Monday, June 20, 2011

Alternative ways to see Britain

When you’ve ticked off the more familiar sights on your itinerary and taken the obligatory bus tour, why not try something a little different? Check out our top 10 alternative tours for inspiration.
Sewer tour
Sewer Tour, Brighton, England
Brighton’s sewers are a Victorian engineering marvel built to cope with the town’s increasing waste as its population expanded rapidly in the 19th century. Bring sensible footwear and a sure footing as you venture underground to explore the extraordinary workings of this murky world beneath your feet.
Mini Tours, London, England
What better way to cruise London’s streets than in a chauffeur-driven retro design classic? smallcarBIGCITY operates tours of London in a fleet of vintage Minis. See how the other half live in upmarket Mayfair, nip over five of London’s most beautiful bridges or cruise through three of the capital’s most scenic parks. For the full swinging ‘60s experience don a boiler suit and a flat cap and take the Italian Job tour.
Wales Millennium Centre
Behind the Scenes tour, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Wales
Wales Millennium Centre is Cardiff’s state-of-the-art cultural venue renowned for its sleek modern architecture and programme of dance, theatre, music and more. To find out what makes this incredible building tick, take an insiders’ tour and see one of the biggest stages in Britain, drop in on a dressing room and experience the heights of the fly-tower and the depths of the orchestra pit.
Insider London Tours, London, England
If you think you’ve seen everything London has to offer, think again. Insider London offers unusual tours uncovering some of the capital’s more remarkable corners. Take the Street Art Tour to see graffiti masterpieces by Banksy et al, explore the history of the world’s oldest underground on the London Underground Tour or learn all manner of amazing trivia on the Quirky London Tour.
Cotswold Pub Tour, Cotswolds, England
Famous as an area of honey-coloured cottages, unspoilt villages and glorious countryside, the Cotswolds are also home to some of England’s finest pubs. Join father and son team Steve and Roger to sample the most charming, characterful and historic pubs the area has to offer and maybe an ale or two along the way.
Historic Toilet Tour, York, England
See the parts of York that others miss with York Walk, a team of knowledgeable locals that runs entertaining tours round this beautiful historic city. One of their most entertaining walks is the Historic Toilet Tour, a jaunt through the pungent history of the public toilet. Learn about Viking toilets, Roman conveniences and try out a medieval garderobe. If you’d rather a less specialist tour, York Walk also leads general interest and history tours.
The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh, Scotland
Deep below Edinburgh’s historic Old Town is a warren of underground ‘closes’, narrow streets once home to people between the 16th and 19th centuries. Built on, sealed off and forgotten for years, Mary King’s Close is now a fascinating attraction that takes you back to Edinburgh’s dark heart. Tour the underground streets and meet characters from a history of plague, blood and ghostly goings-on.
Olympic site tour
2012 Olympic Site Tours, London, England
With not long to go until London takes to the world stage as host of the 30th Olympic Games, large parts of East London are being transformed in one of the biggest building projects the country’s ever seen. Take a tour of the main site with knowledgeable Blue Badge guides to see what’s going on. There’s plenty to see with the 80,000 seat Olympic stadium near completion, the Olympic village fast appearing and the amazing sting-ray shaped roof of the Aquatics Centre already an icon on the skyline.
Belfast Bred Tour, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Join Barney, chef of the ill-fated Belfast-built RMS Titanic for a tour of Belfast cuisine from the past to the present as he tries to recreate the ship’s famous launch menu. A fine mix of maritime history and present day gastronomy, you’ll visit some of Belfast’s most famous restaurants and suppliers. Try a Belfast Bap at century-old Sawyer’s Deli, indulge in tempting seafood and fishy tales at the famous Mourne Seafood Bar and feast on free samples from across this fantastically foodie city.
Dolaucothi Roman Gold Mines, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Travel back in time to experience the conditions of the Roman, Victorian and 1930s miners who searched for gold deep under the wooded hillsides overlooking the Cothi Valley. See and hear the 1930s mine and mine machinery, have a go at gold panning and take the opportunity to experience the frustrations of searching for gold yourself.

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