The Seven Wonders…of the UK

There are some of you who will undoubtedly be sceptical at the level of wonder such a rainy country has to offer. But fear not; there is plenty to satisfy a cultural craving, some of which can be found right on your doorstep.

1) The Shard.
Perhaps a tad glossier than your average English Heritage site, it pains me to say that the richly named ‘View from the Shard’ really is worth the money. If you can stretch your budget to accommodate Europe’s tallest building, a dusk viewing is highly recommended, where if you’re lucky, you might be treated to a scorching red sunset over London. Like the opulent cocktails in the Aqua Shard bar, this experience is best served with a fur coat and a best friend.

The Shard. Image: Luke McKernan. www.flickr.com/photos/33718942@N07/8667176085/.
The Shard. Image: Luke McKernan. www.flickr.com/photos/33718942@N07/8667176085/.


2) The Minack Theatre 

It may be pretty inaccessible but if any of you are lucky enough to get down to the South Western crumbly edges of the British Isles, you will be amazed at the raw structure of a theatre, built by one woman for her family. Being a working theatre, the coastal open air lends itself to the echoes of Shakespeare’s greats. Perfectly lit up by the reflection of the moon on the dramatic waters (I can testify), an evening performance makes for the perfect stage for any keen theatre-goer.

Minack Theatre. Image: John Greenaway. www.flickr.com/photos/johngreenaway/4112657376/sizes/z/
Minack Theatre. Image: John Greenaway. www.flickr.com/photos/johngreenaway/4112657376/sizes/z/

3) Alnwick Garden
A popular televised retreat, the treehouse at Alnwick Garden is home to some particularly hairy bakers and some rather outlandish grooms (Don’t Tell the Bride anyone?). Yet, even to the down-to-earth traveller, it remains pretty impressive, and is adorned with enough wooden bridges and quaint flowerbeds to make you believe you’ve been dropped into playing Sulvilian Families. They also have the best chips with aioli; to anyone who knows my passion for chips, this is quite a statement.

Alnwick Garden. Image: Graeme. www.flickr.com/photos/fuzzytnth3/2066223482/
Alnwick Garden. Image: Graeme. www.flickr.com/photos/fuzzytnth3/2066223482/

4) Crosby Beach
Cast aside from the bustling hub of Liverpool, is Crosby beach, where the sands are adorned with one of many Antony Gormley creations. Here, impressive iron life-style figures appear on the beach, looking out to sea. It is quite a statement and a good place for reflection, making a unique
alternative to the local art gallery.

Crosby Beach. Image: hehaden. www.flickr.com/photos/hellie55/11235590836/sizes/z/
Crosby Beach. Image: hehaden. www.flickr.com/photos/hellie55/11235590836/sizes/z/

5) Portmeirion Village
Whilst it might initially look like you’ve walked onto the Balamory set, this Welsh attraction is every inch a symbol of imagination and is pretty close to perfection, at least in my opinion. Here, pastel painted houses and shrub filled gardens create a haven of tranquillity whilst the seemingly
random gold Buddha statue provides cultural interest. The juxtaposed child-like design with wedding-potential sleek facades is a welcomed addition to a Welsh escape. If you are feeling particularly keen, the start of September marks the resort’s award-winning small-scale festival, which hosts a wide range of entertainment.

Portmeirion. Image: Scott Wylie. www.flickr.com/photos/scotbot/8465190645/
Portmeirion. Image: Scott Wylie. www.flickr.com/photos/scotbot/8465190645/

6) Spinnaker Tower
If the Shard is stretching your pockets a bit too much, Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower is a recommended alternative, complete with a (literal) glass ceiling you can walk across to the sound of your shivers. The local area is filled with harbour-side restaurants and shops, where a summer evening can be spent enjoying a portion of the ‘riviera lifestyle.’

The Spinnaker Tower. Image:  Mike Lawrence.  www.flickr.com/photos/mike__lawrence/3163970035/
The Spinnaker Tower. Image: Mike Lawrence. www.flickr.com/photos/mike__lawrence/3163970035/

7) The Roman Baths
With my family living in Bath, I’ve spent many occasions in the beautiful city, and it wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the eponymous ‘Roman Baths.’ A historical insight to the precursor to modern swimming pools, the Roman Baths uses all senses to bring a luxury culture to the present day. For a post-bath treat, the chandelier filled tearoom presents the ultimate British dining experience, where a dainty cup of tea perfectly accompanies the incredible surroundings.

Roman Baths. Image: Heather Cowper. www.heatheronhertravels.com/.
Roman Baths. Image: Heather Cowper. www.heatheronhertravels.com/.

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