adeo Insights – Kevin Murray’s Diary: Week 6, Heading North

It’s all very well us telling you what to see and do when you come to visit Britain but who can give you a better insight into what you can expect from an adeo tour than our guests themselves! Our guest Kevin Murray has been kind enough to allow us to publish his trip reports detailing his travels through England, Wales and Scotland this Spring.

This week Kevin and Glenys travel through England’s most northerly counties to cross the ancient border into Scotland.

Leaving Chester, we crossed the bleak, browned grasslands of the high Pennines into Yorkshire. York itself was like a living museum; the presence of the Romans was still palpable and the subsequent Viking and Anglo-Saxon influences are also obvious. One place which typified this was the huge Minster that dominates the town. Below its floors can be found whole Roman walls and roads. Above the floors one can read the chequered history in the many architectural changes to this magnificent structure.

York - Shambles
York – Shambles

From York we now headed northwest to the Lake District. But on the way we detoured first to the little town of Ripley where we explored the enchanting walled garden belonging to the local castle/mansion. We then stopped off at Fountains Abbey, another huge Cistercian abbey destroyed by Henry VIII’s mob. The beautiful 17th century water gardens here are now under the protective wing of the National Trust and are superbly and lovingly preserved.

On we drove towards the west passing through the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales under increasingly threatening skies which decided to unleash their bucket loads of snow just as we were entering the steep mountain passes leading to the Lakes. Around every corner was a Christmas-card scene of snow-covered ground and conifers bending under the weight with bewildered sheep wondering where their grass had gone. The steep, narrow, icy roads made for some treacherous driving but it was well worth it in the end – as we gazed with delight out the window of our Ambleside hotel at a spectacular view of towering snow-shrouded peaks!

IMG_1185With our intended cruise on Coniston Waters cancelled because of the “inclement” weather, we drove down the western side of Coniston Waters to Greenodd and back up along the eastern side of Windemere, with the snow-capped mountains providing a dramatic backdrop to the windswept lakes. We had 10 minutes of rare sunshine just as we left Windemere, allowing me to capture a few stunning reflections. Near Carlisle we stopped at Birdoswald, the site of an excavated Roman fort, built in the second century as part of Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the northernmost boundary of the vast Roman Empire, keeping those pesky marauding Scots at bay. We even got to walk a little of the famous Wall itself.

And so, on to Glasgow, which, like Cardiff, is another industrial city successfully re-invented as a cultural capital. The miserable weather encouraged us to explore Glasgow‘s museums, including the newly opened and very modern Riverside Transport Museum and the fabulous Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Each in their own way defining the considerable impact this city has had on the social, industrial and technological milieux not only of Britain, but on the rest of the world.

IMG_1188Northwards once more; but first we decided to climb the 400 steps to the remains of the historic Dunbarton Castle, perched strategically atop a massive volcanic plug, guarding the windswept River Clyde. We journeyed alongside the enigmatic Loch Lomond, experiencing brief periods of sunshine and rain in equal measure, following a waterlogged zig-zag path into the Scottish Highlands.

If you would like to explore the wild and beautiful North of England why not try our Yorkshire and the Lake District self-drive tour.

adeo Insights – Kevin Murray’s Diary: Week 2, Going West

It’s all very well us telling you what to see and do when you come to visit Britain but who can give you a better insight into what you can expect from an adeo tour than our guests themselves! Our guest Kevin Murray has been kind enough to allow us to publish his trip reports detailing his travels through England, Wales and Scotland this Spring.

This week Kevin and Glenys head West, stopping at the historic town of Salisbury and the mysterious Avebury standing stones before continuing to the beautiful Devonshire coast.

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral

The next day found us heading southwest in our near-new, canary yellow Citroen DS3. We drove to Salisbury, checked in to the Grasmere House Hotel (in a room with a four-poster bed, no less) then checked out the spectacular 13th Century Cathedral that dominates the town. We were fortunate enough to hear a service with the harmonious voices of a full choir filling the cavernous interior. Walking back through ancient irrigated fields called “water meadows” we were reminded just how long this area has been occupied and farmed.

The next day saw us winding our way north through narrow, soggy roads to the little village of Avebury. Here we became utterly absorbed by the thousands of years of history that confronted us. From the Neolithic standing stones, mysterious circular trenches and huge conical hills, to the 600 years of continuous habitation of Avebury Manor, captured in the refurbishment of its rooms, with each room reflecting a particular era of occupation. On our way back to Salisbury we visited Old Sarum, another Neolithic site of mysterious meaning, later used as fortification or as a place of worship by various conquerors.

Avebury Stone Circle
Avebury Stone Circle

We left Salisbury under clear blue skies and headed for the coast. Our trusty satnav took us along narrow, windy, pot-holed tracks that pass for roads here, eliciting a large sigh of relief from us both when we eventually arrived at our first destination; the evocatively named Durdle Door. A heart stopping descent on foot down a slippery track, buffeted by an icy gale coming off the sea and we found ourselves on a beach of fine pebbles nestled beneath towering cliffs of chalk, with our eyes compellingly drawn towards the enigmatic stone arch that gives this part of the coast its unusual name. The climb back up to the carpark was literally breathtaking!

The Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast

On to Exeter. What a fabulous, friendly place this is, surrounded by rich green pastures which start just minutes from town. We went on a guided walking tour of “Medieval Exeter” discovering snippets of its history, from the Roman walls and bridges to the gothic churches. We passed through 600-year-old doors and viewed twisted medieval houses, all with interesting stories to tell. We lunched in the Spring sunshine by the quayside before enjoying another tour, this time of the fabulous spire-less 12th to 14th Century Cathedral with its distinctive Norman towers, intricate vaulted ceiling and soaring stained glass windows.

Leaving Exeter, we headed west, right through the middle of the Dartmoor National Park. The weather couldn’t have been any kinder to us, brilliant sunshine, no wind, blue, cloud-flecked skies. Dartmoor is littered with the eroded remnants of a 300-million-year old granite intrusion, leaving huge boulders (called tors) atop steep hills of sodden peatmoss. Also littered across the landscape are quiet little villages sheltering in the deep, green valleys, beside fast flowing, ice-cold streams. The patchwork of fields is delineated by mile after mile of dry stone walls – many of them much older than the 14th century church we visited in Widecome in the Moor.

If you would like to visit the places described in this blog, we recommend our West Country Legends self-drive tour or the Best of Devon and Cornwall escorted coach tour.

5 reasons to travel to Britain this Fall

The official first day of summer was this week with the Summer Solstice falling on Monday 20th June and many people will be thinking about their summer holidays.

Many people will already have plans to jet off for some summer sun but if you’ve not got anything booked yet, never fear! Now is a great time to book a vacation to Britain in the Fall.autumn

September and October are great months to travel to Britain and here is why:

  1. School Holidays

In less than a month school will be out for the summer but, luckily, school will not be out forever! In July and August hotels, attractions and aeroplanes will fill up with families so if you do not have children why not hold on until September when the kids have gone back to school for a much more peaceful vacation.

Stonehenge (5)         2. Cheaper

It might seem obvious but travelling during the high season is more expensive. Flights, hotels even car hire is in higher demand and therefore more pricey. By travelling during ‘shoulder season’ you’ll have a wider range of options at much better prices.

  1. Autumnal weather

Fall is a special time of year in Britain: crunchy autumn leaves underfoot and the smokey smell of bonfires. You won’t necessarily have to forgoe the heat as summer often drags on well into September here in Britain. However, if you do choose to travel later in the Fall you’ll be in for a treat as Britain shows her true colours with incredible autumnal displays of brightly coloured leaves and purple heather-covered hills.

  1. Edinburgh Festival

EdinburghNow, the advent of the world-famous Edinburgh Festival might seem like a brilliant reason to visit Scotland in August. Well, that’s what several thousand other people thought and for that reason Edinburgh, and indeed the whole of Scotland, is overcrowded with tourists throughout the entire month of August. By travelling later in the season you won’t have to share famous beauty spots like the Isle of Skye or Eilean Donan castle in peace.

  1. Availability

Here at adeo Travel we have a wide array of fantastic small-group and escorted coach tours, which are invariably fully booked in July and August. If you find your dream tour is full up in the high season, you may find that there’s space on an October departure – plus with the coach a little less full you’ll have lots more legroom!

Group TravelIf we have persuaded you to come visit us over here in Britain this Fall why not head on over to our website where you can check out our range of self-drive and rail tours! We strongly recommend Skye and the Highlands or England Explorer to enjoy the beauty of Britain in the Fall.

Why you should take a Britain road trip!

There are many ways to explore Britain; an all-inclusive coach tour can be an easy and comfortable option; travelling by rail is a relaxing way to see the beautiful countryside; but here at adeo Travel we firmly believe that the best way to see the country is to hire a car and head out on the open road.

roadtrip

Flying solo in a foreign country might seem scary at first but here’s why it’s worth taking the leap:

  1. Create your own itinerary

Unlike on a group tour, you don’t have to follow a set itinerary for self-drive tours – really the only limit is your imagination! Maybe you want to go back to your roots and visit your ancestors’ hometown, maybe you want to see the filming locations of your favourite movie – Just tell us where you want to go and how long for and we’ll make it happen (within reason :P). Or, if you’re not sure, we have a great range of recommended itineraries on our website.

 

  1. Upgrade your vacation

Destinations aren’t the only thing you get to choose for yourself on a self-drive tour; you also get to choose the hotels, car and activities. So if you want to treat yourself by staying in 5* luxury you can do that! At adeo we have a massive range of hotels on offer including gorgeous castles and stately manors, historic coaching inns and luxurious spa hotels – it’s your choice!

upgrade your vacation
upgrade your vacation
  1. Set the pace

It’s the catch 22 of holidays: you want to ‘make the most of it’ but at the same time, you don’t want to get back home after your vacation feeling more exhausted than when you left! On a self-drive tour you can mix jam-packed days of sightseeing with more relaxed days where you treat yourself to a lie in or enjoy a long, lazy lunch in a country pub. Without railway timetables or Tour Leaders to dictate your schedule you’re a free agent!

 

  1. Travel the backroads

Britain is famous for its beautiful scenery: rolling English hills, spectacular Welsh coastline and magnificent Scottish mountains. By far the best way to immerse yourself in these gorgeous landscapes is by getting off the motorway and pointing the nose of your car down the narrow and winding backroads – you won’t have this kind of adventure sitting on a train!

travel the back roads
travel the back roads
  1. Be independent

Britain has so many secrets and hidden corners – many of our guests told us that they most enjoyed themselves when they headed down a road that ‘looked interesting’ or took a tip from their hotel receptionist instead of visiting another crowded tourist hotspot. The opportunity to get off the beaten track and discovering your own little corner of Britain is one of the best things about travelling by car.

Inspired? Why not take a Britain road trip with adeo travel?! You can follow one of our pre-designed itineraries like The British Journey or Icons of England or simply email us and tell us where you want to go!

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.