best walks in the uk

Best Lake District walks for 2018 – trekking routes…

I’m sure you would agree the Lake District is one of the most beautiful places to go in England.

Best Lake District walksBut what are the best hills in the Lake District for walking and trekking this year? I wanted to share with you some reasons why I think these are the 7 best places to trek in the Lake District.

Whether you’re a beginner or a skilled expert, be sure to try one of these walks on your next Lake District trekking holiday.

Do let us know how you get on.

1. Cat Bells

With its peak measuring just 451 metres and its slopes far from difficult, Cat Bells is one of the Lake District’s easiest hill walks. A two-hour journey from bottom to top, the trip up Cat Bells rewards visitors with a truly outstanding view.

Pack your camera and capture incredible photos of Derwentwater and Keswick – a charming town located just a few miles from the hill itself. Cat Bells itself is easy to spot from Friar’s Crag – another popular walk located close to Keswick.

Watch this fantastic trekking guide to Cat Bells

2. Great Crag

At just 440 metres in height, this fell is great in name only. Great Crag might not be the Lake District’s tallest hill, but its rugged terrain and rocky surface make it very different from other Lake District trails.

The walk up Great Crag starts from Rosthwaite, with visitors circling around the hill as they scale it. Make sure you pack your camera, as the summit view is incredible.

We love this first-person view of Great Crag. Well worth watching.

3. Binsey

binsey walk in the lake districtFamous Lake District fellwalker Alfred Wainwright was always fond of this small yet beautiful hill on the northern border of the Lake District. Binsey measures only 242 metres taller than its surrounding farmland, but offers one of the best views in the entire Lake District.

On clear and sunny days, visitors can see all the way to the Isle of Man from the peak of this rather modest fell.

Check out some of the views along the way to Binsey in this video

4. Scafell Pike

England’s tallest mountain is one of the Lake District’s most rewarding fells. At 978 metres in height, scaling Scafell Pike is a serious effort – a trip that rewards visitors with one of the best views in Cumbria.

Scafell Pike’s central location in the Lake District makes it an excellent lookout over the entire region. While the mountain’s rather bare summit isn’t a feast for the eyes, you’ll enjoy some of the finest views in the Lake District on the way there.

Another awesome video from BMC worth checking out before you walk Scafell Pike.

5. Latrigg

Short and simple, the climb up Latrigg is one of the most popular in the Lake District for beginner walkers.

Conveniently located close to Keswick, this modest hill barely exceeds 360 metres in height, yet it offers an excellent view of nearby Skiddaw.

Be sure to watch this video before setting off to walk Latrigg

6. Walla Crag

Another Keswick walk, the climb up Walla Crag rewards visitors with an incredible view of Derwentwater. The crag itself is closer to cliff than hill, cutting off suddenly as it approaches the boundaries of the lake.

The trip up Walla Crag is far from difficult, taking about a half day for experienced fellwalkers. The summit is immensely popular with photographers due to its views of Derwentwater, Keswick, and Skiddaw.

Watch this video guide to walking Walla Crag

7. Skiddaw

Climbing over 930 metres above sea level, Skiddaw is one of the tallest peaks in the Lake District. The mountain is easy to spot from Keswick, where it forms one of the skyline’s most easily recognisable silhouettes.

While Skiddaw’s immense height might make it seem like a challenging trail, it’s one of the Lake District’s easiest fells to scale. Numerous routes up the mountain depart from Keswick, making it a remarkably easy hill walk to access.

And finally here’s a great video guide to trekking up Skiddaw

What to read now

Read about the best emergency kit to have while trekking.

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The Isle of Wight – a perfect family getaway

Located just off the coast of Hampshire the Isle of Wight is the perfect destination for a family getaway. With its spectacular coastal scenery and plenty of family friendly attractions and landmarks to see there is something for everyone on the Isle of Wight.

Holiday company Blue Chip Holidays have put together some of the best attractions that this spectacular island has to offer.

Shanklin seafront

This traditional seaside resort is one of the most popular destinations on the island and with good reason. Shanklin’s golden sandy beach is regarded as one of the best beaches in the UK and is a great spot to go surfing or just to relax and take in the views.

The promenade is full of traditional amusements and arcades, and if you feel a bit peckish you can choose from a range of great places to eat and drink. New to the seafront at Shanklin is the Pirates Cove, a theme park and adventure golf course that will keep everyone occupied for hours on end.

For more information about Shanklin and other attractions to see in the area visit the website: http://www.shanklinseafront.co.uk/

Blackgang Chine Amusement Park

Regarded as the oldest theme park in the UK, Blackgang Chine caters for the whole family. Whether you want to be a pirate or princess, dinosaur hunter or cowboy, Blackgang Chine has it all. With a number of themed worlds within the park and an array of attractions and rides, there is something for everyone.

Whether you or your kid’s fantasy is becoming a pirate on their own ship, a mermaid in their own underwater kingdom or have ever dreamt of coming face to face with life-sized dinosaurs, Blackgang Chine has you covered.

The theme park also has a range of restaurants and cafes onsite for when you need to refuel or take the weight off your feet. Tickets start from £19.50 per person or from £74 for a family of 4.

For more information and to buy tickets visit the website here: https://blackgangchine.com/

V-Dub Island (11th – 13th August 2017)

A must for any Volkswagen enthusiast, V-Dub Island is a family friendly festival the whole family can enjoy. Running from the 11th to the 14th August 2017, V-Dub Island features VW’s from all over the UK and with three music stages and over 80 bands performing during the event there is bound to be something for everyone.

Festival goers can take part in The VW big drive on Saturday the 12th August; this organised event drives on some of the most stunning coastal roads in the UK, ending up at the beach where the Run to the Surf competition is being held.

Other events taking place during the weekend include the Show and Shine and cooking in a camper competition. Tickets cost £20 for teenagers and £42.50 for Adults or you can get a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) for £80; this includes camping and access to all of the events.

For more information and tickets visit the website: http://v-dubisland.com/

How to Spend a Weekend in London with a…

Whether you’re travelling to London for the first time or the hundredth time, you’ll no doubt want to make sure this weekend away is one to remember. And with so much to offer, you needn’t do the standard touristy things, such as going on the London Eye or visiting the Tower of London. Whilst these are great, cultural things to do – why not have a go at making your visit to London a unique one?

With that in mind, here are some cool ideas for your next city break to London:

Go to the Markets

If you like to grab a bargain and you love to go to markets, you’ll not be disappointed with what’s on offer in London. For example, Borough Market boasts plenty of fresh fruit and veg, scrumptious street food and lots of baked treats. Or, if you’re looking for vintage clothes, antique furniture and plenty of bric-a-brac, you might want to head down to Brick Lane Market. And don’t forget to venture to Columbia Road, where you’ll find trees, bulbs, shrubs and plants, which are perfect for the discerning gardener.

Just remember – if you are going to spend your weekend touring the markets, you might want to book an apartment (like Urban Retreats Apartments, for example) because then you’ll have somewhere to store all your buys, and cook your produce!

Explore Its Quirky Cuisine

London is renowned for its food, and its Michelin-star restaurants in particular. But you needn’t spend a fortune on food while you’re travelling around London. There are plenty of unique restaurants to dine in, including the Rainforest Café, which boasts a tropical theme and is aimed towards the kids. Or, if you’re a fan of Forest Gump, you may want to head down to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. This cool restaurant has been based on the film and is centred around Alabama and the main characters. Plus, you can enjoy everything from jambalaya to grilled steaks!

Brace Yourself for a Ghost Tour

Because London’s steeped in history, there’s plenty of tales to tell, and some of these have a ghostly element to them. So why not book yourself on one of the ghost tours that are available and put on your bravest face? For example, you may want to visit the Black Lion Pub in Hammersmith as it’s believed to be haunted by Thomas Millwood. He was mistakenly shot in 1803 because someone thought he was, rather ironically, the original Hammersmith Ghost who had been terrorising the area. However, it was later revealed that this was, in fact, a shoemaker, John Graham, who’d been dressing up to scare people.

One thing’s for sure, whatever you like to do in your spare time, there’s something on offer in London – from unique sightseeing tours to gastronomic events.

A visit to the Guildhall art gallery & amphitheatre…

The foundation of London was laid by the Romans in about AD 50. The city grew swiftly during their reign as one of the most important Roman settlements in the province, on account of trade that flourished because of the River Thames. There were several large public buildings constructed by the Romans at the time. One of the most striking of these is the Roman amphitheatre in the city. It was initially made of wood and later partially rebuilt in stone and tile during the early part of the second century. It is these remains that can be seen by visitors to the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery.

If you are a history buff and keen to learn more about the history of Britain, a trip to London is a must! While in London it is best to stay in a hotel in the centre of the city. If you visit it during the winter months there are a number of great London hotel deals to choose from.

Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London

The benefit of staying at any accommodation in Paddington or the hotels near Moorgate is that they are well connected to all parts of London. Plus you are a stone’s throw away from the best shopping and entertainment venues and attractions in the area.

If you are staying at The Montcalm Brewery Hotel on Chiswell Street London you will be a short distance from the Guildhall Art Gallery & Amphitheatre, which is a wonderful place to explore. It offers visitors an opportunity to visit an archaeological site and view authentic Roman relics and artefacts. These sessions are conducted by a professional archaeologist, who gives a detailed introduction to London in Roman times, the topography as it existed at that time and life during that ancient period. There is a stunning art collection of more than 400 years, with art works by prominent Victorian artists, and the remains of the amphitheatre. The gallery also organises exhibitions and other events on a regular basis.

The Guildhall Art Gallery was founded in 1886 with the purpose of creating ‘a Collection of Art Treasures worthy of the capital city’. However, the actual building was completely destroyed in an air raid during World War II. It was during restoration work carried out in 1988, when it was in the process of being restored on its original site that archaeologists found the relics of London’s Roman Amphitheatre. The building was constructed in a way to include the underground ruins and opened to the public in 1999.

Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman London’s Amphitheatre is a fabulous place to spend an afternoon exploring on a trip to the city. Apart from the fantastic art works the artefacts and relics of the Roman amphitheatre is what draws visitors to the place. Visitors to the Guildhall Art Gallery get a free entry on Fridays and also a free tour (if they want). Although it is always best to opt for the guided tour of the place. It is the best way to learn about the history of the place as the accompanying professional guide is a treasure trove of information and history about the artwork and the Roman ruins to be found here. The tour lasts for about 40 minutes and is well worth joining!

Guildhall Art Gallery

The tour offers a great opportunity to see some of the best exhibits of the permanent collection, along with the amphitheatre. The art gallery has more than 4000 pieces of art as part of its collection. As a norm there are about 250 on display at a time.

There is the famous painting by William Miller which shows the Swearing in of the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Nathaniel Newham. It is a painting that tells a vivid story with a number of characters that form part of the scene. And it becomes all the more interesting with the expert commentary of the guide, who apart from his extensive knowledge, explains the details in a most interesting manner.

One of the most impressive and massive artworks is the piece done by John Singleton Copley, which is ‘The Siege of Gibraltar’. It took the artist 8 long years to complete. It is artfully done and is based on an actual battle that happened in Gibraltar on 13 September, 1782. It draws and captivates the attention of all who visit the gallery. You could stand and admire it in detail after the tour is over.

Other prominent paintings that are worth viewing in the gallery are Ninth of November, The Last Evening, My First Sermon, The Waterworks at London Bridge on Fire 1779, The Story of Smithfield Market Exhibition and Entrance to the Fleet River among other fine pieces of art. Even if you are not too much of an art lover, you will leave the place with a new sense of appreciation for art as a powerful medium to convey a message.

Then a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre, which is the only of its kind in the city and within the gallery, is an amazing experience. While there is not much in terms of remains of the original building itself, just a few sections of the wall and other relics, it is the use of digital technology that makes it a life like experience. The gallery management has made optimal use of modern technology to enhance the experience of visitors to such a level, as to envision what the actual 7000 seat building must have looked like at the time it was built. A visit to the Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman London’s Amphitheatre, is definitely a must to have on your trip to London.

Tourist attractions near Buckingham Palace

London houses probably the largest number of tourist attractions in the UK. The city has an enormous number of places to explore both in terms of landmarks and of historical significance. All of this makes it a very attractive tourist destination to spend a holiday in.

While London is a lovely city to spend a holiday in at any time of the year, the tourist off-season is a good time to drop in for those who have a limited budget. That is when the Central London hotels special offers are available, which are a great way to save on accommodation.

A good place to stay in the heart of the city is the Paddington Court Executive Rooms, which apart from being moderately priced offer the best in facilities and comfort. Another benefit is its location that offers convenient access to the numerous attractions in the centre of London. These include top attractions like:

Clarence House

Behind two black imposing gates are visible two soldiers of the Queens Guard that guard the entrance to Clarence House. It was built in the early 19th century for the Duke of Clarence and its architect was John Nash. Clarence House has been the residence of members of the royal family with it being home to the Queen Mother for past half a century. Now it is the official residence of the Prince of Wales and his spouse. The house is only accessible to the public for one month every year, when the prince and his wife are away for the holidays.

St. James’s Palace

The construction of the palace began in 1531 and it was completed in 1536. It was commissioned by Henry VIII who made it his home with Anne Boleyn in 1533. Since then it has served as home to several British monarch’s including Queen Mary I, King Charles II, Queen Elizabeth II and James II among many others.  The Royal Chapel at St. James’s Palace served as the venue for the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert in 1840 and also served as the location for the christening of Prince George, son of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2012.

Now the palace primarily serves a different purpose with the offices of the Royal Collection Department being located here. It is also used by the Accession Council that meet here to officially announce a new monarch after the demise of the previous monarch. Its state rooms are also used to welcome guests on state visits. It also serves as the Household Office for Prince William and Prince Harry, even though neither stay here. It could be safe to say that St. James’s Palace is the work place of the Royal Family.

St James Palace in Pall Mall

Trafalgar Square

It was built to commemorate the famous naval victory of Admiral Horatio Nelson over the combined naval armada of the French and the Spanish. It is the most famous Square in London and has been as a site for celebrations as well as protests all through the years. It also hosts numerous events through the year like opera and ballet shows and even showing American football games. Along with Nelson’s statue other statues of battle scenes along with King George IV are to be seen here. Only the statue in the northwest corner changes regularly. It is part of the Fourth Plinth project for which the works of different artists are chosen to be displayed here temporarily for a certain period. To the north is the National Gallery with the South African embassy in the east and the Canadian embassy to the west.

Street view of Trafalgar Square

Admiralty Arch

These form part of a ceremonial entrance to Buckingham Palace. They were commissioned to be built by King Edward VII during the early 20th century. The centre arch is only used for ceremonial occasions with the remaining two arches that flank it used to allow traffic to pass. The presence of the arches is the reason why the Mall Road is red in colour and not the traditional black. This is because the Mall Road is symbolic of a red carpet that is used to welcome guests up to Buckingham Palace.

St. James’s Park

It initially was the site of a leper hospital during medieval times. In the 1500s it was used as a hunting site by King Henry VIII and stayed in the hands of the Royal Family till the late 1700s. It was King Charles II who decided to allow the public to gain access to St. James’s Park in the 1660’s. It was decided to be used to keep the King’s exotic collection of rare birds at the park. Even now there is a family of pelicans in the park that are descendants of the original birds. It is charming place to relax, have a picnic or even to feed the birds here. The swans in the area are owned by the Queen. St. James’s Park is out of the most scenic and beautiful of all of the city’s Royal Parks.

Westminster Abbey

It occupies a prominent position as probably the most recognised and famous churches on the planet. It is built on a site that has served as a place of worship for about 14 centuries.  The Abbey that is built of stones dates back to the last 10 centuries with additions in the 11th, 15th and also in the Victorian era forming part of it. Westminster Abbey has a strong link to the Royal Family. In fact the Abbey was built upon instructions from King Edward the Confessor, who was monarch of England in the 1100s. It has also played host to royal weddings including that of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip and recently that of Prince William and Kate Middleton. It is the coronation venue of all the monarchs of Britain (except two) and also the place where most of the monarchs lie buried.  It also contains the tombs of prominent British public figures of the likes of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Sir Laurence Olivier to name just a few of the luminaries laid to rest here.

Westminster Abbey

Discover Medieval London

London’s history is one of the many reasons that millions of tourists descend each year on the city.  Some of its most famous landmarks, including the Tower of London, London Bridge and Westminster Palace were all constructed during the period known as ‘Medieval Britain’.  Although there still remains some evidence of earlier periods in London’s history, such as the remains of a Roman wall in the garden of the Barbican and a stretch of wall close to the Museum of London known, aptly, as London Wall.  Alongside these early parts of London’s history and the towering Medieval landmarks, there are also remnants of Medieval London which aren’t as frequented by tourists but which are still worth checking out if you are interested in the city’s rich history, and you know where to look:-

The Temple Church

One of the oldest remaining churches in London, the Temple Church can be found just a short distance from the River Thames.  This 12th century church was built by the Knights Templar and is said to have been their English headquarters.  During the 13th century it served as the royal treasury, and it suffered significant damage during the Second World War with many parts having to be rebuilt and restored.  One of the most recognisable features of the church is the round shape, a design feature which was commonly used by the Knights Templar when building churches.

Temple Church located at London

The River Fleet

The River Fleet is one of a number of London’s waterways which are known as ‘The Lost Rivers’; subterranean sources of water which were used as early as Roman times and which enabled the city to thrive and grow through trade.  As the city grew, however, so did the population and along with this there was an increase in pollution and waste which had a huge impact on the city’s rivers.  The River Fleet was one of these and large parts of it were eventually bricked over; however it is still possible to head down to Blackfriars Bridge and see where the River Fleet feeds into the River Thames.

Crossbones Graveyard

Just a short walk from one of the most iconic modern buildings in the city, a symbol of the wealth and power of London, lies an area which was once one of the poorest and most violent parts of the city.  It is this South London area, just minutes from the likes of The Shard and Southwark Cathedral which is home to the Crossbones Graveyard.  It is said that the Crossbones Graveyard was primarily the final resting place for the ‘outcasts’ of the city, namely women who were thought to have been working in the sex trade and many of the bodies were simply dumped here, rather than being offered a proper Christian burial. It is thought that as many as 15,000 paupers had been left to rest here when it closed in the 1850s.  Nowadays the Graveyard is marked by red railings on which people have tied colourful scraps of fabric and ribbon, to mark the sad way in which many of London’s poorest people were treated on their deaths.

crossbones Graveyard

Clink Prison

Known as ‘the prison that gave its name to all others’ the Clink Prison was once one of the most notorious prisons in England as well as being the country’s oldest.  There is now a museum on the former site of the prison, which is located in the heart of Southwark, once one of the roughest and most volatile parts of the city.  Sitting just on the other side of the River Thames to the City of London, it was where Londoners went to get alternative forms of entertainment; of course London is still at the forefront of nightlife and entertainment but the clubs in Shoreditch, for example, are likely to be a much safer place to spend the evening than this part of the city once was.  The museum offers an insight into the history of the prison through interactive and educational exhibits and activities and is well worth a trip if you are visiting other Medieval landmarks in the area.

Clink museum london

St Olave Hart Street

Situated between the City of London and Whitechapel, making it easy to reach if you are staying at the M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City Hotel, Saint Olaves is a rare example of a medieval church which survived the Great Fire of London in 1666.  Although parts of it were damaged during the Second World War, the majority of the church you see today is the original building.  This church has a rich and potentially intriguing history; it is thought to have been built on the site where King Olaf II of Norway rallied his troops to drive the Vikings from London, it was built next to the home of Francis Walsingham, master spy of  Queen Elizabeth I during the 16th century, and it is claimed that it was often used as a meeting place under cover of coming to worship at the church; it is also said that two of Queen Elizabeth’s spies are buried in the church and finally, it is the resting place of Samuel Pepys.

Medieval London

The Strand

Although much changed in the present day, The Strand was where the most prestigious houses in London were located; with a great view of the River Thames it was ideal for getting around London and many of the city’s most prominent religious figures had homes in this part of the city.  Perhaps the most significant home on this stretch was Savoy Palace; home to Edward III.  Unfortunately, it was burned to the ground during the late 1300s; the Savoy Hotel now sits on the original site of the Savoy Palace, it is still worth walking along this part of the city and imagining how it must have looked back in Medieval Britain when there was such wealth for the upper classes of the country.