A traditional fish and chip shop, the best mushy peas and fabulous fish fried to order. Not open on a Saturday evening (to avoid the riff raff). Fries in vegetable oil.
52 North Street Scarborough
+44 (0) 1723 367 448
Google map: tinyurl.com/33od8cy
Several men on my tour of the National Stud cast envious glances at the stallions. Glossy as prize conkers, these alpha males are champions which have repeatedly proved their worth. While they remain virile and fertile, they are in constant demand to pass on their winning genes.
Richard, our guide, explained that artificial insemination is out of the question. It’s to do with the lineage of the thoroughbred - they all trace back to one of three famous Arabian stallions imported into England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Fortunately for the stallions, the money stakes are so high that establishing parentage visually is crucial.
The spick-and-span stud is so huge - 500 acres - that our group of eight are in a minibus. "Take as many photos as you like,” said Richard. “This is a wonderful opportunity to see what is usually a secret world where the public aren’t welcome. I should add, I work on racecourses for the bookies too, but I still can’t pick a winner!”
He explained that the mares we see in the fields are boarding or brought in to foal here. As all race horses share a 1 January birthday, mares are tricked into ovulation by artificial light and warmth - to ensure foals are born earlier than nature would dictate.
We were allowed to pat the winner of the 2004 Grand National Amberleigh House over his fence, feed him peppermints and pose in turn next to his still-feisty and handsome head.
Too valuable to be allowed to roam, five stallions are housed in their own immaculate unit, each with their pedigree displayed like royalty. “Don’t touch - they will bite” warned Richard as a nose snuffled behind a metal grid.
We crowded reverently to watch Paddy grooming Myboycharlie. “If anyone but Paddy was in there with him that horse would make mincemeat of them. But it’s not a love thing with stallions and Paddy - it’s mutual respect. And incidentally, while stallions may love mares - they prefer men to women.”
Richard showed us the unit for visiting mares - each stallion has up to eight daily appointments - and points out a dip in the bedding where a stallion of shorter stature can gain a height advantage. He showed us a heavy mantle worn by the mares to prevent shoulder bites from amorous lovers, and explained that shoes are removed from hind feet. The covering fee can be up to £65,000, but is only paid once pregnancy is confirmed.
Tours daily at 11.15 and 2pm.
Adults £7, each tour lasts 75 minutes
The Midland's 'informal' restaurant and bar is casual, yet classy. History oozes from black and white photos of sporting activities and teams on the green-painted wood panelled walls. Its limited menu of simple dishes is well executed, decent value and delicious. Get a window seat overlooking the Central Library, a Mancunian architectural gem.
Afternoon tea is an experience, if an expensive one at £40 for two. It includes petit sandwiches, bite-sized scones with jam & clotted cream, Dundee cake and strawberry tarts with unlimited refills of tea or coffee.
The Malvern Hills are fantastic for a gentle walk with really satisfying veiws. From the tops - which only take about half an hour or so to get to you have a 360 degree panorama for miles and miles. Then you can walk along the ridge as far as you want. Absolutely brilliant - maximum result for minimum effort. Although if you're not used to walking up hill you will also feel like you've had a good work out.
Malvern Hills, Worcestershire
Great Malvern Station
Lovely unpretentious B&B in an old school building. The cooked breakfast was great.
In the town centre and very near the hills - you can just walk onto them.
So nice to go somewhere that is neither trying to be flash or twee, just comfortable and interesting.
Also very reasonable price.
Peacock Bar starts off the evening as a really raucous burlesque cabaret club, but once shows are over becomes a 70s/80s/90s club with great super-cheesy music. Really up for it 20-30-something crowd, lots of whom are all dressed up.
This is a superb gastropub hidden down in Leith which is an up and coming area of Edinburgh. It is just round the corner from The Kitchin ( Tom Kitchin's restaurant ), so now seen as a rather cool and modern new quay area with some relaxed bars.
If you are looking for wonderful gastropub food at a reasonable price, then I cannot recommend this place enough. I had a Pork dish and it melted in the mouth and the crackling was to die for, and it was only £7.50. A little bit off the usual beaten track of the Royal Mile however well worth the "extra" mile to get there.
The Walker is a really impressive gallery, with a collection that takes in a fantastic copy of Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII and other terrific pieces by Rembrandt, Millais, Rossett and Waterhouse, as well as slightly less impressive pieces by the likes of Degas and Monet. There's also a brilliant sculpture room and a really striking series of modern art in a side wing. Free entry and a beautiful building – though give the cafe a miss.
A fantasic place to stay when visiting Edinburgh, the staff were extremely friendly and helpful, great local knowledge. It has views of the castle and is right in the heart of the city. The room itself was awesome with great personlised touches, homemade muffins yum :) We also dined in the restaurant and we loved the food and service, we wouldn't normally dine where we stay, but was so glad we did and we even got a 10% discount which we thought was a nice touch. We really enjoyed our stay, I'm sure you will too – it's a little gem.
If visiting nearby Sherwood Forest here's a good and inexpensive place to spend a couple of hours. Crumbling, haunted ruins of a medieval monastery and later country house, contemporary craft centre, modern sculpture trail, attractive park and lake, shops, cafe and restaurant with good value cooked lunches. Unusual things for the kids to discover like the camera obscura, the dragon gateway and the 'stone harp'. www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/ruffordcp
About 20 miles north of Nottingham on the A614, 3 miles south of Ollerton. It's on the old Great North Road which once ran through Sherwood Forest.
If you are really trying to get off the beaten track to find the authentic London experience - whatever that is - then head east of London Bridge; by riverboat, bicycle, Docklands Light Railway or best done on foot, along the Thames Path, north or south of the River. You won't be disappointed with what you might find; amazing historic neighbourhoods, famous and infamous characters, the Docklands and Canary Wharf, Maritime Greenwich, Deptford and of course Stratford.
We stayed at Dyfiview in early February, as friends of the owners, as they prepared to launch their B&B business.
We were very impressed. Dyfiview B&B has a superb location overlooking Machynlleth and a short walk takes you into the centre where there is a good choice of places to eat and drink.
Our room (Room 1) was very spacious, newly and tastefully decorated and well appointed with a large en-suite bathroom, a very comfortable bed, roomy wardrobes, a flat screen TV, together with tea/coffee making facilities, toiletries etc.
There are fantastic views over the Dovey Valley from the bedroom and from the large dining room and terrace where we also enjoyed watching a wide variety of birds, which were attracted by the bird table and feeders.
Gill and Mike are most welcoming and helpful to visitors: while relatively new to the area they are very enthusiastic about the many opportunities this part of Wales offers. While we were there we enjoyed some local walks and a visit to the nearby Centre for Alternative Technology.
21 Ffordd Mynydd Griffiths
Telephone: 01654 702023
Mobile 07952 370569
There's an underground and a quite good bus network in Glasgow, but take a walk if you want to get the best impression of the city. It takes about an hour to walk from the Science Centre (outer west end) to Glasgow Cathedral (east end). See a few of my pictures here.
Had to be in the UK for business and extended my stay there, for two days before heading to Barcelona for the weekend.
I found a nice little studio apartment in South Kensington, close to Hyde Park and the Victoria & Albert Museum (beautiful building, great exhibitions). The apartment, Cromwell, was perfect.
I went shopping at Harvey Nicols and Harrods and visited the V&A Museum and the Tate Modern.
A restaurant worth mentioning is Tokyo Diner, near Leicester Square. Great, inexpensive Japanese food. I loved their social and environmentally-conscious philosophy.
In Barcelona I was very lucky to have beautiful weather and was even able to spend time on the beach. I found a great two-bedroom apartment, Girona Design 2B, in the Eixample, just north of El Born, with Aspasios. The Eixample is a very nice and quiet neighbourhood to stay in and still in close proximity of all the good stuff.
The Silk Road Restaurant is a flamboyant and theatrical Mediterranean Restaurant in West Sussex with authentic cuisine and a weekly live entertainment programme, including belly dancers, dj hosted parties, Latin and acoustic jazz bands, table magicians etc. The food is fabulous and the atmosphere just cannot be matched. If you want to hold a party that will impress, contact the Silk Road - you will be amazed.
Bistro Franc, as the name alludes, is a French bistro located in Church House, Hanover street, right next to the new John Lewis. Their 'Lunch Rapide' for 7.95 is a real bargain and a great way to stay on budget if you have one. The dining room is very quaint and while it is usually very busy at lunch times this only adds to the atmosphere. The portions are generous and the food delicious.
Its an eight-bedroomed boutique hotel in a quiet residential road just a minute's walk from the lovely seafront, and a brisk walk to Gunwharf Quays for shopping. I've stayed at The Clarence on two occassisons and it just gets better and better. The first time I stayed in the Luella Cherry Room with massive whirlpool bath complete with a TV in the bathroom. Stayed again last week in the Wild at Heart Room which has a bath in the room so Hubby and I can chat even when I'm lounging in the bath! The service is top notch with room service 24 hours a day and a breakfast menu that is the best I've ever seen - so much choice. And the best thing? No children allowed so it's an adult's haven from other people's 'little darlings'
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