YOU tell us! First TransPennine customers reveal their favourite gems hidden away in these five incredible destinations
Bargain hunters will want to make a beeline for the Sunday Quayside Market and the Grainger Market, selling everything from small crafts to fabric and homeware. Need a feed after all that shopping? Scrumpy Willow & The Singing Kettle prides itself on its vegetarian breakfast (featuring the king of all comfort foods – eggy bread). When it comes to evening entertainment, you’ll have to decide whether to embrace the Geordie experience or opt for something more chilled instead. If cocktails are your thing, head for the trendy Mr Lynch’s Bar, a laid-back live music venue with pool tables, table football and the tastiest burgers. The cosy cocktail bar at Jesmond Dene House – “an oasis near the city centre” – has plump sofas and an inglenook fireplace. If Geordie Shore’s more your thing head to Tup Tup, the city’s hottest nightspot. Looking for somewhere quiet for the morning after the night before? The Great North Museum: Hancock, featuring natural history displays and exhibits on ancient civilisations, is a great way to spend a day – and it’s free.
Think Edinburgh and you think castles so why not nip down Castle Lane for a Thai dish, or even just a coffee, at Chaophraya. If you’re lucky, this rooftop restaurant may even give you the best seat for the famous Edinburgh Castle fireworks. For a ‘wee’ spend, swing by Covet on Thistle Street. This cute boutique is a paradise for handbag lovers and also sells fab jewellery and luxury accessories. If you fancy a bit of culture, the Scottish National Gallery, the country’s national art gallery, is the place to go, with works by Monet, Leonardo da Vinci and Lucian Freud. Head for the roof terrace and you’ll be rewarded with a view of the city that many other visitors miss. Alternatively, take a stroll along the river in the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden; shielded from the buzz of the streets, you won’t have to wonder why Edinburgh is dubbed ‘most relaxing’ city. Staying overnight? For a quirky/ luxury combo, check out the Glasshouse Hotel – the afternoon teas are wonderful. Don’t forget to book!
There’s no question this city is one of the UK’s style capitals. The Dressing Room, with a great selection of one-of-a-kind vintage and designer clobber, is the perfect place to uncover some unique pieces. For a spot of culture, head over to the Museum of Liverpool. It’s free and there’s a fascinating First World War exhibition running for the rest of the year. Feeling like a quirky drink? The Philharmonic Dining Rooms has bonkers decor and is well worth checking out, while The Smuggler’s Cove, at the Albert Dock, is perfect for those with a taste for unusual cocktails. Steering clear of the booze, The Brink is the city’s first dry bar – a place to eat, drink and hang out while keeping a clear head. To really get a sense of the city, why not try Twilight Tours at Liverpool Cathedral. You’ll get stunning views from 500ft above the city. And for a little Liverpudlian glamour, try Claudia Pink’s jewellery shop on Bold Street. It’s full of the unique and affordable.
To experience a glimpse of art and culture, the locals say there are few places better than the House of Blah Blah. With the focus being on interaction, it really is geared towards fun. Art seems embedded within the city with sculptures and statues around every corner. But if you fancy a break from the more arty areas and want to shop, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Baker Street is the thriving retail hub. If you normally find yourself searching for retro yet affordable clothing (it’s a hard find) then the boutique Vintageous Rags is for you. If you’re here in the evening, try The Empire, it’s hosted everyone from Charlie Chaplin to the Scissor Sisters. The Keys club has a bustling music scene, while TSone is the best place for a latte by a warm fire.
The Millennium Square draws people into the city with its Christmas markets, ice rink and gigs, there’s always something worth seeing. While fans of history should pop in The Thackray Museum and take a stroll around the Victoria Quarter – there’s plenty of Grade II architecture to enjoy. On a foodie tip, try the Anglo-West Indian cuisine at Roast + Conch, they use the savoury spice of roasted cocoa for very distinctive flavours. Underground Leeds is actually well above ground – a lift takes you up to the hidden bar, Angelica. It’s worth it though for the great views overlooking the city. Another alternative tipple mixes a drink and vintage video gaming - try your hand at the BrewDog pub. Too hectic? The Temple Newsam Park is wonderful for a afternoon laze. And it’s the Hyde Park Picturehouse’s centenary this year too, stop in and pay your cinematic respects.