What A Brilliant Day at Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex

What a wonderful day out Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex is, so much to see and do for young and old, simply packed full of entertainment whether you are a petrol head or just having a passing interest in motor sport.

We were newbies to the Festival so when we arrived early on Friday morning, when to be fair the weather was a little damp, we weren’t sure what to expect. The first thing that hits you is the sheer scale of the event, its huge… the car parks alone stretch for miles (do make sure you make a note of where you parked because finding it later is a challenge).

Once inside you are straight in to manufacturer display areas that are located near the start line of the Hillclimb.  Here you will find lots of sparkly new and exhibition cars from some of the world’s top car manufacturers.  While making your way through the stands you can’t help but hear the cars roaring away from the start line, its amazing how exciting the noise is, and so you quickly move on to see some of the action.

The Hillclimb circuit is the centre piece of the Festival of Speed, weaving its way from the entrance/start line past Goodwood House and up to the forest finish line 300 feet higher on the chalky South Downs.  The straw bale lined circuit lets you be safely close to the action so you can not only hear but smell the rubber being burnt!  There are grandstands along the track but you can also just walk and find a good spot to watch the action.

There is a full programme on the Hillclimb throughout the day including vintage cars, grand prix motor cycles, Formula 1 cars, rally and touring cars and supercars… some racing, some doughnutting, some simply out on show!

Walk through all the paddocks and see all the cars up close, when they are not performing of course.  From the Grand Prix cars who seem to have teams of people working on them with all the electronic gadgetry to the vintage cars where you can simple appreciate their beautiful designs and admire the nerve it must have required to drive them at fall speed with so little protection.

However there is so much more than the Hillclimb.

I was not expecting the air display to be so awesome, but the Red Arrows performing dare-devil stunts across the bright blue sky was pretty special.  And as for the Eurofighter performing high-speed manoeuvres, wow!

The off-road activity centre looked great fun, and great to get some pictures of vehicles being pushed to their limits.

At the very top of the estate you will find the rally stage, see cars navigate this professionally laid out 1.5 mile circuit through the forest against the clock.

As we headed back down we discovered the huge display areas where there is everything from ‘cars of the future’ to the awe-inspiring prototype of the car that hopes to break the 1,000 mile an hour land speed.  Just as we were wandering around this area we saw the amazing Moto X display with motorbikes quite literally flying through the air in every direction – definitely wish we had got their earlier as it was quite a sight.

If you are going over the weekend have a fantastic time… a couple of tips:

  • take some good walking shoes, there is a lot of walking and standing
  • prepare for all-weather – we had glorious sunshine (requiring shades and sunscreen), wind (jumper/coat needed) and rain (umbrella/waterproof) during the day
  • take quite a lot of cash as most stands for food, programmes etc don’t do credit cards
  • take some food along with you, no food is cheap… burgers are £6 ish

However, don’t let this put you off, it is a spectacularly good day and we would highly recommend it.

Click to see our pictures of the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Facebook or here to find out more about how to get there and where to stay when visiting.

 

Source: Find Cottage Holidays

Top 5 Things to Do in the Last Week of June

Can you believe we are already at the end of June, what has happened to this month? So with just a few days left what can we possibly still squeeze in to this month… where can we go, what can we do??  We have put our thinking cap on and come up with a few things to do over the last few days of June…. feel free to add some more.

  • Henley Royal Regatta. One of the great british sporting traditions the Henley Royal Regatta in Oxfordshire is a fantastic day out on the river bank with glass of champagne in hand!  Find out more about Henley Royal Regatta
  • Goodwood Festival of Speed. Not just for motor racing enthusiasts, the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex is a fun family day out with the famous hillclimb, rallying in the forest, Grand Prix bikes, supercars, Le Mans winners and Formula One cars. Find out more about Goodwood Festival of Speed
  • Royal Norfolk Show. Today is the 2nd day of the country’s largest 2-day agricultural show in Norfolk near Norwich.  The Royal Norfolk Show is a super family day out with so much to do and see… animals of course, but also The Household Cavalry Musical Ride, The RAF Falcons Freefall Parachute Team, The British Military Band and Double Harness Scurry Driving to name just a few. Find out more about the Royal Norfolk Show or see more County Shows
  • Visit Bide-A-Wee Garden. This is a great time of year to visit British Gardens that are open to the public.  Perfect for a relaxing afternoon in the sun and we are lucky that there are so many to visit.  We have picked out one, Bide-A-Wee Gardens in Northumberland, a wonderful secret garden well worth seeing.  More about Bide-A-Wee or see more British Gardens
  • Wimbledon. It is difficult to turn on the TV without seeing Wimbledon highlights but why not go there and see it for yourself.  Certainly in the first week there is more opportunity to get in so why not?  More about Wimbledon

So what do you think of this list?  So what else should we be doing in the next few days?  Why not tell us via our Facebook, Twitter or post on our Blog below.

Source: Find Cottage Holidays

Taking your car to France by Ferry

Taking the ferry to France is a good way to be able to visit another country within the confines of your own car. 

Flying does not suit everyone and with small children or large luggage and sports equipment, all required on a family holiday, travelling by ferry is a godsend.  You can load everything into the back of the vehicle and add a roof box if required.  Children can be kept occupied with their own toys and games.  Of course those lucky enough to have the latest gadgets, can watch films on their in-car entertainment system, allowing the parents to get on with the serious stuff of driving.

The most popular port to travel to the continent by ferry is Dover.  Dover has been the most famous of our port towns for hundreds of years and its white cliffs have been immortalised in song for a very good reason. The white cliffs are really beautiful to look at, they may be crumbling into the sea but they nonetheless have a very important significance to the UK and travelling by ferry from the port of Dover gives you the chance to see them in all their glory as the ferry to France slowly winds its way across the channel.

Catching a ferry is a little more relaxed than catching a flight.  Security is not a tight as it is at an airport and there is not the endless waiting around.  Ferries in general, leave and arrive on time. The ferry terminal at Dover has a number of facilities to keep passengers fed and watered before they sail, along with a few shops. The Port of Dover is the nearest port to France with a distance of 21 miles.  The total sailing time is one hour and 30 minutes and takes place every hour. DFDS Seaways and P&O Ferries provide sailings between Dover, Calais and Dunkirk 24 hours a day. SeaFrance used to offer daily sailings until it went into administration early in 2012.

Another popular route is Dover to Dunkirk.  Dunkirk is only 6 miles away from the border of Belgium and is a less busy port, it is France’s third largest port and the crossing takes roughly 2 hours with 12 sailings a day. The beaches at Dunkirk played a very important part in WWII history, when 300,000 troops were rescued by an armada of boats and ships drawing many tourists to visit Dunkirk today.

The city of Le Havre has its port to thank for its economic growth through the ages.  It is the biggest deep water ocean port in France and although it is not an ideal holiday destination, it does have some fantastic buildings, some good beach side restaurants and a few really interesting museums such as the Musee des Beaux-Arts Malraux which has a vast collection of art from the past five centuries. Le Havre is an ideal destination when travelling to the Normandy area of France. The crossing from Portsmouth takes from 5 hours 30 minutes.

If you are considering travelling to Brittany and beyond then Brittany Ferries offer luxury ferry cruises to Caen Cherbourg and St Malo from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth . Choose from a fast craft sailing or a leisurely overnight crossing arriving in France refreshed for the journey ahead. St Malo is one of the busiest ports in France as it also welcomes large cruise liners as well as ferries and is home to the largest amount of seafood restaurants in Europe.

One place that can help you find the best deals when taking a ferry to France is Ferryonline who can compare different operators in one search saving you time and money as they pull the lowest web fares available in their results.

Save £300 on Luxury Farmhouse near Salcombe South Devon in August – perfect for a large family or group as it sleeps 12

We like the sound of this special offer in the beautiful South of Devon in August…  £300 OFF a luxury farmhouse that can sleep up to 12.

Although much of the availability for this self catering property has now gone, there are still a couple of weeks left so it’s not too late to grab a bargain.

Broad Downs Farmhouse offers a spacious contemporary living space perfect for larger parties looking for a quiet rural retreat this Summer. Relax in the sunshine with the children in the outdoor pool, play ball games in the beautiful shared gardens.

Broad Downs is just a short five-minute drive from the picturesque sailing town of Salcombe with its beaches, waterfront, shops and restaurants. Beautiful walks connect with miles of coastal paths at Bolberry Down leading to Salcombe, Soar Mill Cove, Hope Cove and Thurlestone, whilst Bantham Beach, popular with surfers from far and wide is just a 10 minute drive away. The location provides an ideal secluded country retreat, the perfect base for exploring neighbouring coves and beaches and the market town of Kingsbridge (a 10 minute drive) and beyond to Dartmouth approximately half an hour away.

The offer is for weeks commencing 2/3 August and 9/10th August (Thursday or Friday change-over available) with the price NOW £3525, under £42 per person, per night, based on 12 sharing, if booked before 20th July.

Find out more about Broad Downs Farm in Salcombe

Source: Find Cottage Holidays

Static Caravans and Mobile Homes for Short Break and Holidays in England Scotland and Wales

At this time of year finding availability at the cottage you want or in the precise area you were looking at can become a bit more challenging, after all some of the very best self catering cottages can be booked quite early. 

Even though we have some 13,000 holiday cottages and apartments for you to choose from once we get in to the summer finding the right place for you can be less easy.

If this is the case then it is well worth considering a static caravan or mobile home on a UK holiday park. If you have never considered staying in a holiday home previously it is worth saying that there is a good range of high quality self catering accommodation available that will work for couple, families and even groups.

Don’t let the word caravan put you off, in reality the static caravans are large mobile homes with permanent water and electric connections, with all the facilities and services you would expect in a cottage or apartment including heating, fridge/freezer, oven and hob, toilets (often more than one), showers, sinks, comfortable beds etc. In fact many are often described as lodges such is the overlap in the self catering descriptions these days!

This type of holiday home accommodation can usually be found on holiday parks which means that you can also get access to some great facilities and services such as swimming pools, bars, adult and kids entertainment, gyms, spa, restaurants and lots more all close to your accommodation.

We have added a selection of quality static caravan and mobile homes across England, Scotland and Wales to our Find Cottage Holidays website to offer you an excellent choice. See Static Caravans and Mobile Homes

 

Source: Find Cottage Holidays

Top five hiking routes in the Lake District

Scafell Pike, Lake District

Few people leave the Lake District without having done some hiking. From gentle walks around its lakes to strenuous mountain hikes, hiking is accessible to all. For keen hikers, the most popular attractions in the Lake District include Helvellyn, Skiddaw and Scafell Pike, Lake District hotels are available in the area to suit all budgets.

Known as Munros because they are over 3000 feet, they attract thousands of people every year. Helvellyn is the UK’s third-highest mountain and is home to Red Tarn Lake, named for the colour of its surrounding scree (rock fragments).

The Striding Edge route is a popular ascent for Helvellyn. The route is very well-marked but has some narrow ridges and steep sections. This route is dangerous in bad weather and is not suitable for those who dislike heights.

The hike usually commences from Glenridding at the southern end of Ullswater, or there is a shorter route from Patterdale. Starting from Glenridding, it is a 9.5-mile loop, taking around seven hours to complete.

The Striding Edge route incorporates a stony climb and at 850m there is a rock tower overlooking a ridge. This stretch of the walk is quite easy in good weather, although there is some scrambling required at the rock tower known as ‘The Chimney’.

Another Munro, Skiddaw is just north of Keswick in the northern Lake District. There are a number of routes up Skiddaw, including Ullock Pike Ridge, which follows a narrow ridge. Other hikers may choose Slade’s Beck as it offers a gentler ascent.

Skiddaw is also a popular choice for families as it can be less challenging than other mountain hikes in the Lakes. Starting from Ormathwaite, the climb up Jenkin Hill offers hikers a stunning view of Derwentwater.

From here, the route heads up towards Skiddaw Little Man and then continues on to the summit of Skiddaw. As with all summit ascents, the weather is often much cooler at the top and hikers should be prepared for changeable weather.

Those seeking more of a challenge should consider Scafell Pike. There are a number of routes up it and hikers should take time to plan their hike beforehand, as it is particularly easy to wander off a path.

Starting from Wasdale Head, the route is slightly less strenuous than starting from Seathwaite in Borrowdale. For less experienced hikers, this route can take around eight hours to complete. The landscape is quite steep in places and there are plenty of boulders strewn around.

Much of the ascent is up a rock staircase and to reach the summit hikers have to go up and down a number of other peaks. Those who reach the top of Scafell Pike will find that they are on top of the highest peak in England.

For those staying near Seathwaite, there is an opportunity to take a hike of around 5.5 miles that offers some interesting sights. Stockley Bridge near Seathwaite is unique in that it is actually a Grade 1 listed building. This area also holds the record for having had the most rainfall in 24 hours and is home to the vendace, a rare fish that survived from the last glacial period.

Although there is some climbing on this hike, there are great picnic spots and the shorter walk means that it is more attractive for families on their holidays. For those looking for shorter family walks, Hawkshead to Lake Windermere is another popular option.

There are some easy climbs on this walk and just one sharp descent to Lake Windermere at the end. Hawkshead is a village that retains a quaint charm and is a popular with visitors. The walk to Lake Windermere takes in woodlands and fells and because it finishes at the ferry house, it is easy to catch a ferry back.

For those who want to add a challenge to this walk, there is the option to take a steep descent to Claife Station. Built in the 1790s, this was a viewpoint for Lake Windermere and was a popular attraction with visitors in the 1830s and 1840s. Although its windows and roof are long gone, it is still a fantastic way to take in the vista.

Hikers should always be aware that the weather can change very quickly in the Lakes and novice hikers especially should take care when considering mountain ascents or other challenging routes. With many more hiking routes available, everyone has the opportunity to make the most of their visit to the Lake District.