France is a popular destination for UK tourists, with some of the easiest cities to travel to being located in the north of the country. One that many people enjoy visiting is Calais and this coastal town and ferry port is a picturesque location. This means that anyone traveling there will find plenty of great photo opportunities. Beach...
The view from the top It’s a cliché for a reason. The top is the highest you can possibly go, and the view is always spectacular. This is why we climb mountains. And why we invented the airplane. And why we build skyscrapers and launch astronauts into space. We humans, we love the view from the top. The Rockies are light on skyscrapers The...
I have laid foot in hilly cities before, but I have never once visited a location which seems as though it was crafted from the landscape itself. But if I were to pick one location where the buildings and the history should be so in tune with the rolling vistas which surround the town, I can think of few more suitable and few more seductive backdrops than the ground on which Edinburgh was built.
I had decided to book myself into a self-catered accommodation, to all the more easily take a taste of what the city had to offer. Every step I took further out into the city after arriving, I could feel the constant presence of one particular feature. Everywhere I went, I knew that the castle was there. Even when I could no longer see the shape, the silhouette of it rising up into the sky, I knew it was there. It ducked behind buildings and wrapped itself up in that gossamer mist which suits the city so well and it is impossible to think of the area without picturing this castle crowning the landscape.
Without any of the history, it would still be an architectural marvel and I can think of few buildings which so elegantly seem like an extension of the very ground on which they are built.
Rising up from the rock – once you are stood on the castle battlements – you open yourself up to the entirety of the scenery on offer. My eye was immediately drawn towards the sloped greenery of Arthur’s Seat. Beyond the cathedral spires, the rooftops and the chimneys, the natural power of the formation was described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”, and it is exactly that. An imposing, enticing view which watches over the city, offering a glimpse into the area before the city rose up. Whilst the castle might claim to be the heart of the city, Arthur’s Seat offers a breath-taking backdrop which only serves to emphasise the nature of the Scottish landscape from which the city was born.
From the tip of the city, I decided to go a little deeper. Walking through the Gothic fineries of Old Town, even this attempt to formalise and control the Scottish scenery is still unique. The buildings rise up, the roads slope down; the paving slabs meet the cobbled roads and every single piece feels like it would weather a thousand centuries. The enduring nature of the architecture is unlike the delicacy of Parisian design or the dilapidated finery of Rome’s empire-designed wonders. Instead, Old Town offers not only a chance to enjoy some of the finest shopping available in the city, but to bear witness to some of Edinburgh’s most finely designed buildings.
Prince’s Street Gardens
I finished my personal walk around the city with a stroll through the Prince’s Street Gardens. After the powerful and natural experience of the rest of the city, this was almost a silent moment. The cultivated craft of the landscaping contrasted with the rising might of the castle above. But there was a stillness and a calm beauty. At the same time, there was a similar sense of the Scottish landscape being echoed in the wildlife and the plants; this moment of serenity surrounded by the engrossing scenery of Scotland’s most striking city.
Many holidaymakers dream of going on a Caribbean cruise all of their lives but, for one reason or another, never quite get round to going on one. To make sure you don’t miss out on one of life’s great experiences, here are our top 10 reasons why you are guaranteed to adore every second you spend on a luxurious Caribbean cruise.
#1 – Weather
While obviously there is a degree of variation from island to island, one of the biggest attractions of going to the Caribbean is the excellent year round climate it enjoys. With many hours of beautiful sunshine per day, wonderful warmth from the sun above and cool breezes to take the edge of the heat, it truly is perfect in this regard.
#2 – Beaches
Spending relaxing, replenishing time on the beach is synonymous with having a fabulous holiday for a large number of holidaymakers. Here the Caribbean truly shines with an array of stunning beaches covering the whole region including Tobago, Trinidad and Cuba.
#3 – Friendly Service
Nothing irks more and takes the shine off an otherwise fantastic holiday than getting poor service at your resort and surrounding attractions. Fortunately in the Caribbean that won’t happen as the place is just so friendly and brimming with enthusiasm that you can’t help but feel welcome.
#4 – Incredible Cocktails
If you enjoy a cocktail, then the Caribbean will blow you away! It is renowned for its stunning cocktails made from incredibly delicious liqueurs and fresh fruit juices expertly mixed together.
#5 – Crystal Clear Waters
One of the major attractions of going on holiday to a Caribbean cruise is how stunningly beautiful the waters are that you will cruise along. There is hardly anywhere else on the planet to rival it.
#6 – Luxury On Offer
Sometimes in life it is time to stop settling and go for what you really want. After all, why not the best? There is incredible luxury on offer in the Caribbean, if you so wish. Luxury cruises on Azamara Club are an example of this with a mouthwatering itinerary and cruising experience that you’ll remember all your life.
#7 – Value
Although there may be a sizeable upfront cost for board and flights, once on a caribbean holiday you’ll often be pleasantly surprised at just how cheap most things actually are.
#8 – Music
The Caribbean is blessed with some of the best traditional music anywhere on the planet. One small warning: here is so much soul and happiness in it that you can’t help but dance to it at times!
#9 – Variety
In all senses, any Caribbean cruise will offer you as much variety as you could ever want. With so many unique islands with their own history, attractions and culture you will never be short of something new to see.
#10 – Wildlife
The Caribbean offers an array of wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else. From different species of whales and turtles along with amazing birdlife, it really is a pleasure to behold.
France is a popular destination for UK tourists, with some of the easiest cities to travel to being located in the north of the country. One that many people enjoy visiting is Calais and this coastal town and ferry port is a picturesque location. This means that anyone traveling there will find plenty of great photo opportunities.
Taking in the beachfront of Calais provides the chance to snap some great seaside pictures. The beach is around 1km from the Place D’Armes and is kept in pristine condition to make it a beautiful place to spend some time.
The Calais Lighthouse is also close by and climbing to the top of this will reveal some nice panoramas out over the English Channel, as well as a great view of the town. Other coastal locations that provide the chance for some impressive pictures include the Cap Blanc Gris and Cap Blanc Nez headlands.
The Town Hall is one of the most famous landmarks in Calais. It is a beautiful Flemish-style building that was constructed in the early 1900s. Its red exterior is a great backdrop for a photo, with the 75m high belfry and Rodin’s bronze sculpture of the Burghers of Calais being its stand-out features. It is possible to get to the top of the belfry for some impressive views out over the town. The 13th century watchtower is another of the town’s impressive landmarks. It is located in the Place D’Armes and on Wednesdays and Saturdays this area is transformed into a colourful open-air market.
Travel to Calais
Calais is one of the main destinations for UK travelers wishing to travel by ferry to France. Ships sail to the port on a daily basis from Dover and this is a relaxing way to make the journey. It also provides the chance to get some photographs of the French coastline and the attractions of Calais as the ferry comes in to dock. The Eurotunnel is an alternative for those that do not want to take the ferry to France. This runs train services from Folkestone to Calais all year round and is a quicker way to get to the town.
Once you arrive there are a host of places other than the beach and town centre to enjoy the sights and take some photographs. Some of the top attractions include the 13th century Eglise Notre Dame church, the Calais Citadel and grounds around it, and the Calais Theatre. However, these are just a few on the many sights that can be enjoyed on a walk around the town.
Calais is within easy traveling distance of the UK for a day trip or more. Those that visit this French coastal town are sure to have an enjoyable time and come back with some great photographs of a fun trip.
Gluepot Reserve – a Wonderland for Wildlife-spotters
Combining rare habitat, diverse wildlife and easy accessibility, the Gluepot Reserve in Southern Australia is a destination that deserves to be on the list of every wildlife enthusiast and international birdwatcher.
Natural History and Wildlife
Gluepot is considered one of Australia’s best and most important nature preserves. It is part of the largest area of intact mallee scrubland the country, and home to a huge diversity of birds and other animals, including a number or locally and nationally threatened species. The combination of large, uninterrupted habitat, scrubland, and old-growth trees creates homes for a wide variety of species. Much of the land was saved from burning when it was purchased from a local farmer in 1997. A complete history of the reserve can be found at www.gluepot.org.
Bird species of note include the black-eared miner, one of Australia’s most endangered birds, as well as the mallefowl and two species of parrot. Birdwatchers will find comprehensive information about the bird species found at Gluepot by visiting the site’s page at birdlife.org.au. A number of reptile species of note are also found here, including the bandy-bandy, a threatened species of snake, various species of geckos and legless lizards. Endangered frogs and unusual mammals, such as the short-beaked echidna and the pygmy possum, can be spotted here as well.
The Gluepot Reserve is relatively easy to get to, as it is accessible by a well-maintained dirt road from the town of Waikerie (about 170 km from Adelaide), and camping fees are reasonable. However, travel sites such as www.campingsouthaustralia.com warn that after heavy rains roads inside the park can become quite muddy. Mobile phone service is generally not available in the park, so keeping an eye on the weather is a good idea. Campers should also plan to be self-sufficient and bring plenty of water and supplies, including cooking fuel as wood fires are not permitted.
For the less adventurous, a guided tour such as those offered by www.ANZCRO.co.uk may be a better choice. Enjoy the beauty and diversity of this unique area without having to worry about supplies or weather conditions. In addition to it’s Australia tours, the company offers car and RV rentals for those who want to explore on their own.
Gluepot – a Great Place to Visit
In the relatively short time it has been around, Australia’s Gluepot Reserve has already gained an international reputation as a destination for birdwatchers, but it also offers so much more. Australia is known for its unique and fascinating wildlife, and the Gluepot Reserve is one of the best places in the country to see it for yourself.
Many people when they go on holiday venture to hotter climates and places full of sunshine. Adults love it and kids love it. But there are inherent risks associated with being out in the Sun, but the good news is there are plenty of ways to negate this problem and be able to have an enjoyable holiday.
Sunburn is a painful and very common problem when visiting hotter countries, or even in your own back yard. It can be prevented through use of sunscreen. When choosing what product to use, sun protection factor (SPF) is the most important consideration; Higher is better. Essentially it blocks out the UV rays of the Sun which cause burning.
It is very important that children are protected well with a high-SPF sunscreen, as they are very susceptible to being burnt by the sun and often spend a lot of time out in the open. Clothes can help reduce the chances of burning, but exposed areas should always be covered liberally in sunscreen to prevent any burning or discomfort.
Many holidays put children close to either the sea or a pool. Children often love swimming and being around water, and while swimming and being around water can be very fun and beneficial activities, they come with inherent risks that should not be ignored.
Children who are in water no matter how deep should always be supervised. Younger children and children with little swimming ability should always be accompanied, and even a child with a strong swimming ability should be watched carefully. Pools and especially the sea are not always supervised fully and are done with the expectation that parents or guardians will keep a look-out for their own children, and while many places have very dedicated and able lifeguards, it is important not to rely completely on their supervision and make sure that your child is safe and not having any difficulty in the water.
Signs and warnings along beaches, pools and the sea should always be respected and if in doubt about any aspect, lifeguards should be asked or swimming or wading should be avoided.
Resorts or many areas in unfamiliar locations can quickly become crowded. Some countries or areas work on different times of the day, making sudden rushes of people happen unexpectedly. These can be problems for groups of people and families, especially large ones, where throngs of people may separate people quite easily.
Protecting children from being separated in a crowd is easy but important. It is essential to keep an eye on where a child is, and if they are starting to get lost in a crowd or if eye line is starting to get obstructed by groups of people, immediately stand with or carry the child. If walking into or expecting a crowd, always carry or hold the hand of younger children. Older children who might not like holding hands can be walked with, perhaps talked with, ensuring constant communication and keeping awareness of their whereabouts.
It is important to always keep an awareness of where your child is, especially so in a crowd, and to be aware of the crowd’s mentality – A simple work time rush, or a loud group of football fans, can make the difference in how easy or difficult it is to reach your child should the need arise to escort them out of the crowd, and in the general safety of the situation.
Now that you know how to keep your kids healthy on holiday, why not visit a holiday supermarket site like Directline and book a great break away!