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Hiring and Driving a Car in Europe

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433753900038{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Hiring a car anywhere abroad should be a relatively easy and transparent process, but very often it is not and is something that can cost you dear when you get home.

The array of insurances and confusing conditions can make it virtually impossible to make an informed judgement – there’s a chance that you may either take out unnecessary insurance or face additional and often considerable costs later.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433754037283{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Plan Ahead

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]If you leave it to the last minute and simply pick a car hire desk at random when you arrive at your destination airport you’ll have no idea if you’re getting a good deal or not.

The best advice is to plan ahead and book before you travel. This will give you plenty of time to read and understand the conditions of hire and consider the cost and value of any additional charges.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433755003295{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

When you’re there

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To help you plan accordingly, we’ve listed advice below for hiring and driving a car in countries such as Spain, Portugal, France and Italy.

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Spain

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][image_with_text image=”18662″]

Source: “Llançà coastline” by Dennis van Zuijlekom on Flickr used under

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence

[/image_with_text][vc_column_text]Who can I rent from? Many well-known car-hire brands have offices throughout Spain such as Hertz, Avis, Europcar, and Alamo. If you’re an AA Member you can save up to 10% on global car hire.

What about tolls? Spain has a large number of tolls dotted throughout the country – inconvenient at times, but these roads enable easier access than their alternatives. You can view a list of toll prices in Spain here.

Is there anything else I should know? Hire cars are often targeted in service areas or tricked in to stopping on the hard shoulder by the occupant of a passing vehicle. They will gesture that something is wrong with the vehicle, so lock all doors and keep bags out of sight. The number of thefts by bogus policemen has increased in Madrid and Catalonia. It’s also worth remembering to bring the same credit card to the rental check-in desk that you initially booked with.

Fuel Prices
Unleaded: €1.25 – Diesel: €1.17

Advice from AA spokesman Conor Faughnan: “More Irish people drive abroad in Spain than anywhere else so lots of people have had the experience. The Spanish have spent hugely on their roads and the motorway network is excellent but it can be scary.

We are spoilt in Ireland because our motorways are new and feel comfortable in terms of lane widths and hard shoulders, compared to Spain especially. I saw a truck driver trying to change a wheel near Barcelona a year or so ago on a hard shoulder that was only half the width of his vehicle.

What you do find though, are plentiful good quality service areas (National Roads Authority please take note).

Spanish motorways are a good deal cheaper than France but they too are sprinkled with toll booths. Often the toll itself is set according to by-laws or converted from old peseta or franc denominations. Hence, you get utterly stupid charges like €2.56 that have tourists wrestling for small coins.

The Spanish have got their act together more recently in terms of enforcement. If you haven’t been in a while, you might be tempted to treat their speed-camera signs as just roadside decoration. A mistake – Spanish, French and Italian authorities can and do pursue you, and you will get an unpleasant demand in the post weeks later for anywhere between €45 and €80.

Especially in tourist areas, park carefully. It’s not just bag-snatchers – many parts of Spain are notorious for cars with dents and scratches.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Portugal

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][image_with_text image=”18669″]

Source: “Lisbon, Portugal” by Arden on Flickr used under

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence

[/image_with_text][vc_column_text]Who can I rent from? Many well-known car-hire brands have offices throughout Portugal such as Hertz, Budget and Thrifty.

What about tolls? Tolls are charged at several motorways throughout Portugal. It is compulsory to either carry a Temporary Electronic Toll Device (DEM) or pre-pay tolls. This is required for many motorways throughout Portugal. The official guide to paying tolls can be viewed here but we understand the toll motorways to be the A4, A17, A22, A23, A24, A25, A28, A29, A41 and A42.

Is there anything else I should know? It’s not unusual to spot police cars at the side of the road with speed guns as speed limits are strictly imposed. In built-up areas, drive at 31 mph (50 km/h), outside built-up areas at 55 mph (90 km/h) or 62 mph (100 km/h) and on motorways at 74 mph (120 km/h).The minimum speed on motorways is 31 mph (50 km/h). Motorists who have held a driving licence for less than one year must not exceed 55 mph (90 km/h). In some town centres the speed is reduced to 12 mph (20 km/h).

Fuel Prices
Unleaded: €1.41 – Diesel: €1.23

Advice from AA spokesman Conor Faughnan:There wasn’t just a Celtic Tiger in Ireland – Portugal had one as well. They invested very heavily in infrastructure so like Ireland, Portugese motorways are good quality modern ones.

In years gone by the Portugese road safety record was appalling, one of the worst in Europe and far worse than Ireland’s even when ours was a disgrace. However times have changed all around Europe and in Portugal standards have improved to the point where you will hardly recognise them if you are remembering a trip from a decade ago.

Even so, these roads are relatively more dangerous than Irish ones. In tourist areas especially you do need to concentrate at all times.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Italy

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][image_with_text image=”18673″]

Source: “Rome” by Moyan Brenn on Flickr used under

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Licence

[/image_with_text][vc_column_text]Who can I rent from? Car-hire is available from Hertz, Avis and Thrifty alongside plenty of smaller independent car-hire firms.

What about tolls? Tolls are levied on the majority of motorways in Italy. You can calculate tolls here.

Is there anything else I should know? AREA C (A pollution charge, formerly Eco-pass) is levied in the centre of Milan. Charges apply Mon-Fri and generally from 7.30am until 7.30pm. Drivers must purchase an eco-pass before entering the restricted zone. Tariffs vary according to the emissions of the vehicle. Mopeds and motorcycles are exempt.

Traffic is also restricted in many historical centres/major towns known as ‘Zone a Traffico Limitato’ or ZTL’s, where circulation is only permitted for residents.

Fuel Prices
Unleaded: €1.65 – Diesel: €1.52

Advice from AA spokesman Conor Faughnan: “The Italians have a reputation for being warm, friendly, chaotic, stylish and disorganised. It is a wonderful country to visit but in keeping with the clichés their roads can be difficult for visitors. I drove in northern Italy a number of years ago and it is a Mecca for car nuts. At one stage, as we sat in traffic in our diesel Ford Fiesta hire car, I noted that the car in front and the two cars behind me were all Ferraris. We also took a spin up into the Italian Alps. I gather the scenery was lovely; I didn’t get to see it. Along twisted mountain roads that looked like they were straight out of The Italian Job, my abiding memory was of dodging the bikers flinging themselves into hairpin bends. I half-expected to see piles of smashed bikes at the base of the cliffs.

Don’t let it put you off. Italy has a good quality modern network, and while town and city centres probably do require an experienced and calm visiting driver the general driving environment feels safe and secure. Motorways are extensively tolled but are far cheaper than France and more comparable to Spanish rates.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

France

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][image_with_text image=”18675″]

Source: “Paris Skyline, France” by Luke Ma on Flickr used under

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Licence

[/image_with_text][vc_column_text]Who can I rent from? You can rent from companies like Hertz, Sixt and Argus Car Hire. Rental vehicles in France come with unlimited third party liability insurance included in the initial price.

What about tolls? Pay-as-you-go tolls are charged on most motorways in France. You can pay toll fees by credit card or cash.

Is there anything else I should know? “French authorities are quite stringent on all motorists carrying the correct documents and compulsory equipment when driving. These include a warning triangle and a reflective jacket. The jacket must be kept within the passenger compartment of the vehicle and be put on before exiting the vehicle in an emergency/breakdown situation. It is absolutely prohibited to carry, transport or use radar detectors. Failure to comply with this regulation involves a fine of up to €1,500 and the vehicle and/or device may be confiscated.

Fuel Prices
Unleaded: €1.39 – Diesel: €1.39

Advice from AA spokesman Conor Faughnan: “France is a beautiful part of the world and the roads make it easy. On the motorways especially, you quickly forget that you are abroad. The locals are reasonably friendly provided you don’t bring bad Irish motorway habits with you. Our tendencies to hog the outer lane or to switch lanes without indicating do not go down well.

The Autoroutes are peppered with tolls and they really add up. As a rule of thumb it is usually between 0.07-0.10 cent per kilometre travelled, add about half that again if you are towing a caravan. I did a 375km trip in the south of France last year and it cost nearly as much in tolls as it did in fuel: €31.00

French traffic police are notorious and their law is tough. Treat them as formally as you would airport security or you may regret it just as much. They are much more laid back off the roads but be warned. Don’t dream of taking an alcohol-risk.

Don’t ignore speed cameras either – they work and you’ll find a charge either applied to your card or sent to you back home in Ireland.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433771293246{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

For peace of mind

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]• Damage – check the car for damage with an employee from the car rental company before signing a rental agreement, and again when the vehicle is returned. Have the damage-free condition confirmed in writing, or note any damage. Disputes can sometimes arise after you arrive home so it’s a good idea taking the time to take some phone pictures of the car both when you pick it up and when you return it.

Controls – Check all the switches, indicators and other controls carefully and if any are unfamiliar or don’t work, ask the rental firm for guidance
Refuelling – check the refuelling requirements in advance and keep fuel bills as proof of a full tank when the vehicle is returned. Consider taking a photo of the fuel gauge, particularly if dropping the car off without a hire company employee present.
Insurance cover – third-party insurance is a must but in some countries the minimum statutory cover may be higher and if cover is insufficient, the hirer is personally liable for the excess. There may be a charge to increase cover.
Additional insurance – if you can, choose comprehensive damage cover without an excess, but check what is actually covered as some may exclude damage to tyres, rims, the underbody or stone chips.
Theft insurance – recommended if this is not included in the comprehensive insurance.

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Categories
Africa England Europe France Morocco Netherlands Portugal Spain

City Breaks – the AA Roadwatch guide

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Here in Ireland we may be marooned on an island, but it’s never been easier – nor cheaper – to jet off for a fun-filled city break in one of the dozens of fascinating destinations on our doorstep. And now that winter is approaching, it’s a great time to start poring over the map, feeding the imagination and then firing up the cheap flights websites in search of some last minute sun or even a winter wonderland.

We asked some of the AA Roadwatch team to tell us about their favourite city breaks – and they’re not all in Europe. So read on for some inspiration from our broadcasters and get booking![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text image=”21891″ title=”Seville”]

Photo by SkareMedia used under CC BY-SA 3.0 ES licence

[/image_with_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]Words by Lauren Beehan

IN A FEW WORDS:

A unique fusion of styles and cultures, Seville is an enthralling city where getting lost is part of the fun. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

Seville is the traditional starting place for journeys in Spanish literature, so a weekend here was a fitting start to my own travels in Spain. The labyrinthine Barrio Santa Cruz is a true navigational challenge, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in its tiny winding streets: who needs a map when there’s a tapas bar or café around every corner?

Map or no map, I couldn’t miss Seville’s proudest historical sites: the colourful Alcázar (palace) and the world’s largest cathedral, whose skyscraping belltower (La Giralda) started life as part of a 12th-century mosque. Indeed, the whole city is a blend of Arabic and European styles, unlike anything I’d seen before.

Less than a kilometre away from those historical treasures, I climbed the baffling Metropol Parasol, a modern wooden structure built over a two-century-old market. Officially, it’s designed to resemble trees; locals call it Las Setas (the Mushrooms). The rooftop panorama is great spot for a drink or, in my case, to take too many photos.

A final noteworthy spot is the majestic Plaza de España in Maria Luísa Park, where I discovered how terrible I am at rowing boats. I should have followed the sevillanos’ lead and stuck to paddling in the enormous fountain…

HOW TO GET THERE:

Ryanair fly to Seville twice weekly from Dublin. Several airlines offer daily flights via London. 

GETTING AROUND:

The Old Town is best experienced on foot, but taxis are inexpensive and quick. There’s also an extensive bus network, a metro line and a tram line.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][vc_column][image_with_text image=”21910″ title=”Marrakech”]

Photo by Luc Viatour, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated licence

[/image_with_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]Words by Arwen Foley

IN A FEW WORDS:

Not your typical city break, but perfect for warming the bones. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

Most people who contemplate a trip to the Moroccan city of Marrakech think of it as somewhere to relax and lie out by the pool and if that’s what you’re looking for, I recommend heading to a hotel in the new city.

However, if you’re looking for a culturally diverse location, completely different from your normal city break, then I thoroughly recommend a stay in a riad – a bit like boutique hotel – within the walls of Marrakech’s old city. We stayed in Riad Dar One, which was lovely and within walking distance of most of the major tourist attractions.

The colours, sights, sounds and the smell of spices and orange blossom make Marrakech a truly wonderful city. You can spend hours meandering down the narrow streets or getting lost amongst the market stalls.

Food can be very mixed in Marrakech so it’s best to do your research before you travel. Trying a Moroccan tagine is a must – perhaps start with chicken cooked in honey, with apricots and almonds. Morocco is a Muslim country so alcohol is not as readily available as it is in Ireland. However, most hotels serve alcohol and we didn’t have any problem finding bars to stop in for a tipple. It is advisable to check that the restaurant you’re going to serves alcohol before you get there though.

HOW TO GET THERE:

The only airline that flies direct from Dublin to Marrakech is Ryanair so really there’s only one option. When we arrived, our riad had arranged for a driver to collect us. You can get also get a taxi but be warned, a lot of the taxi drivers only speak Arabic or French. My Leaving Cert French came in quite handy for the couple of days we were there.

GETTING AROUND:

The best way to get around is on foot but it is possible to get a taxi or you can do the real touristy thing and flag down a horse and cart.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][vc_column][image_with_text image=”21890″ title=”Lyon”]

Photo by Patrick Giraud used under CC BY-SA 1.0 licence.

[/image_with_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]Words by Chris Jones

IN A FEW WORDS:

A beguiling riverside city that’s not just for foodies.

HIGHLIGHTS:

France’s third largest city may not have the romance of Paris or the glittering coastline of Nice, but it’s the kind of place that charms you quickly. A lot of people go for the food (it boasts a galaxy of Michelin stars among its many restaurants) and although I can’t vouch for that, it’s a wonderful city to wander around. Be warned though – it’s very hilly. Vieux (old) Lyon is a charming area with lots of nooks and crannies to explore (and the steepest Metro line I’ve ever been on) while the best views are from the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, which dominates the city’s skyline. You can take a funicular railway up to it but wrap up unless it’s summer – the first time I visited in early spring, it was icy cold. Back in the attractive city centre, I recommend a stroll along the banks of the Rhône and Saône rivers, and don’t miss Place Bellecour, one of Europe’s largest public squares.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Aer Lingus flies from Dublin to Lyon-Saint Exupéry five times a week. Easyjet flies from Belfast International once a week, every Saturday. When I went there for Euro 2016 direct flights had sold out, so I flew to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and took the high-speed TGV train direct to Lyon. It’s fun and covers the 500km distance in just two hours.

GETTING AROUND:

Lyon has a comprehensive transport network, with a six-line tram system and a four-line metro, as well as an extensive bus network, taxis and Uber. Public transport runs from around 5am to midnight, and a single ticket on any form costs €1.90. The Lyon City Card includes unlimited use of public transport for as long as the card is valid.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][vc_column][image_with_text image=”21889″ title=”Lisbon”]

Photo used under CC0 License

[/image_with_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]Words by Adrian Harmon

IN A FEW WORDS:

A charming medieval city whose trams zig-zag across its seven hills.

HIGHLIGHTS:

The city is awash with tours, and I highly recommend them as a way of getting acquainted with your surroundings. The city centre is easily navigated on foot – don’t miss Bairro Alto, the centre of the city’s nightlife, the opulent Baixa district and the quaint and maze-like neighbourhood of Alfama, which surrounds the city’s Arabic/medieval St George Castle.

I stayed near Rua Dom Pedro V and Rua Sao Pedro de Alcantara – a central area which is home to some great restaurants. Rooms with a view include Insólito (great food and cocktails) and Lost In (quirky and there are no bad seats). The restaurant-cum-hostel Decadente was also a very nice lunch option.

Outside the city, there are some great places to visit. The walks and coastline around Cascais are worth the short train ride and boast breathtaking scenery. Boca de Inferno (Devil’s Mouth) is a great spot for some snaps.

The magical UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra is also a must-see with the Castle of the Moors and Pena Palace among the attractions. The area is steeped in history, with spectacular views, and I found a half-day tour from the city plenty to take it in.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Direct flights from Dublin are operated by Aer Lingus and Ryanair. A frequent bus service will take you directly from the airport to city centre. A taxi will take approximately 20 minutes.

GETTING AROUND:

Lisbon’s tram network has declined since its heyday in the 1960s but trams remain a common sight on the city’s streets and the vintage ones are an attraction in themselves. There are also funiculars, a four-line metro and an extensive bus network. A 24-hour pass for bus, tram and metro costs €6.50 for the first day and €6 for each additional day.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][vc_column][image_with_text image=”21899″ title=”London”]

Photo by DeFacto used under CC-BY-SA-4.0 licence

[/image_with_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]Words by Ruth Jephson

IN A FEW WORDS:

One of the most iconic cities in the world, and on Ireland’s doorstep.

HIGHLIGHTS:

The Museum of London is the perfect place to visit early on in your trip as it provides an overview of the city and its history. As you walk through the museum, you’ll learn about London chronologically and what has shaped it over the years – I found the features on The Great Fire and the 7/7 Bombings particularly interesting. St Paul’s, Moorgate and Barbican Underground stops are all 5/10 mins walk away and admission is free.

There are about a dozen exhibitions in the Imperial War Museum on Lambeth Rd, but make sure you visit the Holocaust Exhibition, which is a permanent fixture. Allow plenty of time – I’ve spent six hours there over two visits and I’m planning a third! There are incredibly moving video interviews with Holocaust survivors, as well as other potentially upsetting material so it’s not recommended for under 14s. Other exhibitions include The War on Terror and the First World War. Entry is free.

You could also check out the Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, Buckingham Palace and the two Tate Galleries – or see a West End show!

HOW TO GET THERE:

There are dozens of flights from Irish airports every day. If you fly to Gatwick, you can then take the non-stop Gatwick Express to the city, which goes every 15 mins. Last time, I flew to Luton and took the Thameslink in.

GETTING AROUND:

Get an Oyster card and you can use all London transport by tapping on and off. Download the Citymapper app. This is a godsend, you input your destination and, combining all the public transport options, it gives you the best way to get there. It even says what section of the train or tube to get on for ‘Exit Planning Optimisation’. (I love this app so much I nearly put it in the ‘Highlights’ section).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][vc_column][image_with_text image=”21892″ title=”Amsterdam”]

Photo by Patrick Clenet used under CC BY-SA 3.0 licence

[/image_with_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]Words by Róisín Nestor

IN A FEW WORDS:

Beautiful architecture, museums and plenty of interesting experiences!

HIGHLIGHTS:

One of the best things I did in Amsterdam was the Sandeman’s free walking tour. Our guide brought us around for two-and-a-half hours, covering everything from the city’s beginnings as a fishing village to the Red Light District. It was a local perspective and helped us plan how we wanted to spend the rest of our trip. Hopping onto a canal cruise is another great way to see the sights.

I’d definitely recommended booking in advance to avoid the queues at the Anne Frank House. The Heineken Experience was a bit of fun and I enjoyed the Van Gogh Museum. At €4 entry, the Sex Museum is also worth a look for a bit of a giggle. And if you’re not getting high enough on life, Bulldog Café is one of the best-known of Amsterdam’s infamous ‘coffeeshops’.

HOW TO GET THERE:

You can fly to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport from Dublin, Cork, Belfast City or Belfast International. When we arrived, we took the train from the airport to Centraal station.

GETTING AROUND:

Many of the attractions in Amsterdam are quite central so we mainly walked everywhere. Otherwise you can make use of the great network of buses and trains by buying a three day travel ticket for €26. Or why not do as the locals do and rent a bike?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Main image used under CC0 licence.

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No-one wants to think about bad things happening on holiday, but it’s always best to be prepared. AA Travel Insurance can give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your time away.

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Categories
England Featured France Germany Italy Northern Ireland Scotland Spain USA Wales

Avoiding a Medical Emergency Abroad

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There are plenty of steps travellers can take in advance of a trip away to minimise financial costs and the inevitable stress that comes with a medical emergency abroad. We’ve listed below some incredibly simple steps to take ensuring everyone has a safe and enjoyable trip.

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See your doctor before you go

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It’s a good idea to get a medical check-up from your doctor before you go. If you’re planning on taking part in strenuous physical activities such as hiking or skiing, pay a visit to your doctor to make sure you’re in good shape for it. (And don’t forget to check with your travel insurance provider that these activities are covered under your policy.) Consider whether you need vaccinations for your destination, too. In an AA study, 23% of males aged 17-24 years old told us they needed medical attention whilst abroad compared to just 15% of women in the same age bracket. So once you pay a visit to the doctor, tell your partner/dad/brother to do the same!

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Medical care at your destination

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Learning about the quality of medical care at your destination means you’ll know what to expect should you need it. For example, in Spain there are two types of health establishments you can visit depending on the severity and type of illness – a hospital and a health centre (Centro de Salud). For serious illnesses or injuries, it’s expected that you would visit a hospital, but for instances not requiring immediate hospitalisation the Centro de Salud is your best bet. Knowing information such as this allows you to make sound judgments about what type of treatment you need.

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Know how to seek medical care

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Do you know how to call for help in a foreign country? It’s not something you even think of amongst the flurry of packing and printing out flight tickets, but it could prove to be the most vital. Click here for a map that shows local emergency telephone numbers from around the world.

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Carry health information

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]You might know your blood type and that you’re allergic to peanuts, but what about other background information like medications or previous surgeries? These could be crucial to a doctor giving you emergency treatment.

And while it’s wise to carry your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) with you if you’re travelling to Europe, be aware that it won’t cover for things like an air ambulance home if someone is in serious trouble, which can cost up to €20,000.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Check your insurance

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People often think medical care isn’t included in their travel insurance policy, but a lot of the time it is and they just don’t know. Check your policy to ensure you’re getting value for money and sufficient coverage. The AA provides unlimited medical cover for Members who have an extra Travel policy, meaning there are no restrictions on the amount you can claim.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]For more information on AA Travel Insurance, please click here.

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Categories
England France Ireland Italy Scotland Spain Wales

Top 10 Dos and Don’ts When Travelling With A Roof Rack

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]The folks over at Mick’s Garage know their stuff when it comes to travelling with a roof rack.

They have been selling and fitting roof racks to customers’ cars for over a decade. During that time they’ve built up a wealth of experience and knowledge with regards to the common issues that you might face. Here’s their list of the top 10 things to look out for:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”READ THE INSTRUCTIONS” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

“As a rule, us chaps don’t read instructions and to be fair, most of us get away with it 95% of the time! If you’re fitting a roof rack to your car it’s extremely important to read all the instructions fully before you take a single bolt out of the box. They will help you get the job done more quickly, easily and safely in the long run. While not essential, a second pair of hands is certainly a big help. Remember your car is worth a lot more than the set of roof racks you’ve just bought, so don’t damage it by not reading the instructions!”

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“Pay particular attention to the torque settings (if mentioned). A properly fitted and used roof rack will give years of trouble free service and will not damage your car. An over-torqued, under-torqued, badly fitted or overloaded roof rack can damage your car. If you’re unsure about how to fit a roof rack correctly, check out this MicksGarage video for some top tips.”

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“If left on your car, your roof rack will be exposed to the elements, and as a result the fittings can corrode over time. To counteract this, a bit of copper grease on the mounting bolt threads will help protect against corrosion and make removing them in the future so much easier.”

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“The owner’s manual for your car will have a section on the maximum weight that can be carried on the roof. We often find the car will have a lower weight limit than the roof bars so it’s important to check and never exceed whichever is the lower of the two.”

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“Loading a roof rack with big, bulky items can be quite difficult. It’s when you’re struggling and straining that things tend to get damaged, so rather than scratching your lovely paintwork with that 12-foot canoe you’re trying to manhandle on your own, get someone to give you a hand.”

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“You’d be surprised at the number of calls we get from customers telling us they’ve just driven their car into a multi-storey car park (or their own garage), forgotten they had the roof rack and roof box or bike racks fitted and ripped the whole lot off! It’s more of an issue on taller MPVs and 4×4s but still possible in family saloons, so try to remember the extra height you’re carrying!”

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“At MicksGarage, we only sell roof racks with security locks – be sure to use them at all times, especially if you’re carrying bikes or kayaks that can be worth thousands. It can also be a good idea to keep your roof rack keys on your car key ring. We get hundreds of calls every year looking for replacement keys!”

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“Canoes, kayaks and surf boards must be tied down to the car front and back, not just to the roof rack. You can use the car’s towing eyes or tow bar if it has one. These kind of products can generate absolutely colossal amounts of aerodynamic lift when travelling at speed and could rip any brand of roof rack clean off your car if it’s not tied down properly. Even if you’re not travelling quickly, strong winds (and it often is very windy when surfers/wind surfers are heading out) could exert forces higher than the roof rack is rated for and cause damage so this is a really important point.”

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“Some roof rack accessories such as roof boxes come with a maximum speed warning which shouldn’t be exceeded. Aerodynamic drag increases with speed, and exceeding the speed rating could effectively exert too much force onto the accessory or the roof rack.”

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”TAKE IT OFF” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]”Despite the use of lightweight materials and aerodynamic profiles, a roof rack still adds a degree of weight and aerodynamic drag to your car. Although a small amount, it will negatively affect your fuel economy. So if you’re not using it, take it off!

“Finally, if you’re planning on taking a trip to the safari park with a roof box attached to your rack, stay away from the baboons! Or just make sure you lock it.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

For more information on roof racks and travel accessories, whether for business or leisure, head to MicksGarage. They have a team of experts on hand seven days a week.

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Categories
England Europe France Ireland Northern Ireland Uncategorised Wales

Why I Love Camping With Family – A Customer’s Story

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AA customer, Jennifer Browne, shares her experiences of camping with family and offers some top advice.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Camping with family started for us only as recently as August, 2015.  We were invited to visit with friends in the U.K. but were told once the flights etc. had been booked that we would be spending 2 nights camping as a group in Forest of Dean in Wales. We were told not to worry as we knew they were experienced campers who would show us the way and had everything we’d need for the experience. I was so reluctant to camp because I had never done it before. The thought of sleeping in a tent with only a thin piece of material separating me from the elements did not immediately appeal.

However, my family and I took to it like ducks to water and how things have changed. I now love camping and so does my family. What’s not to love; the outdoors, the easy way of living, the peace, the memories for the children. You just can’t beat it or put a price on it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Equipment is everything ” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#111111″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

As soon as we got home we bought our first tent, an eight man Vango which has so far proven to be a very good family tent. As our experiences of camping have evolved and so has our equipment list. We bought the matching awning for our tent which is very handy for rainy camping trips. You can take off wet rain coats and wellies in the awning to avoid getting the tent wet. Our most recent purchase was the camping fridge.  It’s so handy and I would totally recommend it.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”21060″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When it comes to camping with family, your equipment makes the difference between a memorable experience or wet, cold and miserable days that no one will look back on with fond memories. As such I would recommend the following items to make your tent feel like that home away from home:

  1. A ground sheet. It provides an extra layer of protection for you and your tent from the ground. It will also help lengthen the lifespan of your tent.
  2. Picnic blankets or carpeting for the floor inside the tent for extra comfort. There’s nothing nicer that sitting down and playing a game of cards with the kids last thing before you hit the sleeping bags.
  3. Blow up beds. We found that once you can afford the little bit of extra space these take up, then they’re a must have item for the best night’s sleep.
  4. Some compact fold up chairs.
  5. Sleeping Bags. Invest in a good quality sleeping bag for that extra sleeping comfort. Just check the season grading on the bags.  Generally a season 2 bag is great for spring/summer and provides that extra warmth for those cooler nights.  We even brought our own pillows – great comfort for the kids to guarantee a good nights sleep.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Preparation is key” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When preparing for your trip, get each family member to pack their own rucksack so they know where their own belongings are. This is great for teaching the kids to look after their stuff. Everyone knows the main things to bring camping, the tent (a good start), sleeping bag, chair, plate, cup, spork and a flash light. After that you’re into the luxuries.

Going on so many camping trips you get to pick up ideas weather it’s bringing new equipment or putting up or taking down the tent.  It’s very much a team effort.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Camping highlights” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

When camping with family, there are some amazing experiences and adventures to be had and every family or couple should take what they want from camping. But, the best things for me and my family about camping are:

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  1. Escaping the busy day to day life to the peaceful, quite country side.
  2. Learning to appreciate and experience the outdoors.
  3. Spending true quality time as a family.
  4. Having fun cooking outdoors.
  5. Learning new skills.
  6. Doing it all on a budget. Camping is very affordable.

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Finally, our most memorable trip so far was to a beautiful four star campsite in Co. Wexford called Morriscastle Strand Holiday Park. When we arrived, not knowing what to expect, we were met by friendly staff who managed the family run site since 1969. The pitches were well layed out and sheltered, the facilities were top notch and spotless and best of all, the beautiful beach and sand dunes were right next to us. We have had some great trips so far and we look forward to trips that are yet to come.

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With thanks to Jennifer Browne, an AA Car Insurance and Membership customer,  for sharing her camping journey and giving us real insight into  great tips and benefits of camping.

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Some useful links:

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Are you an AA customer?

Keep an eye out for regular Great Outdoors offers too with AA Rewards perfect for all your outdoor activities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20899″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”http://www.theaa.ie/aa/aa-rewards/welcome.aspx” img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
England Uncategorised

6 Places to go Surfing in Cornwall

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Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or simply keen to try a new sport, Cornwall offers some of the best conditions for hitting the waves.

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Source: Flikr

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Fistral Beach, Cornwall

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]One of the most popular surf spots in the UK, Newquay attracts hordes of dedicated and wannabe surfers as well as hen and stag parties. A short drive from Watergate Bay, this thriving town boasts an abundance of surf schools and surf shops, as well as a vibrant nightlife. Best for intermediate surfers, the waves hold some challenges even for the experienced.

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Source: Wikimedia

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Watergate Bay, Cornwall

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Just outside Newquay, this surfing mecca boasts more than two miles of sandy beach and consistent waves. There are professional surf schools catering for beginners as well as those who want to improve their skills.

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Source: Wikimedia

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Sennen Cove, Cornwall

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Another beautiful, exposed Cornish beach perfect for surfing, Sennen offers decent waves and tuition for all abilities. Sennen’s Beach Restaurant is also legendary, offering tasty home-cooked food and some stunning views.

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Source: Wikimedia

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Polzeath, Cornwall

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Autumn is a great time to enjoy the good groundswells here, as Polzeath can be uncomfortably packed during the summer months. An ideal place to learn surfing in the UK.

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Source: Wikimedia

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Porthleven, Cornwall

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]This sandy beach next to a harbour is for expert surfers only. The breaks are extremely powerful and the reef is shallow and rough.

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Source: Flikr

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St Ives, Cornwall

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]The best beach around St Ives for surfing is Porthmeor, on the town’s north coast. Ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers and popular with families, the beach is manned by lifeguards throughout the summer. The beach is also very close to town and overlooked by the Tate St Ives.

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Categories
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Win a €300 Car Hire Voucher From Hertz

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Win one of two Hertz car hire vouchers 

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Hertz are giving two lucky people the chance to win a 3 day weekend car hire voucher for anywhere in Europe, each worth €300.

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The prize is: Two Hertz vouchers to give away to two lucky winners, where each voucher gives free 3 day weekend Hertz car hire anywhere in Europe.  Each voucher is valid until 31st December 2017 and is valued at €300.

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COMPETITION NOW CLOSED

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Congratulations to our 2 Winners:

 

  1. Neil Jackman from Tipperary
  2. Caroline Ryan

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Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer and planning to hire a car when abroad, you’re entitled to up to 10% off Hertz car hire with AA Rewards.  To find out more click here.

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Categories
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Best Books To Read This Summer For All The Family

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Check out Easons top books for all the family to read this summer.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Summer is just around the corner and that means it’s time to plan those long anticipated summer holidays.

Whether you’re jetsetting across Europe or stay-cationing in your very own backyard, a good book is the perfect accessory to any summer holiday.

To help alleviate the search for the best picks, we’ve teamed up with Easons.com to give you a round-up of this summer’s most anticipated releases, for all the family. From eagerly awaited follow-ups to new releases from bestselling authors, the below titles will help you escape this Summer![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Books For The Kids

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 1.   Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

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In her seventh novel, international bestselling author and twice winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal Kate DiCamillo tells a masterful story that blends pathos and humour. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father – who has run away with a dental hygienist – will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home.

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2.    Broken Hearts Club by Cathy Cassidy

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A brand new standalone book! Is it ever too late to mend a broken heart? Andie, Eden, Ryan, Tasha and Hasmita love being part of the Heart Club. They’ve promised to stay best friends forever and nothing can tear them apart. But sometimes things happen that you couldn’t ever have expected and forever might not be as long as you think. Now, two years later, Eden and Ryan are haunted by memories of the past. Can they find a way to bring the club back together or is it too late to mend a broken heart?

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3.    Apollo 1 by Rick Riordan

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After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

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4.   Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

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Look out! Tom, Delia and the whole Gates family are going on holiday. How will Tom manage to keep himself busy on the most boring campsite ever? By doodling, of course! An exciting new story – with doodle your own elements! – from award-winning and best-selling author Liz Pichon.

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Young Adult Recommendations

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1.   Desolation by Derek Landy

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THE EPIC NEW THRILLER CONTINUES. Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City at the end of Demon Road, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master. Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose. And that night is coming.

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2.   Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

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Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED. In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

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3.    Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

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Centred on the story of a Leaving Cert student, Emma (18), who lives in a rural town in Ireland, Asking For It is about what happens to her one night at a party, an incident that changes the course of her life. Filled with uncertainties and perspectives, this is brave and clever writing from a relatively new voice in Irish fiction.

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4.    A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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The stunning sequel to Sarah J. Maas’ New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses. Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms – and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future – and the future of a world cleaved in two.

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Books For Him

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1.   The Last Mile by Baldacci David

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Memories can be a real killer Melvin Mars awaits his fate on Death Row. He was one of America’s most promising football stars until, aged twenty-years-old, he was arrested and convicted for the murder of his parents just as he was due to begin a very lucrative contract with the NFL. A race against time ensues because, when revealed, that information threatens to tear apart the corridors of power at the very highest level. The case proves to be life-changing for both Mars and Decker in ways that neither could ever have imagined.

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2.   World Gone By by Dennis Lehane

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He has everything he could possibly want; money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity. But in a town that runs on corruption, vengeance and greed, success can’t protect Joe from the dark truth of his past — and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime of sin will finally be paid in full . . . Chilling, heart-breaking and gripping, this is the most complex and powerful novel to date from Dennis Lehane, writer on The Wire and author of modern classics such as Shutter Island ,Gone, Baby, Gone and The Given Day .

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3.   The Hurley Maker’s Son by Patrick Deeley

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Galway, 1978. In the wake of his father’s passing, Deeley makes the slow, sad journey home. Remembering the tiny, precious moments of his childhood spent in his father’s hurley-making workshop and at his mother’s side, this is a beautifully evocative memoir, reminiscent of John McGahern’s Memoir.

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4.   A Time of Torment by John Connolly

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Parker is not like other men. He died, and was reborn. He is ready to wage war. Now he will descend upon a strange, isolated community called the Cut, and face down a force of men who rule by terror, intimidation, and murder. All in the name of the being they serve. All in the name of the Dead King.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20270″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-4101716-a-time-of-torment.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Keep an eye out in May for…

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20271″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-4228515-the-dad.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20272″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-4216046-the-city-of-mirrors.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Books For Her

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1.    All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll

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Tess Taylor is gearing up for a wedding day to remember. And nothing is going to get in her way. That is, until an unexpected summons arrives completely out of the blue for jury service. Kate King, celebrity socialite, is going through a very public divorce. On the surface, the two women couldn’t be more different, but their worlds collide as the courtroom drama unfolds. And lessons in love and friendship await them both.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20274″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-4168800-all-she-ever-wished-for.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

2.    One with You by Sylvia Day

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The final chapter in the global blockbuster Crossfire quintet Gideon Cross. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free . . . or break us apart. Heartbreakingly and seductively poignant, One with You is the breathlessly awaited finale to the Crossfire saga, the searing love story that has captivated millions of readers worldwide.

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3.   The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

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A one-in-a-million story for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and think about how extraordinary ordinary life can be. Not to be missed by readers who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, ELIZABETH IS MISSING or THE SHOCK OF THE FALL.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20276″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-4140227-the-one-in-a-million-boy.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

4.   Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

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This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, ELIGIBLE both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20277″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-3789225-eligible.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Keep an eye out in May for…

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20278″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-3133333-the-love-of-a-lifetime.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20279″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-4228502-kick.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

With thanks to Easons.com, our AA Rewards partner, for providing us with all the best new reads this summer for all the family.  These are sure to keep everyone entertained over the summer holidays.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”20282″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”full” link=”http://www.easons.com/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Easons’ are giving all readers 10% off online purchases.  Just click here to start shopping and enter the promotion code: “AASUMMER10

 

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer, you’re entitled to regular discount on Easons.com.  To find out more click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433517982393{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][action full_width=”yes” content_in_grid=”no” type=”normal” show_button=”yes” button_text=”Get a Travel Insurance quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Insurance/Travel-Insurance.aspx” background_image=”20216″ button_text_color=”#000000″ background_color=”#0a0a0a” button_hover_text_color=”#e5e5e5″ button_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_hover_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_border_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.01)” button_hover_border_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.01)”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
England Europe France Germany Ireland Italy Spain Wales

Safety Tips for Driving Through a Tunnel in Europe

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If your journey takes you through one of Europe’s longer road tunnels – the longest is 15 miles – it’s important to be familiar with this safety advice in case an emergency should occur.

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Approaching the tunnel

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  • Check your fuel level
  • Switch on the radio and tune into the traffic radio station if there is one
  • Switch on your headlights (low beam)
  • Take off your sunglasses
  • Pay attention to traffic lights and other traffic signs

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In the tunnel

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  • Keep a good distance from the vehicle in front
  • Observe speed limits (maximum and minimum)
  • Make a mental note of safety features – emergency exits and phones – as you pass
  • In tunnels with two-way traffic, use the nearside carriageway edge for orientation Never cross the centre line
  • Never make a U-turn or reverse
  • Don’t stop, except in an emergency

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Congestion

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  • If traffic slows suddenly, turn on hazard warning lights
  • If traffic stops moving completely, leave a distance of at least five metres from the vehicle in front
  • If traffic stops moving turn off the engine
  • Do not leave your vehicle
  • Tune in to traffic radio if there is a system

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Breakdown

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  • Turn on hazard lights
  • Pull over into a lay-by, emergency lane or as far to the nearside as possible
  • Turn off the engine
  • Leave your vehicle – wear a reflective jacket and pay close attention to traffic
  • Notify the rescue services – use an emergency telephone rather than a mobile phone which is unlikely to work
  • Follow any advice from tunnel control – wait for help in the vehicle if there is no other place of safety

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Accident

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  • Turn on hazard warning lights
  • Park as far to the nearside as possible
  • Turn off the engine
  • Leave your vehicle – wear a reflective jacket and pay close attention to traffic
  • Call the rescue services. Use an emergency telephone rather than a mobile which is unlikely to work.
  • Help any injured people

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If your vehicle catches fire

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  • Turn on hazard warning lights
  • Drive out of the tunnel if possible – but never make a U-turn or reverse
  • If you can’t drive out, drive to a lay-by, an emergency lane or pull over as far to the nearside as possible
  • Turn off the engine but leave the key in the ignition
  • Contact the rescue services – use an emergency telephone rather than a mobile which is unlikely to work
  • Only try to extinguish the fire yourself if it has just started – don’t open the bonnet it may be hot and can increase the fire
  • If it’s not possible to extinguish the fire, leave the tunnel quickly – move away from the fire and use emergency exits
  • Don’t waste time gathering up personal belongings
  • Help injured people get to safety too
  • Don’t wait to be told what to do
  • Never forget that fire and smoke can be fatal – Save your life and not your car!
  • Follow any instructions and information provided by tunnel staff

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If another vehicle catches fire

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  • Turn on hazard warning lights
  • Keep a good distance from the burning vehicle
  • Park your vehicle in a lay-by, emergency lane or pull over as far to the nearside as possible
  • Never make a U-turn or reverse
  • Turn off the engine – leave the key in the ignition
  • Call the rescue services – use an emergency telephone rather than a mobile which is unlikely to work
  • Only attempt to extinguish the fire yourself it is has just started. – don’t open the bonnet it may be hot and can increase the fire
  • If it’s not possible to extinguish the fire, leave the tunnel quickly – move away from the fire and use the emergency exits
  • Don’t waste time gathering up personal belongings
  • Help injured people get to safety too

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Motoring organisations across Europe, including the AA, have inspected and rated around 250 road tunnels, including a number in the UK, under the European Tunnel Assessment Programme, EuroTAP.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433517982393{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][action full_width=”yes” content_in_grid=”no” type=”normal” show_button=”yes” button_text=”Get a European Breakdown Cover Quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Insurance/European-Breakdown-Cover.aspx” button_text_color=”#ffffff” background_color=”#0a0a0a” button_hover_text_color=”#e5e5e5″ button_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_hover_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_border_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.01)” button_hover_border_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.01)” background_image=”20100″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
England

St Patrick’s Day Travel Guide to London

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Looking to go further afield for our national holiday but prone to a bit of jetlag? Then a quick trip across the Irish Sea might be just the cure for you. With a large number of Irish people living and working in the UK, the festive celebrations are set to be almost as good as our own.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Getting There” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]With Dublin/ London being one of the busiest passenger air routes in Europe, there should be no issue with getting across the Irish Sea! There are flights daily from Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock airports to London Heathrow, Luton, Stanstead and London City. Although booking in advance is great for peace of mind, it is often worth holding out for last minute deals which can be as low as €15 return.

If you want the comfort of your own car while you’re there, then getting the ferry might be a better option. Both Irish Ferries and Stena Line run regular sailings between Dublin Port and Holyhead. Remember though, when you land at Holyhead it takes over five hours to get as far as London.

Alternatively, you could get a ferry from Rosslare to either Pembroke or Fishguard. Both of these points will take you approximately four to four-and-a-half hours to get to London.

For help planning your journey around the UK, you can use AA Routeplanner.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Getting Around the City” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Making your way around London is very doable on foot but another handy option is to use the various methods of public transport options available. The city has quite an extensive network in place, whether that be via the bus, tube, train, Overground or on the bike.

If you’re staying in the city for a long weekend, it’s worth purchasing an Oyster card. Like the Leap card here in Ireland, it’s a touch on/ touch off card that you can use across the bus and tube network with different travel zones resulting in different fares.

London_Oyster_Card

It’s a good idea to order your Visitor Oyster card before you travel. It costs £3 (plus postage) and is pre-loaded with pay as you go credit for you to spend on travel. If you don’t want to get an Oyster card you can also pay as you go and purchase tickets at a given station before boarding. You could also purchase a Day Travelcard which can be used for a whole day’s travel. More details can be found here.

There are discounts available for under 11s, 11-15 year olds and also 16-18 years. This is all explained on the official Transport for London website.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Rail”][vc_column_text]The Tube

Your best option for travel throughout St Patrick’s weekend in London is the Underground Tube as it’s unlikely to be impacted by road closures or heavy traffic. You can download Tube maps here but you can also pick them up at any station. There are also some very good apps on Android and iPhone which are handy to have so you can always glance at your phone to check when your next stop is, or what route to take.

Trains run from 5:30am to approx. 1am. Keep in mind that the trains are very busy during rush hour so give yourself plenty of time if travelling from 7am to 10am and again between around 4pm and 7pm.

London_Tube

The Train

Generally speaking, most visitors to London probably won’t end up using the services, you may still find using a mixture of the train and the tube results in a quicker journey time. Most services don’t actually run through London City Centre with the Thameslink being the exception, running from north to south. Most stations are on the periphery of the city centre but the Tube’s Circle Line connects with most of National Rail services around London. You will be able to use your Oyster card on National Rail services as long as it’s within travel zones 1-6. Keep in mind it is a little more expensive using the train than the tube or bus.

There are also Airport Express Rail services which run to Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Bus”][vc_column_text]

With over 700 bus routes around London, there won’t be many areas you can’t get to on the bus. Services run between 5:30am and 12:30am. After this, there are over 100 routes which run overnight. They usually run at a minimum of every 30 minutes but some run every five minutes. If you have a Day Travelcard, it is still valid on these buses up until 4am.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Bike”][vc_column_text]The public cycling scheme in London is “Santander Cycles”, although most people refer to them as “Borris Bikes”. Like in Ireland, you rent the bikes from one bike station and return them to another.

Like Ireland, there are cycling lanes but they can be patchy and, again, like here, there is a little angst between cyclists and motorists. You can find all the info you need for cycling around London here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”What’s On” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][image_with_text image=”19857″ title=”St Patrick’s Day Parade”]

Like many capital cities worldwide, the St Patrick’s Day parade in London features spectacular pageantry, wonderful floats, marching bands, sports clubs and Irish dancing schools. The Parade makes its way down Piccadilly on a 1.5 mile route, passing some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including The Ritz, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and onto Whitehall. This year the parade takes place on Sunday 13th March, starting at midday in Piccadilly.

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One of the best Irish events in London is the St Patrick’s Day festival in Trafalgar Square. There are a number of activities to partake in including an artisan Irish food market, comedy and film festivals, ceilidhs, music and dance. The festival is very much family friendly with activities to give the little ones a great all-round St Patrick’s Day experience. This year the festival takes place on 13th March from midday at Trafalgar Square.

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The Gallery in West Hampstead hosts an Irish-themed Whisky 101. Spend an evening sampling Dublin-based whiskey blends under the guidance of experts. Next up, sample beers from Northern Irish brewer McGrath’s, and round the evening off with canapé courses paired with each of the whiskies. Tickets can be prebooked for £15.

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