A glorious little café-cum-bar-cum-gig venue situated right in the heart of Manchester's Northern Quarter.
Ok, so they may not serve pints, but you can have a massive bottle of Polish Tyskie for around £3 whilst you listen to some of the finest new bands around. It even has conveniently placed benches for the vertically challenged such as myself to stand on.
Plus, it's got a certain ambience about it which really can't be beaten. Perhaps it's the huge dark red walls strewn with fairylights, or the massive lamps hanging from the ceilings, or the lack of air conditioning which doesn't exactly make it the most fragrant of places in the summer, or the manky toilets and general all round gloom, but it's pretty much infamous in Manchester and much loved, as evidenced when Manchester City Council attempted to shut it down in 2004 when local residents complained about noise pollution.
Oh, and the food they do there is damn tasty as well.
26 Oldham Street
The Thekla is a bar/club and a boat. It is moored on the river and hosts amazing gigs along with regular club nights. I reccommend it because of the intimate setting, unrivalled sound system and the quirkiness of raving away on a boat which manifests itself as unnerving swaying while dancing away. The bar staff are friendly and it attracts an eclectic mix of patrons.
Thekla, mud dock, Bristol....nearest station Bristol Temple Meads.
This gorgeous building houses quality music nights. A wonderfully civilised venue. Great acoustics - stone and brick and a massive space really help here, as does excellent amplification.
A lovely atmosphere - I'm convinced that because people sit on pews, and because it's a chapel, the audience listen to and appreciate the music more.
You won't get beer spilled on you here! Great acts have played here from Bjork to Jose Gonzalez. A true treat for music lovers - easily the best venue in London and one which attracts excellent artists.
Compton Terrace, Upper Street, Islington, N1 2UN. +44 207 226 1686
Nearest tube: Highbury & Islington
The Trinity Arts Centre is a beautiful old church that is now used as a gig venue and even holds a retro and flea market every few months. The combination of the lovely surroundings and the great artists who play there (including Public Enemy, Patrick Wolf, Devendra Banhart, Dreadzone and The Maccabees to name but a few) make it one of the most exciting live venues in Bristol.
Trinity Road, Lawrence Hill, Bristol, BS2 0NW
Brilliant 'alternative' bar/venue. Intimate and unique I've seen all sorts of bands there from nationally-known bands like Elbow or The Twang to local bands like Model Morning and it never disappoints.
Happy hour is amazing and the hour lasts ages so drinks are cheap! Hooray for the Bodega Social Club.
23 Pelham Street, Nottingham
A wonderful gig venue, that is all about the music. From the signs telling you that nobody is here to listen to your voice, to the sound, and the overall ambience.
311 High Road
London NW6 7JR
This is a great venue, it's a boat in the central Bristol docks, has a great booking policy, has a lot of secret gigs, there's various bars on the boat so I've never had to spend half the gig queueing up for a drink and it has a club after the bands so no rushing off afterwards. Relaxed and perfect, wish more venues were like it.
East Mud Dock
The Old Duke is a music venue situated on the cobbled King Street in the heart of Bristol. Named after Duke Ellington, the pub has become world famous for its live traditional, New Orleans inspired jazz music.
More recently the pub has added blues and more modern jazz bands to its program and now has live music on every night of the week and on Sunday lunch times.
Good real ale, and outdoor seating makes for a cracking summer evening spot
It's intimate, sweaty and funky. They serve the best local and unusual beers and attract the newest and most interesting bands.
Find it down in the Ouseburn valley, about 10 mins from the heat of Newcastle city. www.headofsteam.co.uk/default.aspx?tabid=10194
This former cinema with its art deco interior has to be London's leading venue for gigs. Has a capacity of just under 5,000 and the slanted floor ensures a great view for all. Many names play and is only a short stroll from Brixton Tube Station.
211 Stockwell Road, Lambeth, London, SW9 9SL , Brixton Tube 5 mins away.
This is a Scottish Episcopal Church which was built in 1818. It was not until the 1850s, however, that stained glass designs were incorporated into the windows, and this practice continued into the Twentieth century. In the mid-1980s all the glass was taken out, cleaned and repaired.
The church is a fine building and its stained glass is remarkable for the consistency of its design. Most of the windows were made in the studios of Ballantine and Allen of Edinburgh. Where the appearance of most churches has evolved over many centuries, St John the Evangelist offers a concentrated view of largely Nineteenth century Scottish style and design.
Church of St John the Evangelist, Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 4BJ. Most buses stop alongside the church, which is at the far end of Princes Street gardens.
Rather a gentle old-fashioned seaside resort; the magnificent hills of Exmoor sweep up directly behind the town. The vast Butlin's camp is more or less invisible from most other vantage points.
Beaches are shallow and muddy, with a huge tidal range; I can't recommend them for anything. We camped a few miles along the coast at Blue Anchor Bay, which also has little to recommend it (except for the picture-postcard steam trains of the West Somerset Railway, which pointlessly and uselessly goes almost all of the way into Taunton) - and more muddy beaches.
The nearby Quantocks are great for walking and more fantastic sea views where the line of steep hills hit the coast.
Cracking greasy spoon that attracts a high celebrity quota, possibly because of its proximity to London's once-and-future-trendy Shoreditch/Hoxton/Dalston.
Thankfully though, this is unreconstructed full English territory - irony, Day Glo and creative use of hairspray are firmly off the menu, as are the words organic and sustainable.
It's not a depressing relic, however, and its airy and cheerful design has carved it out a niche as a film location. Crews are often spotted filming in there on a Sunday when it's closed and the most recent flick to feature its hallowed interior was Notes on a Scandal.
For an added sprinkling of stardust on your gammon steak, check out the gallery of Polaroids behind the counter showing the legions of soap stars, presenters, actors and reality TV protozoa who have enjoyed a sarnie and a mug of something hot over the years.
221 City Road
+44 (0) 20 7253 2463
If up near the castle it is well worth wandering down through the Grass Market as a previous reader has remarked. Where the road continues into West Port there are some splendid shops tourists might not otherwise find. Just by walking a bit more I came across a wonderful shop, Cabaret Antiques and Curios, which is spread over two floors and has an extraordinary selection of antiques, knick knacks, curios, books and other treasures. I found presents for several people in here and the prices seemed very reasonable. The owners seem happy for you to browse and take your time. It was an unexpected surprise and proves it is well worth exploring sometimes away from the usual tourist areas. Edinburgh is definitely a city for walking and exploring, especially the old town bit all around the castle which so dominates the city.
137 West Port
0131 229 4100
The Coach House is a stylish self-catering cottage in the Derbyshire Dales. I went there over Christmas with my wife and two young children, and we enjoyed an excellent holiday. The cottage itself is very cosy and there was lots for us to do in the beautiful surrounding area.
The Coach House,
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