Visiting the mainland? Over it. Whether you’re looking for some R&R, a bit of culture, or you want to become a fully-fledged surf pro on your next hol, these European island destinations – dotted around the Med and Aegean seas and just one direct flight from Birmingham away – all deserve your undivided attention for a hot minute.
I’m not saying I’m dog-obsessed but I am planning my next holiday based around seeing a dog. Rhubarb, and her owner Freyja, are residents at bed and breakfast The Sandy Duck in Falmouth and as charming as Freyja is, it was the doggo I was hoping to spot at breakfast every day.
Psst! We're approaching the bank holiday halcyon days. So if you're already running low on your quota of spare days off, make the most of April and May's long weekend opps, direct from B'ham. And you didn't hear it from me, but if you want to maximise your holidaying time, next month you can use four days annual leave to get 10 days off in a row. You're welcome.
Sartorial savants are turning their hands to hospitality like it's going out of, well, fashion. And this bunch are all almost rudely reachable from Birmingham.
Got the fam coming to stay from out of town, or just after a short get-away minus the motorway time? Knowing the best city centre hotels to bed down at is good, but knowing the specific room to book is waaaaay better. We’ve got the insider info and to be quite honest, brownie points from the in-laws are imminent. You are welcome.
Getting on a flight somewhere gorgey and hot soon? However many hours of recycled air you have to sit through, cleanse, moisturise and spritz your way to a positively hydrated glow on touchdown.
Booking into a completely new hotel is the sort of gamble we lose all the sleep over. Pick well and this will be the only year you can afford the vistas, the thread counts and the in-pool sofas (yep), but pick poorly and you've ruined a holiday.
Swimwear shopping is up there with jean shopping in the list of Things We Try to Avoid. The perfect colour does not mean it’ll also be the perfect cut. And don’t even get us started on sizing, eesh. To take the pain out of perusing poolside fash, here's a round-up of your soon-to-be-fave maillots. Here comes a certain lifeguard-friendly shade, cut outs, the renaissance of the one-piece.
Chances are your local pub isn't really your local pub. You probably sidestep two or three sketchy boozers in order to get to somewhere you, you know, actually feel at home in. Heartbreakingly for us, we've fallen so unconditionally in love with The Hand and Flowers, that our new favourite local is 88 miles away. It's making the stumble home difficult.
Old buildings, ports and markets: so far, so every other European city break you’ve ever been on. But Antwerp is also big on luxey living, high fash and supercool entertainment.
Being at one with room service is more our style than being at one with nature. But these rustic spots are light on roughing it and heavy on life-changing experiences and gosh-darned gorgeous vistas. The previously pricey Tuscany and south of France become more purse-friendly as soon as you’re under canvas, so leave the two-man tent at home. For your next temp home, think yurts, caves and gypsy caravans.
This Country is a BBC Three comedy mockumentary about rural living. We devoured the first series and now we’re patiently waiting each week for a new episode on iplayer. So irritation was our immediate response when we realised we’d stayed in the village that series is set in, only after we’d returned home. We were staying at the Wheatsheaf Inn, in the village of Northleach, where there is no visible trace of Kerry and her friends.
You're right, B'ham's full of incred lofts and spaces to rest your head. And while breaking and entering is still a big no-no, having a good look through the medium of Airbnb is totally allowed. Here are our pick of Brum's most enviable spots to secure, whether you're staycationing or looking for somewhere to put the rellies you could really do with not having in your one-bed.
Banish all your preconceptions of Verona as being a quiet, crumbling old town of stuffy relics and homages to that Shakespeare play. Granted, it is a crumbling old town, but once you navigate around the tourists clambering to get a glimpse of Juliet’s balcony, the city is young and buzzy.
When we've got three nights to max-out, you'll find us on mainland Europe, wearing an excessively large hat. For any lesser period, a final destination under 90 minutes from our door guarantees an actually pleasurable weekend. At the centre of the beaut Cotswolds village of the same name, The Painswick's our nearest and dearest escape of choice right now, and totally winter proof.
Yoga's been having a moment since before the first time leggings were okay. And this year, we've finally gone all in, with a week of bending and breathing and bending some more, in an unpronounceable corner of south west France.
Perfectly poised between the sea and the mountains, Casa Cook is dotted with low, white buildings, wooden verandas and potted cacti. If we didn’t know better, we wouldn’t believe the Kos beaut was the second of the concept boutique hotels from Thomas Cook. But we do, and it is.
Not short on history, Lisbon has UNESCO world heritage sites and castlesliterally around every corner. That's a 100% truth bomb. But right now, the city's having a moment as young, creative types descend to take advantage of relatively low rents and cool AF nightlife. Built on hills, which are best navigated by foot, tram or tuk tuk, maybe go foot, because if you like pastries, you’re going to get swoony over pasteis de nata. Better get climbing.
By and large we’re all about long haul hols. But sometimes you just want to feel like you’re on vacay without the jet-laggery, travel slog and hassle of sorting out your liquids from your hand luggage. At 40 mins from B'ham, Warwick might just have the answer.
So you’ve booked a last minute weekend somewhere hot. For optimum tourist time, pack this lot in your carry-on and stride smugly past the losers waiting at baggage claim.
You big time deserve a holiday. Tell your boss you do and if they disagree, tell them they can stick their stinking job before grabbing a goldfish and marching, dramatically, out of the office. And don't stop going until you reach one of these lovely UK destinations.
Six and counting — our PB for wedding invites, all happening in 2017. And despite our mammoth measures of experience, the “what shall I wear?” dilemma doesn’t seem to get any easier. So we’ve put together options for the traditional and the less conventional amongst you. But of course, no white. Never ever white.
We're almost constantly asked to recommend a bed for the night to friends, colleagues and friends who are colleagues — we don't make the rules. So we thought we'd tell the lot of you about a city centre newbie, all at the same time.
Hard scientific fact: Scandinavian cities are cool. Stockholm, possibly the coolest, has more on offer than hipster hangouts and designer shops. In the summer, the archipelago city is drenched in sun, with the longest day stretching over 20 hours of daylight. Here’s how to spend every minute of that time.