Category Archives: Travel

Glasgow : Day 2

FAIIINT Glasgow architecture side street with neon signs mackintosh FAIIINT Glasgow architecture and buildings. FAIIINT Glasgow architecture and buildings. FAIIINT Glasgow architecture street and buildings

Feeling a little worse for wear after last nights Scottish Style Awards we were up bright and early for our second day in Glasgow. We all met in the cafeteria for a long breakfast, once again making the most of fry up, pastries and plenty of coffee to ease our hangovers, before meeting Fiona in the lobby for another packed day.

Our day started off with a walking tour exploring Glasgow’s distinct architecture, from it’s Victorian influences to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s innovative designs and the output of his contemporaries working in the Glasgow Style of Art Nouveau. Our wonderful guides from the Glasgow School of Art were incredibly knowledgeable, showing us around all the key buildings, telling us their history, significance and plenty of interesting little bits of information about them and the city too. One of the things I loved most as we were walking around was the blend of old and new, beautiful Victorian buildings sitting right beside more modern, glass and metal structures so harmoniously it was as if it had always been like this. I really enjoyed this opportunity to have a proper look around and look up and take notice of things I would have otherwise walked straight past without any idea of their importance and I’d highly recommend booking a tour if you’re visiting the city.

After a brief stop for a cup of tea, our original plan had been to go see Iona Crawford at her studio, which I was super excited for as I loved her ‘Lilly’s Leaf’ and ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ collections. Sadly she ended up having to cancel due to unfortunate circumstances and so instead Fiona arranged for us to go along to the Cambridge Satchel Company’s Glasgow store to check out their exclusive Scottish pieces.

 

Cambridge Satchel Company…

FAIIINT Glasgow Cambridge Satchel Company bags and trunk. Navy blue, black, oxblood red. FAIIINT Glasgow Cambridge Satchel Company exclusive Scottish Harris Tweed bags. Oxblood red and grey. FAIIINT Glasgow Cambridge Satchel Company cloud scalloped edge small bags. Plum, pale blue, Black. FAIIINT Glasgow Cambridge Satchel Company embossing monogram machine. Plum luggage tag with gold embossed star cluster print.

I’m sure most of you know all about the Cambridge Satchel Company by now, they’ve become pretty iconic especially amongst the blogging community and it always makes me happy to see brands like this that have gone from being sewn in home studios to now having stand alone stores, and this is their first outside of England. It’s home to their Harris Tweed collection which is available exclusively from this store, fusing classic English design with traditional Scottish fabrics.

They also had lots of their new styles and colourways on show for us to coo over, my favourite has to be this deep plum colour and I loved the new scalloped edge ‘cloud’ bags too. There’s also an embossing machine in store, so that you can have your purchases monogrammed while you wait, it only takes a few minutes and really makes your purchase feel that extra bit special, it would be perfect for gifts. We were treated to a luggage tag with our choice of embossing to show us how it worked, the other girls went with initials, blog names and hashtags, but as soon as I saw the star stamp I knew I was going to have to get that and I love the way it came out.

 

Adventure Everywhere with Trakke…

FAIIINT Trakke Glasgow studio, sewing machines. FAIIINT Trakke Glasgow studio, sewing machines. FAIIINT Trakke Glasgow studio. Wee Lug and Bairn waxed cotton and Harris Tweed messenger bags with Timorous Beasties thistle print. FAIIINT Trakke Glasgow studio. Krukke backpack bag in grey herringbone Harris Tweed and red check.

Housed at SWG3 in Glasgow’s West End is Trakke, a small team of people who are truly passionate about their brand and it’s ethos. They create timeless, functional bags for the everyday adventurer, whether that’s hiking, biking or just navigating the urban jungle. Their products are handmade in Britain from British materials and are made to last, these are pieces that only get better with age, telling the story of their adventures and developing a character all of their own.

My personal favourites were the Wee Lug in classic waxed black cotton, the Krukke in beautiful grey herringbone Harris Tweed and the smaller, limited edition Bairn messenger featuring a gorgeous Timorous Beasties thistle print. They’ve really hit it out of the park in creating pieces which you’ll want to cherish forever, beautifully and simply designed to give them a timeless edge but with great little details that give them their own signature too, plus they are truly functional with plenty of pockets, durable buckles and fastenings, hard wearing materials and roomy enough to carry everything you’d need.

 

Champagne Sundays at The Gannet…

FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Beetroot salad. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Black pudding scotch duck egg. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Bread basket. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Farfalle pasta with mushrooms and egg. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Meringue with berries and salted caramel fondant with tonka bean ice cream.

Our last stop before saying goodbye to Glasgow and catching our flights back home was The Gannet to sample their Champagne Sundays menu. I’m not sure if we were just lucky enough to be taken to two exceptional places to eat, or if Glasgow actually has some of the best food around, but I haven’t enjoyed eating out this much in ages.

The Gannet focuses on fine dining without the faff and on celebrating the best of Scottish produce with all ingredients coming directly from sustainable sources. Set in a beautiful grade II listed tenement building the atmosphere is casual and relaxed, we enjoyed sipping on champagne and tucking into some of the most delicious fresh bread (seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!) whilst we chatted about all of the things we’d gotten upto over the past 2 days. The menu was short and sweet, with one vegetarian option for each course I didn’t really need to choose but I was pleased to see they were interesting dishes, so no complaints here. I went with a beetroot salad (isn’t that just the prettiest salad you ever saw?) for starter, followed by farfalle with mushrooms and egg and finishing up with the most incredible melt in the middle salted caramel fondant and tonka bean ice cream. The others had scallops, pig’s head croquette, scotch beef, pan fried cod and black pudding scotch duck eggs, and all said how great and beautifully cooked everything was too. I love this type of food, it’s unfussy, warm and comforting and so perfect for this time of the year.

After the perfect way to end the day, we hugged Fiona goodbye thanking her for showing us around and headed back to the hotel to catch our taxis to the airport. I had the best time, falling a little in love with Glasgow in the process and I genuinely can’t wait to go back to explore this city a little more. It’s made me realise that I really do need to visit more of the UK, we have such a lot of amazing places here and they’re right on my doorstep, so there’s just no excuse.

Huge thanks again to Fiona, Erin and the People Make Glasgow team for a wonderful weekend. If you’d like further information on booking a trip to Glasgow visit www.peoplemakeglasgow.com.

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Glasgow : Day 1 & The Scottish Style Awards

FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow.

A few weekends ago I was invited along to Glasgow with Tara to attend the Scottish Style Awards and check out a few of the cities highlights. I always have this weird sense of guilt when I have to admit that even though I’ve been all over the world, I’ve hardly visited any of the UK. I had never even been to Scotland until now either, so I was super excited to be given this opportunity to go and explore Glasgow for the weekend, and it made such a great first impression too.

Both of us flew in the night before, so we hopped straight into our waiting taxi and headed to the hotel (more on that soon!) to get ourselves checked in. We grabbed a cuppa each and had a good catch up before getting an early night ready for the next day. Well, I say an early night, it would have been if I hadn’t spent an hour playing with the cool iPad control in my room and generally being too excited to sleep! On Saturday morning we got up early to make the most of breakfast, stuffing ourselves on pastries, waffles and full English, before we made our way down to the lobby to meet the lovely Fiona and Erin from People Make Glasgow who were showing us around for the weekend. We were also joined by three other bloggers and some of the nicest girls I’ve met, Lizzie, Emma and Chloe who’d all arrived that morning, completing our little group.

 

Bubbles & Brunch at Hutchesons…

FAIIINT Hutchesons Glasgow Bubble & Brunch. Croissants, orange juice and prosecco. FAIIINT Hutchesons Glasgow Bubble & Brunch. DSC_5521_2 FAIIINT Hutchesons Glasgow Bubble & Brunch. Eggs royal and prosecco. FAIIINT Hutchesons Glasgow Bubble & Brunch. Caramelised banana pancakes with chocolate and maple syrup.

I wish I could start every day with bubbles & brunch, I was already excited for all of the fun things that had been planned for us but this really put me in the best mood for the entire rest of the day! It was also the perfect first stop as it meant we all got to have a good chat and get to know each other a little better before heading off for the rest of the days activities.

The award winning Hutchesons is housed in an iconic Grade A listed building, originally built as a hospital in 1802, it’s a beautiful space full of high ceilings, ornate decorative features, stained glass and chandeliers. It’s basically the perfect place for drinking fizz in the AM and not feeling guilty about it, as their menu says – “Brunch without booze is just a sad, late breakfast” and I couldn’t agree more!

As we decided what to order, our table was laid out with fresh croissants, jams and orange juice, and our glasses filled up with a seemingly endless supply of prosecco. The others went for classic Eggs Royal and Benedict, and Tara ordered French toast stuffed with bacon, mozzarella and drizzled in maple syrup, I have never felt so sad to be a vegetarian! I finally settled for the pancakes layered with caramelised bananas, chocolate and maple syrup, and they were every bit as incredible as they sound.

 

Trying on hats at William Chambers…

FAIIINT Milliner William Chambers hat shop in Glasgow. Gold and navy blue flowers wedding hats. FAIIINT Milliner William Chambers hat shop in Glasgow. Bloggers trying on hats. FAIIINT Milliner William Chambers hat shop in Glasgow. Tara of The Style Rawr trying on a colour block fedora. FAIIINT Milliner William Chambers hat shop in Glasgow. Gold, silver, grey and navy blue flowers wedding hats.

After brunch we all took a short (and slightly tipsy!) walk over to visit award winning milliner William Chambers and his partner Niall at his city centre store. William creates bespoke handmade hats, headpieces and bridal millinery, his pieces are incredibly beautiful and elegant, but with a modern edge making them highly wearable. He has been praised by the likes of Stephen Jones as one to watch and his pieces have been worn by numerous style icons, including Roisin Murphy and Anna Dello Russo amongst many others.

William and Niall talked us through how it all got started, the creative process and how William crafts each hat to perfectly fit it’s wearer and the occasion. We were invited to try on any pieces we liked ourselves, which of course lead to lots of selfie and photo taking, I’ll let Tara do the showing off here – how much does she need that hat? My favourites were a huge black wide brim hat, which sadly my camera did no justice to and the headband topped with golden flowers and netting.

 

On to Rainbow Room to get our hair sorted…

FAIIINT Rainbow Room salon George's Square Glasgow. FAIIINT Rainbow Room salon George's Square Glasgow. Rainbow Room salon George's Square Glasgow. Tara of The Style Rawr with her hair finished ready for the Scottish Style Awards. Rainbow Room salon George's Square Glasgow. Stephanie of FAIIINT with hair ready for the Scottish Style Awards.

Finally it was time to start getting ready for the evenings awards and we were all booked into Rainbow Room in Georges Square for their award winning team to work their magic on making our hair look awesome. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted doing with mine but I knew the dress I would be wearing had shoulder details that I wanted to be on show, not hidden behind my mane. I mentioned this to my wonderful stylist and she knew exactly what to do, we ended up going for a deep side parting with the rest pinned back to show off one shoulder. It was perfect and so nice to feel like I was in such capable hands, happily letting her do her thing and just knowing it would look great.

I don’t normally do a whole lot with my hair and I pretty much wear it in the same style no matter what I’m doing, as you’ve probably realised, but I actually really loved this look and will definitely be trying it out again in the future.

 

The Scottish Style Awards!

FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. Sophie Cave Floating Heads installation. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. Tables with Moet and Chambord. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. White band perform. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. Tables and chairs with gift bags. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. Winners Hutchesons collect their award. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. Catwalk show Jane Davidson. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. Catwalk finale. FAIIINT Scottish Style Awards 2015 at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow. Red carpet bloggers.

A quick taxi back to the hotel to get dressed and redo our makeup and before we knew it we were on our way over to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum for the awards. The museum itself is so grand and beautiful, it was a perfect setting for the evening. I got to have a little peek inside some of the galleries but I would love to come back here in the daytime to be able to have a proper look around at their collections, which includes one of the finest collections of European arms and armour in the world plus works by Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and Dali, a vast natural history collection and one of the largest collections of 17th century Dutch and Flemish Old Masters in the UK.

As soon as we walked in we were greeted by Sophie Cave’s ‘Floating Heads’ installation, which looked even ghostlier in the dim lighting and I couldn’t stop staring at it and all of the different expressions as we made our way upstairs for cocktails. After drinks and a little mingling (and my foot getting maimed by a dropped bottle of Moët! It’s always me!), we were lead back downstairs to our tables for dinner and the main event, hosted by Sophie Kennedy Clark. After a wonderful 3-course meal and plenty of champagne we were treated to a short set from White, followed by the main awards and a catwalk show featuring pieces from some of Glasgow’s best boutiques.

I was having a little panic about what I was going to wear the week before, until I remembered I’d scored this beautiful Todd Lynn dress on eBay for such a steal a few months ago and hadn’t had an occasion to wear it to, until now! Sadly I wasn’t able to get any decent outfit photos of it on, other than these fuzzy iPhone shots, as it was just far too dark inside for my camera. I’m planning to put it on again for a re-shoot though soon, so I can show it off to you guys properly as it really deserves to be seen in all it’s glory.

We all had such a wonderful evening and were feeling pretty knackered after such a busy day, knowing we had to be up early for another day full of exploring, we briefly checked out the after party before climbing into a taxi and finally falling into bed with a cup of tea ready for tomorrow.

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Montagu Place

FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. Swanky room, super king size bed, roses. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. Swanky room. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. Swanky room, bathroom. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. Swanky room, bathroom roll top bath. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. Bed, Swanky room. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. Lush Intergalactic bath bomb. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. View from window. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. Dining room, breakfast. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. Continental breakfast. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel. FAIIINT blogger Montagu Place Marylebone London Boutique Hotel.

A few weekends ago I was invited to stay at the newly redecorated Montagu Place, a quirky boutique hotel right in the heart of Marylebone. I had been in desperate need of a break, and so the opportunity to get away over the weekend and relax couldn’t have come at a better time, and I couldn’t have chosen a better place to do it either.

I had been booked into their ‘Swanky‘ room, which is beautifully furnished with a super king sized bed, flat screen TV, the hugest roll top bath and walk in shower, plus all of the little extras I could have ever wanted, from fluffy bathrobes, Molton Brown toiletries and all the latest fashion magazines to fresh ground coffee and herbal teas. The whole place is decorated to such a high standard, retaining lots of nice period features but with a modern, luxurious edge too.

After I’d finished sprawling out on the huge bed I left out to meet a couple of other bloggers who were out for drinks at a bar only a short walk from the hotel. We had a few glasses of wine before heading to a nearby Japanese restaurant for noodles, it was lovely to meet lots of new faces and so nice to not have to be watching the time and rushing off to catch a train like usual. As soon as I got back in I ran myself a bath, threw in my current favourite Intergalactic bath bomb from Lush and sunk into it with my book and a cup of tea. There is no greater luxury than a huge bath, and I made the most of it by laying in there reading for hours before wrapping up in a robe and falling straight into bed. I hadn’t felt this relaxed in such a long time, and I had the best nights sleep on that ridiculously comfy bed, I really didn’t want to get out of it in the morning!

After getting ready I made my way down for breakfast, continental is my favourite kind and the side was laid out with all the usual things, fresh bread and pastries, fruit, cereal, cold meats and cheeses. As I sat down a waitress came over to bring me some fresh coffee and I ordered scrambled eggs on toast, I thought it was a nice touch that the hot food was all fresh from the kitchen. Everything was so delicious that I could not stop eating, especially those buttery croissants! I may have overdone it slightly, as a guy on the tube on my way home offered me his seat, assuming I was pregnant – obviously I was not going to explain it was down to stuffing myself on continental breakfast, so I sat down feeling a mixture of smug satisfaction and embarrassment!

I could not recommend Montagu Place more highly if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in London, the location is just perfect being only 10 minutes from Oxford Street, a few minutes from multiple tube stations and yet far enough away from the hustle and bustle to be a truly relaxing place to come back to. The staff were all so friendly and went to every effort to ensure I had the best stay possible too, it was exactly what I needed and I definitely plan on making another visit.

I was a guest of Montagu Place for this stay. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

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York Weekend : Day 2

FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedral South Transept. FAIIINT York weekend break. Bicycles along the pavement outside the cathedral. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedral.

We were hoping we’d have a little better luck with the weather on our only full day in York, but it stubbornly remained gloomy & overcast the entire time we were there. Thankfully the rain had mostly cleared up though, as we had a lot we wanted to fit in and so we were up bright and early ready to make the most of the whole day.

First on our list was the York Dungeon, which was just a short walk from our hotel & the perfect way to wake us up on a sleepy Sunday morning. Sadly no photos are allowed, so I have nothing to show you, but it was a lot of fun & I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of history or macabre tales. Like the guide on our ghost walk, the theatre actors here really get into the spirit of things, they’re over the top, funny & love to scare you! We were taken on a tour through various dimly lit sets of York’s gruesome past with tales of the plague, Guy Fawkes, medieval executions, haunted pubs & witchcraft. Of course this happened to be the day I was wearing my fedora, so guess who got accused of being a witch & burnt at the stake?! I think Ollie enjoyed shouting ‘Burn the witch!’ at me with the rest of the group a bit too much!

Afterwards we took a nice leisurely walk up to the cathedral, going in and out of all of the tiny cobbled side streets and along the main high street to really get a feel for the place. I loved that York is quite compact, it’s a large city but after walking around a couple of times you know exactly where you’re going, the cathedral was only about a 30 minute walk from our hotel and almost everything else was in between those points.

 

York Minster

FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal Great West Window. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal girl lighting a prayer candle. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal statues of Kings. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal The Great West Window & Nave. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal ceiling. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal Choir screen. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal North Transept The Five Sisters stained glass window. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal staircase up the central tower. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal view of York from the central tower. FAIIINT York weekend break. York Minster Cathedreal West enterance.

York Minster is the largest medieval gothic cathedral in northern Europe, renowned for it’s grand scale and beautiful architecture the world over, it took 250 years to build from 1220 until it’s consecration in 1472. For me this was the one thing I didn’t want to miss whilst I was here, I am not religious in the slightest but I love gothic architecture and as with art, the examples created in the name of religion are often some of the most beautiful.

Stepping inside is breathtaking and it’s easy to see, even to a non-believer like me, why people often describe visiting places like this as a religious experience. The sheer scale and beauty of the place is completely awe inspiring and makes you feel incredibly small in comparison, it’s humbling. Every inch is decorated with beautiful carvings, artworks and statues, high vaulted ceilings dotted with gilt motifs, imposing pillars and gothic arches, and the largest collection of medieval stained glass in Britain. I spent a long time wandering around every corner, but I still couldn’t quite take it all in.

We couldn’t visit and not take a trip up to the top of the tower for the spectacular views across the city and beyond, even though it was 230 feet of 275 narrow, steep winding stairs to climb with our heavy cameras! I was pretty knackered by the time we got to the top, I really need to get fitter! As promised, the views were totally worth it though, and I think the gloomy skies made it all the more dramatic too.

 

Jorvik Viking Centre

FAIIINT York weekend break. Jorvik Viking Centre glass floor over 1,000 year old remains of Viking houses in Coppergate. FAIIINT York weekend break. Jorvik Viking Centre jewellery and pottery. FAIIINT York weekend break. Jorvik Viking Centre skeletons.

Jorvik Viking Centre was one of those places we were told we had to visit whilst we were here. As with a lot of York’s attractions it’s really focused on discovering the history of the city, as soon as you start to walk down the staircase you’ll notice the markings on the wall indicating the levels in the soil from present day, past the Tudor, Medieval and Norman periods until finally at the bottom the Viking age, where thanks to a striking glass floor you’re able to almost walk amongst the remains of 1,000 year old Viking houses.

The main attraction here is of course the ride, though no photos are allowed. It’s a tour through the Viking village of Jorvik, your car takes you through the streets and the houses as realistic animatronic citizens speak in old Norse to you about their lives there. It reminded me a lot of a smaller version of the Spaceship Earth ride at Disney’s Epcot. Afterwards you get off in a new part of the building were you can see more artefacts including jewellery and clothing, recreations of homes and workshops, and the remains of the people who actually lived in this city, their bones telling the stories of how the lived, what they ate, and ultimately how they died.

 

FAIIINT York weekend break. The Shambles street in York.

Afterwards we had a long walk around the shops, making sure to walk along The Shambles with it’s buildings dating back to the 15th Century. We decided to just keep walking until somewhere took our fancy for dinner, instead of looking up where to eat, and we finally settled on the Lamb & Lion Inn. I can’t even describe to you how excited I was when I saw they had vegetarian fish & chips (beer battered halloumi) on the menu! So excited, that I barely managed to take an instagram photo before tucking in, and it was just as heavenly as I remembered. Ollie had an incredible looking steak and chips, and we both agreed it was the nicest food we’d eaten all weekend, I’d highly recommend it.

I feel like there’s still so much we didn’t get to see, and it’s somewhere I’d definitely like to go back to and visit again in the future for a slightly longer break. Big thanks again to Travelodge for having us & encouraging us to explore a little more of our own country!

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York Weekend : Day 1

FAIIINT York weekend break. Micklegate bar. FAIIINT York weekend break. Shambles market and high street. FAIIINT York weekend break with Travelodge. Breakfast boxes.

FAIIINT York weekend break with Travelodge. View from window of Castle Museum mill and river.
A couple of weeks ago we spent a long weekend exploring the beautiful city of York. I hate to admit it, but I’ve not done much travelling around the UK and our cities here are pretty low or non-existent on my bucket list of places to visit. When I think of travelling, I think of exotic, far-flung places and of different cultures and better weather, but this little break has made me realise what a great shame that is. We have so much history, culture & heritage right here, a train ride away and I’ve never even given it the slightest thought. I definitely aim to change that with more weekends away in the future!

We were invited by Travelodge to spend the weekend in their York Central hotel, conveniently located just a short walk outside of the city centre, it was the perfect base. The room was as you’d expect, a good size, clean & basic with everything you’d need, plus they’ve recently upgraded to new king size beds in all of their rooms, so we both had a great few nights sleep. When we first checked in we were really surprised to see such a lovely view out of our window, we’d expected a car park or brick wall as is usually the case, but instead we had a picturesque mill, plus views of Castle Museum & Clifford’s Tower just across the river running right by the side of the hotel.

We had two York Pass‘s kindly arranged for us so we could make the most of exploring the city and what it had to offer, so after a quick check of the room & dumping our suitcases we headed off out. I couldn’t recommend these more if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing like we did, it was so handy. You purchase a 1, 2 or 3 days pass & this gets you free entry into all of their top attractions, plus free tours and discount vouchers for restaurants and shops too.

 

Clifford’s Tower

FAIIINT York weekend break. Clifford's Tower, ruins of York Castle. FAIIINT York weekend break. Looking over the walls of Clifford's Tower. FAIIINT York weekend break. Model of what once was Clifford's Tower & York Castle. FAIIINT York weekend break. Panoramic views of York city centre & York Minster from the top of Clifford's Tower. FAIIINT York weekend.

Clifford’s Tower is almost all that remains of York Castle, first built in 1068 by William the Conqueror as a means to dominate the former Viking city. It was burned to the ground twice before being rebuilt by Henry III in 1243, over the years it played a crucial role in controlling Northern England. Being huge Game of Thrones nerds, we couldn’t stop joking that it felt like we were at Castle Black as we walked around, up in the North with the famous walls circling the tower! The panoramic views of the city, and cathedral from the top are worth the visit alone.

 

Yorkshire Museum

FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum gardens & ruins of St. Mary's Abbey. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum Moa skeleton & Giant Deer skull and antlers. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum Scottish Wildcat & Bird of Paradise taxidermy displays. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum Thylacine Tasmanian Tiger skull. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire museum giant fossilised ichthyosaur skeleton display. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum eagle taxidermy. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum Anglian Gilling Sword & fractured skull of local who fought the Roman Army in The Battle of Stanwick. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum viking silver jewellery, heavy collar from the Bedale Hoard. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum human skeleton. FAIIINT York weekend break. Yorkshire Museum botanical gardens & ruins of St. Mary's Abbey.

Yorkshire Museum sits in some of the most beautiful botanical gardens, scattered with the remains of a Roman fortress and the Medieval ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, we were pretty sad that it kept raining, so we had to quickly dash inside the museum instead of having a proper walk around. The museum itself houses a great & varied collection of pieces, with everything from Roman statues, mosaics and pottery to Medieval stained glass and swords, rare books, skulls of locals smashed to pieces by the invading Roman Army, Viking jewellery and numerous fossils including a giant ichthyosaur skeleton. We spent a good few hours looking around, and I could have happily spent many more here too.

They also hold a really nice selection of taxidermy & specimens, especially of recently extinct species, with an impressive Moa skeleton, Dodo and two Great Auks amongst them. I got a little over excited to see they had a real Thylacine skull in the cabinet! Anatomy and evolution are things that have always fascinated me, and this creature has always seemed extra special and intriguing. It looked and behaved just like a canine, but it had evolved these striking similarities completely independently, it was a carnivorous marsupial with tiger stripes and a jaw that could open 120 degrees. It makes it all the more poignant that this unique creature was hunted to extinction, like a lot of others in this collection, with the last confirmed live animal dying in the 1930’s. It would get my vote if we ever have the technology to bring extinct species back!

On our way back to the hotel we joined the Ghost Trail ghost walk, as we were told we needed to do at least one of these whilst we were here. Honestly, I don’t believe in this kind of thing at all, but our guide was a lot of fun and clearly enjoys his job! It’s a nice way to take a short tour around some of the most historic places in the city centre that you may otherwise miss and learn a little more about them, plus lots of interesting facts along the way.

We were guests of Travelodge for this stay. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

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