4 Meaningful Travel Trends for 2018

A group of happy children looking up at the camera

If it has been awhile since you read the inspirational Dr Seuss poem, why not start the new year with a reminder and challenge yourself to find your mountain and “get on your way!“. “Oh the places you’ll go” in 2018! After much research into travel analyst predictions and industry insider opinions, we have compiled our Top 4 Travel Trends for 2018 list!

Family Travel

While 2017 saw a rise in multi-generational family travel, 2018 has a few new family travel twists! According to the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, there are around two million lone-parent families in the UK. The travel industry is catching up with tour operators offering new price programs and single parent family tour options. Children are recognised as the key to return visits. Destinations are investing much into providing quality on-property activities for kids like themed workshops, practice with pros, and festival weekends for children. Delighted tots produce glowing referrals to other parents.

Little child in a big yellow coat wearing a small blue backpack

Photo Credit: Unsplash – Daiga Ellaby

Grandpa with sleeping child on his shoulder

Photo Credit: Unsplash – O.C Gonzalez

‘Skip-Gen’ travel sees grandparents taking their grandchildren on once-in-a-lifetime trips while the parents stay at home. Precious childhood memories are prompting a revisit to favourite family holiday destinations. On these sentimental, nostalgic trips, travellers enjoy experiencing a new perspective on the past.

African lady with a baby tied onto her back with a colourful blanket

Photo Credit: Unsplash – Annie Spratt

 

 

 

Many families also want to contribute to the good of the world giving back to the communities they visit. Voluntourism  has been around for awhile, but remains popular driven by the incredible opportunity afforded to improve the lives of other families, while discovering a beautiful exotic destination.

A ‘relatively’ new trend emerging is ancestry travel. Try testing the DNA of your children and determining the destination of your next trip based on the results!

 Homesteads instead of Hotels

Opulent four poster bed with silk drawings and red accessories

Photo Credit: Hiplets

Hotels have long been a favourite form of accommodation, but given the growing demand for authentic, challenging and participatory experiences, the concept of Homestay is taking over. Guests are opting for this more personalised environment and ambiance. The meticulous efforts made by property owners to attentively select details like the colour of the toilet paper supplied, the brand of toiletries offered, the quality of linens used, and the stylish furnishings and fittings displayed, lead to the richer, more tailored experience the discerning traveler seeks.

Wellness Travel

Grayscale image of a hand holding a blank polaroid photo frame

Photo Credit: Raw Pixel

It is no longer just about the destination. Travel has become about making deeper connections with people, places and one’s psyche. Experiential travel is grounding and immersive. Cultural, culinary, adventure, natural and health travel offer the traveller a unique and specifically tailored experience, enriched with the essence of the indigenous heart.

Sustainable Travel

Sustainable tourism is defined as “tourism that respects both local people and the traveller, cultural heritage and the environment”. Deloitte Vice Chairman, Guy Langford remarked that “over the past 20 years, the number of international departures across the globe, increased from 600 million to 1.3 billion. It is predicted that in 2018 travel to endangered destinations or “last chance tourism” will continue to boom. Thus there is a sense of urgency to see these off-the-beaten-path destinations like the Arctic, Columbia Ice Fields in Canada, and other destinations affected by climate change, before they are gone.

Moraine Lake, Canada

Photo Credit: Unsplash – Garrett Parker

Thankfully, a collective realisation that our spectacular habitats and abundant flora and fauna are our continent’s most precious resources has increased social accountability and the need for continued efforts to boost sustainable tourism. Tourism can have a lasting and positive legacy on the environment in which it operates. In addition it is imperative that important stakeholders in the industry get involved in transformational projects and use their hospitality skills and knowledge to provide people with an exciting and educational holiday that is also of benefit to the people of the host country. Where ever you wander this year, near or far, be mindful of the footprint you leave.

Person walking through an arch at sunset pulling a suitcase along

Photo Credit: Unsplash – Mantis Hesthave

Hiplets looks forward to accommodating 2018 trendsetters! Our enchanting homestay properties provide a memorable base from which to explore the delights each of our alluring destinations have to offer.

With thanks to:
Eustacia Huen, Forbes contributor: https://www.forbes.com/sites/eustaciahuen/2017/12/21/the-5-hottest-luxury-travel-trends-in-2018
Libby Shabada: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-trends-2018/
The Jetset Family: http://jetsetfam.com/new-family-travel-trends-2018/
Exquisite Concierge: https://exquisiteconcierge.co.uk/news/family-travel-trends-2018/
Wander-lust: https://www.wander-lust.nl/these-are-the-travel-trends-for-2018/
https://www.nanakflights.com/Top-travel-trends-in-2018.asp
Viren Batra, Co-founder of Nirvana Travel https://www.eturbonews.com/174360/top-12-travel-trends-2018
http://www.placesyoullsee.com/20-travel-trends-know-2018/
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/top-six-travel-trends-you-should-not-miss-in-2018/articleshow/62487761.cms
Laura House for Daily Mail Australia http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5030091/The-travel-trends-2018-revealed.html
http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/mods/theme_c/mod16.htm
https://www.rhinoafrica.com/en/about-us/doing-good/sustainable-tourism

5 Very Merry Reasons To Visit Bath This Festive Season

Golden glitter gift box and star decorations
Faded golden globe lights in the background with a simple nativity scene of Mary, Joseph and baby in fore ground.

Photo Credit: Gareth Harper on Unsplash

Bath is completely magical at Christmas – the winding streets and beautiful old buildings are transformed with twinkly fairy lights, there are cosy, welcoming cafes and pubs on every corner, and the fabulous independent boutiques make it the perfect Christmas shopping destination. The Bath Christmas Market is, of course, legendary, but what else is not to be missed during the festive season? We asked local blogger Sal Godfrey to round up her favourite things to do in Bath at Christmas…

1. Apres-Ski Bar, The Abbey Hotel 

A wooden chalet, with tables and chairs in front and lit up with pretty lights

Photo Credit: The Abbey Hotel

Every Christmas, this pop-up bar appears as if by magic outside the Abbey Hotel, and is the perfect place to warm up and chill out after a serious shopping spree. Inside the rustic log cabin you’ll find a snug alpine ski lodge, beautifully decorated and lit by lanterns and candles, with lots of comfy corners to take a load off your feet, and a bar serving mulled wine and winter comfort food. Entry is free but it can get quite busy as the evening goes on, so bear that in mind when you plan your visit.

2. Kingsmead Square Festive Street Food Market 

Ribs being barbecued

Photo Credit: Kingsmead Square Festive Food Market

Freshly made chilli dog

Photo Credit: Kingsmead Square Festive Food Market

This is a brand new event for 2017, but it looks like it’s going to be amazing! A whole host of local food stalls will be in attendance, providing everything from alpine-style mac and cheese to Valencian paella, as well as the square’s fabulous resident foodies (I particularly recommend a visit to Swoon Gelato for their famous Italian hot chocolate), and there’ll also be live music and plenty of covered seating. The market will be running alongside the Bath Christmas Market, so why not pop along to Kingsmead Square for lunch – it’s the perfect excuse to explore a little more of the city.

3. The Gourmet Picture Company, Victoria Park 

Big red sofa style movie seating with tray table

Photo Credit: VisitBath

Another new event for 2017, the Gourmet Picture Company will be creating an incredible pop-up cinema in Victoria Park, from the 14th of December to the 7th of January, where you can enjoy classic movies with a fabulous three-course meal (created by either Tom Kerridge or Rick Stein) for just £45 per person. Big squashy red sofas, amazing comfort food dishes, an interval with ice creams, and some of the very best Christmas films make this the ultimate night out with friends. Booking online is essential.

4. Shoppers’ Carols, Bath Abbey 

Night view of Bath Abbey

Photo Credit: Bath Abbey

For anyone who gets a bit stressed out and fed up after too much Christmas shopping, Bath Abbey have the perfect solution – informal, 20 minute services with traditional Christmas carols, guaranteed to make you feel all warm and festive again (as well as providing a welcome opportunity for a sit down, of course). The services take place regularly during the day on weekends, whilst the Christmas Market is running, and there’s no charge or booking required – just pop in and soak up the glorious atmosphere of the ancient Abbey at Christmas.

5. Christmas Mini Golf, Victoria Park
Bath’s miniature golf course is transformed at Christmas into a winter wonderland, with festive lighting and music – and that’s not all. Head down there in the evening once darkness has fallen and play a glow-in-the-dark round! Kids of all ages will love playing this pretty little mini golf course with light-up balls and a whole new set of glow-in-the-dark golf rules… booking is available for parties of 10 or more, or just turn up on the day.

To be honest, Bath is blessed at Christmas – the events above are but a fraction of the festive fun available. Are you visiting Bath for Christmas this year? Send us a comment and tell us what you’re planning to do while you’re there!

Treat Yourself to the Ultimate Girls’ Weekend in Bath!

For hundreds of years, Bath has been the place to come to treat yourself. The Romans knew just how to do it, with everything from fine food to the ultimate spa experience, and Bath carries on the best of both traditions today – so it’s quite simply the perfect location for a girls’ weekend away. Whether you’re on a hen party, catching up with old friends or just taking a little mother-daughter time, Bath has something for you to enjoy. We asked local blogger Sal Godfrey for her top three recommendations…

For Dining: Chez Dominique

This elegant, understated French restaurant on Argyle St will whisk you away to Paris for a few hours. The menu changes regularly but is always full of irresistible dishes – I’m still daydreaming about their pork steaks with pickled walnuts and Roquefort butter weeks later. You absolutely must save room for the dessert menu too. If you’re in a bigger group, then you can book their private dining room (with beautiful views of the weir) and have your own space, or simply reserve a table in the main restaurant – booking is definitely recommended. They have a fantastic set menu too, with two dishes for just £14 before 7pm, so have an early dinner and leave yourself plenty of time afterwards for my next recommendation…

Chez Dominique Chocolate Treats

Processed with Snapped. Photo Credit: Sal Godfrey

For Drinking: Sub 13

This chic bar makes some of Bath’s best cocktails, including a whole menu based around the dream team that is gin and tonic. You wouldn’t know it from the discreet frontage on George St, but Sub 13’s stylish lounges are spread over several floors and highlights include a snug, candlelit champagne bar in the vaults and a beautiful courtyard garden at the back. You can book your own vault in the late night club downstairs, where drinking and dancing goes on until 3am at the weekends, or even arrange your own mixology class. The best bit? Sub 13 offers a huge range of their award-winning cocktails at 2 for 1 until 10pm, every single day.

Sub 13 Enticing Cocktail Treats

Photo Credit: Sal Godfrey

For Pampering: Radiance Wellbeing Day Spa

Radiance Spa Pamper Treats

Photo Credit: Sal Godfrey

For a much more tranquil, original alternative to the Thermae Spa, treat yourself to a little pampering at Radiance Wellbeing. Their philosophy is all about making guests feel good, so there are no brutal beauty treatments here – instead, perhaps enjoy a champagne manicure with hand and arm massage, a nourishing wrap, a whole range of facials or a fabulous choice of massages. Tucked into an old Georgian townhouse right in the centre of the city, every room at Radiance Wellbeing is different, from the grand drawing room (big enough for couples’ treatments) decorated by Bristol artist Alex Lucas, to the cosy snug where you can lounge on giant beanbags for your Indian head massage.

And there’s more… if shopping is your thing, then Bath is the place to pick up something no one else will have. Visit Grace & Ted for gorgeous designer resale and find something fabulous at a fraction of the original price. Seek out pocket-sized jewellery boutique Bill Skinner’s for exquisite, quirky gems, and find stunning, original shoes and handbags at Chanii B. And after all that retail therapy, you’ll need to refuel, so visit Didi Cakes for Bath’s most beautiful cupcakes or treat yourself to a waffle cone at Swoon Gelato.

Whatever brings you to Bath, we’d be delighted to welcome you to one of our properties, from gorgeous apartments for two on one of the city’s grandest addresses, Great Pulteney Street, to beautiful houses like Monmouth House and The Governor’s, both of which sleep 10 people. With so much to pack in to your visit, it’s wonderful to have your own space to relax as well. For extra special occasions, get in touch to find out how our carefully chosen partners can add those perfect little details, from fresh flower arrangements to a personal chef.

Beyond Scones – The Best Afternoon Teas in Bath

Hiplets_Afternoon_Tea

Ah yes, the afternoon tea. As soon as you mention England to anyone who has been, it’s often memories of scrumptious scones and piping hot tea that come up. But a great afternoon tea is so much more than that. It’s about the setting, and about the ambience. A really memorable afternoon tea also needs more than just scones to stand out. After all, the afternoon tea ceremony has a long and hallowed history to live up to.

Afternoon tea as a tradition had been around since the mid-1800s. It is often credited to the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, who elevated it to a substantial afternoon meal in upper class circles. The contents of the menu at an afternoon tea has changed over time, but the decadence of the tradition remains. Below we list some of our favourite places in Bath to have afternoon tea like an English nobleman or woman.

Hiplets_Afternoon_Tea

 

The Pump Room

The Pump Room is a great place to stop for tea in Bath, as it’s part of the Roman Baths, one of Bath’s most popular attractions. After you learn about the fascinating history of the Romans in Bath, you can sit down for a well deserved break with a nice cuppa. The room itself is stunning; columns along the walls and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, whilst a pianist plays for your enjoyment.

Their afternoon tea menu is nothing short of divine, with plenty of savoury as well as sweet options. How does a poached salmon shot with crisp bread or roast beef & watercress sandwich sound? Or how about a chocolate & coffee opera cake or a raspberry choux pastry? You may want to skip dinner after this!

Don’t forget to “take the waters” by trying a taste of the mineral-rich spa water which you can drink from the fountain. It’s an acquired taste, but it’s meant to be good for you.

 

The Royal Crescent Hotel

Tea at the Royal Crescent Hotel is a truly grand affair, an occasion fit for any lord or lady. But you may have trouble choosing what to have, as there are five different afternoon tea menus to choose from. There’s even a special afternoon tea for the little ones!

The menus are adventurous and delicious, with surprises such as brie, truffle & ham tart, lamb kofta with an Asian glaze, and gin & kaffir lime panna cotta. You’ll also need to choose between the wide selection of carefully selected teas, and maybe add a cheeky glass of champagne to the spread? As if the food wasn’t enough, you can choose to have your afternoon tea in the splendid garden belonging to the hotel. The setting is sure to elevate your experience to another level.

 

Indulgence Café

Indulgence Café, in Bathwick Street, is a very popular spot with locals, and it’s easy to see why. Started by passionate patisserie chef Katherine Small, this place serves up some of the freshest and tastiest baked goods in the city.

Luckily, they have also decided to be part of the afternoon tea scene in Bath. This means you can come here to enjoy your finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and get a taste one of the cakes from their daily selection, all washed down with with a pot of tea or a glass of prosecco.

 

Bailbrook House

For a tea in sumptuous, traditional surroundings, look no further than Bailbrook House. Situated just outside of Bath in the beautiful countryside that is spread all over Somerset, this grad II listed building will make you feel like you have been transported to a different time and place.

There are two different rooms for you to choose from when having your afternoon tea. Both are decorated with grand window drawings and luxurious soft furnishings. The loose leaf tea is brewed to your liking and, apart from the usual spread of sandwiches and cakes, you can also enjoy the traditional Bath Bun with your tea.

 

Comins Tea House

For something completely different, you should try an afternoon tea at Comins Tea House in Monmouth Street. Here, the focus is truly on the tea, as they only source the best tea from far flung corners of the world. There’s a feeling of taking part in an ancient tradition as you sip these unique beverages.

However, this doesn’t mean that the edible accompaniments are to be sniffed at. You will start with something savoury, in their delicious open sandwiches on farmhouse bread. The toppings are always fresh and flavourful. This will be followed by a selection of Comins cakes and blueberry scones with clotted cream and jam. All washed down with top quality tea of course! The exciting thing about afternoon tea here is that the flavours will be unlike anything else you’ve experienced at a traditional afternoon tea.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of options if you want to have afternoon tea in Bath. And we’ve only scratched the surface! To book your next stay in Bath, please go to our listings page for Bath.

The Best Views in Cape Town

Everywhere you look in Cape Town, you are bound to exclaim “Wow”, “Oooh” and “Look at that!”. This city is not considered one of the world’s most beautiful for no reason. The combination of stunning natural scenery and a vibrant, diverse culture makes it a visual treat in every way. But, in order to really take in the beauty of this unique African city you need to go up, up, up. Here, we’ve collected a list of amazing spots where you can take in the breathtaking views of Cape Town.

 

Table Mountain

Photo Credit: Damien du Toit

Yes, it may be a bit of a cliché but there is a reason why this is top of most tourists’ to-do list when in Cape Town. It just is that amazing. The unusually shaped Table Mountain is the backdrop to almost any activity you do in the city. This means your trip really won’t be complete until you’ve been to the top and felt what it’s like to stand on this ancient mountain.

Luckily, you can choose between several methods of getting to the top. For the fit and ambitious visitors with time on their hands, the hike to the top via Plattekloof is a rewarding experience. For the pressed-for-time or less energetic, the Table Mountain Cableway is a thrilling way to get to the mountain in a jiffy. It even rotates, so you get to see as much as possible en route.

Once at the top, take your pick of view points! There are so many fantastic views of Cape Town as you walk around the pathways at the top. You’ll count yourself lucky we are past the days of cameras with film and only a limited amount of frames.

 

Lion’s Head

Hiplets_Cape_Town_Views

Photo Credit: David East

If you use Instagram, chances are you will have seen an image from the top of Lion’s Head at some point in time. This hotspot for both locals and tourists is the perfect place to take a shot that brags about what an amazing holiday you are having, as well as how incredible you are for having made it to the top.

Lion’s Head may not be as tall as Table Mountain, but it does involve a lot of walking and some climbing with the use of ladders, so it’s not for the fainthearted. But the reward is waiting at the top, where you’ll take in the breathtaking views of the Cape Town City Bowl below you. Lion’s Head is also popular as an early morning sunrise hike, sunset spot and there are even hikers who brave the trip to appreciate the full moon.

 

Chapman’s Peak

View of Hout Bay from Chapman’s Peak. Photo Credit: Ben Crouch

A trip to Cape Town really isn’t complete unless you’ve been along Chapman’s Peak Drive, one of the most scenic seaside roads in the world. The road takes its name from the imposing mountain which the road hugs as it meanders above the crashing sea below. But once you’ve seen the view from the road, imagine how much better the view is from the top of the mountain!

It’s a long, winding way up and you’ll be exposed to both sun and wind, so it’s important that you dress appropriately. Along the way, you’ll see all sorts of interesting fynbos, the plant life native to this region of South Africa. And once at the top, you can climb onto the the very top boulders to take in the views of Noordhoek, Noordhoek Beach, Kommetjie Lighthouse and Hout Bay. It’s a truly extraordinary sight and more than makes up for the effort to get to the top.

 

Elephant’s Eye

Hiplets_Cape_Town_Views

Photo Credit: Lindria Oosthuizen

And we’re staying with the views that take a bit of effort and sweat to get to. Elephant’s Eye is so named because it is a cave opening on a mountain which, with a bit of imagination, could be said to look like the head of an elephant. Regardless of whether this is a suitable name, there is no denying that this is a stunning place from which to appreciate the view of Cape Town’s southern suburbs below.

To get to Elephant’s Eye, you need to go to Silvermine Nature Reserve, a beautiful and rugged reserve which is usually less frequented by tourists than the locations closer to the city bowl. From Silvermine, you take the marked route to Elephant’s Eye cave, which should take about an hour to get to. The fern-clad cave will offer you some lovely shade and even lovelier views. Once you have made your way back to Silvermine, why not reward yourself for your efforts with a dip in the Silvermine reservoir?

 

Kirstenbosch Boomslang

Photo Credit: Lindria Oosthuizen

Boomslang means tree snake in Afrikaans but, hopefully, you shouldn’t encounter any snakes at this view point. The Kirstenbosch Boomslang is a tree canopy walkway created in the stunning botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch. Its long, winding shape through the trees has given it its name and it’s an entirely unique way to appreciate the splendor of the gardens.

This is one view point that is easy to access for all ages and fitness levels, so don’t hesitate to take the whole family. The rest of the gardens are really worth exploring, so throw in a picnic and make a day of it.

 

Cape Point

Photo Credit: Bas Leenders

For many visitors to this beautiful African city, it’s essential to see the view from the tip of the peninsula where Cape Town is placed. Although Cape Point is not the southernmost point of Africa, there is no doubt that you feel like you’ve made it to the end of the Earth as you gaze over the vast ocean.

Part of the pleasure of Cape Point is that the drive there will take you through a wild and unspoiled nature reserve full of wildlife. It essentially feels like a mini-safari on the outskirts of the city. If you’re lucky, you could see ostriches, various antelope, zebras, baboons and tortoises. Once you reach the car park at the view point, it’s a fairly short but steep walk up to the view point. There is also a little cable car which can take you up and down should you prefer the easy route. Once at the top, you are sure to be blown away by the view, literally and figuratively – it can get a tad windy! Cape Point also has a restaurant and a souvenir shop, so you don’t have to leave hungry or empty handed.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Bath – Where to Take the Kids This Half-term

Pizza Restaurant in Bath, UK

Bath has a reputation as a seriously romantic weekend away, and of course it’s a must-visit for history fans, with everything from ancient Roman ruins to Jane Austen’s former haunts. But it’s also a brilliant place for families to visit – the city is compact enough that you can walk everywhere without little legs getting too tired, there’s plenty of green space, and there’s lots of great family-friendly food and fun too. We asked local blogger Sal Godfrey for her three top picks on dining out in Bath with kids in tow…

The Bathampton Mill

Kid-friendly Restaurant in Bath, UK
Photo Credit: Bathampton Mill
Just on the outskirts of Bath, the Bathampton Mill is a beautiful old pub with a big garden, overlooking the River Avon. As well as a great children’s menu, offering two courses for £7.95 Monday-Saturday (and a roast on Sundays for just £6.95), there are plenty of options for the grown-ups too, from a great gastropub menu with all sorts of delicious international influences. On a sunny day, you can sit on their terrace and let the kids wear themselves out in the garden, or you can get everyone together in the cosy, relaxed bar space. To make this a proper day out, travel to the Bathampton Mill by boat – the Pulteney Princess leaves from the weir, right in the centre of Bath, and takes roughly half an hour to get to the pub, with beautiful views and a bit of commentary along the way. Under-5s travel for free and under-16s cost just £3 each way – visit the Pulteney Princess website for departure times and more information.

The Real Italian Pizza Co

Pizza Restaurant in Bath, UK
Photo Credit: Sal Godfrey
Right in the centre of the city, The Real Italian Pizza Co is always my first recommendation for families looking to go out for dinner. The atmosphere is great, the food is fabulous and it’s really good value too, with their freshly-cooked pizzas starting from less than £10. There isn’t an official children’s menu – instead, they simply offer smaller pizzas and smaller portions of their pasta for half the price – so there’s plenty of choice. In the summer, you can sit outside in their courtyard, or even get your pizza to take away and have a picnic – just along the road is a beautiful open square by Bath’s historic abbey, which often plays host to buskers and performers on warm evenings. For the authentic Italian experience, return to their sister company next door, The Real Italian Ice Cream Co, for dessert – this fabulous gelateria is full of great flavours and stays open late on summer nights, so you could almost be in Florence…

The Egg

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Photo Credit: Sal Godfrey

Attached to the Egg Theatre, which itself is the little sister to Bath’s Theatre Royal, this café is always recommended by mums as a great family-friendly find. Even if you’re not attending a production (and you should definitely check out what’s on, as the Egg is host to lots of brilliant shows and workshops for kids of all ages) you can still enjoy a tasty, inexpensive lunch here, with lots of options for children, and make use of their lovely play space. As a regular haunt of parents and kids, the Egg Café and its staff are incredibly welcoming to families, so you can be assured of a relaxing pit stop without having to worry about disturbing anyone.

And there’s more… it’s not all about the food and drink. If you’re coming to Bath with kids, make sure you also check out My Small World, a fantastic toy shop full of things you’d never find anywhere else, Spotty Herbert’s, a pocket-sized shop full of lovely pocket-money-sized treats, and Up to Seven, a beautiful clothing boutique that also has lots of snuggly knitted toys. If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air, you also must find your way to the incredible Victoria Park Playground, which has everything from swings and slides to zip wires, giant climbing frames, diggers and a skate park.

So there you have it! Bath has plenty to offer for people of all ages, and we can’t wait to have you visit us. Whether it’s a little break or a big family get-together, we’ve got you covered, with a range of beautiful accommodation sleeping up to 10 people. All our properties are centrally located, so you can walk everywhere, and having your own space means that you can relax, let the kids spread out with their own toys and games, and follow your own timetable. For more information, including all the facilities we offer to make families welcome, just get in touch.

The Ultimate Active Holiday in Cape Town

After you first arrive in Cape Town, it doesn’t take long to realise that everyone is a bit sports mad. Wherever you go, you’ll see people out running, cycling, surfing, SUP’ing, kayaking, mountain climbing, paragliding and more. In short, everywhere you look you will find people in constant pursuit of that endorphin and adrenaline high.

Naturally, many visitors to Cape Town come for exactly this reason. The incredible natural surroundings of the city make it the perfect place for an active holiday, and the many yearly sporting events also draws its fair share of amateur athletes. Below, we’ve listed a selection of activities you can pursue to make your trip the ultimate active holiday.

Trail Running and Hiking

active-holiday-capetown-hiplets

Photo Credit: David East

In a city that has mountains as its backdrop, it’s not a surprise that any activity that takes advantage of this is first on our list of things to do in Cape Town.

For hiking, maybe the most popular route is to go to the top of Lion’s Head for the spectacular views of the city on one side and Camps Bay on the other. The view from up here is one of the most photographed in Cape Town, and in peak season the path can get crowded. However, just because so many use the route doesn’t mean it’s not a challenge, so make sure you prepare yourself.

Another popular hiking trail is going from the bottom of the cablecar station at Table Mountain and walking up Plattekloof Gorge to the top of Table Mountain. If that very long and steep hike hasn’t completely killed you off, you can hike back down the same way or you can choose the cablecar, a thrilling and fast way to get down. Just be sure to take some time to take in the gorgeous views from atop this ancient mountain first!

Less crowded hikes can be had up Chapman’s Peak between the Hout Bay and Noordhoek suburbs. Once you have winded your way up to the top, you’ll be treated with sweeping views of the beach below and the Kommetjie lighthouse at the end of it.

All of these hiking trails are also great for the avid trail runner, a sport which is really thriving in Cape Town. In addition, the Silvermine Nature Reserve has a multitude of trails that are perfect for hiking and running. We recommend the one that leads to the Elephant’s Eye cave – a perfect location for that Instagram-able shot!

Cycling

Jardim Secreto | Hiplets.com

Photo Credit: Jardim Secreto

Cycling is huge in Cape Town. Even the fearsome South-Easter wind can’t keep droves of dedicated cyclists off the road. This is also partly because of the road cycling race the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the largest timed cycling event in the world, which takes place in the city every year. This year will be the 40th, and 35000 cyclists are expected to take part in the 109km race.

An event like that obviously means lots of training and you can certainly see that from the many cyclists – on the streets and in the coffee shops – dotted all around the Cape Peninsula. If you are mad about cycling, we can’t think of a better route than Chapman’s Peak Drive, perhaps the most picturesque road in the world. Yes, there will be some steep climbing and some heart-stopping descents, but you will be rewarded with the most astonishing sea views on the one side and rugged mountainside on the other.

If you don’t feel comfortable cycling on your own, you could join a tour from Cape Cycle Tours, which caters to both road cyclists and mountain bikers.

Water Sports

Surfing in Cape Town

Photo Credit: Anja P.

Being surrounded by sea means there is no shortage of ocean lovers in the beautiful city of Cape Town – and no shortage of water sports! The most popular is without a doubt surfing, and there are plenty of spots to join in the fun on your active holiday, whether you are a novice or an experienced surfer.

Muizenberg Beach is a great place to start and it is packed with surf shops, coffee shops and restaurants. If you are just getting started, you may want to book a surf lesson with the Surf Emporium where the cheerful instructors will give you the skills and the confidence to hit the waves. You can also rent all the necessary gear there.

If you are more experienced, you may want to test out the surf at Kommetjie Beach, where the beach is also bound to be far less crowded. Just bear in mind that the water around Cape Town is very cold, so you’ll need to wear an appropriate wetsuit to keep the cold at bay.

Stand Up Paddleboarding, or SUP for short, is growing in popularity all over the world, and Cape Town is no different. A great place to try out this new sport on your active holiday is with SUP Cape Town who offer introductory lessons in the canals close the the V&A Waterfront. If you get hooked, you can even rent boards from them to use during your holiday.

If sitting down rather than standing up is more your thing, you could try sea kayaking with Kayak Cape Town. Based in the quaint seaside town of Simon’s Town, these tours will allow you to experience the water in a completely different way, while also getting a good upper body exercise. And, with a bit of luck, you’ll encounter penguins, whales and dolphins on your trip. It’s like an African safari at sea!

Adrenaline Highs

If all the activities listed already aren’t enough to get your blood pumping and your heart racing, we have some suggestions for adrenaline infused extreme sports you can do in Cape Town on an active holiday.

Paragliding is a very popular sport in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. The numerous mountains make perfect starting points for these adventures in the sky. Plus, with the option of signing up for tandem paragliding, even complete novices can experience the thrill of this sport. Using a starting point either at Lion’s Head or on Signal Hill, Cape Town Tandem Paragliding will allow you to see Cape Town from an entirely different angle. And if you add inflight video and photos, you truly will have memories that will last a lifetime.

Another option for that adrenaline rush is abseiling, as the mountains in Cape Town have plenty of vertical drops for you to abseil down. The most spectacular place to do this is probably from the top of Table Mountain with Abseil Africa. You can even combine a hike to the top of Table Mountain, as we described before, with an abseiling experience when you get to the top. The feeling you get when you descend down a sheer cliff like this is indescribable, it has to be experienced for yourself.

Finally, you can also make the most of the consistent winds in Cape Town and try your hand at kite surfing, a sport that is steadily growing in popularity. When the wind is really pumping, it’s an incredible rush to be out amongst the waves and feeling yourself being lifted into the air. High Five Cape Town offer kite surfing lessons and rentals, so you’ll be able to pick up all the important skills you need to master this extreme sport.

We hope this has given you some inspiration for an active holiday in Cape Town.  We know that making the most of what Cape Town has to offer will only make all that delicious South African wine and food taste so much better.

Ghostly Stories from Bath

As Halloween draws nearer, you may be looking for ghoulish stories to thrill your nearest and dearest with. Bath, with its rich history, offers a wealth of material for scary stories. Here are just a couple of local legends that have kept people up at night for centuries.

The Grey Lady

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The Theatre Royal in Bath is a spectacular theatre at the heart of Bath. It was completed in 1805 and is thus one of the oldest theatres in Britain. An old building like this, which has been filled with so much emotion from its many plays, is the perfect setting for a tragic ghost story.

And so it is said that the Theatre Royal is visited by The Grey Lady, who sits and watches plays from one of the boxes. There are various accounts of her back story; some believe she committed suicide after her husband killed her lover while others believe she killed herself out of an unrequited love for one of the theatre’s actors.

Whatever the true story may be, it’s sure to leave visitors to the Theatre Royal scanning the surrounding boxes extra carefully. After a visit to the theatre, you can go to the nearby Garrick pub which has its fair share of unexplained happenings too.

Admiral Phillip

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Admiral Arthur Phillip was an admiral in the Royal Navy and the first governor of New South Wales in Australia. When he retired he returned to England and lived out the remainder of his days in Bath.

He may have had some unfinished business though, as several people have reported seeing him walking by the Assembly Rooms on Bennett Street. He is always seen wearing a black hat and a long black cloak and is considered Bath’s most sighted ghost.

It would seem that members of the Royal Navy have a pre-disposition for haunting, as both Admiral Howe and Admiral Robinson are said to be haunting homes in Pulteney Street and Henrietta Street.

But don’t let these stories scare you away! Bath is a friendly city and even these ghostly apparitions seem to be harmless.

So have you got an appetite for the paranormal? Or do you simply want to do something a bit different while in Bath? Book a walking ghost tour here: http://www.ghostwalksofbath.co.uk , their special Halloween Tour is particularly popular.

Escape Winter, Come to Cape Town – Our Top 5 Activities

Many places in the Northern Hemisphere have seen a big drop in temperatures in the last little while, a sure sign that winter is here to stay for the foreseeable future. But, way down South in the Southern Hemisphere, summer is just getting started. Because of this, destinations like Cape Town, South Africa are increasing in popularity with travellers looking for a bit of sunshine to get them through the rest of winter.

At Hiplets, we believe Cape Town is one of the foremost tourist destinations in the world, and we are continuously expanding our portfolio of unique self-catering properties here. Luckily, we are spoilt for choice! As you will be too when it comes to activities in the Mother City when you visit. Below are some of our top suggestions for what to busy yourself with during your stay in Cape Town.

Take a drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive

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It’s really worth your while to rent a car or hire a driver to take you along this scenic road. Chapman’s Peak Drive hugs the coastline from Noordhoek to Hout Bay in Cape Town. There are plenty of spots along the road where you can stop to take photos of the frankly mind-blowing view, so schedule in enough time to take it all in.

Both Hout Bay and Noordhoek are great suburbs with plenty to see and fantastic places to have some food. If you prefer hiking to driving, you could also hike to the top of  Chapman’s Peak itself. Both the trek and the view will take your breath away. This outing is particularly easy to accomplish if you’re staying at Chapman’s View in Noordhoek.

Visit The Vibrant Bo Kaap Area

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If it’s history and culture you’re after, there is plenty of that to choose from in Cape Town. But we still think that the best and most unique place to experience the cultural diversity of modern day South Africa is in the colourful Bo Kaap area of Cape Town.

Nestled below Signal Hill in the centre of the city, this neighbourhood has a rich history as the Malay Quarter of Cape Town, a place largely populated by Muslim descendants of slaves from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. It’s not just the brightly coloured houses that make this place so special; it’s the one-of-a-kind neighbourhood feel and friendly residents that really draws you in. The food culture here is especially tantalising. We recommend taking a tour or even a cooking class that will educate you on local delicacies such as koeksisters, tomato bredie and bobotie. 

Stay at Waterkant House and you are only a short walk away from your Bo Kaap adventure.

Waddle with Penguins in Simon’s Town

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When you first see a waddle of penguins (yes, this is what you call a group of these adorable creatures) on a white sand beach surrounded by turquoise water, you may feel like you’ve landed in some alternate universe. But on Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, just outside of Cape Town, this is exactly how penguins like to roll.

Take a walk along the leafy boardwalk to spot the penguins and their homes along the way, and then spend time with them on their favourite beach. While you sun tan and enjoy the calm waters of this particularly secluded beach, you’ll experience the unusual sight of penguins strolling past your beach towel and swimming alongside you in the sea. Their favourite hang out is on the giant boulders that dot the beach. We think this is sure to be one of your favourite memories of Cape Town!

Feel on Top of the World on Table Mountain

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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you cannot say Cape Town without also saying Table Mountain. And let’s face it, while you’re in Cape Town, there’s no running from this massive, beautiful mountain that rests in the middle of the city. It’s iconic shape has helped make the city as photogenic as it is.

But you’re really only getting a fraction of the story if you only admire the mountain from afar. To really understand its true beauty, you have to get up there, to the top, and take in the unique fynbos flora and the dazzling views of the city below. There are two ways to get to the top of Table Mountain; you can hike, or you can take the Table Mountain Cable Car. The cable car is a fantastic experience, as you float above the city and up the face of the mountain. And it only takes 5 minutes to get to the top. The hike takes quite a bit longer, depending on your fitness, but it is an unparalleled opportunity to get up close and personal with the mountain and the plants and animals that call it home. Just make sure you are fit and well prepared!

Another popular option is to combine the two, for example hike up and take the cable car down, or the other way around. Either way, do not miss out on the opportunity to stand at the top and wonder at the beauty of the world.

Explore the Local Flora at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

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If your Table Mountain trip has left you inspired to find out more about South Africa’s unique plants and flowers, you will find no better place to learn about and admire the flora than in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. You will be amazed to find such a vast and diverse piece of paradise so close to a major city centre like Cape Town.

The Gardens make for hours of pleasurable walking and lounging around on lawns. The Boomslang Treetop Walkway is particularly popular and is a great vantage point from which to take in the whole of the Gardens. There’s a fantastic tearoom with a varied and delicious menu, from healthy to indulgent. You can even order your food as a picnic to take out into the park.

We’ve only scratched the surface, but it’s clear to see why Cape Town should be top of your list when you write to Santa to let him know that, actually, what you really want this year is a bit of sunshine and relaxation.