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Great holiday ideas in Leicester

By Europe / UK /

After miraculously winning the English soccer EPL, more international visitors are noticing Leicester. You can easily hire a car from the city’s Airport and explore its amazing surrounds.

Here’s a list of things to see and do in Leicester.

King Power Stadium
Number one on the to do list for soccer fans is a trip to King Power Stadium – the very location where thousands of fans spilled from the stadium and out onto the streets to cheer after Leicester City took out this year’s EPL title. Sign up for a tour of the stadium. You’ll gain VIP access to areas usually reserved for only players and officials.

National Space Centre
Walk the same halls as Buzz Aldrin. See Britain’s first astronaut Helen Sharman’s spacesuit up close. With six galleries, including the iconic 42 metre high Rocket Tower, you’ll have plenty to keep you enthralled for hours. The centre is also home to the UK’s largest domed planetarium. You can even take part in modules which show you what it’s like to live in space.

Belvoir Castle
Drive 45 minutes north east of Leicester and you’ll find the stunning Belvoir Castle. The majestic castle sits on a 16,000 acre estate and overlooks stunning green countryside. It’s privately owned but from March to September the site is open to the public. Guided tours are offered on limited days, so make sure you book ahead before turning up.

Leicester’s Abbey Park
This popular park is perfect for a relaxing afternoon picnic. It’s also located only a few minutes north of the city centre. On one side of the River Soar you’ll encounter the fascinating Abbey Grounds, which feature the ruins of a seventeenth century mansion and the remains of the twelfth century Leicester Abbey. On the other side is a beautiful lake and decorative Victorian gardens.

Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower
The clock tower was built in 1868 and stands tall and proud over the city, earning its reputation as one of Leicester’s most iconic landmarks. It’s also regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful clock towers. This popular meeting spot sits at the point where five main streets meet. This ornamental structure was mostly built with Ketton stone, and is beautiful to simply stand in front of and admire.



5 great B&Bs in Manchester and surrounds

By Manchester / UK /

When most people visit England, London is on the top of their must-see list. While there are many great things to see and do in London, it’s also worth heading three hours north to explore what cities like Manchester have to offer.

Your trip is even more enjoyable with a rental vehicle. Hire a car from Manchester Airport and begin your journey north, and stay at one of these B&Bs when you arrive.

Abbey Lodge
Set in the suburbs, this Edwardian style guesthouse is only a couple of miles from the Old Trafford Stadium and just a little bit further you’ll find the National Football Museum (a must-see for devout football fans!).  Being close to such attractions is convenient, but equally important are things such as free on-site parking, wifi and a buffet breakfast. You’ll get all these things plus more when staying at Abbey Lodge.
Luther King House
Set in a leafy, green suburb within an easy drive to Manchester City, Luther King House has everything you need including internet access and tea and coffeemaking facilities. You’ll also receive a free Continental breakfast each morning and free parking, while enjoying the peaceful and relaxing surrounds at Luther King House.

The Villas Residence
Step back in time at this Victorian villa in Rochdale in Greater Manchester. It’s only a short drive from major motorways and railway routes. The Villas Residence features five rooms which are individually decorated in themes such as Tudo and Edwardian. These incredible rooms are also filled with antiques, a free-standing bath, fire place and four-poster bed. Yet you’ll also receive modern necessities such as free wifi and a TV.

Ash Farm Country House
Cosy is the word to describe your stay at this redbrick 18th century farmhouse. Ash Farm is located only three miles from Dunham Town and it features five traditional and stylish rooms along with all the comforts you need, such as a TV, wifi and coffeemaking facilities. Enjoy a full English breakfast each morning you wake up to the beautiful countryside views surrounding you.

Brooklands Lodge
Walk only four minutes from Brooklands Metro Station and you’ll find this beautiful, classic redbrick guesthouse, fitted out with bright, modern rooms. Set in a residential street, you’re also only a short drive from central Manchester and attractions such as the Imperial War Museum. A full English breakfast is also available each morning.



London calling – 5 top restaurants you must experience

By Europe / UK /

London’s food scene is calling you…

You’ll find an endless selection of trendy cafes, bars, fine restaurants and casual eateries on every street. With so many choices, we’ve compiled a quick guide on which of the best restaurants you must experience in London.

Pick up a hire car from Heathrow Airport and check out these five hot restaurants during your stay in London.

Galvin at Windows (pictured)
Since opening in 2006, the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane has become one of the most talked about food destinations. Galvin at Windows has a stylish interior which takes you back to the glamour of the 1930s. Dine on a modern French haute cuisine menu, with all main dishes seasonally inspired. Enjoy the experience while being treated to incredible views of London’s iconic skyline, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye.

Masala Zone
The ever-popular Masala Zone has been branded as London’s best Indian informal dining restaurants. The chefs are also said to be “pioneers of Indian street food” in England. Delicious Indian dishes, full of flavour and aroma, are made from ingredients which come from the homes and street stalls across India. There are seven of these restaurants across London with each Masala Zone offering different artistic interiors.

Duck and Waffle
This restaurant, located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, literally never stops winning the hearts and stomachs of diners. Open 24 hours a day, chef Dan Doherty’s scrumptious menu serves a combination of British and European dishes. It’s also proudly the “highest restaurant in the UK”, offering marvellous views of London city.


This magnificent basement restaurant, located in the Bulgari hotel in the heart of Knightsbridge, offers delicious Mediterranean dishes. French chef Alain Ducasse has been inspired by many years of visits to markets in Italy and Provence. The vibrant dishes are served to guests as they’re surrounded by a beautiful, chic interior. It makes for a wonderful, relaxing night out.

Norfolk Arms
This corner pub earns is spot on the list of one of the best in London, despite not receiving widespread acclaim. It’s specialty is deliciously authentic tapas. Generous portions are served up at reasonable prices. There’s also plenty of variety to choose from on the menu. Dishes are influenced by the cuisines of the Mediterranean. But there’s also a full a la carte menu is offered, complemented by an extensive wine list.



Hiring a car at Heathrow … a different dimension

By Europe / UK /

On a recent business trip to the UK we discovered how Europcar have added a different dimension when picking up your car rental at Heathrow Airport. …… You get to actually pick out and choose your car!

OK so arriving at Terminal 3 still requires you to exit the Terminal, head left and wait for Europcar’s minibus to whisk you off to their branch on the Northern Perimeter Road. The wait was short the journey shorter still.

Europcar along with Hertz, Enterprise, national and Thrifty operate their Heathrow branches over the airport fence on the Northern Perimeter. Dollar and Thrifty are a stone throws further on Bath road, whilst Avis and Budget have branch locations within the Short Stay Car park of Terminal 5 (used exclusively by BA and Iberia) as well as on Northrup road adjacent to the Northern Perimeter. So whichever rental company you choose you’ll never have to travel for more than 10-15 minutes depending upon traffic and with minibuses regularly scooting around each terminal the wait there is not long either.

Arriving at the Europcar branch we took our ticket and grabbed a seat. Barely had we may made ourselves comfortable when we were greeted by an English Shakespearean (as it turned out) actor-come-entertainer, wearing a kilt, orange wig and tam o’shanter hat who was there to keep us all occupied whilst we waited to be called up. My job involves a fair bit of travel around the world and I have to say this was a first! What a great idea. Whilst his Scots accent and absence of a sporran would fail to impress north off the border he kept everyone entertained and enjoying themselves and in no time we were called up.

Once we had completed the paperwork formalities rather than being directed to a particular bay to collect our car we were asked to go out and choose from any vehicle in Row 3 and the sign-off would be completed as we left the branch. Whether we were lucky with our timing or whether Europcar maintain a large number of vehicles onsite we had a huge choice of 10 vehicles. As our trip involved over 30 days business travel throughout the UK and given this unexpected choice we needed to ensure we had the right vehicle. Perhaps too much choice! Up and down we went testing bags and cases in boots, rear-seating legroom, previous smoker occupation, figuratively kicking tyres and checking out the driving features of each car. We settled on a Nissan Quasqai and headed for the exit where all the details were quickly recorded and we were on the road.

Overall our experience in collecting our car hire at Heathrow Airport was a good one. Offsite airport rental branches may appear inconvenient but are a necessity in many parts of the world with onsite costs and space constraints. With the regular cycling of minibuses and efficiency of the Europcar Heathrow team we were on the road within 45 minutes of exiting customs, not bad for one of the world’s business airports. The added option of making our own vehicle choice meant we spent more time selecting our car but came away with the one that best met our needs. Great idea.