Tag Archives: luxury hotels UK

A City Break in Manchester

A city break in Manchester is well worth, given it is one the most vibrant and varied cities in the UK. Whether you want shopping, culture or sport, you’ll find plenty within close reach of most Manchester hotels.

Culture in a City Break in Manchester

The city’s splendid architecture ranges from the iconic Town Hall to the beautiful St Mary’s Catholic church, known to locals as a hidden gem. There’s a wide range of museums, too, from the Manchester Art Gallery to the Museum of Science & Industry.

Manchester has traditionally been second only to London for theatre, and your city break can take in a trip to the Royal Exchange, the Opera House and many more stages. You can also visit iconic sites connected with Manchester’s television industry, from Media City to a tour of Coronation Street and the Rovers Return itself

City Break Manchester Hotel Gotham Honey Restaurant

Music and Nightlife in Manchester

While the heady days of “Madchester” are gone, the city still offers plenty of music venues, from the vast Manchester Arena to the legendary Roadhouse. Manchester’s rich nightlife ranges from the sophistication of the Cloud 23 bar to clubbing at Gorilla, or the vibrant, varied bars of the Northern Quarter. There’s excellent nightlife within easy reach of the Hotel Gotham for example as well as its own Club Brass where you’ll have membership for the duration of your stay.

Shopping in Manchester

Manchester has all the major shops you’d expect, but it’s also rich in specialist and boutique shops. The Arndale, the Trafford Centre and the Lowry Outlet Mall leave you spoilt for choice, while Afflecks offer quirky, independent fashion stores. The best area, though, for independent shops is the Northern Quarter, offering everything from crafts and design to classic vinyl records and world famous upmarket brands, such as Vivienne Westwood and Hermes.

City Break Manchester hotel room

Sport in Manchester

Many visitors to Manchester undoubtedly come for a trip to either Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium, depending on their preferences, but the football fan can also enjoy the National Football Museum. Old Trafford is also the home of Lancashire Cricket Club and has hosted memorable Test Matches, while the Manchester Velodrome is Britain’s earliest indoor Olympic cycling track.

Eating Out in Manchester

You can find whatever type of restaurant you’re looking for in a city break in Manchester, whether it’s The French by Simon Rogan, with two Michelin Stars, the 2 AA rosette Honey Restaurant at Hotel Gotham or the informality of Northern Soul Grilled Cheese. You can also find almost any ethnic food you might want, and Manchester’s Chinatown, reputedly the biggest in Europe, is well worth a visit.

If you want to stop off for lunch or afternoon tea, Manchester is well supplied with first-rate cafés — Moose Coffee and Home Sweet Home are both excellent choices.

City Break Manchester View

This has only scratched the surface — Manchester’s attraction for a city break range from parks to trips on the Manchester Ship Canal. And the city’s Metrolink tram system can take you anywhere and back to your Manchester hotels for just £5 a day.

So why not book your city break using the Hotel Gotham as your base by following this link to find out availability and some great rates!

Discover the Historic City of Chester and its Romantic Hotels

With a 2,000-year history, Chester  offers everything from Roman remains to a contemporary nightlife, not to mention the oldest racecourse in Britain. Additionally, the city boasts a wide variety of romantic hotels including the Chester Grosvenor and the B W Premier Queen, so it’s easy to explore all that Chester has to offer, especially for a winter break.

Historic Chester

Founded in AD79, Chester was one of the most important cities in Roman Britain, and much of its layout still reflects the original Roman pattern. You can even visit the intact city walls and the largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain.

Chester remained an important city through the middle ages, highlighted by the magnificent cathedral, whose history goes back to the year 689AD, as well as The Rows, a unique example of mediaeval shopping galleries. From your romantic hotel, numerous walking and bus tours are on offer to take in Chester’s historical wealth, or you can take a boat tour along the picturesque River Dee.


History aside, the city is perhaps best known for Chester Zoo. Named best zoo in the UK and seventh-best in the world by TripAdvisor, it combines the best of spectacle and conservation work.

Chester Racecourse has been operating since the 16th century and hosts fifteen meetings a year. The Chester Cup, in May, typically features many hopefuls for the following month’s Derby.


Anyone visiting Chester will not want to stay in their romantic hotel all the time (no matter how great a deal they get!) but rather go shopping in The Rows, mediaeval shopping galleries that today house both major retailers such as French Connection and Swarovski and local independent boutique shops.

If you’re looking for something more mainstream, the Grosvenor Centre has over seventy shops, including major national retailers. And a visit to Chester isn’t complete without a trip to Cheshire Oaks, Europe’s largest design outlet, just six miles north of the city.

Eating Out

The city centre offers a wide range of restaurants, from the Michelin-starred Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor , the King’s Quarters Grill in the Best Western Premier Queen Hotel to the informal contemporary fare of Luke’s Eating House. International cuisine is well represented by the Italian Urbano 32 and the Brazilian Tropeiro, and if you’re looking for a break while touring the city, you can enjoy afternoon tea at cafés like Beaton’s Tearooms or Mad Hatters.


Chester’s history doesn’t prevent it having a thoroughly contemporary nightlife. If you’re looking for live music in the city centre, the Townhouse, Alexander’s Bar and the Church Bar & Restaurant all feature live bands. For a quieter drink, the options range from the handcrafted cocktails at Gin Rickey’s to the fine beers at The Cellar.

Whatever your desire Chester can provide it so why not stop over for your next romantic break!

Why Inverness Should Be Your Next Holiday Hotspot

Anyone who has been to a hotel in Scotland will have fallen in love with it. It’s inevitable; the landscape, the history, the accent, the people… it’s all the stuff that great literature is made of (no wonder J.K Rowling was inspired in her Edinburgh café), and of course, great holidays as well.

Chief amongst Scotland’s beautiful locations is the Highlands city of Inverness, a beautiful hotel in Scotland,  on the banks of the River Ness, which even by Lonely Planet’s lofty standards is recommended as the area’s chief attraction, providing an idyllic scenic stroll towards Ness Islands.

Bespoke - Columba Inverness
Columba Inverness

Linked to one another and the riverbank by Victorian footbridges, the islands are planted with mature Scots pine and fir trees, and when the weather holds it’s the perfect opportunity to tuck into a decadent picnic basket. Take a tipple in your hip flask and enjoy watching the Anglers catch salmon in the afternoon before completing a circular walk by returning on the opposite bank to your starting point on your way back to your chosen hotel in Scotland.

On that note, I recommend that you start at The Columba Hotel. The historic building dating back to 1881 has enviable views and a charming restaurant where you can refuel at the end of that day pottering about.

Bespoke - Columba Inverness Bedrooms
Columba Inverness Bedrooms

The hotel looks out not just at the river, but also at another of Inverness’s iconic attractions. The hill above the city is capped by the Baronial turrets of Inverness Castle, a pink sandstone confection of a building that dates back to 1847. It’s not open to the public but the views from the surrounding gardens are admirable – such is the theme of this particular hotel in Scotland.

If that heavy emphasis on walking tires you out at the mere thought, the water is your next stop. Loch Ness made its name thanks to legend and a little help from the movies, so a trip on the water with the likes of Jacobite Cruises seems as good an excuse as any to see what the fuss is about. They offer 90 minute cruises from Tomnahurich Bridge, pointing out the various landmarks along the way from the Caledonian Canal and onto the loch itself.

Bespoke - Columba Inverness

The day has to be completed with a little cultural jaunt, and for this there is nothing finer than the Eden Court Theatre. Drama, dance, comedy, film and music fill the calendar so it’s worth taking a peek before you head off, and plan what you want to see.

All in all, a hotel in Scotland offers a rich tapestry of things to do and places to go, but Inverness is most definitely one of the many jewels in its crown, perfect for a weekend getaway.




Tales From The Riverbank: Stories of Summer Picnics

Humble summer picnics are chief amongst the most classic of summer thrills, or not so humble as the case may be – I know some master picnickers who have extremely elaborate tastes, honed at the likes of Henley and Glyndebourne.

Nonetheless, from cheese and tomato sandwiches and a bag of crisps, to lashings of lemonade and countryside adventures reminiscent of The Famous Five, having summer picnics are joyous occasions evocative of childhood memories, classic literature and grass-stained shorts.

Cotswold Garden summer picnics
Cotswold Garden

I think everyone has his or her perfect childhood picnic memory (or at least I hope they do). For me it was always those on the beach, which invariably resulted in my egg mayonnaise having a sand accompaniment, and melting ice creams dribbling halfway down sticky fingers and chubby arms.

I also have a distinct memory of sharing half my lunch with a duck on one occasion, and in more recent years have thoroughly enjoyed overeating strawberries that have gone sugary in the heat, not to mention falling asleep with my book on my face.

Happily, alfresco dining is supported by health experts who make wonderful claims about the benefits of eating outside. Apparently it stimulates the appetite and helps your digestive system and metabolism to function more effectively. All of that’s good to know but let’s be honest, the real reason this quintessentially English pastime has remained so popular is because the British countryside (and city parks) are simply beautiful.

Summer picnics near Columba Inverness
Columba Inverness

From coast to country we are blessed with a rich abundance of verdant landscapes, so it would be churlish not to eat lunch on a rug on the floor, play the games we haven’t played since we were children, and wonder if we can find the very same rabbit hole through which Alice travelled to Wonderland or spot the cast from The Wind in the Willows pottering along between the reeds on grassy riverbanks like those at the Columba Hotel.

Incidentally, that particular bespoke secret was recently voted one of the UK’s top 10 riverside breaks, in the Daily Mail, and is perched on the banks of the River Ness. In short, it is the type of place that summer picnics were made for and it’s hard to imagine anything finer.

Ultimately, summer picnics are the stuff that really good memories (and stories) are made of. The question is; are you going to take Enid Blyton or Lewis Carroll with you?