P&O Ferries mini breaks and holidays this autumn


Just because summer has passed doesn’t mean that all holidays are on hold until Christmas or even next year. Now is the time for those mini breaks, to stop by the cities you’ve always wanted to visit for a long weekend or surprise your partner with romantic treat, just to remind you why you work so hard. In this post we are examine some of the main reasons why you should be travelling with P&O Ferries to France this autumn.

Halloween starts early in Disneyland Paris, in fact it lasts all autumn. October first to fireworks on Bonfire night in November sees the return of Disney’s Halloween Festival. The entire park is given a makeover to draw out the chilling delights of the clandestine and darn right ghoulish side of Disney.

Everyone who’s drawn to the dark side will get a thrill at Disneyland this October, the bad guys will be out in force with daytime parades and a Halloween inspired dress up corner. Come the night of October 31st Disney’s Halloween Party. This event will grant you late access to the park from 5PM, make sure to pre-order your tickets, just £38 each and you will have the run of the park and all it’s special spooky surprises until 1AM. There is of course one proviso – everyone attending the party has to be in fancy dress, and since it’s Disney you know attendees are going to go all out, so be ready for some cosplay. For more information on costuming in Disneyland click here.


Autumn is also harvest season and since flavour and freshness go hand in hand (most of the time), when better to visit a country famed for its gastronomy? It is likely you’ll find a heightened foodie clientele on your P&O Ferry. This is the time of year when being out doors doing things becomes less important due to the drop in temperature, and looking around for something tasty to eat with a glass of wine in your hand becomes of paramount importance. So if a Dionysian holiday is what you are looking for, France could certainly could certainly oblige you.

So we’ll start with something decidedly un-French in concept – Paris’ Oktoberfest commencing early October 5th – 14th in Paris Event Center. This will be the third iteration so all the kinks will have been worked out such as a paltry 15,000 litres of beer being swilled at the original 2015 event, we’re sure this volume will be overthrown now the occasion has garnered some momentum.

Tickets are required for entry so book ahead, though the day opens at 4PM children aren’t permitted past 6:30PM and you will need to purchase beer tokens a is custom at beer festivals (money can cause problems). Book your tickets early for discounted prices and enjoy a taste of Bavaria.

For a taste of France you might like to try a wine tour. Since this is the time of the grape harvest wine merchants will be touting their wares and it’s a good time to get the skinny on how the season has been before pre-purchasing a case of something that might be worth a fortune one day. Of course their is the tried and true alternative of getting yourself to a distillery for a tour and plenty of free samples, both equally respectable pursuits.

The major wine regions in good proximity to the port of Calais where your P&O Ferry will deliver you are Champagne, Burgundy and Loire, these being the most northerly and conveniently bordering Paris. Fans of Chablis may find it worth their while to venture a bit further south. Wine tourism in France is big business so you won’t need our help finding trusted tour bookings, most major vineyards cater for tourism and it does make for a fascinating day out.


Montmartre’s Grape Harvest festival Fete des vendages is an excellent alternative to trekking cross country in order to drink wine. Vintners ship their wines to the capital so it may cost more but it’s the same wine. Montmartre is one of those illustrious corners of a city that teeters on the verge of total collapse under the weight of its own fame. Down and out artists, the Moulin Rouge and some some incredible views of the city attract a fair footfall to this region of the city and is therefore a brilliant site for the wine festival.

Admission is free and you can expect upwards of 40 bars and restaurants to be taking place in the festival. Montmartre’s artistic heritage makes this a lively affair with dances, shows and live performances. There is a traditional ‘Not Getting Married’ ceremony wherein couples can make a pledge to continue to live in sin and the event with a display of fireworks. Make your bookings now for the Grape Harvest Festival 11th-14th October.

Visit France this Spring with P&O Ferries, multiple channel crossings daily from Dover to Calais.

Image Credit: Ryan Blyth , Chad Sparkes , Glen Scarborough

P&O Ferries post-season Holidays in Holland


Your casual holiday goer expects to travel when the sun is at its zenith in the height of summer. The trouble is, this is not a unique thought. That’s why you find prices slightly inflated over the summer months, crowds that little bit busier and let’s face it, hell is other people. That is precisely why late summer and early autumn are ideal times to visit those places you’ve always wanted to see. Children have gone back to school and since tourism season is waning most venues are actually glad to see you rather than fretting that all the wheels are turning sufficiently.

In this post we’re taking a look some of the major venues in Holland you’ll be pleased to find ‘surprisingly’ accessible now that the main summer hubbub has diminished. Of course when you venture to a major city’s major attraction there will always be some footfall but you’ll certainly find them less populated given the season.

If you are drawn to Holland for its historical and cultural reservoirs then you will undoubtedly find succour in the major cities, namely Amsterdam. Though you should be wary that some of the less renowned museums are little more than shops that you pay to enter. To avoid this stick to the established and well listed museums they assuredly will not disappoint.

Perhaps the ichiban (no.1) museum you’ll find listed in Holland is the famous Rijksmuseum perhaps the largest museum in Holland, as an institution it began over 200 years ago in The Hague before moving to the modern capital in the late 1800s. It boasts a million pieces in it’s inventory dating back to the year 1200. It is home to masterpieces by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals.

Rijksmuseum is in close proximity to the other major art gallery in Amsterdam, which is perhaps most tourists’ first port of call the Van Gogh Museum. Both museums can be found on Museumplein ‘Museum Square’ in the southern borough of the city. The Van Gogh Museums attracts nearly 2 million annual visitors and is home to all the iconic pieces that Van Gogh’s name summons to the minds eye.

The third museum we would suggest is the Wereldmuseum or World Museum. As a country with a proud naval tradition many treasures from across the globe were collected by interested parties. These parties formed the Royal Each Club in Rotterdam and welcomed merchants, explorers scientists and the like each of whom would pick up curiosities while they worked abroad. Eventually these items formed a broad enough collection to warrant one of the great ethnographic museums in Europe.


The final museum you may probably have heard of is Anne Frank’s House. Amongst the splendour of Amsterdam’s famous canals and idyllic walkways is a place of real history with a story continues to captivate. For more information on this museum click here Though it may bring a solemn pall to your vacation you’ll find it resonates as a human experience which is immensely rewarding.

With the summer months waning you may still be fortunate enough to see the sights of Amsterdam by water and in the sun. Amsterdam may not have the romantic celebrity of Venice but its architecture is still beautiful to behold and it is transformed with autumnal colours to make a view which easily matches Poets Walk in New York’s Central Park.

You can also take in the seasonal changes in Vondelpark. This park situated right in the heart of Amsterdam, constructed during the era of formalism which gives it an exacting and elegant landscape for you to enjoy. Water also runs through it so you may like to take to a boat for a relaxing afternoon.

If you favour a bit more open space than a city park then Hoge Veluwe Holland’s national park is a broad expanse due east of Utrecht. Its 21 square miles of country is perfect for a late summer picnic or hike in the country. The real draw of Home Veluwe is its sheer diversity of habitat. Ranging from dunes to dense forest if you have a mind to the spectrum of wildlife preparing for winter will make a trip to this nature park truly rewarding. You can also hire bikes to get around a bit quicker.


Hoge Veluwe is home to two museums the Kroller Mueller museum houses artworks by Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Renoir and many others. The gallery itself was constructed as a means of meshing art and nature, indeed there is a sculpture garden outside to reinforce the concatenation. The other major museum of the park is the Museonder an underground museum, that’s not to say few people know about it, the exhibition itself is a journey of the world beneath our feet. You can learn all about the subterranean world as well as findings of animal bones and the lives of underground creatures as well as the systems of trees.

Book now for your late summer holidays to Holland. P&O Ferries’ Hull to Rotterdam overnight service is at your service.

Image Credit: Roman Boed , bertknot , Shepard4711

P&O Ferry trips to Belgium this Summer


There’s still a lot of summer left for you to get some fun in this year, here’s a look at some of the exciting goings on in Belgium this August and September

P&O Ferries’ Hull to Zeebrugge ferry is an overnight service costing £129 each way, with on board entertainment as well restaurants, bars and arcades for you and the family to enjoy during the crossing. A range of cabins are available depending on the level of comfort you require from basics with a shower and place to rest your head to premium cabins with sea views television and room to privately relax. Zeebrugge itself makes a great initial destination with a lively marina plenty of cafes to restore yourself after the crossing. While the summer sun still shines you might like to stop by Zeebrugge’s beaches that travel all the way up the coast to Ostende, on a good day these open expanses make for an excellent place to sun yourself, you could even forget that you’re looking out on to the North Sea when the temperatures are up.

Perhaps it would be remiss of us to declaim that Belgian beer season is here, since there is usually at least two beer festivals going on per month throughout the entire year. Belgium is famed for its brews for a very good reason after all, namely that their beers are . However beer drinkers should be made well aware that the latter part of summer in Belgium is very tightly scheduled with back to back beer festivals. Which some might consider strange seeing as Belgium is a relatively small country but it has a long and rich history of brewing and certainly more breweries per capita than you are likely to find anywhere else. That is why drinking beer in Belgium could be seen, from a certain perspective, as part of a cultural education – though that may not fly should you fail to dabble with the vast wealth of culture (arts, architecture, history etc.) that is on offer in Belgium. If you have your doubts about attending events dedicated to alcohol, rest assured they are not weekend long binges, it’s not about inebriation. The quality, variety and history of the Belgian brewing tradition and its products are what makes these events popular and necessary, you’re far more likely to run in to a connoisseur than someone who’s unaware of their limits.


TheNorth Sea Beer Festival is the third beer related event in August alone, occurring on the last weekend of the month between the 25th and 27th. The venue is Ostende’s Leopoldpark not a long stretch away from the beach and just opposite the De Grove Post cultural centre. This is only the third edition of the North Sea Beer Festival which welcomes visitors from all countries that have ports on to the North Sea. Upwards of 35 Belgian breweries will be plying over 200 varieties of Belgian beer only €12 for entry, which includes a glass and three tokens entitling you to drinks, more can be purchased at €2 a pop. For more information
click here

Beer Weekend is hosted by beer tasting association De Lambikstoemper an organisation dedicated to the promotion of Belgian beers. On the last weekend of August De BierWeekend the eighteenth edition of this festival will be taking place in at the visitors centre in Alsemberg. This town is just south of Brussels, near Waterloo and 3 star accommodation is as low as £59. De Bierweekend is one of the smaller festivals attracting a footfall in the hundreds rather than thousands but this simply means less queues. If the weather holds the terraced visitors centre makes an excellent spot for beer sampling in the sun.

What makes this event remarkable is that it’s the product of Belgian beer aficionados working to promote the products they love. There is a focus on the Lambic brewing tradition which focus’ on producing beers with wild airborne yeasts from the Senne River valley. Whereas most industrial scale brewers have carefully isolated and quantified yeasts to assure control of the final product, Lambic brewers eschew such manipulations. It certainly produces a product like no other. Here is a link to the website


There is an intermittent Hop Picking Beer Festival on De Plukker Hop Farm Brewery, not quite the grand stage of the next festival but on August 27th you’ll get to see how craft brewing can develop to a prospering business. An organic farm has developed its own brewing tradition and now exports it out to the world, this event will surely have a convivial atmosphere and offer lots to those interested in brewing.

Following on from the small stage comes the grandest even in the Belgian beer calendar. Belgian Beer Weekend is being held on the first weekend of September and attracts all the major brands and brewers. On Friday 1st in Brussels’ centre square the Grand Plaatz after an initial inauguration and academic graduation of brewers the event will be open to the public at 6pm. For a full list of their program click here

Book now for your P&O Ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge for your getaway with the last of summer’s sun in Belgium this year.

Image Credit: kmf186 , Matt Lewis , Lex Kravetski

Summer 2017 in France with P&O Ferries


During the summer months you simply have to get out there for that vital vitamin D it will put you in good stead for what is sure to be another, seemingly endless winter. With P&O Ferries the delights of northern France, and beyond, will be opened up to you and with the ferry crossing you get the comfort and familiarity of bringing your own car along with you should you prefer not to opt for a rental.

Passage to France with P&O Ferries is 90 minute journey from Dover to Calais and you bring up to 9 nine passengers per car with most tickets, this includes any time day tickets so you won’t have to worry about arriving at the port for a specific time. You can currently book long stay tickets for as little as £39 each way.

Traditionally the south of France’s Riviera area has been where summer tourism reaches its peak, after all who doesn’t enjoy a mediterranean beach in the sun? This does tend to come with a premium however, be it the cost of travel, accommodation or gastronomy. You may not wish to go so far south having arrived at such a northerly point as Calais so there is an alternative in a little place that tends to attract a fair footfall of tourists even in the off season, namely Paris. On the banks of the river Seine a free to access beach is established complete with cocktail bars, sun loungers and sand castles. It called the Paris plage meaning ‘beach’ and is set up for the sunniest time of the year mid July to mid August. If you are drawn to France for the delights of its capital then, as you might expect a bustling major city can get a bit stifling during the height of summer so reclining at Paris Place can be just the ticket to cool you off.

It is also worth noting that some of the museums and galleries of France adjust their schedules for the summer months. Since the schools there are also closed throughout the entire month and a lot of the citizens of France use this period for their own summer holidays, cultural sites are keeping their doors open for longer to encourage more people to visit. So if you are visiting a major city in France this year you’ll be able to access notable galleries such as the Picasso Paris until late in the evening.

It makes for an excellent post evening meal opportunity to do a bit of leg work whilst feasting your eyes, and under 25 are even getting free access.

Speaking of 25 year olds, this year Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Which we have mentioned in previous posts, for more information click here The major deal is a whopping 20% off of hotel and ticket package deals. This involves a certain amount of terms and conditions but if you are booking a family trip to Disneyland this summer then it offers a good means for taking the edge off costs. Just be sure to have your booking in by July 19th. Fret not if this is all a little too short notice there are early booking deals for you to take advantage off well in to next year.


Besides Disneyland Paris another major draw for tourists to France is its gastronomy. These summer months are by far the best time of the year to take a gourmand’s grand tour of France. The best time to enjoy the produce of France is at summer from small towns food fairs to major city food festivals you will without a doubt be able to find the best range of cheeses, meats, fresh baked goods and even sea food cuisine with a summer holiday to France. Of course France is also famous for its wines and around this time of year after Beaujolais Nouveau when the latest vintages are uncorked you are sue to find sommeliers, festivals such as the Champagne Route Festival and the White Wine and Oysters Festival exceedingly tantalising and a lot of fun once everybody has had a few.


Tourists planning on July holidays should be forewarned that the Tour de France begins July 1st lasting until the 23rd this can make accommodations and travel troublesome not to mention that slight feeling of shame one always feels when surrounded by super fit cycling types. This year it begins in Dusseldorf heading south through a mountainous route before it bends back up to Paris. This event does peak a certain level of excitement through France though the local populace is quite used to it, if it does coincide with your trip to France making the effort to see it go past is still rewarding.

Book now for your summer holiday to France with P&O Ferries. The Dover to Calais service runs multiple times daily and can get you there in just 90 minutes

Image Credit: Tommie Hansen , Domaine Rickaert , Martin Thomas

Summer Holidays in Holland with P&O Ferries


At last summer is here, don’t waste a moment of it, before you know it fun in the sun will be on the other side of winter. P&O Ferries is taking a look at all the exciting and unique adventures you can take part in over summer 2017 and beyond with in Holland. With P&O Ferries’ Hull to Rotterdam service the Netherlands will open up to you for a mini-break getaway or long stay family holiday, take a look to see what’s in the Dutch oven this summer.

We will start out with one of things Holland is famous for, no not tulips, clogs or windmills, we’re talking about herring. Early summer is absolutely the best time of year for you to get your herring fix since the season for herring fishing commences on June 17. If you wish to be there for the inaugural day when the first batches are being sold then there’s no need to wander about the port cities asking for herring like some fish junkie. The opening of herring season coincides with Flag Day or Vlaggetjesdag to use the vernacular. Though the celebration is mostly for a good street party there is plenty of local heritage and cultural tradition to be enjoyed, national dress and songs and dance.

To get right in to the spirit of the occasion head to Schveningen in The Hague. Schveningen is one of the big seaside resorts in Holland, think Yarmouth or Blackpool only Dutch. Even if you were planning a city break to one of the main centres of Holland you should still be well within proximity for a day trip to the beach it is a fantastic way to break up a cultural visit if you were mainly planning on visiting galleries and museums.

A little later in the year Schveningen also hosts Holland’s Fireworks festival in the second week of August. It will surely add that little bit of magic t you evening and make summer 2017 one to remember. If you have ever wondered where New Year’s Eve firework’s displays are refined, dreamt up and experimented with a fair portion of it can be attributed to the International Fireworks Festival. Various participating countries get to display fireworks, at least 80% of which need to be produced domestically, and get to thrill the crowd for 11-13 minutes. The festival is held over 4 days on the Schveningen beach and is open to the crowd August 11-19.

But enough of this, let us get back to the important issue of herring. Each year the new season or Hollandse Nieuwe meaning New Dutch Herring become plump enough to eat after spring plankton bloom. You may have though raw fish was the domain of sushi samplers, igloo dwellers, Gollum and castaways but the Dutch also deserve to have their names on that illustrious list. The traditional way to eat herring in the Dutch way is uncooked in a bun with chopped onions and pickles, fabulously tasty and healthy too. With the first fresh hauls being sold buy mongers and stall merchants you should be able to find Herring just about anywhere this time of year. If you’re coming across this post a little late and refuse to let it happen again the date for next years Hollandse Nieuwe is announced in November, and we salute you.


There was some exciting news for football fans about Euro 2020. We do have a World Cup in between but since the next Euros will be the 60th anniversary the tournament will be hosted across major capitals of the continent including Amsterdam. So if you can’t get a hold of tickets for the matches to be held in the UK then keep an eye out if you want to attend the 3 qualifying games or the final 16 match. All of which to be held in Amsterdam’s soon to be refurbished stadium. Euro 2020 matches will also be played in Brussels, you can get there with P&O Ferries Hull to Rotterdam service If any teams from the UK are going to be playing in these games there’s sure to be a lively party boat atmosphere on the over night crossing.

One of the finer ways to enjoy summer, is in the garden. Of course though a lot of us have very fine gardens there tends to be that niggling doubt that other people have done it better. Had better ideas, or are just fortunate enough to have the right setting and enough time or money to implement maximum garden grandness. Therefore this June in Amsterdam gardens that are normally closed off from the masses by canal houses are opening up to the public.

On the third week of June that’s 16th -18th for €15 you will be granted access to some of the finest gardens in the Netherlands. You will be able to refresh yourself in tea rooms or languish in gazebos. Take inspiration from some of the master gardeners design schemes and plant portfolios.


Book now for your summer holiday to Holland with P&O Ferries, Hull to Rotterdam will see you in the Netherlands for all the excitement of the sunny season!

Image Credit: Rool Paap , JD Hancock , langs de osylaan

Spring 2017 Holidays in Belgium with P&O Ferries

Book your holiday with P&O Ferries this spring for some days of sun on the continent. This time we are looking at what’s happening Belgium 2017 and have made a couple of selections for what might just make your holiday memorable and fun.


After the fun from last years 21st anniversary of Belgium Pride expect no less joy and vibrancy for 2017. Belgian Pride is a life affirming and joyous event by which the LGBT+ community and its supporters come together to celebrate diversity and affirm their rights. Attendance numbers for this event have swollen since its incarnation in 1996 and it now garners over 100,000 attendees. This LGBT festival will have its main parade on Saturday afternoon, May 20th. The floats this year will be reduced in size so that the procession can party down the streets of Brussels. Belgian Pride Festival is brought you by multiple independent organisers not just one single organisation claiming to speak for a collective.

The theme for 2017 is ‘Asylum and Migration’ with the slogan ‘Crossing Borders’ in keeping the with the community spirit of inclusivity, protection and reception. The goal behind this is not only to assist LGBT migrants but also to find ways to come to the aid of others in their country of origin. Belgium has historically been known as the ‘Crossroads of Europe’ and so what better place to gather for a celebration this May?

It all kicks off at Notre-Dame de Bon Secours 11AM May 20th, where talks about this years theme and the opening of the Village and opening ceremony begins at 2PM. You’ll be able to get refreshments at the bars and food trucks as well as merchandise from stallholders. At 2:30PM the parade will begin in Ravenstein Street and proceed through the city, for a look at the route click here. This should all be wrapped up for a party back in the village from 5PM to midnight -ish.


Here for its 17th iteration this June is Antwerp’s Beer Passion Weekend or BeerPassie. This is one of the more pedigreed beer festivals that Belgium has to offer. Given Belgium’s long tradition of brewing, the current up trend of micro brewing and the fact everybody is appeased by beer in abundance; there are around 180 breweries in Belgium. Beer Passion is the weekend when the major players in the industry vie for dominance. So if you like beer take advantage of their courtship this June. After the long winter this is the time when brewers unveil their latest batches so you will have the opportunity try some of the new brews for 2017.

Beer Passion is being held in Antwerp on the last weekend of June, so proceedings kick off Friday 26 at 5PM in Groenplaats right in the heart of the city next to the cathedral. The set up for this event is a boxed in beer village, where you will have to pay 5€ entry for your beer glass and tokens, which you can top up for more bevvies at your leisure. A dixie band will be there to liven up proceedings and the traditional brass band will be sharing the aural burden over the weekend.

The second day opens a little later, at 1PM for those who have indulged a little too much the night before and remains open until midnight. There will be talks and a taste along with Ben Vinken in his beer sommelier tent as well as an award ceremony and tasting of eccentric beers.

The following Sunday wraps things up with what will hopefully be a gloriously relaxing day of the finest beers Belgium has to offer in the late spring sun.

For more information on Beer Passion visit them here


We often recommend city holidays later in the year, when the weather is less clement. This is so that you can take advantage of galleries, museums or gastronomy unique to the area. It is however a misstep to assume that summer means beaches and wide open countryside. You will find that Belgium’s cities Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Namur, Leuven and Brussels are all brought to life by the warmer seasons. Pick up a guide book and you could have a cost effective self guided tour of any of these cities marvelling at some of the finest architecture of Europe’s history. If casual hustle and bustle of life starts to weigh on you P&O Ferries are the perfect chariot for a mini-brea. Even the time spent crossing the channel could be considered therapeutic as you travel by sea to whatever adventure awaits you on your holiday.

Visit Belgium this Spring with P&O Ferries, the Hull to Zeebrugge service can get you there overnight!

Image Credit: Miguel Discart , Burnt Rostad , Zoetnet

P&O Ferries holidays in France this Spring with Disneyland deals

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Spring is a fantastic time to visit France, just as nature comes in to bloom it seems like city life starts becoming a bit more vivacious as well. In this blog we’ll be taking a look at some of the events going in the north of France this Spring as well as the special events that you won’t want to miss in Disneyland.

2017 is a special year for Disneyland Paris, the park is now 25 years old. So naturally there will be plenty of new and exciting goings on for you to treat your kids, and yourselves, for a scintillating silver anniversary.

Since these milestones only come around once every so often the good folks at Disney like to put on a bit of a bash. Therefore you will want to book ahead and fortunately a special early bookers discount is available well in to next year for you to take advantage of. For starters, if you make your booking this month, before the 26th, you will be viable for a 30% discount off your hotel, park tickets as well as a free half board meal plan for the whole party.

If that’s just a little too short notice, then try the Early Winter Booking a similar deal which covers late 2017 and early 2018. You need to make your booking prior to October for at least three days in one of the Park’s hotels. Kids under 7 years of age receive free board and you are also gifted two days and nights at the hotel absolutely free, with this deal you could turn a weekend trip in to a week long vacation. This deal is available over all half term holidays as well as the major Christmas break as well, naturally the footfall at Disneyland picks up a bit during these periods so book ahead lest you be disappointed.

If you do find that your window for visiting Disneyland is all booked up then have no fear, the advanced bookings offer (2 nights free added on) is viable for Summer 2018 dates as well.

For the 25th anniversary Disneyland will be pulling out all the stops, with Stars on Parade, a procession of all the major beloved, and perhaps a few of the more notorious, Disney favourites. The evenings will be enchanting with the Illuminations Show a blend of fireworks, lasers, music and pageantry to turn night time in to a real celebration. There is also to be a special showcase from the Disney Princesses. At the Royal Castle stage favourites like Belle, Aurora and Cinderella are hosting a ball for a Starlit Princess Waltz a spectacle that will dazzle more than just the little ones.

For more information on the goings on at Disneyland this year, click here.


France is famous for its cuisine but your average tourist who is open minded and interested in sampling the countries wares my have a hard time finding an authentic dining experience. Nobody wants to come back from France only to answer the question ‘What did you eat?’ with ‘Well we mostly wound up in chain restaurants like we have back here’. You don’t have to spend hundreds per head in a world famous multi-michelin star restaurant, nor be overpriced and underwhelmed in a bijou Parisian tourist trap. An excellent and cost effective way to find good food in France, which isn’t tremendously difficult, is finding one of their food festivals.

Early this April 7-10 is Coulommiers’ International Cheese and Wine Fair, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. You could consider it a farmers market, much of the produce is being sold by its maker. Livestock is also put on display and a competition to guess the weight a cow named Marguerite is open to all comers adding a certain charm to the event.

This fair runs for four days attracting around 60,000 attendees. If you don’t want to leave France without sampling something truly French what better choice than wine and cheese?

For information on how to get there, click here.

In close proximity to Calais where your P&O Ferry will deliver you is the Abbeville’s Bird and Nature Festival April 8-17 this event draws a good crowd since it began back in 1991. For those of you travelling to France for its rural charms this is surely an event worth attending. If your goal is a camping holiday this will seamlessly augment your trip opening up avenues to explore France’s waterways, horseback treks cross country or woodland hikes to hear birdsong. You can also see the young seals of this season at Picardy’s Bay, though this must be supervised.

An artistic bent to this festival will exhibit sculptures and paintings as well as talks for conservation and natural aestheticism.

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Towards the end of May commemorations for the Normandy D-Day Landings are also held as a tribute to all the soldiers for their actions on June 6th 1944. A broad programme of events is planned including parachute drops, bagpipe marches, fireworks, re-enactments. Talks will be hosted and vintage vehicles for attendees to get an up close look will be available.This is an occasion of great importance and therefore draws a large crowd so book your accommodation and P&O Ferry passage well in advance.

Visit France this Spring with P&O Ferries, multiple channel crossings daily from Dover to Calais.

Image Credit: David Jafra , Vanessa Lollipop , McButh

Holland’s Spring 2017 Flower Season


Holland bursts in to bloom a little earlier than the uk, in fact we receive a lot of our cut flowers for bouquets and the like from our Dutch neighbours. They celebrate the first of their tulips on National Tulip Day in just the last weekend of January, whereas in the uk there is ne’ry so much as a snowdrop to be found.

You don’t need to be green fingered in order to enjoy flowers, after a long winter you may be surprised at the pleasure a simple bloom can give you, unburdening and full of promise. These flower displays are a fantastic way to get you out and about, if you’ve had your fill of museums or gastro-tourism these flower shows will get you out in the open air appreciating a bit of natural beauty. They’re a brilliant juxtaposition to the lively nights out that can be had in the urban centres of Holland, you could tack them on to a romantic trip or use them for inspiration to liven up your own garden back home.

In the dying days of March, spring will truly have arrived as the famous Keukenhof gardens open their gates to the public. Keukenhof gardens are only open for a brief period, from March 23rd – May 21st.

The Keukenhof gardens are boasted as ‘the most famous and largest flower park in the world’ what greater praise could we add? Situated just outside of Amsterdam between Holland’s capital and the Hague. You can easily plan a day trip to Keukenhof and be back at your accommodation in time for evening plans or an early one. It’s navigable from nearby cities like Leiden and Haarlem as well.

The major draw of Keukenhof is that in spring the upwards of 7 million bulbs will come in bloom, making the luscious park practically a wonder of the world. If you don’t favour tulips then there are plenty of alternatives to marvel at orchids, carnations, roses, daffodils and much more. They make for an enchanting walk, carefully arranged for maximum impact.

The theme for Keukenhof 2017 is ‘Dutch Design’ a tribute to the great innovators, engineers, artists and designers that Holland has produced and exported to the world.

In Keukenhof’s Oranje Nassau Pavillion a reconstruction of the iconic Piet Mondriaan squares painting comprised entirely of a flower mosaic made up of tulips has been arranged as the centrepiece of this year’s theme. A beautiful animation of the abstract work.


The Keukenhof gardens are open from 8AM to 7:30PM every day, but the ticket office closes at 6.

During the first weekend of April an event called ‘Get in to the Green House’ will make hundreds of greenhouses both professional and amateur open to the public. Horticulture is big business in the Netherlands and this is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn from the masters, whether you’re after abundance or vibrancy you’re sure to pick up some tips.

This event attracts over 200,000 visitors each year and is becoming a big enterprise that now involves some of the largest names in dutch horticulture. Activities, workshops and events are put on for children and there are talks and tours for adults about everything from growing to eating.

Since the date of Get in to the Greenhouse crosses April Fool’s day we recommend you attend with a certain spirit of fun, since there will be plenty of kids about. In French speaking countries, April 1st is known as ‘April Fish and the given prank involves attempting to attach paper fishes to people’s backs. All done in good humour, but be on your guard nevertheless.

Tulip Festival

We all know Holland is closely associated with Tulips; and we’re sure you could name a few other common tropes. If you want your holiday to the Netherlands to be all about Tulips, bikes, windmills and wooden clogs then the Tulip Festival is where you need to be.

April 14th – May 8th is the official opening time for the Tulip Festival, which is technically a 100km route throughout the country from Noordoostpolder in Flevoland, this is short way from Amsterdam but you’ll find yourself in unfettered countryside, so it is worth it, the sort of countryside that may make you consider purchasing watercolours.

You do not have to travel the entire 100km to get a good feel for the Tulip Festival, there is 19km bike path called the garden route, which will let you see a lot more of the festival than you can on foot. There is also a picking station for you to take some tulips back with you and other goods sold by the people make a living on the flower trail.

It would be remiss of us to ignore all the other major goings on in Holland this spring. The first week of April brings National Museum Week a real treat if you in intend to take a cultural tour of Holland as hundreds of museums will be opening for free and at discounted prices April 3rd-9th.


The King’s Day Parade April 27th sees Amsterdam explode in to a big orange street party that attracts crowds form all over Europe to revel amongst the canals of Holland’s Capital.

Discover Holland at it’s most beautiful when the tulips are in full bloom! Travel with P&O Ferries in Spring 2017 from Hull to Rotterdam.

Image Credit: Howard Lifshitz , Jack Versloot , Antonio Olmedo

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