Having just returned from a month-long trip to Mexico, I’ve come home completely besotted – and desperate to go back. If you haven’t already taken any trips in Mexico, you should definitely add this amazing country to your list. Here are a few of my top reasons to travel to Mexico…
Forget Old El Paso kits! It’s time to re-learn everything you thought you knew about Mexican food.
Yes, you’ll find tacos in most restaurants, but they’re usually served in small, soft tortillas rather than the crunchy shells we’re used to. And alongside the better-known dishes, there are all kinds of local specialities to try.
In Yucatan, don’t miss sopa lima (a lime chicken soup), and try Machaca (salted beef) in Baja California.
From the white Caribbean beaches of the Riviera Maya to the golden sands and rugged cliffs around Cabo, Mexico has something for every beach lover.
Top choices include stunning Tulum, with its clear turquoise waters, and retro Acapulco, loved for its huge beaches. Surfers should head to Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca state for some of the best surfing trips in Mexico.
Before there were colonists and conquistadors, there were the Mayans and Aztecs. These seriously fascinating civilisations once ruled most of central America, and traces of their existence can be found across most of Mexico.
The southern states in particular are home to plenty of ruins – even whole cities – to explore. Visiting some of these sites can make your holidays in Mexico even more interesting!
Mexico is full of natural phenomena of all kinds. With desert, mountains, rainforest, and beaches, there’s so much to explore in every state.
Off the coast from Tulum starts the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, one of the largest reef systems in the world. The Yucatan Peninsula is well known for its Cenotes (sinkholes) and underground rivers, all of them fascinating to explore.
In Chihuahua state lies Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), deep within the rugged Tarahumara mountain range. And in Chiapas state you’ll find waterfalls, rivers, forests, and the stunning Agua Azul – a vibrant blue natural pool.
There’s so much to explore – giving you plenty of reasons to travel to Mexico as soon as you can!
With Christmas behind us and summer still far out of sight, it’s easy to feel a bit fed up this month. So now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a last minute break. Here are a few of my favourite affordable winter getaway ideas…
Best for: Culture and food.
This week, the temperature in Athens is around 14°C – which is seven degrees warmer than it is in London. Despite the mild weather, this funky city is still fairly overlooked as a winter destination – making now the perfect time to visit. Low season means more availability and better accommodation prices in what is already an incredibly cheap city.
Best for: Winter sun.
Just four hours from London, the warmer climes of Morocco are within surprisingly easy reach. Regular budget flights, low prices, and plenty of availability during low season make Marrakech a favourite for cheap winter getaways. If you want to relax by a pool, book yourself into one of the resorts in the Palmerie, an oasis just outside the city. Or opt for a cosy riad in the heart of the medina, where you’ll be right by the bustling souks and all the street food your heart desires!
Best for: Staycationing.
Don’t want to leave the UK? Exploring your own backyard can be a great way to save on travel costs, leaving plenty left over for treating yourself. The historic city of York is in easy reach of London by train, and it’s surprisingly affordable. And with dozens of cute independent tea shops and cafes around the city, there are plenty of places to duck out of the rain if the British weather doesn’t cooperate!
Best for: Snowy cityscapes.
If it’s a real taste of winter you’re after, head to Eastern Europe. A dusting of snow makes the spires and steeples of pretty Riga even more beautiful, and snowfall is very common this time of year. Still relatively overlooked in favour of more famous Eastern European cities like Tallinn and Prague, Riga is one of the lesser known cheap winter getaways in Europe. And it’s a really beautiful one.
Justifiably, London is England's most visited city. But there's so much more to my country than the capital! There are lots of great day trips, especially to some of the smaller cities. Whether you're living in London, or a visitor from overseas, I can't urge you enough to get out and see what else England has to offer.
Here are four of my favourite cities within easy reach of London, to give you some great day trip ideas...
Time from London: 1 Hour by Train
Winchester is easily one of my favourite places in the UK. Just an hour from London you'll find the peace and quiet of a green and leafy city, that feels like a small town. Home to one of Britain's oldest high streets, Winchester is full of beautiful old buildings so this is one of the best British day trips for history lovers. Don't miss the round table in Winchester Castle, supposedly the one King Arthur and his knights once sat around.
Time from London: 1.5 Hours by Train
The UNESCO-protected Georgian skyline of Bath is one of the most beautiful sites in the South of England. With almost everything built from honey-coloured Bath stone, this is one picturesque little city. The famous Roman Baths are fascinating, while the nearby Thermae Bath Spa is a fantastic modern day equivalent. Follow in Jane Austen's footsteps as you explore the Georgian buildings around the city centre, and don't forget to stop for afternoon tea at one of the many teashops.
Time from London: 2 Hours by Train
Having recently visited York for the first time, I can say it's easily one of the best day trips from London. Home of the UK's first ghost tour and some seriously spooky stories, there's a lot of history in the town centre. Walk the centuries-old city walls, climb the tower at York Minster, and learn all about York's key role in the history of British chocolate at the York Chocolate Story.
Time from London: 1 Hour by Train
In just one hour you can be at the coast! Brighton is one of the most famous seaside towns in England, and in summer it's one of the most popular day trips from London. Explore the lanes for some quirky shops and galleries, hit the beach, and swing by a bar for some amazing live music before catching the last train back to London.
Last minute getaways can be a great way to save money on a trip, or just enjoy a bit of spontaneity. Whatever the time of year, an impulsive trip can be a great change of scenery. For last minute trips, you might want to avoid the more popular destinations, as these could already be booked up. Instead, why not consider one of these exciting holiday destinations for a last minute trip with a difference? Here are some great travel ideas for city breaks in Europe this year...
Cobbled streets, colourful tramways, and those incredible custard tarts – it's a wonder that Portugal's capital still remains relatively unsung in terms of European travel. Throw in cheap wine, plenty of street performers, and the infamous graffiti grannies of Lata65 and you have one of the coolest last minute getaways in the continent.
Speaking of cool, there's also the capital of Sweden. Stockholm is a city of stylish boutiques, vintage clothing stores, and hipster cafés. It's also a seriously green city, not just in terms of green spaces but also environmentally speaking; in fact the water in the rivers is so clean you can drink it!
While Amsterdam takes all the fame as the 'must visit' destination in The Netherlands, I find the rest of the country far more fascinating. Particularly Rotterdam, a surprisingly cool river-side city that has loads to offer. Rotterdam is known for it's futuristic architecture, but I love it for it's innovative and at times bizarre attractions, from the famous Cube Houses to the lesser known floating bath tours of the canal with Hot Tug.
Ljubljana, Slovenia's quirky and very pretty capital city, is fast becoming Europe's hottest new must-visit destination. Heaps of festivals, open air theatres, a street food market and street art galore - this is another super cool city that makes a brilliant last minute getaway.
Seeing photos of sunny places every time you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed can be extremely frustrating especially when the sky here has assumed its usual stubborn, unimpressive grey veneer. Nothing can produce itchy feet to go and see the rest of the world quite like that same sight each day. If it's a bit early in the year to book your summer holidays, frustration levels are rising and you are in need of some travel inspiration, why not visit one of the beautiful locations that the UK has to boast of? Yes, they do exist I promise!
The Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
They say that when you visit the Giant's Causeway you are walking in the footsteps of giants, deriving from the old story of Finn McCool. The story goes that the giant Finn McCool built the causeway in order to go to battle with Scotland, across the sea. Arriving in Scotland and daunted by the size of his enemy he retreated home with his Scottish enemy hot on his trail. In order to save him, Finn's wife disguised him as a baby. This meant that when his Scottish foe arrived and saw the size of his baby, he figured he wouldn't be prepared to battle with the father of such a large baby. Running back home to Scotland his footsteps are said to have ripped up the causeway and left the remarkable columns of hexagonal rocks that have become so iconic for Northern Irish tourism. The other theory is that the rocks were made into the shape they are by a volcanic explosion sixty million years ago. Whatever you choose to believe this beautiful area of the UK is not one to be missed.
Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands
Much like the Giant's Causeway, Loch Ness is infamous for its myth and legend in the form of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster. 23 miles long and 700 ft deep, it is one of Scotland's largest lochs. Fringed by picturesque villages, Loch Ness makes for a lovely area to have a drive beside, taking in the expansive views of the Loch. Want to get a closer inspection? There are boat trips available if you're brave enough to enter Nessie's home. There is plenty of surrounding landscape to explore, if having a hike in the Scottish Highlands is up your alley. Additionally, fishing is a popular activity at Loch Ness with a great deal of different kinds of fish in its waters.
The Lake District, Cumbria, England
The Lake District was a popular area in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century for the Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats and Percy Shelley. Wordsworth, the most out of all the Romantic poets had a particular affinity with the Lake District finding its beauty and expansive, "untamed" countryside to be a source of sublime inspiration. It inspired his love for the natural word which is a core influence in his poetry. The Lake District is the ideal place to reinvigorate your love for the outdoors and become in tune with nature.
Brecon Beacons, Powys, South Wales
Covering approximately 520 sq miles of South and Mid Wales, Brecon Beacons is perfect to escape the grind. There is much more to offer beyond moorland, including a medieval church, castle, waterfalls and star gazing so good you can see the Milky Way. Although the park was established in 1957 there is a much deeper history behind it, just waiting to be explored. The park offers an insight into Wales's ancient past with 8 millennia of human activity evidenced in the land ranging from the Norman Conquest to a preserved glacial lake. Suffice to say, Brecon Beacons is not your average park.
It's that time of the year again and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Mac in a Sac HQ with the Christmas Tree alight and the tin of Celebrations on the side. If you're a little disorganised this year and you're running late with your shopping- don't panic! There is still time to place an order with us and have it delivered on time for Christmas.
Our final dispatch date is the 20th December, so be sure to get your order in to us before Friday at 1pm and you'll be sweet.
Our normal delivery will resume on the 6th January, so please keep this mind if you are placing an order over the holidays and in the new year.
Last but certainly not least, we just wanted to say a warm word of thanks to all of our customers who have supported us this year. 2013 has been a great year and it would not have been possible without you!
So have a very Happy Christmas ladies and gents- we will see you in the new year!