Top British travel destinations

Britain is famous for its rolling countryside, dramatic cliffs and coastline, and a culture and history spanning many thousands of years. In fact, one of its most engaging aspects is the variety available; regardless of what you’d like to do during your vacation in Britain, there’s a town, city, or quaint hamlet that will satisfy your every whim and sense of curiosity. This beautiful collection of islands, which includes Jersey, Guernsey, the Scilly Isles, the Isle of Wight, and the Isle of Man, are rife with adventure and historical discoveries – and that’s before we’ve explored the scattered Scottish islets at the country’s northernmost point.

Here are just five of the top British destinations we think you should travel to at least once in your lifetime…

London

If you’re visiting Britain, you must stay over in England’s capital. London is a vibrant, colorful metropolis that has as many bars, clubs, and restaurants as it does theatres, museums, galleries, and royal palaces. Indeed, its history is a long and varied one, dating back to the Roman era; you’ll be invited to delve into a treasure trove of stories every time you head down London’s bustling streets. The city has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for cultural experiences, tourist trails, or shopping, and while it boasts every kind of accommodation you can imagine we highly recommend booking a London vacation apartment in Camden Town. With its quirky stores, picturesque canals, and links to England’s music history, Camden is a fantastic place to start your London adventure – and what better way to see it all than from a self-catering apartment?

Edinburgh

While we’re on the subject of capital cities, Scotland’s principal city, Edinburgh, is always worth a mention – and a visit. Perhaps best known for its medieval castle, which presides over everything that happens below, Edinburgh is a city of rich culture and art. Here you will discover remarkable architecture, galleries and museums, theatres, and gorgeous gardens, as well as spectacular churches, a cathedral, and a zoo that houses Britain’s only pandas. The city has an array of hotels, many of which are within beautiful, historic buildings. One of the best things about Edinburgh, though, is its proximity to Scotland’s wild landscape. The Lothians, which lie just outside of the city, offer impressive scenery.

Keswick

If you’re anxious to see some of the rolling countryside, great lakes, and rugged mountains that Britain is so famous for, we’d suggest a trip into the Lake District. Very few places in Britain will charm you quite as much as this National Park, which is located in England’s northwest. Havens for outdoorsy types, towns such as Keswick are the perfect bases from which to explore the surrounding area. Rent a picture-perfect cottage and prepare to enjoy the landscape; from Derwentwater, the Cat Bell fells, and Walla Crag fell, to Bassenthwaite Lake and Thirlmere, the countryside surrounding Keswick begs to be walked, cycled, hiked, and explored on horseback.

Dublin

While the Republic of Ireland hasn’t been a member of the United Kingdom since its partition from Northern Ireland in 1922, it is still a part of the British Isles. If you’re looking to get into the party spirit, immerse yourself in a literary trail, or whisk yourself away into some incredible landscapes, then Ireland is the location you’re looking for. Dublin, the country’s capital, is at the heart of the ‘craic’. Occupied by bars and restaurants, as well as museums, galleries, and libraries, Dublin is a city renowned for its hospitality, and its many opportunities for a good time; well, it is the home of Guinness stout, after all. Experience a traditional night out, Irish style, before wending your way into the Emerald Isles spectacular fields, trees, and mountains. Dublin offers some great accommodations, including self-catering apartments, hotels, and bed and breakfasts.

Brighton

It would be a travesty to visit Britain and not head to a traditional seaside resort; a vacation in Britain is incomplete until you’ve sampled fish and chips, spent all your money at a gaudy arcade, and taken a stroll along a pebbly beach, after all. While Britain is home to some truly spectacular seaside resorts, it’s Brighton that tourists return to time and time again. Alongside its iconic pier, which has entertained revelers since 1899, Brighton boasts eccentric independent boutiques, a thriving nightlife, theatre, music, and comedy experiences, and a long stretch of sand and shingle beach. Be sure to book a room in any of the town’s boutique bed and breakfasts for a truly authentic seaside experience.

Of course, this article is merely a rough guide; there are an abundance of destinations that you could choose within the British Isles. Take a deep breath and dive straight into the beautiful British Isles; you never know quite what you’ll uncover next…

Your Guide To The ‘Up Helly Aa Fire Festival’ in Lerwick, Scotland

As part of our guides, looking at some of the finest, craziest, weirdest and most outlandish festivals in the World, today we are going to take a look at the Up Helly Aa festival which takes place in northern Scotland and the Shetland Islands each year. This spectacular festival of fire  occurs on the last Tuesday of January and sees visitors from all over the World head to the chilly northern Scottish lands for a festival like no other. Let’s take a look at the history of the festival and a guide to what you should expect to see if you visit Up Helly Aa.

The History

The festival takes place in around 12 locations but the oldest is the Lernwick celebration, the festival was borne out of the annual Yuletide tradition of tar-barreling. This was a festivity that saw 12 barrels filled with tar being lit on fire and then dragged through the town by sledges and carried by men as they caused mischief throughout the town as people cheered, following the show, everyone would retire the public houses to continue the festivities.

Tar-barreling was outlawed in 1880 and the festival of Up Helly Aa was the festival that replaced it. At first it was just a small torch procession but in 1882, the town of Lernwick significantly increased its procession size for the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, from that year up to the present day, the festival has been a huge event of fire and festivities.

What You Will See

If you want to visit the festival the here is what you can expect to see.

– Morning

In the morning you will see the first Jarls, these are men dressed in Viking style dress who will arrive in floats in the shape of ships. The Jarl squads will go for breakfast in the Islesburgh Community Centre before heading on to the Galley Shed and then The British Legion.

The squad will march with their galley floats from the British Legion with pipe and brass bands in tow before arriving in the market cross where the Proclamation of Up Helly Aa is situated. The squads then head up to the ferry terminal where you will get a chance to take some photos of the impressive costumes and their galleys.

Toast are drunk around 1030 as the bands continue playing and then the squads break off into various rooms and halls.

Day Time

Throughout the day you can enjoy the exhibitions that have been displayed, short movies playing, and the chance to meet some of the Jarls. Grab some food and get ready for the evening festivities.

Evening

At 7pm the Jarl quads are given their torches and begin the march, led by the Guizer Jarl squad, the Guizer Jarl is the chief around here. At 730pm, a rocket is fired across the sky of the town to begin the march. The squads then march through the town singing and chanting in an impressive fiery sight.

The group then culminates in the North King George V playing field, they circle the field before congregating in the centre where there is a huge galley ship. You will hear a bugle call and then witness over 1000 torches being thrown into the galley to set it on fire and then  a firework display will begin.

As the evening progresses you will see shows and skits taking place all over the town, drinking games, street food and dancing are all on offer for visitors in a night of raucous fun that will go well into the early hours.

As expected, the following day is a public holiday so that everyone can recover from this incredible festival.

Your Guide To The ‘Cheese Rolling Festival,’ England 

Did you know that there was a festival in the UK where they chase a big ball of cheese down a hill? Well believe it or not this actually exists and if you want to see something different this year then why not head down to Gloucester in England to watch some brave souls seeking to be victorious as they look to catch the rolling cheese in one of the weirdest festivals in the World. Let’s take a look at how the Cooper Hill Cheese Festival came to being at what it comprises of.

The Beginnings

There are 2 arguments for how the event originated, the first is that it was a battle between farmers that took place each year on Whit Monday to see how would have grazing rights of the common for the summer. The second notion is that it was related to the Pagan tradition of rolling wood down the hill to celebrate the end of the winter, they also used to scatter biscuits and fruit from the top of the hill as part of the ceremony and some think that the cheese was the symbolism of this.

The Format

The format of the modern day cheese rolling festival is that a 9lb round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled from the top of the hill and the competitors head off after it. Crowds line the sides of the hill and cheer the competitors on. The winner is not the person who catches the cheese as many think, but the first person to cross the finish line at the bottom, the victor will win the round of cheese. The cheese has the ability to reach speeds of up to 70km per hour so catching it is near impossible. There are two pubs close to the hill where competitors and visitors gather before the event to load up on a little courage before they face the tiresome climbing of the hill and then the treacherous race back down.

The Dangers

This is actually an incredibly dangerous festival as the hill is extremely steep, whilst it can be humorous for onlookers to watch human bodies tumble down the hill in search of cheese, many sustain injuries that can be serious. Each year the St John’s Ambulance service will head to the event to treat injuries that are sustained from tumbling down the steep and uneven hill.

How to See it?

If you are up for competing in this zany event or if you wish to watch it then you need to head to Brockworth in Gloucestershire on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday. The event still runs each year despite much backlash from councils who suggest that the dangers are not worth keeping up the tradition. Despite the backlash there has actually been a ‘Save the Cheese’ campaign which has been very successful. An entry fee was introduced in 2011 but quickly scrapped after many complaints from locals. This is a tradition that doesn’t look as though it is going anywhere soon so get yourself to Chase Hill this year and watch one of the weirdest festivals in the World.