Self-catering, all inclusive, Glasgow or London, beach or spa? Find out what holiday type you go for in our new travel infographic.
2. Scorpion’s Tail, at Noah’s Ark Water Park, Wisconsin, USA. This one tops 400ft and is ten storeys high. Yikes! Image via @ Noah’s Ark Water Park.
3. ‘The Finest and most Fearsome’ Summit Plummit at Disney’s Blizzard Beach®, is a whopping 120 feet tall, and you’ll whoosh right through it at 60 miles per hour. Image via @ GoFlorida.
4. The delightfully named Jumeira Sceirah in Wild Wadi in Dubai tops 120 metres and sends riders 80km/h through twists and turns. Image via @ Jumeirah.com.
4. The Cliffhanger Speed Slide at Schlitterbahn in Texas, USA. A traditional Ride and drop, this is built for speed. Image via @ Schlitterbahn.
5. Leap of Faith at the Atlantis Palm in Dubai, 90 ft high. Image via @ Neekohfi.
7. This epic mudslide in New Zealand! (Sorry, it was only open for two days for charity.) Image via here.
Purple 10: What to pack in your beach bag
Get beach ready in no time, with our handy list of the top 10 things to pack in your beach bag. As always, if we’ve forgotten something, head on to our comments section and let us know!
1. A colourful and sturdy beach bag to fit your stuff
2. Your perfect bikini to impress the crowds
3. A light sarong to match your swimsuit
Image via @ Learning Machine
4. A soft summer-themed beach towel
Image via @ Greger Gronroos
5. A pair of comfy (not comedy!) flip flops
Image via @ Woodlouse
6. High SPF sunscreen
Image via @ Andre Bernardo
7. Sunglasses with dark lenses to protect your precious eyes from the bright sun rays
Image via @ Faded Vision
8. A hat for excellent coverage…and style
Image via @ robyriker
9. A book to keep you just the company you need…whenever you need it!
Image via @ Victoriapeckham
10. An iPod to listen to your favourite music while the gentle sea breeze affectionately touches your skin
Image via @ jonnybeanos
If you love your shoes as much as we do, then this tea for Choo package is one to watch. Visitors to the fashionable Landmark Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong can now indulge in a high end shoe themed afternoon tea party. This is not just any old tea though, its served with exquisite smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches, traditional scones with jam and cream and mango macaroons. However the pièce de résistance is that all the food is served as a miniature dedication to fashion, in the form of handbags or high heels.
Images via @ Mandarin Oriental
Guests can also enjoy an extra special gift – as long as stocks last. If you decide to stay over in the luxurious L900 Suite, a special pair of Jimm Choo shoes, from the signature 24:7 collection worth HKD 5000 will be yours.
Sidney Schutte, Executive Chef at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental says: “We are excited to be working with Jimmy Choo. The sexy stiletto heels, glamorous designs, great sense of style and colour, and exceptional Italian craftsmanship serve as excellent inspiration for our culinary team.”
The Jimmy Choo Afternoon Tea experience costs around £22 and is available at the MO Bar, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 15 Queen’s Road, Hong Kong. For further information visit MandarinOriental.com.
We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From Underwater Lodges to converted Airplane Suites, expect the unexpected. This week a hotel made entirely of cake. If you can make it through this post without drooling, you’re better than us. Ladies and gentlemen, let us present to you the Cake Hotel in London… and get ready to drool just a bit.
What’s the gimmick? For most of us, eating out and treating ourselves is part of the fun of holidays. You might check out the hand made pasta in Rome, the cheese in Paris or the Mediterranean cuisine in Greece. However, this is something a little different. A hotel for one night only made entirely of cake. The Cake Hotel in Soho is filled with bright pops of coloured cakes, frothy confections and macaroons as far as the eye can see.
Why stay? The Hotel has eight tasting rooms with different themes including Pirates of the Caribbean, Mardi Gras and more. The brainchild of a sugar cane manufacturer, it certainly set our tastebuds tingling just at the thought of it. The best part is, each lucky guest can eat everything, carpets, decorations, lights and windows. The bedside tables house edible books and the bathtubs are filled with caramel popcorn.
All images via @ designtaxi.com
The WOW Factor? Did we mention everything is edible? The walls are made with 2,000 macaroons, the rugs are made of 1,081 meringues, there are edible pearls in treasure chests and a two-metre-high Easter Island chocolate statue. 14 bakers slaved for 2,000 hours using 600 of sugar to make this hotel taste as delicious as it looks. However, sadly this special hotel was open for one night only, but we can always dream.
The results are in! If you’re looking for a European City Break, then why not go to the official, Best European Destination 2013: Istanbul. The fabulous city has taken spot in a public vote, with just 439 votes ahead of its nearest rival, the Portuguese capital Lisbon.
The famous city is right on the dividing line between two continents and has an amazing mix of culture, cuisine and good times. Filled with clubs and restaurants, there are live gigs, cafes and street art to impress younger people, and a variety of museums and galleries culture vultures will love, it truly is a city that offers something for everyone.
2013 is set to be a landmark year for the city too, with the Istanbul Biennial, pop concerts, special exhibitions and Orhan Pamuk’s recently opened museum of Innocence. It’s also the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic by Ataturk, with huge celebrations on the cards. With so much happening and a bit of a reputation as a city that doesn’t sleep, it’s not surprising Istanbul took the top spot with 12.4% of the vote.
Here are some of the nice comments people shared about Istanbul:
Hatice aus Berlin: Istanbul is the best city of the world and sooo nice i love turkey <3
Otfire: I S T A N B U L – the ONE and ONLY! :))
Mark: If new york was in europe, guess we call it istanbul.
Nikos: Vote for Istanbul, it is the best city in the world!
Mikey: İstanbul is the most beautiful city of the WORLD 😉
Busra: I think Istanbul is the nicest city of Europe because there are many things with History which are very important and there is a big nice blue sea which creature a good atmosphere at nigt but normal days too. You can see different cultures and many other persons of the world. There are many modern buildings too which is interesting too. Everybody have to visit Istanbul it is only perfect !!!
Adam: Istanbul is an unique city and not only in the europe but also in the world. It is the oldest city of the old world. Other cities in the list are new and more or less same cities compare to istanbul.
Susan Gurz: After travelling most of the world, ISTANBUL is my favorite
That list in full is:
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Vienna, Austria,
- Barcelona, Spain
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Madrid, Spain
- Valletta Malta
- Nice, France
- Milan, Italy
- Stockholm, Sweden
All images via @ Best European Destination 2013.
Our latest infographic shows the best in off the beaten track travel and why sometimes going off map is for the best.
Looking for craic? Find it in Dublin Ireland with our best city guide. Here’s our expert guide from a genuine Irish girl! If you’ve got any issues with this list, take it up with Kate.
Image via @ batintherain
- Molly Malone the statue of Dublin’s most famous daughter takes pride of place in the city, at the end of Grafton Street, near Trinity College. Known (by some – my ma) as the ‘tart with the cart’ Molly is a well visited tourist favourite in the city.
- The food Grab some traditional favourites like stew, boxty or coddle in one of many restaurants of the city’s Temple Bar area. If it’s more modern cuisine you’re after, Dublin’s become something of an oasis, practically bursting at the seams with great eateries. Try Bite or Crackbird. For high end, Chapter One on Parnell Square is where to go and for cakes, you couldn’t ask for better than the Avoca cafe on Wicklow street or Cake Cafe hidden away at the back of Lower Camden Street.
- The hop-on, hop-off bus A handy way to see the city and pick up some interesting facts about Dublin Ireland from dedicated guides. I learned that the lion from the MGM movies came all the way from Dublin Zoo!
- Phoenix Park is not only where the President of Ireland lives, but the rambling green space is gorgeous for a brisk stroll, a lazy day at a playground, a wander around the zoo or a summer time gig.
- The lovely girls (and boys) Well, I did have to include a Fr Ted comment somewhere. It’s well known the people of Ireland are a friendly bunch, so get out and about and get chatting. At the very least, yo’ll get a story out of it or you could be lucky enough to make some friends for life!
- The writer’s streak Powered by the mighty pen, Dublin’s history is synonymous with writers like George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, James Joyce and Jonathan Swift. Pretty much every year you go, you’ll find a landmark (Samuel Beckett Bridge, Oscar Wilde Statue, the George Bernard Shaw pub) dedicated to the great art of writing, while the Writers Museum is a one stop shop for all your literary questions.
- The arts and culture life the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) the Book of Kells at Trinity College and Georgian Dublin on Merrion Square. Plenty of these are free and ideal for calming the head after a long evening before.
- Scientific Ireland One of Dublin’s relative newcomers, the Science Gallery has been quietly packing them in. An absolute gem, it’s not just for kids as scientists will blow your mind with facts and demonstrations about diverse subjects like growing your own clothes and free coding classes. A little bit of everything!
- The pubs Kehoe’s for a pint, the Long Hall for a quiet evening, the Stag’s Head for great atmosphere, Grogan’s for a drink with the locals, the Cobblestone for music, if you can’t make it to Croker, Baggot Street for the sport, Whelan’s for free live music, One Fade Street (or the no name) pub to hang with the hipsters, in the summer try the Pav in Trinity and in winter head for the cosy Library Bar on Exchequer street. And…well, I could go on, but I have to stop somewhere!
- The craic This is not a drug. Craic is a really multi-usage word that describes everything from a good atmosphere, having fun or the latest news. Basically, as long as you’re havin’ the craic, you’re having a good time.
Ps. There are loads of things I would have included but couldn’t like Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, a walk on the boardwalk, Christ Church Cathedral, the National Concert Hall, the Hugh Lane and many more…
There are a million and one things written about New York, but we wanted to focus on the budget side. Although NYC is the home of Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolos, it is possible to get a great city break or summer vacation on the cheap, as long as you’re a bit savvy about it. Read on and get the best in cheap and cheerful, budget and value on New York Holidays.
Free Things to do in New York City
Staten Island Ferry: One of the most popular free things in New York City, the ferry is renowned as a top tip. Escape the fare of the Statue of Liberty Ferry but keep the views on the commuter version. Find it at the east end of Battery Park in Lower Manhattan.
Take a walk in Central Park. It’s not just your average patch of grass is it? There are usually free events, statues to visit and sites like Strawberry Fields that are well worth an afternoon’s wandering.
The Trinity Church on Wall Street has regular lunchtime concerts to perk up any afternoon. Usually held on Thursdays around 1pm, it’s worth getting in early for string quartets, sopranos and more.
Look to the skies: High Line is a gorgeous park built on a former freight rail line. It’s a great place to go and get away from it all for an hour or two. You’ll find opening hours and access information here.
Kayak I love you. There is free kayaking from a couple of different places in Queens such as the Downtown Boathouse. See Manhattan from another angle, down in a kayak!
Sing along at a Broadway Show. Ok, don’t *actually* sing along, your fellow ticket holders might not actually like it, but a night at a show is practically obligatory in the Big Apple. Head for the ticket booth in Times Square for tickets up to 60% off. Cinderella, Matilda, Kinky Boots and Aladdin are just some of the upcoming shows in 2013.
Go to a baseball game. Not strictly free, but if you can wrangle some tickets, a trip to NYC isn’t complete without this all American experience, and where better than watching the New York Mets in Flushing or the Yankees in the Bronx. Just remember not to mix these two up, or feel the wrath of fans! Grab a hot dog, wrap up well and root, root, root for the home team like a true American.
Get in on the act. TV and film play a big part in the cultural identity of New York, so why not be a part of it at a studio taping. Shows like the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live always have a studio to fill up, but these will definitely need to be booked in advance.
Free tour in a brewery Do we need to say more than that? The Brooklyn Brewery offers free tours at weekends between 1 and 4pm.
Walking is free! Big Apple Greeters are locals who offer free tours of their neighbourhoods, these friendly folks will show you the ins and outs of the city, in a way you might never discover otherwise. Other free tours include a 90 minute runaround of the Grand Central Terminal led by an architectural historian, someone who certainly knows their stuff! At Times Square, there’s an Expose Free Walking Tour every Friday from 12.
What to see for free (or cheap) in New York City
Check out Chelsea The galleries of Chelsea are famous (infamous?) and are mostly free. If you time you’re visit right you might even make it for the cheese and wine openings each Thursday. It’s where the beautiful people hang out, so you’ll fit right in.
Museums to savour There are so many museums with free entry in the city, we can’t name them all, but these are some favourites: (you can find more on free and sometimes free museums in NYC here) The Museum of Fashion Institute of Technology, Socrates Sculpture Park, Tuesday only: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Fridays between 4 and 8pm Moma, the Museum of Modern Art and for kids after 3pm, pay what you will at New York Aquarium or free Fridays between 2 and 5pm at the New York Hall of Science.
Image via @ hom26
Eat… a lot for free (or cheap) in New York City
New York is hardly short of places to eat, but it’s the cheap street food and burger joints that really impress us. New York Street Food will help you find the best in food trucks from hot dogs to ramen to cupcakes and ice cream on the go.
For the best in burgers, well it’s hard to decide but mini burgers at Pop Burger, 58-60 9th Avenue or pop to an outdoor seat at Shake Shack on the corner of Madison Square Park, near Madison Avenue and East 23rd Street, for a tasty treat. The Burger Joint in the fancy Meridien Hotel is a bit pricier, but the queues around the corner really say it all.
For totally free deliciousness, head for Brooklyn where some smart marketing folks came up with free food for every beer purchased. The farmers markets that dot the city are a good choice too for healthy and tasty snacks and decent prices. You can find out where to catch one here.
Where to stay for free (or cheap) in New York City
Stay on budget, stay for cheap Although there are plenty of options for cheap hotels and hostels in the city, you do have to be careful that it’s not some dodgy place that’ll have you awake all night worrying.
A couple of good options include the Harlem Flophouse, an atmospheric choice, with shared bathrooms and themed rooms at 242 West 123rd Street, the 3* Milford NYC in Times Square. It’s in a great location close to everything and with nice touches like iPod docking in each room. Trendy and central, the 3*Yotel, also in Times Square is modern and funky, with flat screen TVs in every room and a moving bed. The 2* Gershwin Hotel is cheap and cheerful in midtown, in the Flatiron district and within 10 minutes walk of the Empire State. Simple rooms make it a good value choice. On the other end of the scale, you’ll get extreme luxury at the historic Waldorf Astoria, but it’ll cost you!
If we missed any top tips on cheap or free things to do in New York City, let us know in the comments below!