Four of the Best Attractions in Cambridge

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 Posted by

 

Cambridge

 

Best known for being home to one of the world’s top ranking universities, Cambridge is a city in the East Anglia region of England, around 50 miles from London. Cambridge is rich in history and steeped in tradition, with a charming atmosphere that makes it a great choice for a romantic holiday or city break with friends. In this blog, we suggest four of the best things to see and do during a stay in Cambridge.

 

punting on river cam

Punting on the River Cam

A trip to Cambridge would not be complete without a punting adventure on the scenic River Cam. Punting has been an important part of Cambridge’s history since the early 1900′s, and a ride on one of the small flat-bottomed boat is an unusual and fun way to see the city. There are a number of punt hire companies operating with a typical guided tour lasting around 45 minutes and offering great views of the famous “College Backs” and bridges. For those who are feeling energetic, go for the self-guided hourly hire option and set out on your own!

 

 sculpture

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Cambridge Sculpture Trails

Cambridge Sculpture Trails is the name for three specially designed walking routes which introduce visitors to a diverse collection of modern art. There are over 60 sculptures scattered through the historic and modern districts of the city with pieces from internationally acclaimed artists and those who are less well known. Trail One is approximately two hours long and explores the south of Cambridge, Trail Two runs through the city centre and can be broken down into shorter segments if preferred, while Trail Three is set in west Cambridge and passes through beautifully maintained college gardens. Maps for the trails can be found online or picked up from the Tourist Information Centre.

 

 cambridge botanical gardens

Cambridge University Botanic Gardens

The heritage-listed Cambridge University Botanic Gardens first opened in 1846 and features over 40 acres of trees, flowers and herbs from around the world. This amazing collection of plants includes a British wild flower garden, a Fen display, glasshouses with tropical and desert species, as well as themed walking trails. The gardens are open daily from 10am, and it is worth allowing at least 3 hours to look around at all the features.

 

 denny abbey farmland

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Denny Abbey Farmland Museum

Located by the village of Waterbeach, a short drive or bus ride from Cambridge, Denny Abbey Farmland Museum offers a fascinating look at the rural history of the region. The grounds of Denny Abbey provide an apt setting for the theme, having been farmed for over 2,000 years, and the ancient abbey itself is beautiful. Highlights of the museums exhibits include a 1940′s style farm-worker’s cottage, recreations of craftsmen’s workshops and displays of farming equipment that was once used by local people. Facilities on-site include picnic areas, a cafeteria and gift-shop.

 

 

The UK’s Best Events and Festivals in September 2014

Posted on: September 8th, 2014 Posted by

 

autumn

 

As summer draws to a close, it may be time for the kids to go back to school and life to return to the usual routine – but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. This September stave off the post-vacation blues and add some pizazz to your weekends by planning a trip to one of these super events and festivals going on throughout the UK this month.

 

abergavenny_food_festival

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Abergavenny Food Festival, Wales

Taking place on the weekend of 21st – 22nd September, the Abergavenny Food Festival won the National Tourism 2013 Award for the Best Event in Wales. Originally a small scale event , the food festival has expanded over the years but still maintains its core philosophy that celebrates the craft of food production,  the diversity of Welsh food and the pleasures of eating. This year, along with top exhibitors from a huge number of suppliers from the local area and beyond, the weekend also includes lots of special activities, from chef demonstrations and tasting sessions to live music and kid’s workshops.

http://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/

 

newent onion

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Newent Onion Fayre, Gloucestershire

If you are looking for a day out with a difference, that won’t break the bank, the Newent Onions Fayre could be the answer. Taking place on Saturday 13th September, this one day event, which celebrates the first day of the onion harvest, is free to enter and is the UK’s only onion festival. The festival has its roots in the 12th Century and was relaunched in the mid-1990s, quickly becoming famous for its unique character. Highlights of the day include an onion show, an onion eating contest (we dare you to join in!) and a dog show, as well as a produce market, live music and street entertainers.

http://www.newentonionfayre.org/

 

vw camper

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Air Cooled VW Show, York

Love music and classic campers? Then the Air Cooled VW Show is right up your street. Running from 12th – 14th September on the Escrick Park Estate, the show is a hot-spot for vintage VW campers, but you don’t have to own one to participate. Head to the event to see gorgeous examples of restored vehicles, show off your style in the themed fancy dress competition and enjoy the diverse range of musical acts on stage. There is even a dog show, so that your canine companion can join in the fun too!

http://classicvolks.com/vwfieldofdreams.html

 

Jane-Austen-Festival

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The Jane Austen Festival, Bath

The Jane Austen Festival is Bath’s annual event in honour of one of the England’s best-loved authors – Jane Austen. Running from 12th – 21st September, the festivities open with a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest gathering of people in Regency costume, and continue over ten days. Other events include literary talks, etiquette classes, concerts, dance lessons and much more – all with a distinctive period theme.

http://www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk/

 

ST_BENEDICTS

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Heritage Open Days, Various

Don’t miss out on the heritage open days taking place in hundreds of historic locations throughout England from 11th – 14th September. Special volunteer led events include guided walks, talks and the opportunity to access parts of properties that are not usually open to the public. For further information and to discover what is happening in your area, check out the link we’ve added below.

http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory

 

 

Exotic Fruits from Around the World

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 Posted by

 

exotic fruit

 

While once they were seen as exotic fruits, apples, pear, plums and even bananas are now commonly sold in supermarkets and on market stalls in most regions of the UK. However, there are plenty more fruits out there that you probably haven’t tried yet. In this week’s blog we take an adventure of flavour, looking at some of the diverse exotic fruits available across the globe.

 

ackee fruit

Ackee

The national fruit of Jamaica and in the same family as the better known lychee, the ackee fruit originated in West Africa and was taken to the Caribbean on slave ships during the 1700s.

Despite its popularity, ackee can actually be toxic if consumed before fully ripe, and was once referred to by the US publication TIME Magazine as one of the most dangerous foods in the world. When mature, the segmented fruit has a red rind, which opens to reveal shiny black seeds, along with edible pinkish coloured flesh. Ackee is at is best in the traditional Jamaican dish of Salt-cod and Ackee, which makes the most of its subtle flavour and texture to contrast with the fish in the recipe.

 

black sapote fruit

Black Sapote

Related to the persimmon and native to Mexico and Central America, the black sapote is known for its unusual chocolatey flavour. In season from around August until January, the fruit is similar to a tomato in appearance with a green skin and soft, dark brown flesh. Although not widely cultivated, this fruit is growing in popularity as many people seek out healthy alternative to sugar-filled sweets and desserts. Recipe ideas include using it to make smoothies, puddings and even to make ice-cream.

 

natal plum

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Natal Plum

Native to coastal regions of South Africa, the natal plum or sarissa, is a low-growing shrub with white star-shaped blooms and oval shaped red fruit. High in vitamin C and a surprising good source of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, the natal plum is an important cultivated crop in Africa, however in other countries, it is grown mainly for its attractive appearance in gardens. Natal plum is eaten whole without peeling or removing the small seeds, and has a tart flavour which is often likened to strawberries or cranberries.

 

yangmei fruit

Yangmei

Also known as the chinese strawberry, the yangmei is native to China and has been cultivated there for thousands of years. Unlike the strawberries that we know and love, yangmei grows on trees and is a round-shaped fruit turns from a yellow colour to red when ripe. This fruit plays an important part in Asia medicine and is said to be helpful in the treatment of arthritis, be beneficial for the function of the heart and the digestion, as well as containing many powerful anti-oxidant vitamins. The flavour is sharp but sweet, rather like a blackcurrant or pomegranate, and it is delicious served on its own, or in juices and preserves.

 

Has this given you a craving to try something new? Is there any fruit you’d like to tell us about?