Classic British Cuisine to Try When You’re In The UK

One of the most exciting aspects of visiting a new country is trying some of the local foods on offer. It is criminal to visit Italy and not enjoy some handmade pasta, or not to try tacos in Mexico, burgers in the USA or Dim Sum in China, you get the drift.

If you are heading to the UK then you are going to be in for a culinary treat regardless of where you go. If you are flying in then you’ll find the best prices on flights to London on justfly.com, and London is of course the best place to base yourself in the UK. You may be surprised at the wide range of classic British meals which you can find there, many know that the country is famed for fish and chips but beyond that there are so many great and hearty British meals and desserts to try, and we have put together some of the meals which you can’t leave before you have tried.

Toad in the Hole

The creatively named toad-in-the-hole is a filling and hearty meal which has traditional British sausages which have been cooked into a large Yorkshire pudding and bathed in gravy. To the uninitiated amongst you a Yorkshire pudding is usually a small side dish which is made using baked batter and resembles a dumpling in form. In this dish however the Yorkshire pudding is supersized and then filled up with tasty pork sausages.

Scotch Egg

Another great dish which you can find throughout the country in delis and bakeries is the Scotch Egg, a perfect snack. This snack is made using a hard boiled egg which is then coated in sausage-meat and a soft breadcrumbs.

Sunday Roast

The quintessential meal for a Sunday afternoon with the family is the Sunday Roast, a tradition which dates back centuries and which you’ll still find on dinner tables throughout the country every Sunday. This is simply a piece of meat which has been roasted, usually pork or beef, which is then served with vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnip and carrots, accompanied by roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and lashings of meat gravy. The perfect way to spend your Sunday afternoon.

Scones

Anyone familiar with the regal tradition of high tea will have heard about the scones which accompany the tea and these are another delicious snack which are perfect with a hot drink. Scones are made using flour, salt, butter, sugar, salt and eggs which are mixed together and baked in the oven to form fluffy and dense cakes which melt in the mouth. You can get many varieties of scones which have been filled with fruits such as raisins and cranberries. A cup of tea wouldn’t be the same without them.

Steak and Ale Pie

You will find a huge range of pies wherever you go in the UK and each county or city will have their own versions. The classic pie option however is the steak and ale pie, a perfect dish to warm you up in the cold UK climate. The pie is made with soft, flaky pastry which is filled with steak pieces which have been slow cooked in gravy and a rich ale sauce, normally made using Guinness. Additional touches can be found such as carrots and cheese, and this is one of those dishes which you’ll only find in the UK, a real classic which you have to try.

Eton Mess

This refreshingly named dish is a dessert which you will find throughout the country, and whilst it does look like a mess, it tastes absolutely delicious. The Eton Mess is also a very simple dish which features just 4 ingredients, double cream, fresh British strawberries, meringue pieces and some fresh mint. As you can imagine, the dish is made by whipping up all of the ingredients and then serving it just as it comes, totally messy and absolutely gorgeous.

Shepherd’s Pie

Another dish which will warm you up on those cold nights – noticing a theme here? Is the British classic Shepherd’s Pie. Unlike most pies this one doesn’t use pastry and instead is topped with soft and creamy mash potatoes. Made using minced lamb with gravy and vegetables, this combination is cooked off and placed in an oven proof dish. The mash potato is then layered on top of the meat and it is cooked in a hot oven so that the mash becomes crispy on top, soft underneath. Cheese is added to the top of the pie at the end of cooking and the mixture of flavors and textures is simply glorious.

Naturally you should also ensure that you try fish and chips during your time in the UK, but as you can see there is plenty more than just that to try out.

It’s Time to Visit Sicily

Sicily is an incredibly beautiful place to visit, thanks to its amazing scenery, beautiful clear waters and gorgeous weather. Located in the very heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily has been praised since time began. Praised by poets such as Virgil and Homer, and adored by ancient civilisations such as the Carthaginians, Phoenicians and the Elymians as well as the Greeks and Romans, Sicily is the perfect destination.

Home to some incredible dishes, anyone who visits Sicily will adore the fresh seafood such as the tuna, shellfish and swordfish that are readily available. But that’s not all Sicily has to offer its visitors, the landscape itself is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Mount Etna is a sight to behold and the many offshore islands are a great escape from the busy toing and froing of the city.

The Home of Wonderful Villas

If you want to experience the genuine atmosphere of the island booking a seaside villa or a country house is a must. They are nothing short of exquisite, but you do not have to give up the comfort. Take a look to Scent of Sicily Villas to make up your mind: the website is home to some of the most wonderful villas in Sicily. With a wonderful new catalogue of villas and the opportunity for you to vacation in the lap of luxury, this site has it all.

The long list of properties will no doubt tempt you, each displaying what they have to offer those who stay in them. The website itself is very easy to use and has something of a clean and smooth finish that makes navigating around it a breeze.

You’re in for a Treat

There’s a lot more to this newly-updated website than you think and it’s clear to see that it has been put together well. The new interface with its lovely photographs and new catalogue lets you know that you’re in for a real treat. Full of hand-picked villas that meet the highest standards in terms of comfort and design, this is the place you need to be if you want to find a list of luxury villas in Sicily that are out of this world.  Forget using all of those hard to navigate websites, make your way to Scent of Sicily and find exactly what you need to make your time away very special.

Architectural Beauties

Once you have booked your villa you can get ready to see some architectural beauties. See Arabic arches and domes in Palermo, marvel at the Normal palace walls and the Byzantine mosaics as you enjoy having your skin kissed by the hot Mediterranean sun. Make your way to south-east Sicily and see the baroque masterpieces, the palaces of Noto and the incredible domes.

Sicily may well be a very small island but it is full to the brim of architectural wonders, amazing landscapes and a clear blue sea. If you have never been to Sicily before you must make your way there this year. Make sure you book your villa as soon as you can and get ready to experience a vacation that will take your breath away.

Visiting Magnificent Iceland

If you are looking for a different kind of experience on your next travel destination, consider Iceland, also known as the “Land of Fire and Ice.” Easily accessible from North America or Europe, its only a few hours flight from either continent. Iceland is a Nordic island in the northern part of the Atlantic. The island contains very drastic and contrasting landscapes, including volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields, and hot springs. The first person to permanently settle in Iceland didn’t take place until 874 AD. Icelandic culture is comprised of mainly Norse and Gaelic history.

Contrary to popular belief, the climate is temperate and remains mild all year round, in part due to the Gulf stream. In the lower areas of the island, like the capital city Reykjavik, it can change from rain to snow quickly and is usually windy in the winter months. The northern part of the island is where you will find more ice and snow since it is closer to the Arctic. Also, keep in mind that during the winter months you will only get about 5 hours of daylight. During the summer months, you will experience almost 24 hours of daylight. When choosing clothes to take, always bring warm and water-resistant clothing. Make sure to bring good, sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots that are also water-resistant. But on the other side, be sure to bring your bathing suit to enjoy the geothermal pools that dot the island. If you choose to visit in winter, be sure to bring thermal clothing as well.

When deciding on things to do and see, one must be sure to check out the northern lights. From September to April, you can witness a natural phenomenon called aurora borealis which is an incredible light show display in the night sky. There are also active volcanoes that you can experience. Due to most of Iceland’s inhabitants living in one area, much of the island in rugged and wild. Iceland is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Another unique and breath-taking tourist attraction here is whale watching. During the summer months, whales come to these waters to feed, making it a perfect destination for whale watching. You can also try your hand at ice climbing. The island offers beautiful and scenic hiking routes as well as caves to explore.

Depending on what you plan to do and see, most tourists agree that visiting Iceland during the springtime is the best time to go. The weather gets mild and the snow starts to melt revealing the lush green landscape underneath. Also, you will get more daylight hours. If your main goal is to experience the northern lights, then you may want to go during the end of the winter. When it comes to saving money on your trip, there are some key factors to consider. Iceland uses the currency krona or (ISK) and it’s a good idea to check the currency rate beforehand to know what your money will be worth there. Try to create a budget for yourself before you arrive. Be sure to include everything needed on your trip.

  1. Flights
  2. Room and board (hotels, hostels, bed, and breakfasts)
  3. Transportation (buses, car rental Iceland, bike rentals, etc.)
  4. Meals and dining
  5. Tours and outdoor activities
  6. Souvenirs
  7. Any extras like snacks, rental gear, sightseeing tours, etc.

Another way to save some money is to travel to Iceland during their offseason. Peak months mean higher price tags on activities and hotel accommodations. Also, you might want to look into lodging possibilities that are off the beaten path. This may help you to save a little more as well.

Visiting Iceland is a unique experience like no other; a magical place filled with rich history, legends, and folklore alike. The people who live here are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Also, while visiting this island, you may just run into a troll or elf as well! Natural beauty and wonder make Iceland a place to see. Whether you come for the geothermal springs, northern lights, or the active volcanoes, Iceland is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Visit Iceland and create memories that will stand the test of time.

Looking For A Great European Destination For 2019? Check Out These Picks

Holidays are always an exciting time, especially when you’re heading off somewhere you’ve never been before. While jet setting to far flung, tropical beach destinations may seem like a great idea, sometimes the best holidays are had not far from home! If you live in Europe, it’s common for many families to take holidays in neighbouring countries, often spending several weeks a year exploring different cultures and regions. If this sounds like something you might be interested in doing, check out these top tips for countries to consider for your holidays next year.

France

One of the most visited countries from the UK, France is home to not just amazing food such as wines, bread and cheeses but also to impressive architecture and history too. Visits to wine country such as Bordeaux allow you the opportunity to stay in fantastic countryside Chateaus where wine production is still family led. Take a trip to Paris for the traditional tourist scene with the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the world famous Louvre museum with all its delights inside. For something for the kids, why not visit Disneyland Paris – Europe’s answer to its Florida counterpart. With all the same themes and trappings of the American Disney parks, Disneyland Paris will have kids of all ages beaming from ear to ear.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic (sometimes known as Czechia these days) is a large central European country with beautiful cities, rolling countryside and impressive finds throughout. The capital, Prague is a beautiful city with some of the most amazing public transport around between buses, trams and metros getting you around the city in record time with almost no waiting in between trains. For cheap intercity buses, consider checking out ‘The Student Agency’ for bus options that are often much cheaper than regular buses. In the northwest you have Karlovy Vary – a beautiful spa town in low mountains. To the east of Prague is Kutna Hora, the site of one of Europe’s most impressive ossuaries, the Sedlec Ossuary. Both are well worth a visit, as is the tiny town of Cesky Krumlov on the border with Austria for its beautiful back alleys, lazy river and artist vibe.

Greece

While many people may be put off of Greece by their recent woes with finances in the EU, you wouldn’t know anything was amiss when you’re there. Filled with fantastic people, amazing ruins up and down the country and delicious food, it’s no wonder many people visit Greece time and again, regardless of whether it’s the islands or the mainland you’re interested in exploring, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful, welcoming country. Whether you like hiking, sailing, caving or just beachcombing and lazing about in the sun, you will find something in Greece amid its rich, deep history to tickle your fancy.

So if you’re looking for the perfect family holiday for 2019 but you aren’t sure where you should try, hopefully one of these great European destinations has caught your eye and will have you coming back for more!

Giglio Islands Must Sees

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Giglio Island is quite plainly a glimpse of paradise. An Italian island just off the coast of Tuscany it boasts of its Crystal clear seas, tranquil  beaches and picturesque views. Being a remote island it can quite easily be missed but has never ceased to impress its visitors, always supplying a great time of relaxation for those who stop by. Getting there is completely stress free. You can take a Santo Stefano ferry and with it only being an hour, there’s no reason you can’t experience this breathtaking Island for yourself.

Here are a few places you may like to see on your trip to Giglio Island.

Candelle beach

Offering a more secluded feel than some of the overcrowded beaches that can be found on the main lands, Candelle beach is peaceful and beautiful, with one of the only sounds heard being the movement of the waves. Its sands are flawless and with it’s perfect blue translucent waters, it’s a great place for snorkelling and easy to spot the wide variety of fish in its depths.

Castello

A village that showcases the authentic Giglio and allows its visitors to take a look into what the locals live like, is Castello and it is a place not to be missed when visiting this island. The aged stone houses it consists of date back to the 14th century, having not been affected by any modern architecture,  they’re a true display of some of the history of the Island. The buildings were constructed close together to fit around the Giglio Castle in the heart of the village and although the compact buildings may leave you feeling a bit claustrophobic the wondrous views surrounding it will offer a more freeing feel.

Campese

Just 5km from Castello, Campese is a village that also holds many historical facts. The Campese Tower built in the 19th century is the main attraction of the village, this monument was built originally to allow villagers to look out for ships and resist the pirate ships and enabled them to have some victory against their onslaught. The village also holds one of the most popular beaches on the Island, surrounded by a selection of restaurants, for you to indulge in a beach side meal. To top it all off, the sun sets directly in front of the beach, so you can watch the horizon burst with beautiful red during an evening of leisure.

Gilglio Porto

This is where you’ll arrive when taking the ferry from Porto San Stefano, so it would be straight forward for you to soak up what the port has to offer. This is the heart of the Island and there’s a great choice of restaurants, bars and shops.

For more on what to see in Giglio click here.

Discover The Artisans Behind The Scene – Private Shopping Tours In Barcelona

 

Are you planning a getaway this summer to the bright and bustling Spanish city of Barcelona? What better way to spend a week than strolling the lanes of the city, districts such as Las Ramblas or beautiful examples of architecture such as the Sagrada Familia? Barcelona is one of the hottest places in Europe for visitors, often seeing huge flocks of tourists in the summer months when the mercury sneaks up to higher temperatures and the sun seekers come out to enjoy the heat. Barcelona has a little something for everyone – especially for those tourists who like to get a bit of history, culture and shopping in on their trip away.

Tours Of The City

Throughout Barcelona there are numerous fantastic sights to see and areas to explore. Sometimes it can be a bit daunting to organise yourself to make sure you see absolutely everything that peaks your interest so you can take advantage of some of the amazing city tours to help you get a real feel for the city – and you can go one further and book a private tour that encompasses private pick up and drop off from your hotel as well as your own guide for the duration of the tour through the streets and sights of the city.

Private transport is included and you might find yourself learning a little something extra that those on public tours might not get to. There are additionally a plethora of group tours available for those who are happy to rub elbows with other fellow tourists. Most tours include the major sights of Barcelona such as Park Guell, Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s House as well as some of the other districts like Las Ramblas. Tours including Montserrat and other areas away from the city can be arranged as well.

Shopping Tours

A private shopping tour through El Born is simply one of the best ways to get a glimpse of true Barcelona culture and experience ‘behind the scenes’ of the artisans who create beautiful works of art that are available for purchase. A private tour through this shopping district will allow you to meet the artisans themselves and get a peek inside their studios where the creative process takes place. Pick up a souvenir for yourself or someone you love and know you are truly making a difference in the lives of these artists who have devoted their lives to the development of Catalan art and culture.

So if you’re coming to Spain for your next holiday – either as a family or as a group of friends – or for any reason, whether it’s a family getaway or a birthday celebration trip, bachelor party or bachelorette party, you should consider learning Spanish with a company like Zorro Spanish and take a private tour of Barcelona, Montserrat or El Born. No trip to the region is complete without seeing all the sights of the city and beyond. You may be surprised at what you learn and see! So choose one of their comfortable hotels and come to see Barcelona – you’ll be delighted.

A Guide To A Weekend In Cannes

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If you have been wondering where in France you should book for your next high flying and luxury getaway, you don’t have to look any further. The port city of Cannes is the ultimate in luxury city breaks, and if you’re going in and around the month of May, you get the added benefit of the Cannes Film Festival being on, which means the city turns almost into a mini-Hollywood, giving you the opportunity to see some of the best and brightest in the film industry. Read ahead for a quick weekend guide to this beautiful French city, simple and easy to get to from almost anywhere in Europe.

Getting To And Around Cannes

Most people from outside of France will have to fly into the Nice Cote Azur airport and transfer to Cannes. Likewise there are trains and buses from other areas that will come to Cannes, so it depends on your individual situation. Once in Cannes there are a number of options to getting to and from the airport as well as around town and the surrounding area. If you’re looking for that extra touch of luxury for your city break, why not consider booking a private car ahead of time to take your trip to the next level. With great services available and servicing the city and immediate area, there’s no better way to truly see Cannes like a celebrity.

Things To See And Do

Undoubtedly if you’re coming to Cannes, the ultimate thing to see and do is the world famous Cannes Film Festival which is held annually in May. This is a perfect chance to hobnob with famous celebrities and catch a glimpse of some of your favourites as they work the French red carpet. If that isn’t your thing though, Cannes has a fantastic marina, beautiful old town centre and luscious beaches that are fit for a king. La Croisette is a great place to stroll along the seafront enjoying different boutique shops and restaurants. For a truly unforgettable dining experience check out the covered market area of the city (Marche Forville) – a perfect place for people watching as well. Finally the Old Town has the standard winding and cobbled streets with interesting cafes and shops, leading to some old castle ruins atop a hill with some spectacular views. Check out a French Riviera cruise – you can enjoy some fantastic music while dining on the water for a flat fee.

Accommodation

Without doubt there is a whole host of accommodation on offer in Cannes, from the very exclusive and luxe down to some basic but decent hotels. There are a number of boutique hotels that have quite the style such as Le Mistral. For something on the high end, check out Hotel Martinez, which is where the celebs stay when they’re in town. On the cheaper less extravagant end of the spectrum is the Hotel Alnea, with basic but good facilities and rooms.

So there you have a quick run down to a weekend in Cannes. One thing is for sure – once you have checked out the French Riviera and all it has to offer the luxury minded, you’ll find yourself returning again and again!

6 Overlooked Backpacking Destinations In Eastern Europe

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If you’re an avid backpacker and you’re looking for the next great destination, look no further. Backpacking has been done throughout the world for years now and some of the destinations have been almost literally done to death. After all – how many more secret spots can be found in the places that have been frequented for years by thousands and thousands of people? One region of the planet that seems to be lesser visited than others is Eastern Europe, perhaps due to its relatively negative connotations as former deeply Soviet regions people think there may not be much worth seeing here, but as this article will show you – nothing could be further from the truth.

Belarus

Belarus maintains to this day a strict, enforced and almost militant border policy and government. A visa for most nationals, along with state issued medical certificates and a letter of invitation are required for a trip to Belarus and it could easily be considered one of the “final frontiers” of real adventure travel given its lack of any real tourist infrastructure, especially outside of Minsk. Internet is difficult to find in Minks and nigh on impossible in the countryside. If planning a trip to Belarus ensure you look into the visa situation for your own individual country of residence as it varies from nation to nation. Saying all this though, Belarus is home to a number of very unique experiences and sights, with some of the countryside featuring old world villages and very old world farming practices still used. The food, drink and language is similar to the culture of Russia and Ukraine, so you will find soups similar to Borscht and dumplings such as vareneky with ease. Crime is strictly punished, so street crime is low, however there can be theft from hotel rooms by cleaning staff so ensure you take all your valuables with you or lock them away somewhere safe.

Romania

Despite the fact that Romania is part of the European Union, travel seems to remain a bit wilder in terms of tourist infrastructure and simplicity in some parts. The cities are well equipped to host tourists of all levels of class and style depending what you’re looking for, while out in the countryside depending where you go you might be faced with home stays and local transport. It depends how off the beaten track you want to get, but Romanians on a whole are welcoming and helpful and will help you get from A to B with no worries. With a number of beautiful old world towns – many with their own castles to see – along with the Carpathian mountains you will wonder why you didn’t come to Romania sooner. Don’t forget to check out Dracula’s Castle – a hot tourist spot and a bit of a creepy stopping point for anyone in the country.

Ukraine

Ukraine gets a bad rap due to reports of its supposed rampant corruption, but nothing could be further from the truth. With their attempts to clean up their reputation for hopeful EU admittance, Ukraine has cracked down on former corrupt policies in its borders, police and government and is now a very warm, welcoming place. Kiev (sometimes spelled Kyiv) is the very spread out capital city where you won’t have trouble getting around or communicating your needs with the locals – even those whose English is poor can understand some and most wait staff in restaurants and bars speak at least some English. The food is absolutely top notch – we recommend ‘Shato’, a chain restaurant that features an impressive local and imported beer menu as well as traditional Ukrainian fare such as vareneky, borscht (beet soup), sausages of all kinds and cabbage rolls (holuptsi). Shato is also home to live music by night. Ukraine on the whole is a very affordable place to travel through, especially if you take local transport (Kiev’s metro costs 4 US cents per ride, regardless of how far you go), and longer bus journeys, although somewhat uncomfortable in marshrutkas can be under $10 depending where you’re going. Ukrainiain culture is very vocal and musical, so ensure you take in a show by a live band or dance troupe – you won’t regret it.

A side note to those interested in going to Chornobyl – the site of the nuclear disaster in 1986, ensure you book well in advance and get the checks started, As you’re going into a restricted area they do background checks on you prior to the tour, so you will need to submit for this about ten days before your scheduled tour. You will also need to take your passport with you for the checkpoints along the way into the exclusion zone of Pripyat and Chornobyl. Accommodation wise throughout Ukraine is that you would be better off staying in the likes of an Air Bnb or similar – you will get more for your money and get to hob nob with a local or two who might have some suggestions on absolutely top notch places to see during your trip – they might even join you too!

Moldova/Transnistria

Another unique region slightly similar to Belarus, Moldova and it’s “non-existant” neighbour Transnistria are unique and exciting places for any backpacker who might want to check out something new and unusual. Transnistria is a de-facto self-governing nation with no governmental ties to Moldova, however the sovereignty of the region is not widely recognised by many other countries. Transnistria is the region immediately east of Moldova, sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine.

The general region of Moldova in itself is perfect for those who enjoy outdoor activities. With the steppes and wide open spaces featuring lakes and rivers, it’s a great place for hiking, kayaking, hill walking and generally getting out and about. The cities in Moldova feature beautiful town squares and the city of Soroca specifically is considered the home of the Romani Gypsy – so their buildings reflect this culture and are ornately decorated and colourful. The food of Moldova is similar to that of neighbouring Ukraine and Romania – soups, and a lot of use of root vegetables in many dishes as well as breads and dumplings with varying fillings with regional differences.

The Baltics – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia

These three countries are tucked away in the north eastern corner of Europe, between Sweden and Russia and south of Finland. Tallin, the capital of Estonia is fast becoming a favourite locale for stag parties from western Europe, but still retains its classical, beautiful European charm and is a welcoming place for travellers of all ages. All three Baltic states are great places to travel through consecutively with a number of interesting and pagan-oriented festivals to be enjoyed throughout the year. Each of these three countries has their own unique flavour but one thing they all have in common is their twisting backstreets lined with cafes, their own regional beers and takes on various dishes such as dumplings, soups and breads as well as their skylines which consist of beautiful church steeples and Orthodox church domes sparkling in the sun. They also enjoy good, well scheduled train and bus links between them to make movement around the Baltics easier than expected.

Georgia

While not officially designated as Europe, Georgia is fighting for its inclusion into the EU and is making a large effort to attract a higher class of visitor as well as backpacker. The capital city Tbilisi is home to a number of high class hotels such as the Radisson Blu and a Marriott. Its low train and bus fares mean Georgia is not only cheap and easy to get around, but it offers links to almost every corner of the country too. From the sloping grape covered wine region of the east, with beautiful vistas over to the mountains around the Caspian sea and Azerbaijan, to the Black Sea coast that features strange cities like Batumi which is more like a Russian’s Las Vegas, Georgia is a peculiar but amazing nation. It’s something that’s come out of a time warp, with cinderblock villages set high in the mountains and roadside vendors selling snacks for almost criminally low prices. With so much to see and do, and multiple climate zones in one place, Georgia has something for everyone – not to mention its nearly 8000 year old wine making traditions!

So there you have six great places in Eastern Europe to explore on your next backpacking trip that each have their own unique flavour and history. So check out some of Eastern Europe next time – you won’t be disappointed!

5 Things To Do On A Solo Vacation To The UK

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Without doubt, the United Kingdom is one of the most visited countries in the world and for good reason. With so much to see and do spread over a relatively small area, it makes the perfect location to head to if you’re looking to maximise your time on vacation. Regardless of whether you’re going to the UK with a group of friends or by yourself, there will be things to do for everyone. Here we look at the top 5 things to do if you’re heading there alone.

London – All Its Fantastic Sights

London is the capital city of England and has been its historic centre for millennia. As a result, London is absolutely teeming with things to see and do, from small local pubs in the many backstreets, to tours and numerous museums and other attractions. A good piece of information to note is that all the museums in London are free. 100% free. The Natural History Museum and the British Museum are the two best ones for anyone on a visit to London and looking to take in a bit of the history of the land and the country. The Tower of London is ideal for anyone on their own and looking to explore the sordid history of London – with its time as both a historic royal palace as well as a prison, the Tower is the place to see. A quick rundown of other attractions in London include the Dungeon (don’t go alone if you’re easily spooked, though!), Westminster Abbey (tours available) and the palaces of Windsor/Hampton Court. All of these suggestions are great for anyone travelling solo with the exception of the Dungeons.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is a great place to head to for a bit of history as well as some stunning scenery. The Scots are naturally a very welcoming people and Edinburgh lives up to this reputation well. For the best in sightseeing you can catch one of the hop-on, hop-off buses that takes you around the main sights of the city and drops you off where you like. With castles, great pubs and some fantastic walking routes available as well as museums and a bustling, vibrant nightlife, Edinburgh is great for travellers on their own.

Chester

A small city near the larger metropolis of Manchester, Chester is a beautiful medieval city teeming with charm and character. With its medieval market “rows” – elevated walkways featuring shops and bakeries along its main thoroughfare amid centuries old buildings made of Tudor era wooden beams – its not only exceptionally picturesque, but welcoming as well. Chester also features old city walls and great transport links so if you want to get out of the city, it’s simple and seamless. Popular routes include heading over to the Yorkshire Dales or going into Wales into the Snowdonia National Park.

Snowdonia National Park

Speaking of Snowdonia National Park, this is an absolutely stunning bit of the UK that is perfect for those both in groups or on their own. The tiny mountain town of Betws-y-Coed is situated perfectly to help visitors maximise their time in the park and is one of the main stops on the fantastic Snowdon Link bus – a bus that for £1 takes you through the valleys of the area, past lakes, and to the foot of some of Snowdon’s favourite climbing routes. Snowdon is easily climbed by most, but if you aren’t up for it, you can catch the bus to Llangollen, and pay to go up on the small land train.

Salisbury

Salisbury enjoys excellent connections by train to London and Bath/Bristol. It’s a lovely, welcoming, medieval market city (more like a town!) with an impressive cathedral to visit as well as a bustling market square on Tuesdays and Saturdays as well as numerous pubs and the medieval Poultry Cross – an impressive example of medieval architecture. Be sure to stop for a pint in the Haunch of Venison – a pub so old it’s purported to be made from old ship beams brought up from the coast in the 1200s and used initially as the hostel for the men working on the cathedral at that time. Ask the bar staff for more history, including the story of the hand – you might be surprised at the secrets that lurk within. A great place to hob nob with the locals as well – if they find out you’re on your own and you aren’t local, chances are you’ll be swept up in conversation.

So there you have a couple of top ideas for those who are coming to the UK solo. There are countless other things to do in the UK if you’re travelling alone – the only limitation is your own comfort zone as well as well as those looking for more excitement. The UK is a wonderful and welcoming place for travellers, so pack your bags and grab your wellies – the UK awaits!

Things To See And Do In Madrid

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Whether you’re from Europe or not, one thing is for certain – Spain is one of the hottest travel destinations for Europeans and foreigners alike. Conjuring up images of back alley cafes, local wines, delicious tapas and beautiful stone buildings framed with cascading greenery and floral highlights, nothing could be more welcoming than Spain and its people. Regardless of your taste and travelling preferences, one city that has something for everyone is Madrid, and here we look at the top things to see and do in this bustling, beautiful city.

Architecture and Museums

Madrid is awash with architecture and museums – from the beautiful Royal Palace to the Plaza de Sol, a favourite meeting ground for locals, Madrid has beautifully decorated and ornate buildings, statues and more. The Royal Palace is open to visitors, with Wednesdays being free entry days so the lines get incredibly long so make sure you go early. Regardless though, the Palace any day is worth a visit.

The museums on offer are almost countless and cover nearly every topic you can imagine, so a trip to one of their museums along your interests is a must do. Head to the Museum Triangle – literally the Madrid museum district for a great selection of museums. While some of the museums are almost eye wateringly expensive for the budget tourist, most museums do offer free entry at certain times of day or on certain days. Check in advance which museums, which times and which days to take full advantage of some of the fantastic museums in the city. Perhaps the best ones, especially for art lovers are the Museo del Prado and the Sofia Reina National Museum and Art Centre – both of which house classical paintings by famous artists from around the world. The Sofia Reina is in fact the home of Picasso’s famous Guernica.

Parks and Getting Outside

Madrid is lucky enough to enjoy a temperate climate most of the year although it can be chilly in the winter months, but nevertheless getting outside is a favourite past time of both locals and tourists alike. Madrid is home to numerous parks and gardens, with Caixa Forum being a great example of a vertical garden (also on the side of one of many museums!). The Royal Botanical Garden as well as El Retiro park are two of the best parks on offer in Madrid, with El Retiro being home to drumming circles in the summer evenings that are a great way to see the dusk in.

Cuisine and Culture

The Mercado de San Miguel is a fantastic spot to stop off if you’re looking for high quality wines, cheeses, dried and smoked meats and more. An indoor market, this is a great place to go on a rainy day or if you just want to pick up a delicious snack of local fare or a bottle of wine to take home with you. For cultural aspects of Madrid, check out one of the many Flamenco shows that are on around the city – with their bright colours and quick movements and fantastic music. Corral de Moreira is the top rated location to take in a show in Madrid, if not the world, and shouldn’t be missed on any trip to the region.

So there you have the top things to see and do in Madrid on any trip to the area, whethere you’re on a budget or not. Madrid is a great city any time of year, but to take advantage of all the outdoor things to do, summer and autumn are the best to enjoy the warm weather and welcoming patios with local beers and tapas. So pack your bags – next stop: Madrid!