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Online: Beer Hawk, hunting out the world’s best beers

Bill Knott

Beer is trendy again: a new 'craft beer’ sector is a movement producing a huge variety, from hoppy IPAs to dark, strong ales. You can find around 1,000 beers at Beer Hawk. There’s the sour red ale called Days of Creation, aged in old Burgundy barrels, from the Thornbridge Brewery in Derbyshire.

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Online: audible, the audiobook service

Annabel Sampson

I probably ought not to recommend anything affiliated with demon online megastore ‘Amazon’. But ‘Audible’ their audiobook sibling, really is fantastic. So many books these days are released by audiobook, with either the author or great actors telling the story. 

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Olivia Musgrave Sculpture

Coralie Purves

Distinctive, rotund and really quite humorous… these sculptures are technically fantastic, with an undercurrent of humour. Whether you’re looking at The Conversation, which is a plump horse ridden by an equally plump woman, or Europa and the Bull which includes a dynamic female performing aerial acrobatics atop a bolting bull. See her website for more.
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NORTHERN IRELAND: Happy Days festival – a homage to Samuel Beckett, 2nd to 5th august, Enniskillen

William Cook

In 2012, Irishman Sean Doran started a festival in Beckett's honour. He found all sorts of quirky venues: church halls, masonic lodges and the Marble Arch Caves. The Beckett recitals at dawn and dusk, in an abandoned monastery on Devenish Island, a few miles by boat from Enniskillen are a must see.

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NORTHERN IRELAND: Fort hill, Enniskillen

William Cook

My favourite spot in Enniskillen. The fortress that gave this hill its name was demolished in the 19th century. Only the foundations survive. A park was planted in its place, with a grandstand for brass bands to play in.

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NORTHERN IRELAND: Enniskillen, a bustling market Irish town

William Cook

Its full of old-fashioned shops and handsome Victorian and Georgian houses, and it's setting is stunning, on an island surrounded by the River Erne. Enniskillen’s ancient castle houses a fine museum, charting every chapter of its tangled history, from Celtic prehistory to the present day.

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Northamptonshire: the talbot hotel, Oundle

Nigel Summerley

The dilapidated medieval castle at Fotheringhay was pulled down in the 17th century – but you can still have a drink in it, since its stones are said to have been used to build the Talbot Hotel in nearby Oundle.

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Northamptonshire: stoke park pavilions

Margot Petherick

The former home of our late editor, Alexander Chancellor, can play host to company ‘brainstorming’ sessions, as well as what-might-be-dreaded away days. The lawns provide ample space for marquees – and it’s where Tim Walker saw fit to do one of his surreal fashion photoshoots.

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Northamptonshire: geddington church

Nigel Summerley

If you do nothing else in Northamptonshire, visit Geddington church and hope that volunteer Kam Caddell is on duty. Let him take you on a tour that is part history lesson, part stand-up comedy. This man brings the ages alive via tales of the many monarchs who walked and worshipped here.

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North Yorkshire: Harrogate – Rudding Park Hotel

Hamish Charlton

Helen Coffey admitted she could happily live in the Rudding Park spa in a review in the Independent. To spend a long weekend at the hotel would be a joy. Nestled in the Yorkshire countryside, it feels out of the way, but actually you’re only fifteen minutes from metropolitan Harrogate. The Clocktower restaurant and the golf course are also superb.
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North Yorkshire: better off dead by alan ayckbourn at the stephen joseph theatre, scarborough

Gyles Brandreth

Ayckbourn has 82 full-length plays to his credit, with more in the pipeline. Recently The Divided was on at the Old Vic, after a stint at the Edinburgh Fringe and he has Better Off Dead coming up in Scarborough in September. If it’s written by Ayckbourn, it’s likely to be worth getting tickets for.

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MYANMAR: Explore Hidden Burma

Annabel Sampson

Burma (Myanmar) is a land of rivers. Not just the Irrawaddy, navigable for 1000 miles, or its main tributary the Chindwin river, navigable for 600 miles, but other rivers too. Pandaw cruises will take you there!

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masham sheep fair, 29th-30th september 2018

Thea Dale

Masham has one of the very finest market squares in Yorkshire – or even England. This makes it a prime spot for the annual sheep fair, where people flock from far and wide (in order to bid on new sheep). A joyful activity for a September weekend that makes much money for charity – morris dances, fleece stalls and wool competitions are also on offer.

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Marrakech: Beldi Country Club

Mary Canon-Belle

A taxi ride less than four miles south of the city centre, Beldi feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle. Sitting behind a field of roses, it is done up in traditional Moroccan style. Get a day pass and enjoy the 35-metre pool and lunch on the terrace, surrounded by olive trees.
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manchester: the royal exchange, st ann’s square

Michael Henderson

Manchester’s great theatrical tradition is best expressed by the Royal Exchange in St Ann’s Square. Established in 1976, out of steel and glass, in the old cotton exchange that was called ‘the biggest room in the world’, it was set in motion by Michael Elliott, one of the great heroes of English theatre. Well worth a visit today.

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Manchester: Hallé Orchestra

Michael Henderson

For a Manchester story of outstanding musical achievement look no further than the Hallé. They play now at Bridgewater Hall, a stone’s throw from the Free Trade Hall, and under Sir Mark Elder, music director since 2000, who has them playing better than at any time since Sir John Barbirolli 60 years ago.

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London: two temple place, neo-gothic mansion only open 6 months of the year, Victoria Embankment

Coralie Purves

It’s only open six months of the year, closing to the public once again on the 22nd April. It is worth going alone, for the alluring wood panelled rooms, gothic chandeliers and stained glass; but the ‘Rhythm and Reaction’ The Age of Jazz in Britain is also excellently curated.

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London: The Sky Garden, Fenchurch Street

Sally Longville

The Sky Garden, located at the top of the 'Walkie Talkie' building, offers stunning views of the capital city. Set in a sky-high botanical paradise, the gardens themselves are a delight to walk through, particularly set beside the vista of London's iconic skyline. The venue also has a restaurant and a bar.

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London: The Prince Regent, Herne Hill

Jonathan Finchley

Herne Hill has a splattering of terribly fine pubs ­– arguably, it’s finest, is The Prince Regent. The most ye oldie of the public houses and with a glorious front beer-patio. It's perfect for people watching – out to the lido and beyond to the sprawling park! Plus, does a tasty roast.

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London: the brunel museum, the 'eighth wonder of the world', Southwark

Mary Canon-Belle

When the Thames Tunnel opened in 1843, the public queued up to pay a penny each to visit this civil engineering miracle: it was the first tunnel ever to pass under a river and was nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World. It is now home to a bijou history museum and the Grand Entrance Hall is used as a performance space thanks to its brilliant acoustics – go visit.

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London: The Blueprint Cafe, Shad Thames

Arthur Nottle

I don't know what's more delicious - the food at this cafe, or its views of Tower Bridge and the Thames. On Saturdays, tasty brunches can be washed down with bottomless prosecco (particularly useful if nursing a heavy Friday night). The cafe also offers an a la carte menu, a set menu and a Sunday lunch.

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London: the birthday party at the harold pinter theatre

Paul Bailey

Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan and Zoë Wanamaker star in the Harold Pinter Theatre’s production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party. Prepare yourself for the sinister wit of Stephen Mangan’s Goldberg, Zoë Wanamaker’s doting affection for Stanley Webber (Toby Jones) and even a cheeky nod to ‘The Donald’.

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London: the best man at the playhouse theatre

Paul Bailey

Gore Vidal's The Best Man, on show at the Playhouse theatre, charts the course of a Presidential primary election in the US. Both candidates have pasts they would rather hide, one lacks scruples and, coincidentally, loves a bit of liberal-bashing. Very relevant and certainly worth a watch.

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LONDON: The Almeida Theatre, Islington

Ruby Scott

Tucked off Upper Street is this wonderful, white, square building. Keep an eye on what it has going on, because there are some real corkers. For something more low-key, potter farther up the street to the King’s Head, an old boozer-come-theatre that puts on great comedy and the odd one-man play.
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London: stockwell bus garage, south london’s 'pantheon'

Sally Longville

There’s train-spotting, there are train-station enthusiasts and then there are people who like bus stations. The very best in south London is the Stockwell bus garage. Ask a friendly worker to let you in for a nip round (you’ll be forced to don high-vis), or admire from Binfield Road.

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