The Awesome London Dungeons

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I recently had the pleasure of going round the London Dungeons twice, once in October and then again in November. I haven’t been since it moved next to the London Eye, to be honest I haven’t been in about 10 years but loved it when I finally got to go again.

When you get your ticket, you line up and then go round in groups to have two pictures done. The first one is one of you in the stocks and then everyone else pretending to chop their head off. The other is just one big screen of the Fire of London and you are told to look scared. You then go along a corridor where there are glass displays with rats in them and boxes that you have to put your hand through the hole and try to work out what is inside.

You aren’t allowed to take pictures or videos while in the tour so keep your phone on silent and in your bag or pocket.

It is best to book tickets as you can get some good online deals if you also want to book other attractions.

The Descent

This is a short one, you are just meeting the King’s jester and people get called a traitor. You then all shuffle into a room that is meant to be a lift. You hear a voice that says he’s going to cut the rope to the lift and then there’s lots of flashing lights but it doesn’t feel like you are moving or anything. I guess this is their way of doing a dropping lift.

The Tyrant – Boat Ride

I loved this, it’s mainly in the dark and you do get a bit wet but it is really fun. You are on your way to be executed so you are on your way to the Tower of London. Part of it is in the dark and you go backwards at one point.

 

Guy Fawkes

This is in two parts, the first you are in the basement of the House of Parliament and you have to run from the guides and then you meet the man who caught Guy Fawkes talking about finding him and what happened to him. There is a brilliant bit where the floor moves and wobbles everyone when there is an explosion.

The Torturer

This bit is one room but is quite fun and at least three people get picked on so to speak lol. Two will end up in cages and one will with the live actor helping with the “demonstration” of the torture equipment.

The Plague Doctor

This is a great bit where you walk through the streets and then get trapped by the doctors. Be careful when you are walking around as there is water that gets squirted at you.

The Great Fire Of London

This one is just one large room where you have an actor who is the maid of the mayor of London during the Fire of London. She keeps telling you that the mayor says it’s safe so it must be but then things start blowing up and you have to get out quick.

Sweeny Todd

I love this bit so much, you go into Mrs Lovett’s pie shop and she tells you about the shop. Then you are guided through to the barber shop where everyone in your tour group has to sit in one of the seats and the lights go out. You hear the demon barber coming into the shop and walking around you talking. There are little puffs of air that come from behind you and you all get poked in the back, it’s so much fun.

Whitechaple Labrynth

This isn’t as big as it used to be, it’s just 1 room now and you are being told about the Jack The Ripper murders by Mary Kelly before she is called by a customer and she has to go.

Jack The Ripper

This is set in the bar of the 10 Bells pub where the barmaid tells you it’s been a year since the murder of Mary Kelly. While she is telling you about Mary Kelly, the lights keep going out as the storm gets worse, things start moving and then the barmaid disappears. There’s flashing lights and the ripper is moving around the room jumping up in front of people, it’s so jumpy.

The Judge

This is a funny bit, 3 people will get called up 1 at a time and get accused of things like having relations with a horse haha.

A Great Escape

This is just one room, you see a guy in a prison cell called Jack Sheppard who is the best escape artist ever. He realised that he is getting executed sooner than he thought and needs to get out as soon as possible.

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Drop Dead

This is a fun ride, it doesn’t last long, you are raised up into the air in your seat and then dropped at high speed. They take a picture of you on the way down so remember to smile haha.

The Tavern

This is so awesome, it is a proper old tavern where you can have a drink to settle the nerves. You are given a token so that you can get your first drink for free which is a soft drink. There’s loads of tables and chairs to just chill out for a little while and there are live actors walking around that chat to you.

This tour is brilliant, it’s loads of fun for everyone.

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Visiting The Pompeii Ruins

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My first tip for going round the ruins is to wear comfy shoes as there is a lot of walking, there’s not many places to sit down unless you don’t mind sitting on the ground and it’s not all level. I knew it was a town but I was overwhelmed but how big the whole site was, it is huge. Some people that we went with, tried to do the site in a day, they were gone for 7 hours and still didn’t see it all so if you want to see all of it, try to spread it over 2 days.

It’s 24 euros to get in no matter what time of day you go in, we went in mid afternoon and it was still the same price. I wish we had booked online as it was only £15.05 and you didn’t have to line up, you could just go up to the gate with your bar-code and go in. Have a look at the website as you can also book yourself on tours, here is the link.

Make sure you pick up a map on your way in or get the Pompeii app as it is so easy to get lost with all the little streets you can go down.

There are a few suggested tours depending on how long you wanted to walk around. It started off at a 2 and a half hour tour and then went up to 7 hours. Try to remember to take a pen with you so you can mark off what you have seen, this way you can ensure you see everything you want to see.

There aren’t many toilets so I would say to make sure you go whenever you see one or you will end up running for one like I did haha.

Before you get to the ticket office, there are some little glass buildings that house plaster casts of people that have been found in the ruins. You can’t go in but you can see them through the glass. I found it quite upsetting as you can see some of them was in pain, they are screaming and there is one that is curled up with his knees up to his chin.

When we visited, my husband was very happy to see that there was a Pink Floyd exhibit in the amphitheatre. We didn’t find out until after we had booked the trip that Dave Gilmore from Pink Floyd was going to be doing as live show in the amphitheatre as few days after we flew home.

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We mainly walked along the streets where the homes were which was very interesting but to be very honest, it all just looked the same besides a few homes that you could walk into that still had paintings on the wall.

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We mainly covered zone 2 and 3, there was a lot in those areas, my favourite part was the amphitheatre. There was lots of little rooms and we were trying to guess what they were used for. Were they were the lions or gladiators were held until it was their time to go into the arena? Some sort of ticket office, a cell to keep prisons, an armory for the weapons that would be used or maybe a bar, so many possibilities.

There are lots of artifacts that have been found on displace in the Palestra Grande. There is even food like olives, chickpeas, figs and there was a chunk of cake.

They have a vineyard that they have grapes from the time that Vesuvius erupted, I can’t remember what they used but they got the DNA of the old grapes from the ruins and re-created them. It is very expensive for a bottle as you can imagine but the idea of drinking wine from back in time sounds really cool.

We were already very tired from going up Vesuvius so really we should have done this on another day when we had more time and a little more patients.

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Posted on Categories Italy

2 Awesome Days At Madame Tussauds

This is definitely one of the London attractions that has to be done, it really is amazing how lifelike the models are in Madame Tussauds and you have different sections that you walk around.

I visited in August and December of 2017, the first on a Saturday and the other on a Sunday, both around lunch time and had 2 very different experiences. On the Sunday visit there was queues at all the doors, it was absolutely heaving with people everywhere. Little queues to get a picture with each of the models, although you do need to be a little bit pushy, most people will gladly push in front of you if you are waiting for someone to finish taking their picture.

When we went on the Saturday, there was hardly anyone outside, we got in more of less straight away but inside it was packed beyond belief. It was hard to move a lot of the time so just had to be patient.

Interactive Zones

Each section is an interactive zone where you can get up and close to each other models for pictures and some you can interact with.

The zones are:-

Party

Bollywood

Alien: Escape

Fashion Week

Film

YouTube

Sport

Royals

Culture

Music

Marvel

Marvel 4d Movie

Star Wars

The Sherlock Holmes Experience

World Leaders

Spirit Of London Ride

and

Behind The Scenes

Professional Photo Ops

There are plenty of photo ops as you go around but there are also plenty of profession ones with a photographer that you can get done. You have the picture taken and then the photographer will be given a ticket. You can take this to one of the many photo stalls as you walk around or save them up until the end and then get one of the packages.

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Alien Experience

Hand on heart, I was expecting more but what you do get isn’t bad. You have live actors screaming at you to run, things popping out of places and then its over. I was a little shocked when I cam out at the end as I wasn’t expecting it. I was in a queue for about 30 minutes when I went on a Sunday but when I went on the Saturday, it was closed because it wasn’t ready. Lots of people were annoyed and we ended up standing in a queue for about 20 minutes because there was too many people trying to walk around.

You can’t do this experience if you are under 15 years old, even if you have an adult with you. You also can’t do it if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, a nervous disposition or pregnant. There are lots of signs up as you are in the queue to make sure people know.

Sherlock Holmes Experience

This is so much fun, it’s an extra £5 but it is worth it as you go through in small groups and solve a case with the live actors. You start off in Sherlock’s living room, then you go to the docks, the morgue, you get on a train and then you are on the moors hearing the howl from the hound of the Baskervilles. The live actors are brilliant and make it also worth it. If you don’t want to do it, you are guided to a set of stairs that take you to the next part.

Marvel 4D Movie

This was fun both times, no matter where you sit you will have a great view as the screen is above you. You will get sprayed with water, get poked in the back, have blasts of air from in front and behind you and the seat vibrates. It’s lots of fun for everyone.

The Spirit Of London

This is a nice little ride where you sit in cars that look like black cabs. It goes through the history of London and lasts about 5 to 10 minutes.

I’d suggest leaving a good 2-3 hours to make sure that you see everything. You are made to hurry up or get encouraged to move on during the zones expect for Sherlock Holmes, Alien and Marvel because they are performance based zones, so you can take your time around all the other zones to see everything and take pictures with all your favourite wax works.

 

There is a cloak room that you get to from outside in the queue. It’s not badly priced either but you are charged per item.

Coats £2

Small bags £3

Large bags £6

Umbrellas £1

There aren’t many places to sit down on the way round so make sure you wear comfy shoes and take a bottle of water with you because even though there are a few little sweet stands as you go around, they are a bit expensive.

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Cocktails At The Hard Rock Cafe In Orlando

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This is my favourite Hard Rock Café that I have been to so far and not just because it’s in Universal Studios haha.

It is very centrally located between the entrances of Universal Studios and Islands Of Adventure so you can’t miss it after you have gone through the main entrance and past all the shops.

You don’t have to eat when you go in, you can sit up at the bar like we did and just have drinks but the food that we saw brought out did look and smell lovely. The bar is in a huge circle near the front doors and has a pink Cadillac rotating above it.

My favourite bartender is Birdie, I absolutely love her, I hope she is still there. There are so many cocktails to choose from that I was finding it hard to pick what to have, a 2 minute conversation with Birdie and she picked out some amazing cocktails for me. She definitely knows what she is doing. All of the staff are great, we spoke to a few and got great tips for getting round the park and things to do.

If you like to get souvenirs, you can get a cocktail and a souvenir glass you can get a really good deal, my glass was only about $10 more with the cocktail. Plus you don’t get the glass you are drinking out of, you get a brand new one in a box from the shop when you leave as you are given a receipt to show the staff.

The cocktails aren’t as expensive as I thought they would be either and they have a lot of alcohol in them so definitely worth the money. My favourite was the Hurricane, it has orange, mango and pineapple juice with Bacardi superior rum, Bacardi black rum, Armaretto and Call Grenadine. I love rum and fruit which is why Birdie picked this one for me and she got it so right, absolutely delicious. Bahama Mama is a really good one too, it has Bacardi superior rum, Malibu coconut, DeKuyper Crème de banana, pineapple and orange juice.

There is some really amazing music memorabilia, I could walk around it all day just looking at the walls.

There’s no time limit to stay there as long as you are still buying drinks and or food, we were in there for about 3 hours drinking cocktails. Could of stayed longer but I was a little bit tipsy from the cocktails and we had plans for the evening.

We went to the Universal Studios 3 times over our holiday and we just had to pop in here on each visit. It’s nice just to chill out for a little while, talk to people and have a few drinks.

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Posted on Categories Florida

Swimming With Dolphins at Dolphin Plus in Key Largo

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There are no words to describe what an amazing morning I had at Dolphins Plus getting to finally swim with dolphins.

Like a lot of people, this was something that I had wanted to do since I was a little kid and was completely over the moon when my husband found the trip with this experience included.

The staff were all amazing, they were completely professional but made sure that everyone was having a great time.

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I especially loved the fact that when I looked up Dolphin Plus, it wasn’t like other centres who offered swimming with dolphins. Their dolphins aren’t kept in a tank, they live in a beautiful big natural seawater lagoon that is connected to the ocean. They are involved in lots of marine research, all the staff are highly trained and they really care about their dolphins. They look after their dolphins so well that there is one called Samantha who is 34 years old!! How amazing is that! Check out their website.

We booked this through a tour operator called Orlando Ticket Deals as they provided a hotel, transport and a Everglade fan bat ride in our 2 day trip.

We arrived and went straight through the shop to the back porch where our tour guide went inside to get our wristbands. My husband wasn’t doing the dolphin swim so he got a red wristband while I got a blue one. He was allowed to sit at the side of the lagoon

We had a quick talk from the staff explaining what was going to happen during our visit and then we all got changed into our swim gear. We had to have life jackets on, you need to make sure that it is tight on you so that it doesn’t keep popping up like it did for me. I wish I had forced myself into the size smaller now so I didn’t have to keep pulling it back down.

Then we went down to the very back where there is a pool and the dolphins waiting for you. You are put into little groups and you take it in turns with the dolphins. I was grouped with a little girl and her dad so I went first having 5 minutes, then we swapped so they had a go and then swapped again a few more times. That way we all had lots of time with the dolphins but no one was standing around for a long time.

The dolphins were brilliant, the trainers tell you how to get them to do tricks. I loved superman as I was on the other side of the pool on my front, the dolphins then pushed me by my feet across the pool and looked like superman haha. You also get a kiss from a dolphin, dance with them, they let you rub their bellies and so much more.

They have professional photographers for each little group who take pictures of you throughout your experience. They have lots of different packages starting off from 5 prints for about $20 to all of the pictures on a memory stick for $80.

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As I am very big on having photos, I went with the memory stick as there was about 70 pictures and I just couldn’t pick 5 as my favourites. The pictures were absolutely amazing, I love them all.

There are showers and changing rooms so make sure you have towels with you but if you do forget one, they sell them in the shop.

I would highly recommend this place to anyone as I had such a brilliant time.

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Posted on Categories Florida

My day in Mahón (Mao)

My mother and I came here for the day during our holiday and had a lovely day out.

We got to Mahon by bus from Arenal d’en Castell, which didn’t take long and it was only a few euros for a return ticket. The bus station is really big with buses coming and going a lot so make sure you know what stop you need and what times the buses are before you leave.

The town isn’t very big but there is lots of shops and little streets with cafes and a nice harbour that isn’t far from the bus station.

We went on a tour of the town in a car pulled train called the Mao Express but we were quite surprised by the tour as we kept going round the same roads. I know they want us to see the whole town but we would go down one road and got to see along one side of the harbour, then went back around to the same road and saw the other side of the harbour. We saw a lot of the town, some really lovely places that we wouldn’t have seen if we by walking around on our own. It was a very long ride and wasn’t all that enjoyable seeing as we kept seeing the same places and the seats were just wooden seats that were quite uncomfortable so I would suggest sitting on a folded up cardigan or hoodie like we did to make it a little more comfortable. The tours are every hour from 10am to 5pm and it was 7 euros for the full tour.

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There is a beautiful big church called Esglesia de Santa Maria, it is absolutely amazing inside and it’s only a few euros each to get in. The status and the stained glass windows inside are amazing. It is one of those places were it feels so peaceful to be there.

When we were walking around the little streets, we found a lovely little restaurant to sit in the shade of parasols and enjoy lunch. It was called Txokoa and it was the perfect place for us to stay. The tables and chairs are in a big open space in the middle of a town square so it is a very relaxed feeling. I had a burger and my mum had a quiche, both were really nice.

We also went into a café called Coffee and Te, which does snacks and drinks, they are located just off of the big town square and opposite the stand for the Mao Express. I would highly recommend the mint choc chip milkshake, it is my favourite ice cream and they make it into a lovely milkshake.

If you go on the right day, the market will be on in the big town square near the bus station. You need to know how to haggle with the stall owners to get a bargain but that’s standard for most markets. There was loads of stalls when we were there, I got some lovely dresses which is hard for someone my size and a few little souvenirs.

Mao is a great day trip for anyone who wants to do some shopping and a walk around somewhere different for the day.

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Posted on Categories Menorca

My Experience Flying With Virgin Atlantic

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I flew with Virgin Atlantic to and from Florida and they were 2 of my favourite flights I’ve ever had.

We booked our flights as part of our holiday through Thomson Holidays but we were able to get the booking code so that we could go online to pick our seats and meals. It was an extra £25 per person, per flight which meant we paid an extra £100 to get the seats that we wanted. Would of been nice to not be charged so much more money but because my husband and I are both big people, we needed to make sure that we got the seats that would ensure we would be comfortable. Especially as the flights were 8 hours and 9 hours, didn’t fancy being uncomfortable.

Boarding took a while but it was a 747 so there was a lot of people to get on the plane. Even though we were at the back of the plane, like other flights and airlines, economy board after the more expensive seats.

We picked low-fat meals so we were among the first lot of people to get our food. Good tip there, pick a special meal requirement and get your food before everyone else. The food we had was so yummy, chicken and vegetables, bread rolls, cheese and crackers. It was all really nice.

The entertainment was great, we loved that we could check the website to see what films we could pick from when we were on the plane. There was 100s of films, TV programmes and music albums to keep you entertained during the flight. Some of the films were ones that had just finished at the cinema as well so they were really new.

I like to know where I am and seeing as most of the journey was over the Atlantic, it was great to have the map option on the screen to see exactly where we were, the speed we were going, etc.

The headphones you get are ok, I would suggest taking your own but be careful as some of the jack sockets are on the inside of the armrest so if you forget it is there and get up, you will rip the wires out of the jack. The socket was on the inside of the armrest when we were going to Florida but when we were coming back, the socket was in the screen. Speaking of the screen, they are a good size and very easy to use as they are touch screens.

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The seats who so comfy, because of our sizes we got the seats at the back of the plane at the side as they are normally rows of 2 seats. The middle armrest lifts up so once we are in the air, that comes up and we have a little bit more room. A good point for me is that I get a window seat and there is usually an inch or 2 between the seat and the window so it’s a little bit more room again.

The staff were all lovely, anything we needed we just had to ask. As we were seated up the back of the plane so any time we needed to speak to someone, we didn’t have to go far. They come around regularly with food and drink for you. They will only wake you up if they are bringing round a main meal, they will let you sleep if they just have snacks and drinks.

I would gladly fly with Virgin Atlantic again and again.

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Posted on Categories Tips

A Day In Canterbury

I have always thought of 3 things when it comes to Canterbury and they are students, history and shopping.

Canterbury has Canterbury College, Eliot College, Hadlow College, Kent Canterbury College and Canterbury Christ Church University so there are a lot of students during term time. We had to endure a group of about 15 students in a pub one Saturday who all sounded like they were drunk by 2pm and were all been deaf as they were shouting at each other instead of talking normally. It was unpleasant but it is not the case in all the pubs in Canterbury, some are student free so they are quieter and a better atmosphere. The students mainly go into Wetherspoons pubs so stay clear of those unless you manage to go in on a “quiet” day.

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You know when you have reached Canterbury as you will start to see the ruins of the castle walls and houses that were built hundreds of years ago. I love all the history, it is everywhere you go here, everywhere you look.

You can even tell by looking at some of the shops which ones are new and which ones have been standing nearly as long as the ruins. The architecture has been crafted so perfected perfectly and is still standing even after hundreds of year. A show of true craftsmanship to the people who built and created the buildings.

The cathedral is absolutely amazing and if you get the chance, definitely have a look around for a few hours. You have to pay to go in, it’s £12.50 for adults and £8 for children, they have ticket options for seniors, families, etc so book online to get the best prices.

One place that is a must for me is the Canterbury Tales, it’s so much fun for the whole family and if you keep an eye on Groupon for vouchers, it’s not hugely expensive.

Other then London, there isn’t many places that I know that have as many shops as Canterbury. Every little street leading off the high street has more shops to explore. There is every type of shop you could hope for, one being an amazing old fashioned sweet shop called Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop which has all the sweets in jars behind the counter so you can decide how many yummy sweets you want to get.

There is the Marlow Theatre with regular performances if you fancied catching a show. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a few musicals there and never had any complaints.

If you are going on a group, check out Groupon and Wowcher before going as there are usually some great deals on river boat rides, ghost walks and restuarant that may take your fancy.

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Canterbury is quite easy to get as there is 2 train stations (Canterbury West and Canterbury East) and the bus station. There’s loads of parking but on weekends car parks can fill up quickly so get there early

If you like bargains, there’s are a countless numbers of charity shops, it felt like we came out of one and was going into another in less than 30 seconds.

Canterbury is an amazing place, the atmosphere is so lifting when you are walking round the streets. It’s perfect for a girls weekend away or a romantic weekend. It would be amazing to check into one of the many hotels in Canterbury, shopping and walking around in the day, maybe even go on one of the river tours to see more of the historical side of Canterbury. Go out to dinner, there is countless restaurants to pick from and go to see a show at the Marlow Theatre before going back to the hotel.

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Posted on Categories Kent

A Day In London With My Mum

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Only had a little day out in London today but still had a great day. I went up with my mum so she could go to her 6 monthly hospital appointment and then the rest of our day was ours.

We had snow over the weekend so we were worried that our train would be cancelled but it all turned out fine.

When we got to London Victoria on the side where the trains come and go to places in Sussex. We took the first left to go towards the coach station and like magic, a taxi pulled up. We got straight in and went to the hospital.

Once mum was done in her appointment, we took a little wonder down Fulham Road trying to get a taxi, they seemed to be few and few between until the best taxi driver I have ever had pulled up. He had a lovely big taxi like a minibus but the seats were behind him facing back and the back seats facing forward so there was a big space in the middle. We had a lovely chat and we asked him if he knew any pubs near the Imperial War Museum that we could get something to eat before we go in. He said he wasn’t sure about a pub with good food as a lot of the streets near the museums was just residential but he did know a brilliant little café that did a decent English breakfast. So he too us there and gave us directions to the Imperial War Museum which was a 2 minute walk down the road.

The café was called The Corner Cafe and it was brilliant. There is loads of food to pick from, 3 pages worth to be exact. It took us a little while to pick what we wanted but my mum settled on steak and kidney pie with chips and peas while I had a chicken burger with chips. The food came out quite quickly, I think that is because it is a pub mainly for workers and taxi drivers and don’t always have a long break so the food has to be cooked and out to them as quickly as possible. The staff were all really nice, there was one lady that didn’t speak much English but she was still smiling.

Once we had finished eating, we walked up the road a little to find the Imperial War Museum and ended up having a quick walk through the Tibetan Peace garden and Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park where there is a huge sun dial that tells the correct time.

The Imperial War Museum was amazing, so much to see, videos to watch and some interaction bits. We were there for about 3 hours in total and had a brilliant time. I will have a separate blog post with my full review of the museum.

We were quite lucky that there was a bus stop just outside the museum so we jumped on the 148 to London Victoria train station. We drove over Westminster Bridge and saw Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

We got off a few stops before the station so that we could get a coffee and a look in the shops before going to Wasabi in the station for sweet chilli chicken and noodles to take home for dinner.

It was only a short visit but I had loads of fun. If you check out my Twitter and Facebook pages, you will find live feeds.

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Getting around London

Getting around London can seem quite confusing but here are some of my favourite ways of getting around that may help you.

I always use Google Maps when I am trying to get somewhere in London, it’s brilliant because it has all the times and routes for public transport so I can see if it’s easier to walk, get a taxi, get on the tub or bus it.

Tube

Although this is one of the fastest ways of getting around, it can also be one of the most confusing ways, especially if you have to change lines during your journey but if you get one of the tube journey apps or Google Maps, it will tell you everything you need to know.

Paying has got a lot simpler as well, if you have a debit or credit card which is contactless, you can use it like a Oyster card. Just touch it to the blue pad as you are going in and out of stations, then at the end of the day, the cheapest fare will be worked out and that is the amount that will come off of your card. No need for buying tickets from ticket booths or ticket machines, you just go straight through. You can still use Oyster cards if you have one or would feel better not having to use your bank card.

Bus

There are some major pros and cons with getting the bus. Cons are that you could get stuck in traffic or the buses aren’t running on time but the pros are that you get to see so much more of London during your journey and you can still use your contactless card or Oyster card.

Open Top Bus

This is one of my absolute favourite way of getting around London, especially if I am having a sightseeing trip. You get to see everything that London has to offer and if you see something you like, you can just get off and then get back on once you have finished having a look around. There are stops by all major landmarks and depending on the company you use, you could get discounts on entrance tickets to attractions and sometimes a river boat tour as well.

The best company I have used if Big Bus Tours, they are more reliable, cleaner buses, better drivers and better offers. They have 1, 2 and 3 day passes which includes a one way boat trip that is a lot of fun as well.

Taxi

This is a great way of getting around but you need to be careful of taxi drivers who take advantage of people from out of town and take you on the longer route so you end up paying more. I have had it a few times and have refused to pay the whole fare, I go to London a lot and know some of the routes that a taxi would take. For example, my husband and I went to a signing convention but got a taxi to the hotel so we could drop off our bags. The taxi driver took us on a longer route, he didn’t like it when I asked him what way he was taking us, he must of realised I knew where we needed to go. He tried to take us to the wrong place even though I had been very clear on where we needed to go, I even told him the tube station the hotel was next to. Normally the route was £14 but this time it was £25 and I refused to give him all the money. I wasn’t going to pay extra when he had tried to con us out of money and taken us to the wrong place so that our journey had been made longer.

The best thing that I can suggest doing is to use MiniCabIt, you can book taxis in advance and they can be quite cheap. I’ve used them quite a few times and had no complaints at all.

Walking

If you don’t mind walking, this is a great way of seeing the city. A lot of major attractions are within walking distance of each other and you get to see a lot more sights that you may not see on public transport.

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Posted on Categories Tips

My beautiful Welsh Cottage, Sulfur Cottage in Snowdonia

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This cottage is absolutely amazing. It’s 3 bedrooms (2 doubles and 1 twin), a living room, huge kitchen/dining room and bathroom. We couldn’t believe how nice it was when we were walking through to have a good look when we first arrived.

 

I found it through Booking.com and couldn’t believe my eyes when I could book it for £228 to 4 nights! You get an email to a website to pay the deposit through and then you are given a date that you need to pay off the rest of the money. If you book well enough in advance, you will have loads of time to pay off the full amount. Here is the link for you to have a good look.

 

A few days before we turned up, I spoke to Mrs Vaughan who owns the cottage, she was such a lovely lady. We spoke about when we were expecting to arrive, what is in the house for us, where to get the key, etc. It was really nice speaking to her, it’s a shame we didn’t get to meet her.

The Kitchen

I’m not joking about how big this kitchen is, there is a big round table to have meals on that can have 6 people sitting at it and there is still loads of room to move around.

There’s a big arger, over, grill, hob, microwave, toaster, kettle, sandwich toaster and a big kettle to be used on the arger. When we looked through the cupboards we found loads of plates, bowls, cutlery, different glasses, pots, pans, frying pans, baking trays, kitchen utensils and cleaning products. There is even baby plates and cutlery which I thought was a nice touch. They really have thought of everything that you would need and it is nice because you don’t need to worry about taking them yourself. There is an oven with a separate grill and 4 hobs on top, all in perfect working order.

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The Bathroom

This is on the ground floor at the end of a tiny hallway that connects the kitchen, living room and airing cupboard. It doesn’t have a radiator but it does have underfloor heating which makes such a difference when it is on as the bathroom can get very cold.

It has a lovely big deep bath/shower, sick and toilet. The shower is very easy to use but make sure that you turn it on by the switch in the airing cupboard so that it works.

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The only thing I would say that it needs is an extractor fan as the condensation built up quite quickly and we had to open the window because we had water running down the walls and we were worried that it would start effecting the plaster.

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The Living Room

This room is a long room with 2 comfy chairs and then a 2 seater and single seater chair set.

There is a fire place that you can use coal or wood on but there is also an electric fire if you aren’t sure on how to make and maintain a fire. There is a TV that’s connected to a Sky box and a DVD player. There are some books, DVDs and games in the big sideboard as well.

It’s very warm and cosy when you have the electric fire is on, it really warms up the room quickly.

Bedroom 1 – Double

This is on the ground floor, you go out of the living room, the front door is on your left and the bedroom is on the right.

This was mine and my husband’s room, it was very comfy, I really liked the bed and how spacious the whole room was.

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Bedroom 2 – Double

This room is up the stairs and to the right. There is a double bed, wardrobe and bedside table all made of wood, there is also a built in cupboard.

It’s a lovely size room with a double bed, check of drawers, bedside table, wardrobe and a vanity table all made of wood.

The bed was very comfy, my husband and I are a bit fussy about beds but this one was great. It can get very hot in there though so what we did was put the little heater on in the bedroom about an hour before we went to bed so that it was nice and warm, then switched it off when we went to bed.

 

Make sure you close the curtains when you go to bed because if you don’t, you will get woken up by the sun in the morning.

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Bedroom 3 – Twin

This one is to the left at the top of the stairs. There are twin single beds, a cot, built-in wardrobe and cupboard.

We didn’t use this room during our visit but its perfect if you have kids, especially with the cot.

I loved my view from the kitchen when I was doing the washing up, you can see for miles and sometimes the sheep come up the garden fence.

You’ll find the wifi router on the kitchen side, you get a signal all around the house but it is strongest in the kitchen. There is no phone signal or land line in the house so at least there is the wifi.

The nearest town is Pwllheli which about 12 miles away and there is a little seaside town 35 miles away called Aberdaron. Other than that, it really is just a few houses and fields around you so it is very quiet at night making it the perfect place to go if you just want to chill out and be away from the world for a little while.

There is a little walled in area next to the house with a gate that is big enough for 1 car.

I would gladly stay there again as it was so nice and peaceful, really felt like I recharged my batteries.

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Posted on Categories Wales

My Stay At The Rosen Inn on International Drive

We had such a great stay here, we stayed here for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year and had no problems at all as the staff were all brilliant, the facilities were all in working order, absolutely nothing to complaint about.

We arrived late in the evening but we were checked in and up to our room in no time.We were the only ones checking in so I think they were waiting for us to make sure that everything was done quickly for us.

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RI pool side

As we are from the UK, the time different was 5 hours behind what we are used to so tried to stay up as late as possible so we were lucky as the bar was still open and doing food. It was nice to have somewhere to eat and chill out for a little while before heading up to bed.

There are 2 parts of the hotel, you have the main building which is the hotel side and then the West Wing that looks like a motel. We were in the main building on the 6th floor with our window facing down International Drive so we were quite high up and had a brilliant view. We saw Volcano Bay being built just across the high way as well.

The room is huge, we didn’t realise it was going to be as big as it was. There was a massive bed, it was so big that I had to do 3 full rolls to get across the bed haha. The bedside tables on both sides of the bed had laps, one had an alarm clock which also had USB points in the top and the other had the safe. There was a round table with 2 chairs, a wardrobe that also kept the ironing board and iron in it and a big side unit that had the TV on top, a microwave, a coffee machine, some drawers and the fridge in it. There is aircon in the room but don’t leave it on too much as it can really dry out the air in the room and there is no way of getting fresh air other than opening the main door as the windows don’t open in the room.

The bathroom was a nice big size as well with a lovely big bath/shower, toilet, a mirror with a sink under it and a bin

The room and bathroom was cleaned everyday in the early afternoon unless we put the “do not disturb” sign on the door. We put it up every other day as we were hardly in the room so didn’t make a lot of mess and it would of just wasted the house keeping staffs time.

There is a little shop where you can get food, drinks, snacks, merchandise, etc but to be honest, it is a bit on the pricey side. We would only go in there if we couldn’t be bothered to go to the Walgreens that is a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

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The swimming pool is great, it’s not very big but to he fair, when we were using in the afternoons, there wasn’t many people in or around the pool so a lot of the time we had it to ourselves. We had one day of the holiday which everyone was saying was a cold day but being from the UK, we were still really hot haha. We were the only ones in the pool for about 2 hours and got some funny looks from people who were walking round in fleece jumpers haha. They even turned on the heating in the pool which basically turned it into a lovely huge warm bath. There is a fence all around the pool and you will need your room key to open the gate to get in. Towels are provided in a storage container next to the fence by the pool so that you don’t bring down your room towels. You don’t need to pay a deposit for the towels either.

There is a little gym but we didn’t use it during our stay, the equipment looked well looked after and clean.

There is a small arcade with a few games in it if you need a little bit of time to waste or just something to do while waiting to go out.

The hotel has a breakfast room which serves all-you-can-eat breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs, grits, pancakes that you make yourself, cereal, fruit, etc. It’s meant to be about $7 dollars but there was an offer on with a little vouchers so it was only $4 or $5 each. The food was great, plenty to choose from to start you on your way each morning. There are staff that walk around topping up your coffee, we loved them as they would always have a chat and give us good tips on what to do and where to go.

The wifi is free throughout the hotel and no matter where we were, we had great service, even by the pool. You are given a little slip of paper with the password when you check in so that you can connect to the wifi.

They have a launderettes on the 3rd, 5th and 7th floor in the main building and the 2nd floor in the West Wing. You need tokens to use the machines which you can get from the machine in the launderettes or from reception if the machine isn’t working. Make sure you have lots of $1 coins as it works out as $3 for a wash, $3 for drying and £1 for the soup. We used the launderette about half way through our stay one evening when we weren’t planning on going out and didn’t see anyone but the other machines were being used. It takes about 30 minutes for the clothes to be washed and then another about an hour for them to dry in the tumble dryer so we just set an alarm on our phones to go down every 30 minutes to swap the clothes from the washing machine to the tumble dryer and then an hour alarm to go take them out and back to our room

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3 of the pictures on this page are from the Rosen Inn Facebook page, they are not my own

There is a counter in the lobby where you can book days out, get park tickets and transport to attractions or taxis. We spoke to a few people on the counter over our stay and they gave us so much great advice on places to go and things to do. They have a free shuttle to Universal, Sea World and Aquatica from 7am to 11:45am every day. There is a return journey at times in the afternoon so make sure you check with the driver of the times. It’s first come first serviced so make sure you book transport the day before or get up early to see if you can get on one of the shuttles for that day, you can’t book a few days in advance. 

 

The shuttle only takes about 20-30 minutes to get to Universal as it stops at a few other hotels. Or you can walk to Universal, it’s less than a mile away and it’s a very straightforward route. It took my husband and I about half an hour to walk it. If you are going to Disney, you can book a taxi from the counter, a return journey is $20. We also booked a taxi to the local Walmart which was $35 for a return journey.

If you get a pass for the iTrolly, there is a stop directly outside the hotel so getting around isn’t a problem.

There is a restaurant called Shogun Japanese Restaurant, we didn’t eat there as we thought it was a bit pricey but other guests that we spoke to about it said it was lots of fun and the food was really nice

 

I would gladly stay here again and again

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Posted on Categories Florida

I love the iTrolly in Orlando

itrolly

If you are staying on International Drive, the best way for you to get around will be the iTrolly.

The passes that you can get are 1 day, 3 day, 5 day, 7 day or 14 day.

The prices are:-

1 day  $5

3 day  $7 (saving $8)

5 day  $9 (saving $16)

7 day  $12 (saving $23)

 

14 day  $18 (saving $52)

You must book online through the website and then print off the confirmation that was sent to you as the bus driver needs that and will keep it. The bus drivers do not sell passes on the buses so make sure you get it all booked in advance.

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The first time you get on the bus, you just give the driver your printed confirmation and he will give you the pass(es) that you have purchased. After your first ride, all you have to do is swipe your pass through the little machine next to the driver as you get on the bus and that is it.

There are 3 lines that you can go on and they are green, red and transfers.

 

The red line has 38 stops and goes from the Orlando International Premium Outlet at the top of International Drive to the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet at the bottom of International Drive. This means that it has stops at Sea World, Aquatica, Pointe Orlando, iDrive 360, Wonderworks and so much more, please see the picture that I have included from the iTrolly website.

The green line starts off a bit further north of the Orlando International Premium Outlet and ends at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet but goes a slightly different route. There are 16 stops but then it joins the red line to finish the route.

When we used the iTrolly, we were staying in a hotel on International Drive and thought it was absolutely amazing because we didn’t have to worry about getting taxis or getting stranded after going out for a meal. I would highly recommend it as it saves you money on travel because it goes to so many places that you will want to go.

The buses start at 8am and run until 10:30pm so you have nothing to worry about when it comes to getting to and from somewhere.

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Posted on Categories Florida