We’re back with another episode of Travel Guides UK and this time, we’re going local in the Lake District of the UK. Apparently 15 million tourists from around the world go to the UK each year and so do three-quarters of British holidayers. And tonight, so do we.
“The UK has a lot to offer,” says mama Brearley as her daughter rolls her eyes. To be fair, it seems like that’s all she does.
Here’s what goes down:
They’ll be staying at Skiddaw View Holiday Park in what is touted as a ‘Luxury’ Caravan. Most of them are fine with it, except the Boyles, who have three kids to stuff into what turns out to be pretty close quarters. Two steps in the door and the Boyle mother already can not wait to leave.
The caravans have self-contained kitchens, so on the plus side, they get to eat what they want, but on the other hand, someone has to do the cooking. The Boyles are Not Impressed.
“Is there a Nandos?” Riah asks. Shockingly, there is not.
The number one attraction seems to be an alpaca, which keeps ominously watching the travel guides over the top of hedges.
No, wait, apparently the number one attraction is hiking, including the tallest mountain in England, Scafell Pike.
“People from Yorkshire walk up mountains every day just to get a packet of tights from the off licence,” says Fun Chapman-Blackwell, which, as an Australian, was equal parts funny and incomprehensible to me.
Riah and co get right into it and take selfies, but would prefer it if there was a bar at the top.
Is the largest natural lake in England. The most popular option to see it is apparently a cruise, which Pete would recommend for “friends, family and single people.” Well sign me up.
There’s also kayaking, which brings out the Boyles competitive streak, and tears the Brearley family apart.
The lake even has its own version of the Loch Ness Monster! My only question is, why wasn’t this listed as the number one attraction?
80,000 people visit a year, which might seem crazy, but, as Pete explains, the pencil museum makes you think about all that’s gone into that pencil you’re using. Riah is also SO into it, but no one else really understands why exactly they paid £4.50 to be there.
This is basically rock climbing, except you kind of climb around the mountain using ropes and tiny little wires. Riah is NOT into it, in fact, she’s terrified. I’m terrified just watching her. The instructor has a death grip on her belt, just in case, which is NOT COMFORTING THANK YOU.
“I am sh@#*ing myself,” is Fun Chapman-Blackwell’s concise summary. £25 each to be utterly terrified – seems fair.
If your idea of a holiday is joining the boy scouts, then here’s a treat for you. It involves cooking a pigeon for lunch and is not for the faint of heart. Exhibit A: the instructor twists a pigeon’s head off with his bare hands. Wild.
The Boyle kids tear into those dead birds like baby savages, but Peter and Linda decide paying 40 quid to pluck and butcher their own lunch is not a great holiday experience and bail.
The Greyhound Inn
They go out to the pub and it’s just a pub. I don’t know what else they were all expecting, but they seem to have been expecting something better. It’s a pub guys.
Riah is disappointed – “I don’t think there’s no eye candy in here girls.” – but Linda and Pete make some new friends and get a bit sentimental over a pint. Lovely.
It’s another museum, this time the preserved childhood home of famous poet William Wordsworth and £7 a pop. The Boyles are excited because they get to dress in ye olde clothing, but if the Brearley children looked any less impressed, they’d hurt themselves.
Cost for a week long trip
According to the show, this trip will set you back around £365 per person, which is about AU$620. But that doesn’t include a long haul flight from Australia, so you’d be up for around:
Flights: Obviously, for the Guides, it’s a drive, and much cheaper than for Aussie tourists. But for those of us travelling from the land downunder, from Sydney to Manchester, which is the closest airport, you’re probably looking at a little more than $1,500 return.
Travel insurance: For a 25 year old traveller, a week of travel insurance in the UK will be $26.31 if you just want medical cover, or $49.90 if you want the highest level of cover, just in case you fall off a mountain.
Accommodation: According to the website, a deluxe cabin at Skiddaw View Holiday Park will set you back about £330 per night, which is AU$561. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong prices, because that’s a big chunk of the apparent budget right there.
Food: Is up to you. The caravan is self-catering, so splash out on caviar and champagne or stick to sausage sangers – whatever floats your boat.
Attractions: Assuming you do it all, about £105 or AU$178. If you just want to hang out with an Alpaca all week, it’s totally free.
Overall, everybody agrees it’s a good budget option, but a bit lacklustre. As the Chapman-Blackwells say: “Well that’s just England isn’t it? You know what you’re getting when you come up here.”
Episode #4!?! – Tenerife, Spain
This keeps happening to me. I’m prepared for one episode, and then they spring a double on me. It’s like the entire world wants me to binge watch television shows.
In the second episode, we’re in Tenerife, Spain, which is a very popular destination for UK tourists. Everyone’s is super excited about the chance to lie about in the sun and, in Riah and co’s case, perv on cute Spanish boys.
Here’s how it happens:
The hotel is an all inclusive kind of deal so that means unlimited food and drink, a kids club and “fun” activities and entertainment. But, as the Chapman-Blackwell’s point out multiple times, it’s only a three star all inclusive so, like, euw.
The hotel self serve restaurant is all about “home comforts” which Linda and Pete love, but the Boyles can not abide by the inauthentic food. Where is the tapas? Where is the paella? They soon escape for some real food.
The attractions are also included, and that apparently means cringey pool activities and drag acts. And karaoke, which is just a terrible, terrible idea at any time, but especially on a family holiday, as proved with much gusto by the Brearleys.
The Boyles, who are used to travelling independently, can not stand it at all.
About five minutes away is a beach with black sand. It’s lovely and quiet, and there’s the option to be towed around at high speeds on an inflatable raft. This gets mixed reviews. Riah is terrified again, and her friend gets a wedgie. Quality viewing here, guys.
With the exception of the families, who have children in tow, everyone is excited to get out and experience some nightlife on their trip away. There’s loads of cheap booze and Rhia and co finally get to dress up and pick up guys. Good for them.
Siam Water Park
The water park seems to be probably the best part of this trip and the most expensive, at 34 euro.
There’s one slide that’s a near vertical drop into a shark infested aquarium. Ummm… what? The Boyle dad goes for it, but he went for the enema last week so we can’t really trust his judgement.
Now we’re at Spain’s highest mountain, but for 27 euro a cable car will take you to the top. No more hiking for this lot thanks. It is in fact an active volcano, and everybody’s pretty impressed. Rhia reckons it looks like Mars, which she describes as “a big circle.”
For 20 euro they go on a winery tour. Rhia doesn’t care about the vineyard, she just wants to get to the wine. When they do, all she can talk about is how well it would pair with a ¼ chicken. Somebody get this girl some Nandos already.
Dolphin spotting safari
It’s a 2 hour trip for 30 euro each, but they’re out there for five minutes and see a pod of dolphins. “If that ain’t value for money, I don’t know what is,” Chapman-Blackwell reasons.
Cost for a week long trip
According to the show, this trip will set you back around £685 per person, which is about AU$1,164. This includes:
Flights: From Sydney, just under $2,000 return. Just think of all the sunshine and cheap booze if that makes your wallet ache.
Travel insurance: You’ll probably pay the same amount for travel insurance in Spain as you will in the UK.
Accommodation: 300 quid (AU$510) per night, but that includes everything, from your room, to food and an open bar.
Attractions: If you’re into giant inflatable costumes and karaoke, then you can hang by the hotel pool for all inclusive holiday fun. Otherwise, you could spend upwards of £111 or AU$188 to go and do other, less cringey activities. Worth every cent.
Overall, the all-inclusive trip seems to be a bit of a fail for most of the travellers, who don’t seem totally into the institutionalised ‘fun’ being thrust upon them at every turn. Go figure.
That is, of course, with the exception of Pete, who is just thrilled about the inclusive bar and says the trip is “worth it in vodka alone.” Go hard, Pete.