Category Archives: UK

Things to do in the UK; attractions in the UK and the best places to visit in the UK.

5 Things You’ll Need For Your UK Van Road Trip

The UK is full of wonderful cities as well as towns that are a little further out but definitely worth the trip. Many people find that doing a road trip of the UK is the best way to see everything and really experience what there is to offer. While you can do a road trip in a car, it is often better to do it in a van. With a van, you will have more space and will be able to pile more people in.

If you are planning a UK van road trip then you are in luck because we have put together some of the things that you’ll need before you go. Keep reading to find out more.

The Right Van

The first thing that you’ll need for your UK road trip is the right van. Some vans are better suited to road trips than others but if you already have one then you’ll probably want to take that. We suggest picking a van that is fuel-efficient as this is going to be a long trip and you’ll not want to waste money. Look for a spacious van, especially if you are planning on bringing some friends along for the journey.

Van Insurance

Van insurance can be purchased from many different companies, but rather than going for the cheapest option it is important that you have a policy that will give you the best possible coverage during your road trip around the UK. It might be useful to have a look at some of the top van insurance policies online and get some quotes before you commit.

A Route

The next thing that you’ll need for your road trip is the right route. This entirely depends on the places that you would like to see but it is important that you plan it well in advance. You won’t want to miss out on any cities or towns on your trip but poor planning can lead to this. Take a look at some of the popular UK road trip routes online for some advice.

A Few Drivers

While it is possible to do your UK road trip alone, it is often better to take a few drivers along for the ride. It can be hard to drive long distances without taking long breaks and if you can switch out the driver then you can take a break. If you do decide to bring another driver then you need to make sure that the van insurance policy covers them to drive your vehicle.


The final thing that you’ll need for your UK road trip is some snacks. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough energy for the journey and that you are keeping yourself well hydrated. It might be useful to bring some snacks along with you and to stop for some on the way.

Make sure that you have everything on our list if you want to go on a UK road trip in your van.

Summer Trips to the UK: Some Tips to Get Off the Beaten Track

So you are thinking of somewhere unusual to spend your time outside major European destinations this summer. In this case, it is likely that Italy, France or Spain are not at the top of your list.

My first suggestion for travellers like you would be to think of all the UK has to offer and aim for more than the usual weekend trip to London. Sure, there is no reason to avoid London on your British summer trip, but it is worth venturing further West and North to see all this often underrated destination has to offer.

For a start, it will make sense to use London as a departure point given that it is connected to all major American airports as well as many European destinations with low-cost flights. Sure, you may have already visited the usual City, Westminster and Oxford Circus haunts as well as glossier ones such as Harley Street and Piccadilly.

Cafe in Brixton Village

This is a good enough reason why this time you should try to consider the London suburbs instead. Explore the vibrant area of Brixton and its Caribbean heritage, venture West to discover the peacefulness of Richmond or go North for the quintessentially British area of Highgate with Hampstead Heath and its fantastic views over London.

After three to four of days in the Big Smoke, I recommend heading out by train knowing that all major destinations in England will be less than a four-hour ride away.

Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol

First, consider Bristol and its artsy background. The city is a must-see not only for the thriving pub and music scene but also for the street art influence that has revolutionised it over recent years. This is where from one day to the next you will be able to see new influential graffiti from the likes of Banksy appear around town. Bristolians are a friendly lot and the city is easily walkable, so you will easily feel at home around here.

Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester

From there, the North-West is also close by with Liverpool and Manchester being two must-sees for different reasons. Liverpool is the city of the Beatles with spectacular views over river Mersey and the Irish sea, whereas Manchester is proud of its industrial past and owes much of its recent fortunes to a buzzing art scene. What’s more, true Northeners always speak their minds, and know how to welcome a traveller.

Finally, why not take the chance to explore some magic scenery around the Lake District, which happens to be the wettest place in England but also one of the country’s largest national park, the most scenic and fascinating. A trip here is a fairytale experience that all hiking aficionados will hardly forget. Who knows, after your visit you may want to never head back to London and take your return flight.

Brides Should Say ‘Yes To The Dress’ in London

It might be one of the most popular programmes for brides-to-be but for those looking at wedding dresses London is a great location to do so.

Many will have seen TV’s ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ and wondered why choosing a bridal gown is so difficult until they begin the process for themselves.

wedding dress

Opting to choose a wedding dress in London means they can take a day trip for the selection process or even spend a couple of days doing so and enjoying meals and possibly a trip to the theatre.

globe theatre london

There’s no doubt that London is one of the world’s most popular cities for tourists and it has a thriving wedding dress industry as people from around the world flock to the capital to discover the latest wedding dress fashions and designers.

Indeed, anyone looking for wedding dresses in London will find the capital offers a range of that won’t break the bank and which are stylish and timeless.

Also, many brides will be anxious and nervous about the process of finding the perfect wedding dress and will do a lots of research beforehand to find the styles that suit them, their personality and their body style.

bride on couch

There’s another reason why visiting the capital for choosing wedding dresses and that’s so they can visit several boutiques and get a good idea of the styles of fashions available and, more importantly for some, the cost of their dream wedding dress.

With the variety of wedding dress styles also means there’s a good range of budgets that are not only wallet-friendly but also on trend.

So for anyone who wants to see the latest in wedding dresses, London is a great place to visit and discover what is available.

harrods london

In addition, there are also department stores and high street chains offering wedding dresses so for most brides they will find the dress they are looking for and find it easily.

Let’s not forget also that wedding boutiques in London also offer outfits for the whole bridal party including affordable accessories so the bride can feel great on her big day and buy everything she needs.

shoes for bride

>Many brides will want to take close family and friends along to their wedding dress fittings so they can hear other peoples’ opinions about a dress so it makes perfect sense that they should incorporate a trip to the capital with some potential sightseeing and also enjoy a nice lunch to discuss the dresses that have been tried.

So while brides will be watching popular TV programmes to get ideas for their wedding dresses London delivers a great and impressive range of boutiques that are staffed with experienced and friendly staff who can offer help and advice and deliver the bride’s dream wedding outfit.

Three of the Best Cities for Enjoying a Luxurious UK Break

If there is one thing that the UK excels at, it’s catering to the luxurious sensibilities of its denizens. There are few amongst us who fail to appreciate the beauty of exquisite cuisine, captivating landscapes, and opulent interiors, and fewer still who would actively choose not to indulge their desire for decadence.

Assuming that you’re not amongst this minority, the thought of a luxurious break is almost certainly calling to you. Although summer isn’t quite here yet, the days are longer and milder, encouraging the lazy tranquillity that’s so well suited to relaxation. If you’re ready for a getaway, but in need of a little inspiration, here are a few cities that you might like to visit.

#1: Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle1

With streets and wynds that wouldn’t look out of place in a painting, Edinburgh is renowned around the world for its enchanting allure, and its many hotels are famed for their delightful cuisine, charming hosts, and beautiful views across the city. Topped by its mighty castle, the Scottish capital is a true ode to opulence, and it knows how to cater to a luxury lover’s palette. Spend your days exploring the medieval glory of its Old Town, only taking a respite to sip wine in one of its many exquisite bars and eateries. At the end of the day, retire to your accommodation, and enjoy opulent interiors and impeccable service.

#2: London

Langham Hotel London

The UK’s capital city is a wonderland of varied entertainment, so what better place to kick back for high octane highflyers? Cosmopolitan and charming, London offers a wealth of attractions for you to enjoy, from a day at the spa to an evening at the theatre. Filled to the brim with beautiful hotels and fine restaurants, luxury abounds wherever you turn, making it the ideal place to escape to when you’re in search of some decadent distractions.

#3: York

york minster

Once beloved of royalty, York has been famed for its charm and elegance for over 2,000 years, and it has never allowed its standards to slip. Offering a captivating backdrop of archaic pubs, quaint tearooms, and chic shops, it is the perfect place to indulge your finer sensibilities. Fall into its lazy rhythm for the weekend, and enjoy boutique shopping, long walks by the river, and exquisite cuisine from some of the finest eateries in the north.

What are you waiting for? Book a weekend away at Classic British Hotels, and go and indulge your every whim.

Visiting Britain’s Winter Destinations

Don’t dismiss Britain as a Winter destination. There’s till lots to do and see. As long as you pack the right clothes, you can still enjoy the great outdoors. Plus, there are plenty of cosy pubs, if you are looking for some indoor entertainment. You can find some flight and accommodation bargains from November to February, excluding the festive season. As public transport can be patchy and expensive, you can get cheap car hire in the UK which will enable greater flexibility in your itinerary.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Hogmanay Edinburgh

Looking for energetic fun? Head on down to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, to see the Christmas Market in full swing. The locals call New Year’s Eve Hogmanay, and no-one celebrates it like the Scots. The Hogmanay street party is something you shouldn’t miss. Fireworks light up the sky and the live music makes the party a noisy, but very fun experience. If you’re looking for a relatively mellow experience, explore the cobblestone streets of the Royal Mile. Visit the Scottish Parliament  St. Giles Cathedral and the many free State museums.

Boscastle, Cornwall


Looking for something mysterious? Boscastle in Cornwall has the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic houses the largest collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia can be found. Boscastle was devastated by floods some ten years ago. Now, it’s back to its old self–craggy cliffs, green water in the harbour inlet, and smoke curling up from the chimneys in the old cottages, just like before. The walks also provide an experience you might not want to miss. The rocky paths of the Bossiney Cove and Tintagel Castle are relatively empty after summer.

Salcombe, Devon


Salcombe lies on the sheltered souther coast of Devon. It was once said by the Victorian historian James Froude that, “Winter in Salcombe is winter only in name.” True enough, the microclimate of the South Ham hills allow tropical exotic plants to thrive, making the place look like it has never seen a winter’s day. Check out the South Sands boutique hotel, just outside Salcombe; book a beach suite to enjoy the sea views.

Portmeirion, Wales

Portmeirion Wales

The village of Portmeirion in North Wales, is an Italianate tourist village designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The architect himself said that the design was a tribute to the Mediterranean. Here, you can find tropical atmosphere through the exotic plants that the microclimate enhanced by the Gulf Stream nurtured. Stay in one of the The Portmeirion Hotel, which overlooks the Dywryd Estaury.

Quirky Conference Venues in the UK

IHG Business Advantage’s Unusual Conference Venues, Records and Facts infographic highlights some quirky venues in the UK. I know that when I was searching for a venue for the ‘Write on Finance’ Blog Up in Leeds, which I organised for my personal finance website,, I was looking for somewhere with a bit of character.


Below are photos and some more information on the five unusual UK conference venues featured in the IHG Business Advantage infographic.

London Sea Life Aquarium

The London Sea Life Aquarium is located in the former County Hall, next to the London Eye. Event attendees can enter along a glass walkway with sharks swimming a few inches below. The venue dive team communicate from the shark tank via underwater whiteboards. I reckon that should keep attendees alert during the presentation.

london sea life aquarium sharks

‘Happy Shark Week’ at the London Sea Life Aquarium by Harley Merrigan

Auchentoshan Distillery

I thought that the Auchentoshan Distillery, located in Glasgow’s Clydebank, sounded fun. There’s the option to add on a 60 minute Classic Tour of the distillery, which includes a dram of Auchentoshan Single Malt Whisky. the only triple distilled single malt produced in Scotland.

auchentoshan distillery

Auchentoshen Distillery by Alan Jamieson

Lord’s Cricket Ground

Lord’s Cricket Ground has been in St John’s Wood in London since 1814, You could go contemporary with your event held in the single shell aluminium pod J P Morgan Media Centre, which won the Stirling Prize for architecture in 1999. Or keep it traditional in the Grade 2 listed Long Room in the Pavilion.

lords cricket ground media centre

Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground by Gareth Williams

The Royal Pavilion Brighton

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton was the lavish seaside stamping ground of George IV when he was Prince Regent. Imagine dining in the Banqueting Room underneath a massive chandelier. Or for more intimate events, you could hire the William IV room, with its hand painted Chinese style wallpaper.

the royal pavilion brighton

The Royal Pavilion Brighton by Herry Lawfod

The Natural History Museum in London

Another venue option in London is the Natural History Museum. The Hintze Hall, previously known as the Central Hall, can hold up to 1,200 attendees. For a more active event, you can book various team challenges including using an app to play location based games around the museum.

natural history museum hintze hall

Hintze Hall in the Natural History Museum in London

A Travelodge Stay Could Result in a £100 Parking Charge

A week after my stay at the Travelodge Stirling M80 at Stirling services, I received a £100 parking charge notice for exceeding the free two hour stay in the shared car park. I couldn’t understand why I received this, as I’d entered my car registration number on the monitor at check-in.

travelodge reception

The whole system appears to be automated by a third party car parking management company. The letter detailing my claimed over-stay at the car park, had time-stamped photos of our car entering the car park in the evening and exiting the next morning.

Now it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that I entered our car registration number incorrectly upon check-in. Or, maybe there was an issue with the car parking firm’s database.

I was also annoyed that the car park management firm had obtained my name and address from the DVLA. I don’t think that the DVLA should be releasing drivers’ details to private car parking firms to enable them to issue fines to drivers.

I emailed the car parking management firm on the day I received their letter, including a copy of the invoice for my stay at the Travelodge Stirling M80. However, after two days and no confirmation of receipt of my email, I phoned to check that they had received my email.

I was given a different email address by the member of staff on the phone. Within a few hours of sending the second email, I received a reply, pasted below.

“Thank you for your correspondence concerning your Parking Charge Notice.

 In light of your claims, the representations stated in your appeal have been noted and upheld. 

 We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience and can confirm that this Notice has been cancelled in full and no further action will take place.”

No explanation of why I’d received the parking charge notice, but I was relieved that it was resolved.

It’s really annoying to have to spend time sorting out something that should have never happened in the first place. However, I don’t think it’s wise to ignore matters like this, as they could escalate and even end up adversely affecting your credit rating.

I suspect that this regularly happens to Travelodge guests staying in hotels located at motorway services, as part of the recorded message on the phone number given for appeals instructs Travelodge guests to email a copy of their invoice.

I think that Travelodge should set up a procedure to avoid this happening to guests. For example, Travelodge receptionists could take their own copy of the registration number of guests’s cars. Then these numbers can be cross referenced by the car parking management firm before charge notices are issued.

However, I suspect it’s a lot cheaper and easier just to leave it to guests wrongly issued with parking charge notices to sort it out for themselves with the car parking management firm.

Well Done East Coast Trains

On the 4th of November I was booked on the 16.22 Cross Country train from Berwick upon Tweed to Edinburgh, aiming to get the bus to Edinburgh airport and catch my flight to London Gatwick with a connection to Thessaloniki, Greece.

east coast train

I’d left plenty of time (or so I thought) for any possible mishaps/delays, including getting to the airport 1.5-2 hours before the flight.

My original CrossCountry service, originating in Conwall, was delayed by 80min. I was either going to cut it pretty fine or not make it to the airport on time.

When I enquired at the ticket office at Berwick upon Tweed, I was informed that although there was not another Cross Country train due in good time for me, an East Coast train, about 25minutes after the original Cross Country service had been due, had been contacted and the driver had agreed to take the Cross Country passengers on board, as there were enough seats available.

The East Coast train arrived on time, my Cross Country ticket was inspected, scanned and accepted and I made a time-wise comfortable onwards bus journey to the airport.

Well done East Coast, I hope in future this attitude is reciprocated by Cross Country so that  passengers do not miss flights, appointments etc.

How to Own Your Own Ocean View in the UK

Given the beauty, quality and diversity of the coastline in the United Kingdom it will be of no surprise to anyone if you have fantasised about owning your own ocean view, because really, who hasn’t? For many, the cost of such a venture is formidable and so a dream is all that remains.

The very rich can afford to buy whole islands – think Angelina Jolie with Brad Pitt, or Richard Branson for example – but then they can afford the 7 figure sums that such a purchase demands. For the rest of us, owning our own piece of coast is just a pipe dream.


Or is it? There are over 8,000 miles of gorgeous coastline around Britain. Some 45% of that is owned by the Crown, and on the whole the rest of it belongs to the Ministry of Defence, the National Trust and local authorities. Any that is left is in private ownership and occasionally bargains can be had at auction for a stretch of beach. Kate Bush paid £2.5 million for 17 acres of Devon coast just a few years ago, but other smaller plots can sell at anything from £80,000 upwards.

If this sort of money is out of reach but you are very keen on having your ocean view then it may be worth considering investing in a holiday lodge. What’s great about many holiday lodges is that they are set on well-kept parks with a wide range of facilities and they offer a more affordable option to seaside ownership.

Please click on the interactive map to view our coast hugging selections.

A) Ladram Bay, Devon

Offering truly spectacular views of the Jurassic coast in East Devon, Ladram Bay has great offers on pre-owned holiday homes for under £10,000. Some of the hire lodges even come complete with hot tubs overlooking the Jurassic coast – a World Heritage site. Who could ask for more? Certainly, Ladram Bay offers the quintessential holiday home sales in Devon and has remained family run for over 70 years.

ladram bay

Facilities on the park are first-rate – offering a large heated indoor swimming pool with a children’s play area pool, bars and restaurants, amusement arcades and entertainment, crazy golf, children’s play areas and Wi-Fi. As Ladram Bay Holiday Park is elevated it means that the vast majority of static caravans and holiday lodges have a bird’s eye view of the sea while access to the private beach offers the opportunity for some kayaking, rowing or motor boat hire, so you won’t run out of things to do.

B) Barmouth Bay, West Wales, Gwynedd

In Wales, Barmouth Bay is a highly desirable location. They have direct access to Barmouth Beach with its vast expanse of beautiful unbroken sand that never seems to become overcrowded, and an array of activities on offer such as body surfing and beach volleyball. Facilities on the park include a heated indoor swimming pool, walking trails, a children’s play area and Wi-Fi access.


C) Red House Chalet & Caravan Park, Norfolk

The Red House Chalet and Caravan Park in North Norfolk is a family run Holiday Park is set in two acres with stunning sea views and access to a private beach. There are a range of chalets and lodges to rent but for those with an eye on their permanent seaside view, the park does offer luxury and deluxe caravan holiday homes and holiday lodges for sale.

red house chalet

D) Sandhills, Dorset

If you really do long for a coastal view you may have to shop around and wait your turn for a pitch. Sandhills is located on the east side of Christchurch harbour, but also offers beautiful sea views towards the Isle of Wight, giving the park a very nautical feel. The park offers a range of holiday homes with easy beach access for all, simply cross the promenade to reach the sand.


The Best Things to do in the UK with Kids

If you’re after a slightly more purse-friendly holiday this year, or simply just want something a little closer to home, there are loads of places you can go in the UK that certainly won’t disappoint when it comes to keeping the whole family happy.

If you’re looking specifically for great things to do with the kids without the 9 hour flight to Disney Land Florida, or without having to update the passports, we’ve handpicked some of our favourite family activities and adventures the UK has to offer.

best things to do with kids in uk diana memorial playground kensington gardens


Depending on what you class as a museum, there are over 2,500 museums in the UK alone. Therefore you’d not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing one that will keep your family entertained. From interactive discovery museums such as W5 in Belfast and Eureka! in Halifax, to more traditional and classic museums to inspire, such as the Museum of Childhood in London (pictured below), there’s something for all kids, no matter how big or small! Help your child channel their inner artist too, in one of the many art galleries across Britain.

best things to do in the uk with kids museum of childhood london

Theme Parks

If your family thrives off adrenaline and excitement, a theme park holiday, or at least a day dedicated to thrills and rides is sure to get their heart’s racing. Some of our favourites include Alton Towers in Staffordshire, LEGOLAND in Windsor, Thorpe Park in Surrey and Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight.

best things to do in uk with kids fairground rides

Zoos and Aquariums

The UK is great for animal lovers, with loads of different zoos, aquariums and safari parks to show your little ones some of the wonders of our animal world. Edinburgh Zoo is one of the best stops in Scotland as it is the largest wildlife attraction in the country. As for England, Chester Zoo and Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire are some of the best ones. For a completely different wildlife experience, The Magic of Life Butterfly House in Aberystwyth is a great choice.


If you want a beach whilst on your holiday, who said you had to travel far?! The UK is home to thousands of beaches, and whilst we can’t promise 40 degree heat, if you time it right you’ll definitely enjoy some sun and without the pain of a flight. The kids will no doubt love a few nights away in a lovely little bed and breakfast as you all head out with your buckets and spades. With companies like UK Breakaways, you can even opt for a hotel located right next to one of the beaches for a truly relaxing short break. Some of our favourite beach locations include Cornwall, Great Yarmouth and Dorset.

best things to do with kids in uk spittal beach

…and for something completely different

If your kids really love something completely different to what usual holidays consist of, amaze them at some of the attractions the UK has to offer that vary from the norm. From play centres to cave tours, wax work museums and roller rinks, adventure playgrounds (such as the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens pictured below) and treasure hunts, you’re never far away from something to put a smile on their faces.

best things to do in the UK with kids dian memorial park wigwams