Feeling inspired? Why not try an arts and crafts break with HF Holidays?

Brush up on your skills on a Landscape Painting Holiday

For anyone feeling inspired by Sky Arts’ Landscape Artist of the Year winner, Richard Allen, leading walking and activity holiday provider, HF Holidays, has a selection of beautiful countryside painting breaks.

Step out into picturesque destinations that are sure to inspire and benefit from the knowledge of experienced tutors as holidaymakers can explore the region with a range of artistic techniques.

Highlights from HF Holidays’ 2019 Landscape Painting Holidays can be found below and for more information, or to request a brochure, head to www.hfholidays.co.uk/art

Landscape Painting Holidays in the Scottish Highlands

The imposing peaks and stunning lochs of the Scottish Highlands make the region an ideal base for a landscape painting holiday. Explore the very best of the local area and settle down in one of the many spectacular viewpoints to paint, with all equipment provided free of charge. Whether you’re a complete novice or a painting prodigy, this break is designed to suit all abilities, with expert tutors on hand every step of the way to offer advice and answer any questions. Stay at HF Holidays’ 4 star country house, Altshellach and enjoy hearty evening meals and access to an indoor heated pool.

Price: Six nights departing 12th April 2019 from £739pp which includes full board accommodation, all transport to and from painting locations, painting equipment and tuition from HF Holidays’ expert guides.

Landscape Painting Holiday in Southern Yorkshire Dales

Delve into the Yorkshire Dales in search of the perfect backdrop and painting inspiration, with the sweeping fields and rolling hills creating plenty of opportunities to get creative. Visit spectacular vistas and explore a range of outdoor painting skills, with an enjoyable learning atmosphere. On tailored walks that show off the highlights of the region, discover Yorkshire’s gorgeous colours, beautiful gardens and historic buildings before bringing them to life on canvas with expert help available. Stay at HF Holidays’ 19th century country house, Newfield Hall, a superb setting in the heart of Malhamdale.  

Price:Three nights departing 2nd August 2019 from £375pp which includes full board accommodation, all transport to and from painting locations, painting equipment and tuition from HF Holidays’ expert guides. To book, visit www.hfholidays.co.uk or call 020 8732 1250.

* Places are limited on these holidays so book now to avoid disappointment. For more information on HF Holidays, please visit www.hfholidays.co.uk or call 020 8732 1250. 

Children will enjoy the fun aspect of skiing at Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria

It's family fun all the way when you ski at Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in the Tyrol

The skier's paradise of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is located on a sunny plateau high above the Tyrolean Inn Valley, framed by the mighty 3000-metre Samnaun mountains and the Ötztal Alps.

Here, at 1,200 to 1,400 metres above sea-level, winter sports fans can enjoy 460 hectares of snow, 162 metric kilometres / 214 skiable kilometres of perfectly groomed runs (80% of which can be covered by artificial snow), 68 lift and cable car systems, 52km of maintained cross-country skiing trails and cross-country routes, toboggan runs, freeride slopes and numerous fun areas.

Major investments for Winter 2018/19 mean that ski holidays just get better and better here. The completion of the second of three “Dorfbahn” railway construction phases, the new viewing platform on the Masnerkopf at 2,828 metres above sea-level, a fairytale conveyor lift and an additional winter hiking trail are just some of the news that will get winter lovers' hearts racing.

With the Kinderschneealm Serfaus children's entertainment centre, Murmli Park Serfaus and Berta's Kinderland Fiss-Ladis, excellent ski schools, all-day childcare, separate children's restaurants and many other family-friendly attractions, one can safely say that Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is also the perfect family ski region, and has indeed been commended several times by well-known online platforms and companies (Skigebiete-test.de, Best Ski Resort, etc.) as the most family-friendly resort in the Alps.

The key here is that winter enjoyment does not just stop at the quality of the slopes. Tuck into culinary delights at special themed mountain restaurants and break up the day at numerous so-called "Feelgood Stops".

With 2000 hours of sunshine p.a. there is always a reason to remove the goggles and absorb your surrounding in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. The best time of year for this might just be from mid-March to mid-April as part of the Sensation Weeks, when the spring sun and great deals mean happy days for all!

The best view of Munich's Oktoberfest isn't from the big wheel or the flying swings but from the tower of the nearby St Paul's Church

Taking a look around Munich's traditional Oktoberfest

By award-winning travel writer and photographer Stuart Forster


Aficionados of the Munich Oktoberfest will tell you that the best way to experience it is inside one of the tents with a Mass, a one litre glass of beer, in your hand. But one of the best views of the Theresienwiese, the site of the annual festival, is from the tower of nearby St Paul’s Church.

Inside the Roman Catholic place of worship you’ll be able to experience a very different kind of mass to those served in the tents of the Oktoberfest. The airy, neo-Gothic edifice was designed by George Hauberrisser, the architect who also drew up the blueprints for the Neues Rathaus, the New Town Hall, on Marienplatz.

Part of Munich’s skyline

St Paul’s was built between 1892 and 1906 and its twin spires, which rise 76 metres on the western side of the church, are an integral part of Munich’s skyline. The tower that’s open to visitors dwarfs them by 21 metres, reaching 97 metres into the sky.

The narrow observation platform is at a height of 45.5 metres, providing a vantage point over the Theresienwiese and the rooftops of the Bavarian capital.

I didn’t count them, but have it on good authority that 252 steps run between the church and the observation platform. Despite it being an apparently calm day down at ground level a stiff breeze was blowing up there.


All the fun of the fair

The shrieks of people riding the roller coasters and the whirr of fairground rides rose through the buffeting wind. Looking down from the tower of St Paul’s makes it clear that the Oktoberfest really is much more than merely a beer festival. Locals are proud of the fact it’s the world’s biggest Volksfest or people’s fair. In 2014 6.3 million people visited, downing 6.5 million litres of beer. Many, though, come only to enjoy the fairground rides.

Heading up the tower allows you to observe the crowds ambling along Wirtbudenstrasse, the broad street running between the festival tents. Many of the women wear Dirndl dresses and the men Lederhosen, some of which are cut in the style of breeches and others reaching to the knee.


Spectacular in the evening

This, arguably, is a place best visited before you head into the tents for a beer. I visited during the middle of the day and was impressed by the views. Yet I imagine it’s a fantastic spot during dusk, when the evening sky is blue and the colourful lights of the rides and tents are visible.

If you enjoy photography, the tower of St Paul’s Church a good spot to click photos from an elevated position and offers a good alternative to the steps by the statue of Bavaria.

You can read more about Munich's annual Oktoberfest on Stuart Forster's Go-Eat-Do.com website at https://go-eat-do.com/2015/02/the-best-view-of-the-munich-oktoberfest/


Enjoy the wonderful coastline of Malta

Adagio launches its 2019 brochure with several new themed holidays featuring gardens and rail tours

As specialists in gentle walking with small groups, Adagio (01707 386700, www.adagio.co.uk) has launched its new 2019 brochure, with a selection of 32 different holidays, including eight completely new itineraries which feature two new garden themed holidays and a rail journey. 

In conjunction with the brochure, the company has also launched a dedicated Adagio smart phone and tablet app making it easy for clients to follow their itinerary, check the weather and tap into other useful information whilst they are on the go.

Stretching from the Scottish Outer Hebrides to the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus, exciting new additions for 2019 include the Pazos & Gardens of Galicia, which takes in some of Galicia’s most impressive properties at the height of Camellia season; an exploration of the Douro Valley as part of Portugal by Train; and, from the Città di Castello on the banks of the Tiber, a journey into Artistic Umbria.

Based on the premise that one of the most relaxing ways to explore a destination is on foot, each of Adagio’s travel rich itineraries have been carefully designed to cater for clients who are active but want a more leisurely paced holiday. Immersed in the regional history and culture, with the opportunity to savour authentic local cuisine, they include plenty of time to experience each destination from the inside out under the guidance of an experienced Adagio leader. 

 Sitting alongside leisurely-paced Adagio favourites such as Flavours of Hidden Spain, Bologna – La Grassa and An Ionian Jewel, six ‘Adagio Plus’itineraries are also included.  With a slightly more active countryside element and longer walks than on the standard Adagio holiday, popular choices for these include alpine hiking in the Chamonix Valley on Magnificent Mont Blanc and mountain walks to medieval villages, megalithic monuments and Romanesque churches from the northeast Spanish village of Berdún as part of Picnic in the Pyrenees.

For more details check out Adagio www.adagio.co.uk or call  01707 386700 for a new 2019 brochure.