Category Archives: Villa Vacations

GREAT Value: 10 Free, Affordable and Unique Tours in Britain

6724There are so many free or affordable walking tours to choose from in Britain, delving into subjects from literature and art, to music and LGBT heritage. Get your walking shoes on!

  1. Charles Dickens walk around London – Free App

Follow the author’s footsteps around London with this app. You’ll be guided by GPS with suggestions for pubs along the way. Approximately two hours, search for ‘Walking with Dickens’ in the app store.

  1. The World Heritage Site Audio Tour of Bath, England – Free

Take yourself on a journey through Bath’s captivating sights, such as The Royal Crescent and Assembly Rooms. The tour comes with a free route map and 12 chapters/audio files.

  1. Shakespeare Tour of Stratford upon Avon, England – $12 (£6)

Walk in William Shakespeare’s footsteps where he was born and buried. Highlights include the River Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church. Approximately two hours.

  1. Banksy tour of Bristol, England – $18.50 (£9.20)

Fans of provocative artist Banksy will love this street-art tour. What’s special about this tour is that the guides live and work in the local street art community. Approximately two hours.

  1. Food tour of East London – Pay What You Want

Eat like a king while spending only a few pounds. Sample samosas, taste the fish and chips voted ‘Best in London’ and peruse the hippest food trucks. Approximately two hours, suggested sampling cost $20-30 (£10-15).

  1. LGBT Heritage tour of Manchester, England – $16 (£8)

Follow the stone rainbow flags to discover 200 years of LGBT life. Tour includes Mantos, the Gay Villages first openly gay bar and the statue of Alan Turing, the World War 2 mathematician persecuted for his homosexuality. Approximately 2 hours.

  1. Mural Tour of Derry, Northern Ireland – $8 (£4)

Derry is divided culturally by hundreds of years of conflict by opposing religions. This historical tour explores the artistry and religious and political statements. Plus there’s free tea or coffee! Approximately one hour.

  1. Fear and Loathing in Cardiff tour, Wales – $12 (£6)

Wandering among Cardiff’s glorious gothic revival architecture, this tour takes in treachery, torture, execution, war, battles and piracy. Approximately two hours.

  1. Musical tour of Glasgow, Scotland – Free

Tour Glasgow to a soundtrack that features interviews with bands like Mogwai. You’ll find Franz Ferdinand’s Chateau and discover Glasgow’s cool underground scene. Download the tour through the Guidigo app and search for ‘Walking Heads.’ Four walks, all approximately one hour.

  1. Rebus tour of Edinburgh, Scotland – $20 (£10)

Ian Rankin explores contemporary Edinburgh in his best-selling crime novels. Led by entertaining and knowledgeable guide Colin, the tour takes in locations featured in the books. Approximately two hours.

For more deals and discounts visit the VisitBritain Shop:

Info provided by:  Cathy Stapells

Recharge time in Northhumberland!

With Brian, our first destination was “Victoria Inn” at Gores Landing on Rice lake (about 120km drive on 401 East from Toronto)Victoria Inn on Rice LakeOn thLobby Area of Victoria Inn on Rice Lakee front lawn of Victoria Inn we met Mike McNaught, instructor and local fishing guide. First he taught us how to make the fly, then tying fly and casting. Mike with sophisticated tools explained to us sourcing and tools for good fly fishing all step by step.

After hearty lunch at Victoria Inn we drove to  Port Hope Area  and meet our new friends who joined us for the short 2km hike in Ganaraska Hiking Trail. A bit about this trail… The Ganaraska Hiking Trail begins in Port Hope along the Ganaraska River and eventually connects to the Bruce Trail near Glen Huron, after expansion to Midland and Wasaga Beach trail becomes about 500km long. We didn’t hike all the route, just a small portion, about 2km…actually, the rainy weather shortened our hike.

Hiking along the Ganaraska Hiking Trail
Even on a rainy day hiking was great pleasure.
Ganaraska Hiking Trail, crossing the river
Crossing Ganaraska River

My favorite part of  the hike was the  crossing of Ganaraska River.  Although the river is shallow there, the thrill of adventure busted my adrenalin levels. The hiking trail is maintained by volunteers from the local “Ganaraska Hiking trail Association” , who provided detailed information, and assistance during the hike.

Entrance to "Primitive Designs"
Primitive Designs Canada

After the hike our thoughts were to get to nearest hotel, get a warm shower , relax and chat while having dinner with good company of friends. On the way to Port Hope we stopped at “Primitive Designs”. Yes it is cool place to visit. There are lots of unusual and funky stuff, and there are lots of it..hard to describe…best to visit on your own. They claimed to have the Canada’s Tallest Transformer, 7-m-tall called “Optimus Prime”, aPrimitive Designsnd 6mhigh T-Rex dinosaur made from recycled car and bike parts.

Then we booked into The Waddell  located on the banks of the Ganaraska river in down town Port Hope.

The Waddell
The Waddell downtown Port Hope Hotel
The Waddell
The Waddell


After warm bath we decided to meet downstairs for dinner at  “Trattoria Gusto”. I liked the food and design of the restaurant, so I took some photos.

Trattoria Gusto
Trattoria Gusto





Trattoria GUSTO Three hours flew  while having good company in good restaurant.

Next morning we planned to drive to Ganaraska Treetop Trekking, another place to boost our adrenaline levels.

Treetop Trekking at Ganaraska Forest Centre
Ganaraska Treetop Trekking
Treetop Trekking at Ganaraska Forest Centre
Ganaraska Treetop Trekking

First levels of trekking were easyfor me, so I decided to skip few, on the last trek I shed some sweat…

My friends prepared surprise, we had lunch near Ganaraska Forest Centre at neighbouring “Moonlight and Pines” B&B, where hosts Helen and Colin prepared a fancy lunch with a nice panoramic view and good conversation. It was a good idea to look at the premises, the room at the B&B is large enough to accomodate an entire family of four. For the next trip to Treetop Trekking it would be a good idea to rent a room in this B&B, especially since it is walking distance to Ganaraska Forest Centre and Treetop Trekking .


Living Water Resort Awarded 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Living Water Resort Awarded 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

June 9, 2015. (Collingwood, ON)–Living Water Resort & Residences, a year-round hotel, recreation and tourist destination situated right on the shores of Georgian Bay and less than a two hour drive from Toronto, announced that it has earned a 2015 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The Resort is one of a select few Collingwood properties to receive this award.

The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to properties that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews (an overall rating of four or higher out of a possible five) on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. Roughly 10% of properties listed on the site earn this certificate.

“We are pleased to receive this respected certificate”, said Larry Law, President of Living Water Resort & Residences. “Our team strives to offer our guests with the perfect experience, and this accolade has validated our hard work, care and personal touch.”

The Resort is currently in the building stages of its planned Phase 3 developments, with the openings commencing in September 2015. Phase 3 developments include:

• 100 new luxurious 1-bedroom and two bedroom suites;

• Additions to the 5,000 sq. ft. onsite spa with an exclusive Hydropath®, one of only two available throughout Canada, for wellness experiences and re-energizing retreats;

• Following Collingwood resident requests, a 5,000 sq. ft. new waterfront restaurant exclusive to the region offering culinary classes, raw seafood bar and something for all tastes.

About Living Water Resort & Residences

Located in Simcoe County at the southern tip of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, Living Water Resort & Residences is the only resort in the area situated right on the shores of Georgian Bay. With 91 luxurious 1-bedroom and two-bedroom suites equipped with living/dining room and kitchen areas perfect for extended stays and a five-star rating from Interval International, the interior of each unit reflects a combination of elegance and comfort. Each room and its accompanying amenities use the highest quality products with great care taken for personal space and well-being. For further information, please call (705) 446-3282 or visit [].

Born to rule – explore the castles and palaces where royal British children spent their childhoods

Sandringham Estate holds many memories for the Royal Family. It is a favourite retreat of The Queen, and the late Princess Diana was born in a cottage located in the estate’s extensive grounds. Prince Charles had many childhood adventures at Sandringham House, the much-loved royal retreat, which is a beautiful place to visit. It’s only a short trip from King’s Lynn station, itself around a two-hour train journey from London.

Both Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were born at Buckingham Palace and it is still where notices of Royal births and deaths are attached to the railings for members of the public to read, despite news likely to appear via social media first! The announcements of the births of both the new princess and older brother Prince George were made there, presented on an easel just inside the gates that thousands of visitors flocked to see. The Palace, located in the heart of London, is open to the public for several weeks in the summer.

Glamis Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles and was the childhood home of the Queen Mother and the birthplace of her second daughter, Princess Margaret. Built in the late 1300s, and just a 90-minute drive from Edinburgh, the castle still belongs to the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, yet is also open to the public. There are regular scheduled tours, several exhibition rooms and beautiful gardens to visit.

Windsor has a vibrant royal history, especially where young royals are concerned! Y Bwthyn Bach, also known as The Little House, is a miniature cottage in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge. The Little House was presented to Queen Elizabeth (then Princess) on her sixth birthday and the Queen’s children and grandchildren have played in the house over the decades, although it isn’t open to the public. However, located to the south of Windsor town centre, Windsor Great Park is a well-loved and popular recreational retreat for many families, and has views of Windsor Castle (which you can visit). Windsor is also home to LEGOLAND, where you can see a miniature version of Buckingham Palace, home to The Queen!,,

The first Tudor King of England, King Henry VII (born Harri Tudor), was born in Pembroke Castle, in south-west Wales in 1457. The castle is a historical landmark and was restored to its original glory in the mid-1900s. A must-see when visiting Wales, its exhibitions and guided tours offer a fascinating insight into Britain’s history. Be sure to enjoy a cup of coffee on your visit; the castle’s café is rumoured to have the best coffee in Pembrokeshire!

Edinburgh Castle, perched high on the hill over the Scottish capital, was the birthplace of King James VI in June 1566. As well as an interesting tour of this Royal Palace where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her only child, James, visitors will experience The Honours of Scotland, which are the nation’s crown jewels.

Tourisme iles de la Madeleine:”Enter our contest and visit us in June!”

Getting to the Islands
What To Do
Where to sleep
Where to eat
Enter our contest and visit us in June!
June on The Maggies !
The month of June is synonym of flavors and gourmet treats on the Îles de la Madeleine. Enter the now traditional Spring contest of Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine for a chance to travel to The Maggies on the wings of Pascan Aviation from your favorite destination! Enjoy your stay next to the historic site of La Grave and get the chance to enjoy the archipelago through several visits to our producers and restaurants.

The prize includes :

Two (2) round-trip tickets on the wings of Pascan Aviation flights from any city served by the company to the Îles de la Madeleine ;
A 7-night stay for two (2) people at Auberge Chez Denis à François including accommodation, breakfasts and a dinner for 2 in “Table d’hôte” formula at the Inn’s restaurant ;
A rental car offered by Hertz car rental ;
A gift certificate exchangeable at Gourmande de Nature ;
A gift certificate exchangeable at the restaurant La Table des Roy ;
A meal for 2 including a bottle of wine at Café La Côte ;
A meal for two at Café d’chez-nous;
A gift certificate exchangeable at the Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent ;
A gift certificate exchangeable at Le Barbocheux ;
A gift certificate exchangeable at L’Étal (local products) ;
A gift certificate redeemable at the microbrewery À l’Abri de la Tempête ;
A tour, a tasting and a gift certificate at Fumoir d’Antan ;
A gift certificate exchangeable at the Pastry Hélène des Îles ;
A pound of coffee from the Brûlerie de café des Îles de la Madeleine.


Switzerland: News from Lake Geneva Region… Spring 2015 edition

Lake Geneva Region Spring 2015 News

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 14, 2015. This spring in the Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland, celebrate the revival of the legendary Narcissus Festival in Montreux, luxuriate in a reborn century-old five-star hotel in Lausanne, and participate in the 100th anniversary of the International Olympic Committee at the Olympic Museum. These are among the highlights of the season.

Montreux Narcissus Festival

Every spring, fields of wild narcissus bloom and transform the meadows above Montreux and Vevey into what locals call Neige de Mai, the “May snow.” Between 1897 and 1957, the white blossoms were celebrated with the yearly Narcissus Festival, which culminated in a procession of floral floats that signified the end of the traditional high season in Montreux. From May 2 to June 7, that tradition will be revived when the Fête des Narcisses is held once again in the Montreux Riviera after a 58 year pause. The highlight will be on May 30, when a floral float parade moves through the streets of Montreux, evoking the festival’s golden years. There will be marked mountain trails through the blooming fields, set against a dramatic backdrop of Lake Geneva and the Alps. The history of the festival, which began in the Belle Époque, will be honored by exhibitions in Montreux, La Tour-de-Peilz and Vevey. A folkloric market in Vevey will offer traditional wares associated with the festival, and the finale will be a gala evening and the election of the “Narcissus Queen” in Montreux.

The Hotel Royal Savoy Reopens in Lausanne

Lausanne is a city renowned for its five-star palace hotels and this summer, it will welcome the glorious reopening of one of its grand dames. After a dramatic refurbishment, the legendary Hotel Royal Savoy in the heart of the city will reopen as a five-star property. When it debuted in 1906, the palatial Art Nouveau hotel quickly became a favorite of royals from around the world. Located midway between the Lausanne train station and the shores of Lake Geneva, the hotel has undergone a more than $100 million renovation. The grand façade has been maintained but inside there are dramatic modern interiors, thanks to the award-winning Maria Vafiadis of MKV Design in London. The Royal Savoy will have 196 rooms, including 37 suites and junior suites, and one dedicated suite on a private floor. Ninety five of the rooms will be housed in the hotel’s new wing. The Royal Savoy will also unveil a new spa and fitness center that includes an indoor/outdoor pool. The hotel will have multiple dining choices, from a 120 seat main restaurant to a terrace accommodating up to 100 guests and a 60 seat lobby lounge. The spectacular new Sky Terrace on the roof will have 60 seats and a dramatic 360° panoramic view over the city of Lausanne, Lake Geneva and the Alps. The Royal Savoy, which is one of three properties of the Burgenstock Selection and is owned by Qatar-based Katara Hospitality, will reopen in the summer of 2015.

Aquatis Hotel

The Aquatis Hotel is new three-star property that opened at the end of March and anchors the new Aquatis Swiss Aquarium and Water Museum, which will open in 2016. The hotel has 143 rooms, two restaurants with terraces that provide seating for more than 700 people, conference rooms for more than 600 participants as well as a spa and fitness center. The Aquatis is situated close to Lausanne and has striking views of the Alps, Lake Geneva and the rooftops of Lausanne.

100th Anniversary of IOC in Lausanne

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894 in Paris but in 1915, it moved its headquarters to the waterfront of Lausanne, the capital of the canton of Vaud. From March 25 to June 28, 2015, a number of events are being organised by the IOC to celebrate its centennial ties to the “Olympic Capital.” There will be an exhibition at the Olympic Museum’s gallery and on the weekend of June 27-28, there will be a joint celebration with the city of Lausanne that will include a public road race.

Montreux Riviera Honors its Celebrities

The famous creative residents of the Montreux Riviera are legion, from Freddie Mercury and Charlie Chaplin to Ernest Hemingway and Lord Byron. To mark the presence of the musicians, writers and actors who took up residence in the region, Montreux-Vevey Tourism has launched a new mobile app called “Sur les traces de nos hôtes célèbres” (“On the Tracks of our Famous Guests”). Using location settings, the route can be followed on foot or on an electric bike, which can be rented. There is also an audio accompaniment available in English.

Issue: # Month/Year
Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland
Located in the French-speaking part of Western Switzerland, the Lake Geneva Region is an enduring, picture-postcard destination of classic mountain beauty, refined cuisine and legendary hotels. The region is seemingly timeless, with lakeside promenades, steamships and five-star Belle Époque-era hotels. The Lake Geneva Region is home to the Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival and the annual winter Festival de Ballons in Château-d’Oex, the world capital of ballooning. For more information, visit

Spring: The Season for Mountain Adventure in Jasper

Spring: The Season for Mountain Adventure in Jasper

Marmot Basin and Jasper Skytram welcoming all explorers

Jasper, AB (April 2, 2015) –

Jasper, the destination for adventurers only, is in the midst of a stunning spring season. The month of April is the ideal time to ascend new heights in the Rocky Mountains with Marmot Basin and Jasper Skytram.

Marmot Basin has had some of the best snow conditions in the country this winter, and is heading into April armed and ready for a fantastic season finale. This all begins Easter Long Weekend, and continues on to May with well-loved annual events. Marmot Basin is not the only option for Jasper visitors looking to get into the mountains; the Jasper Skytram is opening its trams earlier than ever this year, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to “do two peaks”! See below for full dates and details:


Get in on all the family fun at Marmot Basin during Easter long weekend celebrations from

Friday, April 3 to Monday, April 6. Games, egg hunt, and surprise guest appearances all happening on the ski hill.

Kick the Easter long weekend into high gear with a trip to the clouds via the Jasper Skytram. Take advantage of the early open dates starting

Friday, April 3.



Saturday, April 18, Hawaiian culture meets Canadian Rockies spirit as participants race down a course that includes banked turns, rollers, and small jumps. Prizes for fastest run, best costume and more will be up for grabs.


Snow enthusiasts seeking a party can enjoy live music and DJs, a BBQ, and rail jamming on

Saturday, April 25 during the Kokanee Freeride Mountain Tour.


Saturday, May 2

and Sunday, May 3 will mark the closing weekend on the hill. Join the celebration with live music, a BBQ, ski and snowboard demos, games, and a dual slalom/fat bike relay. Not to be forgotten is the closing ‘retro’ day tradition, which encourages all skiers and snowboarders to dress up in their best 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s outfits for chances to win great prizes.

For information, packages, and event details, please visit and

About Tourism Jasper

Follow us on social via @TourismJasper and use the hashtag #MyJasper.

New “Family Time” Summer Savings Offer from Cap Maison, St.Lucia

Credit: Saint Lucia Tourist Board

New “Family Time” Summer Savings Offer from

Cap Maison, Saint Lucia

April 1, 2015 – Cap Estate, Saint Lucia – Cap Maison, the popular five-star resort on Saint Lucia ranked as one of the top in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards, has long been a haven for families. The spacious Villa Suites provide guests with the sense of having their own private Caribbean home, with fullyequipped kitchens, separate living and dining areas and large verandas. Cap Maison’s protected beach is perfect for snorkeling, sand castles and sand buckets.

This summer, Cap Maison unveils its Family Time program, designed to help families make the most of their Caribbean vacation and their time together. In includes savings of up to 30% on Villa Suite rates, free dining for kids under the age of 11 and complimentary babysitting one evening per week. The highlight of Family Time is the introduction of the new Cap Maison Children’s Club, available this summer for children ages 3 to 11. Overseen by a full-time experienced Children’s Club supervisor, the program will offer a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities to keep the little ones engaged. There will also be a soft play area, kid’s books, as well as movies, toys and Wii games.

Family Time at Cap Maison

  • Rates start at $495 per night for a 2-bedroom Courtyard Villa, not including taxes.
  • A savings of 30% on a 2 or 3 bedroom Villa Suite.
  • Free second bedroom for accompanying children up to 16 years of age in when parents have booked a 2 or 3 bedroom Villa Suite.
  • Children ages 11 and under eat free when dining with their parents.
  • Children 12 to 16 years old enjoy a 50% discount on meals taken, or on the Half Board or Cap it All Inclusive supplements.
  • Complimentary 3 hours of evening babysitting once weekly for up to 2 children from ages one to 12 years.
  • Complimentary Children’s Club program July 1 to September 15.
  • Visit for details.
Cap Maison debuted on Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards with an impressive ranking of #2 in the Caribbean. A member of Virtuoso and Preferred Boutique Hotels, and a Fodor’s 100 World’s Best Hotels 2014, Cap Maison is set on a dramatic four-acre cliff just north of popular Rodney Bay and features 49 artfully appointed suites and guest rooms. Cliff at Cap, the resort’s signature restaurant with breathtaking panoramic views of the Caribbean, holds the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine. Under the direction of Executive Chef Craig Jones, the white table cloth, oceanfront restaurant serves a French West Indian-inspired contemporary menu. The resort’s newest dining venue is The Naked Fisherman Beach Bar & Grill. The resort features a serene 2,000 square foot spa and a private 46-foot luxury yacht, Cap Maison 1.For bookings and more information, guests may call Reservations toll free at 1-888-765-4985 or send an email to, or visit the website at

Events schedule in Montreal for Spring 2015

FIFA [ ]
March 19 to 29, 2015
The International Festival of Films on Art embraces multiple forms of creativity.

Festival TransAmériques [ ]
May 21 to June 4
Dance and theatre festival that builds bridges between local and international talent.

The Aztecs, People of the Sun [ ]
May 29 to October 25
Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History
A foray into the great Aztec civilization through hundreds of artifacts.

Rodin — [ ] Metamorphoses [ ]
May 30 to October 18
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Exhibition presenting 200 masterpieces created by legendary French sculptor Rodin.

CHINA, traveling with children Part #1 Beijing

When I visited Qingdao, China on my first trip, right from the first day, I came up with ideahat I have to come again with my whole family. Children must see the different world, different culture and traditions, to them that not the whole world speak English…That there are places where you have to struggle with comprehention of foreign language.

Our trip to China was in November 2014. First of all, children are small enough, that in many placetickets either free, or half-priced, and also large enough to remember the trip and apreciate the excitement of travel.

We bought our airflight tickets, and booked hotels during the summer, when the prices were extremely low…Also, the High Travel season in China concidered in Spring and Autumn: August, September and October. We decided to travel in November, enjoying low volumes of tourists, while catching Indian Summer feel. Although Beijing weather was getting cold at nights, during the day it was just perfect, with clear bright skies, and no wind at all.

Traveling in Beijing is easy, inexpencive and fast.
Subway ssystem is clean,and  easy to navigate, almost everywhere signs in Pynyin, so it’s easy to comprehend. Beijing Subway system is fast and efficient , platforms are equipped with mostly glass walls, and gates to access the tracks, ensuring safety, that none will fall on tracks.

#1st Day

We hired a taxi (600-700RMB for round trip from downtown) to visit China Great Wall section at Mutianyu. If you want to take a skylift and on the way back toboggan, it’s better to take the furtherst skylift, so while on the wall hiking you will be decending to toboggan ride, and wouldn’t have to come back. Views at Mutianyu Great Wall were breathtaking, with clear sky and visibility to thousands kilometers…



We spent almost whole day at Mutianyu, enjoying panoramic views, and warmth of Autumn Sun,and tranquility of surrounding mountains.

One of the practicalities came up to my mind is to bring some snack, and a bottle of water with you on the wall, and keep yourself hydrated and energised, so you can enjoy more time on the wall.

#2nd day we visited Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street

Forbidden City is a must place to visit., although after first half an hour it’s boring to kids. We found the clock museum, with enormous collection of mechanical clocks from miniature to gigantic waterclocks, worth visitng to return an interest of kids.

Wangfuijing Street has an interesting part as Wangfujing Snak Street where you can encounter weird snacks, like fried scorpions, starfish, fried seahorse, lizards…

That evening we spent in Red Theatre, watching performance on Shaolin…Performance was well horeographed, and performed.


Our last day in Beijing we were busy visiting Temple of Heaven.