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Rock n’ Roll Cricket: The NatWest T20 Blast

I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth – certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either” – Harold Pinter

When it comes to the UK’s favourite summer sport, we all have our preconceptions. For you, cricket might conjure up images of neatly creased and ironed white kit, dappled sunlight on freshly cut grass, a rosy red ball to match the ruddy cheeks of the players, and the familiar thud of leather on willow. You might think of a gentle summer’s day enjoyed in leisurely style, as spectators and players alike break for tea to tuck into cucumber sandwiches and real ale. Well, prepare to have your notions of sleepy, boring cricket smashed. The grand old sport has entered the 21st century with an explosive short-form game known as Twenty20. And what with Wowcher offering tickets to see the Birmingham Bears in action, we thought we’d help you swot up on just what you’re missing!

Fun for all the family
As with everything, cricket moved with the times to appeal to younger audiences. Twenty20 cricket offers an evening or afternoon (of manageable length – no three-to-five day marathons here!) that is exciting and fun for everyone aged 1-101. Certainly no longer the preserve of foppish posh boys with bouncy hair, Twenty20 matches showcase just how fun the sport can be, offering great quality entertainment for all the family at an affordable price.

cricket3 Read more

Wowcher Does a Cocktail Making Class @ Dice Bar

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We sent Emily to Dice Bar for a marvellous cocktail making class, where she learnt how to mix, shake and stir like a master…

Though I thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) enjoy drinking them, the klutz in me has ensured I steer clear of actually making cocktails at all costs. Tragically, I lack the coordination and flair needed to successfully create such tasty, beautiful beverages – or so I thought!

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Off I trotted to Dice Bar in central Croydon to try my hand at cocktail making. I was impressed the moment I stepped inside the modern and stylish bar, but things were only going to get better. Within seconds of sitting down, I was given a shot of Apple Sourz and presented with a dish of curly fries, nachos, deep fried chicken balls and more. This was my sort of evening. I was then handed the drinks menu to peruse so I could pick which two cocktails I wanted to make. Porn Star Martini? Long Island Iced Tea? Bahama Mama? Piña Colada? The choice was almost enough to send someone as indecisive as me over the edge, but I eventually plumped for the Mojito and Strawberry Daiquiri, whilst my guest for the evening opted for the Mai Tai and Amaretto Sour. After a chat with the friendly mixologist it was time to get down to business, so I tentatively ventured around the other side of the bar and hoped for the best.

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I needn’t have worried as the mixologist had the patience of a saint, taking me through the process step by step. So with a little lime juice, a lot of rum, some soda water, sprigs of mint and a hell of a lot of shaking, my Mojito was ready! I became further acquainted with the cocktail shaker when making my Strawberry Daiquiri (topped off with an orange lolly pop), and then it was time to sit back and enjoy my creations as I watched my companion attempt an Amaretto Sour. Whilst slurping down our cocktails (which were delicious, if I do say so myself), we played a game of ‘guess the vodka flavour’ with our mixologist. The flavours ranged from honey and jalapeño to chocolate raspberry and coconut. Delish! After we ensured there wasn’t a drop left in our glasses, it was sadly time to head home. I’d learned two things that evening at Dice Bar. Firstly, it’s a fantastic bar with even better drinks and staff, and secondly, I am, as it turns out, a cocktail-making extraordinaire.

To try a cocktail making class for yourself at a great price, keep an eye on Wowcher.co.uk!

Please note – all deals featured may not be live

Wowcher gets a Traditional Shave @ Mr. Rizzo Grooming

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With winter drawing to a close and parts of his face untouched by sunlight for several months, March seemed a good time for Kaja to brave the barber’s chair and get a wash, cut and traditional cut-throat shave, courtesy of Mr. Rizzo in Covent Garden.

I was fourteen years old the last time I visited my local barber. My hairdresser laughed at my grey hair, shouted at me for having a weak neck and, despite my request to look like Freddy Ljungberg, gave me a hairdo commonly sported by national hero Pat Butcher. Safe to say, I was fairly nervous about sitting in the hot seat after ten years living in blissful ignorance of chatty men with scissors.

When I arrived at the ultra-modern salon on Upper St. Martin’s Lane, the first thing that threw me was Mr Rizzo’s magazine collection. New editions of National Geographic and New Scientist lay in amongst glossy gossip columns and lads’ mags. There was no six-month-old copy of Home and Garden, this was the real deal. After a few minutes pretending to read a magazine, it was my time to shine. I put on my man bib and I was ready for grooming. Read more

Wowcher Does Hot Yoga @ Fitness on Fire

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Imagine you’re stretched out on a scorching beach, basking in 30°C heat and surrounded by supple, sweaty bodies. Now replace the beach with four walls, your towel with a mat and the beams of sunlight with infrared heaters, and you’ve got yourself a hot yoga studio. Doesn’t sound so scary now, does it? First founded by yoga guru Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s, hot yoga has earned itself a toned troupe of practitioners that include Gwyneth Paltrow and Lady Gaga. Tentatively, I brave the humidity to see what’s behind all the hot yoga hype at the Fitness on Fire studios in London.

Prepare to Sweat
As I enter the studio (just moments from Old Street station) and leave the bitter wind outside, my chilly limbs are embraced by hot air and wafts of incense. It’s like stepping into an airless conservatory on a summer’s day. In Bangkok. Already a devoted yogi – but used to the comfort of air-conditioned classes – I choose a space at the back of the room, strategically close to the door should I need to swoon out sideways to escape the heat (which typically wavers between 30°C and 40°C, with a high degree of humidity).

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Ten minutes into the hour-long session, a beady moustache of sweat has slyly formed on my upper lip before dribbling mischievously down my chin to form a beard. My usual yoga classes would never cause even a small stream of perspiration, let alone a fully-formed channel of facial hair. During the course of the hour, as we move through a sequence of postures, the room becomes a sauna. Perhaps it’s the relief of savasana (the resting ‘corpse pose’ held at the end of each session) or the rush of cool air that greets me at the door, but when I leave the studio, still pink and glistening like a leaf drenched with morning dew, I’m feeling strangely satisfied and drawn to return.

Body Benefits
Advocates claim that hot yoga enables us to sweat out toxins, while improving balance, strength, flexibility and coordination. The higher temperature helps yogis stretch out further than usual, lengthening limbs and engaging a wider range of muscles. After a few sessions, my body soon adjusts to the heat and the initial burn that I felt during the first class slowly lessens (as does the fear of losing balance and causing a domino effect of tumbling down dogs). My clothes may still become saturated while my hair is glued to my scalp like a stringy leech, but with each class, the poses become easier to follow and practice becomes a relaxing but rewarding workout. It’s safe to say I’m hooked.

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Tips for First-Timers

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after practice to avoid dehydration
  • Take a towel to soak up the buckets of sweat that may pool around you
  • Inform the instructor of any injuries you have
  • Light-headed? Get on your knees and lay your head on the ground in front of you with your arms stretched out behind (don’t worry, this is a genuine resting posture called balasana, or ‘child’s pose’)
  • Don’t push yourself too hard – you probably won’t master the splits in your first session
  • Try to maintain regular breath
  • Try not to eat heavy meals two hours before a session
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously – wobbling and slipping is all part of practice!

Want to try hot yoga for yourself? Feel the heat at Fitness on Fire’s hot yoga classes in either Old Street or Westminster, with Wowcher.co.uk. Choosing from Vinyasa, Power, Hatha, Ashtanga and Dynamic Flow classes, held Monday to Sunday from 7am-10pm, you’ve no excuse not to get sweaty!

Please note – all deals featured may not be live.

The Wowcher Guide to Live Entertainment

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From the magical stories and exuberant costumes of a West End musical to epic sing-along anthems from your favourite stars, theatre, music and comedy always make for a brilliantly fun night out. At Wowcher, we’re firm believers in the power of performance to move, to provoke, to illuminate and to purely entertain people of any age and background – and you can regularly find great deals on tickets to some of the most scintillating performances out there. Here, then, is the Wowcher guide to live entertainment…

Theatre
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” – William Shakespeare

A night at the theatre can bring out such a strong range of emotions in an audience – fear, excitement, tension, love, joy, anger, inspiration and more! There are a huge number of ways theatre can be enjoyed, from the latest blockbuster shows (like West End mainstay Thriller Live, the multi award-winning Billy Elliot the Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre and the Tony Ward-nominated musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) to summertime touring productions of old classics in parks up and down the country. Wowcher offers deals on them all. If you’re looking for a super night out, either for cultural value or for sheer entertainment, keep checking Wowcher for great deals on tickets to suit every taste.

Just a few theatre tickets you could have got your hands on!

Just a few theatre tickets you could have got your hands on!

For the complete package, Wowcher offers deals on luxurious overnight stays in London with tickets to some of the most spectacular shows on the West End. With recent deals including musicals such as Jersey Boys, Wicked and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, as well as terrifying play The Woman in Black. For ol’ Bill Shakespeare, we’re all players upon the stage that is our world, but if you’re not in the mood to play a part yourself, then let Wowcher offer you the best tickets to watch the professionals do it for you!

Comedy
Comedy critic Brian Logan recently said that Britain has ”the world’s liveliest comedy scene”. It’s certainly true that British comedy is in rude health with everything from small clubs featuring inventive emerging acts to arena-filling comedy megastars, making UK comedy a multi-million pound industry. Wowcher regularly offers great deals on tickets to some of the UK’s most popular comedy clubs, including Jongleurs, as well as smaller independent clubs like Manchester’s Frog and Bucket. Comedy is about more than good jokes. It has the power to hold a mirror up to society, to reaffirm our sense of humanity and make us believe in the power of humour to make the world a better place. Wowcher offers great ticket deals on comedy nights and clubs so if you’re in need of a life-affirming laugh, just look out for the pink splat!

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Roll up! Roll up! The circus is in town!

Circus
Roll up! Roll up! The circus is in town and Wowcher will be there to offer you great value deals on tickets. Wowcher has a long-standing relationship with some of the best touring circus troupes in the UK, such as Billy Smart’s Circus, Circus ZyairRussell’s International Circus, Zippos Circus and even the prestigious Moscow State Circus! If you’re looking for an evening of entertainment combining the best elements of theatre, music and comedy, then a night under the big top is exactly what you need! Keep checking Wowcher for the best deals on circus tickets for the whole family, as these prestigious troupes are regularly on tour across the UK.

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Fancy something little different? Watch Britain’s top pro-wrestling company lay the smackdown at one of 13 UK locations!

Something a little different
None of the above float your boat? Well how about tickets to see Britains’ top pro-wrestling talents lay the smackdown at one of 13 UK locations? On the topic of buff lads in skimpy gear, perhaps an unforgettable night of male entertainment is more up your street? Well you can always count on the Forbidden Nights lads or those oh-so-lovely Dreamboys for a sizzling evening of entertainment!

So there you have it, the Wowcher guide to live entertainment, for every possible taste. For all the best entertainment deals make sure you stay with Wowcher.co.uk!

Please note – all deals featured may not be live. 

Wowcher’s Guide To Brighton!


Battleground for the Mods and Rockers in the 60s, stomping ground of the legendary Fatboy Slim and Peter Andre, and an infamous playground for Britain’s dirty weekend, Brighton is one of the UK’s most colourful coastal crannies, well worth a visit no matter the time of year. Here, at Wowcher, we’re here to share the filthiest secrets of this outrageously endearing seaside town.

The Coast with the Most
A wintery wonderland in colder months and a slothful sunspot in summer, the coast of Brighton is gemmed with affordable bars, sensational seafood restaurants, penny arcades and of course, piers. Visit the turtles and rays at the world’s oldest Sealife Centre, dine on an oriental barge in the Marina or glug some grog at the pirate ship pub Fortune of War. If you’re brave, get a made-to-order donut or a bag of chips and see how you fare against an army of hungry seagulls. Small but full of life, Brighton’s seafront is a pebbled paradise perfect for families, couples and even stags in drag.


Pier to Pier
Once a town of three piers, now a town of one working pier and a hollowed-out shell of another.Brighton Pier is like the Catherine Zeta-Jones to West Pier’s Michael Douglas. Buzzing with rip-roaring rollercoasters and amusement arcades, the former is teeming with life and a great place to win a cuddly toy for your loved one. West Pier, on the other hand, has been deteriorating since 1975 and is simply a skeleton of its former self – still beautiful though, in a haunting kind of way.

Festivals Galore
As well as an annual supply of candyfloss, Brighton also seems to manage a festival every other weekend. No matter when you go there’s sure to be something going on. Hoards of classic cars can be seen cruising the promenade on weekends, local artists open their homes in May and foodies will be spoilt for choice with several food and drink festivals occurring throughout the year. Our favourite festival has to be Brighton Fringe, England’s largest arts festival. The perfect concoction of cabaret, comedy, classical concerts, club nights, theatre and exhibitions – something for everyone!

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The Royal Pavilion
So it may look like something you find in Sittingbourne’s Model World but this scaled-down Taj Mahal is the reason Hitler didn’t bomb our pretty Brighton boulevards (he wanted it as his headquarters!). Built for the Prince Regent in the 18th Century, The Royal Pavilion is one of the most striking structures in the world and well worth a visit. Marvel at the palatial domes from the gardens or take a trip inside the eccentric head of George IV and admire the Pavilion’s magnificent interior. The beautifully restored tearoom makes an ideal spot for an afternoon scone!

Shopping
Bohemian, hedonistic and cosmopolitan, Brighton’s North Laine is full of independent clothes shops, cosy bars and award-winning restaurants. Whether it’s the freebie-filled food markets or the second-hand stalls on Upper Gardener Street, Brighton is a peruser’s paradise. In Snooper’s Attic, Brighton’s best loved antique bric-a-brac vintage and retro store, you can find everything from old taxidermy to go-go boots. For the more refined shopper, we recommend trawling the twisting alleyways of Brighton’s South Lanes for specialist and designer boutique fashion.

Where There’s a Wheel, There’s a Way
If you’re worried you won’t have a chance to see all of Brighton, go on the city’s newest attraction; the Brighton Wheel, London Eye’s smaller and younger brother. With panoramic views of the town’s famous landmarks and an informative cultural commentary by local hero Steve Coogan, you can rest-assured you won’t miss a thing. Some say that on a clear day you can even see France!

So there you have it, plenty of reasons to plan a weekend trip to Brighton this spring. Loved by Queen Elizabeth II for its £1 shots and mini golf opportunities, Brighton is a treasure trove of things to see and do. No matter what time of year you visit, people will be skating along the esplanade and kayaking round the piers. Just keep an eye out for fantastic deals and your window of opportunity to visit our nation’s favourite seaside town!

Wowcherching’s perfect SS15 look from ASOS for under £100!

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Shop SS15 style for the ultimate lift!

In the midst of AW15 London Fashion Week, we just couldn’t turn our backs on an excuse to shop style on a budget! With sunny optimism and a slight rewind of fashion-forward time, we’ve put together a trendy spring look on a £100 budget, from none other than ASOS!

You can find links to all the pieces mentioned at www.wowcher.co.uk/cashback/asos . Best of all, every purchase from ASOS will earn you 3% cashback; and in the name of fashion, we’ll give you 25% cashback bonus for the rest of London Fashion Week (until 1st March)!

If you’re not yet familiar with how Wowcherching cashback works, click here. In a nut shell, you simply have to click from our website to a retailer’s, i.e. ASOS, and shop as normal. We then track your purchase, and before long you’ll have 3% cashback plus 25% cashback bonus in your Wowcher Wallet, all of which you can spend on Wowcher daily deals; alternatively you can transfer the 3% cashback to your bank or PayPal account!

Caption: Jeans £32 | Jacket £13.50 (reduced from £38) | Top £12

Jeans £32 | Jacket £13.50 (reduced from £38) | Top £12

With a nod to spring’s explosion of denim, we’ve gone for slim leg, high waist jeans, in a 70’s throwback blue; and paired these with a must-have duster jacket, over a high neck, silky black cami – a touch of the ‘90s never goes amiss (see above)!

To accessorise, we’ve gone for black slider sandals, a black mesh shopper and feminine, cat-eye sunnies!

Caption: Sandals £10 | Bag £18 | Sunglasses £12

Caption: Sandals £10 | Bag £18 | Sunglasses £12

Is it all in budget? Of course it is! The grand total of our on-trend outfit came in at just £98!

Perfect your spring wardrobe with ASOS and Wowcherching, and earn 3% cashback plus 25% cashback bonus!

Happy shopping!
Love,
Wowcherching x

P.S. if you decide to purchase a mesh bag, please exercise caution where valuables are concerned!

Wowcher Takes a Dip in the City of Bath

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Once a playground for the rich during the glamour of the Georgian era, Bath’s natural hot springs and architectural marvels have paved its way to World Heritage status. Though small in size, Bath is immensely picturesque and holds many cobbled pockets of charm. Elegant crescents and terraces curve over and around the petite city’s hills, while steeples and spires rise above the steam from the ancient Roman baths. For a slice of continental charm, forget far-flung foreign destinations – take a dip in the spa city of Bath…

Take to the Water
Bath was built upon hot springs and is the only place in the UK where you can immerse yourself in the thermal waters that have bubbled deep underneath the city for over 2,000 years. To recreate the Roman experience (unwieldy armour and bloodshed excluded), visit the original ancient bathing house, The Roman Baths. Besides exploring the very changing rooms where our Roman conquerors got in their birthday suits before bathing, you’ll even be able to dip a finger in the naturally warm water of the thermal pools where the Romans would wash. Afterwards, if you’re craving a modern-day spa experience, head to the Thermae Bath Spa around the corner, where you can bathe above Bath in the rooftop swimming pool with unrivalled city views.

Tip: Book yourself in for a twilight spa package at the Thermae Bath Spa to see the sun set over the city as you soak up the mineral waters.

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When in Bath, do as the Romans did…

Building Bridges
Bath’s enchanting cityscape is carved from creamy golden stone and boasts over 5,000 listed buildings and perfectly-preserved Georgian houses. To see the best of the city’s honey-hued architecture and heritage, start at Bath Abbey and weave your way up the hill to Victoria Park. You’ll pass the spherical Royal Circus, followed by the Royal Crescent, a curved sweep of palatial façades in perfect symmetry. Back in the centre, stroll to where the River Avon crosses Pulteney Bridge (modelled on Florence’s famed Ponte Vecchio) and browse the chic boutiques and cosy coffee shops that line the bridge – you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled to Firenze itself.

Tip: From Pulteney Bridge, continue along Great Pulteney Street to Sydney Gardens (the only remaining 18th century ‘Pleasure Gardens’ in the UK) behind the Holburne Museum (free admission).

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Pulteney Bridge

Costume Culture
If following in the footsteps of Jane Austen (who lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806) has left you with a thirst for more of her romantic fiction, you can learn about the novelist’s life and work at Bath’s Jane Austen Centre. While you’re there, create your own Austen ambience by dressing up in the coats, bonnets, shawls and parasols provided, or treat yourself to a ‘Mr Darcy’ champagne afternoon tea at the Regency Tea room within the centre.

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To see the best of the city’s honey-hued architecture and heritage, start at Bath Abbey and weave your way up the hill to Victoria Park

City Skyline
Along with Rome, San Francisco and Prague, the city of Bath was built into enfolds of seven hills. Encircling the city, the six-mile Bath skyline walk takes eager amblers through grassy pastures and beech woodlands to reach Richens orchard and an Iron Age fort, offering many glimpses of the golden city – not to mention rare wildlife – along the way. Once you’re back in the cobbled streets, rest your feet and refuel at one of Bath’s many Michelin-starred restaurants or gastro pubs, such as Georgian townhouse-turned-culinary kitchen, The Porter.

Tip: On the skyline walk, head slightly off route at Bathwick Hill to admire the arches and turrets of Sham Castle, an 18th-century folly.

Fancy hitting the heritage hotspot yourself? Check out our luxury overnight stay in Bath on Wow Go!

Please note – all deals featured may not be live!

Come Dine with Wowcher!

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Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only day of the year you treat that special someone to a fancy meal out!

You may think that Cupid is simply the face of Valentine’s Day – just your run of the mill, curly-haired flying baby, sporting a nappy and armed with a bow and arrow. But in classical mythology, he is the god of love, desire and eroticism. Such a passionate being would be absolutely appalled to find out that many of us use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to limit organising romantic meals out with our partners to once a year! Where’s the passion in that?! Here at Wowcher, we strongly believe that you should be dining with your loved ones regularly lest the spark blow out. Therefore, we’ve created a handy guide to the best restaurants where you two can eat your hearts out, all year round.

Casa Italia, Southport
There’s nowhere more romantic than Italy, so bring your partner to Casa Italia and re-enact that famous scene from Lady and the Tramp with their delicious spaghetti carbonara. With a fantastic atmosphere and a plethora of scrumptious Italian cuisine to choose from, this restaurant is the perfect place for the two of you to convene and unwind after a stressful day at work. No one does food better than the Italians, right? Well Casa Italia proves it. Bravo!

Rated 4* on Trip Advisor, Manchester's very own Lola Lo makes for the perfect place to to chow down on delicious food and enjoy some seriously scrumptious cocktails!

Rated 4* on Trip Advisor, Manchester’s very own Lola Lo makes for the perfect place to to chow down on delicious food and enjoy some seriously scrumptious cocktails!

Lola Lo, Manchester
Aloha! If you and your partner are after a trip to a tropical paradise, but feel unsure about the hefty price tag and stress that comes with travelling half way around the world, Lola Lo’s should be your first port of call. You and your special someone can devour the most delectable hotdogs or burgers with more topping choices than you could possibly ever need. Accompany your meal with an island-themed cocktail and you may just forget you’re still in Manchester! Although, don’t get too carried away; you may get some strange looks if you whip out your bikini and start applying sun lotion…

Chamberlain’s, Leadenhall Market
Grab your top hat and pearls, this will be the fanciest Sunday lunch you’ve ever demolished. Forget about watery gravy and over-cooked veggies, Chamberlain’s is a 5* restaurant that is out to make you question everything you once knew about Sunday roasts. Enjoy two courses, choosing from a rump of beef, corn fed chicken or a whole baked salmon sole, to name but a few of Chamberlain’s tasty dishes. Need waking up from a heavy Saturday night? Enjoy a cup of their steaming hot coffee, or if ‘hair of the dog’ is more your style, have a glass of Prosecco too!

Fusing traditional Lebanese décor with the sleek furniture typically found in trendy London restaurants, one step into Yamal Alsham and you know it’s more than just your taste buds that are in for a treat!

Fusing traditional Lebanese décor with the sleek furniture typically found in trendy London restaurants, one step into Yamal Alsham and you know it’s more than just your taste buds that are in for a treat!

Yamal Alsham, Knightsbridge
Do you struggle deciding what to order at a restaurant? Food envy is all too real – seeing your orders arrive at your table and wishing you had opted for the same as your partner is enough to put a downer on any evening out. Yamal Alsham has managed to combat this problem by giving you a ten-course (yes, TEN course!) tasting menu filled with authentic Lebanese and Syrian cuisine. Not only does the food taste great, but the ultra-trendy restaurant looks great too. So long, food envy.

A trendy Shoreditch bar and restaurant inspired by the late ‘king of cool’ Steve McQueen, not to mention winner of ‘Best DJ Bar’ at the London Club and Bar Awards 2014, McQueen is our pick for a night out to remember.

A trendy Shoreditch bar and restaurant inspired by the late ‘king of cool’ Steve McQueen, not to mention winner of ‘Best DJ Bar’ at the London Club and Bar Awards 2014, McQueen is our pick for a night out to remember.

McQueen, Shoreditch
Trying to add a touch of style and sophistication to your relationship? Then we suggest the two of you start hanging out at the award-winning McQueen bar and restaurant in Shoreditch. Inspired by the ‘King of Cool’ Steve McQueen, this restaurant is about as chic as it gets. Enjoy a three-course meal and while away the hours discussing how trendy you now are over a bottle of wine. A word to the wise, don’t forget to sample one or two (or five…) of their cocktails. You won’t be disappointed.

And so there you have it, you now have absolutely no excuse to limit having romantic meals to once a year. Please note – all deals featured may not be live. But with fab new deals added daily, make sure you keep checking Wowcher.co.uk!

The Wowcher Guide to Roaming in Rome

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Saturated with fine art, architectural genius and delectable food, it’s easy to see why millions of tourists flock to Rome every year. Based on the banks of the River Tiber, the city was founded in 753 BC according to Roman tradition, with thousands of years of ancient history providing a rich backdrop to the Italian capital. There’s so much to discover in just a short mini break that unlocking the secrets of the city can feel like a challenge. Luckily, Wowcher has the key!

Architecture and Art
Tourists always congregate at the Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world and home to some seriously impressive architectural and artistic feats (plus Pope Francis, of course). Whilst marvelling at Michelangelo’s ceiling is a must, there’s much more to see than just the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums showcase tapestries, ceramics, mosaics, Renaissance masterpieces and much more, including the famous frescoes of the Raphael Rooms and a striking tapestry of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. You can also scale the heights of St Peter’s Basilica for views inside the Cupola and out across Rome.

If you fancy heading off the beaten track instead, take a trip to San Clemente. Tucked away on Via Labicana, the 12th century Basilica sits over a 2nd century pagan temple, with its initial foundations dating as far back as the Roman Republic. Visit the lower levels to peel back the layers of Roman history and you’ll be surrounded by the sounds of an ancient aqueduct filtering water from the Tiber, with a fountain of spring water bursting out of the wall. Forget the Trevi Fountain – throw a coin in here and make a wish!

Tip: If you want to beat the queues at the Vatican City, make sure you book tickets online before you go. There are lots of tour guides offering their services outside the gates, but be aware that some of the tours can be quite lengthy if you’re short on time.

The Heart of Rome
A trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Colosseum. Constructed in approximately 70 AD and used for gladiatorial competitions, dramatic public spectacles and grisly executions, the extraordinary arena emanates a sense of grandiose history and forgotten glory. To the east lies the ruins of the Roman Forum, the heart of ancient Roman life and home to the remains of the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta, Arch of Septimius Severus and much more. The Palantine Hill offers a great vantage point for panoramic views of the site – a combined ticket to see it all costs just €12, so buy yourself a selfie stick and get snapping!

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Tip: Nip into the Altare della Patria (the big white building on Piazza Venezia) and take the elevator to the very top. For just €7 each you’ll get 360° views across the entire city, including an amazing view of the Colosseum and beyond.

Escaping the Crowds
If you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre, take a leisurely walk up the Spanish Steps to visit the landscaped gardens of Villa Borghese. The parkland features a beautiful lake, surrounded by willow trees and presided over by the majestic 18th century Temple of Aesculapius. It’s the perfect spot for an Italian-style picnic (think antipasti and wine) or a romantic boat ride for two. If you’re an art fan, finish your afternoon in the Galleria Borghese and explore the stunning selection of sculptures, paintings and antiquities from the 1st-3rd centuries AD.

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Tip: Segways, bikes and pedal karts are available to hire if you want to explore the park during the summer months. You can also rent roller blades if you’re feeling really flash.

Dining and Nightlife
For a truly magical dining experience with one of the best views in Rome, the rooftop restaurant of Aroma is located directly opposite the Colosseum and boasts a gorgeous vista of the historic monument at night. The restaurant serves a delicious (if slightly pricey) menu of classic Italian dishes with a gourmet twist. If you fancy something a bit more down to earth (literally), there are hundreds of options elsewhere in the city – cross the Tiber to get lost in the maze of cobbled streets and charming piazzas in Trastevere, renowned for its vibrant array of bars, cafés and boutique shops, or wander the backstreets around the Pantheon to find a tucked away trattoria. If you’re hoping to fulfil your lifelong quest for the perfect pizza, you can have a good go at Li Rioni, a classic pizzeria that serves up its dough the traditional way – thin, crispy and topped with plenty of fresh tomato and mozzarella. Delizioso!

Tip: You can’t leave Rome without gobbling down at least one gelato (yes, they will probably stop you at the airport if you don’t). We recommend the creamy treats from Il Gelato Di San Crispino, a local legend that you can find just behind the Trevi Fountain.

Outside Rome
If you’re planning an extended holiday, hop on a train from the central Termini Station in Rome to any number of hidden destinations on the Amalfi Coast. A 2-hour trip will get you as far as Naples, where you can take a scenic boat ride to the beautiful island of Capri. Sip on a glass of wine in La Piazzetta, the bustling square at the heart of island, or ascend the Belvedere Cannone for breath-taking views of the famous faraglioni rock formation. Naples is also an ideal gateway for trips to Sorrento, Positano or Pompeii, the ancient Roman town near the base of Mount Vesuvius. The possibilities are endless!

capri1

Tip: Termini Station also runs international train services to destinations such as Paris, Munich, Geneva, Basel and Vienna if you fancy going even further afield!

However you choose to spend your time in Rome, make sure you take some time to wander the old streets, soak up the relaxed atmosphere and experience the unique character that makes the city so special. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do…

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