Category Archives: Coach Trips

Britain’s quirkiest events. 2013

Distinctively British fun…………….

Up Helly Aa, Shetland, Scotland

Up Helly Aa is the largest fire festival in Europe. As if the torchlight processions weren’t spectacular enough, local residents dress up in full Viking regalia — winged helmets, armour, you get the idea — and the evening culminates with the burning of a Viking longship. A traditional celebration of the end of winter and the coming of spring, it’s a truly memorable occasion.

Learn more about Up Helly Aa

Maldon Mud Race, Essex, England

Ink black mud, 250 competitors, and a mad dash for the finish line. It’s not going to be pretty, and we advise against hugging the winner afterwards. Race through the mire of the Blackwater Estuary in Essex if you feel up to the challenge, or stand back and watch if you prefer to keep dry. Either way it’s a lot of fun.

Learn more about the Maldon Mud Race

Man vs. Horse Race, Powys, Wales

In Britain, discussions over a pint can lead to many things. One such discussion in Powys led to the Man vs. Horse Race being dreamt up by the then landlord of the Neuadd Arms, Gordon Green. The 22 mile race over hills and rough terrain pits man against horse, and believe it or not, the horse doesn’t always win. In 2004, Huw Lobb crossed the finish line first, a full two minutes ahead of his four-legged adversary.

Learn more about the Man vs. Horse Race

World Pea Shooting Championships, Cambridgeshire, England

Pea-shooting involves propelling a pea through a tube with a quick burst of air from the lips. And in Witcham it’s evolved into an annual tournament that draws participants and crowds from across the globe. It’s pretty riveting stuff – watch the marksmen compete for the title of World Champion, and enjoy a bit of local cuisine at the village fete while you’re at it.

Learn more about the Pea Shooting Championships

International Worthing Birdman, West Sussex, England

As if jumping off a pier into the sea wasn’t enough fun, The Worthing Birdman combines the thrill of falling with spectacular fancy dress and even a bit of engineering. Part of the fun involves eager jumpers donning home-made flying machines and trying to ‘fly’ the furthest in the hopes of bagging a £30,000 prize. The other part of the fun is simply watching people in silly costumes jumping in the sea while you enjoy an ice-cream from a safe distance.

Learn more about the Worthing Birdman

World Hen Racing Championships, Derbyshire, England

Who has the fastest hen? It’s an important question that’s given rise to an annual event in Derbyshire. Head to the Barley Mow pub in Bonsall to discover the year’s speediest fowl as they’re put through their paces over a 30 feet track. You can enjoy gorgeous views of the Peak District and some good local ale while you do.

Learn more about hen racing

Race the Train, Tywyn, Wales

Man takes on machine in Tywyn’s annual Race the Train event. Competitors run alongside the Talyllyn Railway on its route to Abergynolwyn and back, fighting their way through all kinds of terrain, from quiet lanes to farmland and rough pasture. In a fun twist, the train is often carrying plenty of the runner’s supporters, so he or she can hear the cheers whenever he’s near his ‘opponent’.

Learn more about race the train

World Bog Snorkelling Championships, Powys, Wales

Every August, competitors from around the world flock to Waen Rhydd peat bog on the outskirts of the smallest town in Britain, Llanwrtyd Wells. This is where one of Wales’ most famous races takes place, the 115 metre World Bog Snorkelling Championship. It’s murky, it’s muddy, and you probably won’t see it anywhere else.

Learn more about bog snorkelling

The Porthcawl Elvis Festival, Porthcawl, Wales

When it comes to unusual spectacles, the Porthcawl Elvis Festival probably wins some kind of award. Thousands upon thousands of Elvis fans, many of them dressed as The King himself, descend upon the seaside town of Porthcawl to watch Elvis tribute acts and over 100 Elvis-related shows. Weird, wonderful, and definitely lots of fun.

Learn more about the Elvis festival

World Stone Skimming Championships, Argyll, Scotland

Skimming stones is probably one of the most fun things you can do with stones. In Argyll they couldn’t agree more, and hold the World Stone Skimming Championships each year. They do it properly too – with selected Easdale slate skimming stones, and with a minimum of three bounces required for a throw to count.

Learn more about the World Stone Skimming Championships

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Best Value UK Tours
UK Tours

Stonehenge and Salisbury Private Custom Guided Day Tours

Stonehenge & Salisbury Private Custom Day Tours

For 1-6 People – See What You Want To See At A Pace You Want To Go

London Tours – Private Stonehenge & Salisbury Example Tour
Stonehenge is perhaps the single most popular destination from London on a day tour from London and Salisbury, just 30 minutes drive from Stonehenge, a great combination offering wonderful contrasts.

Both can be combined at a relatively leisurely place. You’ll certainly have a lot more time than any coach tour and be able to see what you want to see at a pace you want to go.
Stonehenge & Salisbury Tour
Both Stonehenge and Salisbury are well under two hours from Central London hotels and are only 30 minutes apart. Both are connected by the Woodford Valley, a very nice drive through small countryside villages.

Salisbury is a medieval city dominated by its magnificent cathedral built in 1220. Inside the cathedral you can see an original Magna Carta signed by King John in 1215. At 404 feet, it is the tallest spire in England, and there are tours to climb up if you wish.

In the nave you can see what is probably the oldest working mechanical clock in the world, dating to 1386. There are no hands and no clock face; rather, it rings a chime of bells every hour. It was originally built to call the bishops to services.

Salisbury Cathedral
The Cathedral and Close are the largest and best preserved Cathedral Close in Britain. The Close, essentially a walled city within the city, is ringed by wonderful period houses.
Some of them have been converted to museums like the Salisbury Museum, which will also supplement your knowledge about Stonehenge.

Through the city walls from the Close is the city centre, a regional shopping centre with character. Tea Rooms, a large cobbled market and alleyways are a far cry from the Malls you may be used too.

By English standards Salisbury is a new city, its only about 800 years old!. Before that Salisbury was up on the hill above Salisbury at a place called Old Sarum. Originally a classic Iron Age hill fort its earthwork battlements are still impressive. The Romans came and went before the Norman’s came in the 11th Century and built a classic castle complete with moat within the old Iron Age hill fort. They also built the original Salisbury Cathedral here.

The clergy moved the Cathedral down into the valley to found modern day Salisbury, but there is still much of interest up at Old Sarum. A visit is well worthwhile.

Salisbury What To Expect

Stonehenge is on top of Salisbury Plain in a very remote location. Henges, built well before the Pyramids and before the wheel was invented are peculiar to the British Isles. Stonehenge is the most famous and one of the best preserved and has several unique features.

Stonehenge certainly can be a mystical place. Most people take around 45 minutes to visit the monument, an audio guide is included in admission. Our driver/guide though will help you get the most of your visit with further insights and guiding, maximising the Stonehenge experience.

How Many People Can Travel On The Tours?

We have two sizes of car that can accommodate up to 3 passengers and up to 6 passengers in comfort. If you have more than six people then we can provide the same tours in luxury touring buses of all sizes depending on your group size.
Tours on the buses are not performed by Harry Norman but a leading London specialist operator for groups large and small.

How Much Do Tours Cost?

Tours are priced on a total cost for the vehicle, not per person.
The exact cost depends on the size of vehicle and the duration of the tour. The cost of the tour is not inclusive of any admissions to attractions that you want to visit.
You can get a feel for the cost with current prices for our example tours

Guided Tours can depart from London, Bath, Oxford, Southampton or Salisbury

Salisbury Guided Tours

Private Guided Tours from Salisbury

Travel Editor – Best Value Tours UK

About the Cotswolds District and why it is so popular with tourists.

The Cotswolds Hills

The Cotswolds Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are formed from a belt of oolitic limestone that divides the heart of England from the North Sea to the south coast passing through Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and nudging into Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire
The Cotswolds is an area of about the shape of a rough diamond in the heart of England stretching through the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
The western edge forms the escarpment that overlooks the Severn Valley and the Vale of Evesham. This ridge gives the picture of hills seen from the valley floor as you travel along the M5 motorway. Yet, once on the top the land opens out into the rolling wolds and deep, wooded river valleys that make this one of the most beautiful areas in the UK.

The Cotswolds is popular with both the English and visitors from all over the world, renowned for the gentle, picture puzzle; sleepy villages that are so typically English has are the world famous cities of Bath and Oxford or the cathedral city of Gloucester.

Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Cotswolds is one of 41 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales and is the largest, covering 790 sq miles – 2,038 sq kms from Bradford-upon-Avon to Banbury a distance of 78 miles – 126 kms from north to south.

The Cotswolds was designated An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966 and this means that the countryside protected forever and that the past, present and future assured for generations to come. The Cotswolds Conservation Board is the organisation that looks after the AONB in its entirety. For more information about the Cotswolds Conservation Board visit their website. The majority of this beautiful countryside is farmland, a diverse mix of arable, livestock and woodland.

About a tenth of the Cotswolds is woodland with many of the woods being ancient. Some of the best examples are on the western edge with the beech woods around Cranham and Birdlip. Other woodland consists of oak, ash and sycamore.

Cotswold Towns and Villages

Idyllic towns and villages like Bibury and Bourton-on-the Water hide in the steep wooded valleys or sit proud on high rolling wolds. The fine buildings created by great artisans, the magnificent churches built by the wealthy wool merchants from medieval times and their grand houses with wonderful gardens are waiting to be discovered by travellers.

Use the links to discover more about the history, the villages and towns, about the conservation projects undertaken throughout the area and top attractions to visit.

Follow one of our suggested tours by car or follow one of our family walks to discover some of the hidden parts of the Cotswolds. The Cotswold Gateway is your guide to this wonderful Cotswolds area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Take a look at our Cotswolds town guide and the Cotswolds villages guide.

Needles to say we opearate daily tours of the Cotswolds area.  I would recommend a small group tour so you can get off the beaten track and explore some of the smaller villages –

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Travel Editor

Visit Bath Christmas Market this Festive Season

Join one of our sightseeing tours from London between November 22nd and December 9th and visit one of the largest, most beautiful,  festive markets in Britain.  There is time to explore the traditional market after your visit to the Roman BathsBath Christmas Market

For 18 days, more than 130 quaint wooden stalls line the squares and streets surrounding the impressive Bath Abbey, selling everything you could possibly need for your festive celebrations.  Gift ideas abound, including clothing, accessories, crafts and toys as well as more unusual or one-off pieces of art and jewellery.  Stock up on festive foods with cheeses, pickles and meats galore, and sample wines, liqueurs and local cider to compliment your choices.  Treat yourself to luxurious chocolates and puddings – or why not put together a hamper as a wonderful gift?

Get well and truly into the Christmas spirit and enjoy the atmosphere of the market.  The enchanting sound of carols and the tantalising aroma of sumptuous food on the air add to the ambience of the market, creating a magical experience.  There is no need to rush – with the market open late most evenings, you can take your time and browse the stalls under twinkling lights, before perhaps retiring to a bar or restaurant.

Ideally located in the heart of Bath’s main shopping area, with well-loved high street brands and designer boutiques all around, you can’t fail to find everything you are looking for.  Give yourself a treat this festive season and get your Christmas shopping ‘wrapped up’ in one magical day at Bath Christmas Market

Best Value Tours offer Coach, small group and provide guided tours incuding Bath, Stonehenge, The Cotswolds and Windsor Castle.

Visit their website for more more details.  http://www.SightseeingTours.couk

More uk Christmas Markets:

Travel Editor
Best Value Tours

Small Group Private Guided Tours From London

Design your own day tour, go where you want, stay as long as you want

If you are travelling as a small group, you can design your own day trip or simply select one of our regular itineraries but have exclusive use of the vehicle for the day. We will collect you from any location in Central London, Salisbury, Bath or Oxford. The duration of our tours vary from 10.5 to 12 hours, depending on the places that you are visiting..

Design your our own sightseeing day tour

  • Exclusive use of our high quality air conditioned Mercedes mini-coaches and some of the most experienced driver/guides in Britain
  • Door to door service (from Central London)
  • Create your own itinerary or take any of our regular tour routes – the choice is yours!
  • Ideal travel solution for Special Access tours to Stonehenge

Touring Areas

Day tours from London visit crudely one of 3 regions of England. Most tours will visit a permutation of two or three attractions within each region.   The regions are:   West of London: Windsor, Stonehenge, Winchester, Salisbury, Avebury, Lacock, Bath, Glastonbury, Oxford.   North West of London: Oxford, Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwick Castle.   South East of London: Canterbury, Dover, Leeds Castle.

Vehicles, Driver/Guides + Scope Of Private Tours

We have a range of touring vehicles with capacities ranging from 8 to 16 seats. We charge a flat fee per vehicle, (not person) for the day, this includes the bus and services of the driver.

We offer a range of options for the driver depending on your groups requirements..

The day is yours, the only rules are imposed by UK law – no smoking on buses and driving hours and breaks governed by UK law. Otherwise you’re free to go where you want to go, when you want to go. We will spend time with you during the planning phase in making sure the itinerary is realistic and suited to your individual group.

One Stop Solution / Transfer Tours

We can offer small groups a one stop travel solution including transfers as well as tours. We also specialise in tour transfers between the cruise ports, Southampton and Dover and London hotels and airports.

Bespoke Private guided Tour Information – click here
We offer an extensive range of daily small group guided tours – click here

Email us for a rapid quote –

Travel Editor –
Bes Value tours

Escpape the City and head for the coast!

Old-fashioned fun: 10 traditional UK seaside breaks
Not all British seaside resorts have to go the way of Brighton and Whitstable … here are 10 of the most gloriously traditional, with all the fun of the fair
Punch and Judy on the beach at Weymouth, Dorset
Punch and Judy on the beach at Weymouth, Dorset. Photograph: Alamy

Weymouth, west Dorset

As the sailing venue for the Olympics, Weymouth has made a sterling effort to move upmarket: boat-shaped cafes on the beach, uplighters on the seafront, upgraded deckchairs. But underneath the gloss, it’s the same old Weymouth, thank goodness. For a panoramic view, take an airlift up the shiny new Sea Life Tower – which opened in June (The Quay, 0871 423 2110,, from £6.50) – and look across a curve of Regency terraces to the Purbeck Hills, across the harbour to the gardens of Nothe Fort (01305 766626, to the Isle of Portland. On the beach, there are donkey rides, Professor Mark Poulton’s classic Punch and Judy show ( and, according to the town’s Sand World (Preston Beach Road, 07411 387529,, adult £6.50, child £4.50) the perfect sand for castles and sculptures. At Rossi’s retro parlour on the seafront, the ice-cream has been made on the premises since 1937 (01305 785557). The Stables Pizza and Cider House (Custom House Quay, is one of the new breed of restaurants that have popped up in the light of the Olympics. Cafe Oasis (01305 833054,, on the beach at Bowleaze Cove, is a old favourite.

Stay at the funky Roundhouse (1 The Esplanade, 01305 761010,, doubles from £105) between the harbour and the beach; or B+B Weymouth (68 The Esplanade, 01305 761190,, doubles from £75).

Eastbourne, East Sussex

Beachy Head, East Sussex
Beachy Head, East Sussex. Photograph: Patrick Ingrand/Getty Images

In the sunniest place in Britain – allegedly – a four-mile stretch of dazzling white shingle curves around Pevensey Bay. There are palm trees, tea dances in the Winter Gardens ballroom (every other Tuesday), rows of grand Victorian terraces planned by the Duke of Devonshire in the 1850s; a lovely bit of floral carpet bedding on a cheery promenade. Eastbourne is nowhere near as fast as neighbouring Brighton (think coach tours and pensioners in cardigans), but its Grade II*-listed pier is one of Britain’s finest – all rotundas and delicate wrought iron, strings of low-tech light bulbs and a curious little camera obscura that opens to the public in summer ( On the prom, the 1,600-seater Bandstand (01323 410611, serves up brass, tribute and big bands and musical firework displays beneath a 1930s dome clad in aquamarine terracotta. The chalk cliffs of Beachy Head (the highest point on the south coast) are within hiking distance.

Try the Printers Bar Brasserie for good-value British tucker (12 Station Street, 01323 430880,, or the Flamenco Tapas Bar (8 Cornfield Terrace, 01323 641444,

The Big Sleep (King Edwards Parade, 01323 722676,, doubles from £45 per night) has retro rooms on the seafront, but best bet for families are the self-catering suites at Guesthouse East (13 Hartington Place, 01323 722774,, from £70 per night).

Cromer, Norfolk

The up-from-Londoners who swarm into nearby Holkham or Wells-next-the-Sea tend to bypass Cromer but what are they missing? Lovely sandy beach, for a start; flinty sea walls, rock pools, the zig-zag paths that wander between cliff-top gardens and the North Sea shoreline, the slender spire of St Peter and St Paul (at 160ft, it’s the tallest church tower in Norfolk).

You can watch the local fishermen haul crab boats out of the water with mini tractors, or take the coast path to Overstrand or Mundesley-on-Sea, but Cromer’s speciality is the gloriously tacky Seaside Special – the last of its kind to survive. Showing daily at the pier’s Pavilion Theatre (01263 512495,, it’s a repertoire of song and dance, variety acts and saucy jokes performed by artists nobody’s heard of. Perfect for a rainy day.

On the beach, the contemporary Rocket House Café (East Promenade, 01263 519126, offers good, fresh food and great views. Boutique hotels? One day someone may do a Hotel du Vin on Cromer’s beautiful but decrepit Hotel de Paris, but try the Red Lion (Brook Street, 01263 514964,, doubles from £100 a night), or a sea view apartment at Tudor Villas (Cliff Avenue, 01263 823676,, from £400 a week).

Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Rossi's, Southend-on-Sea
Rossi’s, Southend-on-Sea. Photograph: VisitBritain/Daniel Bosworth/Getty Images

Let’s be honest, it’s Southend-on-Thames or EastEnder-on-Sea: Shane Richie in panto at the Cliffs Pavilion, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express and seven miles of Essex beach that runs along the north shore of the estuary.

All this, and only an hour from the centre of London. Aside from the usual seaside bling (the twinkly lights of the pier head funfair, for example), there’s a Victorian cliff lift that trundles up from the promenade to pretty Prittlewell Square; you can cycle to neighbouring Leigh-on-Sea (for boatyards and clapboard cockle sheds) or up to the wilds of Shoeburyness. But Southend’s big draw is its pleasure pier. The world’s longest, it features a mile of railway line and, since 18 July, an end-of-the-pier Cultural Centre – a £3m, prefabricated arts venue complete with asymmetric roof and a geometry of glass and steel. The town’s first Comedy Festival took place on the pier last month (

Among places to eat, try Ocean Beach (Eastern Esplanade, 01702 611363,, the subterranean Pipe of Port (84 High Street,, or Rossi’s ice-cream parlour on Marine Parade. For rooms with a view, head for 18th-century Royal Terrace, which has two decent hotels: Pier View (01702 437900,, doubles from £80 per night); and Hamiltons (01702 332350,, doubles from £60).

Sandown, Isle of Wight

The north coast yachting set can be a bit snooty about the Isle of Wight’s southern resorts but Sandown and Shanklin (they are more or less joined at the hip) have the best of the island’s long sandy beaches, the crazy golf, the sun on their seafronts, and you can get there via the Island Line which runs from Ryde to Shanklin in a restored 1930s Northern Line tube train (, £5.20 return). Must-dos include Shanklin Old Village (for tea rooms and chocolate-box thatch) and Shanklin Chine (, adult £3.90, child £2) – a woodland gorge of rare plants, red squirrels and the seaside Fisherman’s Cottage inn. The quaint Small Hope beach offers deckchair hire and a cafe. In wet weather, dive into Sandown’s Dinosaur Isle (01983 404344,, adult £5, child £3.70), everything you need to know about the fossil-rich geology.

Best guesthouse is Bedford Lodge in Shanklin (4 Chine Avenue, 01983 862416,, doubles from £60); or near Ryde (20 minutes away), Vintage Vacations’ famous airstream caravan site now does B&B for two at £75 per night (

Minehead, Somerset

The largest of the post-war holiday camps, Butlins put the town on the map back in 1961. These days Butlins has a Skyline Pavilion – it looks quite cool from a distance. But Minehead has other things going for it: a mile of sand and pebble beach, views of the Bristol Channel, a farmers’ market, narrow backstreets and the odd bit of Somerset thatch, plus lots of worthwhile day trip potential. North Hill, the big hump of wooded cliff which overlooks the town, is the beginning of Exmoor national park. Below, by the harbour, a giant sculpture of a hand clutching a fold-out map marks the start of the 630-mile South West Coast Path. In the summer, steam trains run from Minehead to Bishop’s Lydeard on the charming West Somerset Railway (01643 704996,, day pass adult £17, child £8.50), its vintage trains chuffing through 23 miles of stunning countryside. For castles, cobbled streets and a bit of posh, pop over to nearby Dunster. On the beach at Blue Anchor, just along the coast, the Driftwood Cafe (01643 821697) is worth a lunch visit. And if you are sticking around, check out the Castle Hotel in Dunster (5 High Street, 01643 823030,, doubles from £90).

Bridlington, Yorkshire

The Land Train, Bridlington
The Land Train, Bridlington. Photograph: Richard Watson/Getty Images

Bridlington went up in the world when David Hockney moved in. The artist has a house on Brid’s South Shore, overlooking the town’s vast blue flag beach and the Nautical Mile (an architectural promenade of sculptures, modernist beach huts and artworks by Bruce McLean). The North Shore is a noisy jangle of dodgems, bingo and candy floss, but Bridlington is full of surprises. The Old Town (a mile inland) boasts galleries, vintage shops and one of the most complete Georgian streets in England. There’s a ruined medieval priory. The 1930s Royal Hall theatre is now the Spa Bridlington, a multi-use venue with a jazzed-up facade – an uneasy shade of orange – and a restored art deco interior (sign up for a free tour: South Marine Drive, 01262 678258, There’s a busy old-salt fishing harbour (mostly landing crab, lobster and scallops) and some decent seafood restaurants. Try Naked Fish (22 Bridge Street, 01262 400266, or the award-winning chippy on Marton Road (01262 678378

Local beauty spots include Flambrough Head, or the nature reserve at Bempton Cliffs – for breathtaking views and 200,000 seabirds (

Accommodation is not Bridlington’s strong point, but Kilham Hall (01262 420466,, from £120 a night) has luxury rooms in a country house in nearby Kilham village.

Morecambe, Lancashire

On a damp day, with the wind blowing in off the Irish Sea, Morecambe verges on the melancholy. But the erstwhile “Naples of the North” has its moments – mainly the iconic Midland Hotel, the big smile of cruise-ship art deco which helped revive this tired Lancashire resort when it reopened in 2008. What else? World-class sunsets, cockles and potted shrimps. And Eric Morecambe (a statue of the town’s famous son does a “Bring Me Sunshine” number on the seafront). Photographers snap away at beached wrecks on gleaming mudflats, the largest expanse in the UK. Nearby, there’s the lovely Lune Valley, or Lancaster’s Williamson Park with its must-see Ashton memorial: a Taj Mahal-style folly, built in 1906, it offers breathtaking views across Morecambe Bay to the Lakeland Hills. Back on the seafront, pop into the Formica heaven of Brucciani’s tea room – another mid-century classic. And gaze at the wonderful Winter Gardens (closed since 1977) and weep. A restoration wannabe, as deserving as the Midland, the ornate Victorian theatre is occasionally open to the public (01524 422180, Accommodation-wise, nothing rivals the Midland (Marine Road West, 0845 850 1240,, doubles from £112), unless you count the Ashton (Wyresdale Road, 01524 68460,, doubles from £125 a night), which offers theatrical townhouse rooms in the centre of Lancaster.

Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire

Jabba the Hut artwork, Mablethorpe
Jabba the Hut artwork, Mablethorpe. Photograph: Tony C French/Getty Images

The name says it all. Mablethorpe. Old-fashioned. First impressions are wall-to-wall amusement arcades, Motability scooters, buckets and spades, buns and burgers, and Mr Whippy. But Mablethorpe pulled a blinder when it reinvented itself as Beach Hut Central. Not just any old beach huts but designer huts, novelty showpiece huts; there’s one shaped like a gin and tonic – with a slice of lemon and a cocktail straw. Jabba the Hut is an onion of striped laminate sitting alone in a sand dune. Along the long strip of blue flag beach that connects Mablethorpe to Sutton-on-Sea, there are roughly 300 huts; they include some jolly 1950s huts on Queen’s Park between the sea and the Thomas the Tank Engine miniature railway. These, and others, are available to rent (01507 473641/443765,, from £10 for a half-day). Sadly they are all booked out for the resort’s fifth Bathing Beauties Beach Hut Festival (14-16 September, but you can go along for poetry, art and fireworks. Mablethorpe is a bit of culinary wasteland, but Poplar Farm’s Wild Coast Pantry at Sandilands, near Sutton-on-Sea (01507 443112, will do you a nice picnic for your beach hut (plum bread, for example, and local cheeses). It has a good farmhouse B&B, too (doubles from £75).

Llandudno, Clwyd

The Great Orme Tramway, Llandudno
The Great Orme Tramway, Llandudno. Photograph: Alamy

Set on a narrow isthmus between the Great Orme and the Little Orme – the two rocky headlands that sit either end of the town’s sweeping North Shore promenade – this is one of the prettiest of seaside resorts. And I’d say that, even on a rainy day. Its handsome Indian-Gothic pier is the longest in Wales; the seafront is trimmed with grand Victoriana laced with wrought iron; and from the West Shore you can look across the Conwy estuary to Snowdonia. Nice beach, too, But it’s the magnificent Great Orme Country Park ( that provides all the action. You can walk up to its summit (or take an Edwardian cable tramway), whizz down its slopes on a PermaSnow ski slope (01492 874707,, practice session adult £13.50, child £10.50), zip over its Happy Valley gardens on a high-wire aerial cabin lift (look out for Kashmiri goats down below), or do the scenic Marine Drive circuit in a vintage bus (01492 879133,, £5 adult, £2.50 child). A good stopover en route is the Rest and Be Thankful Café (01492 870004, At the foot of the Orme, Escape B&B (48 Church Walks, 01492 877776,, doubles from £89) is the cool place to stay.

• All accommodation in this article B&B unless specified otherwise
Aricle by: Lesley Gillilan,

Best Value Sightseeing Tours –

Bus and coach Travel in Britain.

If time isn’t the most important factor then travelling by bus or coach is the best and most affordable way to travel around Britain

Coach travel and Tours

Britain’s coach services are privatised and run by several different companies. Many of these companies offer special tours to popular historical destinations around the UK. For the widest selection of discount sightseeing tours – click here

Travelling by coach

Britain’s coaches are privatised and lots of operators run thousands of routes across the country. Coach travel is usually a lot cheaper than train travel, but takes longer.

The main coach companies are:

Many coach companies offer special tours to and from popular tourist destinations all over Britain. Coach tours are a great way to see the sights of Britain. They normally last for a few days and the price includes a hotel stay and sometimes discounted rates to popular attractions. Some companies offer discounts for group bookings.

Here’s a list of some UK coach tour operators:

You can buy coach tickets from our online shop (National Express only), on operator websites or at coach stations. You usually can’t buy tickets on board a coach, so it’s best to buy them in advance. Tickets are often cheaper the further in advance you book them.


Public buses outside London are run by a number of private companies. They’re a great way to get around cities and towns, and run regularly.

Every city and town in Britain has a local bus service. These services are privatised and run by separate companies. For local timetables and route information, check Traveline.

The cost of a bus ticket normally depends on how far you’re travelling. Single and return fares are available on some buses, but you normally need to buy a ticket for each individual journey (single tickets only).

You can buy your ticket when you get on board a bus, by telling the driver where you’re going. 1-day and weekly travel cards are available in some towns, and these can be bought from the driver or from an information centre at the bus station. Tickets are valid for each separate journey rather than for a period of time, so if you get off the bus you’ll need to buy a new ticket when getting on another bus.

For information on London Buses check out Transport for London’s bus pages.
To plan your journey across Britain by bus and coach, you could use VisitBritain: VisitBritain journey planner.

Best Value

Top five day-trips out of London

Here are five top escapes to add a different flavour to your London visit.

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

What celebrated wit Samuel Johnson said in the eighteenth century is still true today. But after a few days in any major tourist city, it makes sense to mix things up with a day-trip out of town.

1. Paris

It might seem a crazy idea but now that you can reach the French capital by Eurostar train in just over two hours, travelling at 300 kilometres per hour, a day-trip is eminently possible. You can have a full English breakfast on the train and pause for mid-morning croissants when you arrive before dropping into the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay to see some priceless art.

Then enjoy a lingering French lunch, complete with a glass or two of wine, before spending the afternoon at the exciting Pompidou Centre or meandering around Montmartre. You’ll still be back in London in time for a warm pint! Fast 1 Eurostar trains leave from the new St Pancras terminal in the heart of London.

2. Bath

Heading west from London, you can reach this genteel, historic city in just 90 minutes by train from Paddington. As a World Heritage site, with over 5000 of its buildings protected, Bath has more than enough attractions for a full day-trip. Its main drawcard is the astonishingly well-preserved Roman baths, fed by Britain’s only natural hot springs and giving an intriguing insight into life 2000 years ago.


The city is also noted for its splendid Georgian architecture, with the Royal Crescent, a curving street of Regency mansions, the finest example and famous for its connection with writer Jane Austen, who lived in Bath during its early nineteenth-century heyday. With many specialist and antique shops squirreled away among its narrow lanes, Bath is also great for shopping. Finally, if you’re worn out by sightseeing, book into the brand new Thermae Bath spa, taking advantage of the same springs that drew the Romans.

3. Windsor-Upon-Thames

Windsor’s proximity to London and magnificent eleventh-century castle, which crowns the hill above the elegant riverside town, make it an excellent day-trip. In fact, there is so much to see within the grounds of the fortress, from the grand state rooms where the Queen hosts state banquets through to its priceless art collection and the changing of the guard in summer, that you could spend a day visiting just that.

But Windsor has at least 10 other historic sights, including the Christopher-Wren-designed Guildhall and Eton College, founded in 1440, where Princes William and Harry were educated.

Windsor’s other great attraction is its location on the River Thames. From Windsor Bridge you can take a short boat trip or stroll along the towpath and soon reach open countryside. Back in town, Windsor’s riverside restaurants and pubs are very inviting, especially on summer evenings. Trains run regularly to Windsor Central from London Paddington, journey time 35 minutes.


4. Brighton

Okay, Brighton’s pebbly beaches and grey seas can’t compare with our own beautiful coastline. But if you are feeling boxed in by landlocked London, Brighton is the best option for a seaside antidote. These days it is an increasingly refined city in its own right, with a flourishing arts scene, including an Artists Quarter where you can buy locally-produced paintings and crafts and European-style pavement cafes galore. Clear the cobwebs by heading first to the revamped seafront for a stroll along the promenade (check out the elaborate Victorian lampposts) and visiting the famous pleasure pier.

Brighton was recently named best city to eat in outside London in the Remy Martin restaurant awards, so make sure you have time for lunch or an early dinner somewhere like the Gourmet Fish and Chip Company at the marina.

The one attraction you simply cannot miss is the Royal Pavilion, an outlandish fusion of Indian, Chinese, Russian and Gothic architecture and interior design and possibly Britain’s most beautiful building. Built for the young George IV in the late eighteenth century, this is an intensely opulent, atmospheric place where the royal would host 36-course dinners for visiting dignitaries. With trains travelling back to Victoria (journey time one hour) until late, you’ll still have time before heading back to London to visit the collection of little shops in the Lanes, behind the seafront, and to enjoy a taste of Brighton’s thriving nightlife.


5. Oxford

Aptly nicknamed “city of dreaming spires” because of the ancient university that dominates it, Oxford simply drips with tradition and history, with many of its colleges dating back 700 years. The city is also compact and ideal for walking around.

Many colleges are free to enter, so it is easy to get a feel of how idyllic it must be to study here. The grounds of the central New College, off Hollywell Street, are among the most captivating, especially in summer, with their neatly trimmed lawns, flowers and internal cloisters. But other colleges like Trinity and Magdalene, which has its own deer park, are also lovely and surprisingly expansive.

Oxford also has some outstanding museums, including the Ashmolean, which has a large collection of art and archaeological artefacts.

No visit to Oxford would be complete without a go at punting — pushing a long narrow boat down one of the city’s rivers, the Cherwell or the Isis, using a long pole. Finally, quench your thirst in an atmospheric pub like The Bear, dating to 1242 and one of the oldest inns in England. Oxford is 50 minutes by train from London Paddington.


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10 quick day tours outside of London during the Olympics

London is a tremendously vibrant and energetic city that is the home to some of the greatest museums, nightclubs and restaurants in the world. However, with the 2012 Olympics taking place over the next few weeks, the streets of England’s capital are destined to be a little more hectic with sports lovers from around the country, continent and world set to visit.

For those of you who are looking to spend the next few weeks in London, but do not have every day filled with Olympic inspired events, here are some fun places that you can visit in a day.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle


Near Salisbury and within two hours of London this prehistoric monument has become a central part of English folklore. This collection of stones were dragged across the country 5,000 years ago and have plagued the minds of archaeologists since their arrival.

Here is a link for more information on Stonehenge. To get to Stonehenge from London you can get the train from Waterloo station.


This unique city is surrounded by archaic architecture with Roman Baths, Abbeys and springs all within a short walking distance of the city’s central train station. All of this illustrious history is also surrounded by a host of city centre shops and is largely free of traffic.


Here is a link for more information on Bath. To get to Bath from London you can get the train from London Paddington.



The former capital of England, Winchester has an unspoilt cathedral which was built in the 11th century and is the burial site of several Kings. It’s only an hour from London so can easily be combined with a trip to another city on the same day.

Here is a link for more information on Winchester. To get to Winchester from London you can get the train from London Waterloo.


This World Heritage Site has 2 castles, 6 museums and a spectacular cathedral, with Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales having immortalised the area. Only an hour train journey from central London, this is the ideal day trip venue for people visiting the city.

Here is a link for more information on Canterbury. To get to Canterbury from London you can get the train from London Charing Cross, London St Pancreas or London Victoria.


The birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford keeps it’s building’s aesthetics akin to the era of the great bard with many of the town’s buildings adorned with black and white timber frames. A sensational place to visit and shop at with many street performers filling the streets to evoke a creative vibe.

Here is a link for more information on Stratford-upon-Avon. To get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London you can get the train from London Marylebone.

Warwick Castle

A wonderful venue to visit in the summer, Warwick Castle has several dominating intact towers and ramparts surrounding its walls and is a picturesque tourist attraction. Archery, falconry and jousting each take place during the few warm weeks of the season.

Here is a link for more information on Warwick Castle. To get to Warwick Castle from London you can get the train from London Marylebone.


Most famous for its university, Cambridge is also the home to several gothic style College buildings that run alongside the city’s tremendous parks and grass. You can even enjoy punting along the River and the magnificent King’s College chaple is one of England’s greatest wonders.

Here is a link for more information on Cambridge. To get to Cambridge from London you can get the train from London Liverpool Street.


Another infamously academic city and the home to one of the world’s greatest universities, Oxford is know as the “City of Dreaming Spires”. The city’s glorious courtyards and buildings have inspired generations of writers and scholars and several scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed there.

Here is a link for more information on Oxford. To get to Oxford from London you can get the train from London Paddington.

Windsor Castle

An official residence of The Queen, this castle is the largest and oldest in the world and has been a Royal home for over 900 years. Located within an hour of London, Windsor Castle is surrounded by a host of greenery and is a perfect place to witness the Windsor Changing of the Guard.

Here is a link for more information on Windsor Castle. To get to Windsor Castle from London you can get the train from London Waterloo.


Looking for a relaxing city within a short distance of London where you can stroll along the beach, shop and drink, then Brighton is the city for you.

Here is a link for more information on Brighton. To get to Brighton on the train from London you can catch the train from London Victoria.
Needless to say all these tours can be booked through ‘The Sightseeing Tours’ website at discount proces

By Gregory Wakeman | Yahoo! Contributor Network

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