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Packing for holidays – Tips to make your trip easy!

Travelanche

Travelanche (Photo credit: Chiot’s Run)

It might seem obvious. Surely anyone can pack? You just take stuff you might need and shove it into bags? Right? Well – yes, but there are ways of making it easier and of saving space to ensure you are not crammed, surrounded by bags, in an overloaded car only to arrive at your destination to find you have forgotten underwear.

On the subject of underwear (and most of us like to take some away with us!) I cheat in this department and head for my nearest budget store and stock up on new undies for the whole family. Generally for under £10 they are all sorted and I can pack them early on without worrying if we will run out in the run-up to the holiday.

If you are more upmarket and like your labels think of your holiday as an excuse to sort out your smalls drawer, throw away anything greying or with saggy elastic and treat yourself. A weeks worth – in the case – job done.

So now the rest of your clothes. Take a tip from the celebs and think capsule wardrobe. Team items which will mix and match whatever the weather so you are not taking your entire wardrobe “just in case.”

And another tip from the stars- roll your clothes, don’t fold. They take up less room and believe it or not will end up less creased.

I am a big fan of those bags you pop clothes into then suck the air out of. I recently found some you don’t even need a vacuum to suck the air out with.  Just slide in your clothes, seal most of the end, roll from the other end pushing the air out then seal fully with the zip-lock. They come in varying sizes and can be re-used. Some even come scented! You can find them quite cheap too – I paid £1 for three medium sized bags.

If you choose your holiday venue wisely that might be all you need to pack! Check out www.letsunlimited.com and www.townfarmcamping.co.uk for details but you certainly don’t need to worry about packing huge amounts of clothes as even the campsite has washing machines.

no need to pack bedding!

no need to pack bedding!

Worried about fitting linen and towels into the car? Panic not – Pick a fully-furnished Lets Unlimited cottage in Herts, Beds or Bucks and they will be ready and waiting upon your arrival.

So, choose your holiday destination wisely and you can keep the packing to a minimum – which has the added bonus of meaning when you get home you don’t have to spend days washing and drying! Result!

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All Weather Fun at Ivinghoe Beacon

English: Ivinghoe Beacon seen looking north fr...

Ivinghoe Beacon seen looking north from The Ridgeway. Photographed for Wikipedia by Pointillist and contributed under the cc-by-sa 3.0 license. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Well the summer has been a bit rubbish so far hasn’t it but luckily whatever the weather the Chilterns is always a great place to visit. Just don’t forget your wellies/sunscreen/all purpose hat!

You just have to use your imagination a little bit. Or even better search online for a blog post like this which does all of the thinking for you.
So where would be good to go in any weather? Just up the road from me and the www.letsunlimited.com offices is the magnificent Ivinghoe Beacon. Standing 233m above sea level, the Beacon is not the highest point in the Chilterns but it’s not far off!
So what can you do there?
If it’s windy and grey- make a kite out of lightweight fabric and beanpoles, or buy one for as little as a pound in one of those bargain shops in town. There are some fabulous places to watch kites soar all over the Chilterns but Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire has amazing views across Beds, Herts and Bucks.
At first glance less keen walkers (like me!) might be put off by how high it seems. It towers across the surrounding farm land but never fear! There are car parks quite high up so little legs (like mine!) don’t have far to walk for fun.
The Beacon is also great for dog walkers in all weathers.
Miles of pathways across grass, woodland and rocky paths mean you can make your trip a gentle wander across sloping hills or a trek across boulders and through rarely-used pathways in leafy woodland. Just be aware there are deer and rabbits and foxes etc wild and wandering so if your pooch is the type to run like the wind at the first sniff of wildlife it’s probably best to keep them on the leash! Use it or lose them!
Obviously everybody loves sunny days and the Beacon is a great place for a picnic or a bit of high level sunbathing. Just lounging around admiring the views is so relaxing – take a map and see if you can spot local towns and villages from your bird’s eye position.
Kids love to visit – even on busy days there is plenty of room for playing with a ball or frisbee or maybe on cooler days wrap up warm and take a chair and drawing materials and encourage them to do some sketching or painting – there’s plenty of beauty to inspire.
If you are lucky, among the brightly coloured toy kites you might even spot a real Red Kite hovering above you. It’s hard not to be impressed by their size and beautiful markings.

Dave Woods Airworld Fox is launched by Roger R...

Dave Woods Airworld Fox is launched by Roger Robbins at Ivinghoe Beacon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other days you might find your visit coincides with a meeting of the local model aircraft enthusiasts. Boys young and old particularly seem to love to gather round the model experts and cheer as one of the gliders or planes swoops off from the hill.
So I’ve already said you can drive there. You could get the train to Tring Station, walk up to Aldbury and follow the Ridgeway Path to the Beacon. Or you could take the easy way and plan a holiday or even a weekend break to make the most of the fun to be had.
Stay at one of the properties at Town Farm, Ivinghoe (check out www.letsunlimited.com for a great selection) or camp at www.townfarmcamping.co.uk and enjoy a perfect view of the spectacular Beacon , explore the beautiful villages in the area and try out some of the charming local pubs and restaurants just a short hop from both cottages and campsite – more details on these in another post – you’ll just have to come back to learn more!

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Top Tips for Springtime in the Chilterns

Guest post by Afra Willmore who blogs at http://www.madmumof7.com

Now I don’t want to jinx anything but I think Spring might finally have sprung in my neck of the woods where blossom and bluebells are finally daring to show their beauty.

To be fair all the blooming and blossoming has meant I have had to reach for the hay fever meds but it’s worth it to be able to enjoy all the beauty of the Chilterns region.

There really is something very special about England at this time of year. It’s the time when sunshine can be pleasant enough to picnic, days are long enough to enjoy an evening drink in a pub garden and trees are pink with blossom.

In the Chilterns where I live I have spotted lots of special events advertised so I thought I would showcase a few here today to tempt you to explore and enjoy the best of the Chilterns in the Spring.

On Bank Holiday Monday, May 6, there was a proper English Mayday celebration complete with traditional Morris Dancers, the crowning of the May Queen and Maypole dancing at the picturesque village of Aldbury, near Tring in Hertfordshire.

There was  stalls, rides and entertainment based around the pond aImagend historic stocks in the centre of the village.

If you missed it – don;t panic! think about visiting the village in quieter times. It is chocolate box beautiful, a great starting point for a walk to the ancient Ashridge forest and with two fabulous pubs it’s a great place to visit at any time.

TV favourite, Mike the Knight made an appearance at Mead Open Farm at Billington, Buzzard proving there is always loads to do and see at this wonderful attraction and springtime is extra special with lambs and other baby animals to admire. Check out http://www.meadopenfarm.co.uk for full details.

Image

In the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the month of May this year is extra-special. Due to the long winter, bluebells (which normally bloom in March) are late but it does mean that you can enjoy them during the longer, warmer days at this time of year. Check out http://www.chilternsaonb.org for details of suggested walks and cycle rides. You might even be lucky and spot one of the rare Red Kites who are currently nest-building and laying eggs at the moment!

Now I’m lucky enough to live in this amazing area. But the good news is that there are lots of fabulous places to stay whether you fancy a romantic short break or a longer family holiday.

For a huge range of holiday cottages large and small visit www.letsunlimited.com, a family-run firm who offer self-catering properties ranging from studio apartments to country houses across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and also run a fabulous campsite with amazing views of the Chiltern Hills and surrounding countryside.

They have beautiful properties in rural areas including properties actually at Mead Open Farm so you can make the most of the fun on your doorstep – check it out – the kids will love it!

Lets Unlimited also offer a selection of properties to suit all budgets in urban areas-convenient for holiday-makers wanting to visit shops, museums and theatres and make the most of easy transport links to Oxford and London.

One thing is for sure -whichever part of the Chilterns area you choose to visit you will find plenty to fill your leisure time.

There are beautiful rural areas open to the public for walking, picnics and play like Dunstable Downs, Ashridge Forest and Wendover Woods to name a few.

There are a range of tourist attractions including Whipsnade Zoo

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