Travel and Holidays

Travelling to Northampton for the most famous town for shoes

Posted on October 17, 2023 at 1:31 pm

Known as the “Shoe Town” of England, Northampton has a long and illustrious history as the heart of British shoemaking. With its many footwear factories and leatherworks, this East Midlands town dominated shoe production for centuries. Even today, Northampton continues upholding its reputation for quality craftsmanship. Visitors can discover this rich heritage on a trip to Northampton.

At the center of town, the Church’s Shoes Museum charts Northampton’s legacy through the world’s largest collection of shoes. Inside the iconic Tricker’s factory, marvel at Princess Diana’s wedding shoes, ancient Egyptian sandals, iconic movie footwear, and many more remarkable artifacts spanning centuries. Engaging exhibits also detail how manufacturing evolved from bespoke cobblers to global industrialization.

All along The Drapery, one of Northampton’s main streets, you’ll find historic shoe shops still manufacturing boots and leather goods on-site. Heritage brands like Church’s, Crockett & Jones, Tricker’s, and John Lobb have outfitted royalty over their centuries-long tenures. Peeking inside lets you observe traditional techniques firsthand. Expert staff also provides fitting services to experience that quality craftsmanship.

For those interested in design, the University of Northampton houses an extensive collection of shoe samples, materials, and equipment at its Leathersellers Fashion Studio. See how artistry and technology intermix to imagine groundbreaking footwear. The university’s shoemaking courses uphold Northampton’s legacy training new generations. Public workshops are also available for a hands-on lesson in cobbling.

At the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, the World’s Greatest Shoemakers gallery charts how shoes progressed from the industrial era to today. Fascinating historic advertisements, vintage lasts, locally manufactured footwear, and multimedia exhibits provide context around shoemaking innovations. Fashionistas will also appreciate the costume gallery’s extensive shoe collection.

No trip to Northampton is complete without factory visits to watch shoemaking in action. At Joseph Cheaney & Sons, see master craftsmen utilizing time-honored techniques like stitchwelting and hand-lasting to produce premium men’s shoes. Nearby at Alfred Sargent, observe workers meticulously shaping, polishing, and buffing leathers by hand before final assembly. These behind-the-scenes tours prove why Northampton shoes stand unmatched.

Northampton itself makes an idyllic English market town to explore beyond footwear. Medieval abandoned ruins like Delapre Abbey contrast modern attractions like Althorp, home to Princess Diana’s memorial. For nature, stroll along the River Nene or take the Nene Way walking trail through serene countryside. And don’t miss Northampton’s charming markets and pubs.

Travelers with an interest in fashion, manufacturing, or British history will find Northampton’s shoemaking legacy unmatched. This “Shoe Town” still proudly upholds its artisanal tradition and innovation in footwear production after centuries. Through museum exhibits, factory tours, university courses and independent shops, Northampton offers a comprehensive look at England’s proud cobbling heritage. Walk in the footsteps of master craftsmen on your trip.

Posted in Travel and Holidays

The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Events in the UK: Festivals, Celebrations, and More!

Posted on October 4, 2023 at 1:49 pm

The holiday season in the United Kingdom overflows with festive happenings to delight visitors. From Christmas markets and New Year’s Eve parties to seasonal concerts and pantomimes, iconic British traditions help make the most wonderful time of the year even merrier. Use this guide to experience the magic of UK holiday events.

Christmas Markets

Outdoor Christmas markets offer festive food, drink, and holiday shopping. Major cities like London, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Bath host the biggest markets, but smaller towns have their own too. Browse crafts, ornaments, and gifts from local vendors while sipping mulled wine and listening to carolers. The holiday ambiance is unmatched.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Cities like London and Edinburgh host massive New Year’s Eve gatherings with live music, fireworks, and spectacular parades. Scotland’s three-day Hogmanay party is one of the world’s largest. More local pub celebrations let you ring in the New Year with new British friends too!


These family-friendly comedic musical theatre productions based on classic fairy tales are a beloved British tradition. Expect slapstick humor, outlandish costumes, singing, dancing, and men dressed as the “Dame” character. See a panto this Christmas for lots of laughter.

Christmas Light Trails

Gardens, zoos, and landmarks across the UK dazzle with festive light displays. Walk under twinkling arches, illuminated sculptures, and colorful tree canopies after dark. Some favorite light trails are at Kew Gardens, Chester Zoo, and Hyde Park.

Carols and Concerts

For holiday music, attend church carol services, seasonal symphony and choir performances at historic venues, or outdoor concerts. The range of Christmas shows, from community gatherings to professional productions, celebrate the sounds of the season.

Santa Trains

Children can meet Father Christmas aboard festive steam trains operating across the UK in November and December. These excursions on heritage railways include gift giving, cookies, and activities. It’s a magical Christmastime ride.


Towns and cities have Christmas parades with floats, bands, dancers, giant balloons, and an appearance by Santa Claus. Some parades date back decades or even centuries, making them revered traditions. Grab a spot early for good views.

Winter Festivals

Outdoor winter and Christmas festivals have food, carnival rides, ice skating, shows, shopping, and entertainment for all ages. Popular ones are in London’s Hyde Park, Edinburgh, Manchester, and National Sea Life Centre.


No British Christmas is complete without a visit to a lively pantomime production. These family-friendly musical comedies put a twist on classic fairytales with slapstick humor, audience participation, and men dressed as the “Dame” character.

From festive concerts in historic cathedrals to rides, games and ice skating at winter carnivals, UK holiday happenings celebrate the season with flair. Enjoy these traditions alongside Christmas meals and beloved ceremonies for a truly unforgettable British yuletide experience.

Posted in Travel and Holidays

Experience the Magic of UK Holiday Events: A Must-Attend List

Posted on September 5, 2023 at 1:43 pm

The holiday season brings plenty of magical events across the United Kingdom perfect for getting in the festive spirit. From Christmas markets and light trails to ice skating and pantomimes, these beloved British holiday happenings offer fun for all ages. Add these merry events to your must-attend list this Christmas season.

Few events feel more quintessentially British than the pantomime theatre productions enjoyed throughout the holidays. These family-friendly comedic musicals always feature slapstick humour, audience participation, songs, and someone playing “the Dame” in drag. Popular shows like Cinderella, Aladdin, and Snow White play in theatres across England. With their playful spirit, pantos make beloved holiday entertainment.

The luminous light displays at Kew Gardens Enchanted Christmas provide a horticultural treat. The Royal Botanic Gardens glow with over one million twinkling bulbs formed into tunnels, trees, and more. Lasers, music, and architectural lighting effects add multimedia flair. This mile-long trail winds through Kew’s greenhouses after dark. Enchanted Christmas brings awe-inspiring magic to this London landmark.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland returns as London’s favourite yuletide extravaganza. Attractions at this free festival include carnival rides, an ice rink circled by Christmas market stalls, extravagant shows, and lots more entertainment. Little ones can visit Santa, skate with penguins, or wander dazzling light displays. With tasty food, festive drinks, and holiday cheer, Winter Wonderland captures Christmas joy.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay hosts epic New Year celebrations spanning days. The festival kicks off with a torchlight procession along the Royal Mile on December 30. Silent disco parties, ceilidh dancing, and concerts carry the festivities into January. The main event is the iconic New Year’s Eve street party featuring incredible fireworks displays over Edinburgh Castle. Hogmanay beautifully welcomes the next year.

The Manchester Christmas Markets attract over 400 stalls selling artisan gifts, ornaments, and festive foods. Based in 10 city center sites, the largest area is Albert Square where the massive Christmas tree and ice rink shine. German bratwurst, Belgian waffles, warm gluhwein, and roasted chestnuts get visitors in the holiday mood as live music plays. Manchester’s markets buzz with Christmas spirit.

Cardiff Winter Wonderland transforms the city center into a magical frosted forest. Ride thrilling carnival attractions like the Ice Skater coaster. Visit the Christmas circus, catch a pantomime, or skate across the open-air ice rink. Young ones can enjoy story time with Mrs. Claus and circle the fairytale castle. This Welsh wonderland delights all winter long.

Bath’s Christmas Market brings over 150 chalet stalls to the historical Roman Baths and Abbey courtyard. Shoppers find handcrafted decorations, toys, jewellery, candles, and clothing alongside festive foods and drinks. Carollers enhance the heritage setting and sounds of the season. The market’s charming ambiance and artisanal gifts make Bath a quintessential Christmas stop.

From dazzling light displays to carnivals brimming with rides and games to festive shopping at local markets, the UK overflows with holiday magic. These merry events, paired with beloved Christmas pantos and parties, offer memorable ways to join in cherished British traditions. Attending these favourites promises all the spirit, cheer, and wonder of the season.

Posted in Travel and Holidays

Staying Safe When Travelling as a Family

Posted on November 20, 2020 at 8:21 pm

Staying safe is very important when going anywhere with your family, be it in the UK or further afield, and travel safety considerations should always take priority. Here are some tips to help you stay safe when on holiday or travelling with family:

  • Understand the local customs and culture. Do your research before you go and make sure you are familiar with what the country will expect of you.
  • Always stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t go to places that seem too quiet – there might be a reason for that. There is no need to be afraid of everything, but have your wits about you. This advice will serve you well wherever you are travelling in the world.
  • Stay together. Don’t let people go off alone, especially younger children. Ensure that you know and are familiar with the area before allowing this, and even then, always keep an eye out for each other.

Posted in Travel and Holidays

Travelling to Portugal with your Family

Posted on September 29, 2020 at 11:58 am

Every family needs to have a holiday for their own mental health, and to bond together as a family unit. A holiday to Portugal is a popular choice for all kinds of families – those who love activities, sports and adventures, as well as those who like to have a quiet and calm time.

Portugal is, for starters, a beautiful location for a holiday, with wonderful beaches and stunning views everywhere. If you prefer to have a bit of a buzz, many larger towns and cities are popular tourist hotspots, including the country’s capital of Lisbon. Other major cities are also a good opportunity to visit cultured places and enjoy the range of activities that are on offer.

There are plenty of family friendly activities available in Portugal, from sports and entertainment to relaxing days out that you can enjoy together. Not least, the weather will make the trip far more enjoyable than a holiday taken in the UK!

Posted in Travel and Holidays

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