Category Archives: The places we’ve been

Where do we go on our holidays? Posts by Worldwide employees on the we’ve visited

Best New Year Getaways in 2015

Welcoming in the New Year, there are just so many ways to go about it. An intimate meal at a restaurant, a drink or two at your local bar, staying home with loved ones, or taking to the skies and seeking out something sensational! Check out our top picks for a hot sandy beach break, a cold snowy mountain retreat and a non-stop New Year party!

Sand: St Lucia

The Caribbean island of St Lucia promises everything you’d expect – sun, sea and sand! It is also blessed with rainforests, volcanic mountains, and sulphur springs, making it an idyllic setting for welcoming in the New Year.

For a spectacularly indulgent treat, a break at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat is a must! The black quartz swimming pool gives the impression that you are floating in a pool of the smoothest, richest chocolate, and the hotel offers plenty of chocolate-based spa treatments. Guests can even take to the groves to try out making chocolate truffles!

The best time to travel to Saint Lucia is between December and May. The average temperature in this part of the world over the New Year is a sensational 30°C. Rates for Boucan by Hotel Chocolat start at £225 per room per night.

Snow: Switzerland

If alpine panoramas are your idea of a great view at New Year, then heading to the Swiss Alps is a great choice! Skiing, snowboarding, sledging, paragliding, rambling and abseiling are all common activities here – or you could just chill in a hot tub looking at snowy peaks!

Indulgent New Year destinations in the snow don’t come much more luxurious than the New Year Package from The Cambrian in Adelboden.  Available from 26 December 2014 to 4 January 2015 the package includes: 

  • 7 nights in the desired room category
  • Daily alpine breakfast buffet
  • Cake in the afternoon
  • Special New Year’s Eve dinner & midnight snack
  • Hangover breakfast and 4-course dinner on 1st January
  • Access to spa – sauna, steam room, beauty treatments

The best time to travel to this part of the Alps is between November and March, when average temperatures fall below zero. This year the NY Package prices start from £2288, at other times, rooms at The Cambrian start at £130 per night.

Celebration: Sydney

How can 2 million people be wrong? That’s how many people flock to Sydney Harbour each year for the fabled New Year celebrations, a party so good that Sydney is known as the Capital of NYE parties!

If you want somewhere luxurious with a fabulous view of the famed fireworks display, then you’ll want to check into Pier One Sydney Harbour Hotel. If you book early, you can get a room, but even if you miss out on the accommodation, you may be able to bag yourself a space at one of the private parties. This year revellers can choose from:

Millionaires’ Yacht Party on dry land at Water: $600 gets you drinks at sunset, canapés, food throughout the night, DJ and a 5 and a half hour beverage package offering champagne, wine and beer! Plus arguably the best waterside view of the harbour.

Dawes Point NYE Party: Pay $399 and dress to impress! Canapés, beverages and music (inside and out on the pier). Stunning views of the fireworks are part of the package!

New York City style rooftop party at The Bridge: $499 gives you access to a rooftop party that mirrors a NYC rooftop bar. Dress code: chic. Expect: DJs, champagne, canapés, and fireworks up close at the ultra urban-chic location!

Temperatures at this time of the year hit about 22°C – not too hot, and definitely not too cold!  You can find rates and room availability at Pier One Sydney Harbour online.

A Traveller’s Guide To Autumnal Foliage at its Finest

Japan

From mid-September to early December, the Koyo Front moves slowly southward in Japan. Koyo is the name given to the colourful leaves at this time of year, and they are as important to the Japanese autumn as cherry blossoms are to the spring. Head to Hokkaido, Tokyo, Tohoku, and Kyoto as these are considered koyo hotspots. You can see a definitive list of places to go at Japan Guide.

Canada

Leaf-peeping. That is what they call appreciating autumn leaves in Quebec, Canada, a place renowned for its colourful foliage from September into November. Yellows, golds, oranges and fiery reds create a kaleidoscope of colour all across Canadian forests. If your French is up to scratch, you can find out the best places to visit at this time of year here.

UK

Who could forget the good old UK as an autumnal hotspot? The Cotswolds is tipped as a timely place to take a trip in autumn as tourist numbers are down, and the area has returned to its former sleepy self. There are oodles of fabulous walks in the Cotswolds, conveniently broken up by country pubs with warm fires and homemade food!

USA

With 50 states to explore, offering a mix of National Parks and State Forests to visit, the United States of America is a great place to take in the colours of autumn. To help you plan your Technicolor adventure, check out this handy state-by-state guide to fall colours, it contains information on the best times to visit and what colours you can expect to see when you get there.

Germany

In southern Germany, the ever-changing shades of the Alpine forests in autumn look stunning against the snow-dusted mountain backdrop.  The Romantic Road will take you on a 224 mile journey through stunning landscapes, and if you time it right, you may well stumble across the odd wine festival or two at this time of year!

Portugal

The terraced vineyards of Portugal’s Douro River Valley are cloaked in colour during autumn. The best way to experience the stunning views is to take to the water. Cruises are available to book along the 125-mile stretch that passes through the wine region in northern Portugal.

Globetrotting Ghost Tours

Halloween may be over, but that shouldn’t stop you booking a round-the-world trip to take in some of the most haunted attractions in the world. We share a selection of the scariest places to visit, and some creepy places to stay!

Paris Catacombs – France
Home to the remains of around six million people, the Paris Catacombs has attracted a notorious reputation for ghostly goings-on. It opened in the late 18th Century to accommodate the remains that were once in The Cemetery of the Innocents. It is known as the world’s largest grave, and is open to the public. Expect to see a rather artistic display of bones, including a heart shaped wall-piece made from skulls and tibias!


Visitez les Catacombes de Paris by mairiedeparis

The Ohio State Reformatory – USA
Ghost hunts and tours are a regular occurrence at this visitor attraction, said to be haunted by the souls of past inmates. From the time the first inmates arrived in 1896 to its closure in 1990 over 200 people died within its walls. You may be familiar with the site already as it has appeared in many films and TV shows, most notably The Shawshank Redemption. Novice Ghost Hunters and wannabe Paranormal Investigators can find an extensive list of Ghost Hunt Essentials and Tips on their website.

Island of the Dolls – Mexico
This place is exactly what horror films are made of! Here’s how the story goes: A girl drowned near the island, and after her death the island’s only inhabitant and caretaker found dolls washing up on the beach. He duly hung them in the trees to appease her spirit until his own tragic death. He was also found drowned in the same place as the girl. It is no surprise that the island is now a tourist attraction, with visitors bringing their own dolls to hang in the trees. Some say that the dolls have been seen to move, and even whisper. If you like this sort of creepy goings-on visit isladelasmunecas.com.

Aokigahara AKA Suicide Forest – Japan
If you go down to the woods today, you’ll be in for a jolly big surprise! Visitors to this picturesque location at the base of Mt Fuji will more likely be met by a crime scene than a ghost tour. Legend says that Aokigahara first got its reputation as a ghostly place to be after elders were left here to die, the angry spirits of whom haunt the forest. Today, it has a far darker story – it attracts people who wish to immediately shift their mortal coil. The problem is so bad (reportedly 100 suicides a year) that authorities have erected signs that say ‘Please consult with the police before you decide to die’. Needless to say, the presence of tortured souls attracts numerous visitors every year.

Karosta Prison Hotel – Latvia
Former prison, now a place to rest your head for the night – if you can sleep! Most of the former inmates were doomed to die, and many were shot in the head, so there are tales of haunting a-plenty. As accommodation, no luxury is spared – each room is as bare as it was when it was a prison, and comes complete with iron bars on the windows. You can even elect to be treated like a prisoner during your stay – once you have signed a hefty disclaimer form! If that’s more than you bargained for on your world tour, you could just visit and have lunch.

Dragsholm Castle – Denmark
This is the oldest castle in Denmark, and has been transformed from a medieval palace to a baroque hotel during its 800-year time in a delightfully beautiful part of the world. The website won’t offer any inkling of its reported ghostly goings-on, but it is famed for being home to three ghosts: A white lady, a grey lady and the 4th Earl of Bothwell whose apparition you may see ride through the courtyard with a horse and carriage!

The Schooner Hotel – UK
The Poltergeist Society has twice hailed The Schooner Hotel in Northumberland as the most haunted hotel in the whole of Britain. Among its many paranormal activities are the goings-on of over 60 individual spirits, which have been the subject of over 3,000 sightings! During its 300-year history, it has a well-documented string of grisly events that include murders, suicides and massacres. Book a room (and a ghost hunt) if you dare.

Dragon Boat Festivals – From Tonbridge to Taipei!

Tonbridge may not be the most exotic of locations, but this is where Worldwideinsure.com’s Søren V Nissen and his team, the Bidborough Dragons, recently placed 3rd in the annual Tonbridge Dragon Boat Race. The fun and frolics of the event featured in the video below inspired us to find out where adventurous travellers can go to experience the excitement of Dragon Boat Festivals around the world!

This race was just one in a Dragonboat Weekend Challenge (September 13 & 14) for Bidborough Primary School PTA raising money for Demelza House Children’s Hospice. It is easy to spot Søren and Co. because they always wear their children’s yellow school caps. It’s a tradition they are reluctant to break!

It’s not too late to donate! Please visit justgiving.com/bidboroughdragons2014 to help a good cause!

Dragon Boat Festivals  – where to go!

Hong Kong

HK is the oldest host of International Dragon Boat Festival Races, with HKIR 1976 being credited as the beginning of a modern era in Dragon Boat racing. As such, it should be the destination of a lifetime for anyone who has a passion for the sport.

Stanley Dragon Boat Association runs an array of events on throughout the summer and into the autumn at Stanley Main Beach in Hong Kong. Alternatively, revelers can head to Tai Wan To beach on Lamma Island for a one day Dragon Boat extravaganza! The next Lamma 500 International Dragon Boat Festival will be held on Sunday 26th April 2015.

Stanley International Dragon Boat Races

Competitors in the Stanley International Dragon Boat Races – Image Courtesy of hongkongextras.com

Vancouver

Back in 1945, Vancouver was chosen to be the first city to hold a Dragon Boat Race outside Asia, but due to some political problems, the first race wasn’t held until 1986. It’s position as the North American gateway to Asia made it the ideal location to spread the joys of Dragon Racing, and it is still a great place to go to take part in festivities!

Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival is just one of many events held in Canada throughout the summer. This year’s event at Toronto Centre Island saw over 5,000 athletes take part, and next year’s (the 27th as Tim Horton’s TIDDBRF) will no doubt be just as impressive. Although the season for racing is coming to a close, should you find yourself in Cayuga on 04th October 2014, you’ll get a chance to see the Lively Dragon Cayuga to Dunnville, Grand River Run.

Toronto International Dragon Boat Racing Festival

Action at the Toronto International Dragon Boat Racing Festival – Image courtesy of isetang.ca

Taipei

Sunny Taipei is an idyllic location for Dragon Boat Festival celebrations, marked by a public holiday by the name of Duanwu Festival. Typical activities include preparing and eating zongzi (aka sticky rice dumplings), drinking realgar wine (a rather worrying mix of wine and arsenic-laden mineral!), and of course racing Dragon Boats.

Duanwu Festival is held on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional lunar calendar, which is why the date for Dragon Boat celebrations worldwide varies throughout the summer. In 2015 it will be held on June 20th, and the following year it will fall on June 09th.

Dragon Boats at Duanwu Festival in Taipei

A Rainbow of Dragon Boats at Duanwu Festival in Taiper – Image Courtesy of asiarooms.com

You can find out more about where Dragon Boat Races and Festivals are taking place at:

Worldwide Dragon Boat Race calendar

International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) event calendar

Wherever in the world you fancy taking part in celebrations or races, we are sure you’ll have plenty of fun.

Don’t forget we offer travel insurance to suit spectators and partakers!  Get a quick quote online or call us on 01892 628530.

Alternative Aquitaine: Sun, Sand, and Surf’s Up in South-West France

Do you like sun, sand and surf? How about paragliding from sand dunes with views of pine forests as far as the eye can see? Oh, and the views include the Atlantic Ocean too. It may sound like something from a dream, but this is actually what it is like along the south-west coast of France.

So, if you find yourself with a week on your hands, and you want action and adventure mixed with a chilled surf vibe (without heading to distant shores) we suggest you hop on the next flight to Biarritz and check out these three fab destinations!

 

Contis-Plage

Just over 1 hour drive from Biarritz airport, you’ll find the fabulous seaside surf heaven of Contis-Plage.  After the small and unassuming town, towards the beach you’ll be greeted by timber shack-style shops that look in danger of being swamped by the sand dunes. Among the shacks are purveyors of surfboards, fine foods, and of course fabulous beers. The feeling is laid back, rustic, and unassumingly cool.

Contis Plage Beach, South West France

Contis Plage Beach – Image from 1000gites.com

The beach is long, and even in high season, you can find yourself somewhere quiet to sunbathe, or find your own stretch of sea to take on waves that attract surfers from far and wide. To the right of the beachfront “town” you can find a new type of development rising from the sand. Weathered wood is replaced with modernist architecture, but still with a vibe that keeps true to the laid-back roots of the area. Only a huge sand dune separates these houses from the sea, which have private paths over the dune to reach the beach, and many are actually available to rent as a holiday let.

Highlight: There is a restaurant bar on the other side of the rising sand dunes, overlooking the sea. It is open to the elements but perfect for replenishing lost energy after a morning or afternoon at the beach.

 

Dune du Pilat

If the sand dunes of Contis-Plage left you yearning for an even bigger beach, there is only one place to go – Dune du Pilat. The drive is just 1.5 hours through huge pine forests and along the coast.

There is no way of explaining to someone how vast this sand dune is… sure, it is over 3 kilometres long, half a kilometre wide and reaches more than 100 metres above sea level – but can you really imagine that? The best access to the dune is actually from Dune du Pyla campsite. You can choose to circumnavigate the dune to get to the beach, or take it on at a moderately easy level to get to the top.

Dune of Pilat Beach, South West France

Dune of Pilat, Image from travelioo.com

If you choose to attack the dune from the designated tourist spot, give yourself plenty of time. The ascent is breath-taking, and so are the views! Even the fittest don’t seem to get to the top in one go. Top tip is to take it easy, take some binoculars and use taking in the view on the way up as an excuse to have a rest.

At the top, you’ll be rewarded with astonishing views. To one side, all you’ll see as far as the horizon is pine forest. The trees are huge, but you’ll be way above the canopy. To the other side, the Atlantic Ocean glistening in the sun.

Highlight: Paragliding! The conditions are just perfect. Whether you book a flight yourself, or just come to watch others hanging around in the air, it somehow gives the dune an added sense of magnificence.

 

Lacanau Ocean

The final paradise in this beach trilogy is Lacanau Ocean. While the town itself feels like an end-of-the-line tourist destination, it is simple, welcoming and has some amazing food on offer. It also has a big wheel if you really like that kind of thing, but what really attracts people is the long sandy beach and the near-perfect surf. The drive from Contis is just over an hour – Warning: do not confuse with Lacanau, a nearby, and very pleasant town bordering lakes and pine forests.

The beach here, and the aforementioned fabulous surfing conditions make Lacanau Ocean a prime spot for professional surfers to have some fun. The waves are good all year round, and all day long, but August is the time that Lacanau Pro comes to town, an annual surf competition that is also the oldest in France. Should you happen to be here at the same time as the event, you’ll be able to see just how surfing should be done as the top 44 surfers in the world take to the waves.

Highlight: It is all about the watersports, and the best thing is that it doesn’t matter if you can surf or not, there is always a wave to suit. The shallow water means you can skimboard by the shore, bodyboard a metre or so in, paddle board a little further out, or go all out to catch the really big waves.

Lacanau Ocean Beach, South West France

Lacanau Ocean – Image from francethisway.com

Bastille Day 2014 – A Travellers Guide To Celebrating In Style

If you find yourself in Paris on July 14th, and you don’t know it is Bastille Day, you’re in for quite a surprise! Throughout the country there are fairs, fetes, parades, fireworks and feasts to celebrate the most flamboyant of French National Holidays, but the heart of the action is in Paris itself.While there is plenty for the accidental visitor to enjoy, there are also some great perks for the organised traveller – FREE entry to some spectacular events! We tell you which must-see Bastille Day goings-on you must not miss, and tell you where to head this year to make the most of your visit to Paris!

Yann Caradec - Fireworks on Eiffel Tower

Yann Caradec – Fireworks on Eiffel Tower

Bastille Day Celebrations 2014

Military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees – from 9am until midday on 14th there is a spectacular parade along one of the most recognisable roads in France. Expect breathtaking formations of troops on foot, on motorcycle and of course troops mounted on their trusted steeds. Around mid-morning there is a fly-by by the Air Defence and Air Operations Command.

Sharat Ganapati - Bastille Day Parade

Sharat Ganapati – Bastille Day Parade

Welcoming of the Soldiers – this will take place across 9 sites, after the main celebration in the morning. It is a chance for the people of France and tourists alike to talk to soldiers about their profession and the missions they have been on to defend their country. There will also be demonstrations and talks from the soldiers too. Visitors should head to Esplanade des Invalides and Place de la Nation, the two larger sites that have been confirmed for this year’s celebrations.

Fireman’s Ball – this takes place on 13th and 14th July 2014 from 9pm until 4am at various fire stations across the city. Entry is either paid on the door, or donations are requested upon entry. All proceeds go to improving conditions for Firefighters. At the time of writing there were 28 events listed, so you are sure to stumble across one on your travels!

July 14th Fireworks Display – for 35 minutes from 11pm on 14th July 2014 those who find themselves at Champs de Mars or Trocadéro will be able to witness one of the most sensational firework displays in the world. The Eiffel Tower plays centre stage to a pyrotechnic feast you won’t forget in a hurry, and is most certainly something you don’t want to miss during your visit.

Bastille Day Free Events 2014

Eiffel Tower Concert – 14th July 2014 from 9pm

Performance at the Opera De Paris – 14th July 2014 there are limited seats, so book in advance!

Louvre Entry – 14th July 2014 all day. It is also free to go in on the 1st Sunday of the month.

Don’t forget to book your travel insurance before you go… we do some great deals for occasional and frequent travellers, and kids go FREE on our family travel insurance.

Kuching Destination Guide

Grin Like a Kuching Cat in Sarawak’s Jungle Bound Capital

Kuching is the perfect base for exploring the rainforest-covered state of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, but is also a fascinating, vibrant city to explore in its own right.

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia by Peter Gronemann

Both Buddhism and Islam co-exist here, a fact that has seen the construction of many stunning temples and mosques. Don’t miss Tua Pek Kong Temple – the oldest Chinese temple – or the striking Kuching City Mosque, an intriguing mix of mid-western and Italian architecture.

Astana

Translated literally as ‘palace’, this stunning building was built by Charles Brooke – the former governor of Sarawak – for his bride. It’s an ideal place to learn about the ‘White Rajahs’ who once ruled Sarawak. Don’t miss the Orchid Garden.

The Waterfront

Kuching Waterfront is a must – and the perfect spot to enjoy a quintessential South East Asian sunset. Here you’ll also see how the rich Kuchingnites live (property prices here are astronomical), and as such, you can expect to pay a lot more in the restaurants by the water. It is also a popular spot for young lovers.

Square Tower - Kuching Waterfront

Square Tower – Kuching Waterfront by Chipmunk_1

Museums

For museum lovers there is plenty to absorb in Kuching. Try the Sarawak Museum, The Chinese Museum, the Cat Museum (Kuching means ‘cat’ in Malaysian, so feline memorabilia is very popular here) or even the Timber Museum!

Shopping

If you’re looking for a beautiful gift for loved ones back home, Kuching offers a dazzling array of locally made handicrafts and fabrics.

Food

Delicious Malay and Chinese food is found everywhere in Kuching – and eating out a major pastime. If you buy fish from a stall, however, be sure it is heated thoroughly, as your stomach may not be as resilient as those of the locals!

Visiting the Sunday Market is essential if you want to see just how much produce comes out of Sarawak: find colourful displays of fruit, vegetables, fish and honey, alongside such items as potted plants and even pets.

Crocodiles

If you want to get close – but not too close – to some crocs, head along to Jong’s Crocodile Farm, where feeding time is an unforgettable sight.

Jungle Trekking

Tourists often use Kuching as a springboard for one of the many jungle trekking experiences available further east. Sarawak boasts some of the most unspoilt rainforest in the world, where orangutans and a host of exotic creatures can be viewed in their natural surroundings.

Proboscis Monkey

Proboscis Monkey by Peter Gronemann

Bako National Park is nearest Kuching, offering steamy mangrove forests and lots of proboscis monkeys.

Accommodation

There are options for all budgets in Kuching, from hostel dormitories (RM20) to mid-range hotels (around RM90) and of course the usual array of top-end establishments asking for around RM300. However, low season can bring some real bargains, even in the most expensive hotels.

Language

While Malay and Mandarin are widely spoken in Kuching and Sarawak, most Kuchingnites take English as a second language, so being understood here is usually straightforward.

Getting to Kuching

Intrigued by this unique rainforest citadel? It’s the ideal place to spend a few days before embarking on jungle adventures in the east of Sarawak – and is easy to get to from the UK. Most flights from London go through Singapore or Kuala Lumpur and usually take from 17 to 20 hours.

5 Fab Things To Do In Barcelona! Travel Guide

5 Fab Things To Do In Barcelona!

If you fancy jetting off on a weekend city break, then Barcelona is a hot spot of culture, fun, frolics and of course fiestas! Uniting beach with the buzz of city life, you’ll find plenty of great things to do on your break. Here are our top recommendations.

 1: Find Your Feet

There is no better way to explore the vibe of Barcelona than on foot. This way you get to take in the wonderful architecture, smell the fabulous food on offer and of course breathe in the laid back atmosphere that this cosmopolitan city exudes.  If you find your feet getting a little tired, then there are plenty of places to catch the metro. Just make sure that you pick up a city map before you lose your bearings!

2. Amble Along Las Rambla

Las Rambla is a pedestrianized tree-lined avenue that runs through the old town. Stretching from Playa Catalunya down to the seafront, it is just over a kilometre long – perfect for a gentle stroll. Bear in mind that it is a place that attracts lots of tourists, which unfortunately means that pickpockets like the area too. Expect to see lots of street performers, great to watch while you stop and enjoy the food and drink at one of the many cafes and bars.

3. Go To Park Guell

Also known as Gaudi Park to tourists, Park Guell is a magnificent feat of creativity where modernist architecture mixes with the incredible décor. The park was originally intended as a private development for the wealthier residents of Barcelona – unfortunately the venture was a commercial failure. Allow a good couple of hours to explore the area. There is plenty to see without having to pay to get into the main development area – but it is well worth it if you do!

Park Guell, Barcelona

Park Guell, Barcelona Park by George M. Groutas

4. See A Bit More Gaudi at Sagrada Familia

From the top of Park Guell, you’ll be able to see the Sagrada Familia – Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, rising out of the city like a monolith. Your next challenge is to get to it by foot to marvel at the architectural talents involved! The walk should be about half an hour, at a leisurely pace of course – but make sure you have your map. The buildings are quite imposing in the city, and believe it or not, you will soon lose sight of this towering giant! The Basilica was designed by Gaudi, and believe it or not building work started in 1882, and it is still in progress!

5. Taste The Delights of Tapas and Sangria

A trip to Spain surely isn’t complete until you have tucked into some tapas and quenched your thirst with Sangria! There are loads of places to sit and eat – indoors and outdoors, all year round. In the cooler months restaurants in the plazas bring out an army of patio heaters to make dining al fresco a pure pleasure. Your biggest struggle will be deciding where to go and eat!

Barcelona – Tapas Bar

Barcelona – Tapas Bar by Adam Wyles

Festival Fever – a short note

The Catalans love to party, and during some months you’ll find there is more than a festival a week! When you book a Barcelona break, bear in mind that festivals often mean bank holidays, and if a weekend is going to be a long one, then many people in Barcelona take most of the week off anyway. Great if you want to party, not so great if you are going for a spot of retail therapy.

UK Activity Breaks for Families

UK Activity Breaks for Families

 

This month we have focussed on the Great British Staycation, bringing you all the info you need to make the most of a holiday in the UK. Last week we shared our top UK destinations, but this week we bring you the very best activity breaks available for families!

 

Forest Holidays

Forest Holidays have a multitude of fun-packed locations across the UK to offer a convenient option for families of any area. There is a selection of cabin types to choose from, with the added option of luxuries such as hot tubs and log burners, and plenty of locations also welcome animals to come along and enjoy the holiday too! Activities are available to suit all ages, abilities, and adrenaline ranges, with things to do such as hiking, cycling, archery, kayaking, motorsports, fishing and even cliff jumping! If you’re looking to have fun and gain an adventure without the fuss of going abroad, Forest holidays offer packages that are perfect for your needs.

 

GoActive Breaks

The British countryside is famed for being inspiringly picturesque, and what better way to enjoy those fantastic views than to get right in amongst them! GoActive has accommodation dotted all over the UK so finding your nearest one should be no trouble at all. All of the activities at GoActive are led by experienced professionals and cater for people of all ages and abilities, so you can be sure that your holiday is going to be fuss-free and safe. A multitude of fun-packed activities are available including sailing, horse riding, 4×4  safari, snorkelling, pilates, paintball, abseiling, water parks, zorbing, circus workshops and golf. The list of things to do seems never-ending, and you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied from morning until night.

 

Go Ape

Go Ape is the UK’s number one forest adventure, and makes for an exhilarating day out for the whole family. Swing from the treetops on an adrenaline-inducing course of ropes and wires through the forest to get to the other side. You’ll get the chance to take in some fantastic scenery, have a lot of fun, and make memories you’ll laugh about for a lifetime. Separated into ‘gorillas’, ‘baboons’, and ‘tarzans’, all abilities are welcome and there are trained staff on hand at every point to ensure your safety and security. If some of the family don’t quite feel up to the task, there are Segway rides that can be taken around the forest floor, for a buzz without any worry. Go Ape has 29 locations across the UK, so finding one locally shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

 

Go Ape - Thetford - by opopdodo

Go Ape by opopdodo

Extreme Element

If adrenaline is what you’re looking for, Extreme Element is your answer! One of the benefits of choosing to spend your family holiday in the UK is that you save yourself money in travel and overseas accommodation, so why not put that saved money to good use by booking some exhilarating activities? Whether you stay at home, rent a house or holiday home elsewhere or decide that a trip in the campervan is the way forward for your family, be sure to have lots of activities planned to keep you occupied. Extreme Element is a website that offers near enough every hair-raising pastime you can imagine, from skydiving to hot-air ballooning to white water rafting. There are locations for these activities all over the UK, so you can find yourself having fun right on your doorstep. If some of the family would rather keep it low-key, there are plenty of things on offer from Extreme Element that cater for the slightly less adventurous. Flight simulations, martial arts, scuba diving and quad biking all offer the chance to make memories without worrying about parachutes and life vests!

 

Whatever imaginative activities you choose to occupy yourself with this holiday, make sure you always feel safe. Having trained members of staff on hand will reassure you if you’re worried, and all of the necessary equipment will be available for purchase, hire, or free use so you can feel as confident as possible when trying new things.

 

For added peace of mind, check that your travel insurance covers you for all the activities you want to do and travel arrangements and bookings you have made. Happy holidays, and enjoy your adventure!

Top UK Holiday Destinations 2014

If the pull of an overseas holiday hasn’t quite enticed you, or if you simply wish to explore the opportunities a little closer to home, choosing a UK break this year has never seemed like such a great option.

 

Staycations are growing rapidly in popularity owing to their dismissal of extortionate air fares, lengthy travel arrangements and the complications of leaving the country, and they offer the perfect excuse to experience some of the most exciting holiday destinations in the UK.

 

Whether you’re after a relaxed break away, an exhilarating adventure holiday or an opportunity to have fun and make friends, take a look at some of our favourite UK holiday destinations – we’re sure you’ll be booking a UK stay in no time!

 

Centreparcs

With five easy to reach locations across the UK, Centreparcs offers a fantastic stay away from home with the convenience of door-to-door travel in no time at all.  Set amongst idyllic forestry, each location offers a break that caters for everybody – there’s the fun-filled option of a swimming pool paradise with rapids, slides and pools for all ages, an array of classes, indoor and outdoor sports, bike hire and all other manner of activities to keep you occupied.

 

If a relaxing stay away is more what you’re looking for, why not try out the impressively upmarket spa facilities, and spend your days unwinding in the Jacuzzis and enjoying treatment after treatment. The grounds are an ideal setting for any budding explorer, and with stunning accommodation to suit all sizes and budgets you can relax in comfort and style as soon as you’re finished. Each site offers all of the facilities you’ll require, with the added luxury of an American pancake house if the mood strikes! If a holiday abroad seems like an unlikely option because of animal commitments, Centreparcs welcomes dogs to enjoy the family fun too.

 

Cornwall

Renowned for some of the most stunning coastal locations in the UK, it’s no wonder that Cornwall is the setting of choice for most holiday-goers opting for a staycation this year. The traditional seaside towns are bursting with character, and there are activities and landmarks to keep you occupied at every corner, no matter which area you might decide to visit.

 

Padstow, Cornwall, England by Alison Johnstone

Old-fashioned pasty shops boast some of the best award-winning food in the country, and with the St Austell brewery providing stock to the majority of local pubs, you’ll get the taste of Cornwall wherever you go! Children can enjoy watersports on the sandy beaches, and there is fishing on coastlines and bays for those seeking a relaxed atmosphere away. Famous gardens are on offer all over Cornwall and provide some of the most interesting and unique experiences a UK holiday has to offer.

 

If one of the appeals of holidaying at home this year is the prospect of a roadtrip then why not explore the entire county and soak up all of the delights that each location has to offer – you’ll be sure to find plenty of other campervan owners doing the very same thing!

 

Snowdonia

You don’t need to head to the Himalayas to satisfy your passion for an outdoor walking holiday, you can enjoy all of the beauty of a vast mountainscape without ever leaving the UK! Snowdonia in North Wales is home to 100 lakes, 37 miles of beautiful coastline, and 37 breath-taking mountain peaks, and is one of the most picturesque locations in Britain.

 

This natural playground is the perfect chance to explore and discover the outdoors as a family, a couple, or simply on your own, whether you’re inclined to try a peaceful walk, challenging climb, or can’t wait to sink your teeth into some of the local activities. The natural landscape is a mix of rushing rivers and still lakes, and everything from relaxed sailing to high octane white water rafting is on offer – the opportune way to have fun and make memories! Locally you’ll find some incredible attractions such as King Arthur’s Labyrinth, medieval villages, and authentic fortresses all waiting to be explored. This might be a slightly more energetic holiday than the white beaches of Sicily, but the unparalleled beauty of the surroundings are sure to provide you with the tranquillity you’re seeking in a break.

The Isle of Skye

If a UK break away has captured your heart, what better place to discover your love for somewhere close to home than the pastoral Isle of Skye. Distinctly Gaelic in culture and effortlessly beautiful, the hills and highlands all around offer a tranquil location to unwind and adventure in the UK. If you’re looking to absorb a little local culture, Skye is famed for its whisky distilleries and well-travelled breweries offering a taste of exquisite local flavours.

 

Scottish culture isn’t all about drinking though! Staffin Bay is a brilliant visit if you fancy trying your hand at hunting for dinosaur fossils! Bring the whole family and have fun seeing who can collect the most. Recognised as having some of the darkest night skies in Europe (as long as you avoid mid-summer when the sun barely sets), the Isle of Skye is the destination of choice for budding astronomers, and in the Spring the Northern Lights are visible for the experience of a lifetime.

 

Legoland

A UK holiday doesn’t have to be all about outdoor adventure, it can be just as much about relaxed fun too! Legoland is the nostalgic haven for everybody who played with Lego as a child, with incredible structures built from the nation’s favourite toy. Rides, attractions, and ever-changing events are available to help you make your UK break one to remember, plus the chance to stay in the Legoland resort to fully complete your holiday package.

 

Children will be beside themselves with the differently themed villages from Pirates to Pharaohs, and will have the opportunity to learn as well as have fun. If memories are what you’re looking to make on your holiday this year, Legoland is the destination for entertainment!

 

Legoland Windsor by Dave Catchpole

Legoland Windsor by Dave Catchpole

Whether you decide that your staycation this year is all about relaxing in the peaceful British countryside, adventuring in hills and highlands, or letting your hair down at some of the exhilarating UK locations on offer – make sure you enjoy it to the fullest!