Best Places To Travel In The UK

North, South, East, or West – where should you travel in the UK? The truth is, you can’t make a poor choice. The UK is a fascinating land of history, culture, and tradition, with plenty of entertainment thrown in. Here is some information to help you make your decision for your next holiday destination.

North

Ah, the North of England. Where else can you take in championship golf, then spend most of the night at one of Europe’s most impressive “dark sky parks”? In Northumberland, You’ll find the Kielder Water and Forest Development, as well as the Kielder Observatory. This place is protected from light pollution, and is challenging Galloway in Scotland as the largest dark sky observatory. The result is that people come from thousands of miles away to observe the night sky in a pure and unpolluted area. Others just travel to Lancashire to golf on the Royal Birkdale course, or any of the other 5 championship courses.

Going even further north, you find Scotland, with its castles, countryside, and art galleries and museums. The Isle of Sky draws many visitors, with its pristine waters and spacious beauty. But, don’t overlook the Glasgow Science museum – an astounding structure well worth the trip.

South

Stonehenge. Do you really need to know more about the South of England? It that doesn’t work for you, try London. The southern part of England is home to this, and more. It’s also a fast growing economy. So, for a more urban flair to your holiday, consider the South of England. You’ll have access to 5 star hotels, fine dining, and exclusive shopping in London, while you still have the chance to get away from it all in the more bucolic settings along the southern coast. Visit Bath, Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, while you’re there, all of which offer their own bed and breakfasts, chain hotels, and RV parks.

East

In the East of England, you can have such a wide variety of experiences your head will spin. Walk the grounds of the famous Cambridge University, and soak in the history of this illustrious place that educated such famous people as John Milton, Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Alistair Campbell, Oliver Cromwell, and about ½ of the group that formed Monty Python. Or, you can simply enjoy the beautiful Norfolk beaches. Even the locals say they enjoy the beaches, meaning that they are not crowded out by tourists.

West

The Western UK is home to Wales, with its Millennium Stadium, Cardiff and Harlech Castles, Oakwood Theme Park, Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo, and much, much more. You can enjoy shopping in Cardiff, or walk the entire coastline!

Travel a little further west, and you have Ireland. Enjoy the Dublin Zoo, or kiss the Blarney Stone. However, there is much more to see and do in Ireland. Connemara, Slane Castle, and the Cork Opera House are all calling you.

With this much variety, you’re sure to enjoy your holiday in the UK.

Featured images:

Ed Brooke loves to write about travel and all things related. Ed has been all over the place and is currently settled near the Carew Arms at the foot of the Quantocks.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2014 – LAST MINUTE DEALS!!!

New YearRight, so now that the Pet Shop Boys have been announced to headline Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) celebrations, this is the time to book your accommodation to get the best deals and to make sure you get a bed for the night.

If you’re not a fan of the 50 million record selling duo, don’t worry, there’s a shed load of other gigs, parties, events and activities going on across Edinburgh for the 3 days of the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations.

Okay, so let’s get on to the deals. If you know what you’re looking for then get started searching for your accommodation using the search box on the left-hand side of this screen. By searching here you can compare room rates across all the leading hotel booking websites all at once – saving you loads of cash and time. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in Edinburgh for this New Year then check out the tips below for some local knowledge and inspiration;

  • Edinburgh has a fab bus network so you don’t have to stay in the city centre and pay the higher room rates. Stay near a good bus route and you’ll be nipping in and out of
  • the street events in no time from your accommodation.
  • Edinburgh has loads of apartments for rent – they offer loads of privacy and space, and are often much cheaper than hotels. Plus, they are great for groups looking to socialise.
  • Book your accommodation as soon as you can. Prices only get higher the longer you wait.
  • Prepare to come for a few days. Accommodation providers in Edinburgh typically require a 3 night minimum stay over Hogmanay/New Year.
  • Edinburgh is open every day – although the 1st and 2nd of January is a national holiday in Scotland, Edinburgh will be buzzing every day, with bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops open as normal.
  • I can guarantee you that it will be cold in Edinburgh this Hogmanay so make sure you wrap up warm. If you really don’t like the cold make sure you book accommodation not too far from the Princes Street activities.

Enjoy your stay in Edinburgh and I hope you get the chance to see the magnificent Pet Shop Boys. I hope to see you at one of the parties whilst you are here.

Tip: By searching for Edinburgh accommodation using the search box on the left you will compare room rates across all the leading hotel booking sites all at once – saving time and money.

WIN a luxury holiday to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

There are still hundreds of great deals available for accommodation in Edinburgh for the summer festivals – search all the best websites at once and compare room rates using the search box on the left.

It’s also worth entering the latest VisitScotland holiday competition where you could win a break at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer – click here for the full details.

Cheap Staycations In The UK For Families On A Budget

Family in front of a plane

In 2013 almost 30% of Britons can’t afford even a week’s annual holiday according a recent report in The Guardian. The figures are “up from less than a quarter before the financial crisis, according to an analysis by the Office for National Statistics, which reveals the day-to-day struggle facing many families.”

During this extended period of financial struggle, Brits are turning more and more to staycations and exploring their homeland, when they can’t afford to go abroad. Spending your break time in the UK, is a realistic alternative that can be every bit as entertaining and restorative as roving farther from home.

In a BBC report, Michael Oliver, a senior analyst with Mintel, says, “Around three-quarters say they are always on the lookout for deals. So if attractions want to keep their customers, that is what they really need to focus on. Tourist boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have taken this on board. They are running a campaign to persuade people to holiday at home or, as they call it, enjoy a staycation.”

Areal staycation

According to Hello Magazine, going on a staycation “might just be the best way to escape, relax and rejuvenate for a few days – without the expense of airports and long distance travel to boot. Research conducted by holiday lettings agency HolidayCottages.co.uk reveals a family of four could save up to 81 per cent this year, by holidaying at home instead of heading overseas.” You don’t even have to leave your own home for a successful staycation, as long as you set a few ground rules. Make sure you adopt a holiday mentality – that means relaxing routines, switching off the computer and generally shaking things up. Let the kids take the lead when it comes to meal choices, swap bedrooms, or even camp in the back garden.

Plan in a programme of day trips and activities – visit friends and family, have people over for a garden party, or hold a neighbourhood funday. If you always shop in one town or store, make a change, and have fun exploring your local area as you would any other unfamiliar new holiday destination.

Tourist information

Start viewing yourself as a tourist, with the capacity to make new discoveries even when it comes to the familiar. Visit your local tourist information office for leaflets and literature to inspire and inform. Research resorts, activities and attractions, and ask whether well-learned staff have advice or opinions of their own.

It’s also worth enquiring as to whether any UK tourism bodies are currently pushing initiatives for holidaymakers to visit certain areas – these can take the form of improved amenities and facilities or special offers and discounts. A quick trip to the TI can be a real eye-opener, often revealing a wealth of things to do and places to visit you’d never even considered.

Hard work hols

Kid after harvestWhen you’re on holiday, it’s amazing how hard kids will work – and thoroughly enjoy doing so, too! Farmstay UK – which recently celebrated its 30th birthday- is a scheme that offers families the chance to stay on a working British farm on a B&B or self-catering basis, and even get involved with the day-to-day operations if they like.

Once you’ve arranged a base, simply getting out in the fresh air and open space to discover the delights of the Great British countryside costs nothing and is great for family bonding. If you embrace a strong work ethic, check out UK conservation schemes and archaeological digs for interesting and worthwhile working holidays.

House swap

If you have friends who are also ‘staycationing’, why not propose a house exchange? The business is clearly booming according to a feature by Techcrunch on company Love Home Swap: “Love Home Swap grow revenues by 37 percent and triple traffic since funding was closed in December of last year. The company just acquired 1stHomeExchange, to add 23,000 listings.” The greatest thing is that it could be ten minutes down the road or ten hours away by car, the important thing is the change of scene. Alternatively, sign up with a trusted home swap site online and supply information about the type of place you’re after and where you’d like to go. Provided you’re happy to have a family staying in your own home, this is a great option for families on a budget.

The real deal

A real sticking point with a staycation is the cost of transport and attractions. Plan as far ahead as possible to net the best deals, and consider the best way to travel – car, bus or train? Some transport networks offer bundles which include travel, activity costs and even accommodation. Cashing in vouchers from loyalty schemes can mean free or reduced entry to nationwide activities, as can signing up with online group discount ‘experience’ sites.

Take a tour

Whether you’re near home or farther afield, join up to a coach or walking tour of the area. Aside from being a fun way to spend a few hours, you’ll come away enlightened and inspired on what’s around and what you might then want to explore further. Tours also offer first-hand access to a local expert who is bound to be full of ideas, and are social occasions full of like-minded people you could potentially befriend for the rest of your holiday.

Shared experiences

Why not join up with another family who are staying in the UK and split the cost of renting a cottage? If you get on well, there’s the potential to collaborate on cooking meals and sharing childcare. If you can share equipment, your physical load will be lightened, and the presence of constant companions for your kids can be stimulating enough on its own without having to plan a programme of additional activities.

Attached Images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: photodune.net/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: photodune.net/

A lifestyle journalist from London, Kitty Hastings has years of experience writing about home economics, parenting, fashion and travel and how to balance your budget both inside and outside the house. She recommends Eccount Money, a leader in the field of companies specialising in helping people with debt. Kitty’s articles appear in a wide range of blogs and offline publications - and she loves nothing more than relaxing with a cup of tea and a great book and adores anything vintage.

Edinburgh’s Must see Attractions for first time Visitors

If you are visiting Scotland for the first time, you have to set some time to travel in Edinburgh. Being the capital city and located in Southern parts, it presents both business and tourism center. There are many places and things to see in the city. Here is a list of the top attractions, with some of them free to visit any time you want. If you are from America, then you have to make an application for a visa. This can be done through the esta online application for US travelers.

Edinburgh Castle

A first time visitor in the city will not have fun if they do not make their way to the famous Edinburgh Castles. It is one of the fortresses seen in the skyline. It is built in a secluded but unique place at the top of the Castle Rock. This place has a unique history dating back to the 9th BC. The castle is composed of old buildings that are attractive to visitors. Inside the castles, you get the museums detailing various historical events. You will also get to see the Portcullis gate, the Argyle tower and other military building.

Museum of Childhood
This is one of the must see places to visit. It offers an opportunity to get information on how kids were raised, educated and even wore in the ancient centuries. Inside, especially if you have small kids, they will enjoy different toys like teddy bears, dolls, tricycles and trains collected from different parts of the world.

National library

In Edinburgh, you will get to see and visit the National Library of Scotland. Here, you can sample out over seven million books in different topics. There are over 13 million printed copies of items to sample out with another 1.6 million maps. This will also work well for historians looking for information.

Royal Botanic Gardens
One of the attractions to visit in Edinburgh city is the botanical gardens. The gardens which were first documented in the 16th century are said to be the second oldest in UK. These gardens offer both the tourists and scientific an opening to sample different ideas.

Holyroodhouse

If you want to learn more about the Scottish Monarchy, Holyroodhouse Palace is the place to visit. This palace acts as the official residence and home to the Scots Mary Queen. Inside, you get different lifestyles in the early days associated with the queen, artifacts of the royal family and other details.

Scotch whisky center

If you have ever tasted Scottish whisky, then you can find time to visit the distillery. Here, you get sample tour of distilling plants while being taken across various stages of whisky making. You will also be told several stories behind the plant as you taste some of the finest whisky in the world. Different flavors and aromas will be tasted.

Britannia Royal Yatch

This is one of the biggest and oldest museums in history dating back to millions of years. One thing you will find interesting is the Big Bang spaceship bridge, seen through the eyes of a telescope. Inside, you will also get to see different historic artifacts and moments like during the time of dinosaurs.

Edinburgh Festival Hotel Deals + Festival Tips 2013

It’s not long now until the Edinburgh Festival begins in 2013. The first thing to point out is that there is no Edinburgh Festival. What?!?! Don’t worry, the Edinburgh Festival is actually made up of a number of excellent festivals all rolled into one – or rather, most of the running at some point during the month of August. You can get details of many of the festivals by clicking here.

Tip: If you are planning a trip to Edinburgh for the festivals (or at any time) I’d suggest searching and booking accommodation ASAP. Edinburgh accommodation can become very pricey as the city is very popular. By searching for rooms using the search box on the left you will be able to compare room rates across all the leading websites.

I’ve also put together a few ideas on how to get even cheaper accommodation in Edinburgh for all the festivals this summer;

  1. Look at staying a bit further out of the city centre. Edinburgh has a fantastic bus network so you can stay out of the city centre and save a lot on hotel room rates.
  2. Check out serviced apartments. Edinburgh has loads of apartments to rent so check these out for great deals – especially if you are travelling with a group.
  3. Get free parking. Parking on the street in the centre of Edinburgh is very expensive. Parking in multi-storey car parks are also difficult. Choose a stay at a hotel with free onsite parking and you’ll save a lot of money.

Tip: Make sure to use the excellent Edinburgh Festival Fringe App on your smartphone – this has made scouring the event listings a whole lot easier.

Update: You can also buy Fringe tickets via the official Fringe Facebook App.

Tip: Book Edinburgh Fringe Festival tickets here before you come. One of the easiest ways to pick up tickets is at the Fringe Shop on The Royal Mile. They have a great system set up where you can just pop in to the shop with your booking number and the fancy machines will print your ticket off in a second. The other option is to join the long queues!

Funnyman Alexi Sayle will be performing this year at the Fringe and I’ll be going along to see the big man. Hope to see you there.

Tip: There are loads of other smaller festivals going on in Edinburgh during August, such as the Turing Festival or Festival of Spirituality and Peace. Check out all the other small and quirky things going on in Edinburgh.

BIG TIP: Use the search box on the left hand side of this page to compare room rates in Edinburgh across all the leading hotel booking sites.

Enjoy top weekends away throughout Europe

Many people dream of travel, yet it can be difficult to plan a trip around work commitments. Many destinations throughout Europe can now be reached within only a few hours. An organised tour can take away the hassle associated with planning a trip abroad and ensure your holiday runs smoothly.

FINDING A TOUR TO MATCH YOUR INTERESTS IN EUROPE
There are many different types of organised tour available, catering for a range of interests. Cycling enthusiasts may choose to go on a brief cycle trip through the Italian countryside and wine lovers may take a tour of vineyards in Southern France. A popular option for many is a sports tour. These tours allow you to watch international matches live and visit top tourist destinations in the country you are visiting. There are sports tours available for a range of different sports including Cricket, Golf, Rugby and British Rally Racing. They take place in countries throughout the world including Dubai, Australia, Hong Kong, Las Vegas and Japan. Upcoming sports tours in 2013 and 2014 range from 2 to 48 days.

For the traveller with little time on their hands, the RBS 6 Nations Rugby tournament is a fantastic option. The tournament begins in February 2013 and matches are played in destinations throughout Europe. This keeps costs of organised tours affordable and suits those who have work or other commitments. The tour visits iconic destinations throughout Europe meaning you can combine your passion for sports with a romantic trip to Rome or a sightseeing holiday in Paris. The first France v Wales game is scheduled for 6pm on Saturday. Friday evening is free to try French food and the rest of the weekend is available for sightseeing. This leaves plenty of time to visit sights such as The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame or the Champs–lysses. The match only a few weeks later in Rome, allows plenty of time to view sights such as the Colosseum, The Pantheon and The Roman Forum. This is a three day trip meaning only one or two days need to be taken off work in order to travel to one of the most famous cities in the world. Flight, hotel and ticket packages are also available for the Dublin game in early February. For those looking for a weekend away a little closer to home, the tour visits the stunning city of Edinburgh in early March and Cardiff only a few weeks later.

An organised tour also allows you to stay in some of the best hotels in the country. There is no need to trail through reviews on the internet; the local tour leaders will select the hotels with the best facilities for you. For those with little time to plan travel throughout Europe, an organised tour will minimise any planning required. Whether you are going on a historical, adventure or sports tour, a reputable company will be able to help plan and book your travel tickets, hotel and even guarantee tickets to matches or attractions. Airport transfers can be included meaning you do not have to worry about finding taxi’s or public transport. The Italy v Wales game can include flights from Heathrow airport at convenient times and hotels located close to the Stadio Olimpico, Italy’s new rugby stadium.

AUTHOR BIO:
Terry Harding is a travel writer from Hampshire, contributing to a number of websites and blogs. He has travelled extensively over the years, most recently throughout Asia and Australia. Terry has a background in sports coaching and enjoys Cricket and Rugby in his spare time. He will be visiting the 6 Nations tour in Edinburgh and Rome next year.