Seasonal

Where to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks

When the Christmas festivities are over, it’s time to look forward to bringing in the New Year with the ones you love.

If you haven’t decided what to do yet, then why not see one of the UK’s best firework displays? We’ve made life easier for you by shortlisting the ones we think sound the best.

Manchester 

The city of Manchester is always lively on New Year’s Eve, with the city acting as a magnet to residents and visitors from the local area, who are attracted to the bright lights on Oxford Street or the buzzing nightlife down Canal Street.

The Manchester New Year fireworks display never disappoints, with a spectacular display on Oxford Street. Make sure you catch these fireworks for yourself, or, if you’re not close enough you can watch the display live here.

London

Over the years, the popularity of London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display has rocketed, and for good reason too.

Thousands of spectators will line the Thames to watch an incredible fireworks display as well as viewers across the UK. Each year the London New Year fireworks display is broadcasted via most major UK news sites to officially bring the New Year in.

The last chance to get tickets for this year’s event is Friday, December 2nd costing £10 per person. If you don’t fancy paying, there will be five viewing areas along the Thames, Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge too.

skyline of london

Edinburgh

Why welcome in the New Year with just one firework display when you can enjoy four spectacular displays in one night.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is Scotland’s world-famous New Year festival featuring a three-day line of up of spectacular events, fantastic live acts and of course, incredible firework displays.

Check out the full line-up: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Birmingham

Taking place at Centenary Square, it will be all eyes to the sky for residents in Birmingham this New Year’s Eve as the city promises to host a dazzling fireworks display.

Taking place just around the corner from Birmingham’s vibrant Broad Sheet, you can find a list of fantastic venues to watch the display here.

The Hatchbag team wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year and the best of wishes for 2017. We do kindly ask that you make sure any pets are kept indoors this New Year to avoid them being scared by the fireworks.

The Hatchbag shortlist of the UK's best destinations to go sledging

On the rare occasion that the UK is covered under a blanket of snow, what else better is there to do than head to the hills and test out your sledging skills?

With winter fast approaching, we’re getting prepared for that snowy forecast. Here at Hatchbag, we have compiled a list of the UK’s best sledging destinations for cost-free winter thrills!

Cold Fell, Cumbria

Cumbria is blessed with several hills, making it an ideal location for sledging in wintry conditions. The slope located on the road between Ennerdale Bridge and Calder Bridge is a well-known hotspot for sledging fanatics. It’s a good long slope and is even steep enough for you thrill seekers to pick up some speed but not too steep to walk back up. And don’t worry you’re in for clear run without any hedges or dry stone walls obstructing your way.

Alexandra Palace, North London

This is the perfect sledging spot for families this winter. With a varying degree of slopes, there is something to suit all ages and abilities. There are smaller more gentle runs for the younger members of the family as well as more challenging slopes for the adrenaline junkies. An added extra to the winter fun is the fantastic view from the top. Before hurtling back down the slopes, you can take in the views of famous landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Olympic Stadium.

When your fingers and toes are numb and it’s time to call it a day, head to the Phoenix Pub in the palace complex at the top of the hill and treat yourself and the kids to a hot chocolate to warm up!

Urra Moor, North York Moores National Park

Urra Moor has to be one of the ultimate sledging destinations in the UK. With designated areas for different abilities and chosen modes of transport, there is something for everyone! It seems that this place was made for sledging. So, next time the UK is blessed with snowfall, head to Urra Moor and test out your sledging skills.

snowy mountains

Capel Curig, Snowdonia

This sledging hotspot lies in the heart of Snowdonia. Not only is this area a picturesque delight, but, it’s sloping hills provide a perfect surface to sledge in snowy scenes. As you fly across the snow and down the hills you will have a great view of the Snowdon Horseshoe and the surrounding lakes.

Aviemore, Highland

In Aviemore in Scotland, they take sledging to the next level. Leave your plastic sledge behind because here, they give you a real sledging experience. Situated at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountain Range is The Cairngorm Sleddog Centre. The centre offers a range of activities for families including Sleddog Trips and Safaris. They teach you how to sledge, look after the rig and the dogs, giving you the ultimate sledging experience.

Visit sled-dogs.co.uk for more information and prices.

Amongst all the excitement, don’t forget to take your Hatchbag boot-liner to protect your boot from those snowy sledges and wellies!

5 fun activities for the family to enjoy this Autumn half-term

It seems like only yesterday we were wishing our young ones a great first day back to school after that long summer break. And, as is the flavour of 2016, time feels as though it’s literally flying by.

So, if you’re finding that the autumn half-term is rolling around quicker than the time it takes to install a Hatchbag boot-liner, then fear not as the Hatchbag team have come together to shortlist some superb activities for you and the family to enjoy.

1) Dinosaurs: Monster families - London

Looking for a rip-roaring good time this half-term? Then take the kids to this interactive exhibition to see life-sized models of our favourite dinosaurs from embryo stage right through until they’re fully grown.dinosaurs2

The younger ones can get digging in the discovery pit to find some hidden gems such as a real dinosaur leg bone.

Find out more by visiting the Horniman website.

2) Jump Nation Trampoline Park - Birmingham, Manchester & Runcorn

Head down to the UK’s largest trampoline parks where your little ones can jump for joy with 218 wall-to-wall trampolines along with amazing features such as Dunk Ball Basketball, 3D dodge ball, Jump Pipe and plenty more – you’ll be sure to have a bouncetastic day.  So, what are you waiting for?

Head over to the Jump Nation website to find out more.

3) Brooklands Museum - Surrey

Not only is Brooklands Museum a great sporting arena, it’s also the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation. So, why not visit the home of Concorde, as well as numerous engineering and technological achievements from over the last two decades.

Plus, the kids can also enjoy their popular car rides. Tip: Look out for Bertie the Brooklands Bear!!

Head over to the Brooklands Museum website to find out more.

4) Juice Festival - Newcastle

A fantastic day out for all of the family, Juice Festival is THE event to go to for families during the October half-term in Newcastle, Gateshead.

With a wide range of family-friendly activities and programmes delivered by regional, national and international artists, you can take your pick of the nine exciting days of events, performances, activities and exhibitions to get your creative juices flowing.

Check out what’s on here, and head over to the site to purchase tickets.

5) The Enchantment of Chester Zoo - Chester

This October half-term, an evil sorcerer has cast a wicked spell on Chester Zoo, and the zoo needs your little ones’ help. With the evil spell sent to steal away the super powers of the nocturnal animals, Chester Zoo are asking your kids to bring their good-will to help the old wise own beat the evil sorcerer. There will also be plenty of magical help on hand from performers, musicians, aerialists, acrobatics and animals along the way. So, don’t miss out.

Book your tickets here.

the-enchantment-LPhero

We’d love to see what you and the family get up to this half-term, so be sure to tweet us your snaps @hatchbagcompany and tag us on Instagram @TheHatchbagCompany.

Wherever you decide to go, be sure to take your Hatchbag boot-liner with you to protect your boot from any mucky pups who try to bring the adventure home with them. For more information about our boot-liners, visit our website here.

The top 3 holiday destinations in the UK

With summer well and truly upon us  you may be thinking of ‘jetting off’ and enjoying the sunshine abroad. However, with UK staycations on the rise be sure not to overlook the beautiful British destinations right on your doorstep:

No. 1 Abersoch, Wales

Home to the annual wakeboarding and music festival, Wakestock, Abersoch has quickly become one of the places to holiday in the UK. This fashionable seaside resort is well known for its water sport credentials and beautiful, sheltered beaches. The town is also adorned with boutique shops and stylish eateries, all of which are family (and pet!) friendly.

Click here for more information about Abersoch.

Abersoch

No. 2 Isle of Arran, Scotland

The Isle of Arran is often referred to as a miniature Scotland. Located off the South West coast of Scotland, the North of the island is home to rugged mountain ranges, while the South enjoys a softer landscape. The island has a wealth of activities from enhanced walking trails, ancient monuments and traditional whiskey distilleries.

Click here for more information about the Isle of Arran.

IsleofArran

No. 3 Looe, England

Located in South East Cornwall, Looe is a hidden gem on the Cornish coast. With a flurry of narrow streets lined with boutique shops and tea rooms, Looe is one of Cornwall’s best kept secrets.  The beach is ideal for families and a range of boat trips operate from the harbour during the summer season.

If you are in the area, be sure to make the spectacular walk along the coast to Polperro. This enchanting place is a quintessential fisherman’s village bursting with culture and history.

Click here for more information about Looe.

Looe

Wherever you decide to holiday this summer, be sure to take your Hatchbag boot liner with you and protect your boot from those sandy towels and flip-flops. For more information about our boot liners visit our website here.

And, if you think you have uncovered one of the best holiday destinations in the UK then why not share it with us? We love to hear about your adventures so be sure to tweet us @hatchbagcompany. You never know, it could feature in our next blog!

The Best UK Festivals of 2016

As the days get longer and the nights get lighter, summer is well and truly upon us. Your diary may also be starting to look a bit busy as festival season beckons. With literally hundreds of festivals out there, from the grounds of historic castles to the rolling fields of Somerset, it can be difficult to choose which ones are worth attending. Here at Hatchbag HQ, we have looked through the UK’s festival line up and listed our top three below:

Glastonbury | Somerset | 22nd June – 26th June

Ok, so Glastonbury takes place next weekend so if you haven’t already got tickets the chances are you won’t be going. Tickets sold out in 30 minutes when they went on sale in October 2015 and the resale of returns also got snapped up in a flash. But no festival blog would be complete without a mention about the mother of all festivals!

Glastonbury is the largest greenfield festival in the world and now has an attendance of around 175,000 people. This year will see ‘Adele’, ‘Coldplay’ and ‘Muse’ headline across the various stages. Among the supporting acts are Lollapalooza headliners ‘LCD Soundsystem’, Reading festival headliners ‘Foals’, 80s rockers ‘New Order’ and Grammy Award winner ‘Beck’.

Despite rumours that 2017 would be a fallow year (a year off intended to give the land, local population and organisers a break), organiser Michael Eavis has confirmed that Glastonbury will take place in 2017 after all and the fallow year will be postponed until 2018.

For more information about Glastonbury click here.

Boardmasters | Cornwall | 10th – 14th August 2016

Boardmasters is Cornwall’s annual surfing and music festival. The event combines the very best in live music, surfing and skating to create a four day spectacle. With a current capacity of over 30,000, it is one of the UK’s biggest music festivals.

This year, the event returns to Newquay, Cornwall, situated across two legendary sites; Fistral Beach and Watergate Bay. 2016 promises the most impressive line up to date with confirmed artists including James Bay, Deadmau5 and Chase & Status.

If you fancy releasing your inner surfer, check out the Boardmasters website here.

Festival No.6 | Portmeirion | 1st – 4th September 2016

Set in the tiny, picturesque village of Portmerion, Festival No. 6 is fast becoming the festival for celebrating British popular culture. The location alone sets the event apart from anything else in the UK festival calendar. When it comes to music, the event certainly offers a varied selection. From performances by mainstream bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen, through to the Brythonaid Men’s Choir; Festival No.6 has it all.

But music is only a piece in the Festival No. 6 jigsaw. Festival goers can enjoy anything from complimentary Welsh lessons, Punk poetry to northern-soul dancing. Festival No.6 is truly a celebration of everything artistic set in one of the most iconic locations the UK has to offer. For more information about Festival No. 6 click here.

Whichever festival you attend this summer, be sure to take your Hatchbag boot liner with you and protect your boot form those muddy wellies and tents. For more about our boot liners visit our website here.

And, if you think you have uncovered one of the best festivals in the UK then why not share it with us? We love to hear your suggestions so be sure to tweet us @hatchbagcompany… You never know, it could feature in our next blog!

Blooming marvellous: designing your dream garden

With the Chelsea Flower Show just around the corner, inspirational ideas for your garden will be sprouting up everywhere. From small urban spaces to rolling country lawns, we have inspiration and practical insights for designing your dream garden.

Cottage Gardens

The beauty of cottage gardens is that they don’t look like they have been designed to a T. Their roaming, free flowing nature is a key feature of their quintessentially English charm. However, achieving this effortless style does require some careful planning and organisation.

To achieve this type of look avoid planting in straight lines or defined patterns. Let plants cascade over paths and each other, as this really adds to the charm. Be sure to keep it traditional though; think roses, pansies and hollyhock. Cottage gardens emulate an essence of romance and charm, all of which is achieved by the flowers you choose to plant. Soft pastel shades create the perfect romantic backdrop.

When accessorising your cottage garden be sure to use antique or shabby chic items. Contemporary rattan furniture could easily look out of place, so, opt for vintage pieces such as worn wicker or painted metal instead.

Urban Space

For those of you with small spaces, fear not, you can still get your green fingers dirty. Whether you have a roof terrace or Juliette balcony, there are lots of ways to bring your urban garden to life.

Creativity is key in ensuring you get the most out of your precious outdoor space. Maximising the amount of light in the area creates the illusion of more space. And this is achievable by opting for light reflecting materials such as glass or steel. If you are short on floor space then plant vertically by using wall-mounted planters. If you are feeling particularly crafty, why not make your own?

Urban locations are often vibrant places, therefore, don’t be afraid to embrace colour. Indulging in a vivid colour palette can act as a key focal point of the space.

Wildlife Friendly

Why not create your very own nature reserve in your back garden? A wildlife garden is much more than just an overgrown, unkempt space; it is an opportunity for wildlife to flourish.

To attract as much wildlife as possible then make sure your garden offers a variety of habitats. Long grass provides a great habitat for egg laying, while water features act as a great bathing and drinking hang out for birds and dragonflies.

Ensuring your new guests have somewhere to shelter from the great British weather is of equal importance. By growing climbers against walls you provide birds and smaller mammals with a welcomed retreat from those inevitable rainy days. Similarly, plant stems tied in bundles are excellent nesting sites for smaller creatures such as ladybirds and butterflies.

Feeling inspired? For more information about how to make the most of your outdoor space, visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show here.

If you have a beautiful garden worthy of recognition (no matter how big or small) then why not tweet us your pictures @hatchbagcompany for a chance to feature on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Make the Most of the May Day Bank Holiday

With your out-of-office on and the stresses of everyday life a distant memory, it’s time to make the most of the upcoming May Day Bank Holiday. To alleviate the stress of ciphering through hundreds of events and things to do this Bank Holiday, we have compiled a list of the top things to do this May Day!

Foodie FunIf you are a passionate foodie or just enjoy good food then food festivals are a great way of tantalising your taste buds and broadening your pallet.

These festivals are usually a great place to discover local produce and support your local community. Every year, there are hundreds of Food Festivals, from specialised cheese fests to larger celebrations of all things food. Thankfully the Festival Food Finder has compiled a list of all the fabulous gastronomic events. To find an event near you, simply click here.

Go Outdoors!

When was the last time you got lost?  Built a camp fire? Went fishing? We are all guilty of not making enough time to go out and explore, so why not make the change this Bank Holiday and get out there. If you have children, the Woodland Trust have a lot of ideas to help you get out and make the most of the outdoors come rain or shine.

Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

When was the last time you did something for the first time? The UK is bursting with activities from surfing to zorbing, so you are sure to find something to suit all ages and abilities. If you are booking as a group then be sure to check/ask whether you are entitled to a discount, as most activity centres offer cheaper rates for parties of a large number.

Get Cultural

All across Britain, its rich history can be experienced, whether it be by visiting one of the numerous museums, an enchanted castle of watching an outdoor Shakespearean play, you’ll be sure to find something cultural for you and your family. For more information on activities in your area then visit the following sites: Visit England, Visit Wales, Visit Scotland and Discover Northern Ireland.

Whatever you get up to, be sure to pack your Hatchbag boot liner and protect your boot from muddy shoes, dogs and picnic hampers. Don’t have a boot liner yet? Check out our product range here.

Be sure to keep us updated with your adventures this May Day Bank Holiday or if you have discovered an activity or event worthy of a mention? Then tweet us @hatchbagcompany using the hashtag #hatchbagadventures.

The Alternative Mother's Day

On Sunday the 6th March, the majority of the UK will be celebrating Mothering Sunday. A day normally filled with flowers, chocolates and cuddly toys, but this year, why not break away from the same-old and opt for something a little bit more exciting. At Hatchbag, this Mothering Sunday we challenge you to give the gift of time and create memories that will last forever (unlike that bouquet of flowers!)

Make A Picnic!

When was the last time you made a picnic, and your daily packed lunch doesn’t count! So why not round up the family and get busy creating your favourite snacks and sandwiches, then pack up the car and get out to the local park or lake to enjoy your culinary creations! Weather not on your side? Then indoor picnics are a perfect alternative and aren’t just for kids. Dust off those classic family board games or light the fire and pop a family favourite in the DVD player.

Try Something New…

Why not go and try something new? How about just getting in the car and going for a drive? Whilst out and about you may find that quirky tea room that your friend has been talking about or why not take the pooch and find a new trail of walks for everyone to enjoy…. Just be sure to leave a trail of Bonios so you can find your way home!

Discover…

In Britain we are blessed with a wealth of stately homes, country parks and heritage centre, many of which are free to visit. Check out the National Trust website to find out what fabulous discoveries can be made in your local area…. Don’t forget the picnic!

Stargaze

Mother’s Day doesn’t end when the sunsets. In fact, some may say that’s when the day just begins, especially when you have the luxury of a clear night sky. Grab the blankets, wrap up warm and look up at the cosmos and see the captivating constellations of the night sky.

Whatever you decide to do this Mother’s Day we hope it is filled with great memories. If you are heading outdoors be sure to pack your Hatchbag, so Mum isn’t left with the job of cleaning out the boot after a special day of adventure! For more information about our boot liners and various accessories please click here.

And They Called It Puppy Love...

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for humans; for those of you with pets you will know what unconditional love is. They don’t care if you have had a rubbish day, or if you said something that you didn’t mean, so why not show your four legged friend some love this Valentine’s? Here at Hatchbag, we have saved you the time of searching for that perfect gift for your pet pooch and put together a list of our favourite gifts, which are sure to send tails wagging…

No. 1: Dog Snuggie

Introducing the snuggie blanket just for dogs! Just like the human version, this cosy blanket comes with sleeves for extra comfort. Whether indoors or out, dogs big or small can stay warm… And it will also make for a great picture on your Instagram #dogsnuggie.

No. 2 Edible Card

Nothing says I “Woof” You like an edible card. This completely edible dog card is perfect for those pooches hungry for that extra bit of love (and food!) this Valentines.

No.3 Dog Boots

Keep those tootsies warm this winter with a set of colourful booties. Cold and damp conditions can cause havoc with those delicate paws, so be sure to protect your four legged friend from the elements. The waterproof rubber boots are not only stylish, but also functional!

No. 4 Dog Cushion

One for you and the pooch; “To Sit Here Move the Dog” cushion. How many times do you have to say “the dog isn’t allowed on the sofa?” But let’s face it our dogs rule the roost when it comes to having first pick of the best seat in the house. This quirky cushion is a great buy for home and dog lovers alike.

No. 5 A Hatchbag!

We couldn’t recommend all these gifts without giving our own fabulous product range a mention! If you have a dog, you will understand… Miles of mud laced walks coupled with doggy paddling in ice cold rivers takes its toll on your car. Protect your boot from the dirt with a bespoke boot liner from us! For more information about our boot liners click here.

Whatever you decide to get your four legged friend this Valentines be sure to send us a picture via Twitter @hatchbagcompany or tag us on Instagram @TheHatchbagCompany. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Try Time! The Six Nations Have Arrived!

Arguably one of the world’s greatest (and muddiest!) tournaments in the world, the Six Nations Championship brings together home Nations; England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and France, to share in the passion and excitement of rugby. 2015 saw third time Champions, Ireland snatch the title from the hands of rival siblings, Wales and England. With a matter of days until the home nation big guns contend for native supremacy, we take a look at what excitement could unravel at the 2016 Championships.

This year’s tournament could be the most open yet. Greats, France and England welcome new coaches to the field. After a turbulent World Cup for four times Champions, England, further doubt is cast upon the team’s morale and their ability to pull together a series of winning performances. But with no Northern Hemisphere team making the semi-finals of last year’s Rugby World Cup, there is pressure on all teams to prove their worth.

Both Ireland and Wales are suffering weakened teams. Irish lynchpin, Jonathan Sexton is in doubt after suffering a head injury just 8 minutes into Leinster’s Champions Cup defeat by the Wasps. Whilst Wales’ golden boy, Sam Warburton is still feeling the effects of an ankle injury from November last year.

All of the above could be good news for the “underdogs” Italy and Scotland. An undeniable allure is developing in the Scottish camp; the arrival of new Head Coach, Vern Cotter has undoubtedly raised the goal posts. Whereas over the pond, the flamboyant Italians are always poised to throw a spanner in the works; need we remind you of the upset of 2013 (in case you have forgotten, Italy stunned France taking a famous 23-18 victory).

Whatever the outcome, the pending 5 weeks of rugby are sure to send spectators on a roller-coaster of emotions. One thing is for sure though; those team buses sure could do with a bespoke boot liner from Hatchbag! How else are they going to keep the bus pristine clean from all those muddy boots and kit bags?! For more information about Hatchbag products click here.