Tag: UK holidays

Why the hidden-treasure town of Nantwich should be your next staycation

Spring finds me driving the rural backroads of south Cheshire.

I’m here on assignment for Telegraph Travel, writing a postcard from Cheshire as part of a series of articles by writers around the UK.

Each one is about an under-the-radar destinations for UK staycations with a sprinkle of celebratory stardust.

My journey took me to Nantwich, the historic market town, and the Combermere Estate on the Cheshire-Shropshire border.

I also visited the new Three Wrens gin distillery, where I met distillery dog, Rocky [pictured above].

Here’s a taster of my article:

The historic market town of Nantwich has all the history of county-hub Chester, albeit on a smaller scale.

The jumble of cobbled streets and half-timbered houses have hosted Norman lords, survived medieval fires, and been occupied by the Parliamentarian forces during the mid 1600s when Nantwich defied Chester, coming out against Charles I during the Civil War.

The Market Hall has been singing the praises of Cheshire Cheese since the town’s genteel Victorian era.

“I think visitors appreciate the slow-travel tranquillity of South Cheshire while being surprised by the quality of its local produce,” says Sarah Callander-Beckett, the owner and current lady of the manor at Combermere Abbey.

“This region is steeped in rural heritage but has moved with the times to offer high quality and an individual experience.”

Read the full story, The charming Cheshire town that hasn’t yet been ruined by WAGs.

How to spend a weekend in Manchester for the International Festival

*Map via The i Paper

The Manchester International Festival is now under way across the northern-powerhouse city.

If you’re planning a visit, then you might just find my guide to what’s new and interesting around Manchester useful.

Amongst the highlights is the exhibition Use Hearing Protection: the early years of Factory Records at The Science and Industry Museum.

It celebrates the pioneering record label, home to Joy Division and a catalyst for Manchester’s cultural renaissance.

Plus there’s a new afternoon tea at The Refuge, attached to the new Kimpton Clocktower Hotel.

It’s a spoil-yourself end to a Live Forever weekend in Manchester.

Read the full story in this weekend’s i Paper, Manchester travel guide.

Ten wonderful Welsh break to book as travel opens up from mid April

Travel is starting to open up.

The post-Covid road map put forward by the Westminster Government earlier this week provisionally allows for self-catering breaks in England from April 12.

The Welsh Government has previously stated its hopes for staycation breaks in Wales around Easter.

Cue the scramble of tourism operators to get their projects and properties ready for the influx of holiday-hungry punters.

I wrote a round-up feature for Telegraph Travel this week, highlighting some of the new projects around Wales for a spring staycation.

Look out, in particular for Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia, located as part of an expanded Adventure Parc Snowdonia in the Conwy Valley with its artificial surf reef [pictured above]. There’s a soft opening from end March; room only from £89.

The hotel has rooms overlooking the inland surf lagoon while the accompanying Wave Garden Spa offers treatments and a wellness space.

Also worth booking is Plas Weunydd, the new boutique hotel as part of the Llechwedd quarry site near Blaenau Ffestiniog; bookings from Easter weekend with doubles from £105 B&B.

The hotel, the former 19th-century residence of the quarry founder, sits alongside Zip World Titan and Slate Mountain Adventure attractions.

Finally, Plas Dinas Country House near Caernarfon has three cosy, self-catering cottages for multi-generational escapes, plus royal connections. Bookings from Easter weekend with Gatekeeper’s Cottage (sleeps four) starting from £700/week.

It’s the family home of Lord Snowdon, who married HRH Princess Margaret in 1961.

Read my full selection of Welsh break to book right now via Telegraph Travel here.

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Why my op-ed travel feature seemed to touch a nerve with dog owners

It has recorded 191 comments by the time I write this.

Some supportive, some hostile. Many are knee-jerk reactions and include some venting of personal bias.

But I’ve enjoyed reading them all.

After all, it’s great as a writer to have a dialogue with readers — even if they are insulting you.

What did surprise me, however, was one of my regular travel features that has never attracted animated such debate.

I’d clearly touched a nerve.

So it is that my op-ed feature for Telegraph Travel, playing up a pantomime take on the way some dog owners will sneer at young children while letting their pets run amuck, will probably be my most read story of the year.

Here’s a sample:

The thing that grates most of all for me, personally, is not the dogs — many are well behaved and offer valuable companionship — but the vitriol that some dog owners heap upon families who dare to take small children out for lunch.

The hysterical hypocrisy of dog owners can be quite staggering, sneering at kids while taking the high-handed view that waiters and fellow diners should all pander to every whim of their prized, pampered pooch.

Read the full feature here and join the debate. All comments are welcome — no, really.