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Girl About Travel: Tips for culture vultures

Girl About Travel’s Blog Squad of local experts have compiled this collection of weekend break itineraries to inspire you to explore three of the UK’s greatest cities. Aimed at culture vultures – anyone who loves to soak up the history, arts, music, galleries, museums and lifestyle scenes of where they’re visiting – these weekend itineraries are packed with great ideas.

This is a feature from Issue 13 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.



Brighton is a place where anything goes. As one of the most cultural cities in Europe, it’s an eclectic and vibrant place with an enviable location on the south coast of England in East Sussex, yet only 60 minutes from London. The city positively encourages people to be themselves and unleash their creativity, and it’s full of street art, galleries, historic homes, theatres and concert venues, as well as vintage shopping, fantastic nightlife, mouth-watering cuisine and Bohemia in abundance.

Art from above

Start your weekend in Brighton with a bird’s eye view of the city from the British Airways i360 on the seafront. Not only can you spot France on a clear day, I love to look at all the art murals on top of the buildings. When you’re back on solid ground, be sure to visit the Prince Albert pub with its mural dedicated to music legends and Banksy’s Kissing Coppers.

Cultural quarter

Meander through the Lanes, where you’ll find lots of independent boutiques, before heading to the Royal Pavilion & Garden, home to Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Exhibitions are dedicated to Brighton’s art scene and fascinating history, and its innovative galleries include Images of Brighton, Queer on the Pier and Ancient Egypt.

Taste the sea

A visit to Brighton isn’t complete without eating some seafood, and The Salt Room is regularly recognised as Brighton’s best seafood restaurant, specialising in cooking over coal. Tuck into one of its generous sharing platters and enjoy the views of the seafront, the i360 and Brighton’s historic West Pier.



For a seriously cool weekend, look no further than Manchester. In the words of one of its most famous residents Ian Brown, “Manchester’s got everything except a beach!” Manchester is hard to beat – it’s steeped in history, bursting with art, scores plenty of goals and is always dancing to its own beat. Plus it’s famous for being really friendly and diverse, was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and champions a fiercely independent spirit.

Meet the people

Start your weekend in Manchester with a visit to the People’s History Museum in Spinningfields. Located in a former hydraulic pumping station, the Grade II listed building is home to the stories of the lives of working people in Great Britain, including such important movements as women’s suffrage and the cooperatives.

Or, head to Manchester City’s or Manchester United’s football stadium for a behind-the-scenes tour (usually taking place on Fridays).

The art scene

Manchester has many fantastic art galleries, but my favourite is the Whitworth, on Oxford Road. Named Best Emerging Cultural Destination in Europe in 2015, it houses over 55,000 words of art, including some beautiful textiles and a rare wallpaper collection, as well as regularly changing temporary exhibitions.

Into the night

You’re completely spoilt for choice when it comes to nightlife in Manchester, but a great place to start is HOME on First Street, a buzzing hub of contemporary arts, theatre, live music, film and bars and restaurants.

If you want to discover the next big thing on Manchester’s indie music scene, check out the listings for multi-award-winning Band on the Wall. It’s where such greats as Joy Division and Buzzcocks started out.


County Durham

Why limit yourself to just a city when there’s a whole county of culture to explore in Durham? Bursting with history, the majestic Durham Cathedral and its neighbouring Durham Castle set the bar high with their UNESCO World Heritage status, and the city made the shortlist for the European City of Culture 2025. Further afield, Bishop Auckland and Barnard Castle have plenty to offer, and as well as being rich in culture, County Durham is rich in local flavours too.

A taste of France

An unexpected find in the old market town of Barnard Castle is the Bowes Museum, a grand French-style chateau full of glorious art, fashion and historical offerings and set among the formal Parterre gardens. Opened in 1892, the National Trust calls it one of the most important museums outside London.

The heart of heritage

Next, head to Bishop Auckland, where you’ll find the Auckland Project, a collection of seven heritage attractions, galleries, gardens and parkland. Get a sense of the space by starting your visit with a climb to the top of the 29-metre-high Auckland Tower, with views of the whole estate from the top.

Countryside flavours

No visit to County Durham is complete without enjoying a meal or two of local produce. Opt for the most contemporary of settings snuggled into one of the private outdoor dining pods at the eclectic South Causey Inn or step back in time to authentic Durham flavours from the 1950s at John’s Cafe at the Beamish open-air museum. And make sure to pop in for coffee and cake at the Undercroft Cafe in Durham Cathedral – where much of the first two Harry Potter films were shot.

To read the full 48-hour itineraries for Brighton, Manchester and Durham, head to the Girl About Travel website.

The Holiday Insider's Club

This feature comes to you via the The Holiday Insider’s Club. Free to join, this all-female members’ club and travel concierge service empowers women to dream, plan and book amazing holidays that can’t be googled. Run by travel industry experts, The Holiday Insider’s Club is a network of women sharing reviews and recommendations and offers unbiased advice, travel guides, itineraries, offers and discounts. Charitable Travel is the official partner of The Holiday Insider’s Club, meaning members can seamlessly book incredible holidays via the club – and of course give money to their favourite charity.

This is a feature from Issue 13 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.