Category Archives: Europe

uk roadtrip

The Best UK Road Trips

Going on a road trip is one of the best adventures, and the cheapest, you can have to break up the everyday routine of university life or work life. Just hop in your car, fuel up and drive towards the different sights UK has to offer. Whether you are in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, there are a number of trip routes that offer interesting sceneries.

England road trips

Take the M5 from Bridgwater and head west to A39 to start your Atlantic Highway road trip. Take in the watercolour sceneries of Somerset and feast your eyes on the wild hills on the east or the Atlantic coastline to the west. Pack your surfboard and head on to Newquay in Bude, Cornwall. Watch out for the rocky shores of Combe Martin or the charming villages of Brendon Hills and Selworthy village.

uk roadtrip

From Bude, drive on to Mousehole, at the tip of Cornwall. Take Route B3306 to Land’s End and experience the rolling green plains dotted with grazing cattle. Have a hearty dinner of fresh fish and potatoes at the Gurnard’s Head and treat yourself to some Cornish tea. However, if you only have half a day to spare in your busy schedule, there are other road trips available. From London, another route takes you from the A23 to Brighton, which has superb shopping, a buzzing nightlife scene, and a glorious stretch of coastline.

Wales

Wales is a small country but with a variety of vistas. Drive across the Denbigh Moors through the EVO Triangle composed of the A543, the A5, and the B4501, three roads forming a triangle. It was called such as it is EVO magazine’s favourite car testing grounds. Drive through the smooth winding roads and enjoy the peaceful scenery of the moors.

Take the A493 and see the sweeping vista of jagged cliffs lining the Atlantic coast. Visit the Church of St. Cadfan in Tywin or the Dysynni Valley beyond it. Wales is so small you can go from the north coast to the south coast in half a day.

Scotland

Explore the Highlands from Invergarry to the Isle of Skye and enjoy a view of the mountains. Check for snow-capped peaks during the cold season, and some lambs enjoying the grass at the foot of the mountains. Visit Loch Ness in Inverness on your way from Glasgow, Scotland’s capital city. Take the scenic coastal route from Edinburgh to Berwick-Upon-Tweed which takes just under two hours. North Berwick features two medieval castles open to the public—Tantallon Castle and Dirleton Castle.

Northern Ireland

Aching to escape the busy city life of Belfast? Put your car in gear and drive out through the A2 towards Northern Ireland’s coastal route. Just follow the brown road signs saying “Causeway coastal route” and the road will take you through the coastal towns. Visit Carrickfergus Castle in the town of Carrickfergus. Built in 1777, this Norman castle is open to visitors from 10am to 4pm daily. Explore the Giant’s Causeway and decide for yourself whether to believe the legends portraying giants as the builders of the causeway, as stepping stones towards the sea. However, scientific theories suggest that these unusually-shaped stones were actually created by violent volcanic eruptions from 60 million years ago. Whatever the truth, it’s a splendid sight to behold.

 

free parks in Great Britain cc IMage courtesy of NOO on Flickr

The UK’s Best Free Activities for 2014

Guest Post by Charlotte Stamper

the UK Coast cc IMage courtesy of Fenners on FlickrThere are so many free things to do in the UK making it a great destination for a budget friendly trip.

1. Free museums and art galleries

The vast majority of museums in the UK are totally free of charge! They are fantastic places to learn about the history of the British Empire, nature and the social history of the UK as well as so much more. Liverpool in the north west of England has a particularly good selection of high quality totally free museums where you can learn about slavery, the history of Liverpool and the natural world.

2. Summer Sport

Summer huge for sport in the UK! Forget splashing out on expensive tickets, there are big screens in loads of towns and cities across the country where you can congregate and watch football, cricket, and rugby all for free – but you will have to pay for your pint.

free parks in Great Britain cc IMage courtesy of NOO on Flickr3. Sit out in a park

Although the UK is a rather small and highly populated country, there are plenty of green spaces to enjoy. There are literally hundreds of parks, community gardens and green spaces in and around London and in most major cities. Great for sitting out in the sunshine, soaking up the atmosphere and watching the world go by.

4. Go walking

One of the best ways to see new places is on your own two feet. If you can, walking around rather than taking busses, taxis and tubes means that you can see so much more than you otherwise would. It’s slower and harder work, but your wallet will thank you for it and who said it was a race anyway? Take your time and really get to know a place rather than just rushing on to the next place.

If you are a keen walker or are at least keen to try, a walking holiday means that you can get out in the great British countryside. Sometimes the simplest things are the best! Try walking in the Lake District or along the coastal paths of Wales. You may even want to make a longer trip of it and stay in a holiday cottage in the countryside like one from Sykes Holiday Cottages.Plus walking is a great way to stay in shape and work off the extra calories that you are sure to put on when you are sampling the local food of the UK.

5. Take a trip to the British seaside

The UK has some truly fantastic beaches. From the golden sands of Cornwall and Devon to the serene stretches of golden sand on the coast of Wales and on the Northumbrian and Yorkshire coasts. If the sun is shining and you are near to the coast, pack your beach mats and head to the beach for a paddle in the sea and a game of frisbee, all without spending a penny!

 

Dubrovnik in the Mediterranean

Mediterranean history: reading between the waves

Setting off on a cruise around the Med might seem like the perfect excuse to surrender your mind to complete vegetation for a few weeks, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for holidaymakers to seek something more meaningful from their vacation.

Dubrovnik in the Mediterranean - Image by Mario Fajt, used under the Creative Commons license.

Stretching from the Iberian Peninsula, along the southern coastline of continental Europe to the north of Africa, the Mediterranean Sea traverses three continents, and Mediterranean cruises can offer some unique opportunities to learn about our world’s history from some of its most ancient destinations. Take note of these educational places best visited from the sea.

Istanbul

A city spanning two continents, this cultural capital comprises an entirely unique cityscape of bathhouses and minarets, domes and spires. The Blue Mosque, the Agia Sofia and the Basilica Cistern are historic highlights no traveler should miss ticking off their itinerary before re-embarking. Istanbul’s beautiful hybrid of styles demonstrates a historic diversity which is unrivaled.

 Dubrovnik

This Dalmatian Coast delight boasts the best preserved medieval walls in the world, and an old town which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While its city walls bustle with cruise day-trippers, it’s easy to understand why; walking the two kilometers of stone fortifications is an edifying experience.

Tunis

With bustling medinas and French colonial architecture, Tunis is a city that wears its history scrawled across its skyline. Visit the Roman mosaics in the Bardo museum, then strike out for the ancient civilization of Carthage, one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites, and the former heart of the Carthaginian empire.

Rome

No cultural odyssey would be complete without the inclusion of majestic Rome, a city guarding ancient treasures like the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Baths of Diocletian under the guise of a modern metropolis. A number of cruise lines port at Civitavecchia, from which you can explore the city sights. Rome is hilly, so stay cool on your excursions with an old trick; fill your water bottle from one of the many historic drinking fountains in the city which dispense cool water carried directly by aqueduct.

The Mediterranean is one of the world’s most ancient beds of civilization, and so much can be learned about the world from setting off on a cruise around this historic and cultural haven.

With the breadth of countries to discover, the scope of cultures to explore, and the provenance of its destinations, choosing to cruise the Med proves history can be a literal voyage of discovery.

Author bio: Anissa Suliman is a vacation enthusiastic who makes a living managing a busy office to feed her passion! She also loves to cook Italian food and never visits a new country without her running trainers.