Britain on a Budget by Ben Cooper
Bath Hotels - Oxford
More than a thousand years
of inspiration and creativity have sculpted Britain's skyline, its society
and, indeed, its very soul. Below are some destinations that are sure to
interest the history enthusiast.
Bath's importance has varied enormously since the pre-Roman era, its beauty
and allure have remained undisputed. Today, its reputation as a historical
gem remains firmly in tact, and, with the recent restoration of its Roman
Baths, it has reinstated its luxury spa town status.
|A subtle blend of Roman
and Victorian architecture, the Roman Baths are the architectural and historical
focal point of Bath. And, whilst the tickets a bit pricey, the experience
is absolutely priceless.
city's other attractions, such as the Costume Museum, the Jane Austen Centre,
and Number 1 Royal Crescent are also worth the extra pennies. Some of Britain's
finest antiques, along with everything from high end to high street fashion
can be found in Bath (most notably inside the famous Pulteney Bridge).
Luckily, you don't need to
throw your budget plans out of the window to take advantage of Bath's gorgeous
Georgian architecture. Every day, free 2-hour walking-tours leave from
the main entrance of the Pump Room. (Sunday-Friday 10:30 & 14:00 and
Additionally, there's free
entry to the marvelous medieval Bath Abbey and its artifact-filled Heritage
Vault Museum. What's more, as an official "Area of Outstanding Beauty"
Bath's countryside is priceless.
For hundreds of years, Oxford
has been - and will continue to be - known as a renowned intellectual capital
and one of the top destinations for history-hungry travelers. The city's
main draw is, of course, its thirty-nine separate colleges radiating outwards
from the city center.
Famous for the students it
produces and the surroundings that inspired them, Christchurch College's
chapel and quad are must-sees. If time permits, other Oxford colleges such
as Trinity, Balliol, Magdalen, and New College also warrant a visit.
Among the many fine museums
in Oxford, the astounding Ashmolean Museum is Britain's oldest. Along with
the Pitt Rivers Museum, its collections of antiquities are well suited
to their historical surroundings.
Oxford is simply heaven for
the literature lover. However, you don't need to be a scholar to appreciate
the grandeur of the Bodleian Library's Divinity School and Exhibition Room
or the grandiose facade of Blackwell's Books.
The city runs excellent official
walking tours daily. But, if you choose to tour the town in your own time,
be sure to climb Carfax Tower, stop by the Sheldonian Theater, and bathe
in the beauty of the Botanic Gardens.
Two thousand years of history
emanate from York's narrow streets. It's entirely possible to lose yourself
in this enchanting city without moving an inch. Window-shopping in the
Shambles or strolling down Snickelways, you can take in York without taking
out your wallet.
The Castle Museum and, of
course, York Minster are worth every penny of their entrance fee as York's
history is brought to life in the most exceptional ways. And if you're
mesmerized by the medieval architecture of All Saint's or Holy Trinity
Church you can make a donation.
Great British destinations
for a culturally-involved backpacker are by no means limited to south of
the border. And budget travelers will feel particularly at home in Scotland's
capital: In addition to a number of outstanding Edinburgh hostels, there's
a wide variety of excellent cheap accommodation options.
Edinburgh blends medieval
with modern as one of Europe's most stimulating cities. Walking through
the Old Town and down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood
Palace is a history lesson in itself. These royal residences attract travelers
from around the world for their historical significance, collections, and
stunning surrounding landscape.
Edinburgh is graced with
an abundance of fantastic (and free!) artistic and historical museums,
such as the Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, and the
Museum of Edinburgh. Most impressive is the fabulous network of four National
Galleries (National, Portrait, Modern, and Dean Gallery) and the free shuttle
service between them!
No matter where you travel
in Britain, its rich cultural past will be intertwined with its vibrant
present. Whether it's a heavy dose of history you're after or you simply
appreciate an attractive view, these cities will, by turns, amaze and inspire
Bath Hotels - Oxford