England

7 Camping Essentials You Can’t Do Without

By on September 5, 2014

 

Ladram Bay
Ladram Bay

Any camping trip you make with your family will be an education, and invariably every time you camp you will pick up some tips from the people camping around you that you will file away to remember for your next outing. There will always be a number of camping essentials that you really cannot live without. Here are Ladram Bay’s top seven suggestions to get you going.

Rubber wine glasses

rubber glasses

Obviously when we’re camping, especially with a family, we forgo glass, and yet when space is at a premium, the last thing you need is lots of hard plastic everywhere. However, plastic tends to be rigid and when it gets squashed it invariably breaks. Investing in rubber glasses is a great idea. They don’t break if you drop them and you can squash them in order to store them. If you’re taking your children with you these are perfect for holding their squash, juice or fizzy drinks too.

Woolly Hat

wooly hat

A woolly hat is just made for campers everywhere. Primarily it helps cover up those awful hair days – when the campsite showers have failed to rinse the conditioner out of your hair – or you’ve spent too long on a windswept coast. Besides covering up horrendous hairdos and cold ears however, they are perfect accessories to help keep you warm in bed. Regardless of whether you’re a duvet or a sleeping bag camper, wearing a hat to bed will ensure that the uppermost part of you keeps cosy too so bag a beanie and bung it on your bonce.

First Aid Kit

We’re of the mind that it’s better to be prepared rather than to hoof it, so a first aid kit is an obvious essential camping resource. You can buy first aid kits from most pharmacies or online or you can personalise your own. Simply buy a waterproof bag (a toiletries bag would be fine) and fill it with plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, adhesive tape, diarrhoea rehydration sachets, bite and sting cream and perhaps allergy tablets (such as Piriton), spare inhalers or other family medication – but do of course remember to keep any tablets out of the reach of your children.

Head torches

lamp

You might look like a complete geek but a head torch is a definite camping essential for family camping trips. Picture the scenario – it’s eleven at night and you have one child who has vomited and another who wants to visit the loo. You have to take both of them, a towel, shower gel, toothbrush and clean clothing to the shower block and getting there requires navigating a bumpy field in the pitch black. You will worship your head torch! Alternatively it’s great if you’re playing cards with no other means of lighting available.

Zip lock bags

While any plastic bag that you acquire from a supermarket will come in handy while you’re camping, the joy of zip lock bags is that they secure your items, you can see into them and they come in a variety of sizes. You can keep maps in them if you’re going out in the bad weather, or you can keep matches in small ones to save them from getting damp.

Baby wipes

As you will not have access to running water, every time you need to wash your hands or wipe anything down you will find yourself in a quandary. Baby wipes (or their equivalent) are a brilliant camping essential. You can mop up small spillages, wipe down tables, wipe out mugs and beakers, clean down other surfaces, smarten up children’s faces or even attack your own mucky feet before you get into bed.

 

Bedside Storage Caddy

caddyThere’s nothing worse than waking up in the night and not being able to find your water, mobile phone, tissues or your torch because they’ve rolled away. Having something like this bedside storage caddy is the perfect solution, although any waterproof, semi-solid bag would do. Keep all of your essentials safely tucked up right next to you for instant access when the occasion demands it.

 

Continue Reading

England

Treat Yourself this Summer: Best Spas in London

By on May 20, 2013

 

Do we need an excuse to enjoy a pampering session? While it’s something that isn’t always a regular occurrence, it’s definitely an afternoon that is well deserved every once in a while. What better way to enjoy some ‘you’ time than an opportunity to relax, unwind and recharge your batteries. Make a day of it, take your best friend and head for the big smoke, where the choice of spas is extensive.

Perhaps you could incorporate the afternoon into a weekend away with your friend or family member? You don’t have to worry about spending too much on accommodation either. Visit https://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/book/london-hotels and you could benefit from affordable hotel rooms, meaning you have more cash to splash on a massage, wrap or facial.

But which one do you choose? As a visitor to the city, you may not be familiar with which spas are recommended or which ones to avoid like the plague. Check out some of these top choices so that your visit is as calming and tranquil as possible.

sanctuary spa covent garden pool
Exercise Pool at the Sanctuary

The Sanctuary

You may recognise the name of this one due to the range of products it has developed for the high street. It is one of the favourites for those visiting the capital in search of a chance to unwind. Prices vary, depending on what you’re after, from back, neck and shoulder massages for £45 to body wraps for £110.

Located in the heart of Covent Garden, it would be a perfect addition to a day in the capital, whilst ideally situated to give you the chance to explore as well. Make sure you take your own flip-flops though, because they’re not provided.

Spa London

On a budget? Spa London offers reasonably-priced, quality treatments ranging from Turkish Hamams to the signature Gym & Tonic which involves stripping your body of all the grime build up, leaving you fresh as a daisy.

Whether you choose its flagship spa in Bethnal Green or the newest addition in Islington (housed in the Ironmonger Row Baths), you can be sure of an indulgent afternoon that won’t break the bank.

Aveda Institute

If you are concerned about the lotions and potions that are used in the treatments, look no further than the Aveda Institute. Located on High Holborn in Covent Garden, this purveyor of natural, plant-based products means that the oils, hair products and skin treatments are all kind to your body without any added nasties.

The Berkeley Spa

Fancy relaxing in the roof top pool as part of your spa experience? You can at the Berkeley, set in the heart of London overlooking Hyde Park. A favourite with celebs, you may bump into a couple of famous faces, but don’t let the starstruck feeling overpower the real reason why you’re there – because of the quality pampering and beauty treatments.

Whether you choose to head to one of these spas or decide on something different, if you book a reasonably priced hotel by visiting https://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/book/london-hotels, you will have the spare cash to enjoy some real pampering opportunities this summer.

The Berkeley spa

Continue Reading

England

One Day in London

By on January 12, 2013

 

If you’re visiting London for the day, it’s difficult to know where to start. Whether it’s your first trip or one of many, it’s easy for people to just stick to the main tourist hotspots. Not that there’s anything wrong with Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey – these landmarks are undoubtedly among the most impressive in the world. But what about experiencing a more alternative side to London? Here’s a quick guide to a day well spent in England’s fine Capital.

tower bridge, london
Tower Bridge, River Thames

Morning…

Start with a walk along London’s South Bank; with aerial views stretching across the river, it’s the perfect way to take in some of the most impressive sights in the city. With two landmarks in close proximity, one full of history and one a symbol of modernity: Tower Bridge and the Shard are two of the must-see sights here. Then, head down towards Shakespeare’s Globe and if you can, take in a play; it might not be everyone’s idea of fun but the experience of being in this legendary theatre is bound to inspire. Afterwards, if you’re feeling a little peckish, head towards Borough Market. With endless stalls and restaurants, it’s a paradise for foodies and the perfect place to grab a bite to eat for lunch.

Afternoon…

During the afternoon, grab an opportunity to visit one of the City’s many museums or galleries. Although most people are drawn to the National Gallery, how about trying the British or Imperial War Museum? Full of fascinating history, you’ll be able to while away hour upon hour in either. Afterwards, if the weather’s on your side (or even if it’s not), grab some fresh air in Regent’s Park: one of London’s finest open spaces. With beautifully kept gardens and somewhat of a regal atmosphere, it’s a fantastic place for a relaxing afternoon stroll. When you’re done, head to nearby London Zoo. With over 750 different species of animal, it is one of the best in the world; whether you’re an animal lover or not, you’re bound to get caught up in the fun and exotic escape it provides.

london evening

Evening…

Just before the sun begins to set, head north to Camden. If you’re still up for some exercise, the most picturesque route is the walk along Regents Canal, but of course you can always take the tube too. A true slice of alternative London, entertainment can be found on every corner here, with pubs, clubs, theatre’s and a market selling everything from craft items, to fashion and music. If you want to experience a live band, check out venues like the Roundhouse or Electric Ballroom, or alternatively, round off your night with a few drinks in some of Camden’s best pubs: The Worlds End or the Hawley Arms are two of the region’s best loved watering holes.

In a city as great as London, one day is never going to be enough; we haven’t even mentioned the Soho, Kew Gardens, the East End or a whole plethora of London’s finest and most diverse destinations. Oh well, you’ll just have return.

Written by Kar, the Travel Blogger

 

Continue Reading

England

A Weekend In Cardiff

By on May 2, 2012
cardiff postcard
Cardiff City Hall. photo via http://www.europeish.com

Cardiff is a great place to choose for a weekend mini-break, as the city has lots to offer to all visitors.

You’ll also find good value Cardiff hotels to choose from, including three Travelodge’s in the heart of the city, that won’t break the bank.

If you only have two days in the city, you’ll want to squeeze in as much as possible. Here are some suggestions to add to your ‘must do’ list so that you don’t miss a thing while in one of the most welcoming Welsh cities.

Millennium Stadium
The Millennium Stadium is an iconic landmark, not only in Cardiff or Wales, but in the UK. It has a full programme of sporting events, so if you love your rugby or your motorsports you should check out what’s on at ticketmaster.co.uk.

Wales Millennium Centre
Another iconic landmark in Cardiff, the Wales Millennium Centre (also known as the Armadillo) has been seen on shows such as Doctor Who and Torchwood. It’s a huge centre for performing arts, and you’ll find shows, tours, exhibitions, workshops and talks to suit all ages and tastes. Head to www.wmc.org.uk/WhatsOn for details of the 2012 programme.

Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay has benefitted from complete re-development and is now a great place to eat and drink in a waterfront location.

Cardiff Caste
This attraction is great for all ages, and its city centre location means it’s great for those who have travelled to Cardiff by train. You can take a 50 minute tour to learn all about this mid 19th century architectural wonder, and its breathtaking interior.

Techniquest
If you’re travelling to Cardiff as a family then Techniquest is a great family friendly attraction. This interactive science museum features hands on exhibits that all ages will enjoy getting to grips with.

Now you have a great ‘to do’ list, all you need to do is find Cardiff hotels to suit your requirements and you can start ticking them off!

Continue Reading

England

3 Reasons to Visit the Cotswolds

By on April 25, 2012
cotswold, england houses
Charming English Countryside

The Cotswolds are known as the heart of England. They are famous for their rolling hills, arts and crafts history and chocolate box villages. They are a great destination for families as there are lots of outdoor activities to be done such as walking, cycling and horse riding. Here are 3 reasons why you should visit the Cotswolds.

  1. For the Towns & Villagescots

You will see some of the most quintessentially English villages in the Cotswolds. In places like Chipping Campden and Bourton on the Water you will feel as though you have stepped into a picture on a postcard. They have old dusky sandstone houses, meandering rivers and streams and quaint shops and tearooms.

 

  1. For the Trails

Whether you are walking or cycling there are some fantastic trails across the Cotswolds. With over 3,000 miles of footpaths there is abundance for you to choose from. The Cotswold Way and Thames Valley Path are great for long distance walkers whereas circular routes around some of the pretty villages are better for those wanting a short ramble.

 

  1. For the History

cots2

There are so many sites of historic importance in the Cotswolds that really do make it a history buffs dream. Broadway Tower and Park is well worth a visit with its gifts shop and gallery. Other great places include Blenheim Palace, Tewkesbury Abbey and Berkeley Castle.

One of the best ways to see the Cotswolds in on foot. http://www.cotswoldjourneys.com/ provides bespoke walking holidays in this stunning location!

.

Continue Reading

Accommodation | England | Welsh

A perfect Welsh Holiday

By on April 22, 2012

In London there is all that life can afford but in Wales there are all the castles that a history buff or a dedicated traveller can find. With so many activities, beautiful scenery to offer, booking one of the charming holiday cottages in Wales will be worth your while. Wales is just about 2 hours travel from London and its rich, fresh and lush landscape would be an escape from the usual hustle and bustle of the city.

Wales is known for many things and one of which would be the rain that has shaped the hilly countryside and carved the vast amount of valleys. There are also a lot of lakes that have become a basin for the downpours and which has kept the surrounding beautiful green while the beaches pristine.  There are hundreds of reasons why Wales is as a good travel destination as all parts of the United Kingdom are – England, Scotland and Ireland and here are some that might convince you to visit Wales.

caerphilly castle
Caerphilly castle, the biggest in Wales.

1. Visit one of the still-standing 100 castles in Wales. There were about 400 castles (about 100 still standing) in Wales making it rightful to be called the Castle Capital of the World. For example the Caerphilly castle which is considered the biggest castle in Wales and second to Windsor in the whole of Britain.

See the historical castles, churches and other medieval architecture that has comprised Wales that it is today.

2. Experience the only public rack and pinion railway in the United Kingdom, the Snowdon Mountain Railway (SMR) (Welsh: Rheilffordd yr Wyddfa) and see nature’s best work as you go up. This is a real encounter of the Culdee Fell Railway. If you are more of a trekking type then there are routes waiting for you to be able to go up the mountain tops…pick a trek of your choice with the help of enthusiasts.

Llanrwst Bridge
Mythic Llanrwst Bridge, Wales (google image)

3. Book a cottage of your choice and explore the nearby scenery. There are a lot of holiday cottages to choose from. Either surrounded by magnificent mountains, a few are a walk away from hidden coves, an almost dreamy house by the coast, or in a lush, peaceful river valley. Wales is as unique as the cottages it offers – choose your natural inclination and pick one and explore the area. Enjoy the landscape, seascape and skyscape that have inspired many great artists and photographers then and today. Photograph the mystic towns and cities of Wales as you please.

welsh cawl lamb leek soup
Welsh Cawl, lamb and leek soup via http://www.profimedia.com

4. No holiday is complete without having the local cuisine of the place you visit. Welsh cuisine is famous for lambs and leeks that its national dish the Welsh Cawl (cowl) is thought to contain both when in actuality it is cooked with either salted bacon or beef, along with potatoes, carrots and other seasonal vegetables. Nevertheless, this dish is an awesome addition to your gastronomic adventure.

While at the Caerphilly Castle or the town, get yourself some of the crumbly cheese, Caerphilly. Pose beside the cheese statue too.

Of course don’t forget to take a bite of Welsh cakes and take some home for your mom too! Welsh cakes or bakestones are made from flour, sultanas, raisins, and/or currants, and may also include such spices as cinnamon and nutmeg and are popular snacks there.

5. Sports. There are many popular activities at the national parks in Wales ( Brecon Beacons National Park, Snowdonia National Park and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) which include hill walking, hiking, canoeing, hang gliding, kayaking and climbing.

Wales has a rich rugby tradition and one can always head to the spectacular Millenium Stadium in Cardiff for a national match to watch even without understanding the game. Wales is also becoming increasingly popular for ‘extreme’ sports, such as surfing, mountain biking and downhill cycling. If you enjoy surfing, try riding the Severn bore too.

Cardiff at night
Mermaid Quay, Cardiff at night. photo via http://www.edwalker.net

6. While at Cardiff, shop to your heart’s content at the Mermaid Quay. The 14,000 sq m waterfront shopping and leisure district was opened in 1999, and includes restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. Mermaid Quay is the perfect contrast of rural Wales. Spend here for clothes and branded items and find the tastiest Glamorgan sausage, Laverbread or Crempogau. Also the perfect place for you to while your night away if you’re not out in the wilds enjoying the starry, night sky.

.

Continue Reading