The UK may not be the most obvious of locations for surfing but recent decades have seen surfing become one of the most exciting water sports on English shores. Cornwall is undoubtedly the place to be for surfing in the UK, with more top surf beaches than you can shake a stick (or surf board) at. Here the Atlantic Ocean rolls onto golden beaches creating some of the best surfing conditions in Europe. So, slip on your wet suit, grab a board, and head to Cornwall to splash in the waves!
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When you’re thinking of somewhere for a great holiday, Cardiff may not be the first place you think of. But the Welsh capital is far from just the place to watch the rugby or for a stag do, look a little closer and you’ll be surprised by what you find!
The best thing about choosing a cottage holiday in Cardiff is that once you’ve made it to the city, you can reach virtually everything on foot or by public transport. So, where to begin? Cardiff Castle which dominates the city centre has to be your first port of call. There’s more than 2000 years of history on this site and your day here will fly by. Families will also want to visit the unusual Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay where the popular children’s author Roald Dahl was christened and today hosts a range of arts events. Fans of Dr Who flock to Cardiff hoping for a glimpse of the doctor and his assistant or more likely to check out the Dr Who Experience in Cardiff Bay. By just walking through the city centre you’re sure to spot some of the famous haunts of the Doctor; try Cardiff Castle or The Senedd in Cardiff Bay. If you’re into sport, no visit to Cardiff would be complete without catching a match. Rugby at the Millennium Stadium is an unmissable experience especially as chants of Delilah echo round the ground.
Cardiff is a great place to sample the very best food Wales has to offer. The central market is your best bet with incredibly fresh laverbread and cockles on display next to delicious Welsh lamb. If you’re more of a sweet tooth, head deeper into the market where sugar-dusted Welsh cakes are baked before your eyes. Pick up some groceries from the market for an easy lunch at your Wales holiday cottage. Wander through the quirky Victorian arcades which wind through the city centre and discover several independent eateries. From a delicatessen bursting with more cheeses than you can shake a stick at to the best pasta you’ll find outside of Italy, there’s no doubt your mouth will be watering! For a more cosmopolitan flavour, try Mermaid Quay at Cardiff Bay which has a great range bars and restaurants to choose from whilst you watch the sun go down.
Escape the city
If you get bored of city life, the Welsh countryside offers plenty to keep outdoors lovers of all ages entertained just a short journey from the capital. A great way to experience the nearby Brecon Beacons from Cardiff is by bike; catch the bus with bike trailer from the city and in less than a couple of hours you can be on two wheels in one the UK’s most stunning National Parks. Cycle the mainly traffic-free Taff Trail back to Cardiff along which the area’s mining heritage and outdoors life collide or just head home on the bus at the end of the day. Or, find a holiday cottage in the Brecon Beacons and make the most of wonderful countryside on your doorstep. Barry Island is another popular choice for a day trip especially with families or those on the trail of sitcom ‘Gavin and Stacey’. Experience all the fun of the fair and a traditional seaside holiday with stripy deckchairs, amusement arcades and a tasty portion of fish and chips; delicious!
Has this got you thinking about a holiday to Wales? Check out our great range of holiday properties throughout Wales today and look forward to your next holiday!
Ask a foreigner about British food and they’ll trot out the same usual clichés…fish and chips, roast beef and a fry up. But, delve a little deeper into British cuisine and you’ll find our nation choc-full of excellent local produce and tasty regional dishes. And, we’re a growing nation of ‘foodies’ with many of us frequenting farm shops, fancy delis and food festivals throughout the year. So, sit back and enjoy a little taste of some of the more unusual treats the UK has to offer…
While Cornwall may be more famous for the pasty or the traditional cream tea, Stargazey Pie is well deserving of a place on the region’s food map. Legend has it that in the 1500s the harbour of Mousehole was shut due to a huge storm. During a temporary lull in the storm, a local man by the name of Tom Bawcock managed to catch enough fish to keep the village from starving. The Stargazey Pie was made in his honour and Tom Bawcock’s Eve is still celebrated with great enthusiasm on December 23rd. The pastry lid of this pie is pierced by the heads and tails of mackerel or pilchards gazing at the stars with a filling of fish, potatoes and eggs. Visit this part of Cornwall just before Christmas and apart from tasting the best Stargazey Pie around, you’ll also find the harbour and surrounding houses decorated to the nines for Christmas.
You may well assume that butter is an ingredient for pastry rather than a flavouring, but head to the North West of England and prepare to be proven wrong. Created for Lancashire workers to eat on a Friday, the pie is also known as ‘Catholic Pie’ or ‘Friday Pie’ and contains potatoes, onions and of course, butter. The pie remains popular today with Lancashire locals eager for a taste of years gone by. Enjoy a Lancashire holiday with a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, award-winning golf courses and of course, the butter pie!
Traditionally a Shropshire favourite more than 400 years ago, Fidget Pie now graces the menus of fancy gastro pubs the length and breadth of the UK. In reality, this is the Shropshire equivalent of the Cornish pasty; a portable lunch for farm labourers bringing in the harvest. The traditional fidget pie is pastry filled with a combination of gammon, cheese, apples and cider topped with a pastry lid. The modern version is sometimes topped with mustard mashed potato but whichever you try it’s sure to be delicious. Find the birthplace of the Fidget Pie in the foodie capital of Shropshire, Ludlow where you’ll also find a very popular food festival which is held each September within the castle grounds. Find a holiday cottage in Shropshire and make the most of the tempting delights on offer.
Choose a self-catering holiday cottage in the UK or Ireland and spend your time bouncing from farmer’s market to cosy tearoom to award-winning restaurant; I can’t think of a better way to spend a few days in the UK.
The festive period is always one of excess and come January everyone is thinking about how to lose those Christmas pounds. Instead of signing up for a pricey gym membership, why not think about getting into the great outdoors to shift some of those inevitable Christmas pounds. Choose one of the extreme challenges in the UK and really give yourself a target to work towards, I guarantee you’ll be pleased you did!
The good news is that most of the big events take place in some of the most stunning landscapes of the UK. So it’s a fantastic excuse to pack up the whole family for a short break or family holiday in the UK. Plus you’ll have a ready made fan club to support you during the challenge with the bonus of a great holiday at the end.
Fred Whitton Challenge
This is a one-day 112 cycle event held annually in the Lake District to commemorate the life of Fred Whitton, a former secretary of the Lakes Cycle Club. The ride starts and finishes at Coniston and takes in some of the most challenging climbs throughout the Lake District such as Kirkstone, Whinlatter and the Hardknott Pass. The annual event takes place in May every year but the route can now also be completed 365 days a year by yourself or as part of a team. Either way, it’s an incredibly challenging but rewarding ride. Choose one of our Lake District holiday cottages for a thoroughly deserved break to relax in after the ride.
Don’t be put off by the name but Hell Runner is the ultimate in trail running. There are four events across the country where runners compete in at least a ten mile run across challenging terrain. Get prepared for lots of steep hills, boggy conditions and running tracks and not a single distance marker in sight! Try the one held in Staffordshire in February 2013 which takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Trentham Gardens. You’ll finish very wet and very muddy but also extremely proud. Relax in front of a roaring fire in your holiday cottage in the Peak District or perhaps choose a cottage with a hot tub to soothe your aching muscles.
The 14 Peaks
You’ve all heard of ‘The 3 Peaks Challenge’, an attempt to climb the highest peak in England, Wales and Scotland in 24 hours. More extreme is the 14 Peaks Challenge which sees participants attempt to climb each of the 3000 feet high mountains in Wales in a 24 mile route from Snowdon to Foel Fras. The 24 year record of 4 hours and 19 minutes is held by an experienced hill runner but at walking pace the challenge is usually completed in between 12 and 24 hours. Climb each peak in a single journey and you’ll go down in history. What an achievement! Choose a cosy cottage in the Snowdonia National Park and enjoy your surroundings at a much slower pace.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign yourself up for a challenge, get training over the winter and enjoy a great holiday next year!