Great Bri­tish breaks

From a cliff­side the­atre in Corn­wall to pic­turesque walks in the Vale of Cl­wyd

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Europe - JAMES EL­LIS ANNABELLE THORPE

ALNWICK, NORTHUM­BER­LAND

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

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