7 Dec 2015

English countryside trips for the whole family


Lake District, Cumbria
Image credit: wikipedia.org

Lake District, Cumbria

Located in the north-west of England, The Lake District is the perfect place to experience the great outdoors and enjoy the British countryside at its finest with your family. Abundant with picturesque stretches of water, forests and mountains, the region is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK.
There awaits a multitude of activities to keep the kids entertained as well as satisfy the inner-child of adventurous parents. Canoeing, rafting, archery and learning survival skills are just some of the experiences offered. The many walks and rambles take you up, down, over and through the idyllic landscape that surrounds.


Devon
Image credit: wikipedia.org

Devon

If you’re after a relaxing and truly unforgettable holiday for the whole family, Devon ticks all of the boxes. Tucked away in the south-west pocket of England, its close proximity to miles of coastline and some of the best beaches in Europe make visiting Devon a real treat.

Both the Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks and the Jurassic coastline of beaches are a must see. For a day out the whole family will enjoy, head to the ancient bridge of the Tarr steps for a picnic and a paddle.

With woodland walks and cycle trails, pretty towns and villages (Salcombe and Sidmouth to name but two) and enough attractions to keep the kids busy for the whole trip, it’s no wonder that people return to Devon time and again.


The Cotswolds
Image credit: wikipedia.org

The Cotswolds

For a holiday at a slightly slower turn of pace, look no further than the regal cities and quaint English villages of the Cotswolds. A civilised and pretty countryside escape for all of the family, here you get to sample a traditional way of life in the form of cricket greens, limestone cottages and picturesque hillsides.

Get close to nature with the many bird and wildlife parks in the region, while the kids will especially enjoy burning all their energy at Cattle Country Adventure Park. The Spa towns of Bath and Cheltenham offer mum and dad the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy and cultural enlightenment with the fine architecture and theatres.


Norfolk
Image credit: wikipedia.org

Norfolk

Situated East, in the protruding rump of England, Norfolk offers a wide variety of activities to make it a great destination for families. Those keen to get close to nature will be in their element on a wildlife safari along the Norfolk Broads, home to 11, 000 species of rare wildlife. Otters, Kingfishers, Dragonflies and the Swallowtail (Britain’s biggest and brightest butterfly) all call it home.

For wildlife of the larger (and scarier!) variety, head to Great Yarmouth and the Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens for your chance to get up and close with Tigers, Amur Leopards, Reptiles and Primates.
Berney Arms makes you feel a thousand miles from anywhere as you walk amongst the vast marshes. Visit the iconic windmill and the remotest train station in Britain, where you can actually request the train to stop and take you home!



Corfe Castle in Dorset
Image credit: wikipedia.org

Dorset

On the south coast of England, Dorset is another picturesque slice of Britain’s marauding countryside. Camping, live music, wildlife and a chance to improve your skiing skills are all on offer in this part of the world.

Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle is held every August and is the prefect family festival. Chart-topping acts, children’s TV presenters and more activities than your kids will know what to do with. The Great Dorset Steam Fair is one of Europe’s largest outdoor events, featuring an old-fashioned steam fun fair, steam engines and traditional rural craft.

Snowtrax Alpine Activity Centre will get the adrenaline going as you practice your skiing and snowboarding tricks. The kids will love riding downhill on ski-bobs or ringos.
Monkey World and Ape Rescue Centre give you a chance to learn about our primate cousins and enjoy their crazy antics, whilst on a more tranquil level there’s Abbotsbury’s Swannery where you can get close enough to feed the swans on a daily basis.

Warwick

In the heart of the country lies Warwick, home to hundreds of years of history and heritage in the form of Warwick Castle. If you’re keen for the kids to travel back in time to see how life used to be, then this is the trip for you.

If they’ve never seen a flaming fireball launched from a catapult (good chance they haven’t!), climbed 500 steps to take in unrivalled panoramic views and explored 64 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens, then these can all be crossed off the list.

A great day out, you can also extend the trip by staying in the historic town of Warwick at one of the many family-friendly B&B’s. Stratford-upon-Avon, the famous home of Shakespeare is a short drive away and well worth a visit.

North Yorkshire

The North Yorkshire Moors National Park, much like the Lake District, offers up the great outdoors in breath-taking settings with an abundance of activities to suit all tastes.

Enter Dalby Forest, known as the great Yorkshire forest, with its 55 miles of cycling trails to accommodate all levels. Whether you’re after a relaxing cycle to take in the surroundings or want the adrenaline rush of downhill slaloms, this place has the lot. Segway tours are also available for a unique way to explore the forest. If the beauty of a clear night sky is your thing, Dalby is a Dark Sky Discovery Site making it a prime spot for gazing at the Milky Way. 

The Yorkshire Arboretum offers more family fun with its collection of over 6,000 trees and shrubs in the heart of Howardian Hills. The youngsters will be kept amused with treasure hunts, leaf bingo and activity packs.

Other spots to check out are Garbutt, Guisborough Forest, Mulgrave Woods and the National Nature Reserves of Duncombe Park and Forge Valley Woods. In fact, you might need to book a longer stay to enjoy it all!


About the author: Andrew Segal loves travelling both overseas and in the UK. He works for icarhireinsurance.com, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance.

3 Nov 2015

Experience Australia’s Amazing Wildlife Up Close

Want to walk on the wild side on your next holiday? Then book a trip to Australia and marvel at the country’s diverse wildlife. Its mountain ranges, tropical rainforests, beaches, and isolated islands are home to some of the world’s most amazing creatures. When planning your itinerary, take a look at this list see for yourself why Australia is a dream destination.

Walk with kangaroos at Kangaroo Island in South Australia

Photo credit: sg.southaustralia.com

One of the first things you’ll think of when you hear Australia is the kangaroo. After all, it’s the country’s national animal. For a truly unique experience, walk with this fascinating marsupial at Kangaroo Island. This island is located in South Australia and provides a secluded home for the endemic kangaroo. As you trek across the island’s parks and reserves, you’re sure to encounter a roo or two. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see mom and pop walking around with their little joey (baby roo).

Cuddle with a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland

Photo credit: www.travelonline.com


What’s furry, cuddly, cute, and always has minty, fresh breath? Koalas! Well, they don’t exactly have minty fresh breath even if they eat lots of eucalyptus leaves, but they sure are cute and furry. If you want to cuddle with these critters, head to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. At this zoo, you get to cuddle a sleepy koala. Or, pretend you’re a tree and let it climb up your legs and arms. Just be careful with the claws; they’re mighty sharp and strong. Don’t forget to take a selfie with your new BFF.

Take a quokka selfie at Rottnest Island off Western Australia

Photo credit: www.ria.wa.gov.au

A quokka selfie is probably one of the best souvenirs you could get when visiting Australia’s Rottnest Island. This lush paradise is home to the quokka, a relative of the kangaroos and looks like a cat-sized hamster. It’s a cute, furry creature known as the world’s “happiest animal on earth.” Just do a quick “quokka selfie” search online, and you’ll be bombarded with photos of quokkas smiling and posing with tourists and locals. These furry marsupials aren’t camera shy, and they always have something to smile about. Just don’t touch or feed them since human food doesn’t go well with their diet.

Swim with whale sharks in Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Photo credit: www.australiascoralcoast.com

Craving for a breathtaking experience? Book a swim tour at Ningaloo Reef, a world-heritage site known for its amazing marine ecosystem. It’s also home to plenty of whale sharks. Despite their size and appearance, these gentle giants only eat plankton and pose no danger to humans. When visiting the Land Down Under, look for authorized tour providers to see a whale shark up close. If the water conditions are perfect and you’re lucky, you could actually swim side by side with this filter feeder and marvel at its size and beauty. Bring the whole family since many tour operators provide kid-friendly packages.

See a cassowary in action at Mission Beach in North Queensland


Photo credit: www.cairnspost.com.au

A trip to Queensland, Australia wouldn’t be complete without seeing a Southern Cassowary. This giant bird is usually seen trekking across roads, fields, paddocks, and even the locals’ gardens. If you see one, never approach it because it’s highly territorial. When it feels threatened, this dinosaur-looking bird can attack and cause serious injuries. So keep a safe distance and marvel at this endangered species as it forages for fallen fruits.

Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Photo credit: lychee-tree.com.au

Want to see Nemo, Dory and the gang up close? Head to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s natural wonders, and snorkel your way down into the shallow waters. Beneath the calm, clear turquoise waters is an underwater paradise. Swim with schools of clownfish, coral trouts, snappers, and sea turtles. Marvel at the amazing ecosystem and at the fascinating reef structures made of limestone. The list of animals you can see underwater is practically endless, but make sure your snorkeling tour is scheduled within the months of June to November; you don’t want to suddenly cancel the tour because of unexpected rainshowers.

Feed the dolphins at Monkey Mia Beach in Perth, Western Australia

Photo credit: www.pinterest.com

Start your day right by hitting the Mia Beach at around 8am. From this time until noon, you can feed the dolphins that usually swim close to the shore for their daily breakfast. Under the strict supervision of a ranger, you get to wade along the shallow waters and hand-feed the dolphins. Each of these dolphins are known for their distinct and playful personalities, so don’t be surprised if one of them nudges you as you feed them. Bring the kids with you; it’s a fun, learning activity for the entire family. On peak seasons, hit the beach before 8am to get a good spot.

With such a diverse wildlife, Australia is a haven for nature lovers. It’s the place to be if you want to experience new things, learn more about animal conservation, or just marvel at amazing creatures. So for your next holiday, book a ticket to Australia, pack some hiking boots and a swimsuit, and get to know the Land Down Under’s incredible animals.


About the author: Katrina Daez is a budget traveller and travel writer working with Alpha Car Hire, a Brisbane-based rental company with branches in Gold Coast, Sydney, and Melbourne. When she’s not writing about fun things to do in Australia, she’s busy searching for seat sales and travel discounts.

3 Sep 2015

Romantic London – An Info-graphic


Although London is a bustling cosmopolitan city of over 8million people, you can still find its lighter and more romantic side. A stroll along its canals or a picnic in its many city centre parks are really enjoyable experiences and are fantastic ways to soak up the atmosphere.

The city also has a wealth of sights to see which makes it a fantastic city break choice. From historic museums to theatres to vibrant markets, it is difficult not to be taken in by the sheer excitement of it all.

While London can be an expensive city to visit – transport and accommodation can eat into your budget – with careful planning, you can still organize a memorable and affordable trip to the U.K. capital.

This info-graphic from LA Stretch Limos who are based in London, charts the romantic sights to be found in the city. Many of these suggestions are free and their style varies greatly so there’s sure to be something from this list that will score you some major brownie points with your partner whatever their interests might be!


Romantic London – An Info-graphic

10 Jun 2015

Ibiza for Non-Partiers

The ‘White Island’ of Ibiza attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors during its high season, who flock to the island to enjoy the glorious summer weather and amazing club nights. While the party scene on the island is next to none, fear not if you aren’t the biggest night owl! Whether you’re on the island during the height of the summer, or there during low season, there’s a different, peaceful side to Ibiza that you can encounter if you choose to.