The Royal Yacht Britannia Edinburgh Tour and Tearoom #Review

The Royal Yacht Britannia Edinburgh Tour and Tearoom #Gifted

All aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia, a Royal residence for over 40 years, who sailed over 1,000,000 nautical miles on 968 state visits with the Royal Family, excitingly is now a five-star visitor attraction, voted Best UK Attraction by Which? Magazine, located in Edinburgh.

On 23 June 1994, John Major’s Government announced, that due to the costs involved, there would be no refit for HMY Britannia and hence it was announced that the last Royal Yacht was to be decommissioned.

This fabulous floating palace is stepped in historical Royal providence and charm providing visitors a unique opportunity to experience life aboard from the perspective of the Royal Family and also the 220 hardworking and dedicated crew of Royal Yachtsmen.

The whole of The Royal Yacht Britannia team could not have provided amore warm welcome which just instantly made us feel like royalty and gave us good vibes all round.

This super self-guided tour, via easy portable talking telephones, provided in a range of languages, provide a wealth of interesting information and the five decks of the tour can be explored and enjoyed at your own pace.

Start your tour at the bridge and see the iconic vessel in all its glory, state apartments, crew quarters, engine room and of course the Royal residence and their transportation vehicles.

The Sun Lounge, not photographed as you must see this in person to soak up the ambiance, was Her Majesty The Queen’s favourite room on board, where she would enjoy breakfast and afternoon tea.

Now, talking of Afternoon tea, The Royal Yacht Britannia have a terrific Tearoom* which provides breath-taking views while you indulge in a range of freshly prepared savoury and sweet treats such as a traditional cream tea and of course there is plenty of champagne, so you can raise a glass to Her Majesty The Queen.

In fact, the Tearoom is the very same spot where the Royal Family would have played deck games and entertained, so you know that you are in good company.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is a unique Edinburgh experience where you will have the chance to feel what life was like aboard this beautiful vessel, so make sure you gather your crew and captain them for a seafaring adventure like no other.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx

*Please note in order to visit the tearoom you must have a valid tour ticket for the day of your tea room visit.

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Enjoy the Dining with Distinction Christmas Lunch on the East Lancashire Railway #Review

Enjoy the Dining with Distinction Christmas Lunch on the East Lancashire Railway #Gifted

The East Lancashire Railway is a volunteer organisation, run through passion, determination and sheer grit keeping part of Britain’s railway heritage alive and steaming!

At the Bolton Street Station stop at Bury you can immerse yourself in the traditional age of steam and learn all about our historical industrial heritage.

Now, one noticeable point, from the moment you arrive everyone is welcomed with plenty of smiles and open arms, it literally makes your heart melt.

Whistle blown, so all aboard, one of the beautifully restored Pullman carriages, for the experience of a lifetime, a fabulous festive Feast on one of the East Lancashire Railways Steam hauled trains.

The East Lancashire Railway Dining with Distinction service team know how to pull out the stops with all the bells and whistles. Expect only the very best with crisp white lining, luxurious furnishings.

The Christmas Lunch is just under a 3 hour steam hauled journey through the picturesque Irwell Valley. Included is a sparking glass of fizz on arrival and a super scrummy 3 course meal with mince pies along with tea or coffee.

Furthermore, if you would like to organise any additional extras, to add onto your package, to make your journey even more spectacular, such as flowers, a bottle of wine, champagne etc the team are more than happy to help.

The glass of welcome fizz makes for the best start and the winter warm vegetable soup, with bread roll and butter was wolfed down…delicious!

Cosy and snug in your First Class Pullman carriage, enjoy a hearty roast lunch with options such as Turkey and the lush Brie and cranberry parcel with all the trimmings and lashings of gravy.

Christmas vibes all round, with lovely snowflake decorations embossed onto the window and even the Christmas crackers are included.

Making the experience even more sweet, we indulged in a Christmas pudding with custard, mince pies all washed down with coffee and tea, simply divine.

Then just as I thought things couldn’t get any better, the team arranged an extra enthusiast’s experience, I actually got to ride the actual steam train…my excitement I can tell you was hard to contain for sure.

In the heart of the operation, the engine room, it was privilege to meet the guys who volunteer their time and work hard to provide this unique and authentic experience.

Genuine, authentic, passionate team energy and camaraderie, that felt warmer than the fire, brought tears to my eye – tears of joy of course!

The East Lancashire Railway is a home away from home, we left with full tummies, even fuller hearts and memories to last a lifetime.

Now you will have to be very quick for 2022 availabilities, but don’t be disheartened as for 2023 The East Lancashire Railway have a full schedule of themed dining train events such as Red Rose dinners, Lancastrian lunches, afternoon teas, murder mysteries and of course fabulous Christmas lunches and dinners.

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx

Enjoy Homemade Food, Cosy Accommodation’s and the lovely Lancashire Countryside at The Pendle Inn pub #Review

Enjoy Homemade Food, Cosy Accommodation’s and the lovely Lancashire Countryside at The Pendle Inn pub #Gifted

Picturesque Pendle, located within The Forest of Bowland, in beautiful Barley, just 5 miles from the neighbouring towns of Burnley and Clitheroe, has something to offer everyone year-round.

Get those hiking boots on and explore the home of the Pendle Witches, take a walk-up Pendle Hill at over 557 metres above sea level to see 360-degree views, then have fun at the superb Sculpture trail a fun activity for all the family.

Make your Pendle visit next level, by immersing yourself within authentic village life, with a stay at The iconic Pendle Inn pub owned by the experienced brewery brand Daniel Thwaites.   

The Pendle Inn pub have four fabulous ensuite holiday cottages which are set in an annex just metres from the pub with private parking and a private entrance.

These cute two-level accommodations have a private bathroom, open plan lounge with mini kitchen and then a kind bed on the first floor, ideal for families with children, couples, and friends.

Now, once you have settled in, you have yet to experience the best, The Pendle Inn Pub itself, an absolute gem! Serving fabulous food, with ingredients sourced from the local dairies and farm, including hand cut steaks, homemade pies, and a whole menu of Lancashire loveliness you are really spoilt for choice.

Thwaites have been brewers since 1807, so its a must do to partake in one of their beautiful beer flights that provides an opportunity to sample a range of delightful drafts, as you peruse the menu.

The Pendle Inn have somewhat of an elite reputation for putting together superb Sunday Lunches, even heading over from the cottage I was salivating, thinking of the roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, veggies, homemade gravy, lunch could not come quick enough!

Scrummy starters included the beautiful bon bons and the delicious mozzarella salad. This got us all ready and raring to go to the marvellous mains, the beautiful beef Sunday lunch and the nut roast topped with goats cheese served with all the trimmings including lashings of gravy.

Even better, pipping hot food all served by one of the Pendle Inn pub traditional log fires, pure bliss! The bliss continued with perfect puddings, that included, Lemon and ginger sponge with custard and sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce.

The Chef and team, at The Pendle Inn, turn food into happiness which quite simply makes me smile giving a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Talking of warm, don’t end your evening just yet why not sit by the log fire, enjoy the friendly atmosphere and lovely Lancashire locals’ banter, as you enjoy a drink or two, as impressively the pub serves 6 real ales.

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Indulge in your Football Fantasy at the Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel #Review

Indulge in your Football Fantasy at the Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel #Gifted

The Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert is the perfect place to enjoy a business or leisure stay right in the heart of the city centre, with onsite facilities including a restaurant, bar and riverside terraces, so you are spoilt for choice.

Immediately on arrival not only do you notice the stunning Grade II property details and structure with many of the original wood beams and metal columns still in place which makes the place feel like a home away from home feel, but the staff warmly welcome you with open arms which is always welcomed.

Now, I mentioned about Indulging in your Football Fantasy at the Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert, well excitingly the hotel now has a range of Manchester United Suites, including the marvellous Manchester United Trebble Suite.

This suite is all about the details and after a long travel it was nice to see a full complimentary tea tray with tea, coffee, bottled water and some biscuits too, so it was time to unpack, sit back and enjoy this super suite.

The football theme is standout, but not vulgar, and has been completed to create a classy theming including the cool wardrobe area, with bench, made to be a mock-up of a player’s fitting room, and with signed team shirts encased within glass style display cabinets, you know that you’re on the winning team staying in this suite.

The Bedroom is separately divided from the lovely lounge, that has a writing desk area, with a flatscreen television on both sides of the room, so ideal if you have children, as different programmes can be viewed.

Football design details are everywhere including the football pitch rug, subito picture, team cushions on the sofa and a display cabinet all of things football memorabilia related.  The ideal place to sit back, relax and enjoy a night or two away from home.

Slide the wood panelled door to reveal a beautiful bathroom, with complimentary toiletries and an illuminated mirror, again it has that players shower vibe and it the perfect place to refresh after a busy day exploring all that Manchester has to offer.

Now if all this was not enough, the lovely team decided to provide birthday beautifulness for my milestone 40th and gave us a winning welcome with a cute cake plate, personalised card and a bottle of fabulous fizz to ensure a celebration full of sparkles and bubbles.

The onsite Chop & Plant restaurant has something to suit every palate and I can assure you is well worth a visit.

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Breakout Manchester Escape Rooms Experience: Detectives vs Zombies #Review

Breakout Manchester Escape Rooms Experience: Detectives vs Zombies #Gifted

Manchester city centre, Church Street located in the busy eclectic Northern Quarter, is the destination of Breakout Manchester who offer an exciting Escape room Experience.

While we waited for our games master, our team prepared strategy and game plans to ensure a smooth and speedy breakout.

The Detective Agency

Benjy our lovely Games Master explained that Harry Dene, the world’s greatest detective, and our closest friend has got himself into a pickle to say the least. 

Spending most of his time dedicated to a specific case, but the dedication has led Harry to madness and now he has gone one step too far by taking the law into his own hands in order to solve the greatest case of his career.

Hello, hello, hello…what’s going on here, then? As his closest friends, my team turned up at Harry’s office to try and help. However, things had already escalated and gotten much worse, so with Harry nowhere in sight it was up to us to solve the case to help Harry. 

Word of warning Harry has certainly used his detective skills and is extremely good at hiding his secrets, so get your thinking caps on!

Analyse the evidence, uncover the truth and crack the case, good luck detectives. We nearly broke out, missing out by literally seconds – hence hiding behind our boards in shame on the photo line up lol, but the real question is can your team crack the case!?

Now, you have all those new found detective skills, you can use these to defeat the zombies and save planet earth in the Zombie Lab Escape Game.

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Romance in the clouds with the London Eye Cupid’s Pod Experience #Review

Romance in the clouds with the London Eye Cupid’s Pod Experience #Gifted

London city, by the Thames River, is the location of the lovely London Eye which has become the UK’s most popular paid for visitor attraction, winning over 85 awards for national and international tourism, engineering achievement and outstanding architectural quality, impressive stuff! 

At 135m, The London Eye, launched in 2000, is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel created and designed by Marks Barfield Architects.

Now, it might have been an overcast day in London, but there was certainly nothing dull about the Romantic Cupids Pod package which included a 30-minute rotation in a Private pod for 2 guests (18 years of age or older), Bottle of Pommery Rosé Champagne, Luxury box of Hotel Chocolat Pink Champagne Truffles, Personal London Eye host and Priority boarding.

Just needed to head over to the VIP check in area, that is well sign posted, and you are nearly ready to go up, up and away.

Zac our super-duper host, with the most, was exactly what you would expect of this premium experience; attentive, knowledgeable, personable, professional, and just an all-round lovely chap who made our experience next level.

The Cupid Pods package provides you and your plus one an extremely elevated experience up in the London city clouds where you two lovebirds can enjoy all the spectacular views London has to offer.

You can let the Bubbles of Love flow, as you have a full bottle of Pommery champagne to enjoy along with some Luxury Hotel Chocolat Pink Champagne Truffles, so indulge and chill out together enjoying the romantic views of London’s Skyline.

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My Top UK Escape Rooms #Review

My Top UK Escape Rooms #Gifted

Escape Rooms have been trending now for some time and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.  In fact, Escape Rooms are becoming more technical, magical and super cool meaning for us lucky game players, we get to experience immersive game play at its very best.

From Manchester, Chester, Leeds, Harrogate Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh to London, I have been up and down the country to find my best Escape Room brands.  In no order, here you have my Top UK Escape Rooms…

Chester

Breakout – Excalibur

Breakout Chester is an amazing city centre Escape games brand with rooms such as Dark Magic – I highly recommend, along with Exchalibur.

Brave warriors, prepare to fight the fight, as myself and my fellow knights had been kidnapped from Camelot.  Being held captive in a tower whilst the intruders are disguising themselves as us.

The challenge was to find our way out of the tower, back to the round  table and prove our worth by being the true king by removing the sword from the stone…

Manchester

Escape Reality – Bank Job

Escape Reality, located within the Printworks in Manchester city centre, has a whole range of games to play such as Alcatraz, Enigmista, Tortuga Pirates, The Asylum, Legend of the Mummy and Bank Job.

We grabbed our elite squad of highly skilled bank robbers, as we were amongst the chosen few who had been challenged to infiltrate the security systems at the world’s most protected bank vaults. 

Escape with the diamond within 60 minutes or face life in prison! An exhilarating, exciting and entertaining experience, will your team diamond bank balance go boom or bust!

Escape Hunt – Escape the Wild West

Exciting Escape Hunt Manchester, located in Manchester city centre, is where all the action takes place, as they have a whole range of game themes including Doctor Who, Alice in Wonderland, The Last Vikings, The Last Samurai, Blackbeard’s Treasure and Escape the Wild West.

Howdy partners, the wild west tiny frontier town of East Victoria, has struck gold, so celebrations throughout town are rife.  Not everything that glistens is gold though, as with this news, the bloodthirsty Bill French Gang are riding their way into town to claim the gold and kill everyone in East Victoria.  You best get the gold, before it’s too late or you’ll be shot at dawn.

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A Lovely Liverpool City Break with Novotel Liverpool Centre #Review

A Lovely Liverpool City Break with Novotel Liverpool Centre #Gifted

Liverpool, the home of the Beatles and the ideal city for a fun, interactive and entertaining city break.  The fabulous 4-star Novotel Liverpool Centre, located right in the centre of all the action, is the ideal hotel for both business and leisure stays.

The reception team provided a lovely Liverpool welcome and even went all out to check us in early which was much appreciated.  Highly recommend booking a two night stay to give you time to explore Liverpool’s exciting offerings.

Our Executive room with King Bed is the perfect accommodations for combining relaxation and focus providing complimentary Wi-Fi, robes and slippers for use during your stay, a Nespresso coffee machine, and for our anniversary the team also provided us with 2 bottles of water and a fabulous fizzy Prosecco welcome which we loved!  

Our shower room had a rainfall shower, with handheld mini spray, sunken sink and some excellent extra bathroom amenities.

Now after good night’s sleep why not enjoy the onsite buffet breakfast, as they have a full range of hotel options including eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, hash browns, veggie sausages all washed down with tea and barista style coffee.

Fancy continental well no problem, as this is also included, you can choose from an extensive range of fresh fruit, cheese, pastries, breads, muffins, yogurt, orange and apple juice, so you are spoilt for choice.

Impressively, the hotel has a fully equipped gym and pool onsite, so make sure to book in, so you can dip your toe in the water and enjoy some wonderful water time.

The basement level pool, provided guests a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere to chill out, relax and unwind.  Sit back on the lounger and enjoy some much needed me time after a busy day exploring.

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An Amazing Anniversary Hotel Stay at Novotel Manchester Centre #Review

An Amazing Anniversary Hotel Stay at Novotel Manchester Centre #Gifted

The 4-star Novotel Manchester Centre is located, within the heart of Manchester city centre, near to all the main transport hubs such as Manchester Piccadilly & Oxford Road train stations is perfect for business or leisure.

Make your way through the revolving doors, into the bright airy reception area, and prepare to check in for a sensational stay.

Warmly welcomed by the reception team, who checked us straight in and provided lots of useful information about the hotel, including the use of their complimentary Wi-Fi while onsite, and instantly made us feel at home.

The Executive Rooms provide guests with a huge Queen bed, 55-inch LCD TV, sofa area, work/vanity desk, providing a modern and contemporary space to relax and unwind. 

Shower room was wonderful, with complimentary upgraded toiletries, and a refreshing rain shower with a unit that has a silent privacy screen, if you want to see into the bedroom while showering. There is also a separate toilet area, a spacious sink area with fully illuminated mirror and plenty of mirrors to beautify yourself.

For our Anniversary, the team’s attention to detail went above and beyond, creating a fabulous floral rose petal display for us as well as including some lovely extras such as complimentary peanuts, crisps, bottled water and two bottles of wine – all of which were really appreciated.

As standard, within the Executive rooms there are fluffy robes and slippers for use during your stay, a complimentary tea tray, Nespresso coffee machine, hair dryer, iron and a safe.

Now as if that is not enough to make sure that you have a memorable stay, why not head down to the onsite Exchange Bar & Restaurant for a few glasses of wine, some yummy food and the perfect place to sit, chat and enjoy the good vibes.

Dan, Gaskey and all the food & beverage are a dream team, real diamonds that make sure they always go the extra mile, so guests leave happy.

The Exchange Bar & Restaurant has an extensive drinks offering including plenty of gins, spirits, beers, lagers, Ipas, wines and of course cocktails.

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Double Up the Pampering at the Rena Spa at the Midland Hotel Manchester #Review

Double Up the Pampering at the Rena Spa at the Midland Hotel Manchester #Gifted

After experiencing all what Manchester city centre has to offer, I guarantee you will deserve some much needed you time, so head down to the Rena Spa at the Midland, so you can sit back relax and watch the world go by and let the super spa team spoil you from head to toe.

The warm welcome by Cassey instantly makes you feel at home explaining that every Rena Spa Day package comes with towels, robes and slippers for use while in the spa.  Full use of the thermal suite, poolside area, relaxation room and the onsite gym if you are feeling all active.

Fancy doubling up your rest and relaxation time, well why not opt for one of the Rena Spa exclusive experiences, their divine ‘Double Up’ package, that includes a 30-minute Rasul treatment for two, 50-minute spa treatment, a glass of bubbly, a light lunch or an Afternoon Tea and a £10 voucher to spend on spa products, is pure bliss.

My lovely beauty therapist Hannah, who provided me with a marvellous manicure with polish of my choosing and if that wasn’t enough a beautiful balancing and detoxifying treatment wrap.

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