Category Archives: Events

The Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks Challenge

For many people Yorkshire conjures up images of farmers leaning on stiles and donning a flat cap before a backdrop of terrific scenery. By far the UK’s biggest county, Yorkshire offers visitors a vast wealth of landscapes, history, heritage sites and has arguably the best kept dialect in Britain. Party from dusk until dawn in Leeds, explore some of England’s savage history in one of York’s many historical sites and museums. Alternatively you can challenge yourself to the Yorkshire Dale’s three peak challenge, a much smaller and more feasible version than the National Three Peak Challenge! Popular amongst charity organizations and student sport groups, anyone fit and motivated enough to take the challenge is encouraged to do so!

The Yorkshire Dales National Park preserves some of England’s most distinctive scenery and a traditional farming and countryside way of life. This makes it the perfect place for a countryside retreat, and will take you a million miles from what may be for you an overwhelmingly urban life. Head to West Yorkshire and visit the small climbing town of Ingleton, which gives you access to the well-trodden Waterfalls Walk, which for a low fee, will take you on a breathtaking journey past some stunning waterfalls. Ingleborough, a relatively low mountain is very distinctly shaped with its flat top and steep sides, but makes a very rewarding climb, for the view on a clear day stretches for miles. The three peaks challenge is feasible in a day, if you are a fit and experienced walker.

Starting from Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the route first goes over Pen-y-Ghent, then Whernside (the highest peak standing at 728m high) before going over Ingleborough and arriving back at Horton. Before embarking on the challenge it is usual for walkers to either pitch a tent in the campsite at Horton-In-Ribblesdale, or in guest houses in the nearby settlements of Settle and Ingleton, or if you fancy something a bit more luxurious after a wearying day on the fells, book your group into Beech Tree self-catering holiday cottages, near Ingleton, which are used to accommodating guests completing the challenge. If you would prefer something catered, then check into Little Bank Country House, where rooms start at £75 per night, and are highly recommended by previous guests for the warm welcome and high levels of comfort.

Take a leap: Unique things to do in Britain

It would be a shame not to do a post with a mention that today will be a one in 1460 year opportunity. Most people wouldn’t so much as bat an eyelid at it, but as it’s something special  so rare I thought I would suggest unique things that you can do in a day around the UK to celebrate its uniqueness!

England- For those residing in London, chances are the most time you will get to day is to have a drink, so to make it a unique one and head to St Pancras’ Station to drink Champagne at the World’s longest champagne bar. For more Capital adventures, why not try something for free, The British Museum is free to enter, or perhaps you want to challenge yourself and climb up St Stephen’s Tower (most commonly known as Big Ben Tower!). In the North, see art with a difference at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, or head to Grizedale Forest in the Lake District for a walk where interesting sculptures blend into the surroundings. Afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Shop in York is also a wonderful experience for the traditional scone, cream cake and tea fan. Kick back and enjoy friendly service whilst tucking into Britain’s best afternoon treats.

Scotland- Standing at one of the UK main island’s most northerly points, John O’Groat’s is an experience that everyone should aspire to have. Despite being dubbed “a seedy tourist trap” by the Lonely Planet guide, I actually quite liked the town. It’s unspoiled; you can watch the puffins and seals playing down by the water, enjoy and ice cream and above all just watch the sea. If this is too much of a trek for you, there are plenty of exciting things to do in the Scottish Cities. Visit the Wallace Monument in Stirling, or climb up to Edinburgh Castle for the sound of bagpipes or a view of the city. For an Island visit, go to Orkney to see the oldest building in Britain.  Skara Brae which was built in 3500 BC is the most complete Neolithic village in Britain. For a sweet tooth, head to Aberlour in Moray to the place where Walker’s shortbread is manufactured and sample some Scottish Whiskey at the same time.

Wales- Today is traditionally known as a day when women can propose rather than the other way around. So if you’re recently engaged or planning on a proposal, why not get married in a cave? Dan Yr Ogof caves can legally hold weddings in their Cathedral cave. If not getting married, then just visit anyway! Another interesting trip out in Wales, is a boat trip out to Caldey Island to the monastery. Dotted around the island there are many interesting little things to explore such as beaches, plants, a light house, the old priory and the monastery itself. Urbanites around Wales may however prefer something a little more city oriented. Don’t worry Wales has that too! Watersports in the city are available in every manner. Take an afternoon off and go kayaking, canoeing, rafting and windsurfing at the International Sports Centre. At night do something different and take the Creepy Cardiff tour. See some of the best attractions in the city whilst learning some haunting facts.

Manchester guide part 2: sleeping, shopping and seeing

And so it is time for our next installment of how to enjoy your perfect weekend break in Manchester. This time we will be focusing  where you can stay, and how to experience the best of Manchester’s rich cultural life, the music and events which you can go and see and most importantly for bargain hunters and fashionistas, where to go shopping!

Culture, music and events: Manchester MEN Arena regularly shows live acts from the international music scene. The Lowry Arts and Entertainment Centre regularly shows theatre and dance, hosting art exhibitions and is even the chosen venue of ITV’s “Britain’s Got Talent”! The Royal Exchange Theatre shows regular performances of dance, theatre and music.

Bars and clubs: There is no shortage of bars and clubs. You can spend your evening drinking in your own style, from relaxed drinks in The Black Dog Ballroom, to the European bottled beer and vodka at The Cord Bar, without forgetting the venues that cater for the LGBT scene such as Spiritz and New York, New York. For clubbing, The Warehouse Project is a memorable night out with a calendar jammed with live music events, whilst Sankeys has a place in the heart of every Mancunian clubber!

Where to stay: For luxury, head to the historical Palace Hotel, which guarantees comfort and convenience in a central location. For a smaller budget, check out some of the more wallet friendly hotels such as the family friendly Britannia Hotel, located in the heart of the city, close to rail, bus and shuttle links. If it’s more of a backpacker feel that you’re after however, head for a night of shut-eye at Hatters Youth Hostel on New Street, which is Manchester’s backpacker’s favourite.

Shopping:Manchester boasts excellent mainstream and unique shopping .High street brands are available at the Trafford Centre and in the city centre on Market Street, Deansgate and the Arndale Centre. For something different, The Vintage Fair visits Manchester every third week of the month, but Affleck’s Palace remains a permanent fixture for all things eclectic, with 5 floors of unique clothes, jewellery and other decorations!

Get festive with a Christmas Market

Christmas Markets are a great way to get in the festive mood. Originally banned by Oliver Cromwell, they are now booming in large UK towns and cities and make a great day trip or long weekend away.

One of the most popular markets is held in Birmingham, which celebrates its 10th year of success this December. It recreates the original essence of a German Market by selling traditional snacks and pastries native to Germany as well as Glühwein (mulled wine). Rows of small wooden huts line Victoria Square selling various toys, crafts, jewellery and home-made goods and the lively ambience is further created with special performances by local choirs and schoolchildren.  The market is already open and will continue until the 23rd of December.

If you want to recreate history, visit the Victorian Festival of Christmas set in Portmouth’s Historic Dockyard. Activities include Victorian dancers, a magic lantern show and a traditional Victorian Father Christmas dressed in green. Note that this unique type of market runs for a limited time, from the 25th-27th November.

Similarly in Rochester Castle there is Dicken’s Christmas Market, where the characters from the books come to life and mix in with the crowd. This market will open on the 30th of November and continue until the 18th of December.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten track, try the Leeds Caribbean Christmas Market. Learn about Caribbean history whilst sampling delicious native food, rum punch and listening to the steel drums. Don’t forget to take the limbo challenge- there are prizes involved! The market runs for one weekend only from the 26th-27th November.

Don’t forget to wrap up warm as most Christmas Markets are best experienced at night, where revelers can enjoy a mulled wine whilst performers sing and dance under the festive lights.

So find your nearest Christmas Market and have some festive fun!