Monthly Archives: December 2016

Best place in Scotland

While chilly winter days get most people dreaming about an escape somewhere hot, for adrenaline junkies in the UK the darker nights and lower temperatures only mean one thing; snow!

The Scottish Cairngorms are the only place to head after the first covering of snow. While the Cairngorms provide stunning walking scenery throughout the year, it’s during the winter that the mountain range truly comes alive and is the best time to visit.

Skiers who make the trip north certainly won’t be disappointed when they arrive as the mountain range boasts 11 ski lifts and more than 30km of pistes. So, whether you spend a few days or even a week in the Cairngorms, you definitely will not be bored! Snowboarders are also well-catered for in Scotland with a fully maintained snowboard park available throughout the ski season from December to April every year. For those of you braving the snow for the first time, learning in Scotland with English tuition is a great way to build confidence and nail the basic skills. If you visit in mid January make the most of the celebrations for World Snow Day as Cairngorm and the nearby resorts of Glencoe, Glenshee and the Nevis Range will be offering ski taster sessions, sledging or perhaps learn to build an igloo?

Those who haven’t quite found their ‘snow feet’ might consider a trip to the top station of Cairn Gorm itself via the UK’s only mountain railway. Travelling on the mountain railway will take you approximately eight minutes to reach the peak and rewards you with far-reaching views without any of the effort! Recreate the Alpine mood by indulging in a warming hot chocolate or mulled wine in front of a roaring open fire in the summit’s cafe. As the winter sun sinks lower in the sky, make your way back down the mountain and home to your Sykes Holiday Cottages holiday home. With properties located throughout the most popular ski resorts in Scotland, you’ll find it easy to choose the perfect base for your winter break. Snuggle up after a hard day on the slopes or head to Aviemore for some après-ski action.

Aviemore is also a great place to experience some festive cheer if you’re travelling with the children. Whether you choose to feed Rudolph and his friends, go on a sled dog ride or sledge down a snowy hill, the whole family will undoubtedly leave full of Christmas spirit.

If skiing or snowboarding isn’t your thing, the Cairngorms National Park also welcomes many climbers over the winter months. The ever-changing weather conditions in this part of Scotland means on one climb you might be facing powdery snow and the next nothing but slush! The unpredictable conditions are ideal for experienced climbers looking for a new challenge whilst beginners will also find the Cairngorms an ideal spot for a first lesson. Do make sure to check the weather forecast and avalanche risk with the Mountain Ranger service before heading out and only ever climb with the correct equipment.

So while snow sports in Scotland perhaps doesn’t (yet) have the same cachet as a week’s skiing in continental Europe or North America, the conditions are second to none not to mention a much cheaper option than a holiday abroad. For UK-resident guests, choosing Scotland for your winter holiday means you can easily fit in a weekend of adventure and be back at your desk on Monday morning. What more could you ask for? To start planning your winter holiday in Scotland, why not visitwww.sykescottages.co.uk today to view the full range of Scottish holiday cottages?

Club Med offers premium all inclusive holidays

With Club Med all-inclusive you can expect stunning locations, superb accommodation, gourmet food, endless snacks and drinks from the bar, fantastic children’s clubs from babies to teens and a multitude of sports and activities. It is all included, so why not learn how to water-ski in Greece, sail in the Maldives, or just sip cocktails on a Caribbean beach…

With a Club Med holiday, expect a premium all-inclusive that is truly all-inclusive…

·         Choice of accommodation

·         Flights and transfers

·         Full-board gourmet cuisine

·         Open bar and snacks throughout the day

·         A wide range of sports and activities

·         Group classes and tuition

·         Evening entertainment

·         Children’s clubs from babies to teens

·         ATOL and ABTA protected for peace of mind

 

There’s never been a better time to choose Club Med.

 

Club Med Olympic Games Guarantee

Everyone’s in the sporting spirit this summer. At Club Med you can still enjoy the Olympics from a sun soaked destination. All our resorts will be showing the games and with special Olympic themed events and activities, the whole family can get involved.

Still hoping to get tickets? We are offering free of charge cancellations (subject to terms and conditions) for the duration of the Olympics if you do get lucky and secure a ticket.

 

Club Med Sports

From tennis to waterskiing, flying trapeze to sailing, Club Med offers over 60 different sports. There’s something to excite the adventurous thrill seekers and also tempt those who prefer something a little more relaxing.

This summer, escape to the sun and discover the world’s largest sports academy!

 

Our Top Summer Picks

Gregolimano, Greece (4T) – Tennis, Waterskiing, Wakeboarding, Flying Trapeze…

The white sandy headland of Gregolimano, on the island of Evia, juts out defiantly into the blue waters of the Aegean, across from the mountains. In this perfect resort for sport-loving families, the bungalows provide a comfortable environment for parents and children.

Here, beginners and experts can try out exciting new sports and sensations. With GOs trained in their particular activity, you’ll enjoy the highest standards of equipment.

Travelling for right away

Does your pre-holiday headache start the minute you get the suitcases down from the top of the wardrobe?

From the frustration when the zip won’t close on your bulging suitcase to losing the directions to your airport car park, it can all feel a bit of an endurance test. But I always seem to arrive on the plane with seconds to spare, after a sprint through departures with a toddler under each arm, others seem completely serene. They’ve got plenty of time to relax and enjoy all the airport has to offer. So what’s their secret? I’ve been doing some research and here’s what I found:

Pack like a pro

Wouldn’t it be lovely to arrive at your destination with all your clothes well organised and wrinkle-free? It doesn’t have to be some crazy pipe dream. Here’s how to do it: roll knitted items and put these on the bottom, leaving a space at the wheel end for shoes. Then lay all your non-knitted clothes flat on top of the rolled layer, putting what you want to wear on the first day on the top. Then put pyjamas and toiletries on top of that. Fill zip-lock bags with pants and socks, expelling the air before you put them in. Et voila! You’ll never have to worry about your case bursting open, leaving your underwear trailing on the luggage conveyor ever again.

Organise the kids

When it comes to kids, packing can feel like an overwhelming nightmare of forgotten sun hats and much-loved soft toys. There’s just too much for the human brain to remember. So for the sake of your sanity, repeat the mantra “spreadsheets are your friends”.Mumsnet has some really handy checklists for different types of holiday that you can download as a starting point. Once you’ve got a checklist that works well for you, you can use it time and again, whenever you’re packing for a holiday.

Get the airport parking sorted

Nothing tests a relationship to its limits more than a journey to the airport, particularly if you’re already late and you chose the ‘cheap’ airport parking option with its shuttle bus ride in from miles away. The obvious point is to make sure you leave home really early – allow a good margin for unexpected delays. Think it’ll take you two hours? Give yourself at least three. Don’t worry about the kids being bored at the airport, either, as one way of getting into the holiday spirit at the airport is by pre-booking a child-friendly airport lounge to wait in. They’re surprisingly reasonably priced. Once there, the kids will be entertained and you’ll be able to put your feet up (and maybe enjoy your first drink of the holiday).

If you’re still absolutely dreading the stress of parking at the airport, think about valet parking – sometimes also called meet and greet. Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh – pretty much all the major UK airports – let you drive up to a passenger drop-off point, unload your car and just leave it for someone else to take care of. They then track your return flight so your car’s ready and waiting for you, as soon as you come out of the airport. The cost of valet parking like this is sometimes only a small amount more than parking the car yourself, particularly if you’ll be away for a couple of weeks.

Do your research

You spend hours poring over holiday brochures and reading reviews online before you choose your holiday destination. Why not apply that to your airport too? Choosing which airport to fly from can make a big difference to your stress levels. Yes, that flight may be cheaper, but if it means five hours to get there and long shuttlebus rides once you’ve parked, is it really worth it? I live in the south of England and my closest airport, Gatwick, is a surprisingly relaxing place to fly from. You can park at Gatwick in the short-stay car park which is right at the terminal, or get just a five-minute shuttlebus ride from one of the long-stay carparks – which usually work out cheaper. If you’ve got an early flight, I find that park and stay at Gatwick can be a good option too. Pitch up at an airport hotel the night before and get a decent night’s sleep. You can all just take your time as you roll out of your comfy hotel bed and straight into the airport next morning. No more waking the kids at some ungodly hour and bundling them into the car in the dead of night.

Now, where did I put my passport?

Canada with Tailor Made Travel

There are so many different ways to explore beautiful British Columbia with Tailor Made Travel. Breathtaking scenery, a friendly laid-back lifestyle, incredible wildlife and amazing outdoor adventures are the hallmarks of one of Canada’s most varied and spectacular provinces. And it’s all there just waiting to be discovered…by train, by plane, by boat, by car or by motorhome.

Visit tailor-made.co.uk to see a selection of some of our most comprehensive and exciting journeys. Each providing a different way to enjoy and experience the landscape, you can add any of these tours to your Canadian itinerary to create a unique holiday from scratch.

You can choose what you do and how you do it according to your taste, budget and timescales. Our friendly, expert travel consultants are here to help you plan every step of your adventure from selecting the right flights to the perfect accommodation.

Whichever way you choose to do it, do it with Tailor Made Travel.

Fabulous Vancouver Island
9 days from £589 per person

Take to the open road and holiday like the Canadians in a fabulous, well-appointed motorhome. It’s the perfect way to explore the incredible national parks, take in the stunning surrounding scenery, get up close and personal with the wildlife and experience sleeping in some great campgrounds along the way.

Ultimate Pacific Coast
11 days from £1,215

Discover the highlights of the Pacific Coast from the spectacular Sunshine Coast to the natural wonders of Vancouver Island. Staying in some breathtaking waterfront accommodations, with sightseeing and wildlife viewing included, this self-drive tour offers a real essence of city and island life.

Original B&B self drive of British Columbia
15 days from £1,369 per person

This self drive allows for a leisurely pace with ample time to explore the highlights of Vancouver Island. After some “island time”, meander through some of the best loved Parks of Western Canada complete with great excursions including sightseeing, whale watching, bear watching and a walking/hiking tour in Wells Gray Park. Your tour includes lavish breakfasts, excellent hospitality and charming accommodation that reflects the best of British Columbia!

Portraits and Wildlife of Western Canada
14 days from £2,659 per person based on twin share

This 12-night itinerary takes you across the province by road, rail and ship to reveal the hidden sanctuaries that offer the best in wildlife viewing and wilderness activities. Staying in world-class resorts with many of them offering awe-inspiring waterfront locations, gorgeous accommodations and facilities, this breathtaking adventure is truly a journey of a lifetime.

Southern Coastal British Columbia by Floatplane
8 days from £1,372 per person

This delightful soft-adventure itinerary is designed for those wishing to get above it all and travel through the region in a uniquely Canadian way – by float plane. Departing from downtown Vancouver, guests will have several great experiences travelling to Tofino, Victoria and the Gulf Islands before returning to Vancouver. Accommodation features a mix of perfectly located hotels and a fully equipped private cabin. This enables you to be within walking distance of all the major attractions and activities whichever location you are in.