Stay with Confidence in 2017

asap-marque

One of the hardest decisions when organising your holiday or business trip is undoubtedly deciding where to stay. This is because while your accommodation might only be a place to rest your head at night, it is still important that you feel safe and comfortable in it to ensure that you make the most out of your trip. There are so many stresses associated with travelling and so booking the perfect accommodation can greatly alleviate some of those anxieties, particularly regarding security and even convenience of location. However, booking the perfect accommodation is a lot easier said than done because nowadays there is a whole deluge of possibilities covering everything from hotels to even now families renting out their private residences. Therefore, sometimes it can be very tiresome trying to work your way through all the possibilities to see which are legitimate options that really do deliver all that they say on the tin. Consequently, this often leads us to review websites like TripAdvisor as what better evidence could you acquire than the feedback of those who  have braved the path before us? However, while invaluable, reviews are very subjective and so what is one person’s cup of tea may not be another’s. Subsequently, this is where the benefits of Quality Accreditation schemes really come into play as they help to ensure that accommodation operators are meeting a certain benchmark in regards to performance and service standards.

When you think of accommodation and indicators of quality, often times you think of the ‘star’ rating system – with the ultimate travel dream being stays in luxurious and sumptuous five star resorts. However, did you know that aside from the ‘star’ rating system, the serviced apartment industry actually has its own trade body, The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (The ASAP) which plays a pivotal role in ensuring guest confidence when booking serviced apartments and in maintaining overall supplier standards? The call for this monitoring and control over and above the star rating system is that the serviced apartment sector is dynamic and rapidly growing. Therefore, as this sector is still developing and we are striving to inform consumers that serviced apartments are an alternative to traditional accommodation types which offer their own unique benefits, it is integral that there are measures and standards in place to ensure that guests are delivered the certain standard of quality that they are promised. Therefore, this is where The ASAP with their leading global Quality Accreditation Programme plays a critical role as not only do they provide accreditation for operators like The Spires, but they also assess agents, buildings and apartments to ensure that all parties are commited to  industry best practise and to ensure that quality can be measured and compared across the whole sector.

Therefore, while you may be nervous about booking a serviced apartment because you may have never stayed at one before, please be assured that The ASAP and its accredited operators such as The  Spires are out there to ensure that you receive the experience you are promised and that you can subsequently book, and stay with confidence. Wherever you see The ASAP Quality Accreditation Marque, you know that you are safe to proceed with booking as it means that the operator has passed The ASAP’s Quality Assessment which does not just cover the standards of the physical establishment you will stay in, but also the booking process and the health and safety credentials of the premises to ensure the ultimate in security, comfort and service experience.

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The ASAP stamp of quality approval on our website

If you are worried that the accreditation programme is just a tick-box scheme, we can assure you that the Accreditation Programme is more than that as the marque is only gained after a series of checks including an overnight stay so that an assessor can fully walk in the steps of an guest and understand the experience they will be delivered. Likewise, there are actually over 250 service quality and regulatory measures that need to be met so it is not something that can be gained through the completion of a form. Moreover, the accreditation criteria is updated annually to ensure that it remains relevant and in keeping with developments in customer experience offerings as well as with developments in the law and with health and safety regulations.

Therefore, with a new year comes a new year for change and so why not try staying somewhere different like a serviced apartment? It offers all the comfort, modernity and style of a hotel, while also being a convenient, spacious and cost-effective alternative. Likewise, due to their offering of modern equipped kitchens and stylish lounges, serviced apartments also  provide that priceless home away from home feel which you just cannot get in a hotel. We know that change can be scary, however when you choose to book with an quality accredited firm like The Spires, there is no need for fear as you know that a professional assessor has approved it and can attest to its service standards. Therefore, make 2017 the year you book and stay with confidence – you deserve it.

For more information about The Spires Quality Accreditation by The  ASAP, visit http://theasap.org.uk/memberships/quality-accreditation-programme/stay-with-confidence-quality-accreditation/

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New Year, New Resolutions

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The Christmas decorations are slowly being returned to their dusty homes; the fridge is no longer the keeper of an army’s supply of festive foods and the radios have ceased playing the iconic Christmas classics because as much as we would love for it to be Christmas every day, sadly that is not the case. Christmas Day and New Year’s Day have come and gone with their abundance of good food, good company and good times and this of course means it is that sorrowful point of the year where all the goodwill and celebrations have ceased and we have to return desolately to our desks. However, while January can be a tough slog, what with the cold weather and the Christmas bills still cowering in our wallets, nevertheless it is still a brand new start meaning all kinds of potential lie ahead. Whatever adversity or struggles you faced in 2016, now you have a blank page upon which to write a whole new chapter and to start all over again.

Therefore, this is where New Year’s resolutions come into play because a new page means a new opportunity to change our ways. We have all heard of them and we will have all probably devised a few over the years with the best of intentions. However, it is irrefutable that while resolutions are fairly easy to come up with, they are a lot more difficult in practise. The reasoning is because normally resolutions are often related to cutting something out of lives, and that ‘something’ is normally a vice or indulgence – the things that bring us a lot of joy and pleasure, even though we know they are bad for us. Therefore, resolutions tend to pertain to goals like losing weight by cutting out bad food or to stop smoking. However, while the results of such resolutions are undoubtedly rewarding, it can be hard to get excited for the process as they require a lot of discipline. Therefore, how about balancing out your tougher resolutions with a goal that is fully rooted in fun, fulfilment and adventure with no discernible negatives? This goal will allow you to see things you may have never seen; to meet people you may have not otherwise met and to create memories that will last a lifetime. Guessed what it is yet? If not, we can only be talking about the New Year’s resolution of travelling of course!

Ok, so we know what you are thinking, travelling is expensive and normally resolutions can be associated with cutting costs. However, travelling really does not have to be all that costly when you consider staying a little closer to home and engaging in a staycation. So often people talk of wishing to travel more but this does not mean that you have to dig out your passport and fly somewhere exotic. Travelling can simply be visiting the hidden gems that are only a few hours away as even in our own hometowns, there are wonders that we will have not experienced. Sometimes the most enlightening thing we can do is experience our home town and home country through the eyes of a visitor because then we realise all the potential fun, history, beauty and culture there is to soak in which we often can otherwise ignore.

It is undeniable that most people wish they could travel more as everyone loves new experiences and to escape from their home for just a few days. However, we appreciate that time and money are both inhibiting factors that can get in the way of the dream.  Therefore, this is where a city-break staycation can come into play. You can get all the excitement and cultural enrichment at a fraction of the cost and potentially without even having to take time off work. With locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, we have apartments in some of the UK’s biggest and best cities full of world-class dining, attractions and entertainment. People from all over the world flock to experience the heritage and beauty of such locations and so should we! This has been validated by the fact that Scotland made Rough Guide’s 2017 list for one of the Top 10 ‘Must See’ Destinations. Not only will you get to escape from your daily routine just for a few days but you will always get to experience something new. Do not believe us? Check out just some of the fun and excitement that lies ahead in our respective locations in the coming months:

Aberdeen

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Spectra Festival, Aberdeen

Festivals

Spectra – 9th Feb – 12th Feb 2017

Aberdeen Jazz Festival – 15th Mar – 19th Mar 2017

Look Again – 27th Apr – 1st May 2017

May Festival – 26th May – 28th  2017

Aberdeen International Youth Festival – July 2017

TechFest – 26th Aug – 25th Sep 2017

North East Open Studies – 9th – 17th Sep 2017

True North – September 2017

DanceLive – 12th – 28th Oct 2017

Sound – 26th Oct – 12th Nov 2017

For more details, visit https://aberdeenfestivals.com/ 

Birmingham

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Birmingham Weekender

Chinese New Year – 29th Jan 2017

Muller Indoor Grand Prix – 18th Feb 2017

Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships – 7th Mar – 12th Mar 2017

Birmingham Pride – 27th – 28th May 2017

ICC Champions Trophy – 1st Jun – 18th Jun 2017

Aegon Classic Birmingham – 17th Jun – 25th Jun 2017

Colmore Food Festival – 30th Jun – 1st Jun 2017

Dinosaurs in the Wild – 24th Jun – 24th Aug 2017

Birmingham Weekender – 22nd Sep – 24th Sep 2017

Birmingham Comedy Festival – 6th – 15th Oct 2017

Birmingham International Marathon – 15th Oct 2017

Edinburgh

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Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Six Nations Rugby – Feb – Mar 2017

Edinburgh International Science Festival – 1st Apr – 16th Apr 2017

Imaginate Festival – 27th May – 4th Jun 2017

Edinburgh International Film Festival – 21st Jun – 2nd Jul 2017

Edinburgh Jazz & Blue Festivals – 14th Jul – 23rd Jul 2017

Edinburgh Art Festival – 27th Jul – 27th Aug 2017

Edinburgh Festival Fringe – 4th Aug – 28th Aug 2017

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – 4th Aug – 28th Aug 2017

Edinburgh International Festival – 4th Aug – 28th Aug 2017

Edinburgh International Book Festival – 12th Aug – 28th Aug 2017

Scottish International Storytelling Festival – 20th Oct – 31st Oct 2017

Glasgow

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Piping Live!

Celtic Connections – 19th Jan – 5th Feb 2017

The Glasgow Tattoo – 19th Jan – 21st Jan 2017

Cirque Berserk – 24th Jan – 29th Jan 2017

The Glasgow Film Festival – 15th Feb – 26th Feb 2017

Gin Festival Glasgow 2017 – 3rd Mar – 5th Mar 2017

Glasgow Book Festival – Mar 2017

International Comedy Festival – 9th Mar – 26th Mar 2017

Glasgow Science Festival: Glasgow Explores – 8th Jun – 18th Jun 2017

Summer Nights – 3rd Aug – 13th Aug 2017

Piping! Live – 7th Aug – 13th Aug 2017

Total BWF 2017 World Badminton Championships – 21st Aug– 27th Aug 2017

The Mackintosh Festival – 1st Oct – 31st Oct 2017

Have we managed to sell you on the resolution of travelling more in 2017? If so, we can further help cut the costs associated with travelling because with apartments that are capable of holding up to six persons but that are not charged per person; our serviced apartments are the perfect cost-effective alternative to hotels. This is particularly true when you consider how that as our apartments come complete with a fully-equipped kitchen and lounge, you can further cut down on the costs associated with dining out. Never tried a serviced apartment before? Well, it looks like you just found another new resolution! Book today at www.thespires.co.uk, email info@thespires.co.uk or phone 0345 270 0090.

Images
http://jaco.co/SPECTRA-Aberdeen-Festival-of-Light
https://www.visitengland.com/experience/free-events-in-september-birmingham-weekender
http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/cities/edinburgh-festivals-guide
https://www.scotsmagazine.com/articles/things-cannae-miss-piping-live-2015/

 

The Ultimate Christmas Tradition

Tradition – “A long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another”

Hospitality – “The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers

*Oxford Dictionary

 

Day to day life throughout the year is subject to so many unexpected variances and changes in both our personal and professional lives. Therefore, that is why there is something so reassuring and heart-warming about Christmas because no matter what else is going on throughout the rest of the year, you know that November and December are going to full of the aromatic smells of well-cooked home meals; the glittering reflections of illuminating lights and decorations and the pure sense of celebration which radiates from parties and gatherings aplenty. Subsequently, without fail we get so excited for Christmas because we know year in and year out what to expect when it comes to that jubilant time of year. Maybe circumstances in your life will have changed for the better or the worse, but ultimately you are safeguarded in the knowledge that at this time of year, the Christmas spirit will always prevail.

This leads us on to the point of Christmas traditions. Every year we get to revel in the joy of celebrating special days such as birthdays and anniversaries and each year we get to choose different ways to celebrate them. However, when it comes to Christmas, some things will never change and as it is a holiday we celebrate every year, it is undeniable that each and every one of us has some kind of long-established custom that we never fail to enact. This is because since birth, we have been raised to celebrate this wonderful time of the year and so it is irrefutable that rituals and beliefs will have been passed from one generation to the next regarding everything from gift-giving practises to the foods we eat to the order of the festivities to the specific way we decorate our trees and houses.

As we explored in our blog last year , there are traditions which are tied to certain countries. For instance, in Poland, Christmas Eve is known as Wigilia and on this day it is traditional to eat the main Christmas meal (consisting of 12 dishes to represent good luck for the 12 months ahead and the twelve disciples) but it is also only traditional to begin eating when the first star in the sky has been spotted! Alternatively, in the capital of Venezuela, Caracus, it is customary for people to roller-skate to the early morning church services held between 16th and 24th December with roads even closing to accommodate this. Finally, a slightly unusual tradition to us is one in Ukraine where due to the prevalence of the Eastern-European folk tale of the Christmas Spider, Christmas trees can be decorated with ‘cobwebs’ as it is considered good luck to find one.

Therefore, it is readily apparent how we all have our own ways of celebrating whether that is on a country level or purely just on an individual level. However, regardless of culture or geography, you can always count on one universal tradition at Christmas that can be found in any home and that is the indomitable spirit of hospitality. Around the world at this time of year, we may all have differing ways of decorating our trees or choosing when to present our meals, but one consistency is that we are always eager to open our homes to strangers, friends and family so that we can all share in the spirit of the season. Christmas is so beloved by everyone around the world because without doubt you know that this is the one time of the year that you will be reunited with those that you hold dearest to celebrate all the love and joy that this time of the year represents.

At Christmas, it is easy to think that the beauty and magic of the festivities purely radiates from the gifts and the decorations and the parties, however it really radiates from the spirit of unity it fosters. To us, there is nothing more wonderful than this unwavering spirit because as we are part of the hospitality industry, there is nothing more that we strive to achieve each day then providing a warm welcome to all our guests and even if they are staying with us for as short as one night, to make them feel on that one night like they are in a home away from home. This to us is what Christmas is all about – family, friends, love, celebrating and hospitality. No matter who you are and where you come from, this is what this holiday should always centre around. Therefore, it is undeniable that while the world will continue to evolve, subsequently altering our lives with it, we hope that if there is one tradition that will forever stand the test of time, it is that hospitality and the spirit of welcoming everyone and anyone will live on. At the very least, this is a tradition that here at The Spires, we will always practise whether it is Christmas time or not.

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We hope you are all beginning to get the Christmas traditions rolling and would love to hear if you have any unique ones that you would like to share. For instance, is there that one notorious festive jumper which Christmas is just not complete without or is there a certain decoration that can never be evicted from the tree? No matter what it is, we would love to hear it! #SharetheJoy

No Room at the Inn this Winter?

It is irrefutable that Christmas is one of the most universally beloved times of the year because what is there not to love about a holiday full of family, friends, celebrations, and of course, food? However, while undeniably it is a wonderful season of magic and wishes, it is equally undeniable that with all the planning and coming together of families, the opportunity for stress is definitely at an all-time high.  Factor in cousins, aunts/uncles, parents, grandparents, friends, in-laws and maybe even some pets, and it readily becomes apparent how not only do you have to cook for all these hungry mouths, but you also need quite a lot of room in order to accommodate everyone. This is no easy feat because when you consider that despite how much we love all our family members (well, most of the time!), having so many people under one roof is just a recipe for arguments and sleepless nights.  However, this Christmas at The Spires we want to give you the most desirable and magical gift of them all – the gift of peace and a good night’s sleep for all.

One thing that we particularly pride ourselves on when it comes to our serviced apartments is their home from home feel. Therefore, not wanting to overcrowd your home or are wanting to escape from staying at a rather populated house this Christmas? Well, you and your family members are invited to ours. With apartments that are capable of holding up to six persons, we welcome families of all shapes and sizes and they are perfect for whether your family members are staying for one night or for longer. What makes them even more ideal is that we charge per apartment, not per person. Therefore, this will help to keep the costs down of a group stay as we know how important it is to keep an eye on spending at this expensive time of year.

We all know it is difficult to travel with both young ones and those slightly older teenagers and this is where serviced apartments really come into their own. With bedrooms composed of double or twin beds, there is plenty of breathing space for everyone so that the kids do not have to be embarrassed by having to share with good ole mum and dad. Likewise, some of our deluxe apartments do not just have numerous bedrooms, but also numerous bathrooms which is perfect when you consider how everyone will be clambering over one another to get all dolled up in their finery for all the festive get-togethers. Then when it comes to the recovery period after all the family time, there is plenty of space to chill out in our comfortable lounges complete with modern TVs and sumptuously soft sofas. Whether you want to be engrossed by the latest addictive show or you want to connect to our very fast and reliable WiFi to snap up some of those festive bargains, it is the perfect environment in which to relax.

Whether you want family time or some quiet time, our spacious apartments provide the perfect environment in which to do it

It is undeniable that one of the hardest aspects of family trips away from home are what and where to eat. This is because the larger the family, the greater the likelihood for all different kinds of tastes and dietary requirements and often times this can lead to expensive dinners or takeaways. However, Christmas is the season all about staying in and roasting that turkey yourself, and our apartments greatly facilitate this. Complete with fully-equipped and modern kitchens composed of an oven, microwave, fridge, freezer and a whole array of basic kitchen utensils, there is no better place for you to get in the Masterchef swing of things and to cook up a salivating meal capable of feeding an army. You do not even have to worry about washing up afterwards as our dishwashers help do most of the work, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Christmas dinner anyone?

While our conscientious housekeeping teams are on hand so that you are still able to relax when on holiday, the inclusion of an ironing board, washing machine and tumble-dryer are also undoubtedly welcomed. We all know that spills and messes will occur when there is so much glitter and wine on the go, however the inclusion of such handy appliances further reduces the potential for any stress as you can clean them up as soon as possible – also saving on expensive laundry bills and potentially meaning maybe you can forego that third or fourth suitcase…

Finally, one of the greatest things about our locations are their amazingly convenient and central locations. This means that while you have all the peace at night to hear Santa and his sleigh arrive on the 24th December, you are also equally never far from all the action. As it is December and there are Christmas Markets, carol concerts and pantomimes aplenty, there is plenty of exciting action going on! Therefore, whether you are staying over the festive period itself or just want to ease yourself into the Christmas spirit by having a mini festive city break, there is so much fun to be had whichever of our apartments you stay at. Make sure to read our latest blog (https://thespiressuites.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/welcome-to-a-winter-wonderland/) to discover just all the excitement and magic that awaits you with a stay at The Spires this December!

Therefore, whether you are on the nice or naughty list, we have the perfect gift that will make all your Christmas wishes come true. Enjoy this special time of the year with all of the joy and love of family and none of the stress and fights. What makes our apartments that much more of a wonderful Christmas gift is the fact that we have a very flexible cancellation policy with guests being able to cancel up to 24 hours in advance of their stay. This is because we understand that making plans at Christmas is not always the easiest and so this will allow you to have the ultimate flexibility and to make provisional plans with peace of mind.

Need any more convincing? Make sure to email The Spires at info@thespires.co.uk or phone 0345 270 0090 to talk to one of our dedicated reservation team members as top tip from Santa, if you want the best possible rate, this is the sure-fire way to get it.

Happy Holidays! 

Welcome to a Winter Wonderland

Not long ago the displays in shop windows were adorned with pumpkins, ghosts and cobwebs galore, however as soon as midnight chimed to signal the close of the spookiest day of the year, Halloween, Santa Claus officially rode into town on his wondrous sleigh. Yes, much debate will be ignited as to whether his grand arrival is just a little too early, however there is no denying the infectious excitement and anticipation that is garnered with the first sightings of Christmas trees, twinkling fairy lights and the revealing of festive coffee cups. It truly is one of the most magical times of the year and you would be hard pushed to find a city that is not caught up in all the festival fun. With locations in major UK destinations such as Aberdeen, Glasgow, Birmingham and Edinburgh, The Spires Serviced Apartments are particularly fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most wonderful celebrations in the country and we are so excited to share all this cheer with our guests. Of course, alongside bedazzling Christmas lights illuminating the streets in a warm festive glow, the heart of any city Christmas celebration has to be the much anticipated annual Christmas market which brings together local residents and tourists alike. Fortunately, none of our locations are shrimping on this tradition and so we thought we would deliver to you today some of the excitement you can experience when you visit The Spires this wonderful winter season:

Aberdeen

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Image: http://www.dinnerstories.co.uk/2015_12_01_archive.html

Aberdeen Christmas Village, 25th November – 8th January, Union Terrace

Why have a market, when you can have a whole village ablaze with Christmas cheer and wonder?! Last year was the inaugural year for the Aberdeen Christmas Village and it went down such a storm, it has come back even bigger and grander this year. That is right, while the open-air ice rink and festoon of market stalls are all making their anticipated return; they are coming back plus-size edition meaning there is all the more fun to be had.  There are even some extra surprises with a Christmas Tree Maze being introduced in the Union Terrace Gardens – can you conquer the mischievous journey to the elves workshop? Complete with market stalls selling all kinds of treasures to fill Christmas stockings around the city; live entertainment and nostalgic fairground style attractions, there is certainly no doubt that Christmas has arrived to make the Silver City that extra bit more sparkly and glittery.

Honourable Festive Highlights:

*Christmas Tree Switch-On – Castlegate – 24th November, 7pm

*Twelve Days of Christmas Wooden Carvings Trail – throughout city – 24th November – throughout December

*Christmas Lights Switch-On Parade – Union Street – 27th November, 5.30pm

*Nativity Scene – St Nicholas Kirkyard – 28th November – 6th January

*Panto – Dick McWhittington – His Majesty’s Theatre – 3rd December – 8th January

Birmingham

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Image: http://www.germanchristmasmarketbirmingham.com/history/

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market & Craft Fair, 17th November – 29th December, Victoria Square

Of course, there is no city that quite lays the ultimate Christmas Market gauntlet like Birmingham as its resident annual market is renowned all over the UK and is synonymous with the arrival of the festive period. The heart of Birmingham’s Christmas celebrations, the market is actually the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria and so there is no denying that a visit to this market is a definite must to really get in the Christmassy spirit. If you think you can attend this majestic city celebration without purchasing anything, then think again as with 180 stalls selling all kinds of tempting decorations, toys, jewellery and of course food (Bratwurst or mulled wine anyone?), you will be hard-pressed to keep your wallet ensconced in your bag. When you are finished having a magical ride on the carousel or joining in a carol or two, make sure to pop into the Craft Fair adjacent to the market where you can find even more unique and handcrafted Artisan pieces to complete any gift menagerie under the tree.

Honourable Festive Highlights:

The Jewellery Quarter Christmas Lights Switch-On – The Golden Square -18th November  – 5pm

Magical Lantern Festival – Birmingham Botanical Gardens – 23rd November – 2nd January –

*Panto – Dick Whittington – Birmingham Hippodrome- 19th December 2016 – 29th December 2017

Glasgow

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Image: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/glasgow-christmas-activities-pictures-glasgow-4769441

Christmas Market, 20th November – 22nd December, St Enoch Square

When you consider all the celebrations occurring across Glasgow this winter, there is no denying that the city itself could almost be considered one large Santa’s grotto – it is overflowing with that much Christmas cheer and spirit! This could not be better reflected by the fact that there is not just one traditional Christmas market but two. Therefore, whether you want warming culinary delights; beautifully ornate handcrafted decorations or an exhilarating fairground ride or two, you are bound to get it somewhere whether it is in St Enoch Square or in George Square (opening 26th November – 29th December). Likewise, with a retail reputation which has led to the development of a renowned ‘Style Mile’, there is no surprise that there are a few festive bargains to be found across the 1, 500 shops.

*Coco Cola Christmas Truck Tour – Silverburn – 18th November 2016

*Glasgow Christmas Light Switch-On – George Square – 20th November

*Style Mile Christmas Carnival – Glasgow City Centre – 27th November

*Panto – Aladdin – Clyde Auditorium – 10th December – 31st December

Edinburgh

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Image: https://www.list.co.uk/article/74953-edinburghs-christmas-2015-programme-revealed/

European Christmas Market, 19th November – 7th January, East Princes Street Gardens

It is no surprise that there is nowhere that does Christmas bigger and better than Scotland’s stunning capital itself. Beautiful whatever the season, Christmas just elevates Edinburgh’s scenic wonder to the level that it could fit in perfectly on any Christmas card. Right at the heart of this beauty and warmth is the European Christmas Market which resides in the hub of the city. It is full of all kinds of delicate artisan works, handcrafted decorations, unique jewellery, as well as tantalising festive sweet and savoury treats. Likewise, Edinburgh’s skyline is resplendent with the twinkling of thousands of lights bedazzling both the city streets and the myriad of fairground attractions including a Big Wheel and the renowned Star Flyer. Whether you prefer your fun in the air; down on the ground in the Christmas Tree Maze or on the ice in the ink-rink, it is undeniable that there all kinds of levels of fun to be had.

*Light Night – 20th November, 1pm – 5pm

*The Scottish Market – West George Street – 26th November – 24th December

*Street of Light – George Street – 21st November – 24th December

*Alice in Wonderland – The Lyceum – 2nd – 31st December

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble…

The nights are getting darker, there is an escapable chill in the air and the streets are slowly becoming festooned in a trail of leaves. Factor in those comforting mugs of hot cocoa, and you definitely know that Autumn is finally here. This officially means that if you are brave enough to pay the shops a visit, you will now be aware that the jolly man in red and his reindeer friends are on the way. However, while we are undoubtedly excited for all the indulgent food, glittering sparkles and mysterious gifts that Christmas brings, we want to focus on some events that are arriving a little sooner. This is because while nothing is quite comparable to the magic and wonder of Christmas, we like to think that the fiendish fun of Halloween and the spectacular night-time displays of Bonfire Night hold their own in the excitement stakes. When else can you dress up as someone you are not, pig out on all kinds of indulgent candy and see the skies brought to life in an illuminating display of rainbow colours? Therefore, this week we thought we would look at all the family-fun you can experience with us this Autumn and when you consider our super city central locations, you know you are never too far away from all the action.

Aberdeen

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Image: http://www.picturebritain.com/2011/05/crathes-castle-banchory.html

Crathes Castle

Being located in ‘Castle County’ with more castles per acre than anywhere else in the UK, it is safe to say that we are all relatively castle crazy in our Aberdeen HQ. However, you can take this craziness and lunacy to a ghoulish level when you attend the special Halloween ghost tour of Crathes Castle from 28th – 31st October. With dark passageways and walls that hold stories spanning all kinds of decades, where else could be more spookily fitting to spend the holiday? No matter what corner you turn, expect the unexpected and with a ‘warm’ welcome from the castle’s most renowned inhabitant who haunts the halls, the Green lady, you know you are in for a few chills down the spine.

Website: http://www.nts.org.uk/Events/Theme/Halloween-fun/

Haddo House

Halloween is all about mystery and tricks, but that does not mean it always has to be gruesome. Take for instance Halloween Magic at Haddo House where you can be captivated by mesmerising illuminations that bring both ethereal creatures like fairies, and those which are a little more sinister, to life. With stunning woodland grounds which deserve to be admired both during the day and in the mysterious night, it is the perfect setting for a night rich in fairy tales and magic.

Website: http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Haddo-House/Events/

Codona’s

Complete with bowling, dodgems and an arcade where one can spend many an hour (and your loose change!), Codona’s amusement park is the perfect family friendly trip at it is. However, if you factor in it being bedecked in all kinds of ghostly gruesome decorations and offering traditional party games, then you know there is no where you can get more in the Halloween spirit of things. The only thing not so scary is the special reduced prices Codona’s offering throughout the month of October meaning you can be scared, but for less!

Website: http://codonas.com/sunset-boulevard/smugglers-cove/smugglers-cove-halloween-spook-tacular

Hidden Aberdeen

If there is anything synonymous with Halloween, it is creepy and spine-tingling tours of deserted streets haunted by restless ghosts who want to lure you into their dark and twisted stories. Therefore, if you are the kind of adrenaline junkie who lives for these kinds of scares, Hidden Aberdeen undoubtedly offers a tour which will hit all the spots. With tours focusing on all kinds of morbidly fascinating stories covering murder, bodysnatchers and ghosts, there is a darker history to the buzzing streets of Scotland’s Silver City which deserve to be told and when better to hear them than on this ghostly night?

Website: http://www.hiddenaberdeen.co.uk/

Birmingham

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Image: https://www.cadburyworld.co.uk/whats-on/autumn

Birmingham is the ultimate destination for family friendly fun because due to its convenient location, it is only a short distance away from major UK attractions including Drayton Manor, Warwick Castle, West Midland Safari Park and Cadbury’s World. Fortunately, if these attractions were not exciting enough as it was, they are taking it to a whole new level this Autumn as they fully embody and embrace the ghostly season. Therefore, from horror mazes to all kinds of wicked tricks and treats, there are all kinds of new mischievous fun to be had from the seasonal horror spectaculars on offer.

The National Sea Life Centre

All kinds of mystery and wonder lurk in the dark crevices of the ocean floor and the National Sea Life Centre is certainly playing on this with a Spooky Seas exhibit on display from the 22nd October to the 31st October. From jellyfish to piranhas, not all ghostly forms are to be discovered on dry land!

Website: https://www2.visitsealife.com/birmingham/discover/events/

Black Country Living Museum

One of Birmingham’s most renowned and award-winning museums, there could not be a better setting for some Halloween fun quite like the cobbled streets of the Black Country Living Museum which tells the story of the world’s first industrial landscape. Factor in live street entertainment including magicians and fire-jugglers; actual trick or treating and interaction with all kinds of creepy, crazy characters, it is a sure fire guarantee for a wicked night out! Available between 28th and 31st October.

Website: http://www.bclm.co.uk/events/halloween-nights–sold-out/14.htm

Pumpkin Flotilla at Sarehole Mill

Ghosts, witches, vampires and candy; all are symbols synonymous with the seasonal haunted spirit. However, from infamous Pumpkin Spices Lattes to Pumpkin Pie, who can forget the other main accessory of the season – pumpkins! Therefore, for a more relaxed spooky evening, how about partaking in Birmingham’s only pumpkin flotilla at Sarehole Mill? Occurring between October 28th and October 30th, you can spend the mysterious period of twilight, not gawping at vampires, but being hypnotised by the wondrous sight of gently glowing carved pumpkins floating away down the Mill pond. The complimentary hot chocolate also adds a little something special to the proceedings!

 Website: http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/sarehole/whats-on/pumpkin-flotilla

 

Glasgow

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Image: https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/halloween-in-glasgow

Glasgow Horror Festival

Sometimes Halloween is not all about going out, it is also about staying in, turning off the lights, snuggling up in a duvet and then subjecting yourself to a marathon of the scariest and most gruesome movies which guarantee you a night with the lights switched on. Well, with the inaugural Glasgow Horror Festival on 29th October 2016, you can be terrified out of your wits with company as the festival will be 12 hours full of indie movies, live music, industry Q and As and of course some crazy dressing up! If you are really a horror movie buff, make sure not to miss the movie drive-in at the Riverside Museum on the 30th October which is showing classics including Hocus Pocus.

Website: http://www.princeandprincessofwaleshospice.org.uk/event-article/social-events/drive-in-movie

Tennant’s Halloween Brewery Tour

Whether it is Halloween or not, the Tennant’s Brewery tour is always worth a visit just because you cannot say you have fully experienced Scotland until you have learnt the story of one of Scotland’s national drinks. However, the Halloween tours on the 28th/29th October just elevate the invigorating stories to be told because mysterious tales of the brewery are interwoven alongside the provision of Halloween games and nibbles.

Glasgow Science Centre – Halloween Fright Night

While you may be dying to enjoy a spooky pint of Tennants, sometimes with your young ones in tow this may not be a possibility. However, Glasgow is able to provide some family friendly thrills and nowhere is this more clearly evident than at the Glasgow Science Centre’s Halloween Fright Night on 28th October. It is literally one of Scotland’s biggest family friendly Halloween extravaganzas and with a costume catwalk, the chance to concoct your own monster potion, a gruesome live autopsy and the telling of tales of mystery in the planetarium, it is no surprise why all the young ghosts and ghouls congregate here!

Website: http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/special-events/frightnight.html

Edinburgh

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Website: https://www.scotsmagazine.com/articles/break-free-from-the-edinburgh-fringe/

Ghost Tours

Just from looking at Edinburgh and its cobbled old streets, you can see that it is a city rooted in a rich history and of course where there is history; there are often dark, sinister stories of murder, mystery, treason and blood. Therefore, regardless of whether you visit Edinburgh at Halloween or not, there is always ample opportunity to have the goose bumps rise on your arms and the chill go down your spine as many attractions including the Edinburgh Dungeons, The Ghost Bus Tour, Mary’s Kings Close and Edinburgh’s renowned ghost walks/murder tours are open for haunting all year round. From bodysnatchers to vampires to witch trials, you can learn all about it whatever month you visit, but of course there could not be a more chillingly fitting time than the night of scares and ghouls itself. Mercat Tours in particular are offering dedicated Halloween tours.

Website: https://www.mercattours.com/

 Condemned, Real Mary’s King Close

Mary’s King Close is rumoured to be one of Scotland’s most haunted grounds as it is, therefore where better to spend Halloween? This is particularly true when you consider how the chilling stories of the underground streets are taken to a whole new terrifying level with the seasonal late night experience of “Condemned”. Witches are an integral part of Halloween due to their dark magic and plotting, and therefore this is why “Condemned” is centred on telling the story of Edinburgh’s witchcraft past.

Website: http://www.realmarykingsclose.com/events/16-02-17/condemned-287898829.aspx

The Real Jekyll and Hyde at Edinburgh Dungeons

While some of Edinburgh’s renowned ghost and murder tours may be a little too much for the young ones, the Edinburgh Dungeons are able to make the dark, gruesome past a little more accessible through invoking some comical relief and interactive guest participation. With the seasonal addition of ‘The Real Jekyll and Hyde’ to generate some extra thrills, there really cannot be a better time to interact with some of the shadiest characters of Edinburgh’s past.

Website: https://www.thedungeons.com/edinburgh/en/explore-the-dungeon/jekyll-and-hyde.aspx

Halloween Trail

Between the Botanic Light event and this creepy Halloween trail occurring between the 15th and 31st of October, there could not be a better time to experience the wonder, beauty and now mystery of the Royal Botanic Gardens. A light-hearted activity perfect for all the family, the trail centres on helping a witch’s cat, Caley, to amass all the necessary plant ingredients to concoct the healing potion for the Garden’s witch.

Website: http://www.rbge.org.uk/whats-on/family-events

Samhuinn Fire Festival 2016

There is no experience quite as immersive as the Samhuinn Fire Festival, a non-ticketed event occurring on 31st October which will send your senses into overdrive due to the dramatic fire, pumping music and captivating street performances that occur. Halloween is all about tradition and this event is no different because it is a Celtic festival all about reliving the pagan tradition of Samhuinn, the celebration that occurred when harvest ended and winter was coming. Beginning on the Royal Mile, this is an amazing spectacle and experience not to be missed!

 Website: https://beltane.org/about-samhuinn/

 

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November…

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Website: http://www.walkersandford.co.uk/festive-firework-displays-guy-fawkes-nights-in-glasgow-november-2012/

However, the night-time spectaculars go beyond the 31st of October, so make sure you stick around! This is because of course who can forget the 5th of November where the skies come to life in a blaze of colour and wonder to celebrate Bonfire night. Fortunately, none of our respective locations are shy when it comes to getting in the seasonal spirit of sparklers and Catherine wheels so make sure to discover where some of the headlining public events are occurring for the best view in the house. From fairgrounds to live music, this is a celebration truly not to be missed!

Birmingham

Edgbaston Stadium Fireworks Spectacular (tickets required)

                        Solihull Round Table Fireworks Display

Glasgow   

Glasgow Green Fireworks (free)

Edinburgh

Fireworks at Meadowbank! (tickets required)

Aberdeen

Aberdeen Beach (free)

Your One Stop Serviced Apartment Shop

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If there is anything that we pride ourselves on about our apartments it is their ultra-convenient and central locations. However, if you believe bias to be clouding our judgement, check out these vibrant and quirky word clouds we compiled from Trip Advisor reviews which only attested to how all our guests also agree that we come top when it comes to location.

Our post codes only speak to this as with highly sought after locations on renowned UK streets including Edinburgh’s Hanover Street and on the doorstep of Birmingham’s ultra-exclusive retail paradise known as the Mailbox, we are clearly right in the hub of all the excitement and adventure that cosmopolitan Britain has to offer. However, while we do reside in some of the UK’s biggest and best cities including the glittering granite exterior of Aberdeen and the world renowned hospitality and friendly banter of Glasgow, we appreciate that maybe you want to explore horizons further afield. For instance, maybe you are feeling courageous and want to pay the infamous Loch Ness Monster a visit or perhaps the bright lights of the UK’s greatest metropolis and dear capital London is calling you. Wherever you like, whatever destination your heart desires, from Dundee to Manchester to Liverpool to Newcastle to Belfast, with ‘The Apartment Collection – By The Spires’ we can find the perfect serviced apartment accommodation for you. Wondering how? Let us explain.

While we would love to say that we have managed to grow overnight and launch brand new apartments in cities from the top to the bottom of the country, unfortunately that is a dream for another day. However, that has not stopped us from developing connections with serviced apartment providers all across the country and subsequently alongside the title of ‘serviced apartment operator’, we also would like to add ‘serviced apartment agent’ embossed on a gold name plaque. Consequently, no longer can we just provide you with the ultimate experience in serviced apartment accommodation when you stay directly with us, but we can also source you the best possible stay even when you are not staying with us. At The Spires we are all about delivering our guests with the best experience possible and this is something that we want to continue whether you are staying with us or not. Therefore, we will only source you accommodation with serviced apartment providers who we believe share the same values and ethos as us in relation to customer service. Consequently, we are taking the stress out of your hands in relation to scouring the internet to see if providers are really living up to their proclaimed reputation through those rigorous Trip Advisor checks. All you have to do is dial the magic telephone number to The Spires and you can put your feet up as we do all the sourcing work for you through our network which we have accumulated afters years in business.

Therefore, we really are a one-stop-shop when it comes to serviced apartment living. From offering up our own apartments to helping you find accommodation when we do not have apartments in the city locations you want to stay in, one call to The Spires will sort out all your accommodation enquiries. Whatever the destination, serviced apartments really are the perfect cost-effective alternative to traditional hotels as the flexibility, freedom, space and convenience they offer just cannot be rivalled – wherever you venture in the world! Therefore, whatever your travel circumstances, whether you are travelling for 1 night or 1 year,  whether you are travelling nationally or internationally or whether you are flying solo or as part of a family trip, we will be able to source you the best stay so you do not have to.

With the October holidays on the horizon (an ample opportunity to explore all the treasures that the world has to offer) it is the perfect time to consider visiting somewhere new. Therefore, make sure to visit our dedicated ‘The Apartment Collection – By The Spires’ website to get the inspiration rolling or if you already have a location in mind, phone us at 0345 270 0090 to get your holiday booked. Wherever and whenever, The Spires have your every travel need sorted.

http://www.theapartmentcollection.co.uk/