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With its seafront lido, busy international port, and waterfront Barbican district, Plymouth’s maritime heritage takes centre stage, but head inland and the numerous museums, shopping malls, and arts venues reveal why it’s earned the title of Devon’s cultural capital.
Cornwall is the extreme southwestern peninsula of England. It has the longest stretch of continuous coastline in Britain and it is one of the sunniest areas in the UK. With picturesque villages, Celtic ruins, light blue waters, gardens and parks and unique architecture it certainly is among the most scenic areas of England. Home of many events and festivals and the land of Cornish pasty, it is definitely worth visiting.
Catch a wave in Cornwall! Beach, surfing, and scenery draw the crowds to Newquay every summer. Perfect your tan on the beach, paddle in the shallows, or join the surfers out at sea. Just out of town, the Holywell Bay Fun Park, Newquay Zoo, and Blue Reef Aquarium provide family fun, and dedicated cycling tracks offer an alternate way to tour nearby towns of Bodmin, Padstow, and Truro.
<div id="VR_GEO_BLURB_TITLE">Devon Cottages - The Ultimate in Relaxing Breaks </div><div id="VR_GEO_BLURB_CONTENT"><p>From the wilds of Dartmoor to the wooded hillsides of the Lyn Valley, Devon is undoubtedly one of England's most beautiful counties. Its overwhelmingly rural landscape means that catered accommodation is restricted to over-subscribed Bed and Breakfasts and hotels which are mostly concentrated in towns like Exeter and Barnstaple. </p><p>Devon is a great location for a family holiday in the great outdoors, with everything from beach resorts at Ilfracombe to rambling in the hills of Exmoor and tors of Dartmoor. It is a large county, but whether you want to follow the Tarka Trail, or walk down the Doone Valley, you can be sure there will be cottages open for holiday rentals nearby. </p><div>Devon's Cottages, All Mod Cons </div><p>Most of Devon's holiday rental cottages started as farm buildings of some sort, and planning restrictions mean that many of them retain their rural charm on the outside. However, the cottages are generally renovated to 21st Century standards inside, with double glazing, TV, washing machines and fully-equipped kitchens. Families are well catered for in the higher end properties with games rooms, sometimes including full-size pool tables and large gardens for children to explore. </p><p>Despite the unpredictability of Devon's weather even during the summer months, the comfort of these properties gives great peace of mind. Moreover, a week's holiday rental of a cottage in Devon can cost as little as £300 - £400. During the peak season you can spend as much as £900 a month for one of the larger or more luxurious cottages, which still works out to be cheaper than a lot of hotels, especially if you have to book several rooms to accommodate a family of four or five. </p><div>Town Mouse or Country Mouse </div><p>To get the best of Devon's startling countryside and its friendly communities, renting a holiday cottage near Lynton and Lynmouth can be a good start. It is a useful base from which to explore North Devon, and is within walking distance of several beauty spots, such as Watersmeet (complete with a small but impressive waterfall) and the Valley of the Rocks. Separated by a steep cliff, you can travel up a funicular railway from coastal Lynmouth to clifftop Lynton, with plenty of stunning walks, shopping opportunities and several beaches and boat trips to nearby coastal attractions. </p><p>The twin villages also boast a concentration of well-equipped holiday cottages, from modest fisherman's cottages on the path to Watersmeet to grander hillside houses on the way to the Valley of the Rocks. Whatever your budget, Lynton and Lynmouth can provide some tempting accommodation options for your first Devon holiday. </p></div>
Mild ocean breezes, sandy beaches and swaying Torbay Palms give the small English town of Torquay a distinctively Mediterranean feel. More than just a beach spot, Torquay boasts an enormous coastal aviary and the famous Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves. Agatha Christie spent most of her life here, and the city is now home to multiple film companies. With such a rich literary history, Torquay may be the perfect place to finish writing that novel or screenplay, or just to relax with a good mystery.
St. Ives boasts a quartet of golden-sand beaches. Sheltered coves draw swimmers and sun-worshippers, but water-sports aficionados visit St. Ives for great surfing, windsurfing and water-skiing conditions. And on your way there, keep your eyes peeled for a dude with seven wives. You never know when nursery rhymes might come true.
Set against a backdrop of Devon’s rolling hills and rocky coastline, Exeter is the county’s historic showpiece. Roman ruins, medieval buildings, and Georgian façades dot the modern town, contrasting with the quayside pubs and glass-fronted shopping malls.
<p>Nestling on the Jurassic Coast of West Dorset, Lyme Regis is a town where you can escape the pace of twenty-first-century life. Famous for geology and fossils, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that remains unspoiled.You are sure to visit the harbour at Lyme Regis, where there is a famous stone construction known as the Cobb that shelters the boats. Don't miss the aquarium on the Cobb in the summer, especially if you are interested in seeing gigantic lobsters. A Literary Lyme Walking Tour might be more your thing, as the Cobb features in John Fowles' novel “The French Lieutenant's Women” as well as in Jane Austen's “Persuasion”. Plan your holiday for July or August and go on a ghost tour; August also devotes one week to a regatta and carnival. On a rainy day, pay a visit to the Town Mill with its art gallery, craft centre, bakery and brasserie. </p>
So-called because of the honey-coloured stone used to build its villages, the Cotswolds offers visitors the quintessential English experience. The area spans five counties and boasts some of England’s most impressive country houses, castles, and landscapes. Plus, plentiful pubs make it easy to experience authentic English hospitality.
The geographical heart of England, Birmingham began life as a sixth- century Anglo-Saxon village. Today, much of this city of over a million dates back to post-WWII redevelopment in the 1950s and 60s. Cutting edge museums and galleries, innovative theatres and excellent shopping have contributed to Birmingham's appeal as a weekend break destination. Don't miss the Balti Triangle, home to the Pakistani food in the UK, the hopping bars and cafes of Gas Street Basin, or the National Sea Life Centre.
Liverpool's fortunes have historically been tied to shipping. But imports and exports like sugar, spice and tobacco pale in comparison with Liverpool's most famous export of all — The Beatles. Relive the hysteria at The Beatles Story Experience, and check out Paul's childhood home, but also leave time for exploring Liverpool Cathedral and the Walker Art Gallery.
Famed for its football team and music scene, which has produced the likes of The Smiths and Oasis, this centre for sports and the arts is a down-to-earth and friendly city. The so-called Capital of the North has overcome industrial decline, bombing (in WWII and by the IRA) to become a confident and cosmopolitan city of well over two million. It is well served by a bus and light rail network. Top attractions include the Lowry art complex, arcade Affleck's Palace and Canal Street gay village.
Cumbria's valleys and fells (as the low mountains are known) are home to idyllic villages, high moorlands and picturesque lakes. Literary buffs will enjoy Wordsworth's Dove Cottage (go in March to see daffodils), and if you've got kids in tow, visit The World of Beatrix Potter. Or just enjoy a leisurely drive through beautiful scenery.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, renowned for its heritage, culture and festivals.
Take a long walk around the centre to explore the World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and New Town, as well as all the area’s museums and galleries. Then stop for a delicious meal made from fresh Scottish produce before heading out to take in one of Edinburgh’s many events — including the famous summer festivals of culture, or the Winter Festivals of music, light and ceilidhs.
Amsterdam is truly a biker’s city, although pedaling along the labyrinthine streets can get a little chaotic. Stick to walking and you won’t be disappointed. The gentle canals make a perfect backdrop for exploring the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein square. Pop into the Red Light District if you must—if only so you can say you’ve been there. The Anne Frank House is one of the most moving experiences a traveller can have, and the Van Gogh Museum boasts a sensational collection of works.
Strongly influenced by the tribal culture of the Guanches (the original inhabitants), Tenerife was conquered by the Spanish 500 years ago. It's home to Mount Teide, Spain's tallest peak, and to the popular beach resort of Los Gigantes. Today visitors flock to Loro Park to see tropical birds, to Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park and to Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide's volcanic rock formations. Explore by car or with a "bono bus" ticket, which offers reductions on regular prices.
Welcoming, tolerant Gran Canaria offers a little something for everyone. Families flock to the water parks and beaches of Puerto Rico. Those seeking peaceful escape scamper to Mogan's quiet fishing villages. Gay visitors crowd the bars, restaurants and beaches of Playa del Ingles. Urban attractions are on offer in Las Palmas. Three highways open up the island for those with a rental car or a bus schedule. Prime sites to visit include Iglesia de San Juan Bautista de Arucas and Palmalitos zoo park.
The first time you go to New York, go ahead and be a sight-seer—everyone should visit the Statue of Liberty, the Met, Times Square, etc. But on a return trip, pick a neighbourhood and go deep. You’ll find hole-in-the-wall bars, great delis, quirky shops… exploring the non-touristy side of New York is an incredibly rewarding experience for a traveller.