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Five Sunny Destinations in the UK for Your Winter Escapade

Five Sunny Destinations in the UK for Your Winter Escapade

 

Winter, the perfect season for a steaming cup of hot chocolate and the thickest duvet you can find at home. Many people would opt to stay in with the heater on, especially at night when the temperature is at its coldest. There are those, however, who try to escape the chill. Bundled up in their most comfortable winter gear, vacationers in the UK walk out of their doors in search of scenic views that are a lot less white and cold. So, to make things easier for you, here’s a list of destinations you can go to escape the cold.

North Yorkshire boasts of a steamy 12m outdoor pool warmer than any waters you would find in the Caribbean. At a delightful temperature of 34C (93F), it’s no wonder people drive up to the Feversham Arms hotel located in this county, about 30 minutes away from the coastal resort of Whitby.

If you want somewhere a bit warmer still, you have the Isles of Scilly where the Abbey Garden is. Find the most beautiful towering palms this side of Britain–palms you only normally see out of the country, and white sand beaches perfect to make you remember summer. Wait until New Year’s Day, and you would have the chance to see plant species of different kinds, reaching up to 200 all in all, some including exotic ones from Australia, Brazil, and New Zealand.

Five Sunny Destinations in the UK for Your Winter Escapade

If the thirst for summer in your spirit just couldn’t be quelled, Pembrokeshire has the St. Brides Spa Hotel located in Saundersfoot to cater to your special need. The spa’s glass walls let in the bright sunshine in January as you enjoy their scrumptious food at their beach-view restaurant. Outside, there is an infinity hydrotherapy pool heated to 38C (100F). The bedrooms will teleport you to a seaside world through the seashell and driftwood décor paired with carpets of the seagrass style.

Gwynedd, on the other hand, has the answer to those wanderers who seek to be inspired by architecture. The village of Portmeirion is an Italianate tourist village designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The architect himself said that the design was a tribute to the Mediterranean. Here, you can find the tropical atmosphere you seek through the exotic plants that the microclimate, enhanced by the Gulf Stream, has allowed to thrive. Stay in one of the South Sea hotels, Mermaid or Neptune.

Lastly, people who love the summer brightness can drive straight to East Sussex where Eastbourne, holder of the records for the most hours of sun in one month, can be found. The Grand Hotel, also known as the “White Palace”, offers modern luxuries such as a heated indoor swimming pool.

Five Sunny Destinations in the UK for Your Winter Escapade

Winter is coming so plan your vacation ahead. Make sure your travel gear is packed and your vehicles checked. If some of the locations we’ve listed are far from you, why not take a local flight and drive a rental car to get there? An affordable rental car can be easily booked and you can pick up a rental car at Manchester Airport or any other airports in the UK. This will make your winter escapade hassle-free.

 

Hidden in Full View in London, England

Hidden in Full View in London, England

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London boasts an incredible range of activities and attractions and a whole host of accommodations, restaurants and nightlife to compliment it. However, much of London is fast becoming a cliché as everyone who stays in the city watches the changing of the guards at Buckingham palace and visits the massive Arts collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Marina and I were thrilled to visit London this last January, and while our trip was extremely short, it was nothing short of magical. Of course it was raining, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way (sort of joking). We loved jumping on the tube and exploring the whole city by public transport and mostly on foot, there is so much to see and London is a great walking city, so get out there and explore, but don’t just fall victim to the normal tourist hotspots, the city has so much more to offer.

So if you’re planning a trip to England’s capital, how can you get the most out of your visit without becoming yet another tourist queuing for the London Eye?

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Hidden in Full View in London, England

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Visit Monopoly Squares

It might sound too quirky to function in real life but this is as good and as original a plan as any other when touring around the city. Plus if you have children with you it gives an element of play and fun to what can otherwise be long and tiring days. Perhaps you could even try and collect colours and link it somehow with the notorious London underground for a truly British experience? You could even have a copy of the board game on hand in case of rainy days or illness. Hey, there aren’t a lot of cities you can do this in are there?

 

Retreat and Recover

After a long day trekking around monopoly squares you need a home away from home to retreat to and recover from all of the hustle and bustle of the day. Fear not, for Urban Retreat have got this one nailed with fully serviced and beautifully decorated luxury apartments located right above the hubbub of the historic Mayfair Street. And it is even another monopoly square, it’s fate.  With a wealth of facilities from a gym and spa products to a renowned eatery, everything you could want is here.

We loved walking around London all day long but we were a but outside of the center of town and were absolutely exhausted at the end of the day. If we were to visit again, errr when we visit again, we’ll think about staying right in the heart of the city so we can easily relax mid day before heading out to explore again.

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Hidden in Full View in London, England

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Hidden Attractions

Whilst there are all the obvious tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Bridge and Madame Tussauds, London also hides a wealth of lesser well known and equally enticing attractions. From dinosaur sculptures to tiny churches and intimate encounters with Egyptian archaeology relics to the three devils of St Peter; some of the lesser well known attractions are actually some of the most curious. Also, the British Museum is an amazing place to visit and is almost endlessly entertaining – and the best part? It’s free!

In a smaller place these attractions would on their own draw deserved attraction from visitors but it is like they have fallen throw the holes of a bigger net that has been weighed down with more national museums and galleries than it can handle. To find out more about the hidden nature of some of London’s most exciting attractions search online for Hidden London and read up on some of the secret gems just waiting in the wings.

Images provided by Flickr via @Doug88888 and Anirudh Koul

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Our Top Picks For Holidays In The UK

Our Top Picks For Holidays In The UK

 

The United Kingdom, composed of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, has always been a favourite European tourist destinations. It’s rolling country sides, vibrant cities, iconic landmarks and outstanding history, draw people in from all over the world. It’s the ideal place for a family holiday or relaxing weekend away no matter what time of year you wish to visit. We’ve loved our time in the UK and while London is amazing, if you are in the UK please make sure to travel outside of the city limits and see all there is, you will not be disappointed!

So check out some of the most scenic spots in the UK and think a little outside the box (or city) the next time you travel to the UK and find yourself in the beautiful nature that is the United Kingdom. There are few places on Earth you can travel through such lush landscapes between the sea, mountains, plans and woods, and none with such rich history.

 

Our Top Picks For Holidays In The UK

The Lake District

As England’s largest national park, The Lake District (commonly known as ‘The Lakes’) is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the UK. Situated in the County of Cumbria, this stunning mountainous region is visited by around 14 million tourists each year! If you’re keen on hiking or climbing, this is your spot. With rolling hills and lakes aplenty, this is definitely an area to unleash the explorer in you. Having recently being voted the UK’s most Romantic Destination, this little gem also hold host to England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike) and deepest lake (Wastwater).

Who doesn’t want to experience all the romance of a perfect evening surrounded by beautiful greenery. Sure, England has a ton of rain, but you know what that means…. green everything! Take a chance and plan a summer holiday, you might get a little rain but you’ll never appreciate the sunny days without it!

 

Our Top Picks For Holidays In The UK

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Cornwall

A holiday in Cornwall is perfect for those who want to escape on a relaxing retreat. It’s exquisite natural beauty is incorporated within 296 miles of both coastline and moorland. The peninsula offers golden sandy beaches on the south side and rugged, rocky cliffs on the north. One of the our best recommendations in order to indulge in true Cornish bliss is to stay in a cosy holiday cottage. Not sure weather to go for a quaint cottage or impressive manor house? Check out the fabulous guide from helpful holidays on finding the perfect place to stay. Holiday Cottages offer versatility to have a home away from home – whether that’s by taking along your dog or storing surfboards and kayaks for the next day of adventuring!

Cornwall is one of my favorite places in the UK, and as I have family from the region, I absolutely loved driving through the picturesque towns and villages imaging my relatives living there hundreds of years ago. While it might be easy to get lost along the way, embrace the freedom and simply go where the road takes you, the view will be amazing.

 

Our Top Picks For Holidays In The UK

 

The Scottish Highlands

Our final recommendation for a visit to the UK wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Northwestern parts of glorious Scotland; The Highlands. Whilst it may portray images of men in kilts, tartan and Braveheart, there is much more than meets the eye! For a truly unique experience why not try out Farm Accommodation to really get a taste for agricultural, rural life. If you’re wanting to make life-long friends and discover the ‘true’ heritage of highland crafting and farming, why not take part in the traditions and family lives. With immaculate scenery and a warm country welcome, you will see a whole host of spectacular wildlife including stags, deer, hawks and even seals along the coastline.

So there you have it, some amazing places to visit outside of London and well worth visiting thats for sure. Rent a car, ditch the city for at least a long weekend and venture into some of the most lush, colorful and friendly areas in all of Europe, but bring an umbrella just in case, we always learn the hard way!

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Photos provided in part via Flickr and Martin de Lusenet

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

London, England

Enjoying a Weekend Trip To London

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Visiting Europe without spending at least a weekend in London is like getting an ice cream sundae without adding a cherry on top, it just doesn’t make sense. While we had tight travel plans traveling from Ireland to Italy, we were not about to miss a weekend in London. While London might always sound like an expensive trip there are some great ways, include hotel breaks and city passes and cheap eats to help you enjoy an amazing weekend without breaking the bank.

If you are flying into London, all the major airports offer a wide variety of transportation options into the city. So whether you jump on a train, tram, taxi or bus, London is only a short ride away. The cost of transportation can set you back quite a bit during a trip to the UK, but with excellent options like single or multi day Underground passes and the London City Pass, you’ll surely save some big bucks. We opted for the two day tube pass which let us travel absolutely everywhere we wanted without thinking about it. A day pass might be 9 pounds, but it sure is better than dishing out 4 pounds for each ride.

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“A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else…” -Unknown

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As for hotels in the UK, there are of course endless options. While it is nice to stay right in the middle of London, with the tube and especially the day or city pass, no matter what neighborhood you decide to get a hotel in, you’ll be a short ride to the center of town. We opted to stay in East London an thriving, vibrant part of the city with amazing nightlife a bit away from the tourist areas. Brick Lane offers some of the best Indian food you will ever try outside of India as well as some fun and quirky bars and clubs. We enjoyed amazing kebabs at a Libyan restaurant and then sang and danced the night away on Brick Lane. If you are in the mood to dance, check out the Big Chill for some bumping tunes and if you are in the mood to embarrass yourself, check out The Archers. While you might not want to sing yourself, watching college students make idiots of themselves is good fun, plus there are a couple of old timers who are just as drunk and into it as well.

London, EnglandNo trip to London is complete without visiting all the main tourist attractions like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the British Museum. Lucky for you, the majority of the main tourist attractions are all within easy walking distance from each other. Even though it was a classic rainy, wet and windy UK weekend when we were in town, we still managed to walk to all the main sites without getting too soaked. If you find yourself by Westminster Abbey make sure to walk over the bridge and check out the London Eye, quite an amazing ferris wheel and if you chose to take a trip and it is a clear day, you will get amazing views of the city from the top.

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The most important thing to enjoying a weekend trip to London is taking advantage of all the amazing things the city has to offer. Plan you trip, find the best hotel breaks, book in advance, take public transportation and get off the beaten path to find the best hole in the wall restaurants. London is one of the most vibrant, historic a fascinating cities in all of Europe so no matter how close of far you are, a weekend trip to London will always be worth it – we’ll even cross our fingers for you that its sunny!

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Webloyalty Predicts your Travel Plans for 2014

Webloyalty Predicts your Travel Plans for 2014

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With so many people struggling with the economic struggles of the last few years, we are excited to speak with Webloyalty about their predictions for travel trends in 2014. We actually ended up moving abroad for a full time life of travel instead of cutting back our holiday time each year. The fact is, that while many countries are struggling financially, the vast majority of people still find the time and the money to travel. So what are the trends suggesting people will do with their vacation in 2014 and where will they go? We were interested in what Webloyalty found and where people were most likely to go this year. So, where are you going in 2014?

 

Webloyalty research reveals that 68% of people in the UK plan to take some sort of holiday or break this year. Here are the most popular choices:

  • Beach holiday abroad (26% of us are planning one of these)
  • Day trips in the UK (20%)
  • City break abroad (17%)
  • Staycation in the UK (17%)
  • Active holiday abroad (6%)

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Webloyalty Predicts your Travel Plans for 2014

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The Webloyalty study clearly shows the change of behaviour between 2013 and 2014. For example, more people are going abroad, and less people are staying in the UK. This may reflect a change in attitudes towards disposable income following the recession, but could also indicate more flexibility around travel deals and cheaper flights.

How much are you planning to spend?

People are clearly inclined to splash out on travel this year, as 35% of respondents said they would be spending more on their holidays in 2014, compared to 2013. 27% of us will be spending more on flights and 21% of people will be spending more on accommodation.

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Webloyalty Predicts your Travel Plans for 2014

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Holiday Irritations

When it comes to complaining about their trips, UK travellers came up with some gems when Webloyalty compiled this research study.  Some results were to be expected, for example 16% of us dislike airport queues and 14% of people complain about lack of leg-room on a flight. However the more unusual complaints included “bad weather” (11% complained about this), “insects” (7.5%) and also “rude waiters” (3%) and “over-attentive waiters” (2.5%).

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Thoughts about Flying

When asked about flights, a whopping 47% of respondents agreed that “flying is a means to an end so I try to save as much money as possible on flights”. On the other hand, 13% of us are planning to use more high priced airlines such as British Airways over the next year.

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This Webloyalty research study looks at Travel and Leisure Habits in 2014, investigating what we’re planning for the holiday season:  Travel & Leisure 2014: A Webloyalty Research Report

For more travel and retail research, follow Webloyalty’s blog www.webloyaltyuk.com or Twitter: @WebloyaltyUK

Latitude 34 Guide To Ireland

Visiting Ireland has always been pretty high up there on my bucket list. Coming from Los Angeles, I was always drawn to the history and the lush green countryside that contrast the concrete city I am from. While in Thailand, Jeff and I became good friends with an Irish couple that is our same age. When they invited us to come visit them in Ireland we jumped at the opportunity.

 

Marina drinks her first Guinness!
Marina drinks her first Guinness!

 

Ireland is such a beautiful country and we learned so much about Irish history during our 8 days there. If you haven’t seen the movie “Michael Collins”, we highly recommend you do before your trip to Ireland. It helps explain a lot about the vast history and importance behind Irish pride.

 

Irish History-

In summery, Ireland was controlled by the British from 1800-1912 until they fought for their freedom in xxxx. Many Irish fought and died for the idea of the Republic of Ireland and eventually that may or may not have become a reality depending on who you ask. The British agreed to end the war as long as they kept control over what is now Northern Ireland, which today remains loyal to The Queen and British controlled while Ireland is their own republic. Many Irish didn’t like this arrangement while others just wanted the war to be over and saw this treaty as a stepping stone to their independence. Due to this disagreement, a Civil War ensued splitting the two countries even further. There still remains some hostility in Northern Ireland by the NRA who are always fighting and trying to complete the ideal of a true Irish Republic.

 

Things To Do-

With so much history in Ireland there are so many things to do and experience. Although we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to here are some of the things we did that we really enjoyed!

 

The Guinness Storehouse

A must take photo at the Guinness Storehouse.
A must take photo at the Guinness Storehouse.

Cheers! Loving our free Guinness in the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse!

 

Visiting the Guinness brewery, which is called The Guinness Storehouse, is a must even if you don’t drink. The Guinness Storehouse is set up almost like an amusement park and has a lot of information about how the famous dark stout is made and about how Arthur Guinness invented the popular Irish beer. The inside of the building is the world’s largest pint glass which consumes all of the seven story building.  If this glass was to actually be filled with Guinness it would take 14.3 million pints to do so. At the top of the Storehouse there is a gravity bar where you can enjoy a free Guinness and overlook the city of Dublin. In order to enter the Guinness Storehouse and see everything it has to offer, it cost €16.50 ($22.49 USD) however if you purchase your tickets online it only costs €14.85 ($20.24).

 

The Tasting Experience
The Tasting Experience

 

If you end up going be sure to check out the Tasting Experience. Not only do you get a small glass of Guinness, but you are lead into a room that resembles something inside of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The room is all white with 4 smoky towers and a bar with, of course, Guinness on tap. There they will explain the 4 main ingredients which are the 4 towers of vapor, each giving off the sent of the ingredient. Then you will be lead into a darker room where they explain the correct way to drink a Guinness and experience the full flavor of the beer.

 

 

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Marina Dominguez Latitude 34

Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

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