When is Best to Visit Britain?

With enquiries coming in thick and fast for 2018 vacations in Britain, we are receiving one of our most commonly asked questions here at adeo Travel – when is the best time to visit England, Scotland and Wales!? As with many questions, there is no simple response, as the answer will be different for every guest depending on what is important to them for their trip. Here I do my best at outlining some of the things to think about when planning your vacation to enable you to make the best decision for yourself on when to visit our beautiful country!

Weather     

The weather is famously unpredictable in Britain and we can experience all four seasons in one day, however most people like to travel when there is the best chance of good weather; mild or warm temperatures and a lower chance of rain often make for a more enjoyable sightseeing experience. Therefore, many of our guests choose to visit in England’s Summer months (June, July and August). However, the shoulder season of Springtime and early Autumn can also offer some beautiful weather; April and May can provide crisp mornings and cool evenings but if the sun’s out its strength is good and will offer a pleasant temperature for getting out and about during the daytime. Likewise, September and early October can offer stretches of sunshine if we encounter an “Indian” Summer.

Public/Bank Holidays

Here in Britain we have eight days public holidays (or Bank Holidays) as we call them when the vast majority of British people get a day off work (usually a Monday). On these weekends, the locals often choose to getaway on a short trip to the coast, countryside or for a city-break which means that the roads and public transport can be congested and hotels will be busier or more expensive than at other times – many will impose minimum 2 or 3 night stays to ensure that they maximise their profits across the course of the holiday. Whilst the local atmosphere is good at these times it can be more difficult for overseas visitors who want to get from point to point or stay just one night in a destination so you may choose to avoid these dates. The four main bank holidays in 2018 are the Easter weekend (Mar 30 – Apr 2), May Day Holiday (May 5 – 7), Spring Bank Holiday (May 26 – 28) and the August Bank Holiday (Aug 25 – Aug 27).

Scenery and the Seasons

If you have a particular landscape or vista that you want to experience then ask your adeo Travel Britain expert when is best to see it. If you plan to visit some of England’s beautiful stately homes with formal gardens or RHS gardens then springtime and early Summer (April through June) is a great time to see the flowers in fresh bloom. The heather comes out in Scotland and across the moors and dales of the English Lake District and Yorkshire in late August and early September whilst if crisp frost covered hillsides and snow-capped mountains are your thing then the Winter months or early Spring (November through March) are the best time for your visit.

Local Events and Festivals

Similar to public holidays, local events and festivals can mean a spike in overnight visitors to a particular destination. The most notable is the Edinburgh Festival and Tattoo which takes place throughout the month of August – whilst the city enjoys an incredible party atmosphere, hotel availability is sparse and prices can more than triple throughout the period due to the high demand. To a lesser extent, popular festivals such Glastonbury Music Festival, Wimbledon Tennis Championships, the Chelsea Flower Show and the York Races can have similar effects. Our advice is that unless you plan to attend yourself then avoid the destination during the event, if your dates are flexible then you may be able to move your trip a little or alternatively, simply ask your adeo Travel representative and they may be able to suggest an alternative overnight destination or juggle your itinerary to visit at a quieter time.

Sightseeing and Daylight Hours

Some people like to combine relaxation with their sightseeing but if your major aim of your vacation is to cover a lot of different areas and hit as many visitor attractions and towns as possible then you’ll want to make sure that you have the daylight hours to achieve it. In the Summer months, the sun will rise from 6am and it can stay light until 10pm on bright sunny days, ideal for those who want to enjoy long evening drives. In the Winter months it can be dark by 5pm which better suits people who want to enjoy shorter daily journeys and atmospheric dinners in the hotel restaurants or evenings curled up by open fireplaces with a local tipple in the hotel lounge-bars.

Price and Value

Compared with some nations, Britain’s hotel, rented accommodation and car rental capacity can be quite low for the numbers of visitors we experience. This limited car and bed-stock means that hotel pricing can fluctuate significantly dependent on availability and demand – the Summer months are invariably more popular so hotels command a higher nightly rate whilst in low-season properties naturally drop prices to compete for business. If budget is important to you then the low or shoulder seasons provide more competitive pricing and you’re more likely to bag a real bargain for your trip. At adeo Travel, we’ve negotiated the best rates are happy to scour our systems for great deals year-round.

So, the best time to travel in Britain really depends on your own priorities from the purpose of your trip, to your personality and interests, to your budget and your flexibility in terms of travel dates. Hopefully the information above has helped a little but if you want further advice when planning your trip then please do not hesitate to get in touch and your adeo Travel will be happy to share their own local insight to ensure you get the most out of your trip!

For a full list of our fully customizable self-drive tours, click here.

 

Our Top Five Sites – Edinburgh

The team and I recently traded the capital of Wales for the capital of bonnie Scotland, Edinburgh!

As we alighted the plane, we were blessed to be greeted by such warm sunlight accompanied by that famous fresh and welcoming Scottish air.

The primary purpose of this trip was to get a real feel for Edinburgh as a city, we visited our most frequently used accommodations and checked out sites that make Edinburgh the spectacular city it is.

Below are a list of our top five sites that we loved and that you may choose to visit when you venture to the Scottish capital city.

Edinburgh Castle

Of course, we couldn’t visit Edinburgh without seeing the castle that sits spectacularly high in the skyline.

Edinburgh Castle View
Edinburgh Castle View

A brisk uphill walk led us to the front of the castle, where we bought our tickets and headed inside.

Atop the castle were breath-taking views of the city itself and excellent photo opportunity for all.

History enthusiasts should not miss this as there is a lot of historical information to be absorbed about the old Kings and Queens that resided here, along with accessible real life dungeons where prisoners were kept.

Admission to the Castle is only £16.50 and £13.20 for those of you over 60.

Edinburgh Old Town

After the castle we took a stroll down into Edinburgh’s Old Town, a visually stunning area of the city that features various Scottish artists, performers, shopping opportunities, bagpipes and food.

The food we had was exquisite and afterwards we ventured into a pub for a recreational taste of one of Scotland’s finest qualities – alcohol!

Arthur’s Seat

Arthur's Seat
Arthur’s Seat

A short walk from Edinburgh’s Old Town is the famous Arthur’s Seat, which isn’t just for fitness freaks – the walk only takes about 15 minutes and is a fairly leisurely pace despite the incline.

Once atop the hill, this is another unmissable opportunity for photos and different view of Edinburgh than that of from the castle.

For the budget conscious this sight does not cost a penny – oh and don’t forget to touch the stone of Arthur’s Seat once you reach the top!

Royal Mile

Before we retired back to our hotel rooms, we decided to take a proper look into Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Here we were greeted by shops, museums, historic churches, gardens and more! There is something for everyone on the Royal Mile and a perfect place to pick up those much coveted souvenirs for loved ones back home!

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Despite the fact we did not actually see this on our trip, we could not miss putting the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on our list!

This event takes places every year in August, in 2016 the dates are August 5th – August 27th, so if you are travelling Scotland in the summer, don’t forget to pick up tickets from approximately £40 and upwards.

Often described by our guests as a ‘once in a lifetime event’, the Tattoo consists of musicians, dancers and army drill teams from around the world and is embedded in Scottish culture with Edinburgh Castle lit up at night as a stunning back-drop.

To sum up, Edinburgh is a must-see city for anyone wishing to visit Britain, don’t miss out!

Where To Stay In Edinburgh – #AdeoOnTheRoad

This week we flew up to one of our favourite Scottish cities, Edinburgh! This cosmopolitan capital city is a must visit for any visitor to Scotland. Edinburgh is packed with medieval history, surrounded by spectacular scenery and is also the leading festival city in the world.

We want our guests to have the best possible experience in all aspects of their vacation so we took the opportunity to inspect some of the hotels we send our guests to. Read on for the inside scoop on where you could be staying in Edinburgh if you book with adeo:

Braid Hills Hotel

Dating back to 1886 this hotel is full of classic Victorian character including turrets and stained glass windows. The wood panelling in the Edinburgh bar and 1886 restaurant will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and the views are simply to die for.

You’ll love it if: You love traditional character and authentic Victorian charm.

The Bothy Restaurant and Drinkery at the Murrayfield House Hotel
The Bothy Restaurant and Drinkery at the Murrayfield House Hotel

Murrayfield Hotel

The Murrayfield is a hotel with community spirit! The Bothy Restaurant and Drinkery, the hotel’s stylish Scottish restaurant, is open to the public and fills up in the evenings with locals and hotel guests alike. Plus, its located right on the bus route from the airport to the city centre – what’s not to like?

You’ll love it if: You’re in search of an authentic local experience.

Thistle Edinburgh King James

This quirky hotel can be found inside a shopping mall! Its location directly opposite the train station makes it perfect for anyone arriving on a late night train.

You’ll love it if: You’re a shopaholic!

The Place's sunny terrace
The Place’s sunny terrace

The Place Hotel

This historic hotel is an oasis of calm in the centre of the city. Its unique terrace area with retractable roof is the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing whatever the weather. There’s also a contemporary bar with an extensive wine list and cocktail selection – yum!

You’ll love it if: You’re looking for a restful retreat after your sightseeing.

The Mercure Princes Street

This hotel seems uninspiring from its main entrance but the hotel’s best feature becomes quickly apparent after climbing the stairs to the hotel’s reception where you can see through to the restaurant which features panoramic views of the majestic Edinburgh Castle.

You’ll love it if: You want a feast for your eyes as well as your stomach.

Classic oak panelling inside the Royal Scots Club
Classic oak panelling inside the Royal Scots Club

The Royal Scots Club

You’ll feel like royalty staying at this private members’ club in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. Careful though, only members may use the main entrance; plebs like us have to enter through a side door. There’s also a strict ‘No Jeans’ rule for the Dining Room.

You’ll love it if: You want to feel like an aristocrat.

The Inn Place

It’s all about location, location, location at The Inn Place! The Place Hotel’s sister hotel is situated two minutes from Waverly station, just off the Royal Mile. You won’t get much of a view from your room but you couldn’t find a better location for sightseeing, shopping, eating and drinking.

You’ll love it if: You want to be at the centre of the action

The Roxburghe

The Roxburghe
The Roxburghe

You’ll feel relaxed the moment you step into this luxurious 4-star hotel featuring gorgeous, spacious reception rooms including a peaceful central courtyard. At the hotel’s Balance Spa and Leisure Club you can take a dip in the heated pool or treat yourself to a massage.

You’ll love it if: You’re feeling travel fatigued

 

 

 

If any of these hotels tickle your fancy just let us know and we would be happy to book it for your stay in Edinburgh! And why not travel to Edinburgh on one of our fully customizable Scotland self-drive or rail tours! I recommend Simply Scotland or Explore Scotland by Rail.

Top Ten Visitor Destinations in Britain – Traveller’s Choice.

We’re often asked what Britain’s best visitor destinations are – but with three countries, dozens of bustling cities and expansive and contrasting areas of natural beauty to choose from, it’s not a question easily answered! So on this occasion we can dodge the question and look to you, the visitor, to answer it…

A major online review site has recently released their 2016 traveller’s choice awards – using a complex algorithm based both quality and quantity of local destination and attraction reviews by visitors over the last twelve months, Trip Advisor have compiled a top-ten list of UK destinations.  The list throws up some obvious choices, but also some real gems; so, as local travel experts, do we agree…?  Here’s the list, and our thoughts:

10. Manchester

Often overlooked by the international visitor, Manchester has so much to offer! Home to England’s leading soccer team (ManchesterUnited), the national soap opera (Coronation Street) and internationally renowned museums, shopping and nightlife, Manchester has something for everyone.

scotland_glasgow_george_square

  1. 9. Glasgow

Scotland’s second city was recently named as a top international destination for 2016, and with good reason.  A hub for modern Scottish culture, Glasgow also boasts grand Georgian architecture, world-class museums and hallmarks of Scotland’s industrial heritage.

8. Bath

One of our favourite spots in Britain and arguably England’s prettiest town, Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage city.  With elegant Regency architecture and a history which dates back to the Roman Empire, Bath is simply a must-visit for travellers exploring England.

england_york_shambles

7. York

Another of adeo Travel’s choice destinations, set amidst the scenic Yorkshire Dales and Moors, York is simply packed with history – discover how the Vikings invaded, explore the cobbled Shambles, walk the medieval town walls & gates and visit Europe’s largest gothic cathedral at the masterpiece of York Minster.

6. Torquay

Possibly best known as the home of Basil Fawlty’s less-than hospitable hotel in John Cleese’s seventies sitcom, Torquay has experienced a resurgence in recent years; this pretty Devonshire harbour-town is at the heart of the “English Riviera” coastline and has the wild landscapes of the Dartmoor National Park on its doorstep.

5. Blackpool

Not one often requested by our international guests, Blackpool is a seaside resort on Northern England’s Lancashire coast. Home to an annual coloured lights festival, donkey-rides on the beach, traditional games arcades and the famous tower ballroom there’s no doubt the town holds a certain nostalgia for Briton’s and their childhood seaside holidays.wales_llandudno

4. Llandudno

A picturesque Victorian seaside resort on the North Wales coast, Llandudno boasts a beautiful sweeping bay, historic pier and elegant promenade not to mention Britain’s only cable-hauled tramway (which dates back to 1902) and the Great Orme headland and nature reserve.  And just a stone’s throw from Conwy Castle and the Snowdonia National Park, Llandudno is definitely one we’d recommend.

3. Liverpool

The home-town of the World’s best known pop group, the wealth of Beatles’ related cultural sites is enough to put Liverpool on the map; but the city has much more besides including two magnificent cathedrals, dozens of listed historic buildings, the famous Albert Docks and a rich maritime heritage.

2. Edinburgh

Scotland’s enchanting capital, Edinburgh offers architectural beauty, an ancient history, major Scottish political and heritage sites and a leading international cultural festival. The must-see Scotland destination and gateway to the renowned Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh deservedly holds the second spot of this top-ten.

england_london_westminster_dusk

  1. 1. London

Britain’s top-rating location, incidentally, London also tops the list of international destinations.  A thriving metropolis, the English capital leads in terms of sport, politics, commerce and culture. Playing host to a wealth of historical and heritage landmarks, recognisable the world-over, London is truly a global destination and unsurprisingly features at the premier position of Britain’s top-ten visitor destinations.

Discover any of the above Britain destinations on one of adeo Travel’s self-drive tours or rail tours which can be entirely customised to suit your travel requirements and preferences.

Happy Hogmanay! What’s Hogmanay?

It will soon be time to say Happy New Year to all our readers, or as they may say in Scotland – Happy Hogmanay! So Hogmanay is just a Scottish word for New Year’s Eve? Far from it! Hogmanay is an entire festival in its own right – and as with many of Scotland’s cultural events it comes with its own array of unique traditions which the Scottish people take very seriously…! Here we thought we’d answer a few questions about this particular Scottish festival…

Fireworks over Edinburgh Castle at Hogmanay.
Fireworks over Edinburgh Castle at Hogmanay.

So there is a big party, right? The evening of Hogmanay is of course celebrated in the way Scots know best – with lots of music, spectacle, dancing and perhaps a nip of whisky. Edinburgh is a focal point for celebration with an organised ticketed street-party taking place in recent years, however previously an unofficial gathering would take place on the Royal Mile around the old Tron Church – with the clock of ancient tower decidedly unreliable chaos would ensue around midnight with various groups celebrating at different times and on different count-downs!

Is Hogmanay just celebrated in Edinburgh? No, celebrations take-place up and down the country and are not immune to local and regional twists. In Stonehaven near Aberdeen, giant balls of mesh filled with flammable material attached to chains are lit upon the tolling of the midnight bells and swung around the heads of the marchers who parade up and down the High Street. Think that’s strange? On the Isle of Orkney it is said there used to be a tradition where the man-folk took turns to don the remains of a burnt out cow’s head – why, no one is quite sure… The Highland city of Inverness and historic Stirling both opted for more traditional festivities and hosted magnificent music concerts this year.

Dancing to Auld Lang Syne on Hogmanay.
Dancing to Auld Lang Syne on Hogmanay.

Is there one thing which is done across Scotland? Wherever the celebrations take place, you can guarantee to hear the familiar tune of Auld Lang Syne! This traditional Scots poem, penned by famed Scottish poet Robert Burns, will be boomed out of every pub and inn throughout Scotland as people link arms to dance and sing-along. And of course this is a tradition not only also adopted in England and Wales but exported across the world! But as the Scots will tell you, it’s only done properly in Scotland.

And after midnight and the singing ends, the festival is over? Not a chance! First-footing is an old custom which remains observed today whereby people go to visit friends and neighbours after midnight. You should of course come bearing gifts and if your first visitor (or first-footer) is a tall, dark man with lump of coal then that is particularly lucky (obviously!).

Dooking in Edinburgh at Hogmanay
Dooking in Edinburgh at Hogmanay

But you can rest on New Year’s Day, right? Erm, not exactly. Unless you consider going for a swim in the sea relaxing – bearing in mind this is January and you’re in Scotland! Recent years have seen a resurrection of this old tradition known as “Dooking” whereby people gather to go for a nice dip in Scotland’s icy coastal waters on New Year’s Day. The aptly named “Looney Dook” in South Queensferry in Edinburgh is now a recognised part of the city’s Hogmanay celebrations and many swear it is the ultimate antidote for the excesses of the previous night – we’ll take their word for it!

New year’s Day is of course a public holiday across the UK, however, uniquely in Scotland, January 2nd is also a public holiday which means most people enjoy an extra day off work. Some people in England and Wales are jealous of this whilst others simply believe, after all that ritual, they deserve it!