Fishing Holidays: Top 5 UK Destinations

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Fishing holidays can be very relaxing and also extremely addictive. For beginners, a fishing holiday can be an exciting challenge, and for seasoned anglers, it can be the perfect opportunity to embrace the sport as well as its beautiful natural surroundings.

Here are 5 of the top fishing locations in the UK:

  1. Bury Hill Fisheries, Surrey

The beauty of a fishing holiday at Bury Hill Fisheries is the perfect harmony between modern and traditional. Still withholding its fame since the 60s as a top fishing location, Bury Hill is far from your regular day ticket fishery. This remains to be one of our country’s most stunning and diverse fisheries, offering everything from pedigree English Carp and specimen Bream to large Zander or Pike.

  1. Windmill Fishery, Bristol

A great choice of 4 bespoke lakes, Windmill Fishery can offer holiday makers the Match Lake, Carp Lake, Specimen Lake, and Silver Fish Lake. The fishery is managed on a day ticket basis for holiday makers and a refreshments service can also be organised with the site manager. Bristol is also a wonderful, diverse seaside location which gives the whole family a world of fun to explore, so you can be sure that everyone in your party is entertained throughout the holiday.

  1. Cuton Lakes, Essex

Cuton Lakes is a breathtakingly beautiful fishing location in Chelmsford, Essex. There are three wonderful lakes, complete with a cabin where you can enjoy refreshments throughout the day. There are a number of swims which are suitable for disabled anglers so please don’t forget to bring your disabled photo ID badge if you would like to benefit from the disabled parking spaces.

  1. Monks Pool, North Wales

This is one of the best carp fishing locations in the UK and most definitely a place to add to your bucket list. Covering 6 acres, with depths of over 40ft and profusely occupied by weed, this is a popular fishing lake because of its extreme difficulty factor. Keep in mind: Monks Pool is definitely a challenge for more seasoned anglers.

  1. Orchid Lakes

A truly beautiful location, set in the heart of the Thames Valley, Orchid Lakes offers a wonderful fishing location as well as a nearby tourist village which is full of culture and history. Stay in the nearby Dorchester-on-Thames to experience the quaint and stunning historic city. You can also enjoy the views at Orchid Lakes, as the fishing lakes are surrounded by the most spectacular trees and wildlife.

Find out more about the whole Orchid Lakes experience on Simon Crow’s carp fishing blog.

5 Other Things to do in Paris

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Everyone has their top list of things to do in Paris, but there’s so much more than just shopping, a famous arc, and a world-recognized iconic structure. Paris has everything, so when you make it here, make sure you add a few other things to do besides the “must-do’s.”

Roman Hunting

When you think of the Roman times and all of their ancient glory, you may only think of the obvious place, Rome. However, Paris also offers some remnants of the Roman architecture and it’s dotted around the city. Take a gander at the most impressive Roman evidence at the Roman Baths at Cluny. You will surely be passing by Notre Dame, so take a look at the nearby Archeological Crypt of the center of Lutetia, an Old Roman city.

On the Streets

Museums of all kinds are plentiful in this capital city, but you can see art outside of a massive building and for free. Just take a stroll along the streets to see some really cool, funky, vibrant, and artistic street art. Take a stroll down Canal St. Martin and guide yourself along this detour of masterful street art. This area is on the up-and-coming places to be and hang out. Take a break at an art shop, or have a coffee and a crepe at one of the charming restaurants.

Parisian Treats

Don’t get so wrapped up in sightseeing and cramming too many things in a day. If you do this, you might not leave enough time to sit back, relax, nosh on some cheese and sip on some local wine. A Paris wine tasting tour will be the best way to rest those feet after an all day run-around the city. There are many spots to choose from, try and get the best view of the Eiffel Tower, the wine will go down that much more smoothly. If you want to be a bit more simple, grab some wine, cheese, and a fresh baguette and bring it to a park like the Buttes Chaumont or the Champ de Mars.

Waterways

There are a few waterways that spilt Paris up with its free flowing natural canals and river. While the Seine River usually steals the show, take yourself to a more secluded waterway like the Canal de I’Ourcq. Take a boat ride down the river, or stroll along side it and enjoy the fresh air in the countryside just far enough outside where you forget that a huge city is nearby.

Go to School

Nobody wants to go to class while on holiday, but you will want to if you get to choose the class you go to. Take a unforgettable cooking class and impress your friends, and yourself, with you new Parisian cooking skills. If you’re in to photography, Paris is an excellent place to learn and photograph, and an array of other enjoyable activities can be learned while you are staying here. This is a way to spice up your visit here and really take something back with you.

Things To See In Barcelona

Have you ever been to Spain? There’s a reason this is one of the most travelled tourist spots. Between the warm climate and breathtaking landmarks, experiencing all the beauty this country has to offer is a cinch. Especially in Barcelona! You see, Barcelona is no ordinary place to visit. It is known for its vibrant culture, delicious foods (you’ll want to try the Allioli or some tasty tapas), and the unforgettable sights.

Is a trip to Barcelona in your future? Make the most of every moment by planning ahead. These are some of the must stop locations to add to your itinerary.

The Sagrada Familia

One of the most iconic sights in Barcelona has to be the Sagrada Familia. This Roman Catholic Church is known for its large size and ongoing construction. This particular church began construction in 1882 but is yet to be completed. Despite the fact that it is not yet finished, this unique landmark has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What you’ll see when you visit is a combination of old and new. The colour of the materials contrast in certain areas thanks to the different ages of the stones. That makes for a truly unforgettable sight! The Sagrada Familia is one of the most popular spots to visit in Barcelona…. so be sure to spend a little time there. Want to stay close by? There are plenty of quality accommodation near Sagrada Familia for you to choose from.

Magic Fountain Of Montjuic

Travelling can be expensive. This makes it important to look for things to see and do that won’t break the bank. The perfect place to enjoy the sights – and the light show! – is the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. The fountain can be found below the Palau Nacional. Over the years, it has become a place for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. Why? It is absolutely beautiful. Plus, if you are travelling with young children, this is a great place to spend some time without shelling out any money. It features a water, music, and light show that is completely free. Perfect for travelling on a budget.

Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya

The Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya (often referred to as MNAC) is a museum that is worth a stop. Translated to the National Art Museum of Catalonia, this museum is full of artefacts and historical documents. During an afternoon at the museum, you can expect to see Romanesque church paintings, Catalan art, and more. This is a great way to get a taste of Barcelona’s history – and examine some memorable pieces of historical art. When you are planning to visit the city, you’ll want to put art at the top of your list!

Days spent in Barcelona, Spain can be as laid-back or historical as you like. Whether you prefer to eat some delicious food and relax or would rather check out unique landmarks and attractions…. anything is possible. Don’t know what to do during your stay? Just keep this list handy.

Top 5 Things to do in Malaga

Malaga is a great place to visit which offers a unique landscape with the sea on one side, mountains on the other, and river valleys flowing through the surrounding countryside. With many more flights to Malaga opening each year, there’s really no excuse not to visit this beautiful region of Spain, the second most important city in Andalucia.

The History

They have found prehistoric evidence of human habitation in the surrounding areas of Malaga, such as cave paintings and standing stones. But the city we see today was founded by the Phoenicans, and then ruled by the Romans, Visigoths and Moors. There’s a fascinating combination of eastern and western influences in the cultural history of this part of Spain.

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Here are my top 5 things to do when in Malaga;

1) Beaches

There are some great beaches, which are ideal for kicking back with a novel, sunbathing, water sports, and some of the best seafood in all of Spain. Many of them are Blue Flag beaches, meaning they have reached specific, rigorous standards; Fuengirola near Malaga boasts the biggest collection of recommended beaches to visit: Torreblanca, San Francisco and Carvajal, to name just three.

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2) Museums

Picasso was born in Malaga, and there’s a museum in the city to showcase his work, along with a museum at his place of birth to celebrate his life story. Malaga also has some other excellent art museums, such as the Thyssen Museum, Contemporary Art Museum, and, if you’re looking for something a little quirkier the Museum House of Dolls.

3) Malaga’s Surrounding Areas

The surrounding area of Malaga is famous for its white towns and villages; little collections of white dwellings often balanced on the sides of picturesque looking hills. There are a lot of quaint winding streets and crumbling buildings to explore along the Andalucian coastline, so it’s worth renting a car and putting in the miles, to truly experience the beauty that the surrounding countryside has to offer.

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4) Ancient Buildings

For true history buffs, Malaga will keep you intrigued with its historic architecture; there’s the 14th century Gibralfaro castle, with beautiful hilltop views of the city to explore. Also make time to visit the Roman Theatre, built by Emperor Augustus and left undiscovered until 1951, meaning it has been well preserved.

5) Conception Botanical Garden

This beautiful botanical garden is a wonderful way to step away from the city while remaining firmly in it. It’s tranquil and lush, with a huge variety of plants and wildlife. Admission is cheap, and there’s a tropical and subtropical garden – offering some of the most interesting plants in Europe.

Malaga is an amazing Spanish city, often overshadowed by Madrid and Barcelona, but definitely worth a visit in its own right. When you’re tired and you want to rest your aching feet, stop by a bar or a cafe and get chatting to the locals: there’s a wonderful cafe culture here which will have you making new friends in no time!


Images by Leo Hidalgo, Martin Haisch and Bogdan Migulski used under creative commons license.

Transportation While on Holiday

While on holiday and making your way through the countries of the world, transportation is surely an inevitable occurrence. Usually this part of the trip isn’t the most fun, it might take up a large chunk of time, it was probably one of the most expensive parts of the holiday, and really, the destination is, of course, the highlight. While getting to your holiday spot will have you at the edge of your seat and praying to get there already, the second you actually start your holiday, yes, that means when you enter the plane, train, car, or boat, you should start enjoying yourself immediately! Here are a few ideas to help encourage you to enjoy and make the “getting there” part more bearable.

Boat

OK, so this mode of transport is kind of the best of the bunch. Boats and cruises are perhaps the most scenic way of getting anywhere. Although one the slowest, how could you not enjoy disembarking from Florida’s ports and making your way to the Bahamas? Or what about picturesque French river cruises that flow past the Eiffel Tower and along the mighty Seine River? If you’re floating around the Mediterranean, seeing the stream of islands and islets pass you by will be a magical moment. Just walk out on deck and enjoy the scenery. If worse comes to worse, the boat will likely have a divine buffet to entertain your taste buds, at the least.

Car

Cars are totally underrated nowadays. Cars are a sure way to see everything that you want to see and more. Yes, another slower mode of transport, but let’s give the car some credit. First, you will be the one navigating and we always trust ourselves more than anyone else. Next, if you see something of interest and would like to stop, guess what? You can! And you can spend as much time there as possible. Road trips are super fun for the family, if you’re prepared. Make sure to bring plenty of entertainment for the kids, otherwise this could be a nightmare. Driving yourself also can save tons of money since flights are often the pricer way of getting there.

Train

Slow trains, fast trains, and anything in between are an experience for anyone, especially their first time. Trains really aren’t all that bad. Imagine that they are long grounded planes on the move. Some of them can be pretty fast, like the fast trains that connect Europe. You can find yourself going from Paris to Nice in a heartbeat. There’s usually a food cart, and on some longer journeys, you even get a bed! Not that bad, right?

Plane

Alright, finally, the plane. It’s often the most expensive, but also the quickest. Depending where you are and where you’re going, this just might be literally the only way to get there. So don’t make it a drag. Back some stuff to snuggle up with as we all know planes get cold. Charge everything so you can enjoy being productive and getting work done on your laptop or listening to music on your MP3 player. Download some movies for yourself if the plane doesn’t offer it, or if you hate planes that much, just go to sleep and wake up where you want to be.

Don’t let transportation be the downfall of your holiday time. Make it work, make it worth while, be productive, bring entertainment, enjoy the surroundings and the scenery, and make the best of it. After all, it is part of your holiday.

Fall Into These Cities: Autumn’s Top 5 Destinations

Many people have summer holidays, but if you want to beat the crowds and see some cities during their best, coming during the autumn months might just be your best bet. If you are ready for some fantastic locations, and can hold out on your holiday just a bit longer, these places will be well worth your wait.

Île de Ré, France

This spot is riddled with people during the summer months with French holiday goers on the hunt for a charming little island getaway. Come September, everyone has gone back to their normal lives in the big cities leaving this place available to anyone wanting peace and quiet. Sandy beaches, most which are empty, flat cycling tracks to explore the entire island, vineyards, forests and perhaps some of the best fresh lobster to top your day off.

Kas, Turkey

It’s still sunny here during autumn, but luckily the sun’s strength has dwindled down a bit, so it’s not too hot. This gem in the southern coast of Turkey is a chill little fishing village on the Lycian coast. The Lycian Way is 500km foot-track that runs through the ancient land of Lycia, and the stunning towns of Fethiye and Antalaya. If you’re a diver, you’re in luck, because the best diving is during the months of September and October when all the fish are out and about. Other water sports are also perfect during this time, so feel free to get that swim suit on and head to the coast. The easiest way to get to Turkish visa is by applying Turkish visa online.

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

This place is perfect year round, but if there was a “best” time, autumn is it. Since it’s so close to the Sahara, its weather more closely resembles desert-climate. During this time, the water is just right, the temperature is at a comfortable mid 20s, and the large tourist crowds have mostly all gone back home. Getting holiday insurance will serve you well while you are here since there are a few pretty extreme activities you should try out. Try trekking up volcanic peaks for starters at the Timanfaya National Park (Fire Mountain), take it to the water and dive in or participate in any of the exciting water sports.

Dahab, Egypt

Sweltering summer conditions are usually a deterrent for this destination, but since you will be enjoying it during the fall, there’s no need to worry. Temperature take a turn from 38C to the lower and more bearable 30s. Renowned for its fantastic diving with a vast array of coral reefs and vibrant fish, it’s a stunning spot both under and out of the water. Back on top, windsurfing is a favorite spot in the area, and the sweeping beauty of the Colored Canyon makes for some dramatic scenery.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The last place on the list is also a popular summer destination with crowded streets and a filled port, as well as hotter temperatures. When you come to Dubrovnik during the fall months you can rest assure things will be a bit calmer. Swimming won’t involve hoards of others with you and the accommodation is far more affordable. The best beaches in the region are located here, and the tranquil feel this place has after the crowds have left are well worth your time here.

The 4 Things You Have to Do If You Visit Botswana

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Botswana, home to 2 million people on the continent of Africa is one of the most rapidly changing places on Earth. With a population hungry to succeed and escape from their poverty-ridden past, Botswana is one of Africa’s most truly dynamic places, and one that you have to visit. If you’re considering going travelling in the near future and aren’t sure why you’d choose to go to Botswana over any other territory in Africa, we’ve put together a handy little guide to help persuade you. So, without further ado, here are 3 of the best reasons to go to Botswana for.

1 – Drive across the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan

If you want a truly unique experience, nothing could be more so than picking up an ATV and driving it across Botswana’s Makgadikgadi salt pan, an expansive natural area where the soft ground has been covered by a crunchy salt layer. You can pay for the privilege of camping out under the stars by a warm fire and admiring the southern sky. There’s also a great amount of wildlife in this desolate place, with meerkats calling the pan their home.

2 – Take a Trip to the Tsodilo Hills

If you’re interested in the history of the human race, where we all came from or even simply that you have a passion for art and culture, you should definitely take a trip out to the Tsodilo Hills. This is essentially a historic rock art site, with a twist, because as well as admiring the art created by people thousands of years ago, you can also choose to strap on your climbing gear and assail or abseil the hills in the area.  However, with over 4,500 paintings, you’re bound to be astounded by the amazing ingenuity of those early human artists.

3 – Build Homes for the Homeless

If you’re looking for a reason to go somewhere that’s more selfless, then there can be no greater reasons than to build homes for people who are really in need of them.  Companies can facilitate a number of ways that you can help to give back to a community who really need it, and in doing so, you’ll get to work alongside the locals and experience the real Botswana way of life.  The work will be challenging, but it will also be rewarding, so it’s worth it if you really wan to have an experience that will last in your memory forever.

So there you have it – some of the best reasons to go to Botswana if you go travelling.

Hit the road … to the airport!

How do you get to the airport? Do you book a train or coach? Do you go through endless phone listings for airport taxis? Or are you lucky enough to live within a stone’s throw to the terminal building, so it’s simply not a problem?

Well, if you fall into one of the first couple of categories above, then maybe it’s time to think about changing your routine.

Nowadays I always drive myself to the airport, and I book airport parking, to make sure I get the best possible deal. Why do I do this? Well, through experience I guess.

Basically I caused chaos at the train station, but I really didn’t mean to. Picture the scene, if you will – one harassed woman, trying to drag a very large leopard print suitcase across a very crowded train platform, with oversized hand luggage to add to the drama. It basically caused bruised toes, stressed expressions, and my blood pressure soaring through the roof. This isn’t even an extreme example, as this is generally run of the mill, especially if you have to travel during rush hour.

If you’re booking a coach, you’re also very lucky if you go direct, because a lot of the time you have to stop and swap coaches, or it goes so far around the houses that you wonder if you’re ever going to get there.

Airport taxis? One word – expensive.

Believe me, I’m very well practised in this area, so learn from my mistakes and take my advice. I found getting to the terminal building became infinitely easier and less stressful when I decided to drive myself, and I also saved money too, when compared to the cost of public transport. If you’re travelling as a family, that cost saving is doubled, tripled, or even more.

Heathrow parking is now on my check list when it comes to booking a holiday and sorting out all my travel arrangements that go alongside it. Having said that, wherever you fly from you’ll no doubt find a service to suit your needs, as this is a nationwide arrangement, and like I mentioned before, one that will save you money and stress.

Starting a holiday in a hair-raising manner isn’t the best way to begin something that should be a happy and fun experience. Think about it, we spend so long saving up for our annual holidays that we owe it to ourselves to make sure every facet of it is enjoyable and memorable for all the right reasons.

Listen to my advice, believe me, I’ve made plenty of travel mistakes to know what I’m talking about!

Going Greek

Greece is a fantastic spot to get a rich history lesson, beach bum just outside your Greek villa, and island hop to some of the most picturesque places you have ever seen. These are just a few of the hot spots you can find yourself at as you make your way through the beautiful country of Greece, starting with your last minute flights from Monarch.co.uk.

Athens

This will very likely be your welcome to the country if you’re flying in, and what a wonderful welcome it will be. This capital holds some of the most prominent buildings in Greek history and they are all magnificent. The parthenon sits majestically on the Acropolis at the top of the city. Besides the great views from above, the structures themselves are breathtaking despite their ruinous state. These are the structures where Plato and Socrates once roamed, how humbling it will be to walk in their footsteps around this major historical area. For more information on the history of this city, there are a few museums of interest like the National Archaeological Museum and the New Acropolis Museum.

Thessaloniki

While you might be spending a pretty penny here, it will be well worth. This is the capital for the nightlife-loving and culture enthusiasts. After roaming around the interesting and eye opening art galleries and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Byzantine-era churches, you can spend your night partying around some of the trendiest and coolest bars and clubs around.

Crete

It wouldn’t be a complete Greek holiday without visiting one of the most famous islands in the country. This is one of the pictures in your mind when you think of Greece, and you will just need to see it for yourself. Besides ogling the beaches on the biggest island in the country, you can see many points of interest. The Archaeological Museum of Iraklion has artifacts dating back hundreds of years and the Minoan artifacts here have been the most important found to date. The birth place of Zeus is located at the Dhiktaion Cave which makes for an interesting and adventurous day out.

Santorini

Another island beauty in the country is the hilly and stunning island of Santorini. This is listed as one of the most beautiful islands in world, and it’s really not hard to believe that title once you lay your eyes on it. This is a volcanic island and due to the red and black volcanic sands that make up the beaches here, it makes this spot more unique. It also offers amazing opportunities to get under the water and dive and snorkel. Oia village is a fantastic spot to end your day and catch that beautiful sunset.

Delphi

For more history, Delphi is the spot to go. The Sanctuary of Apollo on Mt Parnassus, the Temple of Apollo, the Delphi Museum, the Sanctuary of Athena will keep you busy for a couple of days.

Top 5 Holiday Destinations for History Buffs

If you can’t tear yourself away from your history books during your travels, or you simply can’t set foot in a city without wanting to find out about every major event there for the last 500 years, make sure you head to the top destinations for history enthusiasts. Here are our top 5…

  1. Rome

Interesting fact: Did you know that gladiator blood was used to aid fertility in Ancient Rome?

Before you sigh, yes, Rome can be tourist nightmare in peak seasons, and shuffling through the Vatican like squashed sardines isn’t a great experience. But that shouldn’t take away from the incredible history of the Roman Empire; go in the off season if you have to. The Colosseum and the Forum ruins is a window into Italy’s interesting past. A great book to take with you is Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (read reviews here).

  1. Angkor Wat

Interesting fact: Did you know that the Cambodian flag is the only flag with an image of a building?

War tourism is a funny thing these days. We’re fascinated by our violent past but the terrifying fact of it is, the Khmer Rouge happened within the now older generation’s lifetime. This modern history holiday destination is not made for the faint-hearted and anyone leaving Cambodia without compassion must have a heart of stone. Take First They Killed by Father by Loung Ung (review here) but be prepared for tears.

  1. Petra, Jordan

Interesting fact: Did you know that Petra is home to 800 carved tombs?

An archaeologist’s dream, Petra in Jordan is truly one of the most fascinating historical places to visit on this planet. The Treasury is one of the most amazing architectural attractions and dates back over 2,000 years. It is said that the ‘lost city’ still has many secrets to reveal. A great read is the Holidayplace.co.uk blog – there’s been an excellent recent post on discovering Jordan.

  1. Athens, Greece

Interesting fact: Did you know that the Virgin Goddess is a notorious killer of women?

Athens isn’t a luxury holiday, for those who are mistaken. This is a history geek’s heaven but luxury seekers may turn away now because it’s a clash between the beautiful and the ugly. Due to the economic difficulties which persisted in Greece for several years, many parts of Athens are a little run down. But if you’re travelling to learn about Greek history, you won’t find anything more spectacular.

  1. Beijing, China

Interesting fact: Did you know that Fortune Cookies were not invented in China? (They were invented in San Francisco)

There’s no doubt that Beijing is a becoming city. The country itself has changed dramatically in recent years and ever since the Beijing Olympics, the world has looked upon China differently. The Great Wall remains to be one of the most amazing wonders of the world and the country is rich in breath-taking history.

For a controversial read to accompany you on your journey, take Empire of Lies: The Truth About China in the 21st Century (read a review here).