Birmingham is the city of canals and Cadbury World! Enjoy its ample desi restaurants; Balti, a Kashmiri joint, tops the list. Check out the Jewellery Quarter, the jewellery district and Birmingham’s arts centre. Literature fans will love Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace and the Tolkien Trail, the inspiration behind the world in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
Hop into a hot-air balloon for gorgeous views of the Avon Gorge and the landmark Clifton Bridge. Immerse yourself in contemporary art at Arnolfini, a harbourside gallery dedicated to visual arts and culture. Chill at one of the cafés or bars in the trendy Stokes Croft neighbourhood. Take a stroll to enjoy its street art and see how many Banksy works you can spot.
Clockwise from top left: Manchester; Nottingham; Taunton; Southampton. Photos by: Yadid Levy/agefotostock/Dinodia Photo Library (stadium), travellight/shutterstock (caves), Jacek Wojnarowski/shutterstock (church), alice-photo/shutterstock (pig)
Say shwmae to the Welsh capital! Start with the Cardiff Castle and take a selfie next to the statue of the red dragon, the symbol of Wales. Grab some souvenirs at the Cardiff Central Market. Unwind at the bars and restaurants at Cardiff Bay. Pro-tip: Take a car or train from England to Wales to enjoy the countryside.
Indulge in retail therapy at the stunning buildings of The Corn Exchange and The Arcades. Dive into Yorkshire’s craft beer scene with a beer tour by Brewtown Tours (www.brewtowntours.co.uk). Head to the Royal Armouries for a sobering life-like exhibit of a 19th-century tiger hunt during the British Raj.
Kick-start your stay with a visit to the Old Trafford Stadium, the mecca of Manchester United fans. Shop at the Craft and Design Centre where you can score handcrafted souvenirs. Take in a show at the Opera House or Royal Exchange Theatre.
Clockwise from top: Leeds, Cardiff, Bristol. Photos by: 1000 Words/shuuterstock (art), oversnap/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images (dragon), Duncan Cuthbertson/shutterstock (museum)
Slip into the warren of Nottingham’s underground sandstone caves for a tour of a World War II air raid shelter. Head to the medieval Nottingham Castle that sits imposingly over the city.
With its many gardens, Taunton is a botanical paradise in the summer. Get your fix at Vivary Park and Hestercombe Gardens. Visit the Museum of Somerset and then relax at Sheppy’s, a 200-year old cider farm.
Take in the ruins of the Roman-era fort, Concangis. Board the Tanfield Railway, a heritage line that operates steam engines (www.tanfield-railway.co.uk).
Visit the Tudor House and Garden and figure out if it is indeed haunted as some claim. Nature lovers shouldn’t miss butterfly garden at the New Forest Wildlife Park. Jump into a ferry to the Isle of Wight located south-east.
is a travel addict who has been to over 50 countries across 5 continents. When she isn't travelling, she is typically coaxing her two cats off the laptop keyboard so she can get some writing done.
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