Tag: UK city breaks

How to visit Pontcanna, Cardiff’s coolest district for a Welsh weekend like a local

My last story of the year is part of a round-up feature for Telegraph Travel.

I explored the Cardiff suburb of Pontcanna, the en-vogue neighbourhood for shopping, dining and drinking.

Here’s a taster of the text:

The Welsh capital packs heritage attractions and sporting heroes into the compact city centre. But the smart set heads for Pontcanna.

The leafy, northwestern suburb is, along with neighbouring Canton, home to green spaces, hipster hangouts and cool cafes. Crucially, it feels properly Welsh, and the locals outnumber day-trippers.

Better still, it’s just a 20-minute stroll into the city centre via Bute Park and the grounds of Cardiff Castle, part Norman fortress, part Victorian folly, following the river Taff.

Amongst my recommendations are brunch at Milkwood [pictured above] and the restuarant, Thomas.

The latter is the domain of Pembrokeshire-raised chef Tom Simmons, who blends French and Welsh influences for a true taste of the cosmopolitan Cardiff suburbs.

Read the full story via Telegraph Travel, Britain’s coolest 15 neighbourhoods — and how to see them like a local 

Vote for Chester: Britain’s 15 best high streets for Christmas shopping

Feeling festive? My nomination for Chester made it into Britain’s 15 best high streets for Christmas shopping via Telegrpah Travel.

Read my guide to the city for your next Christmas-shopping weekend break.

Here’s a taster of the text:

Chester was voted the most beautiful city in the world earlier this year in a survey based on Google Street View. Walking the half-timbered main streets is a promenade through 2,000 years of history from the Romans to the modern day. The Xmas market opened November 18 on central Town Hall Square, while nearby examples of Tudor buildings, Georgian townhouses and Victorian flourishes complete a history-spanning backdrop to mooching, gift hunting and hot-chocolate supping.

Find more about Chester (and the other 14 places) here — currently no paywall at this link.

And scroll to the end to vote for Chester (second out of 15 to York when I last checked).

A preview of my Dark Chester tours for Halloween with the travel blog Go Eat Do

An interview with the travel blogger Stuart Forster for his blog, Go Eat Do.

The feature is about ideas for a weekend visit to Chester but, with Halloween approaching, previews my new Dark Chester tours [pictured above].

The tours run Saturdays at 6pm and delve into the dark-tourism heritage of the city, exploring 2,000 years of plague, poltergeists and religious persecution.

Talking about St John’s Church, a Saxon site of worship from 689AD, I describe how:

“Cestrians, the people of Chester, call it ‘the thin church’. It’s a reference to the fact it’s one of those places in the city where the world we know, and another we can’t explain, is at its thinest point. It’s a place to step across the supernatural threshold.”

We also discuss, amongst others, the Chester Mystery Plays and the Chester Heritage Festival (both returning in June 2023).

Plus wider ideas for things to do and see during your visit.

Read the full story at Go Eat DoHaunted places in England: Chester walking tour.

Winter light festivals? I think it’s time to pull the plug.

My final feature of the year was an opinion piece following a recent visit to Durham.

Here’s a sample of the story:

The light-festival idea is nothing new, of course.

Lyon first came up with the bright idea in 1999 and the Fete des Lumieres has become a major visitor attraction (it runs December 8-11 this year).

Blackpool illuminations, too, have a long history of providing ‘electric sunshine’, brightening up Lancastrian nights since 1879.

But I’ve had enough of light-festival overkill. Turn off, tune out, just drop it, folks.

Read the whole feature via Telegrpah Travel, It’s time to pull the plug on overrated winter light festivals.