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13 January 2010

Plymouth City guide, including Plymouth Hotels

Plymouth is the vibrant regional capital of Devon and Cornwall. It is a thriving modern city, a historic seafaring port and holiday centre with something for everyone. When you want to escape the bustle and find a little peace and quiet, Plymouth is the perfect place to start. With a unique waterfront ambience and its spirit of the sea, Plymouth encompasses great local and international cuisine, superb entertainment and all weather activities throughout the year.

Places of interest:

There is plenty to do for all ages in and around Plymouth. A great place to start is the Plymouth Dome, where you will learn the history of the city. Then you can explore the Victorian Crownhill Fort, with great cannons, underground tunnels, ramparts, barracks and a massive dry moat. The state-of-the-art National Marine Aquarium is one of the country's premier tourist attractions, or you can enjoy one of the other indoor attractions are on offer such as ten pin bowling, laser games, ice skating or even an indoor beach at the Pavilions Fun Pool.
• The Merchant's House is where you can learn all about the trading that plays a major part in the history of Plymouth's past.
• Plymouth Dome, sited in front of Plymouth Hoe, overlooks the great natural harbour of Plymouth Sound. This high tech interactive visitor centreon the Hoe, takes you on an extraordinary journey through the fascinating history of this great city.
• National Marine Aquarium offers a really amazing experience, where you are taken on an unforgettable journey through the oceans of the world. You will encounter brilliantly coloured fish, delicate seahorses and awesome Caribbean Sharks.
• Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is the place to experience and enjoy engaging exhibitions, fascinating collections, first rate services and exciting special events. The City's Art Collections includes the nationally designated Cottonian Collection, oryou can experience what the people of Plymouth do for pleasure in the social history displays.
• The Barbican village is an essential port of call for you during your visit. It is a maritime treasure trove. It is where Drake and Raleigh once weighed anchor, and todayyou can find a bustling community of specialist shops, restaurants, caf's and world-class attractions, all in a picturesque harbour setting.
Things to do:

Plymouth is where the coast and countryside are on the doorstep for you to explore. You can take a trip on the Cremyll foot ferry to the gardens and parkland of Mount Edgcumbe or visit stately homes like Saltram House with its Great Kitchen, Buckland Abbey, once home to Sir Francis Drake, or the 20th century Lutyens designed Castle Drogo. A train ride on the Tamar valley or South Devon railway, through the counties beautiful countryside or a trip up river or across the bay is a relaxing way to enjoy the local scenery but if you want excitement there are adventure parks at Dobwalls or Woodlands, both offering thrills and spills galore. For a more sedate trip the Waterfront Walkway, combines modern art with spectacular views. Plymouth, with its great natural harbour, is made for those who love the great outdoors; and of course for real family fun, nothing beats a sunny dayon the beach, with a choice of secluded coves, or simply relax on the waterfront and enjoy the stunning views across the harbour.
• Mount Edgcumbe House is the former home of the Earls of Mount Edgcumbe. Set in Grade I Cornish Gardens within 865 acres of Country Park. It has been restored to the 18th century style, in keeping with the furniture and family treasures it holds. Features include paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Gerard Edema and William van der Velde, Irish Bronze Age horns, 16th century tapestries and 18th century Chinese and Plymouth porcelain. The Country Park was the earliest landscaped park in Cornwall and comprises of Grade I listed gardens and fifty-five other listed structures.
• Buckland Abbey was originally a small but influential Cistercian monastery. The house, incorporating the remains of the 13th-century abbey church, has rich associations withSir Francis Drake and his seafaring rival, Sir Richard Grenville. Take a voyage of discovery to 13th century Buckland Abbey and enjoy the story of this medieval monastery, which was uniquely converted into a Tudor home.You can also learn about the legendary life of Sir Francis Drake, his circumnavigation and the story of the Armada
• Kingsbridge Cookworthy Museum is where you can discover the story of Kingsbridge in their 17th century schoolroom. There is also a complete walk - in Victorian kitchen, Edwardian pharmacy and a large farm gallery.
• Buckfast Abbey is a living monastery in the beautiful Dart Valley. There is a magnificent Abbey Church, tranquil gardens and three unusual shops selling produce from Buckfast and other European Abbeys.
Food & Drink:

When the sun goes down, it's time for the bright lights. International cuisine or traditional cooking, fine wine or real ale, it's up to you.
• Artillery Tower is a most unusual and intimate restaurant. It is set facing the sea and is one of the oldest military buildings in Plymouth. Initially built to defend the realm, it now houses a fine dining-room offering a modern, fresh style of cooking, but with respect for traditional stocks, sauces and pastries.
• Bistro Ben' is a licensed waterfront restaurant in the Barbican. A haven tucked away in the middle of a bustling city, offering a superb choice of mouth-watering dishes in a relaxed, charming and intimate atmosphere.
• Tanners Restaurant is known throughout the region for fine quality and attention to every detail. The best of local produce, prepared with style and flair, mixed with that special ingredient that only the Tanner Brothers are capable of producing. Tanners Restaurant is housed in the oldest surviving domestic building in Plymouth, the Prysten House.
• Admiral Macbride is close to the Mayflower Steps Memorial and reputedly built on the site of the original Steps, the Macbride was predominantly a fishing man's pub until the fish market and boats were relocated. Now it caters for locals and tourists offering food and for most of the day. There is a large main room with a small alcove at one end of the bar.
Plymouth Hotels & Accommodation:

From four-star luxury to rustic bed and breakfast, Plymouth and its surrounding area has accommodation for all tastes and budgets.
• Copthorne Hotel Plymouth
• Best Western Duke of Cornwall Hotel
• Novotel Plymouth
• Jewell In Plymouth Hotel
• Grosvenor Hotel
• Holiday Inn Plymouth
• Rosaland Hotel
• Riviera Hotel
• Sunray Hotel
• Moorlands Links Hotel
• The New Continental
• Elfordleigh Hotel
• The Royal Fleet Club
• Quality Hotel Plymouth

For an evening out you can choose from a West End preview at the Theatre Royal, a concert or comedian at Plymouth Pavilions, or the latest blockbuster at one of the multi-screened cinemas. If you prefer an active night out there are plenty of dance venues and sporting facilities in the local area.
• The Cooperage is Plymouth's premier venue if you like your music live. Located on Plymouth's historic Barbican, the Cooperage has recently undergone extensive renovations. Free to enter, there is a great atmosphere whereyou can find a diverse range of music and dance on offer.
• Plymouth Arts Centre has been around for over 50 years, and offers some of the best exhibitions by local, national and international artists in a dazzling array of mediums. They also show the best ground-breaking independent and foreign films in their cinema; and a vegetarian restaurant can also be found in the building.
• The Theatre Royal in Plymouth enjoys a mixed programme of drama from pantomime to ballet and also incorporates the Drum Theatre.
Whatever you enjoy, it is yours to discover in Plymouth all year round. With a strong maritime history and exciting coastline combined with the rugged scenery of Dartmoor, this thriving city can keep you enthralled for ages.


06 January 2010

Liverpool City guide, including Liverpool Hotels

Liverpool is, of course, most famous for being the city that spawned The Beatles. But there is much more to this fascinating city's past than just the Fab Four. Recent years have seen extensive re-development in the city andLiverpool is once again on the up swing in terms of popularity. The docks have been rejuvenated, there is a thriving cultural scene and the city is today renowned all over the UK for its nightlife. Once again on the up, Liverpool is well worth a visit for any visitor.

Places of interest:
• WORLD MUSEUM LIVERPOOL continues to be a favourite with locals and visitors alike. From the creepy Bug House and brand-new Aquarium to The Natural History Centre and Treasure House Theatre, families will find enough to keep them coming back for years.
• WALKER ART GALLERY is known as the National Gallery of the North. It houses an internationally important collection of art from the 14th to the 20th century. The collection is especially rich in European Old Masters, Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite pictures and modern British works.
• MUSEUM OF LIVERPOOL LIFE Celebrate the unique character of this vibrant city and its contribution to national life in three fascinating galleries - City Lives, The River Room, and City Soldiers. Other galleries include Mersey Culture - from Brooksideto the Grand National - Making a Living and Demanding a Voice.
• TATE LIVERPOOL is housed in a beautiful converted warehouse; Tate Liverpool is one of the largest galleries of modern and contemporary art outside London. Home to the National Collection of Modern Art in the North with exhibitions from 1900 to the present day, the Tate holds regular introductory tours, exhibition talks and lectures as well as free family events every Sunday.
• MERSEYSIDE MARITIME MUSEUM This award-winning attraction tells the story of Liverpool's seafaring heritage and the Merchant Navy, from its role in the transatlantic slave trade to obtaining one of the finest collections of shipping records in the UK
• THE BEATLES STORY is where you can experience the greatest pop story the world has ever known; in the city where it all began. This multi-award winning attraction tells the personal tales ofLiverpool's favourite sons, including a full-size replica of the Cavern Club, Abbey Road studios, a walk-through the Yellow Submarine and The White Room. New sections include 'Paul McCartney: The Solo Years' and the 'Living History' Audio Tour featuring the voices of the Fab Four's most influential figures.
Things to do:

Guided tours are a great way to see the city. Taking you to places and visiting attractions, which you might otherwise miss. Fromthe Beatles to Cathedrals, Sports tours and murder mysteries, Liverpool is awash with outstanding tours each guaranteed to make your visit truly memorable. If you want to get the family out and about, and get a dose of history and wildlife at the same time, take a trip along the Leeds andLiverpool Canal. You can travel along the canal by boat or cycle or walk the canal path. Croxteth Hall Country Park is an excellent choice for parents who want to give the kids a run around awayfrom the city centre. Or visit Chester Zoo and see lions, tigers and giraffes.
• CROXTETH HALL& COUNTRY PARK is one of the major heritage centres of the North West. Visit The Historic Hall, Croxteth Home Farm (great for kids)and the Victorian Walled Garden. Entrance to the park is free.
• CHESTER ZOO offers a fun and stimulating days out for everyone, no matter what age or ability. As well as 500 different species of animals and award-winning gardens, it offers first class facilities that ensure your days out really are as enjoyable as possible.
• CAVERN CITY TOURS can organise day trips and weekend packages to suit every Beatle fan. You can even take a trip on the real Magical Mystery Tour. They also present the International Beatle Week Festival in August.
• AINTREE RACECOURSE is the beloved home of the Grand National. Aintree Racecourse hosts a range of professional and amateur events throughout the year.
Food & Drink:

Liverpool's restaurant scene has blossomed over the past decade with new eateries seemingly popping up overnight. The city's ethnic diversity has led to a wide range of dining choices when it comes to style. Being hometo the oldest Chinese community in Europe has meant a plethora of Chinese restaurants, a significant proportion of which lie in the city's Chinatown. However, one of the most impressive actually looks outover the River Mersey from a marvellous vantage point on Columbus Quay.
• Blundell Street Restaurant (near Kings Dock) offers a modern take on the classic Sinatra-era cabaret lounges. International cuisine mixes with the best crooners in town to complete a very lively night out, so if you remember the glory days of the Rat Pack or simply want your meal to go with a swing then this is the place to go.
• Sapporo Teppanyaki Restaurant is where the preparation of food is pure entertainment. Expert chefs flaunt their outstanding skills and creative flair to ensure that every meal is unique.
• 60 Hope Street has been voted Best Merseyside Restaurant of the Year four times. This haven for European cuisine offers modern dining at a very reasonable price, though you are advised to book early.
• Colin's Bridewell restaurant is set in an Old Police Station, Colin's upstairs dining room is light and airy whilst downstairs, and five original cells offer the ideal venue for a private party.
Liverpool Hotels & Accommodation:

Liverpool's extensive range of hotels, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, and self-catering accommodation offer a wide range of style and price. Accommodation ranges from luxury hotels to medium-priced hotels, family-run bed & breakfasts and self-catering apartments in the city centre.
• Park Lodge
• The Suites Hotel
• Aachen Hotel
• Campanile Hotel Liverpool
• The Feathers Hotel
• Regent Maritime Hotel
• Thistle Liverpool
• Days Serviced Apartments Liverpool
• The Dolby Hotel
• Liverpool City Centre Premier Travel Inn
• Radisson SAS Liverpool
• Hope Street Hotel
• Hanover Hotel
• The Sir Thomas Hotel
• ThrostlesNest Hotel

In a city with such a wealth of musical achievement, you would expect a dazzling, diverse and vibrant nightlife. And that's exactly whatLiverpool offers. Performing arts in Liverpool have a renowned reputation and famous city theatres have hosted performances by writers, directors, actors and actresses who have gone on to become world-famous names in the world of theatre, film and television.
• FACT (a centre for Film, Art and Creative Technology) is located in the centre of one of the city's growing nightlife scene. The specially and strikingly designed building houses cinemas, studios and other venues givingLiverpool another state-of-the-art performing arts venue and creative centre.
• ALBERT DOCK WATERFRONT complex contains bars, restaurants and club venues including an award-winning comedy club and other venues popular with soccer stars, local television personalities and other celebrities.
• LIVERPOOLEMPIRE THEATRE is the largest two-tier theatre in the UK and still leads the way, with one sell-out performance after another.
• LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL is the home to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and a broad spectrum of rock, jazz, world, contemporary music and comedy. Watch classic films on its unique Walturdaw rising cinema screen.
Liverpool is full of tradition. Music, Maritime and Sporting history dominates this city. Add this to the cultural history on show and the regeneration that has made it the European City of Culture for 2008 this is a city that cannot be missed.

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