Activity ideas for UK holidays

You might be saving up for that dream holiday in the Maldives, or maybe you just think it’s completely out of your budget and you’ll never be able to afford it. Either way, sometimes it’s nice to just have a short holiday in the UK in order to have a break on a budget. Below are three activities you can do to add a bit of interest to your British-bound break.

Head to the beach

It is often said that you are never more than 70 miles from the coast in the UK, so a beach break could be just the thing to help you unwind. You could go for a day trip or opt for a longer stay, either way there are a whole host of things to keep you occupied at the beach. From building sandcastles and digging the obligatory massive hole to a plethora of water-based activities to suit any budget. Skimboards are fairly cheap and can offer hours of fun as you and your family attempt to time your run just right to meet the incoming tide. Be careful though, try and skim on water that is too shallow and you’ll end up finding out exactly what a British beach tastes like. If you are on the South West coast you could even opt for surfing lessons and hire out a wetsuit and board for the week.

sprocker dog enjoying the beach

Go for a walk

It may seem like a simple activity, but most people end up spending a large proportion of their day sat down. At a desk all day working, in the car driving backwards and forwards, and in front of the TV in the evenings. Going for a nice stroll along the cliff tops or into the countryside could be the breath of fresh air you needed to reset. You could even choose to head into the wild and spend a whole week walking and camping through the wilderness. Reading up on some of the top tips when cross country walking could help to give you an idea of what to expect and whether it could be the right break for you.

The white cliffs of Dover

Museums and Wildlife parks

Wherever you choose to holiday in the UK, whether that be on the coast, in a city, or out amongst nature, you are sure to never be too far from a museum. From the usual history and art museums of London to the more specialised offerings such as the tank museum in Dorset, there is a museum for every interest and niche. There is also an abundance of wildlife parks. You could head to a safari or nature reserve, or head to one of the many sanctuaries. Whatever your favourite animal, you’re bound to be able to go and see it up close and personal somewhere in the UK.

penguin at colchester zoo

There you have it, a few ideas for activities you can do on your UK based holidays that will ensure that everyone is kept happy and busy, just don’t forget to leave time to relax in the evenings with your beverage of choice.

Post written in collaboration with Collette Lower. Images my own.

Quirky restaurants in Costa Rica

Looking for a slightly unusual dining experience in Costa Rica? Well I’ll tell you about two quirky restaurants I visited.

Tree House Restaurant – Santa Elena, Monteverde

quirky restaurants in Costa Rica
Quirky restaurant in Monteverde Costa Rica

We spotted this place on our way to our hotel in Monteverde, hard to miss really given that it has a blooming great big tree sticking out of the middle of it!

We were told a few days before by a taxi driver that Costa Ricans don’t like to chop trees down so instead build around them – roads, restaurants, whatever. The Tree House Restaurant was built in 2004 and in the middle sits a huge ficus tree!

Tree House Restaurant - a quirky dining experience in Santa Elena

We stopped at the Tree House for lunch after a morning at Selvatura Park. There’s plenty of choice on the menu. While my husband went for fajitas, I opted for a more traditional Costa Rican dish – Casado. Casado means “married” in Spanish and the dish can be best described as a marriage of food on a plate. Mine was a vegetarian version which consisted of rice, beans, tortilla, salad, veg, cheese, avocado and plantain. I quite enjoy meals where I can try lots of different things, variety is the spice of life after all!

Casado - a typical Costa Rican dish

Dining in a tree house

I don’t know how the casado fared against other restaurants, but I enjoyed it! And if I ever went back to Santa Elena I’d be sure to stop by the Tree House again.

El Avion – Manuel Antonio

El Avion - quirky restaurants in Costa Rica

I thought I’d seen it all when I visited a McDonalds in an aeroplane in New Zealand but no, Costa Rica has a restaurant with a plane too. At El Avion, the plane is the bar area and the restaurant is just behind it.

Situated in the touristy town of Manuel Antonio, the plane is kind of what initially draws the tourists attention but on further inspection its actually the beautiful sunset views you get from the restaurant that makes people want to dine here. If you’re planning on watching the sun set here then get here early as everybody else has the same idea!

El Avion - a place to watch the sun set

Sunset is a popular time to visit El Avion restaurant in Manuel Antonio

We both opted for fajitas which were nice but something didn’t quite agree with me and spoilt the evening. I don’t blame the restaurant though as hubby had the same and he was fine. Having said that though, I think if I ever come back to El Avion it would be for the cocktails!

Bit of a tourist trap but I can’t deny the sunsets were beautiful and it was lovely to spot a toucan in the distance.

Sunset view from El Avion in Manuel Antonio

Toucan in the distance


If quirky restaurants are your cup of tea then you might enjoy reading about the Alice in Wonderland Restaurant Tokyo or some of my other foodie adventures.

Quirky restaurants in Costa Rica

Reasons to travel (rather than sitting at home!)

People travel for many reasons, each with their own little motivation. Be it the need for relaxation, discovering different cultures to see friends, chances are everyone has something. The list goes on and on, and generally, not many people need much convincing to go travelling. However, there are times when one would rather just sit down and do nothing at home, lazing about the whole day without doing anything productive. As dismal as it may sound, it’s a safe bet to say that the large majority of people have been in that situation before. Work and the responsibilities of everyday life get to you, and all that’s on your mind is shutting down for a while. Nothing to be ashamed of, but is it the best thing to do? You could sit and do nothing at home, or travel somewhere else and then do nothing. An enticing proposition, is it not? Without further ado, let’s look at some reasons to travel around rather than sit at home and stare at the TV.

image via pexels

Wanderlust

The world spans far and wide, but life is short. Many people have that insatiable sense of wanderlust which just cannot be quenched by sitting around at home or checking out holiday destinations online. They need the real thing, the feeling of being in a new place with new people, new weather, new shops and suspicious looking foods with ingredients in languages other than their own. The call of the unknown, slowly exploring every nook and cranny of an otherwise alien to you location. It’s something that cannot be explained in words, only experienced.

With a purpose

Some people travel to different countries to help others. People usually go to less well-off countries to support the locals there. Volunteers from all over the world travel to places like India and Africa to try and make a difference in whatever way they can. Be it by helping homeless children get off the street or helping the local wildlife thrive. It is something everyone should consider at least once and if you really do not want to or cannot then the next best option still stands. Donating to or participating in charity adventures such as No Birds Bash involves both helping others and travelling making it a perfect fit in this scenario.

image via pexels

For fun

If you are travelling somewhere in your spare time and you are not having fun while doing so, you should try to realise why that was. After all, travelling itself is not an unfun thing, other than the lack of legroom on the plane it’s usually a blast. Maybe it was a one-off trip which turned out to be bland and the location which you had your expectations set so high for turned out to be not much different than several other places you’ve seen. If that happens, do not get discouraged, the world holds more different types of settings and opportunities for adventure than there are ants in your backyard. Getting put off from travelling for a while by a single trip is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, and if you ever hit that moment then just remember, that you travel for fun first and foremost. Do not be afraid to go to more exotic locations, somewhere across the world completely different from your usual place of residence. This does not mean you have to go and live in the jungle for a month, but countries far from the west such as Japan, have such staggeringly different cultures that you can explore the world anew. Be it amidst a busy metropolis like Tokyo or in a tranquil countryside like Kyōgoku. There’s something for everyone.

Post written in collaboration with Jay Donnelly.

Seeing the world while helping others

Seeing the world while helping others – there’s a thought!

A lot of the time when we travel, we do so for our own pleasure. Whether we are jetting off on holiday or are heading off on an adventure of a lifetime, often it’s for our own enjoyment that we are travelling. While that is all well and good, there is another kind of travel that it is worth considering undertaking – travelling to help others.

Have you ever considered doing some exploring that will allow you to help other people (or animals)? Studies have shown that travelling to help others is one of the best ways to travel, as well as one of the most popular. Many travellers choose to travel in a way that allows them to help those less fortunate than them because they find that the work they do is totally and completely rewarding, and enhances their time abroad.

Does the concept of seeing the world and helping other people out at the same time appeal to you? If the answer is yes, then you may be interested in taking advantage of one of the ideas below.

Do a TEFL program

Are you an excellent teacher? Do you have patience and understanding? Then perhaps doing a TEFL project – AKA Teaching English as a Foreign Language – could be ideal for you. The fact is that when it comes to travelling abroad and helping others at the same time, teaching English as a foreign language could be the ideal way to do that, especially if you are someone who loves to teach and is understanding and patient. (For anyone wanting a future career in teaching, this is definitely the ideal way to travel and do your bit for the world.)

Raise money for charity

Not born to be a teacher? How about opting to raise money for charity instead? The fantastic thing about choosing to raise money for charity is the fact that there are so many different things that you can do, from undertaking a sponsored skydive to looking into charity walks, there are various options to choose from. How about, as you travel around the world, you find a new way to raise money in each country that you visit, and then donate it to a local charity of your choice? Just think how much money you could raise.

Join a conservation project

Do you care about animals in a big way? Then the perfect way to give something back while travelling could be to join a conservation project. Whether that means helping sea turtles in Fiji, orangutans in Borneo, or big cats in Costa Rica, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you are able to see the world while giving something back to it, and a conservation project could be the perfect way to do that.

Travel is a vital part of life; it’s something that every single one of us should aspire to do. However, so is helping others, which is why combining the two can be a great idea, and a fantastic way to make more of your time seeing the world.

Post written in collaboration with Beth Turner.

Alphabet Dating - P is for Punting

Alphabet Dating – P is for Punting

P is for Punting but it can also stand for Peaceful and Picturesque.

What is punting?

Punting is simply travelling along a river in a flat-bottomed boat (known as a punt) while a guy or gal uses a pole to steer the boat. I guess it’s the English equivalent to one of the gondolas in Venice, although a professional punter (is that what they’re called?) might disagree.

Peaceful punting

Punting Canterbury

It’s quite a popular thing to do if you visit Cambridge (punting on the Cam) but as we live a lot closer to Canterbury, our punting experience took place on the Great Stour River.

Our trip was booked through Westgate Punts and was very peaceful and relaxing. I kept expecting the Boatman to start singing but then I remembered that this isn’t that kind of place. We saw plenty of nature including ducks, moorhens and their little fluffy baby chicks, as well as beautiful blue dragonflies that kept bobbing around near the boat.

Beautiful Canterbury, Kent

Much to our amusement we also saw a large husky type dog swimming in the river at one point, with me joking about it being the weirdest looking duck I’ve seen. Don’t panic though folks – the dog soon got out of the river and rejoined his owners!

Husky dog having a swim

Our boatman also pulled over to pick some blackberries off a bush which he and hubby ate. I was pretty dubious but sounds like they were quite sharp tasting so I didn’t miss out on much there.

I’ve visited Canterbury many times but seeing it from the river showed me parts of it I had never seen before. Our boat ride lasted around 50 minutes and was a pleasant way to start the day!

sitting on a punt

Punting Canterbury

If you enjoyed this then you might like some of my other alphabet dating adventures, which you can find right here.