The best mazes in the UK
The middle English word ‘maze’ more or less translates as ‘delirium’ or ‘delusion’. Back in the sixteenth century, hedge mazes were embraced by European royalty as a means of entertaining guests (as well as providing sneaky spots for clandestine meetings). Since then we’ve continued to get a kick out of feeling disorientated, solving the giant puzzle before us and reaching that elusive centre. As a family day out, mazes seriously tick a lot of boxes – they’re time-consuming enough to keep the kids occupied, they’re outdoor, and low ticket prices make them good value for money. From a hardcore stone labyrinth to the longest maze in the world, we’ve rounded up the best places to get lost in the UK. RECOMMENDED: The best day trips from London
London’s best thrift stores
There's more to London fashion than catwalks, streetwear influencers and designer boutiques. If you want to source stylish one-offs that come with bags of personality, thrift and vintage stores are the places to go. Yep, you'll find bigger bargains at charity shops, swap shops or weekend car boot sales. But the joy of thrift stores is the curation: the personal tastes of their owners bloom across their multicoloured rails, with sections that reference the latest street trends or high fashion directions. Shopping secondhand is also an easy way to get eco-friendly: gallons of water and shedloads of pesticides go into the production of each new cotton t-shirt, so do both the planet and your wardrobe a favour and go vintage. Here are the best places to start your retro fashion journey. RECOMMENDED: The best markets in London
The 10 best things to do in the New Forest
Sometimes, you have to see the New Forest to believe it. Famous for its horses, ponies wander past you and deer come up to say hello. Cycle trails lead through thick forests and couples relax in hotel spas. New Forest is a National Park which covers parts of Hampshire, east Dorset and Wiltshire, so you’ll want to figure out the kind of trip you want before planning your trip. That’s where we come in. The best things to do across the New Forest range from scenic picnic spots to quaint tearooms, and local museums to postcard-perfect high streets. We’ve got where to see wild horses and where to have a picnic. We've got family activites and couples' retreats. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a springboard right here for an ideal weekend away. Here are the best things to do in the New Forest. RECOMMENDED:🏘️ The best Airbnbs in the New Forest🏘️ The best Airbnbs in the UK🏘️ The best places to visit in the UK
The 13 best things to do in the Cotswolds
If you find yourself dreaming of a UK staycation with cobbled streets, wide open fields and cosy little pubs, then you’re probably dreaming of somewhere in the Cotswolds. The whole thing is an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, and it’s huge, covering everywhere from Stratford-upon-Avon to southern Bath, so there’s plenty of spots to get down on your bucket list. Here you’ll find the likes of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Warwickshire, so it’s worth considering what you want to get out of your trip when choosing where to go. Fancy a long, arduous hike and a night in a B&B? Or do you fancy spending your days popping into shops and cafés in town? Our list of the best things to do in the Cotswolds lists everything from antique shopping to lavish retreats, and exactly where to go for them. Here are the best things to do in the Cotswolds. RECOMMENDED:🏘️ The best Airbnbs in the Cotswolds🌾 The best places to visit in the UK🥾 The best hikes in the UK
15 magical and mystical places in the UK
With all its mist-shrouded moors, enchanted wells, ancient woodlands and spooky AF castles, the UK is a truly mystical, magical sort of place. Don’t believe us? Well, there’s a reason this nation has produced thousands of years of myths, legends and folklore. From the tales of Merlin and King Arthur to Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, this nation has inspired ’em all. And plenty of those places are primed for you to explore. If you’re open to letting your imagination run wild and your sixth sense get the better of you, the UK has plenty of paranormal, supernatural places ready to send chills and blow minds. A place can be mystical because of its haunted history or because it inspired fantastical films and books – or it can just feel a bit, y’know, special. Only the best magical places in the UK have made it onto this list – read on for some unbeatable fairytale trip inspo. RECOMMENDED:⭐ 21 truly amazing natural wonders in the UK☕ Tiny, cosy cottages you can book in the UK🌳 11 incredible treehouses you can book in the UK🪂 The best extreme outdoor activity breaks in the UK👻 The 10 most haunted places in the UK
19 amazing UK castles you can actually stay in
Fancy feeling like a king or queen for the weekend? The UK is the castle capital of the world, and luckily for us, many are available to stay the night in. These beautiful historic mansions offer a rare chance to live out your fairytale dreams and escape the stresses of everyday life – whatever that fairy tale may be. Need to let your hair down? Check out the stunning Rapunzel-esque tower in County Down. Scheduling some bonding time with seven mates? Head to a cosy fourthteenth-century Snow White-style pad in Argyll and Bute. Feel like finally living out your Little Mermaid fantasies? Take a look at the glorious waterside castle in sunny Devon. Whether you stick to a single room or get the girls together for an opulent group getaway, you’re pretty much guaranteed a royally good night’s sleep. We can’t guarantee there’ll be no peas under your mattress, though... Book yourself a night (or two, or three) in one of the many UK castles that you can stay at. You know you deserve it. Or, if you fancy something a little closer to nature, here are 13 amazing UK treehouses you can actually stay in. RECOMMENDED:🏠 Great Airbnbs for large groups in the UK🤏 Tiny but perfectly formed UK hideaways🏡 Cabins and cottages to book now for autumn🌳 Amazing treehouses in the UK you can actually stay in⛰️ Outdoorsy UK getaways to help you reconnect with nature👻 The most haunted Airbnbs in the UK
The 25 best first-date spots in London
So, you’ve Hinge messaged, WhatsApped, FaceTimed and Googled each other: now it’s time to meet in the flesh. But where to go? What to do? For a first date, London has so many options, so many locations, so many possibilities for awkwardness. Let us calm your anxiety with our guide to this city’s best first-date spots. From cosy fire-lit pubs and intimate Italian bistros to quirky rock-climbing venues, open-air film screenings and peachy picnic spots, we’ve rounded up some cute ’n’ classy date venues and activities guaranteed to ease your nerves and stimulate conversation. What happens next is up to you. RECOMMENDED:😍 The most romantic restaurants in London.💘 The best alternative romantic things to do in London.
The 13 best places to go stargazing in the UK
Whether you’re a Coldplay fan or not, you have to agree that they were onto something with ‘a sky full of stars’. Losing yourself in the chaos of the cosmos every once in a while can do wonders for your soul – it’s one of the most grounding things out there, after all. And while it’s easy to forget just how spectacular the night sky can be if you live in a light-polluted city like London or Manchester, the UK actually has an abundance of top stargazing destinations – and many aren’t too far away from the metropolis. From the rolling hills of Kent and the majestic beaches of Cornwall, to the furthest stretches of Scotland, we’ve handpicked the absolute best places to go stargazing in the UK. Hey, if you’re lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the fabled Northern Lights. RECOMMENDED: 🧙♂️Magical and mystical places in the UK 🎨 The most colourful places in the UK and Ireland🏰 The best castles in the UK💜 The best lavender fields in the UK🪦 The most beautiful graveyards in the UK
The 9 best things to do in Dorset
From the magical Durdle Door to the lush Argyll Gardens in Bournemouth, the best things to do in Dorset have the power of nature front and centre. How could they not? The third most southerly county in England is blessed with beauty at every turn, with over half of Dorset designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The natural beauty finds its way into the towns, with buzzing farmer's markets, quaint local shops and a sense of community marking Dorset as a delightful place. No matter your preferred style of vacation, Dorset steps up to the plate and smashes it out of the park.
The best autumnal gardens near London
Green spaces in London are slowly turning golden as the seasons change; all the more reason to venture outdoors. There are plenty of pretty local parks, lovely walks and bike routes to enjoy in the city centre, but if time allows, it pays to make a day trip to one of these brilliant autumnal gardens near London. From vast arboretums to urban botanical gardens with ‘gin borders’, here here are five gorgeous gardens guaranteed to get you in the mood for leaf crunching and conker smashing this autumn. RECOMMENDED: The best day trips from London
Kidult activities in London
Kidults of London listen up: you no longer have to grow up. The city has become one big adult playground - from massive slides and tree climbing, to ultimate frisbee, boating lakes and Lego robots – it’s bubbling over with childish silliness for big kids. So, forget about your pension plan and ditch your daily routine, here’s how to enjoy the simple fun of childhood in the capital. RECOMMENDED: Summer in London for actual children
How to spend 24 hours in London
From some of the world’s most famous attractions to views you can enjoy just walking around, there are plenty of amazing experiences in the city that can be ticked off your list even when time is tight, if you plan your 24 hours in London well. The key is to spend more time enjoying and less time travelling around, if you can. Here are our suggestions for a great day (and night) on the town. RECOMMENDED: Alternative attractions in London
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Father Christmas at Ham House
What could be more festive than a grand English house at Christmas time, tastefully strewn with swags, garlands and wreaths? Mosey on through candlelit Ham House and learn a little about how former residents the Lauderdales celebrated the holiday back in the seventeenth-century (very lavishly, apparently). The big man himself will be in residence between December 15-23, so a brisk tour of the frosty gardens can be rewarded with an early Christmas present. Booking in advance is recommended here. Find more Santa's Grottos in London.
Reign Vintage started out in 2002 and really established themselves in the vintage fashion world, later opening two stores in London and Oxford. Handily, they have a decent, regularly updated online store, too, making it easier than ever to shop for second-hand treasures. They source a lot of their stock from Europe, and shoppers can expect to find fun logo sweatshirts and kitsch dresses mixed in with Gucci loafers and Versace blazers. Prices are fair – £25 or so for a pretty vintage shirt.
Liberty has opened its incredible Christmas shop
We may be just coming out the other side of a September heatwave, but things have taken a noticeably wintry turn over at Liberty. The store opened its Christmas Shop on Thursday (September 17), an impressive 99 days before the big day itself. So what can we expect from it? Well, with 1,000 different bauble designs, there’s really something to suit every festive taste. You’ll certainly spot your trad red and green baubles, and the usual assortment of alpine/arctic creatures. But we’re more interested in the ultra-kitsch, weird and wonderful ornaments – bejewelled beetles, gold giraffes, intricate glass octopuses, glossy hanging figs and pink salmon. Foodies will love the miniature sushi plate, bottle of soy sauce, gherkin, caviar and beer tray ornaments, which range in price from around £5.95 to £13.95. View this post on Instagram Who says it's too early to swing into the festive spirit? We're kicking off the countdown as our Christmas Shop opens its doors for another year. Visit the space in-store on 4 for baubles, gifts and more. Can't make it in-store? Visit our Christmas Shop online via our bio. #LibertyChristmas A post shared by Liberty London (@libertylondon) on Sep 16, 2020 at 8:42am PDT The shop expects to sell almost 200,000 of these bad boys before Christmas – whoah! Feel like immersing yourself in a Winter Wonderland this month? Head into store to shop the full collection, or enjoy a festive browse online. Liberty is open Monday-Saturday 11
Leave London for this woodland screening of ‘Twin Peaks’
Encounters Film Festival hits Bristol for the 25th time this month, and to celebrate they’ve gone with a ’90s twist. Inspired by the decade that it started, the event will show some epic cult classics, including an open-air screening of ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me’. Taking place in the festival’s eerie woodland amphitheatre and staged together with a performing arts company, organisers promise a thrilling show where the owls are not what they seem. Eek. Since its launch in 1995, Encounters Film Festival has evolved over the years to become a pretty big deal in Bristol and beyond. Now broadly considered the UK’s leading short film, animation and virtual reality festival, every year exciting new talent is showcased over six days in the south-west city. Jon Craig ‘Pulp Fiction’ soundtrack fans are in for a treat too, as award-winning producer DJ Yoda hits the decks for a one-off gig with a Tarantino-inspired setlist. Think ‘night at the movies’-meets-rave-up in Colston Hall. As well as nostalgic gems, visitors can watch cutting-edge international shorts in the Oscar and Bafta-qualifying competition programmes – so you never know, you might be one of the first to glimpse (or even mingle with) the next Hayao Miyazaki or Tim Burton. There will also be talks, workshops and masterclasses from top industry professionals, plus an awards party where audiences and movie-makers find out which productions are due to compete for prestigious prizes. Sep 24-29. Full festival pass £8
SoulCycle is opening three more London studios
Endorphin addicts will be totally psyched by this news: American spinning aficionados SoulCycle are set to open three more London studios this year. High five! You’ve probably got the gist of SoulCycle by now – fist-pumping playlists, high-fiving instructors and knee-trembling workouts. Needless to say, that all-American enthusiasm is contagious, and it seems we’ve fully embraced the format here in London. While the first UK branch opened in Soho this summer, the additional three will be popping up in Marylebone, Chelsea and Notting Hill – and you won’t have to wait long, since the latter two are arriving later this year. Notting Hill locals can look forward to a sprawling 4,500 square foot studio decked out with a lounge, juice bar and purified water station. The 5,000 square foot Chelsea studio will be similarly gorgeously finished, with 60 bikes spread across two floors. View this post on Instagram London, we're just getting started 💫 We're excited to be expanding our community and opening two new studios in Chelsea and Notting Hill this Autumn. See you on a bike soon 💛 #SoulLondon A post shared by SoulCycle (@soulcycle) on Aug 22, 2019 at 6:53am PDT With downright luxurious bathrooms, blissfully roomy showers and Drunk Elephant toiletries, the Notting Hill and Chelsea studios will also include large retail spaces, stocking the brand’s apparel collection (Soul by SoulCycle) – so don’t sweat it if you forget your leggings. And sp
Head to Windsor for a chance to gawp at Meghan and Harry’s wedding outfits
Invite to Harry and Meghan’s big day got lost in the post, did it? From today, visitors to Windsor Castle can nose around a special display of Their Royal Highnesses’ wedding outfits. Throwing Princess Charlotte and Prince George’s garments into the mix, plus a replica of Meghan’s bouquet, this is one royal bonanza. ‘A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ will also feature a recording made by Meghan and Harry, in which they discuss their plans for the big day. You know, bridal ensembles, flowers, the DJ… View this post on Instagram Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex #Justmarried #RoyalWedding A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily) on May 19, 2018 at 5:38am PDT Meghan’s striking silk and organza Givenchy dress is likely to be the star attraction, with that incredible five-metre-long veil close behind. Exhibition-goers should take time to appreciate the painstaking level of detail in this silk tulle creation, which references flora of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth, as well as the State flower of Meghan’s birthplace, the Californian poppy. Word on the street is that the team tasked with embroidering the veil washed their hands every 20 minutes to keep the thread and tulle pristine. Yikes. View this post on Instagram The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have released three official photographs taken on their wedding day by photographer Alexi Lubomirski. The Couple are joined
Go to a hidden woodland rave in rural Wales this weekend
Looking to escape London? Check out these events worth leaving the M25 for... The slightly surreal Tuscany-esque Welsh village of Portmeirion inspired the conception of Festival No.6, and it’s within this pretty mash-up of sub-tropical vegetation, colourful architecture and rural Snowdonia beauty that the three-day extravaganza takes place. With a spectacular setting beside the sea, Festival No.6 plays host to everything from Welsh choirs to hidden woodland raves, screenings and installations to feasts, cabaret, comedy and luxe spa treatments. Previous artists to have stalked the main stage include Beck, Kaiser Chiefs and Grace Jones – this year Friendly Fires and Franz Ferdinand are headlining. The festival’s founders have announced that they will be taking a ‘breather’ after this year’s shindig, so try and snaffle a ticket for this creative culture-fest while you still can. Sep 6-9. £59-£69 (day), £195-£205 (weekend). Find more information here. Looking for more reasons to leave London? Here’s the 12 best day trips from London. And incredible weekends away from London, too.
Kyoto Gardens is officially one of the UK’s best hidden gems
Towards the tail end of Kensington High Street is the sweet sanctuary of Holland Park. Fifty-four glorious acres of land previously belonging to Jacobean mansion Cope Castle, it’s a prime spot for joggers, but visitors can also indulge in a spot of tennis, cricket, netball, football or golf. The park’s star attraction, however, is Kyoto Gardens. Today we launch our London City Guide, a hit list of places to explore just in time for London Fashion Week. Pictured here is Holland Park, a favorite of @acoldwall founder @srd_______. Click the link in our bio to discover more best-kept secrets from across the pond as recommended by our insiders. #bnycityguide A post shared by Barneys New York (@barneysman) on Feb 15, 2017 at 7:22am PST Donated by Kyoto’s Chamber of Commerce in 1991 to commemorate a long friendship between Japan and Great Britain, the garden has just been voted one of the UK’s top hidden gems. It’s easy to see why. Meticulously designed with a mix of tiered waterfalls, koi carp-filled ponds, vibrant Japanese maple and sakura (cherry blossom trees), the outdoor space was designed as a calming ‘kaiyushiki’, or stroll garden. #kyotogardens #hollandpark #igerslondon #photooftheday #picoftheday A post shared by Marianna Figliozzi (@marianna_figliozzi) on Feb 27, 2017 at 3:26am PST Add a few of Holland Park’s resident peacocks to this (already bucolic) setting and it’s no surprise that Kyoto Gardens is such a popular