Monthly Archives: March 2017

Family Summer Adventure Time: Explore Europe in a Van

ou may think a campervan holiday with the kids is not for the faint-hearted, but don’t fret. With the freedom, (outdoor!) space and sense of adventure such a trip can offer – not to mention its cost-effectiveness, you should really consider packing up the car or renting a van and touring Europe with the family.

You can cover much more of countries, or even the continent, at a fraction of the price of driving and lodging, all with a heightened connection with nature and the unknown.

Which Wheels?

If you’re on a shoestring and your kids are younger (and don’t need much living space) you could deck out a van with a mattress and fashion beds for them. Don’t forget the essentials — a gas cooker, a cool box, first aid kit, some outdoor awnings, folding chairs and a table, and plenty to amuse the little ones.

However, it would be more comfortable and practical to either rent a campervan or even invest in one if this kind of trip is up your street. With sleeping quarters, a reasonable kitchen, proper storage and access to power facilities this may be an easier introduction to this exciting kind of holiday.

Set Sail on a Luxury Yachting Adventure in Bermuda

As one of my passions, I take a huge amount of pride in curating adventurous yachting vacations to Bermuda which contain a handful of wonderful experiences and accommodation options at our collection of luxury properties. Here is what you could get up to on one of our unique holidays to Bermuda.

Ocean Adventures

How does heading out into the gorgeous ocean on a private catamaran before exploring the magical world beneath the surface sound? Pretty good, right? If so, then I suggest that you speak to the lovely Richie and Maureen at SeaSplash Bermuda. They arrange customised experiences and will do everything possible to make sure that it is an unforgettable trip whether you are on a lengthy sailing cruise as the sun goes down or snorkelling around the Hawkins Islands and up through the legendary Great Sound ocean inlet.

A Romantic Meal on the High Seas

Step foot onto the most luxurious super yacht on the island for one meal that you certainly will never forget. The mightily impressive and lavish Venetian is a staggering 100-ft and can cater for up to 26 people, but you are also able to charter the yacht for a romantic and intimate experience.

It is hard to top the sublime views of Bermuda as you set out for your supper on the High Seas, but the talented onboard chefs certainly come close and will tickle your tastebuds. This will be one of the finest meals that you have ever experienced (both on land and at sea) as you leave the island behind and set off into the sunset. This is luxury at its finest.

Visit the Terracotta Warriors

Uncovered by well diggers near the city of Xi’an, China in 1974, the Terracotta Army is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in history.

What, When, How, Why, Where?

The Terracotta Army, which consists of thousands of unique, life-sized clay soldiers poised for battle, is arranged by rank with weapons and horses to protect the tomb of China’s first emperor. Ying Zheng assumed the throne in 246 BC and unified warring kingdoms by his thirteenth birthday. He took the name of Qin Shi Huang Di (First Emperor of Qin), standardised weights and measures, linked states by roads and canals and is thought to have built an early version of the Great Wall.

He reportedly ordered the construction of the mausoleum just after taking the throne, and it is thought that there are originally 8,000 figures, although the exact total may never be known. Over 700,000 workers were tasked with producing the figures for 11 years, and they are truly a spectacle to behold.

Located 1.5km from Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb in Lintong, this is a site not to miss on your trip to China. Thought to protect the Emperor and accompany him into the afterlife, the army of individually decorated and designed life-size figures are steeped in history and well worth the journey to see them.

Xi’an is reachable by plane from Beijing in 2 hours, Shanghai in 3 and by high-speed train in 6-7 hours from both. You can join a guided tour, visit the museum or do it by yourself – independent travellers should note that it’s quieter in the afternoon, but that the last bus back to Xi’an downtown departs at 7pm.

Amsterdam and Beautiful Brussels – Fun for All Abilities

In the capital of The Netherlands’ neighbour, Belgium, I would suggest staying at the Novotel Brussels off Grand Place Hotel. On my last visit I was impressed by its reduced mobility rooms, wheelchair access throughout, accessible bathrooms, and a range of reduced mobility facilities. It is also right in the heart of the city, just a short distance from the iconic main square and the Royal Palace, making it easier to get around.

While Brussels can present a challenge to those with mobility issues, with its cobbled streets and ancient buildings with lots of steps and no lift access, it can still be a great place to visit if you’re disabled. Holidays to the city for those with mobility issues just require a little bit more planning, so let my expert team put together the perfect Brussels package and take the stress out of seeing the sights.

Grand Place – Okay, there are a lot of cobblestones, but the uncomfortable journey will be worth it to drink in the atmosphere at the beating heart of the city.
Manneken Pis – You won’t believe how many tourists bustle around this two foot statue of a boy having a wee! But it is a great selfie opportunity.
Mont des Arts – All three levels of this beautiful embankment are wheelchair accessible and give great views of the city.
Atomium­­ – The focal point of 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels is now an icon of the city and worth taking a look at, although access inside is limited.

Getting there

I’d suggest starting your dual-city break in Amsterdam. We can include either a flight or a train journey into your holiday package; the Eurostar train goes to Amsterdam (you will need to change trains twice and the journey time is around five and a half hours), and a flight with a reliable airline will take around one hour and 15 minutes.

The flight time from Amsterdam to Brussels is only 45 minutes, but I’d advise to go for the fast train option, which will take one hour and 51 minutes. Former clients found this a very agreeable mode of transport which allows you to appreciate the view of the countryside from your comfortable seat at the same time!

Uncover the Magical World Beneath Tenerife’s Waters

In my opinion, there is nowhere more magical and intriguing than the world beneath the ocean’s surface. The thrill of descending into the depths and uncovering the bizarre and colourful marine life, haunting shipwrecks, amazing geological formations and the stretches of nothingness is unlike any other experience.

If you too have this affinity with the world under the surface, then I highly recommend our diving holidays in Tenerife. The Canary Islands are an excellent place for diving, but I think Tenerife takes the crown as the greatest spot for it.

Tenerife is the largest Canary Island and one that boasts the imposing Mount Teide which is the highest peak in Spain, but it is also surrounded by astonishing ancient geological formations beneath the ocean.

Geological Diving

Yellow Mountain – This is one of my favourites because you can simply walk into it from the beach on the south coast. It is suitable for a mid-range dive and you will encounter all kinds of rare and enchanting sea creatures as you make your way through the strange lava rocks and caves.

La Catedral – This is a dive site that my previous clients have loved and it is somewhere that is suitable for all abilities. Here you will uncover a range of impressive arches, vaults and caves, included a breathtaking interior cave that features a gigantic 20-metre high vaulted roof. This dive site is also conveniently just a quick boat trip from Santa Cruz.

Wildlife Diving

For me, seeing the weird and wonderful creatures under the surface is what makes diving such a fascinating experience. The Canaries has a reputation for great visibility underwater, allowing you to see all kinds of amazing marine life up to around 30m away.