Archive for category Durham

2013 round up

Happy New Year from all of us at Holiday Cottages! Before we start on the news and reviews for 2014, here’s a some highlights of what we covered on the blog in 2013:

We started the year with a report that we Brits are creatures of habit with our holiday choices, often returning to a previous destination and holiday cottage when we’ve had one good holiday there before. Last year was the Year of Natural Scotland, and was launched with an advert featuring Shetland ponies wearing onesies!

In February we found that 50% of Londoners prefer holidays in the sunshine, with many also stating that their holidays in the UK were some of the happiest they have had. We also gave you a run down of some of our most splendid cottages with pools, which are all still available now and could be great for a summer holiday vibe in winter!

Flybe announced flights from Manchester to Scotland in March, making for a quick and relatively cost effective way of taking a short break in Scotland. The Easter holidays were blighted by bad weather sweeping across the country. It didn’t affect Cheshire, though, as I shared my photography adventure in Tatton Park over the Easter weekend.

Our friends at Helpful Holidays swept the board at the Which? Travel magazine member survey in April. Meanwhile, in May, Blackpool was named the most popular British seaside resort at the TripAdvisor Choice Awards.

In June, research by VisitBritain found that more overseas visitors to the UK prefer visiting open green spaces such as parks and gardens than they do museums and galleries.

July started with the news that a change in the law in 2015, which means schools will decide their own term dates, will very likely drive up the prices of holidays year round. There was a rise in visits to UK attractions, helping to bolster domestic tourism.

We gave our top tips for festivals and activities over the August Bank Holiday; we also reported on the large number of UK piers under threat of coming under a state of disrepair if funding isn’t found.

September was a time for activities such as the Devon Open Studios, Frome Cheese and Agricultural Show, and pickling at Powderham.

In October, inbound tourism was on the up, and also Yorkshire was voted one of the top 10 places to visit in the world!

In November we recommended the North Devon Clovelly Herring Festival and reviewed the light fantastic Lumiere Festival, Durham. There was good news for Hull, as it was named the next UK City of Culture 2017.

Finally, in December, we found that we Brits are flavour of the month with Americans, as tourists from across the Pond have been increasing in number year on year. Christmas was also a great time for UK tourism as the number of overnight stays and short trips increased substantially over the festive period.

So, that’s it for 2013! Keep up to date with news and reviews in 2014 by following the blog, or you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter


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Lumiere Durham 2013

Keyframes by Groupe Laps

Keyframes by Groupe Laps. Photo by E. Artesero

Yesterday we drove from Manchester to Durham to see the light spectacular that is Durham Lumiere festival, probably one of the most prominent light festivals currently in the UK.

Its popularity showed, as thousands upon thousands of people were walking around Durham’s streets in search of the series of light-based art installations spread across the city.

We did not have reserved tickets for the central portion of the trail, so had to explore the outer pieces first. This worked out well as there seemed to be many queues for the central part, and had we started there first we might not have had time to go around the outer pieces.

Platonic Spin by Nathaniel Rackowe. Photo by E.Artesero

Platonic Spin by Nathaniel Rackowe. Photo by E.Artesero

Favourite pieces on the outer part were ‘Keyframes’ by Groupe Laps, a large collection of illuminated stickmen climbing the former Durham Miners’ Hall. Platonic Spin by Nathaniel Rackowe was a lovely patterned light sculpture going through sequences which drew out the space into lines and rectangles floating in the gardens.

[M]ondes by Atsara. Photo by E.Artesero

[M]ondes by Atsara. Photo by E.Artesero

The long wait to get in to the central part of the festival was worth it however, particularly for the illusory ‘[M]ondes’ by Atsara at the Cathedral Nave and The College. Lights like fireflies flitted across the gardens in a beautiful dance and hypnotic concentric circles and other projections formed the space into something quiet but magical.

Well worth a visit, but be prepared for crowds as the festival will only grow in popularity!

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Lumiere Durham 14th-17th November

Deadgood Studio 'Rainbow'

Deadgood Studio ‘Rainbow’ Lumiere 2011

Starting tonight and running each evening until Sunday is the incredible Lumiere Festival in Durham. One of the UK’s largest and most spectacular light festivals of the year, Lumiere promises to be every bit as exciting as previous years, and what’s more, it’s free to attend!

There will be some of the most innovative uses of lighting technology, from the most complex 3D projections in the form of a huge Elephant walking through the urban environment; and Crown of Light, video-mapping at its best on the cathedral; to simple technologies such as Litre of Light, which uses old plastic bottles and refracted sunlight to create a solar bulb bright enough to light up a home.

There will also be all manner of neon delights, stained glass cars, ghostly lit up dresses and musical tents. Perhaps one of the most impressive installations of the festival will be Solar Equation, an impressive simulation of the sun hung over the Durham University Science Site which will feature projections generated by live mathematical equations that simulate the turbulence, flares and sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the sun.

This year there are free tickets to the central part of the festival up until 7.30pm. This is to ensure that it does not get too crowded in the most popular areas at the busiest visiting time. Unfortunately all tickets have been reserved, however there are plenty of artworks outside of the central zone to visit before being allowed in without a ticket after 7.30pm.

I went along in 2011 and had a brilliant time. I wrote up my experience and pictures on my personal blog, which you can view here. I intend to go again this year and will report back for those of you unable to make it! However, if you are able to get to Durham this weekend, I certainly recommend you go.

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Durham Lumiere

Cedric Le Borgne 'Les Voyageurs'

Deadgood Studio 'Rainbow'

Jaques Rival 'I Love Durham'

This weekend I went to the Lumiere festival in Durham. It was a wonderful event which showed off this beautiful city to its best advantage. Light art illuminated prominent parts of this historic place, such as Kingsgate bridge transformed into a huge illuminated waterfall entitled ‘Splash’ by artist Peter Lewis and engineered by Water Sculptures. Martin Warren lit up three more of Durham’s bridges, Cedric Le Borgne suspended brightly illuminated sculptures of men above a particularly narrow cobbled street giving a magical essence to the walk. These, along with many more made for a really enjoyable experience and would also encourage me to visit again, even without the festival.

A small drive away in Northallerton are these 4 cottages which sleep 2-4. These former farm buildings have been imaginatively converted into 4 well equipped and attractive holiday cottages. Original beams have been retained and there is central heating for year round appeal. All the cottages have TV with Freeview, video and radio cassette/CD player, fully equipped kitchens with washer/dryer, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and microwave, cots and highchairs. The cottages are set in peaceful countryside and have magnificent views. They are perfect if you want to combine a visit to Durham, with great walks and even a drive over to the seaside with Whitby within easy reach.

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