World Guides Travel Blog

August 2013

This is where we let you know all about what's going on with our website and the world of travel, with destination reviews, current travel news and topical travel-related stuff to discuss with your friends. Please let us know if you want to comment on anything - Contact us.

August 26, 2013


The Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset has been an ongoing attraction for more than 60 years. The museum holds nearly 300 military vehicles, most of which have tracks. These came from over 20 countries, such as France, Italy, South Africa and the United Kingdom, with almost 300 altogether. Bovington is an area that has a history of tanks, as the area was used to train potential tank crew.

In the museum there are a few tanks that you are able to climb into and look inside also, if you go outside, you will find an outdoor 'arena' where you can observe the tanks and other war vehicles being used. There is usually a crowd there, and the tanks can create a lot of dust that can be a nuisance. The paths are watered to avoid this, but it can happen still.

There is a lot of history behind the tanks, including the manufacturers, a lot of which were car companies that are popular today.

The tickets can be used to go multiple times in a year, if you wish to do that. This makes it great value if you have a particular interest in tanks.

Posted by Rhys at 16:14:13 on 26/8/2013

August 21, 2013


Image of the Sphinx and PyramidsFor many years, the ancient attractions of Egypt have ranked amongst Africa's top tourist draws. However, this year, things are different due to the violent political protests following the removal of President Morsi. The implications of this unrest are widespread and include a huge negative impact on the tourism trade.

This month, the Egyptian capital of Cairo has resembled a war zone, while desert tanks close to the world-famous pyramids of Giza make this appear like a fortified military camp. The clearing of two protest camps has resulted in the deaths of almost 1000 people.

So what is the advice to potential travellers who have booked a holiday in Egypt this summer? Governments across the world are advising people stay away from the country and make use of any travel insurance, hoping it covers any unforeseen issues. Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh are an exception, and currently are continuing business.

Tourism has always been a big part of Egypt, and the number of businesses collapsing there is increasing rapidly. Hopefully the protests will end soon and allow tourists to see the multitude of historical sites.

Posted by Rhys at 17:40:36 on 21/8/2013

August 19, 2013


Photo of Oystermouth Castle RuinsThe future of Oystermouth Castle was decidedly uncertain just a few years ago. The crumbling walls, the hidden structure and the abundance of trees were all serious problems that needed to be rectified.

The castle was built in the 12th century, being in use for over 500 years. During this time, it was destroyed and rebuilt on multiple occasions. In 2009, it was announced by the National Assembly of Wales that the heritage sites in Wales would benefit from a £19 million investment. More than £1 million of this was used in conjunction with lottery funding to repair Oystermouth Castle and safeguard its future. In July 2011, the castle was opened to the public, complete with walkways around the ramparts and access to its ancient chapel, where the remains of a window frame offer superb panoramas across Swansea Bay. From some parts of the castle ruins, it is possible to view virtually the whole of the Mumbles area, as well as other areas of Gower and the coastline.

An interesting feature of the castle is the historic graffiti, that dates back to the 14th century and right up to the 1970s. Children will enjoy playing in the stocks and watching the video presentation, which lasts around 12 minutes and explains the restoration process in detail.

A number of family themed events now take place at Oystermouth Castle and are always very popular, bringing in quite a crowd. This year, these events include the Dungeons and Dragons Day, which was held on 17th August, and the Traditional Skills Weekend, part of the Swansea Open Weekend (14th and 15th September 2013).

Posted by Rhys at 20:03:35 on 19/8/2013

August 16, 2013


Along the coast of the Gower peninsula, you will find many attractive beaches, including the previously mentioned Rhossili Bay with it's multitude of awards.

Three Cliffs Bay is situated near Pennard Castle. There are plenty of sand dunes and limestone cliffs here, and it is a fantastic beach if you enjoy going on long walks.

Close to Mumbles is the beautiful Bracelet Bay. This scenic spot is a small and rocky beach, and there are other beaches nearby such as Limeslade Bay, Rotherslade Bay and Langland Bay, a beach perfect for families, as it has a car park very close to it, a cafe, the Beachfront Brasserie and a nice area along the coast for walking.

Oxwich Bay is a brilliant beach if you love water sports. It is close to Crawley, easy to access with both an adjacent car park and refreshments.

Broughton Bay is a very big beach at the north west area of Gower. Broughton Bay is usually quiet, and often overlooked by tourists, being a favourite with surfers.

Posted by Rhys at 19:58:09 on 16/8/2013

August 15, 2013


View across Rhossili Bay, GowerRhossili Bay in Gower, Wales is a stunning beach surrounded by dramatic cliffs. To access the beach there is a long set of steep stairs. When going down the stairs, look out for the friendly sheep that often get in the way!

The rough, rural landscape and lack of 'bucket and spade' shops is what makes this beach different from a typical seaside resort. This setting gives the beach a very naturalistic and untouched character.

One of the best features of Rhossili Bay is that whenever you are here, there will always be space. However, I would avoid the far left side of the beach, as there is some litter in that area, including glass bottles (at least this was the case when I was there).

There was a very strong wind when I was at the beach, which made it difficult to put things down! However, the excellent kite shop just down the road obviously manages to capitalise on this breeze. If I went again, I would take a pop up beach tent or a wind break for shelter.

Posted by Rhys at 19:51:07 on 15/8/2013

August 14, 2013


The Southgate shopping centre in Bath, Somerset takes up an area previously known as "The Ham", and covers over 40,000 square metres / 430,556 square feet. It has replaced the previous Southgate shopping centre, that was demolished in 2007.

The new Southgate was opened at different times for three different areas. The first area was opened on the 4th November 2009, the second part of the shopping centre was opened May 2010, and the final section three months later. The design of the Southgate is grand, and made to look as if it is from the Georgian era, with bath stone facades. However, the buildings in the shopping centre are actually made of a type of concrete.

The Southgate contains more than 50 shops, including Boots, Currys, Sainsbury's, and Topshop. Currys has been in the same area of Bath for more than 40 years since the 1970s.

Near the shopping centre is the bus station, and a car park, which allow you to get travel to and from the city easily. Also, there is the Odeon cinema a short walk away from the Southgate.

Posted by Rhys at 15:31:46 on 14/8/2013

August 9, 2013


Picture of the Italian garden at Compton Acres, PooleCompton Acres is a grand, private garden situated in Poole, Dorset founded in 1920 by Thomas Simpson, an affluent margarine magnate.

Compton Acres consists of many themed smaller gardens, these include an Italian garden, the first major garden you see; a rock and water area, a wooded valley, a heather garden and finally a Japanese garden. Among the pathways are many routes that are wheelchair friendly making the gardens accessible for all. At the entrance / exit, you will find a plant shop, selling a variety of plants, and a gift shop.

After being around for nearly 100 years, it is very nice to see that the gardens have been kept in such a good condition, as many of the plants are well looked after, and a number of them are new. However, I would have enjoyed the gardens more if there had been more fish in each of the ponds, especially the Japanese garden pond, as the promotional pamphlets indictated. I suspect that they need restocking after the harsh winter.

Posted by Rhys at 11:03:02 on 9/8/2013

August 8, 2013


In this time of the global credit crunch, people from all over the world are looking to save money wherever possible, cutting back on frivolities and luxuries. However, more and more people are considering a holiday to be something of a necessity, and far from a luxury. A vacation is a well earned break, that 'light at the end of the tunnel' after a year of hard work.

So what happens if you don't have the money for a luxury Mediterranean cruise, or a romantic five star weekend in Paris? Well, this is what I think. Follow these steps, and you will be sure to save money.

Back to back day trips are a good idea. Leave early in the morning, maybe stopping off for breakfast along the way. Look out for discount vouchers and online savings and then, at the end of the day, you can sleep in your own bed, and plan the next day trip.

Have you ever seen the hit movie 'The Holiday' starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black? If not, then give it a watch, and you will find out about house swapping.

If you are planning a holiday, you know that it will cost a huge amount of money. If you book a holiday out of season, even just a week, you will save a lot of money. If you compare a holiday on the last week of August to one on the first week of September, you will see a big difference in the price, sometimes even 50%!

Business city or tourist city? Your chosen destination will most likely fall into your advantage. Business cities cater for business travellers during the week, and often lower their prices in the weekend. Tourist cities do the opposite, and holidays are often cheaper on weekdays.

Students often find a summer backpacking around Europe is part of their rite of passage and growing up. But backpacking and staying in youth hostels doesn't need to be left to teenagers. Most youth hostels don't have any age restrictions and even have dedicated family rooms, although some do insist that guests are over 16 years old. Summer camping makes for a fun alternative and offer the most vacancies at the beginning of the week, quickly filling up as the weekend approaches.

Posted by Rhys at 12:15:45 on 8/8/2013

August 4, 2013


Photo of Nunney Castle, SomersetRecently, I went to the Nunney Street Fayre. It is a market held every year in the medieval village of Nunney, Somerset, known for its castle ruins, the castle being built in the 1370s by Sir John de la Mere. Nunney Street Fayre has been running for 38 years now, and is still successful.

The first few hours were rather nice, looking at stalls and watching performances. The stalls included food and drink, hats, jewelry, a few games, such as lucky dip and skittles, and bric a brac. Unfortunately, around halfway through the fayre, there was a thunder storm, leaving lots of people in sheltered areas, such as the pub or underneath stalls.

For the half of the day without rain, one of the most popular areas was the remains of the castle. There was a band playing, and some nearby food stalls, which appeared to have long queues outside. Even though the castle was busy, occasionally, there were crowds that were hard to get through in places.

Some of the time I spent at the Fayre involved just walking around. If I go next year, I would spend less time there, even though I liked the market a lot.

Posted by Rhys at 15:13:58 on 4/8/2013

August 1, 2013


It's a really hot day, and you've planned a day out with a picnic. But it's also a long drive. You should prepare most of the food beforehand. Here are some tips:

Freeze food where possible.

This keeps it cool, and to stop it thawing out straight away, you can insulate it loosely. Drinks such as cartons of juice and bottles of water are also good to freeze, but do not insulate them, for you will get thirsty and you will not be able to drink them if you do.

Don't bring soft fruit.

Soft fruits almost always warm up and can get all mashed up as a result. Strawberries and cream may seem like a good idea, but it isn't always practical. Apples and oranges are really good for picnics because of their thick skins. Melons should be kept cold and not cut, to prevent bacteria such as salmonella growing.

Bring sandwiches and pasties instead of salads and pasta.

This reason is similar to fruit. Pasta is nice in the summer, but it can make a mess. Pasties and sausage rolls are great for picnics - they can be frozen and the filling won't fall out. And, to keep you food extra cool, pack ity in bubblewrap, Jiffy bags or newspaper.

Posted by Rhys at 10:25:08 on 01/8/2013