Summer in the Cities
After a rainy start - summer is here (hooray!), so let's get into the summer spirit and check out what is happening across our Hostel cities! Now is a great time to book a lovely summer break right here in the UK and Safestay is your perfect partner to do so.
The festival season is nearly upon us in the capital city of bonnie Scotland. This is made even more exciting by the fact that Safestay Edinburgh's very own Bar 50 is home to The Alcove, an official free festival venue again this year. Make sure you head down and soak up the atmosphere.
There's lots to do in London Town over the summer months, from festivals, sporting events, opera in the park or even just a quick drink by the river - check out our top picks below! If you're travelling around the UK this summer - our top recommendation is to get on board a newly refurbished Virgin East Coast Train and sit back, relax and travel in style.
Some great news from Safestay York - we have been awarded Trip Advisor's 2016 Certificate of Excellence, achieved through the hard work of all our team, which is reflected in the fantastic reviews that we receive from our guests. So a BIG thank you from everyone at Safestay.
Finally, as a little thank you from us for being fabulous guests, here is 10% off your next stay. Please enter this discount code, SUMMER10 (valid on bookings until 01/09/2016) when making your booking directly
Have a great summer everyone!
With our very best wishes, Phil Houghton Chief Executive Officer
Best Places to Visit in Yorkshire
Yorkshire used to suffer to some extent from its perceived image of unintelligible flat-capped yokels and gloomy industrial landscapes, as portrayed in numerous books of years gone by. But the truth is somewhat different. The grimy factories are long gone and Yorkshire is probably one of the most beautiful areas in the whole of England in terms of scenery and wide open spaces. If you enjoy days spent hiking, or simply walking, across picturesque countryside while soaking up the peace and quiet then Yorkshire is the place for you.
For many centuries the town of York was England’s second city in terms of manufacture and trade before the Industrial Revolution brought about its demise. Today the town still retains its “Olde Worlde” charm thanks to the careful restoration and preservation of Georgian, Victorian and even medieval buildings and cobble-stoned streets. For any visitor to Yorkshire, a stay in York should be at the top of the list but there are other towns in the region that are also picture-postcard beautiful such as Ripon, Richmond and Beverley. And if you are a fan of horse racing then Ripon, Beverley and York all hold meetings on a regular basis.
The Yorkshire towns of Sheffield, Leeds and Bradford suffered badly from unemployment and urban decay after the Industrial Revolution when their standing as the biggest producers of steel and textiles was usurped. However, in recent decades both Sheffield and Leeds have been transformed thanks to new investment and both cities are pleasant to visit and well worth seeing, while Bradford is also undergoing a similar makeover.
A trip along the coast has to be included in any visit to the Yorkshire area. Favourite resorts of the 19th century such as Scarborough and Bridlington retain much of the charm of a forgotten age and smaller towns such as Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay are among the most beautiful and charming.
The Dales are what Yorkshire is most famous for and a visit is like stepping back in time. Situated in the northwest corner of Yorkshire, the Dales and its towns and villages have not changed much in centuries. Stone-built cottages, houses and walls are scattered throughout the area and each town is as picturesque as the last and the next. Peaceful valleys and rambling limestone hills are perfect for afternoon strolls or a good hiking holiday if that is your fancy.
North York Moors
Yorkshire’s second national park, the North York Moors, is somewhat more desolate and bleak than the dales but still worth seeing. Strong hiking boots are advised, however, as the moors are boggy and tricky to negotiate while the coastal area from Robin Hood’s Bay to Staithes is rugged terrain.
The Outdoor Life
If hiking, walking and plenty of fresh air and exercise is your idea of a perfect holiday then Yorkshire is definitely the place for you. Weeks could be happily spent in the region and there would still be plenty left to see and do. Yorkshire offers the best of all possible choices whether you want to stay in a York or want to mix country walks with days at the beach. No matter how many times you visit beautiful Yorkshire you will still return because you will quickly realise it is one of the nicest and friendliest holiday regions in the United Kingdom.
York: An ideal location for a post-Christmas break
After the busy Christmas period you may be looking for a short, relaxing break, giving you the opportunity to recuperate and reflect on all the things you have done in the past year.
With its charming streets, quaint restaurants and beautiful buildings and parks, York creates the perfect atmosphere for you to escape and recharge the batteries.
York is a city that truly caters for all budgets, allowing you to make the most of your visit. With a wide range of restaurants and eateries to choose from, you’re sure to find something that tickles your taste buds.
Start the year off with a boost of exercise. Grab a bit of fresh air and take a stroll in the many parks to choose from, or even walk the city wall. You can complete the 3.4 kilometer walk in around 2 hours and it provides fantastic views of York and its landmarks, such as York Minster.
York is also home to some beautiful and peaceful spas. Book a day of pampering and relaxation, before heading out for an unwinding evening on one of the many river boat tours.
SafeStay York is situated in Micklegate House; a great central location with excellent transport links. If you missed it in December, the Winter Wonderland remains open for the first two weeks of January, and is only a 15-minute drive from SafeStay.
Christmas fun for all the Family at Yorks' Winter Wonderland
The narrow, cobbled streets and magnificent overhanging buildings in the medieval city of York come to life during winter, creating a perfectly magical place for a Christmas break.
From the 21st November until the 24th December there will be a glistening winter wonderland, complete with a range of festive food stalls, fun fair rides, games and activities for all ages to explore.
If you are visiting with children during this festive season, a visit to Santa in his grotto should be at the top of your list. Set in the beautiful surrounds of his twinkling log cabin, children get the chance to sit with Santa and open a special Christmas present.
Wrap up warm and get your skates on, as Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland doesn't stop there. This fantastic wonderland is also home to The Ice Factor skating rink. The ice rink will be open from 21st November 2015 until the 3rd January 2016, from 9:30 am through till 9:15pm. All ages and abilities are catered for, with skating aids Bobo the Penguin and Wilson the Snowman on hand if you need them.
York and the Yorkshire Winter Wonderland provide a truly magical setting for a family day out or a romantic break away.
SafeStay York is situated in Micklegate House, the perfect location for you to gain access to all the Christmas festivities in the city, and it's only a 15-minute drive to the Winter Wonderland.
Alexandra Palace spectacular bonfire and firework festival
It is the time of year when the autumnal London's skies are set alight with impressive firework displays. This year is set to be bigger and brighter than ever at London's Alexandra Palace - a popular event which is back again for 2015. This spectacular show taking place on Saturday 7th November will illuminate the sky and create an enjoyable family afternoon and evening, set against the iconic panoramic backdrop of London.
There really is something for everyone and to get the full experience you should arrive early and stay late to enjoy all there is to offer. The event comprises two exciting funfairs, ice skating, a German beer festival which will be accompanied by live bands and DJs, Mutoid Waste Street procession parade (a new addition to this year's festival), food & drink, laser shows and lots more. Also new for 2015 and to keep you warm on a cold November evening, is the lighting of the great bonfire. The bonfire is situated in the family friendly Lower Fields area, which will provide a perfect spot from which to watch the firework display.
Wrap up warm and join tens of thousands of people at this unforgettable bonfire night experience. The event is open from 3pm and the firework display will commence at 8pm. Ticket prices are £9 for an adult and £6.50 for children, under 10s go free! If you would like to attend the German beer festival, this is an additional £14 for adults. This year, remember remember the 7th November! Tickets sell out quickly so be sure to purchase yours to avoid disappointment.
Halloween in London
There are many great events happening in London this autumn, and Halloween celebrations are no exception! You are never too old for trick or treating, and as Halloween is getting bigger and better every year, there is no better time to visit London's best fancy dress shops. There is plenty to do in London for Halloween, whether you are wanting a day out with the children or making a night out with friends at one of London's top Halloween parties.
Put on your scariest costume and spend the day with the kids at Eltham Palace, where there will be terrifying storytelling, craft activities and traditional pumpkin carving. London Zoo is also participating in Halloween this year - Boo at the Zoo. This is great fun for all the family and an exciting way to learn and explore all the creepy crawlies, especially the spiders!
There are many locations to watch a scary movie screening or take a trip to the theatre to see the likes of ‘Day of the Living', but if you are looking for something more active to do then why not take your chances at the London Dungeons - the home of Halloween. New for 2015, Seance - set in 1873 at a gathering hosted by the most celebrated medium of the day in the most notoriously haunted house of the time - will be reenacted at the Dungeons to portray real life events. Halloween has fallen on a weekend this year (Saturday 31st October), all the more reason to celebrate the festivities in spooky style. Dress us, perfect your face painting skills, get your pumpkins at the ready and most of all, have fun!
EPG London Jazz Festival
One of the greatest jazz festivals on the planet is coming up - an event not to be missed!
Taking place in over 50 venues in London, with more than 2,000 artists taking part, the festival continues to deliver varying styles of jazz to a massive audience. The annual EPG London Jazz Festival takes place over ten days between Friday 13th to Sunday 22nd November. The festival comprises concerts, commissions, club events, talks and a learning and participation programme.
The ever growing jazz celebration has been going for 23 years, initially launched in 1992 by live international music producers, Serious. The festival has grown from the long-standing Camden Jazz Week, which was created in 1970 by the London Borough of Camden.
With a reputation for showcasing a mix of talent and world-class artists from around the globe, London Jazz Festival continues to bring cultural diversity and celebrations to the city during the autumn month. It has grown to be not only London's largest city-wide music festival, but one of the major international jazz events and is renowned for being one of the UK's landmark musical celebrations. Long acclaimed for the delivery of a mixture of artists and emerging stars, this exciting jazz event energises viewers both old and new, continuing to showcase jazz to a broad audience.
Ticket prices are variable depending on artist and venue, so be sure to have a look now to avoid disappointment. Many shows sell out in advance so make sure you don't miss your chance to be a part of the capital's biggest pan-city music festival.
Ebor racing festival
Come mid-August will see the famous and biggest yearly four day Ebor racing festival held at York Racecourse. The Ebor Festival is regarded as York Racecourse's flagship event and features the Juddmonte International, the Yorkshire Oaks, Nunthorpe Stakes and the Ebor Handicap.
Attracting race-goers from all over the UK and overseas, many attend the award winning grandstands and enjoy the superb course during one of the last major race meetings in the racing season.
Enjoy, relax and hopefully take in the sunshine watching the exciting, oldest, fastest and most famous of racing events. The Juddmonte International is the highlight of the opening day; it is ranked as the best race in the world by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. Ladies Day commences on the Thursday and this is the day where you will see plenty of hats, beautiful dresses and smart suits. The Nunthorpe Stakes is the fastest race of the season taking place on the Friday and finally to finish the week, the Betfred Ebor generates excitement as the most famous race in York, which takes place on the Saturday.
If you are looking for a lovely day out with friends and family then this is a great way to do it in style. With prices ranging from just £10 per day up to £182 for the duration of the event, the Ebor Festival should be marked in the diary.
York Book Fair
Mid-September will see the book fanatics attending the York Book Fair. The York Book Fair held at the Knavesmire Suite, York Racecourse has grown significantly over the years and is now the largest antiquarian and out of print book fair in the UK and Europe. Here you will find books over 500 years old, recently published works that can be reviewed and a whole lot more.
Tony Fothergill, who has managed the event for over 10 years explains: “We started in 1974 with about 20 dealers and it has gradually outgrown every venue we could find in York”.
The fair is open to anyone and of all ages with over 100,000 books for sale. It is the perfect place to start collecting. This year, the fair features over 200 dealers and has the largest ever number of exhibitors from all over the world, including America, Canada, France, Germany, Israel and Hong Kong to name but a few. There will be items for serious collectors as well as first time buyers, with prices ranging from a couple of pounds to tens of thousands of pounds.
You will have no problem reaching the venue, there is unlimited free parking, but if you'd prefer public transport then there is a free shuttle bus from the Railway Station to the fair every 20 minutes.
The Rugby World Cup
The Rugby world cup is a sought after event, attracting crowds from around the world. The nationwide tournament is being held this year, from the 18th September to the 31st October.
The Rugby World Cup was first held in 1987 and, just like the FIFA World Cup, is held every 4 years. It consists of 20 teams, playing in 48 matches, and this year is held in 13 packed venues up and down the United Kingdom. London is home to 3 of the games' stadia, including the world famous Twickenham stadium, Olympic Stadium and Wembley Stadium.
Twickenham Stadium is located in the Borough of Richmond in South West London. It is the largest stadium in the world that is devoted to the sport of rugby union, and therefore the ideal location for the Rugby World Cup final match on 31st October.
The last time the UK had the honour to host this fantastic event was back in 1991. So, if you are travelling or if you are near London, this is truly an event not to be missed.
England were honoured to lift the trophy back in 2003 with Australia hosting. Now much closer to home, can they do it again on British soil?!
Notting Hill Carnival
Take to the streets on August Bank Holiday weekend and be part of one of London's biggest and best annual events in West London. Accessorise with flags, whistles and crazy hats to celebrate Europe's biggest street festival – the Notting Hill Carnival.
Bringing diversity to London, the Notting Hill Carnival remains true to its Caribbean roots. Attracting hundreds of thousands to London, the Carnival continues to grow in popularity and more than one million people attend over the Carnival weekend. With steel bands, Calypso music and a range of tempting food stalls serving the ‘dish of the day' (jerk chicken and rice), it really is a great day out for all the family.
Along with the delicious aroma of smoking barbeques, also expect to see an array of colour as amazing floats and costumed performers parade through the streets. With the main parade on Bank Holiday Monday, the floats leave the streets in procession and many continue the festivities at the Notting Hill Carnival after-parties. The carnival is easily accessible by London public transport and is advised as the best way to travel. Allowing extra time for your journey is essential as a number of local tube stations are closed - so make sure to plan before you go.
Dance away to the blasting sound systems and enjoy the weekend joining in with the festivities, celebrating the long weekend Caribbean style.
Wimbledon, Strawberries & Cream
The end of June signifies the start of the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament; a highlight in the British sporting calendar and an ideal opportunity to eat fresh strawberries and cream!
Wimbledon is one of the world's most prestigious and longest running tennis tournaments, with strong ties to the Royal family and enormous popularity amongst the rich and famous. The first game was held back in 1877 with certain traditions remaining in today's game including players wearing white and serving on a grass court.
Easily accessible by public transportation, Wimbledon Tennis Tournament attracts crowds of around 500,000 spectators each year. It completes the annual Grand Slam, which comprises four tennis tournaments held in locations around the world.
Due to its popularity and fast ticket sales, Wimbledon has become renowned for its festival-like queuing, with people camping overnight to have the opportunity to buy tickets on the day.
Whether you have a seat on centre court, standing in the Wimbledon queue, or watching from the comfort of your home, this is a sporting event that shouldn't be missed!
Sherlock Holmes Exhibition until April 2015
Sherlock Holmes is renowned as one of the most famous fictional detectives in the UK and the world, with numerous films and television series to his name.
Fans flock to Baker Street in London, where the famous front door to Sherlock's home is situated, and it remains a tourist hotspot. For over 60 years there hasn't been an exhibit for such an iconic fictional character, until now. The Museum of London has created a fantastic exhibit that will run from now until April 2015, so if you're visiting London it is definitely one to check out.
The exhibit gives you the opportunity to delve into the mind of creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; finding out where the inspiration for the character came from. The exhibition is full of fascinating features, including original editions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels and authentic Victorian artifacts. You will also learn of London's Victorian history, whilst getting the opportunity to walk the streets of London as a Victorian.
This exhibition is a great day out, and genuinely one for all the family, not to mention fans of Sherlock Holmes and those simply wanting to learn more about Victorian London. Make the journey down to The Museum of London and catch the event before it closes. You never know, you might have to wait another 60 years for the next one!
The Museum of London is open 7 days a week from 10am till 6pm.