Even cities with a cultural standing as magnificent as Oxford have their sleazy little corners. Not much bigger than the inside of a bus, Downtown Manhattan's is the cheesy dive where no-one wants to end up but everyone always does.
3 George Street; tel: 01865 721101; proximity usually indicated by a trail of pavement pizzas
Take your bike or go by foot. Start at Sprinfield Park (N15) and have a slap up breakfast at the cafe by the Rowing club. Afterwards walk down the River Lea. There are many things that will satisfy those yearning for a slice of country.
Anyone fit enough can walk all the way down to the River Thames or chip off into town along Grand Union Canal.
Look out for the rare breed cows.
The Lea Vally
Atmospheric harbourside tapas restaurant. The staff buzz around chatting away in Spanish. It's unhurried and the portions are a healthy size. Perhaps too much choice on a diverse menu with over 50 dishes.
57 Prince St, BS1 4QH;
tel: 0117 925 6014
60 beds close to Tate Britain and Westminster Abbey. Shared dormitories from £16.50. Double and twin rooms for £50 a night.
71 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 2BG; Tel: 0207 834 3077; Tube: Pimlico, Victoria; www.astorhostels.com/
My husband and I ( OAP's) had a great holiday camping at Stoats Farm Caravan and Camping site, Weston Lane Totlan Bay, Needles.
met some lovely people, but the best bit was the bus ride from the village up to the Needles make sure you have a ride on the cable car down to the beach,on return have a look at the glass blowing, sand making, ice cream and fish and chips oooooh.
had a great time would recommend it
stoats farm caravan and camping,Totlan Bay Needles
The Lighthouse has a truly stunning vista across the whole of Torbay from a gloriously furnished penthouse. As a Georgian Crescent and Listed building it doesn't have a lift, but my word, to wake up to those views and space is worth the few extra steps. Wonderful!
If you are coming in a group then I would highly recommend a tour on the Club Class Bus. The bus can be hired privately or you can join one of the organised tours day or night.
They are famous for being the Edinburgh Party Bus taking groups to different bars and clubs on their converted double decker.
0871 789 6200
It's nice to see a better standard of self catering cottages being built in the North West of Scotland. Locholly which is a 5 start cottage has fantastic views over the Summer Isles.
Achiltibuie is a mecca for walkers, the surrounding area is fantastic. Once discovered people come back year on year. Ullapool is only about 10 miles if you are a crow, however it's 40 minutes by car which is what makes it such a great destination, not much traffic.
Near Summer Isles hotel
Grange Farm; Brighstone Bay, Isle of Wight
‘Welcome to Yarmouth; please reset your watches to 30 years ago,’ used to be heard on the cross-Solent ferry. Grange Farm offers the best of ‘Old Wight’. Views across the Channel and along the white cliffs to Tennyson Down are unspoilt; the children’s playground is happily free of the worst health & safety excesses of modern times; kids can get as close as they want to llamas, pigs and goats; and it’s a rough scramble to the beach. But this is all very deliberate in this friendly, family-run site, which harks back to simpler, unstructured British coastal camping. Amenities are all there and clean, there’s a great little shop, and you can get a ‘New Wight’ fix every night courtesy of mobile vans offering great wood-fired pizza or Indian take-away.
Two people, car and tent less than £20; 01983 740296
Grange Farm; Brighstone Bay, Isle of Wight
Spectacular campsite on the remote Applecross Peninsula. We drove over the Bealach (a narrow twisty ascent & descent - an adventure in itself), camped here and then ambled to the Applecross Inn for our tea: fresh crabs, scallops and langoustines froms the bay (before the rest are shipped off to Europe). Watch the sun sink below the craggy outline of Skye's Cullins before retreating back inside teh Inn for more real ale and music. Blissful - now we can't stay away.
Churchtown farm is a working farm with two camping fields nestled just behind the dunes at Gwithian, overlooking Godrevy lighthouse and St Ives Bay.
Three miles of golden sands are a stone’s throw away and most pitches have sea views. Fabulous sunsets, surfing, walks along the national coast path and views to die for. Walk to the north and you come to Godrevy head, national trust land, with a local seal colony, you can often spot seals basking on the rocks and dolphins in the bay. To the south, Hayle Towans and St Ives Bay.
An excellent base for cycling, or take a train to St Ives from nearby Hayle or St Erth.
The campsite also has a shop, on some nights various takeaway vans pitch up and serve curries, fish and chips or thai food. Bread, milk and papers come around the site in the mornings.
Nearby, the Godrevy Café does excellent breakfasts, smoothies and evening meals, Sandsifters bar next door has a mellow vibe and often has live music from west country bands. Walk towards Hayle and there is also the Sunset Bar, which hires wetsuits and orgainises surfing lessons.
From £11.50 per night for two adults with small tent and car).
Just three miles from Land's End, Treen is also a short walk or drive away from some of Cornwall's best beaches, including the isolated sands of Pedn Vounder. Sennen is a 10-minute drive away, and Whitesands Bay is one of the best places to surf. The site sits in a field back from the cliff top, so it's not too exposed, even in inclement weather. Local attractions include Porthcurno Telegraph Museum for wet days, or the dramatic Minack Theatre, an open-air auditorium cut into the rocks. Facilities include the all important: showers, lavatories, laundry and washing-up area. There is plenty to see and do and the price is very reasonable and affordable :)
Hillend campsite sits at the midpoint of the 5km long Rhossili beach and is just a 200m sandy walk from the sea. A perfect camping location. Heath land and small farms surround the 14-acre site. Two of the four camping fields are exclusively for families and couples. Dogs are forbidden, which means clean shoes around the tents and also on the beach. Even with 300 pitches available there are plenty of free hot showers, washbasins, and lavatories. All are very clean and smartly maintained. A shop and Eddy’s Café-bar provide for those who miss the comforts of the high street. Rhossili is a world rated beach with its own surfing school, has excellent fishing, and the space and steady wind for kites. Walkers will find plenty of way-marked footpaths along the coastal cliffs, and a 3 km hike up over Rhossili Down to Worms Head with 3600 views across the Gower and the Bristol Channel. The staff are very helpful and the site has a relaxed and friendly air.
Hillend Caravan Park Ltd, Llangennith SA3 1JD
Open from April 1 to October 31. Prices from £18 Sun-Thurs, for a tent or motor home with 2 adults, and up to 3 children. £22.50 on Friday and Saturday nights. No bookings. Hillend Camping, Llangennith, Gower
+44 (0)1792 386 204
Google map: bit.ly/15WcRF7
Surrounded by lush countryside, hidden within the rolling hills of Dorset lies the Corfe Castle Camping and Caravanning Club Site in Bucknowle. The campsite itself is superbly maintained by Mark, Lisa and their team, and the toilet, shower and washing facilities are spotless. The impressive castle ruins dominate the historic village of Corfe which is only a short walk from the campsite. Within three miles the Jurassic coastline beckons campers to explore and enjoy the stunning scenery. Whatever the weather there is plenty to do. We visited the sea-side towns of Swanage, Poole, Bournemouth and Weymouth which are only a short drive away or, for those more adventurous there are beautiful hillside walks and cycle paths. It is truly a close to nature experience, as you awaken to the sound of the dawn chorus, chat idly to fellow campers, sizzle bacon on your camp-stove, or visit the local pubs for fresh fish and chips. Later sleeping under the stars beneath a tent canopy. Idyllic.
Bucknowle, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5PQ
Google map: bit.ly/13BjoTW
In a grand situation below the spiky rock of the Black Cullin, Britain’s most fearful mountains, Glenbrittle provides well-spaced grassy pitches at the edge of a bay looking across to the Small Isles. It's wild and peaceful.
I wouldn’t say it has frills but there's plenty of hot water, and you’ll get to test your tent against the wind which often funnels on or off shore.
A 15 minute drive up the road, the Old Inn at Carbost has a proper pub atmosphere (not always easy to find in Highland) and wild swimming can be had within minutes at the Fairy Pools or round the corner in Talisker bay. Yes, that Talisker; keep a dram for after.
Camping is a fair one person one fee charge of £7.00 per night. Campervans come and go, too. Downsides: two showers will sometimes be too few; whenever the wind drops after early June there’ll be midge; and it’s so temptingly close, you might feel the need to scare yourself on the Cullin ridge. (Open April to Sept incl.)
From Sligachan take the road to Uig, turn off left to Carbost, then take the Glenbrittle Road. IV47 8TA.
Google map: bit.ly/19ZJRzD
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