Jersey – 5 days in this Perfect Summer Holiday Destination

Comments 4 Standard

IMG_4516.JPG

Imagine a holiday with various sandy beaches to choose from, cliffs, light house, country side & lots of ice cream all in the vicinity of 9 by 5 miles island. Are you tempted? Did I hear ‘Yes’, then Jersey, British Channel Island, is a perfect summer beach holiday destination for you.

Whether you are looking for a long weekend away or a week holiday away from home here in the UK, Jersey has everything for a sunny warm holiday. With many UK airports only an hour from the island and ferry ride of about 3.5 hours from Poole or Southampton, escaping to Jersey for a few days is a fantastic option that offers something for all ages.

IMG_4517.JPG

We spent 5 days in Jersey with a very relaxing schedule as we were travelling with our 23 months old baby, so wanted to make sure he feels that he is on holiday too. Well frankly, he had the maximum fun on this holiday with building/breaking sand castle, bathe/swim in the sea, zoo visit, cycling on the bay etc.

Travel – You can travel by public transport or hire a car ( If you did not drive to Jersey)

Food – Thai Dicq Shaq ( Best Thai Food Ever- St. Helier), Mad Mary Cafe (Bouleu Bay), The Hungry Man (Rozel Bay) – All of these eat outs are famous among locals.

Money – Though most of the places accept cash, but it’s good to carry some cash for those beach side small cafes.

Do not Miss – Icecreams & more of Icecreams 🙂

Best Time to Visit – May to October. July & August is the busiest time of the year.

So here is our 5 days sample itinerary, which anyone can customize into a long weekend getaway as well.

Day 1 – You will probably arrive by noon St. Helier , Jersey’s capital city. After check in and a light lunch, you can head to Harve Des Pas beach. It is one of the most popular beach with Victorian bathing pool which fills up during every high tide , leaving a pool full of seawater to be enjoyed by swimmers at low tides. Imagine a pool in front of a beach !! Perfect Isn’t it. Kids will love building sand castle or may be breaking ones which are built by mumma. My bubba had his most fun tossing away the sand castle and running on the beach.

IMG_4522.JPG

Day 2 – If you travelling with kids, you can visit the Jersey Zoo in the morning. It has a lot of birds and animals, kids will absolutely love it. My bubba was excited to see Chimpanzee and its family running around the ropes and ladders J You can have your lunch in the café at zoo. Do not forget to eat the real jersey icecream!!

If you are staying in St. Helier, you can escape from the mid noon sun and head to hotel for a little rest.

In evening, head to St. Brelade’s  Bay Beach. It is one of the top 3 beautiful beaches in the UK boasting it’s sandy bay, restaurants, water sports etc  It is safe to swim on this beach and it even have a lifeguards on it. Spend a good couple of hours here and then head to St. Aubin bay for a stroll before you end the day.

IMG_4519.JPG

Day 3 – Head to St. Corbiere Light House. On a low tide day, you can use the causeway to get to the light house. We were unfortunate to have high tide so causeway was submerged under the sea. However it is still one of our favorite spots in Jersey, quiet and you feel like you have whole beck to yourselves. Me & Ayaan even took a nap on the beach, and it was one of the nicest nap in recent times. So utilize your afternoon to take a nap instead of driving back to hotel.

IMG_4518.JPG

Afterwards drive towards L’Etacq which is an absolute gorgeous seascape drive and stop over at La Greve de Lecq Beach. It is at north-west edge of the island. Again a sandy beach with a view and lot of restaurants to treat yourself.

IMG_4433.JPG

You can then head to Plemont beach, which is home to some secret caves and beautiful beach. Kids will love exploring all the beaches of the day.

Day 4 – Time to explore eastern side of the Island. So head straight to Grouville Hamlet which has the oldest buildings of Jersey. It is a little gorgeous village and good for a stroll.

From here head to Mont Orgueil Castle in the village of Gorey. Castle is not too big, will take you not more than 2 hours to see it at ease. But views up from the Castle Terrace are magnificent. France is just 16 miles from here J

IMG_4439.JPG

End your day at Bouley Bay, a beautiful pebble beach and very popular for swimming and scuba diving. So if you love water sports, this could be your place. Do not forget to have a meal at mad Mary Café and their famous crab sandwiches & Mad Mary hot chocolate. Yes even on a hot evening, I absolutely loved sipping that warm mug of milk.

IMG_4521.JPG

Day 5 – A must visit to Jersey War Tunnels, and you will get to know the rich history of Jersey and it’s people.

Head to the city centre, buy some lunch, have jersey icecream and may be collect some souvenirs to take a piece of Jersey back with you.IMG_4520.JPG

Advertisements

7 Days road trip to Scottish Highlands

Comment 1 Standard

We travel to Scotland once a year and it has now become a family ritual . The ritual is established because we fell head over heels in love with Scotland back in 2009. And I doubt there is anyone who has visited Scotland once and never went back.

Lately I have been seeing a lot of queries for sample itinerary/suggestions/recommendations for Scotland travel. So I took this as an opportunity to write a couple of blog post to help people planning their epic road trip to Scotland.

We are a big fan of road trips, and feel self drive makes your journey memorable and gives you more time to explore different places. If you are one of those who stay in Scotland or closer to Scotland border, well I envy you 🙂 For those who stay a bit far like us, let’s get started 🙂

Trip to Scotland include Scottish highlands by default. So if you are driving from far, I will recommend you to break your journey at Edinburgh for couple of days.

  1. Edinburgh

Things to do in Edinburgh:

  1. Edinburgh Castle – Worth a visit and will take half of your day.
  2. Walk on the Royal Mile Road – We have done it several times, and still enjoy this walk exploring different pubs, street shows, restaurants.
  3. Camera Obscura – It is a world of illusions, mirror maze etc and if you are travelling with kids they will enjoy it too.
  4. A stroll in Holyrood park and a gorgeous hike to Arthur Seat giving you panoramic view of Edinburgh.
  5. A small hike via steps to Calton Hill and a gorgeous view of old & new Edinburgh from the top. There is an unfinished monument at the top, a beautiful photo spot.
  6. Dynamic Earth – another interesting attraction to know more about earth and sciences.

2. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Afterwards you can start your journey towards Scottish highlands. Drive to Loch Lomond & The Troassachs National Park and stop over in various villages of the national park. Take a cruise from one of these villages: Luss Village , Balloch or Tarbet.

Even a simple stroll is beautiful & quaint in these villages. To read more, check out our blog post on Luss(Herb) Village Walk, Argyll

3. Inverary, Argyll

This little beautiful coastal town is home to Live Inveraray Jail, Inveraray Castle, Loch and beautiful cottages. You can easily spend a day or two here.

To read more, check out our blog post – Beautiful Inveraray, Argyll

4. Glencoe

Driving in the valleys of Glencoe is awe-inspiring. It is majestically beautiful yet quietly boasting different mountain ranges in it’s vicinity. We can spend weeks here and still not get bored of it. But if you have only a week, stay over a night , go for a hill walk and in night lie down outside for star gazing. Believe me it will not get any more beautiful.

5. Fort Williams

Town of fort Williams is no far from Glencoe and it is home to the highest mountain of the UK – Ben Nevis. If you are fit and up for a hike, do the hike to Ben Nevis. It is challenging but views all the way is a reward to the eyes & soul. More about the hike on this post Hike to Ben Nevis- Britain’s Highest Mountain

Do not worry, those who want to take it a bit easy. You can still get to the top of Nevis Range by visiting Nevis Range Gondola Centre 

IMG_4512.JPG

If you have interests in gems, fossils & crystals, a visit to Treasures of Earth will be worth it. May be bookmark it for a rainy Scottish day . More of it on the post Treasures of the Earth

Shout out for Whisky lovers, a must visit to Ben Nevis Distillery, you can take a guided tour and at the end of the tour treat yourself with real Scottish whisky while sitting in Scotland 🙂

6. Lochshiel, Glenfinnan

Not far from Fort Williams is a little hamlet of Glenfinnan.

Shout out for Harry Potter fans, the very famous The Hogwarts Express rides over the Glenfinnan Viaduct Bridge, which is closely visible by a long walk from here or you can see it from far distant from station museum.

Loch Shiel is the location of the fictional Black Lake near Hogwarts in the film versions of the Harry Potter series. To read more, check out our blog post Lochshiel, Glenfinnan

So this was our list for 7 days in Scotland. You can customize the number of days you would like to spend in each place. Hopefully it gives you an overall idea on what can you do for 7 days in the beautiful highlands.

 

Minnack Theatre – Beauty beyond Eyes

Comments 2 Standard

13087594_10154154143648799_8554435014530806547_n

During our recent trip to Cornwall, we planned to visit Minnack Theatre on a beautiful sunny but windy day. Minnack is an open theatre built on the high & rocky Cornish cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean. It is also listed in the list of world-famous open theatres. Believe me, once you visit the place you will know why is this place so much-loved.

IMG_9666

IMG_9667

It is another world and it has got a fascinating history behind it. Rowena Cade is the brain and the heart behind this beautiful piece of architecture. She moved to Cornwall after 1st world war and built a house for herself at Minnack Point. She used to offer her garden space which was beside the sea to the village group people who wanted to do stage any drama for the community. Miss Cade and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, made a terrace and rough seating, hauling materials down from the house or up via the winding path from the beach below. They carried the sand and the stones on their back without any machinery, they used to carve the seats with the tools to make it more beautiful. She devoted her life to improve the theatre, working over the course of the winter months each year throughout her life (with the help of Billy Rawlings and Charles Angove) so that theatre remains functional. And the result of her hard work can be seen in pictures.

13043396_10154154143943799_474011297287624732_n

IMG_9681

Minnack theatre is situated not very far from Land’s End, you have to drive towards Purthcurno Bay. It has also got a rockery and alpine gardens for the visitors and a way down to Bay.

13062435_10154154143883799_4656820178506217567_n

13055384_10154154142638799_2021391084999683036_n

Treat: WPC

Comments 17 Standard

It is once again the favorite time of the year, not because of gloomy, windy and cool weather. But because it is the season of festivals and treats. Diwali and Christmas are on the way, definitely a lot more reasons to have more treats.

Guess who is another happy person with me. It is Ash, my baker, photographer and a cook 🙂 He is baking every weekend, a lot of experiments are being carried out recently. Like for this weekend it’s going to be Cinnamon Buns.

Here is picture from last weekend, another treat of Coconuts Lamingtons. In response to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/treat/

IMG_8790

 

 

 

The Long Walk – Windsor

Comments 8 Standard


longwalk

I stay in the royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and lucky enough to have access to beautiful walks around the county of Berkshire & Buckinghamshire. This area os just beautiful with a lot of traditional English villages, woodland walks, riverside walks and forest walks.

It is not possible to go for a holiday away from home every weekend, so me & ash use this opportunity to go walking in these hidden treasures, which are known only to locals. So I thought of sharing these little quaint walks with all of you so that if you are in the area you can have an opportunity to roam in this beautiful wonderland.

Those of you who love visiting Windsor or have not been there yet, I will recommend a beautiful walk at The Long Walk that is just behind the magnificent Windsor Castle.

025702_c466497b

From the Castle gate to the foot of the statue of King George II (The Copper Horse) , it is a 2.64 miles walk. It is here at Snow Hill  where, King Henry VIII sat and waited for news of the execution of his second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn. The Long Walk was commenced by Charles II by planting a double avenue of elm trees on entire length of the route. There were 1,652 trees planted to create the basis of the landscape we know today. Charles wanted to remodel Windsor in a modern popular style and the Long Walk was just one aspect of his improvement scheme.

windsor-long-walk-monuments-3287-large

windsor_great_park_original

Later in 1710 Queen Anne had a road constructed down the centre of the tree lined avenue with a comfortably smooth surface.

The Long Walk is still used by the royal carriages every year as part of the route from Windsor Castle to the Ascot Races. Cycling is not permitted on any part of the Long Walk.

windsor-long-walk-monuments-3286-large

Another beautiful attraction of this park is the a large number of deers grazing around the park. Yes at times when deer are crossing the road to get across to other part of the park, you have to wait. Deers have the priority over humans 🙂

deeratsunsetlongwalkwindsorgreatpark30mar08o

DeerWindsor_3250859k

It is a beautiful for all the seasons. I love going back there again & again.

 

Mount Snowdon – Highest in Wales

Comments 3 Standard
Snowdon Mountain.

Snowdon Mountain.

Earlier this month, myself and Ash finished our long awaited hike to Snowdon Mountain. We have visited wales a number of times, but because of the famous welsh weather we could never hike this peak. But finally we got such a weekend with a bright beautiful sunny day to hike the summit.

Snowdon is the highest mountain in the Wales, at an elevation of 1,085 metres (3,560 ft) above sea level. It is located in the very famous Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd. It is beautiful from every corner of North Wales.

There are number of paths to start your Snowdon hike to summit from easy grade to hardest one.

1.Watkin Path 2. Llanberis Path 3. Pyg Track 4. Miner’s track 5. Snowdon Ranger 6. Crib Goch

We took a combination of two routes to see different types of world around Snowdon, and I am very much glad that we opted for that( You will see in the pictures, why am I saying so) We went up by Pyg track and came down via Miner’s track. Both of the path starts at the same point at Pen-y-pass car park. If you are planning to drive there, I will suggest you to reach early as on a good day you will not get a parking space. If you do not get a parking here, your next parking point is 3miles down towards Llanberis, so either you come back via a Sherpa bus or walk (Pheww!!!)

Pyg Track-  It is not known how the Pyg Track got its name – it could be as it passes over the Pigs’s Pass (Bwlch y Mocl), because it is close to the Pen y Gwryd Hotel, or because pyg, in welsh, also means pitch, and part of the surface of the path looks like black pitch.  Whatever the origin, this path starts 1,170 feet above sea level which gives you a helpful start on the way. This walk is rugged, and very challenging, but the scenery is absolutely stunning.

View from Pyg Track

View from Pyg Track

Miner’s Track – The track was built during the 1800’s to serve Britannia Copper Mines which were abandoned in 1917.  Mine Manager Arthur Lockwood drove his car to Llyn Glaslyn, and the track to this point at the lake still resembles a road so is a good walking surface.  The track does get considerably steeper towards the summit.

At the foothills on Miners Track

At the foothills on Miners Track

Do not worry if not in the mood of walk, during the summer months you can reach the summit via Snowdon Mountain Railway.

Whatever path you choose believe me you will never fall short of mesmerizing views around you. Here are some pictures of the day, as always feel free to get in touch if you need help in planning a similar trip.

11224211_10153681417473799_5901373000566011999_n

12049580_10153681417458799_6021305961237726619_n

12042844_10153681417453799_7528691852228586429_n

12038401_10153681417168799_9177422600653387066_n

11224414_10153681414373799_6203610343119754135_n

Done & Dusted -We did need a celebration 🙂

 

Oban- You may fall in Love

Comments 14 Standard

On my search of beautiful coastal towns in Scotland, I came across a website that introduced me to the town called Oban. How Oban was quoted on the website is – Be Careful! You may fall in love.  And that’s it those lines were just more than enough to lure me into visiting this little town. And Guess what? Yes I did fall in love with Oban.

Oban, meaning a little bay, is a small town on the west coast of Scotland in the county of Argyll. It often referred as ‘seafood capital of the Scotland’ .

The town is colonized by the hills surrounding Oban Bay and is a very busy summer town with great cafes and restaurants, and a big list to select your activities and day trips across various islands & in the highlands itself.

oban

A very popular attraction within Oban is McCaig’s Tower, the Colosseum lookalike which stands above the town. The Tower is 10 minutes hard walk uphill from the centre of the town that provides spectacular & mesmerising views over the town and onto the neighbouring islands.

1087199

There is an Oban Distillery too right onto the high street, beneath the steep cliff that overlooks Oban. Built in 1794, this is one of Scotland’s oldest sources of single malt Scotch whisky. Unfortunately we could not take the tour due to time issues. But I am sure it will be worth a visit for people who loves the whisky making technique.

14_0125

Imagine all of this, and you do not even need to walk a lot or rent a car, all these attraction as visible as you enter the town. We walked down the whole town, walked upto the pier that opens up a wider view of the seascapes and tiny islands at the far distance. It was truly a magical place.

We never planned to stay in Oban as we had to drive to Fort Williams that evening, but may be I will come back sometime to re-visit this little town and spend few days here.

DSC_2569

DSC_2546

DSC_2544

DSC_2541

 

Monsal Trail

Comments 7 Standard

IMG_8010

During the bank holiday weekend, we went hiking/walking to Monsal Trail. Yet another fantastic walking trail 🙂 I had heard a lot about this trail from different people praising the beauty that prevails around it. But sometime you have to be physically at the place to admire what we have in front of you. And Monsal Trail was one such beauty.

The Monsal Trail is a traffic free route for walkers, cyclists, horse riders  through some of the Peak District’s most spectacular dales, stones and green landscape. Perfect for a family holiday with young kids or older generations.

The trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell. You can choose to bike or walk, most of the way is a flat surface. It is definitely a long walk, but not a strenuous one. I would personally advise for a cycle trip, but make sure you arrive early morning if plan is to hire the bikes. Unfortunately we could not get hold of bikes.

Most of the route was opened to the public in 1981  and it passes through 6 tunnels -Headstone Tunnel, Cressbrook Tunnel, Litton Tunnel, Chee Tor Tunnel, Chee Tor No.2 and Rusher Cutting – all open for trail users. Each tunnel is about 400 metres long and will be lit during normal daylight hours.

I have no doubts why it has been regarded as one of most spectacular route for liesure walking, you pass through bridges, woodlands, monsal head, tunnels, cafes, ice cream shops, mills, little villages and what more do you need on a walk 🙂

IMG_7969

Plan was to to a round cycle trip from Bakewell to Wyedale and back to Bakewell, but we could not get the bikes to rent 😦 Hence planned to do a 8.5 miles long walk from Blackwell crossings to back to Bakewell. If you are not in the mood to walk 17 miles, you can take a bus from Bakewell – named TP and buy a ticket to blackwell crossing. The drivers are very well aware of the fact that they are going to get a lot of hikers on board to get down at Blackwell crossing, so you will not miss the stop, he will advise you when to get down.

Yes, these people were hogging before we start walking down the trail.

Yes, these people were hogging before we start walking down the trail.

IMG_7964


IMG_7984

IMG_7990

IMG_8019

 

IMG_7976

Me & Ash are always happy on a trail 🙂

IMG_8007

Monsal Hea

Monsal Head

Breakfast point, sadly nothing for me. Drawbacks of Gluten free diet

Breakfast point, sadly nothing for me. Drawbacks of Gluten free diet

Castleton Walk, Peak District

Comments 5 Standard

castleton01big

Continuing the last post 🙂 So we walked from Hope to Castleton Village. It’s a pleasant walk of around 4 miles.

The village of Castleton was laid out in a grid pattern at the base of the slopes that surround it. It is a market town around 100 years later. There is evidence to suggest that before it became known as Castleton, the land was home to settlers from the Ice Age, as traces of Ice Age mammoths have been discovered in the magnificent caves of the village.

The earliest, historically recorded settlers were actually the Celts during the Iron Age, who built an imposing fort at the top of Mam Tor, which is also known locally as the shivering mountain. To this day, the remains of a Celtic hill fort are situated on the summit of Mam Tor, standing at an altitude of 17,000ft, standing above Castleton. It is one of the highlight of Castleton.

Castleton 1W

Castleton is also well-known for the four underground show caves that surround the village. Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern and Peak Cavern.

Few pictures of the village and our walk.

chatsworth-and-the-peak-district-5830

castleton09big

IMG_7913

IMG_7919

IMG_7923 IMG_7927 IMG_7932

IMG_7938

Hope Walk, Peak District

Comments 8 Standard

hopevillage2

Peak District in Derbyshire is the second most visited national park in the world. It’s a paradise for walked, bikers, adventure seekers. This weekend we went back to Peak District to spend sometime in the Hope Valley and do some pleasant walks. This was a last minute plan, browsed 100 of pages for an accommodation and luckily got few beds available in a bunkhouse for the weekend.

We stayed in the village of Hope at Pindale Farm & Outdoor centre. A not so cozy but clean bunkhouse at £15 pp for a night was a great deal. It has everything for a weekend stay – a small kitchen, dining table, chairs, baths & toilet.

1IMG_9814

4538560203

2368702_1316a45e

We then headed for a circular walk from Hope to Castleton Village.To the north stands Win Hill and Lose Hill and the heather moors of the Dark Peak, to the south the limestone dales of the White Peak. A part of Hope Village valley was once a part of Royal hunting reserve.  There is a cement factory which has been the source of employment in the village since the 80s. The railway arrived in 1892 and opened up employment prospects for local people with easy access to both Manchester and Sheffield.

Hope (meaning “a valley’) is one of the very few Derbyshire villages to be mentioned prior to the Domesday Survey of 1086, the earliest surviving record dates from a charter of 926 AD which tells that King Athelstan won a battle nearby, and purchased land at Ashford and Hope from a Dane. Hope is also unusual for having kept its name with the spelling unchanged for over a thousand years. Now a days hoarded with Tourist, this village is a home to fantastic pubs, tea rooms and a plenty of walks all around it.

With clearly marked routes and a bit of detour via public footpath, you can do a circular walk from Hope to Castleton. In my next post I will be writing about Castleton.

But here are some pictures of Hope Village and our walks till Castleton.


IMG_7896

IMG_7895

IMG_7893

102-hp

IMG_7897