4 amazing attractions you’ve probably never heard of
Tired of the tourist trail? Go off-piste with these hidden gems for some of our top destinations…
Go art deco at Eltham Palace
From Henry VIII to the age of the Great Gatsby in a sideways shimmy. Find a medieval royal palace and a beautiful art deco house rolled into one. Kind of. The house was built onto the end of the palace by the Courtauld family in the 1930s.
Feast your eyes on simple shapes, clean lines and bold colours typical of the art deco movement. Wander the grand Entrance Hall and imagine the glamour and decadence of days gone by, when VIPs drank cocktails and nibbled canapés. Envy the wardrobe of a stylish socialite or picture yourself escaping the blitz in one of London's most comfortable shelters. It’s one of the finest surviving examples of art deco architecture and design.
Whizz back 500 years at the Medieval Palace. Stand in the Great Hall and gaze awestruck at the ornate hammer beam roof. Henry VIII hung out here when he was just a kid, you know.
Prices and opening times
Explore Micklegate Bar
The city of York is surrounded by walls built in medieval times. Those walls were built on the foundations of much older ones from Viking and Roman times. To get into the city visitors had to enter through one of the gates, or bars, strategically set along the walls.
Micklegate was the most important of these gates. It was where visiting royals entered York. But even they had to ask permission to come in, so legend has it. Its lofty role was matched by its eye-catching design – it looks like a little, tiny castle. Not so eye-catching were the severed heads of traitors displayed on spikes above the gate. Yuck.
Nowadays you can find a museum dedicated to Henry VII. Learn about what York was like during his reign. Grisly details retold by Horrible Histories author Terry Deary.
Price and opening times
Take the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour
Edinburgh is a writers’ city, inspiring poet Robert Burns, novelist Ian Rankin and other bona fide literary greats. UNESCO didn’t name it a City of Literature for nothing, after all.
Its architecture, winding cobbled streets and craggy hilltops have for generations struck a chord with literary folk. And that’s not to mention the pubs of the Old Town, where writers famous and not so famous could often be found waxing lyrical over a wee dram.
Explore Edinburgh’s bookish history in the pubs those authors frequented with Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour. Thesps Clart and McBrain will bowl you over with their witty banter and astounding knowledge. It’s a real hoot.
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Follow the coal trail at Victoria Tunnel
Coal takes a leading role in the history of Newcastle. The shipbuilding and steelmaking for which the city’s famed was powered by the black stuff.
It was mined from coalfields deep beneath Newcastle and its surrounding area. See how coal was transported from the mines to the River Tyne at Victoria Tunnel. Follow your expert guide deep beneath the city streets and travel back in time.
Coal was piled into wagon carts and sent at breakneck speed from Spital Tongues colliery to the river through the mid-1800s. Hear the sounds of the rattling carts approach in darkness. Hair-raisingly-good history.