Archive for category Scotland

Americans love us Brits!

The UK is flavour of the month for Americans, it seems. According to research by TripAdvisor, visits by Americans to the UK are up 23% year-over-year.

Not only are they the largest inbound market to the UK, but they’re also showing as the largest increase in interest year-over-year, with Canadian visitors not far behind, with figures up 21%.

The most popular destinations for our visitors from across the Pond are London, Edinburgh, Yorkshire, the Scottish Highlands and Cornwall

TripAdvisor for Business VP marketing Alison Copus said: “In the year of the post-Olympics afterglow and a new royal baby to celebrate, it is clear that the UK’s place on the world stage is as strong as ever.

“Overall, interest in UK destinations is on the rise, and not just to the traditional holiday hotspots on the coast or in the capital – the UK’s inland countryside is thriving too, with Yorkshire and the Scottish Highlands both holding a place in the top five destinations.”

These figures are certainly promising, however they are in conflict with recent statistics from VisitBritain, which suggest that although the US is the biggest overseas market for the UK, visitor numbers are falling.

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Yorkshire one of top ten global places to visit

Yorkshire Dales by Flickr User Fields of View

Yorkshire Dales by Flickr User Fields of View

The Lonely Planet guidebook has built up a global reputation as one of the most prestigious and recognised guidebooks around, so to have Yorkshire named as one of the top 10 global regions to visit, then that certainly is saying something!

As a proud Yorkshire lass, you don’t have to tell me about the beautiful scenery, cultural quarters and many events and activities taking place in the region. But to have the recognition from such a reputable source, then that can only bode well for tourism in the region, and rightly so.

Yorkshire was chosen because of its “rugged moorlands, heritage homes and cosy pubs” as well as the fact that Leeds will host next year’s Tour de France grand depart.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity told the BBC: “This is massive for Yorkshire and our thousands of amazing tourism businesses, destinations and events.”

Also included in the ‘must see’ guide is Scotland, named third of the top ten countries to visit in 2014. Another place of outstanding natural beauty, but also chosen because it will host the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next year.

Look out for blog posts about activities and events in Yorkshire and Scotland over the coming weeks to tempt you over for a holiday.

 

Lonely Planet’s top-10 regions to visit for 2014:

1 Sikkim, India

2 The Kimberley, Australia

3 Yorkshire

4 Hokuriku, Japan

5 Texas

6 Victoria Falls

7 Mallorca

8 West Coast, New Zealand

9 Hunan, China

10 Ha’apai, Tonga

Lonely Planet’s top-10 countries to visit for 2014:

1 Brazil

2 Antarctica

3 Scotland

4 Sweden

5 Malawi

6 Mexico

7 Seychelles

8 Belgium

9 Macedonia

10 Malaysia

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Edinburgh trams to airport by May 2014

Edinburgh Airport’s much delayed tram service to the city centre is to be up and running by May 2014. The news has been welcomed by the airport as the date is two months ahead of its most recent forecast for completion.

“This is fantastic news. Trams will offer those arriving in Edinburgh an efficient, consistent and modern way to access the capital,” said airport chief executive Gordon Dewar.

“Not only that, but when the links with our national rail network at Haymarket, Edinburgh Park and importantly Gogar are complete, it will provide real integration and slash journey times across Scotland.”

Test trams will run from the airport to Edinburgh Park Station on 6th October, and testing from the airport to York Place will begin on 9th December. There will be more than 150 tram journeys per day, five days a week over the testing period.

The city council has said that the roadworks that have blighted Edinburgh’s streets for six years will be clear by 19th October.

Ticket prices within the city centre have been revealed to match those of the local bus services and Ridacards will be valid throughout the entire route. Passengers travelling from Ingliston or the airport to Gogarburn will be charged £2.50 adult and £1.50 child fare. A return to the airport from any other stop will be £7.50 adult, £4 child fare.

The tram project has cost £776 million and is well over budget and years behind its original schedule.

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In-flight entertainment with a twist

There will be in-flight entertainment with a twist if you catch a Virgin Atlantic Little Red flight in the next couple of months. The twist being that the entertainment will be live throughout the flight!

No getting away from it, it’ll be a truly captive audience as the airline treats its passengers to a line up of stand-up comedy and music on flights between London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Depending on your point of view, it will be a delightful or dreadful extra, as this month stand-up comics heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival test out their material at 30,000 feet. In September, music will dominate the line up with a series of acoustic gigs paying homage to the “rich music scenes” in Scotland and Manchester.

Virgin president Sir Richard Branson said: “We launched Virgin Atlantic Little Red to shake up domestic flying in the UK and this latest activity highlights why our customer service is second to none.

“In true Virgin Atlantic spirit we’re doing something a little different and providing our passengers with a line-up of gigs to ensure we offer a truly unforgettable flying experience on Little Red.”

Acts will be announced through the Virgin Atlantic Facebook and Twitter channels, but the exact flights they’ll be performing on will remain a secret until the day.

 

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Severe weekend weather warning

Just when we were getting used to some of the best summer weather we’ve had in years, the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for the next three days. It predicts an end to the sunshine and a start to days of intense rain and thunderstorms.

Today Scotland and the Highlands are expected to experience the brunt of the unsettled weather, while the east of England, London and the south east of England could see thunderstorms and heavy rain for the rest of the weekend.

The Met Office has issued yellow rain warnings, which indicate that the public should be aware of the risk of localised disruption to travel due to surface water flooding.

The end of the heatwave will be disappointing for the UK, but will probably be good news to the two million British holidaymakers jetting off to warmer climates this weekend as they’ve had the best of the weather.

 

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Kipp Cottage, Dumfries and Galloway

Kipp Cottage is a beautiful hideaway for two in Dumfries and Galloway. In a secluded position in the grounds of Kipp House on the edge of the village of Kippford, the accommodation is located on the first floor, with special storage area suitable for bicycles and/or wet weather gear on the ground floor.

Perfect for an activity holiday base, the village is set on the Urr Estuary, a popular sailing centre. For keen cyclists, the trailhead for the local section of the 7 Stanes Mountain Bike Network is less than 5 minutes away by car. There is also a small golf course and two hotels/pubs serving food plus local shops within walking distance of the cottage.

The double glazing and full oil fired central heating make this a cosy and comfortable cottage at any time of the year.

Outside view of cottage

Modern kitchen

Beautiful grounds

 

 

 

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BA and VisitScotland team up

British Airways and VisitScotland have joined forces to launch a television advertising campaign to promote Scotland in the Year of Natural Scotland campaign.

The 30-second advert will run from 20th April and feature BA aircraft and scenic views of Scotland.

BA will also back the campaign with banners on its own website promoting flight and holiday offers to Scotland, with particular emphasis from the sales and marketing team at Heathrow, Gatwick and London City.

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “We’re delighted to have BA on board for our Year of Natural Scotland campaign. The South-East of England represents one of our biggest markets, with the airline already responsible for delivering tens of thousands of visitors each year.

“Hopefully by reminding people that we’re only an hour away this will entice even more people to come to Scotland for a relaxing break.”

We covered the launch of the Year of Natural Scotland with a story about the beautiful Shetland ponies in onesies at the start of the year. See a picture of the cuties and get more information here.

Don’t forget that you can find many holiday cottages in Scotland at our main site.

 

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Flights to Scotland

Flybe is adding flights from Manchester to both Glasgow and Edinburgh this April. The two new Saturday return services will operate from 6th April, with one-way flights from £39.99 including taxes and airport charges.

The airline is also increasing the frequency of its weekday flights from East Midlands Airport to Edinburgh and Glasgow to four flights a day from 1st April.

 

These new services could make flying to Scotland a more feasible option when looking for a quick holiday getaway, cutting down journey times and allowing you to spend more time at your destination.

How about one of these three superb cottages (below) on a 3,000-acre sheep farm set in the spectacular Pentland Hills Regional Park? It might feel like a complete hideaway, but you will only be 10 minutes drive from the city of Edinburgh and 10 miles from the airport. Each cottage caters for a different number of guests, from the Stable which is a wonderful space for two, to Steading which is entered via a stone archway to the open-plan kitchen/dining room at one end and cosy sitting room at the other. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, one double and one twin. Byre has charming exposed beams and an upstairs sitting room. There is a twin and a double bedroom, with the possibility of accommodating two more people on a comfortable double sofa bed. All three cottages have wood-burning stoves to cosy up in front of at night, and stunning views Scotland is famed for.

 

 

Another option would be these three cottages on Cloag Farm, seven miles west of Perth, just north of Methven village. Each cottage sleeps 4 with one double and one twin room. They are set away from the road and have panoramic southerly views. Ideal for exploring Perthshire, or as a base for visiting Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, St Andrews and beyond. Bookings run from “any day” to “any day” and there are discounts available for couples all year. They also benefit from 3 stars from VisitScotland.

 

For these cottages and many more, visit our main site.

 

 

 

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Ponies in onesies, a film festival, and lodges with a private beach

Fivla and Vitamin picture by Rob McDougall, courtesy of VisitScotland

Fivla and Vitamin picture by Rob McDougall, courtesy of VisitScotland

Visit Scotland have jumped on the ‘onesie’ craze, but with a difference – they have chosen Shetland ponies, Fivla and Vitamin to model their specially made onesies made from Shetland wool.

These pretty little models are representing The Year of Natural Scotland, which aims to educate people on the country’s range of biodiversity and to inspire holidaymakers with its beautiful landscapes.

Visit Scotland said: “With Shetland wool and knitwear being so in demand, it seemed like a fun way to celebrate Shetland’s natural landscapes, products and heritage.”

Next month would be an ideal time to visit and combine outdoor walks in the countryside with a trip into the city of Glasgow for its Film Festival 14th-24th February. It includes themed screenings and many tie-in events across the city, to provide plenty to do over a day out or weekend away.

Why not try one of these lovely lodges right on the loch side of Loch Lomond and with a private sandy beach, and only a 50 minute drive to Glasgow. The lodges are perfect family holiday accommodation, with verandah’s complete with lockable gates, perfect if you are visiting with small children or animals.

The lodges sleep six each and are double glazed with a fully fitted kitchen, pay-phone, flat screen TV with freeview, DVD player and hi-fi with iPod functionality.

Beautiful Lodges near Loch Lomond

Beautiful Lodges near Loch Lomond

View from the private sandy beach

View from the private sandy beach

Warm and cosy inside

Warm and cosy inside

 

 

 

 

 

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Things to do this Easter 2012

Spring is here, and so are the Easter holidays! So, as you gear up for an extra long weekend you might be eager to use the time wisely for some fun, exercise, culture and entertainment. Here is a list of activities and places to visit for inspiration, let us know if you go to any of them and if you enjoyed it.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park picture by Flickr user artq55

Yorkshire Sculpture Park picture by Flickr user artq55

1. Yorkshire Sculpture Park – Just one mile from junction 38 on the M1 this beautiful park hosts sculpture from some of the world’s most famous artists. With a permanent collection and seasonal changing exhibitions there is much to see as you walk through the grounds. Currently there is a Joan Miro exhibition and also sculptures by Jem Finer, Anthony Caro and Marica Farquhar. Free entry but parking charges apply.

2. Tintagel Castle Easter Trail – Find the missing eggs on this trail around the Cornish castle and be rewarded with a prize! English Heritage Members: Free, Adult :£5.70, Child (5-15 years):£3.40, Concession: £5.10, Family:£14.80

3. Mother Shipton’s Cave – See the only petrifying well in England! Mother Shipton was believed to be a witch that prophesised events such as the Great Fire of London and the defeat of the Spanish Armada, she lived in Knaresborough near the well and so her story is intertwined with this strange place which turns objects into stone. There is a whole park to explore with children’s playground, tearoom, gardens and of course the petrifying well spring where you can watch everyday objects slowly but surely turning to stone. Adult: £6.00, Senior Citizens: £5.00, Child: £4.00, Under 4’s: free, Family: £18.00

Mother Shipton's Cave picture by Flickr user Auz

Mother Shipton's Cave picture by Flickr user Auz

4. Irwell Sculpture Trail – Winding its way from Bacup to Salford Quays and featuring over 70 artworks by locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists this trail is a great free day out. You can do the whole walk or just sections of it, go to the website to plan your journey!

5. Snibston Discovery Park – Leicestershire’s largest interactive museum, Snibston showcases the region’s science, technology and design collections, including major innovations in transport and engineering history. A great and educational day out for the kids. Adult: £7.50, Child: £5.00, Under 3’s: free, Family of 4 (max 2 adults):£22.50

6. Glasgow Science Centre Egg Drop Challenge – Design a casing for your precious Easter cargo (a real egg) and see whether it protects or encourages a splat when dropped from on high! This is one of many fun activities to get involved in over the weekend, you could spend a whole day there and never get bored! Science Mall ticket price – Adult: £9.95, child/concessions: £7.95

Glasgow Science Centre 1 picture by Flickr user Jordanhill School D&T Dept

Glasgow Science Centre 1 picture by Flickr user Jordanhill School D&T Dept

 

7. Eureka! – The national children’s museum near Halifax is another educational, interactive and enjoyable place to visit and especially welcomes visitors over school holidays such as these. It is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and this weekend invites visitors to explore the ‘commotion in the ocean’ exploring the seven seas with mermaids and pirates! Voted the UK’s number one hand’s on museum by The Independent in 2011 you can’t go far wrong. Adult: £9.95, Child (3+) : £9.95, Toddler: £3.45, Babies (0-11 months): free

8. BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art – Situated in Gateshead, BALTIC hosts a programme of changing exhibitions of new and innovative contemporary art across four galleries. Currently showing are immersive video installations by Elizabeth Price, utopian structures by Andrea Zittel and highly conceptual artwork by On Kawara.