It's a bar, restaurant and cocktail place. A bit of urban Catalan sophistication in Brighton. Friendly staff, funky dark interior and great little "pincho" snacks to go with the Cruzcampo beer. It's my new local (when I'm feeling continental). I've not eaten in the restaurant, but if the bar snacks are anything to go by it must be good.
Western Road, Brighton just across from Waitrose;
A life-long teenage ambition to hold his own festival on his family's farmland is finally becoming a reality for Doug, now 50.
Very much a local community-based arts and music festival at heart - three nights of camping, two full days of new and inspiring music - including some very, very special guests!
Doug's family and their army of friends and collaborators are guaranteed to have lots of tricks and surprises up their sleeves to create a truly special and memorable event.
1st-3rd September 2006, Lode village, Cambridgeshire;
Ely Folk Festival is a small friendly festival held on the second weekend of July. Weekend tickets cost £45. The line up has all the sort of things a
folk festival should such as late night dances, a real ale and cider bar and informal sessions.
Ely is a lovely town to visit as well. The perfect alternative if you left it too late to get tickets for the Cambridge Folk Festival.
Based this year in a deer park in South Wales, this indie-folk festival will feature Field Music and the Brian Jonestown Massacre alongside a medieval village and a jousting display.
Margan Park isn't far from the steelworks of Port Talbot, which creates a dramatic view at night - belching flames across the bay, it's very strange and beautiful, the park itself has lots to offer but it's only a short drive from some great beaches namely Rest Bay and a slightly longer drive to the mumbles and Gower Peninsular.
There are loads of really interesting guided walks and tours that can be booked from the Tourist Information Centre in St Peter's Square.
I have to admit that after having taken the tour bus trip, drank a pint of Guinness and sampled an Ulster fry, there is little else to do in Belfast during the day.
I came to Belfast on a clubbing trip but despite the hype on the Internet I found little innovation or individuality in the local clubs – there is nothing in Belfast that can’t be found in the High Street of any English market town on Saturday night. I believe this is due to the isolation of Belfast from mainland UK and Europe.
However, I did discover on a Wednesday night Victory Over The Sun. This event defies categorisation - I found myself in a disused river culvert underneath the city centre, there was a gratis champagne bar, live performance art, DJ’s playing the coolest jazztronica and best of all, no dancing!
That evening I believe I found the essence of this city at night i.e. pride in not following trends, fierce protection of an underground ethic, erudite people and fascinating conversation. The cost was £50 and worth every penny.
On the Purbeck peninsula is a pristine National Trust beach, a two-minute chain-ferry ride from Sandbanks. The long stretch of sand is stunning and has views of the mouth of Poole harbour, the Isle of Wight and sailboats and huge ferries coming in and out of the harbour on their way to Brittany. Bring a picnic and get there early – it’s popular but still undeveloped, thankfully.
The few tourist who come this way go to the more famous Sandwood bay, but this is even better. Some of the best golden sand in Europe and you should feel agrieved if you can't find 10 acres of empty space to put your beach towel on.
Beautiful clean sand stretching for miles; views of the Isle of Wight and the chalk cliffs of the Isle of Purbeck; acres of dunes and heathland managed by the National Trust; very few intrusive facilities (a van selling tea and ice creams appears sporadically in Summer). Popular naturist section.
Plus many attractions nearby for rainy days.
Easiest to take the ferry from Sandbanks, Poole. Buses run from Bournemouth to Swanage via the ferry, and take priority.
Fantastic milkshake bar where staff will turn your favourite chocolate bar into a delicious milk shake while you wait. I particularly recommend the Fry's Peppermint Cream ones.
26 Greenwich Church Street, just outside the market
This is a great cafe in central Bath. I go there whenever I'm in Bath (which used to be often) and it is my favourite place to eat there. They serve an excellent English breakfast all day, but not only that, they do toasted sandwiches, salads, baked potatoes and other more filling options. Jazz music is (as you might expect) played at all times. Take the kids here - they'll like it, as will you.
Kingsmead Square, Bath;
tel: 01225 329002
There is not much point in very light kit - the biggest part of the load is you.
Take OS 1:50000 Landranger maps.
Get Sustrans route guides and visibility kits - look out for dirt tracks (bridleways, paths) on the maps - they often form bridges between zones of quiet roads which otherwise are only connected by trunk routes.
Don't sing too loud as you go. If you do, the deer will hide.
Notice how strong a single car smells after you have been breathing clean air for an hour - the exhaust in cities anaesthetizes the nose.
Don't spend time planning a trip - just set off.
This loungy bar has one of the best views of the Thames.
The cocktails and drinks are fabulous, and very reasonable for London!
2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 (between Southwark Bridge and Millennium Bridge);
tel: 0207 021 0085;
A huge indoor complex at Glasgow's Braehead Arena. Choose from a host of activities such as rock climbing, a sky ride, fan drop, bowling, cinema and Britain's longest indoor real snow ski slope!
Xscape Braehead, Kings Inch Road, Braehead, Renfrew;
tel: 0871 200 3222 (or 0871 222 5672 for the snow slope);
It's like nowhere else in London. Some might say sanitised and boring, but I'd disagree. If you're tired of the hustle and bustle of central London hop on the Jubilee line, or, even better, the DLR, and come over. Great waterside eating and drinking (dimsum at Royal China is fantastic, and not too costly), super tall buildings, and expensive subterreanean shops. Whilst it is certainly not the weekend ghost town of earlier years, it still feels much calmer than London proper on a Saturday or Sunday.
In the summer especially there are often good free events in the small parks that are dotted around, such as concerts on Friday evenings, and films sometimes on Saturdays.
If you're coming with children then combine your visit with Mudchute City Farm down in the Isle of Dogs. It has cows, goats and guinea pigs, plus a riding school.
Conservation holidays that don't involve flying or cost thousands of pounds: Volunteer on one of over 30 RSPB reserves in the UK. Work includes practical conservation and wildlife surveys as well as showing visitors around the reserves.
This is a big, friendly event - in fact it's one of Central London's largest environmentally-friendly festivals. It's held on the first Sunday of every June in Regents Park.
At the festival you'll find many stalls offering options for the environmentally conscious consumer, with everything from herbs to green electricity and eco-holidays. Another aim of the event is to reduce its environmental impact each year.
The Bikefest allows punters to try out all sorts of bicycles and find out about cycling activities going on in London.
Don't let the fact that Michael Winner recommends it put you off.
It's a proper Italian family restaurant - and the food's nice enough - but the star of the show is the really lovely ice-cream in fantastic flavours. There's a gelateria in the back apparently but I tend to grab and go.
I've had their ice-cream at other places like the Garden Cafe in Regents Park, but don't think that it tastes half as good as when you are sauntering along the road in the sun licking an overloaded cone.
8 Haverstock Hill, opposite Chalk Farm tube
Tel: 020 7482 9000
This is one of the YHA's first Green Beacon eco-friendly hostels. It's a great place to go cycling across the North York Moors.
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