Where to visit in Europe & tips on top European destinations
Category Archives: Travel Tips
Travel tips to help you make the most of your European trips. Tips on the best things to see, places to stay and eat in European destinations.. The lowdown from locals and experienced European travellers to help you plan your travels.
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Liverpool has come a very long way from being basically an industrial port city and is now a place full of cultural attractions of all kinds – although its most famous exports and probably the reasons most people visit are both the Beatles and the Liverpool Football Club. But there’s plenty of art, music and also an impressive maritime history to explore. This post offers travel tips on what to do in Liverpool.
The Beatles Story
For me the first thought that pops into my mind when someone talks of Liverpool is the Beatles, every time. The Beatles Story is much more than just a Beatles museum – it’s a hands-on (ears-on?!) experience and it’s now spread across two sites after lots of expansion in recent years.
I thought it was about time that we had a hashtag for tweets about travel in Great Britain, aka the United Kingdom (UK), so I’ve created the #gbtravel hashtag. If you’re tweeting about travelling in Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland, could you please add the #gbtravel hashtag.
The hashtag should make it easier for anyone interested in travelling in Great Britian to find additional relevant articles, photos and videos to help plan their trip.
Romania is an exciting travel destination with plenty to see; you can literally go from the mountains to the sea and find all kinds of different destinations along the way – and of course it’s famous as the home of Dracula, too! Here are our travel tips on what to do in Romania outside the capital city of Bucharest.
Admire the Wooden Churches
In northern Transylvania, the Maramures region is particularly well-known for its architecturally unique Orthodox churches. In the 17th century stone churches were banned and so the wooden churches began and the surviving structures are incredible – eight of them are World Heritage listed.
One of the most visited Romanian tourist attractions outside of Bucharest Bran Castle, near Brasov. It dates back around 800 years and is well-visited because it’s got the reputation of being the home of Dracula – curiously, though, there’s actually no evidence that this is the place Bram Stoker was thinking of, but it’s marketed that way and that seems to work! Dracula or not, it’s an impressive place.
Being Scottish, I’m always on the lookout for free things to do when I visit London. Here are my travel tips for seven free things to do in London.
Watch a Free Show at Covent Garden
There were two guys pedaling unicycles with a young member of the audience throwing skittles for them to catch, when I was at Convent Garden. The best place to view the show is from the first floor terrace of the Punch and Judy pub. However only over 18s are allowed out onto the terrace.
Free entertainment at London’s Convent Garden
Be Dazzled by Colour at Neal’s Yard
I’d repinned photos of Neal’s Yard on to my London board on Pinterest. I happened to notice Neal St as I was heading north from Convent Garden. I assumed that they Yard would be close by. Sure enough, Neal’s Yard was up an alleyway. It was late afternoon on a cold March weekday, with very few people around, so I had one of the circular benches in the courtyard to myself.
Sometimes when travelling, you’ve simply gotta go, and a device such as the Uriwell Adult, a unisex portable urinal, can be very useful. It’s around the size of a tin of beans, but is expandable. However, even at its minimum size, it would take up a fair amount of valuable space if you were travelling by air with only one carry on bag.
For a woman, it’s a lot easier to pee into than a bottle. I didn’t have any leakage when I used it. It’s more discreet for females to use a Uriwell when wearing a skirt. A woman wearing trousers would need to pull then down to near enough the knees to fit the Uriwell between the legs.
I’m not sure about its longevity, as the handle hinge looks like it might snap anytime. Once you’ve contracted and expanded the contraption a few times, I wonder if some stess points might start to leak. I held it upside down when it was full of water and it didn’t leak. However the base isn’t steady so it’s probably wise to keep it upright after use.
It’s quite hard to dry the Uriwell after washing, as the water lies in the folds.
I think that the Uriwell’s most practical use would be in the car, when you were delayed or couldn’t find a toilet. It’s easier to use if the car is stationary, as it’s better to perch on the edge of the seat during use, since most car seats slope back a bit.
I’ve also reviewed the Whiz Freedom, a urine director for women.
I stayed at the Travelodge Clapham Junction for a couple of nights during a recent trip to London, in keeping with my recent approach of staying in different areas when I visit there. It was really easy to get to Clapham Junction by National Rail from Victoria Station, with trains departing every few minutes. Here are my travel tips for things to do in Clapham.
Dine at Sappho Meze Bar
On my first evening I followed the Twitter tip from Vicki Brown (tweeting as @LaNomadita) to eat the Sappho Meze Bar, close to North Clapham tube station. For £10.50 I had a real feast with a wide selection of meze(des), a lamb main course and Greek yoghurt with honey.
Meze at Sappho’s in North Clapham
See a Show in a Pub Theatre
Sounds unlikely, but the Landor Theatre is on the first floor of this pub near North Clapham tube station. The theatre can seat up to sixty people and tickets cost between £15 and £20. There’s also a pleasant garden at the back of the pub.
Go to a Sewing Cafe
Close to the Landor pub is the Sew Over It sewing cafe. It costs £5 an hour, which includes unlimited pots of tea. You must have some sewing experience, but there also exist classes for beginners. I spoke to the owner Lisa Comfort and she reckons that sewing and making your own clothes is back in vogue now.
Here are my tips for things to do in Aberdeen in North East Scotland.
Soak up the History in Old Aberdeen
Old Aberdeen lies to the north of the city centre. It was founded in the 15th century and there are still some medieval buildings here. It’s the location of the University of Aberdeen and St Machar’s Cathedral. One of my favourite Aberdeen cafes, Kilau Coffee, now has a branch in the High Street of Old Aberdeen. Kilau also serves great food, especially smoothies, salads and cakes.
Our sons loved the hands on science related activities at the Satrosphere. It’s located close to the beach, has a cafe, free parking and free WiFi. Admission costs £5.75 for adults and £4.50 for kids aged 4+. You can get a voucher for one free kid’s entry with an accompanying paying adult on their website.
Cycling Skeleton at the Satrosphere Science Centre by Bruce McAdan
I reckon that if you want to explore the countryside, small towns and villages around Edinburgh in Scotland, you really need a car. Public transport can be expensive and/or infrequent. Having your own transport makes you much more flexible with timings and if you are enjoying a location/attration, you can stay for longer than planned. Plus you can carry a lot more gear with you e.g. a picnic and change of clothes for the four seasons in a day which you may encounter.
Highland cattle & calves at Paxton House in the Scottish Borders
Here are my suggested itineraries for three day trips by car from Edinburgh.
The dog-head shaped Kingdom of Fife lies north of Edinburgh. You’ll need to cross the clearly signed Forth Road Bridge to get there. A few miles after the Bridge, you can turn off into Dunfermline to visit Dunfermline Abbey and Pittencrieff Park.
The Glen in Pittencrieff Park
From Dunfermline, head east on the A921 coastal road to visit the beaches in Aberdour and Burntisland.
Then continue along the A921 to Kirkcaldy to pick up the A92 dual carriageway. A few miles north of Glenrothes, join the A912 heading for Falkland. Just outside the village is a single track road which takes you half way up Falkland Hill. It’s not too arduous to climb to the peak for wonderful views. There are plenty of picnic beanches and toilets at the car park, so it’s a good spot for a picnic. If you’re interested in Scottish history you can visit Falkland Palace.
Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and a popular tourist destination, with a great coastal location on the Mediterranean Sea. Here are our ten tips on what to do in Valencia.
City of Arts and Sciences
This futuristic architectural gem is a complex housing all kinds of cultural and tourist focused places to visit – including museums, an IMAX cinema, an opera house and a planetarium. It was famously designed by Santiago Calatrava and features prominently in promotions about Valencia.
Heather visited L’Oceanographic in Valencia with her family and said it was the highlight of the trip for her children. It’s within the City of Arts and Sciences complex and has a big range of sea life on display in various large aquariums and tanks. There’s also an excellent dolphin show held three times a day.
A lot of planning needs to go into family travel to ensure that everyone enjoys the trip. Radio DJ Jo Whiley, Mum to four kids, has some tips for family holidays.
We had twin sons, so we didn’t have the issue of finding a destination suitable for different ages, but it could still be tricky to come up with a holiday that appealed to both kids and parents. Below are my recommendations for family travel planning.
Book Appropriate Accommodation
We took a two weeks holiday to Lanzarote one Easter in a self catering one bed apartment. There were sofas which converted to beds in the living/kitchen area. We slept in the bedroom and our sons in the living room. It didn’t work well in the mornings, as we were always up before them, so disturbed them preparing our breakfast to take out to the balcony. The whole self catering thing wasn’t a great success either, we seemed to spend a lot of the holiday shopping, cooking and washing dishes. It would’ve been much better to only go for one week and pay a supplement for a two bed apartment on half board, with more space and only have to prepare a snack at lunch time. Continue reading →
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