Ticket to ride: part 3

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions

With the rest of the world to explore, it’s easy to overlook what’s on your doorstep – Blighty! In this, the last in the series, we tell you how to have a capital time in London and reveal the delights of Durham, Brighton and Bath

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DURHAM

Travel writer Bill Bryson was so impressed by Durham it became one of his favourite English cities. Durham boasts two of Britain’s most impressive buildings – the castle and the cathedral – which feature on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Culture vulture
It takes half a day to appreciate the cathedral which was built to house the body of St Cuthbert, brought here by Lindisfarne monks as they fled from Viking raiders. The scale and simplicity of the building is breathtaking, and Durham students do a nice sideline in taking walking tours around the castle, which was built in Norman times. Don’t miss the Georgian houses in North and South Bailey, the bulging shops in Saddler Street, and peaceful Cathedral Close.
Shop till you drop
Durham’s shops are quirky. Go to Sadler Street, Silver Street and Elvet Bridge for vintage clothing, jewellery, books and glassware.
Eating out
Sorrento’s (The Old Boathouse, 16 Elvet Bridge) has comfy sofas, big armchairs and great Italian food.
Party animal
Klute managed to finish as proud runner up in FHM’s ‘Worst Nightclubs in Europe’ review in 1996. Despite this dubious honour, it remains one of Durham’s most popular clubs, sticking loyally to a perpetually cheesy selection of 60s and 70s classic and serving up some delightfully (and dangerously) cheap doubles.

roman-baths
BATH

A spectacular city whose history has earnt it World Heritage status. Gorgeous Georgian architecture radiates throughout the town which was home to author Jane Austen and the birthplace of the stamp.
Culture vulture
No visit would be complete without a trip to the Roman baths. Also check out the Victorian boating station, bandstand in Parade Gardens and Royal Crescent, or take a stroll in Victoria Park.
Shop till you drop
When it comes to shopping, it’s a case of quantity and quality. Bath has more – and better – shops than a city 10 times its size. In addition to all the familiar names there’s a fabulous choice of smaller and independent shops.
Eating out
Sally Lunn’s Refreshment House (4 North Parade Passage) is a must. Try the world famous Sally Lunn bun – a light, semi sweet bun. Others worth a look include Yak Yeti Yak Nepalese restaurant (12a Argyle St), the Farmer’s Market which sells local produce every Sat morning (Green Park Station) and Same Same but Different (Bartlett St) – an oasis of serenity that serves sumptuous Spanish fare.
Party animal
Want to party big but spend small? Head for Revolution bar (2 York Buildings, George St). For a tamer night, have a relaxing drink at the Bathampton Mill.

brighton
BRIGHTON

Brighton rocks. Haunt of the cool, the beautiful and the famous – residents include Emma Bunton, Gaz from Supergrass and Norman Cook, while regular visitors Jamiroquai, Noel Gallager, Jamie Theakstone and Julien Macdonald love its brilliant beach and nightlife. For centuries Brighton has been regarded as a ‘pleasure dome’ – and that’s not about to change. Get there now!
Culture vulture
Museums abound. Try the newly refurbished Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Or jump on a rollercoaster as it hurtles along Brighton Pier.
Shop till you drop
Head for The Lanes where Dolly (46 Sydney St) stocks vintage clothing and The Record Album (8 Terminus Rd) is full of musical treasures.
Eating out
Go for fish and chips at Harry Ramsden’s or try brunch at The Dorset (28 North Rd) – an open all day pub. The Mock Turtle Tea Room (4 Poole Valley) serves apple cakes made with local fruit, and Shakeaway (8 Bond St) does delicious milkshakes. Planet Janet (86 Church Rd) is the healthiest of all with lots of fab organic produce.
Party animal
The City is a clubbing mecca, with big name DJs frequently visiting. Check out the listings at Honey Club (214 Kings Rd Arches) and Concorde 11 (Maderia Drive).

london

LONDON
London is a great city but it isn’t always the perfect host. Visitors often find themselves wondering exactly how to track down the capital’s mythical vibrancy and creativity. It’s here:
Culture vulture
Head for London’s Southbank which is home to many attractions – the Tate Modern, the Saatchi Gallery, The London Aquarium, National Theatre and the BA London Eye.
Shop till you drop
Portobello Road Market is a must for shoppers. Some sections are open daily but Saturdays are best for clothes, bric a brac and celebrity spotting.
Eating out
All hail the Hummus Brothers (88 Wardour St, W1). Sit at a communal bench table and indulge in some heavenly homemade hummus and warm pitta bread at peanut prices.
Party animal
The End (18 Central St) is a clubbing institution that is still going strong in 2010.

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