Arena Travel Blog

Latest News from Arena Travel

  • Show us your stash!

    Last month we shared with you lots of ways of how to spring clean your yarn stash. This inspired us to speak to our lovely experts and have a nosy around their textile grottos! So, this month we asked them to show us their stash and to describe it in a few words... Continue reading
  • Expert Focus : Sarah Hazell


    This month we chat to our brand-new crochet expert Sarah Hazell. Sarah will be taking a small group of crocheters out on an adventure to the stunning Austrian Tyrol this Autumn. She will be leading workshops over-looking picture postcard scenery of green pastures, onion-domed churches and craggy alpine peaks. Sarah is passionate about colour, pattern and texture. Her stand-alone collections are designed with an emphasis on the creation of sustainable clothes and accessories. Read on to learn more about the inspiration behind Sarah’s designs and what she is most looking forward to on our trip to Austria!

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Majorca 2017

    Host report by Toby & Janette Mace:

    We returned once again to the splendid Bella Playa Hotel, with its excellent spa and capacious bridge room, that we manged to fill with 19 tables every evening and 20 at the peak. The beautiful weather didn't dent the afternoon sessions much with a peak turnout of 9 tables during our stay. In fact there was only one day of rain over the two weeks, preceded by some impressive overnight thunder. The outdoor pool always looked very inviting but I only saw one person in it over the 2 weeks - you really need a wetsuit to enjoy it in late March, easier just to work on the sun tan on a poolside lounger. Many people opted for the indoor pool with its hot tubs, saunas and steam room.

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Cyprus 2017

    Host report by Pauline Durie:

    Cyprus - the beautiful island of Aphrodite legend saw us return for an enjoyable two weeks of bridge and more. A change of hotel due to renovation did not disappoint. The Pioneer Beach has excellent facilities. The bridge room easily accommodated our 16 tables of enthusiastic bridge players. The outdoor pool looks beautiful though very few hardy souls used it! The indoor pool was far more popular especially the weekly aquafit session. Other activities included line dancing and tango lessons as well as the opportunity to make and sample frappe and cocktails. The bowls programme was well received by many and honours were shared in the many matches played. Even the wind didn’t deter them. Many guests enjoyed a walk along the promenade to Paphos harbour with its range of bars, restaurants and gift shops taking in the splendour of the spring flowers coming into full bloom along the way. The harbour is also home to the famous mosaics some of which are almost complete. Something for everyone.

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  • Our Top 5 Free Spring Quilting Patterns!

    free spring quilting patterns

    This Spring we want you to be blooming with inspiration, so we’ve decided to sow the seeds of creativity with five lovely quilting patterns from around the internet! With so much creativity to be tapped into this Spring, we’ve selected some our favourites that you can easily try at home.

    So why not find a pattern that’ll put a spring in your step and refresh your passion for your favourite crafting hobby this season?

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  • Spring into step! Top tips for sprucing up your yarn stash!

    spring clean your yarn stash

    Spring clean your yarn stash!

    With the season of spring cleaning almost upon us and our days getting longer, warmer and brighter - what better time is there to get your yarn in order? There’s nothing more frustrating than left-over and mismatched skeins laying around, so now is the time to breathe new life into your stash and re-introduce some spring freshness!

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Malta

    Host's report by Barry & Maggie Watts:

    For the first time visitor to Malta the island is a revelation. From the moment you fly over Malta’s airport you are immersed in the island’s history. From the air the island’s geology seems simple; it is a golden limestone and virtually all the buildings are built of this material. Seven Neolithic temples built 1000 years before the Egyptian pyramids, churches, palaces and fortresses of all kinds most noticeably the huge fortifications built in the 16th Century by the Knights of St John seem to be grown organically from the base rock.

    Throughout history the island’s strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean has made it a prize for a succession of occupying cultures from every part of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Today the population of the islands is a mix of all these cultures. The Maltese language is based on that of the earliest Arab inhabitants yet today most of the people speak English and many still consider themselves to be English regardless of Malta’s status as an independent member of the EU. As usual the bridge programme was interwoven with tours of this fascinating island.

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  • Chat with Pat Archibald



    One of our lovely quilt experts Pat Archibald will be leading our popular textile holiday to Vietnam later this year. Pat’s fascination with quilting started at a very early age after playing with her grandmother’s scrap bag! Since then she has been a co-owner of Scotland’s first dedicated patchwork and quilting shop, has taught specialist textile classes to students from far and wide and has had her wonderful work widely exhibited in the UK, Europe and in the USA. We chat to Pat more about her love of quilting and how her travels inspire her work.

    We are very excited for you to be leading our Textures of Vietnam trip this November. Can you give us an idea of what you will be teaching in your workshops and what you are most looking forward to revisiting?

    I am looking forward to revisiting some of the hidden valleys and the ethnic minorities that live there who have a wonderful heritage of stitching and weaving. Bac Ha market in the north of Vietnam is exciting in terms of colour and textiles. My workshops will be based on the colours of the areas and will take inspiration from the local stitching patterns.
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  • Spotlight on Karin Hellaby



    This week we have been having a natter with leading quilt expert Karin Hellaby. Karin’s teaching has taken her all over Europe and beyond. She is a regular teacher at the Houston International Quilt Show and has taught in New Zealand, Dubai and most of North America! Karin has recently returned from teaching on our quilting retreat on the beautiful island of Madeira. Later this year she will also be leading two Stitchtopia quilting trips South Africa and the Faroe Islands.

    Here Karin gives us the low-down on how her love for quilting blossomed at a church hall, how her passion helped support her sons through university and how she is lost without her much loved Bernina machine!

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Lanzarote

    Host's report by Fran Keene, Liz Farrar and Judy Petran:

    The weather was cooler than last year (it rained twice) and it was quite amazing to watch the landscape turn green and produce flowers so quickly after the rain. However, guests were able to have breakfast in the sun outside most days – unlike the UK!

    On one evening, we all sat down together in the Italian restaurant, the Dolce Vita, for a delightful meal with wine, enjoyed by all – the bridge was extremely relaxed that evening!

    Once again we must mention that the bridge room is one of the best and most comfortable we have enjoyed and the bridge was well attended, afternoons as well as the evenings. The hotel activities were wide ranging and well supported by the group. Particular mention must be made of one of our most senior members winning the table tennis tournament against all comers, young and old. Awesome!

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