This Christmas, why not step on a European Christmas market tour where you can visit the real German markets, taste Belgian chocolate in Bruges or you can visit European towns and cities that are adorned in sparkling lights!
Check out our array of European Christmas Market Tours…
CHRISTMAS MARKETS OF THE RHINE
A perfect Christmas break where we’ll be stopping off in Rudesheim; a romantic German town, which hosts an annual Christmas market. This market is filled with 120 stalls that sell local and global food and present different Christmas traditions from around the world. You can also try some of their delicious Rudesheim coffee, which is exclusively made from locally distilled Asbach Uralt Brandy.
Also on this European Christmas Market tour, we will be visiting the picturesque town of Koblenz. This town hosts one of the largest Christmas markets in the Rhineland-Palatinate wine region. It offers lots of traditional German festive flavours with its bakeries selling tasty stollen and German Christmas cakes and biscuits. The town also offers an array of concerts and nostalgic carriage rides though the Old Quarter.
AMSTERDAM & DUTCH DELIGHTS
Remember to wrap up in Amsterdam! This European Christmas market tour has a fantastic variety of Yuletide activities while you can also enjoy some of Amsterdam’s culture! You will be able to experience the mesmerising lights the city has to offer and the Amsterdam Christmas Market that will definitely put you in the Christmas mood!
For romantic scenery, Ostend and Bruges are both places that will be unforgettable! Bruges is known as the “Venice of the North” and its Gothic architecture is a stunning backdrop to the Christmas Markets, where you can enjoy shopping and the ice rink! Plus, you will also have the chance to visit Ostend’s annual Christmas market, where the “Wapenplein” square is made into a magical winter wonderland.
VALKENBURG AND COLOGNE
If Christmas is your favourite time of year, you ought to spend some time in Valkenburg, as this is known as the “Christmas town of the Netherlands.” The town hosts a variety of activities, such as the weekly Christmas parade, one of the oldest underground Christmas markets in Europe and Santa’s village in the middle of the town!
You will also be able to experience the superb Amsterdam Christmas markets and there will also be an excursion into Volendam.
European Christmas market tours start from £229.95! Some tours also include a FREE bar and as always, return coach travel, Channel crossings by ferry/Eurotunnel, 3 night accommodation on board basis stated plus many exciting excursions! So, why not make this Christmas one to remember? Click HERE for our dates!
Our Autumn Getaways and Events…
Matlock Bath Illuminations & Fireworks
Venture into Derbyshire for the perfect autumn getaway and enjoy the “absolutely breathtaking” Matlock Bath Illuminations and Fireworks! A crowd-pleasing event, the Matlock Bath Illuminations have an array of Venetian illuminated boats parading down the River Derwent. There will also be a free firework display at 9pm!
Birmingham International Tattoo
This Autumn, witness the spectacle that is the Birmingham International Tattoo! The show includes thousands of performers and military musicians from all over the world to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. We’ll also be visiting the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market; an enjoyable festive experience where you can buy a one-of-a-kind gift for that special person!
Great Peak District Fair
Set in and around Buxton’s Victorian Pavilion, the Great Peak District fair is the perfect autumn getaway with a friend or partner, as the fair offers the best of the beautiful Peak District! With craft stalls, cooking demonstrations, speciality food and drink and local produce from the surrounding area, the fair has plenty to offer! We are also adding a steam train ride over the entire length of the Peak railway—an experience not to be missed where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Peak District!
One for the kids, Shrek’s Adventure is London’s newest attractions! A fun autumn getaway that the kids will love, Shrek Adventure invites you to a kingdom Far Far Away to experience an adventure filled with DreamWorks animation, enthralling story-telling and everyone’s favourite donkey! There will also be an added excursion to London’s Covent Garden — perfect for shopping and culture.
Llandudno Pier Fireworks
Why not go and see the phenomenal Llandudno Pier fireworks this autumn? The display takes place on the promenade and is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Great Orme. The event is free and while you’re staying in Llandudno, you can enjoy all the resort has to offer with a stroll on the beach, shopping, the MOSTYN gallery, great Orme copper mines and of course the infamous toboggan run! It’s a brilliant treat for the family or a great excuse for a romantic getaway!
Whitby and Historic Durham
Take an autumn getaway to Durham and Whitby! Visit Durham and their 11th Century cathedral! The cathedral is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture and because of this and its history, the cathedral was inscribed as one of Britain’s first world heritage sites. The Durham University botanic garden is also well worth a visit, as you can wander around the alpine and winter gardens and their bamboo grove.
We’ll also be stopping off in Whitby! This pretty Yorkshire seaside resort has all of your typical seaside activities; fish and chips, a fishing harbour, walks on the beach and it’s also home to the famous abbey and the Count Dracula museum!
Windermere, Furness and Brontë County
Discover the Gothic inspiration behind the Brontë novels with this autumn getaway, as we take you into the heart of Brontë country with the cobbled streets of Haworth and Keighley. A visit to the Brontë parsonage is a must, as you don’t have to be a fan of the literature (although it’s always a plus!), but it’s a fascinating museum that unveils the dark local history. Plus, there are many cosy cafes and shops in these villages for you to enjoy!
You will also be treated to a breathtaking drive through Furness Fells and lastly stop off at Bowness on Windermere. Here, you can enjoy the scenic Lake Windermere and enjoy the delightful atmosphere of the town.
We also have plenty of traditional seaside breaks at great prices! Why not try Blackpool for an autumn getaway and see the dazzling illuminations? Or we’ve got some great deals to the scenic Sandown in Isle of Wight, Tintagel in Cornwall or the city by the sea—Brighton! We have plenty of seaside breaks, just have a look in our holiday finder!
There is always something about theatres that gives me the chills. Especially the old-time theatres with the red fabric, the painted cherubs, dimmed lights…and you know, general oldness. There are a lot of theatres, especially in the UK, that have been around for hundreds of years, so it’s not surprising that some theatre superstitions have been created. Here are the top theatre superstitions—some you will definitely have heard of, but a few may be entirely new!
Top 8 Theatre Superstitions
Whistling has been considered a no-no when it comes to theatres, as people believe that someone will get fired.
Before walkie-talkies, the technicians and stage manager use to communicate through whistling. So, if a certain actor was absentmindedly whistling backstage, they could accidentally tell a technician to do something, like drop a sandbag, before its cue. Obviously, this could lead to a certain someone getting fired, whether it was the actor, the stage manager or the technician.
2. The Colour of the Costumes
Apparently, you have to be very fashion conscious when on stage, as different colours can represent different things. If you wear the colour blue and yellow it is thought that it will make the actor forget their lines. However, blue is also bad luck because in the early days of theatre costumes, blue dye was expensive, so theatres that weren’t doing well used to buy blue costumes to trick their audience into thinking it was a successful show (although this also caused bankruptcy). However, if you pair blue with silver, it’s good luck, as it represented how well a theatre was doing because not only would they have had blue costumes, but they could also afford silver jewellery!
It is also thought that wearing green is unlucky. This theatre superstition was connected with the playwright Moliere who apparently died on stage wearing green.
Black, as always, seems the safe option!
3. The Rule of Three
It said that anything that omits to the “rule of three” is bad luck in a theatre and this is especially true with candles on the stage. I’m sure this is probably a health and safety violation above anything else, but the reason behind this theatre superstition is that the person nearest the shortest candle is said to be either the first to get married or the first to die (a bit one extreme to other, eh?). The superstition also comes from before electricity when candles were used as the main source of light, so candles combined with busy people and flammable paint often meant there was a very real threat that the theatre could burn down!
4. Don’t ever say “MacBeth”
They are serious about this one. Even if you quote the play in a theatre, you will receive some pretty stern looks. Instead, you must call it the “Scottish play”. There’s been lots of stories surrounding this theatre superstition. On the opening night of the play, the boy actor who played Lady Macbeth died backstage. Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Constantine Stanislavski all suffered a catastrophe after a performance of the show. In the middle of one performance, a riot broke out and left 120 injured and 30 dead. It is also said that Abraham Lincoln read Macbeth the night before he was assassinated.
There is a counter curse in case you do accidentally say the Scottish play’s name in a theatre and that is to step outside, turn around three times, spit, swear and wait for permission to be let inside.
5. Keeping the Ghosts at Bay
It is said that there should always be a light burning in a theatre to ward off the ghosts. The light is supposed to be placed downstage centre, which is meant to deter ghosts (because everyone knows ghosts only come out when it’s dark–duur!). There is also a practicality to this theatre superstition as it lights the stage, so if someone has left something then they would be able to see their way around the theatre, as most of the time (especially backstage) the theatre would have props and costumes hanging around.
6. Wishing someone “Good Luck” before a show
Typically, you’re supposed to tell someone to “break a leg” before they start a show. The reason why you’re not supposed to say good luck before a performance is based on a tradition used in Elizabethan times. Back then, the word “break” meant bend. So after a good performance, when the actor would bow they would be considered to be “breaking legs”. It’s also connected to when audiences, way back in Ancient Greek, used to stomp their legs on the ground instead of applauding, thus they could stomp their leg so hard they could break a leg! (Ouch!)
7. Ghosts yearn for the limelight, too!
It is said that the theatre must close for one night a week so the ghosts can act, as this will keep the paranormal activity subdued! As silly as this theatre superstition sounds, I do quite like the thought of giving the theatre’s resident ghosts a night where they can release their inner Laurence Olivier!
8. No Peacock Feathers!
The “evil eye” in a peacock feather is one of the reasons why this is strictly forbidden from a theatre! It’s known for cursing a number of productions, as the feather’s “evil eye” is thought to be an ancient curse, which has been referenced by Plato, Plutarch and even in the bible.
interested in a london theatre break? we’ll take you to the West End to see some of the hottest shows old and new such as The Lion King, Matilda, Jersey Boys, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bend It Like Beckham, Mamma Mia and much, much more! Click here for more info!
2015 Blackpool Illuminations are heading this way again, as we’re nearing toward the Autumn months—hasn’t this year flown? At least we now have the illuminations to look forward to with its dazzling lights, so you can spend time on the famous seafront soaking in the atmosphere!
2015 Blackpool Illuminations!
2015 Blackpool Illuminations will begin on Friday the 4th of September and will light up the resort until the 8th of November. The Blackpool Illuminations have been shining since 1879 back when the event was all but eight lit up arcs. Ever since, the lights have been a regular feature in Blackpool, however in 1939, the lights were ready to be turned on for another year, but unfortunately they had to cancel due to World War II and the lights didn’t make a comeback until it was over.
While many other seaside resorts will be closing down for the season, Blackpool is still at its peak with the beautiful Illuminations! The lights have grown since the 1879 and these days the Blackpool Illuminations include many types of light displays for you to enjoy such as laser, neon, floodlights, searchlights, fibre optic and bulb. In 2012, there were more than 500 scenic light features to see at the festival. One of the stunning light features, which are simple but make an impression, are the string lights that are wrapped around the famous Blackpool tower and the rides on the Pleasure Beach. The lights really create a buzzing atmosphere that you can’t understand unless you are there!
Of course, Blackpool is buzzing with plenty of live shows from musicals to comedy acts, so you can add something extra to make your Blackpool trips a holiday to remember. While in town, you should try and visit “Illuminasia”, which is the annual show at the Olympia Exhibit hall in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. Illuminasia holds a variety of light structures such as ‘The mysteries of Chine’, ‘The Blackpool Experience’ and ‘Land of the Giants.’ It’s an immersive and family-friendly attraction to add to your 2015 Blackpool Illuminations experience.
Visit the Grundy Gallery in the “Lightpool” months as artists around the world will be contributing their “light” artwork to the gallery and around Blackpool. There is a piece called “Sensory Systems” that has five artist contributors (Angela Bulloch, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Ann Veronica Janssens, Anthony McCall, and Conrad Shawcross) who will each contribute artwork that shows how light can affect your sensory system. Most of the light artwork that is shown is participatory, so everyone in the family will be sure to enjoy it.
Another hot-tip on your illuminations break is to look up the Brilliance Archways on Birley Street, as during the Blackpool Illuminations this place is host to many live shows and has a great buzz about it!
Video by Geoff Dean, Delta Entertainment Films via YouTube
Are you interested in a trip to 2015 blackpool illuminations? we have a number of dates throughout the “lightpool” months. Click here to organise a trip from as little as £55.00!
Welcome back to our bi-weekly blog about the little known facts about our favourite tourist destinations. This week, we’ll be looking at Isle of Wight facts, such as the story behind the island’s name and its own history.
I Never Knew That About…Isle of Wight!
Why is it “Wight” and not “White”?
Good Question! The name has been much debated about throughout the years and there are many reasons and thoughts on how the island was given its name. Around 1900 BC, the Beaker people who lived on the island called it “wiht”, meaning raised or what raises over the sea, however when the Romans arrived they renamed the island to Vectis, which loosely translates to “raised.” This didn’t stick around too long and once the Celts arrived they gave the name “Wight” meaning “place of the division, meaning the two arms of the solent.” One thing is for certain, the name didn’t derive from the colours of the cliffs!
Culture on the Island!
Of course, the Isle of Wight festival is a popular attraction, which brings top talent to the island each year. The first festival in 1968 was headlined by Jefferson Aeroplane and 1969′s event was lead by Bob Dylan (supposedly he didn’t play at Woodstock because of Isle of Wight!). However, it was 1970’s line-up that was the real show-stopper packed with music legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Who, The Doors, Joni Mitchell, The Moody Blues, Donovan, Leonard Cohen and many more. Soon after, the government passed a law stating that any festivals with over 5000 attendees would need a special license, so the Isle of Wight festival was put to bed until it was revived in 2002.
Isle of Wight is not suitable for Vampires!
Did you know that garlic has been grown on the island for years? It’s actually one of the Isle of Wight’s most important exports. They love this superfood so much that local islanders decided to start a garlic festival, so they can celebrate all things garlic in their food!
A Home for the Supernatural-Enthusiasts!
Maybe it’s not one of Isle of Wight’s facts, but the place is supposedly the most haunted island in the world! With sightings of monks, ghostly marching Romans and grey ladies (isn’t it always the grey ladies?!), Isle of Wight is a hotbed of paranormal activity!
History behind Osborne House
One of Isle of Wight’s famous landmarks is Osborne House—a holiday home that was originally built for Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. They chose to erect Osborne House because soon after they married they wanted to live in a place more secluded where their children could holiday in peace without being mobbed. Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in 1901 and her son Edward decided, against his Mother’s wishes, to turn the house in a naval college. If you’re interested in the Victorian period, it’s a fantastic place to visit as it’s full of Victorian memorabilia.
Famous Isle of Wight Residents
Did you know that the actor Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes? Jeremy Irons has starred in many films, such as The Man with the Iron Mask, Dead Ringers and the Lion King!
Alfred Lord Tennyson
This famous poet was a resident on the Isle of Wight for a while and his name is still marked around the island. However, he left when the tourist crowds became too oppressive.
As stated earlier, Queen Victoria died on the island and she frequently visited the Isle of Wight since she was a princess. One of the many reasons why her and Prince Albert built Osborne house was because Isle of Wight’s coast reminded Albert of the Naples.
Another famous literary figure, Charles Dickens, also was a resident on the island for a short while. It is believed that he wrote “David Copperfield” while living on the island.
If you know any Isle of Wight facts, let us know in the comments!
Enjoyed our “I Never Knew That About…Isle of Wight” blog? CLICK HERE to see our latest tours to the island!