Skip the Mona Lisa and Try These European Gems

When you plan a vacation in Europe on a holiday exchange, you may put on your list several tourist destinations, such as the Louvre or Buckingham Palace. While both of these places are fun and interesting to visit, you may have visited them before, and want something new. If you’re looking for a new destination for your European vacation exchange, try some of these hidden gems!

Gloucester Cathedral

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Ell-r-brown
Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user ell-r-brownr

If you are on a home exchange in England, consider visiting Gloucestershire. You’ll find the country beautiful and quaint, with a number of things to see or do. For instance, you can visit the Gloucester Cathedral, which has stood for nearly a thousand years. Being witness to this much history is a great way to spend the day. Visitors are welcome to attend a service or event put on by the church, with a coffee shop available for guests to relax with a cup of tea or coffee. You’ll see architecture and art that dates back to the middle ages while you tour the grounds. One highlight of your trip will be seeing the Great East Window in person, which features an entire wall of glass from the 1350’s. It once was the largest window in the world, and features depictions of popular Christian figures including Jesus and Mary. There’s also more recent art as well, because the cathedral regularly commissions new works from artists.

Wilton’s Music Hall

If you’re visiting London, take a trip to a unique hidden gem known as Wilton’s Music Hall. It’s the largest music hall in the world and is an operating performing arts venue. Thanks to its faithful supporters and volunteers, the heritage of the hall is preserved with loving detail. The sightseeing tour is less than 10 pounds, and highlights the magnificence of the building. You’ll learn about the history of the building, including its original life as a pub and how it survived the London Blitz. In December, an Arthur Conan Holmes-inspired show known as “Mrs. Hudson’s Christmas Corker” will be available. Definitely seek this spot in Graces Alley. Some visitors online have remarked they had trouble finding it, so ask a local if you need to, but be looking out for signage!

Freightliners Farm

London has gardens aplenty, but have you ever visited a working farm? Freightliners Farm is an urban farm with chickens, sheep, cows and more. It’s also a charity, and works to educate its visitors about horticulture and sustainable living. The name of the farm comes from the fact that the animals once lived in railway goods vans, but now they live in proper farm buildings. You can find workshops and other events at the farm, and it’s a favorite with school age children.

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