We asked our Regional Managers to capture autumn by camera as they travelled the length and breath of the UK and Ireland. We’re sure you will agree, the results are just a bit stunning!
The spectacular ‘City of Lights’ procession in Truro marks that city’s official lead up to Christmas. As the temperature dropped and the rain mercifully held off, we dropped by to take in the sights and sounds of this year’s celebration themed ‘expect the unexpected’. The procession is an annual celebration with a Celtic flavour that heralds the approach of the festive season. The cobbled streets of the Cornish capital are lit up by paper lanterns, some small but others are huge shaped in the form of all kinds of magical ‘creatures’. This is a very popular event in Cornwall and the streets of one of Britain’s smallest cities were packed, lining the route sometimes five deep onto the pavements.
There was a real sense of anticipation in the city, a family feel to proceedings with excited children pondering what type of creatures they were likely to see this year. They were not disappointed, the lanterns were stunning representing weeks if not months of hard work amongst locals in the lead up to this one evening. As the sound of bagpipes and drummers reverberated around a city dominated by its cathedral, suddenly dragons, dinosaurs and even a ballerina lantern lit up what was an unusually cold evening in Truro. The procession coincided with the switch on of the city’s Christmas lights which added to the magic of an evening which precedes a series of weekly festive markets held in the lead up to Christmas. With the backdrop of imposing cathedral, lit up along with the lanterns and fairy lights, very soon everyone forgot about the cold and thoroughly enjoyed the early dose of Yuletide spirit!
Christmas is a particularly special time of year in Cornwall and the City of Lights festival is one of a number of events in the lead up to the special day. Normally associated with holidays in the summer months, Cornwall is a fantastic location for a short break or maybe week’s holiday over Christmas itself. Devoid of the throngs during July and August, this is a great time of year to explore once of the most naturally beautiful counties in Britain. During November and December the very best of local arts, crafts and of course food provide the focus for markets and celebrations across the county. Truro itself bustles with a wide range of eclectic shops and fine restaurants. Within very easy reach of both the north and south coasts, Truro provides a great base for exploring this part of England’s beautiful South West.
With an expansive westerly facing Atlantic coast, France has some of the finest and most beautiful surfing spots in Europe. With great beaches, fantastic surf and the prospect of sunshine it is not surprising that France is magnet for surfers from across the world. Add to that a heady mix of great nightlife and fine cuisine; you have the makings of a great holiday exploring the very best of French reefs and breaks. To help you choose we are going to focus on our top 5 surfing beaches in France.
1. Hossegor, Aquitaine
Nestling in the south west corner of France within border region of Aquitaine, Hossegor is the surfing capital of France, if not Europe! The breaks at Hossegor are widely regarded as world class and often are huge; this is a great spot to ride the perfect tube. Perfect for more experienced surfers, Hossegor is the location for pro competitions including the prestigious Quicksilver event. With miles of beaches to choose from it is not surprising that Hossegor has become a permanent fixture for the pro tour. With such an established surfing community the local economy has developed primarily to support surfing in the area. Much of the picturesque coastline is surrounded by forest which along with the laid back vibe has attracted artists as well as surfers to this part of the Atlantic South West. If you are serious about surfing, Hossegor has definitely got to be on your ‘to do’ list.
2. Biarritz, Aquitaine
The allure of Biarritz is hard to resist, renowned as a luxurious resort since the mid-19th century Biarritz now attracts the surfing elite alongside the chic tourist set. In very close proximity to northern Spain, Biarritz enjoys a good quality of consistent breaks that will thrill regular surfers. Being such a popular resort, Biarritz is also great for beginners with a number of surf schools available to introduce you to the sport. This is a gorgeous part of France with a spectacular rocky coastline dotted with numerous inviting coves. The natural landscape is in keeping with the illustrious history of a resort that has attracted the artistic glitterati for decades, with notable visitors including Earnest Hemmingway who was so enamoured that he included Biarritz in his classic ‘Sun Also Rises’. If you like your surfing with a touch of the exotic and that Californian feel, then Biarritz may be perfect for you.
3. La Sauzaie, Vendee
The Vendee is blessed with some of the largest and most picturesque beaches in France. For surfers the beach of choice is La Sauzaie, where strong Atlantic tubes roll off the local reef to produce some of the most consistent waves in France. Known locally simply as ‘the spot’, Sauzaie’s reputation for great surf has grown particularly in the last two decades. Here you will find large but busy beaches packed with surfers keen to get on board some of the best breaks in the Vendee, with waves often between 1 and 2 metres in height. Nearby Bretignolles-sur-Mer is a great centre for water sports in general with sailing, kite surfing as well as traditional surfing very popular amongst tourists.
4. Moliets , Aquitaine
Set in an area known as Les Landes, the beach at Moliets is set in and amongst beautiful countryside surrounded by sandy dunes. Very popular amongst surfers particularly in the summer and autumn months, this is a fun resort orientated around the outdoors. With a vibrant nightlife Moliets comes alive in summer with an activities based scene is very popular with Brits. There is an unspoilt feel to the area ideal for families but enough going to keep everyone happy. Surfers can enjoy consistent surf throughout the year, this is a huge beach but does get busy in summer. With good breaks from left and right, the Moliets Plage is a great base for your next surfing holiday.
5. La Torche, Brittany
The Celtic connection between Brittany and South West England remains strong and indeed there is a very close relationship in terms of history and indeed geography between Brittany and Cornwall. The western reaches of Brittany, like its English cousin, is fantastic for surfing and perhaps the most famous spot is La Torche, a headland in the Bay of Audierne. Facing the Atlantic the rugged terraine surrounds a large sandy beach which produces regularly long rides, with a particularly fun wave at low tide. The exposed nature of the landscape means the winds off-shore are perfect for watersports and indeed the world wind surfing championships have been held here in the past. There is a great balance here between land and sea, with the countryside blending into the sandy dunes creating a picturesque backdrop for coastal walks. Eminently accessible from the channel ports, Brittany is well served by regular ferry crossings so head to La Torche for the some of the best surfing in North West France.
Few things make us wish it was summer more than the thought of a week at Riarosa on the beautiful island of Ischia. This charming and comfortable first floor holiday apartment is set in a dominant and panoramic position over the bay of Citara. Beach only 200m. Access to the island is by hovercraft or ferry from Naples and Pozzuoli. Sleeps 4. More info on our website.
We’re seeing a lot of interest in our featured holiday properties in Italy for 2014. So, for a little holiday inspiration, we thought we’d highlight a few of our holiday hotspots…
If you’re feeling suitably inspired, you can take a look at our featured holiday properties in Italy on cottages4you.
A luxurious 5000-square feet, eco-friendly Alpine holiday villa, on three acres of mature, wooded gardens, with views of Carlingford Lough, the Mourne Mountains and the Cooley Mountains – not to mention a hot tub, open fire and accommodation for 15 and 3 pets! What more could you want from a holiday property? Find out more on our website.
We’ve seen lots of interest in holiday cottages in Ireland recently, and we think these stunning pics show why!
To find your own private paradise on the Emerald Isle, take a look at our featured holiday properties in Ireland.