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The Alley Cafe Bar ( in Nottingham serves vegetarian and vegan food in a cool, relaxed


atmosphere. Choose from a changing rota of dishes (specials are scribbled on a wall mirror) that include hemp, tempeh and falafel burgers, crisp salads and vegan cakes. DJs and musicians provide entertainment in the evenings.

A Cambridge institution, the Rainbow Cafe (rainbowcafe. specialises in vegan and gluten free food, with everything being made daily on the premises. It serves the classics; spinach lasagne, shepherdess pie, veggie chilli, alongside international favourites; tagines, west Indian fiery roti cups, and gado gado. There’s free organic baby food and half-portions for children.


Birmingham’s Kitchen Garden cafe (kitchengardencafe. is home to an organic gardening shop and delicatessen, as well as serving some awesome home-cooked, ethically sourced food. Enjoy french toast and kedgeree for breakfast,

try their celeriac fritters or tofu fajitas with avocado for lunch. You might even be lucky enough to catch one of their pop-up evening restaurant nights. The venue also hosts folk and world music musicians, poetry nights and bring-your-ownvinyl DJ nights. Phew!


Over on the east coast of the country, Southwold Pier is no ordinary tourist attraction. Yes, there’s an amusement arcade filled with penny falls, toy grabbers and air hockey tables, but further out to sea, there’s an altogether more curious room. Tim Hunkin’s Under the Pier Show (underthepier. com), is a whimsical selection of automata, games and machines, which are satirical, funny, clever and inventive. Try Whack a Banker, where you get to discipline reckless moneymen, the Microbreak, where you undertake a manic coach ride, flight and then get a quick tan, all while sitting in a comfy chair, and the Bathyscape where you get to ‘travel’ under the sea. All very silly, and each machine will provoke a debate, and some critical thought.


Take a swinging cable car up to the the Peak District’s Heights of Abraham (heightsofabraham. com), which was originally opened as a Georgian garden, but is now home to two enormous show caverns, spectacularly lit, and full of history. After your trip underground, you might feel like some fresh air, and a climb up Victoria Prospect Tower will provide plenty of that, plus a spectacular view. Burn off any excess energy with a walk around the estate, or a go in the Woodland Adventure playground.


For a more immersive experience, Blists Hill Victorian Town ( our-attractions/blistshill-victorian-town/) in Ironbridge is a huge, open-air museum, where visitors walk around bakeries, phamacies, houses, change money at the bank into pounds, shillings and pence, ride roundabouts at a Victorian fairground, and explore industrial monuments such as blast furnaces and inclined planes. The traditional skills of candle makers, printers and plasterers are fascinating, as are the stories of the characters that populate the town – just stop someone and speak to them to find out more. It’s a real peep into history, where the sounds, smells and sensations of past eras assault the senses.



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