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Ad - This was a paid press trip with Visit Aberdeenshire and Loganair

When someone mentions Aberdeen what do you think of? Oil and gas will probably come to mind, or perhaps you picture grey buildings and not much colour. After all, Aberdeen is known as the 'glittering granite city'! I knew it was somewhere I would love to visit eventually but I didn't know if it was convenient to get to from Newcastle.

When Visit Aberdeenshire contacted me and asked if I would like to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for the weekend with Loganair I jumped at the chance. I was so excited to see what it was like as I didn’t know what to expect but I always love the chance to explore somewhere new.

Getting to Aberdeen from Newcastle with Loganair

Loganair launched a new direct flight route to Aberdeen this month, making it easier and more convenient than ever to visit Scotland's third largest city. The airline offers up to fifteen flights a week, with standard fares including a generous baggage allowance and complimentary drinks and snacks.

My journey with Loganair was so fast and efficient. It was one of those flights where you seem to be fastening your seat belt for landing about three seconds after you have taken off! Overall it was a very easy and relaxing flight, with us landing in Aberdeen within 50 minutes of taking off. The journey back was even more speedy, with the pilot announcing that flight time was expected to be 27 minutes! I loved the views from the plane, it felt like being in my own private helicopter.


With the added bonus of no baggage to wait for as I decided to just take hand luggage, I was through the terminal in less than 10 minutes. I was kindly picked up from the airport but there is a very convenient bus route. The 727 runs frequently from the airport and costs from as little as £3.70 to get to the city centre.

My Aberdeen Accommodation

I stayed in the beautiful Sandman Signature for the weekend, which is a 4* hotel ideally located in the city centre. I had a large corporate suite, which had a business feel with beautiful, minimalist decor. I loved having plenty of space to work on my blog when I finished my daily activities.

The bed was gigantic and so comfortable. There is something so luxurious about having a huge hotel bed to yourself! I was pleased with how quiet the hotel was at night which meant that I slept well.

The breakfast was a hot and cold buffet with plenty of choice. I definitely filled my boots and even had the obligatory helping of haggis one morning. When in Scotland!


I must mention how aesthetically pleasing the communal areas of the hotel are. I got tonnes of interior inspiration and absolutely loved this umbrella decoration in the lobby. It really was a lovely place to stay and I looked forward to getting back to my room each day.

Exploring Aberdeen's city centre

Marischal College

The first stop on my self-guided walking route, planned by the lovely folks at Visit Aberdeenshire, was Marischal College. This stunning building dates back to 1593 and was once Aberdeen's university. It is the second largest granite building in the world, the first is in Madrid.


The first thing I noticed about Aberdeen is how quiet the city centre was for a Saturday which was a huge bonus. I love being able to see popular sights and take photos without too many people around. Within five minutes I knew the rumours about the city being a sea of grey weren't true when I spotted these beautiful rainbow steps just near the college.

Nuart Street Art Walking Tour

As part of my trip to Aberdeen I was lucky enough to catch one of Nuart's free walking tours to appreciate the fabulous street art which has popped up around the city. It has been running since 2017 and features some of the most acclaimed and progressive street artists in the world. It celebrates art as being accessible to all and displayed for everyone to see, rather than being hidden away in a gallery. I could write a full blog post about this tour alone but here are some of my favourite pieces we saw and why I loved them so much.

This work is by Hush who is from my hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This was a huge wall and to get the outline of the design just right, projectors were used to project the image onto the wall at night when it could be seen more clearly.

This work was created to symbolise the fight for Scottish independence. I loved hearing the stories behind the artwork and there was a clear passion shown by the different artists.

This was definitely my favourite piece of art we visited. The artist painted this free-hand using spray cans, just looking at a reference photo! It is painted on Primark's wall. They donated this wall to the Nuart organisation, on the condition that the artist didn't paint the facial tattoos. He ignored this and painted them into the design, but it has never been questioned by Primark!

Exploring Old Aberdeen

I don't like choosing favourites, but I really did love the older part of Aberdeen and this sticks out for me as the nicest part of the city. You will know by now if you follow my blog and Instagram that I really love seeking out beautiful houses and the small, winding streets of Old Aberdeen were packed with them.

It was so nice to just wander aimlessly, choosing all the houses I would buy if I won the lottery. The weather was ideal; I worried it would be cold, but it was sunny and dry all weekend. To get to this part of the city I took a bus from near my hotel, but it is possible to walk in about 25 minutes.


Aberdeen University

I didn't know what to expect from the university but I didn't expect it to be quite so beautiful. I spent a long time photographing this building as I loved it so much and it made me really excited for autumn. It's really such a beautiful university, and with graduations being held at the stunning Marischal College I shared above, I can understand why students would choose to study here.


I happened to stumble across a Chinese event where I was invited inside for a tea ceremony which was lovely. It was nice to see the university making such an effort to be diverse and make their international students and visitors feel welcome.


St. Machar Cathedral

This fifteenth century cathedral is the oldest building actively used in the city. I wandered inside and spent a few moments listening to a singer and marvelling at the world-famous, beautiful ceiling. I stuck to outside photos as I don't know about you but I never feel quite right taking photos inside a church, especially when there is a service happening!


Seaton Park

My next stop was this huge green park in Old Aberdeen which isn't far from the cathedral. It is lovely and peaceful, with just a few dog walkers about when I visited. I didn't know Aberdeen had so much green space so it was really nice to see such a lovely park for locals to enjoy. It was Saturday afternoon by this point but I was still impressed at how quiet the streets around the Old Town were. It really is a great area to visit if you want to relax as part of your trip without fighting off hordes of tourists.


Aberdeen Food Discoveries

My main love in life has to be food, so I was very excited to see what the culinary scene of Aberdeen had to offer. This is just the selection of restaurants I tried, I saw some other lovely options which I would definitely like to come back and try. There are a great number of independent cafes I have my eye on as well when I have more time.

Moonfish Cafe

On my first evening in Aberdeen, I went straight to Moonfish Cafe from the airport. The chef was a runner up on Masterchef and this quality shines through in the dishes he serves. The dishes were all very colourful and tasty, with an emphasis on local produce and British cuisine with a twist.

I had a smoked haddock risotto which was delicious but absolutely huge! It isn't one of those fancy restaurants where you leave feeling as hungry as when you got there. I was already full before my main came but I really enjoyed it: halibut and pork belly with sides of minted green vegetables and potatoes.

What I loved most about this restaurant was the friendly and relaxed atmosphere. All too often when you get food of this standard the atmosphere can be stuffy and unwelcoming, but it wasn't at all like that. The chef came out to greet us and to check we enjoyed our food which was a nice touch, and all the staff were friendly and helpful.


Brewdog Castlegate

Lunch on my second day could only be at one place: Brewdog, with its headquarters in Ellon, Aberdeenshire and three venues in the city centre. I went to Castlegate where the staff were very welcoming. I had a plate of their buttermilk deep fried chicken wings and a beer flight with beers selected for me to wash my food down.

I really enjoyed sampling different flavours and would recommend the beer flight if you visit Brewdog. My favourite, on the right-hand end of the photo, had a hint of melon and was really nice and fruity to balance the spicy sauce on the chicken wings. It's called 'hazy' if you want to give it a try next time you are in Brewdog.


Vovem Meat & Liquor

My second evening meal was at Vovem which is a beautiful steak restaurant in the heart of Aberdeen. The basement houses 21 Crimes, a 1920's speakeasy which requires a passcode for entry. I didn't manage to make it down this time, but I always like an excuse to re-visit a city and I will definitely try out this bar when I return to Aberdeen. If you have been please let me know what it's like.

I opted for the sirloin steak and my server recommended sides of truffle mac'n'cheese and cabbage with pancetta. It was all delicious!

Somehow I managed to squeeze in a creme brulee for dessert which tasted nice and home made. I was so full after this epic feast that I had to go straight back to my hotel for a lie down! I was worried about eating alone at Vovem but once the waitress realised I wasn't waiting for anyone she went out of her way to chat to me and look after me, so I really appreciated that. It's clearly a restaurant which goes the extra mile and looks after its customers.


A day trip to Stonehaven

On my second day in Aberdeenshire, I got the train to nearby Stonehaven which took less than 20 minutes. The views were outstanding! I would take this journey again for the views alone.

When I arrived in Stonehaven, I made my way straight down to the beach where I spotted a number of metal sea-themed sculptures. The identity of the sculptor has never been revealed, which reminded me of the mysterious Banksy, and I got the impression that art is really important to Aberdeenshire.


Stonehaven Harbour

After following the coastline for a while I ended up walking up to Stonehaven Harbour, which is everything you could want from a picture-perfect seaside location. I spent a while admiring the various restaurants and B&Bs lining the edge of the harbour, and made friends with a couple of lovely cats.


Coastal Walk

From the harbour I made my way up to the coastal walking route which takes you all the way around the Stonehaven coastline to the castle. It is approximately a 50-minute walk and not too tricky but you do need good mobility as some areas are slightly rocky and you need to walk through dunes. 

It was a very relaxing walk with the lovely sea breeze but I can imagine it being quite chilly in winter! There was an abundance of wide-open space to my right and waves crashing to my left which made for absolutely stunning views.

I loved the aerial view of the harbour on my way into the castle. It was an ideal resting point about half way along the route.


Dunnottar Castle

At the end of the walk I reached this stunning castle. The rock on which the castle now stands is 440 million years old! In 1925 it was purchased by the Pearson family who lovingly restored it and opened it to the public. 


Dunnottar Castle is now a popular visitor attraction. It took me about 30 minutes to explore but I could have spent longer relaxing there and taking in the sea views if I had more time. There is a handy car park which means you can visit without the bumper walk that I did, although I would recommend that for a full day out.


The Bay Fish and Chips

I ended my weekend in Aberdeenshire as all good weekends should end, with a good old portion of fish and chips! I visited the award-winning fish and chip shop, The Bay, which has been ranked as one of the top food experiences in the entire world by Lonely Planet.

I had a standard portion of haddock, chips and mushy peas which was plentiful but not too filling. I am quite fussy about my peas but The Bay got them spot on, and the fish was lovely and light without that greasy feeling you often get. The chips were light and fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside. It was lovely eating them down on the beach!

Just like that my short but sweet time in Aberdeenshire came to an end with a quick and easy Loganair flight back to Newcastle. I had the loveliest weekend exploring the area and I can't wait to go back to see more of it. 

I would definitely recommend Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a weekend break from Newcastle and it was a pleasure seeing everything the city had to offer. This was yet another reminder that we do not need to travel far to see amazing sights, try fantastic food and soak up culture! I am already looking forward to my next visit.

For more information and to book your trip to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, just visit NewcastleToAberdeen.com/Loganair


A weekend in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire with Loganair

Ad - This was a paid press trip with Visit Aberdeenshire and Loganair

When someone mentions Aberdeen what do you think of? Oil and gas will probably come to mind, or perhaps you picture grey buildings and not much colour. After all, Aberdeen is known as the 'glittering granite city'! I knew it was somewhere I would love to visit eventually but I didn't know if it was convenient to get to from Newcastle.

When Visit Aberdeenshire contacted me and asked if I would like to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for the weekend with Loganair I jumped at the chance. I was so excited to see what it was like as I didn’t know what to expect but I always love the chance to explore somewhere new.

Getting to Aberdeen from Newcastle with Loganair

Loganair launched a new direct flight route to Aberdeen this month, making it easier and more convenient than ever to visit Scotland's third largest city. The airline offers up to fifteen flights a week, with standard fares including a generous baggage allowance and complimentary drinks and snacks.

My journey with Loganair was so fast and efficient. It was one of those flights where you seem to be fastening your seat belt for landing about three seconds after you have taken off! Overall it was a very easy and relaxing flight, with us landing in Aberdeen within 50 minutes of taking off. The journey back was even more speedy, with the pilot announcing that flight time was expected to be 27 minutes! I loved the views from the plane, it felt like being in my own private helicopter.


With the added bonus of no baggage to wait for as I decided to just take hand luggage, I was through the terminal in less than 10 minutes. I was kindly picked up from the airport but there is a very convenient bus route. The 727 runs frequently from the airport and costs from as little as £3.70 to get to the city centre.

My Aberdeen Accommodation

I stayed in the beautiful Sandman Signature for the weekend, which is a 4* hotel ideally located in the city centre. I had a large corporate suite, which had a business feel with beautiful, minimalist decor. I loved having plenty of space to work on my blog when I finished my daily activities.

The bed was gigantic and so comfortable. There is something so luxurious about having a huge hotel bed to yourself! I was pleased with how quiet the hotel was at night which meant that I slept well.

The breakfast was a hot and cold buffet with plenty of choice. I definitely filled my boots and even had the obligatory helping of haggis one morning. When in Scotland!


I must mention how aesthetically pleasing the communal areas of the hotel are. I got tonnes of interior inspiration and absolutely loved this umbrella decoration in the lobby. It really was a lovely place to stay and I looked forward to getting back to my room each day.

Exploring Aberdeen's city centre

Marischal College

The first stop on my self-guided walking route, planned by the lovely folks at Visit Aberdeenshire, was Marischal College. This stunning building dates back to 1593 and was once Aberdeen's university. It is the second largest granite building in the world, the first is in Madrid.


The first thing I noticed about Aberdeen is how quiet the city centre was for a Saturday which was a huge bonus. I love being able to see popular sights and take photos without too many people around. Within five minutes I knew the rumours about the city being a sea of grey weren't true when I spotted these beautiful rainbow steps just near the college.

Nuart Street Art Walking Tour

As part of my trip to Aberdeen I was lucky enough to catch one of Nuart's free walking tours to appreciate the fabulous street art which has popped up around the city. It has been running since 2017 and features some of the most acclaimed and progressive street artists in the world. It celebrates art as being accessible to all and displayed for everyone to see, rather than being hidden away in a gallery. I could write a full blog post about this tour alone but here are some of my favourite pieces we saw and why I loved them so much.

This work is by Hush who is from my hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This was a huge wall and to get the outline of the design just right, projectors were used to project the image onto the wall at night when it could be seen more clearly.

This work was created to symbolise the fight for Scottish independence. I loved hearing the stories behind the artwork and there was a clear passion shown by the different artists.

This was definitely my favourite piece of art we visited. The artist painted this free-hand using spray cans, just looking at a reference photo! It is painted on Primark's wall. They donated this wall to the Nuart organisation, on the condition that the artist didn't paint the facial tattoos. He ignored this and painted them into the design, but it has never been questioned by Primark!

Exploring Old Aberdeen

I don't like choosing favourites, but I really did love the older part of Aberdeen and this sticks out for me as the nicest part of the city. You will know by now if you follow my blog and Instagram that I really love seeking out beautiful houses and the small, winding streets of Old Aberdeen were packed with them.

It was so nice to just wander aimlessly, choosing all the houses I would buy if I won the lottery. The weather was ideal; I worried it would be cold, but it was sunny and dry all weekend. To get to this part of the city I took a bus from near my hotel, but it is possible to walk in about 25 minutes.


Aberdeen University

I didn't know what to expect from the university but I didn't expect it to be quite so beautiful. I spent a long time photographing this building as I loved it so much and it made me really excited for autumn. It's really such a beautiful university, and with graduations being held at the stunning Marischal College I shared above, I can understand why students would choose to study here.


I happened to stumble across a Chinese event where I was invited inside for a tea ceremony which was lovely. It was nice to see the university making such an effort to be diverse and make their international students and visitors feel welcome.


St. Machar Cathedral

This fifteenth century cathedral is the oldest building actively used in the city. I wandered inside and spent a few moments listening to a singer and marvelling at the world-famous, beautiful ceiling. I stuck to outside photos as I don't know about you but I never feel quite right taking photos inside a church, especially when there is a service happening!


Seaton Park

My next stop was this huge green park in Old Aberdeen which isn't far from the cathedral. It is lovely and peaceful, with just a few dog walkers about when I visited. I didn't know Aberdeen had so much green space so it was really nice to see such a lovely park for locals to enjoy. It was Saturday afternoon by this point but I was still impressed at how quiet the streets around the Old Town were. It really is a great area to visit if you want to relax as part of your trip without fighting off hordes of tourists.


Aberdeen Food Discoveries

My main love in life has to be food, so I was very excited to see what the culinary scene of Aberdeen had to offer. This is just the selection of restaurants I tried, I saw some other lovely options which I would definitely like to come back and try. There are a great number of independent cafes I have my eye on as well when I have more time.

Moonfish Cafe

On my first evening in Aberdeen, I went straight to Moonfish Cafe from the airport. The chef was a runner up on Masterchef and this quality shines through in the dishes he serves. The dishes were all very colourful and tasty, with an emphasis on local produce and British cuisine with a twist.

I had a smoked haddock risotto which was delicious but absolutely huge! It isn't one of those fancy restaurants where you leave feeling as hungry as when you got there. I was already full before my main came but I really enjoyed it: halibut and pork belly with sides of minted green vegetables and potatoes.

What I loved most about this restaurant was the friendly and relaxed atmosphere. All too often when you get food of this standard the atmosphere can be stuffy and unwelcoming, but it wasn't at all like that. The chef came out to greet us and to check we enjoyed our food which was a nice touch, and all the staff were friendly and helpful.


Brewdog Castlegate

Lunch on my second day could only be at one place: Brewdog, with its headquarters in Ellon, Aberdeenshire and three venues in the city centre. I went to Castlegate where the staff were very welcoming. I had a plate of their buttermilk deep fried chicken wings and a beer flight with beers selected for me to wash my food down.

I really enjoyed sampling different flavours and would recommend the beer flight if you visit Brewdog. My favourite, on the right-hand end of the photo, had a hint of melon and was really nice and fruity to balance the spicy sauce on the chicken wings. It's called 'hazy' if you want to give it a try next time you are in Brewdog.


Vovem Meat & Liquor

My second evening meal was at Vovem which is a beautiful steak restaurant in the heart of Aberdeen. The basement houses 21 Crimes, a 1920's speakeasy which requires a passcode for entry. I didn't manage to make it down this time, but I always like an excuse to re-visit a city and I will definitely try out this bar when I return to Aberdeen. If you have been please let me know what it's like.

I opted for the sirloin steak and my server recommended sides of truffle mac'n'cheese and cabbage with pancetta. It was all delicious!

Somehow I managed to squeeze in a creme brulee for dessert which tasted nice and home made. I was so full after this epic feast that I had to go straight back to my hotel for a lie down! I was worried about eating alone at Vovem but once the waitress realised I wasn't waiting for anyone she went out of her way to chat to me and look after me, so I really appreciated that. It's clearly a restaurant which goes the extra mile and looks after its customers.


A day trip to Stonehaven

On my second day in Aberdeenshire, I got the train to nearby Stonehaven which took less than 20 minutes. The views were outstanding! I would take this journey again for the views alone.

When I arrived in Stonehaven, I made my way straight down to the beach where I spotted a number of metal sea-themed sculptures. The identity of the sculptor has never been revealed, which reminded me of the mysterious Banksy, and I got the impression that art is really important to Aberdeenshire.


Stonehaven Harbour

After following the coastline for a while I ended up walking up to Stonehaven Harbour, which is everything you could want from a picture-perfect seaside location. I spent a while admiring the various restaurants and B&Bs lining the edge of the harbour, and made friends with a couple of lovely cats.


Coastal Walk

From the harbour I made my way up to the coastal walking route which takes you all the way around the Stonehaven coastline to the castle. It is approximately a 50-minute walk and not too tricky but you do need good mobility as some areas are slightly rocky and you need to walk through dunes. 

It was a very relaxing walk with the lovely sea breeze but I can imagine it being quite chilly in winter! There was an abundance of wide-open space to my right and waves crashing to my left which made for absolutely stunning views.

I loved the aerial view of the harbour on my way into the castle. It was an ideal resting point about half way along the route.


Dunnottar Castle

At the end of the walk I reached this stunning castle. The rock on which the castle now stands is 440 million years old! In 1925 it was purchased by the Pearson family who lovingly restored it and opened it to the public. 


Dunnottar Castle is now a popular visitor attraction. It took me about 30 minutes to explore but I could have spent longer relaxing there and taking in the sea views if I had more time. There is a handy car park which means you can visit without the bumper walk that I did, although I would recommend that for a full day out.


The Bay Fish and Chips

I ended my weekend in Aberdeenshire as all good weekends should end, with a good old portion of fish and chips! I visited the award-winning fish and chip shop, The Bay, which has been ranked as one of the top food experiences in the entire world by Lonely Planet.

I had a standard portion of haddock, chips and mushy peas which was plentiful but not too filling. I am quite fussy about my peas but The Bay got them spot on, and the fish was lovely and light without that greasy feeling you often get. The chips were light and fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside. It was lovely eating them down on the beach!

Just like that my short but sweet time in Aberdeenshire came to an end with a quick and easy Loganair flight back to Newcastle. I had the loveliest weekend exploring the area and I can't wait to go back to see more of it. 

I would definitely recommend Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a weekend break from Newcastle and it was a pleasure seeing everything the city had to offer. This was yet another reminder that we do not need to travel far to see amazing sights, try fantastic food and soak up culture! I am already looking forward to my next visit.

For more information and to book your trip to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, just visit NewcastleToAberdeen.com/Loganair



August ended up being a very different month to what was originally planned when I booked a great deal on a package holiday to Kos over bank holiday week. If you read my recent post how to find cheap flights in Europe you'll know that I recently realised that it's not always cheaper booking everything separately and took full advantage of a good package deal for a last minute break in the sun.

Unfortunately due to family illness we had to cancel our trip. As we already had our annual leave booked in at work we decided, once the family member was recovered and home, that we would have some spontaneous time exploring the local area instead.

Local days in August

Miller and Carter

At the start of the month, we finally got round to using some gift vouchers for Miller and Carter in Newcastle, one of my absolute favourite restaurants in the city. I wrote a full review when we visited last Christmas and I'm pleased to say it was just as good on this visit!

It's such a lovely place to visit if you want a special treat but at purse-friendly prices - keep an eye out for their specials and set menus. This time we visited on the restaurant week menu which was a good deal and a nice way to try some tasty steaks on a reasonable budget!


It's R Place Doughnut Delivery

I always thought there'd come a moment when I would decide that the hours of work put into my Instagram would pay off and I think this was it. One day I was working from home and waiting for a lunch time visit from a friend when It's R Place sent me a direct message asking if they could drop off half a dozen doughnuts for us to sample!

Of course my answer was a huge yes and just look at the fantastic selection which arrived. I am so glad it is my birthday in October so I can plan to order some of these instead of a cake - totally amazing. The biscoff nutella doughnut is a fairly new addition and my goodness it is good. They were all perfect in their own way - thanks guys! These were a gift but I will absolutely pay good money to order them again.


Druridge Bay

Over the absolutely scorching bank holiday weekend we had a day out to Druridge Bay, somewhere I have never visited despite hearing very good things about it. I loved it so much that I wrote a full blog post about our day out and what there is to do there - read the full post here

I love how it is both a beautiful beach and scenic park in one: truly not to be missed if you are in the area. These stepping stones were a little bit wobbly but fun at the same time!


A Trip to the Lake District

Langdale Estate

It has become a tradition for me and my partner to go to the Langdale Estate near Ambleside each October to celebrate our birthdays which are three days apart. He used to visit as a child and introduced me to the place, now I can't get enough.

After cancelling our holiday we still wanted to take some time out to relax and decided that Langdale was the best option to make sure we could get back quickly if needed. We decided on just one night as we aren't sure if we can claim our holiday cost back yet, so didn't want to spend a fortune. It's a lovely place but definitely one to save for a treat.

Booking directly with Langdale, we managed to get a fantastic deal including two days access to the Brimstone spa (my favourite) and lunch. I will be writing a full blog post about our stay this month, so look out for that. It's such an impressive place to stay with a fantastic spa, lodges for groups and two different hotels!


Keswick

Mary Mount Hotel

After one night at Langdale we had a look around for deals to extend our stay by another night in Keswick on our way back, somewhere I have never visited before. We found the Mount Mary hotel online situated not far from Keswick. We saw on their website that it is best to email them for last minute deals which we did. They offered us a decent discount and the place looked amazing so we headed straight there, excited to see somewhere different.

I was in awe of this place. Not trying to be fancy, it just ticked all the right boxes for us. Set right on the edge of a beautiful lake, it is the ideal spot to get away from it all. I will be writing a review of our lovely stay very soon so please look out for that: the food was a solid 10/10 and the grounds are fantastic.


Exploring Keswick

Neither of us could recall ever visiting Keswick before so we decided to have a nice potter round after checking out of our hotel. It was very rainy (typical Lake District!) but there were plenty of shops to dive into and escape the drizzle. The Beatrix Potter shop was very cute and we stumbled into some quirky art gallery shops as well.

It's a typical sleepy British town which makes a lovely, chilled escape when you just want to potter round the shops with nice cafe stops thrown in. I'm sure we will be re-visiting the Mary Mount hotel so we will be back to try some of the pubs and restaurants as we spotted a few tempting places to eat.


My Current Bucket List

I always worry that I won't have anything to write here but when it comes round to it I am never short of dream destinations to talk about! As part of our holiday to Kos we were due to see my dad in Bodrum which sadly had to be missed, so I will definitely be heading to Istanbul to see everyone soon (where my dad and his side of the family live).

Other trips on the horizon are Belfast in October and Prague in December, neither of which are booked yet so we will have to see! Now we are into the last quarter of 2019 (scary!) it is time to think about 2020 trips which is very exciting. One main country I've got my eye on is Portugal. I have only been to Portugal once for a weekend in Lisbon, which was great. I would love a trip next year to see the Algarve, back to Lisbon and onto Porto which seems to be a hot destination at the moment! Let me know if you've started thinking about your 2020 holidays yet as I am always looking for inspiration.


Thanks for following my adventures in August! Here's to September, a month which is 'back to reality' for many of us. I hope it's a great month for you all. Melis x

August Trips and Bucket List


August ended up being a very different month to what was originally planned when I booked a great deal on a package holiday to Kos over bank holiday week. If you read my recent post how to find cheap flights in Europe you'll know that I recently realised that it's not always cheaper booking everything separately and took full advantage of a good package deal for a last minute break in the sun.

Unfortunately due to family illness we had to cancel our trip. As we already had our annual leave booked in at work we decided, once the family member was recovered and home, that we would have some spontaneous time exploring the local area instead.

Local days in August

Miller and Carter

At the start of the month, we finally got round to using some gift vouchers for Miller and Carter in Newcastle, one of my absolute favourite restaurants in the city. I wrote a full review when we visited last Christmas and I'm pleased to say it was just as good on this visit!

It's such a lovely place to visit if you want a special treat but at purse-friendly prices - keep an eye out for their specials and set menus. This time we visited on the restaurant week menu which was a good deal and a nice way to try some tasty steaks on a reasonable budget!


It's R Place Doughnut Delivery

I always thought there'd come a moment when I would decide that the hours of work put into my Instagram would pay off and I think this was it. One day I was working from home and waiting for a lunch time visit from a friend when It's R Place sent me a direct message asking if they could drop off half a dozen doughnuts for us to sample!

Of course my answer was a huge yes and just look at the fantastic selection which arrived. I am so glad it is my birthday in October so I can plan to order some of these instead of a cake - totally amazing. The biscoff nutella doughnut is a fairly new addition and my goodness it is good. They were all perfect in their own way - thanks guys! These were a gift but I will absolutely pay good money to order them again.


Druridge Bay

Over the absolutely scorching bank holiday weekend we had a day out to Druridge Bay, somewhere I have never visited despite hearing very good things about it. I loved it so much that I wrote a full blog post about our day out and what there is to do there - read the full post here

I love how it is both a beautiful beach and scenic park in one: truly not to be missed if you are in the area. These stepping stones were a little bit wobbly but fun at the same time!


A Trip to the Lake District

Langdale Estate

It has become a tradition for me and my partner to go to the Langdale Estate near Ambleside each October to celebrate our birthdays which are three days apart. He used to visit as a child and introduced me to the place, now I can't get enough.

After cancelling our holiday we still wanted to take some time out to relax and decided that Langdale was the best option to make sure we could get back quickly if needed. We decided on just one night as we aren't sure if we can claim our holiday cost back yet, so didn't want to spend a fortune. It's a lovely place but definitely one to save for a treat.

Booking directly with Langdale, we managed to get a fantastic deal including two days access to the Brimstone spa (my favourite) and lunch. I will be writing a full blog post about our stay this month, so look out for that. It's such an impressive place to stay with a fantastic spa, lodges for groups and two different hotels!


Keswick

Mary Mount Hotel

After one night at Langdale we had a look around for deals to extend our stay by another night in Keswick on our way back, somewhere I have never visited before. We found the Mount Mary hotel online situated not far from Keswick. We saw on their website that it is best to email them for last minute deals which we did. They offered us a decent discount and the place looked amazing so we headed straight there, excited to see somewhere different.

I was in awe of this place. Not trying to be fancy, it just ticked all the right boxes for us. Set right on the edge of a beautiful lake, it is the ideal spot to get away from it all. I will be writing a review of our lovely stay very soon so please look out for that: the food was a solid 10/10 and the grounds are fantastic.


Exploring Keswick

Neither of us could recall ever visiting Keswick before so we decided to have a nice potter round after checking out of our hotel. It was very rainy (typical Lake District!) but there were plenty of shops to dive into and escape the drizzle. The Beatrix Potter shop was very cute and we stumbled into some quirky art gallery shops as well.

It's a typical sleepy British town which makes a lovely, chilled escape when you just want to potter round the shops with nice cafe stops thrown in. I'm sure we will be re-visiting the Mary Mount hotel so we will be back to try some of the pubs and restaurants as we spotted a few tempting places to eat.


My Current Bucket List

I always worry that I won't have anything to write here but when it comes round to it I am never short of dream destinations to talk about! As part of our holiday to Kos we were due to see my dad in Bodrum which sadly had to be missed, so I will definitely be heading to Istanbul to see everyone soon (where my dad and his side of the family live).

Other trips on the horizon are Belfast in October and Prague in December, neither of which are booked yet so we will have to see! Now we are into the last quarter of 2019 (scary!) it is time to think about 2020 trips which is very exciting. One main country I've got my eye on is Portugal. I have only been to Portugal once for a weekend in Lisbon, which was great. I would love a trip next year to see the Algarve, back to Lisbon and onto Porto which seems to be a hot destination at the moment! Let me know if you've started thinking about your 2020 holidays yet as I am always looking for inspiration.


Thanks for following my adventures in August! Here's to September, a month which is 'back to reality' for many of us. I hope it's a great month for you all. Melis x
Druridge Bay Park - stepping stones

On the recent bank holiday Monday in the UK, we had the sunniest weather I've known in the North East for a long time. On a nice day, my usual plan would be to dash to either Tynemouth or South Shields which are my two favourite beaches in the region, but we'd had a difficult week and really wanted somewhere more peaceful to relax and soak up the sun without too much to do.

I decided that this was finally the perfect time to check out Druridge Bay beach and park. I didn't know if the park would be worth a visit without children but I thought that even if all we did was sun ourselves on the beach then it would still be totally worth the trip.

Druridge Bay Park and Beach

Geography isn't my strongest point, and despite hearing from friends that Druridge Bay Country Park and beach was an amazing place to be in the sunshine, I always brushed it off as I thought it was far away. Turns out you can get to this breathtaking, secluded place in just 30-40 minutes from Newcastle city centre!

Now I know how close it is, I will not be leaving it as long next time.

Druridge Bay - Beach

It turned out to be a day of two halves. We arrived at around 11.00 am and parked in the Country Park car park. If you put 'Druridge Bay' into your Sat Nav it doesn't take you directly to this car park, so I'd advise using the postcode for the park itself and it will take you to the right place: NE61 5BX. An hour is free, then the most it can cost is £3.00 for over two hours.

Druridge Bay Park and Beach - scenery

We decided to head straight down to the beach as this was definitely what we came for. There were sign posts taking us down lovely paths through the woodland before reaching a main road which you could take left or right to get to Amble or Creswell if you wanted a longer walk.

We headed left for a while then realised that we could access the beach any time by walking straight up over the headland. As we got to the top of the hill I was blown away by the lovely view, and couldn't wait to get down to the beach. I grew up by the sea and it is totally my happy place, especially when it is this gorgeous!

Druridge Bay Beautiful Beach

The few hours that followed literally felt like being abroad. We read books, napped, had a picnic and chatted about which dog we would pick from the gorgeous breeds which frequently bounded past us, loving life.

Druridge Bay Park and Beach: our picnic

It was hard to tear ourselves away from our secluded stretch of beach but after a while we decided to head up to the park for a nice walk. There were no rubbish bins to be seen for our picnic waste so we took it with us. It was nice to see a perfectly clean beach with everyone doing the same, just make sure you take plenty of carrier bags to use for rubbish if needed.

Druridge Bay - Country Park

We retraced our steps back up to the car park at Druridge Bay country park, where there is a visitor centre housing a cafe and toilet facilities. There is also a really lovely children's play park and plenty of picnic benches if you'd rather eat on a proper table. 

The lake is just a few steps away from the visitor centre and we headed there next to walk off our lunch. We weren't too sure how long it would take to walk round the lake but in the end it was gentle stroll of around 40 minutes.

I was looking forward to seeing the stepping stones, pictured below. I really enjoyed this part of our walk. A family with three gorgeous dogs crossed before us and we were all left in fits of laughter after the dogs carefully made their way across the stepping stones, then jumped in the muddy water anyway and started swimming back!

Druridge Bay Park and Beach- stepping stones

I was slightly nervous but they were perfectly safe (albeit a little wobbly) and there is an alternative path around the lake to avoid having to cross the water. People were enjoying various water sports on the lake which are available from April until the end of October, according to Visit Northumberland.

Sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing are all possible at Druridge Bay but a permit is required which is chargeable. There was various equipment available to hire, pictured below, but I am not the adventurous type so stuck to watching everyone else whilst remaining firmly on dry land!

Druridge Bay Park - kayak hire photo

By the time we got to the end of our walk round the lake we were slightly peckish again - what is it about picnic food that makes you never quite full? We really fancied a Mr Whippy ice cream, available next to the play park, but the queue was really long (not a surprise on a day as sunny as this!) so we decided to leave it there for the day and head home.

A Brief Visit to Cresswell

We remembered spotting a traditional ice cream shop in Cresswell, which would be on our way home anyway, so decided to pop their for our ice cream. It was nice, homemade, but nothing too special so I'm not sure I'd visit again. The ice cream van at Druridge Bay Country Park had loads of options for flavours and toppings so definitely one for next time; I think it would be worth the queue.

Druridge Bay - cresswell ice cream after

Then just like that, our lovely sunny visit to Druridge Bay park and beach was over. It's a real gem that we are so lucky to have in the North East. If you live in the region and haven't yet visited then I strongly recommend it when we have another gorgeous day. There is really something for everyone, and I know it will be my go-to in future when I want a relaxed trip to chill out.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin it for later!

Druridge Bay Park and Beach- pin

Druridge Bay Park and Beach

Druridge Bay Park - stepping stones

On the recent bank holiday Monday in the UK, we had the sunniest weather I've known in the North East for a long time. On a nice day, my usual plan would be to dash to either Tynemouth or South Shields which are my two favourite beaches in the region, but we'd had a difficult week and really wanted somewhere more peaceful to relax and soak up the sun without too much to do.

I decided that this was finally the perfect time to check out Druridge Bay beach and park. I didn't know if the park would be worth a visit without children but I thought that even if all we did was sun ourselves on the beach then it would still be totally worth the trip.

Druridge Bay Park and Beach

Geography isn't my strongest point, and despite hearing from friends that Druridge Bay Country Park and beach was an amazing place to be in the sunshine, I always brushed it off as I thought it was far away. Turns out you can get to this breathtaking, secluded place in just 30-40 minutes from Newcastle city centre!

Now I know how close it is, I will not be leaving it as long next time.

Druridge Bay - Beach

It turned out to be a day of two halves. We arrived at around 11.00 am and parked in the Country Park car park. If you put 'Druridge Bay' into your Sat Nav it doesn't take you directly to this car park, so I'd advise using the postcode for the park itself and it will take you to the right place: NE61 5BX. An hour is free, then the most it can cost is £3.00 for over two hours.

Druridge Bay Park and Beach - scenery

We decided to head straight down to the beach as this was definitely what we came for. There were sign posts taking us down lovely paths through the woodland before reaching a main road which you could take left or right to get to Amble or Creswell if you wanted a longer walk.

We headed left for a while then realised that we could access the beach any time by walking straight up over the headland. As we got to the top of the hill I was blown away by the lovely view, and couldn't wait to get down to the beach. I grew up by the sea and it is totally my happy place, especially when it is this gorgeous!

Druridge Bay Beautiful Beach

The few hours that followed literally felt like being abroad. We read books, napped, had a picnic and chatted about which dog we would pick from the gorgeous breeds which frequently bounded past us, loving life.

Druridge Bay Park and Beach: our picnic

It was hard to tear ourselves away from our secluded stretch of beach but after a while we decided to head up to the park for a nice walk. There were no rubbish bins to be seen for our picnic waste so we took it with us. It was nice to see a perfectly clean beach with everyone doing the same, just make sure you take plenty of carrier bags to use for rubbish if needed.

Druridge Bay - Country Park

We retraced our steps back up to the car park at Druridge Bay country park, where there is a visitor centre housing a cafe and toilet facilities. There is also a really lovely children's play park and plenty of picnic benches if you'd rather eat on a proper table. 

The lake is just a few steps away from the visitor centre and we headed there next to walk off our lunch. We weren't too sure how long it would take to walk round the lake but in the end it was gentle stroll of around 40 minutes.

I was looking forward to seeing the stepping stones, pictured below. I really enjoyed this part of our walk. A family with three gorgeous dogs crossed before us and we were all left in fits of laughter after the dogs carefully made their way across the stepping stones, then jumped in the muddy water anyway and started swimming back!

Druridge Bay Park and Beach- stepping stones

I was slightly nervous but they were perfectly safe (albeit a little wobbly) and there is an alternative path around the lake to avoid having to cross the water. People were enjoying various water sports on the lake which are available from April until the end of October, according to Visit Northumberland.

Sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing are all possible at Druridge Bay but a permit is required which is chargeable. There was various equipment available to hire, pictured below, but I am not the adventurous type so stuck to watching everyone else whilst remaining firmly on dry land!

Druridge Bay Park - kayak hire photo

By the time we got to the end of our walk round the lake we were slightly peckish again - what is it about picnic food that makes you never quite full? We really fancied a Mr Whippy ice cream, available next to the play park, but the queue was really long (not a surprise on a day as sunny as this!) so we decided to leave it there for the day and head home.

A Brief Visit to Cresswell

We remembered spotting a traditional ice cream shop in Cresswell, which would be on our way home anyway, so decided to pop their for our ice cream. It was nice, homemade, but nothing too special so I'm not sure I'd visit again. The ice cream van at Druridge Bay Country Park had loads of options for flavours and toppings so definitely one for next time; I think it would be worth the queue.

Druridge Bay - cresswell ice cream after

Then just like that, our lovely sunny visit to Druridge Bay park and beach was over. It's a real gem that we are so lucky to have in the North East. If you live in the region and haven't yet visited then I strongly recommend it when we have another gorgeous day. There is really something for everyone, and I know it will be my go-to in future when I want a relaxed trip to chill out.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin it for later!

Druridge Bay Park and Beach- pin

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