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Blog Archive for November, 2013

December: A month in music

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Winter is well and truly here, and although that means many of us will confine ourselves to warmth, to others it means the arena concert scene is well in full swing. If you’re planning a musical themed weekend away, take a look at the music events coming up around three of the UK’s major northern cities. From mass popularity bands to something a little more refined, we’ve got your evenings sorted.

 

Leeds

If you’re looking for music in Leeds, look no further than the array of talent on show at the First Direct Arena this month. To kick off, on the very first day of the month, Xmas Party Live showcases a grand evening of pop music with  the likes of Example, The Saturdays, Eliza Doolittle, Conor Maynard, McFly and Rudimental all being pegged for the line up. If modern pop doesn’t take your fancy, Irish quartet Boyzone head to Leeds on the 9th, and you can grab your tickets for £35 if you want an evening of 90′s pop.

US smash hit show, New Jersey Nights comes to Leeds as part of the UK leg of their world tour, which is a spectacular celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and takes the audience on a nostalgic musical journey through the career of one of the biggest selling groups of all times. Head to the First Direct Arena on the 4th of the month if the glitz and glamour of the States is more to your liking this December.

Newcastle

If a bit of old fashioned rock music is more to your liking, then this month’s highlight at the Metro Radio Arena is Status Quo & 10cc, who combine to put on a show on the 19th on December. Joining the Quo this month, Scottish pop rockers Wet Wet Wet head to the Toon on the 17th, along with special guests for the night, Blue.

Arguably the biggest name hitting the arena this month, JLS will say goodbye to Newcastle in style with their performance as part of the group’s farewell tour. If you’re a fan of the XFactor originated group, be sure to snap up a ticket soon for as little as £25.

Manchester

At Manchester’s Phones4U Arena this month, an array of musical performances are on offer, with something to suit every taste. If you aren’t a fan of the modern radio-played pop hits, and prefer your heavy metal to any other genre, then Bullet for my Valentine’s performance on the 1st December may take your fancy. Similarly, if you’re a fan of old school heavy rock, December 18th sees the legendary original line-up of Black Sabbath perform a string of classic hits along with new tracks from recently released album, 13. Other pop performances are on show throughout the rest of December, with Will.i.am hitting the stage on the 3rd, DJ’s Tiesto & Calvin Harris light up the stage on the 21st and the Key 103 Jingle Ball takes centre stage on the 12th, as big name artists such as Robbie Williams, Pixie Lott, and Jason Derulo contribute to the ensemble cast concert.

If you’re planning a night of music this month, make sure you check out our website for a luxurious end to your evening.

Image used under creative commons courtesy of Christian Holmér.

One night in Newcastle

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Dinner

Fat Buddha

With an incredible menu and possessing a clear sense of modern style, Fat Buddha is one of Newcastle’s most popular restaurants. Occupying two floors under the Metro FM studios, Fat Buddha offers a dominant and eye catching presence as you approach down either Mosley or Pilgrim Street. Upon entering, you are greeted with a modern bar and two floors of restaurant seating. The Oriental restaurant doesn’t follow the rules of a typical eatery, offering foods from across Asia, rather than focusing on one cuisine. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and Malaysian and even dishes from Hong Kong feature prominently in the menu, so don’t be scared to expand your horizons and try something new. A brilliant dining experience, make sure you check out this little taste of the Orient, but keep your eye out for the extra hot chilli dishes!


Marco Polo

Independent, locally owned Italian restaurant Marco Polo provides a truly enjoyable dining experience if you’re spending the night in Newcastle.  Endeavouring to use only the highest quality ingredients imported from Italy, Marco Polo combines these with locally sourced meat and fish. Situated in the busy hub that is Dean Street, make sure you book well in advance, as the restaurant’s location makes it a prime option for city centre drop in bookings. With a diverse Italian menu, food options range from standard pasta dishes to creamy risotto, pizza and meat based dishes.

 

Drinks

BrewDog

Another Dean Street location, BrewDog is a bar with a difference. Operating on the mission of educating the British population with regards to craft brews rather than mainstream mass produced global beers, BrewDog offers a range of ales and IPA’s that have the population of Newcastle flocking in for a taste. It might not be ideal if you love the dance scene, but this bar is a perfect location to relax with friends and enjoy the best of British punk over from the past four decades.


Pleased To Meet You

Occupying one of Newcastle’s most historic buildings, with a Grade II listing, Pleased to Meet You offers ambiance in abundance to go alongside an impressive selection of the world’s finest gins, and some of Newcastle’s most flavoursome draft beers. Not your standard drinking haunt, Pleased to Meet You is a must visit for the gin lovers amongst us, offering over 50 contemporary options for your palate. Head to High Bridge Street if a tipple on the gin takes your fancy.


Entertainment

Livello

Strictly speaking, Livello could slot into the drinks section of this guide, rather than entertainment; however since a £1 million revamp in 2012, Livello has been a destination that provides a truly entertaining experience rather than simply your standard weekend drink. Upmarket, trendy and stylish, this cocktail bar and club boasts a list of expertly crafted, exclusive cocktails, whilst also providing guests with more classic options and an impressive vintage wine list. Open until 3am on weekends Livello provides an eclectic backdrop of music created by resident DJs. Don’t be surprised to see a Ferrari or two parked up outside the entrance, this is the go to nightlife spot when searching for entertainment in Newcastle.


Metro Arena

If you fancy taking a different approach to your evening in Newcastle, and love a high profile concert, then check out listings plenty in advance for Newcastle’s Metro Arena. Hosting arena tours from the world’s biggest acts, performers over the arena’s 16 year existence have included the likes of Tom Jones, Elton John, Coldplay, Oasis, AC/DC and Kiss. Check listings for the latest concerts to see if anything takes your fancy in the world of live music this month.

If you’re planning a night in Newcastle, make sure you check out our website for a more luxurious end to your evening.

Image used under creative commons courtesy of Peter PZ.

One Night in Manchester

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Dinner

Sapporo Teppanyaki

If you’re looking to be pushed out of your comfort zone, this Japanese offers a unique dining experience if you’re new to the cuisine. In Sapporo Teppanyaki guests are led to their own or shared Teppanyaki table where the dishes are cooked in front of your very eyes by the restaurants array of skilled chefs. All the food is fresh and the seafood in particular is a delight; however there are ranging chicken and meat dishes to cater to those still cautious when it comes to experimenting. We recommend you push the boat out and also try a Japanese whiskey from behind the bar, as a perfect wind down over some conversation over your meal.

Choices

Tucked away in Castlefield, Choices was voted one of the top ten riverside restaurants by the Sunday Times. If you like honest British food cooked to perfection then this is the place to head, thanks to a frequently changing menu which utilises good seasonal produce. The cottage pie is particularly popular amongst diners with daily fish specials also proving well-liked. The décor is clean, stylish and the walk in wine fridge adds an interesting dimension to an establishment already brimming with character.

Drinks

Epernay Champagne and Cocktail bar

Epernay is a glamorous and elegant bar for those looking to avoid some of Manchester’s more student orientated drinking scenes. Epernay presents an impressive range of drinks, boasting more than 100 champagnes which offers one of the most extensive selections in the country. Don’t fret if you’re more of a mixer or have a different tipple, the bartenders supply an excellent range of cocktails and spirits which can be enjoyed in a really laid back and friendly atmosphere. Prices aren’t cheap, however Espernay is a must visit if you prefer a classy establishment to enjoy sociably with friends.

The Alchemist

The Alchemist is widely known as one of the best bars in Manchester by locals and it’s not hard to see why. Always popular, and often crawling with patrons due to its city centre location, the bar mixed a great ambiance with a stylish food and drinks menu. Each cocktail is carefully hand crafted by the highly knowledgeable ‘alchemists’ who use the highest quality ingredients available to create some completely unusual concoctions. The drinks are as much about theatre as they are sustenance with nostalgia inspired bottles, lavender foam, dry ice and Bunsen burners all used to create truly unique drinks. Don’t fret if a fashionable cocktail doesn’t take your fancy, The Alchemist also offers lager on tap.

Entertainment

The Comedy Store

If you’re staying in Manchester, a must see is the world famous Comedy Store. With tickets from as little as £10 and fantastic acts every night of the week, the Comedy Store is a true mecca for comedy enthusiasts. Some of the biggest names in world stand-up have graced the Comedy Store stages of London and Manchester including, Eddie Izzard, Mike Myers and Lee Evans and many familiar faces do unexpectedly ‘drop in’ to try out material.

Mint Lounge

Mint Lounge is a popular attraction for locals, least of all because it is home to Manchester’s longest running club night in Funkademia. Every Saturday night, Funkademia plays what it describe as ‘a chronological history of soul’ to a regularly full house. It plays the best soul, funk and smooth R&B music in the city but also holds other music events throughout the week if your taste is better suited to dubstep or house. You may need to book tickets in advance for some of the more popular events.

If you’re planning a night in Manchester, make sure you check out our website for a luxurious end to your evening.

Photo Credit: Ian Bramham via Compfight cc

Christmas Markets 2013 in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle

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With Christmas just around the corner, we take a look at the annual Christmas and German markets that land in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. Offering stalls with quirky gift ideas, Christmas decorations, assorted foods from across Europe and plenty of warming winter drinks, Christmas markets have something to suit every taste and get you in that festive mood.

Leeds

Always a favourite when the festive period comes around, the Leeds Christkindelmarkt sees the residents of Leeds and surrounding areas flock to Millennium Square for a real taste of an authentic German Christmas. Opening on Friday 8th November, it’s no surprise that this market is one of the best attended in the country, with traditional wooden stalls, festive greenery, Christmas carousel rides and twinkling lights all creating a unique festive atmosphere in the heart of Leeds city centre.

Undeniably the most popular attraction at Leeds’ market is the German pub which occupies the very centre of Millennium Square. It provides refuge from the cold weather and offers German-themed food and drinks throughout the daytime and evening. Be sure to pick your visiting time carefully though, as the large venue often fills up quickly at peak times. Enjoy a ‘stein’ of beer, bratwurst hot dog and evening of Oom-pah band entertainment.

Manchester

Offering a wider range of shopping options than the other markets in this list, the Manchester Christmas Market provides more than 300 stalls to choose from and is dotted around numerous locations in the city centre. This year sees an even bigger selection of stalls than ever before, and you won’t be disappointed when taking a browse. The vast range of stalls means you can easily find gifts, crafts, jewellery, clothes, toys and a vast selection of food and drink on offer. Head to this market and you’ll also discover mouth-watering delicacies from all over Europe, so why not treat yourself to Dutch mini pancakes, Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or French profiteroles. The market heads to Manchester later this month, from 15th November right through until 22nd December.

Newcastle

Newcastle’s Christmas Market might not be the largest of Christmas markets in the UK, but when you mix in what else Newcastle has to offer, it’s well worth making the trip and spending your weekend in the ‘Toon’. While it’s only in the city for five days, running from 4th December until Sunday 8th, the set up at Grey’s Monument in the centre of town gives a great, if quick feel of Christmas right in the centre of Newcastle.

Stalls offer foods like chocolate, jams and cakes; whilst also giving you the chance to shop for some great gifts, with handmade clothing and jewellery stalls. It’s only there for one weekend, so make sure you plan your Christmas shopping for the beginning of December if you want to catch the short stay of Newcastle’s Christmas Market. If you simply can’t wait until December, why not check out the Continental market at the same location, which arrives on Friday 15 November and stays until Saturday 30th November. Similar to Manchester and Leeds, this European themed market provides Christmas style gifts and delicious foods, so make a weekend of it, enjoy Newcastle and sample some European Christmas treats.

If you’re heading to Leeds, Manchester or Newcastle this Christmas, then make sure you plan early and make a weekend of it. Head to our website, where you can plan a luxurious weekend stay to truly enjoy the city Christmas experience.

Photo Credit: Tobi_2008 via Compfight cc