Thames Rockets | What you need to know?

To be rated as Trip Advisor’s number one outdoor activity in London is something of an accolade. London has a never ending and ever changing number of things to do so reaching the top spot is surely a difficult feat.

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Thames Rocket gives customers the chance to zoom down the Thames River taking in the sights whilst enjoying the thrill of 30 knots onboard the red RIB. RIB stands for Rigid-hulled inflatable boat which should give you some indication of what the boats are like. You’ll be riding in a heavy duty inflatable similar to what the SAS Elite UK forces use and don’t underestimate how fast these boats can go!

The Thames Rockets tick a lot of boxes as a London activity; it has a centrally located launch point so you won’t have to travel far to get to on board, it’s suitable for all ages, it takes in a lot of the key sights along the Thames, and it’s also a hit with thrill seekers!

My parents were visiting London and I decided to take them on the Thames Rockets to get a different perspective of the city. Judging by the joyful whooping, the whole boat greatly enjoyed the ride and interestingly perhaps for different reasons. A few visitors from the USA were on the boat with us, and for them the opportunity to see so many of London’s top sights for the first time was a dream come true, the guide was informative throughout as well as rather funny and it helped our overseas visitors understand a little bit more about what we were going past. Equally for my parents it wasn’t the first time in London but definitely gave them a completely unique view of many of the familiar sights on the Thames including seeing Canary Wharf, St Catherine’s Dock and even the police boats!

It’s easy to see why it’s so highly rated and will continue to be a top activity in the capital and so I’ve put together a list of some ‘need to know’ Q&A before you jump on board.

How to book tickets
Whilst it’s essential to book in advance it’s always worth seeing if there are last minute tickets available as the Thames Rocket operates around 10 times a day. You can book online here or via the phone operator by calling the booking hotline on 020 7928 8933.

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Who can/can’t ride?
The experience is suitable for all ages but unfortunately not for lades at any stage of pregnancy. Equally it’s not recommended for anyone with past or current back, neck or heart condition.

Will I get wet?
The quick answer is ‘not really.’ Before we boarded we were all offered waterproof jackets which most people declined as it was lovely weather. On the way out of London I didn’t even feel a drop of water on me, but as we headed back towards the pier then the wind did catch the water resulted in a little spray. Whilst you’re definitely not going to get actually wet, for anyone particularly precious about their hair it’s maybe advisable to at least tie it back.

Is it scary?
I would use the word thrilling rather than scary. Sure enough the RIB can get up to some great speeds but it’s incredibly enjoyable in the same way a roller coaster is. There’s always somewhere to hold onto and there were people of all ages on board my trip proving that it was enjoyed cross generationally.

What safety precautions are taken?
Lifejackets are provided and must be worn at all times. It’s a self inflating one and is very lightweight so you wouldn’t really notice you’ve got it on. Equally there are children’s lifejackets and facilities for toddlers too. Thames Rocket is fully insured and also has ‘full Public Liability Insurance to four times the legal requirement level is in place as standard.’

Where does it go from?
The rides take place from two locations. I went from London Eye Pier which is just to the left of the London Eye when facing the river, but they also have a departure point for certain trips from the Tower of London .

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What will I see?

Many of London’s most iconic landmarks are along the Thames and it’s definitely a great way to see many of them from a completely different perspective. Even the launching point for the boat is right next to the London Eye and opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

Some of the top sights along the route are;

  • The Tower of London- Home of the  crown jewels, where Anne Boleyn was beheaded and the home to various exotic animals over the years incoming a polar bear!
  • HMS Belfast  – WWII ship and the first ship to fire shots on D Day. Decommissioned in the 70s, it’s now a museum.
  • The Shard – The tallest building in western Europe.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe – Replica building and one of the most popular theatres in London.
  • Blackfriars Bridge – Attractive bridge featuring decoration only seen from the water such as columns decorated on one side with seabirds and on the other with fresh water birds as it’s the divide between fresh water and salt water in the river
  • Tower Bridge – The most famous bridge in London and one of the most famous sights with it’s beautiful twin towers.

 

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tower bridge by boat

Canary Wharf by boat

shard through tower bridge by boat

What are the guides like?
Our guide was very friendly from start to finish, not only was he making every laugh and creating a great atmosphere but he was also very knowledgable about the sights along the river.

As we went past a variety of spots he would give us a brief guide to each of the locations and made personal recommendations. For the Americans on board who hadn’t visited London before he was a good source of knowledge and even for us Brits then he had some lesser known facts that I actually had to Google when I got home as I didn’t know how I hadn’t learnt them previously. (I’ll let you find out for yourself what they were.) thames rocket guide

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For more information visit –

https://www.thamesrockets.com
https://daysoutnow.co.uk.

 

A day in Guernsey | Guernsey Port Guide

When I initially looked at the destinations I would be visiting on my cruise with Princess Cruises from Southampton then Guernsey wasn’t the one I was most excited about. I had naively expected it to not be that different to what I’d seen before in the UK, but I will happily be the first one to hold up my hand and admit that I loved Guernsey and it was actually one of my favourite days of the cruise. Guernsey is just off the coast of Normandy, France but a British Crown Dependency which technically means it’s a self governing place for which the United Kingdom is responsible. In reality it means it feels like a delightful mix of traditional British charm mixed with French influences and of course it’s unique personality.


How to get around

Guernsey has a fairly good bus system and it’s pretty cheap to ride, with most tickets around £1. However they aren’t always that frequent so do be sure to check the timetables especially if you have a ship to get back on at a certain time.

There are a number of taxi services on Guernsey, all of which need to be booked in advance.

If you’re happy to get some exercise then Guernsey is actually a very pleasant place to walk around, and the lack of busy roads means it’s fairly safe even if there isn’t a footpath.


What to do

Visit some of the beaches & bays

I’d heard about Guernsey’s beaches before visiting and I’d been told ‘the water looks like the Med’, however I’d passed this off as nonsense until I actually visited myself. Now I’m the person saying it to others who haven’t been, because it’s true! The water in some of the beautiful bays around the island is turquoise and streaked with other blues making it look like water you’d expect to see by the Greek Isles.

Guernsey’s beaches are vast and clean, particular favourites include Vazon Bay, a haven for those who enjoy extreme sports. Favoured by surfers, kitesurfers and bodyboarders it’s home to Guernsey Surf School which runs classes for all ages and abilities.

Pembroke Bay & Chouet Bay are north of St Peter Port and easily accessible by bus. Virtually deserted when we visited they are a peaceful and beautiful place to visit, with only the neighbouring golf course and odd ice cream stand in sight.

Check out the Loophole Towers

The loophole towers were originally 15 towers built along coast to deter possible French attacks; 12 towers still remain. The towers had three floors and were all built in the same style at 9m tall.

Explore St Peter Port
Charming Saint Peter Port is the capital of Guernsey and the main port. It’s a picturesque town with narrow cobbled streets decorated with flags & bunting making it a colourful and pretty place.

As well as many British high street stores you might recognise it’s also home to many individual boutiques and shops. The port itself is lovely to sit by and there are some delightful cafes nearby including Cafe Emilia as well as traditional fish & chip shops such as The Chip Inn.

Visit the Little Chapel
The Little Chapel is one of Guernsey’s top attractions and for good reason. It’s a 9 foot long and 4.5 foot wide chapel decorated with broken china, shells and bottles resulting in a colourful and unusual design that glistens in the sunshine. Built by Brother Déodat it was designed as a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica in Lourdes.

The chapel is free to visit and relies on donations from the public, it’s served by bus route 71.

May – Sept daily 9am – 6pm
Oct – Apr daily 9am – last light

Visit the lovely Candie Gardens
Candie Gardens is an award winning restored Victorian flower garden. Lovingly maintained these gardens are a tranquil place commanding great views out to the port.

They are home to the oldest known heated glass-houses in the British isles, as well as cafe serving afternoon tea, a museum and art gallery. The Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery and is open daily 10.00-17.00hrs (closes at 16.00hrs 1st November to 29 March). Closes 25th – 26th December and 1st – 31st January. The Library is open from 09:30-17:00 Monday to Saturday, excluding Public Holidays.


For more ideas here is my Guernsey vlog from my visit.


To book a cruise with Princess Cruises that stops at Guernsey click here. This article was written in partnership with Princess Cruises.

15 things to do in Beverley | What to do in Beverley

Beverley is a delightful small town in the North East of England with a range of activities to suit all ages, and a huge amount of history and culture attached to it. It’s an ideal low key weekend break, with romantic hotels, some top dining locations and enough galleries, churches and quirky trails to keep you greatly entertained. Here are some top things to do Beverley.

1. Take a walking tour with Paul Schofield. Paul is originally from nearby Hull but knows the whole of East Yorkshire very well. His tours are tailored to the specific groups and are full of personality and fascinating stories. Paul knows not only some hidden gems around the town but also has many stories to suit.

He’s jolly and fun, with excellent local knowledge not just about the history of the area but also local customs, the best pubs to visit and funny stories about the town.

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2. Enjoy some fine dining twists on traditional meals at The Beverley Arms. With fantastic views of St Mary’s Church The Beverley Arms is a smart yet cosy hotel and bar/restaurant. The popular restaurant and bar serve real ales as well as some top food choices including a fantastic scallops & black pudding starter. Many of the dishes are recognisable choices but with updated twists. It finds a great balance between classy yet unpretentious, and this is reflected in the guests some of whom choose to dress up for dinner, with others comfortably casual.

The rooms are traditional and elegant, featuring tartans and ornate wallpaper, large walk in showers and tubs with luxury toiletries. It’s a great base to explore Beverley and certainly one of the most popular hotels in the region with good reason.

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3. Follow the painting trail. In a rather unique trail around the town, children and adults will enjoy finding the 22 full-sized paintings sited around Beverley. Paintings from local artists Fred and Mary Elwell (whose works were given to Beverley Art Gallery in 1958) make up a fun tour and outdoor art exhibition called ‘Painting The Town Fred And Mary.’

Even for those not particularly art focused it’s a bit different and the outdoor nature of it will certainly keep children interested.

4. Visit St Mary’s Church
You’d be forgiven for thinking that St Mary’s was in fact the cathedral given it’s size, but St Mary’s Church is in a fact a simple parish church, just a large and beautiful one. The outside is spectacular and it’s a lovely place to walk around and admire the architecture.

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5. Visit the Market Cross
Beverley is still a popular market town, and on a Saturday the large market stretches across the main square and draws in people from miles around, as well as locals of course. The Grade I listed Market Cross was built in the early 1700s and has been a proud central point of the town since then, drawing people to the market. It bares a number of coats of arms and some detailed carvings making it a beautiful as well as functional piece.

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6. Browse the local boutiques. Beverley has some wonderful boutiques and shops including record stores like Bug (pictured below). A top place to start is in St Mary’s Court which has some lovely clothing stores, a popular Gelato spot called Poma and some great unique gift shops.
Beverley is home to many high street brands but if you wander around the side streets and around the main square there are some independent shops including trendy clothing boutiques as well as high end salons.

7. Sample some luxury chocolates at the White Rabbit Chocolatiers. A small shop with some wonderful chocolates and truffles, it has extended and now features a popular cafe. Come for the chocolate slabs in flavours like ‘raspberry & amaretti’, the truffle counter including a delicious cappuccino flavour and the incredible decorated chocolate eggs.

8. Spot the intricate carvings of musicians at Beverley Minster
Beverley Minster is spectacular. It is grand, ornate and makes one marvel at how it was even designed let alone built. Spend a while exploring the different areas, taking note of the charming carvings of musicians dotted around. The minster has some beautiful stained glass windows and even those not particularly interested in religion or architecture are sure to be blown away by its majestic nature.

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9. Have a pint of Sam Smith’s at the White Swan. Known locally as Nellie’s this local institution is a popular pub serving very well priced ales from the Sam Smith brewery.

It’s large and traditional with lots of separate areas and a huge amount of history that keeps the locals coming back and the tourists wanting to visit. My dad tells me stories of it having gas lamps and a table with jugs of beers, which conjures up images of something like Oliver Twist. Obviously it has had to update somewhat since then, but only as much as the law requires, meaning it’s like stepping back in time.

10. Follow the trade trail around the town.
Beverley has a rich history of trades and the trade trail is made up of 39 unique sculptures depicting the trades and guilds of the region. In Medieval times Beverley was an important stopping point between York and Hull for coaches and it became a wealthy town with many skilled inhabitants including tanners and carpenters.

Follow the trade trail and spot some street art designs of varying sizes and shapes as you learn about the history of the town.

11. Follow Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit

Lewis Carroll was known to have spent a lot of time in Beverley with his family and a carving in St Mary’s Church surely does bare a strong resemblance to the White Rabbit character in his books. It is believed that this carving was part of the inspiration for the character.

12. Visit the old Friarage and it’s slanty facade.
The old friarage is now a YHA hostel, it what must be one of the most interesting buildings for a youth hostel. Slightly hidden away near the minster it’s a charming old building with some pleasant gardens including old wells, but the main draw is the front side with it’s very slanted walls, from some angles you would wonder how it manages to stay upright!

13. Walk around and take in the old buildings and Tudor timbers.
Beverley has some fantastic buildings, many of which are hundreds of years old. Be sure to look up as you walk around the town and spot some of the the buildings that have stood the test of time including a few authentic black & white timber designs, many with original street signs.

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14. Visit The Westwood

The Westwood is very pretty area of natural beauty just outside of the main town area. It is a great place to take a walk (plenty of parking spaces nearby), and take in the fresh air and lovely views, but it’s also pleasant just to drive through if you’re not much of an outdoorsy person.

15. Check out the sand sculptures
The Beverley sand sculpture trail is made up of sculptures from local artist Paul Hoggard. These 12,10-20 ton sand sculptures are housed in some significant buildings around the town including inside Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church and represent things associated with Beverley through the ages. The sculptures are incredibly impressive and almost look as if they are carved from stone.
https://en-gb.facebook.com/remyandpaul/

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For more information about Beverley visit;

https://www.visithullandeastyorkshire.com/beverley/

The Bower House | A delightful Cotwswolds stay

I’m a big fan of boutique properties, I find the attention to detail is usually much higher and the service often more personal.  Indeed, at The Bower House you’re welcomed as an old friend and the smiling staff have great suggestions for the local area.

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The five rooms are individually designed, with different styles, layouts and sizes to appeal to a range of guests. I stayed in Room 1, which was spacious but furnished in a way that felt cosy, especially with the slightly drizzly weather outside. There were many details in the rooms that have addressed pet peeves of mine at other hotels over the years; fresh milk was provided in the fridge, necessary for people like me that have their coffee pretty white and who don’t want to have to empty 12 UHT pots to make it drinkable.

There was a bath oil provided, once again presumably an idea of someone who has stayed in too many hotels where you have to empty the shampoo bottle into the bath to make any bubbles. Plug sockets were plentiful and near both bedside tables, a detail so often missing and making it difficult to charge one’s phone overnight.

810_7350The rooms come with a mini bar/drinks including local gins and quality wines, and the television comes with a Netflix account. Normally I’d say that I don’t go to a hotel to stay in and watch television but there was something about The Bower House that made me want to actually relax and enjoy the room. It’s designed in a luxurious way, but one that doesn’t feel pretentious, just quality furnishings allowing you to relax and enjoy your surroundings.

810_7322The bathroom is huge, featuring ‘his n hers’ sinks, a deep bath tub as well as a large shower with a range of quality shampoos and lotions. Once again it strikes me that the designers /managers will have stayed in the room as the small details make it so functional. Separate towels for the bathtub and the shower area make for easier post bathing and even the addition of the full length mirror alongside the sink mirrors and make up mirror mean every eventuality is thought of.

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The stylish bar serves some great cocktails, some featuring twists on classics like the margarita with a dash of pear brandy and some foreign favourites like the Pisco Sour. The bar and dining area is a mix between modern and traditional, with old paintings on teal walls and vintage style drinks trolleys next to brightly upholstered chairs. 810_7401

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I enjoyed the ambience in the dining area. It’s clearly a popular location for a meal amongst guests at the hotel but also with customers travelling in from miles around to dine there. I opted for the Roasted Chorizo as a nibble for the table, followed by a perfectly done salt & pepper squid with homemade chilli jam.

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810_7449Desserts were excellent including the Treacle Tart and the chocolate fondant served with honeycomb. The Bower House is also a popular brunch spot, and on Saturdays the restaurant was a lively affair with families and couples choosing from American Pancake stacks, smoked salmon and poached eggs and other breakfast delights alongside  mimosas and a selection of coffees.810_7537For a fantastic nearby option for dinner or drinks is The Howard Arms. A cross between a local style pub with friendly regulars & small groups enjoying the bar, and smartly dressed couples dining in the restaurant area. As well as a selection of real ales they have some fantastic wines including a great English white which went excellently with the Cropwell Bishop stilton bon bon served with grilled pear. 810_7457

810_7474The Howard Arms offers both traditional favourites like fish & chips, and slight twists like the ham & duck egg, but also more fine dining presentations such as the ‘Ham Hock Rillete with crispy black pudding, soused vegetables and apple sauce.’ 810_7491

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Shipston on Stour is a very pleasant town with some great unique shops, independent boutiques & charming delis to spend a couple of days wandering around, and The Bower House makes an excellent luxury base from which to explore.

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The Bower House

The Howard Arms

 

Where to eat in Lincoln |Top food & drink in Lincoln

Lincoln has a great number of options for food and drinks to suit all tastes. In the old town area then cute coffee shops and brunch options are numerous, as are traditional pubs with a few unique wine bars in between.

The list below is a few top recommendations for food and drink in Lincoln to suit whatever mood you’re in, all within walking distance of Lincoln Castle and the Bailgate area.

Where to go for cocktails in Lincoln and a stylish lunch – The Cosy Club

Towards the main shopping area of Lincoln is the old agricultural market and corn exchange area. It’s going through a regeneration of sorts and The Cosy Club is leading the way for style and also great use of the buildings. A relatively unassuming entrance leads up the stairs to a grand hall, with old timber beams on the ceiling, giant crown like light features designed by set designers from Game Of Thrones, and original adverts adorning the walls from when the building was an old corn exchange.

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It’s bright and cheerful, with colourful decorations and a long bar reminiscent of a speakeasy. There’s plenty of choice for drinks, including an imaginative cocktail menu which changes regularly, as well as an extensive spirit list.

As well as impressively sized sandwiches and burgers, there are tapas style options to share including top end haloumi fries and a scotch egg with black pudding. Main courses are also generously portioned with options including a superfood bowl and a delicious roast chicken wrapped in bacon which is made from scratch every order meaning it’s juicy and fresh.

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Top tip for dessert | Order the chocolate bomb with popping candy. It comes with a hot caramel sauce which melts the chocolate when poured, making a great boomerang, for those so inclined.

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Where to go for a coffee in Lincoln & a light lunch – Stokes Coffee

Stokes Coffee is a long standing family run business that smelt so delicious the scents wafted over as we approached from the castle. They have three locations but we visited Stokes on the Lawn which is housed in an old asylum. The cafe is decorated with funky wallpaper and a giant whale sculpture hangs from the ceiling. The team source, blend, roast and pack the products here and it’s possible to go ‘backstage’ so to speak, and view the teas and coffees and the coffee making process. They also sell the products to take home as well as drink in.

I tried the guest blend, with it’s hint of chocolate flavours as well as a fresh juice. The homemade food menu is clearly popular as the cafe was busy when we visited, giving a nice friendly atmosphere. I opted for the Lincolnshire Platter, complete with cheeses, pickles, pork pie, tasty Piper’s crisps (which of course are also from Lincolnshire), and haslet. For those who don’t know, (myself included until yesterday), haslet is somewhere between a meat loaf and a pie, and is sliced very thinly, going exceptionally well with mustard.

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Where to go for a cosy pub dinner in Lincoln – The Wig & Mitre

Upstairs from the Wig & Mitre Pub is the restaurant area. From my table I had great views of the castle on my right and then through the skylight on my left I could see the top of the cathedral, so I couldn’t really ask for better views.

It’s a cosy, relaxed atmosphere with a delightful owner who came to say hello during the meal. They do a range of ales as well as other options like the popular Adnam’s Stout, and there is a fairly extensive wine list.

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The menu is seasonal and there were a number of specials to compliment the other options. Starters included a beef brisket served in a yorkshire pudding which was filling and comforting, like the best kind of home cooking. Main courses included a duck breast with rich red cabbage cooked in red wine & cranberry sauce, and a pork belly with black pudding. The highlight for me was dessert. I opted for a double chocolate sponge, with caramel ice cream, genuinely so delicious I considered licking the plate.

The Wig & Mitre is a great option for those wanting tasty food in a homely environment, with the added benefit of being right in the old town area.

Where to go for Michelin Listed food | Special Occasion Dining – The Bronze Pig

So popular that you will have to plan your visit a few weeks in advance, The Bronze Pig has been open in Lincoln for around three years and gained a fantastic reputation during that time, as well as honourable mentions in the Michelin Guide 2018.

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It’s top quality, British food with unusual twists, featuring seasonal menus with ingredients sourced as locally as possible, (usually within 10 miles of the restaurant.)

There is an extensive wine list as well as suggested wines for each dish, and the staff are knowledgeable and passionate about the food as well as the concept.

Despite the fine dining level of food, it’s non pretentious, and makes for fantastic special occasion food or indeed a more frequent visit to try out the monthly changing menu for proper foodies. – Full review here;

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The Bronze Pig | Fine Dining in Lincoln

When you mention The Bronze Pig in Lincoln to others then their eyes light up. Either people are excited about their visit, or indeed have visited already for a birthday or an anniversary.

810_9244810_9251The restaurant is intimate, with only 12 tables, and only one sitting, meaning that you have the table to yourself for the whole evening. This is quite unusual in a restaurant of this standard, but allows guests to dine leisurely, enjoying their food and the environment, without having to rush for the next guests. There’s even a chef’s table for 6-8 people with views into the kitchen to marvel at the masterpieces being cooked. It’s decorated in a unique modern style, with wall murals and multi coloured chairs, bringing a bright vibrant aura to the rooms. 810_9266810_9270The chatty and personable owner explained a little about the ethos of the restaurant. Despite his Italian background the restaurant is decidedly British with almost everything on the menu coming from within 10 miles. A few exceptions such as the fish (from Grimsby) are allowed, but even bottled waters are locally sourced and Pompeo has even dabbled in British wines. The menus nod towards traditional cuisines, which with Lincoln being a heritage city with a huge amount of history is a lovely link.

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The food is seasonal and the menus change every month, with an evening of gastronomy held every 3 months with a special tasting menu. The food finds a wonderful balance between traditional menus and ingredients with a modern often deconstructed twist. Meats like rabbit, guinea fowl and pheasant make an appearance, with touches of sweet and savoury alongside each other, as well as a range of textures in every dish. The pan roasted quail was accompanied by a poached quail’s egg, but served alongside slightly blackened corn, giving a fine dining meal a homely nod. In a similar manner, the impeccable cod served with a tarragon pesto, sat on a cassoulet bed, once again mixing very familiar ingredients that one might find at home, alongside flavours and cooking techniques only found in top end restaurants.

The deconstructed lemon meringue pie was both sweet and torte, with a white chocolate ‘base’ that tasted like a rich tablet. A basil jus added an unusual but welcome flavour, and also that signature sweet & savoury mix.

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The chef is passionate about his food, and his taste comes across in the food. I was lucky enough to chat with him briefly after the meal and he talked enthusiastically about coming up with menus for the month.

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The evening was delightful from start to finish, and certainly in the top few meals I’ve eaten in recent times. With the frequently changing menus and expansions to the restaurant in the next year it’s certainly a place to return to.

http://thebronzepig.co.uk

48 hours in Lincoln | What to do on a weekend break?

In the past few years, Lincoln has grown from a sleepy midlands town to a thriving place with a popular university that also manages to maintain it’s historical charm…and boy does it have a lot of history!

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To familiarise yourself with the historic centre, try a walking tour with @hiddenlincoln My guide Ivan met me outside my hotel at The White Hart and took me on a two hour tour starting with Lincoln as a Roman settlement, through the medieval times right up to modern day. We wandered down streets without a single other person on them, only to come across preserved Roman walls and gates into the city, including the only Roman Gate in the whole country to still have traffic travel through it. Lincoln was a major player in the Roman times, and the city was full of bathhouses, an amphitheatre, markets and garrisons, and it’s possible to see evidence of these all over the city, if only you know where to look.

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Ivan was incredibly knowledgable, but tailored his tour to my particular interests, and as we approached the cathedral area, he pointed out numerous ‘secret’ carvings on the building, some done as medieval mischief, and even modern sculptures depicting a caretaker who has been working there for 40 years.

The cathedral is obviously a highlight, and even those not particularly interested in visiting churches will be wowed by the size and grandeur of it. It’s the third largest cathedral in the UK and despite the constant renovations it’s splendid to look at. An earthquake a few hundred years ago means that it’s designed in a few different styles including the more traditional gothic style, but inside it also features more modern artworks inside including paintings from some of the Bloomsbury set.

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The chapter house is lovely and during my visit I happened upon an impromptu performance from a fantastic group calling themselves Boston’s oldest boyband, singing ‘Unchained Melody!’

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When you’re all cathedralled out, then head to the Bailgate area to take a wander. At the top of the aptly named ‘Steep Hill’, Bailgate and the hill itself are full of boutiques, coffee shops and wine sellers, as well as the odd antique shop thrown in. You could spend quite a while wandering around, highlights include the traditional chocolatiers, as well as the more modern fudge shop, and an amusingly named café called ‘Basecamp’, (which it does feel like when you’re walking back up the hill.) It’s a pretty area with lovely buildings and looks like it’s straight from an old movie set.

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Facing the cathedral is Lincoln Castle, a well preserved walled castle with a Victorian Prison housed inside. The prison held both male and female prisoners, as well as very young children and quickly became very over crowded during the Victorian period. An exhibition inside allows you to see how the cells would have looked and learn a little about some of the inmates.

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Back outside and you can walk around the castle walls, getting fantastic views of the city and the cathedral towers. It’s a little bit windy up there, but a lovely walk, and it’s accessible to people with disabilities now too after recent refurbishments.

Outside of the town but within easy reach is the International Bomber Command Centre. The memorial itself is a 31 metre high sculpture surrounded by a Wall of Names, featuring the identities of those from Bomber Command and ground crew who lost their lives preserving the freedoms we have today. It’s a peaceful area with views through the memorial towards the cathedral. Inside the main building as well as a café is the indoor exhibition area, an interactive space including stories from the home guard and even a moving map showing bombing in Europe between 1939-1945. It’s a moving place and a very popular site to visit since it’s opening in March 2018. Even for younger members of the family, it’s an interesting place to visit and a great place for them to learn through interactive activities, and for those a bit older, its a wonderful place to pay your respects.

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Only a couple of hours by train from London, Lincoln is a lovely weekend away and full of varied options. It’s a great spot for history lovers, a top place for foodies, and with it’s range of trendy bars and cute boutique hotels it’s a great choice for a romantic trip.

https://www.visitlincoln.com