Fancy a trip to The Humps, a visit to Herm or a jaunt on Jethou?
Herm, Jethou and The Humps (a collection of sandbanks off the north-east corner of Herm), part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in the English Channel, have, this month, been formally designated as a Ramsar site under The Convention on Wetlands. This puts them on the map as a great destination for nature tourists.
The new site joins the Bailiwick’s three existing Ramsar sites in Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. The status gives international recognition of the special environmental, cultural and heritage characteristics of wetlands to ensure the conservation of key species and habitats.
The various marine and land habitats on and around Herm support a rich diversity of flora and fauna including important breeding areas for sea bird species such as the Lesser black backed gull, Puffin and Shag. In addition, Herm Common has an excellent cultural heritage, with numerous archaeological remains.
Visiting Herm – how to get there and where to stay
Herm Island lies three miles off the east coast of Guernsey and is reached by catamaran from St Peter Port, Guernsey with Trident Ferries (www.traveltrident.com). The trip takes 20 minutes. Timetables vary depending on time of year with eight departures a day in peak season in July and August. Standard return fare is £12.50 per adult, £6.50 per child and £1.50 per infant. Tickets are purchased at the wooden kiosk in St Peter Port harbour.
The four star White House Hotel is Herm’s only hotel which is renowned for good food and wine in a beautiful setting (also worth noting is that the hotel boasts no clocks or televisions so you can really escape!). Room rates start at £128.00 per adult per night, including breakfast and dinner.
For further information on Guernsey including accommodation and things to do, visit www.visitguernsey.com
Don’t assume that camping season is over now that summer has gone. Make the most of this burst of autumn sunshine with a quick camping weekend here…
You can fall asleep to the sound of the waves at Cliff House Holiday Park in Suffolk. Located on a clifftop just outside the village of Dunwich and down the road from RSPB reserve Minsmere, this camping and carvanning site is a joy.
Set aside any sniffy preconceptions of the words ‘holiday park’ in the name – although this is a large site which welcomes caravans and motorhomes, it retains a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere without feeling overly commercial or bland (the site is listed in ‘Cool Camping Kids’ which proves its ‘cool’ and family-friendly creds).
You can pitch your tent amongst the trees in this 30-acre woodland setting, or just on the lawn outside the large Cliff House. You’re merely a minute or two away from the sea, accessed via steep steps down to the pebbly beach, with its wide view along the Suffolk coastline to Southwold and Sizewell.
One happy camper family
With all sorts of camper or caravanner welcome, you get a sense of a big eclectic camping family at Cliff House. Categories are roughly grouped together so tent-sleepers won’t be squashed between motorhomes, but a stroll from tent to reception takes in a myriad of outdoor living arrangements – tents (from small to large), campervans (vintage and modern), safari tents (permanently on site), even an Airstream campervan. Many take to decorating their temporary abodes with fairy lights and other glamping gear.
Open fires are welcome so you can toast mashmallows into the small hours if you wish. All the usual facilities you’d expect from a large site are present (shower blocks, washing areas, playground for children) as well as an on-site bar/restaurant and shop.
The surrounding area
This is a beautiful part of the UK coastline (officially an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The area is dotted with pretty and interesting villages and towns including Southwold, Walberswick, Dunwich and Saxmundham. The aforementioned RSPB Minsmere reserve is minutes away and well worth a visit whether you’re a bird watcher or not. Recommended pubs serving great food and local ales include The Ship at Dunwich and The Anchor in Walberswick (who specialise in organic and biodynamic food, wine and beer including their own homegrown produce and guest craft ales).
Testing our camping gear
During our stay we tested a few camping bits and pieces focusing on the essentials of what any trip needs – food, light and a good night’s sleep!
The Coleman Durarest Raised Double airbed (£89.99, www.coleman.eu) provided, possibly, the most comfortable night’s sleep we’ve ever had on an airbed! Thick and sturdy, it properly raised us off the cool, bumpy ground, and most importantly, it stayed up all night for two nights! Packs away into its own little attached pouch, but as always, that was almost impossible once it was deflated!
The Coleman CPX Portable LED Table Lantern (£29.99, www.coleman.eu) was much larger than expected and provided enough light within the tent and outside. The dome shape emits a wide glow which was quite soft. It’s big enough to stand up solidly on a table or any patch of ground, and its handle allows it to be tied to a tent ceiling (watch your head!). Also attractive enough to use back at home in the garden, so double points for that!
The Campingaz 600SG Stove (£139.99, www.campingaz.com) – Now this is a fancy bit of camping kit. No more squeezing everything onto one flame, this portable camping stove has two adjustable burners with two sets of grill and burner parts. This allows you to have one of each at the same time (e.g. grill some freshly caught fish while boiling up the potatoes) or double flame (boil water for coffee alongside some boiled eggs) or double grill (barbecue time!). No more bending down low as this stove stands on tall telescopic legs. Lots of side and middle trays help you position food and utensils while cooking. All in all a great camping stove that would suit any garden-based al fresco cooking when you get home.
Spectacular coastline, picturesque mountain villages and quaint seaside towns make the Istrian region of Croatia a stunning location for a holiday in the great outdoors. Guest blogger Manuela Kraljevic, of camping holiday specialists Arenaturist, picks four fantastic places to go camping in Istria, Croatia.
If you love the great outdoors…you’ll love Stoja
Stoja sits in a leafy area on one of the most picturesque stretches along the coast – a natural oasis of peace and tranquillity, yet only 3km from the town centre. Diving and sports are popular here due to the vast expanse of water surrounding the peninsula.
Wake up on the east side with the first rays of sun and a view of the fishing port, and head to the south and west sides in the evening for the sunset over views of the open sea.
A camping lot (or pitch) with capacity for 1-4 people starts from £9 per unit, per night and £6 per person, per night
If you’re taking the family…head to Medulin
Located in a peaceful area on the sea just 10km from Pula and served by numerous restaurants, bars and cafés, Medulin has over a 1,000 lots and 121 mobile homes spread across 300,000m2. The region’s only sandy beach, Bijeca, stretches along the camp and is the main attraction for families with kids. There is a fun pool with waterslides, hiking and biking trails, and the Arenaturist sports centre in the vicinity. A large family park is also a part of the camp, with entertainment for the entire family.
A camping lot with capacity for 1-4 people starts from £9 per unit, per night and £6 per person, per night
For the epic camping experience…visit Kažela
Camp Kažela Medulin occupies an idyllic location in Istria, with amazing views across the Adriatic Sea. Situated partly in a wooded area, and partly in an open meadow, Kažela is Arenturist’s largest campsite, with 1,100 lots and 176 mobile homes.
The camping village is known for its amazing view of the Medulin Bay, where guests can enjoy spectacular sunsets every evening. Kažela offers spacious lots and a wide choice of facilities, including various catering, entertainment and sports amenities as well as sun bathing areas, while the youngest ones can benefit from the small water park.
A camping lot with capacity for 1-4 people starts from £8 per unit, per night and £6 per person, per night
If you’re looking for peace and quiet…Tašalera is the perfect retreat
This small campsite is family-friendly with natural surroundings situated on the coast, opposite to Medulin. Guests can enjoy sunny lawns with sea views ideal for trailers and caravans, as well as more intimate pitches for tents in the lush pine forest. The coastline is rocky with many small coves providing sun seekers with their own private beaches. The facilities include a children’s playground and a volleyball court.
A camping lot with capacity for 1-4 people starts from £7 per unit, per night and £5 per person, per night
For more information on all campsites, including the Stupice, Indije, Pomer and Runke sites, visit: www.arenacamps.com
You can’t get much better than eating local seafood in the sunshine, while gazing out to the very sea it was caught in…
That’s the treat Goodtrippers enjoyed last week when we visited the (relatively new) Rocky Bottoms cafe in North Norfolk. This eco-friendly, purpose-built eaterie is run by a local fishing family of over 35 years.
The cafe sits in its own field set back from the cliff-tops of West Runton in North Norfolk. Serving fresh, locally-caught seafood daily, this is a fantastic foodie addition to the Norfolk coast.
Local and seasonal menu
Pick from smoked mackerel, fish cakes, smoked salmon sandwiches, and fresh lobster or crab (famous in this part of the world) caught down the road at Weybourne. We tried the delicious grilled lobster and fries which was topped with garlic butter and served with an inventive, caper-filled salad. There’s also a very yummy seasonal tart on offer – lobster and asparagas in the spring, turning into lobster and samphire in the summer.
Kids can also enjoy the local seafood with a children’s menu offering morsels such as line-caught cod goujons. Puddings are also available – try the ‘Runton Mess’ or classic ice-creams.
Drinks on offer include the usual teas and coffees plus refreshing Fentimans so you can wash it all down with a ginger beer. Or the restaurant operates a BYO option at just £1 per person (so bring some bubbles and make it even more special!).
And you don’t have to eat in – a takeaway menu means you can grab some perfect picnic food for taking down to the beach.
On a sunny day such as our visit you have to grab an outdoor table (plenty of them but on busy days, which are frequent, it would be best to book), or sit inside for a bit of shelter (large glass sliding doors ensure you can still feel the sea breeze if you want to).
If you’re having a briefer stopover, sit back on one of the many deckchairs in the grounds and gaze out at the sea view peeking up over the horizon. The lovely sandy beach of West Runton is a mere three minute walk away.
All in all, we think this is one to rival (whisper it) the infamous Cookies seafood restaurant down the road at Salthouse – Rocky Bottoms has friendly service, wonderful food, and a fantastic location. (We can’t wait to go back to try out their candle-lit indoor eating area for an early seafood supper later this year!).
Opening times: Mon-Sat 10am until 6pm (with later 8pm closing during high season Thurs-Sat); Sun 12pm until 5pm.
Location: Cromer Road (look for the orange signs), West Runton, Norfolk NR27 9QA. Tel: 01263 837359
With so much coastline you’re never far away from a great eating and drinking spot with a stunning sea view in Cornwall. Here’s a selection of a few of our favourites…
The Cabin Beach Cafe, Perranuthnoe
This small cafe sits right on the top of the cliffs overlooking the quiet Perran Sands beach in the lovely village of Perranuthnoe. The menu is basic but very nice including filling breakfast baps and paninis, gluten-free homemade cakes, Cornish ice-cream and good teas and coffees. You can sit inside when it’s raining, but go for the unobstructed sea view from a table in the garden.
Fifteen Cornwall, Watergate Bay
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen has become a well-established part of the Cornish foodie scene since opening a few years ago. Very friendly staff give everyone a warm welcome, particularly those with little ones (as you’d expect a Jamie O eaterie to do!). Top quality, Italian-style food is the order of the day including locally-caught seafood and Cornish ales. The restaurant is a social enterprise so all profits go to the Cornwall Food Foundation and its chef training programme. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow you to watch all of the surfing action across the vast Watergate Bay.
The Fire Engine Inn, Marazion
A traditional pub with a friendly landlord and a range of St Austell beers on tap. Food is served, including gluten-free fish and chips and other seafood dishes, but if you don’t happen to be hungry make sure you at least grab a pint of local ale and take a seat in the beer garden – this pub boasts a stunning view across the water to St Michael’s Mount.
The Point at Polzeath, Polzeath
You don’t have to be staying here or using the health club or golf course to eat in The Point’s restaurant (although it is a handy add-on if you are). You can enjoy almost panoramic views from your table (or on the outside terrace) across farmland, the golf course and down into the surfers’ paradise of Polzeath beach and Pentire Point. Look out for Fizz ‘n’ Chips Night (Thursdays) for their choice of three fish with three batters and a glass of fizz (all £15) and Steak Night (Fridays) for their offer of two steaks and a bottle of wine for £30.
Ben Tunnicliffe, Sennen Cove
This informal beachside eaterie and bar is brought to you by Michelin-star chef Ben Tunnicliffe. With wonderful, unspoilt views across Sennen Cove, it does a great job of combining a relaxed and stylish ‘Ibizan beach bar’ vibe without making you feel unwelcome with a little one (they make great efforts to be family-friendly). The restaurant only ever serves ethically sourced seafood with an ever-changing ‘catch of the day’ on the menu. The food is excellent as is the cocktail list, which included a Ben’s G&T made with Cornish gin on our visit.
The Square at Porthleven, Porthleven
Porthleven has become a well-known destination in Cornwall for foodies with several top eateries in the village (including a new Rick Stein). The Square, now run by the previous owners of the renowned Victoria Inn in Perranuthnoe, offers a brasserie-style menu for informal lunch, dinner and coffee and cake in between. Locally-sourced is the order of the day with all fish landed at Porthleven harbour, meats from Primrose Herd and Vivian Olds, and local vegetable suppliers. They can also offer locally-sourced champagne if you’re celebrating! Plenty of seating indoors, or grab a table outside so you can watch the boats coming and going in the harbour.
The Godolphin Arms, Marazion
Sitting outdoors at this newly renovated gastropub is blissful on a warm, sunny day. You can hear the waves lapping a few meters from your table as you gaze across at St Michael’s Mount and its castle. We enjoyed the shared seafood platter plus their guest craft beer.
Pedn Olva, St Ives
We’ll be honest – we haven’t tried the food here, but we did escape the crowds of St Ives harbour and enjoy a drink. And what a view from their large, outdoor terrace! Choose either the side facing the famous St Ives harbour view, or pick the other side which looks down onto the lovely Porthminster beach and all of the paddle boarders gliding across the calm sea.
Fresh From The Sea, Port Isaac
OK, not technically one with a sea view (you’d have to drag your seat closer to the road and perhaps crane your neck a bit) but it had to be included in this list as a sea view is mere seconds away and the seafood is fantastic! The fishing village of Port Isaac is a tourist hotspot, particularly down at the harbour, but make sure you spot at this small café before walking down the hill (or treat yourself on the way back up). It does exactly what it says on the sign serving fish and seafood freshly (and sustainably) caught from its own boat ‘Mary D’ in Port Isaac harbour. Try a delicious lobster or crab salad, then buy a few cakes and Cornish foodie delights from their shop to take home.
No.1 Rock Road Bar & Grill, Rock
Grab a table on the outdoor balcony (beware of cool winds if there’s a northerly!) and enjoy the view of moored boats gently bobbing in the still waters, and the night ferry going back and forth to the more varied foodie destination of Padstow across the bay. There are plenty of cocktails and decent seafood mains to keep you satisfied.
South Cornwall may be well known for the famous Land’s End, Penzance and St Michael’s Mount, but thanks to cottage hire with Cornish holiday specialists Milly & Martha, we discovered a hidden gem of a village…
Perranuthnoe is a tiny coastal village just two miles from Marazion, the gateway to St Michael’s Mount, and a further drive to Penzance. It was home for a few days thanks to booking a lovely cottage with Milly & Martha. They specialise in self-catering cottage hire, helping people discovered the real Cornwall – the wilds, the nature, the fresh food and simple outdoor family-friendly pursuits.
Their real USP is that all cottage bookings come with a bespoke holiday guide – their selection of the best places to eat and drink, places to go and things to do, based on your needs. Not only did our guide include lots of brilliant family-friendly restaurants, events on during our stay, and special walks and nature activities for little ones – but it meant we were saved a few hours of internet research pre-trip! With so much on offer in Cornwall, you feel you can trust Milly & Martha to point you in the right direction.
Accommodation – the cosy cottage of Trenow
Our lovely two-bedroom cottage, a converted farm building, was immaculate inside with a large kitchen, cosy living room with woodburner, super kingsize beds and a modern bathroom. A delicious welcome gift awaited us on arrival – local strawberries, Cornish apple juice from Helford Creek, and choc brownies from The Little Home Bakery (none of this latest long, yum!).
Although surrounded by other small cottages, you could hear a pin drop at night. The lack of garden doesn’t pose a problem – there is a small terrace area with table and seating outside (a nice spot for morning coffee or an evening drink), but you’ll really want to get out and about with such a lovely village and surrounding area to explore.
The village is clearly a favourite with tourists but doesn’t feel the slightest bit ‘touristy’. You get the sense that this is still a thriving community (albeit quiet and unassuming) even out of season. Just a couple of minutes’ walk down the hill from Trenow cottage is the beach of Perran Sands – a vast expanse of sand at low water which turns into a rocky strip at high tide. You’re just as likely to spot a local artist sitting sketching the view as you are a family on holiday. If you’re as lucky as we were, you may see the sand turn into a giant artwork by local sand artist One Man And His Rake (see picture).
Cafes and pubs
Looking down on the beach is The Cabin Beach Café, open for breakfast baps, lunches and ice-cream and coffees all day (see our top places to eat with a sea view). A few strides up from The Cabin is an art community – a complex of converted farm buildings (unmissable in their brilliant white) housing some lovely shops and galleries selling locally-made gifts, art, food and other basic provisions (for all those self-catering holiday-makers). There’s also the Peppercorn Kitchen Café serving brilliant fair trade coffee, homemade cakes and delicious lunches with a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern twist (catch it quickly as it’s only open from 10am until 3pm).
Perranuthnoe has also become a bit of a destination thanks to the renowned Victoria Inn – reputed to be one of the oldest inns in Cornwall. This gastropub (which also has rooms available), serves top class food far above your average pub fare. Meat and fish are all local and the puddings are inventive (we had a pina colada pannacotta with roasted pineapple). Naturally, local ales are on tap and the service is exceptionally warm and welcoming for everyone, including those with babies and toddlers. It’s no surprise that booking is essential, particularly in the height of the season.
Also, look out for the house with an honesty box stall outside (just down from the Victoria Inn) – you can buy freshly laid eggs and pick your own salad leaves for your picnic, and all the money raised is for charity.
The surrounding area
Thanks to our Milly & Martha bespoke holiday guide we covered a few walks in the area including a 5km round trip to the quaint town of Marazion, to visit St Michael’s Mount (see our post on top Cornwall walks for more).
We were also able to use Perranuthnoe as a base to explore the westernmost tip of England, Land’s End and the stunning coastline. A highlight being a visit to Porthcurno and the incredible Minnack Theatre – even if you don’t catch a show at this outdoor theatre built into the cliffs, the view will take your breath away (read more about it in our walks post).
The popular harbour town of St Ives is also a short drive away – worth a trip when you want a bit more hustle and bustle, and some time spent on the white sand of Porthminster beach.
Get Creative – Milly & Martha are currently running Sun + Screen, a creative Cornish break which includes a stay in a cosy cottage and the chance to learn a new skill at a screen printing workshop. Delivered by professional printmaker Dena O’Brien, of Kiwi Print Studio, the workshop will help you to turn your holiday snaps into a souvenir print, postcard or bag. Visit Milly & Martha’s creative breaks on their website for more.
For a great base for exploring the surfers’ paradise of the north Cornish coast, it’s time to ‘get to The Point’…
Sitting back on a private balcony, Cornish beer in hand, you can barely hear a pin drop (or a surfer splash) from The Point at Polzeath. This complex (‘resort’ isn’t quite the word) enjoys a priviledged position amidst farmland and its own golf course, a 20 minute gentle climb up from the coast.
The Point, which consists of a golf club, health club, restaurant and bar, has been hosting guests at self-catering cottages on its land for years. This spring, The Point opened a brand new set of seven luxury holiday apartments designed with eco-friendly credentials at its core.
The apartments, designed by architects Laurence Associates, consist of four three-bedroom and three two-bedroom luxury units, located just a two minute stroll from The Point’s restaurant and health club. The building itself sits within a hill ridge, complete with a sedum roof and Kebony cladding, discretely blending with the surroundings. High quality building materials, including the acclaimed and sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood, Kebony, are used for the cladding and soffits – over time this material will develop a beautiful silver patina blending in with the surrounding environment even more. In addition, ground source heat pumps have been installed, which supply hot water and underfloor heating throughout.
Our apartment – Scandinavian style meets Cornish innovation
The Point’s owners Eva and Jeremy offer a very warm welcome and ensure everyone is in proper ‘holiday mode’! We stayed in ‘Viking’ (they’re all named after shipping forecast regions), a two-bedroom apartment on the west end of the complex which allowed for sweeping views both north and west. It was surprisingly spacious, light and airy inside with top-of-the-range fittings including the bespoke kitchen made by a local craftsman.
The interiors and furnishings are contemporary with a Scandinavian feel, including cool, mid-century upcycled furniture. For when you want to stay indoors, there are cosy and homely touches too with a wood burning stove, flat screen TV, wifi and a choice of board games. We made the most of watching the sunsets through the floor-to-ceiling windows or from our balcony with its uninterrupted view stretching down to Polzeath and Pentire Point.
For those travelling with little ones, we’d recommend booking your bulky baby equipment with local hire company Babes & Bikes. They hire out kit such as highchairs, travel cots and buggies ensuring it’s already assembled at your accommodation before you arrive. A great help as this saved vital space in the car (and our own sanity from lugging around our own kit everywhere!).
Food and drink
As the apartments are self-catering, you may want to take a break from preparing your own food and try the on-site restaurant (which is also open to non-guests). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus an all-day bar, make sure you try one of their specials nights – Thursday is Fizz ‘n’ Chips night (£15 for a choice of three fish with three batters, plus a glass of bubbly), or go for Steak Night on Friday (£30 for two steaks and a bottle of wine).
The Point at Polzeath is known for its golf course so expect to see plenty of golf buggies trundling around during your stay, usually chased by Scrabble, Eva and Jeremy’s friendly spaniel. But don’t worry if you don’t play, there are plenty of other activities on offer including a swimming pool, gym, fitness classes and spa treatments (we tried a heavenly massage from Seventh Heaven). There are also plenty of walks….
The surrounding area of Polzeath
Ask at reception for a local map and advice about walks in the area. You’ll be walking across the golf course (watch those balls!) and down into Polzeath village (25mins) where a windy day with rough seas will attract surfers from all around. You can hire boards or book in for surfing lessons yourself if you fancy it. Otherwise, the coastal path will take you along Pentire Point to enjoy stunning views of the bay.
In the other direction, you can walk to the village of Rock (35mins) with its calm bay and ferry point over to foodie destination Padstow. Short drives from The Point take you to the historic fishing village of Port Isaac, and Tintagel Castle associated with the legend of King Arthur.
All in all, for a stylish Cornish holiday as relaxed or as activity-packed as you need, don’t mess about, just get to The Point!
Prices for an apartment start at £140 per night. Visit www.thepointatpolzeath.co.uk for full details including booking and use of the restaurant, golf course and health club facilities.
The Point at Polzeath is located at St Minver, Nr Polzeath, Cornwall, PL27 6QT
It’s time to celebrate that great British tradition of eating outdoors, come rain or shine….it’s National Picnic Week!
You know it’s summer when the slightest hint of sunshine makes everyone roll out the picnic rug, brave the wasps or put up with sand in their sandwiches and enjoy a picnic. Next week is National Picnic Week (13th – 21st June 2015) so we’ve compiled our own top tips for perfect alfresco feasts.
Pick a gorgeous location
The beauty of picnics is you can do them almost anywhere – as long as it’s outdoors. Try not to fall foul of eating your sandwiches in the car park or on the roadside (which we can only imagine is done when you’ve just no time or energy to find a better spot). Picnics are about getting back to nature, feeling the grass or sand between your toes, and breathing in the fresh air. Everything tastes better alfresco!
If you don’t mind a bit of sand getting everywhere (and it will!), a beach is a fantastic picnic spot. Our favourites are the more wild, remote beaches (check out Britain’s best wild beaches for inspiration) including the expansive sands of Holkham beach in North Norfolk where even on a busy day you’ll be able to find a decent sized spot of your own. We also love Rhossili Bay in Wales’ Swansea Bay – described by some as Britain’s best beach and by poet Dylan Thomas as “very near nowhere”.
You can also picnic urban style, particularly as our towns and cities are some of the greenest with well-kept parks and green spaces. London has a phlethora of green spots to choose from including the enormous Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath to tiny community gardens and recreation grounds in every borough. For a central location, we like St James Park for its lakes, wildflower patches, undulating grass and resident pelicans!
Go wildlife spotting
National Picnic Week is encouraging children to get closer to nature and explore their natural surroundings. Visit their website to download a copy of their brilliant Picnic Week Scavenger Hunt – see how many birds, insects, leaves and more you can find when you’re out on a picnic.
Pack a lovely picnic kit
Don’t forget essential kit such as a sharp knife, corkscrew and cloths to wipe mouths (and plates etc). Plenty of water is a must as well as sunscreen, insect repellent and an umbrella or two (don’t let the weather scupper your plans, just be prepared!).
The fun stuff comes with what to eat off and drink out of. We love the outdoor dining and picnic accessories from the eco-friendly brand Yours Sustainably. From beautifully handpainted stainless steel cups to bamboo bowls and spoons, we want the lot!
Create some inspired picnic food
Yes, you can grab ready-to-eat pre-packaged picnic food from a supermarket, or (much better) buy a few handmade edibles from your local deli or farmers’ market. But if you’re preparing the day ahead, why not use it as an excuse to create a few new foodie delights in kitchen? We like ‘A Perfect Day for a Picnic’ by Tori Finch featuring 80 recipes to share with family and friends. We’re also fans of the Guardian’s ‘Cook’ supplement, often filled with plenty of delicious snack and lunch ideas that make great picnic fare.
The National Picnic Week website is full of great ideas including beautiful picnic spots, fun and games, recipes, advice and more. Visit www.nationalpicnicweek.co.uk. Share news and pics of your alfresco adventures on Twitter using the hashtag #picnicweek.
Guest blogger Rebecca MacDonald-Taylor, of NGO Frontier, tells us how you can help threatened sea turtles in the Indian Ocean…
Picture this: Dark ashy shades created from the towering volcanic mountains contrast with a rainbow pallet of coral reefs shimmering through the clear blue waters. The Indonesian island of Bali really is stunning!
Working with turtles
Bali is under huge pressure from Indonesia’s growing tourism industry. It’s understandable – Bali is gorgeous and everybody wants to see it for themselves, but the more people visit, the more the fragile environment and its wildlife is damaged.
Frontier helps provide a solution by operating the Sea Turtle Conservation project which provides a hands-on approach in the conservation of these majestic and enchanting creatures. It’s a unique experience, and one that you can join.
Life as a volunteer on the project
Litter left on the beaches can be a big choking problem, especially for the young, and so volunteers monitor the weaker turtles in a natural enclosure for support and rehabilitation until they are ready for release. The project also needs people to collect vital baseline data on turtle populations.
During the day, volunteers also have the opportunity to teach English at one of the local schools which is a fantastic chance to immerse yourself in the Bali culture. Support, particularly in English language fluency, has a lasting impact on the community.
Volunteers enjoy three meals a day of traditional Balinese cuisine, an exciting fusion of Indonesian and Chinese styles. Some of the most popular dishes are Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice with a fried egg on top) and Mie Goreng (fried noodles with egg).
One of the added bonuses of volunteering on this project is that you get to live right next to the beach! You can stay at a volunteer house with all the basic facilities that you’ll need.
There is a mix of both Western and Asian-style toilets and I would definitely suggest making use of the outdoor showers. There are indoor ones, but you may as well take advantage of welcoming a cold rinse in the tropical temperatures. You would never be able to do that in the UK! (‘We agree’ – Editor)
Recommended for… Anyone who is desperate to escape to a tropical dreamland and immerse themselves in a diverse culture, helping the local community. A love of turtles wouldn’t go amiss either!
Be aware that… Some activities are seasonal. Turtles lay their eggs throughout the year, but the opportunity to collect eggs and monitor nests is often highest between July and October when the sea is calmer.
For more information, including a full programme, prices, departure dates and booking, visit the Sea Turtle Conservation project page on the Frontier website.
About the author: Rebecca MacDonald-Taylor is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog ‘Into the Wild’ for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit www.frontier.ac.uk.
To celebrate their 25th birthday, our friends over at volunteering NGO Frontier are offering you the chance to win a fabulous holiday…
Do you dream of snorkeling through crystal clear waters, experiencing South Pacific charm, and encountering some beautiful wildlife? Well you could be doing just that if you enter Frontier’s competition to win this two-week conservation holiday in Fiji.
The azure waters surrounding the islands of Fiji are home to around 1,200 species of fish, 12 species of whale, and many corals and other marine plants. On the Fiji Beach Conservation project, you’ll be working with the University of the South Pacific to collect essential data that helps a number of organisations protect the marine habitat. Whilst snorkelling , you’ll see an extraordinary array of animals from turtles to manta rays, sea cucumbers to feathery starfish, spiny urchins to octopus and jellyfish. When you visit distant dive sites you may even encounter gigantic manta rays, sharks, humpback whales or flying fish. By the end of your project you will be expert at identifying vast numbers of colourful and patterned reef fish as well as being an experienced and competent diver.
Up for the experience? To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is ‘Like’ Frontier on their Facebook page, then fill in the questionnaire online.