The Best Wester Ross Holiday Cottages for your UK Short Break

When it comes to British minibreak destinations, Scotland’s rural Wester Ross region, located in the Northwest Highlands, sets the bar pretty high. With picture-perfect vistas, amazing wildlife, and so much to see and explore, you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere better to spend a couple of relaxing nights.

You can stay in traditional lodgings, on the shores of Scotland’s famous lochs, spending your days hiking, exploring or just chilling out, and your nights enjoying characterful bucolic pubs with new friends. Here’s some of the very best cottages for you to choose from, allowing you to create the perfect Scottish getaway.

An Cos, Shieldaig

An Cos

An Cos image © An Cos Shieldaig

 

This luxury highland holiday cottage sits on the shores of Loch Shieldaig, and is not only breathtakingly beautiful and secluded but is also relatively easy to get to. Featuring luxury self-catering facilities, as well as local award-winning restaurants, there’s plenty of options when it comes to food.

This traditionally styled, but modern built cottage is perfect for a family, or a group of up to 10 people. The local village, Shieldaig, offers lots of different activities and sports, not to mention a top-notch pub. It’s also utterly gorgeous, and a conservation village.

 

 

 

Cruinn Leum Round House, Toscaig

Cruinn Leum Round House

Cruinn Leum Round House image © Unique Cottages

When it comes to finding a really unique option for your highland getaway holiday cottage, look no further. The Cruinn Leum Round House in Toscaig offers luxury, environmentally friendly lodging, with an original twist. As the name suggests, it’s a quirky round house!

With its ancient looks, spectacular views and luxuriously designed interior, this cottage was originally built as an artist’s retreat but has since proved incredibly popular with a holidaymakers. This is perfect accommodation for a couple or small family. Continue reading

How to Plan a Wedding in Cyprus

For a lot of us, the absolute dream wedding is a Cyprus wedding. The gorgeous scenery, the reliable weather, the local customs and culture you can incorporate, it just makes for a smoother, happier, easier wedding, while helping create a truly magical experience.

That’s not to say it’s without its difficulties, however. Planning a wedding abroad can be pretty tricky, but with a little research, and our guide, you’ll find yourself putting together your dream wedding in no time at all.

Choose the Perfect Location

By that, I don’t mean just pointing at a whole country and saying ‘there!’. You need to be specific, and ideally, you should have already visited the location you want to have your wedding.

That means expeditionary holidays to check out different locations and see where would be absolutely perfect, unless you already know the country well.

When it comes to actually choosing the location, do your research, and make sure it’s somewhere you really love. What’s the point of travelling so far from home if you’re not going to be finicky about the location?

Hire a Great Wedding Planner

The whole point of having a wedding abroad is being relaxed! That’s why we all go on holiday, after all, to get away from all the stresses and tensions of everyday life. That’s exactly why you need a quality wedding planner. Finding the right local wedding planner can be its own hassle, however.

When it comes to finding the right wedding planner, you need to make sure you talk to a range of proven local options, getting quotes and having chats with everyone. Read plenty of online reviews, and make sure you know you can trust them completely.

Weddings are a special, powerful day in anyone’s life, so it can be very hard to let go of the reins and allow the planner to take over properly, even more so if you don’t trust them completely. That’s why you need to find someone absolutely perfect for your wedding.

Use the Internet Extensively

When it comes to wedding planning, the internet is easily the greatest tool in the world. It’s a directory of millions of businesses, ideas, images, tutorials and stories. In short, it’s everything you need when putting together a really special day.

It seems obvious to state it, but just make sure you’re making full use of the internet, from wedding planning forums, to YouTube tutorials and guides, to Pinterest idea boards, all the way over to wedding service companies, there’s absolutely everything you need online.

If you’re looking at planning a fabulous Cypriot dream wedding, give us a call at +357 23 744195, or drop us an email at info@marriageincyprus.com, and at Aphrodite Wedding Services, we’ll help you craft an extraordinary wedding.

Why shepherds huts are gaining popularity with UK travellers?

Shepherds huts have been around since the 14th and 15th centuries. Originally they were used as temporary accommodation for shepherds looking after their flocks in the field. Hundreds of years laters, and Shepherds huts are once again popular but with a new purpose. Restyled as the new ‘middle class must-have accessory’, these huts are being transformed into beautiful accommodation that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Shepherds huts are extremely versatile, which makes them popular with travellers. They include the essential home comforts such as heating, cooking and washing facilities all wrapped up in a traditional style shepherds hut – this makes them very appealing to travellers looking for something different.

Why shepherds huts are popular today?

The British people are in love with the charm and versatility of shepherds huts. One of the major reasons for their popularity is ‘glamping’, the recent concept of luxury camping. Due to the financial instability caused by recessions and Brexit, many people can’t afford to go abroad for a holiday. Instead, they are choosing UK-based holidays, and glamping allows people to get away without spending large amounts of money on accommodation. As the popularity of glamping has increased, the facilities have evolved to include new favourites such as Shepherd Huts and sleeping pods. You can still take part in the regular outdoor activities enjoyed by many on a camping holiday, enjoy the natural views and avoid the crowds. These huts give you all the same benefits of camping but with some of the home luxuries you wouldn’t expect. Modern shepherds huts are very well designed. There are double glazed windows, a strong roof, en-suite bathrooms, a fire pit and other luxuries. For the tranquility and peace it offers, the shepherds huts are becoming popular holiday lodgings in the UK.

Many British people now enjoy spending their holidays in a shepherds hut. They like to go to a seaside or rural destinations across England, Scotland and Wales. Popular locations for staying in a shepherd huts include the Norfolk Broads, Lake District, Scottish Highlands and Peak District. As more people are holidaying in the UK, it also contributes positively to the British economy.

Features of a modern shepherds hut

In addition to holiday accommodation, modern shepherds huts are being used in everyday environments. Designed according to your requirements, huts can be used as an extra bedroom, children’s playroom or Summer house. You can choose roughly sawn woods like Cedar or Oak as the exterior, and painted wood finishes and corrugated steel are also used for the exterior. You can find these in different colors. You can customise the interior of the hut according to your own requirements. Modern huts are fully insulated to protect you from harsh weather conditions. These huts have everything you need for a modern living. Continue reading

UK Day Trips That Make Perfect Gifts

Sometimes it’s just too hard to find a present for someone who seems to have everything they want already, so a great solution is to give them something we could all use more of: fun activities and happy memories!

It’s not necessary to jet off to another country to experience something new, either, because across the UK there are many fantastic day trips and weekend getaways that could make for great gifts, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or any other special occasion.

Head to a shopping village

If you think your friend or loved one would enjoy picking out their own gift, combining that experience with a trip to somewhere new could be the ideal solution. Bicester Village is one of the best of these locations in the country, with a huge range of discount designer shops (plus food outlets so you can refuel and extend the trip).

Relax with a spa weekend

An alternative to a fast-paced shopping spree could be more suited to someone who needs some personal time to relax. If you want something a little different to the usual spa experience, you’ll find various unusual treatments on offer at the Turkish Baths & Health Spa in Harrogate, one of the most impressive spas in the UK.

Stay at The Chocolate Hotel

Located in Bournemouth is one of the UK’s most desirable boutique hotels. This trendy, confectionery-themed destination is perfect for chocolate lovers, who can learn the perfect wines to pair with different chocolates during their stay, as well as tucking into plenty of complimentary treats.

Get them a historical society membership

If you know the person you’re buying for has a keen interest in historical sites, but you’re not sure where they’d most like to visit next, why not get them a membership with either the National Trust or English Heritage? Between the two, almost all of the best buildings and sites in the country are covered, so they’ll be able to enjoy free or discounted entry to countless attractions in the coming year.

Professional cooking classes

If your friend or family member is interested in cooking, professional lessons in a commercial kitchen setting could be a fantastic experience. Many top restaurants in London (and increasingly across the country) are now offering these sessions as a bonus for fans of their food. Several celebrity chef-owned establishments are doing the same, so you might be able to tie in your gift with their favourite TV cook.

4 Top Luxury Ski Destinations for an Unforgettable Holiday

Skiing holidays are one of the most popular types of activity holiday for UK travellers. A luxury ski holiday is something that everyone must do at least once in their lives. The great thing about the resorts we look at today is that all of them cater for families and individuals. Skiing is a great idea for a family holiday, and luxury ski destinations have the best and well-rounded services that will make you feel like a king or queen. From hot tubs to gourmet (and very delicious) meals to your own mini hotel accommodation – you can find it all at these amazing ski destinations.

1. Ski Hiver Chalets in France

The Ski Hiver chalets offer self-catering options as well as a catered option. The chalets are run by a family who has been in business for more than 20 years and offers the best and affordable ski holidays in France. It is truly the best luxury ski chalet in France and it is great for the whole family. You will enjoy delicious food, fantastic ski adventures, and beautiful sights.

2. Chalet Bighorn in Canada

Bighorn has received the award for ‘World’s Best Ski Chalet’ for 3 years running. It offers a unique experience for the whole family. It is located at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort and offers some truly amazing services and adventures. They offer bespoke heliskiing which is a new ski concept that is unique to Bighorn. You can choose to fly in a helicopter or you can ride the lift to get to the tallest ski hill in North America. When you get back from your adventure, you are treated with delicious food cooked by an award-winning chef in the luxury and warmth of this beautiful chalet.

3. ski slopesHahnenkamm Lodge in Austria

If you are looking for a recharge holiday or a romantic getaway, Hahnenkamm Lodge in Kitzbühel is the place to go. This luxury ski destination has some of the most exclusive private chalets in the Alps. This lodge is located near the best ski area in the world and will offer a lot of adventure and unique ski experiences. You will experience first-class service with the best chefs in the world as well as luxurious and comfortable accommodations. You will be inspired, recharged, and content after a holiday at the Hahnenkamm.

4. No. 14 Verbier in Switzerland

No.14 Verbier is known across the world as the ultimate luxury ski destination. This specific accommodation is actually a refurbished hotel with 13 en-suite rooms. It is the perfect accommodation for special events like anniversaries and birthdays where the whole family is invited. There are so many great services available including an indoor swimming pool, a spa with a Jacuzzi, cold plunge, and treatment rooms with massage therapist included. You will also find 2 cedar hot tubs, a home cinema complete with gaming consoles, WiFi, Sky TV, and a complimentary bar with all kinds of goodies. To make it even better, your meals will be cooked by Michelin star chefs. We cannot imagine anything more amazing than a week or two at No.14 Verbier.

A ski holiday is a must for everyone. If you have a big event coming up or just need some fresh air and a break, consider booking a ski holiday with one of these amazing destinations. You will return home a different person. Continue reading

The Foreign Tourist’s Guide To The UK

If you’re visiting the UK from overseas for the first time, welcome! A lot of things in this country are a little confusing for people who aren’t familiar with them, so a little advice can go a long way. Here we’ve tried to compile some of our best advice for anyone entering the country for the first time on a tourist holiday.

Firstly, it’s important to bear in mind that London is not the only place with interesting things for tourists to experience in the country. In fact, many people would argue that spending a lot of time in London when you first visit the UK is actually a waste of money, because prices are significantly higher on the whole compared to the rest of the country. There are many lesser known tourist attractions all over the country which may be less recognisable than Tower Bridge or Big Ben, but are much cheaper, less crowded and sometimes even more impressive.

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on food here, because there is a strong culture around going out for meals and a huge number of commercial restaurant chains trying to take advantage of the latest culinary trends. However, like anywhere else, you can find bargains if you’re happy with takeaways and lesser known restaurants. Be sure to look up places online before you eat there, but luckily you’ll find almost all UK food establishments can be found online as we take our reviews seriously!

Alternatively, of course, you can cook for yourself. Budget European supermarkets are the best places to buy ingredients, such as Lidl and Aldi, and if you’re from another European country you’ll already know this. If you’re really concerned about keeping costs down and you’re used to cheaper food prices, you might find you have to do this at least some of the time. Again, though, outside of London you will find much more affordable food.

Getting around the UK as a tourist could cost a lot if you catch the train everywhere without much forward planning. The rail service is a lot more expensive than it is in most other countries, especially at peak times when commuters are travelling between home and work. A cheaper alternative is to get buses and coaches, although this can cost you more time.

Fortunately, many of the actual attractions in the UK are free to see or enter, which can lower your overall costs. There are many wonderful castles, stately homes and other historical buildings that are unlike anything any other country has to offer, many of them costing nothing or very little to visit. In fact, there are a huge range of different attractions on offer and most of them outside the capital are not widely known, so the best thing to do is look up the top attractions in any area you’re planning to visit and see what’s highly rated.

How Tourists Can Get Around The UK Cheaply

Even for people who live in the UK full time, getting around to see different places can be a little tricky and confusing. There are several options, but none of them are guaranteed to be cheap unless you do your research and know who to listen to. Here are our top three tips to help you plan a trip around the UK.

Don’t write off taxi transfers

A lot of people will do their best to avoid taxi services because they may have had a bad experience in the past or been advised not to use them on the grounds that they can overcharge.

However, many taxi companies are completely reasonable with their charges, and if you need to make a quick and/or unusual journey that can’t be covered by public transport, taxis will often be a cheap and efficient option. It is worth remembering that busy cities (especially in the capital) will be a lot more expensive. If you are travelling from London to Bath for example, a Bath taxi company may be a more affordable option for airport transfers to and from your destination.

Continue reading

How Brexit Has Impacted UK Tourism

Since the UK controversially voted to leave the European Union, the government has still been unable to make much progress actually implementing this action. However, since the day after the result of the vote was announced we’ve seen some major changes in terms of the British tourism industry.

Most of the changes stem from the fact that the pound has been weaker against other currencies and shows little sign of getting stronger any time soon. As a result of the political pressure on the value of our currency, exchanging GBP for other currencies is more expensive and it costs British citizens more to get the same amount of foreign money. The impact of this is that less people are heading abroad for holidays, opting instead to travel within the country where their money can go further.

When people choose to do this, they’re finding that UK tourist attractions are even more busy than expected thanks to the opposite effect being created in other countries. A cheaper pound makes travelling to the UK from foreign countries more affordable and appealing, so the 8 months since Brexit have seen greater numbers of tourists than usual coming into the UK to visit.

Another factor influencing this has been the increased global interest in the UK as a result of news coverage regarding Brexit. Combined with the fact that the pound has already been steadily falling in value for a number of years, and the tourism industry has grown year-on-year since 2010, it’s no surprised that these factors have all been compounded.

On the other hand, this does have a downside for the industry since a lot of the coverage has been focused on why the decision was made by so many British voters to leave the EU. The perception of the UK as a friendly nation may have been affected, especially in some European countries, and increased feelings of tension might put off tourists.

Ongoing political and social uncertainty is also a major factor for businesses who invest in corporate travel to the UK. This type of tourism has not grown since the Brexit announcement and in fact it shows signs of being reduced in future, since businesses are looking for stability and predictability.

In future, it’s hard to say whether this temporary boom in domestic tourism will actually be able to continue. The actions of the government will certainly play a part in this over the coming year, and the UK’s reputation as a desirable destination for foreign travellers may not escape unscathed from a messy Brexit process, but as the cost of travelling abroad for UK residents is likely to increase further, the result is hard to predict.

Top Scottish Tourist Attractions

Scotland is a great destination for anyone searching for rich history, a breath of fresh air and a sense of adventure. There’s so much to see and learn in this relatively small country, and its residents are famously proud to call it home, with good reason. It offers plenty of stunning attractions, although you may not be familiar with them. Here are some of the best.

Loch Ness –

Loch Ness

Perhaps the most famous of all Scottish attractions, Loch Ness is stunning for its sheer size alone. Once you factor in the incredible views along its shoreline, the ancient ruins nearby and the infamous legend of the Loch Ness Monster said to swim in its depths, it’s no wonder why this place is so popular with visitors.

Cuillin Hills, Skye –

Starting from the most northerly point you can reach within Scotland, these breathtaking hills are unique thanks to a clash of different geological forces. Black volcanic rock meets red granite in spectacular fashion, resulting in an amazing landscape not found anywhere else.

Melrose Abbey –

Melrose Abbey

Dating back almost 900 years, King David I of Scotland commissioned this impressive monastery was said to be the final resting place of many Scottish legends. Comprising of ruins from many different periods, Melrose Abbey is well worth a visit today for anyone interested in historical architecture. Continue reading

Celebrating Halloween In London

Since the UK has wholeheartedly embraced the Halloween spirit over the past few years, it stands to reason that the capital city of London offers some of the best events and entertainment in the country on the spookiest night of the year. If you’re planning to spend Halloween in London, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your activities.

Shocktoberfest

For something truly spooky and in the original spirit of the season, London is unbeatable for ghost walks and tours. Many of London’s historic landmarks are said to be haunted, and you can explore many of these with the help of a professional guide. Whether you want to learn more about the history of the locations or simply get scared out of your mind, these tours may be perfect. We recommend trying a walking tour of the Tower of London area, or venturing somewhere truly creepy like the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.

Taking it to the next level, Halloween fanatics may want to go all out and visit some major spooky attractions in and around London. You might choose to visit the Medieval Banquet in St Katherine’s Dock, a dramatic affair with entertainment from terrifying hosts along with an authentic four-course meal with traditional ale and wine. Alternatively, you don’t have to travel far to find one of the famous “scream parks” hosting a Halloween spectacular, such as Tulley’s Farm which holds an annual Shocktoberfest close to Gatwick Airport.

Haunted Medieval Banquet in St Katherine’s Dock

If your idea of Halloween is more focused on going out and partying, of course London has you covered on one of the biggest party weekends of the year. Most of the city’s biggest clubs and bars will be hosting Halloween events this year, and since the night itself falls on a Monday you can expect a long weekend of spooky celebrations starting from the Friday before! Just make sure you get your costume planned in advance, since the streets of London are sure to be filled with some of the most impressive outfits.

Seaside Cafes & Restaurants To Visit

The UK offers some of the most underrated and spectacular coastlines in Europe, as well as some great beaches, harbours and seafront towns that make the ideal relaxing destination for local and foreign tourists. The food is often what makes a trip like this, so here are some of our favourite seaside locations if you’re looking for a top notch meal.

Fifteen Cornwall

The Magpie Cafe, Whitby

Locally famous for offering the best fish and chips in the region, The Magpie Cafe is situated right on the harbour front in this historic fishing town and is perfect for anyone seeking an incredible example of this staple British dish. Not only is the fish famous, but the creative desserts are also worth a taste.

Fifteen Cornwall, Watergate Bay

This excellent and quirky restaurant is another one situated right on the beach, surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of the British coast. The surroundings are breathtaking, and as an added bonus, the food is incredible thanks to the input of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who created the concept. Continue reading

The Best Seafood Restaurants In the UK

It’s not always easy to find the best quality seafood in UK restaurants, as many of us live too far from the shore to see much fresh fish. However, to save you the hassle of scouring the country looking for the absolute best luxury seafood restaurants, we’ve already done the digging for you. Here is a selection including some of our favourites.

Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, Padstow, Cornwall –

Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant

This place is understandably busy as a result of its association with one of Britain’s most respected celebrity chefs, but it’s surprisingly relaxed and takes inspiration from all over the world when it comes to the food. However, being set on the Cornish coast there’s nothing better than enjoying some authentic British seafood here.

Inver Restaurant, Argyll, Scotland –

Inver Restaurant

Situated right next to Loch Fyne, this seafood restaurant specialises in sustainable and traditional Scottish cooking. Mussels, crab and langoustines are some of the best offerings here, with much more on the menu to satisfy any seafood lover.

Rocksalt, Folkestone, Kent –

Rocksalt Restaurant

This fabulous seafront restaurant in a premier spot at the harbour in Folkestone serves up some of the best seafood (and cocktails) you’ll find for miles around. Rocksalt is also a hotel, so you can enjoy the incredible views from the comfort of your bedroom too, but we highly recommend the restaurant with its specialities including local whelks, raw scallop salads and authentic taramasalata. Continue reading

The best villages to visit in Spain

spainSpain is one of the many countries that are visited by thousands of people each year. Spain has different regions and has plenty of areas that can be explored. What’s more is that every region has something different to offer which makes the country a trendy destination to visit. If you’re looking to travel to Spain, we recommend some of the best villages that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Lekeitio

The charming town of Lekeitio is known for their fishing docks, boats, local foods and beaches. The locals serve fresh seafood, and amazing tapas so don’t forget to try out their local dishes! If you’re also up for fishing or a boat ride, then this place is perfect for you.

Llastres

Llastres is located by the seaside area and famously known for their delicious seafood restaurants. The town is all painted with white walls and orange rooftops which provides a stunning view when viewed from afar. If you want to see the whole town from above, we recommend visiting a nearby area called Mirador de San Roque.

 

Setenil de las BodegasSoller

Soller is located on the islands of Mallorca and is filled with breathtaking views of mountains and the sea. It’s the perfect location for travelling around the island. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Picasso’s ceramic artwork which is located at a train station in Sala Picasso y Sala Miro.

Frigiliana

Frigiliana is a small town located in Southern Spain. The town is mostly known for it’s white painted houses and tiled floor steps. The beautiful apartments and cottage with white painted provide a Greek vibe.

Setenil de las Bodegas

Setenil de las Bodegas is one of the quirkiest and unique towns in Spain. What sets the town from the rest is their humongous overhanging rock around the street. It’s the perfect location for any tourists who wish to see something new and different.

Travelling Tips

passport

Travelling makes us feel excited and allows us to experience new places and different cultures, however, they can also sometimes make us feel stressed or overwhelmed especially when they are not planned properly. If you want to enjoy your holiday, it’s important to be always prepared beforehand. So to ensure you have a smooth and stress-free travel, make sure to use our following tips below.

Important documents

Before travelling, there are a few important documents that need to be checked and organised. The first thing is checking the expiration date of your passport and making sure it’s in date otherwise you cannot go anywhere without an up to date passport. Having copies of your passport is also essential for extra precaution. The next thing is checking if the country you are travelling to requires a visa.

Mobile phone

Most tourists rely heavily on their phone as it’s useful for many reasons. Inform your provider that you will be travelling away and wish to use your phone in a different country. The phone will be activated to ensure it works in a different country.

currencyMoney

Travellers must inform their bank when they are travelling outside the country. This prevents your card from being blocked when used in a different country outside the UK. It’s also ideal to take out cash and exchange them for the currency you need. You want to prevent using your debit or credit card as there’s normally a charge for withdrawing money when you’re in a different country. If you do prefer to use a card, you can sign up for a currency card with a bank and this allows you withdraw in many countries without a fee.

Research

Before you plan or even pick a destination, make sure you have done enough research about the area. It’s important to know that your destination is a safe place to visit. Furthermore, you can get an idea of where to visit and what kind of activities they have available.