Page Name => wowcher : wowcher blog : Category : wowcher : wowcher blog : Travel => Article Title => wowcher : wowcher blog : Travel

Blog Categories: Travel

The Wowcher Guide to Christmas Markets

wocher guide to


To unashamedly steal the immortal words of Andy Williams, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. But it’s not just the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer that fills us with festive joy, it’s the opportunity to head to one of the many Christmas markets that the world has to offer. There’s no better way to spend the season than by shopping for loved ones at quaint market stalls, standing beneath sparkling lights while sipping on a warm mug of hot chocolate and listening to live festive music over an outside fire. The question is: should you head abroad for your annual dose of Christmas cheer, or stay in the UK? Wowcher’s here to help you decide…


Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

We’ll start with England and the fantastic Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Open daily from 10am to 10pm, Winter Wonderland is filled with a large array of attractions such as the Giant Wheel which allows you to take in the stunning views of lit-up London. You can also pop into the Magical Ice Kingdom which takes you through a fantastical world of real ice sculptures and slides, Bar Ice where hand crafted tables, walls and sculptures glisten with ice as you sip on delicious cocktails and circus shows, such as Zippos Christmas Circus for the family and Cirque Berserk for the evening crowd.

Edinburgh’s Christmas 2015


Taking place in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh’s Christmas market is a truly special place to spend the festive period. Picture the scene: you begin the day with an adrenaline rush on their Christmas tree slide and rollercoaster, before getting lost with your loved one in the Christmas tree maze and sitting on Santa’s lap at the grotto. Then you slip into some skates and whiz around the icy rink before grabbing some warm food and a nice hot chocolate from the market stalls.

Bath Christmas Market


Bath Christmas market is all about the location. Within the market you’ll find over 170 traditional wooden chalets surrounding the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, but venture beyond the market and you’ll find a plethora of Christmas treats for the whole family. Last year Bath on Ice returned with their fab ice rink, The Holburne Museum held its spectacular lantern procession, Santa popped by to say hello to the kids and there was even a pop-up Après Ski Bar serving up steamy mulled wine. Sound good? Then check out this deal!


The Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Now let’s hop across the pond to New York for The Columbus Circle Holiday Market in Central Park. Lose yourself for hours as you wander through the market stalls that stock everything from handmade wooden puzzles to artisan chocolate, gingerbread houses and cider, before taking a carriage ride through the park with your significant other. End the day by sampling some food from the local vendors who cook right in front of you, and we think that makes for a pretty festive evening.

Vienna’s Christmas Markets


Vienna transforms into a fairytale world of romantic nostalgia and festive cheer in the run-up to Christmas, so you won’t be short of market options if you decide to head here. Taking place in front of spectacular landmarks such as Belvedere Palace, the City Hall and Imperial Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna markets provide the perfect backdrop for your Christmas shopping. With each market filled with traditional chalets selling mulled wine, delicious treats and exquisite gifts, you might find it difficult to decide which one to go to, so why not go to more than one and make the most of your trip to Austria?

Dresden Christmas Market


Traditionally called Striezelmarkt, The Dresden Christmas market is Germany’s oldest, dating back to 1434. Located on the Altmarkt Square in the historical city centre, this market is filled with romantic and festive charm and is an utter treasure trove for unique and traditional handmade gifts. While you pick up some presents for your loved ones back home, you can watch the skilled carvers, glass-blowers and bakers in action, before heading towards the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid (standing at an impressive 14m!) for a photo op. Or, with this deal you can enjoy a Christmas market break in one of Germany’s other beautiful cities from just £89pp!

So there you have it. If you want attractions head to Hyde Park or Edinburgh, if it’s all about location head to Bath, if you want a choice of markets then hop on a plane to Vienna, if you’re all about tradition go to Dresden, or if you’re a fan of The Pogues and want to experience a ‘Fairytale of New York’ then head to The Columbus Circle Holiday Market in Central Park.

Of course, the choice doesn’t end there! With this deal you can head to your choice of European Christmas market from just £89pp. What will it be? Rome? Prague? Budapest? The choice is yours…

Please note: All deals featured may not be live. But with fab new deals added daily, make sure you keep checking

Wowcher’s Top 5 Winter Sun Destinations


As winter prepares to fall around us like a cold, dark shroud, there are certain aspects of the cooler months that we can’t wait for. Christmas, New Year, cosy nights in by the fire and hot dinners with the family are all prime examples of why winter is many people’s favourite season. However, if you mourn the passing of autumn and long for sunshine and longer days, then what you need is a short break away from the cold and gloom to lavish in warmer climes. Once you’ve decided that a temporary exodus from Britain is needed, then comes the next conundrum of where on earth should you go to enjoy a little sun and warmth in the depths of winter, without forking out an arm and a leg to get there? Here is Wowcher’s guide to the top destinations for getting that little bit of much needed winter sun…


Marrakesh, Morocco

Known as a hub of African, Islamic and European cultures, Marrakesh is a rare example of an inland city destination that caters perfectly to both sun-seekers and culture vultures. A thriving hub of chaotic culture, from the frenetic activity of the market souks to the laid back luxury of the hotels, restaurants and shisha bars, Marrakesh is a must-visit city for anyone in search of a unique, North African adventure. The Djemaa El-Fna, the main market square is the epicentre of the city’s cultural life, making it a compulsory visit whilst you’re in Marrakesh. Also of interest is the historical Koutoubia Mosque and the opulent and impressive Saadian Tombs, showcasing the very finest in Islamic architecture and art.

blog-marrakesh-two  Why go there?

The thrilling atmosphere of a capital city that offers everything a modern traveller needs whilst also revelling in it’s fascinating past, incredible traditions and unique culture, all with a balmy warm temperature even in the depths of winter.

January high temperature: 19°C

Flight time: 3 hours 40 mins

Wowcher have previously offered three nights in Marrakesh, including return flights, for just £99pp. Now that’s a winter sun offer you can’t ignore!

Read more

Top 5 European city break destinations!


sky and the sea of clouds.

Here at Wowcher, as much as we’d love to take a month off, fill up our backpacks with bikinis and head to Southeast Asia to ‘find ourselves’, we’ve had to reluctantly accept that our wallets – and our annual leave – just won’t stretch that far. Luckily for us in Britain, our little island is nestled in one of the most diverse, historical and fascinating continents there is, and some of the world’s greatest cities are just a hop, skip and a quick Wowcher deal away. Check out our list for the top five European city break destinations!


5. Rome

Roma Foro Romano

When you don’t want to just ‘fly and flop’, there’s nowhere that packs a historical punch quite as hard as the Italian capital. Nicknamed the ‘Eternal City’ for its timeless beauty and tangible past, just a few hours in bella Roma will have you racing to throw your wishing coins in the Trevi Fountain to make sure you return! Take a tour of Vatican City and add a whole new tick to your ‘countries visited’ list, marvel at the classical architecture or stay out until the sun comes out with one of the most glamorous crowds on the planet. With a millennium-long history of culture, power, fine art and fine food, this is definitely the city to head to for an intoxicating taste of ‘la dolce vita’!


4. Budapest

Szechenyi thermal baths in Budapest.

After spending decades as a hidden gem, Budapest is now Europe’s worst kept secret – and after visiting for yourself, you’ll be able to see why! Embracing the banks of the Danube, you’ll find an achingly trendy atmosphere married with exquisite architecture and a historical feel that you can really sink your teeth into. Fans of the city reckon there’s no view more romantic than looking out from a bridge at the twinkling lights of the city, there’s no architecture more impressive than the Art Nouveau marvels that embroider the winding streets and there’s no party quite as exciting as those happening in the super-hip crevices of the Jewish Quarter. There’s a reason it’s known as the Paris of the East, dah-ling.


3. Blackpool

Blackpool Tower Illumination

The sparkling lights of New York City, the casinos of Vegas and the beaches of Thailand – all just a train ride away from wherever in Britain you call home. OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Blackpool is certainly the crown jewel of England’s seaside resorts! If you like your tack flashing right where you can see it (who doesn’t, occasionally?) and don’t fancy braving airport check-in queues for your next holiday, there’s nowhere better to head than glittering Blackpool. With the neon lights of the illuminations, the retro seaside piers and the hugely entertaining Pleasure Beach, you can rest assured that even if there’s no sun, there’s sure to be fun!


2. Venice

Venice. View of Grand Canal at dusk from Rialto Bridge

As much as we love discovering a hidden gem, there’s no denying the classics are classics for a reason! Venice does romance, grandeur and beauty on an electrifyingly epic scale. From the grand Palazzo Ducale and the wondrous Basilica di San Marco to the local stone churches and charming statues that decorate the labyrinth backstreet, you can flock with the thousands of like-minded Italophiles or discover what makes Venezia special to you. We’re thinking about the lagoon sparkling as the sun sinks, quiet al fresco dining on a cobbled lane, local Prosecco on tap and stripey-shirted oarsmen serenading lovebirds on their gondolas. Cliché doesn’t get any better!


1. Reykjavik

Northern Lights over City

Seeing the Northern Lights still topping your bucket list? Us too! Whilst we can’t guarantee you any sightings of the Aurora Borealis, we can recommend somewhere that’ll give you a pretty good shot! We’re all for a beach break, but sometimes you’ve got to get out the winter woollies and try something a little different – so why not try Reykjavik? This is the heart of Iceland’s Viking history, and the coastal hub is pretty much picture-perfect from every angle, with a mountainous skyline, pretty pantone buildings and a thumping nightlife on an astronomical scale. What are you waiting for?

Wowcher gets high with Virgin at Bristol International Balloon Festival!


Friday AM Flight - View

Nestled in the rolling Somerset countryside, every year the picturesque Ashton Court plays host to The Bristol International Balloon Festival – Europe’s largest hot air balloon event. And this year, a few Wowcher elves were lucky enough to be among the visitors!

This year’s festival, the 37th annual event, proved to be a record-breaking spectacular, with around 500,000 turning out across four days to see seven mass ascents up into the sun-kissed skyline. We’re told that thanks to the glorious weather, it was in fact the first time in the festival’s history that all seven scheduled flights were able to go ahead. Just goes to show you can always count on the great British summertime – perfect weather conditions at just the 37th time of asking…

But these brave Wowcher elves weren’t just spectators – oh no, this year we got the chance to slip the surly bonds of earth and take to the skies for real! After all, what better way to drink in the breathtaking British countryside than in a hot air balloon?

At first, the thought of being suspended hundreds of feet above the earth in a basket, was, well, a wee bit unnerving. But speaking to our pilot, Virgin Balloon Flights’ very-own Mark Simmons, our, shall we say, anxieties were quickly allayed. A veteran of the skies, having flown all over the world (once with Richard Branson himself), Mark said the event was one of his favourite places to fly. And if he can be trusted to ferry around one of the world’s most beloved billionaires, we knew we must be in pretty good hands.


With typical Virgin panache, our balloon was of course among the most spectacular sights at the fiesta. Ascending alongside other balloons of all shapes and sizes, the iconic red balloon you’ve likely seen a hundred times gliding across the skyline must have looked pretty cool from down below. Other balloons at the fiesta included none other than a giant Minion (those things are everywhere nowadays) and even the event’s famous Power Ranger balloons. As much as children at the event may have been thrilled to see the Despicable Me franchise’s favourite sidekick ascend, it’s nothing compared to our thrill at seeing some genuine Mighty Morphin’ heroes take to the skies. Naturally, the theme song was stuck in our head for the rest of the day. Not quite the soundtrack to stunning aerial views of the countryside we had in mind at the beginning of the day, but never mind, eh?

View of Bristol

Speaking of children, the fiesta also featured a very special guest – Peppa Pig! Joining the team at the Virgin Balloons exhibitors stand, everybody’s favourite cheeky piggy was on hand for photo opportunities and was even handing out hot air balloon goodie bags to her fans. Speaking to Peppa herself, we enquired if she’d be getting up in an air balloon on the day. She replied “When pigs fly!” much to our confusion. Only kidding, although she did say, “it’s snout my style”. Kidding again. Peppa in fact used to have a fear of flying, she’s cured now though…

Peppa pig

Nothing less than an unforgettable day of high-flying fun and spectacular views, a flight with Virgin Balloons is really something you have to experience first-hand to believe. If you haven’t booked with Wowcher yet, now’s a good time – you don’t want this experience to fly straight over your head!

Wowcher Guide To Valencia

valenciaWhilst being bathed in sun almost all year long does make for a pretty good reason on its own to visit Spain’s third city, Valencia’s got plenty more to offer lucky visitors, from a lively city centre to the Mediterranean Sea on its doorstep. Our guide to the city is here to show why a trip to Spain’s sunny coast is a must:

Photo Opportunities
A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of the city, our guide to Valencia unsurprisingly begins at the masterpiece known as La Lonja. Constructed in the 15th century, the Silk Exchange’s late gothic style and sheer magnificence has made it a symbol for what is now regarded as the city’s Golden Age; the striking spiralled columns that dominate the main hall as well as the charming surrounding courtyards and the adjoining Renaissance chapel will no doubt impress. Also built during the 15th century, the Torres de Quart is described by Lonely Planet as ‘Spain’s most magnificent city gate’ – see if you can spot the dents caused by the French cannonballs during the Napoleonic invasion in the 19th century!

A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of the city, La Lonja makes for a must-see.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of the city, La Lonja makes for a must-see.

Restored to its previous glory in 2012, the enchanting Plaza Redonda’s eye-catching design makes it one of the city’s more unique hotspots. From the vantage point of the fountains in the centre of the round square, you’ll be able to catch a lovely view of Santa Catalina’s late baroque bell tower. Keeping on a similar vein, it would be a mistake not to pay a visit to the imposing cathedral on the Plaza de le Virgen. Built in 1238, the cathedral’s 207-step Miguelete bell tower is well worth venturing up for 360-degree city and skyline views. You’ll also be able to snap a few pictures of the two Goya paintings in the Chapel of San Francisco de Borja and a chalice that is claimed to be none other than the Holy Grail.

For easy travel around the city, make sure you pick up a Valencia Tourist Card that entitles users to free entry to public museums and monuments, public transport in zones ABCD and a 50% discount at selected shops and restaurants. That way you should have no trouble making your way between other must-see sites, including the modernist Mercado Central, the Plaza del Carmen and the fantastic Bioparc. More than enough to keep you busy!

Beach Break
Where to start?! Boasting an abundance of Blue Flag beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice for sandy spots to relax and enjoy the sun in Valencia. Stretching over 1000m, La Malvarrosa is considered by many to be the city’s main beach, though the quieter Las Areans just to its south may have something to say about that. Fancy visiting them both? Not an issue – both are located just a short walk from the city centre. You can even take a stroll down the connecting Neptuno Promenade and take them both in on one lovely lazy day by the Mediterranean.

Malvarrosa and Las Arenas beaches make for the perfect spots to soak up the sunshine

La Malvarrosa and Las Areans beaches make for the perfect spots to soak up the sunshine.

Just a 30-minute yellow bus journey away in the beautiful La Albufera National Park on the southern outskirts of the city, the 2.6km untouched sandy stretch known as El Saler beach is well worth the trip. A favourite of locals and tourists alike, the popular beach is regarded by many as the jewel in the crown of Valencia’s coastline, with sun-worshippers conveniently protected from the westerly winds by the surrounding sand dunes and pines. Unlike the previously mentioned beaches, you won’t find any sun loungers or parasols already set up there for you to use, so make sure you come prepared.

Fireworks, Festival and Flames
Valencia is famed for its fireworks, so naturally come festival time you can expect to see a whole host of inventive pyrotechnic displays that’ll last long in the memory. For five days each March the city comes alive for Las Fallas, a typically-Spanish celebration in honour of Saint Joseph. Each night, spectators gather along the Paseo de la Alameda to witness spectacular displays that never fail to light the city up in stunning style. Make your way down on the last night (the Night of Fire) for an incredible 30-minute showing that is the undoubted highlight of the festival (though you will have to get there early to snag a prime viewing position).


Valencia is famed for its fireworks, so naturally come festival time you can expect to see a whole host of inventive pyrotechnic displays that’ll last long in the memory.

Amongst the important ceremonial events and traditions that take place during the festival, the parading of giant, specially made papier-mâché figures is definitely the most remarkable. Often reaching up to 20ft in height, these impressive models (named after the festival) are later set on fire on the last day at the Cremà (or ‘the burning’), though one is spared and given a place amongst the growing collection at the dedicated Fallas Museum in the city.

Thanks in large part due to the city’s seaside setting, Valencia boasts a rich culinary heritage that leaves visitors absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to finding somewhere to grab a bite to eat. Despite the neighbourhood’s uncertain future, we recommend heading to Valencia’s vibrant old fishermen’s quarter El Cabanyal in the east of the city for the best in authentic Spanish dishes. Amongst the beautifully tiled houses and art-nouveau stylings of the barrio, you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants offering the freshest fish and tapas – keep an eye out for the imaginatively named El Cabanyal restaurant for what is described as ‘a real taste of Spain’, and the Bodega Casa Montaña in the very same neighbourhood for one of the best tapas bars in the country (booking in advance is recommended).


Rice is a staple ingredient in the city and the crux of Valencia’s many gourmet specialties, including its most famous food invention paella. Explore the surrounding villages and you’ll find each has its own preference for ingredients and rice mixes, though you won’t have to travel too far from Malvarrosa beach to find the city’s most famed paella hotspots. A favourite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, La Pepica’s walls are plastered with signed pictures of the restaurant’s most famous patrons, though an outdoor table with a view of the sea instead might be more preferable when dining during the summer. One of the restaurant’s many specialities is the authentic version of paella known as the ‘valenciana’, a spectacular dish made with ingredients from the garden rather than from the sea – just click here to read more about the restaurant.

So there you have it – a guide to the must-visit city of Valencia. For the latest breaks dead-set on taking you to Europe’s top destinations, make sure you stay with

Wowcher’s Guide To Brighton!

Battleground for the Mods and Rockers in the 60s, stomping ground of the legendary Fatboy Slim and Peter Andre, and an infamous playground for Britain’s dirty weekend, Brighton is one of the UK’s most colourful coastal crannies, well worth a visit no matter the time of year. Here, at Wowcher, we’re here to share the filthiest secrets of this outrageously endearing seaside town.

The Coast with the Most
A wintery wonderland in colder months and a slothful sunspot in summer, the coast of Brighton is gemmed with affordable bars, sensational seafood restaurants, penny arcades and of course, piers. Visit the turtles and rays at the world’s oldest Sealife Centre, dine on an oriental barge in the Marina or glug some grog at the pirate ship pub Fortune of War. If you’re brave, get a made-to-order donut or a bag of chips and see how you fare against an army of hungry seagulls. Small but full of life, Brighton’s seafront is a pebbled paradise perfect for families, couples and even stags in drag.

Pier to Pier
Once a town of three piers, now a town of one working pier and a hollowed-out shell of another.Brighton Pier is like the Catherine Zeta-Jones to West Pier’s Michael Douglas. Buzzing with rip-roaring rollercoasters and amusement arcades, the former is teeming with life and a great place to win a cuddly toy for your loved one. West Pier, on the other hand, has been deteriorating since 1975 and is simply a skeleton of its former self – still beautiful though, in a haunting kind of way.

Festivals Galore
As well as an annual supply of candyfloss, Brighton also seems to manage a festival every other weekend. No matter when you go there’s sure to be something going on. Hoards of classic cars can be seen cruising the promenade on weekends, local artists open their homes in May and foodies will be spoilt for choice with several food and drink festivals occurring throughout the year. Our favourite festival has to be Brighton Fringe, England’s largest arts festival. The perfect concoction of cabaret, comedy, classical concerts, club nights, theatre and exhibitions – something for everyone!

The Royal Pavilion
So it may look like something you find in Sittingbourne’s Model World but this scaled-down Taj Mahal is the reason Hitler didn’t bomb our pretty Brighton boulevards (he wanted it as his headquarters!). Built for the Prince Regent in the 18th Century, The Royal Pavilion is one of the most striking structures in the world and well worth a visit. Marvel at the palatial domes from the gardens or take a trip inside the eccentric head of George IV and admire the Pavilion’s magnificent interior. The beautifully restored tearoom makes an ideal spot for an afternoon scone!

Bohemian, hedonistic and cosmopolitan, Brighton’s North Laine is full of independent clothes shops, cosy bars and award-winning restaurants. Whether it’s the freebie-filled food markets or the second-hand stalls on Upper Gardener Street, Brighton is a peruser’s paradise. In Snooper’s Attic, Brighton’s best loved antique bric-a-brac vintage and retro store, you can find everything from old taxidermy to go-go boots. For the more refined shopper, we recommend trawling the twisting alleyways of Brighton’s South Lanes for specialist and designer boutique fashion.

Where There’s a Wheel, There’s a Way
If you’re worried you won’t have a chance to see all of Brighton, go on the city’s newest attraction; the Brighton Wheel, London Eye’s smaller and younger brother. With panoramic views of the town’s famous landmarks and an informative cultural commentary by local hero Steve Coogan, you can rest-assured you won’t miss a thing. Some say that on a clear day you can even see France!

So there you have it, plenty of reasons to plan a weekend trip to Brighton this spring. Loved by Queen Elizabeth II for its £1 shots and mini golf opportunities, Brighton is a treasure trove of things to see and do. No matter what time of year you visit, people will be skating along the esplanade and kayaking round the piers. Just keep an eye out for fantastic deals and your window of opportunity to visit our nation’s favourite seaside town!

Wowcher Takes a Dip in the City of Bath

Once a playground for the rich during the glamour of the Georgian era, Bath’s natural hot springs and architectural marvels have paved its way to World Heritage status. Though small in size, Bath is immensely picturesque and holds many cobbled pockets of charm. Elegant crescents and terraces curve over and around the petite city’s hills, while steeples and spires rise above the steam from the ancient Roman baths. For a slice of continental charm, forget far-flung foreign destinations – take a dip in the spa city of Bath…

Take to the Water
Bath was built upon hot springs and is the only place in the UK where you can immerse yourself in the thermal waters that have bubbled deep underneath the city for over 2,000 years. To recreate the Roman experience (unwieldy armour and bloodshed excluded), visit the original ancient bathing house, The Roman Baths. Besides exploring the very changing rooms where our Roman conquerors got in their birthday suits before bathing, you’ll even be able to dip a finger in the naturally warm water of the thermal pools where the Romans would wash. Afterwards, if you’re craving a modern-day spa experience, head to the Thermae Bath Spa around the corner, where you can bathe above Bath in the rooftop swimming pool with unrivalled city views.

Tip: Book yourself in for a twilight spa package at the Thermae Bath Spa to see the sun set over the city as you soak up the mineral waters.


When in Bath, do as the Romans did…

Building Bridges
Bath’s enchanting cityscape is carved from creamy golden stone and boasts over 5,000 listed buildings and perfectly-preserved Georgian houses. To see the best of the city’s honey-hued architecture and heritage, start at Bath Abbey and weave your way up the hill to Victoria Park. You’ll pass the spherical Royal Circus, followed by the Royal Crescent, a curved sweep of palatial façades in perfect symmetry. Back in the centre, stroll to where the River Avon crosses Pulteney Bridge (modelled on Florence’s famed Ponte Vecchio) and browse the chic boutiques and cosy coffee shops that line the bridge – you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled to Firenze itself.

Tip: From Pulteney Bridge, continue along Great Pulteney Street to Sydney Gardens (the only remaining 18th century ‘Pleasure Gardens’ in the UK) behind the Holburne Museum (free admission).


Pulteney Bridge

Costume Culture
If following in the footsteps of Jane Austen (who lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806) has left you with a thirst for more of her romantic fiction, you can learn about the novelist’s life and work at Bath’s Jane Austen Centre. While you’re there, create your own Austen ambience by dressing up in the coats, bonnets, shawls and parasols provided, or treat yourself to a ‘Mr Darcy’ champagne afternoon tea at the Regency Tea room within the centre.


To see the best of the city’s honey-hued architecture and heritage, start at Bath Abbey and weave your way up the hill to Victoria Park

City Skyline
Along with Rome, San Francisco and Prague, the city of Bath was built into enfolds of seven hills. Encircling the city, the six-mile Bath skyline walk takes eager amblers through grassy pastures and beech woodlands to reach Richens orchard and an Iron Age fort, offering many glimpses of the golden city – not to mention rare wildlife – along the way. Once you’re back in the cobbled streets, rest your feet and refuel at one of Bath’s many Michelin-starred restaurants or gastro pubs, such as Georgian townhouse-turned-culinary kitchen, The Porter.

Tip: On the skyline walk, head slightly off route at Bathwick Hill to admire the arches and turrets of Sham Castle, an 18th-century folly.

Fancy hitting the heritage hotspot yourself? Check out our luxury overnight stay in Bath on Wow Go!

Please note – all deals featured may not be live!

The Wowcher Guide to Roaming in Rome

Saturated with fine art, architectural genius and delectable food, it’s easy to see why millions of tourists flock to Rome every year. Based on the banks of the River Tiber, the city was founded in 753 BC according to Roman tradition, with thousands of years of ancient history providing a rich backdrop to the Italian capital. There’s so much to discover in just a short mini break that unlocking the secrets of the city can feel like a challenge. Luckily, Wowcher has the key!

Architecture and Art
Tourists always congregate at the Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world and home to some seriously impressive architectural and artistic feats (plus Pope Francis, of course). Whilst marvelling at Michelangelo’s ceiling is a must, there’s much more to see than just the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums showcase tapestries, ceramics, mosaics, Renaissance masterpieces and much more, including the famous frescoes of the Raphael Rooms and a striking tapestry of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. You can also scale the heights of St Peter’s Basilica for views inside the Cupola and out across Rome.

If you fancy heading off the beaten track instead, take a trip to San Clemente. Tucked away on Via Labicana, the 12th century Basilica sits over a 2nd century pagan temple, with its initial foundations dating as far back as the Roman Republic. Visit the lower levels to peel back the layers of Roman history and you’ll be surrounded by the sounds of an ancient aqueduct filtering water from the Tiber, with a fountain of spring water bursting out of the wall. Forget the Trevi Fountain – throw a coin in here and make a wish!

Tip: If you want to beat the queues at the Vatican City, make sure you book tickets online before you go. There are lots of tour guides offering their services outside the gates, but be aware that some of the tours can be quite lengthy if you’re short on time.

The Heart of Rome
A trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Colosseum. Constructed in approximately 70 AD and used for gladiatorial competitions, dramatic public spectacles and grisly executions, the extraordinary arena emanates a sense of grandiose history and forgotten glory. To the east lies the ruins of the Roman Forum, the heart of ancient Roman life and home to the remains of the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta, Arch of Septimius Severus and much more. The Palantine Hill offers a great vantage point for panoramic views of the site – a combined ticket to see it all costs just €12, so buy yourself a selfie stick and get snapping!


Tip: Nip into the Altare della Patria (the big white building on Piazza Venezia) and take the elevator to the very top. For just €7 each you’ll get 360° views across the entire city, including an amazing view of the Colosseum and beyond.

Escaping the Crowds
If you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre, take a leisurely walk up the Spanish Steps to visit the landscaped gardens of Villa Borghese. The parkland features a beautiful lake, surrounded by willow trees and presided over by the majestic 18th century Temple of Aesculapius. It’s the perfect spot for an Italian-style picnic (think antipasti and wine) or a romantic boat ride for two. If you’re an art fan, finish your afternoon in the Galleria Borghese and explore the stunning selection of sculptures, paintings and antiquities from the 1st-3rd centuries AD.


Tip: Segways, bikes and pedal karts are available to hire if you want to explore the park during the summer months. You can also rent roller blades if you’re feeling really flash.

Dining and Nightlife
For a truly magical dining experience with one of the best views in Rome, the rooftop restaurant of Aroma is located directly opposite the Colosseum and boasts a gorgeous vista of the historic monument at night. The restaurant serves a delicious (if slightly pricey) menu of classic Italian dishes with a gourmet twist. If you fancy something a bit more down to earth (literally), there are hundreds of options elsewhere in the city – cross the Tiber to get lost in the maze of cobbled streets and charming piazzas in Trastevere, renowned for its vibrant array of bars, cafés and boutique shops, or wander the backstreets around the Pantheon to find a tucked away trattoria. If you’re hoping to fulfil your lifelong quest for the perfect pizza, you can have a good go at Li Rioni, a classic pizzeria that serves up its dough the traditional way – thin, crispy and topped with plenty of fresh tomato and mozzarella. Delizioso!

Tip: You can’t leave Rome without gobbling down at least one gelato (yes, they will probably stop you at the airport if you don’t). We recommend the creamy treats from Il Gelato Di San Crispino, a local legend that you can find just behind the Trevi Fountain.

Outside Rome
If you’re planning an extended holiday, hop on a train from the central Termini Station in Rome to any number of hidden destinations on the Amalfi Coast. A 2-hour trip will get you as far as Naples, where you can take a scenic boat ride to the beautiful island of Capri. Sip on a glass of wine in La Piazzetta, the bustling square at the heart of island, or ascend the Belvedere Cannone for breath-taking views of the famous faraglioni rock formation. Naples is also an ideal gateway for trips to Sorrento, Positano or Pompeii, the ancient Roman town near the base of Mount Vesuvius. The possibilities are endless!


Tip: Termini Station also runs international train services to destinations such as Paris, Munich, Geneva, Basel and Vienna if you fancy going even further afield!

However you choose to spend your time in Rome, make sure you take some time to wander the old streets, soak up the relaxed atmosphere and experience the unique character that makes the city so special. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do…

Fancy making your way to Rome for a magical escape? Click here to check out the perfect deal for you!

Remember, when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, keep it trained on for more great deals to Rome and beyond! Please note – all deals featured may not be live! 

The Wowcher Guide to Britain’s Romantic Hotspots


“Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels”
– T.S. Eliot (from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

Even the poet T.S. Eliot saw the romantic possibilities in an inexpensive couple’s getaway and that chap knew a thing or two about romance. He understood that passion can blossom in the cheap hotels, the muttering retreats and the half-deserted streets. The thing is, where can you find a brilliant lovers’ haven that is both passionate and affordable? Well, Wowcher is here to guide you through the sensual and passionate landscape of some of Britain’s best romantic break destinations…

The rugged coastlines, picturesque seaside villages and the vast array of golden sandy beaches make Cornwall a popular destination in the UK all year round. If romantic poignancy is your thing, then why not head to Lizard Point, the most southerly place in the UK. Here you can gaze wistfully together out over the ocean, to where the English Channel meets the Atlantic Ocean. Also, for the wilder at heart, Cornwall is home to Penwith Heritage Coast, with plenty of walks, hikes and climbs on offer to suit any level of wanderer. The mild climate of Cornwall also lends the county a Mediterranean air and if you fancy yourself as a champion surfer, head to the warm waters and golden beaches of Porthleven or Constantine.


The rugged coastlines, picturesque seaside villages and the vast array of golden sandy beaches make Cornwall a must for a romantic break

If you can’t make it to Cornwall, then the coast of Pembrokeshire in South Wales offers equally splendid romantic break potential, with Broad Haven and West Dale amongst the best golden sand beaches in the UK.

The Lake District
Stunningly beautiful views? Check. Rugged landscape and fresh air? Check. Friendly local residents and a quiet, relaxed way of life? Check. The Lake District is one of Britain’s most popular rural tourist destinations for good reason. From Kirkby Lonsdale in the south to Carlisle in the north, by way of Lake Windermere, Penrith and Keswick, the Lake District offers adventurous couples a romantic escape from the pressure cooker of urban life and a chance to spend time together alone in the great outdoors. For those who prefer modern comforts above the adventurous thrill of camping, there are an abundance of friendly family-run B&Bs throughout the Lake District where couples can relax and enjoy the famous warm hospitality of rural North West England.


Stunningly beautiful views? Check. Rugged landscape and fresh air? Check…

Brighton’s own tourist board proudly boasts that it is the UK’s flirtiest city and, whether you are in a relationship or looking for love, there can be no doubt that Brighton is one the UK’s most romantic destinations. Known as the location of many a summer romance and also as one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly places, Brighton offers the chance for a sensual weekend away where loved up couples can go for a romantic stroll along the sea-front or love-seeking singles can enjoy the pulsating experience of one of the City’s many renowned nightclubs.

On the romance front, the beautiful town of Stratford upon Avon has a lot going for it. Not only is it stunningly picturesque and a charming example of provincial English life, it is also the home town of the man from whose imagination the greatest love story in history sprang. William Shakespeare is of course Stratford’s most famous son and so beautiful and romantic is the town that it’s unsurprising it inspired him to create the story of the star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. What’s more, in honour of the great Bard himself, the town is now home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, who run a year-round programme of plays in their recently refurbished theatre, which makes a great venue for a special romantic date. Combine this with a stay in a cosy cottage and indulge in the rustic lifestyle Stratford-upon-Avon has to offer.


And finally…
If you’re looking for something seriously different for a romantic getaway, beyond the usual couple’s retreat-style weekend, then you can always find somewhere to satisfy your deepest curiosities and urges in the form of a swingers’ hotel break. Back in 2013, we ran a special deal for a break at a swingers’ hotel called The Vanilla Alternative and the ensuing interest almost crashed the site with half a million people logging on to view the unusual and…erm…’adventurous’ offer. It just goes to show that the demand is there!

So if you’re looking for a memorable couple’s retreat, or perhaps even something a little different to your traditional countryside break for 2, then keep on opening those emails from…

Wowcher Discovers the Best of Buda and Pest…

Set astride the Danube River, the city of Budapest is home to history, culture and an abundance of Camembert. Rich with opportunity, the city (and the Camembert!) ooze potential for new experience. From the stunning panoramic views visible from Buda Castle hill to the colourful bars and natural hot spas that bubble down below, visitors from all walks of life will find something to tickle their fancy in the Hungarian capital. Wowcher never settles for anything less than the best, which is why we’re bringing you the top spots of brilliant Budapest…

A little history…
Relatively short-lived as the city we now know, Budapest was born in 1873 from the unification of its older and wiser parents, Buda and Pest. Both dating back over 2000 years and host to battle, siege and recovery, the districts are separated by the Danube and each celebrate their own customs and history. Nowadays, travelling across the river by tram, metro or bus couldn’t be easier for tourists looking to take in attractions from all areas of the city. Whether it’s the lively bars and restaurants of Southern Pest or the grand Parliament buildings and rolling hills of Buda that competes for your attention, we reckon the only real winner is the lucky visitor to fascinating Budapest…


Offering the best views in the Budapest, the grand castle makes for a must-visit

Top spots…
For a view to rival all others, it’s all about the Buda Castle. Set atop the hillside and easily accessible by cable car or foot (we chose the first option), the historic Palace looks out over the city, river and bridges. Offering a panoramic view that certainly paints a pretty picture, you’ll need no filters to capture the sprawling cityscape and impress any number of Instagram followers. Whilst onsite, don’t pass up the chance to embrace Budapest’s rich history at the National Hungarian Museum, based within Buda Castle. Other notable city attractions include the triumphant Heroes’ Square, the Jewish Quarter and Dohany Street Synagogue, not to mention St Stephen’s Basilica where the breath-taking interior is only rivalled by the views from the top tower…

Boasting both indoor and outdoor spas, the city’s many baths offer a unique place to relax and unwind.

Boasting both indoor and outdoor spas, the city’s many baths offer a unique place to relax and unwind

Something different…
Thanks to the natural hot springs which bubble under Budapest, the city is the proud owner of more medicinal and thermal spas than any other city in the world. How’s that for a fun fact? Boasting both indoor and outdoor spas, the city’s many baths offer a unique place to relax and unwind. We took a trip to the famous Szechenyi Baths where we braved the 3 degree temperatures and hurried to the delightful waters of the huge 38 degree outdoor pool. Including both a whirlpool and natural Jacuzzi function, the sensation of sitting back and admiring the unique ‘wedding-cake’ structure of the spa building through the rising steam was one that was truly unlike any other. Our tub at home certainly can’t top that!

Budapest offers a plethora of dining experiences to suit every palette

Filling the void…
A long day exploring the city will certainly work up your appetite – which isn’t a problem as Budapest offers a plethora of dining experiences to suit every palette. Whether it’s traditional Hungarian cuisine (think hearty meats and stews) served in authentic eateries, or the world cuisine now readily available in cafes and restaurants throughout the city, there’s plenty to fill you up. After enjoying savoury pancakes and traditionally prepared meat on the first night of our stay, we became distracted by the tasty Turkish and Thai restaurants near our apartment for the remainder of the trip – not to mention the tasty breaded camembert served with blackcurrant dip served in all Hungarian McDonalds. With a glass of wine and pint of beer totalling the equivalent of £1 in many local bars, the merriment in Budapest is second-to-none. Want to feel it for yourself? Click here to get booking your trip…