Chateau Colombier is a large, French farmhouse situated in the heart of the Provence region.
The house itself is set back from the road, allowing secluded, outside dining and relaxation around the pool. Two minutes' walk along the drive is a gourmet restaurant called 'La Charette Bleu'.
The house can sleep up to 16 guests and the double bedrooms are all en suite. The house has been restored to a high specification and somehow retains a very homely feeling.
The option to self-cater is available, however we chatted with the owner of the house and for an agreed amount she catered some evening meals for us - all of which were delicious. This can be discussed at point of booking.
The owner splits her time between Provence and London. She has self-contained accommodation within the house and is very friendly and well informed about the local area.
A 10-15 minute car ride away is the lovely village of Nyons. The village has a regular market, with local produce, food and a great bargain or two!
Staying in this area of France means you can easily get to the lovely towns of Avignon, Nimes and the Roman remains of the impressive Pont Du Gard (all of which are about an hour away).
I have stayed here twice and both times hired a car. You will have to draw straws for who does the driving when you plan a trip wine-tasting at the region's many caves.
Find out more about the house at www.chateaucolombier.com and also about the local town of Nyons, at www.drome-provence.com/villages/nyonsa.php. Details of the local restaurant are available at pj-charrettebleue.fr/
Kahana Village is a group of two-story condominiums on the west coast of Maui. It is on the beach and is great for family reunions, and has an outside patio area for large group dinners. The three-bedroom condos are amazing at 1700sq ft - so easy with kids.
I have just got back from an amazing weekend at this luxury bed and breakfast in Spain - La Casa Noble. It was recommended through a friend and I feel the need to pass on this little gem. The woman that owns it is a designer and has spent the past four years renovating - it is absolutely beautiful! Everything about this trip was wonderful - the food, (best pork I have ever tasted... apparently the pigs eat acorns which make it so tasty and I am told healthy…), great service; the host went out of her way to make our stay memorable. The village is a beautiful little Spanish town and of course the weather is great! I would strongly recommend this place to anyone. Make sure you use the jacuzzi at the the B&B and go for a walk up to the old church on the hill at sunset.
You can fly there from Gatwick (clickair) but I am sure other airlines there as well. You need to fly to Seville and then take a bus (1 hour)
Prancing around London in the middle of the night with a bunch of old men in fancy dress. No, this is not some kind of post-modern theatre, but an ancient ritual which has taken place pretty much every night for the past 700 years in this great old city. The Ceremony of the Keys involves an ornate and complex set of rituals to ensure that the Tower of London is locked up good and proper. At exactly seven minutes to 10 o'clock each and every night the Chief Warder in his regal red coat and somewhat bonkers Tudor bonnet, carrying the Queen's Key and a giant lantern, marches around the perimeter of the Tower of London locking up the gates, accompanied by Foot Guards, sentries and various other characters straight out of the history books.
Complete with archaic greetings, a bugler and the best costumes you're ever likely to see. Having lived in London all my life, I can honestly say that I've never spent such a magical and unforgettable 10 minutes in London and urge everyone to accompany the procession at least once. It's free, but to go along you need to go through the hassle of writing a letter (no emails of course!) -
Tower of London
For more information visit their website here: www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/WhatsOn/ceremonyofthekeys.aspx.
I returned to Wales from Portugal to visit my family. We all went to the Hawarden Brasserie, four adults and two kids, and had very enjoyable evening.
A modern and unpretentious restaurant with a very relaxed atmosphere, fantastic food and great service. Real value for money, what more could you ask for?.
Try the chicken breast with asparagus and butternut squash, simply delicious. And for desert, the cheesecake, the best I have ever tasted.
Next time I visit Wales I will be definitely be dining here.
The Little Angel Theatre is a marionette (or puppet) theatre. It's a little gem hidden away in Islington behind the bustle of Upper Street and Essex Road. It's a tiny building on Dagmar Passage.
The puppet masters are just that - masters of their art. I used to go with a friend and we were often the only adults there without children, but many shows have two levels of interpretation and you certainly don't have to be a child to enjoy them.
Before or after the show have a stroll along the New River Walk, running between Canonbury (The Marquess Estate) and the Angel. It's a lovely linear park based around the river that used to bring water to London from the country. It's beautifully peaceful, and there are ducks to watch (or feed) and benches to sit and contemplate. You could do a round walk down the park and back up Upper Street to Highbury and Islington tube and get the best of shops, cafe, theatre and park for a day's entertainment.
14 Dagmar Passage, off Cross Street, London N1 2DN
Highbury and Islington or Angel tube
020 7226 1787 (Box Office)
020 7359 8581 (Admin)
If you want to experience great Cuban hospitality with a lovely family in central Havana I would highly recommend Casa Mer.
Wilfred and his family share their sweet art deco villa for a very affordable price and it's just a stroll or taxi away from the jazz clubs, the Malecon and central Havana shopping and night life. They also recommended to us other Cuban families to stay with in other towns which worked out well as the local government hotels aren't so great and cost about five times the price!
calle 28 # 206
entre 21 y 19
Vedado Habana Cuba
telefono (537) 833 44 12
The museum is housed in a former ice warehouse and features the history of the ice trade, ice cream and the canals! You can get a barge trip through Islington tunnel and down to Camden, it is hidden away in Kings Cross and is a perfect place to take the kids for an afternoon.
12-13 New Wharf Road
Give the touristy, overcrowded day trip from Oludeniz a miss and head down to Fethiye harbour at around 10am. Take your pick of the boats departing for a day's cruising around Fethiye's islands and inlets: around 4-5 stops for swimming and snorkelling, plenty of opportunity to sunbathe and a leisurely BBQ lunch in between. Easily the best 20TL (around £9) you'll spend all holiday. Don't forget to stock up on snacks and drinks at the supermarket beforehand as it'll save you ££s on board.
A family run resort by Lake Malawi. Located at Sani, Nkhota-kota - the chalets boast a beautiful view to the amazing Lake Malawi. Each chalet is fully furnished, and fully complemented by a kitchen and en suite shower/toilet.
They also benefit from environmentally friendly solar power which works day and night, providing those essential hot showers and access to all your electrical needs! A real great place to relax and have a good time.
A 400-year-old building with seven apartments for holiday rental. Great location, close to all we wanted to see, and a quiet, friendly atmosphere. We spent five nights in July. My kids liked the idea of entering the building using their own keys. We felt at home.
This restaurant in Santo António das Areias near Marvão is well worth a visit if you are going to this area. You can eat outside in the courtyard or in the trendy modern interior.
We had a fabulous meal and the owners were so friendly, they were celebrating a birthday and offered the guests a glass of champagne. We will definitely return. Don't miss the prawns in beer sauce or the pork with plum sauce. Great with a bottle of Chamine Vinho Tinto (red wine).
O Poejo restaurant in Santo António das Areias near Marvão.
We had a fabulous meal there and met the owners who were so friendly. Great food, great ambience, well worth a visit. Try the pork with plumbs, delicious.
(+351) 245 992 640
Our large family stayed in two of the houses at Les Hiboux, near Chef Boutonne (L'Hibou and Le Noisetier) as the houses could be connected. The facilities available meant that we could spend the two weeks relaxing, rather than driving to other places to entertain the children.
The swimming pool was large enough for everyone to enjoy, with lots of loungers for sunbathing.
The beautiful gardens featured a little stream, fish pond (safely fenced off), two boules strips, trampoline, football pitch, climbing frame, treehouse and space for the children to run around.
There is table tennis in one barn and a games rooom with darts, pool, table football and a range of bats, rackets, croquet, etc. that could be taken outside.
The bike shed held lots of bicycles ranging in size that could be used.
I would highly recommend this venue for a family holiday. The location is beautiful and there is so much here to keep the children entertained. We will definitely be going back.
Nearest airport La Rochelle - cheap flights through RyanAir.
Charming independent hostel a stone's throw away from the magnificent Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Chris and Sue offer a warm welcome to families and non-families alike! The Old School is 'green' in many respects (recycling, use of public transport etc) but not in a preachy way.
great section on getting there by car AND public transport
The hot springs are my favourite part about going to visit Arenal. My advice would be - don't skimp and go to the cheapest but also don't go for Baldi which is the most expensive 5* resort, mainly aimed at the American/gringo market. I would advise going to Tabacon which is really reasonable and also really plush with good facilities, wet bars, a disco and slides as well as the incredibly hot spring at 40 degrees! Last time I went was in an evening and I really think this is the best time to go to avoid crowds and hopefully get a look at the lava spewing from Arenal (it also means you don't feel too guilty about having a few cocktails!)
This area has fantastic walking, nice drives and plenty to explore. The resort is lively, but not too lively, has great food and bars, and a great fiesta in July. Great for a family holiday.
I've put a more detailed guide up on the link belowhttp://www.seanliquorish.co.uk/blog?p=7
Edgar Street, home of Hereford United, is a great day out. OK, so it's certainly not Old Trafford or the Emirates, but it shows true history as the team has grown and excelled in recent years as well as being the location of their famous FA Cup giant-killing of Newcastle United in 1972.
A day out watching Hereford United is great fun for the whole family and certainly doesn't cost as much as Premiership teams.
Edgar Street, Hereford
A relatively new development of high quality self-catering lodges.
We stayed in a very well-equipped four bedroom bedroom property, ideal for a large family like ours or multiple groups.
Given that the weather was truly awful for virtually the whole week, the standard of the accommodation, the onsite facilities and the friendly, helpful staff saved the holiday.
The only gripe with the facilities was the poor quality 'golf' course.
Easy access to Padstow (we took a taxi when going for an evening meal) and surrounding beaches / amenities (if only the rain had relented).
More pricey than our usual haunts but well worth it.
Catered very well to our diverse requirements - two adults, two older children and two younger ones, including someone allergic to seafood.
Excellent friendly service. The food was fresh and well presented. Were able to enjoy coffee in the reading room waiting for the obligatory summer rainfall to subside.
Leave plenty of time prior to your reservation to find a parking space and for walking.
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