Tag Archives: Britain

Visiting the heart of Britain

“Guest blogger Alex James McKean tells Homes for Holiday why Stamford makes the perfect getaway”

Are you looking for time away from noise and sounds of the city? Or are you on the hunt for a quintessential Britain? If either of these applies to you, then Stamford, in the heart of the United Kingdom, may be the place for you.

Stamford is an old market town in South Lincolnshire surrounded by tranquil countryside and quaint villages. Its appearance is a visual projection of its history as its architecture comes from the 17th and 18th century with its stone buildings, cottages and timber structures. Much of the centre of town is renowned nationally and protected so that the history can continue to tell stories for time to come.

However, there is more to this town than history. You may find yourself meandering down the high street and discovering one of the many cafes, sitting with a cup of tea watching the world go by.  Keeping with tradition, Stamford has its own market, not only charming, but where fresh fruit, flowers amongst other products are available to purchase.

If there is an active person inside of you, Stamford and its surrounding area is home to many a cycle and hiking route. Clean, fresh air is definitely not hard to come by. Just ten minutes by bus takes you to Rutland Water, the largest reservoir in England which is home to a flurry of wildlife. Many birdwatchers descend on the area to catch a glimpse of rare birds in their natural habitat. Don’t be fooled into thinking the reservoir is just for animal enthusiasts. You may also come across water sports such as sailing and fishing and for the athletes among you there is a cycling route along a 25km road that allows you fully take in the breathtaking scenery.

At the end of the day after a long walk, then do as many do and head on to one of the pubs in Stamford for delicious pub food, a refreshing pint and warm atmosphere. The pubs in Stamford represent the community whilst at the same time they are the perfect place to relax. Or perhaps, you are looking for something a little more up market, so try one of the wine bars just off the high street.

Stamford is a town where old English culture survives. It has remarkable scenery and the people are always welcoming. It truly is quintessential Britain.

 

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.