Archive for the ‘Short Breaks’ Category

New Year’s Eve 2012 - Our top picks!

Friday, December 21st, 2012

You’ve written your resolution and you’re ready to party! New Year’s Eve is guaranteed to be one of, if not the biggest party of the year and most big cities love to put on a show. Whether you are someone who thinks of NYE as just another night, or someone who loves to celebrate the occasion, there’s no doubting that cities can look their magical best when they put their makeup on for the night. At Topdeck, we love celebrating New Year’s Eve. Here’s a run-down of what New Year activities we are going to be a part of this year (in no particular order).

1. Krakow, Poland

After a change from the usual NYE festivities last year, Krakow will once again fill their Market Square with musical performances that will include some of their best local acts. Aside from the NYE performances however, Krakow night life in general is known as some of the best in Europe.

A trip with Topdeck will allow you to experience the Cracovian night life on your first day, with a walking tour of the historic Jewish Kazimierz included in day two. The rest of day is then yours to do as you please, where you can take a walk through the mysterious streets of the Old Town and visit galleries full of exhibitions, cafes, pubs and restaurants. On day three, get ready to party and welcome in the New Year in Market Square!

More information and trip details for New Year’s Eve in Krakow can be found here.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Being the capital of Netherlands, and one of the most cultural cities in Europe, Amsterdam can be considered as one of the best cities in the world offering amazing museums, delicious food and a world renowned night life. After taking an included orientation tour of the city with Topdeck crew, feel free to explore the town on a Red Light District pub crawl with your new Topdeck buddies! You’ll have time to visit the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and even the Heineken Experience during your time in Amsterdam. Alternatively, you may just want to sit back and relax in one of the local cafes!

Your New Year’s Eve party is included on this trip and there will be plenty of opportunity to continue the partying in one of the many Amsterdam bars and clubs.

Read more on the New Year’s Eve Amsterdam trip here.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Celebrating Hogmanay (The Scot’s word for New Year’s Eve) in Edinburgh is always a great experience as the city has so much to offer. You not only have the beautiful castle perched atop Castle Rock but friendly locals and world renowned night life to keep you entertained throughout your stay. On day two, your Topdeck trip leader will take you on a sightseeing tour of Edinburgh to get you well acquainted with the city. On day three, you will have tickets to join over 100,000 locals and travellers in New Year celebrations at the world famous Edinburgh street party! With a headache no doubt in store for New Year’s Day, you will then take a trip to Looney Dook where you can follow tradition and take a dip in the cold Scottish waters. Don’t forget your fancy dress!

Find out more on the Edinburgh new Year’s trip here.

4. Berlin, Germany

Celebrating the New Year in Berlin is something that over one million visitors choose to do each year – and there’s good reason why. On this trip, you will have an included group dinner to get to know your new Topdeck buddies before getting to know why Berlin night life has such a good reputation. The following day, you can get to know the city with the included walking tour, visiting some of the historic attractions including what’s left of the Berlin Wall. The afternoon is then yours to explore!

The official New Year’s Eve (Silvester) programme begins at 5:30pm in which international music stars and bands perform over various stages.

See more about the Berlin New Year’s Eve trip here.

5. Sydney, Australia

Watching Sydney try and out-do itself every year with New Year’s celebrations and fireworks means that you will always be in for a treat when visiting at this time of the year. On New Year’s Eve, you will have the option to go for an early morning surf at the world renowned Bondi Beach or visit one of the iconic cafes along the strip overlooking the beach. Afterwards, a trip to Sydney’s Rocks area, Circular Quay and the Opera House will ensure you get to see some of Australia’s most beautiful and historic attractions. To get the partying underway, we will then get onto a two storey catamaran and begin the party cruise on Sydney’s Harbour, with amazing views of famous Sydney landmarks. For those wanting to party throughout the night, there will be plenty of options all night long.

More information about our Sydney New Year’s Eve trip can be found here.

6. Prague, Czech Republic

Always a favourite of the Topdeck crew, Prague is a city full of history and a great place to party! A trip to Prague for the New Year will include a group dinner on the first night where you will then be able to experience the infamous nightlife for yourself. The following day, you will be able to explore the city, utilising the city’s trams, having your caricature done by an artist on the Charles Bridge, taking a ride on a river boat, or just relaxing in one of many restaurants or bars.

Once the New Year celebrations begin, the locals usually head towards any location that has a view overlooking the river. These tend to include Charles Bridge, Petrin Hill, Prague Castle or the more lively Old Town Square where the odd firework or two is bound to be lit!

Read more about the Prague New Year’s trip here.

Don’t miss out on celebrating the New Year in style!
See all of Topdeck’s Christmas and New Year trips on our website here.

Brugge Christmas Markets

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Brugge, Christmas and Markets are all amazing things in their own right, so imagine them all in one place!

Beautiful medieval surroundings, handmade Belgian chocolate, mulled wine, delicious food and a joyous Christmas spirit are just some of the things you can expect if visiting at this time of year. At the Brugge Christmas markets, you will find plenty to see and to do. After realising you have just eaten a few kilograms/pounds of Belgian chocolates, you will probably have the energy to get your ice skates on too. Be careful though, this might not be such a good idea after the mulled wine!

On arrival in Brugge, a walking tour will familiarise you with the streets of this fairytale town, then the rest of the day is yours! You could easily spend a whole afternoon in the main square, winding your way through the markets, peering at the gorgeous handmade ornaments while chowing down on a hot tasty bratwurst. If you’re feeling motivated, climb the 366 stairs to the top of the belfry, and gaze down at the shoppers and ice-skaters below, all bathed in the glow of colourful Christmas lights.

If you desire some quiet time, venture away from the square and explore the meandering lanes and alleys of the town. Each twist of the cobbled streets will reveal a new and picturesque sight, whether it be a peaceful canal, an ancient church, a wall displaying thousands of unique beer bottles (yes, really!) or yet another meticulously decorated chocolate shop. If you start to get chilly in the crisp winter’s air, why not duck into a cosy cafe, and warm up with some traditional moules-frites (fries with mussels – though you can swap the mussels for ketchup, mayonnaise or gravy, if you’re so inclined!). Try not to fill up too much as you’ll have a delicious included dinner ahead of you, and the chance to sample the Brugge nightlife with your fellow Topdeck travellers.

Of course, you can’t leave without sampling a traditional Belgian waffle (or three). They’ll make for a decadent lunch, especially when washed down with some of the best (and richest!) hot chocolate you’ll ever taste. You should grab a kilo or two of handmade praline chocolates for the road – after all, when will you be back in beautiful Brugge?

After your weekend of exploring, and all that heavenly food, you’ll be ready to settle in for a nap on your way back to London on board the Topdeck coach!

Interested in experiencing the Brugge Christmas Markets for yourself this year? Book now and receive 10% off for our 15th December departure. There is limited availability so get in quick!

August Bank Holiday Breaks: Edinburgh & Amsterdam

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Make the most of the August bank holiday weekend with Topdeck Travel’s special long weekend escapes to either the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Tattoo or the vibrant city of Amsterdam.


After the recent grey British summer a long weekend away from it all is just what the doctor ordered.

But what should you do to make the most of your time off especially if you’ve left planning to the last minute? We’ll we’ve got a few hints in the form of Scotland and the Netherlands!

The August Bank Holiday coincides with the famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Tattoo - the largest arts festival on Earth.

Edinburgh Fringe is a celebration of the best performers and entertainment from every corner of the planet. Last year the Festival hosted 2,542 different shows staging 41,689 performances in 258 venues by 21,192 performers.

Fringe performers

Fringe performers

The Fringe dates back to 1947, when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival.  Despite not being part of the official festival, the groups went on to perform and a trend was born.

Over the next 12 years more and more performers followed suit until 1959 when the Festival Fringe Society was officially formed.

During Fringe, the whole city is transformed into a massive stage featuring everything from free outdoor performances to evening gigs by some of the biggest names in entertainment. There are literally hundreds of performances happening over the bank holiday weekend so you’ll be spoilt for choice.

A lot of famous stand up acts were discovered at this festival including member of Monty Python, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Steve Coogan. Established comedians also see it as a chance to road test new material.

Fringe is about all things weird and wonderful. Where else can you watch a 24-hour non-stop stand up routine, an 80 year-old comedian, a man-sized ginger koala screaming about making napalm, an open-air dance extravaganza and one minute bird watching?

If that isn’t enough to keep you entertained, Edinburgh will also host the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which in 2012 pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the year of Creative Scotland.

Staged at the beautiful Edinburgh Castle, the Tattoo includes a line-up of nearly 1000 performers includes hundreds of musicians, pipers, drummers, singers and dancers.

The highlight is a 90min production of sound, graphics, lighting and specially commissioned fireworks (Topdeck’s trip includes tickets to the show)!


Over the Channel lies the effortlessly hip city of Amsterdam. Famous for its culture, museums, nightlife and liberal lifestyle, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s must-see destinations.

Our first night beings with a walking tour of Dam Square, the heart of Amsterdam, and the infamous Red Light District.

During the day you’ll have plenty of free time to explore on your own so why not check out one of the city’s many museums?

  • Rijksmuseum: A national museum, Rijksmuseum is dedicated to arts, crafts and history and houses large collection of paintings by the most famous Dutch masters including Rembrandt.
  • Anne Frank House: Dedicated to the famous young diarist, Anne Frank House is both a museum and preservation of the ‘secret annex’ the where the Frank family, the van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer lived for two years before they were arrested. A must see for anyone who has read Anne’s diary and history lovers alike.
  • Van Gogh Museum: The most visited museum in the Netherlands, it holds the world’s largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings and other important works by his contemporaries.
  • Heineken Experience: Learn all about how this iconic beer has been produced for over 150 years. Of course there’s a free sample at the end too!
  • House of Bols: The House of Bols tour will teach you all there is to know about the famous liqueur brand.  Created in 1575, Bols claims to be oldest distilled spirit brand in the world. The tour ends in the Mirror Bar with a complementary cocktail.

Top Tip: We recommend booking in advance if you wish to visit any of Amsterdam’s museums during the long weekend.

In the evening experience the city’s nightlife, join our optional pub crawl through the Red Light District, cruise the canals or just chill out in a cafe.

Cycling over Amsterdam's famous canals

Cycling over Amsterdam's famous canals

While we’re in town, Amsterdam will be hosting the country’s largest cultural festival, the Uitmarkt.

The Uitmarkt attracts thousands of visitors and performers at more than 30 venues throughout the city. Theatre, music and film all free, plus, there’s a massive book market!

Now we’ve got that sorted, the hardest part will be deciding which of these breaks is the one for you!


Visit Amsterdam and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival & Tattoo on Topdeck’s August Bank Holiday breaks. Trip price includes transport to and from London, accommodation and all breakfasts.

England & Wales: Great British Escapes

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rules the waves! 2012 is the unofficial year of all things British.

Thanks to the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee all eyes are firmly on the United Kingdom.  It’s enough to have you waving your Union Flag and cheering for Old Blighty in no time.

With that in mind there’s never been a better time to visit. If you’re already in London and have a bit of time to spare why not get out and explore with a bunch of great day trips to choose from.

For a traditional break you can’t get more British than a trip to the seaside or the country!

Chill out on Brighton Beach. Photo/K.Segedin

Chill out on Brighton Beach. Photo/K.Segedin

Brighton is one of the country’s most popular beachside resorts. Visit the Royal Pavilion, lounge on the beach and take in the fresh salty air or stroll along the pier complete with funfair rides, games and attractions. Grab some lunch at one of the many restaurants or keep it simple with some authentic British fish and chips.

Rolling hills, lush green fields and river valleys make the Cotswolds one of the most beautiful areas in England and the perfect slice of English country life.  Explore the great outdoors and finish with a pint in a cosy village pub.

Beautiful cottages in the Cotwolds

Beautiful cottages in the Cotwolds

Also within easy reach of London is the historic city of Cambridge, home to the world renowned English university. Visit the Tower of Saint Mary the Great and Trinity College Library and walk along the River Cam.

Relaxing punt on the River Cam, Cambridge. Photo/K.Segedin

Relaxing punt on the River Cam, Cambridge. Photo/K.Segedin

But the best way to soak up the atmosphere is to hire a punt and explore the river yourself – just be careful not to fall in!

Another impressive university town (and Cambridge’s historic rival) is the city of Oxford. Explore the many colleges and view the historic architecture of the city centre that makes Oxford so unique.

Just over an hour north from Oxford lies Stratford-upon-Avon, home to arguably the most famous writer in world - William Shakespeare. A popular tourist destination, you can visit the cottage that once belonged to Shakespeare’s wife, an excellent example of early English architecture, and gain an insight into how life was lived in Shakespearean times.

Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon

Pop back a little earlier in English history and we find ourselves in Hampton Court Palace, the impressive country retreat of King Henry VIII, father of Shakespeare’s contemporary ruler, Elizabeth I. Only twenty miles from London, the palace is home to magnificent buildings and gardens.

Sticking to the royal theme, a short drive away is Windsor, the weekend home of England’s Royal Family, and the impressive Windsor Castle.

Originally built after the invasion of William the Conqueror, Windsor Castle is the longest-occupied palace in Europe and is still used by the Royal family today.

Going back even further in history, the World Heritage sites of Stonehenge and Bath are “must see” for anyone visiting the UK (check out Topdeck’s blog on Bath & Stonehenge for more about these breathtaking sites!).

Want to travel to another country for the day without the need for a visa or passport? Well, why not check out Wales! In the capital of Cardiff take in amazing views from the city’s Castle walls or visit the nearby Millennium stadium.

Caerphilly Castle, Wales

Caerphilly Castle, Wales

Just North of Cardiff lays the impressive medieval Caerphilly Castle. Built between 1268 and 1271, it is the second largest castle in the United Kingdom and is famous for its extensive water defences.

Phew! If that isn’t enough to inspire you to explore the UK I don’t know what is! With so much to see the hardest part will be deciding where to visit first!

Check out Topdeck’s extended UK & Ireland trips, Short Breaks and Daytrips to squeeze all you can out of your time in Britain.

Royal Ascot: A Day at the Races

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

It’s as English as tea and scones, red telephone boxes, cricket, roast beef and local pubs.

Enjoy a traditional English day at the races and be part of the pageantry, fashion and fun of Royal Ascot with Topdeck.

Experience all the Race Day action at Royal Ascot

Experience all the Race Day action at Royal Ascot

If you’re after an excuse to throw on a glamorous outfit, buy a fascinator and sup bubbly while fluttering away a few quid on the gee-gees there’s no better time than this!

Royal Ascot is a national institution and the centrepiece of the British social and racing calendar. Each year, in the third week of June over 300,000 people make the journey to Berkshire for Royal Ascot week.

This year Topdeck is heading to two of Ascot’s most popular race days - the Coronation Stakes and the King Edward VII Stakes on Friday and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday.

We arrive in Berkshire mid-morning with enough time for a stroll though the small Ascot Village stopping for a beverage in one of the local pubs and a wander through the shops. All the while there is a buzz of excitement for the day’s events.

We tuck into Topdeck’s picnic lunch served with bubbly to toast the day ahead before it is time for the real entertainment to begin.  We head in with the other race goers to see what the race ground is all about.

Cheers! Bubbly all round at Royal Ascot!

Cheers! Bubbly all round at Royal Ascot!

Whether you have Silver Ring or Grandstand tickets you’ll be able to place bets, get a great view of the races and grab some drinks and snacks throughout the day.

If we are lucky, on our way we may catch a glimpse of the Queen and the Royal Procession as they arrive at the Parade Ring around 2pm.

Race goers with Grandstand tickets get to experience the action at the height of racing glamour.  You get access to over 1000 seats, big screen TVs, a military band performing in the Parade Ring before the Royal Procession and a traditional sing-along around the Bandstand after racing (free song books provided).

While the Silver Ring provides a less formal atmosphere you can be sure you won’t miss out on any of the action with great views, over 2000 seats, big screen TVs, live entertainment and bars.

Aside from the horses, a major draw card to Ascot is the incredible fashion on display.

It's all about the frocks, and the head-wear, at Royal Ascot

It's all about the frocks, and the hats, at Royal Ascot

This year Ascot has tightened the dress code for those in the Grandstand, but there is not better excuse to dress up for the day!

For ladies attending the Grandstand a hat, headpiece or fascinator must be worn at all times, dresses and tops must have straps, midriffs must be covered and shorts are not allowed. Boys have a rather straightforward dress code - a suit, shirt and tie.

Over in the more casual Silver Ring race goers are simply asked to wear smart clothes.

Once the day’s racing is over you can compare your wins (hopefully not too many loses) with other passengers as we head back to city in the early evening. If the excitement of the day just isn’t enough, you can join us for a post-race day drink in London at our Ascot after party.

Join Topdeck for a day at the races with Royal Ascot Silver Ring and Grandstand tickets. Includes: Return coach transport from central London; picnic style buffet lunch; plenty of bubbly; post race day party in London; services of a Topdeck Trip Leader

Spain: Getting Fiery at Las Fallas

Friday, January 13th, 2012

By Brett Edmonds

Topdeck’s Head of Design Brett feels the heat at the Las Fallas Festival, Spain!

Close your eyes. Now think back to your favourite camp-fire memory. Can you hear the sound of the fire crackling against the cool night breeze? Can you smell the rich, smoky scent of burning embers? Can you feel the heat of the flames as they wash over you? Can you visualise the piercing glow of the red hot wood burning at the base of the fire?

Now picture that camp-fire on a scale similar to a two-story building and you’re getting warm.

Multiply that two-story camp-fire 50 times and you’re getting warmer.

Dot those camp-fires throughout a small Spanish city and you’re getting warmer still.

Add a festival atmosphere in the mix and you’ve escalated to hot.

Stretch this over 4 days at the Las Fallas festival and you’re officially scorching.

The Spanish know how to host a world class festival and Las Fallas is no different.  In fact, the only difference is that it has yet to be discovered by the hordes of tourists that dominate many other Spanish festivals such as Running of the Bulls and La Tomatina.

Las Fallas is a festival that will truly ignite all five senses (six if you include your imagination).

Each year thousands of people descend on the city of Valencia to experience a festival steeped in tradition and imagination. Daily firecracker fights (mascletà), multi-coloured street parades, massive bonfires, sumptuous Spanish tapas, enchanting Flamenco music and fun-loving locals are all combined to make a truly incredible festival that is bound to leave a lasting mark on anyone game enough to visit it.

Be prepared to be swept up by the crowds of Spanish cheering and chanting in the streets, honouring the patron saint of carpenters, St Joseph.

A feast for the senses, this festival will really conjure your inner child with its towering, overly flamboyant effigies of politicians and celebrities dotted throughout the city in its many plazas.

The effigies are put on display for days leading up to the big finale, ‘the night of fire’, where at the stroke of midnight they are torched and burnt down to the ground in front of thousands of wide-eyed onlookers. This is where your inner cave man (or woman) will really come alive as you are mesmerised by the fiercely hot fire, raging only within a couple of metres from you - the heat snapping at you and the sound of the crowd moving through you like a freight train.

Las Fallas is a festival that really must be experienced by anyone looking for the magic of a European festival, but without the swarm of tourists over crowding the quaint little towns and cities that many of these festivals are set in.

Join Topdeck at Las Fallas from 17-20 March 2012! For more of Brett’s photos from the festival check out our album here!

Ski France: Les Deux Alpes

Friday, December 16th, 2011

by Kara Segedin

Boarders, snow bunnies and ski-bums listen up!

The European boarding and skiing season is ready to kick off and if you are itching to get out among the white stuff then pack your bags for Les Deux Alpes, France.

Whether you’re a relative newbie, pro or a complete beginner a Topdeck snow vacation will help you make the most of your time on the slopes.

But it’s more than just the skiing and snowboarding, it’s the whole experience. There’s the fresh mountain air, stunning scenery and the chilly nights spent soaking your muscles in a steaming hot pool after a hard day up the mountain.

And not to mention the Après Ski!

Topdeck’s Festival Manager Heather has been busy putting the final touches on the 2011/2012 ski season packages.

“Ski resorts are expensive, but with our Topdeck ski trips you know exactly how much you are going to spend,” she says.

It’s all included

All your ski or snowboarding gear, lift passes, lessons, meals and accommodation are all included in the trip price. You also get access to other ski resorts in the area, ice skating and heated swimming pools.

“Once there the only thing you will have to pay for is your drinks!”

The Mountain

Les Deux Alpes is a bustling resort in Rhône-Alpes region of France with some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Europe and guaranteed natural snow.

It has about 220km of pistes (runs) and 2300m of vertical drop. There are tracks to suit all abilities from experts to those still learning the ropes.

If you’re a snowboarder who wants to try out some tricks there is also an extensive snowpark with a halfpipe, multiple kickers, two boardercross courses and many grinding rails.

Les Deux Alpes is Europe’s largest skiable glacier and France’s second oldest ski resort. The name “two Alps” refers to the two villages (Vénosc and Mont-de-Lans) that sit either end of the resort plateau.

Snowfalls over the past two weeks have been better than expected with most European resorts experiencing significant snowfalls.

Last week, Les Deux Alpes got 30cm of new snow and further snowfalls are expected.

Where You’ll Be Staying

A wooden and stone chalet, UCPA Les Deux Alpes Hostel is 100m from the ski area and 2 minutes’ walk from the town centre.

All rooms have rooms have shower and sink ensuite with toilets a few steps away in the corridor. The Hostel features a heated pool and a terrace overlooking the Ecrins National Park

With over thirty bars and pubs the nightlife in the resort is buzzing.

How We Do It

If you are making your own way a shuttle will collect you from either Grenoble Airport in France or Geneva Airport in Switzerland.

When you arrive at Les Deux Alpes you’ll be greeted by a Topdeck Ski Rep.

The rep is kind of like a trip leader on the Alpes. They’re there to help you out with all your questions and organise pub crawls and events for the group.

You’ll be asked if you’re a skier or a boarder and you’ll be kitted out in all your gear for the week.

Don’t worry if this is your first time skiing as everyone is entitled to 12 hours worth of ski or snowboard lessons so you’ll be speeding down those trails in no time.

What you get:

  • Guaranteed natural snow.
  • Multi-share accommodation in UCPA Hostel.
  • Lift pass with access to 3 resorts (covers 6 ½ days at Les Deux Alpes, 2 days at L’Alpe d’Huez and 1 day Serre Chevalier).
  • Equipment hire.
  • Up to 12 hours of lessons.
  • All meals at Les Deux Alpes resort.
  • Leisure pass with access to heated swimming pool and ice rink.
  • European trained Topdeck Crew and Ski Rep.
  • Awesome Topdeck après-ski.

What to bring:

  • Snow clothes
  • Travel insurance
Want to hit the slopes with Topdeck this winter? Check out the wicked ski packages our website!
Ski France: 26 December 2011, 12 February, 1 & 8 April 2012
Ski France Easter: 7 April 2012

Mystics & Healing: Bath & Stonehenge

Monday, August 8th, 2011

by Kara Segedin

Like many an Antipodean in London it’s taken me awhile to get out of the city and visit the UK’s sights.

I’ve travelled to the Continent many a time, but until now have failed to explore my own backyard.

Two of my new favourite spots are Bath and Stonehenge in Somerset, South West England.

The Roman Baths is a well-preserved Roman site once used as a public bathing house and now a key tourist attraction at the centre of the town it gives its name to - Bath.

The Great Bath

The Great Bath

The thermal pools and a fascinating museum are housed within a beautiful Victorian reception hall.

At the heart of the building is the Sacred Spring. The 46°C water rises here at the rate of 1,170,000 litres every day and has been doing this for thousands of years.

In Roman times a great Temple was built next to the spring in 60-70 AD dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva, a deity with healing powers.

However, it was the Celts who first discovered the scared site, building a shrine to the goddess Sulis before the Roman temple was constructed.

In Roman times, visitors would throw offerings to the gods or curses into the thermal waters - about 130 curse tablets have been found many related to thieves who stole of clothes while visitors were bathing.

The Terrace is lined with statues of Roman Governors, Emperors & military leaders.

The Terrace is lined with statues of Roman Governors, Emperors & military leaders.

Aside from worship, people came to the baths to relax and treat a variety of ailments.

Sadly you can’t take a dip in the water these days because of high lead levels (thanks to the original working pipes) and the risk of infections.

Oh, and the lovely green colour is caused by algae that grows in sunlight.

Now it’s time to head further back in history to a strange and mystical past.

Located near Salisbury in the Wiltshire countryside, Stonehenge is found in the most unlike of locations

Driving up the A303 motorway I caught my first glimpse of the famous landmark, standing in a large paddock surrounded by rolling green pastures filled with grazing sheep.

Despite the masses of tourists, Stonehenge remains a spooky and impressive sight - you can forget ever finding me there at night time!

Spooky Stuff in Stonehenge

Spooky Stuff in Stonehenge

This ancient monument dates from 3,700 to 1,600 BC. The tallest stone is 7.3m high and weighs over 45 tonnes! That sure is some heaving lifting!

The origins of Stonehenge are shrouded in mystery. The significance of its alignment with the rising and setting of the sun has puzzled many a scholar -was it a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or a ancient calendar?

An even more fundamental, but no less intriguing question is how exactly did the prehistoric Britons move the massive bluestones across land and sea from West Wales to their current resting place in the West of England?

So what are you waiting for! Get off your butts and check out what England and the UK have to offer!

If you want to explore Bath, Stonehenge and much, much more check out these Topdeck trips.

Stonehenge & Bath Day Trip

Celtic Trail 2011

Britain and Ireland Explorer

Let’s talk Oktoberfest!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Oktoberfest fun

Oktoberfest fun

Topdeck Travel’s Festival Manager Amelia Lawrence talks Oktoberfest

It seems the world today is all about opening ceremonies. Whether it’s fighting tooth and nail to get tickets for the Olympics opening ceremonies, spraying sangria everywhere at the San Fermin opening ceremony in Pamplona, or even just trying to get the best bargains when a new Primark store has an opening sale – everyone loves an opening ceremony.

But what about for Oktoberfest?

Enjoy the middle weekend at Munich Beerfest

Enjoy the middle or closing weekend at Munich Beerfest

Every year more Australian travellers flock to Munich to experience Oktoberfest’s opening weekend. So much so that it has become commonplace to hear an antipodean accent before a local one. The beers don’t start flowing on the first day of Oktoberfest until after the Mayor of Munich has tapped the first keg at the Schottenhamel beer tent. And considering that to get a seat most people get to the tents between 9 and 10am, this means several hours sitting, watching and waiting for the first taste of a delicious Bavarian beer.

So what about the other weekends? Traditionally, the middle weekend of Oktoberfest see lots of Europeans head to Munich from all over the continent to experience this amazing festival. The halls are full of a mix of Germans, Italians, Dutchies, as well as a smattering of Aussies in the mix. It’s the perfect time to meet people from all over Europe – and perhaps make new friends to doss with on future European adventures!

The closing weekend of Oktoberfest has a distinct local feel, as the halls start heaving with people from all over Southern Germany. The mood is relaxed, as everyone knows Oktoberfest is drawing to a close for another year. Locals are aware the busiest times are over, and are quick to share a joke and a beer with international visitors who have made it this far! Not to mention that stalls start discounting their Oktoberfest souvenirs, so you can try and grab a bargain!

The largest upside of the middle and closing weekends is the atmosphere. With less Australian travellers around, you’re more likely to meet some real Germans – and who better to learn the German version of “99 Luftballons” from than a local!

For more information about Topdeck’s range of trips to Munich for Oktoberfest Tours.

WIN a trip to OKTOBERFEST for you and a friend!

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Topdeck is offering an awesome prize:

Just become a Topdeck Facebook fan for the chance to win an Oktoberfest trip for two!
Competition EXTENDED! Now ends 5 May 2010! ”

What’s included?

  • 3 nights accommodation in twin-share pre-erected tents with air matresses
  • 3 fully cooked breakfasts
  • Frequent free shuttles to the beer halls
  • Oktoberfest information guide
  • Topdeck crew

How do I enter the competition?

Simple! Just follow these 3 easy steps…