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.

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.

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).

3 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in Rome

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Rome is one of the most famous cities in the world, and rightfully so. Where else can you see The Colosseum and other iconic wonders? But what if you want to find some treasures that are off the beaten path? Here is your guide to exploring three of the coolest, lesser-known attractions the ancient city of Rome has to offer.

See St. Peter’s Bones at the Vatican

Yes, everyone knows that you can go to the Vatican. But did you know that you can actually go under the Vatican? There is a tour that takes you underneath the famous attraction, to the excavation area. A necropolis rests there, with the tombs of many prominent Roman citizens. Archaeologists believe that the graffiti “Peter is Here” in one area alludes to the bones of the Catholic church’s first pope, St. Peter. This tour is not available for younger children and those who are claustrophobic may want to avoid it, as there are some sections which will feel quite confined.

More Bones… Arranged Intricately

Another unique attraction is The Capuchin Crypt, which is an unforgettable museum of sorts. Back in 1631, the collection commenced with the bones of 300 deceased friars. As the years passed, bodies underwent a burial and exhumation process, after which their bones would be removed from the ground for inclusion in the artistic arrangement. All in all, the bones of approximately 3,700 monks are believed to included in the six rooms that comprise the crypt. This famous attraction courted controversy in the 1850s, with some visitors appalled by the macabre nature of the exhibit. The order insists, however, that the Capuchin Crypt exists merely to remind us of the swiftness of life’s passing.

The Keats-Shelley House

At the foot of the Spanish Steps lies a lesser-known attraction, the last home of poet John Keats. He was only 25, but his contributions were great. His bedroom is preserved for visitors to see, and the house also boasts a collection of over 8,000 volumes of Romantic literature. A small cinema room, gift shop, and book shop are also on hand for visitors who want to pick up trinkets reminding them of their visit.

With so many impressive, off-the-beaten path attractions, tourists to Rome have a wide range of options. These are just a few, but they’ll definitely whe your appetite for more!

Exploring Scandinavia – The Viking Holiday

Scandinavia is an awe-inspiring country, full to the brim with breathtaking scenery and steeped in incredible and rich history, a legacy left behind by the Vikings. From bloody excursions, to pre-Christian burial rituals, to ships and weaponry; although the Vikings disappeared long ago, their artefacts, folklore and the intrigue that came with them is still around today. The legendary Vikings were well known for their love of adventure and their exploration of new and exciting lands, so why not follow in their footsteps, book a trip to Scandinavia and have a Viking inspired adventure of your very own?

The Icelandic Horse

There is one thing that certainly should not be missed when discovering your own piece of Viking history, and that is a horse back tour on the aptly named “Icelandic Horse”. This particular breed of horse was introduced to Iceland by the Vikings themselves and can still be found in Iceland today. The tours run daily and allow you to leisurely discover the stunning Icelandic scenery including waterfalls and geysers. Suitable for Vikings of all ages.

Viking History

The Vikings built some of the most structurally impressive and intimidating ships ever to grace the seas. The Viking Ship Museum is home to one of the world’s best preserved Viking Ships – the Oseberg Ship, which displays some of the finest examples of intricate Viking woodcraft and carvings. To get a real taste of Vikings traditions, the preparation of their ships before they set sail on their brave voyages and the ship burials that housed the rich and powerful after they died, this museum is a must-see.
For a true taste of Viking culture, visit the Lofotr Viking Museum, home to the largest reconstructed Viking longhouse in the world. It features tradition-inspired decorations and carvings, a mead hall and the opportunity for you to witness an authentic Viking feast, wild boar, mead, bonfire smells et al. If you want to discover just how tough the Vikings were, there are even seasonal events such as archery and axe-throwing for you to try.


Sail the Seas

If you’d rather experience life as a Viking in a more traditional sense, then why not do so in a way in which they were accustomed – by the sea! Opting to take a cruise will allow you to take in some of the same sights the Vikings did all of those years ago. Companies like Hurtigruten offer cruises with stops allowing you to explore some of the most magnificent scenery, fjords, national parks and wildlife you are ever likely to see.

Whether you’re travelling with children, or you’re travelling with a friend or partner, there really is something for everyone, and you’ll soon discover why the Vikings were so fond of this land.

Top 5 Things To Do In Ireland

If you listen to the stories about Ireland, you will spend your break drinking, dancing and looking at hills. For many people, this would actually be a brilliant holiday and there would be no need to uncover different activities and past-times. However, in the classic words spoken by Alan Partridge, “there’s more to Ireland than this” and you may be pleasantly surprised by the amount of great holiday options and attractions there are to enjoy in Ireland.

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Galway

Don’t think that Dublin is the only city to choose for exciting nightlife. Galway is a great destination for trips to Connemara and the Aran Islands but with even young Dubliners heading West for a weekend away, you will find plenty in the way of exciting and entertaining bars to party the night and days away. And who knows, you may even find your very own Galway Girl.

The Guinness Storehouse

The tour is quite decent and the advertising campaign section is really entertaining but let’s be honest, if you’re going to Ireland, you need to sample the local wares. The best place to do is at the end of the Guinness tour in the Gravity Bar. Even if you don’t like the drink (and many don’t but you get a free pint), the panoramic views of Dublin afforded by the bar area will delight every guest.

Croke Park

As a deeply religious country, Ireland has plenty sacred places and where people go to pray. The most popular place of this nature is Croke Park, an 80,000 capacity stadium where games such as hurling and Gaelic football are played. These games are mainly amateur games although in recent times, the GAA has given authorisation for “foreign games”, such as rugby, to be played on the hallowed turf at Croke Park.

Croke Park was also the setting for one of the most shameful acts in British history when the Black and Tans and the RIC opened fire on the crowd at the stadium, killing 14 innocent civilians, in 1920. One of the stands at Croke Park was renamed the Michael Hogan Stand after a footballer who was killed that day. This incident played a major part in turning general opinion in Ireland against the British and the Crown.

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Cliffs of Moher

Life in Ireland may seem a little relaxed and casual for your liking so if you want to get your heart racing, take a trip to the Cliffs of Moher. This can be found in County Clare and there is a terrifying drop off the edge and there are not too many handrails around the top. People have fallen off the edge so be sure to approach with caution but if you are keen to experience stunning views and to get the smell of the Atlantic in your nostrils, this is the place to visit.

With the massive drop off the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, your thoughts will no doubt stray towards holiday insurance and you’ll be hoping that you have some in place just in case!

The Blarney Castle

One thing you’ll soon learn about Ireland is that the local people love to tell a tale or two. Whether you choose to take the stories at face value or not is entirely up to you but there is no doubt that you’ll have a hugely entertaining time listen to them talk. One of the ways that the Irish have been given the gift of the gab, so they say, is through the magical powers of the Blarney Stone. Blarney Castle was built over 600 years ago and it is a stunning example of an ancient castle that is well worth checking out in its own right. However, if it is here you will find the Stone of Eloquence, the Blarney Stone, and if you kiss this, you will be gifted the ability to talk and weave a great story for the rest of your life.

The fanciful nature of the story ties in wonderfully with the Irish way of life and if you are keen to retell your stories with the strongest possible delivery after you return home, this may be the helping hand you need.

Greg is an avid travel writer who enjoys trips around Europe. One of his favourite places to visit is the west of Ireland and especially the county of Mayo with its rugged scenery and great coasts.