Get Out There! Fun and Adventurous Day Trips from Manchester

Whether you are living in Manchester or just visiting, this city makes an ideal base for exploring the fascinating northwest of England. There are so many excellent destinations within a short distance from Manchester, giving you the opportunity to explore everything from cities to historic castles to beautiful English countryside to world-class shopping and dining.

Day Trips from Manchester
Day Trips from Manchester

If you don’t have a car, you can always get a taxi from Manchester directly to any of these destinations, or take public transit if you have more time.

Chill Factore

Perhaps you want to experience the thrill of skiing or snowboarding, but you don’t have the time or the budget to go on a holiday to the Swiss Alps. Chill Factor is the longest indoor snowboarding and skiing slope in the UK and it will give you the opportunity to enjoy an indoor winter wonderland just outside of Manchester. You can even take lessons on the 180 metre long snow slope in order to improve your technique. There is also shopping and dining along Alpine Street and other activities including luging, tubing, indoor climbing and fitness classes.

Liverpool

Liverpool is less than an hour away from Manchester, so why not head over and check out this diverse and artistic city? It was voted the 2008 Capital of Culture and there are a number of interesting art galleries, museums, boutiques and cafes to visit.

Of course, Liverpool is known for being the home of one of the most famous bands of all time – The Beatles. You can learn more about the legendary rockers at “The Beatles Story” museum located on Albert Dock. Also, you could take a tour of the city in an amphibious vehicle known as the “duck” which converts from a bus to a boat to take visitors around the streets and the harbour.

York

York is another ideal day trip destination from Manchester. It is located about an hour and 20 minutes away and it is very different than modern and stylish Manchester. York was a medieval walled city and you can still take a walk along the stone fortification walls along the city. During your trip, be sure to visit the stunningly beautiful York Minster, with its soaring ceilings and impressive stained glass windows. You can take the steep spiral staircase up to the top and enjoy an amazing view over the city. If you want to imagine what shopping would have been like during the Middle Ages, take a walk down “The Shambles” which is a street lined with overhanging timber framed buildings which date back as far as the 14th century. York is also a great starting point for some lovely walks in the surrounding countryside.

Old Trafford

Are you a Manchester United Football fan? If so, take the opportunity to visit the famous Old Trafford stadium and watch the boys in red play a football match. While you are there, you can take a look at the Old Trafford Museum and Tour Centre, which tells the story of Manchester United throughout the years. If you want to make your visit even more special, you can even book a tour. This would make a great day out for a young child who is an avid football fan.

Arndale Centre

If you are in the mood for some retail therapy, head out to the Arndale Shopping Centre for the day so that you can shop until you drop. No matter what you are looking for, whether it is fashions, household items or beauty accessories, you are sure to find some great bargains. There is even a Branded Clearance shop where you will be able to find the top clothing brands at discount prices. There are over 80 stores here as well as several great cafes and bakeries where you can grab a bite to eat.

These are just a few of the many great day trips that you can enjoy from the city of Manchester. If you are visiting, why not take a day out of your trip and explore further afield? If you live here, you will have plenty of fun trips to enjoy every weekend, so get out there and explore!

About the author

Max Wheeler is a travel writer and blogger who is based in Manchester. He likes to take day trips around the area and recently treated his girlfriend to a surprise trip to Chill Factore. 

 

Bed and breakfast Scotland

Scotland has always been one of the most favourite tourist’s destinations. It has attracted people from all around, who flock in here together mostly to enjoy its rich scenic beauty. And as if that was not enough to attract people, ScotlandScotland Map continues to give the tourists new excuses to make them want to visit the place over and over again. The latest new excuse is the amazing bed and breakfast Scotland offer to the visitors!

The hotels in Scotland have never failed to please the guests. However, these days when you go looking about for the perfect holiday accommodation, Scotland surely has developed its hotel management skills a lot. When it comes to hotels and bed and breakfast Scotland is surely not behind the changing times. They make sure that you can get all possible service facilities in these hotels that you may desire.
Continue reading Bed and breakfast Scotland

Finding thrills in the UK

There are no active volcanoes in the UK, which is great, though it does mean Brits have to go abroad to try the new and bizarre sport of Volcano Surfing. Brits will also struggle to find a good place for Skijoring, where you put on skis and get pulled along by horses or dogs. While these both sound amazing, there are plenty of other ways to get an adrenaline rush in the UK. Here are a few you might not have tried:

Driving a supercar

In 2007, a man was jailed for ten weeks for driving a borrowed Porsche at 172mph down the A420 in Oxfordshire. He should have just paid for a supercar driving experience, where he could have done the same thing, but legally and more safely, on a racetrack.

If sports cars aren’t your thing, at some driving tracks you can race JCBs, or drive monster trucks, articulated lorries, and even fire engines.

Where to do it: York, Wigan, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Caving

Last year, Werner Herzog blagged himself the best caving experience of all time – he got permission to explore the Chauvet Cave in France, which contains 32,000-year-old paintings, the oldest in the world.

Watching Herzog’s film is the only way you’ll get to see inside Chauvet – it’s closed to the public. However, there are plenty of picturesque caves to explore around the UK.

Where to do it: Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District, Sutherland (Scotland).

Hostage rescue

If your friends are a bit bored with paintballing, why not buy them a hostage rescue day gift? You’ll be trained in weapons and tactics, and then have to plan and carry out the rescue, using replica weapons.

You can also do ‘spy days’, which involve sniping, electronic surveillance and driving stunts.

Where to do it: Milton Keynes.

Flying lesson

This is understandably exciting for the participants, but you’d think it would also cause a real adrenaline rush for the teacher, because you’re driving the plane, and you’ve never driven a plane before. Fortunately, they also have a set of controls, so it’s safe. In some ‘flying experience’ sessions, you’re allowed to do barrel rolls, loops and other aerial acrobatics.

Where to do it: Gloucestershire, Bristol, Cardiff.

Barefoot water skiing

The name is something of a contradiction, as if you put skis on your feet, they are no longer bare. Still, it sounds fun – you get pulled along by a boat while standing up. As you don’t have skis, you need to go pretty fast to stay above the water. In March 2011, a barefoot water skier set a new world record – 153mph. He was being pulled by a helicopter.

Where to do it Ringwood (Hampshire), Lydd (Kent).

Coasteering

The coastal equivalent of parkour, coasteering involves scrambling up cliffs, across rocky ridges, over obstacles, and through caves, as well as a fair bit of diving and swimming. It’s good exercise, adrenaline-filled, and done on remote beaches, so any embarrassing slip-ups are less public than if you were doing parkour.

Where to do it: Devon and Cornwall are full of great spots.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK

3 historic locations not to be missed

The United Kingdom and its overseas territories currently possess 28 locations which have been honoured with the distinction of UNESCO World Heritage Site. With UNESCO sites travelling the length and breadth of the country, you could take a lifetime to explore them all. While the prospect of visiting all of the sites may be a bit daunting, particularly the ones found in Bermuda, the Pitcairn Islands, and Saint Helena, it can make for a lovely weekend adventure to visit just a few and discover the secrets that they hold. No matter where you live in the UK there is sure to be a World Heritage Site somewhere near you just waiting to be explored.

Many of the UK World Heritage Sites are very well known, such as Stonehenge, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, and the Tower of London, but there are so many more that are just a little off the beaten track and definitely worth a visit.

Blenheim Palace-Oxfordshire

Granted UNESCO status in 1987, this monumental country house is said to be one of England’s largest houses. Built between 1705 and 1724 as the residence of the dukes of Marlborough, this unusual English Baroque palace is an architectural oddity set in gardens landscaped by the famous Capability Brown. Visit the room where Sir Winston Churchill was born in 1874, or take a stroll through the 2, 000 acres of parkland during your visit here. As one of Britain’s greatest palaces you can step back in time and feel like you’re living in a real life Downton Abbey.

Derwent Valley Mills-Derbyshire

As one of the newer members of the list, granted status in 2001, Derwent Valley Mills is a testament to Britain’s place in the industrial revolution and the development of the modern factory system. It was here that the template for industrial communities was established by Richard Arkwright, the inventor of the water frame, which revolutionised the cotton industry. In a site which stretched 15 miles down the Derwent river valley from Matlock Bath to Derby, you can visit the mill complex, including several cotton and silk mills and the settlements which were established for employees. They even have the largest collection of bobbins in the world at the Masson Mill Textile Museum, now that’s a sight you won’t want to miss!

Heart of Neolithic Orkney-Orkney Islands, Scotland

If you’re heading north, take a trip off the coast of Scotland and visit any of the four sites which were designated by UNESCO as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney in 1999. The most famous of the four sites is Skara Brae, a stone built neolithic settlement on the Bay of Skaill which dates from 3180 BCE–2500 BCE. This cluster of houses is older than both the pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge, and provides fascinating insights into the lives of some of Scotland’s earliest inhabitants. The remaining three locations which make up the UNESCO site are two stone circles, the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness, and the passage grave of Maes Howe are also not to be missed. While this World Heritage Site takes a bit more effort to visit, it is one of the more unique places to visit in the UK.

Amanda is a guest blogger from Web Cottages who provide self catering holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland. Visit us at Web Cottages and we are sure to have a holiday home that is a perfect base for your next adventure.

The Best Free Attractions in Manchester

In recent years, Manchester has risen in prominence to become one of the UK’s leading tourist destinations, thanks to its wealth of excellent modern and historical attractions. This doesn’t mean a trip to see the sights of Manchester necessarily needs to be expensive though, especially when you look for the best attractions in the city that don’t cost anything at all.

Many of Manchester’s museums are up there with the best in the UK, and can be even more appealing for their lack of entry fees. The Manchester Museum in particular is a popular destination, and was even voted one of the UK’s must-see museums in a recent survey. This eclectic museum offers a comprehensive overview of many aspects of science, nature and history, from dinosaur fossils to artefacts from throughout human history, and can make a great day out for visitors of all ages.

The city’s art collections are up to the same high standard, with centres such as the Whitworth Gallery being particularly acclaimed. This art museum contains more than 55,000 exhibited works, including special, limited exhibitions that often make the headlines for their controversial nature. A fine alternative to the likes of the Tate Modern in London for those travelling to the North West of England.

Another important side of Manchester culture not to be overlooked is its impressive musical heritage, which can be enjoyed at famous venues like the Manchester Academy. While it may not be the biggest venue in the city, the Academy has the distinction of being the hand-picked venue of choice for many local, national and international acts passing through Manchester, due to the crucial role it has played in developing Manchester’s music scene.

Manchester is also one of England’s greener cities, meaning it has plenty of outdoor activities too, especially when heading to its large public parks. Heaton Park is perhaps the best known, and contains a playground and animal centre for kids, but Wythenshawe and Queens Park can make for equally enjoyable strolls if you’re in the neighbourhood.

You can spend some of the money you’ve saved visiting Manchester’s free attractions by taking a shopping trip to popular retail areas such as the Trafford Centre mall, which draws shoppers from all over the UK, to find bargain mementos to take home on your Manchester flights. Manchester city centre contains an abundance of great shops too, including boutiques and one-of-a-kind outlets if you’re looking for that special purchase.

Disclaimer: The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author and is intended purely for information and interest purposes only. It should not be used to make any decisions or take any actions. Any links are included for information purposes only.

Nightlife in Edinburgh

As the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is renowned as a popular tourist destination with plenty of attractions to keep you captivated.  It also boasts some of the best nightlife in the whole of the British Isles.  Although clubs and pubs abound, some recommended areas include the engagingly non-conformist Lothian Road, the student infested Cowgate area, and the more up market George Street.

Edinburgh Castle seen from Salisbury Crags
EdinburghKim Traynor / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

One particular highlight is the Edinburgh International Festival.  During the festival the city transforms itself into the heartbeat of culture with an abundance of festivals flourishing around the city.  Aside from this event, the following will give you an idea of some great nightlife spots to dance, or relax, the night away.

Recommended bars and pubs

Le Monde – one of the more popular and stylish places to hang out on George Street, the Hotel Le Monde is a hip boutique facility that houses three popular bars – Milan, Paris, and Vienna.  For a dressed-up evening of cocktails, this is the place. It’s also the perfect spot for a swish lunch or dinner.

The Doric – this establishment was named after Scotland’s northeastern dialect.  Located close to the station, the Doric is a 17th century “gastro” pub that is a great place to catch a last minute drink and snack before heading out.  Chicken curry is the specialty here but there is also haggis, neeps, and tatties for those who fancy  a “wee” bit of Scottish cuisine .

Theater Royal Bar – The distinct dramatic frontage and design of this establishment make it a welcome change from your traditional boozer.  Situated adjacent to Edinburgh Playhouse Theater, you can enjoy a cozy fire inside during the winter months or sit out front and do some people watching in the process.  The aesthetics of the Theater Royal Bar make it a must-see spot on your trip.

Recommended nightclubs

Cabaret Voltaire – located in the Cowgate District of the city, you will find this club in the ancient subterranean caverns and caters to the student and younger adult crowd.  The club is open 7 nights per week and features music ranging from disco and drum and bass to rap and reggae.

Espionage – located within walking distance of the Grassmarket and the Royal Mile, the club is five stories of fun-filled clubbing action in Edinburgh.  The club is like a labyrinth or maze filled with bars, dance floors, and numerous hidden nooks all of which are decorated differently.  Additionally, every night is themed and the music coincides with the chosen theme.

Opal Lounge – a club geared to more discerning patrons, you’ll find the Opal Lounge in the hip confines of George Street.  During his St. Andrews student days, Prince William was known to have frequented the club.  The club opens every evening of the week and features music that includes DJ’s, funk, R&B, and soul.

Finally, if you’re passion is live music, you’ll find all the classical and jazz venues you can handle at Whistlebinkies and the Jazz Bar respectively.  Opportunities to take in the Theater are also abundant.  The three most recommended spots include the King’s, Royal Lyceum, and Traverse Theaters.  One way or the other, you won’t be at a loss for things to do in the evenings in Edinburgh.

By Ross Withers who has also written about B&Bs for sale in Edinburgh and the UK, and is an avid home brewer.

4 Essential Attractions in Devon

If you’re on holiday in Devon, then there are a few things that you simply must do. Devon has some of the most interesting and exciting things on offer that you’ll kick yourself if you miss. From sea creatures to castles, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The National Aquarium

As the largest aquarium in the UK, this aquarium has over 70 different species of shark including Sand Tiger Sharks and Nurse Sharks. The aquarium also has the largest collection of jellyfish in the UK, with several species, including the Moon Jellyfish, and you’ll be able to see them at various stages of their lifespan. Located in Plymouth, this aquarium can be a day out in itself, but they recommend spending at least three hours there. There are picnic areas as well as a family friendly restaurant and a café.

Under the Sea
National AquariumChris Smith/Out of Chicago / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Becky Falls

Voted the most beautiful place in Devon, Becky Falls is a famous waterfall in Dartmoor. With moss covered boulders and ferns, it looks like an ancient valley or something out of Jurassic Park. As well as walks and trails around the waterfall, there is a variety of activities designed to keep children of all ages entertained. From the nature challenge competition to cuddly and creepy animal shows, there’s something to suit everyone.

Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo was built in the 1910s and 20s and is constructed entirely out of granite. It is the last castle to have been built in England. Though only relatively recently built (in comparison with other castles) it borrows features from medieval and Tudor architecture, as well as more modern approaches. Positioned above the Teign Gorge, it is in a prominent position that means it is susceptible to damp, and has need much ongoing repair work. You can also take a walk down the gorge next to its fierce river.

Castle Drogo 2
Castle DrogoGauis Caecilius / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Milky Way Adventure Park

If you’re more of a thrill seeker, then you must check out the Milky Way Adventure Park. With 85,000 square feet of Devon’s all weather theme park, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes. Whether you fancy watching Birds of Prey displays, playing a round of mini golf or defying death on one of Devon’s most terrifying rides, there’ll be an activity to suit you almost perfectly. All the activities are included in the entrance fee too.

At the end of an exciting day in Devon, you’ll want to go back to your accommodation so you can relax and unwind. Helpful Holidays are a company dedicated to making sure that your holidays are the best that they can be.

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit The Lake District?

Home to some of Britain’s most spectacular natural scenery and wildlife, the Lake District remains an undisputed gem on the northern landscape. Covering a total area of just over 885 square miles, the Lake District is an intricate network of lakes, mountain peaks and woodlands which has been categorised as a protected area since 1951. Its popularity as a tourist destination continues to swell with every passing year, as visitors from the UK and all over the world flock to see nature in its most glorious and unaltered form.

Lake District
Lake DistrictEnnor / Water Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

When to Visit the Lake District: How to Make your Decision

As a traveller, one of the most important considerations is deciding exactly when to visit the Lake District. To make an informed decision, you will need to consider the following factors and the type of holiday that you are hoping to enjoy: –

Weather and Climate

The Lake District is renowned for its inconsistent weather, and the fact remains that heavy showers can strike at any time of the year. That said, statistics suggest that the worst of the regions rainfall is usually reserved for the beginning and the end of winter, so you may wish to avoid travelling between the months of November and February. Excessive snow has also been known to fall during these months, so you are best served planning your trip at a time when the climate is a little more conducive to experiencing outdoor activities.

Busy Periods and Activities

The busiest season for tourism in the Lake District is between June and August, and this surge in demand triggers soaring prices, heavy traffic and high levels of congestion. Travelling during this time may impact on the quality of your experience, especially if you are hoping to enjoy a slow placed and relaxing holiday. If you are looking for a more active break, however, a summer excursion will allow you to access several gardening and good food festivals, while it also provides an ideal opportunity to enjoy the numerous fells and hiking routes in glorious sunshine.

Wildlife and Natural Plant Life

The Lake District is also known to attract wildlife enthusiasts and students, as it is home to several species of rare and fascinating life. If you are hoping to enjoy the local wildlife as a part of your holiday, you would be best advised to visit during the autumn months and from the beginning of September. Not only is the region less well populated during this time, but the cooling climate also provides an ideal environment for many of the Lake District’s resident animals. An autumn excursion will also enable you to save money, as many hotels are forced to compete for potential business during the off-peak season.

In Conclusion

While it is clear that the timing of your Lake District trip is primarily dependent on your personal preferences and expectations, as a general rule you should avoid visiting during the months of winter. Taking into account all of these factors, however, travelling in late spring or early autumn will allow you to enjoy an affordable experience that offers exceptional value for money. Your choice of accommodation may also influence the timing of your trip, as reputable operators such as South Lakeland Parks are renowned for offering excellent deals all year round.

Some Things To Learn About The School Holidays

The school summer holiday is upon us all and that can be good news and bad news, for me it’s great as my commute to work is only half as crowded as during term time but for mums and dads the pressure to find interesting things to do, find childcare and simply having them around the house can be infuriating!

But it’s not just that, research carried out by hotvouchers.com has found that the summer hols will cost parents an average of £2,523.32. The poll surveyed 2,000 parents and found that the cost of keeping the kids at home could easily pay for a luxury holiday itself!

Parents taking their children abroad for a week will spend £1,640.92 over that time but the majority of parents aged between 35 and 44 will be staycationing in order to save money. Once the trip is over a further £882.40 will have to be found to keep the kids out of trouble for the other five weeks and 40% of parents will be worried about not being able to find the money that the summer break is going to require, 13% are considering taking out loans to cover the expense. These will include:

Over £350 on food for the family.

£266.80 on trips to theme parks, zoos, farms and various other attractions.

£140 on other entertainment costs not including the £122.50 that parents have budgeted for toys and other goodies that will keep the kids busy.

A further £200 will go on clothes, swimwear, sun cream and beach goods that have to be bought before the week away.

Families who are travelling abroad are fixing to spend £1,042.38 on fares and accommodation, feeding the horde will set the balance back £180.27, over £100 more than if the family were eating at home. Then the trips and other excursions come in at £118.39, the souvenirs are set to cost £39.49.

But that’s just the projected cost, almost half of parents said that they consistently underbudget and end up spending more than they thought they would have to when were planning the vacation.

After collating all the figures Paula Felstead said: ““We were surprised to learn just how expensive the summer holidays can be, regardless of whether families are going abroad or staying in the UK.

“Families are obviously concerned about the costs involved, they still want to ensure they and the children have an enjoyable summer. It’s one luxury that most families will not sacrifice.”

Nearly half of the families who will be going away, either to another part of the UK or indeed travelling abroad will be paying using a credit card. That’s a convenient way to pay but it is storing up trouble for the future if you don’t keep up on the payments. One way to save money while abroad is to leave the cards at home and use cash or travellers cheques instead, budget properly and if the funds won’t stretch to it, go without! Failing that, send the kids to your parents and go on holiday without them!

Dan Cash is a feature writer and former financial researcher currently planning a luxury holiday of his own; a weekend in the garden with no kids!

 

The Top 5 Theme Parks in the UK

 The UK may not have a climate to match that of theme park hotspots such as Florida and California, but thrill-seeking residents and visitors are still spoilt for choice. Nearly 30 amusement parks have survived the economic gloom of recent years, with visitor numbers at the most popular parks on the rise. With a number of major new attractions due to be installed in the near future, the industry looks set to flourish for many years to come. The top parks are on a par with those anywhere else in the world – and 5 of the best are highlighted below.

5. Legoland Windsor

Aimed at families with children aged 2-12, Legoland Windsor features the least intense selection of attractions of any park on the list. Kids will be in their element here, able to fulfil dreams such as driving a car (Driving School), captaining a boat (Boating School) and dousing flames (Fire Academy). For older visitors, the Atlantis Submarine Voyage ride offers the chance to view a wide range of aquatic creatures from an underwater vantage point, and The Dragon roller coaster is fun for all ages.

Don’t miss:

  • Miniland – famous landmarks from all over the world are recreated in miniature using millions of Lego bricks. A new Star Wars-themed section will open in 2012.

4. Chessington World of Adventures

Located close to Legoland Windsor, Chessington World of Adventures caters for a slightly older age group. While several of its thrill rides were moved to sister park Thorpe Park after the two were brought under the same ownership, it still offers a diverse line-up of attractions. This includes curiosities such as the Bubbleworks indoor boat ride, which sees guests travel through a soap factory, and the surreal walk-through Hocus Pocus Hall attraction. For those after white-knuckle thrills, the Vampire and Dragon’s Fury roller coasters fit the bill without crossing the boundary into pure terror. The park is also home to a zoo and a Sea Life centre, both of which house a variety of exotic creatures.

Don’t miss:

  • Tomb Blasters – few laser gun rides can match the setting of Chessington’s, which sees riders battling the undead in a stunningly detailed “tomb”.

3. Flamingo Land

While parts of Flamingo Land resemble an old-fashioned caravan park (and indeed, its camping site is still a major part of its business), the park has developed into one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions. Like Chessington, it is home to a zoo, in this case one so expansive that it is worth a full day’s visit in itself. It also has an impressive line-up of rides and shows, including roller coasters Mumbo Jumbo (which briefly held the record for being the world’s steepest coaster) and Kumali (a twisting, turning suspended coaster).

Don’t miss:

  • Velocity – the UK’s only motorbike launch coaster sees guests straddling bike-style vehicles, and is the tallest and fastest ride of its kind in the world.

2. Thorpe Park

Thorpe Park’s owners, Merlin Entertainments Group, have billed the park in recent years as “the nation’s thrill capital” and this is an increasingly fair description. Almost every ride aimed at young children has been stripped out of the park, and its line-up is now packed full of roller coasters, thrill rides and water rides. The coasters are some of the best in the UK, including the heavily-themed Saw – The Ride (based on the horror movie franchise), Nemesis Inferno (based around a steamy volcano) and Stealth (which sees riders blasted up a near-vertical slope). Bring a change of clothes if you plan to try out the water rides – the Tidal Wave attraction, in particular, more than lives up to its name.

Don’t miss:

  • The Swarm – Thorpe Park’s new attraction for 2012 is the first “Wing Rider” coaster in the UK, with guests dangling over either side of the track as they swoop through a post-apocalyptic landscape.

1. Alton Towers

Far and away the most popular theme park in the UK, Alton Towers is well worthy of its status. Built around a genuine gothic mansion which provides a stunning visual focal point, it is spread across an enormous 800 acre site that also houses extensive gardens. It features a wide range of attractions for every age group, and it is near-impossible to see everything in a single day. If you’re short on time, be sure to check out the innovative roller coasters Air, Oblivion, Thirteen and Rita, and don’t miss the underrated Hex: The Legend of the Towers, housed in the mansion itself.

Don’t miss:

  • Nemesis – opened in 1994, Europe first’s inverted roller coaster still regularly features at the top of “best ride” lists all over the world.

Wherever you are based in the UK, there is almost certainly at least one theme park in the near vicinity. With Alton Towers plotting a new roller coaster for 2013, and other parks likely to follow suit, the excitement on offer should only continue to grow.

Nick Sim covers theme park news, reviews and guides for his own website, where you can find a range of money-saving deals including Alton Towers 2-for-1 vouchers.