On of the main things to be done when visiting Dubrovnik. You can walk around the city walls with great views to be had.
Main entrance near the Pile gate, on the left hand side as you come through the gate.
Google map: bit.ly/btTpel
Not only are The Vaults under Edinburgh's South Bridge terrifying as you pass through a small stomach churning torture museum before you are lead in to the vaults themselves, but you are greeted by the cursed witches circle, said to cause fits and collapses upon entering. If The Vaults don't satisfy your quench for fear, the Greyfriar's Cemetery offers you a chance to walk in the footsteps of the infamous Burke and Hare body snatchers after dark which unveils Edinburgh's grim history. The graveyard also comes with it's very own 'Creepy Wee Shop in the Graveyard'.
Gwydir Castle is a 16th century Tudor castle lovingly restored by Judy and Peter Welford– with the help of several eccentric locals, all to be found in Judy’s fascinating account in her book ‘Castles in the Air’. It is known for its many ghosts and has the reputation for being one of the most haunted houses in Wales. To get you in the mood you arrive at a huge fortress type gate with large dogs barking behind it. Once inside the dogs turn out to be friendly – if a little wolf like – and Judy extremely welcoming. The two rooms available for B & B are in a (heated) wing next to the main castle. Huge four poster beds and genuine period furniture in the bedrooms – but all mod cons in the bathroom!! We were offered complementary tea and cakes served on an enormous silver tray in the castle parlour next to a roaring fire, followed by a tour of the castle from husband and artist Peter who regaled us with stories of the many ghosts – human and animal - lurking in all corners. We made it safely through the night and had a fabulous ‘full welsh breakfast’ sourced from local produce. Peter and Judy’s (and dogs) love of their castle is infectious – you’ll come away loving it too, despite the ghosts!
Good restaurants and cafés in Llanwrst and on edge of Snowdonia national park.
Choose a cold, wintry night to gaze out at the ruins of Tynemouth Priory as the North Sea thunders against the cliffs.
Standing on the windswept headland of Pen Bal Crag, in the North East of England, the Priory looks out across the North Sea to Denmark. The Priory was sacked by the Danes several times, despite fortification by the Priory monks. Those brave enough to walk by the Castle walls after dark, may catch sight of the Black Monk, who walks the grounds in his hooded robes.
Escape the rough, salty air for the warmth of Luis bistro or one of the cosy Tynemouth pubs.
Tynemouth Castle, North Shields NE30 4BZ
+44(0)191 257 1090
Google map: bit.ly/9bl5JR
This bothy, in the care of the Mountain Bothies Association, is on the south side of Ben Alder on the shores of Loch Ericht. A stunning location, if a little demanding to get to , but you can’t get much more budget than a free bothy, and can be approached from either the west (Corrour station) or the east (Dalwhinnie). It is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a former ghillie, McCook, who was supposed to have hanged himself, and there are various reports of noises and lights in the night. Mr. McCook, in fact probably retired to Newtonmore , quite happily, but never mind. There is also the body of the so-called ‘man with no name’, discovered on the summit of Ben Alder, his heart pierced by a lead bullet in 1996. It was not until 18 months later that he was identified as a Parisian, Emmanuel Caillet.
The atmospheric Minster Church stands on a superb viewpoint above a wooded river valley in North Cornwall. Surrounded by tombstones overgrown with bracken and wildflowers, its graveyard precinct is set in National Trust-owned woodlands,and encompasses the site of a pagan/early Christian healing well. A few years ago it also hosted the re-interrment of the bones of a woman unjustly condemned as a witch in the 18th century.
It's best visited at dusk, when you're bound to see some of the rare greater horseshoe bats that roost in the church tower. There are no other houses or settlements nearby, and the way that the Victorian graveyard merges into the ancient woodland, combined with the superb coastal scenery and the air of mystery (why is there a solitary church here in the middle of nowhere?) make this obscure place one of the spookiest locations in England.
Approx 1 mile outside Boscastle, see www.boscastlecornwall.org.uk/church_minster_info.htm for map
There is road access, but is also connected to the main car park at Boscastle Harbour via footpaths along the Jordan valley. Bear in mind though that the walks are moderately strenuous and involve a good uphill slog at one point.
Google map: bit.ly/aDzjKA
This is a great deal if you want to see a fair number of museums and places of interest in your stay. 24 of them are free with the card and others are discounted. That's a fee boat trip, free Belfry and Dali Exhibition, free Brewery Tour (de Halve Maan), and so many free museums from the Memling (fantastic medieval hospital to the Groeninge (all flemish art) to the Choco-Story and the Friet(chips) museum. Every major museum is included so you can dip in without taking any risks. There are discounts off cycling, ballooning, buses and much more. It costs €33 for 48 hrs and €39 for 72 hrs.
We just enjoyed ourselves walking the canals, eating and drinking and seeing whatever we fancied - and somehow we saved €30 each on two days of entertainment, without really trying. The Belfy & Dali exhibition are €18 together to start with - so you can see how the savings add up quickly.
You may be given a card if you're in a grand hotel but the rest of us end up buying one - and it's great value!
You get a visitors' guide with it too.
Buy the card at the Concertgbouw Information Centre (on T-Zand) and at the Station Information Office. Details on www.bruggecitycard.be
This is a great little brewery, the only one left in Bruges. Our tour guide was entertaining with a really dry sense of humour as she took us ever upwards demonstrating the malt and hops process as it was (historic machinery) and is now (very modern). From the roof terrace there's a panoramic view over a good section of Bruges, more interesting and detailed than that from the Belfort. The ticket (€5.50 1hr tour) includes a glass of Brugse Zot (Bruges Jester) blond beer and there are two other excellent brews to sample. We had a snack lunch in their cafe too.
Good beer and an excellent tour.
Very enjoyable and enlightening hill walking tours with friendly and informative guides. Guides are experienced archaeologists with plenty of fascinating stories of ancient Celtic mythology.
Carlingford is an idyllic medieval village an hour drive from Dublin or Belfast Airports. Plenty of restaurants and great accommodation available all year round.
Exploring the woodland at either side of the River Wharfe, where if flows through this spectacular, narrow gorge, is a splendid experience at any time of the year. In autumn it is even more magnificent. The round trip from the Bolton Abbey estate’s Sandholme car park along one side of the river to Barden Bridge, then returning via the path on the opposite bank is about 5 miles. There are other shorter routes, some of which are wheelchair-friendly or the walk could be extended by starting at the main Bolton Abbey car park. Refreshments are available at the Cavendish Pavilion which is close to the Sandholme car park.
Spectacular medieval castle - lots of rooms and spiral staircases and views from the top of tower. Good history information on the site.
Castle Lane, Goodrich, County of Herefordshire HR9 6
Google map: bit.ly/aimQDi
We discovered this historic trail (about six miles) through walkingworld.com and as woodland walks go this is a stunner. Parking is near the elegiac ruins of Tintern Abbey, and from there one embarks upon a digestible but heart thumping climb up to the Devil’s Pulpit, a rocky outcrop, affording fantastic views, where the evil doer himself supposedly used to preach temptation to the industrious monks scurrying below. The paths trail Offa’s Dyke, a linear earthwork following the Welsh/English borders. One feels alone but not lonely amid the tall centuries-old ash, beech, birch, oak and yew, and the woodland is well preserved and conserved. There is pasture land beyond and you might glimpse the occasional deer and perhaps the ghosts of Wordsworth and Turner who were also inspired by the setting of the ruins and the landscape.
Bar/restaurant in heart of Kreuzberg since mid 19th century.
It became famous for its confectionery, so much so that cakes were sent to New York in the 1920s via the Hindenburg airship.
It is now a bar and restaurant with German/ international food.
A traditional Greek village, retaining it authenticity, hidden in the hills near the ancient city of Ephesus. Not usually visited by most tourists, but full of charm. Local produce is a speciality, especially the wines.
Sirince village in the province of Izmir. 90 kms south of Izmir city.
Google map: bit.ly/aExaGa
Voted number 12 on the list of the 50 greatest railway journeys in the world, the Great Central Railway is the UK's only double track, main line heritage railway. It runs between Loughborough, Quorn, Rothley, Leicester North (Birstall) stations.
A brilliant day out, and each station is restored to reflect a different period. A good place to stop off for lunch is the the Manor House pub in Quorn (right by the station entrance).
Austins, the world's oldest department store, is a stunning building located in the Diamond, square at the very heart of the city centre.
It is well worth popping into. It is a quaint, in many ways, old fashioned kind of store but with top of the range goods in every department.
Best of all is the Roof Top Restaurant on the third floor with wonderful views over the city. I had a gigantic scone, butter, jam and a mug of coffee for an amazing £1.60!
Later I went back for lunch and had the lunchtime special. A main course, pudding, and a pot of tea or a coffee for £4.95, with good big portions. It was very busy! A wonderful mix of Derry ladies of a certain age, businessmen, mothers and toddlers. I staggered out after lunch and managed to cross to the benches in the square where I sat in the sun to let it all digest before tackling the walls of the city!
It's a restaurant on the mountain above Alcossebre. You pass it on the way up to the white Ermita Santa Lucia chapel that can be seen at the top from the town below. Very good food and the staff also speak good English for those whose Spanish isn't so good. Nice layout and a fabulous view of Alcossebre and Las Fuentes below.
Pinar, parc.12 (Alcocéber / Alcossebre)
Alcalà de Xivert, Castellón 12579
Google map: bit.ly/9EShnZ
Built in 1450's by the Rathore prince Rao Jodha, this spectacular fortress is the epitome of Rajputana grandeur and royalty of the days of yore. One can get a panoramic view of the 'blue city' Jodhpur from the top of the fortress.
Mehrangarh houses several palaces, monuments, temples, palanquins and lush gardens. There is a museum too which showcase the artifacts and souvenirs, reflecting myriad colors of Rajasthan and Rajputana.
It is one of the destination of the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, a luxury train in India, one of the most luxurious mode of traveling across the choicest destinations in Rajasthan.
The ruins at Jinsha were only discovered in 2001 and so the excavations and museum are a relatively new site not yet in many guidebooks.
The site is believed to be the sacrificial centre of the Shu Kingdom - a culture that remains an enigma. This site and the related one at Sanxingdui both show evidence of an advanced civilization yet there is no written record of this having any dealings with any other Chinese state.
The first hall covers one of the most productive excavation holes and is really interesting in that you are able to see some items in situ.
The second hall offers more of an explanation about the civilization and contains excellent displays of some truly incredible aretfacts. Pictures of some of these on the website below.
One of the highlights for us, and I'm sure for all family visitors, was the 4D cinema. The 3D film may be a little over-the-top in places but that extra dimension (elephants squirting water at you etc) made for hilarious and therefore unforgettable experience. How often can you say that about a museum?
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