Category: Travel


Set in the beautiful countryside of Cheshire, Rookery Hall Hotel in Nantwich is really something quite special.

It feels like it's been designed for those in need of an escaped from the grind and dirt of London and not only is it ultra peaceful and relaxing - it's also got all the modern amenities you need to make your stay a complete break.


The hotel is massive  - spread across 38 acres with 70 bedrooms. The rooms are decked out with everything you could think of including - luxurious baths to disappear into for a few hours (with TVs built in – what more could you want).

When you drag yourself out of the room (you really don’t need to – there’s room service on hand for those weekend stays…) the dining rooms are worth a look in. The antique dark wooden panelling gives a sophisticated decadence to the bar and dining rooms which look out onto the stunning garden views.

Salon Restaurant [1]

Even if you’re not staying over night, the food on offer is enough for a visit. The menu is everything you might expect from a country house restaurant but what gives Rookery Hall the edge over other similar hotels is the quality and extra touch that goes into everything. Every dish we had was not only beautifully presented but also substantial and delicious. It's hearty, comforting food and everything you want after a long day relaxing (hiking) around the neighbouring landscape.


Just to top it all off - there’s an Elemis spa in a converted stable block on hand to bring you back to your full restorative state. There’s seven treatment rooms, a relaxation room, glass-roofed indoor swimming pool and a gym (should you feel the urge). If you looking to unwind – you don’t need to look very far.

The entire stay is a thing of restoration and relaxation and the perfect antidote to London which everyone should and must experience. It’s only 15 minutes away from the M6 and we’re already planning our next escape back…

hotel outside

Stay in a hobbit house do something different

As the final film of the Hobbit trilogies turn the world bat shit crazy for Hobbits why not do something different, get out of the smog of London and go and stay in a Hobbit House?, the UK’s largest holiday rental site - offers holidaymakers a memorable experience where they may even spot Bilbo Baggins himself!

Forget Middle-earth. The Hobbit House in the ‘Shire’ of Northwest Montana offers visitors an enchanting experience. The lodge is located in ‘Hobbit Village’ which comes to life at night with a mystic light display on Hobbit Lane consisting of a cavalcade of mushrooms and fairy structures: fans may even spot the shadow of Bilbo Baggins as he drinks and entertains his friends.

Northwest Montana offers a very similar landscape to that imaging by Tolkein for Middle-earth, with beautiful mountains and crystal clear lakes. Guests are advised to avoid the Troll Mine where nasty trolls live, but can visit to the mini Elven Village.

unnamedAt 1,000 square foot, the guest cottage comes complete with one king bedroom and a hobbit guest bedroom. Other features include a well-equipped kitchen, a flat screen TV, a library and a wood burning stove for those rare chilly nights: the cottage is always warm as it’s underground, of course! Guests can also savour some cram and raise a toast with Ent-draught on the deck which overlooks the Shire.

Since hobbits like to eat at least six times a day, the owners share a special treat with each guest upon their arrival: a very large and distinctive Trollhouse cookie made with special fairy dust and hobbit ingredients!

Just as Bilbo Baggins and his friends  journey into the “Wild” and see creatures of Tolkien’s Wilderland, so can the guests at Hobbit Village. An abundance of wildlife can be spotted in the surrounding countryside including Baldwin the resident Bald Eagle, blue herons, deer, elk, moose, coyotes and the occasional bear or wolf.

The Hobbit House sleeps four and is available for rental from $316 (£202) per night.


film locationsFrom Far from the Madding Crowd in Dorset to Frankenstein in Manchester, England will be one big, beautiful movie set next year, and once again crowds will flock to see where their favourite films were shot.  If you are a filmie why not take a little road trip around all these amazing destinations next year to stand in the same spots as these films were shot?image003

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford says: “Our research shows that 40% of tourists want to visit locations they’ve seen on the big and small screen, so we know there is a huge appetite for ‘set-jetting’.”

VisitEngland has teamed up with Creative England to select some of the biggest films to grace our screens in 2015, revealing to film buffs exactly where the action was shot. image004


9 January 2015

Set for release in January, the film adaptation of the eponymous Broadway musical Into the Woods features an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp. Showing off a number of quintessentially English locations, the soon-to-be Disney hit was shot at Dover Castle in Kent, Waverley Abbey and Virginia Water in Surrey, the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire, Hambleden Village and Hambleden Barn in Buckinghamshire. The film follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.


27 March

This live-action feature is inspired by the classic fairy tale Cinderella and brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece. English locations including the grand bridge at Blenheim Palace, Black Park in Iver Heath and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich all help to set the scene for this childhood favourite. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden and Helena Bonham-Carter and will be released as the clock strikes midnight on 27 March.


April 2015
Starring Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci and Alan Rickman, A Little Chaos is set to grace our screens in April next year. The story centres on a female landscape-gardener who is awarded the esteemed assignment to construct the grand gardens at Versailles, a gilt-edged position which thrusts her to the very centre of the court of King Louis XIV. But the 18
th century French palace and grand houses were actually shot in England at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire and Cliveden House in Berkshire. Some of the cast stayed at the Grade I listed, luxury hotel and grand stately home, Cliveden House, during filming. With a garden central to the story, the production also needed some versatile outdoor space and found most of what they were looking for in Black Park, a country park next door to Pinewood Studios, which covers over 500 acres of woodland, heathland and grassland.


May 2015

A new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel Far from the Madding Crowd will be released in May. The film stars Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen, with screen play by David Nicholls. Filmed predominantly in and around Hardy Country in Dorset; Mapperton House, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Sherborne, Eype, Purse Caundle, West Bay, Beaminster and National Trust property Cogden Beach all play a part. Few authors have such strong associations with their local area as Thomas Hardy, and today you can explore two of the writer’s houses – his childhood home and Max Gate, the property Hardy designed himself and moved into with Emma after his marriage.National Trust property, Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, also features in the film, doubling up as Boldwood.


2 October 2015
Based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel of the same name, the latest adaptation is set to be released in October and will feature an all-star cast. Daniel Radcliffe will star as hunchback Igor, whilst James McAvoy will portray Victor von Frankenstein. Filming locations included Manchester Town Hall, Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Old Royal Naval College, including King Charles Court, and the bank of the river Thames in Greenwich.


Were you surprised to get help from Royal Dutch Airlines KLM when you had a travel mishap recently?  You shouldn't have been as KLM made it their mission for five days straight to help any traveller in need whether under their flying wing or not to show just how happy they are to help.

The KLM #happytohelp team scoured social media and went above and beyond for five days straight to helping passengers from a special HQ at Schiphol Plaza in Amsterdam Airport. Whether the passengers were flying with KLM or a different airline or if they were just a traveller in need, KLM made it their mission to help them.

So if you want a fuzzy feeling before Christmas of how lovely it is to help people out (forget all the presents) then have a look at this video.

Basically, we're flying with KLM from now on.

Find more heart-warming videos on the dedicated #happytohelp channel:

Stratford Upon Avon - Shakespears homeThe Olympics are nearly over but if you’re looking for a chance to escape the last minute rush or indeed just to get out of the city after the craziness that has been the last few weeks then we suggest heading to Stratford Upon Avon.

Just under two hours outside of London (leaving from Marylebone) Startford Upon Avon is the perfect visiting place for anyone who wants to get out of London but doesn’t want to have to travel for hours and hours just to feel like they’re getting a break from the Big Smoke.

The city is of course best known as being the home of none other than Shakespeare but it also has mile and miles of green space, a beautiful river, several riverside pubs, some amazing restaurants and bars as well as several theatres that you can enjoy on your day. Here's what you need to know...


What to stay: There are plenty of hotels and B&B's around but we suggest The Legacy Falcon a 16th century residence complete with half-timbering and a quaint Tudor feel with modern bedrooms and communal areas. This hotel has everything you'll need to make your stay an enjoyable one from open fire places for relaxing in front of with a glass of red wine or an ale to a beautiful courtyard garden and award winning restaurant. It's also in the heart of town so you're right next to everything you could ever wish to visit.

What to do: There's several pass times around Stratford but we suggest taking the  hop on, hop off City Bus Tour as it's by far the quickest and easiest way of seeing everything the city has to offer in a short time. All five of Shakespeares houses are worth a visit in particular Mary Arden's Farm, a real working Tudor farm complete with falconry displays, a petting zoo, horses, goats, pigs and several other types of animal. What's more when you buy a ticket to all five houses you make a pretty big saving and tickets are valid for up to 12 months so you can return any time. Aside from the houses there's also the Stratford armories, a butterfly farm and a beautiful park to explore which regularly plays hosts to markets and music and theatre events.

Where to eat and drink: We recommend Marlowe's which claims to offer the finest food and cellar in the area. Situated in the heart of town it's the perfect spot for a bite of dinner in traditional Tudor surroundings. We suggest trying the rib eye steak which is really, really good. As for drinking there are loads of reasonably priced and very cosy pubs in the area as well as some more up market and trendy bars such as No.7, and Hole in the Wall.

For more information head over to the tourist information website which has loads of tips and tricks and places to visit in the area.