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May 15th, 2016 by kyle

Opting to take a ferry to France is a great way to save money when you’re on a tight budget. However you could save even more than you expect if you take several other factors into consideration before you book your tickets.

In much the same way airplane tickets tend to vary in cost based on numerous factors, so too do the ferries to France. As such, if you’re able to book the right tickets you could actually end up traveling for a fraction of the normal cost.

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  • Choose to travel off-peak

Weekends and holidays are when ticket prices tend to be at their highest – so if you’re able to be a bit flexibly, try to travel off-peak. The best fares are generally to be had midweek, and late night crossings are often a lot cheaper than at other times of the day. That being said keep in mind that if you’re modifying your travel plans and extending your stay for better ferry prices, you may incur additional costs for accommodation.

  • Book very early, or very late

To get the best deals on your tickets you should either book well in advance, or try to catch a last-minute ferry. Of the two booking early is definitely the ‘safer’ option, as although last minute offers can be great there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get one, or that there’ll be space available. If possible, try to book your tickets at least a month or two prior to departure.

  • Try different ports

As you probably know, there are several ports throughout the UK where ferries depart to France. While Dover and Portsmouth are known to have the most competitive rates in general, it might not hurt to shop around and see what is available at other ports too. Just remember to factor in any additional travel costs that you may have to incur on your end to get to a different port too.

  • Compare fares between ferries

With so many different ferry operators there is certainly a lot of choice available. That is why it makes sense to compare the fares between ferries to find the best deals available. Nowadays there are websites that will help you to search the available rates across all the various operators, and if you vary the date and time as well as the ports you should be able to find some nice rates that you can take advantage of.

All said and done it really isn’t all that hard to find cheap ferries to France. Now that you’re aware of how the ticket prices can vary, all you need to do is start to look around and see if you can match your travel plans with some of the cheaper rates that are available and figure out exactly how much you could save by doing so. While that may take some effort, it will mean that you’ll have a bit more cash to spend enjoying your holiday in France.

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November 21st, 2015 by kyle

The nights are drawing in; it’s dark by 4pm and the air’s taken on a bitter chill. It’s time to put away with the floaty dresses and shorts and pull out the winter coats, jumpers and scarves in a bid to stay warm throughout the winter months. At this time of year we prefer to draw the curtains against the gloom, crank up the heating and snuggle up indoors.

Of course, a lot of us like to take a bit of time out in winter and take a trip away. While it’s no longer beach season, there are still plenty of great places to visit in the UK, whether it’s for a week away or just a romantic weekend with lots of opportunities for comfort and warmth. Here are some of the cosiest places to visit in the UK this winter.

 

Millgate House, North Yorkshire

Millgate House is perfect for people looking for a cosy and intimate trip away. The B&B was once a Regency house, offers three beautiful rooms and a unique, warm décor full of quirky antiques and pictures, not to mention a fantastic breakfast. There’s an open fireplace too, ideal for relaxing during the long, cold nights.

Boathouse, Knotts End

Located in the Lake District, the Boathouse is a unique and incredibly lovely place to stay. Surrounded by forests and a glacial lake, the house is decked out in warm oaks and has all the amenities you need for an intimate trip to the Lakes. It even comes with its own rowing boat! The Lake District is full of cosy retreats for the winter.

Bailiffscourt, West Yorkshire

The ancient manor house, built by Guinness magnate Lord Moyne, is heavily inspired by medieval architecture, with original stonework and woodwork, creating a close space. The effect is a warm and cosy place complete with roaring fireplaces, a spa and four poster beds decked out in beautiful reds and golds. A great place for people looking for a more traditional experience in West Yorkshire.

The Feathered Nest, Oxfordshire

Situated in a little village, the Feathered Nest is ideal for people looking for the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Each bedroom offers its own unique and cosy quirks and there’s an open fire in the bar for those chilly winter nights. The converted malt house also has plenty of history for anyone interested.

Tan y Bwlch, Gwynedd

This little Welsh cottage is perfect for holing up during the winter. It’s largely unaltered from its original state and offers everything from a rustic fireplace to original wooden beams and floors. The interior has been carefully cultivated for historical accuracy, and it’s a great place to curl up and sit out the cold, dark nights of winter.

This is just scratching the surface of the cosiest and most intimate winter holiday retreats in the UK during winter, but there are plenty of ways to make sure your own home is a haven from the chilly weather outside. For one thing, making sure you have a warm and comfortable bed from Bedstar is a sure fire way to beat the winter blues; after all, what’s better than snuggling up under a thick, fluffy duvet and drifting away to sleep?

Stay warm and comfy this winter, and maybe take some time to see how beautiful the UK can really be in during the colder months.

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July 20th, 2015 by kyle

There are a lot of exciting holidays to be had within the UK. Here are a few locations that will have you planning more than one trip.

Silverstone


For the motorsports enthusiast, Silverstone, home to the British Grand Prix, is a break that is sure to be remembered for many years to come. Here, you can see such Formula One legends as Lewis Hamilton. You may even catch
Max Mosley in the stands watching the sport for which he has done so much. Mosley was instrumental in encouraging a lot of innovation and safety measures on the Formula One racing circuit. His long tenure as president of the FIA (the governing body of Formula One) has led to his opinion being very well respected amongst motorsport fans. Tickets for Silverstone should be bought in advance for the best chance of getting the seat and race day that you want the most.

Outdoor fishing

Getting away to a cabin by a lake or river can be a great way to get back to nature with your friends or even your entire family. The UK is full of such spots as the Forest of Dean, where you can boat down the river and fish. Afterwards, you can return to a well-appointed cabin and even take in a spa treatment. For the true thrill-seeker, there is kayaking the rapids followed by fishing later on.

Cycling

Cycling is a great way to get away from it all and see some great sights. With cycling, you have time to observe the beauty of what is around you. This means that there are better opportunities to see wildlife in the forest and forget about the hustle and bustle of the city. That doesn’t mean that there is not a lot of excitement to go around. Mountain bike trails are not for those that don’t enjoy getting their adrenaline going a bit. If you have other travellers with you that want a more leisurely experience, then they can go on one of the shorter and easier trails. You can rent bicycles at many of the public forests throughout the UK.

Backpacking and camping


Sometimes, it can be exciting to test yourself and see what you are truly made of. A weekend backpacking trip is great because you can choose a trip to fit the level you feel up to. While it can be fun to push yourself a bit, make sure that you plan your trip well and take plenty of provisions. If this is your first backpacking trip in years, you may want to stick to a shorter itinerary or choose a less strenuous trail. It is always important to allow extra time for inclement weather and other factors. A guided trip can be a good idea for those that are truly beginners. There is no better time to start planning your adrenaline-fuelled getaway. Perhaps you could even encourage a friend of yours to get in on the excitement.

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June 12th, 2015 by kyle

Planning a last minute holiday in the sun? You have plenty of time to get it organised yet (it’s only July, after all)! If you’re travelling from the UK, you have the whole EU at your fingertips, only a few hours’ flight away. It’s easy to take the family along too, without it costing the earth. Here are some fantastic options that might just be what you’re looking for:

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is known for its beautiful climate and decadent wines. Stay at a stunning 18th century farmhouse, which has multiple apartments for other families lucky enough to be staying there. Your kids may find themselves playmates, which would give you an opportunity to truly relax, while they all have fun in the pool. Oh, and did we mention that this estate grows its own amazing wine on-site? Where do we sign up?

Cabins, South France

This characterful cabin is a little wonky around the edges, but you can tell that it was a real labour of love – the nearby owner made it himself, and he has a wealth of knowledge on the local area, so get in his good books and he will make your holiday easy. You have fantastic views of the lake and gardens, plus your own kitchen, so you won’t have to stray too far from your cabin, if you don’t want to! And who could blame you – with the amazing scenery and charming, raised decking, you won’t want to go anywhere else.

Green Holidays, Ireland

For an amazing variety of outdoor pursuits, The Three Towers is an eco lodge – with apartments and cottages – which offers pony riding, as well as donkey walking, in the verdant Irish countryside. There is more than 2,000 acres of woodland close to your holiday home, ripe for exploring. The owners have “enchanted” certain areas of forestry for the children, filling them with magical fairies and gnomes – endless hours of play for the little ones. Best of all, it’s a short plane or ferry ride away.

Algarve, Portugal

Have you always wanted to stay in a tipi, somewhere close to nature? Portugal has a great campsite called Tipis in the Algarve, where everything is brightly coloured and you even have access to a pool. On hand, you will have a small vegetable garden to explore, and a yoga platform perfect for your morning sun salutations. They run communal BBQ nights, so you can get some grub with other likeminded people and make new friends. Bonus: the beach is just a 15 minute drive away!

A Quick Note On Booking Your Flight…

If you are looking for flights to any of the above, be sure to book at the cheapest time as possible, to make sure that your family holiday stays affordable! Go with a cheap flights operator, but read the comments about their services for your next trip on an established site, such as these Bravofly reviews. Don’t accidentally spoil your holiday by going with the wrong travel agent, as hidden costs and poor customer service can really dampen the holiday – choose someone you know you can trust.

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June 11th, 2015 by kyle

Not everyone loves the beach. Sand gets everywhere, it can get quite dull fairly quickly and who knows what is lurking below the ocean surface? It is possible to have a fun, fulfilling and relaxing holiday without heading to the coast and suffering the wind, seagulls and unpredictable weather. One of Britain’s great strengths as a holiday destination is it’s diversity. From rolling hills to vibrant cities there are breaks to suit everyone. Providers such as UK Breakaways cover a huge variety of holidays and there some fantastic last minute deals to be had across the internet.

Country Retreats

A great guide to some of the most picturesque areas of the country is the official National Parks website. There are parks all over the country which means you can travel as little or as far as you want to get to your next rural holiday destination. Hiring cottages, camping or even ‘glamping’ allows you to get back to nature and might mean that you save a bit of money. There are also activities to be done such as sailing, hiking and cycling.

Water Parks

As Britain is not blessed with the most reliably sunny weather conditions, it is not over-furnished with water parks. However if you are near to Stoke, Sunderland, Blackpool or Paignton you are in luck as they have WaterWorld, Wet N Wild, Sandcastle and Splashdown respectively.

Theme Parks

Britain has it’s fair share of great theme parks. Alton Towers has always led the way with great, high-octane rides, a kiddie-friendly offer and fantastic hotels. Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park in Surrey as well as Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire and Drayton Manor in Staffordshire are also well worth the trip.

City Breaks

Ignore London. We’ve all been there, got the teddy bear beef eater and looked at the wax works in Madame Tussauds. There are many more interesting cities to see around the UK. Since gaining the title of Capital of Culture in 2008 Liverpool has gone from strength to strength with excellent museums, galleries and places to eat. Glasgow has a similarly vibrant cultural offer as does Cardiff. For more ‘olde worlde’ charm try York, Edinburgh or Chester.

Barge Holidays

For an altogether slower paced break, try a barge holiday either in the Norfolk broads, North Yorkshire or the Cotswolds. Seeing the countryside drift by while enjoying a cool glass of wine or a nice book is a thoroughly relaxing way to spend a few of your annual leave days. Companies such as Waterways give advice and have a portal to book through. In the words of Mr Alan Partridge “Water-way to have a good time!”

Cycling Holidays

For the active family and cycling trips is high energy and lots of fun. Cycling gives you the freedom to see the country on your own terms, it’s safe and great exercise.

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December 22nd, 2014 by janifar brown

It’s a situation many of us have been in: about to pop open a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine, you suddenly realise that you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen, with the result being a lot of wasted wine and a cork flying across the room. When opening a bottle of sparkling wine, it’s worth, then, considering some precautions that you can take to prevent accidents from occurring during celebrations.

It’s first important to learn the right method for safely removing a cork; this can be trickier than it might first appear for a bottle of wine, with the bubbles from sparkling wine and champagne more likely to create enough pressure to release a cork at high speed. To make things safer, it’s important to first remove the foil on a bottle before carefully adjusting the wire cage, turning the bottle rather than the cork away from you to gradually release its pressure; point the bottle away from other people and breakable objects while doing so.

At the same time, it’s worth thinking about the different wine bottle openers that you can use with sparkling wine. Champagne cork removers can be fitted on top of a bottle and used to safely remove it. Some examples of these openers include nickel swift-turn champagne openers, as well as champagne sabers, which involve using a small, sharp knife. Screwpulls and opening keys can similarly be used, while a towel can be wrapped around the top of a bottle to soak up any excess foam when it gets opened.

Before opening a bottle of sparkling wine, it’s important to check its temperature; this is particularly the case with champagne, which should be safely stored in a bucket of ice water to lower its temperature. If a bottle is too warm, it’s more likely to foam and spill over the top of a bottle, causing a mess and losing some valuable wine. Putting a bottle of sparkling wine in an ice bucket 20 or so minutes before opening should be fine to get it to the right temperature.

When pouring a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne, it’s crucial to avoid creating a large amount of head in a glass. With a sparkling wine, use a tall champagne flute to get the most out of a bottle. Pour about an ounce of wine into a glass, and wait for the foaming bubbles to go down before adding more liquid. Filling about two thirds of a glass will enable you to prevent creating too much foam.

When opening a bottle of sparkling wine, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that a bottle that’s opened too quickly can cause serious damage. Letting someone else open a bottle without knowing the best method to use can similarly lead to corks accidentally hitting people, or smashing glasses and other vulnerable items. If you have to make a bottle’s cork pop, make sure that the bottle is angled towards a curtain or a space without any breakable items.

Author Bio : Janifar is a freelance writer on wine and home cooking. She’s recently been exploring the many options available for sparkling wine in the UK.

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