5 UK Hidden Gems to Explore

London, London, London. Such a magnificent, vibrant city which attracts tourists from all over the world. But what lies beyond the sprawling capital? Here are some of our favourite hidden gems, scattered across the UK.

1. Mother Shipton’s Cave

In the picturesque town of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, lies the oldest paid-entrance attraction in the whole of the UK. It opened way back in 1630.  There are many legends surrounding Mother Shipton herself. She was born in the area, is rumoured to have lived in the cave, and is described as a soothsayer or even sometimes as a witch! She made predictions about the future which at times amazed and at times terrified the locals! There is a petrifying well near the cave, which over time turns objects to stone. You can see shoes, masks and even teddy bears hanging from the well, now petrified forever. It is well worth a visit if you are exploring the north of England.

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2. The Minack Theatre

In the often sunny (compared to the rest of England!) county of Cornwall, a stunning open-air theatre opens up to the public from May to September, looking out across the stunning coastline. The first show, a production of The Tempest, was put on in 1932 and the Minack Theatre has appeared in listings of the worlds most spectacular theatres.  What better way to take in some true English theatre?

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3. Whitby Abbey and Goth Weekend

Whitby Abbey is a striking 7th century monastery which is now in partial ruin. It inspired Bram Stoker to write his universally known 1897 novel Dracula and the seaside town is now home to one of the largest goth festivals in Europe, which contributes over £1,000,000 to the local economy. If you like the spooky side of life or even just want a great place to see very old English architecture and try some of the best fish and chips in the country, drop by on your next visit to the UK!

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4. Kilchurn Castle

What do you think of when you picture Scotland? Characterful castles, clear lakes and breathtaking scenery? Well you will find them all here in Argyll and Bute in western Scotland. The castle itself has a fascinating story, from the people who have passed through its walls to the many challenges the walls themselves have faced, such as being struck by lightning in the 18th century. This is a great place to get away from it all soak in that rich Scottish history and those spectacular sights. 

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5. Blackpool Tower

At the time of completion (1894) the tallest structure in the British Empire, Blackpool tower is well-known to natives but is not a household name abroad. The 158 metres tall structure today comprises a circus, a prestigious ballroom and roof gardens. On the top floor a viewing platform gives incredible views of the sea and the surroundings, and a glass floor for people who aren’t afraid of heights! Blackpool itself is packed with things to do such as its nightlife, theme park, water park, zoo and many slot machines. It is a popular destination for both family holidays and for people seeking a wild party time. If you’d like to experience the little Las Vegas of the UK, be sure to drop by!

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Thank you for reading our collection of hidden gems. Have you ever been to one of these places? Which would you most like to visit? Let us know!

5 Unusual British Cultural Traditions

The United Kingdom has many famous cultural landmarks, a prominent royal family and some well-known habits such as drinking copious amounts of milky tea! However, we at Scrambled Eggs Milano have put together a list of 5 lesser known British cultural traditions which you may not have heard of before.

1. Cheese Rolling Festival

Do you love cheese? What would you be willing to do to get your hands on a big wheel of delicious English cheese? Every Spring in Gloucester, a city in England, thousands of people gather to attend a very special event. Competitors stand at the top of a hill. A large (4kg) Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down the hill, reaching blistering speeds of up to 113 kilometers per hour, and the first person to catch the cheese or reach the bottom of the hill is the winner! The event has been held for over 200 years.

As you can tell from the video, injuries are quite common!

2. Morris Dancing

Dating back to the 15th century, Morris dancing is a traditional English folk dance based on rhythmic stepping and involves a choreographed group of dancers. The dancers typically wear bells on their clothing and use sticks, swords or handkerchiefs in their routine. Although sometimes mocked and regarded as the antithesis of cool by some, it is performed proudly by those who take part and the tradition persists to this day. Take a look at the video and make up your own mind!

3. Weighing the Mayor

Would you like to be the Mayor of a small English town northwest of London? Well you better be prepared for the world to know how much you weigh! In High Wycombe, it has been a tradition since 1678 to put the Mayor on the scales in public, at the beginning of their term and then once every year. This was originally done to make sure that the Mayor wasn’t using his position to get fat using the taxpayer’s money – the Mayor at the time was known to be a bit of a drunken slob!

4. Nettle Eating Contest

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) produce a burning sensation when touched due to their ability to pierce your skin and their biochemical irritants. Does this plant sound like a good thing to put in your mouth? Well, every year entrants from all over the world go to a traditional British pub in Dorset to see who can eat the most in one hour! This is quite a new tradition, held every year since the late 1980s, but it is surprisingly competitive and shows no sign of going away any time soon.

5. Bonfire Night

Our list is going out with a bang! Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is celebrated once a year on the 5th of November. In 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes was part of a plot to use gunpowder to blow up King James and his government. He and his group placed 36 barrels of explosive gunpowder under the houses of parliament in London. However, one member of the group sent a letter to his friend, warning him about the plan. This letter ended up the in hands of The King’s supporters and the scheme was discovered! Guards broke into the cellars beneath the Houses of Parliament where Guy Fawkes was waiting to set light to the gunpowder. He was arrested and later executed. On Bonfire Night, we create large fires (known as bonfires), light fireworks and sometimes throw an effigy of Guy Fawkes into the flames!

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of the quirkier events in the British calendar – which would you like to try? Have you ever heard about any similar events in other countries? Let us know, we’d love to hear what you think about these eccentric events!