This superb celebration of food and drink has become an annual event in the run-up to Christmas and is the perfect place for presents for the food-lover in your life. Or just a great place to hang out, stuff your face and get in the festive spirit. The stalls set up in front of the City Hall offer a huge variety of fresh and cooked produce: Indian, Thai, kangaroo burgers, paella, all kinds of salamis and cheeses … the list goes on. A personal favourite are the huge bratwurst sausages washed down with an even bigger stein of German lager. The market, including the bar, stay open late every weekend in December, and the atmosphere is as worth sampling as the food.
Location: Outside the City Hall.
World class orchestras, giving live performances all year round at the Bridgwater Hall. As well as giving fantastic symphonic performances, the programs often include concertos with famous soloists from all over the world. Recently we saw Sabine Meyer performing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic at the Bridgwater Hall and it was a fantastic performance. I think it was also broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
Mill Green Museum is a fully working watermill (undershot wheel) run by volunteers and housing the local museum for Hatfield, Herts. You can watch milling of organic flour every week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, and see the waterwheel in action every day (except for Monday when the mill is closed), which my children love to see.
Lots of gears and cogs and flour leaking out. Children can try grinding corn the hard way or the easy way. In the summer there is a small cafe with outdoor seats in the sensory garden. There is also a local collection of bits of history, with things for children to find.
And it's all free.
Herts AL9 5PD
Tel: 01707 271362
Nearest station is Hatfield (Herts) 23 mins from London Kings Cross every 30 mins (Mon-Sat), 1 fast per hour Sundays, plus two slower. Then either a 20 min walk, 5 mins on a bike National Cycle Network route 12 or bus 301 or 603 every 15 mins, 5 mins ride.
By car, follow signs from A1(M) junctions 3 or 4.
Restaurant which is cool and intimate and with a great view from the windows at the back over the old town and the castle. Best of all is the food - groovy fusion cooking with delicious subtle flavours and very healthy ingredients complemented by excellent wines described egregiously by the proprietor. Hours for lunch are handy - all afternoon - but also good for dinner and in a great part of the town for other features.
15-16 George IV Bridge
Tel: (0)131 226 3131
George IV Bridge between Greyfriars and the High Street. Quarter of an hour's walk from the Waverley Station and the Mound.
St Andrews is on the east coast of Scotland, in the county of Fife, north of Edinburgh.
It is best known for golf and the university (of which Prince William is a graduate). However you can visit St Andrews Castle, walk on the long golden beach and visit the nearby Neuk of Fife with its quaint fishing villages.
New Mediterranean (halal) restaurant made from organic ingredients. My family especially enjoyed the Moroccan tagine. Also recommend the freshly made fruit juices and shakes.
Meal for family of four came to around £45.
1017 Finchley Road
Tel: 0208 455 8828
Near Golders Green underground station
Lovely countryside-looking hotel, close to the city centre of Harpenden, near Luton. So you get a peaceful location, surrounded by some nature, and still can walk to a couple of nice pubs and restaurants in the town - not the biggest party in the world but still quite nice considering you are in a somewhat remote place.
Staff are very friendly and attentive, and the food is great - both in the restaurant and room service.
Apparently it is a popular place for weddings and other festive lunches/dinners. I was there in a business trip and felt at home - a much better option than the budget hotels of these days for a price not so much higher.
Harpenden House Hotel - 18 Southdown Road, Harpenden Hertfordshire AL5 1PE
This is a pub very close to the city centre, near the Institiute of Welsh Sport and Sophia Gardens cricket ground. It has a good choice of real ales, mainly from Wales. If you'd like to hear Welsh spoken, all staff are fluent and this is a popular pub among the Welsh capital's sizable Welsh speaking community.
Y Mochyn Du
Tel: 029 2037 1599
Website promoting the coolest new acts in Bristol for jazz, swing, latin, blues and more. Bristol has a thriving music scene with some great bands doing some great new stuff. If you're looking for the best new jazz band, sax player, vocalist, acoustic act, etc, it's a good place to start.
The coolest place in Bristol. I spotted it in The Guardian and have loved it ever since. Top music, laid-back atmosphere and some great acts - check out jazzsters like cool vocalist Nick Langston if you get a chance.
St Nicholas Street, Bristol
The Water of Leith Walkway will take you along about 12 miles of river through the heart of Edinburgh from Balerno to Leith. One of the nicest stretches is the walk from Stockbridge to the Dean Gallery and Modern Art Gallery, which consists of a mile of picturesque woodland, including a Victorian mineral well guarded by a rather grand nymph-type and wander through the very pretty Dean Village. The best bit is that when you get to the fantastic galleries, you can reward yourself with chocolate cake (Dean Gallery Cafe - highly recommended). Alternatively, walk in the opposite direction (towards Leith) and after three miles pop out onto The Shore in Leith for an excellent feast and pint at the King's Wark.
Most people associate Fistral, Newquay as the main surfing location in Cornwall as many of Britain’s top surfing competitions are held in Newquay (over the summer when it is normaly flat). The Cornish coast has many surf breaks from St Agnes (badlands) on the north coast to Cabbage Patch (secret spots) on the south coast.
The most popular saying by any surfer is "you should have been here earlier" "it was goin' off".
We have a home in Cheshire and in Bala, north Wales but we rarely went out in the local town of Bala to dine. The food we found wasn't up to much, but we found a great little gem that only opend 12 months ago. It's called Awel Yr Aran and is run by a great friendly couple, Wendy and Mike. We go there every time we are over in Bala and the food is always to the highest standard, the menu is seasonal and fresh, and great value for money. They don't advertise, they don't need to - word of mouth is enough, as we always book, we do recommend you book before you visit,
Awel Yr Aran
81 high street, Bala Gwynedd
Tel: 01678 520 020
The best Spanish and world tapas restaurant ever! The restaurant is small yet very friendly, and has such a nice atmosphere. The choice is immense, mainly Spanish tapas, with approximately 12 world tapas dishes. If you arrive between 1700-1930 Monday-Thursday, you can eat for the time you arrive (eg arrive at 6.20pm eat for £6.20) however, the menu for this option is limited! Each dish is about, £3-£4 and very generous.
Corner of Broad Street/ Parliament Street in Hockley, Nottingham City Centre, NG1. www.bardenada.co.uk
This place apparently just opened under new management. It was very nice though, a bit unique. The area it's in is industrial but really close to the city centre, about 4 streets away. The staff there are really nice and the common room is in an old bar, so its big yet still cozy. I enjoyed my time there. There is a kitchen and free internet which was cool - most places charge you to use it. Would suggest to people looking for a cheap place to stay in Birmingham close to the city centre. Good value.
58 Coventry Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5NH, 0121 643 0033. One street away from the Digbeth Coach Station in Birmingham. www.birminghamcentralbackpackers.com
A pub a short walk outside Arundel, on the banks of the river Arun in the shadow of the South Downs. It's a fabulously rural setting considering how easy it is to get to (esp without a car). Serves decent food and good beer. Has outside tables for the summer, and a log fire for the winter.
Down Mill Road from Arundel town centre.
Spend the morning wandering around Arundel. The bookshop at the bottom of town is fantastic. There are serious antiquities in shops just off the high street, particularly down the side of the post office. For cheaper curios, head down Tarrant Street and check out the Nineveh centre, a converted church with lots of small shops. Think of it as like a better version of Camden or Portobello, without the crowds.
High Street and Tarrant Street, Arundel.
Unassuming pub at the top of the hill in Arundel with lovely rooms. One of the doubles has views of the cathedral and the pub is very near the 14th century parish church and the castle. The ensuite rooms are very comfortably decorated and have TV, cd player etc. The pub itself is a local boozer - nothing too classy - but the accommodation is quite unexpected, and very reasonable. Decent English breakfast in the morning, and the service is straightforwardly helpful.
St Mary's Gate Inn
Tel: (0)1903 883145
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