Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Polperro


Hello Dear Reader,

I had the loveliest time with a dear friend today. We drove for about fifteen minutes from my home to Polperro. 

It's an ancient fishing village, the streets were designed for ponies with baskets of fish on their backs.

In the 1700s and 1800s, smuggling was rife and the history was shall we say colourful.

Once, the entire economy of the village depended on fishing. Now, the village makes it's living from tourism. It's a sad day if all if Cornwall ends up like this, a pastiche of times gone by which just exists for people to gawp at. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather there was tourism than no economy at all but this place just saddened me.



So many empty properties. When I got home, I investigated how much the rentals were. On average they were over £800 a week even now when the season is all but over. A lot were well over £1500 for a week. Oh dear, greed gone mad! I then, through further investigation found many of those rental properties for sale. Considering that most of Polperro was built before cars and that most properties have no vehicular access they still were massively expensive. The result of greed gone mad? Empty homes. It was a shame to see. 


It's sad enough that Cornish people can no longer afford to live in coastal communities, at least remember that your only income is from tourism. So Polperro, get real. Drop your prices, fill your holiday rentals. 

Rant over!

Over to you Dear Reader, who would have taken a holiday in Cornwall or another tourist area if it were more reasonably priced?

Love Froogs xxxx

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Cheap Holidays in the UK

Hello Dear Reader,

I'm writing tonight after a direct request from yourself. You said you wanted to visit the UK and wanted to know how to have a holiday here as cheaply as possible. I've spent an age researching and there's my first piece of advice.

1. Research - Check out where in the UK and what you want to see. It's a really diverse place. No two towns, areas, streets are alike. Some city centres have become a horrible copy cat edition of all the others with imported non-tax paying coffee shops, chain stores and overly priced just about everything. However, get off the beaten tracks, go and visit the real UK and you will find a friendly, welcoming affordable country where you can comfortably relax for a week or two and find some wonderful history, culture and entertainment.

2. London? Ok, my first advice would be not to bother. But, if you are from overseas I can see that you might like to. Here's what to research, LONDON FOR FREE  - now click on each of the numbers and it will take you to sites telling you about events and attractions that will not cost you anything. 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5 and you will want the cheapest places to stay in London - Here are links to cheap accomodation - 1, which is for London hostels and 2 which is for rooms to rent in universities when the students are not there which is June, July, August and part of September. Normally, I would suggest that you didn't visit the UK in British School summer holidays as that is peak season and all accommodation and travel is charged at a premium. However, London is different and you will get the university accommodation cheaper.

3. Travel. If you are coming to the UK from Europe, then just come on a ferry and bring your own car. Trains are expensive and buses, although affordable are a chuffin' nightmare. You will also be at the mercy of timetables and will be restricted. If you are flying in and coming with a family or group then just hire a car. Obviously, the bigger the car the more it will cost. Also, most of our cars are manual and you might have to pay more for an automatic. You can hire a car straight from the air port but be prepared for terrible traffic around the air ports. Bring your sat nav with you or hire one with the car. With a group of you sharing the car will work out cheaper than the train or bus. Here is a link to car hire from Heathrow, but do your research and book online and pay online before you get here. To find the best comparison deals use this website www.travelsupermarket.com  to research the cheapest car hire for the airport you would be flying into.

4. Public Transport -  buses and trains. - If the thought of driving in another country is off putting then you can get around by public transport. The place to go to research the cheapest travel options or to find the best deals for travel is www.moneysavingexpert.com. You can go direct to bus companies and book bus tickets in advance but the cheapest fares are always major city to major city. You will need to investigate getting around in advance, some areas of the UK are not served by any trains or buses at all and you would only be able to get there by car or walking. Here are the ways of finding ticket prices for transport


Each area of the UK has their own privately owned bus companies. Here in Cornwall, the little green buses that take you any where for a couple of quid are called Western Greyhound. If you were going to Wales, the Midlands, Yorkshire or Northern Ireland, then just research buses in that area. Once you get to the main area then you can get the little local buses after that. Think of it as a way to meet the natives!

Accomodation - If you've come from mainland Europe and you've brought your car then you have the option of bringing camping equipment and finding some really beautiful places to camp. You can research places to pitch your tent or motorhome at www.pitchup.com Glamping is all the rage now in the UK, you can hire something solid ( a posh shed!) but in our weather it would be a welcome alternative to camping. You can research glamping It's more expensive than camping and a youth hostel but you might find somewhere really quirky. here http://www.glamping-uk.co.uk/

My best advice for accommodation, especially if you are travelling as a family or in a group is to stay at Youth Hostels. These are places to stay at any age. They are incredible value for money and if you can book early enough then you can have a room for two in places such as London or Bath for £80 a night and as low as £39 for a family room in other areas of the UK. Here in Cornwall, hotel prices are incredibly high, some B&B prices are also very high but the simple but very clean and friendly accommodation in Youth Hostels are really affordable. Here is the link to the Youth Hostel Association and you can research where you want to stay but book well in advance, in some cases a year in advance in areas such as major cities or tourist areas such as Cornwall. Here's the link - YHA

Food - This is relative to where ever you've come from. You might think our prices are high or cheap. You can eat affordably even if you are on the road and travelling. If you've hired a  car and you're staying in youth hostels, there are usually facilities for you to cook your own food. You will find supermarkets every where and find something easy to cook and eat. Look our for Lidl, Aldi and Tesco which are our cheapest food stores. In some towns, you will still find the out door markets and they are cheaper than you would think. You can buy a lot of cooked meat, cheese and bread and will be able to find something cheap and affordable to eat. In cheaper areas of the country you will find pubs with the term 'Carvery' and some of them are 'all you can eat'. Have a good 'feed' at these places once in a while and make do with self catering the rest of the time. In some areas of the country, fish and chips is affordable - here in Cornwall it's around £7.50 but it's more or less in other places. 

Lots of Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants have 'all you can eat' buffet lunches. Some for as little as £5 per head. One fast food place called Pizza Hut has an all you can eat lunch for  £6.99. You can eat in pubs and restaurants if you choose but you will pay more in the evening that lunch time. So, make do with a sandwich, fruit and cake from the supermarket in the evenings and eat 'out' at lunch time. Lots of 'chain' restaurants and pubs do 'two meals for £10' at lunch time. If you see the old folk in there at lunch time, they know a good deal when they see one! Also, lots of churches here have cafes attached to them, it's a community service and raises funds for the church. Plymouth has a cafe called The Discovery cafe which is run by the central Methodist church and the food is great and really cheap. It's used a lot by students, who again know a bargain when they see one. 

Visiting different areas of the UK. On a map, this tiny island might look as if you can skip about from one place to another, please remember than there are 65 million people here with cars, using the buses, the trains and getting around. Expect to take your time. So many visitors do the UK in five days and see London, Bath, Stratford Upon Avon and Edinburgh. Do that if you choose to and you will see the tourist shops selling tacky rubbish from China and you will pay through the nose for food, accommodation and travel. Get out and about and see the real UK and you will pay less, eat better and be made really welcome by friendly people.

Things to do and places to visit - the very best thing on offer in the UK is culture and history. We've got that by the tonne. To research this and find out what you can see and where you can go take a look at

Each area of the country has its own tourism information. Just 'google' the county you want to visit with the word 'visit' in front. so, visit Warwickshire, visit Kent and so on. 


Over to you Dear Reader, here's where I want everyone to join in. If you are from the UK, suggest somewhere local to you that anyone from over seas really should see. If you have a 'I would like to visit the UK' question then please ask away and anyone can answer.

I could have spent hours talking about affordable ways to visit the UK but I'm sure, you Dear Reader, have plenty of information to share. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx