Travel: Waterford City, Co. Waterford

In keeping with the spirit of the staycation, Ben Storey reveals that Waterford ticks all the boxes One of the most endearing qualities of Waterford is its size. Many a visitor will remark on how this scenic riverside city successfully manages to project a welcoming aura, while containing all the trappings of a modern cosmopolitan centre.As a Viking city, it is steeped in history and culture. Both Waterford Castle and Reginald's Tower are evidence of this. For culture nerds, a visit to these key historic sites is a must, along with a trip to Gladstone's Bookshop, a booklover’s paradise which is found in the heart of the city and is one of its best kept secrets. Upon entering the shop, one is deceived into thinking that it is a small newsagent. However, through a doorway at the back you enter into to what must be Ireland's most extensive and labyrinth-like bookshop, where you can enjoy a coffee and put your feet up while reading any of the vast selection of books on sale.For those who prefer the faster side of modern urban life, it is safe to say that Waterford city has no shortage of social hotspots. With Waterford Institute of Technology nearby, the nightlife in the city is exuberant. Particular haunts which would suit those with an appetite for real partying are Ruby's Lounge and Harvey's. However, if it's old world charm that you're looking for, a trip to Jack Meade's thatched pub, located just outside the city, is on the cards. Nestled in a rural concave beside a whitewashed railway bridge, it is a cacophony of memorabilia from days gone by. A pint of Guinness here is sure to warm the hardest heart.Location is one of Waterford’s key advantages. It is only a short drive of seven miles to the famous seaside resort of Tramore. There is no better way to relive your childhood than to hit the amusements with a hot chocolate doughnut in hand. Or, if the weather is nice, a walk along the pier is breathtaking.For a more serene daytrip, the village of Cheekpoint is beyond perfect. This picturesque fishing village really encapsulates old Ireland and offers a true sense of nostalgia, perched beside the scenic meeting point of the rivers Barrow and Suir. While there, a visit to the Cottage Bistro is a must. This quaint family restaurant serves arguably the most mouth-watering fresh seafood dishes in Ireland. The lemon sole pie comes particularly recommended.This special combination of urban and rural experiences is what makes Waterford one of the main highlights of the Sunny South-East.