Sunny days are few and far between during the English summer… Alice Oliver helps you make the most of them.
Nestled in the countryside of North Yorkshire, Knaresborough is an idyllic market town with arresting natural scenery. The railway viaduct across the river cuts through the scenery, presenting a visually stunning architectural feat. The town is also home to both the ruins of the medieval Knaresborough Castle and the mythic Mother Shipton’s Cave and Petrifying Well. The latter is Britain’s oldest tourist attraction – open since 1630 – where Mother Shipton is said to have prophesised the Spanish Armada, the Great Fire of London and the invention of planes and trains as early as the 16th century.
Iconic birthplace of The Beatles, Liverpool is rich in culture, with the highest number of galleries and museums in the England outside of London. The Tate in particular features an array of modern art from artists such as Picasso, Tracey Emin and Jackson Pollock. The waterfront is, of course, a must see. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it even hosts its own Yellow Submarine, inspired by the iconic song. The Albert Dock is also home to The Beatles Story, a permanent exhibition on the Liverpool native band.
There’s something uniquely romantic about a castle on an island. First settled in 635 AD by Irish monks, the tidal island of Lindisfarne hosts not only a small sixteenth-century castle but also the ruins of a medieval monastery and stunning panoramic views of the sea and sand and mud flats. While tourism is mainly contained in the south of the island – around the castle – the north offers a valuable escape from the tourist bustle, with a nature reserve home to an array of bird species, seals and peaceful beaches.
Packed with tourists and bicycles, Cambridge offers all the charm of college life combined with a lively market place and great shopping. Punting tours along the river offer stunning views of the colleges and their grounds, and are a fascinating way to find out more about the city’s rich history. It’s well worth paying for entrance to one of the colleges; St John’s in particular hosts a range of architectural styles, from the sixteenth-century red brick first court to the more lavish New Court, a construction nicknamed the ‘Wedding Cake’ for is ornate design. The college also features the Bridge of Sighs, a gothic, covered walkway across the River Cam. The market place hosts an eclectic range of stalls, from handmade jewellery to exotic cuisines to bike repair stalls.
The Yorkshire Dales are famed for their natural beauty. The region offers a diverse array of attractions, from castles and ruined abbeys to caves, steam railways and mills. A personal favourite is the estate of Bolton Abbey, home not only to a ruined 12th century priory but also a popular spot for open air swimming in the River Wharfe, complete with stepping stones across the river. The dales equally offer a great place to hike and explore. There are numerous hiking trails, including the Three Peaks, as well as cycle trails and mountain bike routes. Home to over 2500 known caves, the dales are also Britain’s number one caving area.
Is the UK enough or do you plan to head further afield this ? Let us know in the comments below, or @e2Travel