See the best in of the British this summer

Now that summer is just around the corner, it’s time to plan your great British summer. And here’s a list of some of particularly British events and attractions to entice you!

 

Stately homes

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Britain enjoys a global reputation for its many historic houses and stately homes. And there are many ways to enjoy these beautiful buildings apart from the traditional guided tour.

Hampton Court Palace may be famous for being occupied by Henry VIII, but it will also host a great selection of outdoor concerts this summer with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra presenting an evening of Fanfare and Fireworks on 13 June.

 

The great British pub


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The pub is the epicentre of many a long summer’s evening. With the relaxed balmy nights of summer enticing us to sample the delights of the pub garden, it’s a good time to check out the Telegraph’s list of the best British pubs with gardens.

And the British pub is also a great place to try your hand at some traditional pub games such as pool, billiards and darts. If you’re looking to reacquaint yourself with the great British pub sport of darts, then check out the Coral site for the latest facts, scores and predictions.

 

Country living

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The great British countryside really comes to life in the summertime. And if you’re seeking a slice of traditional country living, then the Ryedale Show in North Yorkshire on 28 July will give you all of the sights, sounds and smells you could wish for.

With livestock competitions, craft stalls and dog shows providing an interesting insight into the nation’s farming heritage, it’ll give you a new-found appreciation for life in the country!

 

A day at the beach

 

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The British seaside in summer is always a great place to see the population reacquainting themselves with the sun as thousands flock to a number of seaside destinations.

Traditional Victorian seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Scarborough will offer you all of the kitsch delights that only a day at the British beach can provide. But if you’re looking for something a little more stylish, then Cornwall not only boasts the impressive Tate St Ives art museum, but also the English National Surfing Championships in the charming seaside town of Newquay from 2 to 4 May.

 

Get medieval

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And finally, if you’re looking to really celebrate Britain’s heritage, then pay a visit to the quaint Gloucestershire town of Tewkesbury between 11 and 12 July where there is Europe’s largest medieval festival.

The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival has been running for over 30 years now and offers historical re-enactments, an authentic medieval market and even the occasional dragon-keeper!

Havana great time – why Cuba is attracting more tourists than ever

The number of tourists visiting Cuba rose by 4.5% last year, according to official figures. If you’ve not yet had the chance to experience this captivating country, you’ll no doubt want to know why the country inspires such passion in its visitors.

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Cuban Charms

Visitors to Havana airport arrive hoping to see a city filled with 1950s classic cars, crumbling colonial buildings and rum-filled bars – and they’re not disappointed! Add tropical beaches, beautiful bays, magnificent mountains, intoxicating music and friendly locals to its long list of charms and you can start to see why Cuba has its own irresistible and unique draw.

 

The number of tourists visiting the colourful country reached around 2.9 million last year, the Cuban Office of National Statistics reported – and this year that figure is expected to reach 3 million. The majority of visitors are Canadian, while Brits account for the largest number of European tourists.

 

Change Is in the Air

Cuba’s new leader, Raul Castro, the younger brother of Fidel, is behind the drive to increase tourism to the islands, in the hope of giving the economy the boost it has long needed. However, while tourists are benefiting greatly from ongoing improvements to hotels and services, many tourists are now rushing to book their Cuban break while the country still retains its unique old-world charm. Last year, Raul Castro lifted the restriction on buying and selling cars purchased after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, meaning Cubans are now free to trade in their Chevys and Model Ts for modern vehicles. With other changes afoot, Cuba holidays booked now may truly be once in a lifetime experiences that can never be repeated.

 

Cuban Attractions

A veritable selection of attractions awaits visitors in Cuba’s capital city, Havana. The old town (“Havana Vieja”) provides tourists with all the old-world magic they seek. Highlights include: the Malecón, a broad esplanade that stretches 8km along the coast from Havana Harbour to the Vedado district; the famous Plaza de la Revolución, the site of Fidel Castro’s speeches; the Museo de la Revolución (Museum of the Revolution); the Castillo de la Real Fuerza (“Castle of the Royal Force”); and the Capitolio Nacional (National Capital Building).

 

Breathe in tropical mountain air in Soroa, the “Rainbow of Cuba”, or chill out on the soft white sands of Playa Ancon, a 4km beach that offers fantastic snorkelling and diving opportunities. Visitors will also want to make sure they visit the colonial town of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the province of Sancti Spiritus.

 

When to Go

Cuba’s dry season is November to April, making Cuba an ideal winter getaway destination.

 

And, if you want to see Fidel’s Cuba, take advantage of the many last-minute deals available and get over there as soon as you can!

48 Hours in Dublin

Dublin has a bit of a reputation in travel circles as a warm (the people, not the weather), friendly and welcoming city. It’s the sort of city you can visit and never want to leave. From the bustling shops on Grafton Street and O’Connell Street to the lively bar scene at Temple Bar, Dublin has no shortage of things to keep you entertained as you visit ‘The Fair City’. If you are in a rush though and are planning a weekend break to the capital city of Ireland, here’s a few things to be sure to take in.

Temple Bar

 

How to spend 48 hours in Dublin

Get the right hotel

Dublin hotels are plentiful and finding the right hotel can be a challenge. You need to think location and budget. Unlike other cities in Ireland, Dublin is pretty large, so if you want to see as much of the city as possible, think about locating somewhere near the city centre. If city centre is your desired location then look for hotels that fall within the following postal / zip codes – Dublin 1, 2 or 4. Dublin does have a great public transport system, so even if you are staying outside of the city centre, you will be able to get into town pretty easy using the bus, train (Irish Rail and LUAS) or tram lines (DART).

Take the city bus tour

The best way to see Dublin in a short space of time is by hoping on to one of the city’s popular tourist buses. The Dublin City Sightseeing Tour and Dublin Bus Tour will provide you with a 2 day ticket to travel round the city getting off and on as you please. Popular stops along the way include Trinity College, Grafton Street, Temple Bar, The Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Gaol. The bus tour will certainly keep you busy for a day (or two depending on where you plan to visit), and in some instances the bus driver acts as a tourist guide, and a very entertaining one at that.

Dublin nightlife

So you’ve spent the day exploring the city by bus, now it’s time to enjoy the city at night on feet. For most first time visitors to Dublin, the first stop for exploring the local bar scene is the famous Temple Bar area. Temple Bar has many bars and restaurants located within the area and can be a good way to spend a few hours sampling the bar atmosphere and enjoying the traditional Irish music on show. As it is a popular tourist hangout, the price of drink can be pretty expensive, but if you’re only looking for a few beverages and some entertainment then you’ll be hard pushed to beat Temple Bar.

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Dublin offer much more than Temple Bar though if you’re looking to sample the nightlife in your short trip. For those of you keen to explore some of Dublin’s most popular nightspots, get along to Harcourt Street and Copper Face Jacks and Krystle nightclubs. Dame Lane and Baggot Street are also popular spots with the locals while bars like Pygmalion at South William Street and 37 Dawson Street on Dawson Street are also worth checking out. One thing you can guarantee about Dublin is that you won’t be stuck for somewhere to enjoy a night out. From traditional bars and craft beer bars to cocktail bars, wine bars and nightclubs, there’s something for everything in The Fair City.

Dining out in Dublin

So day one is over and now it’s time to get some breakfast or lunch and set you up for day two in the city. As you’d expect with a major European capital city, Dublin has a great choice of places when it comes to dining out. Popular spots for breakfast or lunch include Bibi’s Café, Coppinger Row and Brother Hubbard, and if it’s a sweet treat that you are after, look no further than Queen of Tarts on Dame Street. If you’re looking for suggestions to dining out at night, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud on Upper Merrion Street is the pinnacle of dining in Dublin. It is Ireland’s only 2 star Michelin restaurant. If you’re looking for something a little different, check out Bite on Frederick Street, The Green Hen in Exchequer Street or Fire Restaurant on Dawson Street.

Queen of Tarts

Dublin and the great outdoors

Dublin can be hit and miss when it comes to the weather, but if you are fortunate and get blue skies and clear weather for your stay, be sure to take a stroll around St Stephen’s Green, a large park in the centre of the city. Take your time and stroll through the park, taking in the magnificent gardens as you go. If you have time, take a trip out to Phoenix Park, a park that is larger than both Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London. Phoenix Park is also the home of Dublin Zoo, another area well worth visiting.

St Stephens Green

Other notable places to visit

If you’re looking for something different to do in Dublin on your stay, be sure to check out the Little Museum of Dublin, Dublin Wax Museum, Croke Park (home of the Gaelic Football Association) and the National Leprechaun Museum.

So as you can see, there’s lot’s for you to do when you visit Dublin. For more information on things to do and places to visit in Dublin, visit www.visitdublin.com.

2015 In The UK Is A Sport Lover’s Dream

If you are lucky enough to be heading to the UK this year then you are in for a real treat! 2015 promises to be a fantastic year for sport lovers in Great Britain, the sporting calendar is always jam packed but this year there are some very special events to look forward to.

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A trip to the UK is always a great idea because there is something for everyone; history, culture, art, fantastic cuisine, music and much more, but if you can also catch one of the world’s biggest sporting events it is sure to be a trip you will never forget!

This year there really is so much to choose from, so I thought it would be a great idea to pick my top 3 sporting events that cannot be missed. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section below, is there anything you would have liked to have seen in the list? I’m looking forward to hearing about the events you will be attending this year.

The Rugby World Cup

The rugby world cup is coming home to the nation that invented the game. The best rugby nations from all over the world will come to fight it out for the Web Ellis Cup. The best thing is that the fans from all around the globe will descend on the UK – rugby fans are renowned for being super friendly and also knowing how to have a great party. So, if you can’t get a ticket for the game make sure you get a seat in a packed bar because the atmosphere will be electric!

The Grand National

Although the race is an annual fixture in the UK’s sporting calendar it simply has to make the list! No other event in the UK gets the nation more excited or involved. The Grand National is one of the most famous horse races in the world and it always keeps you on the edge of your seat. If you’re in the UK at the time of the race you need to pick up a Grand National Day race card, go through it and pick out your favourite horse. Then its time to sit back, cheer him on and hopefully pick up the winnings.

The Ryder Cup

This is golf’s most contested cup, it pits the United States against Europe. Tension is always high, nerves are tested and controversy is never far away. This year the Ryder Cup is heading to Scotland. It’s always easy to get into golf events if you show up early enough, try to get there on the last day when the galleries will be in full voice cheering on their teams.

Winter Marvels of the Old Continent

The holiday season is upon us, when everything and everybody prepares the wonderful celebrations of Christmas – every nation in its own way. In Europe most major cities organize traditional Christmas fairs around this time of the year, and some go even further, completing the fairs with celebrations and other traditional activities that happen at Christmas time. Here is a short selection of the most interesting ones that you must visit if you happen to be in Europe around this time of the year.

The Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

The Tivoli Gardens is one of the “must-see” sights for visitors in Copenhagen (Denmark) all year long, but in December it transforms into something even more attractive – a veritable winter wonderland. Besides the thrill rides and the stalls selling traditional Christmas food and drinks, along with hand-crafted merchandise, the garden itself transforms into something taken out of a fairy tale, with dozens of decorated Christmas trees and thousands of lights flickering all over the place. A wonderful adventure and some traditions mixed with the surroundings of a modern European capital city – a must visit for those traveling in Denmark in December.

The Budapest Christmas Fair

The best place to soak up some Christmas spirit along with some exotic Hungarian traditions during the holiday season. The fair has over 100 participants, with stalls selling hand crafted, traditional foodstuffs, drinks (go easy with the “palinka” – it’s real fire water!) and ornaments, all approved by a jury as being hand-crafted and traditional. The fair is spiced up with traditional songs and dances, showing the nation’s Christmas traditions and colorful national wear.

The Christmas Markets of Paris

Oh, Paris, the wonderful capital city of France – what can be more romantic than a visit to the City of Light during the holiday season! Paris is home to a series of Christmas events and fairs, including the Gourmet Christmas Fair at the Palais Brongniart, the Christmas Markets of the Champs Elysées, the Marché de Noël de la Place Saint Sulpice or Marché de Noël de Montparnasse. You can even visit Versailles, the wonderful palace of the Sun King (Louis XIV of France) for a special Christmas fair between December 5th and December 26th this year, visiting the architectural wonder of the old Paris and the traditional Christmas fair at the same time. There are several Christmas fairs to choose from – the only problem is how to make time to visit them all.

On a personal note – I think the best way to visit these wonderful examples of Christmas fairs is by train. Riding a train during winter has its specific atmosphere, seeing all the mountains and plains covered in snow makes the trip add to your Christmas spirit. And if you get bored on the way… well, classic slots can produce hours of fun, and they can chase the boredom away.

Having fun in Lagos!

Igreja de Santo Antonio

You might think of Portugal as purely a sun and sand holiday destination, but in fact the country offers far more than beaches. Visit the Algarve and you might be surprised to find ancient cities, wonderful architecture and a buzzing metropolitan vibe.

Igreja de Santo Antonio

Igreja de Santo Antonio

The municipality of Lagos, in particular, is a lively destination for short breaks. It has a 2,000-year-old maritime history, which lends it a certain charm as you stroll through its old streets. With Roman, Carthaginian and Punic influences, its culture has much to be admired.

You can find cheap holidays to Portugal very easily online, so consider booking a getaway to Lagos this summer if you want a break on a budget.

What to do

If you find yourself in the Algarve, you need to visit one of the many golf courses for which the region is famous. Onyria Palmares Golf is a 27-hole course composed of three returning nine-hole loops that can be played in any sequence – so every time you go there, you can play a different series of holes. The fairways have been designed to interact with the local environment, so golfers can observe the rolling Monchique hills, the beautiful golden sand dunes and the picturesque Bay of Lagos as they tee off.

The Parque Zoologico de Lagos (Lagos Zoo) is another great pitstop for holidaymakers to the Algarve. There are more than 120 animal species and 200 botanical varieties to wonder at as you stroll around the large enclosures. If you time your visit correctly you might be able to watch the pelicans and primates being fed. Kids will also love the petting farm, where goats, pigs and other farmyard animals feed out of their hands – ensure you have a few 50c coins to purchase the bags of feed.

What to see

The Igreja de Santo Antonio (Church of St Anthony) is an impressive building, not least because of its hand-painted murals of Saints Anthony and Francis. There is also a little historical display recounting the Algarve’s past from the Neolithic to the Roman and Moorish times. Although there is no seating inside the church – because it was designed for the use of the military and visiting soldiers were expected to stand throughout the services – it is well worth the €3 (£2.57) entry fee.

If you want to spend some time in the sun, hire a horse from the New Forest Lodge in Lagos and explore the area. Horseriding is a great way to get to know the countryside and coastal trails of the region, or if you want to avoid saddle soreness, you can rent out a horse-drawn carriage and be driven around in style.

The palm-fringed marine of Lagos is a lovely spot in which to stop to watch the sunset. Have an evening constitutional around the stark white yachts moored there before settling down to a plate of fresh seafood at one of the many cafes and restaurants lining the water’s edge.

 

Two Out of the Ordinary Experiences around South Africa’s North West Province

One of the best parts about holidaying in foreign lands is the ability to experience a whole range of new things, from the rich history of the land, to the beautiful wildlife and architecture that the culture has to offer. South Africa’s North West Province, situated just west of the major population centre of Gauteng, definitely has some breathtakingly amazing sites available. Home to the Cradle of Humankind, one of the eight World Heritage sites found within South Africa, a large number of national parks filled with beautiful wildlife and, of course, the beautiful hotel and resort of Sun City, you are guaranteed to never run out of activities when visiting this picturesque province.

The Maropeng Exhibition and the Sterkfontein Caves

Maropeng, which is Setswana for “returning to the place of origin”, is the official visitors centre of the Cradle of Humankind and home to the fascinating exhibition that focuses on the development of humankind and our ancestors over the past few million years. This is definitely a must-see place for anyone that is interested in gaining a fuller understanding of how we, as humans, came to be.

The limestone Sterkfontein Caves near the Maropeng Exhibit has become world renowned thanks to the many monumental fossil discoveries that have been uncovered, hidden deep within them. The two most popular is definitely that of “Little Foot” and “Mrs. Ples” which have helped answer many questions about how our humanoid ancestors once lived.

Sun City Casino and Resort

The best way to describe this resort would be as something you would expect to find in a Disney-styled fairy tale. Thanks to the rolling green hills, the utopian-like Valley of Waves waterpark and the extravagant five-star Palace of the Lost City, there is no denying that this resort is a must-see for travellers of all ages. Thanks to the large number of online casino sites like http://pokiespalace.com.au, that have taken the world by storm, many people seem to have forgotten the architectural beauty that surrounds most world renowned casinos. The Sun City Casino definitely takes this beauty to a whole new level, situated within the four-star Sun City Hotel, this place will leave even the non-gamblers in complete awe.

By Jason Swindon        

5 things you must do when travelling to New York in your 20s

Visiting New York in your 20s is a right of passage. You’ve probably seen the city a thousand times on your TV, on movies and even on pretty much every travel blog you’ll ever read – New York is a city to behold. With so much to see and do, you’re likely to feel a bit overwhelmed and with that in mind, we’ve a list of 5 things you must do if you’re heading to visit the big apple in your 20s.

New York

Image source: Flickr

Top 5 things to do in NYC in your 20s

1. Eat the real good bad food

New York is no place for a calorie counter and this is especially true in your 20s (you’ll have plenty of time to work it off walking around the streets of NYC). Good food was born in New York, so ditch the preppy salads and head to Gray’s Papaya. This is where the locals go to get their daily hotdog fix and better yet it’s under $2.

2. Walk off the real good bad food

You are young, fit and well able to take in this beautiful walk way on The High Line.  The park stretches from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea on a previously derelict elevated railway track. Resurrected with a stunning maze of gardens (showcasing 300 species of plants) and lots of New Yorkers – you’ll have a blast just strolling and people watching.

3. Get on the Staten Island ferry

Nothing is more appealing in New York than something for free, especially when it offers you such a great view. Want to see the Statue of Liberty? Of course you do – and rightly so, it’s a must when visiting New York. But if you’re on a budget it’s a good idea to hop on board the Staten Island Ferry for a total cost of $0. A short journey will take you to the island, hop on another return boat, and come back – free of charge. Not only that, but you will also have a stunning iconic view of Manhattan from the water – offering your some perfect photo opportunities and a chance to see New York with the New Yorkers.

4. Cycle round Central Park

Central Park is one of the most beautiful and iconic things anyone visiting New York should do – it is sacred ground for the New Yorker and the tourist. Home to 843 acres of sheer beauty, a young and fit person in their 20s should see it all on bike. Take to the tracks early morning (any time after 6am), rent a bike, and see the sights -, the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, Belvedere Castle atop Vista Rock, or the Bow Bridge (which one of the park’s most photographed locations). Cheap hotels in New York are plentiful in this area so stay around here for the ultimate NYC experience.

5. Get a view from a rooftop

Roof top views in New York can often be expensive and exclusive, but there are some that can offer your views like never before at a somewhat reasonable price. 230 Fifth is one of these – dress well and avoid crazy nights like Saturdays and you’ll have every chance of getting in. Prices are good considering the area and the view is simply phenomenal.

Whatever your plans for New York City – you could not be disappointed. Soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy all the city has to offer.

 

 

VISITING THE ANCIENT CITY – PETRA

My trip to Petra turned out to be shorter than I planned, but a fantastic experience. No surprise that Petra was named “one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man!” I was completely possessed by Petra’s beauty.

 

Petra is a unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled there more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. Petra is also sometimes called as the ‘lost city’, as it was completely lost to the western world, in spite of being such an important city in ancient times.

 

Petra lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains that form the eastern flank of Aravah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.

 

We had planned a hike to the Monastery, one of the major buildings in Petra for the day. It was truly spectacular, much larger than the Treasury and well preserved, because of the walls on both side and a facing mountain protected it from the wind. In front of the Monastery was a restaurant with shade where we stopped for a break.

 

Then the next day we planned to visit the Treasury. Wow, I am still just a little amazed as I write this. You walk down a gravel slope, where guides are trying to sell you a mule or carriage ride in. Nope, we preferred walking. Then you pass the start of this amazing society – there are caves, tombs, and funeral blocks along the pathway, where I believe the poorer members of the culture were buried. There were some carvings along the wall, and limestone blocks that supposedly were part of the initial road. Then, you see the glimpse of the treasury – a little bit of a pink structure peaking in through the shadowed Siq walls. This was an incredible experience.

 

Diving in the spectacular Red Sea, jeep safari driving in the desert, absorbing the enchanting Petra and floating in the Dead Sea, amazing sights, surprises and barbecues in a cave, hiking in Dana Biosphere Reserve, everything… Everything is so perfect there. It was a lot more challenging than I expected. I am extremely happy, proud and humbled by the entire experience.

The best things to do in Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the best countries in Africa and that is why it attracts hoards of tourists year after year. The country is situated in East Africa, it has been blesses with some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet and has something for every holiday and every interest. If you haven’t been there yet it’s time to start thinking about it right now!

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Deciding to go is the easy part, the difficult part is figuring out what it is that you will do when you get there because there is just so much to see and do! Here are my 3 things that you shouldn’t miss, if you’re heading to Tanzania then do at least one of them and I promise you will not be disappointed. Have you been to Tanzania before? If you have I would love to hear about your experiences and places that you think a re a ‘must see’, all you have to do is put your thoughts in the comment section below this post. I love to read about your travels and it’s also a great way for us, as a travel community, to share ideas with others.

So here’s my list of 3 TOP places not to be missed in Tanzania:

A visit to Mount Kilimanjaro

When people think of Tanzania one of the first thing that enters their mind is Mount Kilimanjaro, this iconic symbol of Tanzania is a must see for everyone! You can do do many things here, either climb the dizzy heights or marvel at it’s beauty from the national park whilst you watch the wildlife roam free. It’s the tallest mountain in Africa and a site that knocks everyone for six when they first lay eyes on it.

Take the dive on Mafia Island

If a place is thought to be the best diving location in Africa then you know it’s going to be a knockout! You’ve all heard of the Spice Islands I’m sure, well, Mafia Island is probably the most stunning of them all. I think those last two sentences really tell you who amazing this place is! If you want to have a holiday in a location blessed with crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and stunning marine life then go here now!

Take a safari

Yes, you have to do it! Yes, everyone does it! But guys, there’s a reason everyone does it and that is because it’s one of the best experiences you will ever have! You can’t go all the way to Africa and not go on a Safari, it just wouldn’t be right. With the amazing national parks in Tanzania you are never short of options. If you want to see elephants, lions, rhinos and buffalos in their natural habit then book one straight away – hands down one of the best things I have ever done!