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Inspiration and handy tips for future holiday spots!

Woolacombe, Devon – The U.K. Summer Holiday by Greg Beavis

Shoestring budget? Want a hassle free holiday? Want to have sun, sea and sandy beaches? Well, a U.K. based holiday may be the one for you, more specifically the West Country. Of course language is still a barrier, but you will eventually get used to the sultry tones and quiet mumblings that characterise the area. All you need to begin a holiday in Woolacombe is a tent, swimming kit and a railcard or car. Plus, maybe some friends…

Why Go To Woolacombe?

Woolacombe has one of the best beaches in the U.K.  Tripadvisor ranked it number one in 2015, it was subsequently ranked fourth in Europe and a whooping thirteenth in the world! Sweeping across the horizon, it is easy to see why. The 3-mile long beach offers plenty of options for fun and games. There is also a small amusement area on the beach, however this is tailored towards children. arts

 

For something more age friendly, surfing is a popular pastime in Woolacombe. For between £16-£30 you can go surfing for the day. Taking your own wetsuit can be a good way to save money, if this is what you are interested in doing. Be wary however, you must be 18 to hire surf kit and you must provide a deposit.

Accommodation

The cheapest, and therefore, the best way to stay whilst in Woolacombe is to camp. There are many good campsites from which to choose. One that is aimed at a party type weekend is Europa Holiday park (http://www.europapark.co.uk/). This is an affordable choice and is in a good location to stay. It has all amenities and is very close to the beach and local pubs. For a slightly less party vibe then Woolacombe Sands and Golden Sands both provide another option (http://www.woolacombe-sands.co.uk/) (https://www.woolacombe.co.uk/devon-holiday-parks/golden-coast). Both of these are also close to the beach and local pubs, and have all of your local amenities. However, there are many options to choose from, so have a look around!

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Travel

It is possible to travel by train. If you get to Barnstaple train station there is a bus service, the 303, to Woolacombe. Yet, this is the countryside and these buses will not run regularly. So organise early to avoid long waits. Alternatively, you can go by car. But, be aware that most campsites will charge nightly for a car. Also, you may encounter some local problems that may extend your journey time… 

Overall, Woolacombe offers a pleasant stay, good scenery and a relaxing time. Unless you’re really late and you bump into a herd of cows…

 

Travelling the West Coast of the USA – by Georgia Brown

When I did Camp America this summer I was given the opportunity to travel anywhere I wanted in the USA, and I was spoilt for choice. Should I explore the Big Apple? Should I take myself back to my childhood and visit the theme parks of Orlando? Should I appreciate some of the world’s natural wonders in Yellowstone National Park?

Well, I could do all of that and more, and I didn’t even have to travel far. The west coast has it all.

Best nightlife: Las Vegas

Best nightlife: Las Vegas

Best Nightlife:

Las Vegas. Enough said. Even if you are under the legal drinking age of 21 (like I was) there is still plenty to do on a night time in Vegas.

Visit the Bellagio hotel, where there is an impressive fountain display every half hour. Take your trip to new heights by enjoying the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower. For the adrenaline junkies among you, ride the famous New York New York rollercoaster. Go for dinner at ‘Dicks Last Resort’ where the waiters are actually paid to be rude to you. If you’re willing to splash a little more cash, go and see one of the many shows that are on offer, for example the world famous magicians Penn and Teller or perhaps Jersey Boys. So much to do so little time!

Best beach city

Best beach city: Santa Monica

Best Beach City:

Santa Monica really is a lively place to be as the sun goes down. After an exhausting day seeing the sights of Hollywood, visit Santa Monica to chill out and have a good time. The Santa Monica Pier is home to a really fun theme park with rides and arcade games galore. Watch the sunset from the beach or model for a caricature artist.

Best Theme Park:

There really is only one answer here: Disneyland. If you arrive when the park first opens at 9am, you get to properly enjoy the first few hours before the queues become too long and the weather too hot. As it was the parks 60 year anniversary, the fireworks display and water fountain displays were even more magical than usual. There’s nowhere else in the world I would rather spend a solid 14 hours.

Best themepark

Best theme park: Disneyland

Best Landmark:

The Golden Gate Bridge really is quite remarkable. It may just be a bridge, but it is San Francisco’s most iconic landmark. The 2 hour bike ride from Pier 39 to the other side of the bridge is worth it for those spectacular views and Instagram likes. If you’re organised enough to plan in advance, a trip to Alkatraz Prison (the real life Azkaban Prison) is highly recommended.

Best campsite: Lake Tahoe

Best campsite: Lake Tahoe

Best Campsite:

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful mountainous setting; a perfect escape from the busy cities. Pitch your tent in one of the many campsites overlooking the lake, have a barbecue, light a fire and simply enjoy a lovely relaxed evening in stunning surroundings. Take a dip in the lake itself or go for a bike ride to appreciate all this area has to offer.

Best Hike:

If you’re interested in a more active trip, visit Yosemite. This national park is so expansive; it takes 2 hours just to drive from its boundaries to the main village. There are plenty of hikes to choose from, but for those looking for a slightly less painful trek then I’d suggest the Mist Trail Hike. This only takes a couple of hours, the views are great and the mist from the waterfall is nice and cooling.

Best hike: Yosemite

Best hike: Yosemite

Best Natural Landmark:

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, and rightly so. Waking up at 4am to watch the sunrise over this magnificent landscape was truly breath-taking. There is a more expensive visitor centre to visit with a glass walkway, but for those on a tighter budget there are plenty more viewpoints spread around the canyon. This is definitely one to tick off your bucket list.

Ambling Through Antalya by Hanah Catt

When you think of Turkey, the first place that comes to mind is the hustle and bustle of the city of Istanbul. Now Istanbul is a jaw-dropping city in its own right, but at the same time it can be overwhelming. I had six days. Too short of a period to be able to fully uncover the pleasures of Istanbul. I needed somewhere quaint, but still bursting with places to explore, culture to immerse myself in, food to indulge in and somewhere with rich history to let my inner history nerd run free. So where could I go for my impromptu holiday? After browsing the ever so helpful Google, I was sparked by intrigue with the city of Antalya.

Panoramic view of Aspendos Theatre

Panoramic view of Aspendos Theatre

Visiting a city that is not the country’s capital has its perks; you get a real sense of the country – you get to experience the people behind the tourist front, the variety of culture, getting to discover places that you wouldn’t typically see and it’s also kind on your wallet (you don’t have to experience ridiculously inflated prices that you find in a tourist populated area).

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It was the ideal location to stay in Kaleici (the old town). The dynamic atmosphere was composed of cute cobbled stone streets, cosy cafes and you were never too far away from a fresh cup of coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice (oh heaven!). A lovely stroll through the Ataturk boulevard, you get to see the comical art instillations; it’s Roman statuary with a modern twist. You also get to see the dramatic ancient entrance to the city, Hadrian’s Gate. The Roman gate features three extravagant arches constructed of marble.

Hadrian’s Gate

Hadrian’s Gate

Walking through the small narrow roads, I ended up to the scenic harbour. I was then reminded by the advertisement I heard earlier promoting travelling to Turkey – “The word ‘Turquoise’ comes from the word ‘Turkish.’” The Marina allows you to witness breath-taking views of the vibrant turquoise sea whilst having your taste buds excited from the mouth-watering food the restaurants have to offer.

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Now for all you history nerds out there that love exploring historical sites, Antalya contains a multitude of ancient ruins such as the extravagant Aspendos theatre or the site Perge (which used to be one of the most thriving cities of the ancient world). You can also see excellent exhibitions at the Antalya archaeological Museum that is a short ride on the tram from the Old Town. The museum contains a vast collection of remarkably preserved artefacts from the Hellenistic to the Ottoman period.

Deities slayin’ in the museum

Deities slayin’ in the museum

One of my favourite activities was going through the little markets and bazaars that were dotted all across the town. My favourite in particular was the hidden market underneath the Marina that sold quirky trickets and items. I was also bemused by the series of stalls and shops selling viagra by the bucket load. Not to mention the variety of fertility objects being sold. Also, being a female I was bombarded with marriage proposals. I mean there isn’t a connection there, right? Besides my entertaining encounters, it was all a good laugh and I found out how much I am worth in the amounts of carpets (obviously helpful knowledge).

Look out for Part Two next week!