This month, we’re shouting about all of the things that make the UK great – with our Daytripping theme celebrating the magic of holidaying around our fair isles. In honour, the June Birchbag is the PERFECT sidekick to your summer adventures. (Get yours today if you haven’t already!) From quirky coffee shops to beautiful architecture, the UK has so much to offer when it comes to adventuring a little closer to home. So, we thought we’d catch up with some of our favourite bloggers (and our very own Jessica Diner!) to chat about their favourite hidden gems that you need to add to your must-visit list…
I lived in Newcastle as a uni student so it will always have a special place in my heart! It’s true that there’s a party atmosphere but it’s also charming and beautiful. It’s my nearest city so I return once or twice a month to experience all the exciting things that are happening in Newcastle at the moment. My must-visit spots have to be:
1. Newcastle Quayside
2. Meet & Treat – an urban cafe.
3. Mason & Rye bakery – you can find it in Fenwick.
SHOPPING: Head to Victoria Square shopping centre for a mix of designer and high street labels under one roof. There are lots of eateries on the top floor, including the Ivory with amazing views over Belfast.
COFFEE: I’m torn between General Merchants on the suburbs and Established Coffee in the city centre. Both do the best Belfast coffee with great breakfast, lunch or cakes to match.
FOOD: Coppi Restaurant in St Annes Square is my favourite place to eat at any time of day, though the atmospheric lighting lends itself best to evenings. The duck ragu is out of this world, as are the pre-dinner cocktails.
1.Moose Cafe: For meeting friends and for a hearty breakfast, Moose Café near Spring Gardens has it all. Big American style breakfasts, stacks of pancakes and the nicest coffee served in huge cups. It’s a perfect hangout for Saturday morning before heading off shopping.
2. Northern Quarter: For a totally unique Manchester experience, head to the Northern Quarter. It’s home to so many eclectic shops and bars including Afflecks Palace, which Manchester is famous for. I love spending time in the quirky bars and restaurants around the Northern Quarter. Sometimes it feels like I’m in the midst of New York, but with that Mancunian Vibe.
1. Hockley Arts Club: This is such a hidden gem! They do the most amazing cocktails and mocktails with different inspired spaces on the different floors. The ‘Electric Gardens’ on the top floor is my personal favourite! It’s a really cool gin and prosecco bar, decorated to look like you’re outside! I love going there with the girls for a really special catch-up.
2. Baresca: Baresca is all about sharing great food with great friends! Their menu is inspired by Barcelona and is their own take on traditional Spanish tapas. It’s a great place if you love tasty food that you can share with your friends – it’s so casual that the food just comes to the table as and when it’s prepared. They also have the most incredible take on a Spanish breakfast!
3. Wollaton Hall Park: This is such a cute spot for a picnic in the summer or a walk or run any other time of the year! I love to take my dog for walks there around the beautiful botanical gardens and lake. I also love the beautiful hall that you can go inside to look around – it was where Batman The Dark Knight Rises movie was filmed!
1. The Early Bird: This cafe is a lucky find nestled in the heart of Cathays, the student village. It’s always full of life, and you can expect a really down-to-earth crowd. If you love a fresh coffee brew and hearty indie food – this is your go-to. I’d go as far as saying that they do the best full Welsh brekkie around.
2. Coffee Barker: The perfect destinations for those wishing to support local businesses! Whilst Coffee Barker has a really indie-cool vibe, Barker Tea House offers a more traditional afternoon-tea style dining experience. With options for the sweet tooth in terms of freshly made gelato and even… doughnutshakes (they’re as good as they look, trust me).
3. The Pomegranate: Cafe by day, and jazz bar by night – The Pomegranate is a real gem, hidden behind Park Place. You need to do a bit of searching to find it but you won’t be disappointed. They serve a delish selection of sweet and savoury snacks during the day, but if you turn up in the evening on a weekend you’ll experience a live jazz performance. So why not satisfy your coffee needs with an Espresso Martini instead?
1. Monocle Cafe, Marylebone:Anyone who knows me, knows I love my coffee (#butfirstcoffee). My favourite coffee shop in London is Monocle Cafe on Chiltern Street in Marylebone. Not only can you pick up the best cup of coffee in town ( trust me, I have tried pretty much all of them), but you can also just soak up the cool ambiance, amazing people watching and read their in-house magazines and guides.
2. Little Venice, Regent’s Canal:I live in North West London and on the weekend I love nothing more than a long walk along Regent’s Canal. Not only is it the best backdrop to any Instagram, but i also love the canal life: the houseboats, the nature and wildlife etc. It’s just that little bit more dynamic than going to your local park. And just as an FYI for any mamas out there, bird-feeding time with my baby is a BIG hit.
3. Liberty of London:If I was a department store, I would be Liberty of London. I love anything with the liberty print on (I own an embarrassing amount of their merch – wallets, pyjamas, cushions, stationary… See, it’s embarrassing), but also their edit of all things flowers, fashion, jewellery, home and baby is incredible. Our office is just across the road from there, so it’s my go-to if I need to buy a gift, but also, I just love to go in there for a wander on my lunchbreak and take it all in.
1. Caro, Somerset: Home style buys and coffee combined? Yes, please. Caro is a gorgeous lifestyle shop with major interior design inspiration. Stop by for a flat white, a cake creation from The Bakemonger and a shiny new décor purchase. Instagram shot – essential.
2. Catherine Hill, Frome: Weekends were made for shopping independent and this little gem is the place to be for authenticity and unique finds. Visit Bramble & Wild for beautiful blooms, dig for vintage and be sure to mark the glorious Frome market in your diary, which runs on the first Sunday of the month.
3. Hauser & Wirth: With exhibitions of contemporary art, amazing gardens, listed farm buildings and a grill for the foodie serving local and seasonal dishes, Hauser & Wirth is the perfect destination to spend a few hours, with plenty of sights for the soul.
1. Rogues Cafe: City centre-based Rogues is new on the scene with incredible food, coffee, and atmosphere! Plus, a cute dog by the name of Percival.
2. Tudor House Museum: Found in the Old Town, the museum is a hub of history with beautiful gardens and views out to the Solent.
3. West Quay: The biggest shopping centre on the south coast is full of high street favourites for everyone and more restaurants than you could ever want.
We’d love to hear what your must-visit spots around the UK are, or what’s on your Daytripping wish list this summer! Let us know in the comments below.