Category Archives: Nature & Heritage

Aberdeen – friendly and tasty

Remember the competition we had together with VisitScotland last year for our Norwegian bloggers? The two lucky winners Asbjørn Wille and Liv Brekkenes won a 3 day trip to Aberdeen City and Shire. A couple of weeks ago, we posted Asbjørns trip to Aberdeen and now it’s Livs turn. She brought her friend Mona Myhran along and here’s their story.

“Aberdeen is mainly known for its agriculture and oil industry, and not exactly for being a typical tourist destination. It was therefore quite a surprise to discover that this city has a lot to offer. You just have to give it a chance.

What impressed us most were the friendly and welcoming people we met everywhere, and the beautiful and stunning architecture. The churches and cathedrals were magnificent, and the small brick houses with the pipes on the outside walls and the chimneys on the roofs are really something else from our houses in Norway.

We had a great Indian meal in Cinnamon restaurant on Union Street and some tasty whiskys in the Grill Bar, also on Union Street. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit the city beach nor the Maritime Museum. That’s on the list for our next visit!

Stonehaven – Lush and green

Our first stop driving south of Aberdeen was Stonehaven. Famous for being the birth city of Robert William Thomson who invented the rubber pneumatic tyre, the little fossil Pneumodesmus Newmani and an art deco swimming pool. An outdoor swimming pool in Scotland may seem bizarre, but it is heated to 27 degrees and was great.  We visited in rain and beside the impressive design, watching the safety guard under her umbrella made us remember that we actually were in Scotland.

Fortunately the weather changes quickly, and walking at the beach in sunshine is fantastic. Surrounded by green, steep cliffs, blue ocean and gardens filled up with colourful flowers. The lush and green landscape was one of the things that amazed us, but as one of the locals we talked to said, with typical Scottish humour – the only positive outcome of all the rain.

Spectacular view

We also recommend a visit to Dunnottar Castle. It’s a really impressive ruined fortress with a great historical story. The history tells that this has been the hiding place for the Scottish crown jewels after they had been smuggled out from Edinburgh when the English invaded. The crown jewels are back in Edinburgh, but the remains of the castle is well worth the visit.  The view is spectacular and with a location on a cliff 50m above the sea, it is obvious that the fortress has been difficult to access. The castle has a story going back to 400’s and with more than 1300 years of history it is one of the most fascinating castles in Scotland. Dunnottar Castle was also the setting for the movie Hamlet from the 1990’s, starring Mel Gibson.

For visitors information and opening hours, please visit www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk

Our wonderful days in Scotland were finally set in Edinburgh where we enjoyed the Edinburgh Castle, the Modern Museum and the last day of the annual International Festival. Theatre groups, musicians and artists from all over the world filled the streets with their performances. It was a lovely atmosphere.

Want to visit the places Liv and Mona went to? Check out the links below to find them on our Britain Map:
Stonehaven
Dunnottar Castle
The Cinnamon restaurant
The Grill bar
Edinburgh Castle

/Towe

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Filed under Attractions & Culture, Food & Drink, For families, Nature & Heritage, Scotland

Extreme sports, part IV – Discovering the Mountains

Now that autumn is closing in on us, it’s time to slow down the pace, and find our way up to a higher altitude where the wind is crispy and the views are fantastic. In my fourth and final part of Extreme Sports in Britain we’ll find out what you can do in the British mountains.

Walking
Britain has plenty of beautiful mountains and on our website you’ll find a few good ideas on how and where to explore them. Why not take a 5 hour walk through the beautiful Ben Nevis in Scotland, visit the mountains in Snowdonia in Wales or stroll around in the Cumbria and the Lake District in England.

Mountain biking
Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy an extreme sport while seeing a lot of beautiful scenery. There are usually both guided tours and cycles to hire and you can find both easy and advanced routes. Read more about cycling in Siskas blog post Pedal your way through the UK.

Climbing
One of the fastest growing outdoor activities in the UK is climbing, so it’s easy to find operators where you can hire your gear or get a guide to help you get started. Climb up a steep hillside in Wales or hang loose under a cliff in Scotland or Cumbria.

Caving and potholing
Head underground and find a whole new world, beneath ours. Containing some of England’s finest limestone scenery and Britain’s longest and most complex cave system, Yorkshire is a perfect way to explore some great caves and potholes. You can also weasel your way through narrow tunnels underground in Scotland or find yourself in an unspoilt cavern in Wales.

The four headlines above are the most popular mountains sports, but there are so many other cool mountain sports like coasteering, absailing, scrambling or winter sports like skiing or ice climbing etc. Find out which one is your own favourite.

This was my final part of my Extreme Sports guide. Hope you liked it and enjoy your adrenaline filled vacation in Britain. Read my previous guides by clicking the links below:

Part I – Britain by Air
Part II – Down by the riverside
Part III – Motorsport

To find more extreme sports in Britain visit our website or Enjoy England, Visit Wales or Visit Scotland.  You can also watch our film about extreme sports in Britain below and get inspired.


– Towe

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Filed under England, For families, Nature & Heritage, Scotland, Sports & Activities, Wales

Stand on the Meridian Line in Greenwich

Last year my mom and I went to London over the weekend and one of the many things we did was visiting Greenwich to see the Meridian Line and stroll in the beautiful Greenwich park.

Just like us, people mainly come to Greenwich to stand on the famous Prime Meridian Line where the official time of the world starts. But there is so much more to see on the World Heritage Site on the hill in beautiful Greenwich park. The Meridian Line is located on the courtyard of The Royal Observatory, Britain’s first purpose-built scientific facility.

The Observatory was built in 1675 by King Charles II and designed by famous architect Christopher Wren, who also refurbished St. Paul’s Cathedral after the Great Fire in 1666. Here you can see magnificent shows about the Universe in the Planetarium or learn more about the solar system or the Universe in one of the many exhibitions in the Astronomy Galleries. And while you’re up there, take the time to visit London’s only public camera obscura situated in the summerhouse on the Observatory courtyard. And don’t forget to stroll in the beautiful Greenwich park before you go home.

You don’t have to pay entrance fees to anything except for the Planetarium Shows and the museums are open 10.00 – 17.00. For prices and other information about The Royal Observatory and the other museums, please visit http://www.nmm.ac.uk or find out more about Greenwich on http://www.visitgreenwich.org.uk/

How to get there
Greenwich is just 20 minutes from Central London and the easiest way to get there is by Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Cutty Sark station. Buy Oyster Card or other public transport tickets in London here. You can also find your way to Greenwich with our Britain Map.

Have a great time in Greenwich!

– Towe

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Blog Winner – Asbjørn goes Aberdeen

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
Stonehaven
Glenfiddich Distillery
Dunnottar Castle
Crathes Castle and Garden

Liv Brekkenes, the other winner, will soon share her experience from Aberdeen City and Shire. So keep checking the blog.

/Siska

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Filed under Accommodation, Attractions & Culture, Food & Drink, Nature & Heritage, Scotland, Shopping

Travel Guide for Families – Wales

Wales is the land of castles and has everything from energetic cities to breath-taking scenery’s. This country has a lot to offer that will make your visit a memorable family experience. Here are a couple of our recommendations for families travelling to Wales.

Cardiff Castle
Explore Cardiff Castle’s 2,000 years of history, learn about the knights and nobles, look at the marvellous interior and watch a medieval performance. The Cardiff Castle offers various events throughout the year, making sure that you and your family get the ultimate medieval experience.

Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire
Do you remember the French invasion scene in Robin Hood? Well, this is the set Ridley Scott used in the movie. This is also the place where they built the shell cottage in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’. If your children are a Robin Hood or Harry Potter fan, or maybe both – visit Freshwater West for a fun filled day out.
Find more Harry Potter film locations here
Find more Robin Hood film locations here

Rhyl Miniature Railway
Bring your children to Britain’s oldest miniature railway in Rhyl & Prestatyn and take a ride around Marine Lake. Also, make sure to visit the new Central Station building and get to know the railway’s history.

GreenWood Forest Park
Even though you’re on holiday, think about your carbon footprint. Why not enjoy a family day out with a green conscious at the GreenWood Forest Park in Snowdonia? Here you can try the world’s first environmentally-friendly rollercoaster, go on the jungle boat adventure, or learn how to build a shelter. The park has plenty of different activities and rides that will put a smile on yours and the children’s face.

Big Pit: National Coal Museum
Put on a hard hat, turn on the head lamp and be ready to go down 90 metres in a real mineshaft. The underground tour gives you an insight about the coal industry in Wales while it’s amusing and educational for everyone.

Food for the whole family
At Wacky Warehouse you’ll find a healthy kids menu and there are lots of activities that will keep your children entertained whilst you enjoy your meal. Please click here to find a Wacky Warehouse in Wales

Looking for a place where you get served quickly? Try Wagamama, a family friendly Japanese noodle restaurant. Here children can enjoy stir-fired rice or noodles with a glass of fresh squeezed juice. Please click here to a Wagamama in Wales

Have a nice family vacation in Wales!

/Siska

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Filed under Attractions & Culture, Food & Drink, For families, Music, Film & TV, Nature & Heritage, Sports & Activities, Wales

World Pipe Band Championships 2010

Watch and listen when 16 nations pipe’s it out at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow Green on 14th of August. Have a look this video to see what you can expect.

In addition to the pipe band competition, there will also be a Drum Major contest, Highland Dancing and Glasgow Highland Games Championships. This fun filled day is a great way to learn what the real Scottish culture and heritage is all about! Please click here to see the programme.

Besides the competition, there are plenty of activities suited for families such as a children’s area, youth zone and science centre workshops. The event also offers great ticket prices for families; please click here for ticket information and how to get to Glasgow Green.You can also check out our Britain map for directions.

Be prepared for a lot of music, kilts everywhere, great food and an unforgettable Scottish experience!


Read our Glasgow travel guide for more information about the city.

/Siska

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Filed under Attractions & Culture, For families, Music, Film & TV, Nature & Heritage, Scotland

Travel Guide for Families – Manchester

Manchester is one of the coolest cities in the UK and a great place to visit for the whole family. There are various activities both indoor and outdoor. Here are a couple of our recommendations for families travelling to Manchester.

Legoland Discovery Centre
This is indeed something for both kids and parents. Here you can get a guided tour and see how Lego’s are created, there’s a 4D cinema, a Kingdom Quest train and over 2 million Lego’s!

Runway Visitor Park
Bring your family to the Runway Visitor Park in Manchester and take a look at legendary aircraft’s up close! Also, make sure to get a tour of the Concord G-BOAC – the “World’s favorite airline”.

Imperial War Museum North
Visit the Museum for an educational and fun-filled day. Imperial War Museum North offers a range of activities and events all year round suited especially for families. In addition, its free entry for adults and children!

Great Budworth Real Diary Ice Cream Farm
Get out of the city and see how ice cream is made, taste over 15 flavours, let the kids’ release some energy and enjoy a home-baked cake! The farm is only about 30-40 minutes drive from Manchester and is a nice day trip for the family.

Manchester United Museum
Football fan or not, this is a must see attraction if you’re in Manchester! Visit one of the world’s most famous football stadiums, learn about the story of Manchester United, get a tour of the theatre of dreams and maybe watch a game?

Heaton Park
A huge family park with lots of activities that will keep you and the children busy for the whole day. There’s everything from playgrounds to an animal centre. Click here for other parks in Manchester.

Food for the whole family
The Olive Press
lets the children make their own pizza! Their menus consist of healthy and fresh ingredients that are appealing for both children and adults. In addition, the Olive Press has been awarded with the Pride of Manchester awards in 2009 and 2010.

Brewers Fayre
Has a wide selection of tasty dishes for reasonable prices. The restaurant is very family friendly and keeps the children entertained with activities, competitions and a play zone.

If you want more information about Manchester, read our destination guide in:
Swedish >

Danish >

Norwegian >
Finnish >

Have a nice family vacation in Manchester!

/Siska

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Filed under Attractions & Culture, England, Food & Drink, For families, Nature & Heritage