Getting High in London

Emirates Cable Car
Crossing the Thames on the air-line offers a unique view of London. You will see some of the City’s more iconic buildings and attractions.

Up At the O2
Take a breathtaking climb over the iconic O2 arena where you can enjoy great views across the city. With a guide on hand to help you along, you will make the 90-minute climb up the blue walkway. Climbers need to be physically fit to use the carabiner that helps them complete the 52m ascent. Once reaching the top, you’ll be rewarded with a 360° panoramic view of London at the top, Historic Greenwich, Olympic Park, Canary Wharf to name a few.

The London Eye Experience
The observation wheel turns slow enough for people to embark while it is moving. A complete turn takes about 30 minutes. Thanks to the construction of the glass capsules on the outer side of the rim, passengers have a great 360° view over London. Many famous landmarks are clearly visible, including the Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament. On a clear day you can see as far as 40 km (25 miles). You could add a food or drink package to your experience. Why not enjoy afternoon tea or champagne whilst seeing the sights of the capital.

The View from the Shard
The Shard is an iconic, landmark building on the London skyline, designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano. At a height of 1,016ft (310m), the tallest building in Western Europe, The Shard redefines London’s skyline and will be a dynamic symbol of London, recognisable throughout the world.The view from the Shard is situation on floors 68, 69 & 72 and is almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in London. You can see the whole of London with 360° views. Prepare to embark on a multi-sensory journey to 244m (800ft) above one of the greatest cities on earth.


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Birmingham, The second City with more canals than Venice

Birmingham is commonly known as the UK’s Second City and is a major business destination, featuring the world-class exhibition and conference centre – the NEC and an international airport flying to hundreds of cities worldwide. With more miles of canals than Venice, the oldest cinema in the UK and a globally renowned factory “where chocolate comes to life” there really is something for everyone to enjoy in the historical hub of working Britain.

Whether it’s a glimpse of some English Premier League action at one of the UK’s oldest grounds, Villa Park (and home of Aston Villa FC) or a taste of fine dining at one of the cities 3 Michelin started restaurants, Birmingham boasts a cultural array of activities to suit all tastes. A walk back in time to see Birmingham’s history at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, a former jewellery workshop and the place people the world over came to buy their precious metals, has now subsequently opened to the public. It’s a great opportunity to see how gold and silversmiths worked, before purchasing the real thing for yourself in one of the nearby family owed jewellers.

And Birmingham’s central location means it’s the perfect base for seeing more the West Midlands including, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, the Black Country Museum where you can go back in time to and experience a Victorian Midland’s town for yourself with traditional fish and chips to boot or an adrenaline fuelled day at one of the UK’s biggest theme parks, Alton Towers set inside the grounds of a 17th Century mansion and garden.

And if shopping is your thing, visit the Bullring or the soon to be opened Grand Central Shopping Centre – part of New Street Station’s redevelopment. Once a notorious eyesore, the complex has been completely rebuilt transforming the city into one of the most popular places to shop in the UK.


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Manchester – Simply the Best

Did you know that Manchester has recently been named the best UK city to live according to Economist magazine. So if it’s the best to live in what does it offer the visitor?

Sport for a start – football obviously whether you are a blue or red supporter, velodrome, athletics, aquatics and not forgetting the home of Lancashire Cricket.

The arts in all its forms – live theatre with more theatres per head of the population than any other part of the UK. The Palace, the Opera House, The Lowry all have original and touring productions from London’s West End. My personal favourite though has to be the Royal Exchange Theatre – renowned for its outstanding original productions in an intimate theatre in the round venue.

Music venues from the Arena (the big one) to the many other smaller but not so small venues. Far too many to list here.
It is also home to some 80,000 + University Students across three universities. Students love socialising and Manchester is not found wanting – the nightlife is there to be enjoyed whether you are a student or not. Fancy a laugh – head to the Comedy Club.
Architecture takes centre stage as well – some must sees are the Town Hall, John Rylands Library and the newly restored Central Library – all of which are just few minutes’ walk of each other.

Check out the newly reopened and award winning Whitworth Art Gallery and the Museum of Science & Industry. For an enlightening experience go see the Imperial War Museum North at Salford Quays and back in the city centre’s Spinningfield district the People’s History Museum – these two give a fascinating understanding of history and all its implications for today’s culture.

The range of hotels keeps on growing whether you are wanting 5* luxury or perhaps a more modest 3* lodging there is a thread of quality and good old northern hospitality that binds them together.

Shopping opportunities abound and are almost limitless across the city centre including the Arndale Centre to the intu Trafford Centre a short drive from the city centre to the Lowry Outlet Mall to be found at Salford Quays next to Media City home to the BBC, ITV and numerous television and film production facilities.

All this activity means you will work up a big thirst no doubt – from the real ales brewed across the city’s microbreweries to the stylish cocktail bars. So many to choose from and this correspondent is happy to give you some recommendations. After which I am sure you may find your hunger needs to be satisfied – new restaurants have been opening up at the rate of one every two to three weeks so far this year. So let us know and we will give you some recommendations – you will not be disappointed.

Connecting to Manchester could not be easier from international flight from across the globe, to the trains and if you are coming up from London – Virgin Trains run three trains an hour with a travelling time of just around two hours. Of course you may prefer to drive with a great road network too link all points of the compass.

Getting about in the city and indeed beyond could not be easier by the Metrolink (trams) with its ever expanding network. It has been one of the great success stories over the last twenty years. This correspondent is a total convert and there are interchanges at both of Manchester’s main railway stations – Piccadilly and Victoria. Simple!

Finally I am reminded of something I read about Manchester recently: “Nothing says more about a place than the people who live in it and by and large Mancunians are a fiercely proud, funny and friendly bunch”

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