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Stranger Summer: accessible and alternative UK holidays

Summer’s here and after so much time spent cooped up inside sheltering from the rain we’re all gasping to get out and enjoy the summertime (once the heatwave has passed us by!) Everybody deserves a break, but with rising costs, it’s getting harder for us Brits to get abroad. Never mind - there are hundreds of amazing holiday locations on our doorsteps, up and down the country, hidden in the most unlikely of places.

Holidaying in the U.K. is a great way to save money and you needn’t take the week off of work to make the journey worthwhile. The U.K. has vacation spots that could rival our European neighbours - whether it be the glorious mountainsides across the Lake District or the white sandy beaches of Wales - and nothing quite beats the unique and bubbling nightlife of a surfing town in the peak of summer. But there are many more vacation spots off of the beaten track - and seeing as this summer is marked by a global obsession with Stranger Things, Brigad has compiled a list of the strangest and wackiest holiday destinations that the British Isles has to offer on a budget.

The Poison Garden  

You can’t get much stranger than a garden dedicated to plants that can kill you! Opened in 2005, this unique botanical garden had to ask the government’s permission to open. Enter and you’ll pass a sign telling you not to touch or even smell any of the flowers - one whiff of a narcotic plant and it’ll put you to sleep. A walk in this unique garden must be like walking on a tightrope. Now, that’s got to add a fun sense of danger to a day out!

The Poison Garden is located on the grounds of Alnwick castle. This castle was used in the Harry Potter films - so any Potterheads out there can combine the trips and get a sense of magic - just don’t try to make any potions in the Poison Garden!

Old Mother Shipton’s Cave

This cave is said to be England’s oldest tourist attraction. Oracle to some, Witch to others - Old Mother Shipton is England’s most famous fortune teller. She was said to have predicted the Spanish Armada, the Plague and the Great Fire of London. She was so well renowned that she had royal customers; King Henry VIII was a loyal customer, most probably seeking marriage advice. Despite her fame, she was banished to a cave in Knaresborough for having a child out of wedlock. Some say that she still dwells in the caves all these years later - her magic certainly lives on. The River Nidd, which runs along the cave, is said to turn objects into stone. Don’t believe it? The proof is in the pudding - visit and you’ll see dozens of everyday objects seemingly turned into stone.

Great for a family day out, visitors can head to the famous town of Harrogate, the next town over. There you can find dozens of fine eating and drinking establishments, a great way to round off your visit.  

The Upside Down House

Continuing our Stranger Things theme, you can get your own dose of the upside down by visiting the Upside Down House. In this topsy turvy home up is down and down is up - you walk on the ceiling and walk up the stairs to go down. Immensely Instagrammable, it won’t be hard to find a quirky photo opportunity. This spot is great for a short visit, at just £4 on entry, plus kids under ten get in for free. This is a great way to entertain the kids during the summer break. Once you’ve finished your tour of the Upside Down, head into town and get something to eat from the great local hospitality businesses.

The Upside Down House first opened in Bournemouth, but due to its popularity there are now houses in Brighton, Lakeside, Milton Keynes, Westfield, Great Yarmouth, Clacton on Sea and Skegness.  

The Singing Ringing Tree

Fancy a little live music? Well - some people might call this music, others might call it an eerie drone. The Singing Ringing Tree is a ‘wind-powered sound sculpture’ built on the picturesque Pennine hillside in Lancashire, overlooking Burnley. The ‘tree’, designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, is built out of steel pipes. The wind coming along the hillside ‘plays’ the sculpture by blowing through the hollow pipes, creating some otherworldly sounds. This truly is a unique experience, and it will be the highlight of any trip out into rural Lancashire. Why not plan a hike around the local towns, hear the Singing Ringing Tree, and then circle back to a pub for a cold drink and some food? That sounds like a perfect day out, suitable for people of all ages.    

The Cuckooland Museum

From a metal tree to a wooden bird - another unique experience is visiting the Cuckooland Museum in Cheshire. Filled to the brim with ornate, hand-crafted Cuckoo clocks, this museum is ‘regarded as the most extensive and important of any collection in Britain, Europe and the World.’ Created and curated by two brothers who have been restoring Cuckoo clocks since they were just 15 years old, this museum promises to teach you everything you thought you’d never need to know about Cuckoo clocks! As a bonus, if clocks aren’t for you, the brothers have a rare and vintage motorbike collection next door! Cuckoo clocks and motorbikes - you can’t get much a stranger combo than that.

Save money and time by booking local

These are just a few of the amazing things the U.K. has to offer for great and wacky days out. We don’t have to go abroad to have a unique experience, you can save money and see some wonderful things to do in the U.K. - it only takes a little research to find some truly great things on our very own doorsteps. Round the trips off by stopping in to support some local, independent restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels. Who knows - you might find a hidden gem!

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