Nestled down a little ally off the famous streets of Chester is a wonderfully quirky and contemporary restaurant and bar that hit the UK scene by storm. The Botanist, sister to The Alchemist, was always going to appeal to my heart with it’s reflective connotations of Harry Potter crossed with the Secret Garden. Myself and Sam were fortunate enough to visit the Chester branch during our recent stay in the city and will most definitely be returning very soon.
I’ve previously visited one Botanist within their chain on Boar Lane, Leeds and I confirm they achieve such a simalar ambiance. Both nestled away from the crowds, you’d be lucky to spot it without knowingly seeking, this for me makes them that little bit more special than the average bar.
Last weekend was my birthday (pops a party popper), so as always, I made Sam pack up his bags and whisk me off for a weekend away. So this year it wasn’t quite New York, but our weekend with Hillcrest Park Camping Park came a close second! When we were looking for some alternative accommodation ‘Podding’ (a word I’m taking credit for the creation of) looked right up our street. Podding is essentially glamping, you hire what can be best described as a wooden hut placed in the countryside and spend the night. Pods are inclusive of plug points, heaters, lights and blinds and although you essentially only get the outer shell, I was totally impressed with the internal facilities.
Step out of the city and over the Yorkshire Moors and you find yourself in the wonderful arms of the East Riding Coast. Home to many iconic British seaside towns such as Whitby, Bridlington and Scarborough. This weekend, my fiancé and I were fortunate enough to spend an evening with a hotel in Scarborough, Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. Situated a 5 minute drive from the seafront, Ox Pasture has so much to offer. This quaint, rustic hotel is surrounded by beautiful countryside, with breath taking views visible from all angles, come all seasons this place really does gleam!
We stopped in a suite which was inclusive of a king size bed! The room was beautifully presented, spacious and has separate quarters for sleeping to a sitting room. I was highly taken by the bathroom and the large waterfall shower, the bath and its waterfall taps. Suites have the most wonderful views of the surrounding land and the over-sized panel windows really come into their own when the sun rises in the morning. I found myself admiring the views of the landscape and sheep in a neighboring field.
Take an hours flight south of Bangkok city and you reach the magnificent islands of Southern Thailand. Famed for their idyllic landscapes travelers flock to experience the tranquility for themselves. This month I visited Koh Phangan island and stayed with the fabulous Phangan Bayshore Resort, located on Haan Rin Beach this resort has perfect access for the Full Moon Party if that’s your bag or simply has some if the countries best beaches right on your doorstep.
Bayshore Resort offers a number of different room styles to suit a multitude of tastes. If you’re looking to be in the mist of the action then the hotel building offers poolside suites complete with magnificent views of the beach and waters, a truly magical view. If you’re looking for something a little more intimate then be sure to check out their exclusive Villa’s. The villa’s are slick and contemporary offering tranquil views, perfect for couples looking for a quieter experience.
When it comes to bars Leeds manages to wow us all, new niches run along side chain franchises giving Leeds goers a vast array of choice when choosing their destination for the evening. This week it’s all about the new boys in town, introducing Slate NQ.
Slate NQ opened their doors Thursday night and I was lucky enough to pop along to their Launch Night. They put on a phenomenal show and gave their guests an evening filled with magic, laughter and Prosecco. The novel theme ran through the night and guests enjoyed trading their playing cards for drinks at the bar, a lovely touch!
Let us assume that by now, everyone is aware of the Travelodge hotel chain, but in case you’re not here’s a quick brief of what they offer. Travelodge are your low cost hotel that offers basic amenities and clean, comfortable accommodation. The chain has recently undergone renovation in the vast majority of their hotels, this mainly included a ‘freshen up’ of their rooms offering a modern look for their customers. This week I was invited to stay with Travelodge Leeds and enjoyed a night with the hotel.
If I had a pound for every post I wrote about Harry Potter I’d be a very rich girl, but, here goes another! Last week I took a trip to Northumberland and stayed with the fabulous St Mary’s Inn, Morpeth (review found here). Making the most of the trip we headed over to Alnwick Castle. Alnwick Castle is located in the historic market town of Alnwick in the North East of England, the castle is INSTANTLY recognisable as Hogwarts but it is also home to the show Downtown Abbey and is set for many more TV shows and films. Alnwick Castle was built as a medieval fortress and has been the home of the Percy’s, Earls and Dukes of Northumberland, since 1309. Today, Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England as it is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland and their family.
Alnwick Castle is open each year from April 1st to October 31st, during this period the trust sees an influx of 200,000 visitors. The castle has been a widely used film location but these days the castle draws most of its attention from Harry Potter fanatics. The castle was featured as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter movies filming flying lesson with broomsticks in the first movie, The Philosopher’s Stone, and Ron & Harry’s Ford Anglia scene from the Chamber of Secrets.
The castle offers a wide variety of activities for visitors, whilst there take part in your choice of guided tours of the castle and grounds, archery lessons, magic and wizardry with a Harry Potter theme and a Knight’s Quest. Harry Potter activities, my personal pick, include a Battlesticks to Broomstick tour, three sessions a day of Broomstick Training with Hogwarts prefects and Magic with Hagrid and Dumbledore. We were a little late in the sign up for Broomstick Training so my tip if you really want to try this out is to pre-book, particularly in the school holidays. Broomstick Training is available to all age groups so don’t feel silly if you’re wanting to give it a go!
Alnwick Castle offers so much for all ages and is most definitely my pick for anyone visiting Northumberland, whether you’re a Harry Potter Fanatic or interested in the local history you’re bound to have a great day out with Alnwick Castle. Don’t forget to hit up the Gift Shop before you leave, a wide variety of Film Memorabilia is available for purchase.
Rebekah Esme was invited as a guest of Alnwick Castle and The Northumberland Tourism Board, as always, my views are my own. Please also find my review featured on the Northumberland Tourism Board Blog here.