The View National Express Autumn 2017 - 31

TRIP EXCHANGE ◆
HOBBITON

Christmas market

THE FASCINATING
CHEDDAR GORGE

SWAP COLOGNE
FOR LINCOLN

Dramatic scenery

IMAGES: Getty Images, Sadie Geoghegan
SOURCE: *groupleisureandtravel.com

SWAP NEW ZEALAND
FOR CHEDDAR GORGE
The beautiful country of New Zealand
is without a doubt one of my favourite
places, so perhaps that's why I was a
big fan of Cheddar Gorge, in southwest England, when I went there. With
its dramatic rock faces, stunning
scenery and bleating sheep, it's no
wonder one of Somerset's best tourist
attractions took me back to my days
of touring New Zealand's North and
South Islands in a campervan.
But forget the jet lag from flying
to the other side of the world, visit
Cheddar Gorge instead and you'll feel
like you've walked right into a scene
from the Lord of the Rings films. The
gorge is the deepest in the UK and
you'll need comfy shoes on your feet
to walk up and along its edge to take
in the eye-popping views from the top.
On lower ground, a combination of
both the Ice Age and the Yeo River
have created deep crevices, crags and
caves that visitors can venture inside;
just like the Waitomo Caves in New
Zealand. Then there's the charming
town of Cheddar itself, with its film-set
feel. Its inviting restaurants and unique
shops are comparable to those of
Kaikoura. And just like in New Zealand,
camping is a great way to see the area.

Middle
Earth
The
Lord of
the Rings
movies
may have
been
filmed
in New
Zealand,
but
author
of the
books,
JRR
Tolkien,
was
inspired
by sites in
England.
He visited
Cheddar
Gorge
after his
wedding
in 1916*.

There's nothing quite like the magical
feeling you get while walking among
wooden stalls selling everything from arts
and crafts to tree decorations and, quite
literally, chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
You don't need to go to Germany to
experience this festive atmosphere - not
with Lincoln Christmas Market so close to
home. With only 11 stalls, the cathedral city
put on its first German-style Christmas
market in 1982, to recognise its twinning
with German town Neustadt.
These days, with over 200 stalls, it's one
of Lincoln's biggest events. It, too, is held
in the shadow of the city's cathedral, and
Lincoln's cobbled streets whisk you away
to somewhere that wouldn't look out of
place in the heart of Germany.
Nothing says Christmas like sipping
on mulled wine as you wander Lincoln's
castle grounds, picking out unique gifts
such as hand-poured candles, handmade
jewellery and local seasonal produce. This
year's market is held 7-10 December.
LINCOLN'S
FESTIVE MARKET

COLOGNE

31



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