Category Archives: Cultural Travel

Everyone wants to see Abbey Road! cc image courtesy of mcmrbt on Flickr

The top spots for UK Music Lovers from Musicals to Punk Rock.

The influence of UK music on artists throughout the world is undeniable, with many of rock and roll’s most legendary acts hailing from the UK. The UK is a fabulous musical destination for lovers of all kinds of music.

It might be hard to believe but in addition to jazz, blues, and rock, the UK is also a thriving country destination and of course if you want to check out musicals in London then you certainly won’t be disappointed.  Every town boasts its own music landmarks as a result, whether you’re into Punk, Mod, Madchester, Britpop, Indie, or Glam Rock. Here are the top five British rock history destinations.

Abbey Road Studios, London

Everyone wants to see Abbey Road! cc image courtesy of mcmrbt on FlickrAny music fan’s tour of the UK will have to start in Swinging London. Upon touching down at Heathrow, one of the most iconic sites to visit is the famous crossing where the Beatles posed for their Abbey Road album cover. You can also see Abbey Road Studios, where the Fab Four recorded some of their most famous songs.

Heddon Street, London

Pose, pout, and recreate another famous album cover on tiny Heddon Street in London, near Piccadilly Circus just off of Regent Street. This is where David Bowie is pictured as Ziggy Stardust on the cover of “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” album way back in 1972.

Salford Lads Club and The Hacienda, Manchester

cc image by Richard K via FlickrThe background for the cover of 1986 Smiths’ album “The Queen is Dead,” the Salford Lads Club in Manchester also counts Allan Clarke and Graham Nash of The Hollies as former members. You can visit the Smiths Room located inside to sneak a peek at all types of memorabilia. The Manchester music scene of the 1980′s and 1990′s is legendary, with Joy Division, New Order, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and The Charlatans all hailing from this northern city. Stroll by what used to be the famous nightclub The Hacienda on Whitworth Street, where many of these bands cut their teeth. If you’re staying longer in Manchester, Old Trafford is just down the road.

Spillers Records, Cardiff

Officially the world’s oldest record store, Spillers was established in 1894 by Henry Spiller. Originally selling gramophones, they are now located on Morgan Arcade and specialize in a staggering collection of independent CD’s and vinyl to tempt any music nerd.

Eel Pie Island, Twickenham

cc image courtesy of Diamond Geezer via FlickrA tiny island with a fascinating music history, Eel Pie Island hosted a major blues and jazz venue back in the 1960′s. The Eel Pie Hotel was originally a glamorous ballroom, but opened its doors to a sultrier sound when it hosted some rocking blues nights later in the decade. The likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, Cyril Davies, David Bowie, and The Yardbirds all played here. Pete Townshend owned the adjacent Eel Pie Studios on the mainland, which were a venue for many pop and rock recordings, including the Cocteau Twins.

The Zodiac, Oxford

The Oxford music scene has produced some international heavy-hitters, including Radiohead, Supergrass, Ride, Swervedriver, and Foals. One of the epicentres of this music scene from 1995 to 2007 was the Zodiac, notable for being the location of Radiohead’s “Creep” video. It was also where The Strokes were first signed in the UK, in addition to hosting live music from a bevy of bands such as Coldplay and REM. Although it’s now officially the O2 Academy Oxford, many local residents still call it “the Zodiac” and visitors can still rock out inside.

Gay Pride in Amsterdam ccImage courtesy of Comicbase on Flickr

Amsterdam Free Things to Do this Summer

by Victoria Cawthorne

Amsterdam ccImage courtesy of Bryan_T on FlickrOne of the many great things about Amsterdam is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun. Amsterdam free things to do and a plethora of cheap flights are enticing thousands of travellers to take a budget break, to enjoy the numerous free festivals and events taking place this summer that showcase the best of what the city has to offer.

One of the summer’s most hotly-anticipated free events is De Parade, a travelling theatre festival that arrives in Amsterdam’s Martin Luther Kingpark on the 10th August. The park will be filled with colourful, activity-filled tents and restaurants to visit on each day of De Parade, and the festivities will culminate with a majestic Gala on the 26th.

Amsterdam also hosts numerous film festivals throughout the summer, including Pluk de Nacht which celebrates the independent, arthouse side of the industry. From 22nd August until 1st September this year you can enjoy many special cinema events as part of Pluk de Nacht, including free open-air screenings at the Stenen Hoofd near Amsterdam’s Central Station.

Have a Blast on a Budget

Gay Pride in Amsterdam ccImage courtesy of Comicbase on FlickrIf you’d like to check out one of the city’s terrific music festivals after arriving on cheap flights to Amsterdam, the Grachtenfestival is a great place to start. Kicking off on the 10th August this classical music festival is comprised of many free events, and performances are almost always in a stunningly memorable location to form a highlight of your visit to Amsterdam.

Of course even on those few days where there isn’t a festival or event scheduled to take place in Amsterdam this summer, there is still plenty to do that won’t cost a penny. Just strolling besides Amsterdam’s canals can be a satisfying way to spend an afternoon, and with the locals zipping past you on bikes you’ll enjoy seeing Amsterdam at your own pace.

Not that your budget will be too much of a concern, as you can find flights to Amsterdam for as low as £20.99 one way including taxes , and of course this budget-friendly city has a plethora of hostels and low-priced hotels to meet the needs of every traveller.

 

Victoria is a travel writer with a passion for music, theme parks, bikes, sewing, vegetarian food and road trips in camper vans. She has travelled extensively through Europe and North America and even lived abroad too, and has a natural passion for penning her experiences along the way.

Cyprus Wine Festival cc image courtesy of Tomasz.cc on Flickr.

Celebrate the World’s Oldest Wine at Koumandaria Cyprus Wine Festival

by Victoria Cawthorne

With the esteemed title of the world’s oldest wine still in production, it’s no wonder that Cypriots make such a fuss over Koumandaria wine – indeed, what other style of wine is celebrated with a week-long Cyprus wine festival?

Cyprus Wine Festival cc image courtesy of Tomasz.cc on Flickr.The festival in question is named after the wine itself, a sweet, amber-coloured dessert wine which dates back as far as 800 BC. This year’s Koumandaria Festival will kicked off on 22 July and runs until the 28th and boasting a packed programme of cultural events that wine enthusiasts will love after arriving on cheap flights to Cyprus.

These events include traditional Greek and Cypriot music performances, as well as plenty of great opportunities to try Cypriot delicacies and mingle with the friendly locals of the Koumandaria region. Koumandaria’s wineries will also be throwing open their doors for tours of the premises and tastings of the wine that’s nicknamed the ‘The Sweet Heart of Cyprus’, so leave the rental car at your hotel as you’ll want to take full advantage of what’s on offer!

See How It’s Made

cc Image courtesy of George M. Groutas on FlickrAs well as chances to taste Cyprus’ most famous tipple, Koumandaria Festival also has an educational aspect as you can learn about its history and see exactly how it’s manufactured. Many of the events will be free too, so even if you’re not planning to indulge, Koumandaria Festival will make for a series of fascinating and fun days out.

What’s more, getting to Koumandaria Festival is also easy thanks to cheap flights to Cyprus. Book now and leave space in your suitcase to bring a bottle or two of Koumandaria home!

Victoria is a travel writer with a passion for music, theme parks, bikes, sewing, vegetarian food and road trips in camper vans. She has travelled extensively through Europe and North America and even lived abroad too, and has a natural passion for penning her experiences along the way.