Great British breaks
From a cliffside theatre in Cornwall to picturesque walks in the Vale of Clwyd
THE small market town of Alnwick is known for its imposing castle, once the home of the earls of Northumberland, but it also has Alnwick Garden, one of the most beautiful in England ( be sure to eat in its unusual Treehouse Restaurant). For a culture fix, head to another historic home, English Heritage’s 12th- century Brinkburn Priory, 24km southwest of the town; alnwickgarden.com. Stay: The Plough is a sleek boutique hotel and restaurant with simple but comfortable rooms. Or try Doxford Hall Hotel and Spa, a classic country house hotel; theploughalnwick.co.uk; doxfordhall.com. Eat: The Village Inn in Longframlington is a true locals’ pub with simple, well- cooked dishes; thevillageinnpub.co.uk.
LEEDS, WEST YORKSHIRE
WHILE most of the country still seems to be in the financial doldrums, investors are lining up for a slice of ‘‘the London of the north’’. The biggest shopping centre to open in western Europe, Trinity Leeds has been packing them in since it opened in March last year, while the 13,000-seat First Direct Arena had an unofficial opening with a Bruce Springsteen concert last July and an official one with Elton John in September. Worth visiting are The White Cloth Gallery and the Thackray Medical Museum, which recently exhibited Harry Potter’s World, showcasing how real medicine inspired some of the potions behind JK Rowling’s boy- wizard tales; firstdirectarena.com; whiteclothgallery.com; thackraymedicalmuseum.co.uk. Stay: The New Ellington is a jazz-themed hotel with a bar that serves a bewildering range of gins. Cyclists will love Swinton Park, outside Harrogate, which is on the route of the Grand Depart for this year’s Tour de France; thenewellington.com; swintonpark.com. Eat: Angelica on the sixth floor of the Trinity centre has elegant dining, including an excellent raw bar, as well as great views of the city; angelica-restaurant.com.
Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold, a royal residence for six of England’s medieval queens and a palace of Henry VIII