Top Scottish Outdoor Activities
Scottland has numerous outdoor activities from the mild to the wild. Here are our top 10 Scottish outdoor activities:
Cairngorms National Park
Located in the centre of the Scottish Highlands, Cairngorms National Park offers something for every visitor. Blessed with the highest mountain range in Britain, the biggest native forests, clean lochs and rivers, castles and museums, traditional distilleries, scope for a lot of family as well as rainy day activities, you are sure to be overwhelmed.
As far as golfers are considered, visiting Scotland, the birthplace of golf, is like going on a pilgrimage. There are more than 550 golf courses, including a few of the world’s best. Visit St Andrews and Musselburgh Links (play a game on the oldest golf course in the world) or take a tour of Open venues like Royal Troon, Carnoustie, Muirfield and Turnberry.
Snowboarding and Skiing
If you are after adventure on snow, you will find some of the challenging ones on Scotland’s slopes. Scotland has five ski centres. Three of them Lecht, Glenshee and Cairngorm Mountain are located in Cairngorms National Park, whereas the other two Glencoe Mountain and Nevis Range are located in the UK’s outdoor capital Lochaber.
Hiking and Walking
When it comes to outdoor activities, no other place in the world can match Scotland with its dales and rolling hills, jagged coastline and lush fields. In Scotland, there are four long-distance routes that are officially designated. There are 16 additional routes in Scotland’s Great Trails that cover more than 1,300 miles of spectacular landscape between the highlands and borders.
Scotland provides opportunities for watching wildlife because of the diversity of natural habitats. The different areas in the country have their own speciality in terms of wildlife: from Moray Firth for bottlenose dolphins to Grampian Highlands for eagles and wildcats to the coastlines for seals and puffins.
If you want to explore the landscape of Scotland at a pace of your own, then the best option is cycling. The 7 stanes biking trail centres that span the southern parts is for you, if you like mountain biking. There are family fun routes, trails for beginners and extreme downhill as well as rocky granite trails. For leisurely cycling, you can try the routes of National Cycle Network. They trace the loch-side path, country lanes, forest routes as well as traffic-free and quiet roads.
Scotland may not be the ultimate beach holiday destination, but the country can boast of some brilliant beaches with a coastline that is 8000 miles long. You can visit the unspoilt beaches on the east coast or the small, dramatic coves on the north coast. The Hebrides has dazzling sands. Many of these beaches are hotspots for different types of surfing.
Wildgoose Scotland offer GPS-based treasure hunts as a novel way to explore your favourite city – see the sights while hunting for clues as to where the next place to visit will be. You’ll be provided with a tablet device and briefed on your challenge – good luck!
Scotland is full of rivers and lochs. Therefore, the popularity of fishing as an outdoor activity is increasing by the day. You can visit some of the best sea and freshwater angling spots and prolific salmon rivers in the world. There are also plenty of angling opportunities for pike, carp, and trout. If you want more activity, then you can try sea fishing for Pollack or cod.
White Water Rafting
Some of the best rafting locations in Scotland include the rivers Tummel, Braan, Orchy, Tay and Ericht. You can go to River Findhorn, if you want to experience the ultimate adrenaline rush. It is a fast flowing river and it rushes you through granite cliffs.
Scotland has some of the beautiful gardens in the world where you can unwind and relax away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh with its 70 acres of landscaped land is just a mile away from the centre of the city. The three regional gardens that you can visit are the Benmore in Argyll, Logan in Dumfries and Galloway and Dawyck near Scottish Borders. In the Inverewe Garden in the Highlands, you can enjoy some really exotic plants.
Visiting Oslo? Most Popular Attractions You Must Visit
Oslo is a popular holiday destination as it offers a huge selection of activities and attractions. Whether you’re looking for a short break, or a long stay, there’s plenty to discover: from numerous museums and galleries, to amazing restaurants and cosy cafes. If you’re wondering what to do first, take a look at my recommendations below.
Viking Ship Museum
If you’re interested in history, then this museum is a must-see attraction. The museum is small, but well laid out and beautifully presented. The architecture of the building works really well with the exhibits and you are able to view the boats from a viewing gallery. Along with the 3 Viking ships, there’s also a fabulous display of artifacts and tools from the Viking age.
QR codes displayed on the walls can be scanned with a smartphone to access an audio commentary. There’s also a small gift shop at the entrance where you can purchase souvenirs. Getting to the museum does require a short journey. You can either get there by boat from the City Hall pier in downtown Oslo, or take the number 30 bus which takes about 25 minutes from the city centre.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, then why not spend a day at TusenFryd: a theme park located around 20 km south of the capital. You pay a one off fee for a ticket that gives you access to the whole of the park for the day. There’s a good selection of rides for all age groups and scare levels!
The park has several fast food outlets selling burgers, hotdogs, ice cream and chips. If you’re after something more healthy then I would recommend taking your own picnic, although, you might not feel like eating anything once you’ve been on the “Speed Monster”.
Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology
The museum has some great permanent exhibitions, including an amazing collection of transportation vehicles, Norwegian Medicine history exhibits, and a hydro-electric power display. A lot of the displays are interactive, so the museum makes a perfect place to take the kids. There’s a restaurant and shop on site, and it’s easy to travel there on the tube. There’s also free parking if you choose to travel by car.
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is a must-see attraction when visiting Oslo. The palace is surrounded by beautiful parks which make a relaxing and scenic tour on foot. If you want to see the interior rooms then you will need to book yourself onto a guided tour. It’s best to organise this in advance so that you can make sure you’re on the English language tour.
The palace is situated at the end of Karl Johans Gate, and is one of the countries most important landmarks. The King and Queen live in the palace and so this limits the amount of rooms you can visit on the tour. If you’re planning to visit, please note that photography is not permitted within the palace, and you will have to place your belongings into a locker.
Organising SAS flights to Oslo, accommodation and attraction tickets in advance, will ensure that your holiday is Oslo goes without a hitch, and you can enjoy all of the things that this unique city has to offer
Top Places To Visit On The Ultimate UK Road Trip
Suggestions for where to visit on a UK road trip are a matter of personal opinion. Road trips have been my holiday of choice for many years, and I have toured the UK on many occasions, so you might find my observations interesting.
The best way to undertake the trip is in a motorhome. These luxurious beasts offer almost every modern convenience and comfort that you need. You can hire them, but the price is extortionate in my opinion. The guys at http://www.motorhomeinsurance.org.uk/why-compare-quotes/ think that is why sales are on the up. If you own the transport, you can travel whenever you feel like it; not only when you can afford the rental.
Let’s assume that your insurance is in place, and your motorhome is fuelled and ready to move. Here are my top places to visit on the ultimate UK road trip.
We start the trip in the Scottish Highlands. Fort William is the largest town up there, and it is well worth stopping off for a couple of days to take in the sights. The scenery in the highlands is rugged and perhaps the most beautiful in the UK. Pay a visit to the majestic Ben Nevis, about seven miles away; the tallest mountain in the British Isles. Take an exciting cable car ride to the summit and enjoy a panoramic view that will take your breath.
Head south along the A9 to the historic city of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Castle stands on an ancient and extinct (we hope) volcano and has been the seat of Scottish power and influence throughout history. Those with a love of things nautical can pay a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia to see how they royal family travelled. If only we could all enjoy such luxury. The National Museum of Scotland houses technology and art that will blow your mind. You might know of the great masters but to see their work first hand is a privilege.
It is a long journey to London from Edinburgh, so think about stopping over in Derbyshire for a couple of days. The quaint towns offer much peace and quiet to the weary traveller.
When you eventually arrive at a site close to the capital city, take a bus or train into the centre. There is much to see there; the Palace of Westminster is the seat of democracy and the decisions made there have shaped much of the world. Big Ben stands as a sentinel over the city and chimes its presence. The London eye, which was meant to last only one year, will give you a bird’s-eye view of the city. I advise you to book early to beat the queues. The Natural History and British museums house some of the greatest finds ever. That is to the dismay of the countries from where the UK took them. You will need more than one day to take in the exhibits.
Head to the south coast to finish the journey. Cornwall has some of the best beaches in the UK, and the peaceful villages and friendly people will show you how the British people roll.
I hope you enjoyed that journey; I am exhausted just thinking about it. Visit the UK and broaden your mind; it’s not all about the weather!
Top Ten Things to do Whilst in Nice
Enjoy the masters’ works of art
In Nice, you get to see a mix of old and new art. You have the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain championing the contemporary art featuring a great collection from New Realism, Nice School and Pop Art. You can see the works of art of the local young talent at Galerie Jean Renoir. The Musée Matisse, set in a villa of the seventeenth century, displays a large number of the artist’s drawings, paintings, personal effects, engravings, etc. The Musée National Message Biblique Marc Chagall houses paintings based on biblical themes.
Get tanned in pebbly beaches
Select hotels in Nice provide you with the comfort and luxury on pebbly beaches which include lockers, hessian carpets to protect feet, waiter service, water-edge dining and water sports.
Celebrate with fine wine at night
La Part des Anges is the place for organic wine from most of the best producers in the country. At bistro à vins Vin/Vin, you can choose your bottle of wine from their cellar which is temperature controlled. La Cave de l’Origine, the most stylish wine bar, is known for its rare wine selection that it provides. Other places that you can check out are Resto Wine Notes, Le Bistrot d’Antoine and the time-honored Cave de la Tour.
Get Rejuvenated with Chocolate
There are a number of spas in Nice, but the La Bulle d’Isis offers a very special one where you can roll around melted chocolate and creamy ganache. The boutique Hi Hôtel offers a modern hammam for relaxation massages.
Be Like the French
The two glamorous grooves are Ôdace that radiates louche orientalism through its restaurant, dance floor and slickly appointed bar and Guest with its fashionably dressed betters display their ware to house music. Other similar grooves are Blue Moon and Ghost. Two of the more sophisticated grooves are Le Before and Le Liqwid. The premier DJ Bar in Nice is Le Smarties, a retro-hip bar.
Some of the churches that you must visit are Cathédrale Saint Nicolas that displays Russian Orthodox architecture, Chapelle de la Miséricorde representing Boroque religious architecture, L’Eglise de l’Annonciation, an example of Boroque miniaturism, Prieuré du Vieux Logis that is home to artworks from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries and Cathédrale de Sainte Réparate that musicologists love because of its shape.
Get a Taste of Socca
Specialty southeastern French cuisine socca is a kind of chickpea crepe. Some of the best places to taste this dish are Chez Pipo, Chez René Socca, Lou Pilha Leva and Nissa Socca.
Take a Peep into the Past
The prehistoric artifacts at Musée de Paléontologie Humaine de Terra Amata will give you an idea as to how people lived on the Riviera about 400,000 years ago. The artworks at Musée International d’Art Naïf Anatole Jakovsky will help you track the artistic movement history from the eighteenth century to now. At Musée des Beaux-Arts, the key attraction is Rodin’s sculpture ‘The Kiss’.
The other two things that you must do to complete your visit to Nice are grabbing a little bit of terrace time Auer Gourmet, Bar de la Dégustation, Civette du Cours or Safari and listening to music at Acropolis, Théâtre Lino Ventura, Palais Nikaïa, Théâtre Francis Gag and Théâtre du Pois Chiche.
Top Five Gardens In Europe
Europe is a hugely varied continent, famous for history and culture. It has also played a huge part in shaping the history of gardening, and the famous gardens are just as varied as the continent itself. From historic country gardens in the UK to wild, decadent and extravagant gardens on the mainland, there is something to suit every taste. Gardens in Europe are a sight to behold.
Giverny – France
Monet made Giverny his home in 1883. The garden is in two sections. Clos Normand, the flower garden, is situated in front of the house. The Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road is perhaps the most famous. The gardens are full of perspectives, symmetries, and colours. A tour of Claude Monet’s gardens makes it easy to understand how he was so influenced by nature as seen in his paintings. The almost ethereal atmosphere of the garden is like something out of a dream. The infamous lake from his Water lilies painting is so placid it serves as a mirror of the surrounding trees. This is truly a garden for all seasons.
The Eden Project – UK
Opened to the public in 2001, the Eden Project in Cornwall displays a vast array of plants from all around the world in two distinctive biomes. The Eden Project is unique in its overriding message of the importance of environmental conservation, as many of the plants in the biomes are either endangered or threatened by the effects of human development. A must visit for any gardening enthusiast, the Eden Project is a real eye opener.
Park Guell – Spain
Another work by a famous artist, Park Guell was designed and built from 1900 – 1914 by Antonio Gaudi. There are complex architectural elements, and the park is dotted with Gaudi’s signature mosaics. Located on a steep hillside overlooking the capital of Catalonia – Barcelona, the views of the city and distant sea are complimented by a variety of plants and trees with winding pathways, seating areas, and sloping lawns. There are usually numerous musical performers who add to the ambiance of the park.
Many people list Ninfa as their favourite garden in Europe, and it is easy to see why. It has a unique atmosphere influenced by the way it came into being. Ninfa was once I small town which sprung up in Roman times, and it has an ancient layout of bridges and lanes that are still in use. Ninfa was sacked in 1832 after the head of the family defied the Pope. Still owned by the same family today, Ninfa was left to ruin until the early 1900s when the family returned and regenerated the gardens, converting the town hall into a house and planting trees, plants and shrubs.
Het Loo Garden – Netherlands
A classic example of Dutch Baroque, this garden is a beautiful specimen of the fashionable Baroque formula of the period, displaying perfect symmetry with radiating gravel walks, and parterres with fountains, basins and statues. As valuable historically as it is culturally, the Baroque period represents a huge step in the evolution of landscape gardening. Het Loo is a model of this period of gardening.
David Marten is a keen gardener with a passion for historic and period landscape design. He travels widely to take in as many garden influences as possible, and likes to visit http://www.gardenfurniturecentre.co.uk/ for the latest modern gardening ideas.
The Quick Getaway to Playa Fañabe with the Family
The island of Tenerife, a part of the Spanish archipelago chain that makes up the Canary Islands, is very popular with tourists. Thanks to the mild winters and summers, the island rarely goes above 35° Celsius and is even cooler along the coastal areas.
Plus, the afternoons usually have a delicious breeze blowing off the oceans, helping to cool off sunbathers and swimmers alike. The island, about 150 kilometres off the Atlantic Ocean coastline of the African country of Morocco, has a large population of English expatriates (especially in the southern resort towns) and is a great place to go on a quick family holiday. The main airport on Tenerife, Tenerife South Airport, is on the southern coast (like its name suggests). This may explain the popularity of the larger resort cities on the island being in the south. Playa de las Américas, the largest, is full of young, urban residents and tourists. For those looking for a quieter site, Playa Fañabe fits the bill perfectly.
This smaller resort town is only 20 kilometers north of Tenerife South Airport and is very easy to get to, thanks to its convenient proximity to the TF-1 highway (the main throughway on Tenerife). Playa de las Américas, and its nightlife and shopping districts, is only a short 5 kilometer journey away, back towards the airport. Playa Fañabe, being quieter, has only a limited amount of hotels and apartments.
You may need to book your room(s) early, especially during the most popular times, which are the Easter holiday and the months of July and August when many people look for cheap summer holidays to break up the work schedule. Thanks to the trade-winds that seem to continuously blow through the southern resorts, the temperatures are very moderate, even in the hottest months, with the averages not even getting above 30°! The ocean temps, meanwhile, are the warmest between August and October. The beach here is brilliant, thanks to the imported Saharan sands, and has a nice mixture with the more traditional, blacker volcanic sands (especially closer to the tide) that make up most of the beaches on the Canary Islands. Meanwhile, the water that surrounds Playa Fanabe is considered one of the cleanest spots on the island and was awarded the Blue Flag, a symbol of its cleanliness and multitude of tourist activities and services in the area.
Situated close to the sea there are many activities related to the water that is popular with most visitors. There are excellent areas here to try your hand at snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as shops that will rent you the equipment and take you out for lessons. Jet-skiing is another popular activity. If you are of the adventurous type, you should take advantage of the afternoon windy conditions and try your hand at parasailing and paragliding. There are also many boating activities you can take part in, thanks to a travel kiosk, where you can try your hand at fishing, whale, and dolphin watching or just general sightseeing. You can also rent or hire boats and catamarans and enjoy a lazy summer day on the ocean.
The town itself has many restaurants and bars, with a nice mixture of local and international flavours to take advantage of. If you are in the mood for seafood, you might want to consider going to the small fishing village of La Caleta, just a short 3 kilometres further north along the beach. There are a couple of shopping areas, as well, though the larger resort area of Playa de las Américas has a better variety.
The famous Aqualand Octopus waterpark is situated in between Playa Fañabe and Playa de las Américas, on the other side of the TF-1 highway. This is a very popular place with the locals and tourists alike, especially during the summer months. There are many different slides, both for little ones and for the bigger kids (whether they are 10 or 110)! In addition to the water slides, there are also dolphin shows (though you might want to consider missing these during the busiest times of the year, as the queues lessen during the show times). There are even a few courses in the area for those of you that are golfing enthusiasts. Even if you stayed here for a month, you would have a hard time doing everything that this area has to offer you!