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Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast: The hilarious and amazing adventures of Glenton Palmer General Manager, Lisa Palmer (aka The Wife), her significant other, Andy and their intrepid hounds, Meg and Fizz!

 

By Andy Palmer

 

England’s Coast to Coast is one of the world’s greatest long distance walks and was created by Alfred Wainwright. The route takes in two coasts, three national parks and two hundred miles of footpaths. The brave walkers enjoy a special camaraderie with their fellow ramblers as they eat up the miles whilst feasting their eyes on chocolate box panoramas of lakes and mountains, picture postcard villages, rolling fields and, of course, welcoming pubs. Here’s how me and The Wife got on...

 

Friday 16 June: D Day minus one - the adventure begins, sort of…

Arrived at the quaint little village of St Bees, Cumbria with The Wife, Lisa and our faithful mutts, Meg and Fizz then checked into nice accommodation close to the hub of the town. I say town but, to be truthful, I mean the two pubs that were not just open but heaving! Here we enjoyed some lively banter with a raucous rugby team along with a refreshment or two then got talking to couples who had flown all the way from Perth, Australia and Philadelphia, USA to take part in the coast to coast walk. Just a perfect day, it can't last!

 

Saturday 17 June: Day One – St Bees to Ennerdale  (15 miles)
Hiking boots tightly secured, dogs bouncing with excitement, then a cracking day’s walking - cool and overcast to start with then a nice breeze while we tabbed along the high cliffs of the headland. Turned East and inland towards the sparkling Lakes. Weather got better so we stopped to eat lunch and watch a little cricket. This is the life. Afterwards, time to head for the hills, tackling a decent climb with an even steeper descent. Simply stunning views were a fitting reward for our efforts. Bumped into fellow walkers from all over the world - New Zealand, Australia, Netherlands, even a bloke from Sunderland! Oh, and a good looking, single young lady from Southern California… Walked into Ennerdale with the sun blazing so into first beer garden for a cold one as we cooled our feet in the beck. Fantastic first day, will the rest be the same?

 

Sunday 18 June: Day Two, Ennerdale to Rosthwaite (15 miles)
Ever so slightly more of a challenge today as the initial excitement had waned a little only to be replaced with a nagging reality of the miles ahead! Still, we had a nice start strolling around the edge of Ennerdale water, then onwards through the forest trail to Black Sail Hut - the most remote youth Hostel in U.K.  Route was long and hot so decided against going up Red Pike as The Wife didn't fancy it and put her foot down firmly.  Had to do my knight in shining armour charging after the American lass who set off on completely the wrong track straight onto a 2000ft accent. Apparently, she doesn't like map reading...bless. As the sun blazed, Lisa and I worked up a right sweat as we headed towards Honister slate mine then the Lakeland town of Rosthwaite and to our hotel. Bodies feeling the strain today and even a little sunburnt (not complaining!) Early tea and a couple of pints then straight to bed. Shorter day tomorrow, heading to Grasmere, not far, distance wise, but a decent climb! Going up isn't too bad, coming down is, as The Wife puts it "sh*t!” Dogs are loving the adventure and don't make a murmur once we've stopped for the night.

 

Monday 19 June: Day Three, Rosthwaite to Grasmere (10 Miles)

Set off feeling a lot better after we’d decided to massage each other's feet last night (Good call). Was a little worried about Meg as she started to limp a little, but think it was just walking on dodgy stones. Once we got onto the trail she was fine and bounding along. We powered upwards to Lining Crag, a steep incline of 2000ft which certainly gave the muscles a workout! Impressive Eagle Crag loomed over us on the way up. Once at the top, we took in the beautiful vistas back down to Rosthwaite before continuing to Greenup Edge Pass. Bit random, but the view changed somewhat as a bloke came walking down the hill with absolutely no clothes on. The Wife needed a moment. The shock played havoc with my compass and we went slightly off course, waded through a few bogs but then we were back on track. Anyway, we had two options for our route down the valley to Grasmere – easy or hard. I said to The Wife, "Well, we’re on a similar level to the hard route down, so let's give that a go." So, off we trekked, across Calf Crag, Pike of Carrs, Moment Crag and Gibson Knott then down to Grasmere. Well, Lisa Palmer went off her rocker half way! Seriously not happy and nearly fell over her bottom lip a couple of times. To add to the woes it was very hot and not ideal for the dogs as no streams for them to cool down so had to push on and get them – and The Wife down.  Got into Grasmere and checked into our hotel for tonight. Once The Wife could sulk no more, we ended up having a drink with Southern California lass who had cheated and got a taxi! How could she?  Chilled watching the sun go down. Onwards to Patterdale tomorrow which should be an easier, shorter day...

 

Tuesday 20 June: Day Four, Grasmere to Patterdale (9 miles)

Set off a little later than usual as only doing nine miles. Although short there was still a 2000 foot climb up along Great Tongue to Grisedale Tarn. Weather overcast at start and cool which was nice, however the low cloud covering took away the option of walking over Helvellyn and Striding Edge. I must say that The Wife took a sudden interest in map reading at this point and declared through gritted teeth: "If you take me over there, it will be a flippin divorce.”  I did get the impression she meant it.  Anyway, we headed down the valley and weather got warmer. Arrived at hotel in good time to wash clothes although The Wife hanging a bra straight above the entrance to hotel looked a little odd. Got news of the Aussie couple we met on the first night. The woman had fallen and broke her ankle triggering a mountain rescue and is now awaiting surgery in Carlisle. Bed early tonight as big day tomorrow - about seventeen miles but with a 2500ft climb straight away to get the lungs and legs screaming.  The weather is about to turn though, which is worrying as tomorrow is National Naked Hike day – hoping to avoid frostbite on any extremities that might be exposed.

 

Wednesday 21 June: Day Five, Patterdale to Shap (12 miles)

CASUALTY! Sadly, Meg has had to retire from the adventure. In spite of massaging the dogs’ paws every night, Meg is starting to struggle. Called my dad to come and collect her - going to miss her. Heavy thunder storm and chucking it down while having breakfast but as we stepped out it stopped although still gloomy clouds. Decided against the naked hike due to trip hazard concerns... Straight from the off, a long climb to Angle Tarn - about 1500ft -then we headed up to Kidsty Pike which just seemed to keep going up forever to 2500ft. Covered in cloud at the top so a little nippy but cooled us down after the climb. We then headed down to Kidsty Howes and Haweswater Reservoir. NOW THAT DID BURN THE OLD LEGS! At Burnbanks, weather was hot. We found a young lad called Thomas had set up an honesty box fully stocked with ice cold cans of pop, chocolate bars and other little gems. I could have kissed him! Met a bloke called Donny from Arizona US and walked the last six miles with him. He used to be US Army so we had a natter... said he was in the "Intelligence Battalion" REALLY? He was doing the walk in a pair of dodgy trainers and ankle socks! Nothing intelligent there, son! His feet were hurting so I said stop, put them in the river for five minutes and we'll have a look. He had blisters on his blisters and most were bleeding... silly man! Anyway gave him some plasters. Good, but hard today, tomorrow's a steady one as we head out of the lakes.

Thursday 22 June: Day Six, Shap to Orton (8 miles)

Been sort of a rest day - nice rolling hills instead of steep inclines. Bumped into Pete from Wolverhampton, 76 years young and doing the Coast to Coast for the second time! Arrived in Orton pretty early so we had lunch on the village bench then went to the chocolate factory for a coffee. Naturally, The Wife had to try the caramel & honeycomb ice cream. Still early, so had to go to the village pub so I could try Wainwrights real ale.  Saying at Primrose Cottage, a fantastic place where the owners Jim & Tina love dogs. They asked if we wanted to leave Fizz so she could rest her paws (nothing wrong, just precaution). We did but then came back to digs and found that Vicky their daughter had been pampering Fizz all day! Rang home and nurses Ashley & Leah Palmer (our daughters) have been spoiling Meg and she seems to be fine and dandy now (think Meg is a drama queen)! Getting ready to go to pub when The wife says "’ere look what I've done with my Toffee Vodka - mixed it with apple juice and made Toffee Apple Vodka!"

 

Friday 23 June: Day Seven, Orton to Kirkby Stephen (15 miles)

Shocking weather but nearly half-way now - and we’re in Yorkshire! Rain was coming sideways and boy did it soak us through... had all the wet weather gear on but you get just as wet from the inside out with sweat. Still, we have to embrace and enjoy whatever the adventure throws at us. Nonetheless, The wife lost it a little today... a hissy fit started and boy, did Lisa come out with a belter!
"This Alfred Wainwright fella must have been drunk when he walked this route,” says The Wife.

"Why's that, pet?" I ask.

"Because he never seems to walk in a straight line - we are walking all over the place!"

Bless.

Saturday 24 June: Day Eight, Kirkby Stephen To Keld (15 miles)

A steady climb, up 2250 feet to Nine Standings. Stayed dry but very cold on top, probably down to about two degrees! Fizz was having a ball but The Wife got tetchy and said can't we get the train home from Kirkby Stephen. I promised her a Prosecco and all was well. First time had to use GPS as the route was virtually non-existent. Had a bit of a natter with The Wife smugly saying that my feet were dry today. Two minutes later and I was up to my knees sunk in a bog! Lisa just stood laughing her head off and could offer no assistance due to involuntary snorting. Made it to Keld then sat in the hotel bar sharing a bottle of Rioja - here's to tomorrow!

 

Sunday 25 June: Day Nine, Keld to Reeth (15 miles)

Weather turned into a scorcher and got a little sunburn! Joined the Pennine Way for a short time and then up to Gunnerside Moor - really interesting as it was a 19th century lead mining area and the old building with equipment was just left. On to Melbecks Moor and a long walk towards Reeth with cracking scenery as we dropped into the valley to walk along the River Swale. Entered Reeth to a brass band playing on the village green which was uplifting and nostalgic. Similar walk tomorrow to Richmond but not so high so should be a pleasant section.

 

Monday 26 June: Day Ten, Reeth to Richmond ( 13 miles)

I had to download Steve Wrights Sunday Love Songs today which The Wife listens to every week – no signal yesterday while on the Moors. I had written in a few weeks ago asking for a request, hoping to be lucky enough to get a shout “on't wireless”! Well, half way through a field it came on and her face lit up – The Wife was chuffed to bits so a very agreeable walk to Richmond - a fortified market town built around a castle. We arrived with plenty of time to have a mooch about. Weather great again and while sat on the green with The Wife applying sun cream, she turns to me and says, "Oh, this smells like being on holiday!"

So I reply, “We are on holiday?”

"Yeah, but I mean a proper holiday with sun beds."

 

Tuesday 27 June: Day Eleven, Richmond to Danby Wiske. (15 mile)

Weather was poor at start of day and continued until just after midday. Walked through woodland breathing in the fantastic smell of wild garlic then had to take a detour due to road works but it was good to cross at Catterick race course heading into the Cleveland Hills and Yorkshire Moors! Five miles down country roads however took its toll and I suffered first blister so paused to sort before it got worse. Arrived in tiny village and early to bed. Steady ten mile tomorrow so like a rest day. Meeting our daughters, Ashley and Leah, which will be lovely as missed them both - and they’re bringing Meg back to finish the walk with us. Fizz will be thrilled!

 

Wednesday 28 June: Day Twelve, Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross (11 miles)

Breakfast came in on a little hostess trolley from the 1960s – how quaint! Then it was eleven miles of rain...not what The Wife had in mind when we booked up. Probably got an hour into the walk and even before coffee time Lisa is saying, “I'm going to have a pint of lager & lime at the pub!” Anyway she did, and a large white wine oh and then a bottle of red – only because we couldn't check in until 4pm, you understand. Just waiting for Ashley and Leah bringing Meg then we’re all going out for dinner. Longer day tomorrow, hope the rain holds off.

Thursday 29 June: Day Thirteen, Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank (14 miles)

Left this morning all chipper and chilled, waving the girls off, as the rain waned slightly. Headed up a very long steep drag to Scarth Wood Moor. Started getting foggy as we went higher, not just your ordinary fog, thick as "pea soup" and very wet so soaking from the outset! Across to Carlton moor, where the map and book says "fantastic views of Middlesbrough and the North Sea?" Then onwards to Cringle Moor & Kirby bank, up Wain Stones and eventually to Clay Bank again fantastic views? All day we couldn’t see as far as thirty yards. Heavy, wet fog, hills, HILLS & more hills with no view. There have been tears and tantrums today, but that's just me. The question was asked "why on Earth are we doing this?" But after a few hugs and some positivity we cracked on and finished the leg. The Wife's photo at the end says it all!

 

Friday 30 June: Day Fourteen, Clay Bank to Glaisdale, (20 miles)

Twenty miles of fog! Met Office said it was going to clear. IT DIDN'T! More rotten weather with zero visibility, only bonus being a lot less hills. Penultimate day though. My feet are in bits, the foot treatment had been going okay but last couple of days took its toll. Lisa is fine, must be all the piggy backs I'm doing.  Steep climb to begin but then stayed on top. Had to keep dogs on the lead as late nesting season for the grouse on the moors. We stopped half way at a pub in the middle of the moors to try and get dry and a drink. First time I’ve ever ordered COFFEE in a pub. The Wife didn't let the side down though, opting for an Irish coffee! Headed off again into the mist checking map and compass, stopped at a sort of trig point called "Fat Betty's". Tradition says you have to leave a food offering and then take one. I left a fresh banana and took an apple that someone had left. Lots of road and track work which isn't good, you can feel every stone and knocks lumps out of your feet! Struggling these last couple of days, it’s starting to take its toll. The Wife is knackered and requested bed early. Dogs too, were spooning in the lounge. Made a mental note to have a word with the person who said it would be easy.  Still, final day tomorrow so nothing going to stop the push. A few friends and family are meeting us tomorrow at Falling Foss to do the last few miles with us which will be wonderful. Hopefully weather will pick up for the last twenty-two miles of this fantastic, epic trip!

 

Saturday 1st July: Day 15, Glaisdale to Robin Hoods Bay (22 miles)

Well the last day arrived and the weather was cracking. Started from Glaisdale to Robin Hoods Bay. The Wife and I got a trot on climbing out of Grosmont, heading to Falling Foss tea gardens where we were met by a posse of friends to finish the last ten miles with us. The feet were giving some serious grief now, but we ploughed on and finished our marathon around 5pm. Time to chill, play ball with the dogs, celebrate with a few beers. Don't know what our next adventure is going to be? But for now, it’s OVER & OUT!

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Flanders Battlefield Tour

Our product manager Ann & Operations assistant Michelle travelled to Ypres in Belgium with 150 tour operators to experience:- Flanders Battlefield Tours

Here is what they learnt:

Visit to In Flanders Fields museum

Located in the historic Cloth Hall, this modern, interactive museum was completely renewed in 2012 and is named after the poem by John McCrae, written just a few kilometres from the town centre. The permanent exhibition tells the story of the invasion of Belgium in 1914 and of how the troop movement of the first months gradually stagnated into 4 years of trench warfare. It also features the Armistice and the ways in which the war has been commemorated over the past 100 years.

Reception at the Cloth Hall

Having toured the museum, we were guests at a reception within the medieval "Lakenhallen". In the Middle Ages, this building was the centre of the cloth trade in the thriving town of Ypres. Its magnificence was literally shattered during the early months of the First World War. The building caught fire after being bombarded by shells and by 1918, just a jagged tooth of the imposing tower remained standing. Faithfully rebuilt during the post-War years, today it's hard to believe that this place was the victim of such destruction.

Walk from Cloth Hall to Menin Gate

We walked to Menin gate via the Market Square this gave us a chance to admire the results of the post-War reconstruction of Ypres. The buildings around the square were all constructed in the decades after 1918 and bear witness to the determination of the Flemish people - and of the "Ieperlingen" in particular - to reclaim their land and rebuild their homes.

Last Post ceremony & laying of wreaths

There has been a gateway into Ypres from the Menin Road since medieval times - but none as impressive as the one which now stands on that spot. Designed in 1921 and unveiled 6 years later, the Menin Gate is a memorial to more than 54,000 soldiers of Commonwealth countries who have no known grave. Each night of the year at 8pm, volunteer firemen from the local fire station play "The Last Post" to honour the missing and all those who died during the '14-'18 war.

Guided tour around Ypres WWI sites

The Ypres Salient was the scene of major battles throughout the 4 years of the war. The landscape today still bears witness to the conflict and is punctuated by more than 240 cemetaries and memorials which are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Visit to the Lochnagar Mine Crater at La Boiselle

This is the largest man-made mine crater created during the First World War on the Western Front. The mine was laid by a tunnelling company of the British Royal Engineers and exploded on the morning of 1st July 1916, at the launch of the British offensive against the German lines - the Battle of the Somme.

The experience will stay with us for ever......lest we forget!

 

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It’s ‘sew’ exciting - The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show

If you’re a keen knitter or super stitcher, you’ll be counting down the days until The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show opens in Edinburgh.

Thousands of canny crafters from all over Scotland will be heading to the Royal Highland Centre’s Highland Hall from 27th-30th April to enjoy inspiring work by world-class textile artists, learn new skills from TV sewing stars and top tutors, shop ‘til they drop for essential supplies and get expert help with tricky projects.   

Not to be missed are:

  • Professionally-curated exhibitions and gallery tours by internationally renowned artists and groups, including The 62 Group, Quinary, Wemyss School of Needlework, Effie Galletly, Edinburgh Modern Quilt Guild, Rachel Howard, Helen McAllister and The Quilters’ Guild.
  • A Kaffe Fassett retrospective.
  • 140+ textile craft and dressmaking workshops and drop-in sessions, for complete beginners through to experienced stitchers.
  • Free demonstrations by leading lights of the knitting and stitching world, including The Great British Sewing Bee finalist Lauren Guthrie.
  • Unbeatable craft shopping experience with hundreds of specialist suppliers.
  • Accomplished artists and craftspeople at work.
  • The Butterfly Garden and Enchanted Wood competition - a spectacular fundraising collection and competition featuring knitted and crocheted flora, fauna and magical creatures, in aid of the Louise Hamilton Trust Hospice Appeal.
  • Book signings by renowned knitwear designer Martin Storey.
  • Screenings of Nudinits: Tickled Pink, the award-winning and very cheeky first-ever all-knitted stop-motion animation.

The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show features a unique stitched petition for the Campaign for Creativity, a craft activism campaign supported by top textile artists, designers and craftspeople to protect the teaching of creative subjects in education.  Visitors can support the campaign by bringing along a stitched signature for the petition or will be able to sew a signature at the show.  The petition is travelling across the UK before being presented to the Education Secretary at the end of the year. 

The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show takes place from 27th-30th April 2017 at the Highland Hall, Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh.  Tickets cost £13 in advance (concessions £12, children aged 5-18 £6)*.  A wide selection of options are available from http://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/edinburgh/ or by calling 0844 581 1319 (+44 (0) 121 796 6165 if outside the UK).  Advance price tickets cease at midnight on Wednesday 26th April but there will be plenty of tickets available on the door for £16 per adult (£15 concession, £7 for children).

*A booking fee of £1.50 is payable per order

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Nov 2016: Jersey in the Spring – by the Glenton Product Team

In April this year, Margaret and Lindsey from our product team jetted off to Jersey. Exploring the island and meeting the teams behind our favourite hotels. Jersey is one of GLENTON’s most popular destinations and we send hundreds of passengers every year by air and by coach. Our product team feel it is important where ever possible to experience a destination first hand, so we can advise our clients to the best of our ability. Here is a short synopsis of how they got on:

Saturday
We flew from Glasgow Airport with Easyjet on a short flight of 1hr and 25 minutes to St Helier Airport in Jersey. Once we collected our luggage we were met by the transfer company Waverley in the famous yellow coaches. Our driver was very chatty and told us all about Jersey and her life on the island. We stayed at the stylish Best Western Royal Hotel in St Helier. The hotel is part of the family owned and run Morvan hotel group and occupies an enviable corner position on David Place. The outside of the hotel is very grand, with white pillars and potted plants – there are a few steps into the hotel. Once inside the decor is modern but traditional, there is stair and lift access to the bedrooms. The hotel has a cosy bar with dark woods, tartan carpets and stained glass. The bar is also open to the public, giving you the chance to mingle with the locals and hear the many stories of island life and the famous line we heard from most people ‘I came for a holiday but never went back home’!

The bar serves everything from snacks to evening meals. The hotel also has free wireless internet access throughout. Bedrooms are modern and comfortable with flat screen TVs, hairdryer, ironing board and tea & coffee making facilities. The hotel is a short walk from the centre of town and your route is filled with shops, cafes and restaurants and the lovely park Millennium Park which is an ideal place to sit and relax, if the weather permits.

After dropping off our bags we took a short stroll to get our bearings, before heading to the GLENTON favourite he Norfolk Hotel. GLENTON has been working with the Norfolk Hotel since 2008, Daniel and his team pull out all the stops to ensure that our Glentoneers feel right at home.

The Norfolk Hotel is situated on La Colomberie only a few minutes from St Helier’s main shopping street which boasts most high street names and many unique individual shops. On arrival we were welcomed by Daniel in the light and airy hotel reception. Daniel was swift to show us around the hotel and bedrooms, taking us to the comfortable bar area where there is regular entertainment. We were treated ourselves to a drink from the outdoor cafe sitting at the sheltered pool in the sunshine.

In the evening we were spoilt for choice of restaurants to suit every taste & budget. We opted for a Portuguese restaurant just across the hotel and went back to the bar for a night cap.

Sunday
After a great night’s sleep in the comfortable bedrooms we went for breakfast which is served in the hotel restaurant and offers an excellent choice of a continental breakfast served buffet style or a full English breakfast with waiter service. We opted to do a full day island tour as Jersey still keeps traditional shopping hours on a Sunday so the town is very quiet and it seemed an ideal opportunity to tour round the island on a beautiful sunny spring day. The island tour is also provided by Waverley coaches and they picked us up from our hotel to start the tour. The friendly guide provided a commentary from the moment we boarded the bus and had many entertaining stories, information and anecdotes to tell us about the island and places that we visited along the way. We stopped en route for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea as well as many stops for photos of the breathtaking scenery and pretty villages.

On Sunday night we tried another lovely Thai restaurant just near to the Norfolk hotel.

Monday
After breakfast and a short stroll into St Helier we met up with Arthur Lamy our blue badge guide for his guided walking tour “A taste of St Helier”. This tour was featured in our Jersey Active holidays for 2016. Lasting approx 2.5 hours this is a gentle and informative way to learn of Jersey’s history whilst exploring the centre of St Helier with its Town Hall, Fish Market and Victorian Central Market among many of the buildings of interest. After a quick lunch back at the bar in the Best Western Royal it was time to visit one of our most popular hotels. Owned and run by the Smale family the Westhill Country hotel is set in five acres of beautifully landscaped gardens on the outskirts of Saint Helier approximately 1.5 miles from the centre. As the hotel provides a complimentary shuttle bus to St Helier several times a day you have the best of both worlds far enough away from the hustle and bustle, yet only five minutes drive from the town centre. After an extensive tour of the hotel’s many public areas we were shown an example of each of the room types that we offer our customers. Time for cup of coffee and a sit down in the relaxing bar which overlooks the beautifully landscaped gardens and pool.

We head back to the Best Western for a quick change before our welcome dinner hosted by Visit Jersey for the delegates attending the Destination Jersey workshop the following day. We were picked up by Tantivy blue coaches another of the islands coach tour companies and transferred to the stunning La Corbiere restaurant which overlooks the Corbiere Lighthouse. This was an ideal opportunity for visit Jersey to showcase the best of the islands produce including the first Jersey Royal potatoes of the season, local seafood and wine from La Mare wine estate and a fantastic view of the setting sun behind the lighthouse. It was a fabulous evening.

Tuesday
Destination Jersey – a full day workshop hosted by Visit Jersey in the beautiful Raddison Blu hotel . This event gives all the suppliers involved in all aspects of tourism in Jersey a chance to showcase their products and what the island has to offer from Sea Kayaking to the Jersey war tunnels – there really is something for everyone. After busy day of “speed dating” with hoteliers, tour operators, visitor attractions and transport providers just enough time to go back to the Best Western Royal to get dressed for a farewell dinner hosted by Jersey Hospitality Association in the beautiful surroundings of La Mare Wine Estate. This popular Jersey attraction is a working estate that offers Tours & Tastings whilst making wines, spirits, preserves, and more from both traditional and modern Jersey recipes. Whilst there you can enjoy the gardens, vineyards and orchards, playgrounds, Vineyard Bistro, Jersey gift shop, cooperage display and so much more.

Wednesday
A chance to do some last minute shopping and pick up some local specialities including the famous Jersey Black butter and fudge before visiting our other featured hotels from the Morvan hotel group. The Monterey is only a short walk from the Best Western Royal and features on-site luxury indoor swimming pool facilities, including steam room, spa bath and mini gym which are provided free of charge to our guests. A large outdoor swimming pool is also available for fine days. The hotel is directly on the island’s bus route network if you do not want to walk the 10-15 mins to the centre of St Helier. Another short stroll took us to the Norfolk Lodge where we were welcomed by Nathan, the director of sales, who gave us a tour of the hotel including all the different types of rooms that we offer and also the restaurant, bar & indoor swimming pool. Just one more stop at the Fort d’Auvergne Hotel which bordered by the sea and sandy beach on two sides and occupies what is one of the best maritime positions in Jersey’s capital. Nathan kindly gave us a lift there and back as the hotel is probably a 20-25 min walk to the centre of St Helier however there is bus service from outside the hotel. Just time to go back to the Best Western to change and take a stroll into town to pick another restaurant for dinner. We opted for Italian and enjoyed a lovely meal and then a few drinks before an early night for our flight home the following morning.

Thursday After breakfast we were whisked back to the airport by Waverley coaches for our early morning flight to Glasgow. Before visiting the duty free shop we had a last chance buy some Jersey Royals and left our money in the honesty box, many of which can be see all over the island. Our flight was right on time and were home in Glasgow in time for lunch!

Click here for details of our holidays to Jersey

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Sep 2016: Beautiful Bruges – perfect for a short break or an excursion. By Audrey Connor

From the minute I boarded the Glenton coach I had a fantastic time on my Belgian adventure. A delicious dinner on the overnight crossing washed down with a nice little chardonnay, dancing to the ship’s band, a wee flutter at the casino then a good night’s sleep in my cosy cabin. The following morning I tucked into the eat all you want buffet breakfast before our sunshine bathed arrival in Zeebrugge. We were quickly through passport control then a short time later our Glenton coach glided into the impossibly charming city of Bruges. Okay, the fact that it is the chocolate capital of the world may have something to do with my fondness for this medieval metropolis but even without the chance to indulge in my favourite hobby of scoffing the odd soft centre or two, Bruges is an unmissable destination.

Enchantingly romantic with pretty canals, stunning architecture and cobbled squares, it is little wonder it was declared a UNESCO world heritage city. From the coach park, we ambled through the Minniewaterpark stopping to absorb the serene splendour at the inner court of the Beguinage – a tranquil oasis where it feels like time has stopped and the world has fallen silent.

Afterwards, we made our way to the centre of town where we stopped for coffee and waffles in a captivating little cobbled square. Soaking up the ambience as the street musician turned the handle on his barrel organ filling the afternoon with ‘that’s amore’ whilst horses hooves clip-clopped by taking tourists on an carriage ride through the historic streets.

Cruising Bruges’ canals is a delightful tradition and as we glided along the waterways listening to the guide giving his commentary in a variety of languages, the exquisiteness of this splendid city unfolded. Sailing under elaborate bridges, past ornate buildings and by old world squares we appreciated the striking sights from a different angle. Later, it was time to hit the chocolate shops for some serious tasting! Well, I’d come all this way, after all....

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