UK Travel

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.*

Luxury travel for all with Niche Retreats

I love a little bit of luxury in my life, but for so many people they hear the word luxury and think expensive. Adding luxury to your life doesn’t always have to be expensive. Heading away on holiday or a weekend break for me is about finding a a beautiful place to stay. Sometimes you just need to get away from everyday life and relax with a little bit of luxury.

niche-retreats

Finding a holiday that is not only luxurious but also affordable for all, really isn’t as difficult as people think. Niche Retreats is the perfect place to start looking for that luxury break that is affordable. It could be you are looking for a romantic break away or organising something for the whole extended family or a large group of friends. Niche Retreats offers it all. From a couple to a group of 50 people.

A couple of years ago I was tasked with finding a property that was big enough to house all of the Hubby’s family including all four of his step brothers, sister, partners, children and dog. In total their was 17 of us going and at the time 4 dogs, it was really difficult to find somewhere within the school holidays that was affordable for everyone but also big enough and would take the dogs.

I started to look about 18 months before we were going and although I booked it just over 12 months before the holiday it was a struggle. We ended up a place that was large enough for us all, a good location to a beach however it wasn’t really a luxury property. Now the family has extended even more, we have more children, more partners and we have 9 dogs between us all. Not that we would now take that many dogs away.

Luxury for larger families or groups

I thought finding something that would be suitable for everyone almost impossible. However, with Niche Retreats they had many luxurious yet affordable options for us. I thought I would share my favourite with you.

niche-retreats

Tregoninny Farmhouse and Barns is located near the beautiful village of Tresillian, Cornwall. Set in it’s own private woodland and farm and only 2 miles from Truro. The farmhouse and barns sleep 22 people, 11 in the farm house and 11 in the barn and welcomes 5 dogs. Not only would Tregoninny be more than large enough for my Hubby’s family it has that luxurious feel that I look for. Believe me, spending a week away with his family needs a bit of luxury and a lot of gin to help me get through it.

The farmhouse and barns has large dinning areas, beautiful sitting rooms, so much outdoor space for the children and the dogs. 7 bathrooms, 11 bedrooms, parking for numerous cars, woodlands to walk around and log burners to keep you toasty and warm.

Tregoninny farmhouse and barns really is the perfect venue for a large group of friends or a large family gathering.

Finding a luxury holiday for a large party can be affordable for all. Do you go on big family holidays? Do you have any tips or coping with so many people?

 

*This is a collaborative post. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

What to do in London this Christmas

Christmas only comes around once a year so making it count is important. You want to know that after anticipating it for almost a year, every day is worthwhile when it finally comes around. You can do so by making the most of the ongoing festivities taking place around you and seeing what’s outside of your comfort zone. If you happen to be in London especially, you should find that there are many activities to do whether for adventure junkies or more laid back people. In case you need a few ideas, see what you can do in London this Christmas below.

What-To-Do-in-London-This-Christmas

Ice skate at Somerset House

Skating can be tons of fun, especially when done on the ice. During the Christmas period, you can usually enjoy ice skating at Somerset House which is on the south side of the Strand in central London. Aside from skating, there are extras you could enjoy like having champagne at the Fortnum’s Lodge or ‘Skate Lates,’ which features top DJs and music nights. You can book tickets at the cost of £11 and £8.50 for children and skating begins on November 14th.

Watch a show

Entertainment is something that most people enjoy as it’s a chance to focus on something other than your reality for a little while. For this reason, watching a show may be a great idea when it comes to making the most of Christmas. There are several shows in December 2018 that you can watch around the Christmas period. Some Christmas themed shows to consider are a Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker. If you’re taking kids along, The Snowman may be a show everyone will enjoy.

Hogwarts in the snow

For all of the Harry Potter lovers, Hogwarts in the Snow may be something worth doing this Christmas. Taking place at the Warner Bros studio, you can expect to see snow, icicles and magical instruments all around. In addition, you can expect to hear fires roaring in fireplaces thanks to special effects as well as Gryffindor common room to be filled with treats. For the most part, it’s a chance to get behind the scenes and see the costumes that were used as well as how artificial snow was created. The two-course meal and dessert you get to indulge in should be enjoyable as well.

Christmas at Kew

Last year, Kew Gardens had magical Christmas lights on display at its botanical garden. If your goal is to embrace the spirit of Christmas, then you should be thinking about spending Christmas at Kew Gardens as you’ll witness millions of lights twinkling. Sparkling trees, glowing orbs, and light shows can be expected at the gardens. Overall, it’s a way to get a true feel of Christmas and experience this beauty with your loved ones. You can book tickets in advance so that you can secure your space for the show. 

As mentioned above, there are a number of activities you can choose to partake in this Christmas. Whether alone or with family and friends, there’s something in the vibrant city of London for everyone. By choosing activities that you’ll enjoy, you could end up having the best Christmas yet.