Category Archives: Travel Tips

Travel tips to help you make the most of your European trips. Tips on the best things to see, places to stay and eat in European destinations.. The lowdown from locals and experienced European travellers to help you plan your travels.

hepworth gallery in wakefield

5 Places to Visit in Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Here are my tips for five places to visit in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Wakefield Council Chamber

As I walking from Wakefield Museum to the Cathedral, the beautiful County Hall caught my eye. I decided to go in to ask if I could look around. I was in luck, as there were no meetings that day, I was able to get into the Council Chamber.

The ante-room of the Council Chamber was adorned with friezes depicting historic scenes.

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber2

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber1

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber

There was a colourful talian marble pietro dure (inlay) table.

Italian pietro dure table in Wakefield Council Chamber

The Council Chamber was impressive.

wakefield couneil chamber

I assume that chair with the intricate carvings is where the leader of the council sits.

Wakefield Council Chamber in West Yorkshire chair

I loved the chandeliers.

Wakefield Council Chamber in West Yorkshire chandelier

Wakefield Cathedral

It’s believed that there has been a church on this site since the 11th century. The spire is the highest in Yorkshire.

wakefield cathedral exterior

Inside, there are splendid stained glass windows.

wakefield cathedral stained glass windows

Wakefield Cathedral was undergoing renovation during my visit, so part of the nave was closed off.

wakefield cathedral interior

Chantry Chapel, was originally constructed in the 14th century, when the wood bridge was rebuilt with stone, is now looked after by Wakefield Cathedral.

chantry bridge wakefield

Wakefield Museum

Wakefield Museum is next to the Library.

For me, the most interesting exhibit was Edmund Waterton’s ring collection amassed during the 19th century.  Edmund was the son of Victorian explorer, conservationist and naturalist James Waterton.

wakefield museum ring collection

There’s a recreation of a Victorian kitchen

victorian kitchen wakefield museum

I thought that the lace sleeves of the 1932 satin wedding dress were pretty.

Satin wedding dress (1932) at Wakefield Museum

The dress pictured below was worn at a Victory Ball in 1919, at the end of the First World War.

Victory Ball dress at Wakefield Museum

The Art House

The Art House, which lets out studios to artists, has exhibitions and Open Days, but you should check for the dates on their website.

the art house wakefield

Hepworth Gallery

Visiting the Hepworth Gallery was the main reason for my trip to Wakefield.

hepworth gallery in wakefield1

I learned a lot about how Barbara Hepworth created her large sculptures.

hepworth gallery wakefield hepworth's studio

There was a wonderful diversity of exhibits including a Snoppy Canvas, photos of the local Rhubarb Triangle and the  metal on wood ‘Maquette, Theme and Variations’ sculpture by Barbar Hepworth (pictured below).

hepworth gallery in wakefield2

All in all, I had a great day out in Wakefield.

harbour in bristol

Summer Events In Bristol And Transportation Facilities

Bristol, a beautiful city located in the midst of hills besides River Avon in South West England, has never disappointed its visitors. Year-round festivals, beautiful cityscapes and a blend of modern and medieval architecture are some of the major tourist attractions of Bristol. So, if you are a fun loving person and make the most of out your summer holidays, Bristol is the right choice for you.

As Bristol is famous for its year round festivals, there is a lot waiting for you during the summer as well. Here are some of the festivals you should look forward to during the summer of 2016:

clifton suspension bridge bristol

1. Bristol Old Vic 250– The oldest working theatre of UK will celebrate its 250th anniversary with different programs and activities, including five famous productions from five centuries of theatre, a tribute to Shakespeare, a tribute to people who built the theatre and many other activities, from 28th to 30th May 2016.

2. Bristol Summer Series– Shout out to all Music fans, book your tickets for Bristol Summer Series as soon as possible because tickets are only available for 24th June’s show of ‘The last Shadow Puppets supported by Gaz Coombes’. So grab your tickets before you miss the last available chance of attending this amazing fun packed night.

3. Festival of Nature– If you are a nature loving person and want to have some adventurous time close to wildlife then this ‘Festival of Nature’, along the River Avon, will be the perfect choice for you. Organized by the Bristol Natural History Consortium from 11-25 June, it gives you a chance to explore the nature and wildlife with your friends, family or with your school/university fellows.

waterfall

4. Bristol Harbour Festival- Organized by Richmond Event Management on behalf of the Bristol City Council, Bristol Harbour Festival will take place form 15th July to 17th July 2016. It will not only give you a chance to enjoy music, art, dance, circus, along with some great food but will also give you an opportunity to exhibit or promote your own work. So, you can also put up your own stall and make some money.

bristol harbour

Don’t want to miss these amazing events? But concerned about the transport because you do not feel like driving yourself and taking the trouble of finding parking space at these events where a large crowd is expected. No worries! There are lots of taxi, minicab and car services in Bristol and you can definitely take their services for wonderful transportation facilities in your budget.

Some of the cab service providers in Bristol, with their web links, are mentioned here for your ease:

Bristol Taxis

The service provides Taxis, Minibuses, Executive Cars, and Airport Transfers.

V-Cars

A fast growing private hire company with over 25 years of experience. They also provide the priority pick-up service to make you reach your destination in time just in case you forgot to make advance booking and want to be picked up very quickly.

Call Cars Bristol

If you are travelling to Bristol from any other city or country and want to have a professional car service to pick you up from the airport or you are looking for minicabs in Bristol, Call Cars Bristol would be the ideal choice for you.

Minicabit

And if you are looking for the cheapest taxi, cabs and minicabs services in Bristol following taxi fares comparison websites as www.minicabit.com will help you in finding the right taxi for you.

In addition to cabs, you can also get around Bristol in buses (available from all major locations), trains (available from Bristol Temple Railway Station and Bristol Parkway Railway Station) and even use any of Bristol’s ferry services.

Not Just A Canadian Game: European Hockey And Where To See It

Generally speaking, when people think of ice hockey they think of Canada. As a country that takes pride in the game and has tremendous international success that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. But, what many don’t know is that Europe is filled with regional leagues that produce some of the National Hockey League’s best players.

european ice hockey

photo by _becaro_

While diehards are familiar with these leagues, the average hockey fan generally assumes that European teams play in tiny arenas to barely any fans when precisely the opposite is true. To find out about some of Europe’s biggest teams I spoke with JustFly. An online travel agency, JustFly is keenly aware of what brings people to certain cities. They gave me a rundown of some of Europe’s most famous hockey towns that prove hockey isn’t just for Canadians.

Liiga in Finland

The Liiga is Finland’s professional hockey league and was formed in 1975. Featuring 15 teams, Liiga has gone over several changes in the last few decades but remains one of the top professional leagues in Europe. It also was a proving ground for such players as Teemu Selanne, Jari Kurri, and Saku Koivu. This year, the leagues top team was Tappara. Based out of Tampere, Finland, Tappara won the Kanada-Malja trophy as the leagues top team. The league also features teams from Espoo, Helsinki, and many more cities.

Swedish Hockey League

european ice hockey1

Perhaps the most prestigious of the European Leagues according to JustFly’s review, The Swedish Hockey League, formerly known as the Swedish Elite League, is probably the second best hockey league in the world behind the NHL. Also founded in 1975, the league had a successful run as the most attended league in Europe thanks to its quality of competition and parity of competition. The SHL has sent many players onward to the NHL including Hall Of Fame members Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom. The league’s current champion is Frolunda HC. The league features teams in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo among others.

Kontinental Hockey League

The newest of the European leagues, the Kontinental Hockey League, or KHL, was founded in 2008 and is largely based in Russia. With that said, the KHL’s newest team is actually a former member of Liiga and is based out of Helsinki. Thought of as an ambitious league, it is anticipated that the KHL will feature the first major Chinese club, with HC Red Star Kunlun applying to join in time for the 2016-2017 season according to JustFly. The KHL, and its former parent league, are responsible for some of the leagues most exciting players including Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and NHL Hall of Famers like Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov. This year the KHL’s top team was Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The league features teams across a massive area including Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Sochi.

SAMSUNG

The Best Ways to Enjoy a Luxury UK Break

You don’t need to jet off around the globe to enjoy a luxury break, with so many stunning locations across the UK, enjoying a luxury break in the UK is now easier than ever.

From the rolling hills of Yorkshire  to the beautiful beaches of the South Coast, there’s are so many amazing areas of the UK to visit, that you’re sure find the perfect luxury break for you.

knaresborough north yorkshire england

Here are some tips to help you have the best UK luxury break,

Escape to the Countryside

There is an abundance of beautiful British countryside to be explored, so why not visit an area you’ve never been to before.

The North Yorkshire countryside has great walks and pubs to explore.

brimham rocks yorkshire

Head to the Lake District for a cultural experience and visit the picturesque lakes which inspired the famous works of the great British poet William Wordsworth.

Great Little Breaks have an amazing range of luxury hotels located in different areas of the British countryside so you can find the perfect part of the UK for you.

Enjoy the Fresh Air at the Seaside

Heading to the British seaside is a great family tradition and a perfect way to enjoy a UK break. There are many luxury hotels by the sea, so you won’t find yourself staying in a dated hotel listening to an old crooner’s tunes into the night.

The south-west Coast has some stunning beaches such as Towan Beach in Newquay.

In St Ives and Padstow be able to visit some of the UK’s most famous fish restaurants and gorgeous beaches. If you head down to Cornwall in the summer, hopefully you’ll be lucky to find some fabulous English sunshine to complete your trip.

Shop till You Drop on a City Break

A city break in the UK can be just as good as one overseas with so many thriving cosmopolitan UK cities. Visit Newcastle to enjoy great shopping, a lively nightlife and some of the UKs best artwork and exhibitions at the Baltic and the Laing Art Gallery.

laing art gallery newcastle

If you’d rather head down South a luxury break in London has so much to offer with a huge variety of amazing hotels to choose from and your pick of the capitals best restaurants and bars just a tube ride away.

big ben london

There are so many different ways you can enjoy a luxury break in the UK without having to spend a lot of money by going overseas. Whether you want a whirlwind city break, a relaxing countryside escape or to enjoy an ice cream on the sands.

Top Tips for Travelling Around Europe on a Budget

The European continent is blessed with a vast number of fantastic holiday destinations. Whether you’re travelling with a loved one, with a group of friends or even by yourself, you won’t be short on things to do and choose from.

sardinerobeach

However, while it’s all well and good to just say you’re going travelling, this isn’t always something many of us can afford, nor is it easy to just drop everything and go. You’ll need to have some savings in place and give yourself enough prep time, which is where your planning comes into the picture.

So read on to find out what you need to do in order to make your European travel dreams an affordable reality.

List Your Destinations

To start with the basics, make a list of the places you wish to visit and do a little research to find out what things there are to do in each destination. You can use this as the basic itinerary to help plan your trip and make decisions about how long you intend to stay in each respective location.

SAMSUNG

Book In Advance

Next, you need to start getting those hotel and day trip bookings sorted as the longer you give yourself the lower the cost will be. In some cases there will be package deals that include your days out, as well as accommodation. A trick here is to use comparison sites such as HotelsCombined to find the best-value deals but then get in touch directly with the providers to enquire about what else they can do for you – this is often cheaper as it cuts out the commission the comparison sites will take.

holiday apartment

Compare Transport Options

Rather than forking out thousands for international flights, why not consider other methods of transport? Hiring a car for instance might take longer but you can experience more while en-route, and you can also travel at a time that suits you. There’s also rail to think about, as trains can also be quick and indeed cheap, as this post from Card Cutters shows.

french train

Check Online for Honest Reviews

Finally, you need to head for the forums and look at what reviews there are for your chosen hotels, locations and trips you might be looking to book. These can help with your final decision making as the frank and open reviews people leave are bound to be more reliable than the posts by the holiday companies.

With this all in place, hopefully all there’s left for you to do now is start counting down the days. So wherever you go, bon voyage and enjoy what could be the holiday of a lifetime!

road trip europe

Four European Road Trip Mistakes to Avoid

A road trip is the ideal way to discover Europe so if you want to squeeze in as much as possible during your trip, here are four factors to keep in mind.

road trip europe1

Ignoring the Rules of the Road

Prior to setting off on your road trip you should make sure your vehicle is road worthy. This means having insurance and breakdown cover as well as safety accessories such as a reflective jacket, a warning triangle and a GB sticker. Different countries have different rules regarding what you will need to take with you but this guide covers the essential information. Part of the fun of a road trip is the ability to explore as you wish. As a result, your vacation experience will not be as organised as a traditional holiday. If you plan to drive from city to city make sure you know the rules of the road. It is illegal to sleep in your car in some countries so make sure you know the rules before you decide to turn your vehicle into an impromptu bed for the night.

Failing to Identify Toll Roads

Failing to identify toll roads along your route can play havoc with your travel budget. If you have a relatively new satellite navigation system, it should alert you to where the toll roads are located or allow you to plan a route that avoids them altogether. However, don’t leave this to chance. Look up the toll roads before you travel so you don’t have to rely on your Sat Nav.

Forgetting a Map

road trip europe2

For many young travellers, maps are a thing of the past. However, it is always wise to carry one in your glove box just in case your Sat Nav battery dies or your phone loses signal. Why not draw your route on the map itself and frame it as a memento once you have completed your road trip?

Choosing a Boring B&B

Finding places to sleep is one of the most important aspects of planning a road trip. While being spontaneous is all part and parcel of any holiday, it is wise to book accommodation for the first leg of your trip. This way you can set off safe in the knowledge that you have somewhere safe to sleep when you arrive at the first destination. Further down the line it may be tempting to stop at bog standard B&B’s along the way, but if you want to stay flexible while keeping costs low you can always rent a spare room in an unusual property using sites like Airbnb and Owner’s Direct. The best part about renting rooms from homeowners is you can add as much character to your vacation as you want to. A castle in Costa Brava or a single room in a city centre apartment in Norway, the possibilities are endless.

London Versus Amsterdam

It’s hard to compare London to Amsterdam, but the infographic illustrates some of the highlights of, and differences between, the two cities.

london-amsterdam

Amsterdam is a much smaller city than London, therefore easier to get around. Hiring a bicycle is one of the best ways to see Amsterdam, as there are dedicated separate cycle lanes.

amsterdam

Even if your accommodation is in central London, the city is so vast that you’ll probably need to use public transport to get around. If you use a Transport for London Day Travelcard or a contactless card, it should cost around £8 a day for unlimited travel within Zones 1-3. There are bicycles for hire, but the cycle lanes are often only strips at the side of the road, on which bus stop and cars park.

Although there are several famous bridges over the River Thames in London, such as Tower Bridge (pictured below), London only has 48 bridges, compared to Amsterdam’s 1753 bridges, which criss-cross the city’s canals.

tower bridge

If you are a museum buff, then London gives you more choice, with 240 museums compared to Amsterdam’s 75. It’s free to enter the permanent collections in the UK’s museums, whereas there are entry fees to most museums in Amsterdam.

Three of the Most Common Mistakes People Make on their First Skiing Holiday

Skiing holidays are fast-paced, fun, and thrilling. They’re a great choice for adrenaline junkies and adventure lovers alike, and can offer the perfect alternative to beach getaways for tourists that don’t want to sit still for two weeks.

ski holiday 3

Their allure extends beyond the excitement factor. Set against paradisiacal backdrops of towering glaciers, ethereal evergreen forests, and cosy log cabins, they provide a chance to visit new places, meet new people, and make memories that will last forever.

Unfortunately, they don’t always go to plan. Unlike beach holidays, which we’re all familiar with, the inexperienced sometimes turn up a little unprepared. If you want to avoid making mistakes and maximise your enjoyment, then here are three outcomes that we recommend you avoid…

#1: Underestimating Costs

Many people are pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive skiing holidays can be, but for rookies, there are lots of costs waiting for you around the corner. Rather than throwing caution to the wind and unthinkingly booking your next getaway, take the time to do your research and find out what you’re going to need. The right clothing, equipment, and an education at home before you hit the slopes all need to feature on your list, so factor in these expenses to make sure that you have the budget to make the most of your holiday.

ski holiday gear

#2: Failing to Research Your Location

Another common mistake made by novices is a failure to research their location. A lot of people assume that ski resorts will have an adequate snow covering year round, never realising that the reason their holiday is so inexpensive is because they’re visiting out of season. To ensure maximum fun and enjoyment, do your homework beforehand, and make sure that snowfall is guaranteed. Don’t be afraid to ask the professionals as well as carrying out your own internet searches, as companies like Iglu Ski are staffed by professionals that really know their stuff.

ski holiday 2

#3: Overestimating Your Abilities

Finally, here’s another rookie mistake to avoid: overestimating your abilities. Lots of outdoor enthusiasts assume that skiing can’t be all that hard to master, but how wrong they are. Some ski resorts cater to the experienced and professional only, and if you visit them, you’re unlikely to have much fun. If you like a challenge, take some lessons at a nearby snow sports centre, and thus broaden the range of activities and slopes that you’ll be able to have a bash at. However, if you’re truly novice, make sure that you stick to resorts that cater to people of your ability, where instructors will be available onsite to help you.

Make sure that you have a superb snow covered skiing adventure by getting it right from the word go.

FlightHub Says Travel Insurance a Necessity For Adventure Travellers

While there is an element of risk associated with any form of travel, adventure travel raises the stakes in terms of risk of injury. FlightHub, a North American online travel agency, has helped many backpackers, adventure travellers, and vagabonds kick off their trips and always recommends that these travellers investigate insurance. After a quick FlightHub review, I came up with a few crucial reasons why travellers who are going on higher risk trips need to consider travel insurance.

adventure travel

First, the obvious. Adventure travellers should have insurance in case they get injured or sick on vacation. I say this with personal experience as a friend of mine once required hospitalization and dealt with a family member requiring surgery in another country. Insurance in those cases was a lifesaver. Between the two incidents, which both occurred in the United States, their family would have faced severe financial hardship. With that being said, getting sick in the United States isn’t a worst case scenario. Their modern medical system means you will receive top notch care. You can’t say the same for third world or under developed countries. This makes insurance even more necessary, as insurance in most cases will assist you in getting home quickly to see a doctor in your own country.

Secondly, natural disasters can be devastating no matter where they occur, but in regions with poor infrastructure and less organized policing and rescue efforts they can become even more dangerous thanks to looting, poor sanitation, and criminal activity. FlightHub says having insurance allows you to quickly find a route out of danger. In the event you don’t have insurance you would be relying entirely on embassy services which can get bogged down quickly in times of great need.

Lastly, according to FlightHub, your gear. If you are living out of your backpack and it gets stolen or destroyed, you will be royally screwed. Insurance helps you recoup necessary supplies or at least provides you with financial help to get you back on your feet. In some areas, your bag is your only ally, so insurance can keep you covered in case of loss or destruction.

Travel insurance allows you to travel with peace of mind. While no one plans for anything to go wrong, you should always plan for the chance that something could go wrong, making travel insurance a no brainer.

FlightHub Tips For Vacation Injuries Or Illnesses

You are on vacation. Maybe you are at a resort or are in the middle of the wilderness backpacking, but something goes wrong. What do you do next?

FlightHub have heard this question before in dealing with clients. These questions have made it necessary that FlightHub review protocols for these types of emergencies as part of its travel insurance offerings. So what are you supposed to do?

helicopter ambulance

1 – Identify The Severity Of Your Injury

Do you require urgent medical attention? If yes, go to the hospital. If not, the first stop should be the closest pharmacy. FlightHub says pharmacists in many countries are able to prescribe medication on site, meaning you can avoid the hospital altogether if your situation simply requires antibiotics. Additionally, a pharmacist can give you advice going forward, like whether you should go to the hospital asap, or if you can wait until you get home. If you have no idea where to find a pharmacy or hospital, ask your tour guide or hotel staff.

2 – Get In Contact With Your Family Doctor

Whether or not you require hospitalization, contact your family doctor. If you don’t need the hospital right away you can give your doctor the heads up that you’ll be coming to visit, If you do, getting in touch with your doctor can facilitate the exchange of your medical information. Last thing you need according to FlightHub is a foreign doctor prescribing or administering medications to which you may be allergic.

3 – Contact Your Embassy

Your embassy is there to help. FlightHub says embassy services can vary depending on their facilities, but they’ll be able to provide various forms of service that can come in handy in your time of need.

4 – Call Your Insurance Company (Did You Remember To Get Insurance?)

Lastly, get in touch with your insurance provider if you purchased travel insurance. The sooner the better as bills will pile up. On that note, get a copy of every document you see. You never know what you’ll need, and those documents are a lot easier to get when you are in the country where they were issued.

5 – Get Home Safe

FlightHub says you should definitely do your best to get home as soon as possible depending on the severity of your condition. So, get home safe, and get home quickly. You don’t need complications coming up again while on vacation.