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Seven Brilliant Ways To Spend a Bank Holiday Weekend in the UK

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


May's second Bank Holiday is nearly upon us, and as always it's too good an opportunity to fritter away on DIY and damp barbeques. Here's some of my favourite tried-and-tested ways to spend a weekend in the United Kingdom...


1. Boating in Birmingham


Ignoring the dubious 'more canals than Venice' claims, Birmingham's waterways are pretty gorgeous. Commandeer a bohemian-looking barge and spend a day 'messing about in boats'; avoiding fishermen, negotiating lochs and working out just how to drift to a elegant stop at the side of the canal. Maybe.

Google 'Canal boat hire Birmingham' for a wealth of choices, and pack a hearty picnic.

2. Walking in Cornwall


Walk the three and a half miles from Penzance to Mousehole, taking in the stunning scenery (otherwise known as 'dramatic scenery' if the wind and rain picks up...) The trail is easy enough to do in trainers or sturdy sandals, and you'll want to reward yourself with a pub lunch at the end.

3.  Meandering through Liverpool's Albert Dock


I still can't get used to how fantastic Liverpool's Albert Dock now looks; fully connected to the city centre and no longer just the freezing cold corner of the city with the floating weather map. 

Take in the Grade 1 listed water-side sights, potter through the Tate Liverpool, and drop in on The Beatles.

4. Exploring Newcastle


If the weather's with you, hop on the metro or make the coast-hugging drive to Tynemouth for markets, beaches and ruins (see here). 

But if dark clouds gather, hunker down in the city centre's Tea Sutra and wait out the storm with a vegetarian feast... (here)



5. Punting in Cambridge


This one is either going to go really well, or really badly. Hire a punt and gracefully slide past perhaps the most beautiful University buildings in the country. Or, run aground five minutes into your boat trip, get your pole stuck in the weeds, and resign yourself to bumping along the Cam one bank at a time. There's only only one way to find out... (that or support the local student population and hire an expertly chauffeured boat instead.)

If the skies threaten rain, seek refuge in the magical Sedgwick Museum - oldest of the University museums and home to fossils, dinosaurs and minerals. Not as expansive or sleek as the more famous Fitzwilliam, perhaps, but infinitely more charming. Be sure to give the bears a pat as you leave!




6. Snapping Street Art in London


Take in some of London's most vibrant street art with a graffiti walking tour of Shoreditch. Google for an organised tour if you want facts and hidden finds, or simply wander the streets yourself, camera at the ready. 

Be sure to refuel with an original 'Beigel shop bagel' on Brick Lane - here.

7. Indulging in Warwick


Forget the castle - Warwick's premier attraction has to be the Thomas Onken Tea Rooms, housed in a cosy, wonky Tudor house. Don't be swayed by a tempting menu of cakes; plumb for the cream tea and indulge in a still-warm scone with lashings of cream and jam. Go on a Saturday and you can spend the rest of the day dipping in and out of Warwick's labyrinth antique shops and indoor markets.

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