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5 Destinations Every Literature Fan Should Visit

5 Destinations Every Literature Fan Should Visit

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ – Mark Twain

Book lover? If you’ve ever been inspired to visit the setting of one of your favourite books, read my guide to 5 of the best destinations for an unforgettable literary trip.

In the UK, we’re especially blessed, for the country is a green and pleasant land full of literary wonder. More or less wherever you are, there’s bound to be something of literary interest close to you.

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The team at hotel deals experts Travelzoo think so too – so much so that they’ve created a literary map of the UK, featuring 11 must-see destinations. Match each iconic tale to the right city or region and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a literary escape for two. You have 30 seconds to select each location and confirm your answer.

I’ve just entered the competition (I was 80% book-smart), so here’s my pick of the destinations from Travelzoo’s map – plus a few favourites of my own.

1. Edinburgh

For fans of: Muriel Spark
Edinburgh is where The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is set – Muriel Spark’s coming-of-age story of 6 adolescent schoolgirls and their unique teacher. Take a trip to the Scottish capital and walk through Edinburgh’s Canongate, Grassmarket and Lawnmarket thoroughfares – where Miss Brodie takes her charges for a gander about the Old Town.

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Did you know that the National Library of Scotland recently launched a campaign to open Muriel Spark’s personal archive to the public?

2. Penrith, Cumbria

For fans of: W.H. Auden
Poet W. H. Auden was deeply inspired by the Cumbrian landscape. His poem In Praise of Limestone has been read as a paean to Cumbria’s limestone, as well as other places he lived in his life. Auden seemed to draw spiritual, magical and religious inspiration from the landscapes he experienced.

3. London

For fans of: Arthur Conan Doyle
Known around the world as the home of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, London is a literary lover’s paradise. My favourite Holmesian things to do in London include a trip to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street and to take a Sherlock Holmes walking tour to see the different locations used in the many film and TV adaptations.

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Fancy a drink after a day padding the streets? Enjoy a refreshing pint at the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Street, close to Trafalgar Square.

4. Stratford-upon-Avon

For fans of: Shakespeare
Millions of people visit Stratford-upon-Avon every year to pay homage to William Shakespeare. The world’s most famous playwright was born in the town in 1564. Check out the house where the Bard was born, see something at the Royal Shakespeare Company or just take in the many Tudor buildings to get a feel for Shakespeare’s time.

5. Whitby

For fans of: Bram Stoker
Its dramatic cliffs, spooky graveyards and sweeping seascape make Whitby the perfect place for a spot of gothic delight. Part of Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic novel Dracula was set in Whitby. A trip to Whitby Abbey is a must – climb its 199 steps to enjoy a wonderful view. Every year, there’s the Whitby Goth Weekend too.

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If these destinations have whetted your appetite, go ahead and play Travelzoo’s game to find out more about some of these literary destinations – plus many more. You never know, you could be packing your bags (and your books, of course) for the literary trip of a lifetime.

Travelzoo’s literary map of the UK is super simple to play:

Match the book to the correct city or region (remember it could be either the story’s setting or the writer’s inspiration).
You’ve got 30 seconds to select a location pin and confirm your answer.
Get your book-smart score and share on Facebook.
Enter the prize draw to win a literary-themed UK break!

Ready to prove your knowledge? Play the game to be in with a chance to win. Enjoy! The draw is open until February 14th 2016.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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