Category Archives: Holidays

Lonely pensioners to get cheap holidays to tackle social isolation

wo generous Salford housing providers have joined together to make cheap holidays available for lonely and vulnerable pensioners to tackle social isolation.

Salford-based Salix Homes and City West Housing Trust have teamed up to offer elderly people experiencing loneliness and isolation subsidised breaks at the Salfordian Hotel in Southport.

They have pledged to tackle social isolation amongst the elderly people in Salford and are urging residents to take advantage of the low-cost holidays on offer.

Sue Sutton, a Salix homes spokesperson, said: “For the past 50 years the hotel has offered a lifeline to our most vulnerable residents and their families and we are proud to support it.

“There are a lot of lonely, older people in Salford who perhaps feel they cannot go on holiday because they don’t have anyone to go with.

“Loneliness and social isolation in older people can have a severe impact on their health and quality of life which is why we have teamed up with City West to offer subsidised breaks to people who are on their own.
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An enjoyable day out in the Potteries 1/2 price

There’s a lot to be enjoyed at Trentham Gardens, near Stoke on Trent, so me and the missus thought we’d give it a try – and chuffed to have found a ‘two for one’ offer online which meant we saved £7.25 on the admission price, which put me in a good mood before we started off.

Trentham Gardens

Titania & admirer

The gardens are beautiful and well maintained, friendly for wheel chair users, and sprinkled with 14 fairies to look for – this one is called ‘Titania’. The ‘Sensory Garden’ is well worth a visit, and the veggie plot attached to it – though the brassicas were suffering from an onslaught of caterpillars. Train rides down the side of the lake are available, and boat rides on the lake. The Italian Garden Tearoom and Lakeside Cafe offer a range of refreshments, and if the gardens don’t tire you out there are a lot of shops around the entrance to browse, and a very impressive garden centre to visit (where they serve full lunches at reasonable prices. I was most impressed with the autumn seed potatoes which are said to be just right for Christmas new potatoes. Just the sort of thing that would interest me, though lots there also for the ladies.

An amazing statement on this sculpture !

Whispering Grasses

Trentham Gardens

Bus services can get you there with your bus pass from many surrounding towns e.g. Stafford service 76 gets you there in an hour, Stoke to Trentham takes 20 minutes on service 21, from Market Drayton take the 164 to Newcastle-under-Lyme, and then the 22 to Trentham. You can plan your journey from our ‘Timetables’ page



By the way if you have a good tip for a nice day out please write to us via the Contacts page – we would love to publish readers suggestions and photos.

Affordable Holiday Destinations – a few ideas

Although summer is winding down, it’s still not too late to plan a last-minute, summer holiday. Whether you opt for a brief excursion to Northern Ireland or choose to take a longer jaunt to a North American city, there are many budget destinations that make for a nice retreat. Need some inspiration? Here are a few inexpensive travel destinations for 2013.

Toronto, Canada

Toronto is undergoing a major revamp with a building boom and financial and tourism boost due to the creation of over 30,000 new homes and the opening of a number of high-end businesses and hotels. What sets this city apart from others and makes it an affordable destination is its low hotel prices, which did not increase in 2012 when hotel rates in other parts of the world went up. In addition, much like other bustling North American cities, there is an assortment of cultural activities and entertainment, including a variety of museums, theaters, art galleries, and places to shop. While Toronto maintains its metropolitan city feel, it’s also a great getaway for nature enthusiasts as there is a bevy of outdoor fun to be had in this harbor town and the accompanying Toronto Islands. The city also has an array of delicious ethnic cuisine—from Portuguese to Polish. What’s more, Toronto boasts the third larges
t transit system in North America (the Toronto Transit Commission or TTC), which is easy to navigate—making your trip all the more enjoyable.

Northern Ireland

Although years of conflict have kept many from journeying to Northern Ireland, today the area is among the UK’s premier must-see destinations with Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second largest city, being named the first ever UK City of Culture. Not only did the city get a heavy-duty makeover in 2012, The city will spend $25 million in new cultural programs designed to bring in tourism, including performances from the Royal Ballet and the London Symphony Orchestra. Northern Ireland is also much cheaper to travel from the UK as there is a multitude of bus and ferry services to the region. Pensioners and those with disabilities can travel throughout Northern Ireland for free, so pack an M&S hamper, board a coach and/or ferry, and let Translink do the rest.

Palm Springs, CA

Although the thought of Palm Springs usually conjures up images of retired people swinging golf clubs and posh shops filled with pricey goods, this desert gem is becoming more affordable as there has been a significant drop in airfares and flights to Palm Springs International Airport have increased. The sun-soaked getaway is expanding to make room for its growing number of visitors. Since 2008, the town has gained over 1,600 new hotel rooms thanks to an aggressive tourism program aimed at enhancing the local economy. Palm Springs is especially cheap during this time of year, as the town’s busiest seasons are during the winter until the late spring. With the money you’ll save on transportation and the low rates offered by many hotels, you’ll be able to indulge in this region’s decadent past times.


Pensioners to be Banned From Titanic II’s Casino

Pensioners will be banned from the casino onboard Titanic II — as will anyone travelling in steerage — according to the man behind the project, eccentric Australian billionaire Clive Palmer.

Palmer wants to protect pensioners from themselves and questions whether anyone who can’t afford a First Class ticket should even be gambling onboard.

Speaking at a press conference in Brisbane yesterday, Palmer also revealed the deck plans for the replica ship — which will follow the original plans as closely as possible but with one or two modern additions, including lifts, air-conditioning — and enough (modern) lifeboats.

The ship, which is being built in China, will be about four feet wider in the beam, with an extra deck to carry more passengers, lifeboats and safety equipment, including escape chutes. The hull will be welded (rather than riveted), and it will be diesel-powered, rather than run by coal, despite Palmer making his billions from mining.

Teijo Niemela, Editor of Cruise Business Review, questioned how closely it would be possible to stick to the original design: “It’s quite an interesting problem that they’re going to have with the design. The closer they keep the design to the original, the less the ship will be modern. After a few years when all who are interested have seen the product, how many will want to go back to a ship whose design is 100 years old?
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Our comment: That won’t go down very well.

BNP makes heavy use of EU holidays paid for by taxpayer

Tens of thousands of political activists, including hundreds from the BNP, have been given free or subsidised holidays by British and European taxpayers.

Even as it grapples with the financial crisis, the European Union is paying almost £25?million this year to subsidise the trips, arranged through MEPs.

The BNP, which has two Euro-MPs, has made heavy use of the scheme to thank some of its most prominent members at taxpayers’ expense. One BNP official boasted that it was “a good way of rewarding our activists” that “didn’t cost the party a penny”.

The trips are ostensibly “study visits” to the European Parliament buildings in Brussels or Strasbourg, but the holidaymakers need spend only a fraction of their time at the parliament to claim the full subsidy, which can be collected in cash without the need for receipts.

One subsidised trip to Strasbourg last week, promoted by the Labour MEP Peter Skinner, lasted six days, with only a few hours spent at the parliament.
Read more in The Telegraph

Crap Just Published-Days Out: 10 of the worst days out in Britain

There’s no getting around the fact: we are a nation who love a rubbish day out. From childhood we are raised to expect the dire. With every trip to Stonehenge or the York Quilt Museum our parents were saying: “Son, this is what your weekends are going to be like from now on – just a bit rubbish. So don’t get your hopes up.”

So the only thing that was missing, we realised, was a guide to Britain’s worst tourist attractions. We spent a year tramping the country writing it and having an awful time as we did so, so that you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Get your copy from the Telegraph website

Shearings 7-day European Sale EXTENDED until midnight Friday 19th August!

Shearings 7-day European Sale has been EXTENDED due to popular demand until midnight on Friday 19th August! There are still some great holidays available but get promoting them quick! At these prices, they won’t be around for long.

We’ve listed a few of the best European offers below but there are many fantastic holidays at great prices on the Shearings Holidays website.

Lake Como – All Inclusive 9 Day
Hotel Britannia Excelsior, Cadenabbia, 9 Days, Oct/Nov, From: £329, Save: £85

Beautiful Lake Garda & Venice
Hotel Sole, Lake Garda,9 Days, From: £319 Save: £80

Spain’s Golden Coast All Inclusive
Hotel Estival Park, Salou, 9 Days, From: £259, Save: £80

To Europe by coach or by air?

We thought it time we tried a coaching holiday, having made many journeys abroad by air and by car over the years, but never by coach , so we decided on a river cruise with Shearing’s in early June 2011. Shearing’s rates were more attractive than some other river cruises advertised on the Danube.
The river cruise taken (between Linz and Budapest) offered a choice between flying from a range of airports, or travelling by coach from pickup points around the UK. There is no price difference whichever you chose.
5am on day one found us at Scotch Corner Services, about 15 miles from our home which we covered by taxi. By about 1.30 pm we were at a service area near Dover where it seems all pickup coaches arrived at much the same time and within about 40 minutes we were then allocated to different coaches according to our holiday destination. Transfer of suitcases was handled by the drivers with a bit of huffing and puffing. The 3pm P&O Ferry took on a large number of Shearing’s coaches for the crossing to Calais. Meal vouchers were handed out to those on our coach as we would arrive too late at our stopover hotel in Liege to take an evening meal. The cafeteria was therefore very busy, though waiting say 30 minutes avoided queuing.
Comments on the journey were made to our Twitter account though this was hindered by the limited availability of Internet access in the cities along the Danube. The only one found in Budapest was at MacDonald’s !

There is plenty of leg room on the coaches – ours was a 2011 registration and it was possible to relax more en route than on recent flights we have taken. Regular stops to stretch legs etc were taken every 2-3 hours.
We reached the hotel in Liege by about 8pm which was quite good, and needed to be up again at about 6am for breakfast and an early set-off for Linz, where we arrived at about 7.30pm.
The ship which is able to take about 110 people was excellent, service and cabins comfortable and the places visited very interesting. We had expected cabin sizes to be a bit small but were pleased with the amount of space and the comfort of the room including shower room. Beds were folded up into the wall by the crew during breakfast, and the process reversed during evening meal. Those who had flown had set off a day later than us, leaving at early hours from various airports, and flying in to Munich or Vienna. Talking to fellow passengers on the cruise ship who had flown, they had arrived in early or mid afternoon. i.e. more than a day less travelling time, and the same applying for the return journey. Some mentioned the transport from Munich taking about 3 hours to get to Linz.

River Bus on Danube at Budapest

Around 2/3rds of passengers had chosen to travel by coach, many of whom were regular Shearing’s customers.
The cruise itself we felt were excellent with some beautiful and interesting places visited. The tours at each stop were of varying value for money – driving through a busy city like Budapest to have parliament/museum buildings pointed out was the least enjoyable aspect.
Some amazing discounts on the cruise we were taking came through on email late on, and are still available for 18th June – see including at half the price we paid for 21st and 28th June. I notice on these that air travel is not available.

Whilst mentioning the above I should mention that the above has been written entirely independently, we are not on commission from Shearing’s !

Comments on your experience with coaching holidays will be very welcome.

Gramping: the rise of holidaying with grandparents

Three quarters of families with young children intend to go on holiday this year with the grandparents in tow, according to a survey.
Holidaying with three generations might be some people’s idea of hell, but the concept has taken off with an increasing number of families not only as a way of saving on childcare costs but also as a way of keeping disparate family members in touch.

The survey of over 1,000 families with young children, undertaken on behalf of netmums, the parenting website, found that 75 per cent were planning a summer holiday with grandparents this year. The survey was backed up by booking figures from Eurocamp, the upmarket chalet and camping company, which said it had seen bookings from extended family groups increase by as much as 325 per cent over the past two years.
Read more in the Telegraph