Category Archives: Scotland

Dining with a view in Edinburgh

View from Olroso © Richard Campbell

There are many great ways to eat your way around Edinburgh. I had a chat with the owner of Oloroso – one of the top restaurants and one of the best locations if you want to dine with a view over the city centre. Here is the story of Tony Singh and his passion for Scotland and local, seasonal food!

How did you start your career as a chef? And how did your interest in food come about?

I started with a Youth Training Scheme with Scottish and Newcastle, but my passion for food and sharing it came from my Mum and my Religion.  I am Sikh and one of the corner stones of our faith is a Free Communal kitchen – a meal called Lungar.

Oloroso is one of Edinburgh’s leading restaurants – what would you say is best thing about running a restaurant in Edinburgh?

It has to be the amazing amount of events that happen in the city – from the Science Festival, to the Film Festival and the Festival Fringe – there are so many to mention! They all bring in so many interesting people from around the world.

Oloroso – what does the name come from and what does it mean?

The name means aromatic, spicy and was chosen by my late partner, James Sankey, who was a truly amazing person.  James loved his wine, and the name also comes from a style of Sherry called ‘Oloroso’ because it is left to oxidize in the barrel to give it a vey aromatic and tasty style.

Olroso head chef Tony Singh

Oloroso owner Tony Singh

Where do you find your inspiration?

From all over – from travel, books, working with different chefs, trying different food… I am like a Magpie – anything that glitters and is good I will have it!

What would you say makes Oloroso unique compared to other restaurants?

My team, they are great at making guest feel welcome and have a great time in Oloroso. And the setting – the view from our roof terrace is just spectacular at sunset with the iconic Edinburgh Castle back drop.

Scotland’s food scene is growing and there are loads of award winning restaurants, what makes Scotland such a great place for food & drink?

The simple answer is Scotland’s larder is one of the best in the world. Our seafood, beef and game are renowned across the globe, and we have such a array of artisan produces and fantastic chefs that do the produce justice.  Scotland is a foodies treasure trove!

Yum, I’m getting hungry now!!

Find your way to Oloroso with our Britain map >

-Helene-

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Fifi Wilson Fashion Boutique Coming to Edinburgh

With three stores located in London already and celebrity customers like Katy Perry, Princess Eugenie and Maggie Smith, this popular fashion boutique opens its first store in Edinburgh in October.

At Fifi Wilson you can buy famous designer labels such as Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Odd Molly to great prices. However, you can also find gorgeous clothes from unknown designers. See the full list over designers here.

Store locations:
> Fifi Wilson in Edinburgh
> Fifi Wilson Chelsea
> Fifi Wilson Clapham
> Fifi Wilson Covent Garden

If you’re not going to Edinburgh or London in the nearest future, you can always visit Fifi Wilson’s online shop here.

/Siska

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Newly Opened Hotels in Scotland

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.

Go Green
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

Blythswood Square
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

Useful links
Read our travel guide to Scotland in:
> Danish
> Finnish
> Norwegian
> Swedish

Stayed at any of these hotels? Please share your thoughts about them in the comment field below.

/Siska

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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

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

Extreme sports, part III – Motorsports

In the previous episodes of Extreme sports in Britain we’ve been up in the air, and below sea level. Now it’s finally time for my own favourite extreme sport, and we’ll start off with my favourite vehicle – the dirt bike.

Motocross & Enduro
Britain’s shifting terrain is perfect for those who like to get an exhilarating experience in the dirt. There are a lot of MX tracks to practice your skills on throughout the UK like the 30 year old motocross circuit in Chippenham.

If you want to see Britain’s beautiful landscape and still feel the exhilarating speed on the back of a two-wheeled monster, Ride Adventure offers great off road tours in Wales.

To find more enduro tracks in Britain, click here.

Quadbikes
Quadbike is much like a motorcycle but with four wheels instead of two. It’s much easier to manoeuvre and you only need a normal drivers licence to drive it. Try driving through tough terrain in Scotland’s wild-back country or in South West England.

4×4 – Offroad vehicles
Another great activity for off road enthusiast in Britain is 4×4 vehicles like jeeps and land rovers. There are many places around Britain where you can rent a Land Rover or jeep to go on organized tours with guides and different difficulty levels.

Read my first two parts of this guide, by clicking on the links below
Part I – Britain by Air
Part II – Down by the Riverside

Next week, I’ll be guiding you through the British mountains in my final episode of Extreme Sports in Britain so stay tuned!

– Towe

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Filed under England, Scotland, Sports & Activities, Wales