Entries Tagged as 'P&O Ferries'

P&O Ferries: Discover Leiden


If you’re looking for somewhere to go this summer and are not after sweltering beaches, may we advise that you consider the Dutch city Leiden?

Leiden is a well-kept secret, since it’s surrounded by the larger cities of the Netherlands like Utrecht, The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. This city has a rich history and is situated at a crossroads in Holland, so you’ll be able to get to all the other tourist hotspots in the country.

There’s plenty to see in Leiden. The city was founded in the 16th century and became a centre for the European wool trade. It saw a major decline but diversified its industries attracting artists, scientists and engineers who gave the city a major boost in culture and affluence in the late 19th century.

There’s a curious mix of old and new in Leiden. It is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands, with a fifth of its population forming the student body. This gives Leiden a vibrant nightlife which contrasts with the city’s aged setting.

The old industrial aspects of the city (e.g. the canal network) make a great way to tour through the city. When Leiden returned to wealth in the 19th century, many large and lavish buildings were constructed, making Leiden a picaresque city ideal for afternoon jaunts. It is a relatively small place easily traversed by foot or on bike.

The two main walking tours you can take are:

Muurgedichten – The Leiden is decorated with wall poems, and you can take a paid tour, have a bit of a poetry lesson, print out a map and see for yourself. Alternatively, you can just amble through Leiden with your eyes peeled.

Hofjeswandeling – A tour of the city courtyards, this will expose you to some of the finer architecture Leiden has to offer as well as some of the history and local lore.

This tour will take you through the Wan der Werff Park, named after the mayor who was accused of hiding food reserves when the town was under siege by the Spanish. To show the sincerity of his denials, he offered to cut off his arm and offered serve it to the public.

We would also recommend you visit the Burcht of Leiden, which is one of the best preserved Motte Castles in the Netherlands. It sits high upon an artificial hill and commands the best view of the city, with foundations dating back to the 9th century.

There are three National Museums in Leiden covering Natural History, Antiquities and Ethnology. The National Museum of Ethnology hosts one of the world’s largest collections of ‘the artefacts of man’ compiled and researched with the help of Leiden University.

Shopping and eating out is a varied experience in Leiden – it retains the ‘melting pot’ aspect of its early years with the local populace cooking up all forms of cuisine. Prices range from absolute luxury to those suitable for the city’s student population.

Shopping areas are but a 15 minute walk from the central station. You can make your way to De Slegte, a 3-floor bookstore found on the Breestraat. This shop has a large selection of second-hand books at great value.

Tourists out for a bit of exploration should stop off at Verswinkel for freshly made bread rolls made right in front of you – they’re among the very best in Europe. They’re represented at Leiden’s open markets held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You’ll also be able to get there late on a Thursday, when most of the shops in the city remain open until 9pm.

Leiden is located near the centre of Holland so P&O Ferry’s can take you Rotterdam and you’re just a short trip from the wonders of Leiden.

Image credit: carolune

Frequent P&O Ferries travellers can save money with season tickets


Do you travel across the channel regularly? Do you enjoy the comfort and efficiency of P&O Ferries’ service?

Then a season ticket for either the Dover – Calais or the Hull – Rotterdam/Zeebrugge route might be just the, er, ticket.

Only three return tickets over a specified period of time will qualify you for a season ticket fare of only £35 per trip. If you think you’ll be travelling back and forth between Dover and Calais more than 12 times, you could end up paying as little as £29 per trip.

To check the terms and conditions of this great offer, call the P&O Ferries season ticket service on 08716 646 747.

International Festival of Fairground Entertainment


This May the streets of the Namur in Belgium will erupt into a carnival of merrymaking as the International Festival of Fairground Entertainment or ‘Namur in May’ returns.

Over 300 acts from across the world will roam the streets performing their art for the wonderment, laughter and entertainment of the carnival crowd. Namur in May will be held over the Ascension weekend 16th-20th May this year.

Namur is a relatively central city in Belgium; it stands at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers. It’s a mostly French speaking town with aspects of grand architecture and a wealth of culture and history for you to enjoy as well as making the most of the fairground festival.

Tickets have been on sale since the start of May and though this is a city wide event and so unlikely to sell out you may want to pre-purchase for safety’s sake. The town centre in Namur will be closed off to cars so be warned when getting about, you may wish to book a hotel in the city rather than drive and park each day.

This festival has been running since 1996 and draws a host of creative and awe-inspiring acts. This would be great fun for the family or a unique romantic getaway, Namur is definitely a city for hand-in-hand walks.

Each day of the festival ends with a Fairground Cabaret, half of the events at the festival are free and there’s a spirit of gaiety as the street performers try to outdo each other. The aim of the festival is to celebrate the wittiest and merriest performers, with clowns tightrope walkers acrobats and carousels you’re guaranteed a good time in Namur this May.

Namur is a rather central province in Belgium, if you take a P&O Ferry to the port city Zeebrugge you can get to Namur via train from Brussels or take a roadtrip down to the festival.

Image credit: doegox

P&O Ferries: National Mills Day


Every year on the second Saturday of May, the Netherlands opens up around 600 of its windmills for the public as part of National Mills Day.

In 2012, Nation Mills Day will be hosted on the weekend of the 12th May.

It’s normally safe to gamble on great weather during mid-May, and with the flat terrain that Holland is famed for we recommend taking your tour by bike. Last year, National Cycling Day was combined with National Mills Day as a bid to get more people on two wheels, and it went down a storm.

A family cycling holiday across open stretched country this summer could be a wonderful way to bond, relax and get some exercise at the same time. Plotting your course will be a breeze thanks to the National Mills Day maps which will be given out to participants.

Windmills in the Netherlands have a long history, dating back to the 18th century. They helped build Holland’s infrastructure, and many innovations in mill technology happened there first before spreading across Europe.

There are currently around 1150 functioning windmills in Holland, and the ones open for free entry this May will fly blue pennants to signal to passers-by.

Windmills have been developed for various industrial purposes; they don’t all just grind corn. You’ll be able to find out about the workings of watermills, how saw milling works as well as the mechanisms of mills designed for land drainage.

From Hull to Rotterdam you can catch a P&O ferry, an overnight trip will land you just a short drive away from the nearest mill. If you want to rent a bike out there then you could even start cycling from the port city.

Image credit: JASON ANFINSEN

P&O Ferries minicruises to the Keukenhof gardens


Fancy a trip to the famed Keukenhof bulbfields? Then you’re in luck – P&O Ferries are offering minicruises to this famous Dutch flower show until the 20th May.

On 32 hectares, visitors to the Keukenhof gardens will be able to admire blower beds, garden designs, and a huge array of colours and fragrances. Check out our blog post about this lovely attraction here.

On the P&O Ferries minicruise, you’ll have the chance to dine in the West End Langan’s Brasserie and the on-board Four Seasons buffet restaurant, and enjoy a film in the swimming cinema or have a go in the casino.

During the day shore, you’ll be picked up on a coach and driven to the Keukenhof gardens, where you can spend the day wandering among picturesque scenery and taking in the fantastic visuals, before boarding the ferry for your return journey to Hull.

The Keukenhof minicruise offer is vaild until 20th May. For more details and booking as well as a travel itinerary, go here.

Image credit: penwin

P&O Ferries: Lille’s International Soup Festival


If there is one dish that unites all corners of the globe, it has to be soup. La Louche d’Or – or the Golden Ladle – festival, which is being held on the streets of Wazemmes, Lille, on May 1st 2012, follows that spirit and invites the world to come and join in.

This festival has been running since 1984, and it now draws a large crowd of around 80,000 – rest assured, they’re not all in line for soup.

The Golden Ladle Soup festival isn’t just about the food, it’s a street party with local bands and artists travelling from across the globe. Audience participation is a must: not only can you go and whip up your own favourite soup recipes for the crowd, but you can also perform as well.

There’s a general party atmosphere, as the festival lasts for the entire day and well in to the night. The variety of dishes available will really broaden your palate and expert soup chefs will happily trade tips and give you some help if you show an interest in how (just an example) to make a hearty, German-style lentil and sausage soup.

Lille is in the North of France, so your journey from Calais will be a brief one. It’s filled with things to see, like the Palais de Beaux Arts, whose collection of masterpieces was first instigated by Napoleon. It boasts to be the second best art collection in France, and it contains statues, paintings and prints dating back to the Middle Ages as well as displays from Renaissance masters.

It is also a city of great character: from quaint narrow cobble streets to mammoth heralds like the Place du Generale de Gaulle, Lille is a city built for exploration. Once you’ve had your fill of soup, you can amble through the market squares or luxuriate at one of the sun-drenched cafes or bars.

Lille is just a short drive from Calais, all the soup you can imagine is just across the channel and P&O Ferries have a frequent which will get you to La Louche d’Or

Image credit: crd!

P&O Ferries: Belgian wine tasting


This April at the Belgovino fair, you’ll have the unique opportunity to sample some Belgian vintages before their official release.

You can book a table for the wine fair at Brusselicious, which is a celebration of all things gastronomically Belgian, here.

This event is taking place at the Brussels Tram museum on Saturday 14th April. It certainly promises to be a memorable evening of fine food, good wine and, depending on the company, decent conversation. You’ll also be treated to a tour of the fair before it kicks off, and a celebratory cocktail to get you in to the spirit of things.

This is a luxury booking which costs 85 € per person, and you can book a table for up to 10. You’ll get the chance to sample the finer things in a sit down meal with the wine makers so you can get a master class in the origin and history of what you’re drinking. To top it off, the meal will be prepared by chef Lionel Rigolet from the Comme Chez Soi restaurant.

As a country famed for beer and chocolate, Belgian vintages rarely get a look in when the more expensive wines are discussed. But with the increase in cold-climate wine making, Belgian wines are getting paid more attention, and rightly so. The local wine makers are hardly novices either, as numerous French vineyards are owned by Belgians. There are now 20 commercial vineyards in Belgium, so we’re sure you’ll something to sate your palate.

P&O Ferries offer an overnight service from Hull to Zeebrugge. You can either take your car with you and drive to Brussels or catch a train from the port town.

Image credit: willia4

Springtime at Keukenhof Gardens


From the 22nd March, the Dutch Keukenhof flower gardens will once again be open to the public – and you should be there when it happens.

The Keukenhof flower gardens were established in 1949 and have been the largest public showcase of flowers for the last 50 years. The best time to visit is mid-April when everything is in full bloom. A trip around the Keukenhof gardens are the perfect way to chase off any lingering winter blues as you get to see Spring in all its glory.

As lovely as they are, you may not want to spend all your time in one of Holland’s cities, so a daytrip out to Keukenhof is a great way to get some fresh air and scenic views. There are approximately 7 million bulbs planted annually and it won’t take a horticulturalist to appreciate the displays at Keukenhof.

Although Holland is famed for its tulips, there’s so much more to see. Keukenhof has arrangements of hyacinths, daffodils, roses, irises, lilies and many more. Although you can’t take bulbs across borders, you will have the opportunity to pre-purchase some bulbs and have them delivered later this year, during planting season.

There are also special events to be held at the gardens as well. A weekend dedicated to the composer Frederic Chopin starts on the 24th, special Easter events are to be held (meaning chocolate in abundance) and of course the famous Flower Parade is set for April 21st.

The gardens are placed between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, so it makes for an excellent stop off between the port city and Holland’s capital.

P&O Ferries have a Hull to Rotterdam service which will drop you off a short distance from the Keukenhof Gardens

Image Credit:col&tasha.

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