Under the radar: Portugal’s hidden gems

December 12, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Beautiful Alentejo is often overlooked (Photo: Francisco Antunes)

Beautiful Alentejo is often overlooked (Photo: Francisco Antunes)

Portugal is a great destination if you’re looking for beautiful sunsets, picturesque beaches, great wine, and good value for money, but underrated and overlooked is the perfect description for the Portuguese countryside that lies between the popular Algarve region and the bustling city of Lisbon. Although these well-travelled tourist hubs have plenty to offer tourists, Portugal has some hidden gems off the beaten track, proving that there is more to Portuguese breaks than beach holidays in the Algarve. We explore some of Portugal’s hidden gems that fly under the tourist radar.

Summer salvation: the best things in life are free (or nearly!)

August 28, 2013 at 6:57 AM
Warhorse play

Kids Week sees many city theatres offering excellent deals. Photo: Kidsweek.co.uk

Well, as the school holidays are heading to a speedy end, my attentions have turned to the rather expensive activities of kitting my kids out with new school uniforms, shoes, sports kits and stationery; all very exciting stuff, of course. After a somewhat pricey summer and costly back to school shopping expeditions, any activities or days out that I now look at have to be cost effective. Thankfully, great days out don’t have to cost a fortune to be fun; in fact sometimes, they can be absolutely free. I’ve been taking a look at what’s available across the UK over the next week, hoping to ease the tension on our purse strings yet keep the kids thoroughly entertained. After all, it’s important to provide a happy ending to what’s been one of the warmest summers we’ve seen in many years! So enjoy the next week or so with your little ones in tow, before the dreaded school runs commence once again.

Late summer savers

August 23, 2013 at 6:55 AM

Venice at night: photo by Rhys A

With at least several days left of the Summer holidays, you may well be feeling a little tired and lacking of inspiration of what next to do with the children (I can relate; as my energy wanes, my two boys seem to get bouncier and bouncier)! Or perhaps you have enjoyed the wonderful weather that the UK has experienced this summer, and, looking forward to October half-term, are looking to find some autumn sun? I have two fantastic properties to share with you, each with a unique special offer; take a look and you may well find some inspiration or an opportunity that’s too good to miss.

Summer in the UK: why do the Alps when you could do Snowdonia?

August 22, 2013 at 12:36 AM

Our season of reasons to stay in the UK this summer takes us to Snowdonia in North Wales. In this land of high peaks and even higher thrills, it’s possible to climb one mountain, fly down another and still have time and money for a sunset pint at the end of the pier. Kirstie Pelling from The Family Adventure Project asks why you’d want to go all the way to the Alps, and needless to say, she gives us some pretty good reasons not to.

Snowdonia in winter Photo: Peter Broster

Snowdonia in winter Photo: Peter Broster

Summer in the UK: Gardens of the Cotswolds

August 1, 2013 at 3:07 AM

We hope you have been enjoying the beautiful weather the UK has been experiencing over the last few weeks; fingers crossed it carries on through August. With all this sunshine to savour, we’ve been looking at where to stay in the UK this summer instead of jetting off abroad. 

Italy is famous for its rustic towns and villages replete with villas that boast lush gardens. Pauline Kenny, one of our resident experts, takes us on a tour of  the Cotswolds and reveals how we can enjoy a similar rural experience in England. 

The Pillar Garden (Photo: Neosnaps)

The Pillar Garden (Photo: Neosnaps)

You don’t have to go all the way to Italy this summer to visit historic towns and villages or to walk through lush gardens. We have that and more right here in England, in the Cotswolds. By car, the Cotswolds is only two hours from London, one hour from Birmingham or Bristol – close enough to make a very easy travel day. Come out for a short break or for a week or two and experience the variety of things there is to see and do on your own doorstep.