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Insiders guide to the UK

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Insiders guide to the UK

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Written by House of Travel's *Anna Sarjeant

* A pesky pommy

1. Enjoy a traditional English pint at the floating pub

First things first, you're in the UK – let’s go to the pub! Make the occasion a little more unique with London’s converted 1930’s Dutch barge. That's right, a pub on a boat. Tamesis Dock is a floating pub permanently moored at Albert Embankment, between Lambeth and Vauxhall Bridge. Sit outside on the deck and savour your pint, with the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and London Eye in the background. 

HOT Tip:
Order your beer by the pint. On average lager in London will set you back £3.70 per pint. Choose a cheaper ale at your own risk.

2. Drink hot broth in Welsh Snowdonia
Lace up the walking boots and climb the highest mountain in England and Wales. Snowdonia sits in the lush national park of North Wales. Power to the top and you’ll be rewarded with sublime views and a summit café serving steaming hot soup. 

HOT Tip:
If you come across runners, they might be training for the SAS – the Special Air Service and the UK's most hardened (and top secret) soldiers!

3. Eat Scouse Stew with John Lennon
When in Liverpool, you eat scouse. The name of the stew enjoyed by Liverpool’s poorest sailors during the 19th century. Hence why Liverpudlians are referred to as scousers.

Enjoy a rich bowl of scouse before a walk down Liverpool’s Mathew Street; home to the Cavern Club and a plethora of Beatles-inspired bars. There’s still a replica Cavern – so authentic it floods! Guzzle a pint and then have your photo taken with Lennon, he’s standing close by, outside the Cavern Pub. 

HOT Tip: Avoid Mathew Street at night, it’s a mecca for Stag-Dos. Instead head to Albert Dock for fine dining, or Concert Square for bars. 

4. Warm up with a roast beside a roaring log fire
Worth waiting six days for, Sundays were made for roast dinners. From quaint old pubs with roaring hearths to carveries offering unlimited meat at ludicrously cheap prices, indulge in a Great British roast. The merit of a Sunday Roast lies in the quality of the Yorkshire Puddings. They should be thick and fluffy with a golden outer, crunchy-battered edges and swamped in gravy. Home-made is essential; just like grandma’s.

HOT Tip: Look out for a Toby Carvery; a chain restaurant and self-appointed ‘home of the roasts’. It’s not flash but they’re cheap, cheerful and you won’t leave hungry.  

5. Follow Beckham down the player's tunnel at Wembley
If there’s one thing the Brits – predominately the English – love more than roasts, it’s football. Take a guided all-access tour of London’s Wembley Stadium; home ground to the England football team, host to all the biggest matches and the second largest stadium in Europe. With a seating capacity of 90,000, you’ll get behind-the-scenes access to this colossal arena, including the player’s changing room and a walk down the infamous player’s tunnel. Spine tingles guaranteed.  

HOT Tip: A year-round goody, the only date you might want to avoid is the day a new kit’s launched – these will be busier.

6. Seek Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest
Follow in the footsteps of a Nottingham legend and explore the marked trails of Sherwood Forest. Home to the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood, as well as the oldest trees in Europe. Some of them are hitting 800 years old! Take a picnic, sit beneath a time-weathered oak and keep an eye out for Robin.  

HOT Tip: Choose from one of three different trails, there’s one to suit all ages, abilities and fitness. 

7. Eat a bag of fried chips outside the smallest house
Great Britain’s smallest house is in the quaint fishing village of Conwy, North Wales. It’s just 6 foot wide and only a fraction higher; stand outside and you’ll be able to touch the second floor window! With a tiny kitchen, lounge and bedroom, if you need the toilet you’ll have to go in the sea, which is conveniently opposite.

HOT Tip: Also a great location for supper; grab a bag of hot chips, douse in vinegar and sit beside the fisherman’s harbour with the seagulls. 

8. Cool down with ice-cream beside the seaside
Brighton. The quintessential Great British seaside resort, with its pebbled beach, long pier, houses as bright as its deck chairs and narrow lanes flushed with cute boutiques and 17th century cottages. Head to Brighton Wheel and sit outside with an ice-cream. 

HOT Tip: Well facilitated by train, get from London to Brighton in an hour. With the last train departing at midnight, you can spend the entire day there.

9. Venture into Game of Thrones in misty Northern Ireland
With its craggy coastline and perpetual grey sky, Northern Ireland makes the perfect location for Game of Thrones. Head to County Antrim for the 820-acre walled demesne of Castle Ward, AKA Winterfell, or the limestone façade of Magheramore Quarry which double-up as Castle Black. 

HOT Tip: Pop into the local pub. It’s not uncommon to find some of the cast knocking back a pint after a hard day’s graft. 

10. Snuggle up in a cosy Scottish yurt
A rugged landscape of beauty and barren-land, complement full days of Scottish exploration with glamour camping. Dotted across the country, it’s becoming increasingly popular to book yurts, tipis, wigwams and wooden camping pods. Pre-pitched in the heart of forested woodland, or clinging to the foothills of a serene Scottish loch, forgo the tent and choose a yurt – many have wood burning stoves and a fortress of blankets ready to snuggle with.  

HOT Tip: Pop into the local pub. It’s not uncommon to find some of the cast knocking back a pint after a hard day’s graft.  

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