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Champagne lifestyle  Richard Branson with wife Joan in 2008.

Champagne lifestyle … Richard Branson with wife Joan in 2008. Photo: Getty Images

It is 8am and Richard Branson is bounding towards the stage at the Adelaide Convention Centre. As the sound system pumps out Like a Virgin, the old Madonna hit, he skips up the stairs into the spotlight and beams at his audience. Officially, this is a business breakfast. More than 1700 people have paid about $200 a ticket to eat eggs Benedict and hear the founder of the Virgin empire expound on the commercial possibilities of space travel, among other subjects. But judging by the flushed faces and rapturous applause, many of the executives in the auditorium don’t really care what Branson says. It is enough to be in his presence.

The UK’s most famous entrepreneur mentioned in his sixth book, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School, that he enjoyed visiting Australia more than anywhere else. His affection for the place had nothing to do with his part-ownership of our second largest airline. “I just love the Aussies’ zest for life – a wonderful, vibrant country,” he wrote.

It sounds bizarre for me to say it, but I’ve had to overcome a sort of innate shyness. 

We love him, too. Tagging along with his entourage for part of his latest whirlwind tour – to Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney – I am bowled over, almost literally, by the number of people keen to shake Branson’s hand, pat him on the back and, especially, pose for photographs with him. In airports, hotel lobbies, bars, on the street, he seems always to be at the centre of a scrum of thrilled fans brandishing cameras and vying for his attention.

On the way up  the budding entrepreneur in 1969.

On the way up … the budding entrepreneur in 1969. Photo: AFP

“Can I ask if you would be in a picture?” says one middle-aged woman. “Why not?” he replies affably. “Everyone else does.” According to his staff, it is like this every time he comes here. Branson is popular in the UK, the US and Canada, but nowhere does he generate more excitement than in Australia. “It’s a bit like our adulation of ABBA back in the ’70s,” says Geoffrey Thomas, airlines editor of Australian Aviation magazine. “We seem to have latched onto Richard Branson in a very big way.”

At 62, Branson is fit and full of beans. Not handsome, really, but attractive in the breezy, lightly bronzed way of one who spends a large part of the year on his own Caribbean island. He has blue eyes, a grizzled beard, a toothy grin and long, silver-blond hair – if you put him in an identity parade with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, it is probably Branson you would pick as a former member of a Swedish pop group. But when ABBA was singing Money, Money, Money, Branson was making it. Since discovering his talent for turning a buck four decades ago, he has put his Virgin brand on everything from planes, trains, credit cards and mobile phones to music stores, fitness clubs, bridal wear and vodka. Virgin companies now have about 60,000 employees in 34 countries. The Sunday Times in Britain recently estimated his fortune at £3.5 billion ($5.55 billion).

By any measure, he is an unusual plutocrat, given to bungee-jumping off tall buildings and crossing oceans in hot-air balloons. Last year, he became the oldest person to kitesurf across the English Channel – the sort of record that, in my mind anyway, invites a question: why? Whatever the answer, it seems to Thomas that it is Branson’s lack of pomposity that appeals to us in this part of the world: “He’s the anti-establishment person, the I’m-not-going-to-wear-a-tie guy. I think that really does resonate with a large number of Australians.”

Branson's offspring Sam and Holly in 2010.

Branson’s offspring Sam and Holly in 2010. Photo: Snapper Media

Since Branson is mobbed everywhere he goes, I have my best conversations with him travelling between engagements. After the Adelaide breakfast, he waves to the people gathered around his car and climbs into the front seat. “Thank you very much,” he says before he closes the door, sounding both grateful for their interest in him and rather relieved to be out of their grasp. The driver moves the vehicle slowly forward, taking care not to skittle anyone. “Just 30 seconds of your time, Mr Branson!” an urgent female voice shouts after us.

A few blocks later, we stop to pick up a coffee – Branson’s first for the day. “I’m always nervous about drinking coffee before going on stage,” he says. “In case I want to have a leak.”

His accent is unexpectedly posh. Branson likes to present himself as the people’s capitalist, a cheeky upstart who cocks a snook at the men in suits. In the UK, starting with a single second-hand Boeing 747, he set up Virgin Atlantic in competition with British Airways. In this country, he pitted Virgin Blue, now Virgin Australia, against the might of Qantas. In New York, he rode a Sherman tank up Fifth Avenue to launch Virgin Cola’s crazy-brave assault on Coke’s domination of the US soft-drink market. He relishes the role of the outsider who challenges the order of things.

Boy's own adventures  Branson with Per Lindstrand (at left) and the late Steve Fossett in the capsule of their hot-air balloon, 1998.

Boy’s own adventures … Branson with Per Lindstrand (at left) and the late Steve Fossett in the capsule of their hot-air balloon, 1998. Photo: AAP

But it turns out he springs from the eminently respectable upper reaches of the British middle class. His father, Ted, was a Cambridge-educated barrister and cavalry officer. His grandfather, Sir George Branson, was a High Court judge and Privy Counsellor. Branson himself accepted a knighthood in 1999, though he insists he doesn’t expect anyone to address him formally. “I prefer Richard,” he says, claiming his title is widely ignored anyway. “The only time I hear people using it is in America. Walking down a street, I hear somebody saying ‘Sir Richard’ and I think there’s some sort of Shakespearian play taking place.”

Branson has a weakness for wacky costumes, rarely passing up an opportunity to attend a corporate event dressed as, say, a Zulu warrior. Or Elvis. Or a Virgin Cola can. To promote Virgin Brides, he frocked up in white satin and a veil. The first year Virgin sponsored the London marathon, he ran the race kitted out with butterfly wings. To his admirers, he is an anything-for-a-lark funster; to his critics, a shameless attention-seeker. In April, when he launched a new Scottish airline service by lifting his kilt to reveal underpants emblazoned with the words Stiff Competition, Britain’s Daily Mail asked in a headline: “Is this his tackiest PR stunt yet?” (No, murmured anyone who had seen the pictures of him kitesurfing with a naked model clinging to his back. Or remembered his descent by crane into New York’s Times Square wearing a skin-coloured body stocking and strategically placed Virgin Mobile phone.)

A raging extrovert, you would confidently assume. But though Branson is amiable and unfailingly polite, his manner up close can be quite diffident. He says “er” and “um”‘. He stammers. He doesn’t look you in the eye. “It sounds bizarre for me to say it, but I’ve had to overcome a sort of innate shyness,” he says. “My mother tried to drum it out of me by saying shyness is a form of selfishness: ‘You’re thinking about yourself, you’re not thinking about other people. Just get up on stage and perform.’ She would make us perform as kids, in-in-in-in-in order to try to overcome it.”

Striking it rich  the remains of the burnt-out house on Necker Island that was struck by lightning.

Striking it rich … the remains of the burnt-out house on Necker Island that was struck by lightning. Photo: Splash

Eve Branson, a former air hostess and glider pilot, didn’t believe in cosseting Richard and his two younger sisters. In his autobiography, Losing My Virginity, Richard tells of her putting him out of the car a few kilometres from the family’s 17th-century cottage in a Surrey village when he was four years old, and instructing him to find his own way home across the fields. Before he was 12, she had sent him on a 160-kilometre bike ride to Bournemouth and back. “Mum thought it would teach me stamina and a sense of direction,” he writes, adding that when he finally staggered back into the kitchen the following day, expecting a hero’s welcome, she looked up from chopping onions and asked him to pop over to the vicar’s to cut him some firewood.

In Tom Bower’s unauthorised biography of Branson, Eve is described standing under a tall tree in the village green, demanding that her son, perched precariously in the upper canopy, climb right to the top. In Mum’s the Word, her own recently published memoir, Eve crisply defends her parenting style. “I was determined to do everything possible to prevent my children becoming namby-pamby, which was how I viewed the youth of the day,” she says.

It is tempting to suppose that if his mother had been easier to impress, Branson wouldn’t have had to make billions of dollars or risk his neck hurtling across large bodies of water in balloons and assorted marine craft. (He has attempted so many speed and distance records, and so often required rescue, that for some of us it is difficult to think about Branson without seeing him being winched into a helicopter.) His father, who died in 2011, seems to have been a softer taskmaster, and less sparing with praise. “Dad was the person I would ring up when I wanted somebody to show off to,” he tells me.

Space cadet  Richard Branson hopes to achieve weightlessness in his own spaceship by the end of this year.

Space cadet … Richard Branson hopes to achieve weightlessness in his own spaceship by the end of this year. Photo: Chris Buck/AUGUST/Raven Snow

Still, he speaks with great warmth about Eve, who at 89 has started to learn French, having quite recently given up tennis and golf. “Nine months ago, she announced she was going to put on a polo tournament in Morocco,” says Branson. Her plan was to raise funds for a Berber community she supports in the High Atlas mountains. He explained to her that it would never work but she went ahead anyway, and the tournament took place just before Branson arrived in Australia. “It was a magnificent success,” he says. “She raised lots of money and proved us all wrong.”

Eve and Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet were among those lucky to escape when the main house on Branson’s Necker Island burned to the ground after being struck by lightning during a hurricane a couple of years ago. Branson, who was staying elsewhere on the 30-hectare island, says he woke to see flames leaping into the night sky and ran naked towards them – “straight into a cactus bush”, unfortunately. Winslet, who is married to one of Branson’s nephews, came through the smoke with Eve in her arms, having scooped her up when they met on the stairs. Branson says his mother was indignant: “She didn’t like the idea of being carried out of the fire by Kate.” But at least everyone got out alive and now rebuilding is almost complete.

Necker, bought for £180,000 in 1976, is one of the British Virgin Islands. It is possible to book accommodation at stratospheric rates but, first and foremost, it is a retreat for Branson, his wife Joan, and their children, Holly, 31, and Sam, 27. Surrounded by turquoise water and fringed by a coral reef, the island is also a sanctuary for threatened species of lemurs. “Their habitat in Madagascar is being destroyed and some are down to 200 in number,” says Branson, “so we’re taking them from zoos and giving them more space on the island. And we’re finding they’re breeding beautifully. They’re the most lovely creatures. Adorable.” Other forms of wildlife flourish, too. “You get giant tortoises waddling over the road, and we’ve got iguanas which grow up to six feet long, which look like mini-dinosaurs. And flamingos and scarlet ibises. It’s gorgeous.”

The driver pulls up at Parafield Airport in northern Adelaide, where Branson is scheduled to meet the first group of cadet pilots to be trained by Virgin Australia. One of them is going to take him for a spin. “I should have brought my leather flying jacket,” he says as he gets out of the car.

If the rest of Australia treats Branson like a rock star, within Virgin he is almost a cult leader. “That’s one of his great attributes – his ability to inspire people,” says Geoffrey Thomas at Australian Aviation. “His staff will walk over burning coals for him.” Virgin Australia’s corporate communications manager, Jacqui Abbott, tells me of near-hysterical scenes at a meeting with Perth-based employees. “They were squealing and handing over their babies,” she says.

At the company’s national headquarters in Brisbane, I watch hundreds of people hang over balconies, cheering and whistling, as Branson arrives for a party in his honour. A professional band leads the throng in a thumping rendition of a song that some of the staff have composed for him. “My parents told me I should be a surgeon,” they belt out. “I said, ‘No way, I’m workin’ for Virgin!‘ ” Just when it seems the atmosphere can’t get any zanier, Branson does a bit of crowd surfing, launching himself from a temporary stage into a sea of eager arms. “Haven’t you heard, we’re the Virgin crew,” the singing continues. “We do what we love and we love what we do …”

The airline had just two planes operating on one route when it started in 2000. Now it has a fleet of 125 aircraft and about 30 per cent of the domestic market. Over the years, Branson has reduced his stake in the company to 13 per cent – in his latest divestment, in April, he sold close to 10 per cent to Singapore Airlines for $122 million. “But he is still the face of the airline,” Thomas says. “He’s a fantastic figurehead.”

Aviation analyst Neil Hansford isn’t so sure about that. Virgin Atlantic in the UK lost £93 million ($145 million) in the year to February, says Hansford, of Strategic Aviation Solutions, who argues that companies associated with Branson are better at marketing than operations: “The man is the ultimate promoter. There’s a whole lot of sizzle but not always a lot of steak.”

Shares in Virgin Australia fell in value after a warning last month that this year’s pre-tax profit would be below last year’s $82.5 million. But Thomas believes the airline’s future is assured. “The fundamentals of the business are sound,” he says. “They’ve got a superb product and they’re giving Qantas a hard time.” Last year, Virgin introduced business class, ending Qantas’s monopoly of the lucrative top end of the market. “And they’re making some very significant inroads.”

At the start of a flight from Perth, Branson sits in the first row with his feet up on the bulkhead, paying no attention to the safety demonstration being given by a pretty young woman identified by her name-tag as “Tilly”. Later, while flying over the Nullarbor, I notice that he is out of his seat and chatting with the cabin crew – not just Tilly, but two other flight attendants as well. Soon a pilot emerges from the cockpit and joins the group. Next thing, they’re posing for pictures with one another. The passenger across the aisle leans towards me. “Who’s running this plane?” he asks.

At Stowe, his Buckinghamshire boarding school, Branson was a truly terrible student. By his account, his dire results were due partly to his dyslexia and partly to his lack of interest in the curriculum. He still thinks most subjects kids study are a waste of time. “All you actually need to be able to do is add up, subtract and multiply,” he says. “I mean, reading and writing, it’s nice to have a bit of that.” As for the other stuff, “it might be good for a couple of rocket scientists, but for the majority of us …”

Branson’s attitude to education is this: Why become a rocket scientist when you can hire one? He has a number of them on his payroll, as it happens, because Virgin Galactic aims to be the first company to offer regular passenger flights out of Earth’s atmosphere. He hopes that within his lifetime, we will be able to travel from Australia to London by shooting into space and back again, the journey taking little longer than it takes to watch an in-flight movie. But first things first. Sub-orbital joyrides from Virgin’s spaceport in New Mexico are expected to start in 2014, and tickets are selling for $US250,000. The company has accepted bookings from more than 600 people, reportedly including Stephen Hawking, Angelina Jolie and about 40 Australians.

The rocket-powered SpaceShipTwo will carry two pilots and six passengers, and travel at more than three times the speed of sound after launching from a large fixed-wing aircraft, the VMS (Virgin Mother Ship) Eve. Flights will last more than two hours, though only a small fraction of that time will be spent beyond the 100-kilometre-high Kármán Line, commonly defined as the beginning of space. Along with spectacular views of their home planet, passengers have been promised about six minutes of weightlessness. Branson says his goal is to make the experience available to more than just the wealthy: “It’s up to us to bring the price down to a level where a lot of people will have a chance to become astronauts and go to space.”

As you might imagine, he is itching to get there himself. Before the end of this year he expects to take a flight on SpaceShipTwo with Holly and Sam, both of whom seem to have adopted his motto: “Screw it, let’s do it.” “Last year we climbed Mont Blanc together,” he says. “And we’ve kitesurfed across the English Channel. We’ve tried to break the transatlantic sailing record. These adventures we’ve had are the moments I think they’ll remember more than almost anything else.”

Joan, who is six years older than her husband, rarely goes with him when he gallivants around the globe. “She’s quite sensibly got her own life and her own friends,” he says. “I think the reason we’ve been together for 35 years is that we give each other space.”

There’s a touch of Phileas Fogg about Branson. Whether waxing philosophical (“Sometimes, if you reach for the stars, you can actually get there without even a lot of money – just with a very, very big dream”) or talking cheerfully about a skydiving mishap (“I pulled the cord that got rid of the parachute rather than the cord that opened it”), he can seem to embody a peculiarly English daffiness. Joan, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense Glaswegian. “She’s very grounded,” Branson assures me. “She has a little bit of interest in what I do, but not a lot. It takes a lot for me to get her to say ‘Well done’.” (According to Branson’s personal assistant, Helen Clarke, Joan is more likely to roll her eyes and say, “Jumping off a building again, Richard?”)

Branson has always had a reputation as a ladies’ man, though in Losing My Virginity he portrays himself as a bit of a bumbler in the bedroom. The first time he had sex, he says, he was astonished – and quite chuffed – by the response of his partner, who panted, puffed and tossed her head from side to side. Only when she gasped, “Call an ambulance!” did he realise she was having an asthma attack.

By 1974 his first marriage, to Kristen Tomassi, was in trouble, and they took a holiday in Mexico to try to salvage it. With another couple, they organised a marlin-fishing expedition, hiring two local fishermen to take them out. The fishermen were concerned about the weather, but overcame their misgivings when Branson and the other tourists offered double payment. Sure enough, a huge storm blew up while they were on the water: the waves looked likely to smash the small vessel, so Tomassi and Branson opted to swim for shore. “The traditional thing is to stay with the boat,” he says, “but our intuition and instincts told us not to. It turned out to be the right decision.”

In his memoir, he writes that the four people who remained on board were never seen again, and that he had to live with the possibility their deaths might have been avoided if he hadn’t waved his wallet in front of the fishermen. As the car moves through city traffic, I ask if this has weighed heavily on him. “For a while,” he says, looking out the window. “I mean, I’ve sort of moved on now.”

When Branson left Stowe in 1967, aged 16, the headmaster predicted he would end up a millionaire or in jail. Six months later, Branson published the first issue of Student, a magazine remarkable not only for the youth of its proprietor but for the quality of the contributors (artist David Hockney, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre) and interviewees (John Lennon, Mick Jagger) he was able to persuade to appear in its pages. Next he started a mail-order records business, which grew into the Virgin Records retail chain.

At 20, Branson was arrested for selling records in London that he had pretended to export to Europe in order to avoid sales tax. He spent a night in a cell – the headmaster turned out to be right on both counts – and was ordered to pay £60,000 in fines and back taxes. “A good rap on the hand,” he says. His chronic cash-flow problems were temporarily relieved by the release on his new Virgin record label of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, which sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. He signed the Sex Pistols, too, and by 1984 was ready to start his first airline, Virgin Atlantic.

Branson does not claim to have the Midas touch. He and his financial partners have had many disappointments – Virgin Cola, Virgin Brides, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Cosmetics, Virgin Cars, Virgin Electronics and Virgin Digital among them. He has had several nerve-racking brushes with insolvency, though he maintains that on the whole he has been blithely indifferent to credit and debit columns. “I’ve never been interested in making money,” he says. “I’ve been very interested in creating things. Business is simply creating something that people want.”

He gets his biggest laugh from Australian audiences when he says that until about 10 years ago, he didn’t know the difference between “net” and “gross”. I tell him I simply don’t believe this. “It happens to be true,” he says. “I think we had the largest private group of companies in Europe by the time I’d actually worked out whether we were doing well or not. I think it illustrates that figures are not really all that important.” Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti takes this with a grain of salt. “He’s a very astute man,” Borghetti says of Branson. “The fun-loving side, don’t let that fool you. His mind is as sharp as a razor.”

Branson has always run casual, egalitarian workplaces, giving his employees the impression he regards them not as subordinates but as allies in his battles to outmanoeuvre corporate giants. In the early 1990s, when he won £500,000 in damages in a libel suit against British Airways, he distributed the money among his staff, calling it the “BA bonus”. Nice guys do finish first, he contends. “I think the stereotype that you only get ahead in business by treading all over people is just not true.”

But critics such as biographer Tom Bower argue that Branson is a tougher boss than he appears – that, despite the occasional magnanimous gesture, he has a history of paying low wages while salting away profits in tax-free, offshore family trusts. “Branson always poses as the people’s champion against profiteers,” writes Bower. “But eventually his true motive surfaces. He single-mindedly pursues self-interest to increase his own wealth.”

In fact, Branson has recently undertaken to direct more than half his fortune to philanthropic causes, having signed up to the Giving Pledge project started by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates. Through his charitable foundation, Virgin Unite, he already supports organisations tackling poverty, sickness and homelessness around the globe, and funds research into the development of clean fuels. He is also the force behind The Elders, a group of former world leaders, originally headed by Nelson Mandela, who work together for peace and human rights. “I was brought up to be responsible,” Branson says. “I have been extraordinarily fortunate. My parents would be very upset if I didn’t make the most of the position I find myself in.”

Per Lindstrand is the Swedish aeronautical engineer who manufactured and piloted the enormous balloons used by Branson in his series of record attempts. The two men went through a lot together – ditching into oceans, landing on a frozen Arctic lake, crashing in the Algerian desert. “I think I know him fairly well,” says Lindstrand, who admires Branson’s verve and his willingness to take risks but has come to dislike what seems to him his limitless capacity for self-promotion. The Swede tells me that when listening to Branson regale journalists with stories about their voyages, he would think to himself: “Richard, just tell the truth – the truth is dramatic enough. You don’t have to exaggerate it.”

Perhaps I catch Branson in an unusually candid mood, because when we talk about his various stunts, he volunteers that he isn’t really a daredevil at all. Leaping off the top of the Palms Casino Hotel in Las Vegas wearing a dinner suit and a bungee rope may have generated publicity for Virgin, but it wasn’t fun. It was terrifying. “Every time I’m asked to do something like that, my heart skips a beat or two,” he says. “I’m not a natural. When my kids went to fairgrounds, I would not be the first person to jump on a fun ride and go upside down. I’ve had to train myself to deal with these things.” He laughs sheepishly. “One’s demons.”

Not that he is complaining. “The incredible satisfaction I’ve had from overcoming fear … Um, you know, life is definitely the richer for it.”

Jane Cadzow travelled courtesy of Virgin Australia.

Lead-in photograph by Art Streiber/August/Raven Snow.

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So much to do, so little time…whether caravanning or driving a motorhome, I always find there’s a never-ending selection of things to do. So load up, take care of the details (if you need insurance, or more suggestions take a look at the Caravan Club website) and get out on the road with these 12 suggestions straight from my caravan holidays past.

1. Walking

There are great walks to be found all over the UK and touring means you can experience all of them – if you have the legs for it of course! The Hadrian’s Wall Path is a great long-distance walk and one of my personal favourites. We took this one while staying at the Nunnykirk site which acted as a great base from which to explore.

2. Crabbing 

The kid doesn’t appreciate the joys of fishing just yet as it involves far too much sitting still but he does adore crabbing. There are loads of places to try it but we like Blakeney Quay in Norfolk. All you need is a piece of string, bait and a weight to sink it and you’re good to go. There’s even a quaint little bait shop where you can pick up all your essentials for the day.

3. Swimming

While there are pools and the sea found in most holiday locations it’s hard to beat river swimming for getting wet without a mouthful of chlorine or brine. Try the river swimming club near the Caravan Club Stowford Manor Farm site on the River Frome. The family and I make this one of our regular destinations and it never fails to impress. 

4. Cycling 

You can cycle anywhere but for safe and stimulating rides it’s worth trying a designated bike trail like the family path through the Forest Of Dean. The first time we took our son here he was amazed by the surrounding wildlife and you can always choose a stopping point for a quick picnic if you feel peckish!

5. Museums

Last year’s wet weather drove a lot of people to indoor attractions, with museums, art galleries and the like seeing the benefit. Ironically, one of my favourite museums is mostly outdoors. The Jorvik Viking Centre at York is an interactive experience that lets you experience the sights, sounds and even smells of life in a Viking settlement. In 2012 a family ticket came in at just short of £30 which made it great value for me and the rest of the clan.

6. Castles

If you want to step forward into medieval times then there are loads of castles to visit across the British landscape. One of the best and biggest is Warwick Castle which offers plenty of fun for all the family. It also has demonstrations of a trebuchet – the biggest working siege engine in the world and a truly spectacular sight – as well as interactive activities that see kids throwing toy rats around…well, it is a medieval castle after all!

7. Hit the beach

There’s an outdated view of Britain’s beaches as being cold, dirty and polluted. While the cold part still holds true on occasion, the upkeep and standard has come on in leaps and bounds. My personal favourite coastal spot is near the Freshwater East Site near the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Just park your motorhome and head for one of Tenby’s three main beaches for family bliss.

8. Theme parks

It can be an expensive day out but theme parks like Alton Towers and Thorpe Park offer a host of white-knuckle rides for the more thrill-seeking tourist. Many offer their own on-site accommodation via hotels but these can push prices up even further. This is why we also incorporate them as part of our caravanning holiday. Simply choose a caravan site nearby and enjoy a thrilling day – perfect. 

9. Sea kayaking

I love adrenalin-fuelled sports and sea kayaking certainly fits into that description. The rougher waters of the Menai Straits are more suited to experienced paddlers but Anglesey’s sheltered east coast provides a gentler experience for families. I recommend you try the Penrhos campsite where you can head off in search of seals, porpoises and a host of different seabirds.

10. Surfing 

Newquay is the place to go if surfing is your thing. Whether you’re a pro or an absolute beginner, Fistral Beach is at the very epicentre of the UK surf scene and is another familiar holiday haunt for me and my brood. For those (like me) who are interested in getting as much bang for their buck as possible then this isn’t the only attraction of the Cornwall based town. Take a look at these top ten things to do in Cornwall for more inspiration.

11. Golf

Mark Twain may have supposedly described golf as “a good walk spoiled” but for me it’s a chance to get away from it all and spend some quality me-time. One of my favourite getaways is the Queen’s Park Golf Course in the heart of Bournemouth – just a short drive from the Shamba Touring Park – where I can enjoy the sanctuary of the green whilst the boy and the other half (the husband hates golfing) amuse themselves with the on-site facilities.

12. Eat!

One of my favourite parts of touring the UK is getting to try local delicacies. It’s true that you can get fish and chips anywhere but eating the catch of the day at Whitby’s famous Magpie Cafe – bought from the fish market just outside – is a different experience entirely. My advice to caravanners? Get as much grub as possible and enjoy sampling the very best of British travel!

Theresa Harris (@TheresaHarris9) is a mother of a gorgeous boy and lives with her husband in London. Theresa works from home but her partner’s 9-5 means they are limited to travelling for short periods. Luckily they invested in a petite but adorable teardrop for enjoying the best of the British Isles. She shares her advice with other families looking to keep the caravan holiday fresh so that they can enjoy this traditional British past time with the family year after year. 

The South West of England offers some of the country’s finest beaches and coastal scenery. Buyers in the region currently have an excellent choice of new homes in and around some of the top seaside resorts – whether they are looking for starter homes, family homes or retirement apartments.


On the Somerset coastline, the lively seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare boasts a long sandy beach, the recently-revamped Grand Pier, and a whole host of popular tourist attractions including SeaQuarium aquarium and the Helicopter Museum. Nearby, St Modwen Homes has created a tranquil development of luxurious three-, four- and five-bedroom homes at Locking Parklands, priced from £239,500.

Sandwiched between leafy woodland and open parkland near the village of Locking, the development is only a ten-minute drive from Weston-super-Mare. It’s a family-friendly development incorporating a children’s play area, with several primary schools nearby, and two secondary schools within a two-mile radius. Several purchase assistance schemes are available, including First Step, which enables first- or second-time buyers to purchase a new home with a deposit of just 5%.


Dorset currently has some excellent options for older buyers from Churchill Retirement Living, particularly in the coastal town of Bournemouth, which boasts seven miles of Blue Flag beaches. Osbourne Lodge offers a choice of 54 spacious one- and two-bedroom retirement apartments priced from £183,950, several of which feature balconies, dressing rooms and en suites. The apartments are designed to offer convenience and peace of mind, combining style and safety in both the kitchen and the bathroom, along with a 24-hour Careline support system, camera entry system, and other handy features such as illuminated light switches and easy-turn lever taps.

Just down the road there is another option from Churchill Retirement Living: Churchill Lodge, an exclusive development of 51 one- and two-bedroom retirement apartments in sought-after Lilliput, near Sandbanks, Poole. Priced from £299,950, these apartments are nestled between some of the most luxurious coastal properties in the country, and once again incorporate features designed for easy living as residents get older. They are a stone’s throw from the beautiful golden sands at Sandbanks, one of the finest beaches on the South coast, while the town of Bournemouth is less than six miles away for a wide variety of shops and entertainment.


On the edge of the port town of Bideford in North Devon – about four miles from the beach at Westward Ho! Village, known for its surfing seas and expanse of clean sand – The Salterns is a distinctive development of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes from well-respected regional housebuilder Cavanna Homes. Priced from £175,000, many properties enjoy fabulous views of the valley below, and all offer low-maintenance, energy-efficient living. Bideford itself is a popular holiday resort, market and port town, with a good choice of shops and entertainment, and lovely countryside on its doorstep.


On Cornwall’s north coast, Bovis Homes has created Shorelands in the seaside town of Bude, a collection of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes priced from £164,000. Bude has a good range of shops and amenities, and some superb surfing beaches and golf courses nearby. There are a number of nursery, primary and secondary schools in and around Bude, while just down the road is Budehaven Community college – and for commuters the A39 offers easy access to neighbouring Devon and Cornwall.


Summer is just around the corner, and with temperatures warming up, a weekend at the beach is perfectly tempting. These 5 BBs in England mix beachside locations with cheap prices – ideal for students escaping to the British seaside!


Newquay: Ravensbury Hotel   

Prices from: £20pppn 

Newquay is a classic location for a student beach getaway. Not only does it have great bars, restaurants and entertainment, but the beaches and surfing spots are second to none. Ravensbury BB in Newquay  offers friendly, laid back accommodation above famous Fistral Beach. The location for a beach break is perfect – Fistral beach is literally below the hotel – and with Budget Double rooms with sea views at £40 a night, you can’t go wrong with this cheap bed and breakfast.


Llandudno: Bellevue 

Prices from: £25pppn

The most popular seaside resort in Wales, Llandudno has a lively atmosphere in summer and plenty of old fashioned British beach charm. From the amusements on the pier to the Blue Flag beaches, it has everything you need for a cheap weekend by the sea. Bellevue BB in Llandudno  lives up to its name, with great views over the seafront and beach. Right on the famous North Parade, it’s a stone’s throw from both the beach and the pubs and restaurants of the town centre. Double rooms start at £50 per night, with a quality full English breakfast – served al fresco on the terrace when its warm – included in the price.


Torquay: The Cimon 

Prices from: £25pppn

Sunny Torquay is at the heart of the famous English Riviera, and with good weather and beautiful beaches, it would be easy to forget that you’re still in Britain! The Cimon BB in Torquay  will make you think of exotic beach vacations, too – it boasts a large tropical patio covered with palm trees for sunbathing and a heated outdoor pool. Inside, the cosy ‘compact’ rooms are a very affordable £50 for two with breakfast, whilst Torre Abbey Sands is just yards from the front door for the all-important beach time.



Bournemouth: The Living Room 

Prices from: £30pppn

A popular British beach town for centuries, Bournemouth still holds plenty of appeal for students on a beach getaway. Think fish and chips, sandcastles – and beers on the excellent soft sand beach. Stylish Bournemouth BB The Living Room  is a 10 minute stroll from the coast and a short walk from the quaint cafes and restaurants of Westbourne. Doubles start at £60 a night, and the bed and breakfast has the added bonus of a coffee lounge if you fancy a snack or need to catch up on some studying.


Brighton: The Beach Pad 

Prices from: £32pppn

Vibrant Brighton is the ultimate beach resort for students. With bars all along the beach and a thriving underground music scene, you can mix late nights with lazy days on the pebble beach. Just off Marine Parade, The Beach Pad BB in Brighton  is both centrally located and laid back so you can come and go as you please. The BB’s rooms start at £95 for three adults, with a full English breakfast at nearby Spinelli Café included in the price to cure your hangover.


Alice Woolliams.

(Alice Woolliams is the Editor for Enjoybedandbreakfast.com, a travel website for accommodation with personality in the UK. The website offers a growing selection of quaint BBs, charming inns, small boutique hotels and guest houses. You can find her on twitter @enjoybnb when she’s not travelling the world)



7 de
junio de 2013
esta noticia

a un amigo

Hay más opciones que una academia para practicar inglés. Una casa rural, un taller de cocina, una excursión, unas vacaciones, el teatro. Incluso irse de copas puede servir para aprender. Proponemos 10 maneras divertidas y lúdicas de aproximarse a la lengua de Shakespeare sin aburrirnos en el intento.

1 ´Swing´ lingüístico

Bournemouth es una ciudad universitaria en la costa sur de Inglaterra donde, además de las clases reglamentarias, el alumno puede apuntarse a los torneos de fútbol y voleibol que organiza la escuela de idiomas; en verano, equitación, golf, surf o vela, además de una excursión los sábados. El programa, ofrecido por la empresa SportsLanguage, es para mayores de 17 años.

1. En este pueblo no queremos español

En lugar de viajar al extranjero para aprender inglés, traerse a los angloparlantes a España. A partir de esta idea surgió, hace 12 años, Pueblo Inglés, una inmersión total en la provincia de Soria en la que las comidas, las excursiones, las reuniones, los juegos, se hacían en English; actualmente existen varios enclaves más, con idéntica filosofía. La misma de los VaughanTown, programas de seis días, en cinco puntos de España, que también cuelgan el cartel de prohibido hablar español.

3 Bares, qué lugares

El bar-librería JJ Books and Coffee vende libros internacionales de segunda mano y organiza competiciones de quiz en inglés, igual que la cantina mexicana La Morena, los jueves a las 21.00 horas, organizada por la gente de Spanglish Exchange. En el Café Galdós tienen lugar las tardes internacionales del grupo de intercambio Madrid Babel, miércoles y domingos. En el Downtown, la tarde del jueves se dedica al intercambio de idiomas, con los participantes luciendo un distintivo de su país de origen, para facilitar la identificación.

4 Cine en V.O.

Los viernes, los miembros de Multilinkual se van de cine en versión original, a las madrileñas salas Ideal, a precio reducido y con una bebida gratis a la salida, en el vecino pub Cachibola; allí comentan la película, en inglés, naturalmente. Este grupo se reúne para un intercambio de idiomas los martes en el bar irlandés O´Neill´s, los jueves en Beer Station y los domingos en Marca Sports Bar. Organiza cenas internacionales

5 Aprendizaje a pedales

La empresa Ride or Die ofrece rutas guiadas en bici por Barcelona, y exclusivamente en inglés.

El Barrio Gótico, el Raval, Gaudí, la Barceloneta, el Parque de la Ciutadella. Desoxidar el idioma pedaleando por los puntos neurálgicos de Barcelona es posible gracias a que varias empresas de alquiler de bicicletas de la ciudad ofrecen rutas guiadas exclusivamente en inglés. Es cuestión de recorrer, junto a turistas extranjeros, itinerarios que evitan el tráfico y se cuelan por lugares donde el autobús turístico no llega. Y además sin contaminar.

6 Senderismo multilingüe

Facilitar que españoles practiquen un idioma y que los extranjeros residentes en Granada mejoren su español. Es el objetivo de Extragrupo, un grupo gratuito de intercambio lingüístico no solo de inglés sino de cualquier idioma en el que haya dos personas interesadas. Últimamente el chino se escucha mucho. A través de la página web y de las listas de correos se hacen quedadas, se fraguan amistades y se organizan excursiones que parecen la Torre de Babel o una sesión de la ONU.

7 Pastel de carne y tarta de manzana

Aprender inglés y cultura gastronómica estadounidense. Es lo que propone Margit Sperling, de la academia MCH Training, con sus talleres de cocina en el centro cultural A Punto de Madrid: la profesora y 15 alumnos de nivel intermedio comparten fogones, conversación y recetas durante dos horas y media, y después de comen sus creaciones, con una pequeña cata de vino-maridaje.

8 Vacaciones en inglés

La empresa SpeakLive plantea unas vacaciones en la Costa del Sol 100% en inglés, en distintos hoteles situados en Rincón de la Victoria, Benalmádena o Torremolinos: actividades formativas, sociales, culturales y de ocio; conversaciones informales en la playa, la piscina o de compras. Una manera de mejorar el idioma sin renunciar al descanso y la diversión, según enfatizan sus organizadores.

9 Teatro en la lengua de Shakespeare

La academia de artes escénicas Set d´acció organiza un dos por uno de iniciación al teatro y al inglés mediante un curso que dura de enero a junio y en el que suelen participar adultos que nunca han hecho ninguna de las dos actividades, o las hicieron hace tiempo y quieren refrescarlas. Ejercicios para desinhibirse, expresión corporal, y trabajo con escenas de clásicos anglosajones: Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller. Dicen sus impulsores que el objetivo fundamental es aprender de manera fácil y divertida, casi sin darse cuenta.

10 Entre robles y hayedos

Casa La Engaña, en Pedrosa de Valdeporres (Burgos), turismo rural y clases de inglés combinados.

Españoles y profesores nativos comparten un fin de semana o cinco días (de lunes a viernes) en la casa rural La Engaña, en Pedrosa de Valdeporres, provincia de Burgos. Inglés como lengua oficial en las seis horas de clase, por descontado, pero también en los momentos de ocio, y durante las excursiones guiadas entre los robles y hayedos que dominan el paisaje. La pareja propietaria aprovecha los meses de invierno para viajar así que estos cursos se reanudan a partir de marzo.

Bournemouth council’s £300m windfall to tackle demand for affordable homes

By Melanie Vass

Bournemouth council’s £300m windfall to tackle demand for affordable homes

A “GROUNDBREAKING” deal with a private pension company will provide Bournemouth council with a massive cash windfall to build new homes and transform rundown properties.

Councillors said the proposed partnership with Legal and General Property would prove a “game changer” and a “turning point” for Bournemouth council, giving it up to £300million to invest in the town and tackle its priority of providing more affordable housing.

The long-term deal will enable the council to build new homes, convert HMOs in Boscombe back into family homes, and build specialist accommodation, such as a dementia care scheme.

Cllr John Beesley, leader of the council, said they were only able to attract the interest of Legal and General because they were in a more stable financial position than other authorities.

“I’ve no doubt that what we’re doing is groundbreaking and that it will be successful and in the longer term it will be looked back on as the turning point in Bournemouth for investment in and around our housing agenda,” he said.

Cabinet member Cllr Mike Greene said the proposed deal would give Bournemouth “an opportunity other councils could only dream of.”

And housing portfolio holder Cllr Bob Lawton, above, said: “This is probably one of the most exciting and significant papers that we have had presented before us in a number of years.

“It’s extremely exciting to have a huge amount of money to be able to invest in housing in Bournemouth.

“This has been a fantastic achievement and we should be shouting from the rooftops that this will make a huge difference to the housing stock and people’s lives within Bournemouth.

“It really is a game-changer for our future.”




11:08am Tue 4 Jun 13

I hope this money is strictly ring fenced for housing, and also hope housing for disabled people is high on the list as its sadly lacking in this area.



11:54am Tue 4 Jun 13

I will be really interested to know how many HMO’s in Boscombe the Council intend to buy and convert to family homes…..hopefully they do not intend to convert them into yet more one or two bedroom tiny flats but rather large 2 or 3 bedroom flats with gardens. It would be a real positive milestone toward turning Boscombe around if they do.
Currently there is a huge number of very small one and two bedroom flats in Boscombe with no outside space for children; so if the Council are prepared to convert the HMO’s into decent sized flats with gardens for families, I am sure residents will welcome this.
Not all HMO’s are badly run, some are really good and provide a home for young people starting out, but so many have landlords who are not prepared to keep them in a decent order. Once decent sized families homes replace these poorly run HMO’s, Boscombe will have a more mixed demographic, which go a long way to turning it around.
I do wish, however, that the Council would reconsider their stance over provision of community space for Boscombe. It is the only area of Bournemouth without a community centre and the shame of it is that the BCCA could be a fantastic enterprise and community art centre and historic visitor attraction, which could bring trade and jobs.




11:55am Tue 4 Jun 13

£300m will buy a lovely surf reef too (but we’d have to haggle) …



12:23pm Tue 4 Jun 13

This isn’t a windfall in that Legal and General will be looking to make a profit on their investment. Its a £300m debt that will hang like a millstone around the necks of Bournemouth residents.
Beesley is raiding the Councils cash reserves, selling off its land assets and saddling the Borough with debts. But he doesn’t care, he’ll have got what he wants out of his time as leader and leave the financial mess he is creating for someone else to clear up.
For a so called Tory there is something very New Labour about Beesley.


Gordon Cann


12:30pm Tue 4 Jun 13

Surely by definition a deal is between two people , what is the other side of the deal?

Was this discussed by Bournemouth Cabinet? Were they given the terms of the deal -will the Council as a whole be asked to approve this
Gordon Cann

BBC Escapee


1:08pm Tue 4 Jun 13

[quote][p][bold]BmthNewshound[/bold] wrote:
This isn’t a windfall in that Legal and General will be looking to make a profit on their investment. Its a £300m debt that will hang like a millstone around the necks of Bournemouth residents.
Beesley is raiding the Councils cash reserves, selling off its land assets and saddling the Borough with debts. But he doesn’t care, he’ll have got what he wants out of his time as leader and leave the financial mess he is creating for someone else to clear up.
For a so called Tory there is something very New Labour about Beesley.[/p][/quote]Well put!

Legal and General are investing 300 million with a view to making a profit.

They have not given it away with no strings attached.

What we need to see is the small print.

It seems that Legal and General have very little idea about Bournemouth Councils past track record of how they manage projects and spend money.

Mouchel – When is the next update of how much this outsourcing programme has saved?

Surf Reef – Has all the insurance been paid out? (Did they believe that the Titanic had risen and sailed into it destroying the sand bags so it wouldn’t work)

Perhaps, they could spend the money on buying up a lot of buildings, demolishing them and creating a lot of “open arts spaces”.

I wonder how much the new Director and his department are going to cost when they are set up to oversee this massive spending project or are we going to have consultants appear out of the woodwork to help with the spending spree.

The idea sounds good but is there more to this than we are being told so far!
BBC Escapee



1:17pm Tue 4 Jun 13

this is going to end well………..not !!!! I’m sure there will be a few people lining their own pockets !

Old Harry


1:28pm Tue 4 Jun 13

A very one sided piece of reporting, or should I say, propaganda for the council. As others have said, just what is this deal and what is the return for LG. What are the future financial outgoings for the council.
Old Harry



2:03pm Tue 4 Jun 13

What would make the ‘BCCA’ an ‘historic visitors attraction’ jinglebell?



2:35pm Tue 4 Jun 13

just who will these homes be available for

local couples who have been here all of their lives – or folk who have moved here to take advantage of the loophole in the working tax credit system ?



3:19pm Tue 4 Jun 13

Echo why not try some investigation? What do LG get out of the deal?

Old Harry


4:20pm Tue 4 Jun 13

[quote][p][bold]Azphreal[/bold] wrote:
Echo why not try some investigation? What do LG get out of the deal?[/p][/quote]Investigative skills are not the prerequisite of an Echo reporter!

Old Harry

Old Colonial


5:46pm Tue 4 Jun 13

This is the failed and discredited Private Finance Initiative (PFI) under another guise. It has brought ruination to schools and hospitals across the country. ‘Groundbreaking’? Only in the sense of digging a grave.
Old Colonial



6:19pm Tue 4 Jun 13

If Legal and General are ‘giving’ Bournemouth council £300M and it is being reported as a ‘windfall’ then why has Beesley said “they were only able to attract the interest of Legal and General because they were in a more stable financial position than other authorities”. To me this raises more questions than answers as to the terms this money is being ‘given away’



6:23pm Tue 4 Jun 13

LOL this stinks



10:54pm Tue 4 Jun 13

[quote][p][bold]ab8[/bold] wrote:
What would make the ‘BCCA’ an ‘historic visitors attraction’ jinglebell?[/p][/quote]8+ hours later. Still waiting for your answer, ‘jinglebell’…




5:02am Wed 5 Jun 13

Bet Bournemouth Councillors have throw themselves a LAVISH party at tax payer expense.



9:00am Wed 5 Jun 13

[quote][p][bold]ab8[/bold] wrote:
[quote][p][bold]ab8[/bold] wrote:
What would make the ‘BCCA’ an ‘historic visitors attraction’ jinglebell?[/p][/quote]8+ hours later. Still waiting for your answer, ‘jinglebell’…[/p][/quote]i would have thought a museum to shelley and the writers circle(housed in the listed part), an arts exhibition space and an arts cinema and theatre, as well as rooms for community use would be a good idea for this historic building with links to the Shelley family. Maybe a victorian themed arts cafe with play area too. I would have thought that would bring visitors to Boscombe. All sounds a bit too much like regeneration, guess that’s why the council are demolishing it.




9:03am Wed 5 Jun 13

[quote][p][bold]kls192[/bold] wrote:
If Legal and General are ‘giving’ Bournemouth council £300M and it is being reported as a ‘windfall’ then why has Beesley said “they were only able to attract the interest of Legal and General because they were in a more stable financial position than other authorities”. To me this raises more questions than answers as to the terms this money is being ‘given away’[/p][/quote]Shame we don’t have an investigative newspaper to look into this in more detail for us.




2:09pm Wed 5 Jun 13

Still no answer ‘jinglebell’ unless of course you are also ‘OldHarryontheRocks’
I’d suggest that you don’t really have an answer then? Just a line that you have trotted out many times before?


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Firms get pedalling in bid for more riders

Firms get pedalling in bid for more riders

WORKPLACES across Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch are taking part in a free competition to encourage more people to ride bikes.

Poole Hospital, Lush Handmade Cosmetics, LV= and Sunseeker International are among 100 employers taking part in the Momentum Cycle Challenge, which started on May 27.

More than 3,000 people are expected to take part in the challenge before June 12.

Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for transportation at Borough of Poole, said: “Cycling is a great way to improve fitness, reduce your carbon footprint and make the most of the fabulous scenery we have in Poole.

“I’m really pleased and encouraged by the fact so many local businesses have signed up and I hope people will see how much fun cycling is even for just a short time a day.”

Organisations are pitted against those of a similar size in six categories from three to six staff to 500-plus.

Scores are calculated on a website so businesses can check their current placing, and those with the most staff riding for 10 minutes or more will win prizes including a spa day, a kite surfing course, new bikes and a bike ‘computer’.

l A ‘try a bike’ event is being held at Poole Park from 10am to 6pm on Wednesday.

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An aspiring rapper is said to have been murdered after his body was cut up by a boat propeller.

30-year-old Rico Dardis was found by police floating in the surf next to a motorboat in Christchurch Bay, Dorset.

Two men reportedly walked off the beach caked in blood and a knife was also found at the scene.

It is thought Portuguese-born Mr Dardis had earlier been onboard the green and white Maxin motor cruiser with two men.

His body was discovered on Monday evening off Steamer Point beach, near Christchurch, a popular tourist spot.

A post mortem examination was unable to determine the cause of death.

But detectives, who are treating the death as murder, have confirmed some of the victim’s injuries were caused by a boat propeller.

Two men, aged 49 and 51, were arrested on suspicion of murder at a nearby car park by police about an hour after Mr Dardis was found.

They were still being held by police today.

An inquest into the death heard Mr Dardis was born in Portugal but lived in Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset.

He was said to have been a talented freestyle rapper.

Police are appealing for witnesses who saw two men on board a cabin cruiser boat on Monday night.

Detective Inspector Marcus Hester, of Dorset police, said: “We were first alerted to the incident by two members of the public who raised the alarm after witnessing two men acting suspiciously onboard a boat.

“These two men were stopped in a vehicle a short time later and detained.

“A major investigation has been launched to ensure that we establish exactly what happened to Rico.

“I am keen to hear from anyone who may have seen three men on a green and white Maxin motor cruiser boat prior to the incident, or any suspicious behaviour in the area of Friars Cliff and Wick Lane.”

A short statement issued by Mr Dardis’ family said: “The death of Rico has caused us great distress.

We are grieving for the tragic loss of a son, brother and father.”

Sea cadets take on 500-mile rowathon challenge

OARSOME: Sea cadets take part in the sponsored row

SEA Cadets from Bournemouth took on the challenge of a 500-mile rowathon to raise funds for a new boat.

Youngsters had to complete a minimum of five miles on rowing machines at Winton Arts and Media College sports hall, raising funds towards £2,600 to buy a yole, a hybrid sail-rowing boat.

The cadets hit their target distance and raised £850 towards the cause, with more fundraising events planned in future.

Rowing coach Ellis Hagger, who is also president of the Bournemouth Surf Boat Club, said the yole would allow the sea cadets, based in Gloucester Road in Boscombe, to make more river trips.

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De tempo em tempo, mulheres sentem a necessidade de viajar entre elas, curtindo atividades femininas, cuidando da mente e do corpo e vivendo novas experiências. Confira os melhores destinos para viajar com amigas, nesta seleção feita pelo site Condé Nast.

Surf Goddess Retreat, Indonésia
Com o paradisíaco litoral da ilha de Bali como pano de fundo, o Surf Goddess Retreat é um hotel-boutique voltado para o público feminino onde as mulheres alternam aulas de surfe com sessões de ioga e tratamentos no spa. Pacotes de sete dias a partir de R$ 5 mil.

Andar Chopard, Jumeirah Emirates Tower, Emirados Árabes Unidos
Homens não estão autorizados a pisar no 40º andar do exclusivo Jumeirah Emirates Tower de Dubai. Exclusivo para mulheres, o piso Chopard tem quartos elegantes com decorações femininas e arranjos florai, salão de ioga e produtos de beleza Chopard. Diárias a partir de R$ 520.

Programa de vínculo feminino, Lake Austin Spa Resort, Estados Unidos
Situado no estado do Texas Lake Austin Spa Resort oferece uma oportunidade única de que mães e filhas vivam momentos juntas, recebendo massagens e mais de cem tratamentos para a mente e o corpo. Além de cuidados tradicionais como manicure e pedicure, as hóspedes são paparicadas com tratamentos diferentes como acupuntura japonesa e massagem com bambu. Mães e filhas também podem aproveitar aulas de cozinha, cursos práticos de jardinagem e muito mais. Pacotes de três noites a partir de R$ 3.400 por pessoa.

Acampamento cowgirl Alisal Guest Ranch, Estados Unidos
Mulheres podem curtir a verdadeira experiência de dias de cowgirl sem perder o conforto no Alisal Guest Ranch, situado no estado da Califórnia.  Lá, as mulheres aprendem a colar a sela nos cavalos, juntar o gado e explorar numerosas trilhas, parando para descansar em agradáveis piqueniques e aproveitando degustações de vinhos. Pacotes de três noites a partir de R$ 3.800.

Chá e moda, Le Bristol, França
Mítico hotel de Paris, o Le Bristol é o lugar perfeito para curtir o glamour da cidade francesa com deliciosas pastelarias e muita moda. Todo mês, o hotel oferece sessões para tomar o chá da tarde observando as novas criações.  Diárias a partir de R$ 2 mil.

Oficina de chocolate, The Chocolate Boutique Hotel, Inglaterra
Hotel temático voltado para o mundo do chocolate, o The Chocolate Boutique Hotel delicia seus visitantes com diferentes tipos do produto, sessão de degustação e oficinas para aprender tudo sobre sua história e seu processo de fabricação.  Situado em Bournemouth, o hotel tem diárias a partir de R$ 250.

Suíte Diane von Furstenberg, Hayman Island Resort, Austrália
Situado numa ilha particular da Grande Barreira de Coral, o Hayman Island Resort tem muito conforto e luxo para aproveitar as maravilhas naturais da região. Criado pela famosa designer Diane von Furstenberg, o penthouse do resort tem serviço de mordomo, sofisticada decoração e amenidades para cuidar da pele. Diárias a partir de R$ 5 mil.