Monthly Archives: May 2010

Here’s to my first book review

I blogged a few weeks back about my new book, Lake District with Kids (Footprint), which was about to be published. Now the first review has come in thanks to

If you’re looking for ideas this bank holiday, the review might inspire you – as might the book.

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Filed under Lake District, Travel writing

Chin strokers unite at Llandudno’s Mostyn Gallery

A man in a cravat. A women in a rainbow-hued poncho. A man with a goatee sat in what looks like a garden shed, reading difficult verse above the hubbub. And me.

It seems like every Late Review viewer in North Wales was in Llandudno last Friday for the preview of the newly re-opened Mostyn Gallery and its relaunch exhibitions.

Delayed opening

Mostyn has been closed for three years and, after much delay, is re-opening with light, high-ceilinged galleries to show off the work.

The building, finally freed of scaffolding, looks aesthetically striking with the original terracotta facade restored to its turn-of-the-century finery.

Current exhibitions

But what of the art itself? I saw Ronald McDonald meet a watery grave (Flooded McDonald’s, Superflex), a collection of slogans amid various installations, sculptures and paintings (We Have the Mirrors, We Have the Plans, various artists) and some recycled ironware from the local tip (The Junkyard Museum of Awkward Things, The Junkman from Afrika).

So far, so Jarvis Cocker.

More striking, but somewhat lost amid the cafe-bar area, was Along the Line, a collection of photographs by local photographer Darryl Lonsbrough, documenting life along Arriva Trains North Wales Coast Line.

The route passes through the likes of Rhyll and Prestatyn – Wales’ answer to Basra.

Young British artists

Chin-stroking North Walians looked vaguely dazed and confused by the works on show. Or maybe that was just the queue for the bar as the preview bulged Mostyn well beyond its normal capacity.

But is North Wales hungry for Chris Ofili turds, or Tracey Emin‘s soiled panties?

Maybe the regulars at the design-led Escape B&B in Llandudno will be beating a path to Vaughan St, clutching copies of Frieze magazine as they go?

Or will they all be down local favourite Fish Tram Chips, eating a bargain fish supper with mushy peas and a pot of tea.

Curry sauce

Community art projects and school-holiday workshops for kids indicate that Mostyn will seek a wider role in Llandudno life but, on Friday’s showing, it has some way to go to win a place in the heart of the town.

And me? Feeling suitably postmodern, what else could I do?

I went for chips.

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Filed under Tourism, Wales

Can Manchester lead the way for digital tourism promotion?

Do you know what a Application Programming Interface is? Me either. But Marketing Manchester has one and is not afraid to use it for the new tourism website launched today, May 21.

The press release explains:

[It] weaves its way across the web and through the city itself, providing an ever-growing source of information about Manchester …

Glad we cleared that up, then.

Manchester has lead the way in the Northwest over recent years, reinventing the urban cityscape, revolutionising tourism and engendering northern pride. It may well continue to do so with this project.

Today’s launch promises to be just the first stage in an evolving digital strategy. The next phase will be multi-touch interactive surface tables at the city’s new visitor information centre, opening next month.

But what do people make of the new website? And do you get the concept. If so, please enlighten me.

Finally, a word of advice: put a link for press on the homepage. I’m sure other writers will have questions.

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Filed under Manchester, Tourism

What will the new Tourism Minister do for the Northwest?

John Penrose, then. Who? The Tory MP for the resort town of Weston-super-Mare. That’s who.

He’s the new dedicated tourism minister in the Con-Dem coalition, of which more here.

Is this good news? And what do people working in tourism in the Northwest have on their wishlist for the newly-appointed tourism minister?

Post your thoughts and comments below. I’ll see if I can get him to address some of your concerns.

* Update: Check out this link from TTG to see the tone of communication so far from our new minister.

John Penrose MP

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Filed under Northwest, Tourism

My Lake District book now in the shops

Excuse the self promotion. But after much hard work and slow progress, my family-travel guide to Cumbria Lake District with Kids is now out in the shops.

You can buy it here from Amazon, or order it here via the Footprint website.

I’ll be giving some talks and slide shows over the summer to promote the title, so please subscribe to RSS updates for dates and details.

Meanwhile, Hit the North is currently grappling with a Wales book. Updates from on-the-road research coming soon.


Filed under Lake District, Travel writing