Anyone want to house-swap for a holiday?
I've got a nice detached house in Kent, UK in a quiet wooded cul-de sac, with five bedrooms and two bathrooms about 1 hour out of London by car or train and easy access to the freeway (motorway) system of Britain. Rolling green hills, good walking area, lots of history, right next to the Pilgrims's Way (i.e. Geoffrey Chaucer). Leeds Castle
5 mins drive away and the Channel Tunnel to France 30 mins away. In July there is the SSPX Canterbury Pilgrimage going passed my house (starting in Rochester and finishing in Canterbury). House comfortably sleeps 8 people (10 at a pinch).Fancy swapping houses with me for a two week vacation, either in July/August or Christmas 2008 or 2009?
Europe or US preferable, New Zealand or Australia also considered but would need to be a month swap to justify flying the whole family (3 kids 2 in-laws) over there. Canada (summer only - I'm NOT dreaming of a white Christmas). Mexico or anywhere in South America would be strongly considered too cause I love the place. I'd need to sleep 5 adults (2 couples + one single) and 3 children (aged 7, 5 and 3)
I could also lend you my car and get you put on my car insurance as a temporary driver which saves you a packet not having to rent a vehicle and I could pick you up at any of the London airports. I've got a 8 seater people mover (Previa) and a 5 seat station wagon. and 4 car seats for children. Using my house as a base you could comfortably drive to anywhere south of Manchester and East of Wales or Devon and get back the same day assuming you left around 6am and were back by midnight. Use Google Maps route finder to discover what is possible. Or for the more adventurous France, Belgium, Holland are in easy reach. A fantastic overnight visit is Le Touquet
and Paris is a 4 hour drive or 2 hour rail trip to Paris on the Eurostar.
If you book several months in advance flights around Europe from the UK cost peanuts. You can easily get a return flight to any European capital for $150 or less even in the height of summer. I flew to Milan for $40 round trip. The trick is to book early.
Other local activities (less than 1 hour drive) are beaches of Northern and Southern Kent, (Herne Bay
(the closest SSPX Mass), Rye
, Camber Sands
, Dover Castle and Secret Wartime Tunnels
, Winston Churchill's
home, Brand's Hatch Racktrack
, Chatham Historic Dockyard
where many of Britian's famous ships were constructed, Charles Dickens House and the Dickens Museum
, Rochester Castle
(early Norman), Canterbury Cathedral
and, of course, the site of the Battle of Hastings
and the beach were St. Augustine landed
when he bought Christianity to this land. Plus there are 6 local pubs which are close to 1000 years old (and serve warm beer - as well as cold lager). For Disney buff you can even visit the site where Princess Pocahontas
For any Australian fisheaters you can also visit the Dickensian site of the hulks (prison ships), which were used to house prisoners before those who survived the rats, damp, cold and disease were shipped of to Terra Australis and Van Diemen's Land. Might be interesting to see where grandpa's grandpa lived.
There are also several reasonable and cheap local (5 min drive) golf courses and I have a full set of clubs you can use. Think historical cultural holiday with the hottest days (28c 82F) spent at the seaside and you'll have the idea of what you'll experience as a vacation. Christmas temperature is usually around 8C (50F) during the day and most days will be dry so while beach is out there is still plenty to do. Sung midnight mass is in London only
but heathen population at least means the drive is VERY easy. (I'm talking post-chastisement traffic here!)
There are also non-SSPX Tridentine masses every week. The first Sunday of the month in my local town and other Sundays 20 minutes drive away. Sunday is also a good day to go to London, since you can usually park for free and the roads are clear until about 10:30am making it an easy drive. Mass options are morning only.
Afterwards you can visit more London museums (for free) than you can shake a stick at, using the Tube or Bus and then return to the car and drive back. That's how I typically do it when taking my family there anyway. You CAN drive but for someone not familiar with London's roads it is not worth the grief.
Apart from needing to drive on the other side of the road, driving here is reasonably easy and the roads are well sign posted and the country is small and accessible. I don't have sat-nav but could borrow a TomTom for your visit.Therefore you'd just need to buy your roundtrip airline tickets and bring spending money.
We could even swap spending money at the Spot FX rate each saving fat-commissions from the rip-off banks. The cost of hiring a holiday house like mine in England otherwise would be $1500 a week, so the saving is rather significant. I'm pretty open to holidaying anywhere - though St. Mary's, Kansas ain't going to do it for me - at any time of year.
For summer I'd consider west or east Coast USA or Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico (sea water local or within short drive), coastal western Canada or Alaska. Anywhere coastal in Mexico or South America. Rocky Mountains might also be of interest, especially at Christmas, or in the summer if you have a house that is really in the mountains proper and the weather is slightly cooler as a result. New England I'd only want to do at Christmas as I've been there in the summer many times.
As for Europe or South Africa just ping me your ideas. New Zealand happy to stay anywhere because the whole island is worth seeing and in Australia I've slight preference for Sydney but happy with any coastal/urbanish area. Since your winter is my summer, Queensland would be good too in August (not Mt. Isa, though just coastal). Likewise I'd want to do the North Island of New Zealand at Christmas. Warning however you are highly unlikely to get a white Christmas over here unless you drive to the Alps for it. Winters in Britain are mild and grey but generally dry most days.
PM me if interested and we can discuss.