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Travel

The best campsites close to Manchester for the ultimate staycation

Happy Campers!

Alex Watson

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With just a couple of hours drive, you could be breathing in some sea air or taking in the stunning views of the Lake District. 

Going on holiday in the middle of a pandemic is pretty risky business, not only because you could catch or pass on the virus and this whole situation will go on for even longer, but you also risk your holiday being cancelled or being stuck on holiday.

That’s why loads of people are opting for a staycation in one of the UK’s many beauty spots – and there’s a lot to chose from.

If you’re not a camper, check out our list of the most unique places you can stay on Airbnb in the UK – which includes a literal jet plane, windmills and even a couple of castles. 

Or if you’re a fan of Disney, how about Snow White’s house

Turner Hall Campsite Ltd/Facebook

Turner Hall Farm in Seathwaite Cumbria 

A no-frills campsite surrounded by the beautiful Cumbria landscape. Perfect spot for tents and camper vans and a big old lung full of fresh air. 

@thehamletsamlesbury

Samlesbury Hall, Blackburn

Bit of Glamping for all you glampers this one. The Shepherd’s Huts have got everything you need for a cosy night under the stars. And if you’re really hard, this is set in the grounds of the Black and White Hall, which is supposedly one of the most haunted places in the UK. 

Waterside House Campsite, Ullswater

I’m putting this one in because I went in July when we were allowed out and about and I can tell you first hand I had a cracking experience. This was actually the view from my tent each morning and you really can’t complain about that, can you? All the amenities and plenty of hand sani everywhere too.

Headswood On The Wall/Facebook

Headswood On The Wall, Hadrian’s Wall

Another posh one that’s not really camping, because you stay in lodges drinking Prosecco in a hot tub, but you’re outside in the wilderness and that’s near enough to camping for us city folk, init?

coolcamping.com

Aberafon on the Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd

Over to Wales for this one, right in the heart of the most famous thing to come out of the country (after Gavin & Stacey), Snowdonia National Park. Cracking views and a nice bit of fresh sea air to brush the lockdown cobwebs off! 

National Trust

Low Wray Campsite in Ambleside, Lake District

Another one in the Lakes, this time Windemere. It’s a National Trust campsite so you know you’re in good hands. Plenty of water-related fun to be had including paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, rowing and skimming stones. 

Camping and Caravanning Club

Delamere Forest, Cheshire

More for you caravaners than campers this one, but there is still space for tent pitches. Plenty of fun to be had nearby too including walking trails, cycling, Go Ape and Chester Zoo. OR just head straight to the pubs in Chester – I would.

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Travel

New geothermal heated sea pool like Iceland’s Blue Lagoon has opened in Cornwall

Perfect for a staycation!

Alex Watson

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badwolfhorizon & porthlevenholidaycottage/Instagram

The UK’s first geothermal sea pool has now opened up in Cornwall and we need to go asap!

The pool is set at a lovely warm 35C and will be heated all year round making it a perfect destination for a weekend away in winter.

The pool has opened up in the old art deco Jubilee Pool in Penzance, and is giving Iceland’s Blue Lagoons a run for their money.

The warm water is heated through a geothermal well which transfers the cooler water back into the ground and the warm water into the pool.

The pool also offers fantastic sea views, including a glimpse of St Michael’s Mount across the water. 

Around 50 people will fit into the pool at once, making it the UK’s largest lido. Currently, due to social distancing measures, only 15 are allowed to visit at a time. 

Ryan Law, managing director of Geothermal Engineering Limited, told local media: “The system we have drilled and installed is one of the lowest forms of carbon heating available and is part of the growing movement to use sustainable heating sources across the UK.

“I’m delighted that the geothermal pool at Jubilee Pool, Penzance, is now open. It’s the first geothermally-heated lido in the UK and is a flagship for geothermal energy in general.”

The pool is part of a wider project worth £1.8m, which was supported partly by the local community which provided £540,000.

First to swim in the pool were the family of local swimmer and project supporter, Joyce Cooper. Joyce was at the opening of the original lido 85 years ago but sadly died before she got the chance to see the project completed. 

All ages are welcome to visit the pool during the afternoon, with kids under four going free. An adult ticket will start from £11.75. 

There are also dedicated adults-only spots for the pool between 10am and 12:30pm, and select evenings after 5:30pm. 

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Travel

Thomas Cook is set to relaunch ‘in the next few weeks’ but with some big changes

The UK’s oldest tour operator could be back soon…

Alex Watson

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Anna Zvereva/Wikimedia & Brian Robert Marshall/Geograph

Thomas Cook, the UK’s oldest tour operator, could be making a return to the travel industry a year after the company folded. 

The owners of Club Med and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chinese conglomerate Fosun, saved the brand from completely vanishing after it went under in September last year. 

According to some reports it looks like Fosun could be bringing back Thomas Cook as a travel agent. 

Sky News has reported that Fosun is awaiting necessary regulatory approvals and for any quarantine updates on British citizens.

Jan Hagelskamp1/Wikimedia

Thomas Cook looks set to relaunch as just an online travel agent and will be dropping the Thomas Cook airline, high street shops and branded hotels previously operated by the company.

The relaunch is reportedly set to go ahead this month, exactly a year after the company collapsed. 

The firm filed for administration on September 23rd last year. The news left 150,000 UK holidaymakers stuck abroad and caused the biggest peacetime repatriation of Britons abroad, totalling to an estimated cost of £150m. 

The 178-year-old firm was bailed out by Fosun. Chairman Jiannong said: “The group has always believed in the brand value of Thomas Cook.

“The acquisition of the Thomas Cook brand will enable the group to expand its tourism business building on the extensive brand awareness of Thomas Cook and the robust growth momentum of Chinese outbound tourism.”


Ken Fielding/Flickr

He added: “Following the acquisition, the group will focus on business expansion, using the newly acquired Thomas Cook brands to create synergies with the existing businesses of the group.”

The Chinese firm bought the assets including the trademarks, domain names, software applications, social media accounts and licences. However, 555 stores were sold for just £6m to rival Hays Travel. 

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Travel

A new giraffe hotel is coming to the UK which lets you get up close to the animals

This is amazing!

Alex Watson

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Aspinall Foundation

A brand new hotel where you share the resort with giraffes is coming to the UK. 

Kent Online has shared the news of a new hotel, Giraffe Hall, that is set to open at Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve in Kent.

It’s not yet open but 9,000 people have already signed up to the waiting list, so this is definitely going to be a popular spot.

The accommodation is set in a Grade II listed building that dates back to the 15th and 16th century.  

Aspinall Foundation

There will be ten bedrooms, five cabins and incredible views of the nature reserve where lions, giraffes and wolves will be living. 

It’s set to be the first of its kind in the Western hemisphere, as giraffes will be able to wander right up to the hall and check out what’s happening inside through the windows.

The website explains: “Get closer than ever before and make friends with your giraffe neighbours, as the resident herd peer into the lofty ceilinged drawing room, or amble up to the bedroom windows, where you may be lucky enough to feed them.”

Aspinall Foundation

Guests will also be able to stay in ‘Lion Lodge’ which is the first of its kind in the world. It sees a timber clad, Manhattan loft-style building, set within the lion’s natural enclosure.

There will be ‘floor to ceiling windows in both the master bedroom and the open plan living area’ meaning ‘guests will be just a whisker away from lions’.

Prices are yet to be revealed for Giraffe Hall, however an overnight stay at Lion Lodge sees prices starting at £1,750.

You do get a golf buggy to move around the reserve, a bottle of bubbly on arrival and a full English breakfast, though. 

Find out more or sign up to the waiting list here

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