You may think the internet is full of antisocial basement dwellers – well, you’re partly right. But the social butterflies on PCAdvisor.co.uk’s forums use the web to organise exciting events in something called ‘real life’.
Recommended by: Woolwell
This user-friendly, intuitive site is full of useful features for hungry browsers. After searching by postcode, cuisine type and so on and selecting a restaurant (as usual, London is better represented than the rest of the country), you get a site review and a few comments from users, price guides, pictures, opening times and tips about air conditioning and whether children are welcome. You can even book a table through the site.
Recommended by: Matt
This popular site covers the entire process of reserving a table at a resturant, taking you from searching for somewhere suitable – by area, date, type of food and so on – through to booking and feedback afterwards.
“There are loads of user reviews, and you can get some brilliant incentives and special offers, especially if you’re a regular reviewer,” says Matt. “Half-priced meals, free champagne – we’ve had the lot.”
Recommended by: Pineman100
“I’ve used this site on many occasions,” writes Pineman100. “It allows you to select your area of the country, the dates that interest you and the kind of event you want to search for. Very useful.”
Much of the content is daytime-oriented, with plenty of fetes, tours and museums. But night owls are catered for too, and the range of activities is stunning: a quick search of our local area turned up jazz, physical comedy and an evening of cookery with Heather Mills.
Recommended by: Uboat
“I’ve used this for a while,” writes party animal Uboat. “It has all the spots in the UK!”
Select a city in the UK and you get a run-down of happening pubs, restaurants and discotheques. This garish site’s a bit light on functionality – you get an address and phone number for each venue – but it’s an encyclopedic resource for wannabe Travoltas freshly arrived in a new town.
Recommended by: Johnny Franks
This site offers a definitive and mainly recent write-up of top boozers across the country. “The reviewers seem to have slight ‘real ale’ leanings, but even trendy London gastro-pubs get a fair go if the drinks, food and service are good,” writes Johnny Franks.
“I wish you could search by postcode, though – pubs are listed by general area or nearby station only, which is a bit old-fashioned.”
Recommended by: bristolsteve1
“This is a great website for finding pubs, with an easy and comprehensive filter so you can quickly find suitable establishments wherever you are visiting,” enthuses bristolsteve1. “Absolutely – hic! – superb.”
While it offers a similar service, this site takes a different approach to Fancy A Pint (left), offering plentiful user reviews rather than a single professional write-up. The tone is also inevitably a little different; there seems to be more sympathy for a broader range of venues.
Recommended by: HW Lewis
Pubs aren’t just about drinking, of course. This foodie site offers recommendations of gastro-pubs – ideal for those who appreciate more sophisticated fare than a packet of pork scratchings between glasses of weak lager.
“The selection of pubs is still relatively small, but the reviews are informative and a pleasure to read,” writes HW Lewis. “Quality, not quantity, is the order of the day.”
Recommended by: Stephen Marquand
“I always use this site to see what’s on, music-wise, round my neck of the woods,” writes Stephen Marquand.
“It’s basically a list of every music, theatre and comedy gig in a certain area from a certain date. There are brief summaries of some events, but this is about facts rather than subjective reviews.”
Recommended by: sunnystaines
Sunnystaines sang the praises of this purveyor of ‘experience days’ – trips in hot-air balloons, sporting days out, rides in Lamborghinis and so on. The site’s Days and Nights Out section offers everything from comedy and music events to evening boat trips and ghost hunting.
Recommended by: babybell
“I use What’s On Bristol, but there’s a chain of sites for quite a few cities in Wales and the West of England,” explains babybell. “No matter what type of night you want – hen and stag, romantic or whatever – it’s all covered on these sites.”
As well as the flagship Bristol site recommended by babybell, there are offerings for Cardiff, Bath and Weston-super-Mare (www.whatsonwestonsupermare.co.uk), and Manchester and Swansea versions were under construction at press time.