A B&B just to the south of Oxford city centre (a 10-15 minute walk). It’s clean, comfortable and decent value - all too rare in this city. It's not particular beautiful but it's close to the river, colleges, shops etc and does the job at a good price (singles from £40, doubles from £54).
118 Abingdon Road, Oxford, OX1 4PZ; tel: 01865 244725
Budget hotel located opposite the Albert Dock and five minutes' walk to the city centre - cheap and cheerful. You can have a single, double or triple room for £29.
25 Wapping, Baltic Triangle. Opposite the entrance to the Albert Dock
It is only a £1 or 50p for concessions to get in, and it is a museum but is set in an uncluttered way in that you can explore the various rooms of the keep yourself. The view from the top is more extensive that the one from the Baltic viewing platform, as you can see up the Derwent valley and out past Byker.
Near Newcastle Central Station, also next to The Bridge Hotel
Rick's is a great bar/restaurant with rooms on Frederick Street just off Princes Street.
The food is lovely and the place very buzzy. The rooms are pretty stylish in a luxurious minimalism sort-of way. Rooms with breakfast cost £129/night - pretty good value.
Frederick St, Edinburgh
We recently stayed at Westwood House in Ilfracombe, North Devon. We found it by accident as it hasn't been open very long, but we were glad we did. Although it's classed a B&B, it's more like a small boutique hotel. The £75 room we stayed in was beautifully decorated and the bed was very comfortable. The room came equipped with a widescreen TV and DVD player so we were able to enjoy a film after our night out at Damien Hirst's restaurant. After a great nights sleep we were treated to an organic breakfast which was delicious and set us up for the day of walking ahead. We've stayed in lots of good B&Bs and hotels over the years but credit where it's due, this is probably the best to date.
Italian Restaurant in the shadow of the Millennium stadium. Friendly, good value, authentic Italian food - the sort of place which would be unremarkable in Cremona but helps it stand out amongst the pizza'n'pasta joints of Cardiff. Good value set lunch menu.
Quay Street which runs between St Mary St and the stadium
Not the place to stay if you want a quiet night's sleep. This part of Cardiff turns into party central over the weekend and the hotel is directly above one club and adjacent to others. Great if you want somewhere handy for the clubs - no good for families or those whose clubbing days are behind them.
Bottom of St Mary Street, not far from Central rail and bus station
The best restaurant in the Cardiff Bay area by some distance - in a nicely converted old dockside building with a rooftop terrace in summer. The food is modern British bistro food with lots of good fish and other local ingredients.
Stuart Street at the rear of the 'Mermaid Quay' development, which is dominated by forgettable chain catering
Stunning views over the north coast of Ireland and the sun setting on the nearby Scottish isles - and that's only what you see when you are sitting beside the open fire in the common room!
Nearby attractions are the Giant's Causeway, an 8 mile walk along the coastal path that passes the hostel, and Carrick a rede rope bridge, four miles into the other direction. A five minutes' walk gets you down into Whitepark Bay, a beautiful stretch of white sand, perfect to quickly tire out children after dinner.
The hostel is small and clean and always booked out at the weekends. The self-catering kitchen allows you to avoid sampling the local cuisine, which might be a good thing if you are a foreigner or suffer from heart problems.
Whitepark Bay Youth Hostel,
157 Whitepark Road,
t: +44 (0) 28 9032 4733
This YHA is set in a grand old mansion. When I was there, the elegance of the common dining and lounge areas was enhanced by the presence of rather bookish types ranging in age from their mid-20s to 50s, rather than the unsettlingly young and just-discovered-alcohol kind of guests that hostels can attract.
Set on one of Bath's most presigious streets, on a hill leading up to the university, it has lush green grounds and is far enough from the city to feel secluded. But it's just a short walk down to the town centre. Don't walk along the road; ask the staff about the shortcut that follows the edge of nearby pastures - with views across the city - and crosses lochs before reaching the town centre.
Staff are friendly, food is good value, and the rooms are cosy and - given that your roommates are obliging - comfortably quiet.
Bathwick Hill, take the number 18 bus from the bus station, or it's a 15-minute walk from the centre of town.
www.yha.org.uk/hostel/hostelpages/85.html; 0870 770 5688
You couldn't get much more central in London than this hostel off Piccadilly Circus, meaning you can cut down on transport costs. Some rooms have been refurbished recently with new pod-style dorms, individually painted by selected artists. The style is eclectic but fun. Pod bed prices start at £12.
12 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7BR,
www.piccadillybackpackers.com, 0207 434 9009. Nearest tube is Piccadilly Circus
Winchester is surprisingly short of good quality eateries, considering the affluence of the area. Monde is the best place to get your breakfast requirements attended to. Squeezed into several floors of a small building, it serves cooked breakfasts, sandwiches and cakes in addition to teas, coffees and juices.
On a sunny weekend morning you'll spot groups of people loitering nearby, ready to pounce on an outside table as soon as it is vacated. With the cathedral grounds a croissant's throw away, it's a great place to while away the morning or to lay plans for an assault on the nearby shops.
The Square, Winchester.
Kirk-where? It's pronounced Curr-coo-bree and is tucked away in SW Scotland about a trillion miles from everywhere. The Gladstone is a Georgian town house; simple, elegant and airy. It overlooks the River Dee estuary on one side and the High Street lined with multi coloured houses on the other. The tiny port has art and jazz festivals and The Gladstone does a dollop of haggis with breakfast. The Selkirk Arms, a stagger up the road, was reputedly where Robert Burns drank and wrote.
48 High Street
01 557 331 734
Nottingham East Midlands is about 19km south-east of the city centre. There is a shuttle bus provided between the airport and the city. SkyLink serves the rail station, Friar Lane (Market Square) and Nottingham Trent University Clifton Campus. It drops off/picks up outside arrivals and there are two per hour (24/7) at 10 and 40 past the hour. However, it is costly- £4.50 each way.
Rail Station, Friar Lane, NTU (Clifton Campus)
The best restaurant in Nottingham. Serving typical dishes from around Europe, the kind of place that makes you feel proud when you find it on holiday. The atmosphere is welcoming and pleasant with an air of sophistication. Prices are very reasonable.
20/22 Broad Street; tel: 0115 950 0009
f arriving by train and going to any city centre hotel I recommend either taxi or tram. The taxi rank and tram station are right next to the station.
Broadmarsh bus station is about 300metres from the rail station, from here you can get long distance coaches. All other buses use the areas around the city centre for stopping. If you use the bus network make sure you have the correct change as NO change is given at all. Be aware when walking/waiting around bus/tram stops as pickpockets are rife, and these areas are extremely crowded.
Nottingham’s public transport is fully integrated and if you are using more than one mode or making various journeys ask for a "Kangaroo ticket" on any bus, tram or suburban train. Its about £4 per day but enables unlimited travel all day within greater Nottingham on all forms of public transport. Well worth it when you consider that it costs £1.20 for a single on the tram, no matter where you get off.
This independent cinema offers a refreshing alternative to the huge Cineworld multiplex nearby. Showing a wide variety of arthouse, documentary and mainstream films, the GFT is the perfect place to relax with a drink (alcoholic if you prefer) and enjoy a good movie.
12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB
(just off Sauchiehall Street)
Listings and online booking: www.gft.org.uk
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org