Bradford presents an alternative picture of perfection – a perfectly preserved model village built for industrial workers in the 19th century. Salts Mill has been reopened as a gallery and arts and crafts centre where you can see works by David Hockney, a famous son of Bradford. Walkers are drawn to Yorkshire for its gentle, scenic coast paths and its sheltered dales, rolling chalk wolds, wildflower meadows and heather moors. In contrast, Yorkshire also has its share of testing long-distance hikes, the craggy tours of the Peak District and the refreshing open spaces of the North York Moors. Yorkshire has three National Trails and lots of other long-distance walks for you to enjoy at your own pace. There are plenty of family friendly routes too with waymarked trails and easy paths. Choose one which takes you through towns and villages and stop for lunch at a cosy pub or tea shop. Walking is just one part of an activity-packed scene. Lift off on a hot-air balloon or spend lazy days on a canal boat. Go riding at Rocky’s Western Trail Adventures near Holmfirth, birdwatching at the RSPB’s Bempton Cliffs reserve near Flamborough Head, or cycling in the peaceful Yorkshire Wolds. Try sailing and fishing at Hatfield Water Park, Doncaster, and off Yorkshire’s spectacular Heritage Coast. Play great golf on almost 200 courses. Go diving at Redcar, or surf some of the best waves in the country, at Saltburn. In addition to those grand country houses, world-famous heritage sites, big-name attractions, hills, dales and moors there’s another side to the region. The quirky yet entertaining side – seek out Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma Gate, York’s shortest street – just 100ft/30m from top to bottom – yet has the longest name! There’s more than meets the eye at Aldborough near Boroughbridge. This picture-perfect village (there’s even a maypole on its village green) has hidden depths – it’s built on the foundations of a major Roman city. Wharram Percy in the wolds near Malton is a lost medieval village. Abandoned in 1500, it’s England’s ‘best preserved uninhabited village’. Tiny Thorpe Salvin, an idyllic oasis between Sheffield and Worksop, enjoys a big reputation for its floral displays (it’s a regular winner of the ‘Britain in Bloom’ best small village award). You can’t miss the village of South Dalton near Beverley. It’s visible for miles around thanks to the spire of St Mary’s Church, which reaches 200ft/60m into the sky. Yorkshire’s attractions keep everyone entertained. Theme and farm parks, mazes and amusements offer traditional family fun. Then there’s the new breed of state-of-the-art high-tech attractions where you play your part as an active, not passive visitor at places like the National Coal Mining

Further info





Museum for England, Wakefield, which takes you to the darkness of deep underground or Eureka! The Museum for Children in Halifax, where you can touch, listen, feel, smell, as well as look. Shopping in Yorkshire really is special. It’s funky and functional, trendy and traditional, a unique mix of timehonoured family emporiums ultra modern designer shopping. You sometimes have to rub your eyes when travelling around the region. It’s full of those smallish village and town shops that seem to have disappeared from High Streets elsewhere. It still has the butchers and bakers where you’ll receive good, old-fashioned service and have the pick of beautifully presented local food and produce. Fashion junkies will head for Leeds. The city’s Victoria Quarter and Corn Exchange are spectacular on at least two counts – for their stunning Victorian architecture and their dazzling choice of designer shops and boutiques, which includes the supernova superstore Harvey Nichols. Leeds is just one of the stars of Yorkshire’s sophisticated shopping scene. Sheffield’s intriguing mix of shops includes the trendy, upbeat Devonshire Quarter, home to the funky Forum. Barnsley’s Pollyanna is at the cutting edge of style and lifestyle as one of the North’s best designer shops. And in York, you can go boutique and antique shopping, wander the Shambles, possibly Europe’s best-preserved medieval street, for specialities or bag something classical or chic at places like Sarah Coggles. It’s a delight to wander the streets of places like Hawes, Richmond, Helmsley and Beverley. These and many other characterful old market towns have been serving their local communities in Egton People for centuries and they still st Board ire Touri ©Yorksh take a pride in continuing to offer a personal, friendly service. This is Bri ©Yorksh dlington Beac h ire Touri shopping true Yorkshire style, st Board where you’re likely to see a family hardware store packed full of galvanised buckets and other household paraphernalia side by side with a gallery selling exquisite antiques and art. There’s lots going on in Yorkshire from January right through to Christmas markets and festivities. Events, festivals and fairs give an expression of the true flavour of Yorkshire so sample the local atmosphere by joining in with the celebrations, historic and comical moments, music and sport, country shows and city spectaculars. Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 51

Yorkshire 52 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Castle and Loch, Eilean Donan, Highlands ©

Scotland’s lingering spirit of independence hits the traveller early; its own law, education, newspapers, banknotes and parliament leave you in no doubt of your location. But break through the shell and the country’s stern beauty is matched by a refreshing warmth of spirit. The Scottish Highlands have so much to offer – spectacular mountains, majestic glens and mirror-like lochs form the perfect backdrop to picturesque towns, isolated crofts, towering castles and pagoda-topped distilleries. A startling variety of wildlife also makes its home in the sealochs and glens where an unbroken thread of human history reaches back into the mists of time. History, legend, romance and the great outdoors combine seamlessly here to guarantee visitors a warm Highland welcome and a truly memorable holiday. Whether you are looking for an action-packed adventure, a taste of the local culture and history, or just complete peace and quiet, the Highlands of Scotland is the place to come. The Aberdeen & Grampian region of Scotland – Scotland's Castle and Whisky Country – is blessed with outstanding scenery – the majestic Grampian Mountains dominate the

skyline to the West whilst miles of unspoiled and often dramatic coastline frame the area in the East. With its sparkling granite buildings, Aberdeen has one of Scotland's most enchanting skylines, while the old town has a magical air of time gone by. A fantastic range of first class restaurants and a vibrant nightlife combined with a thriving cultural calendar and shops galore, all help make Scotland's third largest city a modern destination well worth the trip. The capital of the Grampian Highlands is even more unique thanks to the treasures on its doorstep. Sample the "water of life" and visit the eight distilleries and cooperage on the world's only Malt Whisky trail or follow the Castle Trail taking in 11 of the finest gems the region has to offer.

Perthshire, Angus and Dundee and the Kingdom of Fife are areas with an astonishingly diverse terrain, with plenty to attract and entertain visitors. The area boasts some of Scotland's most attractive towns and cities: Perth, with its upbeat air, • National Express: busy shops and relaxing pubs and Tel: 08705 808 080 wine bars; Dundee, • National Rail Enquiries dynamic and ideal for a cultural fix; Tel: 0845 48 49 50 Pitlochry and • Edinburgh Airport Aberfeldy, friendly, small-scale and Tel: 0870 040 0007 welcoming, while • Aberdeen Airport not forgetting the pantile houses and Tel: 0870 040 0006

Getting there

Further info 1 The Highlands Tel: 0845 22 55 121

2 Aberdeen & Grampian Tel: 01224 288828

3 Perthshire, Angus & Dundee and Kingdom of Fife

4 Argyll, The Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and Trossachs Tel: 01369 701000

5 Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley Tel: 0141 204 4400

6 Edinburgh & Lothians Tel: 0845 22 55 121

colourful harbours of Fife's East Neuk – a photographer's paradise. Away from habitation, the region offers plenty of active opportunities, from fabulous golf on some of the world's most famous courses to more adventurous alternatives, all set against countryside and coastlines rich with abundant wildlife.

Argyll, the Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and the Trossachs – the

birthplace of Scotland, the cradle of its Christianity and nationhood and the focal point of much of its dramatic history. Here you can savour the atmosphere of Hebridean islands, the charm of rural villages and the natural frontier which separates the rugged grandeur of the West Highlands from the gentler beauty of the Lowlands. These are lands where you can glimpse an eagle, an osprey, a wildcat, a fine antlered stag or even whales and dolphins. And if the fancy takes you, you can enjoy the spectacle of a Highland Games, the warmth of a traditional folk night or the flavour of a local food festival. Scotland's first great travel writer, Sir Walter Scott, was captivated by the beauty of this fascinating area. In his bestselling poem, the Lady of the Lake, he wrote of the landscapes around Loch Katrine: ‘From Kintyre to Killin and Tobermory to Tillicoultry, an open invitation awaits you in these heartlands of Scotland.’

7 Ayrshire & Arran, Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders

'Edinburgh,' said the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, 'is what Paris ought to be'. Its magnificent architecture shifts from the lofty tenements and narrow closes of its medieval Old Town as they tumble down the spine of the Royal Mile, to the grace and geometric precision of the Georgian New Town. Above it all, in its towering splendour, stands the Castle. Within this sweeping elegance is a compact city, a bustling city, above all a city which rewards every visitor. Beyond the city, the Lothian countryside provides a beautiful setting for the rich gems of the capital. This is an area steeped in history, filled with castles, great houses and battle sites. It's also the ancient home of the game of golf and you can find some of the great links and parkland courses of the world here. In fact, the trails and parkland and miles of glorious coastline in the Lothians open up the countryside for everyone - from picnickers on the fine golden beaches, to walkers high in the Pentland Hills. Vibrant and energetic, Glasgow enjoys a year-round




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buzz that visitors just love. This is particularly true of the city's arts scene. Over 200 arts organisations, including Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera, are based there, creating the cutting-edge productions and attracting high-profile exhibitions that led to the city being crowned as a European City of Culture. Central Glasgow's Manhattan-style town planning affords many sweeping vistas of the city's impressive Victorian buildings, dotted with little gems from the medieval to the present day. But it’s the Art Nouveau 'Glasgow Style' for which the city has become famous, and no one should miss the work of Glasgow's most celebrated sons, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Surrounding the city is some of the best of Scotland's scenery, from the rolling hills of the Clyde Valley to the beautiful walking country of East Dunbartonshire that borders the south-west Highlands. Exploring further, you'll find that many of the towns and villages in the area such as Paisley, Hamilton, Biggar, Greenock, Gourock and of course the breathtaking New Lanark World Heritage Site make great day excursions from the city. Rich, rolling farmland, rugged sea coasts and Clyde coast islands characterise the South of Scotland. It's a land of ancient abbeys, castles and historic houses and also boasts strong literary connections, with both Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott having lived here. The real Scotland starts right at the border. Different accents in the shops and different names for beer in pubs are just two of the ways in which Scotland stamps its own personality straight away. Even the scenery changes and the hazy blue peaks of the Cheviot and Eildon Hills running out to a wide horizon have lifted the hearts of generations of travellers at Carter Bar on the A68. Then there are the forests and wild moors of upland Galloway and the vivid greens of Ayrshire's rich pastures, with the steep mountainous profile of the island of Arran as a backdrop. Where ever you travel here, you can be sure of a real Scottish experience.

When the weather clears, the midges relent and all becomes still, the tranquillity is unforgettable. Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 55

Scotland 56 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Caldey Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales ©

Wales has such a variety of terrain in a comparatively small area that you can practise almost any outdoor pursuit, from walking to white water rafting, including pony trekking, wind surfing, hang gliding, quad biking, mountain biking, climbing, canoeing and kayaking. It also has almost 750 miles of coastline with some of the loveliest beaches in Europe - 44 of them flying Blue flags - so it is ideal for the traditional family bucket-and-spade seaside holiday too. Wales offers much more than the great outdoors. It has hundreds of castles and a huge industrial heritage. The town of Blaenavon is a World Heritage Site, its ironworks now telling many stories associated with the development of iron and steel. Big Pit, which lies just outside the town, offers insights into the mining experience by kitting out visitors with helmets and lamps for a tour of its workings 300 feet underground conducted by former miners. The attraction won the £100,000 Gulbenkian prize for Museum of the Year in 2005. The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea was shortlisted for the Gulbenkian Prize in its first year of operation. North Wales has some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery in the UK. This area of

great contrasts ranges from the mountains of Snowdonia and the tumbling meadows of Ll n, to the flatland of Anglesey with its stunning coastline and the plump hills and lush valleys of the Borderlands. The Cheshire Plain runs into the Borderlands, which contain five of the Seven Wonders of Wales - Wrexham steeple, Overton’s yew trees, St Winefride’s Well, Llangollen bridge and Gresford bells - and lie within an hour’s drive of the other two, mount Snowdon and the 240-ft waterfall, Pistyll Rhaeadr. One of the jewels of this area is the Dee valley near Llangollen with its steep green sides and the powerful river flowing through its floor. It can be best appreciated from the dramatic Pontcysyllte • First Great Western: Aqueduct, which can be crossed on foot or by Tel: 08457 000 125 canal barge! The North Wales • Virgin Trains: coastal resorts that extend from Llandudno Tel: 08457 222 333 to Prestatyn can boast • National Express: some of the best seaside fun in the UK. Tel: 08705 808 080 Llandudno sits on its own peninsula, nestling • National Rail Enquiries between the Great Tel: 0845 48 49 50 Orme and Little Orme headlands. This stylish, • Cardiff International elegant resort, with its Airport majestic promenade, has retained all of its Tel: 01446 711111

Getting there

Further info 1



Llandudno & Colwyn Bay


Rhyl & Prestatyn




North Wales Borderlands


Mid Wales & Brecon Beacons







10 Swansea

11 South Wales Valleys

12 Wye Valley & Vale of Usk

13 Glamorgan Heritage Coast

14 Cardiff

Victorian splendour and grace. It is a town which is proud of its literary links with Lewis Carroll, being the place where Alice Pleasance Liddell spent her holidays as a child. The neighbouring resort of Colwyn Bay has three miles of golden sandy beaches and a bustling town centre with stunning mountain scenery in the background. It is an extremely popular holiday favourite with people of all ages. The resort’s superb three-mile long promenade runs into neighbouring Rhos on Sea, a picturesque harbour town with a relaxed atmosphere. All along the seafront you can watch, or take part in a variety of watersports, including jet skiing,

windsurfing, water skiing and sailing. West Wales stretches from the western regions of the Brecon Beacons National Park to the offshore islands of Pembrokeshire, from the golden shores of Carmarthen Bay in the south to the wide sweep of Cardigan Bay in the north. The southern arm of Wales which juts out into the Irish Sea provides the prefect getaway destination, offering a wealth of sights, activities and amenities to suit every palate. Pembrokeshire is hailed as ‘gwlad hud a lledrith’ (land of magic and enchantment). Its many prehistoric remains, rich history, legends and folklore all combine to give it an unique identity. The county can be split into two by the imaginary Landsker line. South of this ancient dividing line lies an area affectionately known as Little England beyond Wales. To the north is the Welsh speaking Cymru – its wilder terrain possibly explains why it was never conquered by the Normans. The area’s steep rugged cliffs are home to hundreds of seabirds and other wildlife, as are the off-shore islands of Skomer, Skokholm, Grassholm and Ramsey which are worldfamous sea bird sanctuaries. If your idea of a holiday is an all-action, adrenalinepumping adventure break, then Pembrokeshire offers it all! An Utopia for adventurers, the county attracted Lord Nelson long before it became synonymous with outdoor pursuits. Locked on three sides by water, it is natural that many of the outdoor activities for which it is famed are strongly aquatic - the area even dreamed up one of the most original outdoor crazes, coasteering - which, by the way, has nothing to do with table mats!


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Coasteering involves traversing the coastline in any way possible, be it swimming, climbing, scrambling or biting the bullet and jumping those cliffs. Acolytes are decked out in wetsuits and trainers and receive expert tuition from instructors who keep them under close surveillance for every minute. Fans of the sport are growing fast. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is responsible for safeguarding this beautiful tract of countryside, and maintaining the balance of interests between, outdoor leisure activities and the communities that live and work in the Park. Tenby perfectly combines a rich history with unspoilt beauty and all the fun of the seaside. The town dates from medieval times. Most of the old town, with its maze of cobbled streets and narrow passageways, lies within the extensive remains of the 13th century walls. Parts of the walls still stand to their full height, particularly along the South Parade, and the towers which protected them can be seen at the famous Five Arches, of which there are actually six. Wales' capital, Cardiff, is Europe's youngest, and one of its fastest growing, capital cities. As well as rapidly growing into a financial and communications centre in recent years, Cardiff has transformed itself into a vibrant, cosmopolitan, modern city, worthy of its title - the youngest capital city in Europe. Many exciting projects are giving the city an air of dynamism and new found confidence. Cardiff has the Brecon Beacons National Park within easy reach - a 45-minute drive at most. It has on its doorstep the lovely Vale of Glamorgan with olmen picturesque villages, Wales D market towns and beaches too. Snowdo The city can offer nia accommodation to suit any taste and pocket. It has restaurants providing fine fare from all over the world, reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of this former port and the tastes of its people. A different world awaits - Make it your world.

From the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains of the South, where the SAS test the best, to Snowdonia in the North, where the first conquerors of Everest trained, you have a land that makes the body tingle and delights the senses. Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 59

Wales 60 Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009

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Wales South Wales North Wales

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Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009 61


This masterpiece of engineering, which took nine years to build, was officially opened by HM the Queen on 17 July 1981 and provided the link between two areas which had previously been separate and distinct parts of the country. Come and experience for yourself the magnificence of the Humber Bridge, either on foot via the bridge walkways, or by driving across. The views you get both on and off the bridge will stay with you for many years. Why not extend your stay by visiting other attractions in the vicinity before exploring the many attractions in the region?

For information on tolls and amenities, please contact The Humber Bridge, Ferriby Road, Hessle, East Yorkshire Tel: 01482 647161

Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009  
Choice Days Out & Attractions Summer 2009  

Your Number 1 choice for great days out and top family attractions in the UK. Win a fantastic theatre break in Northampton.