The Summer of 99 plans

Best. Holiday. Ever.

The Summer of 99 plans, across our route, is here.

There is loads to do, see, visit and experience up and down our route this Summer. Whether it’s the fringe festival that takes your fancy, or exploring historic castles, there is something for everyone in our 99 plans.

London and Stevenage

1. Cruise along Regent’s Canal in a floating hot tub

London

See another side to London through the city’s canals – while you relax in a self-driven Hot Tub Boat.

2. Discover London’s best street art – by bike

London

Learn from the experts on a guided bike tour of Shoreditch’s most impressive street art.

3. See London spread out at a distance from Alexandra Palace

London

Gain a whole new view of the city’s skyline from this Grade II listed building in North London.

4. Step inside Britain’s oldest and most notorious prison

London

Brush up on some horrible history at the Clink Prison Museum – it sits on the site of Clink Prison, dating all the way back to 1144.

5. Enjoy an especially weird hidden cabaret show

London

Witness London’s unique singing, comedy and magic talent at Sybarite Nights, an intimate cabaret show tucked away in an east London gallery’s basement.

6. Pop into London Zoo – for a sleepover

London

Find out what the Asiatic lions at ZSL London Zoo get up to after dark with a sleepover at a private Zoo Lodge – they’re within roaring distance.

7. Dare to explore a secret Victorian pet cemetery

London

No, this isn’t a Stephen King novel – venture into Hyde Park’s pet cemetery and you’ll find 300 (mostly dog) graves that have been perfectly maintained since 1881.

8. Dine in complete darkness

London

Indulge your senses in a most unusual way at Dans Le Noir – a restaurant where your food is served by blind staff in pitch-black darkness.

9. Make your own organic bath bombs

London

Savour the aroma of traditional herbs, flowers and essential oils as you learn how to make and customise your own organic bath bomb at Token Studio – from scratch.

10. Hunt for Dinosaurs at Knebworth

Stevenage

Kids will love the adventure playground and life-size dinosaur trail at Knebworth House and Gardens. The question is, will they spot all 72 prehistoric pals?

Peterborough and Grantham

1. Try a night out at the races

Peterborough

Catch the dog races at Peterborough Greyhounds Stadium and make a fun night of it with a private suite, or a tasty meal at the Raceview Greyhound Restaurant.

2. Lace up your boots at Belvoir Castle

Grantham

Belvoir Castle has been home to the Duke of Rutland since 1067. Set in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir, there’s a glut of walking trails to get your feet onto.

Belvoir Castle

Newark and Lincoln

1. Learn the secrets of beekeeping

Newark

Discover the secret life of bees with an experienced member of the British Beekeeping
Association. It’s £25 for the day at Mayfield Cottage, which is based in the picturesque village of Dale Abbey.

2. Solve the mystery of the Cathedral Quarter

Lincoln

Pack your deerstalker and head into the historical streets of Lincoln to solve the devilish clues dotted along the Treasure Trail.

Retford, Doncaster and Wakefield

1. Keep it real at the Idle Valley nature reserve

Retford

Take some time out to enjoy Idle Valley. You can bird watch, help with conservation work, or simply stomp about in nature. Good times.

2. Try some big tastes at The Little Deli

Doncaster

Wander around the historical centre of Doncaster then stop off to fill up on the best local cheeses, cakes and specialty foods.

3. Get woke in Wakefield

Wakefield

Satisfy your artistic appetites at Yorkshire Sculpture International, the UK’s largest dedicated sculpture festival. You definitely won’t get a stony reception…sorry.

Leeds

1. Give aerial yoga a whirl

Leeds

Take to the skies in spandex with Leeds Aerial Arts. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a yogi expert, their workshops will soon have you trapezing like a champ.

2. Spend your night hunting for Ghosts

Leeds

If you prefer a séance to science then Simply Ghost Nights are sure to be right up your street. Or, at least, they will be if you’re in Leeds.

3. Become a flamenco maestro

Leeds

Sign up for a no-strings-attached workshop at the Instituto Cervantes in Leeds and you could soon be playing Spanish guitar like a legend. Olé!

Flamenco
4. Sew and sip at the Workshop Sewing Café

Leeds

Do you love sewing? Do you love coffee? Have you been looking your entire life for somewhere that lets you combine the two? You, my friend, are in luck.

West Yorkshire

1. Learn about brewing at the Saltaire Brewery

Shipley

Become a beer expert and bore impress your friends by learning all there is to know with a brewery tour and sampling at the Saltaire Brewery.

2. Hit wuthering new heights at the Bronte Parsonage Museum

Bradford

Whether you’re a Jane Eyre fan, love Wuthering Heights or think of yourself more as an Agnes Grey kind of person, it’s fascinating to explore the place that inspired all the Bronte sisters.

3. Go loco at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

Keighley

Enjoy a steamy session at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, and get a slice of life as it would’ve been in the time of the locomotives.

4. Enjoy a pint with music at Skipton Sound Bar

Skipton

Know what sounds incredible? Listening to good music while supping on a good pint. Sure, it’s not a new idea – but it certainly isn’t a broken record, either.

5. Say konichiwa to Horsforth’s Japanese Garden

Horsforth

A Japanese formal garden may not be the most likely thing to stumble across in West Yorkshire – but then God’s Own Country has always done things differently.

6. Have a pint in Harrogate’s oldest pub

Harrogate

Northern England’s spa town has plenty of history to go round. For the real deal head to Hales Bar for an atmospheric pint in the gas-lit saloon bar.

7. Take a dip in the Turkish baths

Harrogate

Like to lie back in style? Harrogate’s Turkish baths have been perfecting the art of relaxation since 1897.

8. Visit the birthplace of a famous prophetess

Harrogate

Mother Shipton is said to have known the Great Fire of London was coming. While there, be sure to see if the Petrifying Well really does turn everything to stone.

Selby, Brough and Hull

1. Get your steampunk on at The Escapologist

Selby

People have been drinking to escape reality for millennia, but rarely has it been taken as far as at the Escapologist bar’s weird and wonderful steampunk-themed café, bar and escape rooms.

2. Get to grips with a bird in Brough

Brough

Fly with falcons at the South Cave Falconry Centre. You’ll learn how to handle and feed, and with one-on-one expert tuition there’ll be no need to wing it.

3. Take a short walk over a long bridge

Hull

The Humber Bridge is one the UK’s longest suspension bridges. You can enjoy the views while walking its entire length, before exploring one of the many local trails.

4. Find the ‘Banksys’ of Hull

Hull

Celebrated street-artist Banksy has literally left his marks in Hull.  Take to the streets of Hull to discover his three works around the city, which he created in a single week back in 2018.

North Yorkshire

1. Take a stroll along York’s medieval walls

York

Whether you’re a history buff or not, you can literally trample all over it by taking a walk along York’s medieval perimeter walls. (The views are good, too.)

2. When in York, do what the Vikings did

York

You don’t need to set sail to visit one of England’s most-loved visitor attractions, the Jorvik Viking Centre. Just hop on a train to experience the rich viking heritage of Northern England.

3. Get lost in Europe’s biggest maize maze

York

Oldies, kids and maze aficionados alike will all relish the challenge of making their way out of this huge field of confusion.

4. Have afternoon tea at Betty’s

York

Explore the historic Shambles before winding up at the local institution Betty’s for tea, cakes and earwigging on the loud group of ladies at table 14.

5. Discover the history of chocolate

York

Do you like filling your face, or filling your brain? York’s Chocolate Story (where you’ll learn the story of chocolate, no less) might just be the perfect place to do both.

6. Have a day at the York races

York

Always a winner. Iron your smartest and head down to York races to soak up the amazing atmosphere.

7. Find all 22 of York’s cat sculptures

York

Everyone knows most sculptors are also ‘cat people’. With that in mind it’s unsurprising one artist has dotted 22 of the things among the rooftops and chimneys of the city centre.

Cat sculptures
8. Dru yoga in the gardens

Northallerton

It might be a bit of stretch, but if you’re looking to upgrade your downward dog how about signing up for Dru Yoga in Kiplin Hall’s stunning grounds?

9. Discover the romance of steam trains

Darlington

A lingering kiss at the station. The hiss of the engine starting up. The countryside gliding past in a black and white blur. Not the 14.26 LNER Azuma to Edinburgh, but the Head of Steam museum in Darlington.

10. Hop on board the brick train

Darlington

David Mach’s world-famous brick sculpture divided opinion when unveiled in 1997. It’s since become recognised as a masterpiece – and fitting tribute to the importance of trains in the region.

11. Explore the attractive town of Yarm

Darlington

The picturesque town of Yarm is enviably located within a loop of the River Tees. Browse its historic high street, walk the viaduct and see if you can find its less-than-impressive castle.

12. Handle a hawk at Walworth castle

Darlington

Get your gloved mitt under a range of majestic birds including hawks, owls, falcons and ostriches*.

*Subject to availability

North East England

1. Travel back in time at Beamish

Durham

Do you like history and big skies? Then you’ll love Beamish, the open air museum that tells the story of the North East through the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s.

2. See the Cathedral where Harry Potter went to school

Durham

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter you may want to visit the stunning cathedral that doubled for Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

3. Swan about in a boat

Durham

Since the 1900’s Brown’s boats has been the place to hire a racing boat and take in the quiet majesty of the River Wear.

4. Get off at the Dog and Scone

Newcastle

Newcastle’s number one dog café is the perfect paw-stop for hungry dog lovers.  Hang out with the café’s resident eight cute pooches while sipping on a cuppa and a tasty cake or two.

5. Eat brunch at The Biscuit Factory

Newcastle

Nod appreciatively at the paintings and then tuck into some avocado on toast and a single-origin flat white at one of Newcastle’s best art galleries.

6. Listen to something different at World Headquarters

Newcastle

World Headquarters is a Newcastle institution and the place to hear the best in funk, soul, disco, reggae and more. Just don’t request Ed Sheeran covers, please.

7. Feel like Alan Shearer (after bagging a hat-trick)

Newcastle

Be king of the toon. Climb 150ft to the stadium rooftop and experience an amazing view of St. James’ Park and the city.

8. Explore what the Quayside has to offer

Newcastle

Enjoy spectacular views (or fog on the Tyne), incredible food and loads of great places to grab a drink at one of the city’s liveliest spots.

Newcastle Quayside
9. Experience a masterpiece in church design

Sunderland

Edward Schroeder Prior’s masterpiece, St Andrew’s Church in Roker, is a must-visit for lovers of early twentieth century church architecture. In fact, it’s a really-should-visit for everyone.

10. Experience one of Europe’s biggest air shows

Sunderland

Experience one of Europe’s biggest air shows on 26-28 July

Airshow
11. Visit the Lady of the North

Morpeth

Northumberlandia is a unique country park and landscape sculpture, with the unforgettable Lady of the North – one of the world’s largest land sculptures – at its heart.

12. Learn to fly broomstick like Harry Potter

Alnmouth

Take part in a broomstick training session at Alnwick Castle on the exact spot that Harry Potter had his first flying lesson in the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

13. See The Greatest Showman at Alnwick Castle

Alnmouth

Culture meets crowd-pleaser this summer, as the incredible 11th century castle plays host to  an outdoor viewing of the cinematic musical blockbuster. Pack a picnic and sing-along to the movie soundtrack underneath the night sky.

14. Go surfing off Alnmouth

Alnmouth

The Northumberland coast is home to loads of great beaches, with beautiful Alnmouth a great place to hit the surf and then grab a pint (or hot drink!) when you can no longer feel your fingers.

15. Visit Hadrian’s Wall country

Alnmouth

The Roman Empire’s Northern frontier is an atmospheric and beautiful stretch of land that’s great for a trek (and echoes with the sound of history).

Hadrian's Wall
16. Look out of the window in Berwick-upon-tweed

Berwick-upon-tweed

You don’t even need to get off the train for this one. Just make sure you’re in the right position to look out the window at the splendid sight of Berwick, the sea and the Royal Border Bridge.

17. Visit the Chain Bridge Honey Farm

Berwick-upon-tweed

Tin buckets and strong wrists. At Chain Bridge they’ve been milking bees in the time-honoured fashion since 1948. So why don’t you rock up and try some of the sweet stuff for yourself?

Edinburgh

1. Lick the past at Mary’s Milk Bar

Edinburgh

Mary’s Milk Bar in Edinburgh’s Haymarket is the place to go for delicious homemade ice cream set in a convincing 1940s-themed parlour.

2. Sit where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter

Edinburgh

Before cafes had wifi people did actual stuff in them, like the woman who wrote a story in The Elephant House that sold 400 million copies, got translated into 68 languages and made her a multi-billionaire. Tap water for me, please.

3. Drink cocktails in a speakeasy

Edinburgh

When it’s not allowed it’s always more fun. Order a short back and sides at Panda & Son’s, a prohibition-themed speakeasy that’s disguised as a barber shop and hidden behind a secret-door bookshelf.

4. Dine in The Witchery’s romantic restaurant

Edinburgh

Is your idea of romance a decadent tasting menu set in a lavishly decorated baroque hall with oak-panelling and a candle-lit ambience? If not, try the KFC round the corner.

5. Bust some moves in Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Join the Silent Adventures Team and take part in the mind-blowing Silent Disco Tour of Edinburgh. We guarantee it’ll be like nothing you’ve done before.

6. Get trippy at Camera Obscura

Edinburgh

Camera Obscura is Edinburgh’s oldest attraction, and an Aladdin’s cave full of illusions, tricks, puzzles, and sensational visual effects. Go, go, go!

7. Be part of the Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh

The famous fringe festival is the biggest arts festival in the world and needs no introduction.

8. Step back in time to Dean Village

Edinburgh

Escape the hustle, bustle and tourist elbows with a stroll to this hidden gem. Yes, Dean Village is a bucolic oasis of calm that feels like it’s straight from a book.

9. Touch the toe of a famous philosopher

Edinburgh

David Hume was a famous philosopher who played a key role in the Scottish Enlightenment. Touch the toe of his statue on the Royal Mile and supposedly you’ll gain a bit of his wisdom.

10. Go on a ghost tour

Edinburgh

Given that Edinburgh city centre feels like one big haunted house (albeit a beautiful one) it’s hardly suprising it should have its fair share of ghouls. Join a tour and see if you can hunt them down.

Central Scotland

1. Feel regal at Scone Place

Perth

No it’s not a giant scone, and no it doesn’t come with cream. Visit Scone Palace, crowning place of Scottish kings, and luxuriate in the stately surroundings.

2. Fly with Gleneagles

Gleneagles

Take to the sky, then fall from it. If skydiving’s your thing, you’ll love what Skydive Strathallan has to offer.

3. Up, up, and away in Gleneagles

Gleneagles

Enjoy a leisurely float among the clouds with a hot air balloon ride over breathtaking Gleneagles countryside.

4. If you go down to the woods today…

Pitlochry

You’ll see the stunning Black Spout Waterfall. At over sixty metres high, it’s well worth walking through woodlands to see.

5. Have a peaceful picnic in Templeton Woods

Dundee

If you fancy a picnic among the trees, Templeton Woods is the place to be. Enjoy the great outdoors, and keep your eyes peeled for a resident red squirrel!

6. Bring on the botanical in Leuchars

Leuchars

Buzz like a bee through St Andrew’s Botanical Gardens. There’s an herbaceous garden, stunning water features, and don’t forget a flutter through the butterfly house.

7. Admire the markings in Wemyss Caves

Kirkcaldy

Vikings, Christians, Smugglers – they’ve all left their mark on the Wemyss Caves. Check out this treasure-trove of history, and see if you can spot the ‘elephants’…

8. Hold your horses in Falkirk

Falkirk

Literally. Marvel at the Kelpies, the greatest equine sculptures in the world at 30 metres tall. Why the long face?

9. Test your minerals in Stirling

Stirling

Get a taste for nature’s icy embrace, with cliff-jumping in stunning Stirling. Just don’t look down.

10. Walk with warriors at the National Wallace Monument

Stirling

Forget Mel Gibson in Braveheart. This is the real deal. Discover the legend of Sir William Wallace, scourge of the English and Scottish hero.

North East Scotland

1. Go dolphin-spotting in Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Hop aboard a boat for your chance to see dolphins off the coast of Aberdeen. Top tip: look for the fins.

2. Get spooky with Stoker in Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Visit the remains of Slains Castle castle that supposedly inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Garlic and silver bullets optional.

3. Swim beneath stars at Stonehaven

Stonehaven

Make a splash in Stonehaven’s Olympic-sized lido. There are sessions for kids, lanes for the serious swimmers, and midnights swims with disco music. Boogie-woogie.

4. Board a boat and marvel in Montrose

Montrose

Charter a vessel in Montrose, and cruise beneath the impressive nineteenth-century Ferryden Viaduct. Awesome selfie-opportunity: check.

5. Tuck into fish and chips in Arbroath Harbour

Arbroath

Pass the ketchup! Indulge in some of Scotland’s finest fish and chips at the picturesque Arbroath Harbour. Mmm…chips…

Highlands

1. Drink beer in a secret garden

Inverness

Savour the flavour of delicious, local, organic beer in the Black Isles Bar’s secret garden. Shhhh, don’t tell everybody!

2. Unleash your inner-Attenborough

Aviemore

It’s like going on safari, but in Scotland. Spot some of the UK’s rarest birds and mammals on the magnificent Cairngorm Mountains.

3. Live like a Highlander in Kinguisse

Kinguisse

Experience life in a wee, eighteenth-century Highlander Township, courtesy of the Highland Folk Museum. Reminder: they didn’t have Wi-Fi.

Glasgow and Motherwell

1. Enter Amazonia in Motherwell

Motherwell

Scotland isn’t usually synonymous with tropical rainforest, but Amazonia in Motherwell is full of exotic plants and animals (letting you pretend you’re deep in a lost world with only your wits and a can of Irn Bru for survival).

2. Take a walk through Pollok Country Park

Glasgow

Voted Europe’s best park in 2008, Pollok Country Park boasts 146 hectares of beautiful gardens, woodland and countryside. There’s even a world-class art gallery if you get bored of all that nature.

3. Take tea in hidden Nepal Glasgow

Glasgow

Tchai Ovna is a West End insituition that somehow just works. Head down the cobbled lane to choose from an extensive collection of teas in a quiet, low-ceilinged space overlooking the tranquil River Kelvin.

4. See the city’s best wall murals

Glasgow

Since banning all paper back in 1955*, Glasgow’s artists have been forced to become masters of the wall mural. Get the mural map and head off on a fascinating tour of the city centre.

*This is made up

5. Give it some Wellington

Kinguisse

‘The grand old Duke of Wellington, he had a cone-shaped head…’ you know the rest. Check out the UK’s most anarchic statue.

6. Go to the pictures in Glasgow

Glasgow

Everyone loves the movies. Sit back and relax at the Glasgow Film Theatre, Scotland’s original indie cinema.