Author Archives: Amanda Kendle

10 Festivals in England

There are hundreds of festivals – both weird and wonderful, and mainstream and fun – held across England each year. This post focuses on festivals outside London from both the weirder side and the more mainstream ones, to give you lots of different reasons to travel around England.

Black Pudding Throwing Championship near Manchester

If you’re looking for unusual food festivals, this sure is one. The World Black Pudding Throwing Championship takes place annually in Ramsbottom. Competitors each throw three black puddings at a stack of Yorkshire puddings and whoever knocks the most over is crowned the champion.

black pudding throwing championship england

Black Pudding Throwing Championships by mrrobertwade

Burning the Clocks Brighton

At the time of the winter solstice each year, the Burning the Clocks festival takes place in Brighton. The focus of the festival is a large solstice lantern parade, going from the centre of Brighton down to the beach, and concluding with a lantern bonfire and a fireworks display.

Burning the Clocks by Dominic’s pics

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10 Museums in Manchester, England

Manchester is a fascinating city which has done much to drag itself out of an industrial slump, and is now a popular destination. As it happens, it’s also full of museums and here are 10 museums in Manchester for you to visit.

Football Club Museums

For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention Manchester is Manchester United; perhaps Manchester City FC comes quickly after that. Both clubs have museums attached to their stadiums so you can combine a visit to either the Manchester United FC museum or the Manchester City FC museum with a tour of their grounds.

manchester museums

Medals at the Manchester United Museum by edwin.11

National Football Museum

If those two aren’t enough, you can also head to the National Football Museum, which was set up to showcase England’s football heritage and to explain why England is the home of football. It actually began in Deepdale, Lancashire but was relocated to Manchester during 2012 to the former Urbis building.

Manchester museums

National Football Museum building by Smabs Sputzer

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry (also known by its much cooler acronym, MOSI) is not just a typical science museum – it is strongly based in the history and development of the city of Manchester and includes a working cotton mill and the chance to see what climbing into a Victorian-era sewer would have been like.

Manchester museums

MOSI mural by Terry Wha

Museum of Transport

Manchester’s Museum of Transport includes the biggest collection of buses and trams in Britain – vehicles that have been restored but date back to the beginning of public transport. Since many buses used across Britain (and in fact the world) were made in Gorton, close to Manchester, it’s definitely in a fitting location.

Manchester museums

Buses at Museum of Transport by interbeat

People’s History Museum

The People’s History Museum in Manchester used to be known as the National Museum of Labour History and is an important national centre for looking at the history of working people. Its exhibitions look at home, work and leisure over the last couple of centuries along with some interesting temporary displays.

peoples history museum manchester

People’s History Museum by Neil T

Imperial War Museum (North)

The Imperial War Museums that you known from London also have a branch in Manchester, known as the Imperial War Museum North. It’s been running for a decade now in an amazing building designed by Daniel Libeskind.

Manchester museums

Imperial War Museum North by Bernt Rostad

Manchester Museum

Owned and housed by the University of Manchester, the Manchester Museum includes over six million artefacts in collections covering archaeology, botany, ethnology, geology and zoology. One of its star exhibits is a T-rex fossil named “Stan”, the second most complete tyrannosaurus ever excavated.

Manchester museums

Stan the T-rex by mahesh_f

Chinese Arts Centre

Set up in 1986 by British Chinese artists who felt they didn’t have a voice in modern Britain, the Chinese Arts Centre is a thriving art museum with changing exhibitions both from major artists and from emerging ones.

Manchester museums

Chinese Arts Centre by loscuadernosdejulia

Greater Manchester Police Museum

The Police Museum and Archives are a treasure trove of stories about Manchester’s past crimes and criminals, along with giving you an insight into life as a police officer over the past couple of centuries. It’s housed in the building which was one of Manchester’s earliest police stations.

Manchester museums

Police Museum cars by Firing up the quattro

Manchester Jewish Museum

Being the only Jewish museum outside of London, the Manchester Jewish Museum has quite a responsibility to pass on the stories of Jews in Manchester and how they’ve contributed to the development of the city. It’s housed in an old Spanish and Portuguese synagogue.

Manchester museums

Manchester Jewish Museum by EadaoinFlynn

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10 Things to Do in Liverpool

Liverpool has come a very long way from being basically an industrial port city and is now a place full of cultural attractions of all kinds – although its most famous exports and probably the reasons most people visit are both the Beatles and the Liverpool Football Club. But there’s plenty of art, music and also an impressive maritime history to explore. This post offers travel tips on what to do in Liverpool.

The Beatles Story

For me the first thought that pops into my mind when someone talks of Liverpool is the Beatles, every time. The Beatles Story is much more than just a Beatles museum – it’s a hands-on (ears-on?!) experience and it’s now spread across two sites after lots of expansion in recent years.

beatles story

The Beatles Story
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10 Things to Do in Romania

Romania is an exciting travel destination with plenty to see; you can literally go from the mountains to the sea and find all kinds of different destinations along the way – and of course it’s famous as the home of Dracula, too! Here are our travel tips on what to do in Romania outside the capital city of Bucharest.

Admire the Wooden Churches

In northern Transylvania, the Maramures region is particularly well-known for its architecturally unique Orthodox churches. In the 17th century stone churches were banned and so the wooden churches began and the surviving structures are incredible – eight of them are World Heritage listed.

romanian wooden churches

Barsana wooden churches by premus

Seek Dracula at Bran Castle

One of the most visited Romanian tourist attractions outside of Bucharest Bran Castle, near Brasov. It dates back around 800 years and is well-visited because it’s got the reputation of being the home of Dracula – curiously, though, there’s actually no evidence that this is the place Bram Stoker was thinking of, but it’s marketed that way and that seems to work! Dracula or not, it’s an impressive place.

what to do Romania

Bran Castle by jtriefen

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10 Great Festivals in Germany

After living in Germany for several years, I knew that each year I had numerous local festivals to look forward to. These Germans know how to organise a festival – after all, Germany is the home of Oktoberfest! And that means that every year across the country there is a huge range of weird and wonderful festivals, no matter what your interests, and even some festivals that you could never imagine. Here are ten German festivals to whet your appetite.

Landshut Wedding

The Landshut Wedding festival in Bavaria is centred on a massive historical pageant, celebrating the medieval era. Every four years a couple of thousand people dress up to recreate the wedding between Hedwig and George from 1475 and to go with the pageant there are jousting bouts and some impressive feasting.

landsghut wedding

Landshut Wedding by estrangelo_edessa

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Wurstmarkt

What would a list of German festivals be without a wine festival? However, this one’s a real trick because the name Wurstmarkt  means “sausage market” – and yes, you’ll find sausages in abundance but the focus is actual on some great German wines. It takes place in Bad Dürkheim every September and is one of the largest wine festivals in the entire world, and one of the oldest too, running for nearly 600 years.

festivals Germany

Enjoying Wurstmarkt by gromgull

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Grabenstetten Kite Festival

Head to Germany in April and hope for wind – then the Grabenstetten Kite Festival will be at its peak. It’s a very social festival where everyone with any kind of kite is welcome to take part and after a day of kite flying there are fireworks to celebrate the occasion.

festivals Germany

Drachenfest – Kite festival by no

Bavarian Finger Wrestling Championships

Apparently they’re not only drinking beer in Bavaria: they’re also practising some finger wrestling! The Finger Wrestling Championships take place in Ohlstadt and the competitors get separated into weight categories, just like in real wrestling.

festivals Germany

Finger wrestling (Fingerhakeln) by Wikicommons

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Heidelberg Castle Festival

One of my favourite spots in Germany is Heidelberg and I’d love someday to attend some events at the Heidelberg Castle Festival. It’s held in June and features music and theatre performances, with the music mostly being classical and opera. Various parts of the castle and its ruins are used as venues.

festivals Germany

Heidelberg Castley by mattwyn

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Lübeck Dragonboat Festival

In northern Germany, the Lübeck Dragonboat Festival is actually one of the largest dragonboat festivals in the world. It takes place in August (fortunately, so if you fall in it won’t be too freezing) and it recently celebrated its tenth anniversary.

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Limburg Whisky Festival

Beer, wine and whisky – German has it all. The Limburg Whisky Festival takes place in April each year and a very reasonable entry price includes numerous tastings. They focus (curiously) on Scotch single malt – one of the largest such festivals in the world.

festivals Germany

Whisky Fair Limburg by rund_um_whisky

Tübingen Duck Race

Who doesn’t enjoy a good duck race? In Tübingen they get the plastic yellow ducks out every October and race them down the Neckar River and there are a whole swag of prizes if your duck is amongst the winners. Apparently last race there were around 6,000 ducks swimming!

festivals Germany

Ducks in Tübingen by to.wi

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Schäferlauf Festival

In Markgröningen, the Schäferlauf (shepherd run) Festival takes place every August. It has historical roots back as far as 1651 but over the years has, of course, evolved from a celebration just for shepherds into a festival for everyone around, with all kinds of traditional cultural activities and music to enjoy.

Schäferlauf  in 1900 by Wikicommons

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Brot und Spiele Festival

In one of Germany’s oldest cities, Trier, the Brot und Spiele (Bread and Games) festival takes place in late summer, and it is the largest Roman festival in Germany. There are all kinds of Roman-related events including performances of gladiator shows in the amphitheatre, with a different main play featuring each year.

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More Tips for Things to Do in Germany

Amanda’s post has 25 travel tips on what ot do in Germany.

9 Places to Visit in Provence

Provence is easily France’s most popular tourist destination after Paris and with books like A Year in Provence romanticising it even more, it is no wonder that everyone wants to travel there. To help inspire you even more, here’s a list of 10 things to do in Provence – both romantic and otherwise – many of which have been enjoyed by our contributors.

Luberon Valley

Kimberly took her family to the Luberon Valley and found it to be a spectacularly beautiful region. They based themselves in the hillside town of Gordes and also enjoyed visiting nearby towns like Oppède-le-Vieux and Roussillon. She particularly recommends visiting each town on their market day to stock up on tasty local delicacies.

Luberon Valley by Kimberly Sullivan

Gorges du Verdon

The largest gorges in Europe are apparently the Gorges du Verdon (Verdon Gorges) in Provence. In summer you’re able to swim in the gorges and throughout the year there are lots of outdoor activities available so it’s not just scenic, but a great destination for some healthy fun (especially if you’ve been over-indulging in the great local food and wine).

Gorges du Verdon by Kimberly Sullivan

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence is a charming university town and artist Cezanne once lived there. It’s worth strolling around with the sole objective of looking at the fountains – there are some 40 different fountains in the old town alone and some of them are quite beautiful.

Aix-en-Provence by Passion Leica

Avignon Festival

The city of Avignon is always worth a visit but if you can time it to celebrate the Avignon Festival then so much the better. The Festival d’Avignon has both traditional, formal performances and more off-beat, new performers and many of the festivities take place in the famous Palace of the Popes and other Avignon historical buildings.

Palace of the Popes by Thomas Dowson

Marseille

France’s second city, Marseille, is no quaint and lovely spot like much of Provence, but still worth a visit. One especially lovely part is the Vieux Port area with its markets and winding streets (and of course a fish market too).

Fish in Marseille by Alexbip

Sisteron

The pretty town of Sisteron is one of many known as a gateway to Provence and it has all the characteristics which make Provence an attractive destination: beautiful scenery, quaint old town, and great weather (300 days of sunshine each year, apparently!). There are also three museums, the most interesting or unique of which is the Baden-Powel Scout Museum.

Sisteron by boldorak2208

Arles

Situated on the end of the Camargue National Park, Arles was once home to van Gogh and it’s the very town where he sliced off a part of his ear! Arles is also home to some impressive Roman ruins.

Arles amphitheatre by ell brown

Saint Remy de Provence

The small village of Saint Remy de Provence is home to more impressive Roman ruins, and a particularly fine market every Wednesday. And significantly, it’s also home to the asylum where van Gogh was sent after the ear-slicing incident.

Markets in Saint Remy de Provence by Fabrice Terrasson

Cassis

If you’re looking for a beach holiday then Cassis is one great Provence spot to have one. The town is gorgeous and the beach, surrounded by white cliffs, is beautiful too.

Beach in Cassis by sambayogi

10 Things to Do in County Cork, Ireland

County Cork is a beautiful part of Ireland. Located in the south-west corner of the country, it’s a large county and the city of Cork is the second largest city in Ireland after Dublin. There are plenty of things to do in Cork City and County; here are are out ten suggestions.

Blarney Castle

The most famous sightseeing spot in Cork is Blarney Castle. This castle is, of course, home to the Blarney Stone, and legend has it that if you kiss this stone (a feat achieved lowering yourself upside-down towards it) then you’ll be blessed with “the gift of the gab”.

Things to do in Cork

Kissing the Blarney Stone by SowersPics

Bantry House

Located in a beautiful spot on the shore of Bantry Bay, the sightseeing attraction of Bantry House is a historic Georgian building, dating back to 1700. Restoration work over the past couple of decades has kept it an impressive spot to see and the gardens are particularly worth seeing.

Things to do in Cork

Bantry House Gardens by Olivier Bruchez

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25 Museums in Berlin

Berlin is easily one of my all-time favourite cities to visit, with so much to see and do that even a month-long stay isn’t enough for me! And you can see why when you read this post on 25 museums in Berlin – just visiting museums alone will keep you busy for a long time, and that’s before you enjoy all the other great stuff that Berlin has to offer!

The museums in Berlin vary widely, although my favourites definitely include those connected to relatively recent history – the Berlin Wall and the Cold War era. But it’s not just a cliché to say that in Berlin there is a museum to suit everybody’s interests – and these 25 are just a taste, as there are close to 200 museums in the German capital.

Pergamon Museum

Easily one of Berlin’s most impressive museums, the Pergamon Museum is on the Museuminsel (Museum Island), and is an amazing collection of artefacts from the ancient world. It includes life-size reconstructions of ancient buildings like the Pergamon Altar, with as much as possible recreated from the real remains.

Ishtar Gate by Heatheronhertravels

Haus am Checkpoint Charlie

On my first visit to Berlin in 1990, I was lucky enough to experience the reunification of east and west – since then, the stories of those who tried to escape across the wall before the Wall fell in 1989 have been particularly fascinating to me (although some are very sad). The Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum is the best place to hear stories and see artefacts related to Berlin Wall escape attempts, and a whole lot more.

Haus am Checkpoint Charlie exhibit by Olivier Bruchez

Museum of Photography

Berlin’s Museum of Photography (Museum fuer Fotografie) has photography exhibits ranging through the 19th to 21st centuries and it  includes a special exhibit on Helmut Newton.

Museum of Photography by hiddedevries

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10 Things to Do in Valencia

Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and a popular tourist destination, with a great coastal location on the Mediterranean Sea. Here are our ten tips on what to do in Valencia.

City of Arts and Sciences

This futuristic architectural gem is a complex housing all kinds of cultural and tourist focused places to visit – including museums, an IMAX cinema, an opera house and a planetarium. It was famously designed by Santiago Calatrava and features prominently in promotions about Valencia.

valencia

City of Arts and Sciences by ho visto nina volare

Museo Fallero

If you’re travelling with young children then they will definitely enjoy the Fallas Museum (Museo Fallero) – yes, it’s also connected to Las Fallas Festival and includes some of the papier mache sculptures which have been saved over the years from the ritual burning.

what to do Valencia

Fallas Museum sculpture by Heatheronhertravels

L’Oceanographic – Sea World

Heather visited L’Oceanographic in Valencia with her family and said it was the highlight of the trip for her children. It’s within the City of Arts and Sciences complex and has a big range of sea life on display in various large aquariums and tanks. There’s also an excellent dolphin show held three times a day.

what to do Valencia

Dolphin show by Heatheronhertravels

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25 Sculptures in Europe

Sculptures, especially those you come across by accident in a public place, can be a very pleasant surprise when you’re wandering around a new city or town. On the Europe a la Carte Pinterest page, Karen’s been curating a great collection of images of sculptures in Europe and this post will highlight 25 of these beautiful European sculptures.

Switzerland

There are lots of beautiful things to see in Lucerne, and among them is the Dying Lion monument.

European sculptures

The Dying Lion image by Margaret Doherty

Over in Geneva, the Broken Chair sculpture is certainly something quite different – and hard to miss since it’s 12 metres tall. You can find it opposite the Palace of Nations and it’s meant to symbolise opposition to land mines and cluster bombs.

European sculptures

Broken Chair by Andrew and Annemarie

Germany

From the Pinterest board, is this “Badenixe” (bathing beauty) sculpture in Hamburg, Germany – very impressive.

European sculptures

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