Top things to do in San Salvador

The capital of El Salvador has somewhat a bad reputation over the past couple of decades. Despite Central America being very much on the backpacker trail, often El Salvador is often skipped and those that do visit the country regularly go straight to the surf spots and miss the capital completely.
For the adventurous traveller who wants something a little different then San Salvador can be a lively and fun place to visit. Here are 10 suggestions as to what to do in San Salvador.

1. Try the beers at the La Cadejo microbrewery.
In upmarket Zona Rosa this bar/restaurant and brewery makes it’s own beers (with 51 varieties) and also supplies nationwide.
It’s possible to have a tour of the brewery, and the location is a popular spot on an evening to watch sports and eat decent pizzas and a range of other filling dishes.

The real draw here however is the great selection of unusual brews. There’s a pumpkin spice, a strong ginger ale at over 5% and a strawberry, as well as IPA, APA and a few stouts.

cadejo microbrewery san salvador

 

2. Devour the local speciality, the pupusa.
These corn dough patties are served hot and often cheese filled and are cheap and filling way to eat. Many meals come automatically with these on the side but they also serve as a fantastic snack at any time of day and feel like a treat.

3. Rock out at Republik Bar.
San Salvador’s top rock venue and Irish bar Republik draws a cool fun loving crowd and after 9pm is full on most evenings, particularly a weekend. It’s an atmospheric place with a stage for the bands and a VIP area/whiskey bar upstairs with great views over the crowd and band.
They do a good range of food as well as good value cocktails. Check on their social media to see what’s on and for the top notch cover bands.
3. Visit the Cathedral
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior is the main Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador and dominates the skyline of the city. It’s an important place for the people of San Salvador as it was visited twice by 

Pope John Paul II, and because it is also the resting place of Archbishop Óscar Romero who was assassinated in 1980.

 

4. Take a walk around Mercado Central
Mercado Central stretches a number of streets and is a fun way to get to know the city. Walk through the busy streets with vendors shouting out prices and offers for all things imaginable. Navigate the tight streets between stalls and chat with the smiling locals whilst dodging the fruit carts.
5. Grab a bite to eat at the food area of Mercado Excuartel
A fairly difficult to navigate market with seemingly endless stalls selling On the lower level of the market are around 20 mini restaurants, almost all run by women offering home cooking style food cooked up fresh and piping hot for under 2/3 dollars. On top of the usual pupusas expect spicy chicken and chicken soups as well as empanadas with rice & salad options. 1a Calle Oriente, San Salvador, El Salvador.
6. Buy some fresh fruit from the street vendors. There are fruit sellers everywhere and for under a dollar you can quench your thirst with a fresh coconut juice plus all the flesh or a stack of sweet pineapple.
7. Check out the architecture at Teatro Nacionale. Opened in 1903, it’s  the oldest theater in Central America. It’s free to enter but with fairly varied entry times. It has a great French classical style and is worth a wander round, even to see the facade of the building if you’re short on time. If you have a little longer and fancy something different then catch a show in the evening.
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8. Check out the pinatas on Calle San Antonio Abad
Somewhere between scary and fun this colourful street has endless pināta stalls on both sides with all shapes and sizes on offer. Expect unicorns, cars, emojis and giant beer bottles that you’ll have to duck and dive to get around.

pinatas in El Salvador

9. Try to navigate the city on local buses. Head to trendy Zona Rosa on the old American school buses in a variety of colours. Stand on the side of the road and listen for the bus callers shouting the destinations before you hop on and speed through the city.

For more ideas as to where to visit and how to plan a trip to San Salvador watch my full guide to San Salvador on YouTube.

Isle of Wight | A Travel Guide

The Isle of Wight lies just off the South coast of England and is a picturesque and fun getaway for many tastes. It has miles of beautiful coastline for those wishing to get out and explore and it’s home to the Ventnor Fringe festival every Summer if you’re interested in the arts. With it’s many top restaurants serving delicious local seafood and glorious beaches to capture that quintessential British Summer holiday with an ice cream, it’s an ideal holiday destination close to London.


How to get to the Isle of Wight
Ferries go from Southampton and Portsmouth and there are direct trains to both from London.

From Southampton you can take the Red Funnel ferries that take both foot passengers and cars and takes only 45 minutes. From Portsmouth, Wight Link has a FastCat foot passenger service which takes just 22 minutes


Where to Eat on the Isle of Wight

Woods Kitchen
Previously known as ‘The Essex’ Woods Kitchen was recommended to me by a number of people I chatted to on my first day on the IOW. It’s an atmospheric spot with the main restaurant housed inside a pretty thatched building with a large raised terrace at the rear with a very trendy feel and clearly a popular spot for an afternoon drink in the sun.

The menu is extensive and there are daily specials menus including lots of vegan options. There’s even an afternoon tea menu including themed afternoon tea, prosecco afternoon tea and a savoury tea.

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Opening times -Monday & Tuesday – Closed. Wednesday to Saturday 10:30am till 11pm Last food orders 9pmSunday 10:30am till 4pm

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Afternoon Tea at The Royal Hotel – Belgrave Rd, Ventnor PO38 1JJ

The Royal Hotel is one of the grandest hotels on the island located in charming Ventnor. It’s known for it’s food in all respects and is able to boast the 98% of hotel guests choose to dine in it’s main restaurant, but it also host to some delightful afternoon teas.

Served in your choice of the Colonial-style conservatory, the south-facing garden or Geranium Terrace you can pick from a selection of Afternoon Teas including a champagne tea. First up is a range of finger sandwiches alongside your choice of fragrant teas or alternate hot drinks, followed by the main event, a tiered cake stand with fresh scones and rich sweet treats such as lemon tart and carrot cake.

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Served from 3pm to 5pm from £23/person | Click here to book

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Tramezzini – 14 High Street, Ventnor

For a tasty brunch including some homemade black pudding served with on the vine cherry tomatoes, poached eggs and thick sausages, head to Tramezzini. It’s a friendly spot popular with the locals and has a selection of salads and fish dishes for those wanting something a bit healthier.

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PO41 – St James Court, Quay St, Yarmouth PO41 0PB

The town of Yarmouth is named after the small Western Yar river and makes a nice place to have a wander around and pop into the local boutiques. PO41 is one of the most popular cafes in the town due to it’s famously delicious cakes and big range of coffees. It’s located in the old post office and it’s a friendly spot which will draw you in with all the tasty treats in the window.

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What to do on the Isle of Wight

Visit Appuldurcumbe House

Appuldurcumbe House is the shell of the formally grand Baroque mansion built in the 18th century. During both world wars troops were billeted in the house and in February 1943, a  German plane dropped its final mine very close to the house. The house was never repaired and despite it looking in fine condition from a distance it’s actually just a shell of a building now and is completely without a roof.

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It’s free to visit and the property is managed by English Heritage. The house is open 10am-4pm, Sunday to Friday, from April until October and has car parking on site.

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Explore pretty Godshill

Godshill is a charming village with thatched roof houses, with it’s main street lined with tea shops and quirky pubs. The very first Isle of Wight festival took place near the village in 1968. One of the most popular spots is the model village (Open 10-5pm in Summer), but it’s also home to a local cider shop; Godshill Cider and a fun sweet shop called Candy Cottage.

Godshill will delight those interested in traditionally British things as it’s incredibly picturesque and it’s easy to reach as there are plenty of direct buses to Shanklin, Newport, Ventnor and Sandown.

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Hire a bike and explore the island
The Isle of Wight is a popular destination for cycle enthusiasts and there are numerous cycling trails all over the island. Outside of the towns there is little in the way of traffic making it an enjoyable and safe place to cycle even for those with relatively little experience.

Routefifty7 is a bike hire company based in Shanklin with prices starting at only £13. They offer e-bikes, mountain bikes and even tandems and have free delivery and collection for hires over £47.

I hired an electric bike and decided to follow the Red Squirrel Trail which is listed as one of “150 Great Days Out’’ by Sustrans,. At full length it is 32.23 miles but one can leave and join with ease, stopping at a variety of sights along the way. I started in Ventnor and followed it up to Godshill circling back towards Sandown and it’s a pleasant and fairly easy cycle route named after the endangered Red Squirrel that is found in some numbers on the Isle of Wight.

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For bike hire on the Isle of Wight  please ring 07491 00 00 57 or email info@routefifty7.com
Open everyday 9am – 6pm

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Take a RIB ride to the Needles
The Needles are one of the most famous landmarks on the Isle of Wight. These stone columns reaching up to 30m high out of the sea are a well known sight, and it’s possible to hire a boat with captain to take you around this great landmark.

The Royal Hotel has a private RIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) which can take customers on private day trips or shorter journeys from Yarmouth.  It’s a high speed exhilarating ride, but a very comfortable one too as the Royal RIB is somewhat a luxury RIB and you’ll stay dry but get as close to the Needles as possible.  To book, call 0198385218620190726_1048068536164555151957023.jpgDSC_5393DSC_5372

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Visit Ventnor Beach

Ventnor Beach is  the southernmost  beach on the Isle of Wight and is always a popular destination on the island. Complete with it’s stylish vintage beach huts used by families on hot days it’s a red shingle and golden sand beach.

With nearby ice cream shops, a lobster restaurant and a pretty promenade it’s a lovely place to come and rent a deckchair to relax, even if you’re not planning on going in the sea.

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For more information please visit;

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

Thames Rockets | What you need to know?

To be rated as Trip Advisor’s number one outdoor activity in London is something of an accolade. London has a never ending and ever changing number of things to do so reaching the top spot is surely a difficult feat.

thames rockets

Thames Rocket gives customers the chance to zoom down the Thames River taking in the sights whilst enjoying the thrill of 30 knots onboard the red RIB. RIB stands for Rigid-hulled inflatable boat which should give you some indication of what the boats are like. You’ll be riding in a heavy duty inflatable similar to what the SAS Elite UK forces use and don’t underestimate how fast these boats can go!

The Thames Rockets tick a lot of boxes as a London activity; it has a centrally located launch point so you won’t have to travel far to get to on board, it’s suitable for all ages, it takes in a lot of the key sights along the Thames, and it’s also a hit with thrill seekers!

My parents were visiting London and I decided to take them on the Thames Rockets to get a different perspective of the city. Judging by the joyful whooping, the whole boat greatly enjoyed the ride and interestingly perhaps for different reasons. A few visitors from the USA were on the boat with us, and for them the opportunity to see so many of London’s top sights for the first time was a dream come true, the guide was informative throughout as well as rather funny and it helped our overseas visitors understand a little bit more about what we were going past. Equally for my parents it wasn’t the first time in London but definitely gave them a completely unique view of many of the familiar sights on the Thames including seeing Canary Wharf, St Catherine’s Dock and even the police boats!

It’s easy to see why it’s so highly rated and will continue to be a top activity in the capital and so I’ve put together a list of some ‘need to know’ Q&A before you jump on board.

How to book tickets
Whilst it’s essential to book in advance it’s always worth seeing if there are last minute tickets available as the Thames Rocket operates around 10 times a day. You can book online here or via the phone operator by calling the booking hotline on 020 7928 8933.

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thames rockets london

Who can/can’t ride?
The experience is suitable for all ages but unfortunately not for lades at any stage of pregnancy. Equally it’s not recommended for anyone with past or current back, neck or heart condition.

Will I get wet?
The quick answer is ‘not really.’ Before we boarded we were all offered waterproof jackets which most people declined as it was lovely weather. On the way out of London I didn’t even feel a drop of water on me, but as we headed back towards the pier then the wind did catch the water resulted in a little spray. Whilst you’re definitely not going to get actually wet, for anyone particularly precious about their hair it’s maybe advisable to at least tie it back.

Is it scary?
I would use the word thrilling rather than scary. Sure enough the RIB can get up to some great speeds but it’s incredibly enjoyable in the same way a roller coaster is. There’s always somewhere to hold onto and there were people of all ages on board my trip proving that it was enjoyed cross generationally.

What safety precautions are taken?
Lifejackets are provided and must be worn at all times. It’s a self inflating one and is very lightweight so you wouldn’t really notice you’ve got it on. Equally there are children’s lifejackets and facilities for toddlers too. Thames Rocket is fully insured and also has ‘full Public Liability Insurance to four times the legal requirement level is in place as standard.’

Where does it go from?
The rides take place from two locations. I went from London Eye Pier which is just to the left of the London Eye when facing the river, but they also have a departure point for certain trips from the Tower of London .

thames rockets london

What will I see?

Many of London’s most iconic landmarks are along the Thames and it’s definitely a great way to see many of them from a completely different perspective. Even the launching point for the boat is right next to the London Eye and opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

Some of the top sights along the route are;

  • The Tower of London- Home of the  crown jewels, where Anne Boleyn was beheaded and the home to various exotic animals over the years incoming a polar bear!
  • HMS Belfast  – WWII ship and the first ship to fire shots on D Day. Decommissioned in the 70s, it’s now a museum.
  • The Shard – The tallest building in western Europe.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe – Replica building and one of the most popular theatres in London.
  • Blackfriars Bridge – Attractive bridge featuring decoration only seen from the water such as columns decorated on one side with seabirds and on the other with fresh water birds as it’s the divide between fresh water and salt water in the river
  • Tower Bridge – The most famous bridge in London and one of the most famous sights with it’s beautiful twin towers.

 

tower bridge by boat

tower bridge by boat

Canary Wharf by boat

shard through tower bridge by boat

What are the guides like?
Our guide was very friendly from start to finish, not only was he making every laugh and creating a great atmosphere but he was also very knowledgable about the sights along the river.

As we went past a variety of spots he would give us a brief guide to each of the locations and made personal recommendations. For the Americans on board who hadn’t visited London before he was a good source of knowledge and even for us Brits then he had some lesser known facts that I actually had to Google when I got home as I didn’t know how I hadn’t learnt them previously. (I’ll let you find out for yourself what they were.) thames rocket guide

thames rocket

 


For more information visit –

https://www.thamesrockets.com
https://daysoutnow.co.uk.

 

The Ventnor Fringe | A visitor’s guide

Now in it’s tenth year, the week long Ventnor Fringe takes place in July in Ventnor, a town in the south of the Isle of Wight. It’s a celebration of culture, and hosts some rising stars of comedy, arts, music, theatre and performance at a number of venues around the town.

The headquarters of the fringe are at the Ventnor Exchange which is somewhat a creative hub in itself. Featuring inspiration for the events and a small record store it’s also a top spot for craft beer.

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Ventnor Fringe has become one of the UK’s most popular fringe festivals and is inclusive in that as well as the ticketed events there are also many free acts to see as well as a number operating on ‘donation requested’ entry.

There are over 100 shows in quite diverse venues including the harbour, a laundrette, a horse box pop up, Ventnor Park and even a bus! It has a much more laid back feel that Edinburgh Fringe and attracts a mix of locals and visitors which gives it a friendly and fun atmosphere.

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What you need to know

Tickets

Tickets are available for purchase;

  1. Online –  at http://www.vfringe.co.uk
  2. In person at Ventnor Exchange – 11 Church Street, PO38 1SW Open 9am – Midnight
  3. On the door – Tickets will be available on the door for many events but do check before going as some shows may be sold out. Cash only.
  4. By phone – 01983 716767

Venues

Almost every conceivable place and many you wouldn’t expect have been turned into venues for the fringe. Some are permanent spots with others just being pop ups for the week.

The comedy & cabaret tent as well as the Magpie are both housed in the Parkside area. Complete with giant connect four, table tennis and table football, it’s a fun and pretty area with a bar serving cider, wine, beer and a few spirits. The park itself is full of colourful flowers and for the fringe the area is decorated with colourful flags and bunting making it a very pleasant area to relax before & after a show. There are a couple of food vendors serving cream tea and crab sandwiches. Toilets are in the form of portaloos.

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Another lovely venue is the Ventnor Arts Club. It was an old Art Deco bank which has been converted into a cinema and events venue with a cool bar and luxurious arm chairs to watch the performances.

Just oppose the Ventnor Exchange is the pretty St Catherine’s Church is a delightful venue for smaller more intimate shows.

Other venues include; Pier St Playhouse, Hygeia House and the ‘Book Bus’ outside St Catherine’s Church.

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What kind of acts will you able to see at the Ventnor Fringe?

One of the best things about the Ventnor Fringe is the sheer variety of performances. The best bet is to get hold of one of the Fringe Guides from either the Ventnor Exchange or one of the many cafes in town offering them and have a flick through the ‘what’s on’ section.

There’s some great comedy acts on in Ventnor Park. Taking place shortly before Edinburgh Fringe means that some of the top up and coming comedians want to test out their performances so many of the UKs top new talent often appear.

The Book Bus is famous for it’s spoken word, whilst Harbourside holds many musical performances of a variety of genres including DJs and live bands.

There’s also plenty of plays and immersive theatre as well as street performances for free!

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Where to Stay

Budget – East Dene Stop & Stay is a no frills accommodation offering self catering from only £26 per person per night. It’s located in Bonchurch Ventnor and is suitable for groups as well as singles.

Luxury – The Royal Hotel is less than a 5 minute walk to Ventnor Park where many of the shows take place and only a few minutes more into the centre of Ventnor. It’s a charming hotel with an outdoor pool, splendid afternoon tea and classically decorated rooms.

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Camping – Whilst there aren’t any campsites central to Ventnor there are a number a short ride away which make for very pleasant and affordable stays. Click here for a selection.


 

For more information visit;

https://vfringe.co.uk

 

 

The Royal Hotel Ventnor | Isle of Wight

Located in trendy Ventnor, The Royal Hotel is a 4* award winning hotel that has continued to preserve it’s title as the Isle of Wight’s top hotel due to it’s ability to preserve the features of a classic hotel synonymous with British hospitality yet add modern touches like a beautiful swimming pool.

It’s a Victorian style design with a delightful lawn and garden area. I was lucky enough to have glorious weather when I visited and the gardens were popular every day with guests enjoying the flowered gardens and views down to the coast while relaxing with a drink or ordering the popular afternoon tea.

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Dining

The Royal is able to boast that 98% of its staying guests dine at the restaurant and it’s easy to see why. The hotel has achieved 2 AA Rosettes for it’s food for over 20 consecutive years and has appeared in every Michelin Good Food Guide since the guide was created.

The main dining room itself is grand and some guests chose to dress up to dine, but I was in slightly more casual attire and still didn’t feel out of place. The staff were happy to recommend dishes and I chose the garlic butter lobster and a generously sized sticky toffee pudding for my dessert.

Afternoon tea at the Royal is clearly very popular for both residents and visiting guests. Served between 2pm and 5pm you have the choice of tucking into your selection of sandwiches and cakes either in the conservatory or the gardens themselves, surrounded by colourful flowers and a picturesque lawn. There is a choice of afternoon tea including the champagne tea, and the sweet treats themselves were varied and filling. Favourites included a rich lemon tart and the fruit scones, but there was almost too much (which is a rarity with an afternoon tea) and the staff suggested I boxed some up for later on.

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The rooms
There are a number of different levels of rooms at The Royal Hotel. My room was a garden view and as well as the lawns below I could actually see all the way out to the coast which was a lovely surprise. The rooms are classically decorated yet not cluttered and as my window opened all the way up I actually loved sitting on the windowsill and enjoying the sea breeze.

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Each morning the receptionists delivered a copy of the Guardian at my request and I also enjoyed the other small touches such as the postcard picturing the hotel which I found on my dressing table, ready stamped and ideal to send back home.


Facilities 
Having a dip in the swimming pool at The Royal Hotel was actually the first time I’ve been in an outdoor pool at a hotel on the British Isles. It’s at the bottom of the lovely gardens and has comfortable day beds to relax with a G&T when you’re in a need of a rest from exploring the island.

During my stay there were a few artists performing in the lobby area and a number of guests had a coffee or afternoon drink in the comfort of the light & airy space whilst watching the singers and pianist.

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The Royal RIB

The hotel has it’s own RIB or Rigid Hulled inflatable boat and for guests staying 5 days or more they offer a free day out on board. I booked a shorter trip from Yarmouth as my dad had been very specific that I couldn’t come to the Isle of Wight without going to see The Needles. Probably the most famous landmark on the IOW The Needles are three chalk white stacks grandly protruding out of the water up to 30m high. They lead up to the Needles lighthouse and the whole area is a beautiful coastal region including multi coloured sand cliffs.

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It was my first time on a RIB and I was surprised as to how comfortable it was. Able to take up to 8 people at once there were a few places to sit including the red sofa-like back area complete with handles to hold when the RIB went up to high speeds, and indeed it can go fast with it’s 300 horsepower engine! We sped out to The Needles themselves and having never been on a RIB before I was pleased to see that we actually stayed completely dry.

To book a ride on the RIB enquire at reception or call 01983852186.


To book a stay at The Royal Hotel | Click Here

A day in Guernsey | Guernsey Port Guide

When I initially looked at the destinations I would be visiting on my cruise with Princess Cruises from Southampton then Guernsey wasn’t the one I was most excited about. I had naively expected it to not be that different to what I’d seen before in the UK, but I will happily be the first one to hold up my hand and admit that I loved Guernsey and it was actually one of my favourite days of the cruise. Guernsey is just off the coast of Normandy, France but a British Crown Dependency which technically means it’s a self governing place for which the United Kingdom is responsible. In reality it means it feels like a delightful mix of traditional British charm mixed with French influences and of course it’s unique personality.


How to get around

Guernsey has a fairly good bus system and it’s pretty cheap to ride, with most tickets around £1. However they aren’t always that frequent so do be sure to check the timetables especially if you have a ship to get back on at a certain time.

There are a number of taxi services on Guernsey, all of which need to be booked in advance.

If you’re happy to get some exercise then Guernsey is actually a very pleasant place to walk around, and the lack of busy roads means it’s fairly safe even if there isn’t a footpath.


What to do

Visit some of the beaches & bays

I’d heard about Guernsey’s beaches before visiting and I’d been told ‘the water looks like the Med’, however I’d passed this off as nonsense until I actually visited myself. Now I’m the person saying it to others who haven’t been, because it’s true! The water in some of the beautiful bays around the island is turquoise and streaked with other blues making it look like water you’d expect to see by the Greek Isles.

Guernsey’s beaches are vast and clean, particular favourites include Vazon Bay, a haven for those who enjoy extreme sports. Favoured by surfers, kitesurfers and bodyboarders it’s home to Guernsey Surf School which runs classes for all ages and abilities.

Pembroke Bay & Chouet Bay are north of St Peter Port and easily accessible by bus. Virtually deserted when we visited they are a peaceful and beautiful place to visit, with only the neighbouring golf course and odd ice cream stand in sight.

Check out the Loophole Towers

The loophole towers were originally 15 towers built along coast to deter possible French attacks; 12 towers still remain. The towers had three floors and were all built in the same style at 9m tall.

Explore St Peter Port
Charming Saint Peter Port is the capital of Guernsey and the main port. It’s a picturesque town with narrow cobbled streets decorated with flags & bunting making it a colourful and pretty place.

As well as many British high street stores you might recognise it’s also home to many individual boutiques and shops. The port itself is lovely to sit by and there are some delightful cafes nearby including Cafe Emilia as well as traditional fish & chip shops such as The Chip Inn.

Visit the Little Chapel
The Little Chapel is one of Guernsey’s top attractions and for good reason. It’s a 9 foot long and 4.5 foot wide chapel decorated with broken china, shells and bottles resulting in a colourful and unusual design that glistens in the sunshine. Built by Brother Déodat it was designed as a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica in Lourdes.

The chapel is free to visit and relies on donations from the public, it’s served by bus route 71.

May – Sept daily 9am – 6pm
Oct – Apr daily 9am – last light

Visit the lovely Candie Gardens
Candie Gardens is an award winning restored Victorian flower garden. Lovingly maintained these gardens are a tranquil place commanding great views out to the port.

They are home to the oldest known heated glass-houses in the British isles, as well as cafe serving afternoon tea, a museum and art gallery. The Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery and is open daily 10.00-17.00hrs (closes at 16.00hrs 1st November to 29 March). Closes 25th – 26th December and 1st – 31st January. The Library is open from 09:30-17:00 Monday to Saturday, excluding Public Holidays.


For more ideas here is my Guernsey vlog from my visit.


To book a cruise with Princess Cruises that stops at Guernsey click here. This article was written in partnership with Princess Cruises.

Cooking classes in Dominica | Experiences Caribbean

Caribbean food is rich in flavours and personality, with influences from many other countries. Caribbean food is fresh, colourful and often very local, particularly on Dominica where the fresh fruit & vegetables are so easily available around the island. A cooking class is an excellent way to learn about the cuisine on Dominica as well as a nice introduction to a few recipes you might even want to try back home.

Daria has been running cooking classes since 2006 and has won over her customers with her cheery approach and in depth knowledge of Caribbean cuisine. She recently filmed with her beloved ‘Chef Ainsley’ British chef Ainsley Harriott as part of his show ‘Caribbean Kitchen’ which can be seen on ITV.

A class with Daria is like learning recipes from an old friend, she’s passionate about using fresh, local ingredients and many of them come from the surrounding houses and almost all from Dominica itself, except the rice which is imported from a neighbouring island.

I opted for a private class with just Daria and her daughter as an assistant and then my friend & I. As it was a small group we cooked in Daria’s private kitchen upstairs, but with larger groups particularly when a cruise ship has docked then she has a huge kitchen downstairs which can cater for lots of people cooking at once.

We cooked a variety of dishes with Daria talking us through the ingredients for every recipe and encouraging us to get stuck in with the preparation & cooking itself.

First we prepared some Titiri fish cakes/fritters. Titiri is a local fish which seems to come under different names around the Caribbean, the fish is mixed in equal parts with wholewheat flour, lime juice, chilli sauce & coriander before being fried in oil until it’s slightly crispy on the outside and doughy in the middle. It made a lovely snack often chosen for breakfast in Dominica but also went down a treat as a mid cooking nibble.

Another favourite dish we prepared was Creole Fish. A colourful recipe of yellow fin tuna served with pepper, onion, tomato & a marinade ofparsley celery, spring onion, thyme, chives, garlic, lime & parlsey. Creole food is a fusion of cultures and history and Daria describes creole as having attitude. In her own words “Creole is colour, creole is flavour.”

Alongside a coconut rice & beans and plantain cooked 2 ways we dined on the balcony with beautiful garden views before finishing the meal with a fruit salad mixed with local spice infused rum.

Daria’s class was one of the most enjoyable things we did in Dominica and the food was certainly one the top meals of the trip as well. It’s a fantastic introduction to Dominican food and a fun way learn about the flavours of the island.

To book visit Experiences Caribbean |Classes usually run every Tuesday and Friday, but they can be flexible. Prices are $100 USD per head which includes the class, a full meal and 2 free drinks. Up to 30 people.