Category: Location

Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in London

The rush to live in London, especially by foreigners, is understandable. After all, London is the epicentre of many industries in the UK.

From beautiful boroughs, historic streets, renowned restaurants to the cultural pots of London, it is very easy to fall in love with the city.

But what happens years after the nostalgia passes? Or is it actually better to live outside London?

Reasons To Live in London

1. Cosmopolitan

Most people who come from abroad to live in the UK have a relative in London. It could be a cousin, uncle, aunty or anyone you know directly from your home country or someone you know through someone.

Living in London has benefits for immigrants because you can get involved in a lot of social activities that relate to your culture because of the cosmopolitan nature of London.

You can also get to meet people from other nationalities and experience a variety of culture.

About one-third of London’s population are foreign-born according to a recent UK census. London is a true cosmopolitan capital with its hundreds of nationalities and languages.

2. Entertainment and Tourism, Entertainment and Events

London with its iconic and historic locations is also a tourism haven. Famous sightseeing locations in London include Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Tower Bridge.

London has a lot of history and can be great to live in London where you can have access to world-class museums.

Lovers of sport can also enjoy living in London because London has a lot to offer when it comes to sport. From the London marathon to Wimbledon Open, there are a lot of sports in London.

It is also home to several famous football clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham United and Crystal Palace.

The cool thing about London is that it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, there is always something to do. London brims with activities all day and year.

3. Proximity to Airports for International Travel and Eurostar

One of the biggest advantages of living in London is the ease of travel. London has six airports and the Eurostar International Train Terminal.

The train network in London is probably one of the best in the world. All major railways in the UK run through London with 11 underground lines connecting 270 stations.

The truth is that you can get to almost anywhere in London without leaving the underground. I also like that most of the tube stations are equipped with elevators and escalators.

Travelling abroad can be a bit cheaper and easier if you live in London, proximity to one of the busiest airport in the world can offer cheap flight.

As well, as an immigrant when you have family coming over it can be easier to get them from the airport. Unlike when you live in the countryside far away from the airport.

4. Better paid and career opportunity

It’s not surprising that there are more better-paid jobs in London and multinational companies where you can advance your career. That isn’t actually surprising at all. After all, London is Europe’s financial capital.

Employees in London earn about 25% more than most regions in the UK. 

There are a couple of reasons why the wages in London is higher. The first is that living in a cosmopolitan capital is usually more expensive. This is thanks to high accommodation and living costs. Also, industries like tech and finance tend to pay more and there are a plethora of those in London. This automatically has an impact on the average wage.

 

Reasons Not to Live in London

1. Experiencing Nature

For nature lovers, it is better experienced in small villages and towns outside London. I live in a semi-rural environment and will never swap that for London living. I am too in love with this environment. Within a few minutes, I can run into the woods from my house and experience nature. I live close to the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and we previously lived near the Malvern Hills AONB.

Living outside of London is also healthier. According to recent research two of the most polluted areas in Britain are in central London.

There is no doubt London has a  lot of green spaces and parks but most of them are not well maintained. 47% of London is actually green space. The tourist themed parks are actually better maintained. But the truth is that you cannot compare them to the national parks and hiking trails outside of London.

London just feels jampacked due to obvious reasons.

2. Cost of Living

Housing cost takes a high percentage of most peoples income. Housing cost in London is on another level in comparison to other parts of the UK.

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. And it explains why they earn more.

Over the years, it has actually slipped in the rankings of the most expensive cities in the world but the cost of living is still considerably high. Monthly expenses in London is quite higher than in other cities in the UK.

This is why many people prefer to live outside of London and commute to work every day.

3. Overcrowded

I seriously think London is overcrowded. Every time I visit London. I am always uncomfortable and looking forward to returning home to the amazing Cotswold area.

London’s biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. Its many tourist attractions make it one of the best destinations to visit. Hence the overcrowding.

4. Crime rate

Because of the overcrowded nature of London, it is no surprise that it has a higher crime rate. Please don’t get me wrong, there is crime in every town or city you go to.

London is a safe city to live in though. It is the 14th safest city in the world according to the Economists Safe Cities Index. However, the crime rate is reasonably lower in smaller towns and villages than in London.

As a parent with two adorable boys, I am uncomfortable raising my kids in London. This is due to a lot of knife crimes that go on in London. Gang among high school kids is more mentioned in London than in other smaller UK cities, towns and villages.

5. Traffic and camera

Driving in London requires a different level of alertness and patience. In most cases, it’s better to use public transport than drive your own car.

The public transport system in London is great so going on them might be less stressful than driving your own car. However, for people who like to drive themselves around, you can run into the trouble of driving in the wrong lane and getting captured by a camera.

It’s not uncommon to receive a letter in the post about a fine for either parking in the wrong place or driving in the wrong lane. Basically, there are cameras all over London monitoring you on the road.

It’s a lot easier to drive outside of London.

Conclusion

To be quite honest, whether you decide to live in or outside of London is entirely up to you. If finance is not an issue and you don’t mind the disadvantages of living in a cosmopolitan capital, then you should go for it.

I personally prefer the calmer life of the semi-rural environment. I guess that is because I am a lover of nature.

Another important thing to consider is savings. If you are keen on saving money, then it is more reasonable to live outside of London. The cost of living and accommodation cost there is relatively cheaper. You’ll reach your savings goal much quicker.

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Is Malvern a good place to live?

I remember we had some time to ponder about our decision to move to Malvern before we moved when we did.

Have you been looking for some information about the suitability of Malvern as a good location to live or work? I am happy to share some insights from my personal experience.

We lived in Malvern for a period of 7 years and we absolutely loved it there. We moved away from Malvern for personal reasons and not related to Malvern as a place to live. In fact, we still visit Malvern regularly because we have found it difficult to disconnect ourselves completely from Malvern.

Let me give you some points that will help you make the decision whether to move to Malvern or not.

Housing

House price in Malvern is higher than in Worcester City which is the closest main urban settlement to Malvern.

Average house prices change from time to time. You can see the current average house price in Malvern by clicking here.

Malvern is a Victorian spa town located at the foot of the Malvern Hills. The beauty of the Malvern area makes Malvern a sort after location in the Worcestershire area.

Good neighbourhood

Malvern is a small town and most areas of Malvern are nice. The main areas in Malvern are Great Malvern, Malvern Link, West Malvern.

If you want to live very close to the Malvern Hills, West Malvern will be the part of Malvern you should be considering. The areas around the Great Malvern Train Station have some of the big period houses with a lot of characters.

Area to avoid

Every settlement does have areas that are not so good. Such an area in Malvern is Sherrard’s Green.

Crime

Malvern is located in Malvern Hills District and Great Malvern town is the largest of the towns and villages in the district. Malvern Hills district is categorised as a rural district and this is one of the factors that make Malvern’s crime rate to be well below Worcestershire and the UK average.

Who doesn’t want to live in a town where the crime rate is very low? I can’t remember witnessing or experiencing any serious crime when we lived there. No settlement can completely be crime-free. Living in a settlement where crime is low is the desire of anyone looking for a place to live.

The Malvern Hills

Malvern town is famous because of the Malvern Hills and Malvern Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

AONB is an area where housing development is usually restricted because the landscapes are protected due to their exceptional beauty.

There are a lot of people whose decision to live in Malvern is because of the Malvern Hills. If you love nature and the serenity of the natural environment, you will love Malvern. Personally, I can boldly say I had incredible and unforgettable times around the Malvern Hills. I am a runner, I remember many times running on Malvern Hills. The view from the top of the Malvern hills is amazing and the beauty of the hills cannot only be justified on camera, you just need to see it for yourself.

There were times when I would literarily wake up on Saturday morning around 5 am in the summer, put on my running shoe and run to the hills. There are many posts of entry to the hills, the one close to where we lived was about 10 mins away. I remember hearing the sound of the birds tweeting early in the morning. When you then get to the top, the view that awaits you is glorious.

Leisure

Malvern Town is a town that will tick most of your boxes. There are various lesser centres strategically located in the town. The most popular one is located at the town centre just behind the District Council building.

The leisure centre boasts a swimming pool and gym. The facilities are of a high standard. My boys used to have swim lessons at the swimming pool and I use their changing room sometimes when I go running during lunchtime from work.

If you are looking for a place to relax in Malvern, you can check out Malvern Spa. Everything you need to have a wonderful relaxation is available at the Malvern Spa.

Their services range from hydrotherapy pool, health club and treatments hotel, restaurant and thermal area (saunas & steams rooms).

One of the popular historic tourist attraction near Malvern is Witley Court. This location is a very good place to have a relaxing time in a historic setting.

Event and entertainments

If you are a lover of nature, you will adore the Three County Showground. There is an annual show that takes place at the 90 acres Three County Showground on Blackmore Park Road in Malvern. It is a national event that host people from across the country. There are various activities for all ages during the one-week event. The highlight and the most popular part of the event are the Flower Show. The annual show is often tagged RHS Malvern Spring Festival because of its affiliate with the Royal Horticultural Society.

There are a lot of other events that are hosted by the Three County Showground throughout the year.

Malvern has a lovely theatre that is very popular in the area. The Theatre is also sometimes called Festival Theatre and has been the centre of art in Worcestershire since 1885. The theatre is known for hosting big productions, shows and films.

Education

The primary schools are good schools and the children are well behaved. We were never at any time worried about our boys’ behaviour in school and they never came back home to complain about being bullied.

Being a small town there are only two comprehensive high schools in the town. These are ‘The Chase School’ and ‘Dyson Perrins Church of England Academy’. Both are very good schools.

There is also a reputable independent school, Malvern College.

Final Thought

Based on my personal experience, Malvern is a great place to live in the UK. And we really enjoyed our time staying there. Being a nature lover, I particularly love the landscape and nature. If the housing price isn’t an issue for you then I would recommend Malvern as one of the best places to live in the UK.

 

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Finding the best place to live in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is one of the best areas in the UK to live in. If you are looking for a guide on the best place to live in the Cotswolds, you are in the right place.

There are a number of things to consider which will guide you to decide on the best place to live in Cotswold.

House Price

When considering where to live in the Cotswolds areas, one of the important factors to consider is house price.

The average house price in the Cotswolds area is almost £500,000 as at the time of writing. The current house price can be seen by clicking here.

The house prices in the pretty towns and villages of the Cotswolds area are expensive. The cheapest and affordable houses will be found at the edge of the Cotswold in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

The average price of houses within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Beauty(AONB) is often higher than the settlements outside of the Cotswold AONB.

The most popular settlements within the Cotswold AONB are:

  • Tetbury
  • Coln St Aldwyns
  • Moreton-in-Marsh
  • Northleach
  • Bourton-on-the-Water
  • Burford
  • Cirencester
  • Castle Combe
  • Chipping Campden
  • Blockley
  • Stow-on-the-Wold
  • Stanton
  • Painswick

Character Houses in Cotswold Village

Schools and Education

Some people move to a new location because they want their children to be able to attend the best schools. The Cotswolds area is one of the areas in the UK known for some of the best schools in the UK.

Independent Schools

Cheltenham is often been regarded as the centre of the Cotswold. The three prominent independent schools in Cheltenham are Cheltenham College, Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Dean Close.

There are two standout prep schools in the south of the Cotswolds, these are Beaudesert Prep School and Pinewood.

There are other independent schools at various locations within the Cotswold area that can be considered.

Grammar Schools

The Cotswold area is one of the areas that retained their grammar schools. For a child to be selected to attend grammar school, they have to seat and pass an exam called 11 Plus. Grammar schools are not a fee-paying school but they have high education standard.

There are people who move to the Cotswold areas so their children can attend the best schools. There are 4 grammar schools in Gloucester, 1 in Cheltenham and 2 in Stroud.

Comprehensive Schools

The Cotswold area is not short of outstanding comprehensive schools. The Balcarra Academy in Cheltenham and The Cotswold Academy in Bourton-on-the-Water are two of the best comprehensive schools.

These schools and other good state schools are not selected schools so no exam is needed for a child to be admitted. However, you need to live within the catchment area.

Cotswolds Hill and Severn Valley

Proximity to London

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a place to live is the ease of commuting to and fro the workplace. This might apply to people who currently work in the south of England especially London.

The best place to live in Cotswold for ease of commute to London is the south of Cotswold. The three Oxfordshire towns of Woodstock, Burford, and Chipping Norton are often regarded as part of the Golden Triangle. This is because of their strategic location which makes it easy to commute to London.

The A40 and A44 road routes can be helpful to commuters travelling to London.

The pandemic of 2020 and 2021 has made working from home popular. Also, several people work from home a few days of the week instead of commuting to their London office every day. Such people who live in the Cotswolds can make use of railway stations with direct train services to Paddington from stations at Kingham, Charlbury, and Hanborough.

Historic Environment

Some people like to live in areas that have a lot of history and character. If you want to live within or around areas with character, you might consider pretty villages close to Gloucester, Cheltenham, Bath, and Oxford.

Living in the urban town of Cheltenham or Bath isn’t a bad idea either. Cheltenham which often regarded as the Centre of the Cotswolds is one of England’s most beautiful towns because of her impressive and elegant regency architecture.

Bath also a Regency Town is a place to fall in love with. Bath has impressive Georgian architecture and combines vibrant contemporary culture with a rich history and heritage.

The traditional capital of the Cotswolds is Cirencester. This is a town that also has a lot of history and can be considered for people who want to live in the historic area of the Cotswolds.

Picturesque Cotswolds Village, Burford

Countryside vs Urban

There are a lot of benefits to living in the countryside. You will enjoy breathing in quality care, there is less crime and you will have access to nature. Cotswold is renowned for its beautiful landscape. The traditional Cotswolds villages are cherished by many people in the UK for their quintessential environment.

You can consider pretty villages and small towns like Cirencester, Stroud, Dursley, Tetbury, Coln St Aldwyns, Moreton-in-Marsh, Northleach, Bourton-on-the-Water, Burford, Castle Combe, Chipping Campden, Blockley, Stow-on-the-Wold, Stanton, and Painswick.

If you are looking for main urban areas in and around the Cotswolds you can consider the following

Cheltenham, Bath, and Gloucester.

The benefit of living in the main urban area is the fact that amenities and entertainments are easy to reach. As well, transportation networks are sometimes better in urban areas.

Horse Racing Festival in Cheltenham

Events, entertainments, and leisure

For the best of events entertainment and leisure activities, Cheltenham tick most of the boxes for this. Cheltenham is famous for her world-class racecourse commonly called Cheltenham Festival.

The town always has a packed calendar of events and festivals which include the Jazz, Science, Music and Literature Festivals.

If you live in settlements that are close to Cheltenham you can take part in enjoyable festivals going on there.

Bath will also tick a lot of the boxes as regards Events, entertainment, and leisure.

Final Thoughts

Cotswold is indeed one of the best places to live in the UK. From security to ambience to recreation, entertainment and general landscape, it is easy to spot its beauty.

The average price of houses shouldn’t deter you from living in Cotswold. Houses within the AONB are generally more expensive than the average houses due to historic significance.

If finance isn’t a problem for you and you are looking for a new place to buy a house, you have to consider Cotswolds.

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Why Newquay is popular with home buyers

One of the ‘hottest seller’s market’ in the UK according to the property marketplace platform ‘Rightmove’ is Newquay. With 82% of all properties put up for sale already sold, there is no denying Newquay is a hot micromarket.

When we travelled to Perranporth on a family holiday, we visited Newquay Zoo. As a visitor in the area, I did not have any idea the Newquay property market was that hot.

One of the reasons for the high demand is the work from home factor. Due to the pandemic, people have looked to relocate towards the countryside and coastal areas as working from home become the new norm.

A lot of people have been asking the question, why is Newquay named UK’s ‘hottest seller’s market’ with homes selling like hotcakes?

In this article, I want to shed a little bit of light on why the Newquay property market is hot.

Cornwall Factor

Cornwall’s beauty, charm and culture have been almost a secret until recently.

Today, one of the most sort after areas to live in the UK is Cornwall. Thanks to the activities of companies, tourist organizations and TV programmes like Poldark and Doc Martin, Newquay’s popularity have undergone a resurgence. The housing market in Cornwall has then been boosted as a result.

Newquay is located in the county of Cornwall which is the most westerly in all of the UK. It is worth mentioning that Cornwall boasts of both the most southerly and westerly points on mainland Britain at Land’s End and Lizard Point.
The popularity of Cornwall makes the majority of the settlements within it a very attractive location for people to live.

Luxury Homes on Alexandra Road, Newquay

 

Pandemic Impact

The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 now makes people rethink the location they live in.

There is now a huge demand for countryside and coastal living. A lot of people are now thinking about rural locations and coastal towns and villages like Newquay as a place to live. This is due to the fact that there is an increase in the number of employers who now allow their staffs to work remotely. Proximity to work is no longer an issue in this new age when you can literally have your laptop by your bedside and be working.

Another reason highlighted by The Times is a weaker pound and uncertain overseas travel. This limitation has encouraged people to purchase second homes in the UK rather than buying holiday homes abroad.

Newquay Harbour

Tourism and Seaside

When people are looking for holiday location in the UK, Cornwall is usually mentioned because of the abundance of world-class beaches and unspoiled coast path walks.

I have been to Cornwall and I know the beaches are really lovely. This ensures its status as a Mecca for families, surfers and people seeking work-life balance.

Actually, there are eight sandy beaches in Newquay, so the choice is yours really. Adding to this is the fact that Watergate Bay, Crantock, Holywell Bay, and Mawgan Porth are all within short driving distance.

With Newquay Zoo, you also have tourist attractions that will bring a lot of people to the area. I remember we visited the zoo when we travelled to Perranporth which is not far from Newquay.

Newquay is a tourist destination and this also means a lot of people will be looking at this location to buy either a holiday home or a property that can be used for buy to let or holiday let like Airbnb.

A home on Alexandra Road, Newquay

Transport

The Times highlighted improved accessibility as a big factor in opening up Cornwall to the rest of the UK.

There is a good transport system in the town which will make it easier for the residents to be able to easily commute.
The bus service is regular and there is a train station with train services to various locations including Newquay to London Paddington line.

Newquay Cornwall Airport is an advantage to the area. The airport offers daily flights to and from London-Gatwick, Manchester and St Mary’s. There are also seasonal flights to and from Liverpool, Belfast-City, Birmingham, Edinburgh, London-Southend, Newcastle open Tyne and Düsseldorf.

Man surfing at the beach

Leisure and Entertainment

Being one of the nation’s favourite seaside towns, it is quite obvious that Newquay will be brimming with activities and things to do.

There are world championship events regularly taking place in Newquay because it is regarded as one of the finest surfing destinations.

Newquay Waterworld & Fitness and the Newquay Sports & Community Centre are one of the most popular sports and leisure centres in Newquay. Other Honorary mentions are Oasis Fun Pool and Trenance Crazy Golf.

When thinking about Newquay attractions, the beautiful beaches, Newquay zoo, Huer’s hut, blue reef aquarium, the Gannel, Newquay Harbour, Trenance gardens and boating lake come to mind.

There are also a number of watersports you can find in places like Retallack Aqua Park, Aqua Park, Cornwall Waverunner Safaris and different surf schools.

The entertainment scene in Newquay shifts from cinema to Lane Theater and pubs and cafes. There are also events happening all through the year, examples are the Boardmasters Festival, July’s yearly Newquay Carnival Week, Septembers Newquay Fish Festival and several entertaining charity events.

Newquay provides opportunities for the residents to live a good quality life.

You can find some of the best things to do in Newquay here.

Surfing on the beach in Newquay

Final Thoughts

The popularity of Newquay, Cornwall is no coincidence really. It is even somewhat a surprise that it has gone this long being underrated. A coastal town brimming with that much activity and poshness could only be overlooked for so long. Perhaps the pandemic is the biggest player in the reemergence of this beautiful coastal town.

Newquay is one of the hottest property markets in the UK today and it is very easy to see why.

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Which is nicer Cheltenham or Gloucester?

Cheltenham Town and Gloucester City are two important settlements in the Cotswold area. People often ask the question ‘which is nicer Cheltenham or Gloucester?’

I have been living in a little settlement close to Cheltenham and Gloucester for the past 3 years as at the time of writing. I regularly go around both Cheltenham and Gloucester and I can give you my opinion about the two settlements.

Discussion around which is nicer between Cheltenham or Gloucester depend on whether you are considering where to live, work or visit. From a general view point, this article compares Cheltenham and Gloucester on the following important points.

Town and City Centre

Both settlements have a vibrant centre. Cheltenham is generally regarded as a posh and affluent settlement because of the big High Street brands in the shopping centres. John Lewis opened their store on Cheltenham High street in 2018, this also established Cheltenham Centre as a must-do in Cheltenham.

Cafe at Cheltenham Town Centre

Cheltenham Promenade was listed by Google as one of the best shopping streets in the UK. The Montpellier Arcade is one of the oldest purpose-built shopping arcades in the UK.

Gloucester City Centre is not as classy as Cheltenham but it also offers a very good shopping experience. Eastgate Shopping Centre is the main shopping mall at the centre. The usual high street brands are available at the Gloucester city centre.

Gloucester City Centre is a 10-minute walk from Gloucester Quays which offers an opportunity to shop at the big brand shops.

Both Cheltenham and Gloucester centre has good restaurants where you can enjoy good cuisine. Cheltenham possibly has better restaurants.

John Lewis Department Store in Cheltenham

Events and Entertainment

Cheltenham is generally regarded as the home of festivals because of the number of festivals that take place in Cheltenham annually. The prominent of these festivals is the Horse Racing Festival popularly called Cheltenham Festival.

It takes place in March of every year and attracts visitors from all over the UK and abroad. The Royals do attend this festival.

There are other festivals like the Science Festival, Literature Festival, Music Festival, Jazz Festival and Food Festival.

Gloucester does have some events of its own that take place annually. However, Gloucester’s events are not as popular as Cheltenham events.

Of course, there are some occasional events in both settlements where a national artist comes to perform.

Crime

Both Cheltenham and Gloucester are reasonably safe and good places to live and visit. Cheltenham’s crime rate is lower than Gloucester’s.

Cheltenham –  72.73 (total number of crimes recorded over a 12 month period, per 1000 residents).

Gloucester –  87.76 (total number of crimes recorded over a 12 month period, per 1000 residents)

The crime rate in Cheltenham is above the average crime rate for the Gloucestershire area.

The crime rate in both Gloucester and Cheltenham is lower than the national average. There is a good resource for checking the crime rate on the Gloucestershire County Council website. You can also find crime information for Gloucester and Cheltenham on the Gloucestershire Constabulary website.

Pittville Park, Cheltenham

Things to do in Cheltenham and Gloucester

Gloucester is known for the cathedral which is one of the identities of the city. In fact, having a cathedral is one of the criteria for any settlement to be called a city in the UK.

The Gloucester cathedral is a great place to visit for people who love history and architecture. The cathedral and the environment are very nice environments.

Gloucester also has a dock which is an important feature of the city.

Cheltenham is known for her Georgian architecture. You will love the architecture of the town and more importantly, Pittville Park is a nice part of Cheltenham town you must visit if you are in Cheltenham. the park has a huge play area for people who have kids. There is a pump room that tells part of the story of the town.

The park is very big and has various parts which you can explore. There is a coffee shop within the park where you can buy a hot or cold drink with snacks.

Below are the lists of some of the most important places to visit in Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Cheltenham

1. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway – You can get to enjoy the incredible landscape views. This is an amazing scenic railroad. This is a delightful steam train ride that takes you through the Cotswold countryside and the Cheltenham Race Course.

2. Pittville Park – This is the biggest park in Cheltenham. Pittville has two parts, there is the part which has the beautiful lake, ducks, and moorhens. The second part has a boating lake.

Cheltenham
Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham

 

3. Walks With Hawks – Enjoy this amazing nature and wildlife park. If you love nature, at this location you can be in the company of the Harris Hawk, Kestrel & Blue Eagle birds of prey plus…

4. Montpellier District – This area gives you the experience of beautiful Georgian Architecture. Lots of places to eat and good access to the main shopping area.

5. Brennen & Brown – Experience a fabulous gin at this distilleries.

6. Cheltenham Racecourse – The horse racing takes place every year in March. The highlight is usually the Gold Cup.

7. Everyman Theatre – Enjoy stage plays in real theatre format.

8. Cotswold Farm Park – If you have young children, this is a good place to visit. There are a lot of rare breed animals to see here.

9. The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum – Art lovers can have a good time at this Art Gallery.

10. Sandford Parks Lido – There is a pool for all ages. The main pool entertain adults and small children can swim in the children’s pool.  Sandford Parks Lido is a good place in Cheltenham to enjoy outdoor swimming.

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester

1. Gloucester Cathedral – A great Architectural landmark in Gloucester that has a lot of history. Buildings. This great Cathedral is in some of the scenes of Harry Potter.

2. Jet Age Museum – This museum showcase Gloucestershire’s rich aviation heritage. You can see displays of jets from the early days of flight, from the birth of the Jet Age to the present day.

3. Gloucester Docks – Part of the historic area of Gloucester with the opportunity to stroll around this amazing landmark. It’s very close to the Gloucester Quays and Waterways Museum is just around the corner.

Gloucester Historic Docks

 

4. Gloucester Quays – A shopping mall with a lot of British household names. Walk around and have a good time shopping here. There are also places to eat at the mall.

5. Kingsholm Stadium – Rugby sports arena for good entertainment. Enjoy a great game of rugby here if you love rugby.

6. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal – Enjoy a boat ride by travelling through a stretch of canal.

7. Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum – A fascinating Military Museums that tells the story of the history of the military.

8. National Waterways Museum Gloucester – A speciality museum that tells the 200-year story of inland waterways.

9. Robinswood Hill Country Park – A local park with incredible space to enjoy the fresh air.

10. Three Choirs Vineyard – Lovers of wine can take a tour and take part in a wine tasting session.

 

Bus Stop

Transportation

Like other UK towns and cities, Gloucester and Cheltenham have good transportation systems.

Train

Both have good train stations. However, Cheltenham train station is not at the town center while Gloucester train station is at the city center where you can walk into the shopping areas within 5 minutes.

While Cheltenham train station is not in the town centers, it is still within walking distance to the shopping areas. It takes about 15 minutes to walk to the shopping center from the train station.

Bus

Both settlements have regular bus services to various neighbourhoods. As Cheltenham and Gloucester are not far apart, there are bus services between the two settlements. It takes about 15 minutes on the bus to travel between the two settlements.

Motorway

M5 is the motorway that is very near to Cheltenham and Gloucester. Junction 11A is the junction that takes you in and out of Gloucester while Junction 10 and 11 takes you in and out of Cheltenham.

Good Neighbourhood

Cheltenham

The high sort after neighbourhoods in Cheltenham is Leckampton and Charlton Kings. These two areas are some of the most expensive areas in Cheltenham to buy a house.

You will need a very deep pocket to buy a house in this location. Other areas to consider are Warden Hill, Up Hatherley, and Prestbury. if you like the town center, there are few areas in the center that are reasonably safe.

Gloucester

In Gloucester, Longlevens is one of the good neighbourhoods to consider when thinking about a place to live.

One of the good areas of Gloucester is Quedgeley. This neighbourhood is a suburban town and a modern new build neighbourhood in the southwest of Gloucester

You can also consider Coopers Edge. This is another new build suburb, which is situated in Brockworth, between Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Abbeydale and Hucclecote are also good areas in Gloucester.

Areas to Avoid

Every neighbourhood in any settlement will have a nice and not so nice area. The same can be applied to Cheltenham and Gloucester.

The main areas to avoid in Gloucester are Matson and Barton. This area is a very deprived area.

In Cheltenham, avoid areas around Princess Elizabeth way and the GCHQ area.

Cheltenham Suburb

Neighbouring Settlements

There are nice villages and settlements around Gloucester and Cheltenham that can be considered a good place to live.

Churchdown is a village between Gloucester and Cheltenham and it is a very good place to live because of its proximity to Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Bishops Cleeve – This village has seen a lot of new developments recently and it is gradually losing its village feel. however, it is still a very good location to consider outside Cheltenham. It is less than 10 minutes drive from Bishop Cleeve to Cheltenham.

Highnam and Maisemore are two separate locations not too far from Gloucester. These two can be considered if you are looking for a nice place to live outside Gloucester.

Schools

Both Cheltenham and Gloucester have good schools. However, the schools in Cheltenham have higher ratings than Gloucester schools.

Gloucestershire as a county pride itself is one of the few counties in the UK that retained their grammar school. Grammar schools are selected schools which means students that go there are usually selected based on their performance in an exam called 11plus.

There are 4 grammar schools in Gloucester while Cheltenham has only 1. It is worth mentioning that the one in Cheltenham which is Pates Grammar School is the best in Gloucestershire and one of the best in the UK. Getting a child to Pates is highly competitive.

One of the best comprehensive school in Gloucestershire is Balcarras Academy which is located in Cheltenham.

As well, there are fee-paying independent schools in both Cheltenham and Gloucester. It is also important to mention that the independent schools in Cheltenham are highly rated than those in Gloucester.

Final Thought

As someone who has seen both Cheltenham and Gloucester, I think Cheltenham is possibly nicer than Gloucester.

If you are considering a place to live, Cheltenham will be my preference. However, the average property price in Cheltenham is higher than Gloucester.

Thinking about just a visit, you will definitely have a great experience in both Cheltenham and Gloucester. I don’t see any reason why you cannot visit both settlements. Gloucester and Cheltenham are about 20 minutes apart which is around 9 miles.

There are also very nice villages around Gloucester and Cheltenham to consider for a place to live.

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35 Amazing destinations in Africa for a lifetime experience

 

Not until several thousand years ago, very little was known about Africa by foreigners and it used to in fact be called the Black Continent.

Even now, there are still some misconceptions about Africa by people in Diaspora. An example is thinking Africa is a country and not a continent.

Africa in fact has 54 countries calling it home. And each country varies drastically by topography, landscape, and activities.

Thanks to the modernization and industrialization of so many African countries, a lot is now known about most African countries unlike several centuries ago.

It wouldn’t be fair if I also didn’t mention the importance of tourism as a driving force behind the new perception of Africa.

Now people have the chance to experience the perfect blend of ancient and modern, of wild and urban, of East and West.

Africa is indeed a beautiful continent and is definitely one worth exploring. And that is why I am bringing you the top 30 destinations in Africa.

Where to Go in Africa

Africa like the other continents has top tourist destinations that keep the heart yearning and makes millions of tourists all over the world hop on planes to get there.

I hope that by the end of this article you’ll be restless enough about visiting Africa.

 

1. The great migration, Tanzania

The thunder of hooves as more than a million wildebeest and several hundred thousand zebra on dirt make their annual Great Migration can’t be well captured in a photo. You really have to see it for yourself as it is such a beautiful scene.

The Great Migration is actually a year-round event as the animals move from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Reserve in January, up through the Serengeti around June, and hit Kenya’s Masai Mara around September, before journeying south again.

2. Table Mountain, South Africa

‘Postcard’ is what comes to mind when describing South Africa’s Table Mountain. Such is the beauty of this mountain and its environment.

Table Mountain makes Cape Town, one of the world’s best beach cities, also one of the world’s most photogenic; remember when I said postcard-esque?

You can take cable car rides to the top of the mesa with great views and fantastic sunrises/sunsets.

3. Djemaa el Fna, Morocco

Djemaa el Fna is the largest market in Morocco and the biggest in Africa. Djemaa el Fna is the most exciting town square in the world and is located in the heart of the city of Marrakech.

You can find snake-charmers, henna-painters, storytellers, date-sellers, and orange juice vendors in the snaring heat of the afternoon.

They are usually joined in the evening by musicians, tribal drummers, and ladyboy dancers. You can later find time to wander around the many souks adjacent to the Djemaa el Fna to buy things like spices and teapots. Mobile restaurateurs also set up stalls to sell delicious grilled meats, bread, and salad well past midnight.

4. Sossusvlei Dunes, Namibia

Namibia is best known for its impressive game reserves but the Sossusvlei tops the list as one of the places to be in Namibia.

The word Sossusvlei is almost an irony. It means “the gathering place of water” but don’t be surprised that you’ll need to bring your own to escape getting dehydrated at one of Namibia’s best attractions.

It has taken millions of years for the dunes to form. The dunes formed from material flowing from the Orange River into the Atlantic before being carried north and returned again to land by the surf.

One of the most enjoyable things to do here is climbing the outstanding dunes to get breathtaking views of other destinations like the Deadvlei. Deadvlei is a ghostly landmass of dried, white clay littered with skeletons of ancient camelthorn trees.

5. Mountain Gorillas, Rwanda

Gorillas have the most distinct similarities with humans and even share about 90% DNA with us. So it’s always nice coming in close contact with one. Seeing silverbacks live in action is even a rarer experience as there are only about 1000 of them left in the world.

A close encounter with the mountain gorillas of the Rwandan rainforest is an experience that will stay with you forever. You can find several operators running tours tracking silverbacks and their troupes in the dense forest.

The Nyungwe National Park is an isolated region located at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet. It traverses East Africa’s highest canopy and covers more than 386 square miles across southwest Rwanda. It is a normal occurrence for tourists to come in contact with a vast range of primates.

6. Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Awe-inspiring beauty and Grandeur is the best way to describe Victoria Falls. Located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is considered to be the largest waterfall in the world with a width of 1,708 m. It is also one of the seven natural wonders of the world. You can get a great view of Victoria Falls from both sides of the two countries.

Victoria Falls was first encountered by Scotsman David Livingstone in 1855. Natives also call it “The Cloud That Thunders” and is one of the most majestic water spectacles in the world. Ever since being discovered, the 108-meter high cascade spectacle has become a staple for tourists. It was once recorded flowing at 12,800 cubic meters per second which is double that of Niagara’s highest flow.

The best time to experience the full floods and beauty of Victoria Falls is to go at the end of the rainy season, which is March-May. Experiencing this during the dry season will mean crossing over to Zimbabwe to see the main falls.

7. Spitzkoppe, Namibia

Unlike some other African countries, Namibia is not all about safaris and games. What makes Namibia stand out from its peers is its postcard-esque dynamic landscapes. Another of Namibia’s desert structures worthy of mention is the Spitzkoppe.

The Spitzkoppe’s highest peak is about 1,800 meters high. It is a group of granite peaks in Namibia’s Namib Desert. It is a go-to destination for climbers, geologists, stargazers, and weaver bird watchers.

It is really a fascinating place to be.

8. Sahara Dunes, Morocco

Perhaps there is no other African country where you can get a feel of the cultural blend of African Arabian flair quite like Morocco. With a rich historical backing stretching back almost 10,000 years, Morocco is really a place to be. From its cobble-stoned streets, washed walls to famous spice markets, you get to immerse yourself in Arab culture.

The Sahara dunes are accessible from the northern edge of Morocco. From trekking and having tea with Berbers from Zagoura to camping out and sleeping under the stars in Tazzarrine, there is really a never-ending adventure here. Every spring, runners from all around the world complete the weeklong Marathon des Sables in Tazzarrine.

You can gaze at the stars at the foot of the Merzouga Dunes. It is incredibly free of light pollution.

9. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

By cultural and historical heritage alone, Egypt should be the most popular African country. From Hollywood movies to Biblical references, the adoration of the Egyptian experience knows no bound. For thousands of years, Egypt has been and continues to appeal to not only history buffs and folks interested in cultural journey but also the neutral folks. 

The structures in Egypt are almost unmatched anywhere else in the world. The Pyramid of King Cheops is the most famous of the structures at Giza, near Cairo. It was built from 2.5 million blocks of limestone around 2650 BC. An incredible feature here is that the pyramid’s sides are oriented exactly to the north, south, east, and west.

Built by Cheops’ son, the Chephren pyramid is similar in size to the Giza and is the entrances to a burial chamber that still contains the large granite sarcophagus of King Chephren.

The pyramid of Mycerinus is much smaller in size than both but they are all surrounded by other smaller pyramids and dozens of tombs.

10. Nyika Plateau National Park, Malawi

Malawi, a landlocked country in southeastern Africa is well underrated as one of the best places to visit in Africa. But its spectacular islands and extensive lakes are really one of a kind and deserve a mention.

Nyika is the largest national park in Malawi and its topography is quite unusual. It is a plateau cut by numerous rivers that reach Lake Malawi through several waterfalls off the eastern edge of the mountains.

The eastern border forms the wall of the Great Rift Valley around the plateau. The domes of hills are perfect for trekking, jeep exploration, and hiking thanks to its gentle slopes.

The park is also renowned for having one of the highest populations of leopards in Central Africa. Antelopes and Zebras are also common features.

11. Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

Botswana’s Tourism experience stands out from its peers as a result of the focus on high-end, low-impact tourism. So you shouldn’t be surprised at the absence of crowds unlike its East-Africa counterparts and very luxurious properties on display. It’s the go-to African country for close-up wildlife experiences without crowds.

But straying away from that is the Makgadikgadi Pans. Due to the vast area of dried-up salt pans in the Kalahari Desert, there is a belief that you can almost hear your own blood flow. The Makgadikgadi Pans is a landscape formed by a huge lake that dried up many years ago.

But this shouldn’t fool you as it can transform instantly during winter when rainfall is good. The accompanying lush grass sprout brings a stampede of wildlife like zebra, wildebeest, and flamingos to break the silence. 

12. Draa Valley, Morocco

Cities like Marrakech, Tangier, Fez, and Rabat are the most popular in Morocco and are worthy of a visit.

The Draa is an impressive landscape sitting between the Atlas Mountains and the dunes of the Sahara. It is an expanse of date plantations interrupted by kasbahs rising against the sky.

You can find really good hotels and restaurants in Zagora, which is at the southern end. Through a route across the Atlas Mountains, it will take about five hours from Marrakech to the Draa. It is advisable not to self-drive.

13. Sphinx, Egypt

Egypt is home to some of the biggest innovations and structural wonders of the world. Speaking of structures, the massive scale of the sphinx just like the pyramids is almost unmatched anywhere in the world. There is little wonder as to why Egypt is called the cradle of Western civilization.

You will find the colossal temple of the Sphinx on the way down to Egypt’s Valley Temple of King Chefren. The Sphinx features the body of a lion with a human head and is about 70 meters long and 20 meters high.

There has always been a debate about the gender of the Sphinx. Many believe it is a female while many scholars believe the face is that of King Chefren.

14. Mount Mulanje, Malawi

There is rarely a mention of the best places to visit in Malawi without referencing its landscape and water bodies. 

The Mulanje Massif imposes over the lush land that surrounds it with a height of about 3,000 meters. The Fort Lister Gap splits Mount Mulanje in two.

Giant basins of rock and narrow gullies cut by fast-flowing streams are two prominent features here.

And you can get really nice viewpoints if you take the strenuous hike up the mountain. It is normal to see butterflies, monkeys, hares, voles, and a carpet of enchanting wildflowers after the rain.

15. Riding safari, Kenya

Kenya is home to some of the most extensive populations of wildlife in Africa. Sights like 50 elephants in a herd are not an uncommon sight in Kenyan safaris. Chances are that on your very first drive, you will see the Big Five (lions, rhinoceroses, Cape buffalo, elephants, and leopards). The Big Five are the must-see list of iconic Megafauna.

The best way to experience Kenya’s zebras? From the back of a horse. Travellers can gallop alongside the stripey beasts in the Masai Mara, covering up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) in a week.

If that doesn’t sound like an awesome experience then I don’t know what is.

16. Wonders of the Nile, Egypt

You can either choose to take a romantic felucca or a crowded tourist boat to cruise down the Egyptian Nile. Either way, it reveals relics of one of the world’s most ancient civilizations.

 Valley of the Kings, with its monumental statues, and the magnificent Kom Ombo Temple are high points.

A cruise down the Nile is a truly magical experience.

17. Flamingos, Kenya

Home to about 1 million flamingos, Lake Nakuru National Park is one of Kenya’s most unforgettable sights. It is probably one of the greatest bird spectacles in the world with several birds filling the lake and sky.

18. Lower Zambezi, Zambia

South Luangwa National Park and the Lower Zambezi National Park are two of the best walking safaris in Zambia. In addition to the game drives and walks, you can also go canoeing and fishing. The game in Zambia is a very good experience and almost feels as raw as Kenya was 30 years ago.

You can easily sight hippos, elephants, and other animals drinking from the rivers and tributaries in the safaris of the Lower Zambezi.

Fishing lovers can also stay at various camps and lodges on the banks of the river.

19. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

Naturally, Mozambique wouldn’t come to mind as a top destination to visit in Africa but it really is. But thanks to popular beaches like Tofo beach, offshore marine parks, the Quirimbas Archipelago, and Bazaruto Archipelago, it is definitely one of the best places to visit in Africa.

The helicopter ride from the Bazaruto Archipelago to the Azura Retreats lodge on Benguerra Island alone is mind-blowing.

Set on a desert island, this boutique hotel is located within a Marine National Park, which gives you the chance to see whales, dolphins, and dugongs.

20. Nxia Pan National Park, Botswana

The Baines baobabs at the entrance of Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park were named after a series of watercolours by Thomas Baines, a Victorian explorer, and artist.

The Nxai Pan Park is popular for its lions, leopards, cheetahs, and large herds of giraffe. From here you can get a great view of the vast salt-rich pans of the  Kalahari.

Botswana also offers stunning landscapes like the Okavango Delta with its sprawling green plains and lush vegetation.

In Botswana, you also get to substitute traditional game drives by vehicle for Mokoros (dug-out canoes). This brings you eye-level to bathing hippos, elephants, and crocodiles. You can experience this in the Moremi Game Reserve which occupies the East and Central areas of the region.

21. Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Namibia’s Fish River Canyon is second only to the Grand Canyon in size. It has a depth of 500 meters and more than 160 kilometres  long.

You can see beautiful turquoise pools during the dry season.

Namibia isn’t really known for its game but Etosha National Park offers a good game experience if you want one. But from climbing some of the highest sand dunes in the world to hiking through the Fish River Canyon or taking hot-air balloon rides over them, you might not be thinking about the game.

Other destinations of note in Namibia are the Living Desert Tour, Ghost Town tour, and the skeleton coast.

22. Rhinos at Solio Reserve, Kenya

Silio Reserve is home to about 250 black and white rhino. Given the rarity of these species, this is one of the best places to see them. It can be found in the valley between the dramatic slopes of Mount Kenya and the peaks of the Aberdare Mountains.

23. Nyiragongo Volcano, Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park)

The Democratic Republic of Congo is perhaps more popular for the river it is named after – River Congo. The river flows throughout the country and is also the deepest and world’s second-largest river by discharge.

The Nyiragongo Volcano makes the list as one of the best places to visit in Africa. It is located inside Virunga National Park.

A whopping two kilometres (1.2 miles) wide and usually containing a lava lake, Nyiragongo Volcano is one of Africa’s most active volcanoes, with an eruption in 2002 displacing half a million people.

24. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Tanzania is also home to one of the most iconic and popular hiking destinations in the world – Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro being Africa’s highest peak is one of the go-to places in Africa with its lush rainforests and alpine meadows.

25. Lake Malawi, Malawi

Lake Malawi dubbed “Lake of Stars” a century and a half ago by Dr. David Livingstone is one of the largest lakes in the world.

The lake is home to more tropical fish (1,300 species) than any other lake in the world.  The freshwater diving here is really cool.

The lake has not gone unnoticed by UNESCO who made Lake Malawi National Park, the world’s first freshwater park, a World Heritage Site.

26. African Renaissance Monument, Senegal

Senegal is more widely known for its footballing talents like Sadio Mane, El Hadji Diouf, Demba Ba, and Henri Camara to name a few.

Senegal itself is famous for its delicious cuisine with culinary inspirations from French and North African influences. Also worthy of mention is that the popular African food – Jollof rice – was originally from the Senegambia region of West Africa. Even though Nigerians and Ghanaians fight seasonally for supremacy over this dish.

The African Renaissance monument is definitely one of the top places to visit in Africa. It sits on a volcanic hill overlooking Dakar. The African Renaissance Monument in Senegal is the tallest statue in Africa. And it is higher than the Statue of Liberty in New York.

If you manage to get to the top, a breath-taking view of Dakar awaits you.

27. Lekki Conservation Centre, Nigeria

Nigeria for all its global recognition and controversies isn’t best known for its love of tourism but there are indeed beautiful tourist attractions scattered all over the country. One of them is the Lekki Conservation Centre located in Lagos, Nigeria. It is the longest canopy walk in the whole of Africa.

A walk on this canopy is a great way to explore Nigeria’s natural beauty.

The Lekki Conservation Centre offers a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of Nigeria’s commercial capital.

28. Nzulezo, Ghana

Ghana, the infamous bout partner of Nigeria on social media platforms, the quarrels are mostly about supremacy for beauty and dishes and are mostly friendly bants.

Ghana is one of the most popular countries in Africa and it is famous for its lush forests, diverse animal life, and miles of sandy beaches.

Culture and tradition are important to the people of the Nzulezo community.

Nzulezo which means “surface of the water” gets its name from a local Ghanaian language, Nzema.

Built entirely on stilts on Lake Tandane in western Ghana, Nzulezo village offers a glimpse into what it’s like to live entirely on water.  Akpeteshi, a local gin made from Raffia palm is a must-try for visitors.

29. Cape Verde Archipelago

Located in the North Atlantic and consisting of ten volcanic islands, the Cape Verde archipelago is a cultural blend of African, Iberian, and Brazilian influences. 

Cape Verde is a complete adventure from water sports and hikes through volcanic landscapes to leisure times at beautiful beaches. 

The annual Cape Verde carnival in the cultural capital of São Vicente is a must-see event. It happens between February and March.

30. Lake Retba (Lac Rose), Senegal

Pink lakes are not a common occurrence and there are only a few of them in the world. Lake Retba in the Cap-Vert peninsula in Senegal is one of the few.

Lake Retba, also called Lac Rose by locals, is one of the highest saline body of water in the world. Its pink colour is from safe bacteria that produce a red pigment to absorb sunlight in the water.

Can a pink lake get pinker? Well, between November and June during Senegal’s dry season, the lake is usually at its pinkest.

31 Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

If you want to have an unforgettable experience of the pearl of Africa, you really need to visit this park.

The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park but it was renamed two years later to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s visit.

Within this park are the Maramagambo Forest and borders the Kigezi Game Reserve, the Kyambura Game Reserve, and the Kibale National Park in Uganda.

You surely will have a good time seeing the wildlife including hippos in the Kazinga Channel and leopards on Mweya Peninsula.

32. Eco-camp and Lodge, Gambia

The Gambia is one of the best hottest holiday destinations in Africa.

You can have a wonderful experience at the Mandina River Lodges around the famous River Gambia. Choose to stay in the floating lodges on the River Gambia or in safari tents and experience nature.

The tributary of the River Gambia offers you to stay on beautifully designed lodges hidden in the bush for an unforgettable experience around nature.

33. Go back to nature at La Dique in Seychelles

This island of Africa is made up of about 115 islands. This is a paradisiacal archipelago in the amazing and unspoiled Indian Ocean

La Digue is one of the unique islands you can visit in Seychelles. You can go back to nature in La Dique because this island has been properly managed to avoid development. There are very few cars and only very few surfaced roads.

The beaches here are secluded and unspoiled so you can enjoy the natural environment in this perfect hidden gem.

If you love birds, you have a chance to spot the black paradise flycatcher, one of the rarest birds in the world.

34. Enjoy the best chocolate in São Tomé and Príncipe

This small island in Africa was inhabited in the 15th century by the Portuguese who brought cocoa to the island.

In 1913, this small island was the largest producer of cocoa beans in the world because of the volcanic soil which is suitable for growing cocoa.

There are a lot of wonderful beaches you can visit but something really unique you can do is to enjoy the best quality chocolate from the local factory

Experience bean-to-bar process at the famous chocolatier Claudio Corallo’s laboratory in São Tomé.

Treat yourself to intense 100 percent cacao chocolate bars.

There are a lot of other things to do here including stepping back in time to experience the 16th-century fort São Sebastião in Ana Chaves Bay, São Tomé, which houses the National Museum.

35. Eswatini

Previously called Swaziland, the country was renamed by the King to eSwatini. The country is one of the landlocked countries in Africa and bordering Mozambique, in the southeast of Africa.

The country is lush and blessed with beautiful mountains.

Hlane Royal National Park in eSwatini provides you with the opportunity to see lions, elephants, and rhino. You will also have access to diverse collection of species of birds. How about watching the breeding white-backed vultures in a beautiful natural environment.

Other destinations in this beautiful country are Malolotja Nature Reserve & Phophonyane Falls Nature Reserve, picturesque Ezulwini Valley, Mantenga Nature Reserve including Mantenga Cultural Village which is a recreation of Swazi life in the 1850s.

 

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This is why Cheltenham is the home of Festivals

The incredible number of festivals that take place in Cheltenham makes Cheltenham the home of the festival and the Centre of the Cotswolds.

Cheltenham Horse Race Festival is the most popular of all the Cheltenham annual festivals. However, there are other annual festivals in Cheltenham apart from the flagship Horse Race Festival.

In this article, I walk you through the most important festivals in Cheltenham. 

I will explore in detail all you need to know about the following Cheltenham Festivals

  • Cheltenham Festival (Horse Racing)
  • Cheltenham Literature Festival
  • Cheltenham Science Festival
  • Cheltenham Jazz Festival
  • Cheltenham Music Festival
  • Cheltenham Food Festival

Apart from the Cheltenham Race Festival and Cheltenham Food Festival, the festivals listed are usually hosted by a charity organisation called Cheltenham Festivals.

Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival is a four-day festival that takes place in March, annually at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It usually coincides with St Patrick’s day and as such, have a lot of Irish visitors.

Initially, the festival was held for three days but a fourth day was introduced, with one championship race each day and the big climax of the Gold Cup on the last day. 

The festival features several races like the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Gold Cup and so on. The races are bet on and large amounts of money gambled away.

The racing festival is noted for its iconic Cheltenham Roar, which refers to the loud noise made by the crowd as the starter raises the tape for the first race of the festival. 

Cheltenham Music Festival

Cheltenham Music Festival is one of the United Kingdom’s best and finest classical music festivals. The first was held in 1945 and was said to be the country’s oldest music festival.

The Cheltenham Music Festival prides itself on presenting the best and world-renowned singers in majestic venues. In fact, the award-winning composer, conductor and arranger, Jules Buckley was the festival’s guest curator in 2020. 

The highly respected festival delivers music of every genre, presented in unforgettable and jaw-dropping performances. The festival explores not only traditional music but also features spoken words, dance, films, visual arts and so on. 

Usually, the festival opens with a weekend of free jazz, blues, classical and folk music. It also presents an engaging weekend of Beethoven at Syde Manor.

The main venue for the music festival is the awe-inspiring Cheltenham Town Hall. The town hall is a classic and magnificent masterpiece and boasts of excellent acoustics for its many musical performances. Other venues like Pittville Pump Room, galleries, churches, local bars and clubs are also used for the programme.

Aside from musical concerts, the festival also features free family workshops, young artists projects designed to showcase new talents and promotion of contemporary composers. The music festivals hold over 600 performers, 50 ticketed events and a lot of free ones too.

Artists featured in previous years include the Dante Quartet, Nicola Benedetti, Ingrid Filter, The Pavel Hass Quartet, Manchester Camerata and many others.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

The Cheltenham Literature Festival started in 1949 and is now seen as one of the country’s main literary events. It is the oldest running literature festival in the world.

The festival, described as ‘every literary lover dream’ was founded by the Spa Manager, George Wilkinson and John Moore, a Tewkesbury-based author, who served as its first director ever. The famous English actor, Late Ralph Richardson, launched the festival and Poet Cecil Day-Lewis read the first poem ever in the festival, a selection of contemporary verses. 

The festival’s official sponsor is the national newspaper, The Times and Sunday Times, making the full name of the festival The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festivals.

The artistic director for the festival is Sarah Smyth and its festival director is Jane Furze.

 The literature festival holds a range of events, like workshops, talks, interviews, seminars debates and so on in exquisite places like Montpellier Gardens, Imperial Square and the famous Cheltenham Townhall. 

The Literary festival boasts of showcasing award-winning authors, as well as up and coming literary talents. Every year, the festival presents the Nick Clarke Award for best broadcast interview. It encourages allows literary prize winners to discuss their recent works.

One thing worthy of note about the Cheltenham Literary Festival is that it explores the broadness of the term, “literature”, by exploring its every genre and welcoming writers from the vast world of literature, including politicians and even journalists.

The festival capitalizes on diverse themes, like food, sports, fashion, politics and several others.

The festival is usually held in October and has over 500 events. The theme of the 2014 Cheltenham Literary Festival was “Brave New Worlds”.

The theme had talks on thought-provoking questions about the present and the future.

Insightful questions like: What future does the next century hold? What is the future for words? Is technology changing our brains? And so on, were deliberated upon.

One of the by-products of the literature festival is Beyond Words. Beyond Words is a programme that stemmed from the festival but is actually beyond it.

The programme helps young people in Gloucestershire who are unable to have a normal education due to severe physical or mental illness. The festival charity works in collaboration with Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service by giving the children the chance to work with a writer-in-residence.

The completed work is published in an anthology and the showcased at the festival to encourage the students.

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

The Cheltenham Jazz festival is fast becoming the most loved jazz festival in the country. Started in 1996, the jazz festival boasts of unique festival performances by the world’s greatest jazz icons and up and coming new artists. 

The festival is held right in the heart of Cheltenham, at the exquisite Montpellier Gardens, allowing guests to revel in the jubilant festival atmosphere.

The festival features a mouth-watering selection of food and drink stalls, free outdoor jazz music and fun-filled family activities. 

Jamie Callum, a renowned English Jazz-pop musician and previous guest at the festival said, “The great thing about Cheltenham Jazz Festival is that it brings together so many genres under the umbrella of Jazz.

I think it is one of the best Jazz Festivals in the world.”

Cheltenham Science Festival 

Cheltenham Science Festival was started in 2002. The Festival is a great educational programme geared at encouraging and engaging young brilliant minds in science. 

One of the main features of the festival is the Discover Zone, also known as “Interactive Science for all ages” where interactive exhibition space is created in Cheltenham Town Hall. 

Another notable feature of the festival is an international science-based talent competition called FameLab. FameLab was formed in 2005 by the Cheltenham Science Festival in collaboration with NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts).

The competition attracts hundreds of finalists from competitions held individually in countries around the world. The semi-finals and finals are then held in the festival. At the festival, the international finalists are allowed 3 minutes of presentations each.

The presentations are usually on STEM: science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

The participants are to carry out researches in any of the areas and present their findings in a way that will engage the audiences, even a layman and not only people who are knowledgeable about the area. 

The judges take into consideration the clarity, content and communicability of the participants, after which they question them vigorously on their topic of choice, before deciding on the winner. 

Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival

This festival is a popular yearly event for both locals and visitors.

The food fest provides an exquisite variety of mouth-watering delicacies from different kinds of baked goods to cheeses and jams, meats, cheeses and much more. 

The Cheltenham Food Festival features not only English cuisines but food from different parts of the world. Cooking demonstrations by local and guest celebrity chefs is one of the highlights of the events. 

In addition to this, there are international wine tasting classes as well as food and drink talks in an interactive and educative environment with world-class experts in the food and wine industry.

About Cheltenham Festivals (Charity Organisation)

Cheltenham festivals is a registered charity organisation that hosts festivals in Cheltenham, a large spa town in the county of Gloucestershire, England. This charity organisation holds a collection of festivals in literature, music, jazz, science and so on.

The core aim of Cheltenham festivals is to groom talents by engaging the community all year round. They do this by creating unique activities and specific events, tailored to extend beyond the festival limits.

Cheltenham festivals chairs four different festivals, each year: Music, literature, jazz and science festival. The first Cheltenham Music Festival was held in 1945 and is said to be the country’s oldest festival.

The first Literature Festival was held in 1949, while the first Jazz and Science Festival was first held in 1996 and 2002 consecutively.

It should be noted that these four festivals were held independently and linked with Cheltenham Borough Council before they became collectively known as Cheltenham Festivals in 2006.

Cheltenham Festivals, as a registered charity has its own teams, that help in the smooth running of the programmes. Teams, such as development, education, marketing and so on.

The charity relies on hardworking and diligent teams of volunteers and workers for the success of the festival.

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