Linda & John Ridgeon are avid THIRDHOME travelers and have been members since 2011. The Ridgeons have managed to visit 17 properties within 6 years, by way of their two properties in Southern Spain. Formerly in the music education business, the Ridgeons are now retired and spend their time sailing, practicing photography and exploring the world. Read below to find out what makes Linda & John Ridgeon such exemplary THIRDHOME members.
How did you get involved with THIRDHOME?
We joined THIRDHOME in 2011 after researching companies which would allow us to do home exchanges with our second home in Spain. We loved the flexible arrangement of the Keys which THIRDHOME offers (rather than relying on direct exchanges) as well as the exceptional quality of homes in the portfolio. We have visited 17 properties in 6 years and have genuinely loved every one. We have another 4 trips already booked! We have greatly appreciated the changes that THIRDHOME has introduced over the years, particularly the seasonal Key values and the huge increase of properties in Europe.
Where are you based?
We live in the UK in (the original) Rochester which is in Kent, 25 miles east of London. However, we spend around 4 months of the year (in month blocks) in our beloved second home in Andalusia, Southern Spain.
Who do you usually travel with?
We normally travel as a couple. Our adult children are in their 20’s (no grandchildren as yet!) and have limited time for holidays at the moment. One or more of them have joined us for a few trips and we sometimes travel with another couple who are close friends and also live in Rochester.
What do you do for a living?
We retired in 2011 having sold our music training business, Access to Music, the day after John’s 65th birthday. We had 10 centres around England (plus partnerships with 10 colleges) and provided government-funded training in contemporary music for young people and adults. Many of our students have gone on to achieve success in the music industry, the most notable being Ed Sheeran, who is now a Patron of the Company.
What are your favorite travel hobbies?
There is very little that we don’t enjoy doing and we welcome the variety that we have experienced through our THIRDHOME vacations. We love being on or near the water (we were previous boat owners), walking or driving through the mountains and visiting historic cities, spending time in museums and galleries and going to concerts.
In your past travels with THIRDHOME, what was your favorite destination and what did you love about it?
It is almost impossible to single out one favourite destination but our week in Guadeloupe on the TradeWinds flagship catamaran, New Beginnings, is right up there. We loved it so much we became TradeWinds members and have just completed our fourth voyage with them in Greece. We have really appreciated the continued increase in European properties as living in the UK these are more accessible to us and we have been pleasantly surprised at how many opportunities there have been to visit European cities through THIRDHOME. So far we have visited Paris, Madrid, Rome, Vienna, Lisbon (from Estoril) and in December we are going to Prague. We have even visited London on three separate occasions! Even though we live less than an hour away, the opportunity to spend a week living right in the heart of the capital within walking distance of all that the city has to offer cannot be beat. Plus, our children all live in or close to London so we have had opportunities to come together as a family in the most amazing homes.
What’s the next destination you are eyeing to travel to with THIRDHOME?
We already have trips planned to Brighton, England (later this month), Prague (December) and Antigua (February) – to tie in with another TradeWinds cruise. We are hoping to find somewhere in Florida or the Bahamas for November/December 2018 to tie in with a TradeWinds cruise in the Abacos.
What do you love most about your property with THIRDHOME?
We actually have two properties with THIRDHOME. Our 5-bedroom villa in Andalusia is 30 minutes from Malaga airport and a great base for a beach holiday with family or an opportunity to visit some of the wonderful historic Spanish cities such as Malaga, Granada, Ronda and even Seville. The house is relatively new (2010) but has been designed and furnished in a traditional Andalucian style with lots of Moroccan features and an internal patio with a wonderful marble fountain to cool the house in summer. It is well equipped for large families with plenty to do: a large salt-water heated pool, cinema room, gym, sauna, table tennis, pool table and community tennis courts. We are very proud of our many 5-star ratings. Our second property is a house which forms part of the highly rated La Villa Marbella boutique hotel in the heart of the old town in Marbella. We have two, two-bedroom suites both sleeping 4 with availability from November-March (excluding Christmas and Easter weeks).
How has THIRDHOME changed the way you travel?
We tend to avoid staying in hotels now whenever possible and we often plan where want to go according to what is available on THIRDHOME! We are very flexible now that we are retired and prefer to travel out of high-season when possible. Because we rent our properties out, they are professionally managed and equipped for visitors and we have found that the same applies to the properties we have visited. This is so much safer than a traditional home swap where there is no way of knowing how well-organized and equipped the property you are visiting might be.
What is the nicest amenity you have encountered while staying at a THIRDHOME property?
We once stayed at a beautiful, architect-designed, riverfront property in Fowey, Cornwall (the village where my grandparents lived and where I spent many childhood holidays). The house was right on the river and had its own mooring and boat which we were permitted to use.
How would you describe THIRDHOME to a friend?
THIRDHOME is a unique and affordable concept which allows you to deposit down time in your own second home in exchange for keys which you can use flexibly to stay in other high-quality properties around the world at a time to suit you.
What’s the most memorable restaurant you’ve eaten at during one of your trips?
Not a restaurant (there have been so many), but our most memorable meal was when we stayed at Brunello Villa in Italy (our first THIRDHOME trip). The owner, Lucia, gave us a cookery lesson using produce from the estate and we ate the meal we prepared in her beautiful garden with her and her sommelier daughter, Alina, who selected a wonderful local wine to accompany it.
Any travel tips for fellow members?
Be flexible and have an open mind about where THIRDHOME can take you.
Check out some of the Ridgeon’s beautiful photography below.