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The Lake District – Britain’s Best Staycation Destination

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Summer has not gone as planned for anyone this year, and it’s especially disappointing for those who love to travel. On the bright side, there’s still time for weekend getaways in 2020, making this the perfect opportunity to discover (or revisit) those parts of the U.K. that you’ve always meant to, and help out local businesses in the process.

Why the Lake District in particular? Well, not only is it a stunning area of natural beauty, home to England’s highest mountain and largest natural lake, but it’s also a place of diverse activities, and really does have something to appeal to everyone. Whether you’re looking for country walks, drinks down the pub, literary culture, or family entertainment – the Lake District proves that it’s not always so grim up north.

Keswick

Situated on the shore of Derwentwater Lake, Keswick is perhaps one of the most popular towns in the area, and with good reason. It’s packed full of quirky and original cafés and bars; try Java Coffee Shop with their legendary frappés, or The Crafty Baa – a grungy pub with a great selection of beer. For the walkers there are some challenging (yet beautiful) trails to explore. Climb Catbells for panoramic views of the surrounding lake, or a walk the 9-mile perimeter of Derwentwater to experience it from every angle. Keswick also has a lot to offer families, with a mini-golf course and the Puzzling Place museum.

Wordsworth labelled Grasmere ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.’

Grasmere

For the literary-minded, the quaint village of Grasmere in the heart of the Lakes is a great dose of local culture. Romantic poet William Wordsworth lived here for 14 years, and his former home is now Dove Cottage museum. The museum is newly renovated, open with social distancing measures, and a great place to learn about the global impact of literary Cumbria. Whilst living here Wordsworth was frequently visited by Thomas DeQuincey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who were also inspired by the landscape. Today, you can visit the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden and buy homemade gingerbread from the nearby bakery, or read up on the Romantics after a visit to the independent Sam Reads Bookshop.

Ullswater and Pooley Bridge

The best way to experience the lakes is by boat, and luckily for tourists there are many different kinds to choose from. Ullswater is a great alternative to the busyness of Derwentwater, and there are many spots throughout the shore where rowing boats, canoes and kayaks can be hired for an affordable price. This can be a fun family activity or a strenuous workout, depending on your preference. If leisurely is more your style, Ullswater Steamers have been around since 1855 and are still one of the best ways to sit back and see the lake. Pooley Bridge is a village on the northern end of the lake that, despite its small size, has plenty of pubs and tea rooms to choose from, making it the perfect place to stop and break from the lake!

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10 Trending Travel Destinations for 2021

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1. Porto, Portugal

The place where port wine originated and the second-largest metropolis in Portugal is a trending destination for visitors. The old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is centered in Ribeira which was built on the hills overlooking the stunning Douro River. A visit to the scenic Ponte de Dom Luís I and the 14th-century São Francisco church are a must-see for visitors. There are also plenty of wine tours for those who want to sample the local Port wine and can visit the local wine cellars which are mostly located across the river at Vila Nova de Gaia. For some authentic Portuguese cuisine head to Arvore do Mundo.


2. Luzon, Philippines

The island of Luzon, which is the largest island in the Philippines, has seen a surge in popularity thanks to it’s stunning natural landscapes. From it’s endless beaches and coral reefs to rain-forests and mountains. Visit to National Museum in Manila which features the country’s most historic works of culture and national heritage. Head to Lazat Fil for some delicious Philippine cuisine.


3. Da Nang, Vietnam

Da Nang is the fourth largest city in Vietnam and has a laid-back and friendly vibe. It boasts a mix of centuries-old pagodas, French colonial buildings, as well as tranquil beaches with clear blue waters, and verdant national parks. Some of the popular attraction include a visit to The Marble Mountains, Ba Na Hillls and the Golden Bridge. Head to Citron Restaurant for some authentic Vietnamese cuisine.


4. Krakow, Poland

Krakow is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland renowned for its priceless historical monuments of culture and art. It is the capital of Malopolskie province in southern Poland, lying on both sides of the upper Vistula River. A visit to the Rynek Glowny Central Square is a must spanning an impressive 10-acre square making it the largest in any of Europe’s medieval cities. Kazmierz The Former Jewish District and Wawel Royal Castle are also a draw for visitors. For traditional polish food head to the Old Town Restaurant Wine & Bar.


5. Cusco, Peru

Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru and is the seventh most populous city in Peru. In 1983, Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the title “City of Cuzco”. It has become a major tourist destination, welcoming nearly 2 million visitors a year. Sacsayhuaman, the magnificent Inca fortress overlooking the city of Cusco is a must-see for visitors. This important Inca construction is built on a monumental scale and gives a glimpse into the fascinating history of the city. For some stunning architecture head to Centro Historico De Cusco. For a delicious local cuisine served with a smile head to Mama Jama.


6. Cartagena, Colombia

The city of Cartagena, known in the colonial era as Cartagena de Indias, is a city and major port on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region. Cartagena is a charming fishing village on the country’s Caribbean coast. Boasting fantastic beaches, a historic old town and stunning colonial architecture. It’s also one of the safest places in the country and has grown in popularity as a tourist hub. Explore the marvellous cobblestone streets to find traditional local cuisine or find a cafe that serves freshly-made pastries. A visit to the Walled City is a must for visitors who want to experience the local culture first hand and a beautiful place with plenty of history. A visit to the Caribe Jewelry Museum and Factory and Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver are also a must on the itinerary. Head to Colombian Caribbean fusion restaurant La Pescaderia Ceviches y Piqueos for delicious fresh seafood.


7. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Edinburgh is well-known for it’s culture, heritage and renownded festivals. It’s Old and New town are both World Heritage Sites. The city also boasts impressive museums and galleries. Arthur’s Seat is one of four hill forts which dates back to around 2,000 years ago. Located within Holyrood Park, it boasts a rich cultural heritage and the park is a great place for long walks taking in the stunning views. A visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia is a must and is Scotland’s Best Attraction for 12 years running. For a taste of hearty local cuisine head to Makars Gourmet Mash Bar.


8. Fes, Morocco

Boasting the oldest university in the world, this walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will take you back in time with it’s ancient maze of streets and alleys. Visit the city’s ancient quarter, Medina of Fez, for it’s intricate maze of streets seeming with history and culture. You will also find a fascinating trove of local craft shops, beautiful old souks, old leather tannery and copper smiths. Another popular destination on the itinerary is Jardin Jnan Sbil, a stunning garden with fountains and a small lake located around 10 minutes from the Blue Gate. For an authentic taste of Morocco head to Café restaurant Al Oud.


9. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands and declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in May 2009. Visitors are drawn to the Island for its nightlife, fiestas and water parks. Parque Natural de Corralejo boasts golden sands and the turquoise ocean. It is a great place to for an early dip or to watch the sunset and sunrise from the sea view bars. To discover local culture head to Betancuria which has a cathedral and several museums. For a bite to eat head to La Bodega de Jandia for delicious Spanish cuisine.


10. Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City is the capital and largest city of Mexico and the most-populous city in North America. The city boasts world-class museums and parks and is steeped in history and culture. A visit to Museo Nacional de Antropologia, widely recognised as one of the world’s most comprehensive natural history museums, is a must for visitors. Another popular attraction is the Chapultepec Castle, an 18th-century palace known for its impressive gardens. For a bite to eat head to Zefiro for contemporary Mexican cuisine.

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5 Magnificent Places in Europe for a Winter Holiday

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The winter season is on its way, where city breaks allow you to explore somewhere new or to a familiar retreat. Winter is a season for romantic holidays, winter markets and exploring. Here are our five picks for a memorable winter break.

1. Bansko, Bulgaria

(Photo: Bansko)

The most popular place for relaxing and winter activities in Bulgaria is Bansko. It is closely located to the capital, Sofia. There are many hotels or bungalows where you can stay while having a great time at the slope. Bulgaria’s magnificent nature, places and views attract thousands of tourists from around the world. This European country offers a budget holiday with great atmosphere, service and accommodation conditions. The Bulgarian mountains are perfect for your winter break. Numerous events and entertainments are organised every year such as skiing, snowboarding and ice skating.

2. Rochejean, France

(Photo: Rochejean)

Rochejean is a small village in eastern France, part of the Bourgogne- Franche- Comte region with only 686 inhabitants. It doesn’t attract many tourists which makes it perfect getaway for a laid-back and secluded break where you can appreciate its beauty and find inner peace. Rochejean is situated near the Jura mountains boasting its Lake region with plenty of breath-taking scenery and tall waterfalls. The region also offers winter sports. The prices vary depending on the accommodation and start from 30 euro per night. There are many activities or attractions around such as exploring nearby cities, visiting the local monasteries and living with the locals.

3. Titisee- Neustadt, Germany

(Photo: Titisee- Neustadt)

Titisee- Neustadt is part of the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district in souther Germany. The place is famous for the spa, hydrotherapeutic and curative practices. It is also a winter sports centre, allowing both tourists and locals to enjoy the magnificent mountains and views. Interesting landmarks that you can see are the Old town Neustadt, Langenordnach valley or the Titisee lake. In terms of prices, there is are plenty of budget accomdations to be found. The price range for high quality hotels can start from 70 euros per night.

4. Gruyères, Switzerland

(Photo: Gruyeres)

Gruyeres is a small medieval town in Switzerland offering not only space for ski activities but is also home of many agricultural inventions such as milk production, cattle- breeding or the famous Gruyeres cheese. The town’s cultural heritages help in keeping its value and authenticity. For that reason many travellers are opt to see the 13th century Castle or the Tibet Museum, explaining the Tibetan Buddhist art. There are many activities that can make your experience unforgettable. Visitors can go on a helicopter for sightseeing, skijoring, paragliding or even horse riding. For those who want to try local food and drinks, there are restaurants that offer the typical fondue, röstis, soup de chalet and many other local dishes.

5. Hallstatt, Austria

(Photo: Hallstatt)

Hallstatt is a small town located on the southwestern shore of Hallstätter See in Upper Austria right under the Eastern Alps. It is famous for salt production and its historical connection to the Celtic tribes, making Hallstatt fascinating destination full of history and hidden gems. The town is perfect for winter sports practices and sightseeing. Locals offer visitors various attractions such as organised tours around the Salt Mine, boat excursions around the magnificent fjord-lake or a hiking adventure to the Alps’ best viewing platform. Hallstatt is brimming with hotels and places to stay overnight at reasonable prices.

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5 Spots in England for a staycation break

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With more people looking to travel domestically this year it is a great opportunity to discover new hidden gems for a fun and relaxing staycation. Here is our five top rural picks in England for your next adventure.

1. Romney, Hythe and Dymchirch Railway

(Photo: Romney town) Greatstone Beach – Romney Marsh

These 3 small towns in Southeast England are perfect for a city escape or just for a day trip. They are very closely connected by the big Railway passing through. Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch boasts fantastic beaches. It’s a great place to visit if you are looking for an alternative to the usual hotspots of Brighton or Bournemouth. If you are looking for a beach holiday in England, take the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, explore the local history, meet the locals and visit the three beaches.

2. Herne Bay and Reculver

(Photo: Lee Thornberry) Reculver Towers on the Coast overlooking Hearne Bay on the Kent coast at Sunrise on a Summer morning.

The magnificent Herne Bay and Reculver, South England, is situated close to Canterbury and has a rich history and beautiful spots for relaxing or adventure. To begin with head to Herne Bay, with it’s tiny houses and magnificent gardens. It also has a stunning beach where you can practice kayaking, boat riding or yachts which can be hired from the local Hampton Pier Yacht Club. Reculver is a 5-10 minutes drive from Herne Bay where visitors can enjoy amazing views from the Roman Reculver Towers which date back to the 12th century. If you take a walk along the coast you can find fossilised shark teeth or explore the marine and wildlife, climb the cliffs and swim in the ocean.

3. Samphire Hoe and Dover

One of the most popular places in Kent welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year. Samphire Hoe is located between Dover and Folkstone boasting its famous White cliffs, the endless Atlantic Ocean and the coast looking to France. Samphire Hoe has already received 14 Green Flag and 6 South and South East in Bloom Awards, two distinctions awarded to the most outstanding green areas for their high environmental quality and contribution to local communities. You can experience a walk on the paths, discover the wildlife and enjoy the spectacular views over the cliffs and the English Channel.

4. Caves Farm Barns, Ely, Cambridgeshire

(Photo: Caves Farm Barns)

This is a great place to unwind for your next staycation break. You can spend the day exploring by walking, cycling and swimming. There is also plenty of green spaces where you can spend the day relaxing with family and friends. The accommodations are spacious with all of the necessary amenities you would expect and is a home away from home. There is also an indoor swimming pool if you want to take a dip. The farm is also close to a few historical towns like Cambridge, Ely or Bury St Edmunds which you can explore.

5. Cheddar, Somerset

(Photo: Cheddar) Cheddar Caves and Gorge

Beautiful village located 9 miles from Wales, comprising the hamlets Nyland and Bradley Cross. It is famous for the Cheddar Gorge considered to be the largest in the United Kingdom, including several caves at the northern side of the village. An interesting fact is that it gives the name of the Cheddar Cheese because during 12th century the locals started producing it. The village is not often visited by many tourists which makes it the perfect spot to unwind. Its worth having a walk around the caves, learning the history or visiting the local landmarks like Cheddar Market Cross dating back from the 15th century.

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