007 Filming Locations – James Bond’s Best European Breaks

Skyfall and Spectre: London

big ben

Both films featured the UK’s capital as a very prominent supporting character with Westminster Bridge, the Thames, Trafalgar Square, M’s house in Knightsbridge, Bond’s pad in Notting Hill and most of Skyfall’s Shanghai sequences taking place in London.

Quantum of Solace: Siena, Italy

palio

The bi-annual Palio horse race will be familiar to viewers of Quantum of Solace; it was during this event that Bond took part in a foot chase over the slate roofs of the town and through the Piazza del Campo.

A View to a Kill: The Eiffel Tower

eiffel

Roger Moore’s 007 swansong may have been one of the lesser Bond films, but the stunt with Bond chasing a parachuting Grace Jones from the top of the Tower was incredible.

Spectre: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

blenheim

The nefarious Spectre organisation’s headquarters in Rome were actually filmed at the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill. Still privately owned, visitors can visit The Palace, Formal Gardens and Park throughout the year.

Spectre: Vatican City, Rome

St peter's

007 gets behind the wheel of his DB10 to drive typically fast through Rome’s St Peter’s Square and down the scenic narrow streets to the Scalo De Pinedo alongside the Tiber.

The World is Not Enough: Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

eilean

The villains destroyed MI6 headquarters on the South Bank of the Thames in this Pierce Brosnan adventure. As luck would have it, the world’s most secret spy agency had a standby office in one of Scotland’s most beautiful locations.

Casino Royale: Lake Como

como

Scenes of Bond recuperating were filmed in the gardens of the Villa del Balbianello on the western shore of the southwest part of Como.

Skyfall: Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe

Apparently, Ian Fleming was so impressed with Sean Connery’s portrayal of 007 that he added Scottish ancestry to James Bond. Skyfall, the 50th anniversary film saw Bond head to his familial home in the Highlands.

 Licence to Kill: Stonor House, Oxfordshire

stonor

Stonor House and Gardens in Oxfordshire acted as another of MI6’s safe-houses. One of Britain’s oldest manor houses, Stonor House has remained in the same family’s possession for over 850 years!

Casino Royale: Canale Grande, Venice

grand canal

The beautiful waterways and architecture of Venice offered the perfect backdrop for a romantic interlude in Daniel Craig’s first Bond adventure.

The Spy Who Loved Me: Romazzino Beach, Sardinia

romazino

During The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond gets chased along the coast of Sardinia by a helicopter. After diving/driving into the water, he emerges shaken but not stirred onto the golden sands of the beautiful Romazzino Beach.

Bank Holiday – Events & Activities for August 2017

A Boy Wizard’s Birthday in Northumberland

Alnwick

www.alnwickcastle.com

Celebrate 20 years of wonderful wizardry at the place Potter first learned to fly.

Alnwick Castle really does know how to throw a party; you can take a tour of filming locations from the first two films, learn how to fly your very own broomstick and find even more magic-themed experiences during ‘Wizard Week’.

Two outdoor screenings of Potter films follow, so practice your good-weather spells!

The Epic Tale of England in Durham

Kynren

www.elevenarches.org

Putting Potter in the shade, Kynren’s ‘epic tale of England’ tells 2,000 years of history, myth and legend in 90 mind-blowing minutes.

How do they do it? Well, having a cast of 1,500 humans, dozens of horses, 29 scenes and a Creative Director who has worked on 13 Olympic opening ceremonies must help.

With a large, living lake-side set featuring Auckland Castle, spectacular lighting, sound, pyrotechnics plus an emotive score, this is an amazing English history lesson like no other.

Celebrate with Pride in Manchester  

pride

http://festival.manchesterpride.com/

Manchester’s annual LGBT celebration covers the city in colour this August Bank Holiday weekend.

4 days of music begins on Friday with several stages around the Gay Village offering DJs, live music, cabaret and more. Then, on the Sunday, the carnival begins!

This year’s theme is ‘Graduation’, and the thousands of participants aim to make it the biggest and best celebration yet.

Cardiff’s City Beach

Bay Beach

http://cardiffbaybeach.co.uk

The spectacular Bay Beach brings summer to the city with sand, rides, activities and entertainment.

Cardiff’s Roald Dahl Plass is the setting for this seaside spectacular, with plenty of traditional trappings (sand, stalls & deckchairs) and enough outlandish attractions (bungee trampolines, zorbing) to delight Mr. Dahl himself.

If that’s not enough to make you forget you’re holidaying in central Cardiff, there’s also a Tropical Bay Bar making exotic concoctions.

Flaming Giraffe, anyone?

The Sounds of Summer

feastival

The sun may be setting on summer but that doesn’t mean the party’s over.

Far from. August bank holiday weekend offers some of the biggest, best and most bizarre acts offering all sorts of musical entertainment for your ears.

Day tickets are still available for many of the biggest, including Leeds and Reading (Eminem, Muse and Kasabian), Alex James and Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival in the Cotswolds (De La Soul, Olly Murs, Madness) and Blackpool’s first-ever Livewire Festival (Will Smith, The Jacksons, The Hit Factory Live).

And with a cottage near-by you don’t need to sleep in a tent!

Weird and Wonderful Activities

Whether it’s Lancashire’s World Gravy Wrestling Championships putting you off your chips, the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwrtyd Wells or Bourton-on-the-Water’s wet approach to ‘the beautiful game’, there’s no shortage of the weird and the wonderful to keep you entertained this bank holiday.

Beside the Seaside

You don’t need an event to visit Britain’s beaches, but our Beach Bingo activity sheet can certainly make it more fun. Print or download yours and try to get the highest score on the shore!

8 of Our Most Excellent National Parks

Every summer we celebrate our 15 gorgeous green ‘breathing spaces’ with National Parks Week.

But our parks – stunning, accessible and perfect for picnicking – are worthy of celebrating at any time of the year.

So lace up your boots, top up the Thermos and join us for a tour of the very best countryside heritage and wildlife the UK has to offer…

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

The incredible limestone pavement of Malham Cove was some 12,000 years in the making.

Formed by melting ice and rainwater, the ‘pavement’ of Malham Cove is so otherworldly that Harry Potter himself chose it for a magical holiday in The Deathly Hallows.

Cross the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey before stopping for ice-cream at nearby Billy-Bob’s 1950s style ice-cream parlour – perfect for rounding off your tour of ancient Yorkshire with a twist.

Did you know? A whopping 9.5 million visitors flock to the Dales each year.

The Cairngorms                     

Cairngorms

Home to our highest mountain range and a huge Caledonian forest filled with Scots pines, the Cairngorms is the perfect place to challenge yourself.

Hike, climb or search for an elusive pine martin or reindeer in winter. And don’t forget the Scottish hospitality – a wee dram of whisky goes down well after a day in the mountains.

Did you know? At nearly 1,500 square miles this is the UK’s biggest National Park – you could fit over 10 Norfolk Broads inside!

Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons

Dark Sky Reserve status makes the Beacons almost as beautiful by night as by day. Wild Welsh mountain ponies can be spotted by day while a clear night offers an amazing display of stars and constellations.

Equally out of this world is the opportunity to get close to Wales’ unofficial national bird at the Red Kite Feeding Centre. Once used to keep the land free of carrion it’s now championed for more savoury reasons (but best keep those sandwiches wrapped up just in case!).

Did you know? Pen-y Fan is South Wales’ highest point at 2,907 feet above sea level. That’s over 5 Blackpool towers! 

Northumberland

Northumberland

The remains of Emperor Hadrian’s mighty wall snake along the park’s southern boundary.

With rampaging Picts beyond the wall no longer a threat, those seeking wilder experiences should try the Hethpool Wild Goat Walk – it gives you the best chance to spot the elusive Cheviot goats.

Did you know? Perfectly peaceful, Northumberland has a smaller population than any other National Park with just over 2,000 residents.

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs

 Loch Lomond

Within striking distance of Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs is one of Scotland’s most accessible playgrounds.

Explore part of the 96 mile West Highland Way or, if you’re feeling hardy, paddle along the bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond itself.

Did you know? Loch Lomond contains 92,805 million cubic feet of water and maybe one monster: the lesser-known Loch Lomond beastie has been spotted several times over the years.

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

A watery wonderland in one of Britain’s driest places, the 60 broads – wide, shallow lakes created by flooded medieval peat pits – and 7 rivers are visited by 8 million people every year.

The swallowtail butterfly lives only here, bitterns and marsh harriers are on the increase and water shrews may be glimpsed by the eagle-eyed.

Boating is the Broads’ other major draw. Enjoy comfortable cruisers, relaxing waterside eateries and messing about on the rivers!

Did you know? The Broads were only discovered to be human made in the 1960s. Before that they were considered a natural attraction. 

Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Britain’s only coastal National Park, make sure you beat a path to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail.

Here you will find a fairy-tale seascape with ancient castles and Iron Age forts overlooking the water.  Look skywards for choughs and skylarks and out to sea for basking sharks and even orcas if you’re lucky.

They return annually to this wonderful bit of Wales. And who could blame them?

Did you know? Pembrokeshire has been voted one of the best coastal destinations in the world by National Geographic magazine (and anyone who’s ever visited).

Exmoor

Exmoor

Exmoor is known for its moorland, yet one of the park’s most celebrated features are the highest sea cliffs in England.

Kayak, walk or wind sail for the best views – and the best tales to tell afterwards! Inland you’ll find orchards, cider farms and ancient woodland.

This quiet park is a perfect place to enjoy not seeing another soul.  Apart from the famous ponies, of course – you’ll always be pleased to see them.

Did you know? Continental drift means that in 100 million years’ time Exmoor will be north of the Arctic Circle.   

15 of Britain’s Best Summer Hikes for 2017

Mountain climbs, coastal walks or just an excuse to enjoy an ice-cream…whatever your reason for setting out into the UK countryside this summer, you can be sure of amazing sights and routes for all ages and abilities.

1. Lower Ddwli Falls, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales

Lower Sgwd Ddwli falls

Easier to enjoy than it is to pronounce, this is a great woodland walk along the Fechan and Mellte rivers near Ystradfellte in the Brecon Beacons.

With plunge pools beneath waterfalls and cool woodland gorges, there’s plenty of wild swimming (or paddling) to be enjoyed.

2. Chatsworth Estate, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire

Chatsworth

In addition to Chatsworth’s stately pleasures, you can climb to the Hunting Tower to play Lord of the Manor and enjoy views across the estate. Stroll through the shaded Stand Wood and on to Beeley Hilltop if you fancy stretching your legs.

Tea and cake is also available back at the house.

3. Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve, Perthshire, Scotland

Panoramic View Across Lochan nan Cat to Ben Lawers

At 1,214m, Ben Lawers is one of Scotland’s highest peaks.

So this isn’t one of our easiest recommendations, but a summer hike offers brilliant views, rare flowers in bloom (‘gentians’ and ‘alpine saxifrage’ – impress your co-walkers!) and a chance to spot the rare wildcat.

4. Whisby Nature Park, Thorpe-on-the-Hill, Lincolnshire

Emperor Dragonfly

Spot emperor dragonflies and southern marsh orchids in some of Lincolnshire’s prettiest countryside.

If that doesn’t appeal, you can also head to Skellingthorpe village for homemade ice-cream at Daisy Made Farm.

5. Sticklebarn Blea Tarn trail, Coniston, Cumbria

Lake District idyllic mountain valley vista summer peaks panorama

The views of the Langdale fells from this family-friendly National Trust trail are unbelievable.

The paths are also easy enough for young and old alike to follow, making it an awesome but accessible summer hike.

6. The South West Coast Path, Porthgwarra, Lands End Cornwall

Porthgwarra

This walk in the far-western corner of Cornwall will divert you away from the tourist hot spots.

Walk north from Porthgwarra following the coast path towards Nanjizal beach, a secluded cove, with an amazing – and amazingly named – arch known as ‘The Song of the Sea’.

If you’re after more beach and less hike, walk from Land’s End instead – Nanjizal is one mile south.

7. Croyde to Woolacombe, North Devon

Croyde

This bracing, seaside walk is brimming with history and follows a stretch of coastline once favoured by smugglers.

Hike from rugged Baggy Point in Croyde along the coast path to the sublime and sandy Woolacombe beach.

Make it a 10 mile circular walk and your cottage will be even more welcoming!

8. Ivinghoe Beacon, Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Duke of Burgundy

This climb offers several summer treats including meadows with rare flowers and wildlife, such as the beautiful Duke of Burgundy butterfly.

Enjoy far-reaching views over several counties at the top and historic cattle-droving paths, Bronze Age burial mounds and an Iron Age hill fort on the way.

9. Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire, Wales

marloes

The sea around this pretty Pembrokeshire peninsula is teeming with wildlife, and this walk is perfect for giving you the most spectacular seats.

Try the National Trust’s four-mile circular walk following the coast path from Marloes Sands car park. Look out for wetland birds and porpoises playing out at sea.

10. Bridlington to Filey, East Riding of Yorkshire

gannets

The 20 mile trek takes you along chalk headland past both Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs.

At Bempton, you’ll find the most easily accessible gannet colony in England. Get a true ‘bird’s-eye’ view from cliff-edge viewing platforms – and keep your sandwiches hidden!

11. Old Man of Hoy, Orkney, Scotland

old many of hoy

You’ll know you’re on the right ferry to Hoy when you see the famous red stone formation of the Old Man standing out to sea.

You will also know you’re on the right path for this walk, as this uphill hike from Rackwick heads straight to one of Britain’s most iconic sights, and the views at the end aren’t too shabby either.

12. Minffordd Path, Cader Idris, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Cadair idris

This is a brilliant day hike to attempt in fine weather.

The 3 mile ascent on the Minffordd Path takes in Llyn Cau glacial lake – said to be bottomless and home to a mythical monster (only the fearless need apply!).

A spectacular ridge walk finishes with panoramic views of Snowdonia and the Cambrian Mountains.

13. Burrington Camp, Mendip Hills AONB, Somerset

Mendip hills

This walk feels as much like walking through time as much as it does the stunning Somerset countryside.

Climb the limestone grassland of the Mendips to the Iron Age hill fort of Burrington Camp, or Burrington Ham as it was once known – maybe because it’s a great place for a picnic…

14. Redgrave and Lopham Fen National Nature Reserve, Suffolk

otter

A wild game of I Spy awaits at this nature reserve…

Spot the fen raft spider (the UK’s largest!), otters, snakes basking in the sun, and 21 species of dragonfly on either a three or five mile trail starting at the Visitor Centre.

15. Inversnaid to Inverarnan, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland

Loch Lomond

If you’re looking for a really demanding challenge, this seven mile stretch of The West Highland Way is known as its toughest.

During the loch-edge hike from Inversnaid to Inverarnan you’ll negotiate boulders and cross bridges over chasms like a Highlands Indiana Jones.

It’s definitely an adventure just to get to this peaceful side of Loch Lomond, but the views and sense of achievement guarantee a happy ending when you get there!

10 of Britain’s Best Microbreweries

There are now nearly 2,000 breweries in the UK.

Many of these are microbreweries, some literally nothing more than the back room of a pub or a glorified garden shed, while others are slick operations with a wide range of ales commemorating every event and anniversary you could think of!

All of which is great for real ale fans, and where better to sample it than right at the source…

1. Black Sheep Brewery…great for families

black sheep

Wellgarth, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 4EN (01765 689227,)

Open daily; tours £6.95 adults, £4.95 children (under-5s free)

Founded in 1992 by Paul Theakston (of the Yorkshire brewing dynasty – the Black Sheep name is a sly reference to his decision to go it alone when Theakston’s was sold off), this brewery is  now something of a Dales institution.

Occupying a solid Victorian building at the entrance to Wensleydale, it has a top-notch visitor centre including a bar (sorry, “Baa…r”) and bistro serving hearty English food: sausage and mash, fish and chips.

Children are welcome – older ones will appreciate the bubbling brews and gleaming vats (and might even learn some science!), while youngsters will be drawn to the sheepish memorabilia and groan-worthy puns in the gift shop. Bring your sense of ewe-mour…

Drink this: Riggwelter – described as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, it’s a dark beer with heaps of chocolate malt flavours.

Also in the area: the Wensleydale Creamery – these days, it’s also something of a shrine to Wallace and Gromit.

2. Beartown Brewery…great for a relaxing pint

Bromley House, Spindle Street, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 1QN (01260 299964, )

Open daily; tours (must be booked ahead); £8.75 per person

“Congleton rare, Congleton rare, sold the Bible to buy a bear.” So says a 17th-century rhyme commemorating an early example of council cutbacks: bear-baiting was big business here, so when a new animal was needed, officials raided funds set aside for a new bible rather than risk disappointing the locals.

The tag has stuck, and since 1994 the Beartown brewery has produced a grizzly line-up including Bruins Ruin, Bearly Literate and Pandamonium .

Beartown is close to the centre of this pretty market town, and an ideal refreshment stop after walking to the top of The Cloud, a rocky outcrop at the edge of the Peak District that offers spectacular views across the Cheshire Plain as far as the Welsh mountains.

Drink this: Ginger Bear – brewed in honour of the town’s gingerbread-making tradition, this blond beer is given an added kick by root ginger.

Also in the area: Little Moreton Hall, a grand yet charmingly wonky Tudor manor, as seen on TV in Moll Flanders.

3. Hawkshead Brewery…great for walkers

Mill Yard, Staveley, Cumbria LA8 9LR (01539 822644 )

Open daily; tours Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 2pm or groups by arrangement; £6.50

So successful has this Lake District brewery been that it has outgrown the pretty village where it was christened and moved to a new home on the other side of Lake Windermere.

Good news for visitors, though, because instead of a ramshackle barn, it now has a glass-walled beer hall that lets you gaze into the brewhouse, cellar and fermentation room while you sup.

It serves a range of “beer tapas”, too, ranging from bite-size pickles to a whopping 2lb pork pie. The menu says it serves 4-8, but if you’ve just tramped up a fell or two (High Street, at 2,717ft, is the loftiest nearby) you might see that as a challenge. There’s also regular live music and a summer beer festival.

Drink this: Hawkshead Bitter – named CAMRA’s champion bitter of the northwest, this pale hoppy brew is just the job for thirsty hikers.

Also in the area: four miles to the west lies the town of Windermere. Orrest Head is a modest climb from the centre but rewards you with spectacular views – it’s the walk that got Alfred Wainwright hooked.

4. St Peter’s Brewery…great for history buffs

St Peter’s Hall, St Peter South Elmham, Bungay, Suffolk NR35 1NQ (01986 782322)

Open daily; tours Saturdays & Sundays every hour and a half between 11.00am – 3.30pm; £7.50

This brewery is housed in a cluster of pretty listed farm buildings beside the 13th-century St Peter’s Hall.

In keeping with the historic setting, St Peter’s brews old-fashioned ales such as honey porter and seasonal fruit beers, as well as traditional bitter and mild, using water from its own borehole.

In terms of volume, it’s at the top end of the microbrewery spectrum – it produces 83,000 pints a week and exports them around the world – but the ethos is authentically micro. The beer looks the part, too, sold in distinctive oval bottles modelled on a 1770 design.

Drink this: Golden Ale – a pale brew that’s a great British alternative to pilsner.

Also in the area: wander the Norman ruins of Bungay Castle, still impressive after almost 850 years.

5. Woodforde’s…great for nature lovers

Broadland Brewery, Woodbastwick, Norwich, Norfolk NR13 6SW (01603 722218)

Open daily; tours generally every second Wednesday in high season; booking essential; £10

Bird-watchers will appreciate Once Bittern beer, especially when they learn that for every pint sold, Woodforde’s will donate a penny to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

The breeding population of bitterns in the region is booming (in more ways than one) thanks to the NWT’s efforts, so be sure to stop off at this pretty thatched brewery, tucked away down a quiet lane on the edge of the Broads National Park, and lend your support.

Once you’ve bought the beer you can try to emulate it yourself with the home-brew kits available in the shop. Next door is the brewery tap – the aptly named Fur & Feather Inn, which serves ales straight from the cask and locally sourced food.

Drink this: Once Bittern, of course – a “booming marvellous” copper-coloured brew with a hint of spiciness.

Also in the area: seek out the real thing at NWT’s Hickling Broad reserve, half an hour’s drive away.

6. Black Isle Brewery…great for purists

Old Allangrange, Munlochy, Ross-shire IV8 8NZ (01463 811871)

Open daily; tours free

In 1998, David Gladwin set out on a mission “to make top quality beers that could stand among the best in the country – and to do it using organically produced barley and hops”.

Since then, his brewery has gone from strength to strength, brewing award-winning beers totally in-house.

You can follow the process on a free tour. A speciality are the bottle-conditioned beers, which undergo extra fermentation in the bottle rather like champagne. The yeasty sediment is good for you, says Gladwin – “it’s full of vitamin B!”

Drink this: Heather Honey Beer – made with honey gathered from the moors, it’s bottle-conditioned and has lively citrus notes.

Also in the area: Inverness, seven miles away, has plenty more drinking dens, including Hootananny, a live music venue with Black Isle beers on tap.

Just a taster

Lots of microbreweries are just too small (or too busy) to cater for visitors, but it’s worth tracking down their beers. Often you can buy on site even if you can’t take a tour; otherwise check out local pubs for these specialities:

7. Williams Bros, AlloaClackmannanshire – Fraoch Heather Ale is based on a Pictish recipe that goes back at least 4,000 years. Said to be the oldest style of beer still produced anywhere in the world.

8. Fox Brewery, Heacham, Norfolk (01485 570345 – “official” tours are only available to groups, but anyone can sample their unusual beers on site at the Fox & Hounds pub.

9. Roosters, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire  – look for their floral brews such as Orange Blossom Ale and Elderflower Ale. Perfect summer sipping.

10. BrewDog, Balmacassie Industrial Estate Ellon, Aberdeenshire – one glance at the punkish labels, with names like Trashy Blonde and Hardcore IPA, will tell you that this is no ordinary microbrewery. Book a ‘Dog Walk’ for the freshest ales and 4 interactive tastings!

Britain’s 10 Best & Most Bizarre Museums – Museum Week 2017

Brits are spoiled for choice when it comes to museums.  Whether you’re in the country or the city, you are sure to be within visiting distance of some of the world’s biggest, best and quirkiest visitor experiences.

Many of our museums offer free entry and exclusive  exhibitions and events – perfect for entertaining the kids, learning something new or just whiling away a few peaceful hours.

In honour of Museum Week 2017,  here are our picks for the UK’s 10 best museums.

1. The British Museum – London

The British Museum is one of a kind. When it opened in 1753 it was the first national museum in the world, and it is still considered to be one of the most important centres of human history and study.

The iconic building houses some of the most famous and significant artefacts in history – from the Rosetta stone (the earliest evidence of linguistics), to the mummified remains of Cleopatra. Visiting exhibitions have included the Terracotta Army and a life size re-enactment of the lost villages of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

2. National Railway Museum – York

A history of locomotive travel with enough social and historical context to ensure a really engaging day out – not just for railway enthusiasts.

With 1,000,000 pieces of rolling stock alongside posters and prints from throughout the ages, you can see the impact that railways have had on our lives through engineering, leisure, the arts and more. And because the trains are waiting for you, you don’t need to worry about them being late!

3. Dog Collar Museum – Leeds Castle, Kent

Leeds castle in kent, England

Leeds Castle is one of England’s quirkier attractions; it has an actual moat, maze, falconry displays, a legitimately terrifying armoury and isn’t actually in Leeds. But its strangest feature is without a doubt the Dog Collar Museum.

The surprisingly large collection features hundreds of dog collars dating back 500 years, from medieval hunting muzzles to couture designs. The only catch is – you can’t bring your dog in with you.

4. The Roman Baths – Bath, Gloucestershire

Making far more sense by being actual baths in Bath, here you will find one of the most striking examples of Roman heritage in the UK. Alongside a tour of this amazingly well-preserved location, you can try the famous spa water – known for its restorative powers.

High tea at the Pump Room restaurant is equally restorative, and you don’t need a swimming costume! There’s also no better way to make you feel like you’ve fallen from the pages of a novel by local heroine Jane Austen.

5. Sir John Soane’s Museum – London

This tiny treasure trove of a museum is one of London’s hidden gems. Located by Lincoln’s Inn Fields on the outskirts of Bloomsbury, the building was once the home of the legendary British architect Sir John Soane. Over the course of his life he collected numerous sculptures, art works and architectural models, and he displayed each piece with meticulous precision.

In 1833, he successfully passed an act of Parliament which would preserve his home as a museum following his death (he died five years later). Today, everything is just the way he left it 177 years ago…but with fewer cobwebs than you might expect.

6. British Lawnmower Museum – Southport

Not to be confused with the smaller Lawnmower Museum at Trerice House in Cornwall, the British Lawnmower Museum is the big museum celebrating mechanical lawn maintenance. Old lawnmowers; new lawnmowers; handheld lawnmowers; motorised lawnmowers – you name it, they’ve got it.

An exhibition titled ‘Lawnmowers of the Rich and Famous’ features a Qualcast Panther once owned by Jean Alexander (Coronation Street’s Hilda Ogden), a garden stake donated by Vanessa Feltz and Alan Titchmarsh’s trowel.

An extensive gift shop is attached, and yes, you can buy lawnmowers from it.

7. Natural History Museum – London

NHM

Like the British Museum, the Natural History Museum is a national institution. Located on ‘Museum Row’ (aka Cromwell Road), next to the V&A and the Science Museum, it is best known for the life-size Diplodocus who greets you upon arrival.

‘Dippy’ is on a UK tour until 2020 and has been replaced with the Blue Whale skeleton from the Blue Zone, but there’s still plenty to enjoy – including photographs, curios and interactive exhibits.

8. National Museum of Rural Living – East Kilbride, Scotland

This vast countryside reserve features a working 1950s-style farm which is packed full of cows, horses, sheep, pigs and more. Visit in the spring to watch the sheep being sheared, and keep up to date with the latest arrivals via the farm’s own ‘LambCam’.

If the weather is against you, there is a huge indoor display spanning 300 years of Scottish farming history, while the Garden Detectives area is great fun for young children.

9. National Football Museum – Manchester

Football Museum

The biggest football museum in the world, with a staggering array of football memorabilia, including trophies, vintage shirts and FIFA souvenirs (remember the vuvuzela?).

During school breaks, the museum hosts a series of educational events and activities, and, if you time your visit well, you could even be there to witness the latest induction into the Hall of Fame!

10. Big Pit Coal Museum – South Wales

Big Pit used to be a working coal mine until it was shut down in 1980. Now, former miners act as tour guides, taking visitors through the history of mining, the industrial revolution and a day in the life of the mine.

Wearing protective gear, you will descend down the mine shaft in a wire cage until you are 300ft below the surface. Then your guide will take you through the labyrinthine network of underground offices, recreational areas and tunnels, all of which have been preserved in their original state.

Father’s Day activities – Find the perfect one for your dad

Whether you fancy visiting Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries, saddling up and riding Britain’s best bike routes or taking a trip to a galaxy not so far away, there’s plenty of Father’s Day fun to be had in the UK!

Click on the links below to find the full article.

For the active dad:

The UK’s top 10 adrenaline activities.

Top 10 cycling routes in Britain.

For the geeky dad:

9 Star Wars locations you can visit.

The best Tolkien locations in the UK.

For drinking with dad:

10 of the best British microbreweries.

Explore Scotland’s single-malt whisky distilleries.

For the literary loving dad:

Britain’s Most Poetic Places.

8 must-visit Sherlock locations in the UK.

For the music loving dad:

A music tour of Manchester.

A music tour of London.

Southern Britain’s best musical locations.

For the history loving dad:

A selection of the UK and Ireland’s best historical attractions.

Real-life locations that inspired Game of Thrones.