Smart Living | Lifestyle

Lifestyle | 18 Jan 2023

Holiday ideas with a technology twist for 2023

If you’re looking for unusual ideas for your next holiday or weekend break, especially if you or your travel buds have an interest in tech and science, then we’re here to help inspire you.

Going on holiday is one of life’s great pleasures. But when you have the whole country – and indeed the whole world – beckoning to you, indecisiveness can quickly set-in. You may then be tempted to fall back on a tried-and-tested beach resort.

If you’re open-minded enough though, we’ve got some tech-inspired destination ideas for your next trip, whether it’s a wanderlust-satiating odyssey of a vacation or just a well-deserved weekend break. And if you’re jetting abroad, Vodafone 5G is now available in three of the UK’s busiest airports  (including London Gatwick).

Computing and communications

Bletchley Park

The first-ever computers were born in the fiery cradle of the Second World War, specifically at Bletchley Park to help codebreakers crack encoded German messages. Many of the buildings at this once highly classified site have been restored to their wartime appearance or filled with interactive exhibits on Bletchley’s crucial roles in helping win the war and in kickstarting the evolution of modern computers.

Five facts about Colossus that remind us how far computing has come in 75 years

Colossus and Bletchley Park not only helped win the Second World War, but also helped kick start modern computers.

Bletchley Park isn’t too far away from most of the UK, located near Milton Keynes which has plenty of attractions of its own, from the usual shops and cinemas to the world’s largest indoor ski slope.


It’s a common misconception that much of the world’s internet and phone traffic is carried by satellites. In fact, the vast majority of it is transmitted over a vast network of cables deep under the sea – a network that Vodafone is deeply involved with.

The internet isn't in the cloud, it's under the ocean

Your smartphone's connection depends on hundreds of thousands of kilometres of deep underwater cables pioneered by the Victorians.

Many of the UK’s submarine cables come ashore at Cornwall, ever since the Victorian era, so it’s only natural that the history, culture, inner-workings and importance of this vital technology is explored at the Museum of Global Communications in Porthcurno on the Cornish coast.

photo of Porthcurno beach
Porthcurno beach, Cornwall.

Once you’ve emerged from the world of deep sea cables, Porthcurno has a gloriously golden beach to enjoy as well as heather-clad clifftops and hiking paths to explore.


Cambridge is home to numerous hi-tech labs and companies, but what’s of interest here (and is open to the public) lies in the past rather than the future. The city’s Centre for Computing History has a vast treasure trove of retro computers and consoles. From the famous BBC Micro to the obscure Mattel Aquarius, the Centre aims to chronicle as much of computing’s history as possible. It also hosts several talks and coding workshops throughout the year.



Armed conflicts from ancient Rome to modern Syria have been turned into games spanning every genre imaginable. The War Games exhibition at the London branch of the Imperial War Museum looks at the many contrasting approaches that games have taken, from the thrill-seeking to the thought-provoking, and how they relate to the real-life conflicts that they’re simulating. War Games runs until 28 May 2023.

For something a little more light-hearted, the capital has several retro and specialist gaming arcades to indulge in. Four Quarters has three locations in London, each with a small but perfectly formed selection of arcade games from yesteryear such as Donkey Kong and Time Crisis 2. Four Quarters is as much about cocktails and craft beers as it is retro gaming, so under-18s are only admitted during daytime hours with an adult. There are also branches in Bristol and Newcastle.

Despite its name, Las Vegas Arcade Soho specialises in Japanese arcade games that are often hard to find outside of the Home Islands, making it especially popular with Japanophiles. Our favourite has to be the addictive drumming rhythm game Taiko no Tatsujin. Best enjoyed as a multiplayer experience, it has controllers shaped like actual drums and drumsticks for gameplay that can be an intense workout!

If you want as much retro gaming bang for your buck as possible, then head out to Heart of Gaming in Croydon, south east London. This arcade has a smorgasbord of retro arcade cabinets and games consoles which you can play for as long as you like for a single fee (£20 adults, £15 children). Bear in mind that, during school term time, Heart of Gaming is closed Monday through Wednesday.


Jodrell Bank

Jodrell Bank’s radio telescope is oddly more famous for its appearances in Doctor Who than it is for its starry role in astronomy and space exploration. As well as hosting the visually impressive telescope itself, Jodrell Bank is also home to exhibits, a planetarium and a cinema/auditorium to help explain how radio telescopes assist astronomers in understanding the universe.

While located reasonably close to the many delights of Manchester, it’s generally easier to get to Jodrell Bank by car than by public transport.

Washington DC and Cape Canaveral

If spacecraft fuels your imagination, then it’s well worth heading across the Atlantic. The National Air and Space Museum in the centre of Washington DC has plenty of NASA-related artefacts, including the Apollo 11 command module itself. To experience the most monumental exhibit in the Museum’s collection, the Space Shuttle Discovery, you’ll have to head out to the Udvar-Hazy annex near DC’s Dulles Airport.

To get an even fuller picture of NASA’s technological evolution, then a trip down to the famed Cape Canaveral itself in Florida is a must. Alongside restored rockets such as a Saturn V which propelled Apollo to the moon, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has interactive astronaut training simulators as well as exhibits on NASA’s upcoming missions. Private spacecraft, such as the SpaceX Dragon, are sometimes on display too.

Choo-choo-choose trains

York and London

You can delve into the history of locomotive evolution at attractions such as the Railway Museum in York and the London Transport Museum in the capital. The latter periodically runs atmospheric behind-the-scenes tours of historic Tube stations, both current and disused, which must be booked in advance.

To then get a taste of how far train travel has come with journeys on the latest sleeper and high-speed trains, it’s worth heading abroad.


For a fixed price, Interrail passes get you unlimited rail travel for a fixed period, from any four days in a month all the way up to every day for three months, in 33 countries across Europe.

Prices start at €258 a person, with youth, child and senior discounts available. Country-specific Interrail passes are available too. Do remember, however, that sleeper and high-speed services often cost extra or at least require reservations.


To experience an especially slick locomotive culture, it’s well worth heading to Japan with a JRPass in hand. This gets you unlimited rail travel within Japan for seven, 14 or 21 days at such a steep discount that the JRPass can only be bought in advance outside the country by non-residents.

Railway travel in Japan is both hi-tech and charmingly quixotic, from the unbelievably fast yet effortlessly smooth shinkansen (‘bullet trains’ capable of speeds in excess of 300kph/200mph) to quirkily designed local/regional trains and region-specific ekiben lunches available only at railway station concessions.

An adult JRPass for seven days costs £184, paying for itself after two intercity journeys. It’s worth noting that the very fastest shinkansen lines (which stop at fewer stations), some privately-run lines and most city subway metros, aren’t covered by the JRPass. If you’re not in a hurry and you time your trip just right, the Seishun 18 pass gets you unlimited travel on local and regional trains, but not any shinkansen lines, during Japan’s various school holiday periods. It costs just ¥12,050 (£75) from most JR stations in Japan.

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