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8 places to visit this Autumn in the UK

With autumn pushing the heat of summer south across the equator, it’s time to strap on your wellies and get ready to kick through piles of fiery leaves. So to celebrate the change of season, here’s our list of places you should visit to make the most of the stunning autumn colours. 

Isle of Lewis, Hebrides

Autumn arrives early in the Outer Hebrides. The trees and fauna on the Isle of Lewis take on a fiery glow into September and October. The 270 acres of woods surrounding Lews Castle becomes something to behold. There are a whole host of walks for an intrepid hiker to choose from. 

Loch Lomond, West Dunbartonshire

The largest inland stretch of water in the UK by surface area, Loch Lomond is the centrepiece of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. The second bonus from journeying to the area comes from the vast wooded glens that make up Great Trossachs National Nature Reserve. The Millennium Forest Trail is not a walk that should be missed, providing brilliant views of the loch and the surrounding woodland.    

Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire 

Ancient woodlands steeped in history and cultural heritage stemming back to the Iron Ages. The forest was then used by Anglo-Saxon kings as a royal hunting ground. There’s a huge range of activities to take part in during the autumn months, ranging from exhilarating zip wires to biking and sculpture trails. You can find out more here

New Forest, Hampshire

The treescapes of Wiltshire and Hampshire have been a place of autumnal brilliance for centuries. There are over 219 square miles of protected space, hosting oaks up to 800 years old and elderly beeches of 400 years or more. The New Forest Walking Festival takes place from the 13th of October until the 28th and is just one of the many outdoor pursuits you can get involved with during a visit. 

Rydal, Cumbria

Rydal is an area full of nostalgic ambience echoed in its literary history. The area has been the subject of many poems and stories and for almost 40 years Rydal Mount was home to the famous poet, William Wordsworth. Dora’s field is one of the bittersweet sights of the area, a field filled with hundred of daffodils between Rydal Mount and the main road, planted by Wordsworth following the death of his daughter. 

In the autumn, expect stunning misty mornings across the water that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a poem. Rydal acts as a great jumping off point for exploring the rest of the Lake District and is worth a visit any time of year, let alone in the autumn. 

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

The 2000 acre park that surrounds the Baroque palace holds some of the most beautiful landscaped gardens in the country. In autumn, Blenheim hosts a series of seasonal events that you can find out more about here. There is a fantastic maze on site, buggy rides, fishing and even outdoor film screenings and concerts. The palace also plays host to art exhibitions and has hosted works by Andy Warhol alongside its own collection of historic British art. 

Guernsey, Channel Islands

The second largest Channel Island is a naturist’s wonderland. Covered in leafy enclaves and coastal rock faces to die for, there’s something for every nature lover out there. The Candie Gardens in St Peter Port is a must visit if you visit the island. There’s also a walking festival from the 15th until the 30th of September for those of you who love a good wander through beautiful coastal scenery. 

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead is a National Trust site, known for its stunning display of autumn colours. The house itself is a splendid visit, with its majestic stately rooms full of exquisite furnishings and historic art. The range of exotic trees will surely delight any visitors, especially when the North American maples turn scarlet red over the course of the season. 

There’s even a small cottage nestled amongst the trees in the garden where you can warm yourself by the fire with a nice cup of tea.

6 UK dining experiences to feed your intrigue

Food is one of the greatest and most diverse pleasures that life has to offer – it can be simple, complex or anything in between. But a dining experience is another thing entirely. And there’s a whole range of different dining experiences available across the UK.

Dine on the water 

If the gentle lap of waves against the sides of a boat fits into your idyllic dining experience, you’re in luck. All over the country there are companies that offer river cruises where you can relax and enjoy a good meal while experiencing the many beautiful sights the UK has to offer. Canal Boat Cruises offer a series of countryside river cruises that are worth experiencing, whereas companies such as Bateaux London deliver fine dining sightseeing cruises in the capital for the metropolitan diner in you. 

Dine in the sky 

For those of you who’d like a more hair-raising dining experience, London in the Sky might be for you. Hanging 100ft above South Bank, 22 diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails prepared by a team standing at the centre of the table. Offering an indulgent menu of food and/or drinks, London in the Sky is a unique dining experience that’s worth booking if you’re planning to visit the city. 

Dine on the rails

Steam trains have been a part of British culture for over a century and there’s a whole host of companies that offer nostalgic trips through the countryside, complete with an excellent meal or afternoon tea. Into the Blue have a great selection of luxury and steam train dining experience trips that appeal to anyone who loves travel and food. 

Dine in the dark

Going from seeing sights to seeing nothing at all, the next entry on our list is a sensory experience that’s not to be missed. Dans Le Noir Londonoffers a dining experience so innovative that it won the British Restaurant Awards Best Culinary Experience Award of 2017. Diners are hosted and served by visually impaired waiters with the aim of generating a very human exchange between staff and diners. It’s truly a revolutionary take on dining and is a string worth adding to any foodie’s bow. 

Dine on the roads

For those of you who prefer your dining experiences on tarmac, rather than river or rail, Bustronome offers a gourmet sightseeing tour of London’s famous landmarks. You can travel in style, while enjoying foodie treats on the upper floor of a glass topped double-decker. The menus are often inspired by the changing seasons and are worth checking out regardless!

Afternoon tea at the Ritz

How could we not talk about dining experiences without mentioning tea at the Ritz? Treating yourself to one of the world’s most decadent afternoon tea services is something we have to recommend. With 18 different choices of loose-leaf tea and a large mixture of sandwiches and cakes, it’s a perfect way to enhance any visit to the capital. 

So there you have it, a list of experiences to add to your bucket list. Whether you’re looking for fine dining with a twist or a chance to be a tourist with your tea, there’s something here for everyone.

Sources
https://canalboatcruises.co.uk/cruising-restaurant/
https://www.theritzlondon.com/dine-with-us/afternoon-tea/
https://www.bustronome.com/en/london/
https://london.danslenoir.com/en/home/
https://www.intotheblue.co.uk/culinary-gourmet/steam-train-restaurant/
https://londoninthesky.co.uk/
https://www.bateauxlondon.com/thames-river-cruises

Why cruise holidays are booming for retirees

The cruise market offering has changed enormously in recent years, where once it was purely the domain of cabaret cheese and bad karaoke, now there’s something on offer for everyone (don’t worry, though, if you love cabaret and karaoke, that’s still an option). Whatever your tastes and priorities, you won’t be hard pressed to find a cruise to suit your needs.

Cruises have always been a popular choice for retirees but with the new potential for personalisation, they’re more popular than ever, with over 26 million passengers carried worldwide in 2018 alone. So what is it that makes taking to the seas such an attractive prospect?

1) Flexibility

Cruises have the potential to be a catch-all for whatever kind of holiday you’re looking for. Whether you’re after a romantic getaway, a family break over the school holidays, or a round-the-world trip that ticks off everything that’s left on your bucket list; it’s all possible when you’re on a cruise liner.

2) Activities

There really is a cruise out there for everyone. Some people want to lay on the deck and bathe in the sun, some people want to hone their rock-climbing skills, while others want to kayak alongside breaching whales. The possibilities are endless: if your priority is trying the food of critically acclaimed chefs, or even having a go at cooking the dishes yourself, fine dining can now be found onboard in some of the most remote corners of the world’s oceans.

3) Modern life can be stressful

Taking a cruise is not just about the food and entertainment available on board and the chance to see some fantastic locations. It’s also about taking the hassle of too much planning away from the holiday goer. Being able to relax and take a breather while you’re travelling the world is becoming a bigger priority for people and this has been reflected in the incredible attention and investment given to spa and wellness facilities on cruise ships. Plus it’s a great chance to unplug and really experience the world around you.

4) Value

Despite historically being a pursuit of the highest luxury with the pricetag to match, there are plenty of choices available for more budget conscious passengers. All-inclusive cruise holidays are a smart way to enjoy all the bells and whistles whilst remaining price savvy. Pick the right vessel and you can experience entertainment of broadway quality included in your price.

If you want to enjoy your retirement to its fullest but can’t decide on the best way to do that, considering a cruise trip is a great place to start.

Sources
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/amp/travel-tips-and-articles/getting-on-board-10-reasons-to-consider-a-cruise-trip/40625c8c-8a11-5710-a052-1479d27561cd?_t_witter_impression=true
https://cruisemarketwatch.com/growth/

4 cruises around the British Isles

When you think of a cruise, the first things to come to mind are usually European cities of culture, blue Caribbean oceans or Balearic islands.

What many people don’t realise is that there are some incredible options available much closer to home.

The British Isles boast a staggering number of beautiful and unusual destinations, particularly along the coast. Many of these are off-limits to the enormous passenger ships which are normally associated with cruises. ‘Boutique’ cruises are a fantastic holiday option for those wanting to avoid the crowds and experience what our home isles have to offer; here are four exciting examples.

  • London to London

Departing from Tower Bridge, London, there is a cruise by Silversea, which will take you all the way around Britain and Ireland before returning you to where you started. A 12 day cruise enables you to enjoy an array of experiences, from a traditional Cornish pub lunch in Falmouth to Balmoral Castle in Aberdeen or a trip from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway.

  • Birds and Blooms of Britain

If you’re somebody with an appreciation for nature, you could take a springtime voyage with Noble Caledonia from Plymouth to the Isles of Scilly, Lundy, Skomer, Llandudno, Peel, Holy Loch and Fairlie. With excursions into the Abbey Gardens of the Island of Tresco and the Botanical Gardens of the Cowal Peninsula, any green-fingered passengers will be happy. Not to mention the puffins, guillemots and razorbills around Lundy and Skomer for the birdwatchers on board.

  • The Scenic Route

If you’re heading to Dublin but don’t fancy taking a flight, Le Boreal is a 264 passenger mega-yacht which boasts interiors designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel, as well as serving the finest French cuisine. Departing from London and stopping off in Dover, it takes in the glorious views of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and the historic coves of the Scilly Isles. Before it arrives in Dublin, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Glengarriff and Kinsale over the course of a seven night journey.

  • A Royal Voyage

If opulence and exclusivity appeal, you could get on board the Hebridean Princess.The ship holds only 50 passengers, and the Queen herself chartered the vessel in 2006 for a holiday to celebrate her 80th birthday. Departing from Oban, the cruise explores the Outer Isles and visits lochs, islands and remote mainland sites and allows you to be surrounded by luxury.

Sources
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/small-ship-cruises-to-explore-the-british-isles-and-beyond/

ideas for October half term

Incredible, isn’t it? It seems only a few week since the kids went back to school and already October half term is approaching. Thankfully, the coming of Autumn means that you have a whole new range of activities you can do with your children or grandchildren that are better in the October half term than the summer holidays. Here are a few of our favourites:

Visit an arboretum
Autumn is the best time of year to visit an arboretum. By the time the school holidays are upon us, the trees will have exploded into an array of vibrant colours. Children love playing in the woods, and younger children and toddlers will be delighted running through the fallen leaves and finding all sorts of exciting animals lurking in their midst.

Go to the Dorset coast
The Dorset coast takes on a moody brilliance when the summer crowds leave its beaches. The South West coastal path has some of the finest cliff top walks in the world. These are best with a brisk breeze and a heaving sea, as well as the prospect of a cosy pub lunch at the end of it (good motivation for children who only have little legs!). From Hengistbury Head in the east to Lyme Regis in the west, Dorset has a wide selection of beautiful beaches and coves. Over the half term, there’s plenty for kids at the spooky Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck near Poole and if you’re willing to drive an hour or so north into Somerset, Wookey Hole has an extensive cave network and its annual Halloween event.

Try glamping
For most of us, by October the weather is too cold and wet for a normal camping holiday with the kids. Factor in that it will be getting dark from around 5.30pm and children will need to be entertained for long hours in the dark under wet canvas, and family camping in October seems best left to the brave (or foolhardy!) few.
Glamping is a great alternative. Premium tents and lodges have a range of luxuries – from heating to jacuzzis. In October, glamping offers the outdoorsiness of camping without the dirt, glumness and overall discomfort of pitching a six man tent in a windy and wet field.

Go pumpkin picking
An alternative to the traditional conker collecting which has long been a feature of British children’s October half terms. If you’re in London over half term, there are a number of farms near to London offering pumpkin picking days for families as well as many farms dotted around the rest of the country. This is an amazing way to get your kids into the Halloween spirit! Remember to take your wellies – you’re likely to get muddy!

where to holiday with a weak pound?

If you are heading abroad in the near future, chances are you will be travelling to an E.U. country. 63% of us hope to travel to Europe in the next 12 months, making it by far the most popular destination for British holidaymakers.

However, in the run up to ‘Brexit day’ next March, the affordability of holidaying in Europe remains uncertain… Those of us who’ve visited the continent since the referendum will have already noticed that they are getting a lot less bang for their buck than previously.

As of yet we have very little information on how Brexit will look. With a ‘no-deal’ Brexit looking increasingly likely, it is possible that the pound will remain turbulent until it becomes clear how Brexit is going to pan out.

Ultimately, it is this which will determine whether or not the pound remains weak against the Euro – something that will have a large effect on how our future holidays feel.

In light of all this dreary information, looking outside of the eurozone for your future holidays may be your best bet for your wallet.

This is because the pound has not fallen equally against all currencies. In fact, it has actually gained against some. These countries are generally long haul destinations, although there are a few closer to home.

For instance, since Brexit, the notoriously flukey Argentine peso has fallen 72% against the pound. So, if you want a really good value holiday, your best bet is a 14 hour flight to Buenos Aires.

For those of you who prefer culture and history to warm seas and white sand, Russia should be on your agenda. E.U. and American sanctions have hit the Russian economy hard since part of their Army “accidentally” invaded Ukraine in 2014.

This has meant Sterling has gained 13% on the Ruble, excellent for those of you who don’t mind swapping St Petersburg for Santorini.

Closer to home – but equally lacking in quality sunbathing – Iceland is significantly cheaper than it was a year ago: The Icelandic krona has fallen by 11% on the pound.

Traditionally pricey Switzerland is also cheaper than usual. The Swiss franc is 7% weaker than it was a year ago. If skiing is your thing, the sliding franc makes Switzerland a viable option.

Unfortunately, landlocked Switzerland and freezing Russia and Iceland have very little to offer those of you who want a beach holiday.

Luckily, the pound has risen by 10% on the Indian rupee, so the sandy beaches of Goa and Kerala are an affordable option. What’s more, the Brazilian real is 18% weaker than it was last year. So, for those of you hankering for warmer climes, these may be your best bet.

Sources
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/brexit-two-years-pound-holiday-money/

How Will Brexit Affect My Holidays?