July 14, 2009
The Weird and Wonderful World of Irish and British Festivals
With the credit crunch still biting many people are opting to stay close to home this summer - figures recently released from Hostelworld.com show a 16% year on year increase on bookings* into Ireland and a 30% increase into the UK from Irish travellers. Therefore by combining the top hostel in the land with the best of Irish and British festivals, Hostelworld.com has taken it's pick of the top ten things to do during a staycation. With many of them free to attend and offering activities ranging from catching a wild-goat to the more traditional British beer festival, these offer the perfect way to spend your summer without breaking the bank!
1) The Event: London's Notting Hill Carnival 30th - 31st August
Since 1966 the August Bank Holiday has meant only one thing, carnival time! The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest of its kind in Europe. The streets come alive with vibrant colours, rhythmic sounds and Caribbean foods. Over a million revelers can't be wrong in their choice of carnival.
The Place To Stay: London House Hotel - London
One of London's most popular budget hotels, it offers a great location in central London from its newly renovated premises. With private bathrooms, flat-screen TV's, Wi-Fi internet, and even air conditioning for that rarest of occurrences, the British Summer, it's the best option to see the festival from. Being only a 20 minute walk or a tube ride from the festival the sights and sounds are practically next door
Rates from €32.00 per night
2) The Event: Edinburgh International Festival 14th August - 6th September
The Edinburgh International Festival transforms one of the world's most beautiful cities into the home of the finest creators and performers in the arts world. Six major theatres, several smaller venues and some unconventional ones showcase the best from around the globe.
The Place To Stay: Budget Backpackers - Edinburgh
Voted number one hostel in Scotland by Hostelworld.com customers a couple of years ago and still maintaining these excellent standards, this 4 Star hostel is only a stone's throw away from the famous Edinburgh Castle, in the heart of Edinburgh's historic old town. Their motto of 'Live Life to the Full' means this is an ideal place to stay to appreciate the world-renowned festival.
Rates from €15.00 per night
3) The Event: London's Great British Beer Festival 4th - 8th August
Mixing two of Britain's favourite things, its capital and its beer always offers a winning combination. The beginning of August sees the Great British Beer Festival descend on Earl's Court. With over 450 different beers available along with a few ciders and perries the festival is a who's who of homegrown and international tipples.
The Place to Stay - Ace Hostel (Kensington) - London
Just a 20 minute walk from the festival the ace hostel provides the perfect respite from the festivities. A 3 star rated hostel it offers guests it's very own bar, garden and even a hot-tub! The contemporary budget accommodation offers a choice of private or bunk bed rooms depending on preference and free breakfast for all. Private rooms also have their own en suite bathrooms, fridges and patios. It's modern luxury at an affordable cost.
Rates from €23.00 per night
4) The Event: Dublin, Carlsberg Comedy Festival - 23rd- 26th July
Featuring the comedy world's fastest growing new comers alongside the old hands of the circuit the Carlsberg Comedy Festival offers visitors more laughs than they can collectively shake a stick at. With a gourmet BBQ and sideshow attractions there is something for everyone at the festival.
The Place to Stay: Globetrotters/The Townhouse - Dublin
Just a short stroll from the capitals O'Connell Street lies Globetrotters/The Townhouse. This 200 year old building was formerly the home of famous poets and playwrights Mr. Dion Boucicault and Lafcadio Hearne (Koizumi Yakumo) and has been painstakingly resorted so that it maintains the character of years gone by. Open 24 hours a day all year round backpackers from across the world can enjoy their stay in a historic home.
Rates from €18.00 per night
5) The Event: Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival - 1st August - 31st October
Thousands of single men and women descend on the harbour town of Lisdoonvarna every year for 6 weeks. All have one thing on their mind - to find their perfect match. Traditionally the towns matchmakers would introduce the eligible sons and daughters of farmers to collect on dowries, while the tradition itself has changed the idea has stayed the same for 150 years and is still going strong.
The Place to Stay: Allie River Hostel - Doolin, Clare
The Aille River Hostel in Doolin is the gateway of the 700ft high Cliffs of Moher. The 300 year old renovated cottage is situated right in the centre of the charming seaside village set against the rugged Atlantic Ocean on the northwest coast of county Clare. Renowned world wide as the traditional music capital Ireland people travel from all over the world to participate and enjoy the traditional sessions available in all three of Doolin's pubs.
Rates from €18.00 per night
6) The Event: Cardiff Big Weekend 31st July - 2nd of August
Taking place in and around Cardiff's civic centre, the Cardiff Big Weekend offers a massive live music event against the back drop of its own travelling fun fair of white knuckle rides and family attractions. Acts confirmed for the event include; Attack! Attack!, Kids In Glass Houses and the Zutons. All of this for free!
The Place To Stay: NosDa Studio Hotel - Cardiff
'NosDa' meaning good night in Welsh promises exactly that from its location on the banks of the River Taff. After its £1million makeover it delivers both stylish and affordable accommodation. With a choice of secure mixed and single sex dorms and a number of private rooms, each equipped with bathrooms, kitchens, TV's and even balconies you'd need a great reason just to leave the room. The hostel also houses its very own bar, gym and art gallery! With free parking, breakfast and Wi-Fi it is one of Cardiff's top offerings. The location only made better being a mere 15 minutes from the festival grounds.
Rates from €21.00 per night
7) The Event: Bristol Harbour Festival 31st July - 2nd of August
One of Britain's biggest and best loved free events, the Bristol Harbour Festival showcases the globe's finest talents across all of the performing arts to more than 200,000 visitors. Alongside 7 performing stages and 3 fringe stages the festival plays host to historical ships and boats, children's entertainment, continental markets, a fantastic array of food and drink, and the city's biggest annual fireworks show.
The Place To Stay: YHA Bristol - Bristol
Having just reopened its doors in April the YHA Bristol offers one of the most affordable places to stay in the city. With its brand new café bar and new private rooms it offers the perfect base from which to explore the city. It is just a 15 minute walk from bus and train stations and enjoys a stunning location on the waterfront. From Bristol's vast range of pubs and clubs to its famous waterfront and art galleries there is a wealth of places to explore on the door stop including the Harbour Festival itself.
Rates from €24.00 per night
8) The Event: Cork's Guinness Jazz Festival - 23-26th October
The award winning Guinness Jazz Festival features some of today's greatest jazz artists from Brazil's Claudio Roditi to America's The Bad Plus across multiple venues - it is poised to be a stunning festival.
Indie-pendence Festival Mitchelstown Cork August 1/2nd
With names such as Ocean Colour Scene, Super Furry Animals and up and coming Irish band The Chapters the Mitchelstown festival promises festival goers a great time on Ireland's great green pastures.
The Place to Stay: Bru Bar and Hostel - Cork
Bru Bar and Hostel is Cork City's newest hostel. Located in the heart of the city centre this modern hostel features private rooms and dorms complete with private bathrooms, electronic key card access, free internet access and its very own bar!
Rates from €16.00 per night
9) The Event: Puck Fair, Killorglin 10th -12th August
Killorglin hosts one of Ireland's quirkiest festivals. After catching a wild goat and crowning it king, 3 days of revelry begins with singing, dancing and parading. The fair finishes with a firework display as bright and colourful as the festival and its characters.
The Place to Stay: Neptunes Hostel - Killarney, Kerry
Situated in the centre of Killarney town, Neptune's Hostel is adjacent to the National Park, yet only 5 minutes from bus and train station. Open all year, Neptune's gives individuals, groups and families a warm, friendly welcome and efficient service. The National Park, lakes and mountains of Killarney are a true paradise for mountaineering, walking, cycling, water sports, fishing, pony trekking, tennis and golf. If outdoor activities aren't for you the hostel can arrange day tours to the Ring of Kerry, Dingle and the lakes of Killarney.
Rates from 16.00 per night
10) The Event: Galway Oyster Festival - 24th - 27th September
To experience the best gourmet sea food, live music and Guinness in town the Galway Oyster Festival is the only place to be. The city comes alive with thousands of people from around the globe all there to celebrate the oyster.
The Place to Stay: Sleepzone Galway City - Galway
This spacious hostel, located just a short distance from Eyre Square offers backpackers the very best at affordable prices - 24 hour reception, ensuite rooms, a pool table and for those long summer evenings a barbeque terrace! This ultra modern hostel also offers free internet access and is WiFi enabled, perfect for the new breed of "flashpackers" who can bring their laptops around for free wireless surfing!
Rates from €18.00 per night
*Data taken from Hostelworld.com hostel bookings Quarter 1 2008 vs. Quarter 1 2009
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