A gem of a bookshop, squeezed in a picturesque row of independent shops, in this seaside town more famous for oysters than books. Harbour Books is a tardis, crammed full of tempting titles. The wonderful staff have an amazing knowledge of the stock and every personal recommendation has never yet disappointed. A fair proportion of the stock is carefully selected remaindered titles, meaning great variety at a good price (many are under £3). This shop certainly stocks some best-sellers, but even more likely are many great reads that have just not made the mass-market. The children’s section has produced endless presents and its quality can be assured by my 10-year-old niece who asks in equal delight if we can go to the bookshop and traditional sweet shop next door. The most telling sign is that it is impossible to visit without a purchase (or so my own small scale research has found).
21 Harbour Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1AQ
+44(0)1227 264 011
Google map: bit.ly/dqM3fu
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights is a unique independent bookshop residing in a cosy Georgian building in the centre of Bath. Tucked behind the busy streets, you can put your feet up with a cup of coffee and browse through books at leisure. Staff offer a friendly, informed and personal service, helping you to discover new books from their fantastic selection.
Themed literary evenings are led by well known authors and enable readers to share their love of books over a glass of wine, sample food from around the world and listen to a local talented band. Other delights include reading spa treatments, a bibliotherapy room, reading groups, personalised gifts and the famous tin-tin wall. Whether you are nine or 90 enter here and you will be hooked.
One of the largest bookshops in Britain and most creative. You can browse endlessly in the several rooms, drink coffee in the 'waiting rooms', watch the blazing fire,admire the art work, stare at the miniature train as it weaves around the top of the shelves and immerse yourself in the quarter of a million second hand books-all lovingly catergorised and individually priced. Atmospheric music harmoniously enhances your receptivity to the surrounding feast of literature. The music section is particularly varied-with LPs in excellent condition. The children's section is vast - especially the annuals - a must for every reminiscant adult over 30! The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and baked muffins lingers heavily in the air. It's open seven days a week 9-5pm(7pm on Thursdays) but be warned if you are a real book lover you will have to be dragged out because it's that good!!
The words 'boutique bookshop' conjure up images of a snobbish exclusive, expensive store, and yet Mister B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath manages to be quaint without any of the negative connotations. With its Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-Old-Curitoisty-Shop charm it is a delight to wander around and pick out a new novel from the white-washed shelves, wooden tables, or the ornate bathtub that displays the best in children's literature. There's a huge travel section, sofas to curl up on, and refreshments upstairs. The staff are incredibly friendly, and their favourite picks of the month are displayed if you want a gentle hint at what to purchase next. Plus their adorably scruffy rescue dog can sometimes be found sniffing around ankles and receiving pats from customers. It really is a home from home for book lovers.
This is a fantastic independent bookshop, with a brilliant music and CD collection on sale. Quirky, original, friendly and unexpected among all the pudding and tart shops and outdoor clothing stores. One of Bakewell's treasures, and featured in 'Last Shop Standing'. Don't miss it if you are in the area.
Voltaire and Rousseau is a bit of a mess. Books are piled floor to ceiling with no sense of hierarchy or order. Some books are buried so deep that it's unlikely that anyone will ever buy them. But that's also what's so great about the shop - you never know what literary treasures you might uncover. Watch where you step, though - the owner's cats are as much a part of the shop as the books and love to wander around the stacks.
12-14 Otago Lane, Glasgow, G12 8PB
+44(0)141 339 1811
Near Kelvinbridge Subway
Google map: bit.ly/cqCN4a
Westminister Furnival House is the equivalent of a hostel in the middle of London. While some might argue that it's a bit too much like college, anyone who has spent time travelling in South America can appreciate what it has to offer.
Dorm beds, laundry services and common rooms set the stage for a good time with the right bunch of people. It's perfect for having a place to relax after exploring Abby Road Studios and the countless other attractions of London.
Cholmeley Park Highgate Village
London N6 5EU
Google map: bit.ly/9zXtK3
Going on a guided ghost walk around the pretty and historical city of Lincoln is a great way to spend an evening - especially on a cold, dark night as it just adds to the atmosphere! You get taken around the uphill area of the city, past the cathedral and castle too, being told tales of the many ghosts that haunt the nearby buildings. Ideal for adults and children alike!
Google map: bit.ly/aYsgcx
Not only are The Vaults under Edinburgh's South Bridge terrifying as you pass through a small stomach churning torture museum before you are lead in to the vaults themselves, but you are greeted by the cursed witches circle, said to cause fits and collapses upon entering. If The Vaults don't satisfy your quench for fear, the Greyfriar's Cemetery offers you a chance to walk in the footsteps of the infamous Burke and Hare body snatchers after dark which unveils Edinburgh's grim history. The graveyard also comes with it's very own 'Creepy Wee Shop in the Graveyard'.
Once a cotton spinning mill in Salford, now a product of gentrified Greater Manchester among a run down high street, it would be almost too easy for this gig venue, bar, art space and recording studio to attract the most pretentious 'scenester kids' that Manchester has to offer. Yet somehow the crowds are always friendly and welcoming and never without a healthy amount of grizzled music journalists in their midst, all just eager to hear the best gigs being performed in their city. Putting on acts from Beach House to Lightning Bolt to The Ex, music fans will find themselves walking the long walk from Manchester city centre back to this venue time and time again.
Wilderness feeling in Repton designed NT grounds of Sheringham Hall. Mysterious, enclosed by twisting trunks: rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, but viewing points take you above the cloud of maple, acer, styrax, oak leaves to reveal its rainbow vastness fringed by sea and coast: magical. Spot North Norfolk steam train skirting woods to Weybourne Station for 40s nostalgia. Pint in village local, stroll cliffs above sea and back through woodlands via lovely visitor centre.
Wood Farm, Upper Sheringham, Norfolk NR26 8TL
Google map: bit.ly/dxfFEe
This one of the most beautiful spots in the area. It is cared for by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. In the spring time the woods are full of bluebells and there is a meadow going down to the river which during the summer is full of wild flowers including some rare orchids. I have seen kingfishers, various species of butterfly and the birdsong - if you heard it in a film you would think the special effects overdone! My family have visited this spot over the last 10 years and whatever time of year it is always beautiful. When the children were small I would describe our days there as Enid Blyton Days. Not many people go there so it is a real haven of peace and quiet
The Knapp House, Bridges Stone, Alfrick, Worcester, WR6 5HR
Google map: bit.ly/bIqEw3
Much to everyone's surprise Milton Keynes has three magnificent ancient woodlands (i.e. been there since before 1600) right in the new city. Each is a about 100 acres and open to the public 24/7. They are connected to the network of open spaces and cycleways that have been woven across the city and each has at least one free car park next to it.
Austins, the world's oldest department store, is a stunning building located in the Diamond, square at the very heart of the city centre.
It is well worth popping into. It is a quaint, in many ways, old fashioned kind of store but with top of the range goods in every department.
Best of all is the Roof Top Restaurant on the third floor with wonderful views over the city. I had a gigantic scone, butter, jam and a mug of coffee for an amazing £1.60!
Later I went back for lunch and had the lunchtime special. A main course, pudding, and a pot of tea or a coffee for £4.95, with good big portions. It was very busy! A wonderful mix of Derry ladies of a certain age, businessmen, mothers and toddlers. I staggered out after lunch and managed to cross to the benches in the square where I sat in the sun to let it all digest before tackling the walls of the city!
House of Liza specializes in vintage designer clothing. The collection contains a handpicked selection from avant-garde fashion from the 50s to the 90s. Designers include Kansai Yamamoto, André Courrèges, JC de Castelbajac, Stephen Sprouse, Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander, Claude Montana, Thierry Mugler and JP Gaultier.
They take original vintage garments, rescue, re-work and update them to create unique one-off garments. And they source and sell gorgeous, wearable vintage, everything from 1940s garments to 1970s leathers and retro items.
The home of Anna and Jack Peckitt, this 16th-century farmhouse, with its romantic four-poster en suite bedrooms is ideally situated for touring North Yorkshire. Also it is home to the Cuckavalda Gundogs,so if you wish to take a dog with you for company on your walk, you are welcome to choose one here. Don't worry, you won't have any muddy paws to cope with as they are very well behaved and do not go indoors.
I've been using this shop for years now, the standard of food and service has never faltered. Always great portions, always fresh and always crisp. I highly recommended
Heworth Road York North Yorkshire YO31 0AA
Tel: 01904 424459
Google map: tinyurl.com/36h84cc
Britain's traditional Victorian Turkish baths are great places to relax, recharge and escape. Many are council run and reasonably priced. Newcastle's Turkish Bath has a steam room (Suditorium), three dry rooms (Tepidarium, Calidarium, Laconium), a shampoo room (Lavarium) with cooling spa (28°C) and a lounge and rest area (Frigidarium). If you wish it is possible to have a massage. As well as dedicated male and female sessions there are monthly naturist sessions combined with use of the swimming pool.
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