Friday, 13 July 2018

National Holidays Get On Board and Win A Mystery Coach Trip Ends 12/08

When I was young coach holidays were all the rage. I remember many a Summer going on day trips with my mum on the coach. No one really went on a plane then, and flights were very expensive compared to today.

Fast forward thirty something years and coach holidays are having a bit of a resurgence. With 5 million people taking coach holidays a year I thought it was time to check out coach holidays in 2018.

Our coach

National Holidays is one such coach provider. Offering a range of holidays across the UK, Ireland and Europe, it's a cost-effective way to travel without the hassle of a plane journey.

So when National Holidays invited myself and my friend and blogger Sally Akins on a mystery trip, I threw all caution to the wind and said: "Why not!?".


Mystery trip

An early start for a 7.30 AM pick up from Manchester wasn't fine, excitement kept me awake!  Gary our driver was cheery and explained the safety procedures. All coaches are fitted with safety belts and you are encouraged to use them.

Comfy seats inside

The seats are very comfortable, padded and soft, there is plenty of legroom, a footrest and a tray for you to use. The coach is air conditioned too which was great news as it must have been the hottest day of the year.

With an onboard toilet for your convenience

So we headed off on our mystery trip. I already knew it would be a two-day trip and a 4-5 hour journey to our first point as they tell you that information when you book.

The people on board the coach were a mix of ages, the youngest being about 6 with the oldest in their 80s, which surprised me as I expected a much older crowd. 

We were like naughty schoolgirls being seated at the back of the coach and I must say there was a lively crowd there, but it was all part of the fun.

Our first stop at the services

My friend Sally Akins joined me on the trip, check out her travel and lifestyle blog aimed at the over 40's. During the trip, we had fun trying to guess where we were going. Initially, we thought it was London and a trip to the Warner Bros Studios as it was a similar early start with National Holidays. However as we went further on the trip, it appeared we were heading towards Birmingham, so Cadburys World was our next guess.

Gary played along and teased the coach trippers without giving too much away to where we were going.

Before we knew it, we got to the destination...  and as we were driving up, Gary told us, it was Stratford-upon-Avon!

Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon
is a market town with over 800 years of history and with many buildings that still survive today. 

William Shakespeare's birthplace 

It's also famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. You can visit the house where the world famous playwright was born and grew up and visit a number of attractions related to him. 

The river festival

It was very busy when we were there as the Stratford-upon-Avon river festival was on - a two-day free festival, with stalls selling a variety of crafts, and local food and drink. With live music playing it was a great event.

We had a fabulous lunch in a local cafe and wandered around the town, stopping for an ice-cream and a sit under a tree in the shade.


Bedroom

After our three hours here, it was time to get back on the coach and drive to our hotel. Our hotel was an hour drive away in Northampton. 

The Holiday Inn Northampton is a three-star hotel, one of the slightly older Holiday Inns but still good quality accommodation. 

The room had a modern bathroom with shower, sink and toilet and a double bed with a TV and a desk. Free-Wi-Fi as well was provided which is always a plus.

Shower room

So after a shower, I went down to the restaurant for dinner. 

Our trip included dinner, bed and breakfast and that night we had a buffet dinner in the hotel. The dinner consisted of salad, soup, main course and dessert and was surprisingly tasty. You never know what a buffet dinner will be like but it was really good. The salad was fresh and had a light Ceasar salad dressing, the carrot soup was seasoned well, the main course options included a four cheese and spinach ravioli, spaghetti bolognese, and a chicken tikka marsala. Something for everyone. I particularly rated the spaghetti bolognese. It wasn't Michelin star food but it was good for the price.  

So that night after a comfortable sleep I went down to breakfast. Breakfast was a buffet and consisted of cereals, fruit, yoghurt and pastries. Also, a cooked breakfast served buffet style was tasty and hot.

Day two and ready to go to ... the Cotswolds

After checking out, we were on the bus for day two. Again we didn't know where we were going until the driver told us - the Cotswolds.

Our first stop was Bourton-on-the-Water. An idyllic Cotswolds village, known for its low bridges and traditional stone houses, it's a very picturesque and known as 'The Venice Of The Cotswolds". There are also a number of attractions for you to while away an hour or two including the Cotswold Motor Museum, Birdland - home to many species of birds and life-size model dinosaurs and The Dragonfly Maze.


Bourton-on-the-Water


Sally and I strolled around the little village and stopped for tea and cake. Well, it would be rude not to wouldn't it?


You are spoilt for choice for little tea shops, cafes and restaurants in Bourton-on-the-Water, most with a view on the river so I would suggest you sit down with a cake or cream tea and enjoy the view. We stopped at the Green and Pleasant cafe. The only thing that bothered me a little was how busy the village was on a sunny Sunday.


A rare photo of me in Bourton-on-the-Water


After our stop here, it was a short drive to the last village, a village I hadn't visited before called Broadway. 


Broadway

Broadway is a little village with a population of approximately 2500. All the shops are independent, and the pretty high street is lined with lush chestnut trees. You can tell the wealthy live here, outside one of the pubs were two Mclaren cars, a Ferrari and a Lamborgini!
Broadway 

Even the grocers had a touch of class in Broadway - look at the beautifully displayed fruit. 

What was especially nice about this little village, is that it doesn't attract the numbers of visitors that Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold do, so even on a sunny Sunday it was still enjoyable to walk around and explore.


Broadway

After a stroll around and a stop for lunch, it was back on the bus for us.

This was the end of our trip and next was the drive back to Manchester. 

So what did I think of the mystery trip, you may be wondering? I think a mystery trip with National Holidays is suited to someone who wants a little adventure and is on a budget. The trip was well priced - I spoke to a lady who said she booked it on special offer and it was less than £60.  That is, I think you could say, an utter bargain! Ok, you are not getting a five-star hotel but when you consider you get two day trips, one night in a hotel, dinner and breakfast for that, then for the price, that is hard to beat. 

It's been a long time since I have taken a coach trip and I honestly was impressed with the comfortable seats, leg room, Wi-Fi and air conditioning. There was also a toilet on board. We stopped every 2 hours or so for a break and a drink but if you wanted water, Gary the driver sold bottles for 50 pence. Gary also acted as our tour guide and had a great line in banter. His driving was great, and I felt very safe too. So important on a coach trip.


Back to our drop off point

If you are looking to take a trip exploring the UK or Europe then with my experience I can honestly say National Holidays offer a great service.  I hope to try a trip to Europe with them in the future, perhaps a trip to Rome and Sorrento in Italy, or the Black Forest in Germany. So my overall experience is that I feel I can recommend National Holidays to my readers, a company that offers well-priced coach holidays in comfort.


Today on my blog I am giving you the chance to win a mystery coach trip with National Holidays! Entry is via the Gleam app below and is free to enter. Don't forget to follow them on Instagram too, for updates and competitions. Why don't you bookmark the page and come back for a daily entry? Good luck!

Win a holiday with National Holidays
Terms and conditions 

You must be 18 + to enter 
Open to entrants in the UK only
One entry per household 
Winner will be contacted within 7 days of the competition ending.
If I do not hear from the winner within 28 days I reserve the right to redraw
The holiday must be taken within 12 months of prize winner being announced.
The prize is one Mystery Weekend Special break with National Holidays for two adults. 
The dates and pick-up destinations are limited based on availability. 
The prize includes transport from the selected pick-up destination to the hotel and return travel back to the original pick-up destination with reserved seating, one-night dinner, bed and breakfast in select hotel accommodation and a fully inclusive touring itinerary.
The prize is as stated and cannot be exchanged for an alternative trip or a monetary value. The prize is non-transferable
Travel to the departure point is not included
It is the winner's responsibility to ensure they have travel insurance
Ends 2018-08-12 11:59:59 PM

Tell me, have you gone on a coach holiday? Would you try a mystery trip?

*Sponsored post, all words and opinions are my own
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105 comments

  1. Looks a great way to travel around the UK Im gonna look into doing this saves me driving

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  2. The Cotswold's looks amazing but I would love to go to Rome!

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  3. I have never been on a coach holiday, but I would be delighted to try a mystery coach tour should I be lucky enough to be invited on to join one!

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  4. I`d like to visit Liverpool, My husband has been before and he said its lovely.

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  5. sam fut (puppetfut@gmail.com) i'd love to go to stratford (not the one in london lol!)

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  6. l'd love to go to Scotland as l've been a couple of times and loved it as it is beautiful

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  7. I'm all for letting someone else take the wheel, whilst I get to enjoy the scenery. I'd love to visit Oxford.

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  8. love the look of your Folkestone, Leeds Castle & Sussex Steam break

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  9. Sounds lovely - wouldnt mind at all
    Manchester for me

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  10. Llandudno and little trains of wales :-)

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  11. I would like to visit the Highlands of Scotland

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  12. Jeremy Andrews13 July 2018 at 21:45

    I would love to go to Devon or Cornwall

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  13. Stratford would be lovely, I haven't been there in years x

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  14. Would love to visit Paris and Versailles x

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  15. I would love to go further North, somewhere in the Highlands x

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  16. Oxford , love to explore there

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  17. I have never been to Scotland so that would be exciting

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  18. I'd love a trip to Edinburgh

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  19. Rachel Thompson14 July 2018 at 16:51

    Alton towers with my son! He loves it there :-)

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  20. would love to visit Yorkshire CHERYL HADFIELD

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  21. Would love to take my fiance to Manchester as he's never been before and I haven't been since I was a teenager!

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  22. Stratford Upon Avon is my favourite place and haven't been there for about 5 years now, so would love to win this and take my 88 year old Mum

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  23. York would be lovely

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  24. For me it would have to be the beautiful and stunning lake District

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  25. I would like to go anywhere

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  26. Cornwall would be fanrastic

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  27. scotland for the wonderful scenery

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  28. I would like to go to Scarborough

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  29. Somewhere in Devon or Cornwall.

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  30. I like surprises, but Scotland would be good.

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  31. Loch Lomond Scotland

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  32. I have always fancied a trip to the Cotswolds and your article has only intrigued me more!

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  33. Id like to go to torbay

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  34. Somewhere in Scotland would be lovely

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  35. Mystery Weekend Special - because I'd like it to be a surprise!

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  36. I would love to go to the Lake District

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  37. I have never visited the Cotswolds so that would be lovely

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  38. I would love to go to Scarborough, but would enjoy the excitement of the mystery tour.

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  39. I'd like to go somewhere scenic such as North Wales

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  40. I would love to visit the Peak district or the Yorkshire Dales.

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  41. I would love a surprise trip to Scotland with my husband, but anywhere would be a treat wouldn't it!

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  43. I'd love to see the Lake District :)

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  44. I love the idea of a mystery coach trip!! So many wonderful sights to see, if i had to choose it would be Glasgow :)

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  45. The Cotswolds, including Cheltenham

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  46. Newcastle.

    Rachel Craig

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  47. I would love to visit the Christmas market in Leeds with them.

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  48. The Lake District would be nice

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  49. I'd like to go to Northumberland - looks amazing

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  50. I would like to visit York with National Holidays.

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  51. I'd love to go to the Lake District

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  52. I really fancy going on one of these trips especially a mystery one it looks great x

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  53. I'd to go on any of their mystery trips to Italy or to Bath if I had to choose somewhere in the UK.

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  54. I like the idea of going to a mystery place!

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  55. I love the look of your Cotswolds trip, but I'd also love to go somewhere really pretty like Bath or Cambridge!

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  56. I would love to go to the Isle of Wight!

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  57. Ann-Marie Gould18 July 2018 at 14:02

    looks great, id love to go to Stratford Upton Avon but would also love to try a mystery break , we have done one coach trip to Euro Disney many years ago when kids were smaller and it was a great experience

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  58. I like your first guess of Harry Potter studios!

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  59. Amanda Baggott18 July 2018 at 15:38

    I've always wanted to go to the Lake District

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  60. id have to go somewhere in wales, ive never been before but would love to visit!!

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  61. The Eden Project in Cornwall!

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  62. A tour of the Highlands would be a dream come true

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  63. I'd love to visit scotland where my mum is from :)

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  64. I'd like to visit Liverpool, the home of the Beatles.

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  65. thenewmrsjohnson19 July 2018 at 12:04

    The Cotswolds - so many childhood holiday memories there.

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  66. Scotland would be nice I think I'd take my mum as I'm sure she would love it

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  67. Michelle Carter20 July 2018 at 14:12

    The Lake District would be nice

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  68. I would love to go to Cornwall and for as little as 59 quid sounds fab @sammysjb2

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  69. I would love to go to Scotland

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  70. I’d love to go to edinburgh!

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  71. I've always wanted to go to Whitby :)

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  72. Oh wow Mel this looks great I wanna gooooooo x

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