City Breaks

Visiting Hull, my weekend away!

(Ad) Last weekend I was invited along with some other lovely bloggers to spend the weekend in Hull with the Visit Hull tourist Board. I know what you are thinking, why would you want to for a weekend to Hull?? Well I was pleasantly surprised with the city, so let me tell you all about my weekend visiting Hull.

Visiting Hull

Visiting Hull information pack

Sight Seeing Tour

Our weekend started with a sight seeing tour around the city of culture. Over the last few years Hull has been re-generated into the city of culture. Paul our tour guide took us to various different locations all over the city.

smallest window in England

Paul clearly loves his pubs and there are some of the oldest pubs in the country located in Hull, mentioning the various different pubs as we passed them. Also pointing out the smallest window in England, it was also located at a pub!

Fish Tour Hull

During our 1.5 hour tour we walked all over the city, we spotted lots of fish. It was the famous Hull Fish Tour which is an A-Z of fish around the Old Town. You can get a free trail sheet, you then follow it around the city spotting all of the fish. Once complete you can pop to the Hull Tourist Information Centre to get your certificate. Along our walking tour we spotted lots of different fish on the pavements, although we didn’t do the whole tour, it would make for a fun day with the children.

During our tour we went to Zebedee’s Yard, which during the day is used for parking but in the evenings and weekends it turns into an events venue. At the back of the yard is ‘The Last Trip’ memorial, which is a lasting memory of those lost at sea, it’s quite a moving this to see hidden away in Hull.

Queen Victoria Hull

We walked into the Queen Victoria square to see Queen Victoria’s statue looking over the city. I love to see our historical monarchs as statues, it’s great to see Queen Victoria in Hull. She looked stunning against the blue skies we had when visiting Hull.

Museum Quarter Hull

Paul showed us the Museum Quarter which is actually a collection of four different museums. Hull & East Riding Museum, Arctic Corsair, Street Life Museum and Wilberforce Museum. Each of which are completely free to get into, set in lovely grounds, we popped into one of them to see what was on offer. The free museums were really what made me think, Hull would be a great place to visit with the children.

We wondered through the Hepworth Arcade, home to the very first Marks and Spencer Store and Dinesdales joke shop, more independent businesses and apparently a few resident ghosts. Hepworth Arcade is also home to Hothams Gin School and Distillery, which we had a visit planned for later.

Paul took us through the Arcade into Trinity indoor Market, out to see the beauty that is Hull Minster. Our tour ended here at the Minster, before Paul headed off to meet his next group. We headed back into the Trinity Indoor Market to eat.

Trinity Indoor Market

trinity indoor market vegetable stall

Trinity Indoor market is home to a large selection of different food and drink independent retailers. There is a a very varied selection of food vendors to choose from. Greek food, pie and pasties, asian, indian, falafel, pizza cones, coffee and cakes, deli, fruit and veg stalls, sweet, micro brewery and an amazing chocolate shop. So many different things to choose from, it took me a while to make my mind up.

In the end I went with the Asian food, after a bit of wondering round and drawling over the different options. I chatted to the lovely lady at Cheng and Chen about the different food they have on offer and what I should go with. In the end I decided on fried rice, crispy five spice chicken with chilli lime mayo, vegetable spring rolls and prawn crackers. Sounds like so much, but as the prices were reasonable I didn’t think the portions would be anywhere near the size that they were, such amazing value for money. I think the whole group either had Cheng and Chen or Greko.

Asian food

It all looked amazing, I love greek food as well so it was between greek and asian for me. I am pleased I went with Cheng and Chen and it was delicious. I really enjoyed it, the only thing was we should have shared a portion of spring rolls between us all as there was so many for the small price of £3.

Everyone really enjoyed their meals and I also think everyone had some left over as it was very generous sizes.

chocolates trinity indoor market Hull

After we had eaten our lunch we tried a selection of chocolate brownies from Cocoa chocolatier and bakery, which were simply amazing. You didn’t need a whole slice as it was such a rich item, but I probably would have eaten it all…. but I love chocolate!

I have to say I never really eat from ‘street food’ stands. Normally when we visit places we head to a restaurant for food or a bar for a drink. However, visiting the Trinity food hall I really enjoyed it and would happily look at something like this again.

Hull Minster

After lunch we headed into Hull Minster to see their Sistine Chapel exhibition. The Minster is a beautiful building towering over the city, built in the 17th century is England’s largest parish church.

Sistine Chapel exhibition Hull

The Sistine Chapel exhibition is displaying Michelangelo’s art work on large boards both on easels or floor displays. The exhibition allows you to spend time looking at the wonderful artwork in it’s full beauty and also up close. The show stopper from the exhibition is a 6m x 6m of the the Last Judgement and it really is the wow factor, I haven’t visited the Sistine Chapel in Italy but my Hubby has was impressed with the photographs of the exhibition.

If you are heading to Hull then a visit to Hull Minster is worth a visit.

Hotham’s Gin School

Gin School in Hull

Hotham’s Gin School is located in the Hepworth Arcade, I have to say I couldn’t wait to get there and make some gin. Hotham’s Gin School offer various gin school experiences, they do sell out quickly, so if you are thinking about fitting it in during a trip to Hull then make sure you book before you go.

gin school Hull

Our distillery lesson involved drinking gin and tonics, while learning more about the history of gin and the different botanicals you add in to make the different flavours.

I partnered up with the lovely Vicki from Tippytupps, we soon came up with inspiration for our gin, Summer Meadow. We both loved the floral summery tastes and smells so we choose the more floral botanicals and started the distilling process. It was fascinating going through the whole process from start to finish. Our gin went through various different stages, from really strong alcohol levels and changing flavours until our gin was fully distilled and ready for bottling. Sometimes it really didn’t smell or taste that great.

Once finished we had filled a bottle with our Summer Meadow gin and even sealed them up using wax. Labels were added to the bottles, which Vicki kindly wrote as she has beautiful writing. We now just have to wait for two weeks for our gin to be ready for drinking. If the gin tastes as good we hope it will, then we can order another bottle of it, as Hotham’s will brew up another batch specially.

I loved spending time at Hotham’s Gin School and I highly recommend anyone who is a gin lover to book in for a lesson.

Dinner at Ambiente

After the Gin School and feeling slight tipsy we headed for Tapas at Ambiente, in the Fruit Market area of the city. I love Tapas food and I had really high hopes or it.

We were treated to the Luio Chef’s Selection, which was served as a selection of sharing platters. I love sharing platters when you are with close friends or family, however we were sharing with 9 other people that had only met earlier in the day. So you have to be a more aware of how much you are popping on your plate.

The Luio Chef’s Selection has a varied selection of tapas items, bread and dipping oil, rump steak, chicken and seafood paella, tiger prawns, rump steak, pork, sea bream, hallouim and watermelon skewers, bravas (sliced potato). This menu is only available for parties of over 8 people.

I did enjoy the food, for me I couldn’t eat the steak it was cooked rare and I do not eat any rare meat. So that meant the whole dish was out for me. Although there was a lot of paella it was sat at the other end of the table, we had to get up from our seats to go to the other end of the table to get some. It was very nice just not thought out enough. It might have been better serviced in 3 smaller plates rather than 2 larger ones.

Overall I enjoyed my meal at Ambiente’s and I would go back. I probably wouldn’t have the set menu again as I didn’t think it was great value for money. But I do love Tapas food.

Staying over

We stayed at the Double Tree Hilton, which only opened in July this year. You could tell, the interior was fabulous, the designer they used has great taste. The bar area was nice and inviting also not massively over priced as you find in most hotels. I really like Hilton Hotels and they are my go to for overnight stays.

We met at the hotel at 10am, ready for our walking tour of the city. We tried to check in, however we were not able to because check in time was 3pm. Not an issue we handed over our luggage and went on with our day. However one lady in the group was able to check in, but we didn’t think to much more about it.

We didn’t arrive back at our hotel until almost 10.30pm, and we found that there was not enough rooms for us all. Very annoying! The lady on reception was rude and unhelpful. Laura who organised our trip away was able to sort things easily as she offered to share with one of the other girls who she knows well. However if Laura hadn’t be able too, I have no idea what they would have done.

double tree hilton bedroom

The hotel has a night club on the roof, which was very noisey! As I exited the lift I was surprised by the volume of the music, it was as though I had walked into the night club. I got to my room 521 and although I couldn’t sing along to the music I could hear and feel the thud of the music until about 1pm when it either stopped or I managed to fall to sleep! Luckily it was only me in the room, had I had my children with me I would have been even more annoyed than I already was about not having enough rooms and a rude receptionist!

The lady on reception was honestly enough for me not to ever want to return. However the rooms were great, the bathroom was large and well stocked with items to use. The breakfast was good and the company for the stay really was fabulous. So maybe I would go back and hope she wasn’t working!

The Deep

On Sunday morning after breakfast we headed to the Deep. I love The Deep!! Simple as that.

fish at the deep Hull

I have visited a couple of times before with the children and I have always loved going. It’s the perfect place for a rainy day trip, they offer so much for children to see. I love the variety of fish and marine life they have to see. It’s a fascinating place to visit, I actually enjoyed looking around at my own pace but I know how much the children would have loved to be there with me.

Penguins at the deep Hull

Although I don’t really think you would be there for the whole day, but you can spend a good 3 hours wondering around looking at all of the fish and sea life. I actually spent ages watching the penguins playing silly games in and out of the water.

shark at the Deep Hull

I will go back to the Deep again and take the children with me, I really do love it.

The Lion and Key

The Lion and Key Pub in Hull

After our trip to the Deep we headed to The Lion and Key for lunch, which was only a 6 minute walk aways. The Lion and Key was serving pints in 1817 and over the years has gone through some changes it is now back to being a pub and it well known around Hull for it’s great food and ales. Not only is it known for it’s food and drink but also for the ceilings covered in beer mats, along with the walls coverings of various different memorabilia.

Food at the Lion and Key

I was impressed by the selection of food on offer, I choose the battered king prawns and chips. Wow, what a plate full. It was really good. I couldn’t finish it all but the prawns were lovely and the batter was light. Laura who was with us is dairy free and was over the moon to find out she could have the batter. Natalie our vegetarian was more than happy with her chilli.

Everyone’s meals looked good, and they were thoroughly enjoyed. I thought that the prices of the food were reasonable and I would happily go back.

Would I go to Hull again?

In a simple answer yes I would. In fact I have chatted to my hubby about going for the day or even over night with the children. There is just so much to see and do, they would love another visit to the Deep and I would really like to take them to the museum quarter which looked fun and educational. Plus I would love to eat at Greko and I know my Hubby would love too as well.

The other lovelies who I went with have written their reviews if you would like to have a read:-

Hollie – ThirftyMum

Rachel – Out and About Mummy

Nicola – Mummy to Dex

Natalie – Hello Cuppies

Vicki – Tippytupps

Gemma – Family on the go

Mandy – Mandy Charlton Photography

Joanne – Kids Days Out Reviews

 

*This was a paid press trip by Visit Hull, thank you for having me on the trip. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

3 Culture Rich Things To Do When Visiting Rome

With so many tourists visiting Rome each year, it’s easy to follow the masses and fall into the trap of overpriced, tacky and downright dull activities that provide no insight into the true culture and lifestyle of the area. Italy truly has so much to offer, with its sun kissed sky lines and a relaxed, luxurious way of life, so what are you waiting for? Start organising your dream trip to Rome today with these culture rich activities that are guaranteed to help you make the most of your experience!

rome, italy, flowers

Take In The Traditional Architecture

There is such a wealth of traditional architecture all across Rome, but the highly famous sights tend to be absolutely packed out with flocks of people that make the whole thing just a little less beautiful. However, there are some more generally hidden gems that offer just as much tranquility at a much slower pace, in which you can truly take in your surroundings without feeling cramped or rushed. The Trastevere markets lay situated next to the serene Tiber river, and the quiet cobble stones paths offer a much anticipated break from the hustle and bustle. With authentic street food from vendors who have had their skills passed down through several generations guaranteed to tickle your tastebuds, and unique and picturesque stalls selling handmade goods like jewellery and decorations, you’re bound to find something awe inspiring. The roads of Piazza De Spagnia, Piazza navona and Campo De Fiori offering equal amounts of pristine beauty, so take a stroll away from the centre and take in the amazing suburban landscape that’s stood strong and proud for many hundreds of years. 

Fancy A Shopping Trip?

With the likes of Versace, Moschino, Gucci, Valentino and Prada all hailing from Italy, the opportunities to bag some absolute classic pieces are so rife. Via Del Corso can offer some of the best stores in the whole of Italy, and really should not be missed if you’re looking to spend the day browsing the most luxurious brands around. There are hundreds of centres for jewellery lovers and clothes addicts respectively, ensuring that you can be dressed to impress through every day and night of your stay. 

Sample The Delicious Food And Wine 

Much of Italian culture is based upon food, and very often wine. Meals are such an important time of the day, and the restaurants in Rome can bring you some of the most delicious dishes you have ever tried. From the traditional wood fired pizza ovens to the homely osterias sampling century old recipes, there’s a taste for every kind of individual and little chance you will go home with an empty stomach! Attending a wine tour in Italy gives you the chance to explore working ‘vigna’ and taste the most delectable drinks around, these are a definite stop on any respectable tour. 

Try out these 3 activities when you’re next in the beautiful city of Rome to truly take in the culture and traditional way of life. Appreciate the architecture, shop until you drop and then fill your belly with gorgeous food to finish your day with a real treat.

Explore off-the-beaten track around Hicksville, New York

Traveling east through Queens along East Jericho Turnpike, you’ll cross into Long Island and merge on to the Northern State Parkway. In a few short miles, you’ll arrive in Hicksville, Long Island. Hicksville is hiding a few offbeat attractions that you can explore during your next visit. 

long island new york

Virtual Realms

Hicksville is home to Long Island’s first virtual reality arcade. Virtual activities range from fun games like Fruit Ninja suitable for kids aged seven years and up to the more sinister zombie and combat challenges targeted to mature gamers. Virtual Realms is easy to find on the east side of Hicksville on South Oyster Bay Road. There are plenty of accommodations nearby if you need a place to spend a few nights in Hicksville. 

Long Island Puppet Theatre

long island puppet theatre

If you’re traveling with toddlers from three to five years old, head to the centre of town and visit the Long Island Puppet Theatre. Little ones can sing along to stories like Puss in Boots or enjoy the Princess Tea Party. Reserve seats for your favourite show ahead of time since the theatre gets booked for private parties too.

The Hicksville Gregory Museum

Everything about The Hicksville Gregory Museum is a bit offbeat, including its location. The museum is housed in The Heitz Place Courthouse which is over 100 years old. Over time, the courthouse served as the original Village Hall, a jail, and the local World War II draft headquarters. Today, The Hicksville Gregory Museum offers eclectic collections of fossils, butterflies, minerals, and dial telephones.

I.FLY Trapeze and Aerial Arts

If you’re visiting Hicksville in warm weather, you can reach for the sky at I.FLY Trapeze and Aerial Arts in nearby Eisenhower Park. Experienced trapeze artists will teach you to fly on a trapeze bar at this outdoor trapeze venue just five miles from Hicksville. If you’re not quite ready to grab the bar and fly, try watching first. Check out one of the evening trapeze shows to see the professionals at work. 

Cradle of Aviation Museum

If you ever wanted to see Navy fighter jets or an Apollo Lunar Landing Module up close, you’ll find them not far from Hicksville in Garden City. You can stroll through the history of modern flight at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Don’t miss the Jet Gallery, Planetarium, and Firefighter’s Museum. End your day of exploring with a spin on the 100-year old Nunley’s Historic Carousel next door.

Prefer trains to planes? See the restored Locomotive #35 in the display yard of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. This museum’s founders are on a mission to educate visitors on the history of The Long Island Railroad and the rail’s impact on town residents. Check out the Visitor Centre to see the plans to restore the Historic Landmark Presidential Train Station.

Long Island is home to plenty of beaches, parks, and restaurants. As you travel across the island, plan a stop in Hicksville to enjoy a few unusual activities you won’t find anywhere else.