Take the plunge… a weekend away making new friends can be a lot of fun!
Product: solosholidays.co.uk Price: £245.00 Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (0/5)
I came across the Solos Holidays website while looking for a couple of nights away so I could enjoy a bit of ‘me time’. I didn’t mind the thought of travelling alone, but with single supplements hiking up prices significantly, most nice hotels weren’t really an option. And there is always that slight awkwardness at dinner, where you bolt down your food to avoid sympathetic glances that seem to say ‘why are you alone?’!
Once I saw what Solos offered I was hooked – the chance to have a break away without single supplements and meet up with people in a similar situation was very appealing. I loved the fact that they have lots of UK trips across the year as well as breaks abroad for the more adventurous. Among these, there are taster weekends where newbies can find out if the Solos experience is for them without committing to a longer stay.
My choice was the perfect taster experience. I initially wanted to sign up for a weekend in Oxford, as I’ve never been, but it was so popular that by the time I booked the quota of ladies allowed on the trip had been filled. Instead, I opted for a weekend in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.
Solos are very keen to ensure there is an equal (ish) number of men and women – not because they are trying to match you up with anyone, but because it gives a nice balance to the group. I have a feeling that without the limit more women than men would sign up, perhaps because us ladies find it easier to get chatting than men do!
Our Suffolk weekend was based at the Holiday Inn, near Ipswich, just off the A14.
The hotel was great, just quirky enough to be different from the usual roadside accommodation but with everything we needed for a sociable weekend.
I arrived just in time for the Solos reception and found that walking into a room full of strangers was not so hard after all! Greeted by the friendly tour leader Christine, everything was done to put us all at ease – and I was far from the only person feeling awkward initially.
On this Solos’ trip the age range of those attending was between 39 and mid-70s, but before too long we were all chatting amicably and finding we had things in common whatever our age. There are some trips open to all single travellers, while others restrict to an older or younger clientele, just so everyone feels comfortable. Our trip was a mixture of single, divorced and widowed guests, plus those who had partners at home but who chose to holiday separately for a variety of reasons.
A three-course dinner with a half-bottle of wine was included on both nights, the perfect way of relaxing after our trip to Bury St Edmunds, where we ambled around the town’s Abbey and historical streets in the company of a very knowledgeable blue badge tour guide who brought it all to life.
It was probably more sedate than many of the Solos trips, but the whole philosophy is that you choose an experience that matches your particular needs. A relaxing walk around town was just what I needed after a busy week, though there are plenty of other more active options if preferred.
After dinner on the second night we enjoyed the disco (though some of us had misgivings about how fun that would actually be!) but with more wine and plenty of chat we had a great time.
As with all holidays it’s the people that make it memorable, but Solos provide a way of bringing people together to enjoy new experiences and make friends, not always any easy thing!
If you are single, or would just like to holiday with a group of new friends, I would definitely give Solos a try!
Solos offers a worldwide programme of short breaks and escorted tours, as well as sun & cruise options and an array of activity holidays including walking, tennis, ski, golf and multi-activity. For details of upcoming Solos Holidays trips, call 0844 371 8860, or visit www.solosholidays.co.uk
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