This is another article in United Kingdom travel series. It is vacation time again as the summer season is coming very soon. This is also the time when most of the travel and hotel agencies would be coming out with schemes and special offers to attract more tourists. In this article I will also suggest you ways to make your trip cheaper.
Which destination will you chose for your summer holidays?
I have been to London many times during my educational trips. It used to be my base station from where I traveled to most of the parts of the United Kingdom. In this guide I will be covering the full length and breadth of the UK from East to West and from South to North in two separate trips. Try If you are lucky you might get some good deals to grab online that will make your trip even cheaper. I would recommend you to go through Expedia travel vouchers and browse through the coupons and vouchers that suits you well.
Starting from London I will move in the South west direction to a seaside town of Weymouth where I will explore world heritage Jurassic Coast and award winning sandy beach. From Weymouth I will make a turn to North West to another seaside resort town of Woolacombe which is famous for blue flag and premium seaside beach. Continuing the zig zag trend, I will move towards south west to Cornwall where I will have a seaside train ride as well as a ride on the steam train through beautiful landscaped countryside.
Weymouth is a beautiful seaside town with its award winning beaches and world heritage sites and picturesque traditional harbour. The place is livelier in summers when the sun is up and sky is clear, the beach sand shines and the water sparkles in the ideal sunny day. The water is crystal clear and the place was chosen for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for conducting sailing events. There are ample of sports facilities available like kite surfing, wind surfing, diving and sailing. Each area is marked with flags indicating whether it is safe to swim in that area or not.
|Weymouth Beach, photo taken by Elliott Brown|
Weymouth beach is perfect for families and couples and offers a lot of other things to do like amusement, rides and snack stands. Arriving at the beach is very easy, large number of buses and shuttle services ply on the road between various holiday resorts and the beach. You may also come by your own vehicle, but finding parking space can be difficult and time consuming.
White sand on the beach is amazingly soft, the beach is clean although you may find cigarette butts. I went to the right end of the beach near the viewing tower and amusement, the sand is even more softer and beautiful. I really enjoyed walking along the esplanade, and I was surprised later as the sun was settled we had a light show. There are variety of snacks available at various snack stands, but if you wish to save money you can bring your own lunch or snacks and have a nice homemade food at the sea shore.
|Jurassic Coast, photo taken by Rach2k|
Jurassic Coast is another special thing about this place. It is England’s first natural world heritage site. The Jurassic Coast which is an offshore bar consists of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous cliffs, spanning the Mesozoic Era, documenting 180 million years of geological history. The oldest rocks along the coast can be found at Exmouth and are as old as 250 million years whereas the youngest are at Studland Bay at around 65 million years old. The site shows excellent examples of landforms, among them is the natural arch at Durdle Door, the cove and limestone folding at Lulworth Cove and the Isle of Portland. Chesil Beach is a tombolo (a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or bar).
Moving from Weymouth to Woolacombe takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes on a 170Km long journey. Woolacombe is not one of the well known travel destinations in UK, but it has started receiving tourists recently, most of them stop by to see the Woolacombe bay. Plymouth and Bath have been more popular destinations in the region.
Woolacombe was voted the Best British Beach in the Mail On Sunday and also holds the ‘England for Excellence Gold Award’ for best family resort. Although not much popular, Woolacombe’s profile is as strong as any other popular summer destination. Woolacombe can be best reached by road. The roads are largely very rural and quite narrow which may become very congested during summer as people queue up to get into one of the two large car parks which are situated close to the beach.
|Woolacombe Beach, Photo by Gary Huston|
Its three mile long golden sand beach has won both the blue flag and Premier Seaside Beach award. It is voted one of Britain’s best beach and lies between Morte Point and Baggy Point. There are four beach within a five mile walk. And all can be very crowded in the summer making it difficult to find a parking space which is £5 for a whole day. It would be better to walk to the beach from the beautiful streets enjoying the beautiful view. Try to book a hotel near the beach so that you do not have to walk much. You may be lucky to grab few appropriate deals through travel vouchers and coupons.
I was saddened to hear the news that the beach lost the blue flag status recently in 2012 due to water quality issue. However, it still retains many other awards. You stand at the beach looking at the Atlantic Ocean waves touching your feet, behind you lies the highlands that surrounds you from the rest of the sides, creating a very beautiful scenery.
The beach is also famous for various sports activities like kite surfing, wind surfing etc. The beach also provides a designated area for dogs. I found a little kid there who was making a sand castle, it was fun to sit with her and help. When the sun had settled down and it was dark, we went up. Walking back to my room, I saw the sand castle intact, and the waves striking the coast even harder. The sound of the waves were louder which can make anyone happy specially me who loves sea and beaches.
Continuing my journey, I am heading to another seaside place Cornwall. The place not only has beautiful sand beach, but also has picturesque landscape and beautiful coastline which can be explored by train. One of the reason of coming here for me was riding in the trains here.
Great Scenic Railways of Devon and Cornwall passes through some of the most beautiful places, From mesmerizing coastal views to green countryside, clear river crossings to densely wooded valleys and the almost moon like landscape of the Cornish china clay industry.
|Cornwall Steam Railway, Photo taken by J D Mack|
I felt travelling in this train was very off the beaten tourist path, and I am glad I did, the train passes through beautiful town, small villages, historic mountains and bustling cities, it is a vital link for the locals, but the way it passes through is so stunning that it has gained popularity as a tourist train.
There are six lines of Great Scenic Railways of Devon and Cornwall mainly Maritime Line, Looe Valley Line, Tarka Line, St Ives Bay Line, Atlantic Coast Line, Tamar Valley Line.
Looe to Plymouth £5.40
Liskeard to Newquay £5.80
Truro to St Ives £6.30
St Austell to Looe £7.60
Falmouth to Plymouth £9.50
Penzance to Plymouth £9.50
These fares are applicable for adults, children between the age of five to fifteen may take ticket for half price, and children under five years can enjoy the ride for free. Also if you take GroupSave option, four people in a group would be able to travel for the price of two adults Off Peak Day Returns on First Great Western trains.
Cornwall also has steam trains running through beautiful countryside. I went to Bodmin which is the prime station and junction of Cornwall’s steam railway. The station was beautifully revamped to give a look of 1950s. The main station building is old by centuries and was constructed by Great Western Railways in 1887. Again there are a number of steam railway lines on different routes which are quite small but good enough to spend time and admire the beauty of Cornwall sitting in the vintage train, a unique experience. Various lines are Launceston Steam Railway, Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Lappa Valley Steam Railway, and World of Model Railways.
Refreshing views, clear sky, warm sun, clear water, soft and warm sand in West England is what makes it a great destination for spending your summer vacation. My trip to western region ends here, returning to London and from their I will move towards north exploring the spectacular Lake District and beaches in the extreme north UK; Durness, Scotland.
4. Lake District
|Lake District, photo taken by Steve Pyke|
Lake Derwent is one of the most visited lake in the Lake District. It is a very picturesque lake surrounded by lots of woodlands and fells sloping down towards the water. I walked around the lake little bit which is an 8 and a half mile long walk and tried my hand at boating. There are many companies ready to provide you the boating experience. There is a pastureland overlooking the lake where the sheep and lambs play. I took some delightful photos of them grazing and at play. It is hard to tell if the lake is more beautiful from the lake level or viewing it from above when hiking in the area. Either way, it’s a treasure and worth visiting.
Once you are there you can have your packed meal, or buy a snack. You may visit the National Trust shop, take a boat trip or hire a row boat. Perhaps the ducks and geese along with the sheep and lambs catch your eye. If you wish to, you can even buy bags of bird food.
Catbells Lakeland Hike is easily reachable from Keswick and is famous for its views over Derwent water. The hike might take nearly two hours up and down and may be even three if you would stop everywhere like me to take photos. To reach up catch the Keswick Launch across to Hawes End and climb up Catbells over Skellwith Bank, there are little steep climbs and easy challenges but the view from the summit is probably one of the best in the Lakeland for so little effort. If you still feel energetic at the summit you can walk further up on to Maiden Moor and come back down different views. When you come down arrive at Hawes Gate and walk back to catch the Keswick launch, along the Lakeside.
Moving further north I will enter Scotland, another kingdom in the United Kingdom. Durness is a village and in the north-west Highlands of Scotland. Famous for its Smoo cave and unspoilt beaches backed by cliffs.
Durness is famous for Smoo cave, when I reached there I had not expect this cave to be as awesome as it was. It was really easy enough walk down to it as their is a wooden fence to hold on to and steps. There are flood lights which still makes it look great even if the weather isn’t that good. There is a huge cavern and you can imagine living there centuries ago. The second cavern leads to a tremendous waterfall full of cold sprays making it almost impossible to take a photo of it. During rainy season, the caves are wet and you may find water dripping through the roof at various points.
|Durness Beach, photo taken by Lluís Ribes Portillo|
Durness beach is fantastic sandy beach with stunning black rocks embedded in the sand, beautiful bluish green sea and rocky cliffs. The place is very photogenic and can make a day promising! I walked all the way along the length of the beach and then I moved up at the end to a lighthouse from where the view is even more spectacular. The beach accompanied by a waterfall at the edge of the bay makes it even a better place for those who loves natural photography.
Sango bay in Durness made me just take my camera out when I saw rock formations sticking out of the stand. Pristine golden sands with the projectiles of Rock on them gave the experience of being in totally another planet. Huge waves crashing on the shore and on the rocks creating splash of waters formed so many rainbows. I have not seen so many rainbows before all at once. The place is really cold in winters and you may expect the right time to go there only after May, if it is not raining.
Indeed it was such a long tour. I did not complete this journey in one single trip, but in two consecutive summers. I tried to merge my trip into one so that I could help you decide which one or two locations would you like to visit this summer. Coming back to my base location London, I finish the tour of Top 5 Summer Destinations in UK. Let me know which one of the place would you like to go this summer. Subscribe to my updates an follow me on my path.
Enjoy a VIP Night in World’s Best Cities
Go partying can become a routine if you don’t attend to special and outstanding clubs in world’s best cities recognized for their nightlife. So now we are going to talk about the best clubs where you can book and enjoy VIP areas and tables to avoid the crowds on the dance floors but, at the same time, be able to enjoy the music of the best DJs, the company of your friends and the exclusive drink service without waiting at the bar. Let’s take a look at the best cities to going out and their best nightclubs.
The United Kingdom’s capital has a large selection of the best and most exclusive and luxury nightclubs in the world. We are talking about Cirque Le Soir, Tape, Drama, The Box, Libertine, Cuckoo, Toy Room, Scandal, Reign, Charlie, Maddox and Mahiki Kensington. In addition, there is the possibility to book London Vip Tables in these clubs and enjoy the best night of your lives. Prices are around £1000 for 10 guests, and the service includes VIP access, bottle spend included in the minimum, designated hostess service for the duration of the party and a personal concierge, so we encourage you to treat yourselves one night.
What can we say about Barcelona? Without any doubt, one of the best cities in the world, if not the best, to go out at night and people are very cheerful. There are hundreds of clubs, but if we have made an exclusive selection, we choose Opium, Bling Bling, Pacha, Eclipse Hotel W, Otto Zutz, Catwalk, Shoko, CDLC, Café del Mar and Hyde. Of course, all of them have a Barcelona Vip Tables booking service where you can enjoy a special area for you and your friends and make that night something unique. Prices range between €250 and €1200 for 5 guests, depending on whether the table is (first, second or third row). The service include fast track entry, bar spend as per minimum spend included, designated hostess service and a personal concierge, so, it’s worth it!
Marbella! The jewel of La Costa del Sol, near Malaga, one of the most beautiful areas in southern Spain. We can only imagine a fantastic night strolling through its beaches, marinas and, of course, dancing in its most exclusive nightclubs where the jet set meets every season of the year, not only in summer. If you are looking for the best clubs in Marbella, here you have them: Olivia Varele, Starlite, Aqwa Mist, Tibu, Mirage, News Cafe, Funky Buddha, Nikki Beach, Opium Beach, Nao, Plaza Beach and Sisu. The Marbella Vip Tables cost about €850 and €2500 for 10 guests depending on the club you choose and the services included, which can vary a lot. This is real luxury!
We leave the jackpot to the end: Ibiza! No matter which club you choose: Pacha, Ushuaïa, Amnesia, Hï Ibiza, Privilege, Ocean Beach, Es Paradis, Lío Ibiza, Destino Ibiza or Blue Marlin. You can book Ibiza Vip Tables from € 250 per person and you will live an unforgettable night in the best party island in the Mediterranean.
Have we convinced you to spend a VIP night in London, Barcelona, Marbella or Ibiza? Think of your birthday party, a bachelor or bachelorette party or a special anniversary and we are sure that the answer will be an emphatic YES!
Visiting Peru: all you need to know before traveling to this beautiful country
Peru is one of the most popular trips in South America, where you will find the Inca ruins, the historic cities, the wild nature of the Amazon, incredible landscapes of valleys, deserts and beaches, along with one of the best cuisines in the world, with the ceviche as a star dish, which make this trip exceed all your expectations.
What to see in Peru?
There are many interesting and beautiful places to visit in Peru such as Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Arequipas or Valle de Colca. The impressive Andes mountains are cut by footpaths left by ancient civilizations shape dramatic landscapes that can only be explored on foot. This is why Peru is a dream destination for trekking through its staggering arrray of trails winding through Inca ruins and lost cities.
The Inca Trail is the country’s most recognized trail. In just 26 miles it manages to combine beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and, of course, a stunning mix of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. The final destination of the trail just cannot be beaten: Machu Picchu, the mysterious “Lost City of the Incas”. You can make this inca trail in 4 days or in 2 days.
Salkantay trek is a high altitude 46 mile in Cusco region considered to be a less touristy alternative to the famous Inca Trail. It takes you through some incredible nature areas of the Andes with breathtaking scenery and amazing wild life. Salkatany trekking includes a visit to Inca sites: Llacpata, Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes.
Depending on the country of origin, more or less documents are requested to enter Peru, and some ports of entry, including land borders, require you to fill out an Andean Migration Card.
To enter Peru, it is an essential requirement to present a valid passport. Make sure your passport has been stamped on arrival, or you may not be able to enter Peru again. Foreigners must always carry photo identification with them while in Peru. A passport photocopy is acceptable.
Most of the countries of America –including the US- and Western Europe do not require a tourist visa to enter Peru. Tourists can stay for 183 non-extendable days. For longer business, study or work stays it is necessary to previously request the corresponding visa to the Peruvian consulates.
The “Nuevo Sol” is the official currency of Peru. U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Peru, but you will always get a better rate paying in soles than in dollars, and soles may be necessary for low-cost purchases. Credit cards are accepted in most of the cities in the country, and bank machines are plentiful there. When visiting other parts of the country, be sure to carry enough cash. Most prices are negotiable in Peru. Learn the going rate and negotiate fairly: Americans have a reputation abroad for overtipping and overpaying.
The sanitary conditions in Peru are good, especially in the cities. In recent years, the supply of health services has been modernized and increased, both hospitals and clinics provide adequate care, but it is always advisable to have health insurance for your trip.
There are no mandatory vaccines for entering Peru, although routine vaccinations are wise for Peru, including vaccines for Hepatitis A and B, flu, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and polio. If you wish to visit the Amazon region of the country, the Ministry of Health recommends vaccination against yellow fever – at least 10 days before the trip to be effective.
Watch out the sun, the altitude and the weather
Visitors to Peru need to take precautions with the altitude. Walk slowly, keep very well hydrated, get as much sleep as possible, and eat lightly to minimize negative effects. Oxygen is available free of charge at most hotels to help. Drinking coca tea and, especially, chewing fresh coca leaves can help deal with the effects of altitude. Also, UV rays are very strong above sea level, so wear sunscreen and a hat, even if the day is cloudy
The best season to visit the country is between September and December. In Peru it is usually very cold in the morning and then very hot at noon. Try to wear many layers of clothing so that you can take off as you need. And carry a backpack to carry the jacket, the scarf just in case.
Standard precautions apply for most of these destinations, including the need to be wary of pickpockets in crowded tourist. There are some neighborhoods in Lima that are best not visited by tourists, especially at night areas –check the Peruvian Government Website for further advice… When traveling to and from the airport, it’s wise to keep valuables out of sight, for example, underneath your legs instead of on an empty seat.
A Historical exploration of Khajuraho
The UNESCO world heritage temples of Khajuraho are situated in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. Built by the kings of Chandela dynasty during 950 to 1050 AD, these exquisite temples were lost to the world from 13AD onwards till they were discovered by the British in 1838 under the cover of dense date palm trees.
This collection of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples are Khajuraho temples are famous for art on stone. Variously described as living temples, Temple of Love and consisting of unique erotic sculptures the Khajuraho group of temples are considered by many to be the pinnacle of India’s temple art. The temple complex creates an eclectic mix of spirituality, eastern philosophy, architecture and cultural heritage.
Khajuraho is best visited during winter on account of its extreme climate. Summer months can be very hot. The famous Khajuraho Dance Festival is held in March and attracts visitors from across the world.
Khajuraho is well connected to major cities by train and by air. The airport is 5km from the city centre and links to Delhi, Agra and Mumbai. It is best recommended to use a trusted cab service provider like Savaari, where you can make an online booking by downloading the Savaari App.
Western Group of temples.
The Western group of temples have the largest of the temples and are richly decorated and form the main area of attraction
- Lakshmana Temple – The temple dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva is the oldest of the Khajuraho temples and has some the finest sculptures that can be seen in India.
- Kandariya Mahadeo Temple – This Shiva temple is covered with beautiful carvings, sculptures and frescos that are known for their beauty, grandeur and finesse.
- Devi Jagdamba Temple – This relatively dainty temple dedicated to Goddess Jagadamba has three bands of sculptures and the uppermost layer has some of the most erotic sculptures that Khajuraho is also famous for.
- Chitragupta Temple – One of the rare temples of the Sun God in the country.
- Vishwanath Temple – The temple is unique for its colossal bull statue dedicated to Nandi, the favourite companion of Lord Shiva.
Eastern Group of Temples
- Parsvanath Temple – The Jain temple shows an eclectic mixture of Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim influences in its three roof architecture.
- Ghantai Temple – This Digambar Jain temple has a beautiful frieze inscribed on stone depicting the 16 dreams as seen by the Mother of Lord Mahavira. The temple though gets its name from the remarkable pillars, carved with chains and bells.
- Brahma Temple – Among the oldest temples in Khajuraho, the temple is built entirely using granite and sandstone and dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Southern Group of Temples
- Chattarbhuj Temple – Situated 3 km from the main city, the temple is the only one in Khajuraho without any erotic sculpture and faces west. Best visited during the sunset, the temple is known for the intricate and beautifully detailed four-armed idol of Lord Vishnu.
Do remember to attend the Light and Sound Show conducted in the Western group of temples that describes the horary past of these beautiful monuments.
Khajuraho is surrounded by other places of interest, such as the Panna National Park and the Ranneh Falls. Do plan your visit and hire outstation or local cabs from the airport to visit these temple complexes.
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