Month: January 2014

Another Different Holiday

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If you checked out our earlier article on eco-themed accommodation in English speaking countries and decided that it’s not for you, how about staying somewhere comfortable but unconventional? Below are some examples of available accommodation in English speaking countries ranging from the adventurous to the plain weird.

England – Lighthouse

On the cliffs of Beachy Head on the south coast of England stands the Belle Tout lighthouse. This lighthouse has been lovingly restored and offers a comfortable stay with access to a 360-degree view of the picturesque English coastline. With the lively city of Brighton just 20 miles away and historic London accessible at 75 miles, you can venture out and enjoy the sights of England before returning to calm serenity. For more info visit

United States – Former Jail

If you’re looking for luxury from a hotel but want one with a difference, why not try The Liberty Hotel in Boston. In 2007, this hotel was converted into a luxury hotel but it was once the iconic Charles Street Jail. It probably sounds a bit eerie but it isn’t at all. The rooms are very top-notch and are everything you would expect from a luxury hotel with the added aspect that it has some features typical of a jail. For more info visit

Wales – Traditional Romany Gypsy Caravan

Ever wanted to know what it feels like to live life as it once was for a Romany Gypsy of yesteryear? Well, you can relive the experience by staying in a traditional style Romany caravan. In Monmouthshire, Wales, there is a traditional Romany caravan situated in the grounds of a secluded farm which boasts electric heating to keep the chill at bay from those cold Welsh nights and a separate cabin adjacent to the caravan for washing and cooking. For more info visit

United States – Beagle Bed and Breakfast

Back to the USA, and this is our favourite: a bed and breakfast that’s inside a huge dog. Yes, you read that correctly – a dog. In Idaho you can stay in the Dog Bark Park Inn where you can dine and sleep inside a huge dog-shaped construction. Although it doesn’t sound very accommodating, it does actually look quite comfortable and the owners have carved some of the decorative furnishings themselves which adds a personal touch. It might not be in a location that you are seeking but it might be worth a slight detour just to add something a little different to your travelling experience. For more info visit

If you’ve ever stayed anywhere a little unusual, then please send us a message and tell us about it.

Who says travelling should be conventional?

To check out (phrasal verb) – to look at or examine something

Weird – strange

Top-notch (colloquial) – very high quality

Eerie – strange in a frightening or mysterious way

Yesteryear – a time in the past

Secluded – quiet and private, away from other people

To boast – to contain or have

Detour – an alternative route

To keep someone/something at bay – to prevent someone/something from harming you


Key Word – Owe

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Key Word - Owe

Key Word – Owe

Guess the Language

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Here’s a fun quiz to take your mind off work for 10 minutes. It’s not strictly related to English, in fact English it’s not even one of the featured languages, but it’s good fun and we thought you might like to have a go.

After three goes each, the best scores from the gainEnglish team were:

David: 550

Colette: 350

Elena: 500

Let us know what you score. Have fun!

Polite? Yes, we are British!

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Today we want to share an article with you about Britons and their politeness.

Everybody knows that for British people politeness is very important: never forget to say “Please”, “Thank you” and to use those incredibly difficult modal verbs. What’s the point? To make what you say sound less direct. For example, a simple request like “Close the window” must become “Could you close the window, please?” Or, even better, “Would you mind closing the window, please?”

Obviously this obsession with being less direct causes a lot of problems for English learners, who think “it is difficult enough to say ‘Close the window’, why do I have to make things even more complicated?” But there is more: look at the table in the article and learn what British people really mean when they speak. Remember that if someone tells you “You must come for dinner”, they don’t really expect you to knock on their door with a bottle of wine in your hand!

Here’s the article, and there’s a little glossary below that you might find helpful. We think it’s quite funny (quite funny, or do we mean really funny?), we hope you’ll enjoy it too!

To shed light – to make clear

To take something at face value – to accept that something is exactly as it appears

To prove tricky – to be difficult

Handy – useful

To fathom – to understand

Weaselly – misleading

A Different Holiday

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If you’re planning a trip abroad to practice your English, ask yourself if you really want to stay in a conventional hotel or something a little more eco-friendly. Below are just some examples of available accommodation that are a little kinder to the planet.

South Africa – Tree House

The term ‘tree house’ probably conjures up images of small wooden playhouses in trees, but there are a number of artistically designed large houses set within trees offering accommodation amongst nature in South Africa. There are eight tree houses in total, all equipped with the modern facilities you would expect in regular accommodation. For more info visit

Australia – Beach-side Shelter

With Australia’s beautiful beaches, why not take the opportunity to sleep within a stone’s throw of one. Offering deluxe safari tents, log cabins, beach camping shelters and more, you can stay right next to the beach in the adjacent woodland surroundings and fall asleep to the sound of the waves. For more info visit

New Zealand – Caboose

You could stay in a recycled caboose…what’s a caboose? Well, a caboose is an old disused railway carriage that has been recycled and refurbished into comfortable sleeping accommodation. For more info visit

Canada – Traditional Tepee

A traditional style tepee gives you the opportunity to sleep as the Red Indians did. Each one offers the chance to live in the great outdoors whilst having the luxury of an on-site day lodge for washing and cooking if the weather isn’t good for outdoor cooking. For more info visit

As you can see there are some interesting ways to go on holiday and be sure you’re doing your bit for the environment. These are just a few examples, we’ll bring you some more ideas soon!

Abroad – In a foreign country or countries

Kinder (comparative of kind) – not cause harm or damage

To conjure up (phrasal verb) – to think of or imagine something in your mind

Within a stone’s throw (idiom) – very close

To fall asleep – to go to sleep

Disused – no longer in use

Outdoors – not within a building