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The alt city guide to Glasgow

A network of indie galleries, clubs, restaurants and bars has created a robust creative scene in Scotland’s largest city, where talent is allowed time to flourish Richard McMaster, keyboard player in the Glasgow band Golden Teacher, is trying to explain why the city’s underground tends to shun media attention. “Scenes get hyped-up and go wrong […]

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Higher Buck, Waddington, Lancashire: hotel review

This pub, in one of Lancashire’s prettiest villages, is up there with the finest dining in the lauded Ribble valley. The modish makeover is no match for the food, but the classy guest rooms are A stream runs alongside the main street in Waddington. Traffic is so light you can hear it gurgling as you […]

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The alt city guide to Brighton

Brighton’s festival scene in May could be the reason for a spring visit but this creative and collaborative seaside town has inspirational art, music, food and drink on tap year-round You might imagine that Brighton, the seaside resort and party town, and Brighton, the lefty, bohemian city (the only one in the UK with a […]

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The Vicarage, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire: hotel review

This new pub with rooms is a welcome addition to conservative Cheshire’s food and accommodation scene – even though it’s not quite as offbeat and designery as it tries to make out You might imagine that rural Cheshire is home to many bucolic inns and tasty gastropubs. Not so. It may be well-heeled, green and […]

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The alt city guide to Sheffield

The South Yorkshire city’s music and clubs have had a huge influence in the UK over the years. Less well known is its fabulous array of independent restaurants, cafes, bars and galleries Sheffield is a city of real creative integrity. It never shouts about itself and doesn’t compromise. Look at its musical history. From cult […]

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Alt city guide to Birmingham

With independent art and street food scenes, and clubs and soundsystems bursting with bass, the second city has first-rate cultural credentials – if, like our writer, you know where to look Creatively, Birmingham is elusive. Unlike many cities, it does not have an identifiable cultural DNA. It has never asserted itself as a centre of […]

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The alt city guide to Nottingham

From DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe to Shane Meadowsand the Sleaford Mods, Nottingham has a culture of rebelliousness that runs through its energetic music, arts, nightlife and bars Nottingham is not a city to shout about itself. In everything from its long history of iconic clubs (Kool Kat, Venus, the Bomb) to its new status […]

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Alt city guide to Belfast

The subculture that always existed beyond Northern Ireland’s old divisions has come to the fore in Belfast, energising the city’s music, food, drink and art scenes Art enables people to assert their individuality in the face of hostile prevailing orthodoxies. In 20th century Northern Ireland, that was a potent force as generations of artists – […]

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Alt city guide to Bristol

Bristol projects its irreverent spirit and powerful sense of identity through its cutting-edge music, arts, clubs, bars, street festivals and food scenes In Bristol, there is a shop, Stokes Croft China, that sells fine bone china emblazoned with quotes from Tony Benn, images of the late, local music legend DJ Derek and a photograph of […]

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Art Hostel, Leeds: hotel review

Leeds finally has its own arty city-centre hostel, a revamped listed building with installations and bespoke design touches Leeds has always been an unusually style-conscious city. It loves hot trends. In the 1990s, its clubs Back To Basics and Vague popularised glam clubbing and, famously, Leeds was the first city outside London to get a […]

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Alt city guide to Edinburgh

The Edinburgh festival may dominate the headlines every summer, but all year round there’s a tight-knit local scene of off-beam music, grassroots art and theatre, and a stupidly good range of affordable grub and booze It is easy to visit Edinburgh and feel you have not got under its skin. During the festival you are […]