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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?