Happy New Year to all of you! We hope you’ve had a fantastic time and are already looking forward to your 2015 holiday.
Our latest series of posts has been dedicated to the British Channel Islands: Jersey, Guernsey, Herm, Sark and Alderney. If you’re not already familiar with these islands, you’re about to be!
If you’ve missed any of our guide, here is a whistle stop tour of five magnificent islands:
Jersey is one of the most popular Channel Islands and our post detailed some of the best places to visit when you stay here on holiday. Jersey has countryside, beaches, wildlife, gardens, museums … the list is endless, there’s just so much on offer! So we’ve given you 5 starting points for your break.
If you’re fond of wonderful hotel breaks, Guernsey has a lot on offer for you. This beautiful island has amazing hotel across the capital, St Peter Port and other beautiful areas like St Martin, Castel and Torteval. There’s luxury hotels, family hotels, hotels with spas and pools … there’s something to suit every type of holiday and budget. Guernsey is home to some fantastic beaches and a brighter, milder climate than the UK, a great place for a holiday in a hotel.
These three small islands are often overlooked by their bigger counterparts, Jersey and Guernsey. Although Herm, Sark and Alderney are easily accessible from Guernsey and Jersey for daytrips, these Islands are top holiday destinations in their own right. They’re beautiful, quiet and unpolluted. It’s not a tourist hotspot so your break will have none of the noise and crowds of other coastal breaks. In fact, they’re so beautiful and unspoilt, it’s probably best to keep them a secret when you visit!
The Channel Islands are a beautiful place to take a mini break or your main holiday and there’s no reason why you can’t visit more than one at a time! Travelling by boat, hopping from one island to the other is just a perk of coming to these gorgeous parts of the British Isles.
Herm, Sark and Alderney are three little islands that combined with Guernsey and Jersey make up the majority of the Channel Islands. Lesser known than their larger Channel fellows, this post will let you in on the secrets that make these islands perfect pieces of paradise in the British Isles.
The Island of Herm takes up just 2km², its compact size means that you’ll find Herm a clean and calm place, with no pollution, no cars and no crowds. Being just a few miles away from the Guernsey coast, Herm has been a popular daytrip spot of Guernsey holiday makers, but this unspoilt island is a little holiday gem in its own right.
There are a variety of places to stay, whether you want to be cared for in a hotel or go at your own pace in a self catering cottage. In the daytime stretch out on the beach, enjoying the lovely summer climate or take a scenic walk. You can really explore this island and its heritage by visiting Neolithic tombs and the 11th century chapel. Pick up a map and take a walk, there’s no reason why you can’t see it all here.
When it comes to eating in Herm, you must visit the Mermaid Tavern. The Mermaid is the entertainment centre of the island, open all year round and especially popular in the summer months when the island is at its busiest. The Mermaid is set around a lovely courtyard where you can enjoy snacks or heartier meals, as well as getting all your essentials. And, if you’re going self catering, you can pick up fresh meat and fish to cook.
Sark is the fourth smallest island in the channel, not far from the Normandy coast. Approaching the island by boat is magical, the amazing scenery greets you every time and if you’re really lucky some local wildlife might bob their head above water.
Sark is nothing like anything you’ve experienced before, like Herm there are no cars, instead you will find tractors, bikes and the odd horse and carriage ambling around the roads. After the noisy and fast pace of city life, you will find the quiet here as refreshing as a dip in the channel.
A Sark holiday is all about leisure. Make your way down to the water and explore the marine life on a dive, have a lovely swim or take some time to fish. Take a trip to La Seigneurie Gardens and peruse the magical woodland and artefacts revealing the history of Sark.
Try your hand at coasteering in one of the most unique environments. This guided adventure will take you through caves, scrambling up walls and daredevil jumps. Or if you want a slower paced adventure, take a boat trip around the island, see Sark in its glory and get a glimpse of water-dwelling wildlife.
Whatever you do in the daytime, a very special activity is waiting for you at night. Sark is the perfect place for star gazing, the unpolluted sky means that thousands of stars are visible without needing a telescope. This is an especially popular visitor attraction in winter.
Tiny Alderney is only one and a half miles wide and over three miles long, but there’s a lot of beauty in this little place.
Although it is very close to the other Channel Islands and France, Alderney remains unspoilt and peaceful, attracting careful visitors each year instead of herds of tourists. It makes this Island a great secret getaway for a quiet, relaxing holiday all year round. Arrive by boat or plane and let your Alderney break begin.
Full of stunning scenery including gorgeous greenery and beautiful beaches, a stay in Alderney is just what you need to recharge your batteries away from busy modern life. The year-round mild climate means whenever you visit, there is something to do. Take a long stroll, relax on the beach, swim in the sea or do a spot of fishing. The beauty of a small place is that you can try absolutely everything.
Alderney has a variety of accommodation for your stay:
Fort Clonque is a unique accommodation in a former fort. Sleeping thirteen people, this is a group holiday like no other. Situated between large rocks, just outside the south-west tip of the Island, this magnificent building was built in 1853 and is managed today by the Landmark Trust.
Pipe Dreamer House is a beautiful self catering holiday property with amazing views of the Braye Harbour and over the English Channel. Sleeping eight people in four double bedrooms, this luxury holiday home includes a wrap around balcony and a Jacuzzi.
Saye Beach Campsite is the only spot for camping on Alderney. Rent a tent behind the sand dunes on Saye Baye where there are all the facilities to make your camping holiday fun and relaxing. Tents are available in a range of sizes, so you know your party is covered. There’s also a small shop and café nearby, so even though you’re at one with nature, you’re right by civilisation.
Herm, Sark and Alderney are three fantastic islands in the Channel between England and France. With mild weather and clean, unspoilt surroundings it’s a chance to take life at a slower pace for your holiday and breathe a sigh of, very, fresh air.
It’s almost Christmas and we have some treats lined up for you! This week in our Channel Island’s tour we’re going to Guernsey, letting you in on the secret of some great hotels on offer on this fantastic Island.
Despite being closer to France, Guernsey remains a self-governing part of the British Isles. No one goes to Britain for the weather but Guernsey has a much nicer climate with more sunshine than the UK, perfect for enjoying the beautiful beaches and cliff walks in the summer.
St Peter Port
St Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey, is one of Europe’s most beautiful harbour towns. This is a thriving place to visit with shopping, popular visitor attractions and amazing fresh seafood. So here are two of our top hotel picks in St Peter Port.
La Collinette has 16 ensuite bedrooms and 7 luxury suites for your Guernsey escape. Enjoy the comfort of your beautiful room and the amazing facilities on offer including the outdoor swimming pool, gym, sauna, bar and restaurant, where fresh seafood is their speciality.
If that wasn’t enough, La Collinette also offers self catering cottages and apartments which are perfect for family breaks and quiet getaways. However you stay at La Collinette you can make use of their facilities and wonderful location to enjoy all the activities nearby, including fishing, cycling and lounging on the beautiful beach.
Right by the high street of St Peter Port the Duke of Normandie is a boutique hotel with 37 bedrooms, stylishly furnished and packed with modern facilities to make your stay luxurious.
The Brasserie restaurant is perfect for breakfast before you set out, or for a slap up dinner once you’ve come back to the hotel. The Admiral de Saumarez Bar is less than a minute’s walk from the centre of St Peter Port and ideal for relaxing and soaking up the holiday feeling.
Located on the west coast of Guernsey, Castel is home to some of the most beautiful and popular beaches on the island, including Cobo, Grandes Rocques and Vazon Bay. This is a perfect destination for a beach break, so pick up your bucket and spade, grab your surf board and dive in. Here are two fantastic hotels that you can make your base.
Set in the countryside, Fleur Du Jardin is a combination of modern boutique and 15th Century country. Each of the luxurious 15 bedrooms provides oodles of character and maximum comfort for your stay.
Eat at their restaurant, popular with both guests and locals for the fresh and delicious food. While you’re here, enjoy the great facilities like the large heated swimming pool and health suite, where you can have a professional beauty treatment.
A stay here puts you a short walk away from Vazon Bay but if you want more than beach, there’s also miles of green countryside to explore.
You can’t help but be cheerful at the Wayside Cheer Hotel. Just 70 metres from the gorgeous Grandes Rocque beach, this is an ideal place to unwind.
The top floor bedrooms have amazing sea views and the ground floor chalets are lucky enough to overlook the pool and blooming garden.
The award winning restaurant serves up brilliant traditional food from all over the world and the Tudor Bar is the place to be for entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights during your holiday.
This fantastic area is in the south-east pocket of Guernsey and adjacent to St Peter Port. St Martin boasts some fantastic beaches and beautiful attractions including the unforgettable Sausmarez Manor. St Martin is home to some of the most expensive property in Guernsey, so here’s a look at two luxury hotels for your stay.
One of the most popular Guernsey hotels set on the cliff top of Jerbourg Point. Hotel Jerbourg is easily accessible from the airport, ferry terminal and the delights of St Peter Port.
Guests are given irresistible sea views from their bedrooms, a pool, a bar and a renowned restaurant to dine in. There’s a wide selection of bedrooms, from family rooms with sofas, suites with terraces and quiet singles, there is something for everyone.
This boutique manor house is a truly delightful luxury hotel in the village of St Martin. Here you’re in the midst of green country lanes and just a short walk away from the southern bay of Moulin Huet. All bedrooms have been designed to be a bespoke balance between classic and contemporary, all oozing with luxury.
The restaurant and bar are a great place to relax and be taken care of. Treat yourself to a delicious meal and have a holiday tipple. If that’s not enough, there’s an onsite spa, so you can be completely pampered and a stylish outdoor pool surrounded by daybeds, perfect for lounging.
Torteval is located on the southern coast and is the smallest Parish in Guernsey. Here you’ll find the stunning rugged cliffs, fishing harbours and Rocquaine Bay. This is the perfect place for cliff walks admiring beautiful wildlife and flora.
Overlooking Rocquaine Bay and 200 metres away from Portlet Bay, the Imperial Hotel is in an ideal location for beautiful views and fresh seafood. There are 17 delightful en-suite bedrooms for guests, all with fantastic modern facilities for maximum comfort.
Eat at their Waters Edge Restaurant for a fresh and delicious meal, or relax in the Beau Rivage lounge bar and choose from the delicious range of home-cooked meals. The Imperial Hotel puts you in a great position for exploring Torteval, visit the Shipwreck Museum or the church with the tallest steeple on the island, it’s all right on your doorstep.
These are just a sample of the amazing accommodation on offer on this beautiful island. If hotels aren’t for you check out the amazing self catering options available all over Guernsey.
We hope you have a very merry Christmas and will catch up with you next week where we’ll be exploring the smaller Channel Islands.
The Channel Islands are a cluster of islands lying in the Channel between England and France. In this series of posts we’ll be exploring these Islands together and demonstrating why they’re an ideal holiday destination within the British Isles. We’re kicking off our expedition with the unmistakable Jersey.
At 45 square miles, Jersey is jam packed with beautiful beaches, delightful towns and miles of open countryside. Whether you’re looking for self catering apartments or big hotels with a pool, there is ample choice when looking for places to stay. There’s so much to do in Jersey, from lounging on the beach, water sports, shopping, eating out… your opportunities are endless. But while you’re in this amazing region, here are five places you absolutely must make time to visit.
Just north of the Island’s capital St Helier, you’ll find Durrell Wildlife. This charity run wildlife park is a wonderful place to get close to some of the world’s rarest species. Durrell is doing so much good in the world that supporting them here on a day trip is guaranteed to be fun for you and vital for their work.
So what can you see? Here’s just a selection of the amazing animals you’re helping:
You can even adopt an animal at the end of your visit, though I’m afraid it will have to remain there at Durrell. You’ll have to come back to visit them.
Situated in St Brelade, Reg’s Garden is a magical place for everyone. This relaxing setting is comprised of beautifully landscaped garden including a Koi pond and waterfall.
Your children will especially love the fairy garden, where you’ll find stories relating to the brothers Grimm fairy tales under the many archways. The proceeds from the fairy garden go directly to Children in Need, another worthwhile reason to pay a visit to Reg’s.
Re-opening after the winter in March, the Jersey War Tunnels are a memorial museum to the German occupation of Jersey during WWII.
A walk around the Jersey tunnels is an interactive history of the hardships the people suffered in the second World War. The tour also extends outside where you can peruse the Garden of Reflection or walk the War Trail. This is a popular tourist destination because it is such a sensory experience and of course, something that should never be forgotten. After your trip, you can stop for a cup of tea and bite to eat, The Pantry Café onsite provides the perfect place to get refreshed.
Re-opening after Easter 2015, this wonderful estate is a great place to visit to sample a taste of Jersey wines, brandy, liqueur, chocolates, fudge and biscuits. Sounds pretty tasty!
Open seasonally, La Mere is great for a walk around the beautiful estate, exploring the vineyards, orchards and even taking a guided and tasty tour of specially made Jersey wines.
La Mere is a sophisticated and enjoyable way to pass time on your break in Jersey and you can even stretch out your visit by visiting the Vineyard Restaurant and Terrace, where you can sample fine, freshly prepared Jersey food. And of course, a glass of whatever takes your fancy, you’re at a wine estate after all.
Open from April to November, Elizabeth Castle is set on an islet of St Aubin’s Bay. Accessible by foot or ferry, this is the perfect starting point for examining Jersey’s history.
Famous occupants include, Sir Walter Raleigh, Governor of Jersey 1600-1603 and King Charles II during the English Civil War. Today, the castle serves as monument, so explore it to your heart’s content from top to bottom. You’ll find exhibitions within that give you a more detailed view of the castle’s importance in Jersey’s history.
Jersey is a wonderful place to visit for a short break or your main family holiday. There is so much to do and see on this beautiful Island and our guide is just a starting point.
For the last few weeks we’ve been posting about different regions in Yorkshire and the North of England, letting you in on what’s on offer in those regions, where you can eat and some great places to stay. Of course there’s more to this magical area than can be surmised in six posts but it’s a good place to begin.
The Lake District is undoubtedly one of the most famous parts of the UK. It’s the region that inspired the great Romantic poets and even the children’s delights of Beatrix Potter. The views in the Lakes are stunning and our post takes you through some different places to stay, for different budgets, in different areas but all with fantastic views.
Newcastle is home to more than Geordie shore, it’s a fantastic city that’s produced some national treasures. We can thank Newcastle for Ant & Dec, Sting, Hadrian’s Wall and so much more. Have a read and you’ll see some great places to visit when you’re up there.
There are more than 10 reasons to visit Carlisle at any time of year but it’s particularly magical at Christmas. There’s ice rinks, castles, cathedrals and oodles of Christmas shopping, it’s really all going on here. Plus, when you visit Carlisle, you’re in driving distance of South Scotland and the Lake District, that’s three holidays in one.
The Yorkshire Dales are full of wonder and one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The Dales are fantastic for all sorts of holidays, whether you’re a rambler or cycler, looking to see some fantastic attractions or looking for a quiet romantic break. It has it all and it’s waiting for you!
West Yorkshire is full of fun, here you have the very best of city and country all in one trip. Bradford’s cosmopolitan centre is the curry capital of Britain and the countryside region is the home of the famous Bronte sisters. Leeds is a famous cosmopolitan city, shop to your heart’s content and head to some traditional pubs for real Yorkshire grub.
East Riding of Yorkshire can be overlooked by its Western and Northern counterparts but it shouldn’t be! East Yorkshire is a wonderful world comprising of city of culture Hull, the beachy delights of Bridlington and the unforgettable beauty of the Yorkshire Wolds. It’s really going on in the East and we’ve got plenty of places you can visit.
There is so much more to Yorkshire and North England than we’ve listed but this is just a starting point for your adventures. Let us know if there’s anywhere in this region you want to visit or anywhere you’ve made particularly striking memories, we love to hear from you!
If you’re looking to get planning your stay, visit our website and plan your entire trip in one place www.britainsbestbreaks.tv
The final part of our Yorkshire and the North whirlwind is wrapping up in the exciting east of Yorkshire. Perhaps a less obvious holiday spot than its northern and western counterparts, the East Riding of Yorkshire is a brilliant place for getaway in Britain. With countryside, coast and cosmopolitan cities and towns it’s a chance to really do it all in one.
Fresh Air in the Yorkshire Wolds
Yorkshire isn’t all about the moors and the dales. The Yorkshire Wolds is an ideal place for a quiet, country break. Strap on your boots (and perhaps have a handy anorak in your bag) and wander along through the fresh, open spaces on one of the excellent trails. If you’ve brought your bike, you can cycle along Britain’s heritage trail which goes straight through the Wolds to Humber. As you meander in the Wolds, you’ll come across picturesque towns and villages, perfect for a pit stop and a strong cup of Yorkshire tea.
Your journeys in the Wolds will take you to some beautiful stately homes, such as Burton Agnes Hall, but if you wander to the western edge of the Wolds you’ll find Wharram Percy, a deserted medieval village. Thought to have been abandoned c.1500, this English Heritage site is studded with panels explaining the site’s history and you can even download an audio guide from the English Heritage page prior to your visit. Wandering around the ruins in the quiet of the Wolds, really feels like a step backwards into a time machine.
City Breaking in Hull
Being named UK city of culture 2017, Hull has hit the news often recently. Hull has a lot to offer the eager visitor, there’s museums, shops, restaurants, nightlife and tons of city central and outskirts accommodation. It’s certainly not a case of what can I do, but where can I start?
Hull’s Old Town is a spot not to be missed. There’s an abundance of free museums and at the Hepworth Arcade you’ll find the spot where two businessmen named Marks and Spencer had one of their original penny bazaars. And if a visit there means you feel the need to rush to M&S, there’s nothing wrong with that…
One such museum in the Old Town is Wilberforce House Museum, just one of the unique landmarks that make Hull such an interesting place to visit. Wilberforce House is the birthplace of William Wilberforce, who campaigned for the abolition of slavery in 18th and 19th Century. The museum tells Wilberforce’s story and the displays include his belongings and information on the trans-Atlantic slave trade. A trip here is an eye-opening and fascinating experience.
And there’s more to see than the Old Town. Aquariums are a fantastic way to entertain all ages and Hull boasts one of the best in the country. At The Deep, you can see all your favourite aquatic animals, from penguins, to sharks, to shoals of fish. There’s even a special glass elevator and an underwater viewing tunnel which get you even closer to the action.
Beverley is a charming market town with a long history dating back to 700 A.D. Beverley’s past is reflected in its architecture which is an abundance of old world charm. Shopping here is a different experience from your ordinary high street, with up market brands, delightfully independent shops and a Saturday market ideal for perusing. You’re sure to come home with something no one else will have.
While you’re here, you can’t miss a visit to Beverley Minster, one of the largest Cathedrals in England widely recognised for its beautiful Gothic architecture. Catch a service or just wander around the cavernous interior full of curios, it’s a real slice of living history.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, visit Yorkshire’s remaining working windmill, Skidby Mill and the Museum of East Riding Rural Life. This fascinating feature in Beverley is popular with adult and child visitors alike. Once you’ve browsed through the exhibits there’s a café for the adults to relax and enjoy Wolds views and an open play space for children to explore.
Beaching in Bridlington
If you haven’t already got enough to do in East Yorkshire, you can also visit the beach in Bridlington. Bring your beach towel in summer and wrap up well in winter for a stroll on the sand. A trip to the coast is always the perfect excuse to indulge in some thoroughly British fish and chips.
There’s more than beach in Bridlington. While you’re here, you can’t miss a trip to Sewerby Hall and Gardens. Sewerby Hall aims for visitor experience to be as authentic as possible which is evident in the Hall’s careful restoration. The gardens are a beautiful walk in 50 acres and there’s something for every season of the year. If that isn’t enough, Sewerby Zoo is home to wild animals from countries around the world. You can easily spend a whole day absorbed in Sewerby and still not visit everything it has to offer.
So here you have it, a small slice of what you can get up to on an East Yorkshire break. We’d always love to hear from you. Please tell us about your East Yorkshire holidays or anything you’d like to visit there.
If you’re planning your holiday and looking for somewhere to stay, check out the range of accommodation on our website.
This week we’re exploring a slice of the wonderful world of West Yorkshire with a guide to two of its biggest areas, Bradford and Leeds. Our blog is a guide to maximising your time when you’re taking a short break to these two northern cities, so without further ado, let’s get in to Bradford.
The district of Bradford can be found on the edge of the Pennines, just west of Leeds. Although the city of Bradford offers tourists an urban centre, where you can enjoy all the fun of a city break, the district of Bradford is complete with miles of rural, unspoilt beauty. So if you can’t decide between a city stay or a country affair, Bradford offers you both.
Did you know that Bradford is the Curry Capital of Britain? It has won this title four years in a row as of 2014, so if you’re a big fan of Asian cuisine, you’ve come to the right place. Being the curry capital means that Bradford has a mouth-watering array of restaurants to choose from, but the Curry Capital team comprises of these four amazing restaurants for you to check out.
Aakash – in Cleckheaton
Kipling’s – in Greengates, Bradford
Shimla Spice –in Keighley
Zaara’s – in Shipley
In Bradford there is plenty to do for all, with both city and country pursuits. But while you’re here, a trip Haworth is really unmissable, especially for fans of the Brontë sisters, who made this region famous. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë were three amazing novelists, (Charlotte happens to be my favourite), whose books have stood the test of time, spanning many adaptations and making Haworth a tourist hotspot in West Yorkshire. The Bronte Parsonage museum is the place where you can learn about their life and visit their inspiration on the wild, open moorland. (Did I hear you just call Heathcliff?) If you’re not so big on the Brontës, Haworth is still a delightful place to visit, with cobbled streets, delicious shops selling hand made chocolate and art galleries to browse.
While you’re visiting Haworth on your Bradford tour, Rosebud Cottage Guest House is a delightful and informal place to stay. With five bespoke, ensuite rooms and a brilliant central location within a walk of the railway station, this is a lovely Bradford base. Especially perfect if you’re looking for a little romantic getaway.
Leeds is undoubtedly a highlight of West Yorkshire and one of England’s best and most exciting cities. But with attractions galore, tons of dishy restaurants and a plethora of places to stay, planning a short break to Leeds can seem overwhelming – there’s just so much to choose from. So let us narrow down the search for you, with some suggestions for your trip.
The best way to the heart of a city is through your stomach, and Leeds has plenty of excellent restaurants to choose from. If curry takes your fancy Hansas Gujarati Vegetarian Restaurant is top notch dining and you can even take a cooking course. Or if you’re looking to try a taste of Argentina, Gaucho’s, in the financial district, is the place to be for authentic Argentinian steak and Buenos Aires cocktails. But for a traditional West Yorkshire welcome we recommend a visit to Whitelocks, the oldest pub in Leeds.
Here, tradition and charm are combined to serve you a hearty Yorkshire dish, freshly made using seasonal produce and a great selection of real ale and beers. Once you’ve eaten here, you’ll understand why the institution has been going strong for 300 years.
A trip to Leeds wouldn’t be complete without a shopping trip in the city centre. Find those leading fashion labels in the Victoria Quarter (it doesn’t matter if you’re only window shopping), a trip to the Grand Arcade will put you in front of brilliant independent shops and of course Trinity Leeds has it all, with 120 shops and plenty of cafes to rest your weary shopping bag arms.
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more cultural (and a little bit different) a trip to the Thackray Museum is unforgettable. Walking round this former hospital is a trip down the history of medicine, there’s even an exhibition where you can walk down a replica of a Victorian street with all the sounds and smells included. This is great for entertaining the kids and adults will find it fascinating too.
Chevin Country Park Hotel and Spa is in Otley, just outside the city centre and surrounded by beautiful Chevin woodland. The lodge atmosphere of this hotel is a wonderfully unique experience and delightfully unusual accommodation for a city break. Stay in any one of the rooms or book your own self catering lodge, if you want the ultimate private experience. And of course, you can relax at the onsite spa during your visit and eat the Lakeside restaurant. After a hearty day of exploring, Chevin is a peaceful place to rest your head.
Bradford and Leeds are only the tip of the West Yorkshire iceberg but they are great places to start exploring this beautiful area!