Category Archives: Travel

Top 20 Family Travel Bloggers – 2015

Let’s face it, going on holiday with children can be a little challenging at times so the prospect of travelling internationally, and on a regular basis, can be even more daunting. If you’re putting off a family trip to avoid hearing “Are we nearly there yet?” and worrying about packing everything apart from the kitchen sink, then worry no more: our top 20 family travel bloggers are at the rescue.

They’ve been there and done that with children in tow and have lived to tell the tale. In fact, they’ve found that travelling with children offers a whole new perspective and, with careful planning, is as easy as ABC.

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The Family Adventure Project

Stuart, Kirstie and their three children have a passion for adventure. Their mission is to spend quality time together as a family while exploring the world. From ideas on where to go hiking and sailing to practical advice such as choosing the right cycling gear for kids, The Family Adventure Project is a great place to start. @familyonabike

World Travel Family

Having completed a year of non-stop round-the-world travel, the authors of World Travel Family blog offer a fantastic insight into what to expect when travelling full time with children. You’ll find ideas and tips on the practicalities, and advice on how to adapt your travel style to accommodate your kids. Find out how “seeing things through children’s eyes is magical.” @worldtravelfam

Family Rambling

Jody and her family have been rambling since her two daughters were infants, so they’ve learned a lot about travel over the years. They share their family tips, info on how to make flying with children look easy and destination advice. Family Rambling’s focus is on inspiring others to enjoy fun family travel. @JodyHalsted

Mummy Travels

Mummy Travels aims to shed light on the reality of travelling with “a bump, baby and now, a single-minded toddler whirlwind of energy”. Cathy Winston of Mummy Travels has visited 55 countries and her award-winning writing has been published in a string of national papers and magazines, including the Independent and National Geographic. From travel checklists to destination guides, Cathy’s valuable advice and sense of humour make for a great read. @mummytravels

Family Road Tripping

If you don’t mind travelling in the car with children for long periods of time, Family Road Tripping is for you. Molly Thornberg, her husband and four children are experienced road trippers and their blog has heaps of advice, including how to keep children entertained with car games and how best to pack. @FamilyRoadTripn

Family, Food and Travel

Combining Kerrie’s passions for food and travel, this blog offers travel info such as hotel reviews and where to go for days out, and recipes including hearty soups and healthy Mexican dishes. Kerrie’s dream is to take her boys to every continent – she embraces the challenge and shares her tips on travelling with twins. @BusyMomofTwins1

Jetlag and Mayhem

 Nicola’s love of travel didn’t end when she had children. In fact, it’s her mission to introduce her children to the travel bug and “turn them into mini jetsetters!” Nicola has loads of advice on planning your trip and her handy printable packing checklists help you get organised. She also blogs about the latest travel gadgets and has a catalogue of destination guides. @JetlagandMayhem

Mums Do Travel

From family volunteering holidays to Bushcraft courses, Gretta Schifano shares her experiences of family travel with much humour and knowledge. On the blog you’ll find holiday ideas, recommendations for attractions to visit with kids and honest opinions on accommodation. And to top it off, her competitions page is regularly updated. @grettaschifano

Traveling Canucks

Canadian new parents, Cam and Nicole Wears, are the brains behind Traveling Canucks. Their aim is to show that it’s possible to balance family and a career with travelling the globe. They started off with backpacks but swapped them for luggage on wheels after their two sons were born. Their blog is packed with advice and tips on travelling with children and how to save for the next adventure. @travelcanucks

Where’s Sharon?

Sharon’s blog about her adventures with her family is proof that travelling with kids can be even more rewarding than travelling without. Sharon’s aim is to reassure parents who are thinking about taking the plunge and offer a new perspective to seasoned family travellers. The family has travelled the globe, blogging about “the good, the bad and the ugly of family travel.” @WheresSharon

Gone With the Family

Lisa’s mission is to show her kids the world. She’s been travelling with them since her eldest daughter was four months old – she’s now 17 so the family have plenty of experience under their belt! As Lisa says, “I believe that travel is one of the most educational experiences a child can have and I delight in traveling with my children and seeing the world through their eyes.” @GoneWithFamily

The Talking Suitcase

Dana and husband have been travelling with their two energetic children since getting out of debt and saving up. The Talking Suitcase is all about how to travel with two children while sticking to a budget. Dana has practical advice on how to make funds go further without sacrificing comfort, covering everything from keeping kids entertained to getting cheap flights. @suitcasetalks

We 3 Travel

Tamara of We 3 Travel has a clear philosophy when it comes to family travel: “the more you involve kids in planning the trip and prepare them for what you will visit, the more they will get out of the experience.” From city stays in Barcelona to zip-lining in Costa Rica, We 3 Travel  offers advice on planning ahead plus first-hand experiences of what it’s like to travel with children in tow. @tgruber

Travel with Bender

The Bender family left Australia in May 2012 and have been travelling the world ever since. The family have visited dozens of countries and stayed in over 100 hotels and apartments, so they’ve got heaps of first-hand experiences to share when it comes to travelling with children. Their award-winning blog aims to show other families thinking of open-ended travel that, if they can do it, you can do it too! @TravelwitBender

The Q Family Adventures

From camping to cruising to skiing, The Q Family Adventures blog has advice on where to stay, what to see and what to pack. The Q Family has been travelling all over the world ever since the children were babies, and their reviews of hotels and travel gadgets are an invaluable resource. @Theqfamily

Jet with Kids

For the past decade, Anya has been testing out her travel parenting skills on a global scale. With her son, she has travelled to 5 continents, 32+ countries and circled the globe on an around-the-world tour. And as a published author of a guidebook about flying with children, Anya has the answer to  all of your questions about taking to the air. @JetWithAnya

Family Travel Times

If you want to read about travelling with children from the perspective of a child, the Family Travel Times is the blog for you. That’s because the whole family contribute, including the two children, Jess and Robert. Join them on their travels from days out in the UK to adventures around the rest of the world. @sarahjebner

The Vacation Gals

The Vacation Gals are three professional travel writers (and mums) who share their ideas for family trips, but also blog about travel without children. Their award-winning blog covers outdoor adventure holidays, travel gadget reviews, romantic escapes and “girlfriend getaways”. @TheVacationGals

The Mum Blog

London-based British Mum Liz Jarvis has been travel blogging since 2009. Since then she’s won a host of accolades and been featured in many top family travel blog lists. Liz has many interests from travel and gaming to movies and chocolate, so there’s plenty to keep you entertained. @LizJarvisUK

Baby Routes

Combining parenthood, travel and a love of the great outdoors, Baby Routes is a fantastic resource for any parent who loves walking with their children. Kate founded Baby Routes in 2012 and since then she’s been reviewing places to go walking, putting outdoor gear for kids through its paces and sharing her tips for successful walking with children. @babyroutes

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5 of the Best Desert Island Holidays

Feel like getting away from it all on your own desert island but want to be more jet-setter than shipwrecked castaway? We’ve selected places to stay on some of the world’s most spectacular private islands.

Collanmore Lodge, Collanmore, Ireland

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Clew Bay has an island for every day of the year. At its heart is Collanmore Island, an outstandingly beautiful setting with sensational bay views. Why not take them in from Collanmore Lodge? Check out its private bar, hot tub, sauna and landscaped gardens too – they’re perfect for relaxing in after a day exploring the island.

The island is only a minute from the mainland and 12 minutes from Westport town. Start your cycling trip on the famous Great Western Greenway trail there. Climb iconic Croagh Patrick, the nearby pilgrimage mountain. You can also walk to Westport House and Country Estate, one of Ireland’s favourite tourist attractions.

Apurawan Villa, Puerto Princesa, Philippines

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Gaze at the South China Sea all day from your own white sandy beach when you stay in this gorgeous Apurawan villa. Make coconut oil and sample it in delicious local fish dishes, or plant fruit and tropical hardwood trees in the garden. At night, you can fall asleep soothed by the sounds of the waves and rainforest.

The Subterranean River National Park is worth a special trip when you’re in this area. Here you’ll find the earth’s longest navigable underground river and, reputedly, its most beautiful. It winds through a spectacular cave for 8.2 kilometres before flowing into the sea.

Coconut Villa, Koh Mak, Thailand

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 This luxury villa offers abundant tropical gardens with stunning views across the water to the islands in the Marine National Park. Fancy a swimming pool? Sunbathing areas? Traditional Thai massages? It’s all included here.

Dotted among the island’s 10,000 palm trees you’ll find a temple, three fishing villages, rubber plantations, two uninhabited beaches, a market and three diving schools. You can kayak to small offshore islands or take a boat trip and go snorkelling.

Citronelle, Eden Island, Seychelles

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Sit out on your apartment deck in one of the world’s most exclusive residential marinas when you stay at Citronelle. Stroll down the pontoon to book a boat trip or spend a day island-hopping around Praslin, La Digue or Cerf.

You can watch giant tortoises and birds in their natural environment, or dive among reefs, wrecks and canyons teeming with exotic life. Take a trek inland on jungle trails, try a great local restaurant, or simply enjoy the gentle pace of island life.

Sekawa Beach Cottage, Savusavu, Fiji

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Wake up in the cool of this Fijian forest cottage to the sounds of tropical bird song. Wander along your private beach collecting shells. Or take to the water and admire Savusavu Bay’s characterful Fijian villages, immaculate coral reefs and picturesque fishing boats.

Savusavu town is charmingly quaint, a sweetly perfumed South Pacific port filled with hibiscus flowers, surrounded by gentle verdant hills and tucked into a wide bay. Here you can do it all, from visiting waterfalls to watching rugby, or just relaxing in a hammock.

Red squirrel spotting in the UK

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Red squirrels are as rare as they are enchanting. Spring’s not far off and it’s the perfect time to spot them at their most active in their natural habitat. If you’re nuts about red squirrels, why not book a stay where you’ll be in with a chance of seeing them? We bring you some of our favourite places to find real-life Squirrel Nutkins.

Pentraeth Forest, Anglesey

By the late 1990s there were fewer than 40 adult squirrels left on Anglesey. The population has now grown to 700 thanks to conservation efforts across the area. Pentraeth Forest’s one of the best places to spot them as this was their last stronghold on the island. You might be able to glimpse a red tail vanishing up a tall tree or hear the clatter of claws along a branch.

Peer out of the forest over the vast sands of Red Wharf Bay and then join the Anglesey Coastal Path. Fancy cycling, walking or horse-riding along some if its 125 stunning miles? You can tour the dramatic South Stack Lighthouse, visit the evocative ruins of Penmon Priory or or hike up imposing Holyhead Mountain on your way.

Choose your perfect pad in Anglesey

Mount Stewart, County Down

Red squirrels have taken up residence in the park of Mount Stewart stately home near Newtownards in County Down, so why not drop by? You’re most likely to spot them behind the house and to the north of the lake in the early morning or late afternoon. Follow their trail from the gorgeous formal gardens, drifting past the lake and Rhododendron hill. The gardens have a charming Italianate feel and shelter one of the oldest vines in the UK.

While you’re in Newtownards, scale the 122 steps up nearby Scrabo Tower for views that, on a clear day, extend to Scotland, the Isle of Man and even the Lake District. Back on the ground, how about meeting adorable alpacas and petting cuddly lambs at the neighbouring Ark Open Farm? Then find out more about the First World War in Ireland with a trip down the road to the Somme Heritage Centre: their mock-up trench brings the past vividly to life.

Explore places to stay in County Down

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Sail away to this tranquil island in Poole Harbour – it’s a haven for wildlife and with a bit of luck, you’ll see sika deer and wading birds. There are over 250 squirrels on the island as they have no grey rivals to compete with here. Watch out for partially-nibbled pine cones in the wooded areas as a clue that they’re not far off.

When you’ve landed back on the mainland, try crabbing on Poole’s vibrant quayside or explore the town’s fascinating past by following the Cockle Trail. Visit the studio of the legendary Poole Pottery where you can see the artisans at work and produce your own masterpiece. And it wouldn’t be a proper trip to Poole without getting out on the water of Europe’s largest natural harbour.

Find your home-from-home in Dorset

Craik Forest, Scottish Borders

Get away from it all in Craik Forest as you saunter along the gorgeous Aithouse Burn and feel the power of Wolfcleuch Waterfall. You can also visit the forest’s excellent viewing hide and shelter while you wait to see red squirrels in their natural habitat. Will you catch them gathering and burying their supply of nuts?

Visit the 16-century Drumlanrig Tower in nearby Hawick and discover its important role in defending the region. There’s also a 120-year old working weaving mill in the town where you can learn how tweeds are made. Alternatively, relax in the pretty walled garden of neighbouring Wilton Lodge Park.

Locate your dream holiday let in the Scottish Borders

Travels inspired by a good book

Has anything you’ve read recently made you start planning your next holiday? From Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist to the fascinating history of Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales, we suggest some recent books that will give you some great ideas for your next trip.

Florence, Italy

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Dianne Hales’ Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

You know her elusive smile but what about her story? This book unveils Lisa Gherardini, the Florentine housewife who became the world’s most legendary artistic subject. It’s a fascinating portrait of a Renaissance everywoman swept up in the social scandals and political dramas of Florence’s most turbulent times.

Fancy following in her footsteps through Florence? Stop in Via Sguazza, the seedy street where she was born, and at the beautiful Baptistery where she was christened: Michelangelo dubbed its doors the “Gates of Paradise”. You can also tour Leonardo da Vinci’s birthplace in nearby Anchiano and soak up the gorgeous landscape of sundrenched vines and olive groves.

Find your model place to stay in Florence

Georgia, USA

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Frances Mayes’ Under Magnolia

Under Magnolia is a poetic and and atmospheric memoir that oozes the hot, lush Deep South: you can almost taste the squishy pot of beans disintegrating in salt pork. Is that the sweet smell of honeysuckle? And how about the overripe peaches wafting through the balmy night air?

Follow in Mayes’ footsteps and take a leisurely saunter along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. You can also tour the Heard County Historical Center and Museum housed in the Old Jail for a fascinating glimpse into the heritage of this rural community.

Locate your own Georgian adventure

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist

It’s 1686 and Petronella Oortman has just moved into her new husband’s elegant townhouse in Amsterdam’s most affluent district. Her husband gives her a cabinet-sized replica of their home as a wedding present and she commissions a mysterious miniaturist to furnish it. How can the miniaturist’s little creations reflect the household so familiarly? And what secrets do the eerily closed doors conceal?

You can check out the real cabinet house that inspired the novel at the city’s Rijksmuseum. The materials used and precise proportions are impressive. It’s only a couple of minutes walk to the excellent Van Gogh Museum where you can absorb masterpieces such as Almond Blossom and The Bedroom.

Choose your own pad in Amsterdam

Oaxaca, Mexico

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Chilli Notes by Thomasina Miers

Feel the heat with the latest recipes from the founder of the Mexican street food cantina, Wahaca. They follow her delicious travels through Oaxaca, Mexico’s culinary capital, and around the rest of the world. Can you honestly resist the chilli-chocolate brownies as an indulgent late-night treat or the rose-scented slow roast lamb for the perfect Sunday lunch?

If you like it hot, you’ll love Oaxaca’s famous mole sauces and giant balls of quesillo cheese ribbons. They are delicious whether you get them from a simple stand in the Central de Abastos market or a lively café. You can always pick up some tips for your own kitchen adventures at the nearby La Casa de los Sabores Cooking School.

Explore places to stay in Oaxaca

Strictly dance fever: the best places to go dancing

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Get out your glitter ball and sew on your sequins as the competition on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing hots up. Have you ever wanted to dance the sizzling samba like Jake and Janette or the tempestuous tango like Pixie and Trent? We look at the history of some of Strictly’s most popular dances and find out where you can step into their dance shoes.

Tango – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Originally a risqué show from the Buenos Aires underworld, tango mixed European music with African and Cuban moves. It differed from previous dances in calling for improvisation. The sultry dance seduced Paris in 1912 and its international fame spread.

Head to the city’s authentic neighbourhood ‘milongas’ (dance venues) and experience the real tango. Watch intertwined dancers in action, encircling each other and the dance floor, listen to live orchestras or catch exhibition dance performances. Celebrate a tango great at the Museo Casa Carlos Gardel and pay your respects at the Cementerio la Chacarita.

Find somewhere to stay in Buenos Aires

Waltz – Vienna, Austria

Its roots in traditional German folk dance make it the world’s oldest ballroom dance. As it stepped onto 19th century ballrooms, the intimate moves made the dance as contentious as it was fashionable. Its popularity has endured and Austrians dance the New Year in with Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz playing on radio.

Why not join them? Vienna has hundreds of balls over a three-month period where you can waltz the evening away like Kevin and Frankie. You could go to the Imperial Ball at the Hofburg on New Year’s Eve or the wildly opulent Opera Ball on 31 January. You could even go on a boat down the Blue Danube or go to a Strauss concert at one of the city’s many concert halls.

Pick your place in Vienna

Foxtrot – New York, USA

This smooth, progressive dance is credited to Vaudeville actor Harry Fox. He amused audiences with distinctive dancing to ragtime songs on the New York stage in 1914. Husband and wife ballroom dancing team Vernon and Irene Castle then popularised the dance, imbuing it with their trademark elegance and sophistication.

Pack your dancing shoes and head to New York, New York to find out more: you can even dance the foxtrot to the city’s anthem like Frank Sinatra. There are dance studios across the city that you can enrol in and practise your slow, slow, quick, quick moves. Dive into a Broadway theatre to imagine the dance’s early days and catch one of today’s excellent shows. With all of this to inspire you, you’ll soon be dancing with joy like Caroline and Pasha.

Choose your perfect New York apartment

Samba – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Samba is so iconic that it has its own National Day on 2 December. Not that this dance needs an excuse for a party: the fun, fast steps and rhythms are worth celebrating at any time. It’s been performed at carnivals and street dances in Brazil for almost a century.

Celebrate samba’s bright sights and wild sounds yourself – party with 2 million revellers at Rio’s carnival. Take in the fierce competition between numerous samba schools: who will have the most extravagant float and most elaborate moves? You’ll need the next day to recover in the sun on Copacabana Beach.

Discover a party pad in Rio

 

Island idylls: perfect places to escape the winter chill

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There’s nothing that beats sipping a cocktail as you sit on a golden beach and look out at a dazzlingly blue ocean, particularly as the winter sets in at home. Jet off with us and find out what some of our favourite sun-drenched islands, from the Caribbean to the Canaries, have to offer.

Tenerife, The Canary Islands

You might think you already know Tenerife: it’s the buzzing island that draws party goers a-plenty, pulls the perfect pint and cooks a mean fry-up the next morning. Put aside your preconceptions, though, as it’s also home to the majestic Mount Teide, ancient colonial towns like La Orotava and the mysterious pyramids at Güímar.

The island really does have something for everyone. Walk along the coast and take in its lunar landscape of massive cacti, volcanic craters and agave trees. Bask in the sun with the lizards or go for a refreshing dip on the beach at Los Cristianos. Stroll along the chic San Miguel Marina and toast a glorious sunset with a locally brewed Dorada beer at the cool lighthouse bar.

Explore places to stay in Tenerife

Tahiti, French Polynesia

‘Tahiti’. Who knew that one word could transport you instantly to a paradise of gently lapping aquamarine waters, brightly blossoming tiare flowers and softly swaying traditional grass skirts? Just add scenes of towering waterfalls, crystal brooks and bottomless valleys glittering in green-tinged light and you’re there.

If your daydreaming becomes reality, head to Le Marché in Papeete: the colourful market stalls offer you everything traditionally Tahitian from monoi oil to vanilla beans. Treat yourself at the nearby Robert Wan Pearl Museum and admire the world’s most lovely cultured gems. Dip into Mara’a Grotto if you’re on the west coast where the caverns are dramatic, the water’s enticing and the ferns are abundant.

Locate your perfect pad in Tahiti

Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Set sail for the gorgeous Cape Verde islands. You’ll think the archipelago was named ironically as your ferry nears striking Santo Antão: surely there’s nothing verde (green) about this inhospitable terrain? Navigate to the north east, though, and you’ll find lushly flourishing exotic flora in the valleys and pine forests on the hilltops.

See the countryside for yourself on a great hiking trip from Porto Novo to Ribeira Grande where you’ll stroll from the harbour through eucalyptus groves to the luxuriant crater of Covo do Paul. Don’t look down as you descend – the tight bends drop 600m on either your side so you’ll soon be clinging to them as tightly as the little farms, villages and terraces.

Find your own Cape Verde adventure

Grenada, The Caribbean

Spice up your travels with a trip to the sizzling Spice Isle. You can literally smell the nutmeg in the air here – and if variety’s the spice of your life, then you should know that abundant cinnamon, cloves and ginger all grow locally too. Unsurprisingly, local dishes like the famous pepper pot are as zingy as the calypso tunes that season the island.

Follow the scent to Gouyave and tour the Nutmeg Processing Co-operative to get a sense of the island’s heritage. Any volunteers to taste the delicious chocolate at the Belmont Estate’s working plantation? You can also jump into the Underwater Sculpture Park’s collection – it features 65 modern statues fastened to a sea-floor gallery.

Jet off to Grenada this winter

Top 20 Urban Travel Bloggers – 2014

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Life is all about balance and holidays are just the same. A bit of downtime spent relaxing on a far off shore or cosying up in a quiet cottage in the depths of the countryside are great ways to recharge the batteries. But what about appealing to your sense of urban adventure?

We’ve scoured the web to find inspiring urban travel bloggers who’ll bring out your inner culture vulture. From hidden gems to popular city hotspots, these bloggers have got it covered.

Urban Travel Blog

With contributions from professional and amateur travel writers from around the world, this collective blog has compiled over 50 city guides full of hot tips for their favourite breaks, from Amsterdam to Yerevan. They report on urban trends, eco-tourism, nightlife and more. @UrbanTravelBlog

Travelling Ted

Ted Nelson is an outdoor adventure travel writer and blogger. Ted chronicles his adventures hiking, canoeing and skiing in the United States and around the world. He also reports on the cultural side of travel; meeting people from around the world, eating their food and learning about their history. He aims to inspire others and provides tips for budding travellers. @travelingted

Jetting Around

Pola of Jetting Around is a Chicago-based blogger originally from Krakow, Poland. Travelling and ‘jetting around’ since the age of three and blogging since July 2010, Pola’s posts range from off-the-beaten-track experiences to exploring cities and their cultures. @jettingaround

Urban Swank

Based in Houston, Texas, Urban Swank is a lifestyle blog providing a new perspective on all things related to food, fashion, beauty, travel and entertainment. From restaurant reviews to the latest travel trends, Urban Swank have got it covered. The blog was founded by Shanna Jones and Felice Sloan in September 2011. @UrbanSwank

WildJunket

Wild Junket is written by husband and wife team, Nellie and Alberto. They’ve been travelling around the world since 2003, experiencing over 70 countries on seven continents. Wild Junket’s focus is on adventure travel, inspiring others to get off the conventional trail and seek out extraordinary experiences.  @WildJunket

Adventurous Kate

At age 26, Kate quit her day job to travel the world alone and spent six months in South East Asia. She turned her blog into a full-time business and today travels full time. Kate goes “anywhere that sounds wacky, beautiful or interesting”. Her goal is to show other travellers that they too can see the world alone; easily, safely and adventurously. @adventurouskate

GlobalGrasshopper

Becky and Gray are the UK-based duo behind global magazine and resource for independent travellers: Global Grasshopper. They’re joined by a team of “self-confessed travel snobs” and are on a mission to discover the world’s most underrated and beautiful places. @globalgrasshopr

Travels of Adam

Adam quit his job as a graphic designer in 2010 and embarked on a trip around the world for over 15 months. He visited places such as North Africa, the Middle East, India and South East Asia. Travels of Adam explores the world from the “quirky to the amazing”.  @travelsofadam

As We Travel

As We Travel is a comprehensive travel site full of the latest advice, city guides and videos from around the world for first-time travellers to well-seasoned enthusiasts. Founded in 2010, As We Travel have blogged from over 45 countries and is one of the top ranked blogs in the industry. @AsWeTravel

Continental Breakfast Travel

Travelling to Europe on a budget? Continental Breakfast Travel documents cheap, part-time travel. The brains behind the blog, John Pilkington, has travelled extensively throughout Europe. His aim is to visit every country in Europe before his 30th birthday (9 May 2020). Join John on his adventures and “read posts about my own personal experiences, including advice, guidance or simply a story or two”.  @jpilkington09

The Quirky Traveller

The Quirky Traveller Blog is packed full of articles about interesting places to see and do in the UK and abroad. Culture vultures will enjoy the added history, art and literature aspect and foodies will appreciate the reviews of cuisine from all over the globe.  @quirkytraveller

Wild About Travel

Travel addict Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel in 2009. With a passion for adventure, the outdoors, art and culture, Simon’s posts are an inspiring read. Her articles are illustrated with impressive photographs of the many places she’s visited on her travels.  @1step2theleft

501 Places

501 Places was recently listed in The Times list of 50 Travel Websites You Can’t Live Without. Even more recently, it was listed in the Independent’s 50 Best Travel Websites. 501 Places is a collection of travel articles, photos and opinions written with a dry wit and an engaging flair. @andyjarosz

Velvet Escape

Amsterdam based blogger Keith Jenkins shares his enthusiasm for travel through his writing and photography. Velvet Escape is a multiple award-winning travel blog and has been featured by The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet and National Geographic Traveller, to name but a few. @velvetescape

Vicky Flip Flop Travels

This blog is aimed at those who want to make the most of their annual leave and weekends by travelling. From days out in London to two-week itineraries for some of the most popular long-haul destinations, Vicky Flip Flop Travels blogs about it all.  @VickyFlipFlop

The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is all about stylish yet affordable adventures such as hiking in the mountains followed by a luxurious day in a spa. Travelling in style doesn’t have to mean 5* glamour: affordable luxury and unusual experiences are the order of the day at The Travel Hack. @TheTravelHack

Hecktic Travels

Pete and Dalene Heck, a Canadian couple with a passion for adventure, are the 2014 National Geographic Travelers of the Year. Their blog is all about getting the most out of life, enjoying every moment and embracing new travel experiences. @HeckticTravels

Twenty-something Travel

Twenty-Something Travel believe “that your twenties are some of the most valuable and transformative years to travel the world”. Their blog aims to encourage other twenty-somethings to find a lust for adventure and offers practical advice, tips and guidance. @20sTravel

Urban Backpacker

If you’re looking for artful travel reviews of hidden budget gems to five-star destinations, Urban Backpacker has them. They aim to help you plan your own travels and review hotels, restaurants, shopping and “fun things to do” in cities all over the world. @RochelleCarr

Caroline in the City 

Caroline’s blog is all about throwing caution to the wind and following your passion for adventure, even if it seems scary at first. She aims to help others who might have concerns about taking the plunge by offering an insight into her own experiences and giving practical advice. @cairinthecity

 

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Remembrance Day tributes around the world

Waves of poppies in London, UK

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The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation features a sea of ceramic poppies in the iconic Tower of London’s infamous moat: the stunning crimson blooms form a tide of 888,246 flowers, each symbolising a British soldier who fell during the First World War. It’s well worth a special trip to London. The exhibit will carefully be dismantled on 12 November but The Wave section of the artwork will remain until the end of the month. The installation will then be permanently displayed in the Imperial War Museum.

WW1 exhibition, Berlin, Germany

How did the First World War impact on 20th-century politics and later conflicts? An exhibition at The German Historical Museum tells the story of battlefields and occupied territories from German East Africa to Brussels. An array of over 500 pieces – from gas masks to letters – gives a fascinating insight into the victories and defeats of the First World War.

Preserving history in Kansas City, USA

The National World War I Museum has been amassing the everyday items that soldiers took into battle as personal treasures for almost 100 years. They’ve now accumulated 75,000 items but are still collecting and take donations such as u-boat uniforms or a personnel rosters, so that more soldiers’ stories are saved for future generations.

The fortress in Tsavo West National Park, Kenya

Kichwa Tembo Fort in Tsavo West National Park is a well-preserved dry stone wall fort designed to halt German advances along the Tsavo River in 1914. The fort’s views of the rugged Ngulia Range are gorgeous and create the perfect setting to consider its place in history.

Remembrance and resilience in Australia

Angela Bueti’s tale of endurance, The Quest for Courage, and Rupert McCall’s emotive poem, The Pledge of Remembrance, are part of an annual Australian Read2Remember scheme that explains and promotes Remembrance Day’s values to 405,000 children. Whether you’re down under or not, you can follow this example and read some classic war poetry such as Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum Est and Rupert Brooke’s The Soldier.

4 things you never knew about Paris

Paris is renowned as the endlessly talked about and photographed city of love. But what about the lesser-known aspects of this capital of romance? We take a look at four things you never knew about Paris.

Place Monge metro in the Latin Quarter, Paris

Place Monge metro in the Latin Quarter, Paris

The Eiffel Tower ‘grows’

The iconic landmark was designed to sway a little in the wind, but it also moves away from the sun as much as seven inches when the tower heats up. The tower gets a bit taller in warm weather too, ‘growing’ up to six inches.

Scale its heights to watch the setting sun before being wooed by the twilight sparkle over Paris. If you have a big proposal to make, you could always pop the question at the champagne bar on the top floor.

It’s not all about the Louvre

Paris’s museums and galleries are world famous. The Louvre is the world’s largest museum, the Musée d’Orsay’s collection of impressionist artwork is outstanding and the Centre Pompidou offers a near complete summary of 20th-century art.

But what about the city’s small and quirky museums? The Museum of Magic explores the ancient arts of magic and optical illusion in the cellars of the Marquis de Sade’s former home. Here you’ll find a stunning collection of antique magicians’ props and beautiful old posters advertising magic shows.

There’s only one recipe for baguettes

Parisian baguettes are so integral to everyday life in France that the recipe is prescribed by French law. These elegant loaves have to be made on the boulangerie premises from start to finish and can only contain four ingredients – flour, water, salt and yeast.

Find the finest Parisian baguette in the 14th arrondissement at Aux Délices du Palais, winner of the city’s best baguette competition for the second time this year. Don’t be deterred by the queue snaking out the door – the bakes are worth the wait, including the multi-award-winning macaroons.

A lady’s attire could have broken the law

Chanel, Saint Laurent, Lacroix… Paris is the home of high fashion. But until last year, any woman strolling down the street could have been arrested if they were found to be “dressed like a man”. This city by-law had been on the statute books for over two centuries.

Thankfully, you no longer have to fear arrest when sporting your chinos on rue de Passy. Try the quaint Marais district for distinctive jewellery and vintage clothes, or wander around the lavish department stores of Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. See the latest catwalk trends in the Saint-Honoré fashion district’s chic boutiques, such as Hermès.

Want to make your own Parisian magic? Browse our Paris holiday rentals

Get the best out of England this autumn

Autumn leaves in the park

Nothing beats the feeling of an English autumn: the changing colours, the crisp clean air and the crunch of leaves underfoot. Here are four autumn activities to make the most of.

See woodland wildlife in Hampshire

Hear pigs snuffle through the forest hunting for acorns, see skewbald ponies rounded up for the season’s pony sales and watch buck deer rutting, clashing antlers and barking in a battle for supremacy.

Autumn is the perfect time to visit the New Forest. Go for a ride to see the mists roll in over the heaths, spot funghi springing up in the woodlands and walk along the river from the beautiful village of Beaulieu to the quaint hamlet of Bucklers Hard.

Discover places to stay in Hampshire

Conker games in Northamptonshire

Join the thousands who flock to the ancient market town of Oundle in Northamptonshire for the World Conker Championships. Competitors battle it out on eight white podiums in an arena and the victor progresses to the Conker Throne, where he or she is crowned with conkers.

Northamptonshire is dotted with chocolate-box villages of quaint cottages with Tudor timbers and thatched roofs. Visit the county’s impressive collection of splendid mansions, including the ancestral homes of George Washington at Sulgrave Manor and Princess Diana at Althorp House.

Find a home from home in Northamptonshire

Apple orchard tours in Somerset

Explore the orchards of Somerset’s famous cider farms like Burrow Hill or Wilkins, taking in the rows of fruit-laden trees and pausing to taste the local ciders straight from the barrel.

The rolling limestone hills of Mendip and the alluring Quantocks are especially lovely in the autumn. Nearby, you can walk down Europe’s oldest complete medieval street and visit the Bishop’s Palace at Wells. You’ll see Glastonbury Tor soar from the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels to an impressive 158 metres.

Choose a Somerset holiday this autumn

Leaf-peeping in Gloucestershire

Autumn arrives with a bang at Westonbirt, the National Arboretum in Tetbury. Here you’ll find 341 varieties of Japanese maple, famous for their blaze of reds, oranges and yellows. You can follow one of the seasonal trails here or join a tree-discovering event.

Don’t miss Gloucester’s magnificent Gothic cathedral – you’ll probably recognise it as the one in Harry Potter and Dr Who. If you find yourself further west on the other side of the River Severn, you might like to stroll through the Forest of Dean and absorb its dramatic hills, curving roads and unspoilt views.

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