Great Island Holidays Right on Your Doorstep

Island holidays really are beautiful, especially if you love the sea! You may think that you need to fly for hours and hours to find stunning islands that are worth visiting; well you’ll be pleased to know that there are gorgeous islands that are excellent for holidays, closer than you think (if you live in the UK that is!). We’re sure that you’ve heard of them, but let’s introduce them anyway; the Isle of Man, Jersey, and the Isle of Wight…

Isle of Man

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The Isle of Man is a stunning little island based off the coast of North West England. Picturesque and full of history it is the perfect place to enjoy a getaway. You can do anything here from walking, to exploring old castles and relaxing on the beach. Whilst here you must visit Peel Castle; as a ruin it’s absolutely incredible, you can really let your imagination run wild and think about what it was like in times gone by. If you’re more into modern entertainment, visit when the world famous TT Bike Race is on.

How to Get There:

Steam Packet provide a regular ferry service from Heysham and Liverpool to the Isle of Man throughout the year – it is recommended that you take a car though to get around, although their bus links are very good.

Top Accommodation Choices:

There really are many different places to stay whatever the type of holiday you’re after.

  • For those looking to embrace the outdoors, choose a campsite on the Isle of Man, Peel is a great place to stay if you’re looking to explore the history of the island.
  • If you desire a little bit more luxury, choose a beautiful guest house in Douglas. Douglas is a fantastic place to stay as it is right next to the port.

Jersey

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Jersey is one of Channel Islands and is situated between England and France – it really is a sublime destination where you can relax in style! There are lots of gorgeous beaches in Jersey. Plus with being situated between England and France, you get to experience a mixture of culture – you can order a delicious croissant without being able to speak a word of French.

How to Get There:

You can travel to Jersey by sea, so if you’re scared of flying you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to fly. However if you don’t mind flying, you’ll be happy to know that Easyjet have regular flights from the UK to the island.

Top Accommodation Choices

Whatever type of holiday you’re after, you can find it all here:

  • If you crave luxury, relaxation and comfort, choose a B and B in Jersey. With a B and B you are offered all the comforts of home, with breakfast made for you, but you can also enjoy the local cuisine by having a meal out at night.
  • Alternatively try camping in St Helier; this is great for families and those who just love the great outdoors. If you’re after a holiday with nature this is the best option.

Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight is a wonderful destination for all ages, whether you’re after a family holiday, a romantic getaway or something a little bit different. One of the most famous events that attracts people to the island is the Isle of Wight Festival which happens annually in June. There are many different things to do here including farm visits, zorbing and of course, visits to the beach!

How to Get There:

Many ferries run from the south of England to the Isle of Wight, you could even get there via hovercraft, which is certainly an exciting and unique way to travel.

Top Accommodation Choices:

  • A spa hotel on the Isle of Wight is definitely an optimum choice. You can recline and relax in true tranquillity and then go and explore this fantastic island.
  • Alternatively, choose a self catering cottage in Newport, for a central location. This option is fantastic if you want the freedom to travel far and wide!

So, if you fancy a holiday to a beautiful island, you don’t really have to travel far; these islands are spectacular and full of exciting things to do whether you visit in spring, summer, autumn or winter! Get booking and enjoy your holiday!

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Best UK Destinations For All Types of Weekend Getaways

Whether planning a family trip, a romantic escape, a solo expedition or a group getaway – city breaks within the UK can often provide as much adventure and culture as any abroad escape. We are all quite guilty of not classing jet setting in the UK as a ‘holiday’ or a ‘real break’, but you can find some really amazing city breaks within your home country at a fraction of the cost of a holiday abroad.

Always said you’ll visit a particular city yet never do? Now’s the time to get it booked and whisk yourself and/or your loved ones away with you. Who knows? You may even fall so in love with the place that you want to move there.

Here’s our guide to the best cities to suit any type of getaway within the UK.

Family Trip: Cornwall

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Cornwall is a perfect destination for any family holiday, and offers plenty of culture, cuisine and adventure to suit all members of the family. Whether a family with older children, or young parents with toddlers – Cornwall provides fun for all the family. From tasty Cornish pasties to surfing lessons; the seaside town offers lots to see and do. Cornwall is home to many an attraction, including the Eden Project, Newquay Zoo and Bodmin Museum, so if you’re looking for plenty of fun-filled activities to fill up your weekend – check out Day Out SouthWest who offer a one-stop info guide with everything you need to know to make your visit to the South West fun for all the family!

Romantic Escape: Windermere

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Windermere is a picturesque little getaway in the heart of the beautiful Lake District, offering stunning views and scenic ‘scapes all year round. Windermere offers a romantic getaway for any honeymoon, anniversary or weekend-for-two, and offers a range of attractions, lakeside restaurants and quality hotels to enjoy with your loved one. Whether it’s feeding the birds, renting your own rowing boat or just enjoying a picnic by the lake; Windermere is the ideal destination for a relaxing country escape. Check out Lonely Planet for great things to see and do whilst in the Lakes!

Solo Expedition: Edinburgh

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Edinburgh is the ideal UK destination for any brave explorer wanting to experience a little culture on their solo getaway. Edinburgh offers a bit of everything for the independent visitor; if the arts and theatre is your thing – visit the Festival Theatre or King’s Theatre for a top line-up of unmissable shows and productions. For the brave holidaymaker, Mercat Tours offer a variety of different tours that invite you to discover the underground history and vaults of both historical and haunted Edinburgh. Edinburgh offers lots to see, do, and explore, so check out Time Out Edinburgh for a full list of exciting options for your solo getaway.

Group Getaway: Bristol

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Bristol is the ultimate creative city, and is the ideal destination for any group getaway or old-friend meet-up. With its array of day and night attractions, Bristol really is a city that should be on everyone’s ‘to visit’ list. Relax on one of the many boat-bars along the harbour or lounge in a public park surrounded by architectural beauty; Bristol really is the perfect combination of traditional and contemporary styles. The nightlife is varied, and there really is something for everyone, both day and night. Check out Visit Bristol for a full line-up of Bristol’s events and festival dates.

 Corporate Teambuilding: Chichester

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It may seem like an unusual choice to choose Chichester; it’s hardly a buzzing metropolis, however this is the reason why it is such a great destination for corporate getaways and teambuilding – the Chichester Treasure Hunt is certainly a favourite! You can get away from the office and focus wholly on the people that you work with. Plus Chichester has it all, from the cultural aspects to the beautiful beach of West Wittering, and there are a few top corporate hotels with excellent facilities; Crouchers for instance offer a wide range of corporate facilities – perfect for meetings and exciting team building events! Goodwood also offer a fantastic range of team building exercises including sheep herding – priceless! It really is a beautiful place to get away from the office.

We have only mentioned a few of the most exciting and unique cities in the UK, but it’s clear to see that you really don’t have to travel miles to discover new cultures and experiences. Next time you’re struggling to find a good last-minute deal abroad, consider visiting a UK destination instead. We are sure you’ll be surprised, and you’ll save some pennies!

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Become an Ex-Pat

If the British weather is making you feel miserable and you dream of life on sunnier shores, then why not consider a home in the sun? Millions of people have already made the move to Europe, the USA, Australia and other destinations, and with the right planning you can do so too.

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One of the biggest reasons people put off their dreams of moving abroad is simply because they think it would be too expensive to buy a foreign home. However, many popular locations are exceptionally affordable, especially in countries like Portugal where the global recession hit property prices hardest, and which are only now stabilising. Right now you can, for example, find property for sale in Lagos, Portugal from Winkworth starting at around £60,000.

The price of your property should not be your only financial consideration, of course. You should think ahead to your retirement, even if that’s some way in the future – whilst the UK state pension can be claimed abroad, the rate may depend on the country you move to. If you live in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland or certain countries that have a social security agreement with the UK, your state pension will increase each year – anywhere else, and it won’t. You should contact the International Pension Centre for advice and information.

Before you set your heart on a specific destination, you should do your research thoroughly. Many people have romanticised ideas of the location they want to live in, and it doesn’t always live up to reality!

It can be an advantage to move somewhere that already has a thriving expat community, such as the Algarve, so that you’ll be able to take advantage of their experiences – and hear a familiar accent every now and then! To be sure you’re making the right choice, you should also spend time there –not just a short holiday, but as much time as you can. Instead of staying in a hotel, look at holiday rentals in the Algarve, which will give you a much more accurate view of everyday life.

You also need to check visa requirements; if you’re moving to a country which is part of the Schengen agreement (as Portugal is) this is relatively simple. You’ll be able to stay for 90 days without a visa for your fact-checking stays, but you’ll need to apply for a residence permit when you actually make your move.

The best tip, however, is to learn the language before you go; although you’ll find many people throughout the world do speak English, you’ll often get a warmer reception if you make the effort. This doesn’t need to cost you anything but time – you can learn Portuguese online for free, and find lessons for many other languages too.

Wherever you choose to move, if you do thorough research beforehand, you’ll find that it is surprisingly easy to leave grey shores behind and lead a new life in the sun.

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Escape to the Sun

It seems as though the British summer may be well and truly over – but if you have a hankering for the sun, there are still plenty of places you can go to top up your tan. By travelling to one of these sunny destinations, you can forget all about the dull British weather – just don’t forget to pack your sun cream!

Crete

Crete and the other Greek islands are excellent destinations for an autumn holiday. Although the days won’t be quite as long or warm as they are during the height of summer, this makes it perfect weather for walking and hiking, allowing you to take in some of the area’s stunning natural attractions, such as the Samaria Gorge. Crete villa holidays give you the freedom to come and go as you please, indulge in some fresh food from the local markets and tavernas and even laze by a private pool.

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Croatia

It may not be the first destination to spring to mind, but Croatia is a beautiful destination with plenty of sunshine, particularly around the Adriatic coast. September is a great time to visit, as there’ll be warm, sunny weather, the sea will still be warm enough to swim in, and you won’t see the same tourist crowds as you would in the height of summer.  Again, you can find a range of beautiful villas in Croatia which give you the freedom to explore as you like.

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Egypt

The land of the Pharoahs has been a popular destination for many years, and as you might expect from a largely desert country, there’s no shortage of sun! Visiting in autumn is a good idea for those who are used to cooler climates, as the temperatures won’t reach quite the same peaks as they do in summer, but you’ll still have plenty of sun and warmth. If you look away from the big hotels and resorts, you can find excellent independent accommodation in Luxor, very convenient for exploring the Valley of the Kings, sailing the Nile or taking in the other fantastic sights of the country.

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If grey clouds and dipping thermometers are getting you down, then all you need to do is pack your bags, book your flights, and head off on a holiday to the sun. You’ll not only get a great tan, but you can even benefit from lower prices by travelling outside the summer rush!

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Glamping: the Ultimate Guide

Camping is so last year; it’s all about glamping these days! Well, who wants to sit in a leaky tent when you could be living it up in luxury whilst exploring the beautiful natural landscape? What’s more, glamping is suitable for the whole family and you don’t need to be physically fit to enjoy it.

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So if this experience is starting to tickle your fancy already…take a look at our ultimate guide to glamping!

What is Glamping?

As we’ve got this far, we should probably explain exactly what glamping is…well, in essence it is essentially luxury camping. Many people do it to feel more comfortable when exploring another country, as a cheaper alternative to the villa holiday or even as a unique honeymoon adventure.

Your Vehicle of Choice

When it comes to choosing your vehicle, there are many options to choose from, but remember it must be comfortable! You could choose an amazing American style campervan from Oakwell Motorhomes; come on, who doesn’t wish they had one of these?

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Alternatively, you could go for something a little smaller, but just as glamorous in the form of a luxury caravan from experienced designers Coachman; they are world-renowned for their comfort and class! If you just want to take a car, that is also an option, but make sure that you choose a gorgeous, high quality tent. Quirky tent designers podpads.com have an exceptional range; you’re sure to stand out with these!

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Of course, some specialist glamping sites have their own accommodation for you there, which is wonderful if you just want to take a small car with you.

Where to go glamping?

You can go glamping anywhere in the world; although it is easier to head to UK glamping sites or European campsites, especially if you’re taking your own luxurious vehicle. Where you go is completely up to you! Spain, France, Ireland and Switzerland are a few fabulous destinations! Make sure that you consider your budget when booking though.

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What to Take With You

When glamping you get to enjoy all the comforts of home yet explore another part of the world. However, to ensure that you are comfortable out in the wonderful world, make sure that you check out this glamping checklist. Take everything that’s listed on this and you are certain to have a spectacular time under the stars.

What to expect…

So, what can you expect from your glamping trip? Well that is completely up to you! You can go rambling through the countryside or simply sit back and relax in your own luxurious piece of paradise. Nothing is too much or too little for the glamper! The most important thing is to make sure that you have a phenomenal time.

Glamping is a holiday that doesn’t go out of style; it is glamorous, stylish and will make you feel like a celebrity wherever you go. Don’t go camping, go glamping!

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