Liverpool – My Home City

As I’m travelling back up to the North of England to my hometown of Liverpool this weekend for a baby shower for my younger sister, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to talk about what’s great about this city full of character, and what makes Liverpool stand out from other

Beatles Story Exhibition, Liverpool
Beatles Story Exhibition, Liverpool

cities in the UK as well as the events for 2017!

If you look back at our other blog from 2013 “Liverpool – A Capital City” you’ll find a great introduction in Liverpool, from its history as a major port during the industrial revolution, to its dedication to the infamous Beatles, as well the friendly atmosphere the people of Liverpool create.

Crowned the “Capital of Culture” title in 2008, Liverpool is famous for many other reasons other than the Beatles, including of course the football teams Liverpool & Everton (a great game when against each other… named the Merseyside derby), the Grand National at Aintree Race course (the biggest horse racing championships in the UK, established in 1839 – you can catch this year’s Grand National on the 6/7th April 2017) as well as its great universities, restaurants, bars and music events…

Renowned for its Victorian Albert docks, a major port which a lot of people are unaware has a strong part to play in the history of the Titanic and was considered her home port. The story being that Titanic’s managing company, the White Star Line, had its head office in James Street, Liverpool. White Star’s main New York service sailed from Liverpool until 1907, when it was transferred to Southampton which is where Titanic departed from in 1912.

Albert Docks and Liver Building, Liverpool
Albert Docks and Liver Building, Liverpool

Today, the Albert Docks demonstrates the largest single collection of Grade 1 listed buildings in the UK made entirely out of cast iron, brick and stone is home to a few key museums of Liverpool including The Beatles Story, the Merseyside Maritime Museum as well as the International Slavery Museum. It is also home to a selection of great restaurants and cocktail bars, stylish and slick in their decoration with fantastic views of the docks… the international Mersey River festival is hosted this year on the 23rd-25th June 2017 which demonstrates a series of narrow boats & tall ships, as well as sporting tournaments including polo, and demonstrates a great selection of music and entertainment from local artists.

“Ferry across the Mersey”, a song by Gerry and the Pacemakers, was made famous by the Beatles and then was even later turned into a film was based on the Mersey Ferry which runs along the river Mersey along the docks & through to the Wirral Peninsula, and still runs today it can now be experienced by guests to Liverpool.

You’ll also find “The Super Lambanana”- what exactly is a Lambanana you ask? It’s a bright yellow sculpture located in Liverpool, weighing almost eight tons and standing at 17 feet tall. Created by Japanese based artist Taro Chiezo, it stands in front of John Moors university and during the year that Liverpool help the European Capital of Culture local community organisations and businesses invested in 125 individually designed replicas that can be found in and around Merseyside and one in North Wales. The artwork was designed reflecting Liverpool’s history as a port city, trading in commodities such as Lancashire wool and Fyffes bananas, and in my opinion is quite reminiscent of the artist Jeff Koons, and his sculptures of balloon animals.

Not far from the docks you’ll find its “three graces” which consists The Cunard Building, The Port of Liverpool Building as well as famous Royal Liver Building which portrays the Liver birds (mythical creatures symbolising Liverpool), all of which are great examples of Liverpool’s architecture.

If you’re visiting the UK this year, take a night or two to experience Liverpool, with Chester not far away and the breath-taking Lake District just an hour and a half’s drive, it’s a great taste of northern attitude, culture and history.  The perfect driving tour for this region would be our driving tour of the North of England; Yorkshire and the Lake District Tour.

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Filming Locations in the UK

You may have wondered around New York City or Monument Valley and felt like you had stepped into the silver screen. Here in Britain, this feeling is frequently felt all around our country. Whether it be from the mesmeric Cornish Coast and the setting of Poldark, to the rolling hills and shimmering lochs of Scotland used as the backdrop for some of the Harry Potter movies’ most famous shots, you are never too far from a piece of movie history.

Here is a top 6 of the best filming locations for you to enjoy:

6) CARDIFF – SHERLOCK, DOCTOR WHO, TORCHWOOD

Nestled on the South Wales coast, Cardiff is home to many iconic moments from the BBC in recent years. Housing one of the major studios for the British Broadcasting Corporation, Cardiff has seen its fair share of moments on the screen. From the beautiful Cardiff University main building being used as a backdrop for London in Sherlock, to the Cardiff Bay homing the Torchwood team in the highly rated Doctor Who spin-off, there’s something for everyone to see in this up-and-coming city receiving a modern upgrade, whilst still retaining the history and culture associated with South Wales. The Bay is also home to the Doctor Who Experience, a must for any fan of the show. If you’re lucky, you may even visit on a filming day. Our Capital City Tour allows you so see the highlights of this fantastic city.

5) PORTMEIRION – THE PRISONER

Hidden away between Mount Snowdon and the Welsh coast, Portmeirion is a gem that should not be missed. Multi-coloured buildings once played host to the filming of the Prisoner, an flagship show during the late 1960s. The series follows a British former secret agent who is held captive on a mysterious, albiet tranquill coastal village resort. Starring Patrick McGoohan, this classic should be watched in association with a trip to the resort, conveniently located for anyone visiting North Wales on one of our Welsh self-drive experiences.

4) PORT ISAAC – DOC MARTIN

Martin Clunes’ fantastic portrayal of a surgeon who has developed haemophobia is matched only by the incredibly stunning seaside town of Port Isaac, the filming location for this hit BBC show. In Port Isaac enjoy authentic Cornish Clotted Cream, scones, and traditional British fish and chips. The food and scenery go hand in hand. As the sun sets over the coast, watch as the fisherman descend on the port walls to catch their evening meal fresh. With our fully customisable trips to Cornwall/Devon, make sure to include Port Isaac as one of your top stops along the way.

3) NOTTINGHAMSHIRE – THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY

The Nolan Batman trilogy re-energised DC Comics from 2005-2012.  A short drive away from Nottingham you will find Wollaton Hall. The historic Elizabethan mansion is a popular attraction, hosting many scenes during the Dark Knight Rises, including the opening garden party scene in which Gary Oldman delivers a eulogy of Harvey Dent, some 8 years after his death. A visit today will see you looking around a constructed gravesite, in which Michael Caine delivers one of the more heart-warming scenes from the final movie. At Wollaton Park, also find the resident herd of red deer, which roam around the magnificent gardens and parkland.

2) CAMBRIDGE – THEORY OF EVERYTHING

At number two, we feature the recent Academy Award nominated film, the Theory of Everything. Starring British talents Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as Mr and Mrs Steven Hawking, the film centres around the couple’s early years in amongst the early stages of ALS. Set in the stunningly gorgeous university city of Cambridge, the film utilises the stunning buildings (such as King’s College Chapel) in its backdrop. Local areas to visit range from the Roman fort of Duroliponte on Castle Hill, to St Bene’t’s Church, the oldest standing building in Cambridgeshire. When on one of our many fully-customisable self-drive tours of England, be sure to check out Cambridge, conveniently located between York and London. A perfect stop on the final day of a perfect trip to the UK.

1) SCOTLAND – HARRY POTTER

Iconic and magical, the filming locations for Harry Potter are primarily located in among the Scottish lochs and highlands. The standout, to begin, must be the Glenfinnan Viaduct, used in the filming of the famous Hogwarts Express vs flying car

Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West highland Rail Line.
Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West highland Rail Line.

scene from the Chamber of Secrets. If the earlier films are more to your taste, then how about a visit to Loch Shiel, where Buckbeak dips a toe into the water whilst Harry soars around the sky on his back. Departing Scotland, in the North of England find Alnwick Castle, the location for Harry’s first broom flight under the guidance of Madam Hooch. Visit Scotland and these locations today on one of our Scotland tours, booking now for 2017!

If the above filming locations have piqued your interest, enquire today either online or by phone regarding a trip to England, Scotland or Wales!

Highlights of Britain Small-Group Tour – My Experience

As you may have seen from my last blog, recently I had the opportunity to go on one of our more popular group tours the ‘Highlights of Britain’.

Oxford UniversityWe had an early start from the centre of London, where everyone met in a timely fashion. Once the luggage was loaded onto the mini-coach, we headed straight for Oxford.
It was here that we had our own personal walking tour of the city by a local resident who was very knowledgeable of all the sites and answered all questions our group had with accuracy.
It was especially great to learn about the history of the famous Oxford University while inside the buildings themselves and having plenty of picture opportunities.
After the walking tour, we were allowed two hours to ourselves to explore the city privately. There was an opportunity to get food before exploring landmarks such as Blackwell’s Bookshop, which stocks over 200,000 books and its Norrington Room is the largest single room devoted to the selling of books in Europe at 10,000 square feet.
Departing Oxford, we headed to the Cotswolds where we got to see Bampton, famously used as a fictional village in Downtown Abbey.
Our stay for the evening was in the lovely Three Ways House hotel, where we treated to a three-course meal before becoming dessert connoisseurs by taking part in their famous ‘Pudding Club’.

Leaving the Cotswolds on day two, we headed north to Worcester Cathedral; it was here that we had a tour by a knowledgeable and charismatic historian. The Cathedral houses the tomb of the infamous King John and there were plenty of photo opportunities in this stunning builIronbridgeding.
After the tour concluded, we headed to Much Wenlock where we had an hour to get food and explore the quaint and picturesque village.
After our stomachs were satisfied, it was back on the mini-coach and up to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ironbridge which was a stunning sight. The bridge was the very first bridge in the world made with an arch-shape out of cast iron. Again, picture opportunities were in abundance and I am still using the photo I took of Ironbridge as the wallpaper on my phone to this day!
After a long day of sightseeing, we crossed the border into North Wales where we retired for the evening.

After a lovely breakfast on day three, we departed our hotel and headed for the Area of Outstanding National Beauty known as Snowdonia Park, home of the impressive Mount Snowdon. The weather was good to us on the day that we visited; the lakes a beautiful blue and the valleys gorgeous green in colour.
Departing Snowdon, it was up to the island of Anglesey where we crossed the Menai Suspension Bridge to visit the famous village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and of course we all took turns trying to pronounce it!Snowdonia
Coming back to mainland Wales across the Britannia Bridge, we visited Bodnant Welsh Food Centre where we had a lovely three course meal followed by a Welsh cookery lesson and a tour of the centre itself.
It was then that we headed back to our hotel after a thoroughly enjoyable day of sightseeing in North Wales.

At the beginning day four, it was time for me personally to leave the tour and return home, but the tour itself lasts nine days and continues through Britain where the rest of the group got to see places like Chester, York, The Lake District and Scotland, concluding in Edinburgh.

With the dates for 2017 recently released for the Highlights of Britain tour, what better time is there for you to enquire to book with us today – I couldn’t recommend this tour enough!

Adeo on the Road – Small-Group Familiarisation Tour

One of our packages we offer here at Adeo are small-group tours, so you can imagine my excitement and expectation when I learned that this month I would have the opportunity to go on a small-group tour myself! When enquiring, guests sometimes ask us what makes our small-group tours unique. Hopefully my personal experiences can help you out if you are stuck on deciding which type of Britain vacation is for you.

Upon my arrival in London, I looked forward to a chance to broaden my knowledge of our products (along with a chance to get out of the office!). My suitcase was then taken off my hands and loaded into the coach, as was a theme for the rest of the trip. Porterage is one of the main focal points in small-group tours; your suitcases will be handled from the moment you start the tour to the moment you leave. Please note that there are luggage restrictions, but I found these were comfortable; typically you will be allowed one suitcase and one bit of hand luggage.

Once the luggage was loaded, we made our way to into the coach wMini-Bushere I sat down in my comfortable leather seat with ample legroom – each with its own air conditioning system above keeping the coach feeling fresh at all times. There were four single seats and four double seats on each side of the bus, with seats across the back of the coach as standard – the coach seated a maximum of 18 people.

The tour driver then introduced himself formally using his microphone where his voice was projected around the coach – the speaker system loud enough so that all passengers could hear. Looking around me I noticed the general demographic of the people on the tour were those over the age of 50. Small-group tours tend to be fairly laid back, with the group rejecting the opportunity to go around one-by-one introducing themselves and choosing to get to know each other naturally as the tour progressed – a fine choice I might say! Before I knew it, conversation in the group started to flow as we all started to get to know each other. Every single passenger on the tour was a delight and an asset to the experience of the tour itself.

All of the small-group tours we offer have breakfast included and our premium tours will have three-course evening meals, both are a great chance to bond further with your fellow passengers while stuffing yourself full – it’s safe to say I may have to diet for a bit after my time on this trip!

While socialising with the other passengers, I got the feeling that many of them chose a small-group tour as their mode of travel in Britain as they found it more relaxing than driving themselves and allowed more opportunity for socialising with others that have similar interests. Small-group tours are also less regimented and offer regular comfort stops; the small size of the group meant that the itinerary was not so rigid and could be personalised slightly with de-tours if enough of the group agreed.

When it was time to depart the tour, it was fairly sad as the group went their separate ways. However, the driver guide asked for our email addresses and soon after sent a group email where people could keep in touch with each other if they hadn’t already exchanged contact details.Inside

Overall, the tour itself was a fantastic and invaluable opportunity for me to enhance my knowledge of what we are selling to our guests and I would like to thank everyone involved for the experience.

In conclusion, the expectation I had before this tour was not in vain. If you are a sociable person wanting to visit Britain without the hassle of driving, I would recommend checking out the many small-group tours we have to offer – enquire today!

There is no better time to book a small-group tour with us here at Adeo Travel – availability is high as our 2017 dates have recently been released, with some of our small-group tours offering an early-bird discount for those that pay in full before the end of November. We look forward to working with you in booking your Britain vacation!

adeo Insights – Kevin Murray’s Diary, Week 7: End of the Road(trip)

It’s all very well us telling you what to see and do when you come to visit Britain but who can give you a better insight into what you can expect from an adeo tour than our guests themselves! Our guest Kevin Murray has been kind enough to allow us to publish his trip reports detailing his travels through England, Wales and Scotland this Spring.

This week Kevin and Glenys travel through England’s most northerly counties to cross the ancient border into Scotland.

We continued travelling north, following the picturesque lochs and valleys to Mallaig. Here we boarded a car ferry for a somewhat “bumpy” voyage to the Isle of Skye where we drove across the bare, windswept, mountainous spine to reach the blue waters and sheltered bays of Skye’s beautiful north coast.

img_1191The Isle of Skye has a reputation for wild, wet and windy weather and it well and truly lived up to this reputation for our journey around its coasts. However, we saw enough through the horizontal rain and obscuring mist to enjoy Skye’s rugged beauty, to appreciate her volcanic geology, and to admire those hardy, tenacious individuals that were able to make their livings here.

 

We crossed back to the mainland via the gracefully arching Skye Bridge… with an icy cold south-westerly gale doing its best to get us airborne. We visited two castles on our way to Inverness, both of which revealed the usual stories of invasions, medieval arms races, ever-changing alliances, inevitable betrayals, and power-seeking, war-mongering, egomaniacal despots – with brief periods of peace between the senseless, wasteful, bloody battles. But the views were superb.

img_1192Scottish highlanders have never forgotten “the 45s”, those clans who rallied to the cause of installing Bonnie Prince Charlie to the throne in 1745. Charlie’s ill-conceived plans, however, came to a terrible, bloody end a year later at Culloden, an otherwise unremarkable field just outside Inverness.  Standing where 1,500 “rebel” highlanders were cut down in less than an hour, and listening to real stories from the perspectives of the routed Jacobites and the victorious government troops, sent awful chills down our spines.

img_1194Heading east from Inverness, we explored the Moray Coast, surprised to find long sandy beaches on parts of it. Not so surprised to find ruined forts, ruined palaces and even a ruined cathedral (at Elgin). We also stumbled upon the remains of a very ancient Pict fort at Burghead, and a tiny 17th century man-made harbour at Portsoy that was still partly operational. We passed through several very neat little fishing villages trying to survive after the collapse of their traditional fisheries.

On our last day with the car in Scotland we felt that we just had to visit Dunnottar Castle. It was as if we had been saving the best ’til last. Dunnottar was breathtaking – slowly revealing itself as the whisps of morning mist rolled away, perched on an island of sheer-sided basalt, tenuously tethered to the mainland by a single steep, sinuous path. The defenders of this imposing fort were able to withstand the onslaught of Cromwell’s army for eight months, thus saving the Scottish Crown Jewels!

img_1195We left the coast and drove on to Edinburgh via the tortuous roads that wind through the majestic Cairngorms National Park, following the River Dee for much of its path through the deep glacial valleys where, in its quieter moments, it reflected the snow still clinging to the looming mountains above. Wow!

img_1196Edinburgh presents a harmonious mix of the very old and the very new, and tangibly buzzes with the melting pot of humanity coursing through its labyrinthine, cobbled streets. Naturally we explored its iconic Castle, perched atop those dark, dolorite cliffs, ominously dominating the city below. But we also investigated the pokey 17th Century alleys and houses hidden beneath the streetscape of today, providing us with a fascinating insight into those smelly, unhygenic, crowded and generally impoverished times.

What would a visit to Edinburgh be without paying homage to Grayfriars Bobby? Or spending time in the not-quite-as-austere-as-it-should-be St. Giles Cathedral? Or climbing Calton Hill to view the unfinished “Acropolis” at its summit and to take in the view over this magical city

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