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The UK Is The Place To Holiday This Summer

If you think that you need to head abroad to enjoy beach holidays culture and find adventure this summer then you need to think again. You can get all of that and more here in the UK, it’s right here on your doorstep and takes away all the stress involved of planning a trip abroad.

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You only have to take a look at Blue Chip Holidays to see the amazing locations and cottages that you can stay in to get excited about what’s waiting for you.

Here are 3 great reasons why the UK is the perfect place for your summer holiday this year.

The Scenery

The UK has some of the most amazing scenery in all of Europe; amazing wooded valleys and beautiful mountain ranges are here in abundance. The beaches are truly fantastic also, Rhosili Bay in Wales is a must see for all beach lovers. If you rent a cottage amongst the sprawling landscapes in the UK you are certain to have a holiday that will live long in the memory.

The Culture and History

I’m sure that you know the weather in the UK can be a bit tricky to predict, but regardless of the weather a summer holiday in the UK leaves you with plenty to do. You can rent a cottage that is situated in the grounds of a historical estate, a location like that provides you with lots to do come rain or shine. Then there’s also the culture, in the UK we are fortunate enough to have many World Heritage sites to explore. If you’re an art lover then why not visit some homes that used to be occupied by famous artists and writers.

The Romance

Forget about heading off to the likes of Paris or Rome in search of the perfect romantic holiday because you don’t need to go that far to spoil your loved one. I don’t think those two places can compete with a medieval castle or secluded cottage in the rolling moorland. Just imagine being able to soak in a hot tub looking at of the window at the picturesque landscape – the UK is full of romantic places to visit. If you do your research you will also find fairy-tale towers that you can rent for the ultimate in romantic getaways.

Have you spent an amazing summer in the UK before? I would love to hear all about your experience and any recommendations you might have. All you have to do is put your thoughts in the comment section below.

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The Best Caribbean Islands

 

The Caribbean has long been a destination for people to really enjoy the beauty, scenery and sense of adventure. There really isn’t anything like luxury Caribbean vacations and it is one of my favourite parts of the world to really relax, unwind, enjoy life and be adventurous, all in the one region of the world! I wanted to talk a little bit more about visiting this amazing place. I am going to talk about some of my absolute favourite islands, I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I have enjoyed having the chance to visit them.

St Kitts

This is one of my personal favourites, so I thought I would start things off with this one. The nature here is absolutely supreme with a forest that covers over a quarter of the island. It is amazing to think that the island is a dormant volcano and you can visit the cradle of this, which is known as Sofa Rock. It is just amazing to be at the edge of this and to see the steaming floor of the crater. There is also some interesting wildlife that inhabits the islands such as vervet monkeys, mongooses and black-bellied sheep. Last but not least my favourite thing to do here is without a doubt diving, with so many well preserved diving sites you could do this all day long. The colourful tropical fish and the amazing coral make it all the more worth your while.

Jamaica

One thing I enjoy about this place is the amazing mixture of culture, nature and the people. The nature is some of the best in the West Indies, especially with huge stretches of untouched coastline, stunning waterfalls, secret coves and beaches. This is one of my ultimate Caribbean islands that I just can’t get enough of. The people here are extremely relaxed and you can even see it in the way they move. They absolutely love to enjoy life, dance and party. There is nothing better than seeing this because you get into the spirit and mood of this too. The food is another thing that gets me about this place, especially with their love of rum (Jamaican rum being some of the best) and spicy food. You absolutely need to try some jerk chicken, it will quite literally change the way you want to eat forever.

The Bahamas

With 700 islands dotted throughout the Caribbean Sea, this amazing archipelago is an ecological hub that has some of the clearest water on the planet. Of course, you will always have somewhere to explore and you can make it as quiet and secluded as you like. Chartering a boat and simply going and discovering the islands is something that you should definitely experience. The chances are that very few people have ever been there before, which presents a unique opportunity to experience something truly unique. You can have any kind of holiday that you want in the Bahamas, it doesn’t matter if you want relaxation or adventure. There is something for everyone with fishing, spas, massages, swimming, diving and other water sports to enjoy.

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What To Do Before Visiting Antarctica

 

I am lucky enough to be one of the few people that have taken a few trips to Antarctica and I would willingly go back many more times to experience what is one of the greatest holiday destinations on earth. You can makes you own trips to Antarctica and the following tips will really help you have some successful ones of your own, because this is not your ordinary holiday.

Plan, plan and plan some more

I can’t stress this enough and the reason that I had such a great time on my trips was because I found the right tours and tour operators for me. I knew what I wanted and was willing to ask around until I got the answer that I wanted. I would highly recommend researching and then researching some more. This is something that can really pay off in the end. I also wanted to make sure that I was getting my money’s worth, because visiting Antarctica is no small expense.

Invest in good equipment

This is something that definitely made my trips all the more enjoyable, of course being one of the lucky few to go to Antarctica is one thing, but it is another to be unprepared. So let’s start with clothing. I purchased some really high quality clothing that was not cheap, but was totally worth it. My thoughts are that sub standard equipment is only going to mean a very unpleasant holiday for you. Something that you can look into too when it comes to a tour operator is if they provide certain clothing like boots and waterproof clothing. I would highly recommend a test run of your equipment, so that everything is in order.

For the sake of this article, let’s think of cameras as essential equipment. After all you will be taking thousands of photos (trust me on this). I spent quite possibly too much money on a new camera before I left, but boy was it worth it. I got some amazing snaps that I can keep for the rest of my life and which I am very proud of too. I think that some nice binoculars are also a good idea to make sure you don’t miss anything, especially whales that swim in the Antarctic waters.


Get fit

Building up some physical fitness is a great way to help you deal with the cold weather, especially because those with better fitness generally have better circulation. Even though I knew that I wouldn’t be running around everywhere, I found that being fit for the trip was very important. Especially given the length of the trip and the harsh conditions.

See a doctor

In addition to being fit, I also went to the doctor in order to see if I had any health issues before I left. Thankfully nothing was wrong, but it is always a good idea to do this because being sick is going to make your trip unpleasant. In fact you could get even worse, given the exposure to the cold. I think this is also a good opportunity to get some new prescription medication if you take it, because this will be near impossible to find in Antarctica.

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Antarctica: A Short Travel Guide

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Antarctica should be at the top of the bucket list of any traveller, it really shouldn’t matter if you have been to one country or fifty, everyone should experience this magical place. It is such a pristine place that we all need to see and respect at least once in our lives, it truly is a different world. Today we will be talking a little bit more about some ways to really get the most out of your trip and to make it as good as it possibly can be, so read on to find out more.

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Where to leave from

Almost all cruises to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia in Argentina and you will cross the Drake Passage, which is the body of water between Antarctica and the southern tip of South America. There are of course tours  from Australia or New Zealand, but these are much fewer in number and explore the eastern side of the continent.

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What to see

One of the number one things to do is without a doubt actually stepping foot on the Antarctic Continent itself. Of course you may think that any trip to Antarctica involves this, but the reality is that most cruise ships will not actually allow you to leave the ship and you must book a tour like this yourself or get a cruise that will actually allow you to do this. Imagine telling your friends that you have been to Antarctica, it really is something that not many people get the chance to do.

Aside from this you can see a huge number of things in and around Antarctica, these include amazing Antarctic wildlife, glaciers, glacial lagoons, huge icebergs and dramatic stretches of wilderness. All of which you will never forget.

Tips

Here are some great tips for visiting Antarctica for the first time:

  • Check everything – It is so important to make sure that your cruise includes everything that you think it will, because you do not want to arrive and be disappointed that you missed out on something. Antarctica truly is a place that you will go only once and probably never experience again and therefore you need to make sure you do it right.
  • Bring a good camera – The most stunning scenery in the world is deserving of some stunning pictures and bringing a good camera is something that you won’t regret doing. There truly is not a better place in the world to take photos, so having the right camera will mean you have some lifelong memories to share with others.
  • Book early – When it comes to your dream holiday in Antarctica you really don’t want to mess around with leaving things to the last minute, because believe it or not Antarctica cruise tours can sell out rather quickly. Therefore you should book as early as possible and really commit yourself to the adventure.
Navan - A gem of a destination

Navan – A gem of a destination

In the North East of Ireland lays the little town of Navan, well I say little it’s actually the fifth biggest town in Ireland and has the tenth largest urban settlement in Ireland, with a population of about 28,600. Navan is the main town in the County Meath and is known as the “Heritage Capitol of Ireland”. Navan was founded around the time of the Norman invasion of Ireland which was led by Hugh de Lacy and for his participation was granted the county of Heath by King Henry II of England in 1172. Hugh de Lacy then awarded one of his loyal knights the Barony of Navan where he built a fort from which the town started. (more…)

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SPINNING AROUND LONDON

What is a spin class and where can you find one? Saddle up and read on to find out about some of the many spin classes London has to offer, and the background to this hugely popular form of exercise.

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Spinning – the more popular name for indoor cycling – focuses on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity and recovery. The practice does not involve regular exercise bikes, but specialised cycles with a weighted flywheel – spin bike frames tend to be more similar in appearance to those of actual bicycles than the standard exercise bike too.

While use of an exercise bike tends to be a solo experience, spinning takes place in classes – where the instructor will lead the room through a routine, often accompanied by music. It has been stated that spinning can burn 400-500 kcal in 40 minutes, and other benefits include the strengthening and toning of lower body muscles.

As an indoor activity with a positive track record and a sociable element, spinning has become understandably popular around the world. It should therefore come as no surprise that in a city the size of London there are plenty of spin classes to choose from. Here is a round-up of just some of the classes to be found in the capital…

BOOM CYCLE – 2-8 Scrutton Street EC2A 4RT: Boom Cycle’s introductory blurb on its website is as dynamic as its name… “The go to place for a healthy balance of hedonistic endorphins and high intensity workouts to nightclub quality music”.

FITNESS FIRST – Unit A East Stand, Avenell Road N5 1FE: One of the many health club chains to have premises in London features a unique twist on spinning. Alongside its more conventional spin classes it offers Victoria Pendelton Pro-Cycling classes, developed with the Olympic gold medallist.

GOOD VIBES – 14-16 Betterton Street, Covent Garden WC2H 9BU and 11 Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia W1T 2AG: The club that offers Glow Yoga also runs classes in Glow Cycle – a workout that is fun but also effective in burning calories.

H2 BIKE RUN – Dufours Place W1F 7SP: Offering 72 classes per week and a variety of perks including a free towel and morning coffee, H2 advertises structured rides and freerides on 33 state of the art Star Trac bikes.

MY FITNESS BOUTIQUE – West Heath Yard, 174 Mill Lane NW6 1TB: My Fitness Boutique sells itself on having no memberships and no contracts. It can add no shortage of fitness classes to its pitch too, with spinning well represented.

PARAMOUNT HEALTH & FITNESS – 316-322 Green Lanes, Palmers Green N13 5TT: Spin classes with Julio are among the classes scheduled by this health club promising excellent service and state of the art equipment.

PEDAL STUDIO – 4 Token Yard, Putney High Street SW15 1SR and 7 Elm Grove, Wimbledon SW19 4HE: London’s first pay as you go dedicated spinning only studio, promising a warm welcome, an enjoyable experience and one of the most effective mind, body and soul workouts.

POWERVIBE FITNESS STUDIO – 1 All Saints Road W11 1HA: Powervibe offers a more intimate spinning experience, with classes for up to just four clients at a time. 30 and 60 minute sessions are available.

SOUTHBANK CLUB – 124-130 Wandsworth Road SW8 2LD: The city’s largest squash and fitness club features Spin/Circuit and Spin 2 Thin on its extensive list of available classes.

SPINADDIKTS – LA Fitness, 63/81 Pelham Street SW7 2NJ: Founded by Frances H Mikuriya (Johnny G Star Level 3 lifetime qualified Spinning Instructor), this is the first private indoor cycling group in London.

Now you know where to look, visit your nearest club and try out spinning classes London style!

Cyprus: What to do and what not to do

Cyprus holidays are always a fantastic idea, you are guaranteed to have a fabulous time in this mesmerising country whenever you visit. There are some fantastic deals on offer at the moment so make sure that you snap them up as soon as you see them, check out what Direct Holidays have to offer before you confirm any holiday booking. The guys over there always seem to have some of the most competitive prices on offer!

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Cyprus is a very interesting place indeed, the culture has been influenced by a mixture of the west and the east. So there is a mixture of christian and muslim influence on the island, which I think makes it stand out from other destinations on offer. The local people are extremely welcoming and friendly people, they have always been so warm to me when ever I have visited this beautiful island. Due to the fact that they are such great people, it is important for us as tourists to be respectful of their culture and do everything correctly. Here is my list of dos and don’ts when you head over to Cypus.

The Dos

-When shaking hands with someone, always smile and hold eye contact with them. Remember that some very religious muslim men may not shake hands with women, so wait for them to offer you their hand

– Always respect the elder people. Family is the biggest part of the make up of this country, so elders are respected here much more than back home in the UK. Children will often loo after the elder people in their family.

– Learn some words and phrases. I think this is a big must for anywhere you visit in the world, it makes people smile when you try to speak a little bit of the local language. It always shows that you are trying to make the effort and so in turn people will make an extra effort tot ry and help you with whatever it is you want. At the very least you should learn how to say hello, please and thank you.

The Donts

– The biggest thing to do is respect the traditions when you enter a mosque. Always remove your shoes before entering and never ever walk in front of someone that is the middle of prayers.

– If you are lucky enough to go to a locals house for dinner then never sit down before you are asked to, it is also tradition to not start eating until the host has taken their first bite. Ok, so it’s not the ned of the world if you don’t obey these two eating tips but it’s good to try and keep the host happy.

– If someone offers you a drink, such as a coffee or a cold drink then it is considered extremely impolite if you refuse the offer. You don’t have to finish it all, but you can have a few sips no matter how much you do not want it.

 

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How to have the perfect beach holiday

Booking your holiday to Turkey will leave you feeling as warm inside as you will when you are sat on one of the beaches soaking up the sun! Turkey has some of the best beaches that are on offer to those of us that live in the UK, the best part about it is that they really are not very far from home – that makes them very appealing indeed! Holidays to Turkey have been popular with British tourists for many years now because the country is great, the food is cheap and the weather always fabulous!

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Beach holidays are loved by absolutely everyone, from grand parents to grand kids, everyone will always have a good time and there is plenty to do to keep everyone entertained. From water sports, to beach massages to fantastic food, there is something there for every member of your family. People often get blinded by the excitement and the thought of the holiday they are about to have and forget about some important issues. You must remember how to keep yourself safe and protected because the sun is not always our friend, no matter how much we love it! It definitely is a love hate relationship, we love the sun but it really does hate us! With a few simple tips you can ensure that you are safe and sound when soaking up some rays of sunshine.

I know it is easy to forget the simple tips because we are all just excited to be out of the cold and wet weather that we have to endure back home in the UK. Here are some things that I remind all of my friends and family about before they jet off for a week in the sun.

Suncream

You must apply this religiously, there can be no excuse at all. People of course want to go back with a sun tan to the UK but it really isn’t worth the risk of toasting your skin just to look good. You can still get a great tan with sun cream. Use it if only for the simple reason that you won’t get burnt on the fist day or two and be sore for your holiday.

Stay Hydrated

I think that most of us will do this anyway. But remember that if you are drinking alcohol at night, like most of us like to do on holiday, then you should definitely drink lots of water during the day. This becomes more important with kids, you like to give them a lot of freedom on holiday but make sure they stay hydrated, this simple tip will ensure that something simple doesn’t ruin your holiday.

Hat and Sunglasses

You should wear these every now and then, even if you are on the beach. We are not used to the sun constantly beaming down on us. A cap and sunglasses will make sure that our eyes take a rest and the hat will make sure that out temperature drops a little during the day – by the right  stuff and you’ll actually look really cool!

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How to Stay in Shape on a Ship

It’s often the case that a good holiday will leave you with three things: a tan, hundreds of photographs and a few extra inches on your waistline. But you don’t need to pile on the pounds on a holiday. Even for those lucky enough to enjoy all-inclusive cruises, while the temptation to overindulge might crop up, there are plenty of ways to stay active and healthy.

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Choose your food wisely

On all-inclusive cruises, which are becoming more common, there is always a very wide variety of food on offer with some dishes being more indulgent than others. A good way to avoid gaining weight unnecessarily during your cruise is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy the food; the standard of cuisine on board is likely to be high, so whether you are enjoying your food grilled rather than fried, or served with a crunchy side-salad, rather than with mounds of chips, it will still be tasty. On those occasions when you want to treat yourself with a high-calorie pudding, just be sensible about the portion size and don’t ask for a second helping.

Make the most of on-board activities

Cruise liners are like floating luxury resorts, with all the amenities you would expect to find at a good hotel. This, of course, will include swimming pools, sports halls for tennis, badminton or squash as well as gyms and organised exercise sessions. A cruise might provide you with the perfect opportunity to take up Zumba or go to a spinning class or, if they don’t appeal to you, investigate what other activities are available. You might be able to burn off any cake calories in the nightclub or simply by running or walking on deck.

With a combination of sensible eating and a regular dose of exercise, you may find you return from your holiday weighing less, toned more and relaxed and ready to face the daily routine.

 

Image by quinn.anya used under creative commons licence

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Staying Active On Your Spanish Holiday

Famous for its siesta, sangria and sandy beaches, Spain has long been a popular destination for tourists looking to slow down and relax in the sunshine. However, this year has seen a new trend emerge in Spanish getaways: the adventure holiday. Here is a brief guide to some of the activities on offer.

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If you do like to be beside the seaside…
Make the most of the stunning Spanish coastline by chartering a yacht from ports in Barcelona, Marbella and Valencia, or from one of the islands. Other watersports available across Spain include diving in Torremolinos, kite surfing in Tarifa, canoeing in Zaragoza and rafting on the Cabriel River in the Montes Universales, or you can even head over to Fuengirola or Murcia for a spot of parasailing!

 

Those boots were made for walking
Picos de Europa in northern Spain is an excellent place to go hiking, with walks of varying difficulty. With its well-preserved prehistoric features and picturesque villages, Galicia is another popular choice for walkers, as is Andalucia, home of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the pretty Alpujarras. One of the best things about walking is that it’s free! If you like a bargain and saved money on your flights and hotel, cheap holidays to Spain 2013 need not be short of adventure!

On your bike
Environmentally friendly and healthy, bike riding is an excellent way to tour the country and explore the countryside. Join a group for a guided tour or hire a cycle and follow a well-known route such as the Camino de Santiago or the Via de la Plata.

Riding for the time of your life

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Andalucia is an ideal location for a different form of riding: horseback. Intermediate and experienced riders may enjoy hacking through rural Spain, taking in such sights as the medieval city of Avila, Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park or the horse-friendly village of El Rocío.

Dance the night away
You couldn’t visit Argentina without trying out a tango, so whether you’re in Nerja, Grenada or Seville, take some time to perfect your flamenco. Olé!

Summer may be nearly over, but it’s not too late to book cheap holidays to Spain in 2013 and enjoy these activities during the off-peak season. After all, there’s no better way to rejuvenate yourself than to pick up a new skill or hobby and by bringing it home you’ll experience a little touch of Spain all year round.

 

Images by sidibousaid60 and sofv used under creative commons licence