Get Wild with an Amazing Winter Vacation to South Africa

 

Looking for a cooler place to visit in summer? Still want an unusual experience? South Africa offers options that for travel in a moderate climate May through September. (It’s tropical, and will be hot and humid during winter months).

A sizable country with a varied history, each of its regions has its own attractions. And, Pretoria is one of them, sitting somewhat to the center of northeastern South Africa. As the nation’s Executive Branch Capital, it is a university center and research hub. Its Dutch, German and British Colonial cultural and political history has produced a metropolitan city where people speak Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Xitsonga, isiZulu, Afrikaans and English.

Scholars, business professionals, and tourists

Using the Protea Hotel Pretoria Centurion, South Africa as your headquarters, you might ask the Concierge to arrange unique adventures:

  • A tour of Soweto offers a review of South Africa’s decisive recent history. You’ll stop at the Mandela House Museum, the Pietersen Museum and Memorial, and more.
  • Gauteng Province is the home of Centurion and The Cradle of Humankindwhere the first hominid (Australopithecus) was discovered in 1924. Tours take visitors to two additional caves where digging continues.
  • The Irene Dairy Farmis a pleasant drive towards Johannesburg. The country farm has been run by the same family since 1896. It will delight children traveling with you and charm the adults. You can purchase milk, ice cream, and bake goods, or you can dine at two open restaurants.
  • Visitors schedule their trips to coincide with major events at the Heartland Arena, everything from African Acrobatics to major business expos.
  • The Centurion Mall is close enough to walk to, or you can take a short hop drive to the Irene Valley Mall with its lush landscaping.
  • Emanzini, the hotel’s restaurant, serves an international menu with South African touches, or you can make reservations at the multi-award winning The Godfather within walking distance.
  • You can mountain bike or horseback ride among zebra and giraffe at Groenkloof Nature Reserve or zipline and enjoy aerial acrobatics at Acrobranch.
  • Fishing is open to visitors on the northern and western shores of Rietviel Nature Preserve, or a day at the Pretoria National Botanical Gardenstakes you through 50 hectares of plants, trees and flowers exclusive to South Africa ecosystems.

Centurion at the center of things

Centurion takes up the intersection of major highways connecting Johannesburg and Pretoria. A popular and picturesque suburb of Pretoria, its population is economically secure, many of them working in the Centurion business district and living in upscale communities. Near the water and home to several country clubs, Centurion connects country and city.

Close enough but far enough away from the big city vibe at Pretoria center city, Centurion offers access in many directions to South Africa’s historical, natural, and cultural events centers. If you’re looking for an out of the box vacation or family tour, you can find deals and discounts to take your there and keep you entertained.

You Need to Recharge Your Spirit: The Sizzling South is the Perfect Choice for a Family Getaway

 

There’s an abundance of things to see and do for the whole family in Louisiana, especially if you’re staying in the welcoming city of Baton Rouge. Take a fascinating look at marine life at the Aquarium of America, explore the many plantations lining the Mississippi River or enjoy an interactive experience at the famous Sci-Port Discovery Center in Shreveport; whatever your age, there’s something to entertain you in the Sizzling South.

If you want to explore Louisiana, there are a few trips for the whole family that are affordable and hugely enjoyable. We’ve put together some suggestions which are all just a short drive from Baton Rouge that will give you hours of fun and adventure during your visit to the South.

In terms of somewhere to stay while visiting the fun-packed South, the Marriott TownePlace Suites Gonzales offers some great family-friendly facilities. After an exhausting day seeing the sights, you’ll be grateful of a luxurious place to recharge your batteries!

Gulfport

It will take you about two hours to drive to Gulfport from Baton Rouge but it’s well worth the trip, just for its beach alone! No family vacation is complete without a beach day and in Gulfport, there are plenty of other family-friendly activities to get involved with too. On the way to the beach, you could call into the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and find out more about fascinating marine life with tours that allow you to get up close and personal with some incredible sea creatures with touch tanks. You can also pay a little extra to feed or take a swim with the dolphins – a once in a lifetime experience!

Lafayette

If you’re into Cajun cuisine, Lafayette is bulging with eateries and restaurants that are all family-friendly, offering the very best in this local culinary specialty. Children of all ages can enjoy a visit to the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, where they can get involved with the interactive exhibits, toddler play area, bubble station and a whole lot more. For older kids and adults with an interest in science, there’s the Lafayette Science Museum which has plenty of exhibits to explore and also a Planetarium which provides a breathtaking view of the night sky in late afternoon shows.

New Orleans

Although possibly better known for its nightlife, New Orleans has plenty to amuse all ages. Your family could spend a whole day in the Audubon Zoo, set in stunning grounds and with a wealth of exhibits in addition to plenty of wildlife. There is also a recreational area at Monkey Hill with a café for the grownups to enjoy a relaxing drink while the kids play and a really cool dinosaur exhibit too. There’s also a fantastic playground in Audubon Park in New Orleans for those looking for a more sedate visit. Here you can walk along winding paths between beautiful oaks and in a clearing, you’ll find the playground which will keep younger children occupied and have them worn out when it’s time for bed.

Mandeville

Another short drive from Baton Rouge is Mandeville, where there is plenty of family fun to be had, particularly if you want to be shaded from the scorching heat! Kids love the Imagination Station which is a cool play area with different spaces for hands on exploration and arts and crafts. You can actually leave your kids having fun while you relax in one of the many nearby restaurants. Also in Mandeville is a 2,800-acre green space called Fontainebleau State Park, where you can get a little out-doorsy and go on a hiking trail, do some fishing, explore nature and even relax and sunbathes on a lakeside beach!

Lambeth Country Show Review

 

43rd Lambeth Show Hailed the Best Yet

The ever-popular Lambeth Country Show took place in July and entertained hundreds of thousands in its quirky and unique way. 

A mainstay of the summer festival scene since the days of Flower Power and the Bay City Rollers, the Lambeth Country Show just gets bigger and bigger every year, and its popularity shows no sign in waning.

Established in 1974, this was the 43rd show, and this year hundreds of exhibitors set out to pitch their stall, hire a Templant generator and get ready to welcome around 200,000 visitors to Brockwell Park on 15 and 16 July.

Free for all

The show can be described as a free for all in every sense of the phrase. There is no entry fee, and the festival attracts the weird and the wonderful when it comes to the entertainment on display.

It also attracts a massive turnout. Official figures for 2017 are yet to be released, but bearing in mind that last year it amounted to 170,000, then the magic 200,000 figure is a distinct possibility.

When you consider that around 135,000 visitors attend Glastonbury every year, you start to get a feel for the scale of the event.

Joust for laughs

It is difficult to single out highlights from such an eclectic mix of activities, but some of the events that really stuck out included the chocolate museum, which managed to avoid melting despite the warm summer temperatures, the birds of prey, which were massively popular with adults and kids alike and, of course, the jousting. Who could forget the jousting?

If the enthusiasm at Lambeth is anything to go by, this medieval pastime could soon be making a comeback – expect to see participants on horseback practicing at an athletics track near you soon!

Live music

Of course, many attend for the music, and this year, the quality was as high as ever, courtesy of the Oxjam Music Festival. This is a great organisation that supports grassroots music and at the same time does so much to raise money for those who need it the most.

Brixton Dance School also gave an amazing display that went down extremely well with the enthusiastic crowd.

For those who wanted to get a little more involved, there was even an African drumming workshop, where anyone could have a go. What some lacked in rhythm was more than made up for in enthusiasm!

Call any vegetable

Finally, we can’t mention the Lambeth Show without discussing the vegetables. The traditional vegetable carving competition has been going on for as long as the show itself, and, as usual, produced a remarkable array of artwork and biting satire, all using the humble vegetable as a basis.

Fun, quirky and absolutely unique. If you’ve never been along to the Lambeth Show, put it in the diary for next year. And don’t forget to start practicing your potato carving skills well in advance!

How Does the Real Hampstead Compare to The Movie?

 

Recent Film is Based on Hampstead Man’s Life 

Hampstead has hit the big screen in Diane Keaton’s Latest film. But the resemblance is only a passing one.

When it reviewed Hampstead shortly after release, The Guardian awarded it a solitary one star and described it as a ghastly faux-mance. As far as incisive social commentary goes, it is hard to argue with that, but taken at face value as a showcase for Diane Keaton to go through her usual range of facial expressions, while a touching story that is loosely based on a real life Hampstead resident is told, it is well worth a look.

As for any links to the real Hampstead – well, Hampstead estate agents will be quick to tell you that while there are a variety of attractive properties available to buy and rent in this popular north London oasis, setting up camp on Hampstead Heath is unlikely to result in a happy ending!

Harry the Hermit

Joel Hopkins’ film is inspired by the real life adventures of one Harry Hallowes. An Irishman by birth, he had lived in the north London area since moving there in the 1950s. In the late 1980s, he found himself homeless, and set himself up in a makeshift camp in a quiet corner of Hampstead Heath.

There, he grew vegetables and became largely self-sufficient, supplementing his supplies with money earned by doing odd jobs for some of the local residents, including famous Monty Python illustrator Terry Gilliam.

In the early 2000s, property developers attempted to evict him, but as he had been living on the site for more than 12 years, he was able to claim squatter’s rights. After a lengthy battle, which captured the attention of the local community and the national media, he was awarded a deed on the plot of land, thought to be worth around £2 million.

Harry passed away last year at the age of 88, leaving his unique estate to two charitable organisations.

Hampstead life

The film might seem a little saccharine, but it emphasises one thing – it could only happen in Hampstead. The suburb has always had a leaning towards the unusual, and its old fashioned high street, surrounded by acres of countryside, could not feel less like London.

Over the years, it has gained a reputation for being home to the artistic, musical, literary and – dare we say it – perhaps slightly eccentric set, so of all the places for a Harry the Hermit to appear, Hampstead was the almost inevitable choice.

It is also a place of extreme diversity. Harry arrived without a penny to his name and somehow found success. Just down the road, Hampstead Village is home to more millionaires than any other location in the UK.

As you might expect, it has also attracted its fair share of celebrity residents over the years, including Liam Gallagher, Sting, Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais. You might even bump into Britain’s most famous celebrity couple, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter, taking a Sunday afternoon stroll.

So how does Hampstead really compare to the movie? The reality is far less likely to be believed!

Doggie Destinations – Travelling with Your Canine Companions

 

Your dog is more than just your best friend – they’re a part of your family, and you wouldn’t leave a family member behind on your dream holiday now would you? Here’s what you need to know about travelling with your dog and finding accommodation that leaves tails wagging all round!

If you’re based in the US, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Woofstock, a spectacular annual event held every May in Toronto, Canada which draws over 300,000 visitors from around the globe. Entrance is free and there’s plenty of entertainment for every member from of the family, from fun contests and talent shows, kids entertainment, beach volleyball and lots and lots and lots of doggie shopping! BringFido is a fantastic resource for finding dog friendly accommodation in the area.

The UK is also increasingly open to travelling with your dog, with as much as 90% of locals taking their dogs with them on their annual holiday. WeAcceptPets.co.uk is a great listing to find pet friendly accommodation in the areas you’re keen on – so making a list of areas the human members of your family would like to see and checking this against available accommodation for the furry members is a great start to planning a family break.

Yorkshire Dales

For large or energetic dogs, Swinton Park is a massive 2,000 acre estate in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales to delight doggies and enthusiastic ramblers alike – you’ll even get a complementary dog chew on arrival! And if a full on hiking holiday sounds like just the thing, check out the Paws on Tour hiking trips scheduled each August on the North York Moors by Rambler’s Holidays, which includes clambering through dales and gorges as beach rambles. Partipants can join for three, four or seven nights and get the benefit of an experienced tour leader.

The Dingos liked Australia so much, they stayed!

If dogs knew about geography, they’d probably recommend Australia as their dream doggie destination – back yards don’t come much bigger than the Outback after all! And if you’re looking for the absolute cream of the crop – check out the some of the winners of the Five Paws Award! These destinations based all over Australia all offer that extra something special for your canine companion – from miles of unspoilt countryside to explore together to comfortable doggie accommodation in onsite kennels or with you in your room.

Byron Bay is always a popular holiday destination in Australia, and dog-friendly cosy studio also offers free Wi-Fi, a must if you’re like me and leaving your casino games at home would hurt almost as much as leaving Fluffy. They also have a beautiful walking track around the local lake, perfect for stretching canine and human legs alike after a relaxed day at the beach.

A word on… Transpawtation.

While our natural tendency is to want to make sure our friend gets a good meal before hitting the road, this is actually a pretty bad idea – many dogs are actually susceptible to motion sickness, and your good intentions may make the trip an unpleasant one for your pooch. Do make sure that your dog gets a decent walk and some energetic playtime before confining them to a cramped space for several hours. This will help to burn off excess energy, give them ample time to ‘do their business’ before you leave and lead to a calmer dog in general for the journey. Find some more great tips here about picking up a forklift for larger dogs.

Wherever you head off to, make sure you do your research ahead of time and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a holiday that leaves the whole family simply panting for more!

Planning a Cabin Getaway in Wales

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I was recently invited to join a group of friends on a trip to Wales for a 4 night break. I’ve never stayed in a log cabin before so I was unsure what to expect or what to bring. We drove down from Scotland so for the five hour journey I knew we’d need some drinks and snacks, then when we got there we had a self-catering lodge so I wasn’t sure how well equipped it would be. Would I need a pillow? Did they provide cleaning stuff? Should we have packed the hoover? These are all questions I had and as four us were travelling down in one car as part of our friends convoy I knew we didn’t have much room for everything in my kitchen cupboards. We booked our cabin through the website hotels.com, here is an exclusive hotels.com discount for you.

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We eventually arrived at the cabin near Colwyn Bay at about 4pm on a Friday night. As we walked in I felt a bit nervous that I hadn’t brought the right things. But luckily it turns out I was spot on in my decision making. So for anyone heading down to the land of leeks and dragons here is a list of essential items you should take:

Clothing

Plan your clothing choices carefully. Depending on the time of year make sure you are prepared for all weather conditions. We’re talking wellies, jumpers, vest tops and if your cabin includes a hot tub you’ll swimwear and a bath robe. You’ll need a raincoat or suitable outerwear and walking boots for a woodland environment.

clothing

Toiletries

Most cabins won’t have any free miniatures of shampoo or soap so remember to take your own. Just remember it’s like your own home so you’ll need toothpaste, lotions and scrubs. If there’s a group of you why not buy large size toiletries and share them?

Food

We had quite a long journey down to the cabin so we couldn’t buy perishable food before we left. I done a shop for dry goods, juice and beer to bring down and share amongst our housemates. Everyone brought crisps, beer, vodka and things that wouldn’t go off during the journey. When we were about one hour away from the cabin we stopped off at a Tesco and got some fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and milk so we could stick in the fridge as soon as we got there. If you had a lesser journey you could prepare some food at home and put it in containers or a freezer bag.

Torch

Your cabin may have one of these, but don’t take the risk. Most cabins are in estates that are pretty far spread out and have no street lights or proper outdoor lighting. Play it safe and invest in a few good quality torches that will fit in your handbag but also light the way for you getting home at night.

Towels

Don’t get caught out when you step out of the shower! Our cabin wasn’t serviced to the extent of supplying towels so check before you go. You’ll need enough towels to last your stay and one extra in case you go paddling on the beach so take some nice fluffy ones of out your wardrobe.

Disposable barbecue

For those clammy summer nights, there’s nothing better than getting everyone around a campfire and enjoying some drinks and food with music playing through someone’s ipod speakers. A disposable barbecue is a must for the occasion – they are not expensive and can hold a good quantity of hot dogs and burgers for a small group.

5 Reasons Not to Miss Christmas in Bath

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Bath’s beautiful buildings make it a wonderful place in which to spend Christmas, and there are a whole host of fantastic festive events that make the city even more of a winter winner. Here are our top five reasons to come to Bath this Christmas.

  1. Torchlit Dining at the Roman Baths

Take in a slice of history as you savour a five-course meal. The special dining area overlooks the spectacular Roman Great Bath that gives the city its name, and the Terrace, which is usually reserved for private events and functions, is only transformed into a restaurant for five nights each year. Candles and garlands create a festive air while Searcys deliver mouth-watering dishes.

  1. Bath Christmas Market

One of the most popular festive events in the UK, the Bath Christmas Market plays host to 170 stalls over 18 days. Most of the stalls are manned by businesses based right here in the city, so this is a fine chance to pick up artisan products, including some delicious refreshments. Situated right in the heart of the city, there are a number of beautiful hotels that you can stay at and pop into the markets whenever you feel like it.

  1. Shoppers Carols at Bath Abbey

Wonderful as the Bath Christmas Market can be, even the most ardent of shoppers will eventually want to take a break and rest their feet. Why not take a look inside Bath Abbey? The choir regularly performs 20-minute ‘Shoppers Carol’ services, and the building’s striking interior is well worth appreciating while you catch your breath.

  1. Bath Philharmonia Snowman Concert

There are plenty of great shows on throughout the year at The Forum, but this might just be the one we’re looking forward to the most. Bath Philharmonia, Bath’s own professional orchestra, will treat audiences to live music alongside the magical ‘The Snowman’ animated film. You’ll appreciate ‘Walking in the Air’ like never before.

  1. Bath on Ice

Taking a stroll up to the Royal Victoria Park means having a chance to get your skates on when you visit during the winter. From November 18th right through to January 3rd, although not on Christmas Day itself, you’ll be able to hire some skates and spend an hour or two gracefully carving up Bath’s very own outside ice rink.

Out-of-the-Box & Unforgettable Tourist Attractions

Travel destinations always have a set list of tourist attractions for people to visit and enjoy during their stay. But with a little effort, you can find hidden gems that really make the experience special and leave a strong impression.

We always enjoyed finding unusual, but beautiful attractions that moved us. Rather than go to run-of-the-mill locations with thousands of other tourists, we liked the challenge of finding something unforgettable and unique about each location we visited. And so with that in mind, my husband and I ran into some fun adventures during our travels.

These are the out-of-the-box experiences that we remember most fondly. Maybe they can inspire others to go off the beaten path and try finding their own interesting attractions!

Strange & Unique Tourist Attractions

Most people head to the usual and famous tourist attractions, like Stonehenge, Machu Pichu or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Not us – we try to find unique tourist attractions that are less popular and famous, but all the more interesting. Among the crazy things we have seen were a crazy castle in Montevideo where doors lead nowhere and rooms are built in a strange way, a gnome reserve in England, and a huge pineapple weirdly located in a South African farm. We took great pictures and they gave us great, out-of-the-box stories for our friends and families on our way back. Not to mention, our Facebook picture albums were very popular!

Musical Fountain Water Shows

fountain show

I still remember our very first musical fountain water show. It was a long time ago, but it feels like only yesterday. We were in our honeymoon in Aruba, which is an island that is heavily focused on entertaining tourists. We decided to walk to an active area in the city and were impressed by a beautiful water fountain. Then, the speakers told us to sit and enjoy the show – we had no idea what was going on. We spent the next hour absolutely fascinated by an exciting water show combining dozens of colors, bursts of water and beautiful music. As the water and colors swayed to the beat and harmony of the music, we felt so much emotion. It was an unforgettable experience and one of my best memories of Aruba. I highly recommend these water shows – they are inspirational and stunning!

Crazy Hotels

underwater hotel

Imagine waking up in an ice igloo smack in the middle of Norwegian winter. Or waking up with a stunning view of the mountains… from every angle of the room including underneath it. Sure, we could stay in a boring, walled up hotel, and now that we have children, for their safety, we do. But back in the day before the children, we always tried to find the most interesting hotels. The hotel had to be a part of the experience so we stayed in treehouse hotels, a salt hotel were everything (beds, walls, seats, etc.) was made of salt, and a completely see-through extension room on a cliff. Next time, we want to stay in an underwater room!

Try to find the more unique, impressionable tourist attractions wherever you go and you will see a different side of the location. It’s so much fun to diverge from the usual attractions and enjoy the diversity!

Enjoy a family day out at The Open

A day out watching a golf tournament can prove to be a fantastic and memorable family occasion. It gives you the opportunity to spend quality time together as a family, enjoy some fresh air and watch top-class sporting action as well.

Across the world, there are countless spectacular venues to watch golf, but one of the most iconic is at St Andrews in Scotland and this year The Open will be held at the course between Thursday 16th July and Sunday 19th July.

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by  Piano Piano! 

THE COURSE

As one of the oldest golf courses in the world, St Andrews is steeped in history and tradition, and it provides an unforgettable backdrop against which you can watch the world’s best golfers play for the Claret Jug, which is the trophy awarded to the winner of The Open.

The Old Course on which The Open is played is unique in golf in that seven of the greens are shared by two holes each, making it a fascinating test of a golfer’s ability.

There are also notable landmarks on the course, such as the Swilcan Bridge. This is what golfers will cross on both the first and last holes, and it is where golfers playing at St Andrews for the last time in their careers will stand and pose for photographs. You’ve also got the Road Hole, which is a devilish penultimate hole on the course. There have been many occasions in the past where a golfer has hit a slightly wayward second shot to end up off the back of the green and been forced to hit their next shot against a wall in order to get onto the green.

The way the course is set up as well makes it accessible for families of all ages to get around or remain in one place. There are seats for 20,000 people around the course, so there is ample opportunity to catch your breath for a moment during a long day of golf.

TICKETS

What makes going to The Open particularly attractive from a family perspective is that children under the age of 16 are admitted for free providing they are accompanied by an adult who has bought a ticket. This provides an excellent opportunity for youngsters to be introduced to the sport without costing too much money.

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by  tiarescott 

In terms of prices, for this year’s Open, tickets can be bought from £70 on a championship day. This may seem like a lot of money, but when you consider you could be at the course for 12 hours, it works out at good value. But perhaps what is also worth considering is going on a practice day when tickets are priced from £10.

The practice days are held from Sunday 12th July through to Wednesday 15th July. There is a more relaxed atmosphere on these days and you can often find that you have better and greater access to the professional golfers. It is much easier to get close up to the main players. Of course, you may have to play it by ear in terms of which golfers are going to turn up at what time, compared to the scheduled tee-off times of the tournament. But it can provide a valuable insight into the preparation it requires for a golfer to win one of the most prestigious prizes in sport.

HOW TO GET THERE

There are also several ways for you to get to the course. If you’re driving, then it is advisable to follow the signs for parking, rather than just relying on your satellite navigation system to get you to the course. It is going to be extremely busy around the local area during the week of the tournament, but fortunately there is plenty of information to help you out. There will be clearly marked routes for you to follow and these signs will also give you the details of the local radio stations which will be providing regular traffic updates.

There is a cost attached to parking as well, so you should bear this in mind. It costs £10 if you are visiting the course between the Sunday and Tuesday, while it is £15 from Wednesday onwards. You can pay in advance, but if you are going to pay on the day, then you will need to have some cash handy.

A simple way to help you cut down on the likely stress levels of driving around St Andrews is to use the Park and Ride service which is being put on. Taking the dedicated bus service, which runs regularly throughout the day, will help you to reach the course much quicker. Signs will be displayed in the area to inform you where you can find the Park and Ride.

One way to avoid being stuck in traffic and the risk of missing any of the action is to take the train. ScotRail will be putting on an enhanced service for the week of the tournament that will also provide a bus journey to the course. You will need to catch a train to Leuchars Station and then you jump on a bus to the course.

But one other way to get to the course is a great option if you are on a family holiday in the area and are not just going to Scotland for the golf. You can travel to St Andrews by bike as there will be a designated Bicycle Park near the course. You are not allowed to take your bikes on to the course, but if the weather is fine then it would be a fantastic way to get there.

If you are travelling from slightly further afield and will be flying to Scotland, then Dundee Airport is only 15 miles away. It may be more likely that you will fly into Edinburgh, but even that is only 48 miles away from the course.

ACCOMMODATION

If you want to stay near the course, then there is a wide variety of accommodation, going from five-star hotels, to guest houses, and bed and breakfasts. However, these can get booked up quite quickly.

To help you in your search for accommodation, then there is an Official Open Accommodation Bureau which can provide you with advice. This Bureau will provide details on the various accommodation options which are available. So it could be that you want to book into a hotel for just one night, or maybe you want to rent a house for the week. If you visit the official Open website, you will find details of how you can make contact with the Bureau.

Scotland’s National Tourism Organisation – Visit Scotland – is also a valuable tool to use when you are searching for accommodation in the country. This will help you to search within a certain radius of St Andrews for somewhere to stay. Alternatively, it can provide you with details of accommodation in Edinburgh, which is something worth considering as it is straightforward to travel up from the Scottish capital to St Andrews.

ST ANDREWS

If it is the first time you have been to a golf tournament, then the location of St Andrews makes it an excellent way to make it part of an overall trip to Scotland. Situated on the east coast, just an hour north of Edinburgh, it can easily be done as a day trip.

It all depends on what you think would work out best for your family, but that option can be a great introduction to golf.

At the same time, you don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that St Andrews is only home to one of the most famous golf courses in the world. There is more than just the golf course to take in.

Let’s not forget that St Andrews is home to the university where Prince William and Kate Middleton met. Given the Royal couple have recently celebrated the birth of their second child it seems somewhat fitting that this year’s Open is being held at St Andrews. The University is also the oldest in Scotland and there is a rich history to be discovered.

St Andrews Castle should also not be missed and this can be a fun and educational attraction for the children. It is by no means in pristine condition these days following numerous battles over the centuries, but there is a ‘bottle dungeon’ which should be explored.

Another landmark that offers a hint of the grandeur of yesteryear is St Andrews Cathedral. It may be mostly remains these days, but you are still able to climb to the top of the cathedral. If you do, then you will not be disappointed as you will be greeted by some jaw-dropping views.

For the film buffs among you, golf is not massively represented in the movies, save for the likes of Tin Cup and Happy Gilmore. But there is a film and sporting interest to St Andrews, and it doesn’t actually involve golf. The beach at West Sands, which runs alongside the Jubilee Course at St Andrews, was in the opening scene of the film Chariots of Fire.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

So, if you do decide to head to St Andrews this summer to watch The Open, you’ll want to know which players to watch and there are several to keep an eye out for this year. Your kids could even discover some new heroes to look up to.

The current world number one in golf is Rory McIlroy and he won The Open last year when it was held at Royal Liverpool. He could be the favourite to win The Open again and his talent, combined with a personable nature, make him one of the most popular players in golf. He has won a Major four times in his career and he finished in a tie for third the last time The Open was played at St Andrews.

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by  TourProGolfClubs 

The former world number one Tiger Woods has twice won The Open at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005. But, in more recent times, he has attracted plenty of headlines off the course in his personal life, and also on it for the way he has struggled to find any consistency in his golf game. He has also recently shown a softer side to his character after emerged that Woods had written a letter to a fan who had been bullied due to suffering from a stutter.

Jordan Spieth is the rising star from the United States and he has many similarities to McIlroy after winning the Masters in April. He has a likeable personality to go along with a magnificent golf game which doesn’t just rely on being able to hit it as hard and as far as you can.

Arguably the smartest dresser in golf, Ian Poulter even has his own clothing range. But it’s not his dress sense that makes him worth watching, it is the fact that he is one of the most passionate players on the tour.

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by  Keith Allison 

Another golfer on the tour to be known for his snazzy dress sense, Rickie Fowler used to be seen wearing an all-orange outfit with his hair flowing out of the bottom of his cap.

Tom Watson has won The Open five times in his remarkable career and he will be playing at St Andrews for the final time this year at the age of 65. He has yet to win The Open at St Andrews, but he did finish in a tie for second behind Seve Ballesteros in 1984.

Like Watson, Nick Faldo will be playing at St Andrews for the last time and he won The Open at the course in 1990. In all, Faldo has won six Major titles to make him the most successful British golfer in history.

So, whether you want to visit St Andrews solely for the golf to watch the world’s best players compete in The Open, tie in the golf with a visit to the local area itself or head for a day trip to the course as part of a wider holiday in Scotland, then you really are spoilt for choice.

St Andrews is easy to get to, there is no shortage of information and, providing the weather holds up, it is going to offer some breathtaking and spectacular scenery.

Great Ideas for a Family Vacation

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Often, the experience of trying to plan and pull-off a family vacation leaves travelers more tired than restored. Between trying to find activities and destinations that appeal to each family member, and the unanticipated costs that arise on the road, planning time away can be frustrating. When trying to put together a family trip, there are some tips that can make it more relaxing, stress-free, and restful, while keeping it fun.

Some tips to make the trip a lot less stressful, and perhaps more affordable, include the following suggestions:

A Resort Villa

A really restful vacation idea is to book a stay at Palmilla Los Cabos. The area is known for luxury resorts and villas, each with access to the crystal blue surrounding water. The best thing about a villa is that the staff pampers guests and meets their every need, so there is never a problem or an oversight that can’t be remedied. These villas have access to unique business districts with shops, galleries, and eating establishments, but also have their own on-site features. If travelers want to alleviate the worry of renting vehicles and driving about the region, the resort’s staff can arrange cars. Additionally, guests can choose to stay on-site and take advantage of all that their distinct accommodations have to offer. Guests with small children will appreciate the secure feeling of these full-service resorts and villas for the stress-freest vacation possible!

On-Site Amusements

If traveling with kids, it is important to take a look at some age-friendly activities and sights that may interest younger guests. Some fun vacation ideas may include theme parks, museums, and annual carnivals or trade-shows. Base the trip around one simple attraction, and build on it from there.

Many travelers make the mistake of trying to plan too much during their family vacation. Since it may be an infrequent occasion, they try to pack as much fun in as short a time as possible. What typically occurs is that it becomes burdensome, restrictive, and can result in tired, cranky travelers. A better approach is to plan the trip around one location or sight, and to allow some room for spontaneity during the actual trip. A rainy day may hinder tickets to a ballgame, and might be the best time to roam around and check out the region. Don’t try to over-plan and put too much in a short stay; this will lead to stress and conflict.

Luxury Amenities

Be sure to look for luxury style accommodations that offer something special for mom and dad, too. Some great amenities may include on-site spas, restaurants, lounges, golf courses, and fitness facilities. This will allow parents to get up early and get some time to themselves, or have something fun to do while the kids are watching TV at night. The convenience and access of these services and features make it possible for people to carve out some time for themselves during the adventure.

Unconventional Travel Times

There are many benefits for planning travel during the off-season. This strategy may save time waiting in lines or during travel due to the decreased traffic during particular times of the year. This approach may also save money, as rates may dip during these off-peak seasons. Traveling during off-season can be a lot more relaxing and less stressful, as long as travelers take weather conditions into consideration. Lines for amusements are shorter, pools and public areas may be less crowded, and hosts may be less stressed.

Plan some time away with the family, and use these strategies to cut down on worries and issues on the road. Book early online and take some time to research the area(s) well before you leave home. Getting an overall sense of the destination, and gathering some most-helpful information and insights, can help ensure that the journey is smooth and relaxing for all.

This article was contributed on behalf of Del Mar Escapes. Check out their website and see why you should consider their available Cabo Villa rentals!