Enjoy the best of France for your Summer holiday

food at toroko gorge taiwain

France is a country with lots to offer, with iconic cities, exquisite food, a rich cultural heritage and of course, the beautiful French countryside. What better place to spend your summer holiday! Here’s my pick of the best places in France to visit this summer.

Arcachon Coast

This stunning town is located on the Southwest coast of France and has long been a haven for tourists, with the place well-known for its restorative atmosphere.  The golden beach stretches on for miles and looks out at the Atlantic Ocean. Here in the bay, you’ll find Europe’s largest sand dune, Dune du Pyla. With such beautiful beachfront and natural landscape to enjoy, June is the perfect month to visit this stunning coastal area. Temperatures climb to 23 degrees, with over 8 hours of sun each day and warm sea temperatures. You’ll also be able to enjoy the Festival of Music, a highlight in Arcachon’s social calendar as well as the parachuting festival.

There is much to see and do here in Arcachon to keep you entertained. For those who like an active holiday, you have your pick of activities from horse riding, cycling and golf to heading out onto the water for some windsurfing, sailing or diving. Even if you prefer the quiet life, you can even hire out a pedal boat to enjoy the view from the sea. The town itself is a traditional seaside town so you’ll be able to enjoy the boardwalk and if you want to learn more about the town and its history, you can even book onto a guided tour.

Biarritz

Nestled on the western coast of France, Biarritz is a very popular tourist destination. It has great views across the Bay of Biscay and is certainly a place that is in love with its oceanic roots. Visit in June and you’ll find conditions perfect for relaxing on the picturesque beaches with temperatures hovering around 22 degrees. Better still, with the sea at a comfortable temperature, you’ll be able to make the most of one of the best places to surf in Europe.

You certainly will have lots to keep you occupied here in Biarritz. June sees the Les Oceanes and Las Casetas festivals hosted here and they offer a fantastic start to the summer. To learn more about the sea and how much it has influenced the town, visit both the Cite de l’Ocean and the Musee de la Mer. This beautiful Art Deco building is home to the aquarium and also celebrates the history of fishing and whaling here in Biarritz. Undoubtedly, the highlight of a visit here are the seals especially at feeding time! You should also take time to visit the d’Art Oriental Asiatica, which is home to a wealth of ancient Asian artefacts. Once you’ve indulged in the culture, relax by having some Thalassotherapy which Biarritz is famed for.

Languedoc

The South of France conjours up images of Nice, Cannes and St.Tropez and of glamour and glitz that money just can’t buy. Well, move along the coast west and you’ll be able to find the very best that the South of France can offer, all for a much more affordable rate in Languedoc. This province has an enviable location, bordered by Provence and the Pyrenees which gives it a distinctly unique feel. June offers the fantastic warm weather and sunshine without the blistering heat that follows for the rest of the summer. There are also a number of festivals held in the province during June, including the Carcassonne Festival and the Montpellier Dance Festival.

In such a wide and varied region, there is obviously much to see here. The landscape is simply stunning, made all the more beautiful if you choose to stay in a traditional property. Visit the Roman buildings in Nimes or the fine Cathar fortresses near Perpignan. For a dash of culture, you should definitely visit Montpellier to visit the Musee Fabre which houses some of the finest works of art in France. To get back to nature, a trip to the Parc National des Cevennes is a must, to experience its wooded valleys, its mountains and of course the animals that have made their home here. It’s easy to see why this place had such an influence on Robert Louis Stevenson and you can follow in his footsteps by following the Stevenson trail.

4 Ways to explore Singapore for the family

Singapore is a stunning country, balancing natural beauty with a thriving city experience and rich cultural diversity. It is truly a wonderful place to holiday with the family, as there is something for all ages to enjoy. Here are 4 ways to explore Singapore that your family will love.

City Sightseeing Tour

When you arrive in Singapore, make sure you buy a City Sightseeing ticket. This gives you access to 5 specialised tours and a dedicated transport service to help you truly explore the city. It’s a 24 hour ticket that gives you the freedom to travel across 33 stops on a hop on, hop off style tour to let you go at your own pace. From Little India and Marina Bay to the Historic Civil District and The Esplanade, the City Sightseeing tour is one of the best ways to explore Singapore with the whole family.

Singapore Night Safari

For a unique experience that the whole family will absolutely love, spend an evening discovering all the amazing creatures that come out at night. Night Safari is a special safari park dedicated to night time animals, and offers a range of trails, trams and special shows to ensure an action-packed adventure for everyone. The restaurants and shops open at 5:30pm, followed by the park itself at 7:30pm, making it a great way to have dinner before you start. The park closes at midnight, though last tickets are sold at 11.15pm.

One of the star attractions of Night Safari is the guided tram ride. Once aboard, you and your family will experience an unforgettable journey through environments such as the Asian Riverine Forest and the Himalayan Foothills. The narrated tour provides fascinating information on the unique ecosystems and animals that you’ll spot during the tour.

Shop Along Orchard Road

Most people who’ve heard of Singapore will know Orchard Road. The famous shopping destination is a great way to take the family out and spend a day looking through the wealth of stores on offer. It is Singapore’s largest vertical mall, and has an array of delightful restaurants with alfresco dining for when you need to take a quick break from all of the shopping.

From the most prestigious European designer brands to great little bargain stores, this magnificent mall will bring out the shopper in everyone. Make sure to check out the unique Mediterranean style marketplace, as well as the huge array of health and beauty services available throughout the mall for some well-deserved indulgent pampering.

Cruising in Style

The stunning Singapore harbour is best seen from a boat, and nothing beats cruising with the family in luxury style while exploring the best that Singapore has to offer. The cruises departing Singapore reach a range of amazing destinations, and a trip could see you wandering through open air markets, exploring lush rainforests and discovering the secrets of ancient cities. Singapore is truly the gateway to Southeast Asia, and the countless captivating destinations offer the perfect opportunity for a cruise.

With these top ways to explore Singapore, you and your family will be seeing the very best that this amazing country has to offer. The unique destination of Singapore will truly enchant the senses, and give your family a holiday experience that they will never forget.

Visiting Singapore in March

Being just 1 degree north of the equator, Singapore enjoys warm and humid days all year round. Tropical thunderstorms are always a possibility here but the city is well prepared for the rain. Temperatures are fairly consistent here, hovering around 31C (88F) with a high and somewhat oppressive humidity level. You’ll find no shortage of air conditioning here so its easy to keep cool when you want to. March is the end of the “dry phase” which means you can expect less rain in the afternoons but slightly higher daily temperatures.

A British Seaside holiday in Brighton

Whitsun, born from the Christian celebration of Pentecost was traditionally the first holiday of the summer and in the Victorian and Edwardian era, a time for day trips to the seaside. In the 21st Century Whitsun is still observed with a bank holiday where thousands flock to one of the most famous and successful of the UK seaside towns. Here’s our guide to Brighton and why June is a great time to visit.

History of Brighton

Once a sleepy East Sussex fishing village Brighton’s fortunes changed when the son of George III, Prince Regent and later George IV decided to make the town his home. The towns popularity increased dramatically overnight and there began a massive transformation as many of the towns Regency crescents and squares were built. The extravagant iconic Royal Pavilion also created by John Nash. By the end of Queen Victoria’s reign the town complete with its Palace Pier was a seaside favourite. Today Brighton has all the seaside traditions on its famous front with all the fun of the fair, paired with the beauty of its regency buildings and the vibrancy of a modern city with shopping and entertainments to match.

Brighton Pier

The 1,722 ft long Brighton Pier was completed in 1899 and has been a top attraction ever since, constantly reinvented for the modern visitor and has all you would expect, from fish and chips and other food outlets to bars, fun fair rides and arcades. Admission to the pier is free and it’s open all year round except Christmas day. The gates open at 10am in the summer and 11am in winter. You can’t miss the Pier when you drive along the coast with the giant Ferris Wheel nearby.

The Royal Pavilion

The Pavilion is testament to George IV’s love of flamboyant oriental design and his desire to surround himself with important people he wished to impress. The  sumptuous Music Room where he indulged his guests with concerts and operas and the Banqueting Room where he served lavish feasts, show the richness of the interior he would have enjoyed with gilt, Chinoiserie, Regency silver and dragons and birds of paradise in the draperies and furnishings, all lit by quite superb chandeliers. The royal apartments are less opulent but beautifully decorated and furnished as they would have been not only in the regency period but later when Queen Victoria used the pavilion. The Great KItchen built to enable the grand banquets with the latest innovations is also on show. The Pavilion is found on the A23 north of the pier on the left hand side of the road.

Brighton Beach

The  pebble beach has a Blue Flag award and is great to relax on with the pier in the background. But the bathing huts of the Edwardian era have been replaced by a sophisticated beach sports area, galleries and shops in the lower promenade and cafe’s and restaurants all along the front. You can hire a beach bike or head to Brighton Marina or Hove Lagoon to take part in water sports such as windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and wake boarding. There are dog friendly areas of beach all year round and free sand play areas for children.

Shopping

If its retail therapy you are after you wont be disappointed. Just behind the beach front hotels lie The Lanes, some of the oldest alleyways in Brighton packed with antique and jewellery shops, tiny boutiques and pretty cafe’s. North Laine in near Brighton station is full of the coolest retro and ethnic chic in town with locally made jewellery and ornaments, vintage and young designer clothes and exotic oriental silks and muslins. Churchill square is a modern shopping mall with 90 favourite stores, while if you are watching your pennies you can head to the outlet village at Brighton Marina to hunt for bargains. Along with the traditional shopping area of Kemptown with its mixture of old traditional shops and new quirky gems there is probably very little you can’t find in Brighton shops.

Events in Brighton in June

As summer is hotting up the festival and event season picks up too. As you’d expect from this bohemian city you’ll find an eclectic mix of events. There’s the Mad Hatter’s Tease Party, a burlesque cabaret show and fancy dress party. You’ll also find famous pop acts like Jessy J and comedians  too including Eddie Izzard. For fund days out there’s the London to Brighton Mini run which ends at Brighton Pier with a big exhibition and demonstrations.

Best family activity holidays for the start of Summer

As the summer looms large, the thought of keeping the kids entertained and occupied begins to come around. There is a perfect alternative to worrying about planning a family break and that’s to book onto an activity holiday. With flights, accommodation and activities all planned out for you and your family, all that’s left is to enjoy yourself and relax. With flexible dates available, here’s my guide to the best holidays for your family this June.

Austria

Within the Austria’s Tyrol State lies the Oetz Valley, a mountainous haven filled with fun for the whole family to enjoy. With mountains, rivers, glaciers and a stunning terrain, you’ll be amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in Austria. Tyrol is famed for its ski resorts but it’s also fantastic in the summer too, with temperatures at a warm 16 degrees and seemingly endless hours of sunlight. Stay in some traditional accommodation to complete the ski resort feel to your trip.

Once you’ve arrived in Oetz, you’re quite literally spoilt for choice with activities.  There are many different options for rafting, canyoning and hiking, allowing you to explore and enjoy the peaks within the valley. Take off for a glacier safari to discover the history behind this frozen land and the wildlife that live here or take to the skies for a spot of paragliding! You can also relax whilst you’re here by visiting the water park or treating yourself to a thermal bath.

Bulgaria

June is a fantastic month to visit Bulgaria, with the summer season just getting into full swing. Temperatures average 19 degrees and you’ll benefit from over 8 hours of pure sunshine. June also sees the country host many festivals, including the Folklore Festival in Kyusendil. To capture the very essence of the beauty of this country, you simply have to visit Rila and its National Park.

Located an hour south of the capital Sofia, Rila really is a haven. It’s most popular attraction, and arguably it’s most beautiful, is the UNESCO listed 7 Lakes of Rila. During your stay, you’ll be able to use the park as your playground. There are a host of water activities available on Lake Iskar, including wakeboarding and waterskiing. If you’re more comfortable on solid ground, then mountain biking and horse riding are also fantastic activities to enjoy here. You can even explore further and visit the Rila Monastery, one of the most famous Orthodox sites in the country.

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands offer the beautiful scenic landscape but also adds in a magical touch of the animal world, with the country home to the iconic Iguana and Giant tortoises. June marks both the end of the warm season and the start of the dry season so you’ll get the best of both worlds. Temperatures average 23 degrees and the sea temperature is perfect for diving from June onwards.

Here you are quite literally spoilt for choice, especially for animal lovers and the best thing of all is that the land is unspoilt. See the giant tortoises in their natural habitat at Santa Cruz Island and visit Charles Darwin bay for a spot of snorkelling to see the amazing world beneath the waves.  You must visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to discover how this beautiful landscape is being preserved.  During your stay, you’ll be able to hike through forest, amongst the volcanos and amongst lava tunnels. It all makes for an exciting trip that will definitely get the heart racing.

Peru

This iconic destination is extra special in June as the summer solstice is celebrated at the magical Machu Picchu. June marks the start of the dry season and also the start of the popular tourist season in Peru. Any trip here is a trip of a lifetime, with the opportunity to explore these ancient sacred sites nestled amongst a beautiful tropical landscape.

It goes without saying that you must visit Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley but there are many other activities to keep your whole family entertained during your stay here. Stay deep within the heart of the Amazon Rainforest and explore! Trek, travel along the river by boat and hike, you’ll even be able to climb up high into the trees to see the jungle from on high or fly through it on a zipline! All the while, keep your eyes peeled for the many animals that live here especially the famed piranhas!

A middle east holiday in Qatar, UAE

As one of the emerging Middle East destinations, Qatar is a holiday destination successfully mixing the old with the new. Although heavily modernised now, there are still a few areas such as the remaining labyrinth of souks at the heart of the city of Doha to get a real taste of the culture and tradition of the country.

The official language of Qatar is Arabic but English is widely understood thanks to the country’s status as a British protectorate from 1917 to 1971.

Expected temperature in April will sit around the 30˚C mark and will be hot but tolerable. It is recommended that tourists do not visit during the summer months of July to September as the heat is intense and unrelenting.

Qatar is a dry country. Most of the hotels and a wide selection of the restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol (although quite expensive to buy), but drinking outside of these establishments is not allowed. While here you can enjoy the local delicacies of curries, kebabs, falafel and biryanis as well as shawarma – the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Turkish doner kebab.

With impressive skyscrapers being erected all the time, the landscape of Qatar is continually changing. You also have your pick of the most beautiful beaches to soak up the sunshine. Here are a few must-see attractions to get the most out of your stay in this beautiful country.

Museum of Islamic Art

Standing out as an architectural gem, the building of the Museum of Islamic Art is set in the park of the same name by the waterfront. You can while away the hours inside with a selection of masterpieces of Islamic art collected from three continents and dating from the 7th century all the way up to the 19th century. The masterpieces available to view include metalwork, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, textiles and glass.  This is a great attraction to understand more about the culture and history of Qatar.

  • Opening times:
    • Sunday – 10:30am – 5:30pm
    • Monday – 10:30am – 5:30pm
    • Tuesday – Closed
    • Wednesday – 10:30am – 5:30 pm 
    • Thursday – 12pm – 8pm 
    • Friday – 2pm – 8pm
    • Saturday – 12pm – 8pm
  • Admission: Free (some charges for temporary exhibitions)
  • Website: mia.org.qa/en

Camel Racing

The Qataris are very passionate about this sport with serious money invested into training the camels to race and in the jockeys used. Beginning in October and ending in April, if you visit in April you will be around for the closing ceremonies. Just 30 minutes’ drive west from Doha on the Dukan road, you will find the purpose-built camel racing track and all the excitement of the events. Arabic riders take on the larger camels and 1ft high robots are used on the smaller camels controlled by their owners from 4×4’s alongside the track. The robots even come with whips and the owners can speak to the camels from a speaker. The winner of the race gets a handsome cash prize and a brand new car to drive away in. A very odd, but very enjoyable day out.

Khor al-Adaid

Known as the ‘Inland Sea’ the Khor al-Adaid area – located in the south-east of the state of Qatar – is surrounded by crescent-shaped sand dunes with some as high as 40 metres. As you can imagine, four-wheel-drive is necessary to tackle the terrain and you should not attempt to drive it unless experienced. You can also join a tour operated trip of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with both day trips and overnight camping trips. If you choose to stay overnight you will be treated to the delights of the Qatar sky at night and can enjoy a delicious barbeque under the stars. As well as driving along the dunes, you can ride camels and even sand ski if you’re feeling adventurous.

A hub of opulent hotels, beautiful beaches and inviting restaurants, Qatar is an all-round destination for a holiday in April.

Norwegian Fjords cruise holidays to the midnight sun

Taking a cruise is a fabulous way to see a few destinations in a truly relaxing way. If you have cruised before you will know the feeling you get when your travel is a very real part of your holiday. Sunbathing, enjoying fine cuisine, taking in some shows or a movie, shopping, swimming or relaxing in the spa while a huge team of people look after your every need and move you closer to your next destination. If you haven’t cruised before it is a feeling you ought to get used to!

Types of Cruise

There are many different cruise lines in operation. Some offer a traditional cruise experience, with dressing for dinner and silver service, while others offer an informal fun cruise with lots of activities and entertainment. Some specialise in family cruises and others have adult only ships either for a party atmosphere or a quieter more laid back experience.

You can take cruises to and from a port near your home or fly to and from the start and finish port. Many cruise companies disembark from ports in the UK to Norway, and the ports are far less chaotic than airports with ships allowing you onboard early on the day of departure while the ship is prepared for disembarkation.

To choose the right cruise line for you try using travel review sites for personal reviews by cruisers such as Cruise Critic and Holiday Watchdog

The Midnight Sun

Although the summer nights rarely get truly dark anywhere in Norway, the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun, where the sun does not dip below the horizon for days, can only be experienced from about 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle and north of that point from June to July. In Norway this is approximately the county of Nordland and above. The further north you go the earlier the more you can experience the never ending days.

Great Ports of Call

Before you reach Nordland there are a couple of beautiful places to call in on. The beautiful capital of Oslo is approached through the 70 mile Oslofjord and the Drobak Narrows, which have afforded the city some safety from invasion over the centuries. Cruise ships berth along side the old Akershus Fortress, jutting out seaward on its craggy headland. The city is a mixture of beautiful historic public buildings and startling modern architecture, but feels somehow cosy and intimate as you stroll the streets and gardens.

Cruising the west coast, at the top of the Aurlandsfjord,  approached via the deep set Sognefjord is the tiny port of Flaam. Most ships that dock here run an excursion to board the mountain railway from the little town up through the winding track past truly breathtaking drops and cascading waterfalls. Eighteen of the twenty tunnels you pass through were cut by hand by a labour force of 220 men in astonishing feat of engineering you can learn about during the journey.

Further up the coast is the beautiful art nouveau city of Alesund, rebuilt entirely in 1907 after a devastating fire, the city is colourful and ornamental with facades, turrets and towers. Cruising North from Alesund you will experience the wonderful everlasting twilight of the evenings as you sit in the on board bars and restaurants or stand on deck late into the night without ever seeing the true darkness.

Your northernmost call will be to Tromso, the capital of the arctic circle, surrounded by islands and mountains. The city’s archtiecture is rich and varied with the striking 1960’s edifice of  the Arctic Cathedral standing out. To see the whole city laid out below, take a trip on the Fjellhelsen cable car to Mount Storsteinen 420 metres above sea level for fantastic views. As the last major city before heading to the pole, Tromso has a Polar museum in the older part of the city, charting the brave history of the explorers.

Wherever you floating home takes you, you can be sure you won’t want the sun to set on this beautiful journey.

Holiday in an alternative Egyptian resort

Situated on the north Egyptian border, Taba is full of beautiful scenery and ancient splendour. With the Middle East on one side and Africa on the other, the town is also lined by the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba and benefits from soft golden sands.

Not well-known as a holiday destination, Taba enjoys a quieter existence than other Egyptian resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh and Luxor. This means you will escape the crowds while still enjoying a great location for exploring more of this spectacular country.

The best time to visit Egypt is outside of the summer months, as the hot arid desert climate can be too much for tourists. Between the months of October and May are suggested so a visit in April would be perfect. You can expect lows of 18˚C, to highs of 30˚C with an average temperature of 24˚C, so feel free to pack your skimpy beachwear.

Taba also boasts a 70 kilometre stretch of coastline from Taba town to Nuweiba and is considered one of the best beaches of the Red Sea. With bays, coves, lagoons and an island in the vicinity, it is a slice of paradise.

With April not being part of the peak season for Egypt, you will be able to find a great deal on your getaway.

Pharaoh’s Island

Just a 30-minute ferry ride from the town, is the island of Pharaoh which attracts many divers because of the spectacular coral reef and marine life surrounding it, including the Picasso Trigger Fish. And when you tire of the warm and inviting turquoise waters you can head inland to visit the impressive 12th century fortress named Castle of Salah ad-Din. The island was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003 and is a great way to spend half a day on your trip.

Jerusalem

High in the history and religion stakes is the day-trip to the city of Jerusalem. Dating back 4,000 years it is crammed with churches, temples and mosques and while in Taba you can book yourself on a fantastic day out packed with sights to see. Starting out early you will drive to Israel, through the Negev Desert with a stop off to the lowest place on Earth – The Dead Sea. Here you can float in the waters packed with minerals after you cover yourself in the mud, said to have therapeutic powers. The next stop is Jerusalem where you will see:

  • The breath-taking views at the Mount of Olives
  • The Church of Sepulchre (built where Christ was crucified and buried)
  • The Wailing Wall and Dome of the Rock
  • Follow in the footsteps of Christ as he carried his cross along the Via Dolorosa
  • The haunting garden of Gethsemane
  • The Last Supper Room at Mount Zion
  • Prices equate to £109 for adults and £69 for children aged 2-11
  • Discover more about Jerusalem here

Seascope Adventure

If squeezing yourself into a diving suit doesn’t sound up your street, there is a way to see the spectacular marine life of Taba without a drop of water on you. The Seascope Adventure is a glass-sided boat with a very deep hull where you can enjoy the colourful fish of the area from the comfort of your seat. Three metres under the surface, you are transported in amongst the colourful creatures including eels, rays, clownfish, catfish and starfish to name but a few. The experience lasts about an hour and a half and is a must-do if you aren’t planning on diving or snorkelling.

A Night in the Sinai Desert

Taba town is backed by the Sinai Mountains and while here you can travel into the desert to enjoy an authentic day and evening there. Leaving behind civilisation you will drive into the sun-streaked mountains and dunes to see the arid landscape first-hand. You will be treated to a traditional Bedouin dinner in a magnificent tent enjoying the hospitality of the tribespeople. Then you will receive expert guidance as you observe and photograph the heavens. With computerised telescopes you can the night’s sky up-close and personal in the silent and dark desert.

  • Prices equate to £39 for adults and £20 for children
  • Discover more about the Sinai Desert here

Family holiday ideas for a Canadian vacation

For your next holiday with the kids, Canada has to be the ideal location to visit. With its unique landscape and vast difference between each province, there is much here to keep the whole family entertained. April provides a great time of year to visit with the winter all but thawed away. Here’s my guide to some great ideas for your Canadian family holiday.

Western Canada

Of course whilst spring has definitely settled in by April, the deep chill of the winter is hard to shake especially in the northern and western provinces. Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and Whistler in British Columbia are still fantastic for skiing in April, with the added bonus of being able to explore the surrounding areas more freely now the thaw has set in. At these great ski resorts, the family will certainly be able to keep active with skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling widely available. You’ll also be able to hike, mountain bike or wander along nature trails through this true natural wilderness. Whistler seemingly feels as if it comes alive during April with a selection of events to attend during the month. These include the Whistler Cup, which runs from 5th – 7th April, and features the very best of young skiers and the World Ski and Snowboard Festival which runs from 12th – 21st April.

For a city experience, Edmonton is a fantastic place to take the family. A trip to West Edmonton Mall is sure to keep everyone entertained. Home to over 800 shops, the mall also houses Galaxyland theme park, miniature golf, ice rink, skate park and an indoor waterpark complete with slides and bungee tower. It’s also home to the wonderful Fantasyland Hotel which is certainly worth a night’s stay in as each room is themed, with my personal favourite being the Western themed room.

Eastern Canada

April is a great month for harvesting Canada’s most famous export, maple syrup. Throughout the country, Maple Syrup festivals spring up and one of the most famous is the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, held this year on Saturday 6th April. There is fun for the whole family here with steam train rides, pony rides and even live music to enjoy. I’ve always felt the highlight is the pancake tasting, drenched in maple syrup – perfect!

Toronto is an exciting city to spend your holiday in, perfectly mixing city life with Canada’s natural landscape. Toronto is home to some fantastic museums, including the Canadian Motorsport Heritage Museum , the Ontario Science Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum. Take a trip to the top of the CN Tower for views across the city from one of the tallest buildings in the world. April sees the ‘EdgeWalk‘ open for business at the tower so if anyone in your family is 13 or over and feels particularly brave, they can buckle themselves to the side of the tower and lean over the edge!  Of course, it goes without saying but you must make the trip out to Niagara Falls for an unforgetable family experience.

Wildlife tours

Canada’s wilderness is filled with many animals which are iconic to the country. There are many tours available to help your family see these beautiful creatures living in their natural environment and whether you’re 8 or 80, you’re sure to be kept entertained.

British Columbia is home to many great wildlife tours. April sees the bears come out of their winter hibernation so visit Clayoquat Sound to book onto a black bear watching tour or Glendale Cove to see the grizzly bears. Here you’ll also be able to see seals, eagles and even orca whales on whale watching tours.

For a feel of the arctic, head north to Nunavut where the Arctic Ocean will still be frozen over in April as is most of the landscape. Here you can set the imagination running with a stay in an igloo, explore the tundra by dog-sled or visit Hudson Bay to see the walrus and polar bears.

Best March cruise holidays around the world

There aren’t many holidays in life that feel more luxurious than stepping onto a cruise ship, ready to be whisked off for a few days at sea exploring the area. With a wide range of destinations and cruises available, here’s my guide to the best cruises you should book onto for your holiday in March.

Cruise Australia

Southern Australia is magnificent in March as you can enjoy the warm climate of Autumn. Temperatures remain around 22 degrees and the sun continues to shine, meaning you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings without the searing heat or blazing sunshine of the summer.

For your perfect cruise, choose Crystal Cruises Australia for your choice of liner. This award-winning company will take you on a trip of a lifetime on board their luxurious ships, complete with ballrooms, theatres, bars and opulent rooms. Their three-week cruise around Southern Australia starts in Auckland, New Zealand where you can explore this exciting city on the North Island. Aboard your ship, set sail along the western coast down to Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and finally Dunedin before making your way over to Australia. Cruise across the Tasman Sea before you see Sydney and its iconic skyline appear on the horizon. Believe me, it’s an emotional, unforgettable experience. Spend time exploring this fantastic city before making your way to Melbourne, where you must visit the set of Neighbours! From here it’s along the coast to Perth and Fremantle, your final destination. It’ll be three weeks you’ll never forget.

Cruise Singapore

Singapore is possibly the most suitable place to take a cruise from, with many of the cities buildings taking you back to a time when boarding a liner was the only way to explore far off destinations. March is ideal for a trip here as the monsoon season comes to an end and the temperature is cooler than the humid months that follow.

Board Crystal Cruises’ 2 week round trip to Singapore which will take you deep into the Indian Ocean. Explore the city before you depart, visiting iconic sites such as Raffles to sample a ‘Singapore Sling’, The Majestic and the Zoological Gardens. Once aboard your ship, set off south and start ticking off all the countries you’re visiting. Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and even India all in the space of two weeks of sheer unadulterated beauty and excitement before landing back where you started.

Cruise China

Spring heralds the best time of year to visit China, with temperatures at a steady and comfortable level. With the weather great across the country, there’s no better time to take a cruise along the Chinese coast. Passing through the South China, East China and Yellow Sea, take a cruise from Hong Kong to Beijing. Here you’ll start and end in one of China’s most iconic destinations and will take in Shanghai on your way north. I found it simply remarkable just how many legendary sites this stretch of coastline holds. Being a culture lover, I was in awe of see Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, Huangpu River and The Peninsula all in the space of a fortnight. Simply spectacular.

Cruise the Caribbean

The Caribbean almost feels as if it was made for cruising around. With a cluster of tropical islands in such a relatively small space, cruising is the ideal way to explore this lush region of the world. March is definitely the best time of year to do so as well, with weather at its sunniest, warmest and driest. It’s a popular time of year for tourists wanting to escape the winter.

Take a 14 day Caribbean cruise that will see you start and finish in Florida. Take time to explore Fort Lauderdale and Key West which are both beautiful coastal cities. Your first stop in the Caribbean is the Bahamas, where life really does feel like it’s begun to slow down. After a day exploring, you feel immediately relaxed and in Jamaica, the clock might as well just stop! Your cruise will take you onto the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and the most remarkable thing is that you’ll only have scratched the surface as to what the Caribbean has to offer.

The Top 5 Most Picturesque Rivers in Europe

Europe is filled with some of the most exquisite scenery in the world, and its rivers are certainly no exception. From meandering around the countryside to flowing through the heart of many major cities, taking a scenic river cruise is a great way to explore the beauty of the ever-changing landscape. If you’re wondering where to start your journey, here are the top 5 most picturesque rivers in Europe.

The Seine

Flowing through Paris, the city of love, the Seine is a beautiful way to discover quintessential French culture. From architecture to the finest cuisine, cruising along the Seine allow you to immerse yourself in this sophisticated and elegant river cruiser. The slow flowing nature of the Seine makes it relaxing and easy to navigate, giving you plenty of time to marvel at the beauty and history of this iconic river.

Elbe River

From decadent Baroque palaces and gardens to the bustle of Berlin, the Elbe river cruise will let you explore Eastern Germany and parts of the Czech Republic like never before. An important delineator in Europe, the Elbe has played a captivating part in the formation and regulation of borders throughout the course of history.

Rhine River

A cruise on the Rhine will take you through five different countries, with a range of fascinating landscapes and cities along the way. Discover France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands all from the scenic Rhine River. There’s Amsterdam, famous for its vibrant night life, while the Black Forest region of Germany offers fantasy-like castles and striking scenery perfect for the avid photography lover. This truly spectacular river is a great way to explore Europe while cruising.

Po River

Take in the remarkable scenery of Northern Italy and continue on to the splendid and romantic city of Venice on this beautiful river cruise. Passengers with a keen interest in Renaissance art and architecture will be awed by the rich cultural heritage of the Po Valley.

The Danube

The Danube flows through four Central European capitals before finally reaching its end in the Black Sea. On its journey, it touches the borders and passes through a total of ten countries, offering some of the most diverse and captivating changes of landscape throughout Europe. Steeped in history, the Danube has many fascinating stories to tell. It is one of the continent’s longest rivers, and as a result benefits from a longer cruise to truly discover everything that this amazing stretch of natural wonder has to offer.

Viking River Cruises

When it comes time to book your European river cruise, there are a range of tours and options available. Over the last 15 years, Viking Cruises have created a reputation for consistently providing the very highest standards of luxury and attention to detail.

Their specialisation in river cruises means you’ll see the best of Europe on a variety of custom-designed itineraries based on years of experience and expert knowledge. Their focus on impeccably designed and sustainable vessels means you’ll be in the utmost comfort throughout your entire voyage. Let Viking take you on the trip of a lifetime through some of Europe’s most stunning rivers.

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