An amazing site for everyone to enjoy including families, with its legends and myths of the minotaur, impressive frescoes and murals and space to explore and wander without rush. This is a centre of Minoan civilisation and culture. There is enough information for enthusiasts, a decent shop, nice cafe and unintrusive staff who let you take your time to absorb the atmosphere and wonder of this important historic site. The dolphins and griffins in murals appeal to the younger visitors and there is plenty of shade when a break needed from the sun and heat. Wonderful.
Widemouth Bay is quintessential English seaside. A huge expanse of sea and sand welcomes you as you drive into the bay. The Bay View Inn is a great, friendly pub/restaurant and has good reasonably priced rooms, including family rooms with DVD players, comfy beds and terraces overlooking the ocean. It's a popular place for the locals and gets busy but at 11PM all goes quiet and a good night's sleep can be had with just the sound of waves to help you drop off. The Bay has a surf school, local shop selling fresh seafood, good cafe on the beach and a charming old-fashioned 50's fresh fish and chip van for cheap and cheerful evening suppers.
This was the most unassuming, beautiful, restful spot one could imagine. An hour from the airport through hilly countryside and quiet villages takes you to this wonderful place in the middle of Crete, among mountains and olive groves with the most amazing views from your bedroom balcony on waking. Eleonas is a treasure, peaceful and with amenities like air con, swimming pool and fantastic Cretan traditional cooking. They love children which was a bonus and helpful with anything you need.Great value too, you can book per night. There is also a lovely lake…walkable, and quaint village with tavernas for a local treat. Pure Simple Bliss.
This was the most unassuming, beautiful, restful spot one could imagine. An hour from the airport through hilly countryside and quiet villages takes you to this wonderful place in the middle of Crete, among mountains and olive groves with the most amazing views from your bedroom balcony on waking. Eleonas is a treasure, peaceful and with amenities like air con, swimming pool and fantastic Cretan traditional cooking. They love children which was a bonus and helpful with anything you need. Great value too, you can book per night. There is also a lovely lake, walkable and quaint village with tavernas for a local treat. Pure simple bliss.
La Fourchette is a charming, very French cafe on the Church Rd in Hove, just off the seafront and a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the promenade. It is comfortable and authentic, with leather chairs plus more formal seating. It serves the most delicious patisserie this side of Paris, beautiful, individual cakes which are simply a delight to behold as well as eat. Large selection of teas and coffees plus 'citron presse'. A nice alternative to the traditional Sussex cream tea
This delightful corner café is off the beaten track, just off the seafront in Kemp Town. It's possibly named after Mr Hudson and Mrs Bridges of Upstairs Downstairs and indeed it has a little 'upstairs' perch complete with vintage decor. The foodie treats greet you as you walk in. Wonderful French macaroons, delicious cakes of all types, tarts, lots for choc-lovers and gluten free slices, all presented beautifully and in full view. Tea is served in pretty china, lots of choice. The interior is welcoming, friendly, little corners to sit and while away time in, they never rush you. Our favourite is a mirrored, kitsch, three sided, silk-cushioned, Fifties-inspired alcove. They open the big long windows at the front in the summer for an alfresco feel, a gem!
Oh and there are lovely fresh savoury offerings too, all home-made and yummy.
237 Eastern Rd, Brighton, BN8 4TD
Google map: bit.ly/KrfH9Y
Arta is a small, picturesque town in north east Mallorca. It is quaint, non-touristy and has charm in abundance. It is relatively easy to rent a lovely traditional house in the vicinity - we did, one with olive trees, vines, small pool and beautiful rustic character. The Sanctuary of Sant Salvador is worth seeing on top of the hill and the local caves are a must (Victor Hugo and Jules Verne have signed the visitors book!) It is a quiet unspoilt corner of the island, great for children, the locals love them. You can get to the coves and nearby beaches easily in a car and further afield are the sights of Pollenca, Soller and the wonderful Tramuntana mountains.
Cheap and good fun for all the family - Richmond Park has lots of space for young ones to run around, beautiful deer to admire from near or far, the Isabella Plantation with its gorgeous walks and hide and seek places, cycle paths, free car parking, cafe or lots of picnic spots and great views of London over to canary wharf. If you hanker after a nice river walk or town amenities, you can just stroll down from the park along the riverside, watch boats and feed the ducks. Bliss.
These two Tuscan hill towns are in close proximity to each other but very different - you can do them in a day. I suggest Volterra first so you can then enjoy San Gimignano without the hordes of tourists and great light at dusk to take photos. Volterra has the Roman amphitheatre, great panoramas and a wonderful museum dedicated to its Etruscan heritage. San Gimignano has a medieval feel, with 15 out of its 70 original towers still standing. You can climb up one of these and get excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Both towns are unique and a must if you are visiting Tuscany.
Google map: bit.ly/Athd8H
The Amalfi coast is beautiful but especially worth a visit is the island of Capri. When you get there you walk along narrow ancient streets to the old Carthusian monastery of St Giacomo, a sight in itself. The monks developed the perfumes (with the Pope's special permission) from old formulas based on the native flowers and herbs of the island and now they are sold all over the world. Walk to one of the small idyllic beaches, eat local fish, drink the local wine and have a swim - pure bliss.
Google map: bit.ly/xYOf5u
Brighton City Walks run two great walks guided by local film enthusiast Julian Clapp. One is the 'Brighton Rock' which explores the haunts and familiar sites from the 1930's Graham Greene classic. The other is 'Lost cinemas of Brighton' celebrating the city's great cinematic history, wandering amongst old (some derelict) but still surviving buildings in the centre, many Grade 2 listed, a few that have been converted to restaurants and bingo halls, and the local favourite art house Duke of Yorks, still thriving and showing films after it's 100 year anniversary.
The Georgian Rooms are very special. On the well preserved high street of the old town in Bridlington, they are a treasure trove of fascinating pieces, mostly antiques, some vintage clothing, garden ironmongery, furniture, photographs and to cap it all, a wonderful tea room on the ground floor, serving home made cakes and lunches. The owner collects items from far and wide and has a keen interest in the unusual. We picked up some Frank Meadow Sutcliffe photographs, reasonably priced and were very tempted by a gorgeous velvet purse for one sovereign and one half sovereign - crockery, glass and cutlery are kept in delightful old cases. The garden has several rooms and sheds with interesting outdoor objects, wooden restored furniture and follies. A real treat.
For a wonderful simple romantic break, you can't beat Scotland and the West Highland Railway which takes you past breath taking scenery to Mallaig. From here you can see the Inner Hebridean islands and travel onto Arisaig, a pretty small town with boat trips out to Rhum, Eigg and Muck. If you're lucky, as we were, you can watch dolphins and mink whales on the early boat ride over and bask in the beauty and tranquility of the islands when you reach there.
Amazing location right next to beach in Asvem, North Goa. Accommodation is in 'eco pods' made of local materials, very comfortable inside with designer touches. The resort is laid back, no TV, just sound of ocean and cool breeze. Perfect combination of nature and comfort. Breakfast is served at your pod, home made jams, delicious teas and coffee, with fresh breads and fruit. Very family friendly too.
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