Friday 31 July 2015

Sweeney Hall Hotel, Shropshire Sweeney Hall Hotel - From £81 Per Night

Featuring sweeping views of the Shropshire countryside, Sweeney Hall Hotel offers a grand and peaceful base from which to indulge yourself in a relaxing rural break. The hotel has elegantly refurbished interiors complete with modern facilities and stylish d├ęcor, both of which effortlessly dovetail with the building’s beautiful 16th century architecture to create interiors that blend old with new. Add to this cosy bedrooms and a comfortable dining space, and you have the perfect quintessentially English country break.
Things to Do in Shropshire
  • Treat yourself to a slice of history by exploring the medieval towers and dungeons of Chirk Castle 
  • Take a trip to Llangollen and enjoy the range of bars, restaurants and shops in this charming riverside town
  • Put your golfing skills to the test with a selection of local golf courses
  • Free breakfast
  • Free WiFi
  • Restaurant
  • Bar/Lounge

Wednesday 29 July 2015

August at the Natural History Museum at Tring

Myths and Monsters
Step back in time and discover the truth behind unicorns, mermaids and dragons. Get hands-on with replicas of the real creatures that inspired stories of strange beasts.
Until 6 September
About the exhibition
Coming soon: Science Uncovered
Join us for an extraordinary night at the Museum as part of the European Researchers' Night.
Grab a drink in our pop-up bar and wander the historic galleries. Enjoy talks with Museum scientists, see some of our rarest specimens or watch a demonstration on how bird skins are prepared for the Museum’s collection.

25 September, 18.00-22.00

Find out more
Summer activities
Butterfly Feeders18 and 20 August, 30-minute workshops at 10.15, 10.45, 11.15, 14.30 and 15.00
Tickets £2

Monstrous Models
4 and 25 August, 30-minute workshops at 10.15, 10.45, 11.15, 14.30 and 15.00
Tickets £2

Fossil Folklore
6 and 27 August, 30-minute handling workshops at 10.15, 10.45, 11.15, 14.30 and 15.00
Tickets £2

Coral Craft
11 August, 30-minute workshops at 10.15, 10.45, 11.15, 14.30 and 15.00
Tickets £2

Snapping Sharks
13 August, 30-minute workshops at 10.15, 10.45, 11.15, 14.30 and 15.00
Tickets £2
Find out more
Tring 700 Photography Competition 
Show off your camera skills and enter photographs of Tring in this competition organised by Tring and District Camera Club. You could see your work displayed in a special exhibition opening at the Museum on 9 October.
Entry closes 29 August
Find out more
Gifts inspired by Charles Darwin
From his voyage on the Beagle to his time at Downe House, find thought-provoking gifts inspired by one of the greatest minds in science, Charles Darwin. 
Shop now
What's on at the Museum in London
Sensational Butterflies
Until 13 September

Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea
Until 13 September

Book exhibition tickets

Sunday 26 July 2015

Half-Day Yacht Experience with a Two-Course Meal for One or Two People Escape Yachting Limited - From £99 Save 50% - Limited Time Offer

Take to the seas and enjoy a luxury yacht experience with this offer from Escape Yachting Limited. Once onboard you’ll enjoy a luxurious glass of champagne as you set sail for the Isle of Wight, where you’ll dine on a sumptuous, freshly prepared two-course meal and even a spot of swimming. The yacht is extremely comfy with its own open air saloon, and also features twin steering wheels so that you can take the helm, making this the perfect offer for all the wannabe sailors out there.
  • £99 (regular price £198) for a half-day yacht experience with an onboard two-course meal for one person
  • £195 (regular price £396) for a half-day yacht experience with an onboard two-course meal for two peole
  • Enjoy the yacht's comfortable interior, including an open air saloon and twin steering wheels so you can have a go at the helm
  • After your onboard meal, you’ll have the opportunity to take a swim off the Isle of Wight 
  • Click here to view an example menu
  • Set sail Monday to Sunday, 9am to 3pm or 3pm to 9pm
  • View Details - Buy This Offer

Saturday 25 July 2015

Coach Trip to Stonehenge and Bath Day Tours London From £39 Save 43%

Visit a World Heritage Site and a World Heritage City on this day-long coach adventure from Day Tours London. Get out of London for the day and see the stunning city of Bath and the world-famous Stonehenge site. On the way to Stonehenge, your guide will tell you more about the mystery that surrounds the ancient attraction and its significance. And when you arrive you can discover more inside the exhibition and visitor centre. After 90 minutes you’ll head toward the stunning city of Bath, founded by the Romans, who used the natural hot springs as a spa. Bath Abbey is the gem in the heart of the city, surrounded by beautiful streets of grand Georgian houses intersected by crescents and squares. You’ll see the fine beautiful buildings, Georgian architecture and the Royal Crescent all during this delightful day out.
  • £39 (regular price £68) for a day coach tour to Stonehenge and Bath for one person
  • £75 (regular price £136) for a day coach tour to Stonehenge and Bath for two people 
  • £94 (regular price £204) for a day coach tour to Stonehenge and Bath for a family of three (two adults and one child under 16)
  • £99 (regular price £272) for a day coach tour to Stonehenge and Bath for a family of four (two adults and two children under 16)
  • £109 (regular price £204) for a day coach tour to Stonehenge and Bath for three people
  • £149 (regular price £272) for a day coach tour to Stonehenge and Bath for four people
  • Tours run from Sunday to Monday, leaving from Gloucester Road Underground Tube Station
  • The tour lasts approximately 10 hours 30 minutes
  • View Details - Buy This Tour

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Birmingham Family Adventure with Overnight Stay and Attraction Tickets Holiday Inn Express Birmingham South £99 Save 27%

Enjoy an action-packed stay as you explore the sights and exciting attractions of Birmingham, with an overnight visit to the Holiday Inn Express Birmingham South. Here you and your nearest and dearest can spend some quality time exploring the city, shopping and enjoying precious family bonding. Spend some time on the wild side with entrance to your family’s favourite attraction, and enjoy a wonderful family city adventure together.
What You Get
  • For £99 (worth up to £136.28) enjoy a one-night stay for a family of four in a Family Room with breakfast and tickets to Cadbury World
  • For £99 (worth up to £139) enjoy a one-night stay for a family of four in a Family Room with breakfast and tickets to Sea Life Centre
  • For £99 (worth up to £142.52) enjoy a one-night stay for a family of four in a Family Room with breakfast and two-day pass tickets to Warwick Castle
  • For £99 (worth up to £141.46) enjoy a one-night stay for a family of four in a Family Room with breakfast and tickets to West Midlands Safari Park
  • Customers can collect their tickets from the front desk on arrival at the hotel
Things to Do in Birmingham

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Full-Day Spa Access with Afternoon Tea and Prosecco for Two People Pendley Manor Hotel

Situated in peaceful Tring in Hertfordshire, the Pendley Manor Spa knows everything there is to know about the art of relaxation. Located within a luxury hotel, this spa offers visitors a wonderful range of soothing facilities. Enjoy a blissful day of pampering as you take a dip in the spa bath, treat your skin to a steam, or work up a sweat at the gymnasium. Round off your decadent spa day with tempting afternoon tea, complete with a refreshing glass of Prosecco.
  • £69 (regular price £90.50) for a spa day for two people with afternoon tea and a glass of Prosecco each
  • Your sparkling afternoon tea consists of a selection of sandwiches and cakes, and warm scones with clotted cream & strawberry jam
  • Spa facilities include a heated swimming pool, spa bath, steam room, sauna, gym, garden terrace, snooker room and aerobics studio
  • Available Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday from 9am to 6pm

Friday 10 July 2015

Range Rover Evoque 4x4 Driving Experience Land Rover Start Off Road - From £43

They’re a favourite among celebrities but the Range Rover Evoque is much more than just a great looking car, it’s an impressive off-roader and with this experience one that adults and children alike can enjoy putting to the test. WithLand Rover Start Off-Road, you get the chance to put this magnificent motor through its paces on challenging off-road terrain. Learn how to drive and steer on wet grass, climb vertiginous ascents and test the hill descent control to the max on some steep descents. Drive through mud, woods, grassland and rivers all accompanied by an expert off-road driving instructor. Do what the celebrities wouldn’t dare and see exactly what this iconic car is capable of during this fun-fuelled day of adventure.
  • £43 for a 30-minute Range Rover Evoque 4x4 driving experience 
  • £80 for a 60-minute Range Rover Evoque 4x4 driving experience 
  • £119 for a 90-minute Range Rover Evoque 4x4 driving experience 
  • To see availability, click here
  • Available for ages 11 and upwards
  • You’ll drive an automatic Range Rover Evoque 
  • All vehicles are fitted with dual controls and you’ll be paired with a highly trained instructor – parents or guardians will need to be present and can ride in the rear seat if they wish
  • Book This Offer

Thursday 9 July 2015

World War II Tiger Moth Aircraft Flight Experience Aero Legends £89 Save 26%

Step back in time and experience first-hand what it was like to be a trainee Spitfire Pilot during the Second World War as you take to the sky in a Tiger Moth biplane. Aero Legends offer this once-in-a-lifetime experience to fly in this classic vintage aircraft, of which only a few remain fully certified for trial flights. The mighty Tiger Moth was the classic 1930s open-cockpit aircraft that most Royal Air Force pilots learnt to fly in before progressing to aircrafts such as the iconic Spitfire or Hurricane, among others.
  • £89 (regular price £120) for one Tiger Moth trial flight experience for one person
  • Available seven days a week from 10am until 5pm
  • The experience lasts approximately one hour – please arrive 45 minutes early for the safety briefing
  • The flight duration time will be at least ten minutes
  • Available in a choice of two locations
  • View Details - Buy This Offer

Sunday 5 July 2015

The big joy of small villages

From meta models of models to fantastical landscapes and replicas of much-loved locations, the UK's quaint and quirky miniature villages continue to be a big draw.
The UK is home to more than 30 miniature villages, ranging from hobbyists to full-blown tourist attractions employing professional engineers.
They can be found in weather-beaten coastal resorts, picturesque villages nestled in rolling hills or as complements to major tourist attractions such as Land's End or Blenheim Palace.
Or even just an enthusiast's garden.
Brian Salter, author of Models Towns and Villages, said: "People love going to model villages because we like things in miniatures, we all had toys and there is a nostalgia and old worldliness to them.
"And people like making models because it is a way to build and own something you love when you could never have the real thing."
Children enjoy Bekonscot

Bekonscot, Buckinghamshire

The models at Bekonscot vary in scale from 1:15 to 1:18
Generally accepted as the world's first model village, Bekonscot in Beaconsfield opened in August 1929 when Roland Callingham - under instruction from his wife - moved his model railway from his home to a neighbouring garden.
Bekonscot has been featured in TV adverts
About 160,000 people a year visit the 1930s-styled village, which has around 200 buildings, including a house on fire and operational coal mine.
Green Hedges, the home of Famous Five and Noddy author Enid Blyton, has been recreated in model form at Bekonscot
And one of its hidden gems is a replica of Green Hedges, the home of Enid Blyton who lived next door to the Callinghams.
Author Brian Salter said Bekonscot is accepted as the world's first model village. It started as a model railway in a house
Brian Newman-Smith, managing director of Bekonscot, said: "What we have here is unique and different, we don't have white knuckle rides, it is quite peaceful and depicts England. People leave their world and worries behind when they enter the gates."
Bekonscot was popular with Queen Elizabeth when she was a young princess

Bourton-on-the-water, Gloucestershire

Bourton model village also includes a model of the model, which itself has a model of the model of the model
To experience meta on an epically small scale, visit Bourton-on-the-Water's 75-year-old model village.
Found in the back garden of the Old New Inn, the attraction is modelled on the Cotswold village with its streets, shops, River Windrush, houses and churches recreated from the mustard-coloured stone in 1:9 scale.
  • River Windrush


    The River Windrush which flows through Bourton also flows through the model village
  • Church of St Lawrence


    The Church of St Lawrence's
    The Church of St Lawrence's medieval nave and Georgian tower have been recreated in model form along with its interior
  • The Model Village


    The model village
    The model village in the grounds of the Old New Inn was completed in 1941 after the landlord and his wife meticulously measured Bourton to ensure their version was accurate
  • Changing shop fronts


    The only things that change in the village are the shop fronts which are kept up to date with the real retailers' alterations
  • War Memorial


    The model village was granted Grade II Listed status in 2012, much like many of the real buildings the oldest of which was built in the 17th Century
One of the highlights is the model of the model village in the model pub's model garden. And it goes on, with a model in that model, and then a painted model in the model's model's model.
Each building lasts about four years before it needs refurbishing
Owner Vicki Atherton said: "People do get really excited about the model in the model, they are quite surprised by it which surprises me because, as it is a model of Bourton, you would expect to see it."
Brian Salter said the challenge facing villages is not a lack of interest but rather their mere maintenance.
Mr Salter said: "Everybody loves these villages but the maintenance of them is like a treadmill, both the buildings need attention and the grounds need to be well kept."
Maintenance is the biggest challenge facing model villages with damage caused by either the elements or visitors.

Babbacombe, Devon

Babbacombe's new fishing village is a composite of three real villages in Devon and Cornwall. A model based on nearby Paignton Zoo is due to open this summer.
Home to what was the world's smallest working television, Babbacombe in Torquay also has fishing villages, Stonehenge and a fire-breathing dragon.
The attraction opened in 1963 with the models originally made from timber, but the coastal wind and salt took their toll so fibre glass is now used.
It attracts 150,000 visitors a year and general manager Simon Wills said he has noticed a particular interest from Chinese tourists.
Babbacombe's fire-breathing dragon is popular with visitors as is their miniature Stonehenge complete with ancient druids, according to Simon Wills
He said: "I've been trying to figure out why it is so popular for the last 40 years.
"People are fascinated with things in miniature, perhaps it dates back to their childhood with model trains or doll houses."
Babbacombe's original TV, a two and half inch cathode ray tube device, was the world's smallest working TV when it was installed in the 1960s

Lakeland, Cumbria

Edward Robinson said his preferred material is slate after previous workings with limestone and sandstone proved infuriating
Edward Robinson started making models 23 years ago after an ME diagnosis forced him to end his career as a builder.
He and his wife Kathleen have converted a paddock behind their home in Flookburgh near Grange-over-Sands into a display area for his models.
Having made an eight-foot-high version of Ambleside's Bridge House Edward Robinson is now working on a smaller rendition
His latest creation is the unusual but eye-catching Bridge House in Ambleside built, like most of his creations, from locally quarried slate.
Visitors in all shapes and sizes make their way to Lakeland, which is open from 1 March to 31 October
The model has now been moved to the Honister Slate Mine, but visitors to Lakeland can still see dozens of his creations all modelled on real Lake District buildings, albeit their original states as barns and farms rather than their modern-day conversions.
He said: "I find it therapeutic, it can take three months to make a model but it is time well spent."
Edward Robinson said he starts with the door then scales the building from there when recreating Lake District buildings such as Beatrix Potter's home Hill Top
Mr Robinson said his models were particularly popular with visitors from India although he cannot explain why.
He said: "They seem to be crazy for them and are really bowled over when they come in, which is nice to see."

Bondville, East Yorkshire

Everything at Bondville is made in a 1:12 scale
Bondville in Bridlington was created by Geoff and Carol Cooper in 1988, their third model village.
Although it is now owned by Jan Whitehead, Mr Cooper still makes and maintains the models and figures while Mrs Cooper helps with the gardening.
What's unusual about Bondville is its total adherence to the 1:12 scale (plus its picturesque harbour and miniatures of characters from Last of the Summer Wine).
Bondville has a distinctly Yorkshire feel especially with the likes of Compo, Foggy and Clegg outside the Dog and Duck pub
Ms Whitehead said: "Geoff is very strict on the scale and while many other villages have variances we simply don't.
"Geoff will adapt things to make sure they fit properly, vehicles in particular are very difficult to buy in 1:12 scale, especially things like ambulances and fire engines, so Geoff will make them himself.
Bondville is one of only two villages in the UK to have a 1:12 scale railway which matches the rest of the models and figures (the other is Anglesey)
"The maintenance is a huge task but we are all committed to it. Our buildings are made from concrete with brickwork scribed by hand, it would be much easier to use fibre glass but we don't want to go down that route because then we would lose the realism which is the real charm.
"People say to us it looks exactly like a real village only in miniature, that's what we strive for."
Many model villages enjoy creating humorous shop names and signs, such as Junk and Disorderly in Bondville or Willie Cheatam's greengrocers at Skegness