With the ever growing demand for the social aspect of our service BGC started offering short breaks and holidays, initially in the UK these soon opened up to the whole world and with projects members now picking the location the holidays have become a jewel in the BGC crown.
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What our project members say about their holiday.
“I went on a fabulous holiday to Northumbria. It was a very long journey it and we stopped off for lunch at a service station and later we had to stop at a supermarket for our weekly shop as it was a self catering holiday. We stayed in a converted old school house in the beautiful village of Frosterley. It was a big house and it was a very nice place to stay. I Went to Beamish museum Alnwick castle and did many other fabulous things while there I enjoyed my holiday very much. My friends and I had a fantastic time.”
“My holiday to a castle in Devon with BGC.
When we got there we have a looked round the castle. It was a huge castle on top of a hill, I could see for miles around, there was a games room and a big trampoline outside. The lounge was big, one of the showers was an old phone box!!! There was another fatalistic lounge up stairs, and the on the top of the castle there was a lovely hot tub, which was really nice and warm. We when to Seaton and had fish and chips by the sea and to Lyme Regis, it was nice and we had fun on the beach. We went to the cinema to watch Harry Potter, it was Lucinda’s birthday while we were away, and we had a big party and danced the night away.”
On 7th November, 2009, a group of 14 of us headed around the M25 to Heathrow on the first leg of what turned out to be a truly great holiday. Everyone was excited as we boarded the plane bound for Venice, where we were to board our ship, Splendour of the Seas, for a seven days cruise.
Ryan on deck
The experience was fantastic, and everyone loved the ship, the shows, the discos and more formal dancing, the activities and the restaurants, the non-stop drinks and ice cream on the sun deck, and of course the shopping. All of these activities and facilities we took part in with great enthusiasm, and made many friends among the crew and other passengers, to say nothing of the numerous medals our group won from bowling to the best legs competition. Non of our group actually ran around the ship, unlike a number of our fellow passengers, but we did walk around the running deck on several occasions, two circuits equalled one mile. The experience of sitting watching the sea and all the wonderful islands we passed on the way down the Croatian coast to Dubrovnik was breathtaking.
Our next stop was Turkey, where a trip to the ancient site of Ephesus was a real treat. We have a number of photographs of our group sitting in line on the Roman communal toilets now adorn the walls of our entrance hall!. It was a long and hot day but the experience is one that none of the group will ever forget and facilitated many discussions on life in the Roman times.
We then sailed overnight and awoke anchored in the ocean filled col of the extinct (we hoped) volcano which now is the scenic island of Santa Tarini. At first the white on the rim of the huge col we thought to be snow, but on further inspection, we realised that it was the white reflecting from the white painted houses which were perched right on the edge of the cliffs. To get to Santa Tarinni, tenders were used from the ship to the shore, then as choice of either cable car, donkey, or 600 steps to reach the town.
Entering the knobbly knees competition, and winning!
We then sailed for two days, enjoying all that the ship had to offer, to Corfu. We toured the island, eat local dishes in a Taverna and took lots of photographs of the fantastic scenery and blue sea.
During the voyage some members of our party entered in competitions such as knobbly knees and the talent show, both of which we won; the champagne flowed.
Evening and overnight sailing back to Venice. The final night on the ship was one big party, with crew and passengers all dancing in the main four storey magnificent auditorium of the ship, everyone talking to each other and laughing, a real carnival atmosphere.
We sailed into Venice at dawn, some of us were up early to see the lights of old Venice as we sailed into dock. After a long journey back home we all agreed that the cruise was the ‘best ever’ and hope to go on another one day. Without exception, to this day when we mention this holiday, those of us who went on this holiday, smile automatically.
8th to 15th August, 2009, a group from BGC spent a very busy week in the north. We stayed in Co. Durham in a large comfortable house in Frostaley, and our exploring also took us to areas in Cumbria and Northumberland.
We visited Alston, reputed to be the highest town in England and took a ride on the preserved steam railway which runs from the town for some 10 miles and back and had lunch in a very friendly pub in the town. On the drive back we went via Alston Moor, stopped the mini-but and all got out to listen. There was only the sound of the breeze in the grass and birds, no traffic, no planes, no shouting, nothing!! We looked for telegraph wires, but there were none, just miles of open moorland. The peace was fantastic, most of the group had not experienced such complete silence before or such a huge open space – it was very moving.
Mandy and Charlotte enjoying the moors
We spend a day in the city of Durham, walking around the old town, walked by the river and saw the wonderful Cathedral – unfortunately we were unable to go inside as there was a wedding about to take place, but we did sit and watch the guest in their wedding hats, and the Bride and Bridesmaids arrive. Quite a spectacular, but one enjoyed by the girls more than the boys!
A day was spent at Beamish. Riding on the old tram, walking around the Victorian school and trying to play with the iron hoops and stick, which was the really quite difficult, and having a guided tour down a mine where we had to wear hard hats. We looked around the Victorian Farm with all the animals, including a very friendly, but huge pig who was very happy to be fed apples my hand.
Going down the mine
Castle Days were spent at Bamberg Castle, on the Northumberland Coast. This castle has seen the Viking invasions, the occupation of the north by the Roman Armies and is situated high above the sea looking towards the Farrn Islands. The walls are very thick and it dominates the skyline of the whole area.
The other castle we visited was Alnwick Castle, where the Harry Potter films were shot. We all had fun with the various special effects they had there. Some of the group sat in a box which looks as though they have had their head cut off!!!
The axeman strikes again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We walked in Hamerstley Forest, visited a farm and held rabbits, fed the pigs and combed the Highland Cattle.
The holiday was full of new experiences for many, and although the group was of mixed abilities we all had a great time, slept well, eat well and even had a super Pizza evening to celebrate Helen’s birthday.
We shall be returning to Northumberland.
The canal holiday this year went really well. It was made extra special by two people on the barge celebrating their birthdays, it was Robs 27th birthday and Roland 64th birthday.
Everybody mucked in and helped with all the locks. The most strenuous being a staircase of 8 locks at Crick (a rise of about 114 foot), just before a tunnel. We went through 2 tunnels; each time we went through we had great fun making as much noise as possible, even to the point of scaring all the other barges out of the tunnel.
Most of the project members had a turn of driving the barge; Paul was especially good at this.
The holiday was certainly eventful, the barge met with the canal side many a time and to top it all we had an outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea. When one project member fell ill with the bug, he exclaimed “I’ve got bird flu”.
As there is such a small galley on the barge and cooking meals could be a major task we found ourselves at a pub most evenings.
Center Parcs 2006 :
In March this year, 22 of us set of to Elveden Center Parcs in Suffolk for a relaxing week. We went via Tescos to stock up for the week. The villas we were going to stay in all had en-suite and had a sauna attached and of course maid service – we were on holiday after all!
The first evening we all got stuck in to a Bar-B-Q and all ate far too much, nothing new there then. The activities we participated in included swimming. golf, pool, cycling, and a group of the lads even entered into the 5 a side football tournament and they won runners up medals. Mind you only 2 teams entered
The weather was very pleasant and everybody really enjoyed the chance to chill. The hot chocolate was a favourite with many; in fact too many mention were consumed in this week.
As one evening the lads had decided to stay and watch a game of football the girls decided they would have a girlie night full of pampering and chocolate, much more fun than football.
The rest of the evenings were spent socialising in the sports bar or at Chez Pierre’s or other restaurants.
The week went far to fast and before we knew it we were on our way back. All who had been had a thoroughly great time so much so, that we have booked to again next year. Cheers Center Parcs till next year!!!!!!!!!!
Look out Mickey, here we come!
Once again the Disney Holiday proved to be a great success.
Ten of us went to Disneyland Paris in September, 2005 for four days of endless fun
. Rob v Monsters Inc
We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge Hotel which all agreed was great and had a Character Breakfast. The breakfast allowed us all to meet the main Disney characters up close, in the case of Prince John, a little too close –
he is a grumpy old prince!
We went on all the rides and some of them more than twice, and some of us ascended in a hot air balloon over the park and could see Paris and the Effel Tower in the distance – what an experience! The whole holiday was packed with fun, laughter, trying a new restaurant each evening.
And of course lots and lots of shopping – did Auntie Jane really like the poster of King Louis I wonder?’
By popular demand we are once again off to Disneyland Paris in October this year, this time there will be even more of us.
Another shopping trip!!!!!!
This year’s Christmas outing was a bit more adventurous than in previous years: we were intending to spend 2 nights in a 12th century castle in Herefordshire. The morning of the 29th November arrived and 50 of us, aboard 3 minibuses (one with trailer full of luggage), departed fromBedford. The air on the buses was one of trepidation mixed with excitement; the thought of sleeping in a real castle built by Prince John did create some strange feelings.
We arrived at St. Briavels YHA via a Forest of Dean lunch stop at 3pm, to be met by our Mike the manager, who was a credit to the YHA as he was fun and bent over backwards to make our stay one we would all never forget.
Supper was planned for 7pm, which gave us plenty of time to unpack and explore. Looking at the photo on the left, the girls were sleeping in the left-hand tower with the boys in the right tower, the rooms were aptly named to create even more of an atmosphere. The boys slept in the ‘Hanging Room’, ‘The Prison’ and ‘The Porter’s Lodge’, with the girls retiring in the ‘Oubliette’, ‘The Chaplain’s Room’ and ‘Constable’s Room’. The doors were solid, the walls thick ‘the stairs steep and spiralling and the floors creaked. History oozed out the walls in every room. 50 very hungry people eagerly devoured a Supper of homemade Pizza followed by apple crumble. The evening was spent watching videos and playing games in the magnificent throne room, which had a fireplace to die for. Sleep came quickly for a lot of people, although some were slightly wary of sleeping in a castle, myself included! I slept with a light on all night, so we had a few tears but camaraderie took over as everyone was sleeping in rooms of 4 or more people. The sounds of giggling and laughter carried on well into the night.
The next day was purely frivolous and choice was given of games, walking in the Forest of Dean or shopping in the town of Monmouth. I accompanied by 18 others attacked the shops of Monmouth for one of my favourite pastimes – shopping. We spent the morning in and out of nearly every shop and became laden down with carrier bags of numerous shapes and sizes. We had lunch in the buses where I proceeded to nearly kill Brigid by being completely oblivious to the fact that she was choking on her lunch; I even offered her a drink of orange juice, which she threw at me, charming I thought. When I did realise her predicament I did offer my assistance resulting in me saving her life.
All were looking forward to the meal that evening as it was going to be a mediaeval feast which was to be held in the dining room, the castle chapel as it was. The castle was coming alive with knights and fair maidens as all got into the mood and dressed up in fancy dress. The authenticity was such that food was eaten with fingers, the light was candlelight, the mood medieval.
Stephen enjoying the feast.
The whole experience was enjoyed by all and the decision has been taken to go back next year and stay an extra night. So now we can all say that we have slept, some with a light on all night, no names mentioned, in a 12th century castle and lived to tell the tale