Don’t forget the fish ‘n’chips during your holiday in London!

Of all the most popular holiday locations in the world, Britain occupies a key position. This is due to its rich and charming history that blends perfectly with its modern and cosmopolitan society. For those who love history, Britain is the place to visit. And there is no better time than summer 2015 to be in the country, when the weather is warm with sunny skies. It offers the perfect opportunity to explore the many ancient and modern attractions that this beautiful country has to offer visitors and holiday makers.

If you do plan to holiday this summer in Britain, London should be at the top of your travel itinerary. It offers a panoramic view of British culture as it has evolved over the past centuries. With summer being peak travel time for tourists to the capital, it would be best to book your hotel rooms in advance.

There are a wide variety of hotels that cater to all types of travellers from luxury seekers to backpackers. If you plan to travel with the family a good option would be The Shaftsbury Hotel, which offers comfort and the best of amenities at a very reasonable price. Another benefit of staying at The Shaftsbury Hotel is that they offer different travel deals and discount packages at different parts of the year.

Once you are in the city make it a point to indulge yourself and explore the many culinary delights that the city offers. Of all of them perhaps the most quintessentially British dish is fish and chips, which is universally accepted as being the nation’s export to the world.

How did this dish come about to being the most popular of all British dishes?
To begin with the potato is thought to have been introduced into the country from the New World courtesy of Sir Walter Raleigh in the 17th century. And the concept of potato chips is borrowed from England’s neighbours the French who are attributed with creating the fried potato chip.

The combination of fish and chips as a dish is claimed by both London and Lancashire, who lay claim to having invented this meal. Initially chips served as the staple food of those living in the industrial north whereas fried fish owes its origins to London’s East End. As a matter of fact it was Charles Dickens who even referred to fried fish in his famous ‘Oliver Twist’.  This became such a hit with the public that it led to becoming the national dish!

The very first shop that sold fish and chipscame up in the North of the country and is believed to have been opened in 1863 at Mossely, close to Oldham in Lancashire. It was owned by Mr Lees who initially started his business of fish and chips in a wooden hut in the market. Later after his business prospered and became popular, he set up a permanent shop which carried the inscription in its window, “This is the first fish and chip shop in the world”.

Within the City of London the credit of setting up the first fish and chip shop on Cleveland Street goes to Joseph Malin in 1860. These shops were generally small family businesses that owners would run from the ‘front room’ of their homes and came by to increase in number during the late 19th century.

It was through the latter period of the 19th century and later that the trade expanded exponentially and served to satisfy the needs of all of those during the industrial revolution and after. Then with the invention of the steam trawler it became possible to bring in fish supplies from places as far away as Greenland, Iceland and the North Atlantic. This was further facilitated with the development of the railway that made it possible for easy and fast distribution of fish all over the country.

In fact, fish and chips became such an integral and vital part of the general public’s diet that a shop in 1931 in the area of Bradford, had to use the services of a doorman during peak hours to control the queue of people lining up. During the 1930’s the soldiers of the Territorial Army had fish and chips as a part of their staple diet,while in training before the war began.

During the Second World War,it supplementedevery family’s weekly diet and has the distinction of being one of the few foods that was not rationed. Long queues would line up when there was news that a chip shop had fish. Besides being great to taste the combination of fish and chips are a great source of fibre, protein, vitamins and iron. They provide close to a third of the recommended daily requirement of vitamins for men and more for women. For food which was once upon a time considered as being not too nutritious, it now has the approval of most health food followers.

So the next time you are in London, do not forget to drop in at the chippy shop and titillate your taste- buds!

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A few great translation apps for overseas travellers

For those who love to travel overseas for their holidays, there are some very useful gadgets and software available to assist you. After all, the biggest concern for all those international travellers who travel extensively for business or holiday, is to be able to communicate effectively with the locals in the region. For someone who does not speak the local language it can prove to be a real challenge to understand what is spoken and to be understood. This could create an embarrassing situation both for the host as well as the guest and can sometimes complicate matters and issues!

If for example, someone who does not speak English is on holiday in London and needs to communicate with the staff at his Shaftsbury hotel, there are two ways of resolving this dilemma. Either the hotel provides a staff member or translator (most top hotels like the Shaftsbury hotel employ multilingual staff) or the guest uses a software app to explain what he needs. English is spoken in most countries across the world at least to some extent, but then there arise situations when one needs to translate a sign, menu or even communicate basic instructions. At such a time having a great translation app can prove to be invaluable.

Some of the top apps available for overseas travellers are as follows:

Google Translate
Google offers a plethora of apps to users and probably its browser-based translation tool is out of the top favourites among those who travel frequently. There is its iPhone version that needs an Internet connection (not always feasible), which assists in translating foreign languages in a variety of ways. There are numerous options for users where you can typein text, use your finger or stylus to write on the screen speak or even take a photo. The drawback is that all of these input methods are not supported by every language.

There are other useful features which include a translation of messages and also a phrasebook. One of its biggest benefits is exclusively used with its Android version i.e. offline language packs. All you need to ensure is that before you leave for your trip to a foreign destination, you have to download the language pack for that specific area. This will enable you to have the facility to translate even when you do not have access to the Internet. It offers language support for an impressive 80 languages for free. If you do use an Android based phone or device than Google Translate is the app for you.

Translator for Windows Phone
A very effective option gaining in popularity as a translation app these days is the Translator for Windows phone app, which uses MS Bing’s translation service and combines features from Google Translate and Word Lens. It comes with a wide variety of features like camera-based translation services in real-time, offline language packs, while supporting 35 languages and offering speech-to-text. For Windows phone users this powerful app is free of cost to use. The only dampener is that is cannot be used with any other platform.

Jibbigo
If you use an iPad or iPhone and need a translation app that works completely offline, look no further than Jibbigo. If offers support for over 20 languages that can be downloadedand offers an interface that is user-friendly. All you need to do is pick your pair of languages and type or speak the phrase or sentence and you get the translation either on screen or it can be listened to by pressing a button. Although it does not offer any unique features of its own, what makes it attractive is it’s free with offline support and works great with Apple gadgets.

Word Lens
Word Lens has undergone a recent transition so it is now free for users. What makes it so special is its method of use, which involves just loading the app and pointing the phone camera at the text to be translated. You will see the translation on the phone screen within a matter of seconds. Amazingly simple to use,it is useful in translating text from German, Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Russian and English. It is most effective when used with clear large fonts and works completely offline. Perfect to use when you are in a place that does not offer Wi-Fi.

Translator Speak and Translate Pro
With so many free apps available for language translation these days, why would anyone want to pay and get app software? This is where both Translator Speak and Pro differ from all the rest in the same niche market. These are well worth the investment on account of their features,with the app offering a simultaneous translation of actual speech in real time. It support over 100 languages and whether you need to ask directions to the airport or explain your requirements to a non-English speaking person, this app is just the perfect tool. The language needing translation is detected automatically and you can indulge in conversation. All it needs is an Internet connection or Wi-Fi although certain common phrases can be translated offline.

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New Year parties in and around London and the UK

Well Christmas is just around the corner and most of us have planned to enjoy the holidays with friends and family. And, if you are visiting the UK for Christmas, you will be overwhelmed with options when it comes to Christmas and New Year celebrations. There are terrific parties scheduled to ring in the New Year and you can have a ball with friends or family on New Year’s Eve.

Just ensure that you book your accommodation well before your arrival! There are millions of tourists who troop in from all over the world to bring in the New Year in London and its nearby cities. If London is your choice of destination then a good place to stay would be the London Premier Notting Hill Hotel or The Shaftsbury Hotel. Both offer great packages and amenities with outstanding customer service.  Another benefit of staying at the London Premier Notting Hill Hotel is that you would be close to all the action in the festive season.

new years party

Some of the places in and around London where you can have a terrific New Year party are as follows:

Party at London’s South Bank
When it comes to having one of a type New Year party, London’s South Bank shines like the brightest star. In fact, even the Christmas celebrations do not match up to the festivities like at New Year’s Eve. You will find all the restaurants and pubs in the area are full to their capacity, as people begin the night long celebrations. Approaching midnight you will find the crowd all of a sudden making their way towards the area where Big Ben stands tall and impressive. Everyone waits with bated breath as the countdown to 12am begins and when midnight arrives, you will see the most stunning display of fireworks light up the dark sky. You will love the warm and cheerful atmosphere and it is the perfect way to usher in the New Year.

Enjoy a cruise party on the Thames
If you have seen most of the attractions of the City of London on land, you need to get a different perspective of the city by taking a cruise ride on the Thames. You could do it aboard any of the lavish river cruisers, which are more like floating mansions on water and offers partygoers an unforgettable experience of the city. You can see all the beautiful tourist attractions brightly lit up with lights and it gives you an awesome display of the fireworks, which welcome in the New Year. With fine drinks, snacks and the best of cuisine it is one stylish way to party and see the beautiful sights of London.

Hogmanay, Edinburgh
If there is anybody who knows how to enjoy the festive season it is the Scots, and no better way to enjoy the occasion then by being in Edinburgh for Hogmanay! The city of Edinburgh itself is an architectural masterpiece with its stunning Gothic structures taking on a life of their own, when they are brightly lit up. The people are warm, cheerful and amiable and it is these positive vibes that make it a favourite with tourists from all the UK and even abroad. The Hogmanay of Edinburgh is a three day street festival that has earned recognition its musical performances that this year feature Twin Atlantic, Breabach, Twilight Sad and others.  A fantastic way to enjoy the festive season and welcome the New Year!

Fancy Dress, Newquay
Hop over to Newquaywhich is renowned for its festive nightlife, and come New Year’s Eve it is the perfect time to see how the place earned this reputation. The locals are known to get all decked up and pour on to the streets to have a sizzling night out in town. All the restaurants and pubs are loaded for the big occasion with the best of food, wine and spirits for the public that keeps pouring in droves. A great spot in Newquay to be at midnight is Bar Help that offers a lovely view of Central Square and the teeming crowds that gather there for the fireworks. Later be prepared to be hosed down with snow as is customary here with the crowd loving it.

Allendale Tar Bar’l Ceremony, Northumberland
If you want to welcome the New Year in a quaint little town straight out of a fairy tale, Allendale is the perfect location with a well known fire festival that lights up the sky at midnight. The locals put on quite a show with the townsmen, also known as “guisers” who wear bizarre pagan outfits and carry large barrels with burning tar, to join a ceremonial bonfire. It becomes quite a spectacle when they toss the tar filled barrels into the blazing bonfire, with both the cheers and the crackling of the flames getting wilder and louder. A unique and incredible way to spend New Year’s Eve!

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Top European cities for a holiday

Gone are the days when travellers and tourists were limited to just a few options. Now they have an array of options, destinations and locations to choose from. An added advantage is that there are a variety of travel options available with discount packages, promotional offers and special deals. So if you do plan to go on a holiday with the family this summer, you can save quite a packet if you book in advance! Travelling in the off season will help to save a considerable sum of money, which can be used to shop and other activities.

A very popular choice among travellers is the continent of Europe which is comprisedof 48 nations. Every nation is ethically and culturally diverse and the continent has been witness to two of the greatest empires, the Romans and Greeks in history. From the ancient times of Alexander the Great to the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars all have taken place in and involved The European Continent. From the finest beaches to high end shopping, the finest infrastructure to the most high tech cities all can be found in Europe.

Some of the cities that are ideal destinations for a fabulous holiday are as follows:

London: Perhaps there is no description more apt for London then that given by Samuel Johnson “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” The city offers the very best of the medieval and modern world from some of the most historic palaces and edifices to ultra-modern structures like the London Eye. No matter what your age and taste, London can cater to the interests and likes of all types of people from the very young to the elderly. With magnificent tourist attractions like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, London Bridge, The Tower of London, The V&A Museum and scores of other renowned attractions, you will never have a dull moment in the city. Just ensure you check into a fine hotel like the Shaftsbury Hotel that offers the finest in amenities, and facilities at a most affordable cost.  An added benefit of staying at the Shaftsbury Hotel is its central location which offers easy access to all parts of London.

Amsterdam: The capital of the Netherlands is known to be hub of European culture. Its rich cultural heritageis one of its most singular aspects. The city is also the financial centre of the city and is reputed for its well known 17th century canals, which have been added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Besides the beautiful canals other areas to visit are the Anne Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum, Hermitage etc. One of the most liberal cities in the world, it is also known to have a very prominent red light district, besides cannabis coffee shops. So if you plan a trip to Amsterdam, ensure you come with an open mind and accept the different aspects of the city with a tolerant attitude.

Athens: If you are a history buff and fascinated by ancient civilisations,then Athens is just the place to visit. Home to one of the greatest ancient empires, The Greek Empire it absolutely mesmerises those who love ancient history. Once upon a time it was the centre of learning, arts, and philosophy which today has transformed into a modern-day cosmopolitan metropolis. It is believed to be the city where the greatest intellectuals and philosophers like Aristotle and Plato set up their academies. The very idea of democracy was introduced to world by the city and it was home to the first modern Olympic Games in 1886. With classic architecture and ancient monuments like the Acropolis, Byzantine and Roman monuments are still seen here. Some other prominent sites include the Daphni Monastery, Academy of Athens, Hellenic Parliament, The National Library, Athens University are just a few among other famous areas and places to explore.

Venice:In short it is the epitome of romance, music, beauty and all aesthetically fine things.It is one of the most prominent tourist centres of Italy renowned for its cultural and musical grandeur, spellbinding landscape and awe inspiring churches. This has led to it being featured regularly among the top European destinations for tourists to visit. Key tourist attractions in the city include The Doge’s Palace, the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Basilica di San Marco and Islands of the Lagoon. It is also famous for its romantic gondola rides, which makes it a favourite honeymoon destination for couples. An interesting fact is that it is made up of 117 different islands, which are interconnected by close to 150 canals and a phenomenal 400 bridges. Valentine’s Day, is the time when the city is packed with couples with the most popular area for accommodation being the hotels in the Grand Canal area.

Gone are the days when travellers and tourists were limited to just a few options. Now they have an array of options, destinations and locations to choose from. An added advantage is that there are a variety of travel options available with discount packages, promotional offers and special deals. So if you do plan to go on a holiday with the family this summer, you can save quite a packet if you book in advance! Travelling in the off season will help to save a considerable sum of money, which can be used to shop and other activities.

A very popular choice among travellers is the continent of Europe which is comprisedof 48 nations. Every nation is ethically and culturally diverse and the continent has been witness to two of the greatest empires, the Romans and Greeks in history. From the ancient times of Alexander the Great to the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars all have taken place in and involved The European Continent. From the finest beaches to high end shopping, the finest infrastructure to the most high tech cities all can be found in Europe.

Some of the cities that are ideal destinations for a fabulous holiday are as follows:

London: Perhaps there is no description more apt for London then that given by Samuel Johnson “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” The city offers the very best of the medieval and modern world from some of the most historic palaces and edifices to ultra-modern structures like the London Eye. No matter what your age and taste, London can cater to the interests and likes of all types of people from the very young to the elderly. With magnificent tourist attractions like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, London Bridge, The Tower of London, The V&A Museum and scores of other renowned attractions, you will never have a dull moment in the city. Just ensure you check into a fine hotel like the Shaftsbury Hotel that offers the finest in amenities, and facilities at a most affordable cost. An added benefit of staying at the Shaftsbury Hotel is its central location which offers easy access to all parts of London.

Amsterdam: The capital of the Netherlands is known to be hub of European culture. Its rich cultural heritageis one of its most singular aspects. The city is also the financial centre of the city and is reputed for its well known 17th century canals, which have been added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Besides the beautiful canals other areas to visit are the Anne Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum, Hermitage etc. One of the most liberal cities in the world, it is also known to have a very prominent red light district, besides cannabis coffee shops. So if you plan a trip to Amsterdam, ensure you come with an open mind and accept the different aspects of the city with a tolerant attitude.

Athens: If you are a history buff and fascinated by ancient civilisations,then Athens is just the place to visit. Home to one of the greatest ancient empires, The Greek Empire it absolutely mesmerises those who love ancient history. Once upon a time it was the centre of learning, arts, and philosophy which today has transformed into a modern-day cosmopolitan metropolis. It is believed to be the city where the greatest intellectuals and philosophers like Aristotle and Plato set up their academies. The very idea of democracy was introduced to world by the city and it was home to the first modern Olympic Games in 1886. With classic architecture and ancient monuments like the Acropolis, Byzantine and Roman monuments are still seen here. Some other prominent sites include the Daphni Monastery, Academy of Athens, Hellenic Parliament, The National Library, Athens University are just a few among other famous areas and places to explore.

Venice:In short it is the epitome of romance, music, beauty and all aesthetically fine things.It is one of the most prominent tourist centres of Italy renowned for its cultural and musical grandeur, spellbinding landscape and awe inspiring churches. This has led to it being featured regularly among the top European destinations for tourists to visit. Key tourist attractions in the city include The Doge’s Palace, the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Basilica di San Marco and Islands of the Lagoon. It is also famous for its romantic gondola rides, which makes it a favourite honeymoon destination for couples. An interesting fact is that it is made up of 117 different islands, which are interconnected by close to 150 canals and a phenomenal 400 bridges. Valentine’s Day, is the time when the city is packed with couples with the most popular area for accommodation being the hotels in the Grand Canal area.

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London – the perfect holiday destination?

The City of London is vibrant and dynamic all year around. It is said that New York never sleeps, and the same can be said confidently for London. It is as fast paced and hectic as its American counterpart and it can confidently be said that you will never have a dull moment in the city. It is theses aspects along with its blend of ancient with modern marvels, which attracts millions of tourists every year to the city.

In terms of entertainment there are loads of things to keep you occupied while in London. As well as its tourist attractions, it has innumerable bars, cafes, nightclubs along with amazing shopping outlets. You would be overwhelmed by the many museums, art galleries, parks, festivals and cultural events that will keep you entertained all through your holiday.

No matter which part of the year you plan to holiday in the city, always make it a point to book your accommodation in advance. Despite it being an expensive city, there always are cheap London hotel deals available as long as you know where to look for them. The best way to get cheap London hotel deals is by searching online. There are even some great hotels like The Shaftsbury Hotel that provide good package deals and special offers at different parts of the year.

With a wide variety of activities and sights to visit,Londonhas loads of annual events planned to happen all through the year. So, if you’re planning a holiday this coming summer there is no better place to be in than England’s capital.

If there is anything that really enlivens the city’s cultural scene, it is music. It is therefore no wonder that that most events and festivals that take place in summer feature music prominently.You will find a wide variety from retro, club to rock n roll, jazz and fusion among the many genres. There are live performances by some of the biggest names in the music industry with two of the not to be missed events being iTunes Live and Get Loaded in the Park.

Another famous crowd puller is the Mayor’s Thames Festival that lives up to the vibrant and dynamic image of the city. The festival started in 1997 with a high wire walk that spannedacross the Thames. Now it is one of the biggest arts festivalsin the city of London that offers free admission to the general public. A terrific way to showcase and celebrate the diversity that lies within London, it perhaps is best described as being one extended party. It offers a diverse range of events from street art, pyrotechnics, circus shows and river events, among lots more.

It generally is held within September and is a two day event, which mostly is held within the area that lies between the Westminster Bridge and the Tower of London. It is an annual festival and you can expect to find the best of food stalls, music, dance and street markets that make it a colourful affair. What makes it all the more thrilling is its evening revelry that even outshines its daytime activities and is very popular with the public.  The Festival Night Carnival is out of the most awaited and talked about parts of the event and besides the dance and music there are snazzy costumes, multicolored lantern processions, and floats. The events conclude with a bang literally when a riot of fireworks lights up the night sky.

Then there is the Notting Hill Carnival that is popular with people of all ages and even has people coming in from all the UK to participate in it. It offers a wealth of entertainment and is generally held over the August bank holiday weekend. When it comes to judging street parties this is probably one of the best street parties of its kind to be a part of!

If live theatre and musical performances are what enthrall you, make it a point to be in time for the renowned City of London Festival. For those who want to experience a variety of different cultures while staying in the UK the Coin Street Festival offers the perfect opportunity.

In case the mercury rises in summer and you are not too keen to expend extra energy, make your way to any of London’s famous parks or lidos. These are beautiful, tranquil and serene areas where you can spend a relaxed day being in the midst of nature. This is a great alternative to the bustling city and a panacea to soothe the most frayed nerves. Hyde or Regent Park provides a great option and of the many lidos,Brockwell Park Lido is perfect to take a cool dip in pleasant surroundings.
With so many options that await visitors to this terrifically charming city, London is definitely the place to holiday in this summer.

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Popular winter holiday spots across the globe

With the arrival of winter, most of us look for warmer climes and sun drenched beaches to holiday at. When it comes to destinations, there are plenty of places known for their sunshine and sandy beaches. If you are planning to escape to a warmer place this holiday season, better make your bookings fast. Most of the top holiday destinations are packed with tourists at this part of the year!

If you want a cheaper price like those offered by London hotel discounts, it is essential to search online and well in advance. Most resorts all over the world offer great package deals and promo offers and if you are lucky, you might strike a deal. Similar to London hotels discount deals which also offer London holiday points programs you could sign up for a hotel program where you are staying. This will ensure that on your next holiday there or at any affiliate member you could redeem the points you have earned.

Some of the top sun baked holiday destinations to enjoy a sun filled Christmas are:

Tenerife, Canary Islands
A spot particularly popular with Britons is Tenerife on the Canary Islands, which is known for its balmy temperatures even in the winter months. The temperature hovers in the mid 20s all through winter which makes it a lovely place to holiday at. They have a wonderful variety of activities that include water sports, terrific diving areas and plenty of boardwalk things to do. What makes it really attractive is its proximity to Morocco, which offers sunshine all the year round at places like Tangier, Casablanca and Marrakesh.

Muscat, Oman
A spot known for its all year round sunshine is Muscat which is the capital of the Sultanate of Oman. In fact it got top honours in 2012, when it won the prestigious best destination award given by the Arab Tourism Capital board. Muscat derives its unique character by being a mix of modern architecture with Middle East charm, especially due to its geographic location, which has it nestled between the Gulf of Oman and rugged mountains. Two must-sees are its Grand Mosque and the Royal Opera House which are strikingly beautiful. There are ample public beaches as well to laze around in the glorious sunshine.

Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. Besides its spectacular wildlife it offers stunning landscapes ranging from Table Mountain to its pristine beaches. You could dine atop the any of the fabulous restaurants on Table Mountain or relax at any of the spectacular beaches in Cape Town. With sun kissed beaches, amazing surf, balmy weather and warm waters, you will have a truly memorable Christmas holiday in this stunning location.

Goa, India
If you plan to travel to the Northern Hemisphere this Christmas, then Goa is probably out of the best winter destinations in the region. It offers a comfortable environment, where you will find tourists from all corners of the globe enjoying its beautiful beaches and revelling in its bohemian atmosphere.

It is pleasantly warm and fascinatingly colourfulformer Portuguese Colony that was liberated in the early 60s. It still bears hallmarks of their social and cultural influence in its breathtaking architecture, churches, food and lives of its natives. The month of December is renowned for the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuit Order, followed by the Feast of Immaculate Conception. These two are the most prominent events in the month along with Christmas, followed by its famous New Year celebrations. The Capital is Panaji, which is also home to the Old Portuguese Quarter and is a great place for sightseeing. To truly understand the art and culture of this colourful and vibrant city, drop in at the Kala Academy. Then of course there are the countless beaches that are spread across for many miles in different areas. If you want a more peaceful and relaxed beach atmosphere move away from Central Goa.

Dead Sea, Jordan or Israel
In the Middle East one of the top spots for sun-worshippers is The Dead Sea, the only sea on the planet which is devoid of any marine life. In terms of buoyancy it is the most buoyant water surface on the planet because of its chemical composition and you should not be surprised to find lazy floaters on its surface. Its waters are pleasantly warm and soothing with a unique combination of natural salts and minerals, which have lead to the development of many natural spas and health resorts in the area.  This combined with its unique atmospheric conditions lessens the impact of harmful UV radiation in the area. This has lead to it becoming extremely popular with sun bathers basking in the warm sunlight for hours at a stretch. Because of the therapeutic properties of its sand and mud, combined with high levels of mineral content you will find a variety of new age therapies being practised here.

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November Travels

Just because it is the beginning of Winter doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t shining anywhere else in the world. In November, some Britons crave a slice of summer with the warm sunshine and the prospect of a tan, whereas others feel that November isn’t quite enough Winter for them with a severe lack of snow. Here are a list of places to travel in November that caters for the sun worshippers and the snow lovers.

Sunshine is best
If you are summer loving and want to experience a dash of culture at the same time, then Marrakech in Morocco is for you. An under 4 hour flight time from the UK allows you to set off at lunchtime and be in Morocco sipping cocktails by tea. With temperatures still in their 20’s, you can enjoy the sun and a spot of shopping in the world-famous market, adorned with authentic handcrafted items, spices, handmade clothing and quintessential Moroccan cuisine. It really allows you to become enveloped in their culture and to fall in love with Morocco.

Full to the brim with historical monuments, artifacts and tales, Egypt is one of the most popular holiday destinations this time of year. It still boasts temperatures in the high 20’s, making it warm enough to laze on the beach and catch a tan but cool enough to allow you to explore the vast history of Egypt with visits to the Cairo museum, Luxor, the Pyramids of Giza and a cruise up the River Nile. Most trips can be included in a holiday package so shop around for the best deal for you.

If you want adventure and sunshine and are keen to explore further afield, then Africa is the only place to go. This exquisite country has everything for the explorer in you; from safaris in Kenya to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to the awe-inspiring scenery of Ethiopia. The culture is astounding due to its traditional art works such as masks, sculptures and jewellery as well as its unique need for storytelling to retain the folklores that have been passed down for generations. If you want to embrace another world, open your mind and your heart to Africa.

Sri Lanka is a destination that has it all but at a very reasonable price. There is so much to experience here including a tour of the Uda Walawe National Park that houses elephants, buffalo, leopards and over 210 species of bird, it really is an uplifting experience. If you are after a culture trip, Sri Lanka offers some incredible religious houses, including the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy which is said to house Buddha’s tooth. With so much to do and flights at out of season prices, there has never been a better time to experience the delights of Sri Lanka

Snow lovers
Even though November is considered Winter, sometimes the lack of snow leaves people wanting more. Ski resorts are usually the first choice when thinking of snow, with places like Val Thorens in France or Saas-Fee Switzerland guaranteeing snow from early November.

Iceland is another exceptional place to visit for Winter lovers. Even though snow is unlikely at this time of year, dropping temperatures will have you wrapping your scarves tighter or dipping into one of the 170 geothermal pools scattered around the country. If you like to hike, then the Laugavegar hiking trail is one of the best and most beautiful in the world but if that isn’t your thing, how about a spot of whale watching or the incredible views of the Northern lights? This is just a minute selection of what is to offer in this glorious country.

Not considered a holiday destination but for Winter lovers, this is the ultimate destination. Cruises to the Antarctica are fast becoming a popular tourist favourite with visits to penguin colonies during mating season and experiencing the sheer beauty of the great glaciars. Tours range from 13-20 days and you are guaranteed to have the trip of a lifetime.

A mini trip is all you need
If you just need a long weekend away from it all, then use the London hotels discount and travel to the capital city of the UK. In November, the Christmas decorations are already gracing the shop windows, with department stores such as Liberty and Selfridges turning their windows into works of art. The famous shopping Mecca, Oxford Street, has its lights turned on in November by famous celebrities after a glorious concert. To top off this experience, there is a chance to ice skate in Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, one of London’s most famous parks or even outside the magnificent Natural History museum. Get your London hotels discount at the ready for a truly festive experience.

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Budget Prices, Shocking Destinations

As the cost of living goes up, the extra finances that are saved for holidays goes down; this usually means that the destination choice is greatly reduced. However, this is no longer the case with incredible trips available at a fraction of the price but don’t start packing yet, first you need to decide where to go.

London
Each year, more people are deciding to take their holidays in the UK, so why not enjoy your time away in our glorious capital city. Even though it can be considered one of the most expensive cities in the world, London can also be experienced on a budget, you just need to know where to go and where to stay. London Premier Notting Hill is in the heart of the action, it is a few minutes walk away from Hyde Park, where they are currently hosting Winter Wonderland, and a stone’s throw from Portobello Road Market, considered one of the best markets in London. Continuing from the London Premier Notting Hill hotel lies the Natural History museum which is not only one of the best museums in the world, but it is free admission as most of London’s museums are. One of the most glorious city’s in the world and it can be done on a shoestring budget.

Bulgaria
Steeped in history and breathtaking nature, Bulgaria is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations for people on a tight budget. If you enjoy exploring history, then the Aleksander Neviski church in the capital city of Sofia and Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo are sites to behold with amazing architecture and incredible stories. If you wanted to experience the cultural cuisine of Bulgaria, then venture into the Manastirska Magernitsa in Sofia, where the menu is composed of recipes from the vast amount of monasteries in the country. All of this, together with a two or three star hotel, will give you a holiday of a lifetime without breaking the bank.

Dominican Republic
Yes, you have read this right, the Dominican Republic can be a budget holiday. By shopping around and comparing prices, there are a variety of offers available which include beautiful hotels with an all-inclusive label, meaning you can sleep in comfort while gorging yourself on the food and drinks. The Dominican holds a very rich culture such as colonial towns for the historian in you or wildlife exploration which will bring out your inner naturalist but, if this isn’t for you, there are miles of white sandy beaches that will allow you to bask in the sunshine on this tropical paradise island.

Canary Islands
Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria are the popular holiday destinations of the Canary Islands. They are popular amongst British tourists with the Playa las Americas nightlife in Tenerife and the Playa del Ingles nightlife in Gran Canaria being particularly attractive to the younger generation. They boast some of the most exceptional natural sites in the world, with Lanzarote’s landscape mainly consisting of solid lava and Gran Canaria’s beautiful hillsides. On top of this, not only is it summer throughout the year, the holiday packages to these islands are incredibly cheap.

Goa, India
Travelling in the off peak season can open doors to destinations that would normally cost the earth, Goa in India is a classic example of this. The budget costs in the low season allows you to experience its sheer delights such as its ancient temples, beautiful beaches, colonial buildings, astonishing scenery and its reasonably priced markets for a fraction of what it would be in the summer months. Experience an elephant ride, getting close to crocodiles and take a dive on one of their many day trips. This will be a holiday you will never forget.

Thailand
Thailand is a traveller’s dream with its astonishing views, eclectic lifestyles ranging from the crazy nightlife of Bangkok to the mellow surroundings of Ko Samui and its exquisite temples and beaches; it really does have everything. The residents of Thailand are known for being incredibly friendly and helpful and the cuisine is to die for, it is a cultural experience that you must try. Comparing flights will be sure to find you the best deal and, once you have touched down on the island, you can eat, drink and be merry for next to nothing. Now that is a holiday.

There are many more destinations out there to explore but these range from the regular holiday destinations to the sublime and all for a reasonable price. By shopping around, you are guaranteed to find the best deals and the more money you save on your booking, the more you will have to treat yourself while you are soaking up the sunshine.

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You’re getting married in the morning, Oh yes the Sun is going to shine!

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. The dress, the cake, the guests, the entertainment all has to be perfect, but the main decision to be made is the destination, where are you going to get married? Destination weddings are on the increase with couples choosing to hold their wedding in hotel conference rooms or on white sandy beaches rather than a church, and with this option comes a whole host of other issues to take care off on top of the cake and the dress. This guide aims to take the stress out of your planning and to make sure your day is perfect.

First thing’s first
The first thing to do is to produce a check list; this should be done months before the wedding to allow you time to add items that spring to mind. Cater your checklist to your destination; if you’re wedding is being held on a hot, sandy beach then you will need your passports, travel insurance, wedding licence etc but if you are hosting your day in the hotel conference rooms, you will need your wedding licence. Your list should also go into incredible detail, at the end of the day, you are only planning to do this once, so everything should be exactly how you want it.

THE dress
The dress that every little girl dreams of, her wedding dress. The delicate beading, the intricate lace, the fishtail, the princess cut, we all have our very own dream dress, but what we do have in common is that this dress is of the highest priority. It needs to be well looked after, almost protected, to make sure that it is ready for the big day, so transporting it will require the same precision as a military operation.

The dress needs to be carried in a garment bag to avoid any stains or tears. If your wedding is being held abroad, then have a private chat with the flight attendants and ask if their is room to hang your dress, if not, store it lying flat in the overhead compartments where you can guard it. If the hotel conference room is your choice, talk to the wedding planner who is overseeing your day, there is usually one that is included in your wedding package with the hotel. They will help to escort the dress to a safe location away from prying eyes and dirt until the time is right.

Too much baggage
This mainly applies to weddings that are being hosted abroad. Baggage allowances need to be take into consideration if you are jetting off for your day. Not only do you need to take your dress, shoes, make up, accessories etc to make yourself look exquisite, but you also need your standard summer wear, presents for the wedding party, swim wear…the list really is endless. All of this needs to fit into a suitcase that will have a maximum weight of 20kg so pack your suitcase weeks in advance, constantly weigh your case and amend accordingly. Don’t forget that the weight restrictions applies for your return as well.

Love the cake
It doesn’t matter where your wedding is being held, transporting the wedding cake is always incredibly stressful. In a split second, the entire cake could be ruined so it is important to plan, not only whether to have the fruit or the sponge filling, but also how it is going to get to the venue. Whether you are home or away, the hotels that you will be staying at are the best places to start; if they do not offer a service to produce your ideal cake, ask them for local bakers and cake decorators who can. By collaborating with locals, you can enlist the help of your wedding planner to go and collect the cake or pay a little extra for it to be delivered, removing the stress that comes with cake transportation.

This is an emergency!
An emergency kit differs in meaning according to your destination; if you are abroad, your kit would include insect repellant, plasters, antiseptic wipes or cream, after sun and medicines that can help with mild ailments as well as bobby pins, baby powder for wedding dress stains, lip balm, camera, spare batteries, clear nail polish to deal with fallen sequins. If you are in a hotel, the first part of the emergency kit list won’t apply but don’t forget the baby powder or your camera to snap those intimate, memorable moments.

This guide is to help you become stress free in the lead up to your wedding. By following each step months in advance, you can be sure you have everything you need to enjoy your perfect day.

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Travel Know-How

Travelling is one of the most exciting things you could do in your lifetime; the different cultures, the exploration, iconic landmarks all collaborate together to make it an incredible experience. Before all of that can take place, you need to pack but don’t panic, these tips will help you along the way so you don’t forget any of the essentials. Also, take a look at the trip tips to make sure that you get the very best out of your travels.

Pack the essentials…but what are they?
Passport and Tickets: As obvious as packing your tickets and passport sounds, it can be the easiest thing to forget. Keep them together with your wallet or purse, something that you always leave the house with, so you know for sure that your won’t leave the house without them. Also, make copies of all of your important documents; take paper copies with you and also send them to yourself via email, this way you can always access them.

Clothes: This seems very general but with travelling you have to pack light; don’t forget you will be carting your backpack or suitcase everywhere so there needs to be enough clothes to see you through but without packing three outfits for every day. Basics such as underwear, t shirts, shorts, flip flops, swimwear, a jumper and a jacket because it will get chilly. Take less than what you think you will need because you don’t want to be carrying clothes that you won’t wear but do remember a towel, this will be vital for you whether you need to dry off from a dip in the sea or a lie on the beach.

First Aid Kit: This is a high priority item because anything can happen while you are abroad and by taking your own plasters, ointments for bites, scrapes and cuts, bandages and antibacterial cream, you are prepared for anything.

Travel Know-How
Buy new shoes: Your feet are going to be the best form of transport while you are away so treat them to a good, comfortable pair of walking shoes and they will reward you with beauty and adventure.

Travel Insurance: Most people will chance it and not buy travel insurance because nothing has landed them in hospital here so why would anything happen abroad? Don’t take the chance, it is much more likely that you will be injured abroad, due to an increase in alcohol intake and visiting new areas. There are many good insurance deals around so peruse the sites and pick the best one for you; it is better to pay a small amount for cover than have to pay thousands in medical fees. Also, don’t forget your vaccinations, better to be safe than sorry.

Carry cash but also take extra plastic: Most travellers feel unsafe carrying cash around with them but it is important to carry some. There maybe times where cash is needed, for example, if you lose your cards, carrying those few notes will be a life saver. Also, take a credit card with you, there can be a set limit and it can be used only in emergencies. It is better to be prepared than be stuck in a foreign country with no funds.

Trip Tips
Book into the airport hotel: If you are travelling from the UK, booking into one of the Heathrow airport hotels is a must because it will allow you to be on site ready for your flight and to cut out any possible travel problems which can happen at the flip of a switch. This will ensure that you are well rested and that you will arrive in plenty of time as the Heathrow airports hotels are just a stone’s throw away from the terminals.

Hostels: When travelling, book into hostels rather than hotels. Not only is it cheaper but it will also allow you to make friends with others who are travelling around the country. They say those you meet on your travels become life long friends, so staying in a hostel could not only save you money, it will give you friends for life too.

Local Cuisine: Part of the travelling experience is taking in the new culture that surrounds you, this includes trying new foods. It is a once in a lifetime experience and trying new delicacies could open your taste buds to a whole new world. The rule is if you don’t ask, they don’t tell, just give it a go and see what you think. Street food is a great way to sample the flavours of the country, don’t pass the opportunity by!

Go with the flow: Planning your trip is a good way to get the most out of each country you visit, but planning every hour of every day will become stressful which is not the experience or memories you want to have. Plan a few activities here and just let yourself go with the flow, it really is the best way to travel.

Have fun: Yes you do need to be aware of your surroundings and belongings but remember why you are doing it – for the experience. Take many photographs, savour every moment, every sight, sound and smell and return home with a multitude of memories.

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