Meet our guest bloggers
Reviewing for Silver Travel Advisor
534 people found this feature helpful
Would you like to write for us? Here at Silver Travel Advisor, we run a regular feature to find new bloggers for our site and to encourage our members to travel and write about their experiences. The format is that we arrange a hotel that would like to host a guest in our name and then we advertise for one of our Silver Travellers to stay there and write a review about it for us.
Here’s what Guest Blogger Geraldine Smith had to say:
“I just wanted to let you know how thrilled I have been with the whole experience of being a Guest Blogger on Silver Travel Advisor! My husband Barry and I had a great time in Denmark and were looked after wonderfully by Visit Denmark and Small Danish Hotels. We have enjoyed reliving the experience through the review which looks really good on the website with the additional photos etc! Thank you once again for a great time and a super website!”
Here are our Guest Bloggers so far and where they have been:
Property: The Plough, Cold Aston
Guest Blogger: Gill Green
More about Gill
My husband and I were both teachers, so for many years our
holiday plans were constrained by school holidays. We went camping and
caravanning mainly around England, Wales and Western Europe, often with our
children and grandchildren. We also liked to stay in small hotels or
rental properties when visiting Southern Spain, Portugal, Crete, Italy and
Since retirement, we are enjoying the freedom to travel when
we wish! We have made two long campervan trips in New Zealand, giving us
a chance to see many off the beaten track places. We followed these trips
with visits to Australia and Singapore. Other highlights during retirement have
been trips to Jordan, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, visiting Venice and Vienna at less
busy times and the fantastic Northern Lights trip with Hurtigruten.
Retirement has opened up so many opportunities and we
continue to plan interesting trips abroad and in the UK, spending more time in
an area in order to explore it more fully. We have swopped our caravan for a
small motorhome which is ideal for visiting more remote areas in the UK and
Europe and for our annual pilgrimage to our favourite campsite in the Northern
Date of stay: April 2020
Property: Cakes & Ale Holiday Park
Guest Blogger: June Wheatley
More about June
I’m 56 years young from Scotland although now
live in England and enjoy travelling in GB and around the world. My first holiday was Spain when I was in my
20s. When my children were young, we
would go to holiday parks as my boys loved caravans. It was easier than going to airports with two
young boys as one is autistic. We would
get in the car and set off on our holiday, I tried to find quieter, small sites
as they were more personable.
My husband and I had a boat for four years so
our holidays were on water then. We
loved exploring the canals and rivers. As we live in Lincoln, it took two days to take the boat to York. It was a great adventure having to wait for
tides and navigate lock systems.
We now have a touring caravan and we attend
1940s events that take us around the country.
We have been as far as Barnard Castle in Teesdale and down to Dereham in Norfolk. We enjoy traveling whether it’s a cruise or a resort holiday. We have been on an organised group motor bike holiday in Spain that was very scenic: riding through the orange groves, in the mountains where the scent was amazing and stopping in villages to sample the local cuisine.
We are looking forward to visiting Cakes and Ale
holiday park in Suffolk with our dog Rossi and some family members.
Date of stay: September 2019
Property: Bournemouth West Cliff Hotel and Spa
Guest Blogger: Louise Hammond
More about Louise
My earliest holiday recollections are on the beach at Great
Yarmouth, and I still love to paddle in the sea, only last month I was paddling
at Cleethorpes! I love holidays in the UK, and with my parents explored
the South of England extensively, especially Dorset and Devon - such a
wonderful Jurassic coastline.
With my partner Andrew we have explored further afield, and
as avid walkers explored Austria, Switzerland, and Ghent just recently which
has such a large pedestrianised central area by the canals. We have been
on a river cruise on the Rhine, and train trips around Europe through France
and Italy and back through the Alps. In the UK we have walked the
Ridgeway, Wessex Ridgeway, Icknield Way so walked across Southern England, and
then the wonderful Coast to Coast, Pennine Way and West Highland Way the latter
in Spring 2019.
I have also been around the world once to Australia and New
Zealand, Singapore, New York and Toronto, but now we are retired we enjoy most
of all the wonderful coast of the UK. Our perfect day is a long walk, in
beautiful countryside or by the sea with an afternoon tea to look forward to
maybe at an attraction such as the National Trust, or a place we fancy en
Date of stay: September 2019
Property: Market Cross Guest House
Guest Blogger: Mandy Russell
More about Mandy
As a child we always had traditional seaside holidays in England, in caravans or holiday parks, and this continued with our children when they were young. It was only as they became older teenagers that we began to venture to Europe with them, Paris, Rome, Venice.
In the last 3 or 4 years we have travelled more than ever before: highlights include Valletta in Malta to see the carnival, Christmas markets in Prague, a tour of Switzerland by train, Naples to visit Vesuvius and Pompeii, and the most recent, an amazing holiday in Iceland, in the snow, seeing the Northern Lights, geysers and whale watching.
But we don’t
forget our beloved home country, so we try to fit in short breaks here too, the
last one having been a family holiday to the beautiful Isle of Wight. We
also love our capital city, so have a couple of weekend trips a year to London
to see a show and ‘be a tourist’; there is always something different to
Date of stay: August 2018
More about JayneThe pre-motorway journey from the North to Isle of Wight was endless but worth it for this 1950s child to go beach feral with her cousins.
The 1970s saw me blagging a world
trip on an RAF VIP plane, taking in Hong Kong and Japan, via curious Aleutian
Islands and Canadian outposts. As newly-weds, we took a West Coast
road trip via the first cheap US charter.
Three kids later, during the lean
years, Lake District camping kept us all grounded. They obviously learnt
something - daughter 1 filmed in Zambia; No 2 survived shipwreck, living with
San Blas Islands tribe whilst awaiting rescue. Our son gave us fewer
Now 'post Ruby' we loved our
first cruise on Seabourn and trips to old friends in Norway and Provence, for
relaxation and reminiscence over a glass or three.
Ask me to choose one from a
lifetime? Feral beach kid every time!
Date of stay: September 2017
Location: Rolvenden, Kent
Property: Hexden Lea
Guest Blogger: Marion Royer
More about MarionI'm old enough to remember Venice with gondalas first time round, before they nearly disappeared! I was sent to Austria and Italy because I'd been seriously ill, and it was thought the fresh air would do me good as I was a London child. Other than that, I mainly travelled to Ireland to visit grandparents, and then there was a wonderful visit to Spain when I was 16, just before package holidays really took off.
My husband liked beach holidays, and we visited Portugal many times over a twenty-year period, also Turkey, France, Italy and Spain. In the mid 1980s we bought a timeshare in Lanzarote, which we enjoyed for years. We also visited relatives in the USA (descended from my Irish side) and Canada (descended from my English side).In recent years, I've been travelling alone, which has its advantages, and have visited Toronto and Vancouver; Marco de Canaveses (Portugal); Ireland; France; Czech Republic; Germany; Malta, and soon, Italy and Dubai. I have also got to know my own country better - which I'd always wanted to do - by making overnight stops on the way to visit friends and relatives.
Date of stay: August 2017
Location: Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Property: The Feathers Hotel
Guest Blogger: Jill Williams
More about JillMy holiday experience really took off once I started work and was able to choose my own trips and go with friends.
For the first time, at 22 I discovered the South of France however, most of my holidays subsequently have been in Greece, I just really love the culture and the people as well as the fabulous beaches-and the Ouzo!
In my twenties, I was persuaded to go on a month long backpacking trip in Europe, travelling by train. We did a bit of forward planning but wanted to have the freedom to be able to stay longer in the places we liked or move on if it didn’t appeal. I think this gave me my appetite for city breaks and long weekends away.
A turning point was embarking on my first trip to beautiful, romantic Venice, alone. The September sun shone as I wandered around, both day and night, visiting the main sights and finding some lovely quiet squares and piazzas from which to people watch or read.
I have visited many of European and UK cities, and I still love the excitement of landing in a different place to explore and experience another culture. I hope to do a few long haul trips before I retire and to go back to some of the places I really loved-Amsterdam, New York, anywhere in France, and of course my favourite destination, Greece.
Date of stay: June 2017
Location: Church Stretton, Shropshire
Property: Arden House
Guest Blogger: Johanna Bradley
More about Johanna
I’m Johanna Bradley (Jo, to my friends) and I live in the often chilly, but still beautiful, north east of England, on my doorstep I have beaches of velvet sand and of characterful, rugged pebble, whilst still close to the Yorkshire Moors and Durham City.
Some years ago, on a first ever visit to Portugal, my husband and I fell in love with the serene beauty of the Eastern Algarve. A week later we had bought a house in Tavira. It’s probably the only impetuous thing my husband has done in his entire life, and one that he has never regretted.
My Dad was Polish, and he married and made his home in England, but never forgot his homeland. At 79 years old, he not seen his family for 64 years, but they found him, via the Internet. An only child, over night I acquired 26 Polish cousins and their families. Since then , we have danced at 5 Polish weddings, celebrated a Silver Wedding in the Tatry Mountains, and celebrated numerous births.
I blame Dad for my restless genes. He was always game to hop on a coach or a
plane and I have followed suit. I
started a travel blog, Restlessjo, to keep track of my ventures, and it
features a regular weekly walk. If I can
be out, exploring our world, I’m happy.
Husband comes too, sometimes reluctantly. All part of life’s rich pattern.
Date of stay: April 2017
Location: New Forest, Hampshire
Property: The Bell Inn
Guest Blogger: Doreen Staton
More about DoreenI am typical of your average mainstream traveller enjoying retirement and the freedom it brings to explore, taste, take a peek into the world around me. Nothing strenuous, life has taken its toll on my joints, strolling is a beautiful pace to immerse myself in different surroundings. Childhood holidays were to the east coast, then as a teenager taking my first package holiday to Lloret (coach and a quick flight Southend to Ostend and coach again), the Balearics as a young adult followed by British holidays with young children, Cornwall and Bournemouth were favourites.
As empty nesters with no parents to care for, we took advantage of deals, holidaying in Italy as the Italians do, touring the Greek islands by local ferries, Cape Verde in its infancy as a holiday destination and then, after the loss of my husband, holidaying with a female friend in the same situation. Coach holidays, cruises, city and winter breaks, visits to family in Australia, different but still great fun.
I have covered the spectrum from low budget to indulgent, and with careful research to date haven’t had any disasters. I have had lots of laughs, met some wonderful people, seen, smelt, heard, tasted, dipped my toe in the diversity of this wonderful world of ours, with luck that dip will turn into full immersion!
Date of stay:September 2016
Location: Hilgay, Norfolk
Property: The Coach House
Guest Blogger: Jane Leigh
More about JaneSince my first school trip to Switzerland, I’ve enjoyed visiting many exotic places at home and abroad.
For me, the real travel eye-opener was a school cruise over Christmas 1973. We flew to Dubrovnik to board the SS Uganda and toured the Eastern Mediterranean. With stops at Izmir, Athens, Santorini, Beirut and Naples, this really gave me a taste for exploring.
In the university years I discovered Interrail around Europe, followed by a university expedition through France and Spain to Morocco and the north edge of the Sahara. Then in 1991 I used all my work holiday allowance in one go to spend five fabulous weeks in New Zealand, visiting friends and touring both North and South Islands.
In 2003, with partner Terry and son Josh, we moved to Australia for nearly two years, where we took the chance to explore as much as we could, visiting Kangaroo Island, driving 1,800km to Alice Springs (we took it easy over two days), and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.
Everywhere we’ve been we’ve enjoyed looking at wildlife – from adders on Dartmoor to frigate birds on Tobago – and we’re keen to keep travelling and see much more, with our sights firmly set on visiting the Galapagos Islands.
Date of stay: August 2016
Location: Church Stretton, Shropshire
Property: Arden House
Guest Blogger: Tina Fox
More about TinaI have always loved to travel; seeing new
people, investigating the culture, enjoying scenic places and historical
settings alike. When I was young people did not travel so much and there was
little money so the furthest I got to go was Rhyl or Scarborough! I think I have been making up for it ever
since. I was also fortunate in that in the last 20 years my role as CEO /
Director in two charities also lead to a
lot of travel both in the UK for exhibitions and events and even beyond – my
role in an associated international organisation took me to Brazil, Brittany,
Switzerland, Toronto and Thailand, all very interesting experiences.
regular holidays in the scenic wonderland of Scotland even led to us
moving there permanently 6 years ago so you never know what your travels will
lead do. My husband also loves to travel and our travels have increased now
that I have retired from work earlier this year and trips in recent year have
been to Budapest, India, California,
Prague, Pisa, Madeira and Malta ( all faithfully reviewed for Silver Travel Advisor) and this
year Spain and a three week cruise to the Canaries and Cape Verde are on the
agenda for later this year with several exciting trips already booked for next
year – watch this space!
Date of stay: June 2016
Location: West Norfolk
Property: The Hollies
Guest Blogger: Pink
More about PinkMy parents were both allergic to visiting the same place twice, so my 'Life in Travel' began with a childhood riddled with journeys across Europe and into Africa, squeezed with siblings into the back of a very small car stuffed to the gunwales with camping gear. My memories of exploding paraffin stoves and running out of petrol in inconvenient places are real; those of play-bullfighting with a tea towel for the matador’s cape, drinking hot sweet tea with Berbers, and building a snowman in the high Pyrenees wearing t-shirt and shorts are cine-assisted.
As a teenager I discovered hitchhiking and Asia,
then as a young mother the joys of British travel. Now, retired from a career as
'Jacqui-of-all-trades' and well into my less-fit years, I travel at a slower
pace and seek out flat areas for exploration. Which made this guest blogger setting of Norfolk just perfect for
me. But i still enjoy the adventure of
not knowing where a holiday will take me, or how long. My home town of London provides endless
opportunities for exploration: the Thames,
Regent’s Canal, numerous parks and gardens, as well as plentiful museums, art
galleries, and more. Plus my grandsons
keep me perpetually busy with their own ideas of fun and adventure.
Date of stay: March 2016
Property: The Legacy Rose & Crown Hotel
Guest Blogger: Jenny Lunn
More about JennyI
first got the taste for travel at age 12 when we went to visit my
grandparents who were living in Switzerland. This was my first trip
abroad. Never will I forget the excitement of reaching Paris late at
night, taking a taxi across the city, and travelling through the night
to our destination in Montreux. After that we spent several family
holidays in France, and at 16 I spent 3 weeks with my French penfriend’s
family in Brittany. I am still in touch with her.
following year a friend and myself drove round Europe for a month – she
was driving – visiting Paris, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and
Germany. So very brave as she had only recently passed her driving test
and we were so young!
Date of stay: November 2015
Location: Wark-on-Tyne, Northumberland
Property: Battlesteads Hotel
Guest Blogger: Ann Boulton
More about Ann
I have recently retired but my husband Steve has a year to go so our travel is a bit restricted. However, over the last few years we have managed some interesting long haul holidays. Our son-in-law is Cuban and his family organised a Cadillac ride for us round Havana - just like the adverts!
Steve is a cricket umpire and we have made several overseas friends through this, including some from Sri Lanka which prompted us to visit this lovely country on what was one of our best holidays ever. A most unusual trip was when he took part in an umpire exchange to Trinidad, a real mix of beautiful lush scenery and sinister areas where you would not wish to venture.
I was lucky enough to win a holiday to Sandals on St Lucia. What luxury, but we will have to save hard to be able to go again!
also love exploring our home country and again, umpiring has taken us all over.
The area we have grown to love most is the North East, we now go at least twice
a year and never fail to find something new and interesting to explore.
Date of stay: November 2015
Location: Wark-on-Tyne, Northumberland
Property: Battlesteads Hotel
Guest Blogger: Colin Wills
More about ColinMy earliest holiday memories were in a field in Crantock, Cornwall overlooking the River Gannel, and over the years since, I've enjoyed revisiting Cornwall with my own family, going to other great places in the UK, around Europe, as well as that “big kids” playground that they call Florida in the U.S.A.
My favourite holiday of all time was two idyllic weeks in a small complex of self catering villas outside Elounda Village in Crete. It was absolute heaven.
Now that our boys are grown up, my wife and I enjoy sailing around the Mediteranean, the Baltic and the Norwegion Fyords so far with Cunard, Fred Olsen and MSC. This has given us the opportunity to visit places that we could only read about when we were kids, like the wonders of Rome, Monte Carlo, Gaudi's Barcelona and the iconic visions of Pisa and Pompei. The Northern lights were switched off when we were there.
We haven't yet experienced all inclusive River Cruising but there's time yet. We also rather fancy an Atlantic crossing with Cunard to New York.
Date of stay: September 2015
Location: Oxborough, Norfolk
Property: Bedingfeld Arms
Guest Blogger: Val Bucknole
More about ValThe excitement and thirst of travel has always been with me, regardless of how little income was available to be spent on such trips, however near to home it has been. I have been fortunate; California and an eye-opening trip to the poverty-striken Mexican border and a late cold-war visit to St. Petersburg (Leningrad) in the 1970’s; Australia was a bolt-hole when I lost my first husband and more lately Cyprus and the Greek islands have called. Eire and Scotland (an especial favourite) have memories. There are many other locations I would love to visit but am content to do so via the medium of television.
Date of stay: September 2015
Location: Seahouses, Northumberland
Property: St Cuthbert's House
Guest Blogger: Linda Hill
More about LindaLinda worked in education so she was always constrained by travelling during the peak times of school holidays so when she and her husband decided to retire early (with no pensions yet) one of the things they most wanted to do was travel. They decided the best idea was to start out as far away as they could. The farthest they've been is Antarctica via Brazil, Argentina and the Falklands and to Australia. Last year they toured Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia and then Budapest and Jordan. They adore cruising and city breaks, going to Lisbon, Prague and Madrid this year, but their greatest passion is wildlife with fabulous trips to the Galapagos and the Maldives swimming with sharks and Manta rays respectively. The 'big trip' for 2015 is a safari in South Africa. A rediscovered delight is the UK outside school holidays so Linda is delighted to be going to Northumberland to St Cuthbert's House.
Date of stay: July 2015
Location: Telford, Shropshire
Property: Buckatree Hall Hotel
Guest Blogger: Denise Bridge
More about DeniseA desire to travel was instilled in Denise by her parents when she was a
child and their wanderlust moved the family to Canada from England.
Denise lives in Saskatchewan and is often drawn back to the UK and
Europe on her travels. Before retiring after 31 years with the Civil
Service she took three six-month leaves to travel, using England as a
home base. Denise is incredibly fortunate to have family in England who
let her stay with them as well as friends and family in Ontario whom she
visits every year. She is particularly interested in learning about
cultures through their architecture, art, and good food combined with
amazing scenery. At home, she enjoys writing about her travels, putting
together photobooks to share with her fellow travelers, and making cards
from her travel photographs. Now that she is retired, Denise is a
writing tutor as she pursues a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English
but always makes time for travelling in the summer holidays. Denise has
driven across Canada from coast to coast on different trips (some areas
more than once), has visited many European countries though her
favourites are France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Ireland
and she highly recommends a cruise to Alaska/Yukon or the Baltic. When
not reading or writing, Denise can be found planning her next trip.
Date of stay: April 2015
Location: Royal Leamington Spa
Property: Mallory Court Hotel
Guest Blogger: Judith Lightfoot
More about Judith
My husband and I are both now retired and keen travellers who love to explore the world. To date we have visited 31 countries some of which we have visited more than once. Some of our favourite places are, New Zealand which we have visited twice combining hotels with the hiring of Motorhomes, Canada, Norway, Barbados. We prefer to travel independently which with the help of the internet is now so much easier. Last minute deals out of school holidays are a bonus. Although we have visited many cities especially at Christmas market time our preference is always for the mountains and countryside. We have only partaken of one cruise thus far and that was the amazing Northern Lights, we are still not sure about cruising yet!
Date of stay: February 2015
Property: Adorea Benalmadena and Seville
Guest Blogger: Helen Jackson
More about Helen
My great passions are: travel, food, wine, writing and genealogy - preferably combined. When my partner Roy retired in 2011, I took three months leave from the Civil Service, and we travelled and blogged around South America. We did the same again in 2013, this time, touring Central America, starting in Panama and finishing in Mexico. Through researching my family tree, we’ve visited France, to find the grave of my Great Uncle who was killed in WW1 and Jamaica to see my Great Aunt’s grave and meet her family. Although we’ve travelled extensively, now I’ve also retired, we plan to see more of Spain, tour Taiwan, and take a final safari in Botswana. I also love competitions, particularly travel related ones, and have won a number of holidays - including a week’s MSC cruise on the Splendida. It was at the airport waiting to fly home, that I met Alan Fairfax who introduced me to Silver Travel.
Date of stay: June 2015
Property: Nythfa House HF Holidays
Guest Blogger: Margaret Marsh
More about Margaret
I’m a keen traveller and my husband and I are always on the lookout for ways of taking good value holidays both home and abroad. We are enthusiastic motorhomers and enjoy channel crossings to Europe at quiet times of year outside school holidays. Sometimes we combine these camping trips with an apartment using our Holiday Property Bond. We have visited many places further afield on cruise ships, as my husband worked as the ship’s doctor on short term contracts and we regularly visit Australia using a house exchange website. I love to spend time with our three sons and their families when we are home between holidays. My hobbies include walking, reading and travel writing. My husband likes growing vegetables but sadly, we are seldom home in time to eat them! My book “Tales of a Cruise Ship” is available on Amazon and as a Kindle edition.
Date of stay: September 2014
Cruise: The Seine Valley
Cruise Company: CroisiEurope
Guest Blogger: Veronica Bowerman
More about Veronica
Veronica cannot remember a time when she was not interested in travel. When she and her husband first retired they embarked upon a project in the form of an unloved house in France, which gave them a lot of challenges and fun. Seven years later they sold it as they felt the time had come to relax a little more. For the past three years they have been taking short breaks in the UK and Europe, using public transport, where possible. Veronica started writing articles for a local magazine since the 1980s. In recent years she has been concentrating on travel articles. Her latest e-book, Around the World in 80 Years: Retirement can be Fun has just been published through Amazon. It is a true story of a widow who was dreading retirement. A plan was formulated for a two year self-funding trip around the world to enable her to focus on her future in a positive way. The book publication highlights some funny and fascinating experiences. Its ending is totally unexpected! Veronica has also started a blog this year. Further details can also be found about her on her local history and travel website.
More about Geraldine
Geraldine had a long career in Local Government Children's Services until 2010. She lives in the Greater Manchester area with her husbandand they enjoy travelling in both the UK and abroad . Her favourite places to visit in the UK are The Lake District and the Northumberland coastline,while travel experiences abroad have included trips to Europe and Thailand, Sri Lanka, USA, Kenya, Dubai and Singapore. Since finishing work Geraldine and her husband have tried cruising and over the past two years have discovered a love of driving holidays in France. Six months ago Geraldine started a blog about her personal experiences of excellent customer service she receives when out and about on her travels! Geraldine also enjoys days out closer to home, walking with friends and joining her husband in his love of horse racing. Wherever she goes Geraldine is always on the look out for interesting tearooms and quirky shops!
Geraldine Smith visited Denmark and toured the Marguerite Route, courtesy of DFDS Seaways and Small Danish Hotels.
Date of stay: June 2014
Location: Madeira Island
Property: Casa Velha do Palheiro
Guest Blogger: Carole Tidball
More about Carole
After bringing up three adventurous, globe-trotting sons and enjoying a successful career in education management and consultancy, I spend my time combining writing with exploring and photographing the cultural and natural world at home and abroad, preferably on foot. A Londoner now living in South Yorkshire with my partner John, I caught the travel bug in my teens on a grand camping tour of Europe. My adventures include: completing a “round the world” trip; visiting every continent; touring Australia, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Gambia, Mexico, New Zealand and Thailand; enjoying island breaks in the Canaries, Caribbean, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Greece, Hawaii, Madeira, Malta and Mauritius; and recently commencing “city-breaking” by exploring Amsterdam. This summer we’re visiting California, adopted home of my eldest son. Future plans include Cambodia and Vietnam, Croatia, Iceland, Peru, the Rockies and river cruising through Europe.
Date of stay: May 2014
Location: Yelverton, Devon
Property: Moorland Garden Hotel
Guest Blogger: David Thompson
More about David
During my 40-year career as a Languages teacher, I organized and went on at least one school visit to either France or Germany each year. It is one of my proudest achievements that I was responsible for over 1000 students making a trip abroad. School ski trips also took me to the mountains of Europe too. As a family, we enjoyed our sunshine visits to Minorca, Majorca, and Crete, and since our children stopped coming along, my wife and I have ventured further afield to the USA, Canada, Malta and Australia. Since retiring, we are able to travel at less expensive times of the year! We will be in Lanzarote in September this year, after two trips to Scotland (one for the Commonwealth Games) and another to Ay near Epernay in the Champagne region. We are currently planning to celebrate a major birthday and anniversary in 2015 by travelling to South Africa.
Date of stay: March 2014
Location: Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Property: The Black Swan Hotel
Guest Blogger: Gwenda Jones
More about Gwenda
After forty years in teaching, I am now retired and able to travel without date restrictions. Archaeology and ancient cultures has been a major interest since childhood, and I have seen most of the sites on my “bucket list”, especially the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall of China. Egypt is my favourite destination, with a dozen visits, and I learned enough Arabic to converse with the many families who invited me to meals, weddings and village celebrations. I also enjoyed Tunisia, 8 times, and Jordan and Syria before the recent civil war, so many places sadly now in turmoil. I often travel alone, (many advantages) but have taken school parties as far as Beirut and Jerusalem, as well as Greece, Italy, Austria and France for cultural, sporting or language purposes. Excursions with friends in America and Canada to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and New York and New Orleans were amazing. I love Malta, so much to see in a small island, and it is one of the many places I have taken my adult daughter in her wheelchair, as well as Egypt and Cuba. Other destinations include Sicily, Turkey, Croatia, Russia, with South America still on my list. These days, though, I opt for comfort , even luxury, rather than adventure.
Date of stay: April 2014
Location: Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Property: The Majestic Hotel
Guest Blogger: Zena Nattriss
More about Zena
I have always enjoyed travelling - from a school trip to Switzerland years ago to the more sedate cruising that my husband & I are now both enjoying in later life. As a student I flew to New York for £59 return and then travelled across the USA by Greyhound Bus for 4 weeks with a ticket that cost $99 and was valid for 99 days! Our honeymoon was spent on a Club 18-30 holiday in Ibiza. We have enjoyed family holidays across Europe and the USA as well as in the UK, staying in accommodation ranging from Butlins to the MGM Grand. We have ventured further afield in more recent years, to the Black Sea via Istanbul and also through the Panama Canal, which was a choice from out Bucket List - the history of how the canal was built was very moving. We are looking forward to more travelling now we have the time.
Date of stay: December 2013
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Property: Nira Caledonia
Guest blogger: Paul Ambler
More about Paul
After a successful career as a technical brewer, Paul retired as Operations Director of a medium-sized craft brewery in 2009. In the last twenty years of his working life he and his wife indulged in long-haul holidays plus overseas music festivals. Since 2009 they have concentrated on European visits. In late spring they stay at their timeshare house on the Gleneagles Estate. A fortnight’s package holiday in a good quality hotel usually follows in June. Later they often take a city break, again at a good quality hotel, in November. Between holidays, Paul keeps busy by doing brewery consultancy work and writing technical articles for brewing magazines.
Date of stay: October 2013
Location: Bath, Somerset
Property: Combe Grove Manor Hotel
Guest blogger: Jo Carroll
More about Jo
Jo worked in Child Protection till her mid-50s, then gave it all up to travel round the world on her own. She began in Australasia and then flew to Nepal, India, and South-East Asia. She left home with little more than optimism and a notebook, and came back with more stories than people to listen to them. So she wrote a book about her adventures. Since then she spends most winters somewhere warm: she’s been back to Nepal, where she drove down the Siddhartha Highway after a cyclone and had a closer encounter with a tiger than was strictly necessary. Last year she explored the Killing Fields of Laos. You can find more on her website www.jocarroll.co.uk
Date of stay: October 2013
Location: nr Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire
Property: Billesley Manor Hotel
Guest blogger: Julie Millington
More about Julie
I have been married to Anthony for 32 years and we have two sons in their 20's We go abroad 2-3 times a year and we love our one/ two night UK hotel breaks too. We toured Scotland for the first time in 2009 and fell in love with the country and we had a short visit again this year. When I'm in Scotland I feel like I belong there, it's a very special place. The biggest trip I've made was to Australia with my cousin. It's amazing how a trip like that can forge a relationship forever. Anthony and I are struggling to get used to being at home without children so we're game to try any new adventure and we thoroughly enjoyed our first festival this year and slept in a two man tent for three nights!
Date of stay: October 2013
Location: Paphos, Cyprus
Guest blogger: Jackie Sherman
More about Jackie
Jackie Sherman has been writing non-fiction books and magazine articles for the past 10 years, after working as a university careers adviser and adult education tutor. She developed a real travel bug in 1970 when she went out to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for 18 months to get married and work at the British Council. Since then, she has travelled round southern India with a friend and his family, and has visited most of Europe. She has not only travelled by car, train and plane but has cycled through Luxembourg, Holland and Belgium with friends and even ridden across the Spanish dust bowl from Santander to Granada on the back of a motorbike.
Date of stay: September 2013
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Property: Holyrood ApartHotel
Guest blogger: Pamela Mykytowych
More about Pamela
Pamela currently divides her time between London, Sussex and Singapore. She has also lived in India and is shortly to acquire a base in Taiwan as well. According to the Trav Buddy app she has visited 34% of the world’s countries. Pamela is also an international endurance rally driver and she met her Australian husband, Andrew, in a petrol station in China when she competed in an all-female team in the Peking to Paris Rally 2007 in which she won the Coupe Des Dames. They went on to compete together in the 2010 Peking to Paris Rally (making her the only woman in the world to have successfully driven both events) which took them through such countries as Kazakhstan and Iran, the latter seeing Pamela wearing the compulsory hijab. Pamela is very much looking forward to visiting Scotland again, from where her paternal grandfather hailed, and reviewing the Holyrood ApartHotel in Edinburgh.
Date of stay: June 2013
Location: Ardnamurchan, Scotland
Property: Garmoran Square
Guest blogger: Carol McNaughton
More about Carol
Carol will be travelling with her friend Margaret. They are both on the other side of 50, work for their local Council caring mainly for the elderly, they are both married (a long time) and they both have 2 sons.They both enjoy walking and their goal would be to walk the Great Wall of China or perhaps the Moonlight walk in Edinburgh in aid of charity - you could say their ambitions outweigh their capabilities to some degree, but they do love a challenge. They have both lived in Lanarkshire all their lives and have mostly visited mainland Spain, but closer to home they have experienced Anoch Mor, Glen Coe, The Trossachs, and more or less at least driven past most tourist spots in Scotland and North East England.
Date of stay: May 2013
Location: Ripon, North Yorkshire
Property: Swinton Park Hotel
Guest blogger: Paul Smiddy
More about Paul
After a City career, Paul is now a writer, investor and non-executive director. His over-riding passion is aviation, and flying remains his favourite form of travel. He has flown from England to Tasmania, and in the US, the Caribbean, as well as around Europe (the best way to overcome traffic jams is to fly over them). Other passions are wine, military history, sailing and skiing – flying can be brought into most of those activities! He writes at www.paulsmiddy.co.uk.
Date of stay: May 2013
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire
Property: The Talbot Hotel
Guest blogger: Martin Dove
More about Martin
Martin Dove is a retired travel and tourism lecturer, who enjoys performing in murder mystery weekends, up and down the country. Martin has travelled extensively in Great Britain and enjoys spending time in our major cities. He has also visited Sweden (5 times), Paris, Germany (an eventful murder mystery weekend!), Barcelona, New York, Detroit and had the holiday of a lifetime in Thailand.
Date of stay: May 2013
Location: Procida, Italy
Property: Hotel la Suite
Guest blogger: Geoff Ramshaw
More about Geoff
Geoff retired in 2011 from a career which included agricultural consultancy, Higher Education lecturing and Higher Education administration. Apart from overseas travel, he and his wife enjoy walking in the British countryside, particularly in the Cotswolds and Lake District. They also enjoy gardening, keeping hens, listening to Radio 4 and classical music, and reading the Guardian. In 2005 they each had a ‘trip of our lifetime’ – Geoff joined a trek to the Everest Base Camp, via the Gokyo Lakes and Cho La pass, which raised £2000 in sponsorship for Sefula Secondary in Zambia – where he had taught as a VSO in 1969. He is a member of the Gloucestershire Morris Men, and recently has been involved as a fiddle player in a medieval group –Waytes and Measures; playing for example in Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire and on a Thames river cruiser.
More about Steve
Steve Aldridge from Witham, Essex is thrilled to have been picked for this mission. He and his wife Linda have been fortunate enough to travel in the past few years to the Maldives, the Bahamas, Thailand and America. Closer to home they've visited Venice, Paris, Berlin, as well as towns and cities in the UK. Steve & Linda have never been to Northumberland, so are really keen to discover the area & also explore the Harry Potter connections, as their entire family are keen Potter fans.
More about Eleanor
Apart from several trips on the Norwegian coastal steamer, until a few years ago Eleanor always holidayed in the UK. Favourite places were Northumberland, Llyn Peninsula and Galloway, as well as the Western and Northern Isles. Turning 60 with the arrival of bus passes and free medicines was a bit of a wakeup call. She sat down and drew up a list of all the places she had always dreamed of visiting, but never thought she would get to. Initial research quickly showed many places which were difficult or impossible to visit in her youth now had a tourist infrastructure. Planning began in earnest and she is slowly working her way down the list. She tries and comes back from holidays with a better understanding of the country, its geography, history, the people and how they live. She feels privileged to have visited places like Greenland, Faroe islands, Mongolia, Bhutan and Ladakh before they get overrun (and spoilt) by tourism.
- Read Eleanor’s review about The Lindisfarne Inn
- Read Eleanor's review about The Bamburgh Castle Inn
- Read Eleanor's review about The Hog's Head Inn
Date of stay: December 2012
Location: Norwich, Norfolk
Properties: Maid’s Head Hotel and Holkham Hall including the Christmas Market
Guest blogger: Anne Hudson
More about Anne
Anne loves the mountains which have been a magnet for her holidays for many years, either in the UK or overseas. Hiking in summer and skiing in the winter, she enjoys exploring the outdoors and photographing wildlife and landscapes. Her additional interest in heritage has encouraged me to take a variety of city breaks to find noteworthy architecture, explore historic sites and experience cultural gems. Although she was born in East Anglia, she had been away from the area for thirty years and was delighted to renew her acquaintance with Norwich and its fascinating history, from industrial cloth making to the invention of wire netting, plus the famous mustard and of course shoes.
Date of stay: December 2012
Properties: The Elephant’s Nest Inn and Prince Hall Country House Hotel
Guest blogger: Pam Ridgeway
More about Pam
Pam, 58 lives in Fareham with her husband Steve, little dog Rosie and cat Bobby. They are semi-retired and moved to the area 18 months ago to enjoy the benefits of living near the sea. Having travelled throughout Europe and America on family holidays with their two sons and North and South Africa and Dubai on their own they now enjoy exploring areas of France in their caravan which they wouldn’t have visited with young boys and this enables them to take Rosie with them. They also enjoy short breaks in England both in their caravan with Rosie and on their own in hotels and have recently visited Warwick, Hunstanton, London and Christchurch in the New Forest. They love exploring the countryside as well as walking around marinas and coastal paths and good food scores highly on their list of enjoyments when away.
- Read Pam’s review about The Elephant's Nest Inn
- Read Pam's review about Prince Hall Country House Hotel
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