Winter is well and truly here in the UK, which means long, dark nights and unpleasant weather conditions. Chances are, you're dreaming of being somewhere else, somewhere hotter, and somewhere that enjoys winter more than summer. Winter in Spain boasts much more bearable temperatures than the summer and is a hub of activity during the cooler months. There are surprising amount of events and things to do in Spain over winter, from active skiing adventures to cultural museum encounters, there is something for everyone.

Skiing

Skiing is the ultimate winter activity. The snow, the warm cabins, and the hot drinks make for a cosy escape whilst you enjoy some of the beautiful scenery that Spain has to offer. You may not know it, but Spain has more mountains than any other country in Europe which, when it snows, make the ideal backdrop for this popular winter sport.

Go for a walk

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Mallorca walk
I'm not taking about a walk around the block; I'm talking about those bracing walks through breathtaking landscapes that really blow the cobwebs away. Spanish walking holidays are perfect for this time of year as you will meet less tourists along the way and can enjoy your surroundings without feeling unbearably hot.

Visit Museums

Spain is home to artworks by some of the most famous artists of all time and there is no better time to explore these masterpieces than during the winter months. Tourists will be scarce so there will be no one blocking your view, and the indoor environment offers the perfect escape from those dreaded bad-weather days. Warm up whilst wandering amongst works by Picasso, Goya, Velaquez, Miro, and Dali.

Learn Spanish

In the summer, you might find yourself preoccupied doing outdoorsy activities and enjoying the warm temperatures so the cooler months provide the perfect opportunity for you to get your head down and learn Spanish in Spain. There's no better way to learn a language than by immersing yourself in the culture surrounding it and you'll be prepared for your next summer visit.

Do more

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There's more local business & cuisine to explore in the Winter
In summer, the locals often up and leave the cities in search of cooler places. This means that many restaurants, bars and shops are closed for much of the summer until their owners return. In winter, pretty much everything is open because, well, the temperature is much more bearable for the locals.
 
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London has many different types of museums dotted all over the City from History Museums to Science Museums, below are a few of the best ones to visit in London.

Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum on Cromwell Road in London has a wide variety of different attractions to look at. The museum was established in 1881 and it has many fossils, minerals and rocks from all sorts of past creatures. The museum has many historical items such as dinosaur skeletons and a ‘Darwin Centre’ which is based around all of Darwin’s theories and work.

Museum of London
The museum of London has 9 different galleries that show the History of London from 1666 to the current day. The museums displays many of the important times in History such as the Romans, Medieval times, the outbreak of the Plague and much more.
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Science Museum
The science Museum was formalised in 1909 and has a collection of over 30,000 items, the museum has all sorts of things from the first jet engine to the parts from the earliest steam engines. The museum has a wide variety of different attractions such as Science in the 18th Century, the atmosphere and Veterinary History.  All of the Museums listed above are free to visit and are easy to access in London.

 
Many historic routes were built for the purposes of trade, the famous Silk Route for example. Others are routes that were first traversed by pilgrims on journeys of great religious significance. Today, both these pilgrim and trade routes are ideal for the walking holiday enthusiast. Most take in spectacular scenery and can be covered in a week to 10 days which is about the perfect walking holiday duration. For first timers routes like this are fantastic as there are many start and stop points which mean that you can join the road, walk as much as you like and then stop when you feel ready. There are some stunning routes on every continent, many suitable for people of all abilities. Even if you have a family with children there are many sites to see and attractions that can be incorporated to your holiday along the way. Be adventurous and choose a walking holiday along an historic route!
Infographic courtesy of http://www.worldwalks.com
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Travel: Historic Routes
 
Learning English in England is a great way to improve your chances of becoming fluent quickly. There are plenty of places across the UK where you can settle in to learn. However, individuals tend to learn more quickly when they can immerse themselves in the best of British culture.

London is the most sought-after place for travellers to learn English because there’s so much to see and do. It also boasts great transport links with many places in the south of England, so you can opt to live in a smaller city with a slower pace and still enjoy all the fun of the UK’s capital. Here are three top places to learn English in England.

Soho, London

London’s Soho is a varied and busy place with something for everyone to enjoy. Famous for theatre shows, pubs, clubs, cabaret and stand-up comedy, your evenings will always be exciting if you choose to live here. Here are some of the top attractions.

Carnaby Street

Famous in the sixties for its iconic shops, Carnaby Street is still a must for fashion lovers today.

Soho Theatre

A cool place for theatre enthusiasts, this relatively new club has hosted independent artists, comedians and writers since its opening and is rarely less than packed.

Ronnie Scott’s

Opened in 1959, this legendary nightspot was the first place to host American jazz musicians in the UK. It’s seen some big names over the years and still hosts a variety of top-notch artists.

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Baker Street, London

Nestled in the City of Westminster district, Baker Street is a busy road which runs south from Regent’s Park and holds a wealth of history to its name. The fictional detective Sherlock Holmes resided along this road in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, and you can find a museum dedicated to the character at number 221B. Here are some other landmarks in and around the area.

Madame Tussaud’s

No visit to London would be complete without a trip to this iconic attraction. See waxworks of famous celebrities throughout the centuries.

Regent’s Park

One of London’s lovely open spaces, Regent’s Park boasts a boating lake, three tennis courts and an outside theatre for visitors to enjoy.

Royal Academy of Music

A must for music-lovers, the Royal Academy of Music holds a collection of musical instruments from around the world, as well as important manuscripts from famous classical composers.


Exeter

Exeter is a city in East Devon with a history that spans more than 2000 years. Easily accessible from many major UK cities, including London, this quiet yet interesting city is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a gentler pace than England’s capital. Here are some of the top attractions in the area.

Exeter Cathedral

This beautiful medieval church is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the UK. Regular guided tours are available.

Quayside

One of the most attractive areas of the city, Exeter’s Quayside has a fascinating history, beautiful architecture and many lively bars and restaurants.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Discover the history of Exeter in this stunning and varied museum.

If you’re interesting in learning English in the UK, visit the Skola website for more details of these three top locations. You can also find out more about English courses for adults in the UK and register your interest online.

Useful links

Visit Devon

Destinations and attractions in the south west.

Soho area guide

Time Out’s guide to Soho.

Attractions near Baker Street

All in London’s guide to Baker Street.

 
Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is featured among the top most visited places in the world. With its glorious architecture, diverse culture and historical monuments, Kuala Lumpur is a perfect place to spend some time during the holidays. Furthermore, the city also boasts of numerous malls and stores and is considered to be a shopper's paradise.
Important Places to Visit:

National Museum

Located adjacent to the Perdana Lake Gardens, the museum provides a glimpse in to Malaysia's history and culture. Built in 1963, it has several galleries featuring historical artifacts as well as representations of cultural activities like festivals and weddings.
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Kuala Lumpur Tower

Kuala Lumpur Tower is one of the most recognized towers in the world and is seen as a symbol of the city since its inception in 1995. Reaching into the sky, the tower is used for communication purposes with a 421 meter long antenna at the top. It also has a revolving restaurant where visitors can enjoy a nice meal along with the magnificent view of the city below.


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Merdeka Square

Merdeka Square (Independence Square) is probably one of the most significant places in the history of Malaysia. It was here that the Malaysian flag was hoisted for the first time, in August 31, 1957. Every year, on August 31, the square becomes the venue for the National Day parade (Merdeka Parade). What makes the square attractive for the visitors is the panoramic view of the old and new buildings in its vicinity. Many of the constructions like the Sultan Abdul Samad building were completed during the British era.

House of Parliament

The seat of the Malaysian democracy, the House of Parliament is located nearby the Lake Gardens. The main building is 3 stories tall and adjacent to it is a 17 story tower.

Petaling Street

Crowded with locals and tourists alike, the Petaling Street is strewn with stores offering cheap clothes and accessories of which most of them are pirated. The area is also known for Malaysian street food with large number of small food stalls and restaurants lining the path. The street also offers a variety of budget hotels for the budget traveler.

Central Market

Located only at a stone's throw away from the Petaling Market, the Central market is a haven for those who want to purchase items of handicrafts and art. Designed in a stall concept, the Central Market is an example of the traditional Malaysian markets. Different ethnic groups live and work in and around the area and all religious festivals are celebrated in a grand way here.

Religious Places


Kuala Lumpur has a diverse culture with people of different religions co-existing in harmony. Jamek Mosque and Sri Mahamariamman temple are two of the most prominent places of devotion that is worth a visit.

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur


Even the most reluctant shopper would become a shopaholic when in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from the Petaling Market and Central market, the city has 66 malls and many retail outlets. People from all over the world, especially from the Asian region, flock to Kuala Lumpur to shop for anything from clothes to electronic goods.

Accommodation


There’s plenty of accommodation for all kinds of budgets, including budget hotels and inexpensive serviced apartments in Kuala Lumpur.

John Chen is a travel writer currently located in Bangkok, Thailand.

 
Planning a trip to Japan anytime soon? You may find that their way of living is much different to the way you live. If you want to see Japan for what it really is by getting closer to the locals then there’s one thing you must learn- respect.
Japanese traditions go back for thousands of years and although the importance of respect may not be as serious for the younger generations, it’s still unavoidable in the country. Japan’s cities are vibrant & modern- which could seem like many other cities across the world- but knowing where you stand in society and demonstrating a fair degree of respect is vital.
One of the most important traditions to this day is with the Senpai & kōhai which are terms applied to the mentor system. This is applied in places such as school, sports clubs, businesses, and social organizations.
Another big sign of respect is bowing.
Obama really went for it when he met Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. His nearly 90-degree bow did spark a little bit of controversy back in the states, but that just goes to show how different some cultures can be to each other.
Eating would be yet another vital time to demonstrate your understanding of the Japanese Culture; there are various small mannerisms you need to remember, such as saying “itadakimasu” at the beginning of a meal.
If you’re going to Japan make sure you do your research; you’ll wreak the benefits from showing respect because you’ve demonstrated that you understand the locals and want to see this wonderful country from their eyes.
 
Modern technology has given us the freedom to share anything we want with the World. Modern technology has also given us the ability to take some astonishingly high-quality photos with affordable cameras. So if you put two-and-two together, you end up with some stunning images from all across the globe. In this post, I’ve wondered around the Worldwide Web and managed to come across some beautiful images of the planet we live on. Enjoy.

Eruption

This image was captured at Eyjafjallajokull glacier (a bit of a mouthful) in Iceland. The photographer managed to capture some fantastic shots of this eruption which coincided with lightning; a truly epic eruption.

The Blue Dragon

Wow. This photo was taken in Portugal (on a flight from Cardiff to Faro) and has exploded around the Internet. The water is crisply reflecting the blue sky and clouds and the angle of the shot makes the river look like a mythical dragon. I’m sure Steve, the photographer, simply couldn’t help snapping away at this bad boy when flying past!

Reflection

This surreal reflection was also taken in Iceland; a truly beautiful country with various landscapes. The clarity in the reflection of the water mirrors the cloudy sky. The sun is setting in the distance behind the mountains and with such a high definition image it almost feels as if you’re actually there!

Rock Formations - in New York?

Yes, that’s right – this image was taken in Ithaca, NY. Obviously it’s a lot more peaceful than the Big Apple in this image. I guess New Yorkers should head over here for some peace and quiet every now and then. I know I would!

Svartifoss, Iceland

As you may have figured, Iceland is a beautiful place. I have a feeling I’m going to be blogging about this place a lot more. (I also think I’ll be booking flights shortly!) With such quirky landscapes, this makes for yet another beautiful, high definition image of Iceland’s natural beauty.
The beauty of the Internet and high definition cameras is that we’re able to see so much more of our planet in much more detail and clarity; it makes me appreciate that I’m lucky enough to be here and only pushes me to explore further! As clear as these images can be, I know that they will be even more breath-taking than they are on a screen.
 
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So you have been given the task of organising the final hurrah for your one of your best friends. Now, this is no easy task, especially if you stick to the clichés that you see in films.

Make sure that you avoid these mistakes, well that is unless you recently decided you have a strong dislike for the groom!


Don't bother planning

What´s the point in planning right? You can just show up in a place and find the best things to do when you get there! – No, no you can’t. Make sure that you have planned everything out, where are you going to stay? What are you going to do? How many of you are going? Don’t forget about transport either!

Start drinking early

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The quicker you start drinking the better! Get them in early and make sure you show how much of a man you are by drinking more than everyone else! – Please, please don’t do this. This is going to be a marathon and not a sprint and if you weekend starts like this then you won’t be fit for either. I know it’s crazy to suggest not drinking until the evening, but keep in mind you’re looking to finish at 5am.


Eating is cheating

This needs little explanation and like the point above, if you are thinking like this then your night is going to come to a very early and very very messy end! There is no rush so make sure you book a cool place to eat and enjoy yourselves, besides, where else will you be making your best man’s speech and rallying the lads in a rousing Braveheart style call to arms?

To the streets

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Now, this fits in with the first point, make sure that you have not only picked your club with care, but you have booked yourself the VIP section! This is going to get you fantastic service, quick entry and a lot of attention. Now it really is time to let go and embrace everything you associate with stag weekends. Get the drinks flowing and make sure the forfeits are suitably stupid.


Walk back to the hotel!

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Walking back to the hotel may seem like a good idea, but is only going to make your life difficult. With a big group of rowdy and inebriated lads, you could get more than you bargained for. The best thing is to jump in a few cabs and make sure everyone is back safe and sound.

Congratulations! You have avoided being banned from the wedding and also have earned yourself a mention in the grooms speech!


 
New Forest, Hampshire, England

One of Britain’s largest national parks is situated in the South of England. Walk around the cute villages of Christchurch and Brockenhurst and try not to buy some antiques or handmade curiosities in the artisan shops.  The new forest is very big and famous for its great cycle and walking paths. Enjoy the fresh air, the animals that are running wild and beautiful scenery for the day until you find that perfect spot to sit down and enjoy your home made picnic. Don’t feed the ponies though; they will never leave you alone.


Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh houses the world’s biggest collection of plants that are native as well as non-native to the UK. It is a great place for a day out especially during spring when the trees start to blossom and the flowers come out. You can easily walk around for an entire day in between the multitude of flora that the gardens have to offer. Take a look at the website for special events and festivals that are organised during the spring and summer months to make your visit even more special.

Fermanagh Lakelands, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland

Fermanagh Lakelands are part of the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland. They are situated in the West of the country and only 2 hours away from Belfast. Within the parameters of this countryside jewel you will find a treasure of outdoor activities. You can do anything from caving to hiking and from cycling to paintballing. We suggest a nice horseback ride through the countryside of Irvinestown with a picnic at Enniskillen Castle.

Llangennith, Swansea, Wales

This beautiful stretch of sandy beach on the coast of West Wales is great for an outdoor picnic. The beach itself is gorgeous and deserted during low-season. However there are always some great surfers battling the crashing waves who are certainly of entertainment value. If the weather really heats up, you can also sign yourself up for some surf lessons in one of the many surf schools around the area.

Organising a picnic in a park or a forest is a great way to celebrate a birthday. Most parks are open to the public so you can invite as many people as you like, or make it a romantic lunch for two instead.  To make the picnic extra festive bring one or two birthday present hampers which you can find online via many Great British patisseries. All you need other than that is a blanket, sunglasses and a charged i-Pod.

Enjoy the spring!

 
A cup of tea is not just a cup of tea, depending on where you choose to sit and sip it can mean an entirely different experience. A cup of tea in a well placed cafe is the best way to take in a new country. People watching in between sips gives you the sorts of keen insights that make great blog posts and wonderful mental memento's. Take a tour around the world with us and find yourself a tea spot to visit.

Sri Lanka 

Some may have mistaken India, and its spices, for the crown jewel of the British Empire, but we would argue that it was rather the tea of Sri Lanka that Britons valued more. The types grown in the central regions of the island nation are: Ceylon Black, Ceylon Green and the highly-prized Ceylon White. Production of the latter is limited to the hundreds of kilograms and is a rare pleasure. If you're ever lucky enough to get yourself a few leaves save them for a special occasion: a graduation tea date or a pre-wedding cup of tea. To explore the under appreciated central regions of Sri Lank visit Tea Trails.



Japan 

The ritual of tea-drinking is an integral part of Japanese culture so you'll have to approach a tea date in Japan with a bit more formality than your average cafe date. Chanoyu (or sado) is the traditional ritual of preparing and drinking matcha - the powdered green tea favoured in the land of the rising sun. A proper tea ceremony takes up to four hours and involves a meal bracketed by two sessions of tea-drinking. Wherever you go in Japan you'll find a teahouse nearby, but for the in-depth experience Hotel Okura in Tokyo (other hotels offer a similar service) is the perfect place to sample this meditative exercise in tea-drinking.

Morocco 

You would think that the best liquid to combat the stifling heat of a Moroccan day would be cold, but locals will tell you that nothing beats  a foaming cup of Toureg Tea - a type of mint tea. Like matcha above, preparing the drink is an event worth savouring almost as much as the tea itself. The routine involves two rounds of boiling, with tea leaves and then sugar,  and ends with a long pour from the pot to give the tea its characteristic frothiness. Some like to put a tea leaf in their cup before drinking, but leaving it in too long will upset your stomach. Preparation of the tea is done by the head of the family, but in other settings anyone can prepare the tea. Visitors to Morocco looking for the luxury experience may want to stop in at The Repose - a luxury Moroccan hotel, with a lovely traditional riad (courtyard) for their afternoon tea's.   
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