Outings · travel

Flashback Friday – Cumbria, UK

 

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A few years ago, my boyfriend and I stayed in one of the most unique hotels ever! We stayed three nights.

It was a castle! A couple had bought, and then converted an actual castle. They then converted into a hotel, and also live there. It’s located in Cumbria, which for us is quite a drive, but I’m glad we went.

Each room is completely different, when we stayed – there was only 12. They have added some addition’s / changed a few more rooms since. We stayed in the Middlesmoor – which they describe as ‘ Elegantly decorated in blue & gold with a leaded bay window extending the entire width of the room. The bed is dated the same year as the castle was built. The bathroom is delicately decorated in blue & white with an original nineteenth century corner basin’.

What I truly loved about this place was the open door policy. On your room key, is also the front door key to the castle. So you can come and go as you please, and let yourself in. They also had a honesty bar (I had never heard of this until this stay!). They had a whole bar with a big selection of drinks, you go helpful yourself, then just write in the book left in there – your room number and what you had! That then gets added to your bill, no miniatures here!

There was rooms – Drawing Room, Great Hall, Dining Room, Music Room and Library all over the castle in which you could explore, and just chill out in. The family also had their own dog and cat which roamed the castle.

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The food was lovely, we pre-booked a dinner one night, which is held with the rest of the guests in the dining hall and the breakfast was so good! So many different option’s.

Whilst we was in that area of UK, we drove to the Lake District, had an afternoon there – had an afternoon tea, went out on a boat ride, bought some fudge (one of my favourite’s is clotted cream fudge!).

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We also visited The World of Beatrix Potter attraction. That was a little cute hour!

 

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But the main attraction for me, was the Castle. I really loved it, and even though we stayed over four years ago, I still talk about it! They also offer afternoon tea and weddings now!

Sadly I don’t have many photos!

Highly recommended, here is the website link to have a nosey! http://stayinacastle.com/

 

 

 

Outings · travel

Flashback Friday – Hampshire, United Kingdom (Forest Holidays)

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A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I, his brother and girlfriend hired a cabin at Forest Holidays. we chose the Blackwood Forest location, as that is the nearest one to us. I have previously stayed here, and also been to another site.

It had been booked for a good few months as they go quick! We did the three night stay – Friday to Monday. You can also do the Monday to Friday, or week long stays etc.

It really is such a lovely cabin, there are spacious, we had a 2 bedroom one which also has two bathrooms, space for two cars and the hot tub!

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There is decking out the back with a table, and a rack for disposable BBQ’s. You have a TV, on which you can add a internet package – which would then include wifi and sky movies.

There was 62 cabins at this site, but it doesn’t feel like it! They are all spread out and you have your own space. They encourage you go to for walks, there is lots of activities you can book, and there is also dog friendly cabins.

At the centre is the Forest Retreat – which is reception, a restaurant, bar and shop! This has tables inside and out, and is open all day.

Whilst we there, I organised a trip to the Bombay Sapphire Gin distillery, as we had booked with Forest Holidays, we actually got a discount on our ticket! This was a nice few hours out. It was quite a big site, and is actually one of the only distillery’s to win a BREAM award. You are given a map which has a chip in – this is then interactive with points all round where you listen to a spoken recording. You go inside the botanical gardens. A fun part was the Aroma card room – you smell lots of ingredients, whole punch a card and from that, it gives you an idea of what gin cocktail to choose at the end!

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I chose the orange and black peppercorn twist. Yum!

During the weekend, we ate lots (we did a foodshop before), drank and just relaxed. We chilled in the hot tub during the day and the evening.  There is scrabble and jenga left in the cabin for your use. we also went to the Forest retreat on the Sunday afternoon, and sat in the sun with a cider.

It was just a nice chilled out weekend, I highly recommend Forest Holidays if you ever wish to have a cabin getaway in the UK! They do have smaller cabins available for just two people, and there is also a treehouse with a cabin for up to twelve people!

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Outings · travel

Flashback Friday – Oxford, United Kingdom

 

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Last year a friend treated me to a two night UK break. It was a special birthday for me (the big 30!), and so she had booked it as a present.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE hotels! This one was amazing – it was a converted prison! Well it was a castle, into a prison, into a hotel!

I took way too many photos of the room, as you can see! But all the little details was amazing – the carpet, the drawers, even the keepsake toiletries was amusing. (Forgot to take photo sadly). There was several different room options. We stayed in the main block, we think they had knocked down three cells and made one room.

 

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It really was a unique hotel, very boutique and also quiet! We went on a Thursday and Friday last June. The lobby was pretty, there was restaurants and bars.

You could also wonder round the grounds, and see more of the history and castle. On the bottom floor, was even a replica of an old cell room! There was also restaurants and bars right in the shadow of the hotel. Highly recommend the wine bar just out the front – 1855 Oxford.

The location was great, right in the middle of the city. We walked everywhere. Whilst we was there we visited the Ashmolean Museum, had a pub lunch along the river,  lots of nice food, went into the one of the smallest pubs and also managed to go on a punting boat! We hired one just for half hour, with one guy doing the punting. It’s cliché and touristy – but we enjoyed it! It was surprisingly calming and relaxing, but we wasn’t there in high season.

 

 

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I know I love holidays abroad, and I’m addicted to looking and planning future trips. But sometimes to break the year up, its nice to explore other parts of our country! Oxford was pretty, and felt very historic with all the university’s over town.

But the hotel was just amazing, a real find on my friends behalf! Even if you could stay one night, it’s well worth it! Look up Malmaison Oxford.

 

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Outings

Tipsy Tea, London

 

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The other weekend I took my friend out to Tipsy Tea in Mayfair, London. It was a special treat for her 30th birthday, and she had kindly taken me out on mine.

We are both afternoon tea lovers, and she has been to so many – it was hard finding one she hadn’t already been to!

This one was one of the best, as it wasn’t just about the food and the drink – although everything was delicious. This was an experience!

It is based on the traveller/adventurer Phileas Fogg, and this is his residence that you are visiting.

The outside of the building is very unassuming, and had I not looked up on Google maps before going – would have walked straight past! They tick you off a list, take your jacket and welcome you in!
The room is jam packed full of items from his travels, and I don’t want to post too many photos, as don’t want to ruin anyone else’s experience!
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So the Tipsy Tea is just that – all the teas are cocktails served in tea pots! And all the cocktails are tea based – check out the menu! I had the Woburn Abbey and my friend chose the Anna Maria Russell. We had a cup of each to try! Both was really nice and definitely interesting.

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You book for a two hour slot, and halfway through one of the staff sat down at the piano and began playing! Really felt like we had travelled back in time for a short while.

As I mentioned the food was really good, the salted caramel brownie was amazing! I’m all about the deserts!

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This was pricey, but it’s an experience, lovely unique afternoon tea and the room is small – so you do have to pre-book! But come on, who doesn’t like treating their friends and themselves every once in a while?!

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Outings

Sky Garden, London

 

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Last weekend I visited the Sky Gardens with a good friend. We had been planning to go since last November but kept having to cancel for various reasons.

We went to St Paul’s Cathedral first, and had a wonder around, again this was a first visit for both of us.

Had a quick lunch, then walked to 20 Fenchurch Street – where the Sky Garden is located, on the 35th floor! It is in the very recognisable Walkie Talkie building. The amazing thing about this London attraction – the visit is free! Booking is highly recommended – tickets are released three weeks in advance, so make sure you have a date in mind! The ticket allows you one hour, but no one asked us to leave or check our timing, so I’m not sure how strict that is.

Sky Garden is actually London’s highest public garden! How cool is that.

There is a restaurant (again needs advanced booking), brassiere, and 2 bars. We chose to just have one drink up there, and selected a cocktail each from the menu. I had the Mayakick, which was rum based, and my friend had the Amore – prosecco based. We also managed to grab a 2 seated table right in front of The Shard!

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There is an outside observation deck, which has a tinted screen – so doesn’t make for the best photos! But it’s got great views – The Shard, River Thames and Tower of London are some of the closest.

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Once inside you can actually walk all the way round the top of the building, so its actually a 360 degree view of London. There is steps either side, where you walk next to the plants, flowers and foliage. They are occasionally watered too with a fine mist, so it feels very tropical!

It is chilly up there, as it’s naturally ventilated, so do take a jacket.

I would definitely recommend a visit here, the tickets are limited so its not crowded. There’s music playing, it has a chilled out vibe and feels like a cool London secret!

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