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Grace Allen

Grace Allen

Articles (16)

The 9 best things to do in Dorset

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 places to go stargazing in the UK

The best places to go stargazing in the UK

There are few things in life more calming than a star-filled sky. The chaos of modern existence can often feel overwhelming, but the endless sprawl of the worlds beyond our own does gleeful things for the heart, mind and soul. The United Kingdom has seemingly perfected the balance between the urban and the rural, and the latter provides us with many of the best places to go stargazing going. Where to start? You can start by putting that digital device down (once you’ve finished reading this list, of course) and heading to the beaches of Cornwall, the hills of Kent, the national parks of England and Wales and the furthest reaches of Scotland, where lucky stargazers may even get a glimpse of the fabled Northern Lights. Peace and calm aren’t so far away, after all. RECOMMENDED: Magical and mystical places in the UK 

The 10 best things to do in the New Forest

The 10 best things to do in the New Forest

The New Forest's stretches of ancient woodland and wildlife-rich heathland have long been a draw for weary city types. A National Park, the forest is spread across parts of Hampshire, east Dorset and Wiltshire, with beautiful scenery and easy hiking and cycling options making it hugely popular with outdoor lovers and those in need of a dose of fresh air. With trails, rivers and beaches galore, there's the chance to head out on a paddle board or ride through the countryside on horseback. If you're after inspiration, our pick of the very best things to do in the New Forest right now has get you covered. In the area for a mere 24 hours? Check out our guide to the perfect day in the New Forest. 

London’s best thrift stores

London’s best thrift stores

London’s fashion scene is a big deal. You know this. But there’s more to it than catwalks, streetwear influencers and designer boutiques. Thrift stores play a vital part. Canny shoppers in the capital have long been leading the way for second-hand fashion, whether it’s getting new garbs at swap shops or rummaging through one of the city’s many car boot sales.  Shopping second-hand is a fantastic way to start living more sustainably. Not only are the clothes reasonably priced, they’re also (by dint of not being new) far more eco-friendly. The only catch is that it takes dedication and a keen eye to rummage through all of those rails. But don’t lose heart, we’ve saved you some time by rounding up the best thrift stores in London. The bargains are out there. Watch our video below on five of London's best shopping destinations: RECOMMENDED: The best markets in London

20 amazing UK castles you can actually stay in

20 amazing UK castles you can actually stay in

Who wouldn’t want to spend a night in a castle? Okay, that might seem somewhat insensitive to the many who withered away in dungeons over the centuries. We’re obviously not talking about that. These nights are the other end of the scale, opulent nights of wonder in legitimate fairytale locations. Even the most cynical of readers can find joy in a night in a castle. The United Kingdom remains the castle capital of the world, in history and culture, if not in terms of sheer numbers. What’s more, these gorgeous old mansions can offer visitors a chance to escape the bleeping stresses of modern life, providing respite from a world of notifications and commitments. Staying in a castle is all about comfort, both the physical and emotional variants. Fancy feeling like a king or queen for the weekend? You deserve it, so book yourself a night (or a life) in one of the many UK castles that you can stay at. RECOMMENDED: The best weekend breaks from London

Magical and mystical places in the UK

Magical and mystical places in the UK

The United Kingdom has lost a lot over the years, but a sense of quirky mystique isn’t among them. After all, this is where you’ll find the real Shire, the fabled forests of yesteryear and more eccentric literature than the average imagination can conceive. This is the land of dragons, witches, hobbits, ghosts, fairies and a bizarre owl/man hybrid, and that’s just the tip of this most idiosyncratic of icebergs. There are no shortage of magical and mystical places in the UK. Almost every town in the UK offers something that could easily find its way onto this list, but what follows below is the cream of the curious crop. A mix of day trips, weekend adventures and longer journeys, the term ‘warts and all’ has never been so apt, and that is definitely a good thing. These are places where myths and legends come to life, where the paranormal coexist a little too well with the expected. Thought the United Kingdom was a little weird? You have no idea just how ‘out there’ the world’s biggest little country can get. RECOMMENDED: The best places to visit in the UK

The 26 best first-date spots in London

The 26 best first-date spots in London

So, you’ve WhatsApped, FaceTimed and Googled each other: now it’s time to meet in the flesh. But where to go and what to do? There are so many options, so many locations, so many possibilities for awkwardness.  Let us calm your anxiety with our guide to London’s best first-date spots. From a cosy fire-lit pub and a romantic Italian bistro to a quirky rock-climbing venue, open-air film screenings and a peachy picnic spot, 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: Alternative romantic things to do in London.

The 13 best things to do in the Cotswolds

The 13 best things to do in the Cotswolds

Technically speaking, the Cotswolds stretch from just south of Stratford-upon-Avon to slightly south of Bath: which means that the best things to do in Cotswolds encompass a pretty solid area. The boundaries of counties including Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire are covered, and now that travel restrictions in the UK have eased after lockdown we can go and explore them all. Characterized by cute small towns and villages built from Cotswold stone, the region is (unsurprisingly) designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Chocolate box cottages, miniature canals, cheap hotels, rolling hills and an exceptionally high standard of produce—if you’re not sold already, read on, as we’ve rounded up the very best things to do in the Cotswolds. Please note: Facilities and businesses in the towns and villages we mention may be closed at the moment. Government advice is to avoid public transport so don’t travel by train or bus. Please be mindful of the people who live locally. If you decide to travel, check whether car parks are open before you set off and adhere to social distancing guidelines on your visit.  Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

The best autumnal gardens near London

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

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

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

The 9 best things to do in Milton Keynes

The 9 best things to do in Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes is relatively fresh on the block – last year marked 50 years since it was designated a "new city" and, just now, the best things to do in Milton Keynes are gaining notoriety. Technically of course, Milton Keynes is a town, and it’s one of the fastest growing ones in Britain. Built in the 1960s to ease London’s housing congestion, it is perfectly equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge. It was estimated in 2013 to accommodate roughly 255,700 residents. So what’s the 411 on sometime-mocked Milton Keynes? Apart from the famous concrete cows, and arguably excessive use of roundabouts, this town has plenty to offer. Here’s our round up of the best things to do in Milton Keynes. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.  

Listings and reviews (2)

Father Christmas at Ham House

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

Reign Vintage

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.

News (6)

Liberty has opened its incredible Christmas shop

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’

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

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

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

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

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