Film Locations You Need to Visit

When a film is shot in an amazing location, we all end up dreaming about being there ourselves. Whether it’s wandering the lush land of The Shire, or dancing in the Austrian mountains singing “the hills are alive!” — admit it; you’ve always wanted to do it.

Sound of Music – filmed in Salzburg, Austria

If there’s one film that has truly stood the test of time, it’s The Sound of Music. You can embark on a bus tour dedicated to The Sound of Music through the charming city of Salzburg to visit many locations featured in the film. These include both Mirabell Gardens and Pegasus Fountain, where Maria sang and danced with the Von Trapp children during the iconic ‘Do-Re-Mi’ number. Thanks to The Sound of Music, so many people still visit the city each year. Although since 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, any trip to Salzburg will be extra special this year.

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Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – both filmed in New Zealand

New Zealand’s dramatic landscape was the perfect setting for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Both were filmed entirely in New Zealand, and super-fans will be delighted to know that many of the film’s locations are accessible to the general public. You can experience the real Middle Earth with a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set, which was the setting for The Shire that featured in both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

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Schindler’s List – filmed in Krakow, Poland

Steven Spielberg’s moving 1993 Holocaust drama is based on the life of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman born in 1908. He became an unlikely hero after turning his factory into a safe haven for Jewish people during the Second World War, which saved thousands of lives. The film not only won critical acclaim and a plethora of Academy Awards, but also had a huge impact in Krakow following its release. Many Schindler’s List tours are still available around the city, while Schindler’s factory is now a museum and a must-see for any visitor.

Wawel Castle, Krakow

The Beach – Phi Phi Island, Thailand

If one place is a prime example of paradise, it’s Phi Phi Island. The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, is about a group of young travellers that abandon society to live in a hidden lagoon in southern Thailand. Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island was the perfect location for the film. The island is surrounded by stunning turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs that plunge into the ocean; you can even visit Maya Bay and see first-hand why this stunning paradise was selected to be the backdrop for this 2000 film.

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Mamma Mia – filmed in Skopelos, Greece

Skopelos is one of the most picturesque islands in Greece and a veritable feast for the eyes in the film adaption of the Abba-inspired musical. Part of the success of Mamma Mia was down to the beautiful Greek landscape that featured heavily in the film. The church that hosted Sophie’s wedding was filmed at Agios Ioannis Prodromos Monastery, which is located high up a cliff overlooking the tranquil waters of Skopelos. The harbour scene in Mamma Mia was actually filmed on the beautiful Greek isle of Skiathos, around one hour away from Skopelos by boat.

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Frozen – inspired by Norwegian fjords

The world has gone Frozen-mad thanks to Disney’s wildly popular animation film, released in 2013. Cruises to Norway, the destination that inspired the smash-hit, have become increasing popular in recent years due to parents wanting to give their children an unforgettable ‘real life’ Frozen experience. Cruises are a fantastic way to experience the dramatic and stunning landscape of Norway. Whether you’re a Disney fan or just enjoy natural beauty, you’ll be in awe of the magnificent fjords, which were the inspiration behind this phenomenal film.

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Which film location would you love to visit? Comment below to let us know! 


5 Reasons to Book with a Travel Agent

Planning a trip away can get so confusing and frustrating these days. With numerous travel websites to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start! We’re here to help take the stress away from you and make the process of booking a holiday easier. We have over 30 years of experience, so rest assured your holiday is in safe hands!

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Widest Choice on the High Street

We’re the UK’s Largest Independent Travel Agent; this means we can offer the most extensive travel opportunities, from coach holidays to around the world itineraries. We also offer some holiday extras, including car parking and car hire, travel insurance and fantastic rates on foreign currency. We really are your one-stop-travel-shop!

Saves you time

Instead of searching the internet for the best deals days on end, leave it up to the experts. We’ll take all your needs and requirements into consideration whilst finding you your dream holiday. Whether you’re looking for a family getaway, honeymoon or flight only, we’ll do all the research for you at no extra cost. You won’t need to worry about a thing!

We will find you the best deal

We have a few tricks up our sleeves that you won’t find yourself using the internet. If you’re planning a cruise holiday, let us take you through the process of finding the best itinerary for you. Going on a theme park holiday? No problem, we’ll find you the best deals on park tickets. If you’re hitting the slopes on a ski holiday, you can hire your equipment, lift passes and tuition all in advance with us. Nothing is too big or too small for us!

We’ve got the knowledge

Thinking about booking a holiday but not sure where you want to go? We’ll listen to what you’re after and tell you exactly where’s suitable for you. Whether it’s a first ever girl’s holiday, ski trip, or a short break in the UK, we want you to have the best experience possible and we’ll make sure that happens for you. We even have resident experts throughout our branches in a variety of areas, from Disney experts to Cruise specialists; they’ve been to the theme parks or have enjoyed a cruise on the ship! They offer first-hand knowledge and will be able to answer any of your questions.

Think of us as your safety net

We all know that sometimes holidays don’t always go ahead as planned. Flights can get delayed or cancelled, luggage can get lost, an illness can occur abroad. Never fear, your travel agent is here! We’ll save you the time and stress of having to making numerous phone calls to automated numbers or people you’ve never even spoken to before. Hearing a familiar voice will help put your mind at ease.

Next time you’re thinking of booking a holiday, pop into your local Hays Travel or Bath Travel branch – we’ll be happy to assist you in booking your dream holiday. Find your local branch here:

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is nearly here, but it’s not too late to plan the perfect day with your Mum!  Forget chocolates and flowers; treat her to something a little bit more special. Our gift ideas will be sure to put a smile on her face this Mother’s Day.

If she’s a spa lover

All mothers need a bit of ‘me spatime’ every now and again, and there’s no better way to treat your mother (and yourself) than an indulgent day at the spa. Enjoy an afternoon of pure relaxation and allow her to unwind and be pampered from head to toe. Spoil her with a hot stone massage, a relaxing mud bath or a seaweed wrap for a Mother’s Day gift that ticks all the boxes.

If she’s a foodie

Afternoon Tea Rundle Lounge - Petit Fours

Mothers with a sweet tooth will love champagne afternoon tea! Finger sandwiches, jam and clotted cream scones, freshly baked cakes and macaroons all washed down with a glass or two of bubbly – what more could your mother want? You can choose from hundreds of beautiful locations across the UK, from country manors and swish hotels to cosy village cafés.

If she loves culture


If your Mother loves art galleries, museums and sightseeing then why not really push the boat out and treat her to a swish city break? Classic destinations such as Amsterdam, Paris or Rome are always a hit. For something a little more off the beaten track, you could whisk her away to Spain’s Seville or Switzerland’s Bern; both of which are steeped in history, art and culture and are just waiting to be explored.

If she’s a theatre lover


Why not whisk your mum off to London’s West End to see her favourite musical? Wicked, Billy Elliott and Phantom of the Opera are amongst the most popular, but there are plenty of vibrant shows to choose from. Matinee performances are also available on many top shows, so you can spend the evening exploring the glitz and glam of the capital.

If you would like more information, please pop into your local branch. Find your nearest Hays Travel or Bath Travel branch here:

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National Apprenticeship Week 2015

If you’re thinking about kick-starting a career in travel, then why not consider an apprenticeship with Hays Travel’s award-winning Apprenticeship Programme? We made it on to the list of the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers in 2012 and 2013 so we fully understand the value of apprentices to the company.

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Find out why you should consider an apprenticeship with Hays Travel

Kick start your career

Whether you’ve just left school or college and you’re on the hunt for your first ever job or if you’re looking for a career change, an apprenticeship is a great place to start! We at Hays Travel get to know you throughout the application process and we’ll place you in a job role which we feel will compliment your career prospects and skill sets.

Get a recognised qualification

Retail apprentices will work towards NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Travel Services, and our head office apprentices will work towards an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration and NVQ Level 2 in Customer Services.

Earn while you learn

One of the benefits of choosing an apprenticeship is that you get paid whilst you complete it! You’ll feel more stable knowing there’s a pay cheque waiting for you at the end of each month. Our apprenticeship scheme combines on-the-job training with classroom learning. You’ll attend regular training sessions with our NVQ trainers to work towards your qualification.

Develop your skills and experience

Our apprenticeship scheme allows you to gain valuable experience within the travel industry; you’ll be working alongside experienced staff that can impact their wisdom to you. Our NVQ assessors are here to support you throughout your apprenticeship.

Variety of job roles

You can complete your apprenticeship within a variety of job roles, from an apprentice travel consultant in our retails branches to a variety of our departments in head office, including; marketing, IT, training and customer service, as well as many others. We’ll ensure that you are placed in the most suitable department to enable your personal development.

Meet our current apprentices and see how they’re getting on with their first year working for Hays Travel and our sister company Bath Travel.

Name: Jayne Dowell Jayne Dowell

Job role: I work at Hays Travel Head Office as a Marketing Apprentice.

Tell us a bit about what your job role entails:

Part of my job role includes dealing with queries from both Hays Travel and Bath Travel retail branches. This involves issuing and redeeming gift vouchers, point of sale updates, and ordering any items requested by the branches. I also source offers to go on the TV screen in branches, and liaise with external companies to organise and produce content for the Personal Travel Consultant and Premier Homeworker website. I answer incoming calls and greet external visitors at reception and carry out general administration duties.

What qualification are you working towards?

I am currently working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration; next year I will be working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service. I regularly attend training sessions with the other apprentices to complete work for my qualification and also have monthly visits from my NVQ assessor who supports me throughout my apprenticeship.

What is your favourite thing about working for Hays Travel?

One of the highlights of working for Hays Travel is that the people I work with are so friendly. When I first started working here everyone made me feel welcome and I felt part of the team straight away. My colleagues in the marketing department have helped me to develop my knowledge and skills, meaning I now have a greater understanding of the importance of marketing within the company.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

I am looking forward to going to Paris at the end of this year. I’ve always wanted to go to Disneyland Paris since I was younger and now I finally get to go!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

In five years’ time I would have liked to have developed my career further within the Hays Travel marketing department.

Name: Amy Hogan amy

Job role: I work as an Apprentice Travel Consultant at Bath Travel Torquay.

Tell us a bit about what your job role entails:

My job entails working with my colleagues to ensure the office is performing well and we are working well as a unit, assisting our customers to find the best deals for them for their perfect holiday. I also use our systems to administer enquiries, confirmations and tickets for customers, as well as helping around the office on a day to day basis by checking window cards and replenishing the brochure shelves! In particular, I am responsible in my branch for updating our Facebook page on a regular basis and using my creative abilities to come up with new ideas, offering our best rates on foreign exchange, and ensuring my colleagues do as well. I do this by checking the forex forms on a daily basis. I keep up to date with my NVQ coursework and work with my assessor to ensure I am completing my work to the best of my ability.

What qualification are you working towards?

I am on the first year of my qualification so I am working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Travel Services, and next year I will be working towards a Level 3.

What is your favourite thing about working for Bath Travel?

I really enjoy working for Bath Travel because it’s a company I can trust. They’re constantly working on updating and improving which is a great thing for us and for the customers. The people I work with are all really helpful and incredibly supportive, making sure I take time on my studies as well as learning day-to-day in the branch.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

My favourite destination has to be Turkey. I’ve been a few times now, always to different destinations – but I have loved each one! The people are lovely and friendly and I think it’s a beautiful place.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

In 5 years’ time I would like to see myself working well and confidently within the Torquay branch, hopefully working towards becoming a top selling Travel Consultant.

100 Apprentices 800x800 HaysSeveral previous apprentices have gone on to progress within Hays Travel to hold senior positions. Many of our apprentices choose to stay with us for a long time and enjoy a happy and fulfilling career in the travel industry. One of our senior members of staff Paula Barrett joined us as an apprentice in 1990 and has enjoyed a 25 year long career with us; she is now Head of Hays Retail.

Each year we employ over 100 apprentices in many different departments throughout the company, whether it’s at Hays Travel or our Bournemouth based Bath Travel we’re sure to place you in the department most suitable for you.

If you’re interested in completing an apprenticeship at the UK’s Largest Independent Travel Agent, click here to apply:

The deadline for this year’s applications is 13th March 2015 so there is still time left for you to apply!

Top 5 Valentine’s Day Destinations

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to sweep your partner away for a romantic break. Whether you’re planning on popping the question or just want to spoil your loved one, keep on reading for inspiration on where to take your other half for a perfect romantic getaway.

Sunset, heart

Verona, Italy

Nothing could be more romantic than spending Valentine’s Day in the city which inspired the greatest love story of all time – Romeo and Juliet. If it’s good enough for Shakespeare, we’re sure it’ll be good enough for you! Verona is a charming town which oozes romance from every corner, with waterside walkways, roman ruins and gothic churches. Take a stroll alongside the Adige River at sunset and enjoy the spectacular views. Perhaps catch a performance at the beautifully preserved roman amphitheatre Arena Di Verona, where pop, jazz and opera shows are held regularly. Step aside Paris; Verona could well take the crown for the most romantic city in the world.


Santorini, Greece

Santorini is a hotspot for honeymooners and cosy couples, with its whitewashed buildings and blue capped churches. Creating a truly romantic setting, it’s easy to see why it’s a favourite! To make the experience even more unforgettable, why not book a stay at the Iconic Santorini – a boutique cave hotel. This tranquil hotel offers breath-taking views over the cliff, on evenings you have stunning panoramic views of the sunset which Santorini is infamous for. If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind with your partner then Santorini should be top of your list.


Paris, France

The classic romantic destination, Paris is known as the city of love for a reason. Why not see for yourself? Imagine you and your other half sharing the spectacular view from the top of the Eiffel Tower or perhaps enjoying the delights of French cuisine over a candlelit dinner, bringing the night to a close on an evening cruise down the River Seine admiring the glittering lights of the city. A romantic getaway to Paris is guaranteed to create some romantic memories for you and your loved one.

Eiffel Tower

Honolulu, Hawaii

If you fancy travelling further afield for Valentine’s Day, then you should consider visiting the gorgeous islands of Hawaii. Honolulu offers picturesque scenery, white sandy beaches and temperate waters; the perfect location for an ultra-relaxing romantic escape.  Honolulu is home to some world-class spas, where you can indulge in some luxurious pampering. You can end the night by dining at some of Honolulu’s premier restaurants. You’ll be spoilt for choice as Hawaiian cuisine is an exciting fusion of delicious foods from across the globe.

Hawaii Sunset


Take your Valentine to Mauritius and live the dream in a tropical paradise. This little beauty is the perfect destination if you’re looking for the ultimate island escape. There’s a huge variety of culture and stunning scenery right at your fingertips. Lush green valleys, gorgeous golden beaches and striking blue waters; you’ll never run out of things to gaze at in awe! You could spend your days relaxing on the beach catching some rays, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, head out to sea for a scuba dive; there are large areas of natural coral bursting with vibrant colours waiting to be explored!


Where would you love to spend Valentine’s Day? 


Benidorm TV Show Locations

Every Friday night we are glued to our television screens watching series 7 of the much loved TV show Benidorm. A ray of sunshine is exactly what we need on these miserable winter nights, even if it’s only an hour a week on our TV screen. Many of us are now wishing it was us relaxing by the pool at The Solana Resort sipping a cocktail or two. Well that could easily be you! Many of the locations you see in the programme are easily accessible for visitors to the town. If you’re a fan of the show, you’re sure to enjoy our lowdown on locations used in Benidorm.

Benidorm beach

The Solana Resort

There aren’t actually any hotels in Benidorm named The Solana; some scenes were in fact filmed at the Three-Star Sol Pelicanos Ocas Hotel. The Solana is portrayed to be something of a disaster and a poorly run hotel all-around, however the Sol Pelicanos is far from it – it’s even one of the most popular hotels in Benidorm. The hotel offers two adult pools, two children’s pools, a pool for sports and activities and – if that’s not quite enough – a main lagoon style pool with a swim up bar, providing plenty of choice for those on family holidays.

Sol Pelicanos Ocas

Neptune’s Bar

Just a short stroll from the Sol Pelicanos Ocas Hotel you’ll stumble across Morgan’s Tavern, also known as Neptune’s Bar. You’ll have no problem finding it, especially as it’s the only bar in Benidorm shaped like a pirate ship! Whilst Neptune’s is home to countless badly-performed songs by the cast of Benidorm, Morgan’s Tavern is actually a very popular cabaret bar with a variety of top class live acts performing each night. For anyone visiting Benidorm, Morgan’s Tavern is must visit. Whether you’re a fan of the show or not, you’re guaranteed to have an entertaining night out.

Levante Beach

You’ll have seen this famous 4-mile long beach in the show’s opening sequence. Levante Beach is the main beach in Benidorm and enjoys the sun all day long due to its south-facing direction. The soft golden sand and calm waters make it a very popular beach and perfect for families. From the Sol Pelicanos Ocas Hotel, the beach is only a short 300-metre walk away.

Benidorm Palace

It’s showtime! No trip to Benidorm would be complete without a trip to the extravagant spectacle of glitz and glam that is Benidorm Palace. Throughout the several series of the TV show, the Palace has made numerous appearances – and is one of few locations that hasn’t been given a fictional name. If you’re after a fun-filled night out for all the family we would definitely recommend the iconic Benidorm Palace.

If you miss the show while it’s off our TV screens and would like to be the star of your own Benidorm experience, be sure to check out a selection of our fantastic deals here!

Top 10 Holiday Hotspots in 2015

2015 is upon us and it’s now time to start thinking about this year’s holiday. With a vast array of holiday destinations to choose from, it’s almost impossible to decide where on earth to go! We are here to make that decision a little easier for you.

Here is our list of the top 10 holiday hotspots for 2015.


Iceland is becoming a popular short haul destination. A country that has recently topped lists as one of the happiest places on earth, and with the Northern Lights being a typical night’s view in winter, it’s easy to see why Iceland is a favourite. 2015 will see the opening of the amazing 1,640ft Ice Cave in the Langjokull Glacier, a tour which really puts the ice in Iceland. The Land of Fire and Ice boasts some of the world’s most natural beauty, including the famous Strokkur Geyser and countless natural hot springs.

Geyser IcelandNew York

New York is one of those cities that everyone wants to visit at least once in their lifetime. In summer 2015 there will be daily direct flights from Newcastle to the Big Apple, meaning passengers from the North East can be in the big, bold city in less than eight hours. The possibilities are endless in New York: enjoy a stroll through Central Park, or do some serious window shopping in the designer boutiques on Fifth Avenue, and don’t miss out on the chance to see a musical on Broadway. Strolling through New York is like stepping into the middle of Hollywood film set, and you’re the main star.

Central Park New YorkMalta

Malta is the Mediterranean’s hidden treasure and it’s no surprise its capital city Valletta is the European Capital of Culture 2018. For such a small island, Malta packs a lot in. There are numerous golden sandy beaches, chic harbour towns and enough cultural beauty to keep you busy for weeks. Most recently, Malta has featured in the popular TV series Game of Thrones; if you’re a fan you can take a tour around the city to locations where parts of the show were set. The tour includes visits to Valletta, Mdina and Birgu, which were the sites used as Kings Landing and Red Keep.

Valletta skyline with the St. Pauls Cathedral. MaltaMontenegro

Magical Montenegro is a perfect holiday choice if you’re looking for a summer holiday destination with a difference. It has long been overshadowed by neighbouring Croatia, but miniature Montenegro is making a comeback, thanks to its beautiful beaches, forest cloaked mountains and it’s exquisitely preserved ancient towns. It is predicted that tourism here will grow faster than anywhere else in the world over a 10 year period. New hotels will be popping up left, right and centre in 2015, making Montenegro a must visit destination this year.

Sveti Stefan MontenegroKrakow

Move over Paris and Berlin, Krakow has arrived. In 2014 Krakow was voted the number one destination by tourists for European city breaks. Visitors praised the locals for their warm, friendly welcome and for the quality of food and drink. Due to demand, there will be direct flights to Krakow from London Heathrow four times a week in May 2015, making visiting this fabulous city even easier. Krakow has a rich history, vibrant nightlife and you’ll never be short of things to do here.

Krakow Main SquareMykonos

Greece has always been a firm family favourite for British holiday makers but the Greek island of Mykonos is storming ahead of the others. A-list celebrities have helped put this Grecian gem on the map. The partying scene here is destined to give Ibiza a run for its money, with its stylish, sophisticated nightclubs; you’ll find that the day has as much to offer as the night. If you need to recover from the night before then there’s plenty of gorgeous, golden beaches to choose from, two of the most popular beaches are appropriately named Paradise and Super Paradise. The beautiful white buildings accessorised with bright blue doors are a true picture of iconic Greece.

Chora Mykonos town near the seaBosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most picturesque countries off the beaten track. You’ll find effortless beauty of luscious green countryside, unspoiled nature ready to be explored, incredible views and crystal clear waters. Bosnia and Herzegovina is still flying under the radar, which means now is the perfect time to visit. Another bonus for visitors to Bosnia and Herzegovina is that the food is incredibly cheap, as well as being totally delicious.

Bosnia and HerzegovinaCroatia

Croatia is quickly building a reputation to become festival capital of Europe. 2015 will see the launch of Croatia Rocks, brought to partygoers by the epic Ibiza Rocks Group. The new five day festival will be held on the island of Pag, where the other popular festival Hideout Festival is held a few weeks before. Hideout is celebrating its fifth birthday in 2015, so expect a killer line up of electro superstars. New flights this year mean that it’s so much easier to get to Croatia, with direct flights from May 2015 departing from London Heathrow and Belfast to Split.

Pag Island, CroatiaHaiti

This is one for the adventurous traveller. Five years on from the devastating earthquake, Haiti is now ready to welcome tourists; several tour operators are now offering trips for the first time in 2015. February is a fantastic time to visit, as it coincides with the Haiti Carnival which is celebrated over several weeks. Haiti is home to some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for a get away from it all holiday, then Haiti is calling your name.

Beach in HaitiNicaragua

For a long time in Central America it’s all been about Costa Rica, but now it’s Nicaragua’s turn to take the limelight. Nicaragua remains one of the least visited countries in Central America, but that is all about to change. In the past year there has been a boom in luxury hotels opening, attracting more people to the country, with more opening their doors in 2015. It’s a land of lakes and volcanos, deserted beaches and amazing wildlife. There are lush rainforests to be explored, hot springs to bathe in and so much natural beauty to take in.

Ompete Beach, NicaraguaOur 2015 summer holidays are on sale now! Check out our deals here: