Archive for January, 2019

The five best castles in Ireland

January 25th, 2019

 

Ireland contains a wealth of crumbling medieval castles (an estimated 1,000 defensive forts to be precise) scattered across the length and breadth of the island. These forts were owned by the most powerful families however many were deserted and left to disintegrate with time. Thankfully, a large number of these castles are now fully restored to much of their former glory. Here’s a look at five majestic castles in the country. Check out Camperbugs fabulous daily and annual campervan insurancepolices before your head out on your next campervan or motorhome hire!

 

Bunratty Castle: Co. Clare, Ireland

 

Bunratty castle. Image by Marlis B on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-ND

 

This castle is perhaps the most loved and best-known castle in Ireland. The fort was erected in the 1400s however previous settlements existed on the same site. Restored in 1954, the Bunratty Castle sits in County Clare. Step inside the castle and be blown away by the fantastic antiques tracing back to the 15th and 16th centuries which give visitors a look into the life and times of the influential MacNamara family who constructed the castle. For added fun, book tickets for medieval banquets held daily on the premises.

 

Dunluce Castle: Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

 

Dunluce Castle. Image by johan wieland on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-ND

 

Set upon a cliff overlooking the ocean below, the medieval Dunluce Castle is abandoned and featured in the famed HBO series Game of Thrones. The dramatic scenery includes sheer drop-offs on every side, and the castle is only reachable via a bridge from the mainland. The fort was constructed by MacQuillan at the beginning of the 1550s however the castle was taken over by the MacDonnells. The castles positioning on top of the cliff proved a wise choice concerning defence however it was also unstable, and a portion of the kitchen fell into the ocean below during a very stormy night during the 1630s.

 

Camperbug recommends:

The campsite
Bush Caravan Park – Think select family owned campsite containing 48 standing pitches, rural settings and proximity to the Giant’s Causeway, Old Bushmills Distillery,  the Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, Barry’s Amusements, Fantasy Island and more!


Bush Caravan Park vibes. Image by mybusyme on Instagram.

 

The Camper
Introducing jolly ole John! He’s a smashing VW Type 2 camper van that will easily sleep and seat 2-3 passengers.  John’s fitted with a 47 litre electric fridge, twin-burner gas hob and grill, fresh water container,  built-in petrol heater plus a fire extinguisher & fire blanket. His owners include a comprehensive inventory and provide optional extras to make your journey as joy! Ask them about pick-up points, reservations and more!

 

John the jolly camper

 

Blarney Castle: Co. Cork, Ireland

 

Blarney Castle. Photo on VisualHunt.com

 

Located near Cork, Blarney Castle is a medieval fortress enclosed by a large garden, right by the River Martin. Dating back to the early 1200s, the stone fortress we see today was erected by the McCarthy family during the 15th century. The most prominent attraction is the Blarney Stone which is said to gift one the gift of the gab when kissed. Kissing the stone however is not an easy feat!

 

Ashford Castle: Co. Mayo, Ireland

 

Ashford Castle. Image by Larry Koester on Flickr.

 

First built in the 1200s, Ashford Castle, and the enclosing castle walls were extended over the centuries as it functioned as a setting for violent battles. Following a truce, the castle eventually became a hunting lodge before being purchased in 1852 by a member of the Guinness family. The family expanded the castle, adding new wings before selling the property in the 1930s. Today the castle is a luxury hotel and features 83 stunning rooms.

 

The Rock of Cashel: Co. Tipperary, Ireland

 

The Rock of Cashel. Image by falco500 on Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

 

The Rock of Cashel has numerous myths linked to it. One legend states that during the 5th-century Aenghus, King of Munster was persuaded to convert to Christianity by St. Patrick. It was governed by the High Kings of Ulster, who later donated the site to the Catholic Church. Many of the buildings within the castle date as far back as the 12th and 13th centuries. Take a walk through the castle and marvel at the striking medieval architecture which makes this fortress one of the most visited in Ireland.

 

If you liked this blog take a look at our selection of little explored Roman ruins.

 

 

 

 

Little explored Roman ruins that deserve your time!

January 14th, 2019

 

Image by dun_deagh on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

 

Under the guidance of Emperor Claudius, the Roman invasion of Britain began unfolding in the year 43 AD however Caesar had already stepped on British shores in 55 and 54 BC – to the complete satisfaction of the adoring Roman public. Emperor Claudius recommenced Caesar’s subjection campaigns, and soon the Romans had gained dominance over the small tribes scattered across present-day southeastern England. Threatened by a common enemy, tribes, druids, priests and common folk soon united to fight in the resistance and great war heroes like Caractacus and Queen Boudica rose to the occasion, disrupting and obstructing the Romans.

Today, the crumbling remains of a once dominant, 400-year reign of Roman Britain pull in thousands of international visitors who flock to the more famous ruins like UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath. While these artworks, constructions and artefacts give us an insight into the life and times of Roman Britain, many sites are just as historically rich yet often overlooked in favour of the more famous Roman attractions. Here are our top four picks for an excellent campervan hire holiday!

 

1.  Fishbourne Roman Palace

 

Fishbourne Roman Palace. Image by Adam Tinworth on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-ND

 

The Fishbourne Roman Palace is a work of art and remains an impressive Roman Villa that is certain to have been the envy of the town!  The large villa surpasses the Buckingham Palace in size and remains the largest Roman dwelling north of the Alps. Construction began during the year 75 AD, and artisan architects and designers sailed in from Gaul and Italy to oversee the creation of the 100-room house. Despite extensive reconstructions throughout the subsequent two centuries, the magnificent palace and many of its first-century mosaics burned to ashes in a massive fire, leading to the desertionof the site. Today the formal gardens are replanted to represent the original garden plan, and the site contains some of the oldest mosaics in Britain. A large quantity of jewellery, pottery, and coins found at the site are also on display.

 

Visit:
Fishbourne Roman Palace
Roman Way, Chichester PO19 3QR, UK
+44 1243 785859
Website

 

We’ve got travel tips, and fabulous West Sussex motorhome hires! Take a look!

 

2. Chedworth Roman Villa

 

Chedworth Roman Villa. Image by billllymac on Instagram

 

Like the Fishbourne Roman Palace, Chedworth Roman Villa contains well-preserved mosaic floor work and numerous Roman artefacts found on-site. The large villa is a former residence of a well-heeled Roman Briton, and initial construction began during the 2nd century AD. Work on the villa continued for the next two centuries, and by the 4th century AD, the Chedworth Roman Villa embodied the opulent dwellings of the wealthiest, cultured Roman Britons. Residents and visitors admired the beautiful mosaic floors and extravagant marble fixtures placed within the two individual bathing suites. An ancient, underfloor heating plan functioned akin to contemporary central heating and kept the bathhouses agreeably toasty!

 

Visit:
Chedworth Roman Villa
+44 (0) 344 800 1895
Website

 

If you’re heading to Cheltenham, your best bet is a comfortable campervan – like Boris! He’s a retro, 1977 VW T2 bay camper van with many of his original fittings in place. He’ll easily seat and sleep four passengers and contains a two ring gas hob, a sink with running water and a hydraulic elevating roof for added travel benefits. Speak to his owners today!

 

3. Corinium Museum

 

Image by coriniummuseum on Instagram

 

The market town of Cirencester in Gloucestershire was once a thriving Romano-British city of Corinium Dobunnorum. The Romans seized the area following the fruitful invasion of 43 AD and erected a fort outside which a civilian settlement began to grow. Before long the city had mushroomed into the second largest town following Britain. The region was soon securely under Roman rule, and the fort was considered redundant and torn down during the year 75 AD. The regions enclosing Cirencester has always been an archaeologists delight, and numerous Roman finds now rest at the Corinium Museum, which unsurprisingly contains one of the most significant collections of Romano-British relics in the UK.

 

Visit:
Corinium Museum
Park Street,Cirencester,Gloucestershire GL7 2BX
+44 (0) 1285 655611
Website

 

4. Vindolanda

 

Vindolanda. Image by The Armatura Press on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

 

Set south of Hadrian’s Wall, Vindolanda was a Roman fort and village that guarded the Roman road of Stanegate (or stone road in Norse) that stretched from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth. The area contains a rich picking of Romano-British relics, and as of now an astounding 500 metric tons of pottery alone have been unearthed at the site. Considered one of the most valuable Roman archaeological locations in Europe, the Vindolanda tablets were discovered here in 1973, and at the time were the oldest surviving handwritten documents in the UK. Despite being toppled from this title by the Bloomberg tablets,     the wafer-thin Vindolanda tablets are still considered one of Britain’s greatest treasures. The tablets make a note of diverse subjects ranging from appeals of justice, and skirmished between Roman soldiers to unresolved beer tabs and requests for snug socks!  You may see archaeologists at work and if you’d like to lend a hand, clear two weeks of your schedule and volunteer to join in the excavations! There is a Roman Army Museum in the vicinity as well!

 

Visit:
Vindolanda Trust
Chesterholm Museum, Bardon Mill, Hexham, Northumberland
+44(0)1434 344 277
Website

 

If you liked this article you may also like our top five picks for Celtic culture and history!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take in the best views at Snowdonia National Park

January 8th, 2019

 

Image by eilir30 on Instagram

 

As the largest national park in Wales, Snowdonia National Park contains a plethora of stunning views, coastlines, wetland, beaches and some of the highest peaks in Wales. If you’ve been tempted to visit, we’ll furnish all the wonderful reasons why you must take your next motorhome or campervan hire holiday among the jagged summits, wild landscapes, and striking vistas of Snowdonia National Park.

 

The history, the locals and noteworthy attraction

 

Swallow Falls. Image by itmpa on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

 

65% of the local community takes pride in speaking the native Welsh language, one of the oldest spoken languages in Europe. The music, poetry and culture of the region are ancient, dating back as the Bronze Age. The park extends over a whopping 1351.85 km over northwest Wales, and 20 per cent is lawfully protected owing to its abundant wildlife. A further 918 km of land is preserved for conservation.

 

The towering peaks of Snowdonia are some of the oldest rocks on the planet, and mountain ranges cover a staggering 52% of the land. The park contains over 90 peaks exceeding a 2,000-foot elevation, 1,700 miles of public and brindle paths and features Mt Snowdon (3,560 ft.) – the highest mountain in England and Wales! Other noteworthy attractions include the peak of Cader Idris (2,929 ft.), Swallow Falls, the highest continuous waterfall in Wales and the undulating Fairy Glen gorge. The park is also home to Morfa Dyffryn, the best nude beach in the UK!

 

The Castles

 

Dolwyddelan Castle.Image by drongodrone on Instagram

 

Snowdonia contains a variety of magnificent castles of all sizes, shapes and grandeur. Some remain crumbling ruins while others retain their glory. You may even find a palace converted to a B&B! Take a look at the following list of castles and why they’re worth a visit:

 

Harlech Castle – Constructed at a low cost of £8,190, Harlech Castle was erected by the English king, Edward I as a means of protection during his invasion of Wales between 1282 and 1289.

 

Conwy Castle – This medieval fortification rests just outside the park.

 

Castell y Bere – Construction on this Welsh Castle began in 1221, probably by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. Back when cattle were as valued as currency, this castle guarded the prince’s cattle range and secured Gwynedd. The English seized the castle in 1283 and abandoned it during an uprising in 1294.

 

Dolwyddelan Castle – Constructed by Llywelyn Fawr (Llywelyn the Great), the castle ruins sit prettily against the wild backdrop, offering some of the most beautiful views around!

 

The towns and villages worth your while

 

Aberdyfi/ Aberdovey and the Dyfi river. Image by pedrik on Visual Hunt / CC BY

 

Snowdonia contains a 26,000 strong population which lies congregated by the coast between the town of Barmouth and the seaside resort of Harlech. The region is primarily uninhabited with a smattering of populated centres. If you intend to leave your van and embark on a camping expedition, you’ll need to know where to secure supplies and stock up on groceries.

 

Aberdovey – This bustling harbour resort rests where the Dyfi River meets Cardigan Bay. Offering a plethora of watersports, Aberdovey even owns a championship golf course. There are many camping and caravanning spots.

 

Bala – The historic market town of Bala is proudly Welsh and offers a promising, wild landscape varying from towering mountains and dense forests to deep valleys and thundering waterfalls.

 

Beddgelert – Said to be one of Snowdonia’s most charming villages, the village of Beddgelert is home to a wealth of history, legend and culture. Despite its wild settings, the community contains numerous campsites, traditional pubs, arts and crafts stores and several fabulous eateries!

 

If you’re exploring Snowdonia, then you must travel in Enlli! This 1974 VW Transporter T2 comes fitted with modern interior with hob, sink and fridge, and comfortably sleeps and sits four passengers. There’s plenty of storage space, and an onboard heater will keep everyone warm during the chilly months! Ask Enlli’s owners about optional extras like chairs, beddings and towels! Get more Gwynedd Campervan hire options with Camperbug!

 

Isn't Enlli lovely?

 

A mountain path or two!

 

Up the Rhyd Ddu Trail. Image by mazzywalshie on Instagram.

 

If you’re up for a hard mountain walk, you can take one of nine mapped paths up the peaks of Snowdown and Cader Idris. Here are the best trails:

 

Llanberis Path – By far the most popular tourist path, Llanberis Path is the lengthiest and most steady providing jaw-dropping views of Llanberis, Cwm Brwynog and Anglesey.

 

Rhyd Ddu Trail -  Considered the most tranquil pathway, the Rhyd Ddu trail promises the most arresting mountain vistas. It’s perhaps one of the more natural paths and not frequently used.

 

Miners Track – If you’re keen to avoid a hike up to the summit of Snowdon yet would like a comfortable walk on the mount Miners Track offers a safe trail for the less experienced.

 

PYG Track - Reputed as the most challenging path to the Snowdon summit, we dissuade inexperienced walkers from attempting to master this trail. No one is certain how the trail earned its name.

 

Other notable trails include Mawddach Trail which is loved by cyclists and walkers alike for its ease.

 

How to get there

 

Aside from the M4 in South Wales, there are no motorways in Wales however there are many excellent quality roads that pass through Snowdonia National Park. If you’re keen on hitting the coasts, use the A496 or the A493.

 

 

 

 

 

Our top five picks for Celtic culture and history!

January 2nd, 2019

 

The Celtic tribes originated from central Europe and shared a common language, religious beliefs, traditions and culture. Celtic culture is said to trace as far back as 1200 B.C, and the first documented Celtic tribes were referred to as “Galli” or barbarians by the Roman Empire of the 6th or 7th century. The Celtics proved to quite unlike their dubiously netted reputation, and their legacy is most prominent in Ireland and Great Britain where one can savour the culture and hear the Celtic tongue. Here’s a look at the ten best locations that dive into the modern and ancient Celtic culture, and let’s not forget our fabulous campervan hire options to get you started on a Celtic adventure!

 

1. Groam House Museum, Ross-shire

 

Groam House Museum. Image by pictish_trader on Instagram

 

Set in the village of Rosemarkie, Groam House Museum displays a celebratory collection of Celtic and Pictish artworks. The four-star interpretive centre is an award-winning museum centred on showing the beautiful sculptural art, Pictish symbols, stones and ornamental designs located around Rosemarkie. The museum also holds a delightful collection of works by George Bain who is the pioneer of traditional Celtic art revitalisation. The George Bain collection is recognised for its National Significance. Kids will enjoy the interactive computer programs and videos while adults will enjoy browsing through the selectively-stocked gift shop.

 

2. The High Crosses, Iona Abbey, Iona

 

Iona Abbey. Image by anumdada on Instagram

 

Colmcille first set foot in Iona in 563 and set up a monastery which rapidly grew in size and prominence, quickly becoming the nucleus of religious establishments across Argyll and beyond. St Martin’s Cross remains in its original place, displaying intricate carvings while the remainder of the crosses now rests well protected inside a museum dedicated to Colmcille. Construction on St Martins Cross began commenced between 750 and 800. The crosses are said to mark Colmcille’s grave and the foundations of the original church, and they may have even been markers for pilgrims. The High Crosses on Iona are some of the best-preserved examples of interlacing and biblical scenes paying homage to early Celtic Christianity.

 

3. Culloden Battlefield Visitors Centre, Inverness

 

 

On the 16 April 1746, the concluding Jacobite Rising came to a head at The Battle of Culloden which would go on to change Celtic Scottish culture. Jacobite supporters sought to restore the Stuart Monarchy and gathered to battle the government troops of the Duke of Cumberland. The last battle on British soil lasted barely over an hour, and within that harrowing hour, 1,500 Jacobite fighters lay dead. The Culloden Battlefield Visitors Centre sits on this bloody battlefield and uses richly researched information like personal accounts, artefacts and authentic weapons to bring the conflict to life.

 

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4. The Stone of Destiny, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

 

 

The Stone of Destiny is an ancient representation of the Scottish Monarchy and has seen the coronation of countless over hundreds of years. According to legend, the stone was used by Jacob as a pillow as he dreamt of Jacobs Ladder. The stone is believed to travel from Ireland to Scotland. In 1296, English king Edward I transported the stone from Scone and had it constructed into his throne, ensuring the stone remains at all coronation ceremonies for the monarchs of England and Great Britain. The stone was delivered to Scotland in 1996 on the condition that it would only leave again for a coronation at Westminster’s Abbey.

 

Marigold

 

If you’re planning on a beginning your journey in Edinburgh, take a look at merry Marigold! She’s a T2 VW that’ll make a great addition to your holiday or wedding. She sleeps two and comfortably seats three. She comes fitted with a cool box, twin-burner gas hob and oven, engine heating for the cab and hydraulic elevating roof with vinyl sides & roof light. Ask her owners for extra’s like DVD player, tent awning, director chairs, bedding and towels, and more!

 

5. Maiden Castle, Dorset

 

Maiden Castle, Dorchester. Image by Andy Walker on Flickr

 

Constructed primarily during the 1st century BC, Maiden Castle, Dorset s one of the most extensive, and complicated Iron Age hillforts in Europe and the only one of its kind in Britain. Roughly the size of 50 football pitches, the ramparts once housed hundreds of Celtic residents who engaged in metalworking, roadhouses, and textile production. The fortification may have also been the battleground for sparring Celts and II Legion Augusta with evidence of a 4th-century Roman temple exposed during excavations.

 

If you’ve got more time to explore, take a look at the UK’s five best UNESCO World Heritage sites.