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Are you planning a trip to Manchester? The northern city of Manchester boasts a wide range of attractions to explore. However, if you are looking for a unique experience, you should take a look at these top 5 hidden gems in Manchester, which should definitely be added to your trip itinerary. 

 

1. The Hidden Gem Church

A Manchester hidden gem list would not be complete without the actual Hidden Gem Church, which is formally known as St Mary’s Catholic Church. It was built in 1794 and was quickly established as the symbol of the parish church. The hidden gem became a beacon of beauty in the middle of Manchester’s poorest areas. 

The church got its name after it was restored in the 1800s, which involved installing the beautifully carved altar that still stands today. You can pop into the church if you are by Lincoln Square in the city centre and take in all of its beauty, or you can even attend a mass. 

2. The City of Manchester Distillery

One of the best but underrated places to visit has to be the Manchester distillery, which was actually the first distillery ever built in the city of Manchester. If you’re a gin lover, you can enjoy the UK’s original Gin Experience or attend the Gin School to find out more about the gin-making process and, of course, try a few tasters.

Rum and vodka connoisseurs may prefer the rum and vodka experience, or you can even create your own spirit to suit your tastes. If you are planning a group trip, you can start your night out here with your friends or family and move onto some of Manchester’s amazing bars. 

3. Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens

Explore 90 acres of green space in Fletcher Moss Park

Manchester may be known for its industrialisation, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find any greenery. If you’re looking to get in touch with nature during your trip, you should head to Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy some quiet time away from the city or even a relaxing picnic in between attractions. 

Fletcher Moss Park is completely free to visit and is open from dusk ‘till dawn, so you can explore the 90-acre park any time you want. For a guided tour, you can join the Health Walk, which is held every Monday except for bank holidays and lasts for around an hour and a half.

This will help you get to know your locals, and you can enjoy some complimentary refreshments at the end of such a picturesque walk. 

4. The Washhouse

If you want to explore Manchester’s nightlife scene, you should definitely make a reservation at the ever-unique Washhouse. From the outside, it looks like a traditional laundrette; however, once you venture inside, you will find a hidden doorway to a secret cocktail bar. 

The Washhouse is an exclusive cocktail bar that is frequented by locals who are in-the-know. Here, you will find an eclectic range of cocktails, an impressive house music playlist and even disco toilets. If you’re planning a trip to The Washhouse, make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

5. Afflecks

Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter of Manchester

Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter of Manchester

Manchester is known for its fast-fashion scene. However, if you are looking for a unique shopping experience, you should take a trip to Afflecks. This is a well-known shopping emporium filled with some of the best independent traders, including vintage retailers, fancy dress specialists, and even tattoo artists. 

Afflecks is located in the city’s Northern Quarter which is just around the corner from some of Manchester’s most popular bars, so you can enjoy a drink or two after a full day of shopping. 


Now, you know where all the hidden gems are located, you should add them to your list and start planning the rest of your trip. This could include applying for your visa if you need one, booking accommodation, or checking what the Manchester weather is like. 

 

 

The UK is known for its fascinating historical sites, which can be found across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. If you are planning a trip to the UK, you should definitely consider adding some of the UK’s most historical cities to your must-see list.

There are a wide range of historical cities to choose from, so to narrow down your choices, here are some of the most popular historic locations in the UK.

Oxford

Visit Oxford, one of the most historical cities in the UK

Visit Oxford, one of the most historical cities in the UK

Oxford is the home of the prestigious Oxford University, which is the second oldest university in the world, just behind the University of Bologna in Italy. Even if you’re not attending lectures, you can still wander around the university, explore the gardens, brush up on your reading at the Bodleian Library, and admire the Radcliffe Camera building.

A trip to Oxford isn’t complete without a trip the Oxford Castle, which was built in 1071. You can take in the castle’s beauty from the Saxon St George’s Tower, the oldest building in Oxfordshire.

If you want to squeeze in a trip to the capital while you are visiting Oxford, it is just a short train ride away. In London, you can enjoy plenty more historical sites, sightseeing hotspots and, of course, shopping.

 

Durham

Visit the cathedral and castle of Durham

Visit the historical cathedral and castle of Durham

Durham is known as the jewel of the northeast for a reason, as it is home to the magnificent Durham Cathedral, a popular UNESCO heritage site. This Norman building is home to the shrine of St Cuthbert, which was constructed between 1093 and 1133.

Durham castle sits at the heart of the world heritage site. This beautiful structure was built in the 11th century and is now home to the students of University College, which is part of the prestigious Durham University.

Away from the world heritage site is the picturesque Crook Hall and gardens, a medieval manor first constructed in 1217. Both the building and the five acres of English gardens are a sight to see. You can stroll through the gardens every Sunday to Wednesday while enjoying a spot of tea in the Georgian drawing room.

 

Chester

Visit the walled city of Chester in the UK

Visit the historical walled city of Chester in the UK

Chester is located in the northwest of England and is known for its ancient wall, which encloses the city. It’s one of the most historical cities in the UK, since the walls are the oldest and longest-standing barricades in all of the United Kingdom.

However, instead of being used for protection, the locals use the walls as a relaxing promenade spot.

Since the Middle Ages, Chester has been known as a bustling market town and still is to this day. If you are a shopping addict, you should wander through the many shops near Watergate and Bridge Street where you can pick up something for yourself or a loved one back home.

In Chester, you will find the world’s oldest racecourse, which was established in 1539 and is still in operation. If you are lucky, you may get tickets to a race even or even a concert. However, keep in mind that if you go in the colder months, you definitely need to wrap up warm, as rain is basically constant during winter.

 


 Now you’ve got some inspiration, you can start planning your historic city trip to the UK. You may also want to start on your packing list, as you need to make sure that you have the right clothes for the unpredictable UK climate (which is mostly cold).

Are you planning your first European backpacking travel adventure? Packing for a trip can be exciting but stressful, especially if you don’t know what to bring. Whether you’re going for a week or for an entire summer, there are a few backpacking Europe essentials for your packing list. To help you get started, take a look at our backpacking Europe checklist, which will ensure you have everything you need for your trip. 

1. Backpack

The right backpacking can make or break your trip. A backpack that’s too big can make traveling uncomfortable, while a backpack that’s too small won’t allow you to fit all your belongings in it. 

When backpacking Europe, you won’t want to bring a large, rolling suitcase. European cities were built before the age of elevators, which means that you’ll be walking lots of stairs. When navigating the metro, the old buildings, and the hotels, you’ll be happy to be able to take the stairs instead of lugging around an unwieldy backpack.

When it comes to essentials for your backpacking Europe packing list, it’s best to bring a carry-on sized backpack to avoid baggage fees on budget airlines.

Backpacking backpacks come in sizes based on the liter volume that they can carry. A 30-40 liter bag is comparable to a carry-on size suitcase, while a bag that’s 50-65 liters will be too big to take with you as a carry on.

Make sure you choose a bag that fits comfortably on your body. If you’re visiting a store, the employees will be more than happy to help you select a few bags that are suited to your body size. 

If you’re looking for the best backpack for backpacking Europe, the Osprey brand has some great all-rounder backpacks. Osprey is the go-to essential Europe backpacking option and fits most people comfortably. 

2. Day bag

When you’re taking a day trip or going on a hike, you won’t want to bring your huge backpack with you. Leave most of your items locked safely at your accommodation and take along a day bag. Your best bet would be to purchase a foldable daypack that can fit into your bigger backpack.

It will need to fit essentials such as money, a snack, water, and maybe a change of clothes, so it shouldn’t be too big or bulky.

3. Padlocks

Padlocks are a quick, convenient, and inexpensive way to secure your bags and hostel lockers. When assembling your backpacking Europe essentials for your packing list, a small item like this can be a lifesaver! You can also use your luggage lock on your backpack during travel days, ensuring all your belongings are safe, including your passport.

4. Universal travel adapter

Your Europe backpacking packing list should include a universal travel adapter, which will work for your phone charger or any other electronic devices. 

The outlets in continental Europe use the same 2-pronged plug, but if you’re traveling in the UK and Ireland, you’ll need a different 3-pronged system. Rather than taking multiple chargers with you, a multifunctional adapter will do. 

5. Camera

The best travel camera for backpacking europe

Your phone camera is sufficient for everyday life, but backpacking around the world is an incredible experience that you will never want to forget!

Your travel photos will prove invaluable once you return from your epic journey, so be sure to capture all the incredible things you encounter along the way. Bring a camera that not only takes great pictures but also fits easily into your backpack.

These days, the majority of cameras are equipped with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capabilities, so they can be transmitted easily to your laptop or phone to post them online.

You may wish to bring a high-tech DSLR camera to take stunning photographs. For some, a more compact point-and-shoot camera will suffice, and will fit in a day pack without taking up much space.

If you want to take your backpacking adventures to the next level, then consider bringing along a GoPro, which will accompany you everywhere from underwater adventures to skydiving during your European backpacking adventures.

6. Travel towel

Your essential backpacking Europe packing list should include a quick-drying travel towel, since you will be moving from hostel to hostel as you backpack between cities. My favorite travel towel is a Turkish towel which is quick to dry and easy to fit in your backpack. You can also use the towel as a privacy screen if you secure a bottom bunk in a hostel.

7. Power Bank

A power bank is one of the essentials on my backpacking Europe packing list, for multiple reasons. While traveling, you’ll be using your phone much more than normal – for navigation, taking photos, videos, or researching travel tips. On days like this, you’ll want to have a backup battery for your phone. 

I’ve also relied on my power bank during long travel journeys when I use my phone and want to make sure I have enough juice to find my way to the next destination.

8. Change purse

Reliance on physical money is surprisingly still pretty high throughout Europe. Plus, having lots of €1 and €2 Euro coins is a good idea if you want to leave behind tips or donate to street musicians that you’ll see on your trip. 

9. The right shoes

For your backpacking Europe packing list, don’t forget to throw in a pair of rubber sandals for the hostel showers. You should also bring a pair of comfortable but stylish walking shoes. Some nightlife spots will require a certain dress code, but you can get away with leather-style sneakers. And women can get away with stylish looking flats that are secretly super comfortable.

10. Hostel survival kit

If you’ll be staying in hostels, don’t forget these 4 backpacking Europe essentials. We call it the hostel survival kit:

11. The Best Apps for Backpacking Europe

The Best Apps for Backpacking Europe

And lastly, before heading off for your European backpacking adventure, you should load up your phone with a few essential apps that will make backpacking Europe a breeze.

Apps to book transportation from place to place

Given the relatively compact size of Europe, you can travel between major cities by train or bus. There are a few useful apps for European transportation that can help make sure you find the best deal while sticking to your schedule.

  • Omio – compare trains, buses, and flight options in Europe and travel using mobile tickets
  • Trainline – a popular app in the UK to find train and bus tickets 
  • Flixbus – a long-distance bus company that is a favorite mode of travel for budget backpackers
  • Kiwi – a flight search comparison site that helps you find the lowest prices
  • Skyscanner – another classic flight search website that has powerful flexible search options

Apps for Finding Accommodation in Europe

Apps to book discounted activities and Skip the Line tickets

Apps to stay in touch with friends and family back home

If you don’t want to change to an international mobile plan, you can use these apps over free public WiFi to stay in touch with people back home.

If you have hopes of travelling to the United Kingdom, but are worried about accommodation costs, you may want to consider applying for jobs that offer free accommodation in exchange for work in the UK. 

There are plenty of organisations which provide you with a steady job along with safe and clean digs in various parts of England, Wales and Ireland. To help you understand more about the process, here are examples of how to work in exchange for free accommodation in the UK. 

Become a Petsitter

Become a pet sitter and get free accommodation in the UK

Combine your love of animals with your love of travel and become a Trusted Housesitter

There are plenty of people in the UK who are looking for trusted housesitters to stay at their place for free in exchange for watching their pets. For animal lovers who are responsible, reliable, and looking for a great way to travel around the UK with free accommodation, you can get started with the petsitting network, Trusted Housesitters. It’s the #1 platform where you can find tons of different options, from a chic flat in London, to a seaside countryhouse in Cornwall. A basic membership starts at just €99 for unlimited housesits worldwide, which is well-worth the cost when you think about how much accommodation in the UK can be!

Volunteer with a charity

Volunteer with an organization that offers free accommodation in exchange for work

Volunteer with an organisation that offers free accommodation in exchange for work

One of the most rewarding ways to earn your stay is by volunteering with a charity. There are various programmes that offer charity fundraiser roles that involve door-to-door charity fundraising to help fund the chosen cause. 

Companies such as Wesser provide charity fundraisers work that helps them earn £10 an hour plus commission, along with free access to shared accommodation. This typically consists of a large four to five-bedroom property with various communal living areas which cater to the staff’s every need. 

Work in hospitality

Some hospitality sectors in the UK offer free accommodation in exchange for work

Some hospitality sectors in the UK offer free accommodation in exchange for work

Another great way to earn and live while travelling in the UK is by working in the hospitality sector. This could include working in a hotel as a live-in staff member who takes on the role of a receptionist or even a hotel manager. 

In the UK, there are a variety of seaside and lake and holiday camps that hire seasonal workers in the spring and summer months. These jobs typically offer fair pay along with free accommodation in a cosy cabin or even a quirky tepee. 

Become a live-in nanny 

Become an Au Pair and get free accommodation in exchange for work

Become an Au Pair and get free accommodation in exchange for work

If you enjoy travelling and love kids, why not become a live-in nanny in the UK? There are plenty of vacancies available in this field. This will provide you with work in exchange for free accommodation which will definitely be a lavish and unique experience in the UK, as the majority of employers will be extremely wealthy. 

There are also financial benefits of becoming a nanny, as on average, they earn upwards of £350 per week. This works out a lot cheaper than rent and can also fund your meals, as you will likely be given extra pocket money for food for you and the children. You can also use the remainder of your earnings to fund the rest of your travels.  

Work on an organic farm

Work on an organic farm in the UK in exchange for free accommodation

Work on an organic farm in the UK in exchange for free accommodation

If your dream is to travel and stay in picturesque locations, you should consider volunteering on an organic farm. This will involve living and working in the farm, where you will get involved in jobs such as picking grapes or even milking a cow or two. 

One of the most popular organisations is WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which offers global opportunities for like-minded people looking to work, stay and learn all about farm life. Workaway is another great company which allows travellers to find free accommodation in exchange for farm work, while also offering the freedom of travelling like a local.


Now you have all the information you need regarding work in exchange for free accommodation in the UK, have you decided which route is right for you? Whatever you choose, it is important that you first check your visa eligibility to ensure you can legally work in the UK. 

It is also vital that you thoroughly research the company you are planning to work for by looking at reviews and asking around for personal recommendations. This will ensure that your experience will be completely legal, safe and enjoyable. 

Are you dreaming of getting out and going on an adventure? After the year we’ve had, it’s worth taking the time to think about how we’ll make the most of any holiday time we get.

Should you be planning a getaway, look no further than hitting the road right here on home turf. The UK might not be as vast as the US, with its epic Route 66 and Skyline Drive, but there are some truly breathtaking UK road trips to uncover that are on our doorstep.

If you feel ready to get behind the wheel and see some very familiar countries from a whole new perspective, read on for some inspired road trip routes.

The North Coast 500, Scotland

The North Coast 500, Scotland, UK road trips

The Scottish Highlands near Aultbea

The North Coast 500 is a captivating trip around some of Scotland’s most awesome sights. It takes in an impressive 805km along the coastline of Inverness and follows an anti-clockwise circular route through Caithness and Wester Ross up to Wick and Aultbea, before moving west to Poolewe and Gairloch. Along the way, you’ll see castles, ruins, and beaches before looping back to Bealach na Bà and across to Inverness again.

This trip takes anywhere between four and seven days and covers winding back roads, so be ready to climb some highlands.

The Atlantic Highway, England

Tintagel Castle on the Atlantic Highway in England - UK road trips

Tintagel Castle on the Atlantic Highway in England

For a route that runs from coast to coast, try the Atlantic Highway located in England in the UK. This 275km route runs along the A39 from the Devon border at Bridgewater to Land’s End.

This four to five-day UK road trip is perfect for nature lovers as it takes in Exmoor National Park along the way and is well worth a visit if you’re itching to get out for a hike. There’s plenty for beach lovers and surfers too, as Bude and Newquay are home to surf schools, while Land’s End looks out to where the Celtic Sea meets the English Channel.

The Black Mountain Pass, Wales

Enjoy the lowlands of the Brecon Beacons before the hairpin turns of the Black Mountain Pass in Wales

Enjoy the lowlands of the Brecon Beacons before the hairpin turns of the Black Mountain Pass in Wales

This one-day road trip covers an epic mountainous route through the Brecon Beacons. It starts in the north at Llandovery before heading through Herbert’s Pass then down into the village of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen.

This is a road trip suited to robust motors and confident motorists as there are several narrow roads and hairpin bends that need some masterful driving skills to navigate. It’s worth it for the captivating scenery, however, and is the perfect adventure holiday.

The Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland

Set aside three to five days for this 195km trip from Belfast to Derry/ Londonderry. This coastal journey is filled with castles and whiskey distilleries, beaches and UNESCO sites.

Take a detour to the Dark Hedges while traveling the Causeway Coastal Route

The famous Dark Hedges near the Causeway Coastal Route

Some of the highlights to look out for include Carrickfergus Castle and The Gobbins, a dramatic cliff path that features bridges, caves and coastal views. There’s also The Dark Hedges, an avenue of trees that featured in Game of Thrones. It’s close to the route and well worth a detour if you’re a fan of the show. You can then head to Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle before arriving in Londonderry.

Whichever road trip route you choose, you’re sure to see the UK in a whole new light.