Have a Holiday to Remember in Exceptional European Accommodation

To have a proper holiday means getting away from it all, completely relaxing and doing your own thing. You might also want to explore the local area and immerse yourself in the country’s culture. There is no better way to do this than staying in accommodation that is characteristic of the area, and that practically breathes character. Staying somewhere that isn’t your bog-standard holiday rental or hotel means that your holiday will be unforgettable, and you will be able to cherish the memories of your unusual holiday for life. Below, we have picked the best of the remarkable residences that Europe has to offer.

A Windmill in England
If you are looking for an escape not too far from home – somewhere where you can take the kids, extended family or a group of friends – then you may want to try out the delights of The Old Mill in Stroke Ferry, North Norfolk. You can view detailed information and photos at www.homeaway.co.uk/p98330#map.This property absolutely oozes character; exposed beams, oak floors, open fires and even the workings of the mill have all been preserved. This property really has every luxury for a family holiday, including a heated pool and games room.

A Church in France
Tucked away in the sleepy village of Pezenas, and situated between Montpellier and Beziers in the South of France, is the stunning Church House, whose website is available at www.thechurchhouse.co.uk. This property is a sumptuously converted medieval church which still has a preserved vaulted ceiling in the living room, and a twisting suitcase that lifts you through the house. Despite the historical architecture, this house, which sleeps four, has all the modern necessities including wireless internet access, satellite TV and air-conditioning, and also boasts a spacious roof terrace with panoramic views across the villages and vineyards.

A Castle in Portugal
church house
If you are looking for a fairytale setting, perhaps for a honeymoon or wedding anniversary, then the Hotel Castelo De Alvito in the Alentejo area of Portugal is ideal. This exquisite castle, which can be booked through www.pousadasofportugal.com, is considered one of the best examples of Portuguese architecture, combining Islamic, Gothic and Manueline style to offer a real sense of character. The rooms are large and sumptuously decorated with a four poster bed and lounge furniture. This is the perfect place to enjoy a little luxury, as you can relax by the pool, bask in the beautiful gardens and you can even try a Portuguese medieval meal cooked on request.

A Treehouse in Spain
If you are looking for a holiday that takes you back to nature, then you can stay in a “Cabanes als arbres” in the grounds of a 14th century country house near Sant Hilari Sacalm, Spain. These tree houses can accommodate 2-4 people, cabanes des arbresdepending on which you choose, and they are surprisingly spacious, with charming decoration and comfy furniture. Although they don’t have water or electricity, this all adds to the adventure. A short distance away in the country house you can enjoy home cooked food, showers, swimming pool and gardens. The surrounding “Forest of the Guilleries” is perfect for exploring on a bicycle or on foot, and guests at “The Vileta” can enjoy discount at the nearby “La Selva de l’Aventura” activity park. For more information and availability, please visit http://www.cabanesalsarbres.com/en.

If you are going to have a summer holiday with your family or partner in Europe, then make it one to really remember. Staying in a cheap hotel or simple villa is overrated, and sometimes it’s worth spending that little extra, or going a little further, to find a magical place where you can truly unwind.

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Planning for summer can brighten your winter

We all work far better and are far happier when we have something to look forward to, like a carrot dangled in front of a horse it gives us something to aim for and the promise of a reward. Whether it is that little treat at the end of the week that helps you to try extra hard with your diet or that summer escape to sunnier climes it is a great tactic to keep you motivated. With the British winter starting to really show its teeth many Britons are beginning to dream of that summer holiday, a chance to warm your bones and enjoy doing nothing. With a trip that you wait all year for you want to make sure it is utterly perfect and it is wise to start planning as early as possible, both to ensure you get what you want and so you know exactly what you are looking forward to.

First things first you will want to book your accommodation and if you want something to look forward then it had better be exactly what you need. A little privacy, perhaps your own pool? Then it will have to be a villa. Booking your own villa for your holiday allows you to control the exact location in which you stay and also allows you to have a larger number of guests in one space than is possible in a hotel. There are several specialists such as Freelance Holidays that have a range of villas for you to choose from, click here to view their website and start your holiday adventure.

Second on the list is your flight, there are hundreds of different airlines that zig and zag across Europe and it is important that you choose the right one for you. Flights from Britain to Europe are fairly short and this can be an area where you can save yourself a little money if you are prepared to do without extra legroom. Specialist sites such as Cheap Flights can help you to get the best possible deals on flights, click here to see their website and get one step closer to a summer break. If it is a trip further afield than Europe then you may want to spend a little more and guarantee that an uncomfortable journey is not a part of your holiday.

Airport transfers are an oft forgotten part of a holiday that are best arranged at the earliest possibility, especially if there is a large party of you travelling. Large buses, coaches and minivans will become harder and harder to book the closer your holiday gets. Specialist coach and minibus companies such as Coaches Etc are experienced at arranging your transfer to the airport, click here to go to their website and see if they can accommodate your holiday needs.

Holiday insurance is something that thousands forget every year to their peril, don’t think ‘it won’t happen to me’, or ‘I’ll be fine’, as it really isn’t worth taking the risk. Holiday insurance doesn’t cost a fortune and should you incur an injury on your holiday you will surely be thankful that you purchased it. Click here to visit a comparison site that will ensure that you get the exact cover that you need at the best price.

Last step is to buy all those little holiday purchases that will make your trip all the more enjoyable, that book you’ve been promising yourself, those shades that will look great on you and make sure that you don’t forget the suncream.

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New Year in the Lake District


New Year is a perfect time to get away and enjoy a holiday; after the excitement and the bustle of Christmas, it’s an excellent opportunity to relax and unwind. The Lake District is an ideal place to spend your New Year away from home, as it’s a beautiful area with plenty to see and do even in the heart of winter.

Where to Stay

For a really indulgent New Year, choose a luxury hotel with a fully inclusive New Year’s package. Most will also allow you to add extra nights if you want to extend your stay to see and do more. The Grange Hotel in Grange-over-Sands offers a two or three night New Year package with cream teas, fantastic dinners and entertainment, including a spectacular firework display at midnight. Click here for their site.

What to Do

The astonishing landscape of the Lake District attracts many visitors, and if the weather is fine you’ll be able to enjoy a walk in beautiful surroundings – but do take care to check the forecast and wear appropriate clothing, especially if you plan on walking up to higher ground. Other attractions which are open during the New Year include the Lakeland Motor Museum near Ulverston (click here), the Lakes Aquarium by Windermere (click here), and of course Windermere Lake Cruises (click here). For the brave (or perhaps foolhardy) Windermere is also the site of a New Year’s tradition – a dip in the cold, fresh water on New Year’s Day.

Where to Eat

If you choose an inclusive package then naturally your meals will be catered for by your hotel, but it’s worth extending your stay so that you can take in some of the excellent restaurants in the Lake District, or visiting some of the local producers for something special to take home with you. The Go Lakes website here has an excellent guide to the food and drink available in the area.

Wherever you choose to stay and whatever you choose to do, you can be sure that this beautiful and astounding natural area will provide an excellent backdrop for the start of a perfect New Year.

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Leaving On A Jet Plane: Emigration Basics

captureMany people dream of leaving the British weather behind on a permanent basis and taking up a new life in foreign climes, but it can be a tricky and involved process. If you’re thinking of making the leap, here are some handy tips and suggestions to get you started.

Language & Culture

While English speakers have something of an advantage in finding people who share their language – it’s the third most commonly spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish – settling down in a new country will always be much easier if you know the local language before you go. Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular and widely recommended language courses, available at www.rosettastone.co.uk, although of course you will find you learn a lot more once you’re surrounded by native speakers.

Transitioning to a different culture can also be difficult, but you can prepare by learning as much as you can about the country you’re going to beforehand. For example, in any predominantly Muslim country, crossing your legs when you sit down may cause offense, because showing the soles of your feet is considered an insult. The Culture Crossing site at www.culturecrossing.net is a very useful community built guide which covers many countries.

Paperwork & Finance

Before you can actually emigrate from the UK, there’s an array of paperwork that you’ll need to have in order. What you actually need, particularly the kind of visa you can apply for, will vary depending on the country that you plan to emigrate to, so check their government’s website for information. You will often need various documents to be officially authenticated as part of your application process, and for this you’ll need an official notary public like Kumar Associates at www.official-notary.co.uk.

Financially, you will need to understand the cost of living in your chosen country before you can make a budget; making sure that you can afford to live comfortably in your new home is, of course, vitally important. Securing a job before you travel is recommended, unless you have a considerable amount of savings to rely on. You should also consider using a foreign exchange specialist like TorFX at www.torfx.com to convert your money so that you get the best possible rate.

Once you have these basics settled, you can work on the specifics – finding a property to rent or buy, packing up or selling off your belongings and actually booking your one-way flight to a new life in a new country.

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3 Tips to Maximise your Camping Experience

Camping is one of the most popular holiday pursuits within the UK. In the recession climate, it has proved particularly popular as a cost effective way to get away from the cares of everyday life. Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your camping holiday.

Check out your Destination

Many people enjoy the sensation of packing up their belongings and then setting out into the wilderness to assemble an impromptu campsite. This sort of carefree approach can certainly yield successful results, but it’s also well worth investigating where everyone else is going. A quiet campsite in a relatively off-the-road location might sound appealing, but some campsites are famous among holiday makers for all the right reasons: great facilities, great location. Check out the Visit Britain website for more information about 10 of the UKs top campsites. If you haven’t thought about directing your holiday through one of these locations, then it would be well worth your time to do so.

Explore your Options

Going for the straight-forward option isn’t always the best course of action. Some people enjoy the most unlikely camping areas and procedures. For example, a recent Telegraph report has detailed how hikers in Germany can now pitch their tents in midair within the German Alps. This unique experience involves suspending a tent from the branches of an overhanging tree, although there are also many other less extreme solutions for less adventurously minded campers. A variety of innovative camping aids and ideas are available to choose from, such as the revolutionary Opus camping trailer produced by Opus Camper. This system incorporates a folding tent within a small scale reinforced trailer, and it can be easily towed to practically any site to ensure maximum ease of use. It’s highly advised that you look into the different methods of camping out there, as you may well discover something new that would ideally meet your needs.

Maintain your vehicle

The last thing you want on a camping holiday is to suffer at the hands of a malfunctioning vehicle. Camping usually involves a transport vehicle of some description, whether that may be a simple car used to carry your belongings to and from the campsite, or a dedicated motorhome or camping vehicle that is going to be used to get you to your destination. Having your vehicle checked over before you go camping can avoid unfortunate episodes where you become stranded. The off-road terrain navigated over by many camping vehicles can prove particularly damaging to vehicular components such as drive shafts, and because of this a dedicated propshaft repair specialist like DriveLine can be worth bearing in mind. Likewise, an overall service plus regular checks to your oil and water is important. It makes sense to plan ahead to minimise the risk to your holiday.

Before you set off on holiday and when you want to return, you should always perform pre-journey checks, especially if you’re travelling a long way. These checks should include; checking the oil levels, the breaks, the windscreen wash and engine coolant – pick up your necessary liquids from motor specialists Halfords. This process can be quite messy so make sure you have a stash of protective gloves available to you; latex gloves from Glove Club really do come in handy on a camping holiday, especially when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Being prepared for any type of motor trouble on a camping holiday will save you a lot of money, time and stress!

The rise in the popularity of camping, and its luxury equivalent known as ‘glamping’, has been well documented in the UK over the past few years. Many people are put off by all sorts of concerns regarding a camping trip, however many of these obstacles can soon be removed with the right levels of planning. Why not start planning your next camping vacation soon, and see what all of the fuss is about?

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