5 Amazing British Golf Courses

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in B&B, Hotel, Places to visit | Posted on 19-10-2011

The Old Course at St Andrews Links dates back to the 15th century and is famous for being the oldest golf course in the world. It is home to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, closely linked to the R&A, and has held The Open (known as the British Open outside the UK) a total of 28 times. Of the 18 holes, the Road Hole is maybe the most memorable. Players tee off by clearing a corner of The Old Course Hotel, and with hazards including an old stone wall and a tarmac road, this 17th hole stretches the meaning of ‘crazy golf’ to new dimensions. Five other 18-hole courses, and a nine-hole course alongside them, make St Andrews Links the largest public golf complex in Europe and provide golfing opportunities for beginners and old hands alike. There is also a wide variety of accommodation available here, ranging from campsites and B&Bs to a 5-star hotel.

Another historic Scottish course used in rotation for The Open is Muirfield in East Lothian, where the course was originally designed by legendary golfer Old Tom Morris in the 19th century. The course overlooks the Firth of Forth, and is home to The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the oldest organised golf club in the world.

If it’s a diamond in the rough you’re after, you could have a shot at Machrihanish Old Course on the western edge of the far-flung Kintyre Peninsula. With the Atlantic crashing away over your left shoulder and a seemingly endless stretch of beach to negotiate, the opening hole here has been described as the finest in Scotland, if not the world. Accommodation is available in the village of Machrihanish, although Campbeltown might provide a good base to explore other coastal courses in the area (including Machrihanish Dunes and Dunaverty) and serve as a starting point for trips to the islands of Arran and Islay which also have courses with stunning views of the ocean (and world-famous distilleries to loosen the joints).

Back on the fairway, Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, Kent, was the first course to host The Open outside Scotland, and since then has seen a further 13 of these Championships unfold, including the 2011 competition. The undulating dunes and holes of the Club also provide the setting for the annual Challenge Trophy, one of the oldest trophies in golf. There are a number of Open venues along this coastline and plenty of hotels, so a nice relaxing golf weekend may well be on the scorecard.

And out into the rough again…the very hilly Church Course at St Enodoc Golf Club in Cornwall is set among towering sand dunes, one of which, known as the ‘Himalayas’, rises over 75 feet into the air. Some of the holes have more moorland and inland flavours, bringing variety to this seaside course. The course takes its name from a tiny 12th century church tucked away behind the 10th green where former poet laureate John Betjeman is buried.

All of these amazing courses could form part of a fantastic golfing tour of the UK. London car hire with Expedia makes this a hassle-free option for those starting their journeys in the country’s capital.

Great seaside resorts on the Isle of Wight

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in Places to visit | Posted on 14-10-2011

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For many of us, the Isle of Wight encapsulates the great British seaside holiday…. ice creams, sandy beaches and family fun. So if you are heading to the Isle of Wight for your holidays you will find the main resorts on the east side of island, including:

  • Sandown and Shanklin. Two of the island’s eastern resorts that offer sandy beaches and are holiday maker favourites. The Sandown resort has plenty going on with nightly entertainment in the summer, a pleasure pier with amusements (the only one on the island) and the Isle of Wight zoo. Shanklin, just across the Sandown Bay, has a wonderfully pretty Old Village with thatched cottages and delightful tea rooms. And, a must see is Shanklin Chine, a winding pathway around a wooded coastal ravine containing waterfalls, trees and lush vegetation.
  • Ventnor. Considered as one of the sunnier spots on the Isle of Wight, Ventnor and its suburbs of Bonchurch and St Lawrence is built on the slopes of St Boniface Down which is the island’s highest point. You can have a pleasant stroll beside the bay and beach along Ventnor’s esplanade at the end of which you will also find the popular Botanical Gardens.
  • Ryde. Located in the north east of the Isle of Wight, Ryde is the largest of all the towns on the island. With mile upon mile of sandy beaches and a pier, the Victorian town is popular with tourists.

There is a great selection of Isle of Wight Hotels and guest house accommodation to choose from as well as some great campsites and holiday parks, but please note that accommodation books up quickly around the main Isle of Wight festivals and Cowes Week in August.

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, the home of Shakespeare

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in B&B, News, Places to visit, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Warwickshire | Posted on 30-09-2011

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As every car sign tells you as soon as you on the approach the county, Warwickshire is Shakespeare Country. So not surprisingly, therefore Warwickshire visitors flock in their thousands to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the various Shakespeare sites including the Birthplace Museum (visitor centre and museum), Holy Trinity Church (where Shakespeare is buried) and the various theatres.

Stratford itself is actually quite an unassuming market town although a lot of it is now given over to the tourist trade.  However, don’t let the tourism stop you exploring the quaint streets, just try to avoid the middle of the day when it is most crowded!

Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon

Of course, while in Stratford-upon-Avon you should see some theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company really does offer superb quality theatre.  The RSC work on a reportory system so if you are staying a few days in the area you will be able to see many different plays and they not neccessarily all Shakespeare plays.

Anne Hathaway’s cottage and Mary Arden’s House

Although not in the heart of Stratford, but still worth a visit are Anne Hathaway’s cottage at Shottery and Mary Arden’s House at Wilmcote.  Anne Hathaway’s cottage was her home before she married Shakespeare and is well preserved farmhouse which is still furnished as it would have been in 1852.  Mary Arden was Shakespeares mother and the house she inherited as an unmarried mother is a great example of an Elizabethan farmhouse and provides a fascinating view of family life in this period.

Food and accommodation in Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon is at the heart of England and is easily reached by air (nearest airport Birmingham International), road (M40), train (trains direct from London) and bus/coach. Being a popular tourist destination means that is well served in pubs, cafes, bar and restaurants.  In terms of accommodation, there are a great selection of B&B’s and guest houses that offer good value for over night stays and short breaks.  See a selection of B&B’s in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Beyond Stratford-upon-Avon

There is plenty to explore in Warwickshire beyond Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare.  Our favourite is Warwick, just 8 miles away, and in particular the fabulous Warwick Castle.  Often considered the best medieval castles in Britain, Warwick Castle is an impressive site and in excellent condition… although historians will point out that it has been aided by ‘work’ during the 19th Century.

There is also some wonderful countryside and waterways to explore in Warwickshire once you get away from the towns and off the beaten track.

Sheffield – a City reborn

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in B&B, Hotel | Posted on 15-09-2011

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Sheffield, it seems, will forever be thought of as the UK’s steel city. At its peak it was at the forefront of the World’s steel production and a technological leader – there was barely a home in Britain with out Sheffield stainless steel cutlery.

Sadly, when this industry went in to decline in the 1980’s it was like the heart was ripped out of the City and it took many years for Sheffield to recover. However, Sheffield has experienced a re-generation that makes this City proud once again and definitely worth a visit.

The revival and regeneration has focussed on creating impressive architectural projects, gardens and buildings across the City. Of course, the spirit of the steel and industrial heritage can still be seen throughout the City and of course reflected in the many museums.

If you are heading to South Yorkshire then there are a good selection of Hotels in Sheffield, as well as guest houses and B&B’s to choose from. Many are within walking distance of the popular Winter Gardens and the Millennium Galleries.

For snooker fans, Sheffield simply means the Crucible, home to the World Championships for the last 30 plus years. Of course when not a snooker venue, the Crucible is a theatre which hosts among other things the annual Music in the Round festival of chamber music in May.

Sheffield also has a thriving café and restaurant scene which offer a good value lunch and night out, as well as clubs and bars you would expect in Yorkshire’s second city.

Great UK Holiday Destinations

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in News, Places to visit | Posted on 07-08-2011

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With more and more people worrying about finances one of the first places that takes a cut is the holiday budget. What most people don’t realise is that there are plenty of great holiday destinations right here on our doorstep in the UK that are great value for money.

The best way to get the most for your money even when holidaying in the UK is to take time with your preparation, do your research and make sure you are getting the best value for money.

Despite being close to home if you are going away make sure you take out an adequate travel insurance as if you don’t it can end up costing you a lot more in the long-run if anything were to go wrong, for more information on travel insurance policies click here

If you’re stuck for ideas on where to go, here are some great UK holiday destinations to help you decide:

Chester

Chester is a favourite with overseas travellers who come from far and wide to see the fantastic Tudor buildings and walk around the remains of the Roman walls that surround the city. As a holiday destination, Chester can be overlooked by others in the UK but it has a lot to offer holidaymakers of all ages.

For the children, there is Chester Zoo, one of the best zoos in the country which is fantastic for a fun filled day out, for the history lovers there is the stunning roman remains and tours run daily so you don’t miss out on any of the sights. For the shopping lovers there are fantastic stores both designer and high street on the famous 2 level shopping ‘The Rows.’ A great all round destination suitable for everyone whether you be travelling as a family, couple or group of friends.

Scottish Highlands

If you’re longing to get away from it all, a trip to the Scottish Highlands can allow you to do just that, not only can you feel a million miles from home, you can also feel like you and your party are the only people on the planet in this peaceful location.

If you like all things outdoors, the highlands are for you, hiking, fishing, canoeing and rock climbing to name a few, are all available on your doorstep. If your children are into outdoor activities or you just feel like some time away as a family this is a great place to come with the kids. Likewise if you a couple wanting a romantic break, a cosy highland cottage with real log fire is a great place to block out the rest of world.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a great place to choose for a UK holiday destination, being off the mainland you really feel as though you are going further than you really are and this little island has some big attractions. There are 8 award winning beaches on the Isle of Wight so it’s a great place to sunbathe and enjoy the sea in the good weather. So good in fact you could be excused for thinking you were overseas!

Another great attraction on the island is the Isle of Wight Festival, held annually over 3 days usually in June, this years headliners included Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and Kasabian. After 3 days spent at the festival why not spend another few days relaxing and recovering on one of the nearby beautiful beaches.

A wealth of possibilities – long weekends in the U.K.

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in News, Places to visit | Posted on 30-06-2011

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The U.K. holidays market is well geared up for long weekends and short breaks. It is usually possible to get a booking for the accommodation that you require for just a few days, without having to take the whole week, and this is particularly true of U.K. holidays accommodation like B & Bs, and the holiday parks run by operators like Park Resorts. Long weekends can of course be economical in terms of annual leave, especially when there is a bank holiday thrown in, and provide a welcome break that doesn’t require major planning.

Over the last decade or so, there has been a massive increase in the number of festivals running in the U.K, particularly in the summer months, and these often present the perfect opportunity for a memorable long weekend. The large music festivals like Glastonbury and Reading have of course been established for years, but have now been joined by an ever increasing number of smaller, specialist festivals throughout Britain.

You can now find small festivals that focus on a range of music and other arts, from folk, jazz and blues, to boutique affairs that present a range of music and art like the larger festivals, but in a more intimate atmosphere. Dedicated dance music festivals present the opportunity for the sleepless variety of long weekend, while real ale and beer festivals can pretty much guarantee that you’ll get several sound sleeps during your time away!

For those that are keen to take part in leisure activities that are also positively good for the health, activity breaks can also make the long weekend an event to remember. While you have to have a certain kind of iron constitution to get into the water for activities like surfing off the coast of Britain, there are plenty of well established dry land activities like cycling and bouldering that can raise the heart rate and provide some adrenalin packed thrills. We are thankfully blessed in the U.K. with many well organised and suitably certified operators who can provide instruction, equipment and a proper safety regime for those wishing to try new adventure sports. The only thing that can’t be guaranteed if avoiding the rain!

For those that prefer luxury to getting sweaty, a long weekend focusing on a tour of gastronomic treats can be just what the doctor ordered, in a figurative sense. Courtesy of the food revolution, there are now many top quality restaurants throughout the U.K, many focussing o serving up the best of British produce, such as the world class seafood found around many coastal areas, and in particular, off the coast of Scotland.

Relaxing holiday by the Sea at Newquay: stay at The Three Tees at Newquay Cornwall

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in B&B, Hotel, Places to visit | Posted on 23-06-2011

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Ideally located only a few minutes walk from the popular family beach at Lusty Glaze, Newquay and with easily accessible Porth Beach a few hundred yards further along the coast, The Three Tees is the ideal base for a relaxing holiday by the sea or perfect for a surfing short break.

The South West Coastal path runs along the headland behind the hotel, and a short walk across the Bronze-Age Barrowfields brings you into Newquay town centre. Tolcarne, Great Western and Towan beaches stretch towards the picturesque harbour, while the famous surfing beach of Fistral is situated at the end of town.

Thanks to its central location, Newquay also makes a great base for exploring the magnificent natural scenery and world class attractions to be found in Cornwall.

The Three Tees is a family-run nine bedroom licensed hotel with ample off-street parking, situated in the quiet Lusty Glaze area of Newquay.  The hotel is just a short walk to the beach, and 10/15 mins walk to the town centre.

The atmosphere at The Three Tees is relaxed and friendly – children & pets are most welcome. Resident proprietors Greg and Fiona look forward to extending you a warm welcome.

Bustling and Vibrant and Brighton – stay at Griffin Guest House

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in Places to visit | Posted on 08-02-2011

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Brighton is undoubtedly one of the most colourful, vibrant and creative cities in the UK, if not Europe. It has grown beyond its Regency heritage into a cosmopolitan, fun, energetic, unique, historic, young, exotic and free-spirited city on the south coast of England.For visitors to Brighton there is so much to see and do for young an old. For visitors to Brighton, East Sussex there is so much to see and do for young an old.

Built for the Prince of Wales the wonderfully decadent Royal Pavilion is a must see and is just as impressive oriental and exotic inspired interior.  Next stop is the old shopping streets known as the Lanes where you will find antique shops, designer shops, bars and restuarants in these narrow streets. The North Laine area has grown significantly in recent years incorporating theatres, bars and restaurants, arts and becoming the centre of the vibrant metropolitan nightlife.

The seafront itself is dominated by entertainment complexes and hotels, including the Grand Hotel, and the developed Brighton Pier that now includes amusement rides and bars.  The remains of the West Pier can still be seen.

Just an hour from London, Brighton is also close to the South Downs and so you are only a short drive from the peaceful countryside.

If you are looking to stay in the centre of Brighton, then look no further than the Griffin Guest House in the popular central area of Kemp Town. The Griffin is a Georgian Townhouse in the heart of Brighton, East Sussex,  just a few yards from St. James St. and also just off the seafront, you can be on the Pier in less than two minutes.

The Griffin has undergone a thorough renovation in recent times and offers clean modern accommodation, lodged in a charming building dating from 1760, the hotel has nine rooms, each with its own en suite Whirlpool bath or shower.

Lincoln… cathedral, castle and lots more

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in News, Places to visit | Posted on 08-02-2011

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If you are looking to explore Lincolnshire, the most obvious place to base yourself is the old and relaxed city of Lincoln.

The cathedral dominates the city vista and is a popular attraction alongside the castle which is home to one of the 4 remaining copies of the Magna Carta.  As Lincoln was once a Roman City you will find bits of history scattered across the City but most of the interesting areas to tourists is in the Uphill area including the best of the pubs and restaurants.  Lincoln is a great base to explore Lincolnshire with the Wolds and the Coast all being within easy reach.

If you are looking for a comfortable base for your visit then the Gables Guest House on the outskirts of Lincoln, and also only 10 minutes from Newark at the A1, is perfect. 4 star accommodation, with six quality en-suite bedrooms, all individually decorated and thoughtfully equipped and free Wi Fi internet access.  Gables Guest House has an a-la-carte breakfast menu which is served at individual tables in the attractive dining room.

Beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – stay at Belhaven House, Milford Haven, Wales

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Posted by B&B Blogger | Posted in Places to visit | Posted on 04-11-2010

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The Pembrokeshire Coast is uniquely a British National Park that is predominantly sea based.  Formed back in 1952, the Pembrokeshire National Park is uusual in that is less of a clearly defined Park rather than a stretch of coastline on the western edge of Wales.  At its heart is the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path which is 186 miles of glorious cliff top views.

The most popular stretch of the path is from the Castle at Manorbier to the cliff chapel at Bosherston on the southern stretch but you will find wonders, great craggy scenery throughout your route.

If you are looking for a good base in Pembrokeshire, South Wales then check out Belhave House Hotel in Milford Haven.  You will be following in some famous footsteps as celebrities to have stayed their include Lord Dennis Healey (former Chancellor), Liz Dawn(Vera Duckworth), Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (solo-circumnavigator), Sian Phillips ( I, Claudius), Humphrey Lyttelton & his Band.

There is also a bit of history to Belhaven…

Milford Haven was built as a Whaling Station for the fleet of Quaker(American) Whalers that plied the Antarctic oceans.  To escape heavy taxes, they moved from Nantucket,USA to Newfoundland, Canada and on to Milford. So these houses, built to their plans, are of Canadian design, and the almost exact originals can be seen in St.Johns. The arch above, seen throughout Pembrokeshire, is a Canadian arch.

This move was to place them close to London, the richest market in the world, for their whitest of white candles, made from the whale oil. This house belonged to the surgeon to the Whaling fleet. It is some measure of his wealth & standing that he could afford to live in the same street as the shipowners.