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Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in the Europe.

The Tower of London – London, United Kingdom

Soon after he became king in 1066, William the Conqueror built a castle to guard the entrance to London from Thames Estuary. In 1097, the White Tower, standing today at the center of the complex, was completed in sturdy stone; other fine buildings were added over the centuries to create one of the most powerful and formidable fortress in Europe. The tower has served as a royal residence, an armory, a treasury, and, most famously, as a prison for enemies of the crown. Many prisoners were tortured, and among those who met their death here were the “Princes in the Tower”, the sons and heirs of Edward IV. Today, the tower is a popular attraction, housing the Crown Jewels and other Priceless exhibits – powerful reminders of royal might and wealth.

THE LEGEND OF THE RAVENS

The tower’s most celebrate residents are a colony of seven ravens. It is not known when they first settled here, but these scavenger birds would have arrived soon after the castle was constructed to feed off the abundant refuse. Their presence has been protected by a legend that says that should the birds desert the tower, the kingdom will fall. In fact, they have their wings clipped on one side, makin flight impossible. The Ravenmaster, one of the “Beefeaters”, look after the birds.

FAMOUS PRISONERS

The tower has been prison to kings, queens, and notorious characters throughout its history. One of the first monarchs to be held here was Henry VI, who was murdered while at prayer in 1471. The Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV, was convicted of treason and killed by drowning in a cask of wine in 1478. Two of Henry VIII’s wives, and his former chancellor, Sir Thomas More, were beheaded here. Even Elizabeth I was held in the tower for two months, and on her death in 1604, Sir Walter Raleigh, her favorite explorer, was imprisoned and later executed. The last prisoner, held in the Queen’s House in 1941. was Rudolf Hess, deputy leader of the Nazi party.

THE WINTER TOWER

Work on the White Tower, the oldest surviving building in the tower, was begun in 1078. It was designed as a palace-fortress to accommodate the king and the Constable of the Tower, the garrison commander. Each had their own rooms, including a hall for public occasions, a partitioned chamber, and a chapel. When the fortress was enlarged a century later, both king and constable moved to new residences. On the upper two stories, the monarch’s elegant royal suite was used to hold distinguished prisoners. The ceremonial chambers were twice their present height. Rising through two floors is the Chapel of St. John, an exquisite early-Norman church. This was once decorated rich furnishing, painted stonework, and stained-glass windows, but these were removed in 1550 during the English Reformation. In the 1600s, the tower served as a storehouse and armory.

Jewel House

scepter-with-the-cross

Among the magnificent Crown Jewel is the Scepter with the Cross of 1660, which contains the world’s biggest diamond.

White Tower

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When the tower was completed in 1097, it was the tallest building in London, at 90 ft (27m) high.

Beauchamp Tower

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Many high-raking prisoners were held in this tower = built by Edward I around 1281 – often with a retinue of servants.

Queen’s House

queens-house

This Tudor building is the sovereign’s official residence at the tower.

Salt Tower

Prisoners’ inscriptions are carved into the walls of this tower’s two residential rooms, which were used as prison cells during Tudor times.

“Beefeaters”

beefeaters

Thirty-seven Yeoman Warders guard the tower and live here. Their uniforms harken back to Tudor times.

Chapel of St. John

This austerely beautiful Romanesque chapel is particularly fine example of Norman architecture.

Traitors’ Gate

This infamous entrance was used for prisoners brought from trail in Westminster Hall.

Bloody Tower

bloody-tower

Edward IV’s two sons were put in the tower by their uncle, Richard of Gloucester (subsequently Richard III) after their father died in 1483. The princes, depicted here by John Millais (1829-96), mysteriously disappeared and Richard was crowned later that year. In 1674, the skeletons of two children were found nearby.

Tower Green

Favored prisoners were executed at this site, away from the crowds on Tower Hill. Seven people died here, including two of Henry VIII’s six wives. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.

THE CROWN JEWELS

One of the world’s best-known collections of precious objects includes the regalia of crowns, scepters, orbs, and swords used at coronations and other state occasions. Most date from 1661, when Charles II commissioned replacements for regalia destroyed by Parliament after the execution of Charles I. Only a few older pieces survived, hidden until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 – notably, Edward the Confessor’s (r. 1327-77) sapphire ring, now incorporated into the Imperial State Crown. The crown was remade for Queen Victoria and has been worn at every coronation since.

TORTURE AND DEATH

Early prisoners in the Tower of London, who were sentenced to execution, could look forward to a drawn-out death. In the 14th and 15th centuries, many would have been hanged, drawn, and quartered, or burned at the stake, although some may have been stretched on a rack first. Others were disemboweled or hacked to piece.

KEY DATES

1078: Work begins on building the White Tower
1533: Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn at the tower.
1601: The last victim of the ax is beheaded on Tower Green.
1841: Fire destroys part of the White Tower.

St Paul’s Cathedral – London, United Kingdom

The Great Fire of London in 1666 left the medieval cathedral of St. Paul’s in ruins. The architect Christopher Wren was commissioned to rebuilt it, but his design for a church on a Greek Cross plan (where all four arms are equal) met with considerable resistance. The authorities insisted on a conventional Latin cross, with a long nave and short transepts, to focus the congregation’s attention on the altar. Despite the compromises, Wren created a magnificent, world-renowned Baroque cathedral. Built between 1675 and 1710, it has been the setting for many state ceremonies.

FAMOUS TOMBS

St. Paul’s Cathedral is the final resting place of Sir Christopher Wren, whose tomb is marked by a slab. The inscription states, “Reader, if you seek a monument look around you.” Around 200 tombs of famous figures and popular heroes can be found in the crypt, such as Nelson, naval hero of the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), and the Duke of Wellington, hero of the Battle of Waterloo (1815). Other tombs and memorials include those of the composers Sir Arthur Sullivan, the sculptor Sir Henry Moore, and artists Sir John Everett Millais and Joshua Reynolds. Florence Nightingale, famous for her pioneering work in nursing standards and the first woman to receive the Order of Merit, is also buried here, as is Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicil.

THE INTERIOR

The cathedral’s cool, beautifully ordered, ornate and spacious interior is instantly striking. The nave, transepts, and choir are arranged in the shape of a cross, as in a medieval cathedral, but Wren’s Classical vision shines through this conservative floor plan, forced on him by the Church authorities. The interior is dominated by the vast cupola (dome), which is decorated with monochrome frescoes by Sir James Thornhill. Master woodcarver Grinling Gibbons produced intricate carvings of cherubs, fruits, and garlands (choir stalls), while the French Huguenot wrought-ironwork genius Jean Tijou created the sanctuary gates.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Aided by some of the finest craftsmen of his day, Christopher Wren create an interior of grand majesty and Baroque splendor, a worthy setting for the many great ceremonial events that have taken place here. These include the funerals of Admiral Lord Nelson (1806), the Duke of Wellington (1852), and Sir Winston Churchill (1965). Celebrated royal occasions have included the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer (1981) and Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee (2002). The cathedral also provided the venue for a special service mark the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

West Front and Towers

Added by Wren in 1707, the towers’ design was inspired by the Italian Baroque architect Boromini.

Nave

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An imposing succession of massive arches and saucer domes open out into the vast space below the cathedral’s main dome.

West Portico

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Two stories of coupled Corinthian columns are topped by a pediment carved with reliefs showing the conversion of St. Paul.

Balustrade

This was added in 1718, against Wren’s wishes.

Dome

At 370 (113m), the elaborate dome is one of the highest in the world.

Lantern

st-paul-lantern

This weighs a massive 850 tons.

Golden Gallery

There are splendid views over London from here.

Oculus

st-paul-oculus

The cathedral floor can be seen through this opening.

Whispering Gallery

The dome’s unusual acoustics mean that words whispered against the wall in this gallery can be heard clearly on the opposite side.

Choir Stalls

The 17th-century choir stalls and organ case were made by Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721), a woodcarver from Rotterdam. He and his team of craftsmen worked on these intricate carvings for two years.

Choir

st-paul-choir-stalls

Jean Tijou, a Huguenot refugee, created much of the fine wrought-ironwork here in Wren’s time, including the choir screens.

High Altar

The present altar was made in 1958 and features a canopy based on Wren’s design.

South Portico

This was inspired by the porch of Santa Maria della Pace in Rome. Wren absorbed the detail by studying a collection of architectural engravings.

CHRISTOPHER WREN

christopher-wren

Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) began his impressive architectural career at the age of 31. He became a leading figure in the reconstruction of London after the devastating Great Fire of 1666, building a total of 52 new churches. Although Wren never visited Italy, his work was influenced by Roman Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

KEY DATES

1675-1710: Wren’s St. Paul’s Cathedral is built. It is the fourth church to occupy the site.
1723: Wren is the first person to be interred in the cathedral’s crypt.
1810: Many precious artifacts are lost in a major robbery.
1940: Slight bomb damage occurs during the London Blitz in World War II.

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Westminster Abbey – London, United Kingdom

Since the 13th century, Westminster Abbey has been the burial place of Britain’s monarchs and the setting for many coronations and royal weddings. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in London, with an exceptionally diverse array of architectural styles, ranging from the austere French Gothic of the nave to the astonishing complexity of the Lady Chapel. Half national church, half national museum, the abbey’s aisles and transepts are crammed with an extraordinary collection of tombs and monuments honoring some of Britain’s greatest public figures, from politicians to poets.

FAMOUS TOMBS AND MONUMENTS

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St. Edward’s Chapel

Many sovereigns and their consorts are buried in Westminster Abbey. Some tombs are deliberately plain, while others are lavishly decorated. The shrine of the Saxon king Edward the Confessor and various tombs of medieval monarchs are located at the heart of the abbey (St. Edward’s Chapel). The Grave of Unknown Warrior in the nave commemorates those killed in World War I who had no formal resting place. One unnamed solider is buried here. Monuments to a number of Britain’s greatest public figures crowd the aisles. Memorials to literary giants such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dickens can be found in the South Transept Poets’ Corner).

THE LADY CHAPEL

lady-chapel

The chapel, built in 1503-12, has a superb late-Perpendicular vaultings, and choir stalls dating from 1512

Work on the chapel began in 1503, on the orders of King Henry VII. It was intended to enshire Herny VI, but it was Henry VII himself who was finally laid to rest here in an elaborate tomb. The highlight of this chapel, completed in 1519, is the vaulted roof, a glorious example of Perpendicular architecture. The undersides of the choir stalls (1512) are beautifully carved with exotic and fantastic creatures. The chapel contains the fine tomb of Elizabeth I, who reigned 1558-1603, and that of her half-sister, Mary I, who ruled 1553-8.

THE CORONATION CEREMONY

Every monarch since William the Conqueror, expect Edward V and Edward VII, has been crowned in Westminster Abbey. Many elements in this solemn and mystical ceremony date from the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-66). The king or queen proceeds to the abbey, accompanied by some of the crowns, scepters, orbs, and swords that form the royal regalia. The jeweled State Sword, one of the most valuable swords in the world, represents the monarch’s own sword. He or she is anointed with holy oil, to signify divine approval, and invested with ornaments and royal robes. The climax of the ceremony is when St. Edward’s Crown is placed on the sovereign’s head; there is a cry of “God Save the King” (or Queen), the trumpets sound, and guns at the Tower of London are fired.

North Transept

The three chapels on the eastern side of this transept contain some of the abbey’s finest monuments.

North Entrance

The main entrance’s mock-medieval stonework is Victorian.

Sanctuary

Built by Henry III, this has been the site of 38 coronations.

Poets’ Corner

estminster-abbey-poets-corner.

Many great poets are honored here, including Shakespeare, Chaucer, and T.S. Eliot.

Chapter House

This beautiful octagonal rooms, remarkable for its 13th – century tiled floor, is lit by six huge stained-glass windows showing scenes from the abbey’s history.

Museum

westminster-abbey-museum

Unique wood, plaster, and wax effigies of monarch are some of the treasures exhibited here.

Pyx Chamber

In medieval times, coinage was kept here before being tested for purity.

ST Edward’s Chapel

The Coronation Chair can be seen here before being tested for purity.

Cloister

Built mainly in the 13th and 14th centuries, the cloisters link the abbey church with the other buildings.

Flying Buttresses

The abbey’s enormous flying buttresses help to redistribute the great weight of have’s soaring roof.

Nave

westminster-abbey-nave

At a height of 102 ft (31m), the nave is the highest in England. The ratio of height to width is 3:1.

CORONATION

The coronation ceremony is over 1,000 years old. The last occupant of the Coronation Chair was the present queen, Elizabeth II. She was crowned on June 2, 1953, by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the first televised coronation.

KEY DATES:

1065: Edward the Confessor founds the original abbey, which becomes the coronation church.
1245: Henry III demolishes the old abbey and begins work on Westminster Abbey as seen today.
1503: Work commences on the construction of the stunning Lady Chapel.
1745: The west towers, encased in Portland stone, are completed.
1953: Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation is the most watched in the abbey’s history.

7 Small Wonders of U.K

Mark Hix recounts Britain’s chequered history of boutique stays, from makeshift must-visits to today’s refined, bijou bookings

What was the first hotel to be branded with the word “boutique”? Back in the mid-Seventies I stayed at The Cleveland Tontine run by the McCoy brothers, which was tagged as boutique even then. The experience was like being in some sort of Bohemian theatre run by a rock band, with the swinging hotel sign half-hanging off the wall and the three McCoy brothers taking on different roles at the hotel. Breakfast was served on odd bits and pieces of bone china and there was a sign in my room asking guests to keep the shower curtain inside the tub so water didn’t leak into the bar. I loved it.

cleveland-tontine

The Cleveland Tontine

However, the movement towards small, casual hotels based on simple luxury, with quirky style and no-fuss food, really got started in the early Nineties, when the late Bob Peyton’s Stapleford Park became the go-to weekend retreat. Peyton had brought deep-dish pizzas to London with the Chicago Pizza Pie Factory, followed by the Chicago Rib Shack and Henry J Beans. They were theme restaurants that verged on fast food, but he got them right – and that’s why everyone was so intrigued by Stapleford.

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Stapleford Park Hotel

Elsewhere, Ken McCulloch started the Malmaison group in 1994, about the same time that Robin Hutson and Gerard Basset opened Hotel Du Vin. These two small country hotel groups played a big part in remoulding the British out-of-town hotel.

From contemporary rooms to a more relaxed and modern dining experience, these places were more about a simple yet sophisticated life­style than fussy luxury.

When Nick Jones opened Babington House in 1996 it became the place to go, not only for Soho House members who wanted to escape London but for anyone who wanted a stylish and relaxed weekend. Today, it’s a great, fun place and the perfect venue at which to marry off your children – or even yourself. The food at Babington is British swaying towards Italian, with some produce grown in its walled gardens. Breakfast is a casual, laid-back affair that often runs into the afternoons depending on how much use you made of the great communal bar the night before.

babington-house

Babington House

Olga Polizzi, sister of hotelier Rocco Forte, opened Hotel Tresanton in 1998, and was the first to do a cool seaside boutique that still had a strong sense of tradition throughout. It’s a perfect spot. In the summer you can sit on the terrace over-looking the bay and tuck into local crab and grilled sardines or a delicious lobster linguine. Trust me, it’s hard to get a view like Tresanton’s on this part of the Cornish coast while dining and drinking so well.

LIME WOOD AND THE PIG HOTELS

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Lime Wood Hotel

For me, Robin Hutson has made the most significant dent in casual lifestyle retreats, particularly in the South West, which suits me when I’m in need of an escape from Lyme Regis.

Robin knows exactly how people want to spend a few days away: in a relaxed, unfussy and affordable environment that meets all their needs. Together with his wife, Judy, they have put an individual stamp on the interiors and the feel of Lime Wood, near Lyndhurst in Hampshire, and the Pig hotels (the first in Brockenhurst and now found throughout the West Country). The food at Lime Wood is simple Italian, from pizza to truffle pasta to risotto, and there’s a fantastic wine list, which, along with fishing, is one of Robin’s great passions.

Lime Wood has a cookery school run by Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder alongside guest chefs, so you can gain a bit of culinary knowledge from your weekend, while woodland forages take you in search of seasonal mushrooms and wild plants.

One of my proteges, James Golding, looks after all the Pig kitchens, as well as the curing and smoking of local ingredients, which is an integral part of the menu. At Brockenhurst, mushrooms from the New Forest feature heavily in the autumn months, and all sorts of their dishes reflect the surrounding area.

Hutson’s son Ollie tends the kitchen gardens where he grows all sorts of unusual fruits, vegetables and herbs that you can’t ordinarily buy from your local greengrocer. These gardens have become a synonymous feature of all the Pigs that have followed – The Pig On The Beach in Dorset, The Pig Near Bath, The Pig In The Wall in Southampton and The Pig At Combe in Devon.

Places To Visit In Scotland

Dunvegan Castle – Built on a rock in an idyllic lochside setting, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. It has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of MacLeod for 800 years and is still home to the Clan MacLeod Chief.

Scotland

Scotland, UK

A minimum two-hour dwell time is recommended to see:

Castle Tours – take a tour of this historic castle and see:

• The Great Sword of Dunvegan – one of only three surviving Scottish medieval claymores, on display in the North Room.

• Portraits of the Dunvegan – Clan Chiefs and their wives in the Dining Room, including “The Red Man” by Ramsay.

• The “Fairy Flag” – Seal boat trips on Loch Dunvegan visitors cannot get closer to the protected common seals anywhere else on Skye. Fabulous shops with a wide range of Highlands and Islands gifts, jewellery and knitwear

• Castle Shop – Beautiful bespoke gifts inspired by the castle collection.

• Gift shop – including nature based children’s toys and delicious chocolates.

MacLeod Tables Cafe

Dining-Room

MacLeod Tables Cafe

• Excellent bean to cup coffee, homemade soup and snacks are available at the MacLeod Tables Cafe

Glamis Castle – Approached down a mile long drive, Glamis castle offers the visitor a unique opportunity to experience Scottish history at its finest. The ancestral home of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne for 640 years and the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the castle is a comfortable family home with an air of grandeur. The ten room guided tour takes you from the grand to the intimate wending its way through the State Dining Room, with its magnificent Strathmore Dining Table, ending in the tiny Duncan’s Hall, with its echoes of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

You will also view the Royal Apartments where the Duke and Duchess of York spent their holidays before destiny chose them as King and consort after the abdication of Edward the VIII in 1937. Ghost stories abound at Glamis. The card players in the Crypt, the servant boy in the Royal Apartments, the Grey Lady; all stories that will entertain you as you go on the tour. After the hour long tour you may want to take a stroll in the beautiful Italian Garden or wander through the Pinetum up to the walled garden. And be sure to visit the restaurant for a much needed cup of tea provided by the award winning caterers Wilde Thyme and go to the shop for that special little gift to take away.

British Golf – Welcome thousands of British and International group visitors each year to the museum. They offer discounted admission rates for groups of 10 or more people. Tour leaders gain free admission to the museum. Guided tours are available upon request. Tickets last for two days and include a complimentary guidebook.

Mellerstain House

Mellerstain House

Discover the story of Mellerstain – Located in the heart of the Scottish Borders, Mellerstain is a unique eg. of William and Robert Adam design, presenting a complete picture as it would have been some 240 years ago.

• Admire the perfection of the Adam design

• Enjoy the fine art (Aikman, Gainsborough, Ramsay, van Dyck) , ceramic, embroidery & furniture collections

• Explore the acres of parkland, gardens, lakeside & woodland walks

• Relax while the kids have fun in the playground

• Treat yourself in the Coffee Shop

• Holiday in the self-catering cottages

• Group tours welcome throughout the year • Approx 20 mins from Melrose & Kelso/1 hour from Edinburgh & Berwick-upon-Tweed

Floors Castle – Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle and visit one of the leading visitor attractions in the Scottish Borders. Floors Castle has been welcoming visitors, groups and special interest tours for over 40 years and one of its main attractions is that it is still a family home…

Floors Castle

Floors Castle

Visit and explore the collection of fine art, porcelain, newly restored tapestries, grand rooms and superb views over the River Tweed and the Cheviot Hills. Built by leading architect William Adam in 1721 for the 1 st Duke of Roxburghe, it has undergone periodic changes to create the dramatic building you see today.

Enjoy a hearty woodland or riverside walk to a stroll around the Victorian walled garden or just let the children run off steam in the enclosed adventure playground, there is something for everyone. Browse round the Castle Gift range and Castle Kitchen Deli shop for our sought-after selection of preserves and pickles or stay longer and sample tray bakes and delicious lunches in either of our two cafe’s. Floors Castle, Grounds & Gardens re-open on Easter weekend 25 March to 30 October 2016. The Castle is closed for one day only on the 13th May. The Terrace Cafe, Deli and Gift shop is open all year round.

Some Secrets Unveiled at Saint-Tropez

The Mediterranean ’s most exclusive retreat has a reputation for beach clubs, superyachts, Michelin-starred cuisine and rose-soaked lunches that linger into the night. Grab your best white linens and join the beautiful people at the sexiest escape on the Cote d’Azur

Ever since Brigitte Bardot emerged from the Mediterranean glistening in a two-piece swimsuit in the 1956 film …And God Created Woman, the French Riviera town of Saint-Tropez has never lacked for a certain kind of beauty-and all those who would bask in its reflected glow. This is a town where people watching is a competitive sport and the chairs at waterfront cafes rotate to face the line-up of megayachts that flank the docks like jewellery; where gorgeous women teeter in six-inch stilettos along cobblestone streets with well-fed men in tow and regulars like Kate Moss and Bono blow air-kisses to each other across the room; and where getting into the right beach club requires an inside connection or a serious tip. Pulling up in a Maserati doesn’t hurt either, but you might have a hard time finding it in the sea of exotic sports cars that pack all the lots.

french-riviera-town

French Riviera town

For many reasons-that inimitable light, the authentically decadent scene-the sun-kissed former fishing village has been a playground for the international elite since at least the 1920s, when Coco Chanel and her fashion nemesis Elsa Schiaparelli retreated here to work on their tans. Artists soon followed: Picasso, Matisse and their friends fell in love with the setting on the lush Cap Saint-Pierre peninsula, where the sun fracturing on Canoubiers Bay and the Massif des Maures provided infinite inspiration. As the French novelist Colette once put it, “No road goes through Saint-Tropez. There is only one that takes you there and goes no further. If you want to leave, you must turn back. But will you leave?”

Few ever turn back, and it’s still a very hard place to leave. Since those nascent early years, Saint-Tropez has enjoyed a prolonged golden era, rich with the kinds of stories you just can’t make up: Puff Daddy jet-skiing in a terry bathrobe; Mick Jagger accidentally getting locked out of the church at his own wedding (the priest was attempting to thwart paparazzi; Jagger got lost in the crowd). Glamour summered here-Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, among other royalty, Hollywood and genuine, made it their warm-weather home for four decades. And though they might not have had jeroboams of Champagne at Nikki Beach back then, the same joie de vivre still courses through its narrow streets. It’s a sybaritic kind of indulgence that can’t be re-created in the nearby towns of Cannes or Nice, though they may try.

So get a good seat at Senequier on the Quai Jean Jaures and watch the good life parade by in all its splendour as the sun sets into the sea. The real Saint-Tropez, both old and new, still thrives.

Club 55

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The beachside of club 55

The grande dame of Pampelonne beach started out as a family home that fed the cast and crew of …And God Created Woman during filming in 1955 and has drawn power players from across the globe ever since. The elite arrive by yacht and switch to a pontoon, then mingle along the catwalk leading to the beach. On any given day, Jack Nicholson, Uma Thurman, Beyonce or Cindy Crawford might swing by to sit under the shade of the tamarisk trees alongside titans like Francois Pinault, Bernard Arnault or Larry Ellison.

Political powerhouses like the Clintons and Vladimir Putin have been spotted here, too, blending in with the rest of the clientele-all of whom adhere to the unofficial dress code of white cotton and linen. The grilled catch of the day and organic paniers de crudites, freshly harvested from owner Patrice de Colmont’s farms, are displayed on signature azure napkins, and the house rose – “La Belle Vendange” from the Domaine des Bouis-flows freely.

Chester Cathedral: The Place To Be For Next Christmas

From the end of November the cathedral will host their annual Christmas Tree Festival. The festival will feature more than 40 majestic Christmas trees, turning the cathedral cloisters into astonishing tree-lined winter walkways. There will be special services to mark one of the holiest times in the Christian calendar – including an Advent procession and carol service by candlelight on 26 November and a crib service for all the family on Christmas Eve.

Chester-Cathedral

Chester Cathedral

Christmas at the cathedral wouldn’t be complete without a feast of festive music. Expect carols and seasonal readings from Chester Cathedral Choir at our A Choral Christmas concerts on 10 and 17 December and join singing superstar Will Young as he hosts a charity carol concert on 14 December. Carrot Productions are back with their family-friendly concert on 3 December featuring a showing of The Snowman film, accompanied by a live 25-piece orchestra.

Exploring The Outstanding Unknown Side Of Wales

All that is iconic about Wales – stunning landscapes, a warm valleys welcome, rousing singing and choral performances and a wonderful history to explore – can be found in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Rhondda Cynon Taf is located in the South Wales Valleys and can be easily accessed from the M4, A470 and A465. Perfect for exploring and enjoying, we are also ideally-placed for those who wish to explore further into South Wales. We are famed the world over for our coal mining and the engineering created here to support that effort sparked an industrial revolution that changed how the world did business.

We are home to the Royal Mint Experience, the only attraction of its kind which brings to life 1,000 years of world currency, medals and treasures through a unique and fascinating family friendly experience. We are also home to Lido Ponty the National Lido of Wales, a stunning restoration of the Lido that has stood since 1927 and the 5* Trip Advisor Rated Penderyn Whisky Distillery which shows you how this unique single malt, which has captured tastebuds across the globe, is made. There is a chance to sample the whisky and, of course, a gift shop. With a variety of accommodation to suit all your needs, a selection of cafes and restaurant for coffee stops and, for the more adventurous, a number of outdoor activities. With a number of coach parking facilities and coach maintenance support, we have all you need for a trouble free visit.

Royal Mint Experience – The Royal Mint Visitor Centre offers a truly unique visitor experience. For the first time in 1,000 years visitors will gain unprecedented access to The Royal Mint to discover the people and events behind the coins in your pocket, and hear some surprising stories from our history. Group Discounts offered and free coach parking.

Rhondda Heritage Park – Whatever the weather, your visitors will enjoy a visit to Rhondda Heritage Park. A living testament to the mining communities of the world famous Rhondda Valleys, Rhondda Heritage Park offers you a fascinating insight into the rich culture and character of the South Wales ValleysAmple coach parking is available on site. Group discounts offered.

Rhondda Heritage Park

Rhondda Heritage Park

Lido Ponty – This historic family attraction is the only one of its kind in Wales and is Wales’ premier outdoor pool attraction and adventure play park. Lido Ponty, a Grade II listed lido, has been restored to its former glory and updated for the 21st Century visitor. It has three heated swimming pools, offering great opportunities for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Located within the beautiful Vnysangharad War Memorial park and a short walk to the centre of Pontypridd town.

Penderyn Whisky Visitor Centre – Located amongst the scenic splendour of the Brecon Beacons National Park in the village of Penderyn, the visitor centre takes you through the process of whisky distilling and provides you with a chance to sample the world famous Penderyn products. Groups discounts offered, and free coach parking.

Beamish – Always Something New To See

A beautiful church in the Georgian landscape, an Edwardian chemist’s shop and a photographer’s studio are all recent additions to Beamish and a great reason for a return visit. You might also have heard about the museum’s fantastic £18m plans to create a 1950s Town including shops, houses, a community centre and a real working cinema. There’ll be new exhibits in the Georgian landscape too, including a potter’s, blacksmith’s and candle house, along with a Georgian coaching inn where visitors can stay overnight.

Beamish

Beamish, UK

Work starts this winter and the whole project is expected to take around 4 years to complete – exciting times ahead! If you’d like to add a little something special to your group’s visit, Afternoon Fare, exclusively for parties of 15 or more is just the thing. The delicious light buffet lunch is served in a private room overlooking the award-winning 1910s Town and is available on weekdays for groups of 15 to 50 people, (excluding school and Bank Holidays). Pre-booking is essential via the Group Bookings Officer.

The Most Outstanding Hotels For Your Majorca Holiday

The Germans’ favourite island doesn’t just offer countless beaches and bays, it is also a true hiking paradise. You can discover the Tramuntana mountain range in the west of Majorca on the roughly 140km long dry stone route. The wonderful, Mediterranean landscape with ancient olive trees and lovely smelling orange groves, spectacular rocky sceneries with holm oak forests, old country estates and deep ravines make the tours a real delight. Even more so with the tips from Majorca-insider Stefan Loiperdinger. In the new edition of his magazine “Majorca’s Secrets,” he presents a selection of special hikes: hikes for connoisseurs. Easy to walk tours that include a place to stop for some hearty refreshments as well as bathing spots to cool off. Just the right thing for the pre-season with pleasant temperatures around 25 degrees.

Convent de la Missio Palma Restaurant

Convent de la Missio Palma Restaurant

Convent de la Missio Palma –  In the old town of Palma, surrounded by narrow alleyways and prosperous courtyards, stands the Convent de la Missio, built in the 17th century for the training of missionaries. After elaborate and extensive reconstructions, it is now an exclusive hotel with extraordinary facilities which enchant through harmony and tranquillity. Each of the fourteen rooms is individually decorated, each with its own special touch. The monastery’s former dining hall has been converted into an “art bar”. A room in which to discover art and enjoy exquisite wines or delicious cocktails in good company. Head chef Marc Fosh pampers his guests with original, creative menus.

Hostal Cuba Palma, Santa Catalina – A true rarity! This colonial-style hotel in Santa Catalina’s trendy quarter is the perfect location if you like to be right in the middle of things and enjoy the authentic flare first-hand. Santa Catalina’s shops and restaurants are right on your doorstep. The Mercat Santa Catalina is an absolute must! Although it is not actually that easy to leave the hotel; a restaurant, a nightclub and two bars or lounges, as well as a rooftop terrace, with a view of the moon, and the cathedral all have seductive powers. The rooms are tastefully decorated. Each one more surprising than the one before.

Hostal Cuba Palma

Hostal Cuba Palma

Sant Francesc Hotel Palma –  An oasis of tranquillity in the heart of Palma manages to perfectly combine the vitality of the dynamic capitol with the island’s relaxed lifestyle. As such, during the renovation of the old neoclassical-style town house, the traces of the past such as wooden beams in the ceiling, the curbed roofs, frescoes and mouldings were preserved and incorporated into a modern, elegant design. Individually furnished rooms and suits, a Majorcan patio, a rooftop terrace with bar and pool, and a restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine make your stay here a lasting experience.

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