I’m in London frequently with work; sadly all I tend to see is the inside of meeting rooms and the occasional pub visit or meal with colleagues. A family weekend in London was long overdue, last weekend I put it all right and honestly had one of the best family holidays so far!
The Gatwick express took us to Victoria in 30 minutes and from there we jumped into a taxi to the hotel, the Marriott Marble Arch. Really friendly greeting at the hotel and the room was perfect for us. So, first things first, a bite to eat!
We stumbled upon a good value pasta chain ‘Spaghetti House’ on Bryanston street close to Marble Arch; good food, great service, excellent value for money, plus a photo of Michael Jackson with the staff, if it was good enough for the Prince of Pop, It’ll do for me.
Time for a quick shop and Oxford street is no secret to Swedes, we heard more Swedish voices on that street than any other nationality this weekend, perhaps because it is a great mixture of high street brands such as Next, River Island and the ‘ultra cheap’ Primark, with luxury shopping at the likes of Selfridges and House of Fraser.
Time to see the bright lights; there are always a few child-friendly shows going in the west end, I chose between Matilda and Lion King, Matilda is incredibly popular and it’s hard to get tickets, so we ended up with Lion King. We booked our tickets in advance via Londonmusikaler.se an easy process, all we had to do way pay by credit card and pick the tickets up at the theatre at least 15 minutes the show started. So after a quick pre-theatre, very good value meal at Café Rouge, we hurried off to the show. The opening number was simply breath-taking and I can strongly recommend The Lion King for children and adults alike. Adam, who is 5, lasted until the last 15 minutes of the show, then nodded off, not bad after an early start and a busy day. So a taxi back to the hotel and to sleep.
Stay tuned and I will tell you how a trip to London will make your kids love you forever!
Quite often I travel to a place, city or country because it’s got a special or unique hotel. Recently I read an article in The Guardian and got absolutely thrilled! Stylish, architect-designed B&B’s in rural Britain. Check this out, look absolutely fantastic!
Kaywana Hall in Devon: www.kaywanahall.co.uk
Rock House in Perthshire: http://www.lochtay.co.uk
Salt House in St Ives, Cornwall: www.salthousestives.co.uk
Fourteen, Essex: Royal Corinthian yacht club
Anyone who have been or have some similar places to recommend?
I have another one actually! B+B Belgravia in London. A townhouse bed & breakfast in a great location, with some really good restaurants and cafés around the corner, and close to everything really, no matter your interest is shopping, museums, parks or musicals – or perhaps all of it!
My husband and our two kids stayed here during the Royal Wedding. We shared a double room and with an extra cot in the room, we all slept like babies. They also have a family room in the basement and studio apartments too.
Are you in the same shoes as Kate Middleton? Is 2011 the year you’ll be tying the knot? We all know that getting married involves planning everything from choosing photographer to the color of the napkins. Pre-wedding preparations can sometimes be stressful and if you feel you need a short break – why not go on a spa weekend to Britain!
Britain has plenty of spas to choose from and here’s just a few of them that will for sure help a bride-to-be to lower your shoulders.
Spa by ESPA, Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland
Try ‘The Source’, a two hour head-to-toe treatment. You’ll get a calming foot bath, followed by a full body exfoliation and wrap, and is completed by a purifying full body and scalp massage.
Read more here: www.gleneagles.com
St Brides Hotel, Pembrokeshire, Wales
The name says it all! Here you can choose from a wide range of marine-based treatments and get a bright and natural glow.
Read more here: www.stbridesspahotel.com
Langham Hotel, London
This is Europe’s first Chuan Spa and is located in central London. Go for the Chuan Personal Retreat and pick between five treatments including body exfoliation, massage, express manicure, leg wax, eyelash tint and more. The full retreat lasts two hours 30 minutes.
Read more here: www.langhamhotels.co.uk
Sequoia Spa, The Grove, nr Watford, England
The Sequoia Spa offers a special Pre-Wedding Experience package. It’s a full day that includes a combination of treatments such as body scrub, massage, manicure and pedicure.
Read more here: www.thegrove.co.uk
The Bath House Spa, The Royal Crescent Hotel, bath, England
The bath House Spa’s signature treatment starts with 45 minutes divided between visits to the wet and dry heat rooms. Followed by relaxation in the teak-lined tubs and a full body sea salt and essential oil exfoliation and you’ll get a full body massage.
Read more here: www.royalcrescent.co.uk
Titanic Spa, Huddersfield, England
This is UK’s first eco-spa and offers 12 deluxe apartments – a great place for a pre-wedding spa getaway. Try one of their signature treatments, VIP Me and My Mum package, perfect for some mum and daughter bonding in that busy time leading up to the wedding.
Read more here: www.titanicspa.co.uk
Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Darlington, England
This place has a wide range of bride-to-be spa packages and has four signature treatments. One of these is Splendour at Rockliffe Hall which includes oriental pearl particles exfoliating the body, face and scalp massage.
Read more here: www.rockliffehall.com
Cowshed, St Moritz Hotel, Cornwall, England
Cowshed Spa offers treatments using botanical products. The St Moritz Sun & Sea Signature treatment includes full body brushing followed by a deep exfoliation and a deep sea detoxifying wrap, all followed by an express facial and full body massage.
Read more here: www.stmoritzhotel.co.uk
Scotland is on top of my ‘places I want to visit in 2010’ list. I’ve never been there, but I only heard great things about this diverse country and that there’s much more to Scotland than Loch Ness, bagpipes, and kilts.
It’s not easy to find accommodation in a country you have never been to when there’s so many to choose from. So I decided to do some research, and with help from VisitScotland I found four newly opened hotels that have that little extra and thought I should share it with you.
The Ecopod Boutique Retreat is a 5 star accommodation located on the west coast of Scotland. The pods look like an igloo and are 70 square metres and lies on top of a wooden platform and have a stunning view. The interior is modern with eco furniture. Doesn’t their hand made bed and organic cotton bed linen and hot tub on the deck just sound like heaven?
Find Ecopod Boutique Retreat on our Britain Map
Gunsgreen House – The Merchant’s House
Who said you don’t need a big hotel room when you’re on holiday? Inside Gunsgreen House you can stay at The Merchant’s House and get the top two floors all for yourself! Being curious as I am, I’d love to uncover the history and secrets behind this house that was built in the 1750s by John Nisbet – a smuggler who imported contraband tea from Gothenburg in the 1760s and 1770s!
Find Gunsgreen House – The Merchant’s House on our Britain Map
For the love birds
Get away from the city buzz and spend your holiday with your boy- or girlfriend in a tranquil and romantic environment. Glengyle Steadings are luxury self-catering cottages located in Loch Katrine, in the Trossachs National Park and opened in April 2010. This is also the birthplace of Rob Roy, a well-known Scottish folk hero and outlaw from the 18th century. Us Norwegians like walking in the nature and the surroundings are perfect for long or short hikes.
Find Glengyle Steadings on our Britan Map
This hotel used to be the Clubhouse for The Royal Scottish Automobile Club (RSAC) and it was one of eight official starting points of the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally. This fashionable luxury boutique hotel just opened in 2010 in Glasgow. Ranked with 5 stars they can offer a wonderful spa, restaurant, cocktail bar, champagne bar and the historic Rally Bar. Blythswood Square is definitely the hotel for me and my girlfriends.
Find Blythswood Square on our Britain Map
Stayed at any of these hotels? Please share your thoughts about them in the comment field below.
Last year, VisitScotland held a competition for Norwegian bloggers where the prize was a 3 night trip to Aberdeen City and Shire with Eastern Airways. We pulled two winners who each got to bring a friend. The lucky winners were Asbjørn Wille and Liv Brekkenes. Congratulations!
Asbjørn took his wife with him, and this is about their experience from Aberdeen City and Shire.
“My wife and I visited Aberdeen during the Easter holiday and we discovered that Aberdeen is an exciting city. We also got to travel around and see its beautiful green landscape. We stayed at Jurys Inn, which is a top modern hotel in the heart of the city and it’s a part of Union Square – a huge shopping centre.
At the airport we were met by a friendly and service minded lady from Avis and we prepared ourselves to start driving on the wrong side of the road for the very first time. We were a bit nervous, but after great success in the first roundabout we felt fine. Driving in Scotland was in fact a pleasant experience.
On Saturday, after a good Scottish breakfast, we were ready to explore the city. We took a taxi to the lovely Seaton Park and walked from there. There were many charming streets, small beautiful cottages and great architecture. Aberdeen is also a city where you can really shop till you drop! You’ll find everything from the big fashion boutiques, shopping centres, charity shops, small designer houses to local street markets.
While in Aberdeen, we made sure to try some haggis and it was much better than we had expected. But we had the best dinner at the restaurant at the Jurys Inn hotel. The meal was fantastic and deserves a star.
Sunday was our big day on the road. In our Avis car we started early in the morning and our first stop was at the beautiful Stonehaven – this is a must-visit town. It’s difficult to describe by words – you just have to see it for yourselves. After Stonehaven we drove to Dunnottar Castle. What a location and what a view.
Next stop was at Crathes Castle and Garden. A couple of lovely ladies from the National Trust for Scotland (NST) took us on a guided tour and told us interesting stories about the castle and its items. We also visited the famous Glendfiddich distillery in Dufftown.
Our trip to Aberdeen and Shire was a great success. It was great to explore, taste and see this part of Britain. We fell in love with Scotland and its people. Hopefully we will be back soon. You just have to visit Aberdeen.”
Below you can see which places Asbjørn and his wife visited in Aberdeen. (Click on the names to find it on the map.)
- Jurys Inn Hotel
- Union Square Shopping Centre
- Seaton Park
- Glenfiddich Distillery
- Dunnottar Castle
- Crathes Castle and Garden
My friend Charlotte took her sister Cecilia and her friend Jenny for a 24 hour trip through Jane Austen’s world. This is their story.
“My sister and I spent a weekend visiting a friend in London. The only rent we were allowed to pay our hostess was to arrange an excursion of some sort; a day-trip or a one-night stay somewhere no further away than an hour or two by train.
Some late night surfing made me come up with a plan that would accommodate for all our needs. Once I had found the website of Jane Austen’s House Museum – which took me about 20 seconds – it seemed that the small town of Alton was the place to go. Another useful site was the Hampshire County Council.
Visit Hampshire suggested some places to stay in the area and I had e-mailed enquires to a few of them. Luckily, Joan Mossop of St Mary’s Hall gave us a swift reply. She and her husband ran what turned out to be a very nice Bed and Breakfast in what used to be a church. The rooms were pleasant, breakfast delicious and our hosts generous and welcoming.
Upon our arrival, we relaxed in the guest lounge at St Mary’s Hall before heading to a nearby pub, The French Horn for dinner and a taste of some local ale.
The next day we set out to discover Jane Austen Country.”
Find out what the girls did the next day in our next episode of Lost in Austen Country tomorrow.
I’ve just heard of the winners of this year’s EnjoyEngland Awards for Excellence 2010 (The Oscars of the English Tourism). The award is given out to the best of the best in tourism within nine categories.
The finalists were chosen from an original list of 2,200 entries and the judging in most categories were anonymous visits. Here’s the list of the winners, it might be worth exploring before your next trip to the UK.
Congratulations to you all!
Large Hotel of the Year
Thurlestone Hotel, Thurlestone, South Devon
Small Hotel of the Year
Gilpin Lodge Country House Hotel, Crook Road, Windermere, Cumbria
Bed & Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year
The Old School, Newton on the Moor, Alnwick, Northumberland
Self-Catering Holiday of the Year
Blakelow Farm Holiday Cottages:, Bonsall Lane, Winster, Derbyshire
Best Tourism Experience of the Year
Livingstone Lodge Overnight Safari, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Lympne, Kent
Best Tourism Event & Festival Award
Blackpool Illuminations, Blackpool, Lancashire
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, 75–79 Vyse Street, Birmingham
Taste of England Award
The Bildeston Crown, High Street, Bildeston, Suffolk
Read more and view the complete list of all the Gold and Silver winners here.
Valentine’s Day is coming up!
Looking for something special for you and your loved one? Then maybe 41 Hotel could be what you are looking for!
This luxurious 5 star boutique hotel is located behind Buckingham Palace. In a quiet and exclusive location, this hotel welcomes you with comfortable and stylish rooms. In the tastefully decorated lounge with chandeliers and antique furniture, you and your loved one can enjoy afternoon tea in an elegant atmosphere. How romantic!
The website TripAdvisor is a page where you can read what other travellers have thought about their accommodation. This year has The TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards for “The UK’s most family friendly hotel” gone to The Luna Simone Hotel in London, which even makes it into the World’s Top Ten Family list. Impressive!
This hotel is located close to Victoria Station and Pimlico. An ideal location for those who travel from Stansted Airport by bus and Gatwick Airport by train.
12.40. Tee-off at The Old Course. I hauled out the driver again. Don’t duff, don’t duff, don’t duff, not now…An audience and a starter follows your every move, judging…But hey, I managed to get the ball in the air and off we went.
For the first time in my life I had a caddie. I didn’t think it was going to make a difference but I had to try it. It was all worth it. From my perspective I played a round of dream golf and managed to finish the course on my handicap.
It’s a great course and the feeling to swing your way out of the same bunkers as you seen the professionals handle on TV is a love story. I managed a birdie on the 16th followed by cheering from four hardened caddies and my hear was pounding when my driver at the 17th just barely finds its way over the hotel and you know that you can reach the green on two. You can feel hundreds of people looking at you when you cross the world famous bridge between the 17th and the 18th and right here you realize that you want to come back again and again. St. Andrews is a golfers paradise.