Tag Archives: shopping

Chester: A Shopper’s Paradise!

Chester is simply not talked about enough! Whilst it is not one of England’s largest cities, it certainly has a lot to offer its visitors, especially its shoppers. As the capital of the North-West county of Cheshire, it is a beautiful place to shop and sight-see in an atmosphere like no other in England. Get your hands on some of the latest fashions, in some of the oldest buildings.

Out of town is the Cheshire Oaks Shopping Park, for those who want to grab a discount on designer brands. Here you can get your hands on great brands such as Gap, Jane Norman, Fat Face, Lacoste and Polo Ralph Lauren. Although a relatively modern development, Cheshire Oaks is still in keeping with the typical black and white facades associated with Cheshire Architecture, making a pleasant and tranquil place to find a new outfit. On site there are also many places to get meals, snacks and refreshments including Café Rouge, Costa Coffee and Pizza Express.

In the city centre, the vast array of shops could be overwhelming to the unseasoned shopper. There is so much to choose from, whether you are dipping into your favourite highstreet stores such as H&M, River Island and La Senza, or you’re heading to one of the many designer stores.

In the unlikely event that you should find yourself bored from shopping, there is plenty more to see and do in Chester, such as visiting the zoo, walking around the still intact walls of the city, or checking out the Roman ampitheatre, there is a breadth of entertainment to keep you occupied.

Perhaps you wish to make your stay in Chester an overnight, there are many excellent bars and clubs to keep you on your toes in the night (where of course you can show off your new outfit!) and of course you will need to find somewhere to rest your weary feet and arms after lugging all of those heavy bags around. Check into The Chester Grosvenor, where you will experience the Britain’s Best Hotel 2011 winner.

Bristol part two, the city by day and night

Here is the second part to our guide to Bristol, here we have provided you with ideas for nights out and where you can crash afterwards, as well as where to pick up the best bargains and fashion finds in this exciting city.

Nightlife: There is certainly no shortage of places to go for a good night out in Bristol. If you like to take to the stage, then Bristol offers a great variety of karaoke bars. Kobe is very popular among locals and is a great location for a girly night out such as a hen party – a very fun and relaxed atmosphere and great prices.  If you prefer to get away from the hustle and bustle – then the Shore Café Bar is a great place to relax and unwind, enjoy a nice glass of wine while watching the sunset over the harbour.

Where to stay: There is plenty of accommodation on offer in Bristol to suit every budget. For gorgeous harbour side views, then a room at The Bristol Hotel is a good choice. Comfortable, spacious rooms come fully equipped with all amenities to make your stay here as pleasant as possible.  If you are looking for some extra luxury and great leisure facilities, then located in the city centre is the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel – offering 4 star luxury and very reasonable prices.

Shopping: You can literally shop ’til you drop in Bristol – the city has three amazing world-class shopping centres with more shops than you can ever manage. The city also boasts an amazing variety of small independent boutiques and vintage shops.

Out and about in Leeds

Located in West Yorkshire, Leeds is a mid-sized city, and is a popular place for students, business people and tourists. The city is very multi-cultural and has a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.

Popular things to see and do: The Leeds Art Gallery is a great place to visit and display’s some of the finest pieces of art from around the world. For a fun-filled day out for the whole family, a visit to Temple Newsam – this estate was once owned by Henry VIII and is the largest rare breed farm in Europe – located just 4 miles outside of Leeds it’s a perfect way to keep the kids entertained.

Culture, music and events: Outside of London, Leeds is the only city in the UK to have its own Ballet and Opera companies. The city is also home to the largest musical festival in the North of the country and certainly doesn’t come up short when it comes to cultural entertainment. If visiting Leeds during the summer, you should take time to attend the West Indian Carnival, an amazing bright, fun and carnival and parade that takes to the streets of Leeds and is the longest running carnival in Europe. Or enjoy an evening at one of the many theatres in the city.

Eating out: Thanks to the various nationalities living here, eating out in Leeds is far from boring. If you have been to the Leeds Art Gallery, then stop at the Tiled Café next door for a bite to eat – this place is very famous with the locals and is a place you won’t forget it. Given its name, because of the beautiful mosaic tiles all over. The Tiled Café serves a traditional and delicious menu at great prices and boasts an atmosphere and décor you won’t find anywhere else.  To sample some fine English fish & chips, then head to the Midnight Bell – a popular pub serving the best of British pub food. And don’t forget to wash your meal down with a pint of Leeds’ finest.

Nightlife: To get your groove on and party all night long, then should be heading to Call Lane – a party hotspot filled with bars and clubs for every taste. Or for a more chilled out approach, then Oracle may be more your thing – the place to be for the very sophisticated who can enjoy a nice glass of bubbly on the Moet Terrace overlooking the river.

Where to stay: No matter where you stay in Leeds, you will always receive a warm welcome and excellent service. For a more luxury orientated stay, then the Queens Hotel is a great choice – a 4 star hotel within good distance to the centre. High quality rooms come complete with everything you need for a perfect stay and to make the most of your trip. If you’re visiting on business or simply need a comfortable room for the night, then the Holiday Inn Express offers great quality rooms at very affordable prices, breakfast is usually included in the price and is a perfect starting point for enjoying the city.

Shopping: Shopping in Leeds is in a league of its own – from designers like Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and many more, Leeds has over 1000 shops to choose from, including all your high street favourites and many unique vintage and independent boutiques.

Get up and go to Glasgow!

Glasgow is very popular with tourists, and it’s hardly surprising that so many people who visit the city instantly fall in love with not only the vibrant atmosphere and charm of the city itself, but also of the people who live there – Glasgow has a long-standing reputation for being home to the friendliest people in the world – a reputation we believe to be justified. An artistic background with the many galleries, the art school and of course the famous Mackintosh architecture, combined with the individual and long standing Scottish traditions makes Glasgow an interesting and exciting place to be.

Popular things to see and do: There is no way you could ever get bored in Glasgow. It may not be the biggest city in the UK, but it certainly has no shortage of entertainment. The Glengoyne Distillery is an excellent day out – visit the oldest distillery in the country and enjoy some free samples of the finest whiskey you have ever tasted. If you have the kids along with you, then a trip to XScape is most definitely needed to keep them entertained and burn some energy. XScape is an indoor adventure centre where you can do just about anything from skiing to rock-climbing and everything in between. A trip to Glasgow however is incomplete until you’ve explored it’s art and architecture. Rennie Mackintosh’s architecture can be found all around the city, but to really get a feel for it, head to Queen’s Cross Church, for its gothic style of architecture, and The Glasgow School of Art  which you can even wander round and see the work of the current students.

Culture, music and events: The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) is a massive venue that hosts a huge variety of concerts, shows and pantomimes with performers such as Take That, Beyonce and Rihanna being just a few of the people to give concerts here. Tickets can be booked online in advance, or for smaller events you can book directly at the ticket desk.  Or get yourself dressed up in your finest evening wear and head to the Theatre Royal to see famous ballet Swan Lake, or vibrant musical Grease – ask directly at the ticket office in the theatre for a list of shows, or enquire at your hotel.

Eating out: Glasgow is home to many cultures and this is something that influences the amazing choice of food available here. For some traditional home-made Mexican cuisine that is hard to find outside of Mexico, head to Pinata – a friendly and charming restaurant with a mouth-watering menu and prices that certainly won’t break the bank. For a good traditional Scottish pub lunch, there are many great little places around the city – though one of our favourites is Deoch and Dorus – a lovely, traditional and simple menu to keep you going for the day. Deoch and Dorus is very popular among the locals and visitors alike, and is known for its welcoming and cosy atmosphere.

Nightlife: Clubs such as The Garage and Tiger Tiger are extremely popular hotspots with the Glaswegians and from surrounding towns. Both offer many different rooms where music ranges from indie, pop and house – drinks are reasonably priced and often promotional deals on drinks and entry are offered. If the club scene isn’t your thing, then you might want to try Ashton Lane – one street (or lane) filled with a wide variety of bars, including a wine bar, a cocktail bar, and a vodka bar.

Where to stay: If you’re on the lookout for some full on pampering, then the Glasgow Hilton is the perfect choice. Rooms at the Hilton are full equipped with everything you need, and the hotel has a fabulous leisure complex offering massages, and various pamper packages. Or if you’re travelling with a group of friends, then try one of the many hostels around the city, known for their welcoming and laid back atmosphere – staying in a hostel is a great way to meet people from around the world, while saving your pennies for enjoying the city.

Shopping: After London, Glasgow offers the biggest variety of shopping facilities in the UK. Buchannan Galleries is a shopper’s paradise, and has all your high street favourites and more. No matter what you’re looking for, you will find it in Glasgow – from Versace to Gucci and everything in between, the city also boasts some of the most amazing little vintage and boutique shops to be found anywhere.

Norwich: a treasure trove of traditional architecture and Norfolk charm

Located in the centre of Norfolk rests its county town of Norwich. While it is one of the most densely populated cities in the East of England, tourists will be met with a different flavour from that of most big cities. Evidence of Norfolk’s ancient past; the castles, cobblestone, and winding back streets give it an obvious appeal to history lovers, while a plethora of independent businesses gives an alternative diversion to the more contemporary at heart. Both international tourists and locals are sure to find something they enjoy.

Things to see and do: The architecture alone is enough to draw visitors. For a structured tour, one might consider seeing the sights in chronological order. If you opt for this method, start with the medieval buildings like Norfolk Castle Museum and Strangers’ Hall, then make your way to the Bridgewell Museum and consider its fascinating history of being both home to a king and a prison, and finally finish your day with the famous Theatre Royale and Norwich Playhouse.

Eating out: If you prefer to keep your fayre on the more traditional end, go for places like The Parson Woodforde, which doubles as a freehouse, so if you eat too much, you can stay the night.  The Racecourse, and The Hunnybell are also excellent choices.  If your palate yearns for the exotic, then don’t worry, Norwich’s list of international cuisine includes Chinese, Thai, Indian and Lebanese. Brummel’s Seafood Restaurant will give fish lovers quite a treat, and Umberto’s Trattoria Italia Pizzeria is sure to satisfy lovers of Italian.

Nightlife: Most of Norwich’s bars and clubs can be found near Tombland, Prince of Wales Road, and the Riverside area near Norwich’s railway station. If live music is desired, Blueberry comes highly recommended, with a Monday Jazz Jam, and Open Jam on Wednesday nights. Younger people might gravitate toward Optic and Liquid Nightclub, on Prince of Wales Road.

Where to Stay: There are a lot of places to rest one’s head in Norwich. Number 17 labels itself a “luxury bed and breakfast and guesthouse”, and offers single rooms at £52, and ranges up to family suites for £120. If you are in need of some extra pampering, Barnham Broom Hotel, Golf and Spa should be just to your liking, and if you happen to be going in the off season, promotions often include a reduced rate and a spa treatment in your package.

Shopping: If you hate to shop, you will change your mind after visiting Norwich, whose economy is firmly based in retail. There are independent shops all around the city ranging from quaint gift shops to bigger antique stores. If big names are what grab your eye, head over to The Mall Norwich or the freshly built Chapelfield.

Deeper into Leicester: friendly nightlife, chic hotels and extravagant shopping!

Welcome back to our guide to Leicester. In this second installment of our guide to a town thriving with so many different cultures, we will guide you through the best places to hit the tiles, where you can rest your head after a busy day of shopping, sight-seeing, eating, drinking.

Nightlife: Get your glad rags on and take to the city of Leicester for a fun and easy-going night out.  If you love cocktails, and would like to add some variety to your night, then try Hakamou – a cocktail bar with an edge that is very popular with the locals and visitors alike – they offer a choice of over sixty cocktails to excite your taste buds.  For a bit of live music, then head to The SoundHouse Leicester for their open mic night and catch up with the latest talent.

Where to stay:No matter what your budget or taste, finding somewhere nice to stay in Leicester is never a problem. The Premier Inn is always a safe choice, and is family friendly. With comfortable, modern rooms at great prices, this is the perfect place for enjoying the city. If your in Leicester for a special occasion or would like to enjoy a romantic weekend with your partner, then go for some full on luxury at the Hotel Maiyango – a stunning boutique hotel which creates a warm welcome and friendly atmosphere for all its guests.

Shopping: Leicester certainly scores high in our books when it comes to the variety of shops – for all your favourite high street shops, such as Primark, TK-Maxx, H&M, etc, then Haymarket is the place to be. Explore the city a little and you will surely pick up some unique finds in one of the many little boutique or vintage shops in The Lanes. Highcross, which in recent years replaced the former Shires shopping centre, is a Leicester favourite for shoppers to lighten their wallets with a giant John Lewis and many shoe, gadget and clothes shops.

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!