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!

Christmas in the UK

It’s that wonderful time of year again. The temperatures are colder (especially in Scotland, the North of England and Wales), the food tastes better, and relatives bombard you with gifts of deodorant/after-shave sets and socks. Whilst clear similarities are there between the UK and the US, our Christmases differ on several obvious, but also a number of lesser-known traditions. For this blog, we will focus solely on these differences and traditions that are unique to Britain!

Here are seven examples:

1) Christmas Eve – More recently, Christmas Eve has primarily been adopted as a day of celebration away from your family. Whilst our transatlantic cousins have Thanksgiving to catch up with friends who have perhaps moved away, Brits use the day before Christmas to meet with friends and reminisce over a drink or two. Furthermore, and to the point a lot more traditionally, adults frequent their local pub in the late morning of Christmas Day to celebrate with local friends/patrons, not too dissimilar to New Year’s Eve.

2) Christmas Crackers – For those unaware, and perhaps hard to explain the popularity of such an item, a Christmas cracker is like a Thanksgiving wishbone. Two people hold onto one side each of a soft cardboard tube, and with a quick pull, one person will take more of the cracker than the other, along with hearing a loud bang. Inside the victor’s majority is a joke (undeniably terrible, e.g. What do they sing at a snowman’s birthday party? Freeze a jolly good fellow); along with a coloured hat in the form of a crown. Even grandparents must wear them throughout Christmas dinner if not all of Christmas day. Tradition is tradition after-all.

3) Christmas Lunch/Dinner – Whilst Brits frequently refer to the main meal as “dinner”, the general eating time is usually around 1-2pm. This difference means a different Christmas Day to that in the US. In Britain, relatives generally spend Christmas Morning in the comfort of their own homes, before immediately preparing the feast or driving on the empty roads to friends and family’s houses. Once there, the food differs to that in the US. One example, Brits roast their potatoes, whereas in the US mashed potatoes are preferred. We also include various other British traditional Christmas foods, these include: Yorkshire puddings (not actually puddings), chutney, pork crackling and pigs in blankets (sausage wrapped in bacon). Most importantly though, whereas Americans prefer a Christmas ham, Brits do not celebrate Thanksgiving, therefore choose Christmas Day as the day for turkey, or if desired goose.

4) Elongated Festivities – Without Thanksgiving, the British Christmas starts earlier than in the US. Supermarkets begin digging out the Christmas playlists from as early as the beginning of November, Christmas cards and wrapping paper hit the stores even earlier, and Santa’s grottos begin popping up in shopping precincts. If proof is required of our desire to extend the festive period for as long as possible, in Love Actually (2003), the Christmas countdown starts six weeks prior to the 25th December, which is a very accurate portrayal of life in London during the hectic festive period.

5) Christmas Sales – Similarly to the last point, more recently, aside from the 12 Days of Christmas, the festivities have extended well into the new year with the January Sales. Adapted to start from Boxing Day (December 26th) more recently, our sales mirror Black Friday in the States. Shoppers descend on retail stores with their Christmas money/vouchers in hand in search of a winter bargain. Holiday seekers also take this time of year, with the multitude of public bank holidays, to plan and book their trips in anticipation of the new year, looking forward in a much more positive manner on what hopefully will be many relaxing breaks.

6) TV Scheduling – Whilst American football fixtures sometimes fall on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the UK gets a day off sport (soccer in particular resumes on Boxing Day and bank holiday fixtures). Instead, once the lunch has been eaten, a countrywide broadcast of the Queen’s Speech begins around 3pm (almost compulsory viewing in Britain!). In the evening, following many Christmas or animated films shown on the BBC, there is an annual Doctor Who Christmas special. This year, Brits are being treated to a Great British Bake Off special, along with the eagerly awaited return of Sherlock, over the Christmas/New Year period.

7) Christmas Markets – adopted from Europe’s finest cities, many British cities/towns are now opening markets in the same vein. From our very own market in the capital of Wales Cardiff, to cities including Bath and York to the fabulous Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London, there’s truly something for everyone. The mulled wine/hard cider, craft huts and ice-skating are just several popular attractions of such events, and let’s not forget the Rockefeller Center-esque illuminations and celebrations throughout the country.

If the above differences have piqued your interest in experiencing Christmas in the UK, then follow this link to our uniquely special tour, Christmas in Scotland, booking soon for 2017. Also, our other tours offer similar destinations and experiences, so if Christmas in the UK has been lingering on your bucket list, do not hesitate to enquire online or by phone today (toll-free from the US/Canada 1-866-209-4554) for a quotation and tailor-made quotation – we look forward to hearing from you!

Driving in Britain Tips

One of the more frequently raised topics regarding our self-drive tours here at adeo Travel are concerns about driving in Britain, namely about operating a vehicle on the left-hand side of the road during your time here.
This blog should help quash some of your fears about driving in our country and make you feel a little bit more relaxed before your Britain vacatioCar on country roadn.

When you enquire for a self-drive tour here at adeo Travel, as standard we will include a rental car with an automatic transmission. Although the majority of cars here in Britain are of manual transmission, we feel that having an automatic car will give our guests a smoother transition into driving in Britain.

Although we give you directions to each of your hotels in your travel documents that you will receive prior to travel, you may still wish to consider including a GPS navigation system with your car rental. If you have a GPS system instruct you on where you are going, this will allow your focus to be on getting used to the differences in our road systems – you also have less chance of getting lost which is always a bonus!

Driving on the other side of the road to what you are used to may seem fairly daunting at first, but feedback from our past guests tell us that it is easier to get used to than you would think! The fact that the driver’s seat is on the opposite side of what your brain is used to will straight away make you aware that something is different, which makes it much easier to adapt. If you do wish to go exploring the backroads here in Britain, our country roads can often be as narrow as a single-lane anyway, so there really is no need to fret!

Another key difference of British roads are roundabouts (or traffic circles). Roundabouts may appear daunting on paper, but as long as you remember to get into the correct lane for the direction you are heading and give way to the right then you will have nothing to worry about.

There is no ‘right on red’ equivalent here in Britain. Instead, we have filtered traffic lights. Do not proceed forward unless the light is green and there is no traffic or the designated filter is green for the direction you wish to go.

This blog has covered some of our frequently asked questions about driving in Britain – if you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be more than happy to assist.

A variety of our self-drive tours can be found on our website, each quote will have car hire included as standard. We look forward to hearing from you!