Iceland Tales- Why you need to go to Þingvellir National Park

If you are planning a trip to Iceland and need to know what to see and do then here is why you need to put Þingvellir (Thingvellir) firmly at the top of your list!

With the snow-capped hills, waterfalls, plains, rugged terrain from when time began and the largest natural lake it is a truly spectacular place. It probably sounds a little wanky but you can actually feel that it holds significant importance to Iceland and its people.

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#viewgoals

I don’t know how many more superlatives I can use when talking of Iceland but visiting Thingvellir and seeing the beauty and grandeur of the area really is something else!

Its name comes from the old Norse words Ping (assembly) and vollr (field). I’m almost embarrassed to say I didn’t know much about Thingvellir before went but i soon learnt it is more than just an important historical landmark it’s also where you can LITERALLY walk between a continental drift. Which coincidentally is also a GOT filming location. Two birds one stone.

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The National Park contains the site of the first parliament of Iceland dating back to 930. It was where the clans would meet, settle disputes and decide upon the laws that would drive the country forward. It became a national park in 1930 and this was largely to protect the ancient assembly site and to protect the natural land. There are several information boards up around the main assembly site explaining the history behind where you are standing.

If all that history wasn’t enough then there is the chance to see with your own eyes what a continental rift looks like. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is where the Eurasian and North American plates meet and the land between them subsides.  On average each year they drift 2 cms a year apart.  You can see, walk or even scuba dive along it!

The best place to do this is in Silfra Lake where you can dive between the tectonic plates. We didn’t get a chance to do this but it’s on the list for next time.

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The clearest water

If camping and hiking are more your thing then you are in luck and camping – There are facilities for this and It would be an AMAZING place to see the Northern Lights. There are two campsites and from what we found out you don’t need to reserve but you do need to obtain a permit from the visitor centre and there is a cost per person. Children under 17 are free though. If you just want to hike then there is plenty of routes to take you around the park including the remains of the historic abandoned farms of Hrauntun and Skogarkot.

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Oxarafoss Waterfall

Obviously, there has to be a waterfall, it is Iceland after all, and you can find the beautiful Oxarafoss Waterfall for yet another postcard-perfect waterfall photo. The good thing is you don’t need to hike to far to see this one as it is fairly close to one of the car parks.

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Þingvallakirkja
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Þingvallakirkja

There is a very quaint 19th-century church close to the assembly site which you should walk around. This church was built in 1859 but Christianity was introduced to Iceland prior to 1000 which at the time split people’s religious beliefs from paganism and Christianity. At the time to stop chaos the Lawspeaker declared that Icelanders should take up Christianity but if there were pagan they should practise this in private. There has been a church at Thingvellir soon after the decision was made. The church is open 9-5 daily from May/June to early September. We didn’t get to go inside but you can have a good peek in the windows and it’s beautiful to look at both inside and out.

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Continental Drift. You may also have seen this in GoT

If you are a big fan of Game of Thrones you will be aware there are many filming locations dotted around Iceland. Thingvellir was also used as a filming location with 4 scenes featuring in the show. The Wildlings Camp, the path leading to Eyrie, Brian and the Hounds battle scenes, as well as Arya’s and Sandors journey, all were shot here.

Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is located on Golden Circle route of Iceland, just 40ks northeast of Reykjavík. You can easily self-drive through the park just keep an eye on the weather or most Golden Circle Tours will include a visit within their itinerary.

As with most natural wonders in Iceland, it is free to visit and explore just be aware of the parking fees and if you need the loo it will cost you so have some change to hand. You may also need to check the seasonal hours as with the reduced daylight in winter certain areas may be inaccessible.

A trip to Iceland really wouldn’t be complete without visiting this stunning atmospheric place, that just epitomizes Iceland and its history.

For more ideas on what to do in Iceland check out our post on the Lava Tunnel and 38 Photos of Iceland

You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, check us out and if you like what you see please do give us a follow.

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planning a trip to Iceland and need to know what to see and do then here is why you need to put Thingvellir National Park at the top of that list! Post by thewanderingdarlings

Iceland Tales- The Lava Tunnel

Looking for a unique experience close to Reykjavik to see to the inner workings of a volcanic eruption? Then this is the tour of The Lava Tunnel is for you!

Have you ever been inside a lava tunnel?

To be honest, before I went to Iceland I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a lava tunnel. I always thought the lava burst up out of the ground and not flow underground like a huge fire breathing river. The things you can learn whilst you are travelling!

There are so many geological experiences to enjoy in Iceland and I must say this was one of my favourite activities that we did whilst we were there. Actually walking where lava once flowed! Not many people can say they have done that!

We came across the Lava Tunnel a little by accident (or luck you may say) and even luckier still got there with a minute to spare before the next tour. We thought we might just get to see an opening of the tunnel but no we quickly discovered they did two tours. One standard and one extreme. We opted for the standard as it was an hour tour and touted that it was easy walking. The Extreme tour is 5 to 6 hours long and for the more adventurous and go further into the tunnel. Maybe one for the next trip.

The tunnel is 1.4k meters long and was formed due to the path of the lava from the Leitahraun eruption over 5,000 years ago. This lava tunnel is considered one of the longest lava tubes in Europe. They have restored it well especially as it was only opened officially in Summer 2017. Initially, you could make your own way in however over time it was becoming more unstable and ended up being a bit of dumping ground with lots of rubbish being left in the tunnel. It was then strengthened with footbridges and lights and added knowledgeable guides that can talk you through the history of the tunnel. We had a really insightful guide who gave us so much information about the rock formations, how you can see what temperature the lava got to in places and also answered lots of questions about the geological makeup of Iceland and just Iceland in general.

At the beginning of the tunnel, there are skylights where the cave has collapsed had let the snow in so formed huge big snow dunes. They allow the light to shine in and show just how expansive the tunnel is. Leading into the chamber you are also treated to a huge display of Icicles. There were so many and they were the tallest I had ever seen. We were told that in winter they are even taller and larger. They looked so magical and it just shows even further that Iceland really is the land of fire and ice.

At the end of the standard tour, there is a part of the tunnel where they turn off the lights and you can see how dark it is as there is no light from anywhere coming in. It really plays with your eyes. You truly feel underground and so close to the centre of the earth. It’s an unnerving experience in a way as it’s not often we ever get to experience true darkness.

The Lava Tunnel is located 30 mins from Reykjavik and is open from 10 am – 5 pm daily all year round. With your ticket for the standard tour, you get free hire of a helmet and helmet light. It does get chilly in there so make sure you are dressed warmly and definitely have sturdy footwear (it can be a little slippy in places). As with anything in Iceland, it’s not cheap but it is worth the expense for a truly interesting experience. The standard tour without transport is 6,400 ISK per person (as of June 2018) with the Extreme tour it is 19.900 ISK per person.

To see more about this tour or to book click here or for more inspiration on what see and do in Iceland click here

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Take a walk through the South Bank, Brisbane

One of my favourite things to do in Brisbane (apart from visiting my sister obvs) is to spend the day down at the South Bank Parklands.

Located on the southern banks of the Brisbane River you can find this urban paradise. This vibrant area actually used to be the site of the Brisbane’s ‘88 World Expo. The new site opened in 1992 and has been a popular destination in Brisbane for tourists and locals alike. It’s often referred to as the cultural heart of the city and is the perfect play area within the city for all ages.

If you want to wander along the river, swim, watch a show, take in some art, sunbathe on the golden sand, sit in the park, walk amongst the Bougainvilleas, shop in the markets or just sit in a bar/restaurant and people watch the world away, then this is the place for you. It’s a completely pedestrian area and somehow just magically transforms you away from being in a busy capital city to an oasis.

There is plenty to see and do and something for everyone and all ages. If you want to eat and drink then there’s so many bars and restaurants to choose from with all sorts of cuisines. Being in Queensland and that its usually ‘beautiful one, perfect the next’ they all have outdoor areas to sit and enjoy your lunch in the sun.

If you fancy a bit of shopping you can find the South Bank Markets every weekend and also the night markets on a Friday night. We’ve been there for the weekend markets and found so many amazing items. I’ve always wanted to visit the night markets but we’ve not quite got there yet for those. Defo on the list for next time. There is also a whole host of other events so do check out their website for ideas and dates.

If sitting around and shopping isn’t your thing then you can talk a stroll along the river’s edge overlooking the city or you can do the South Bank Walkway and walk under the 1 km of bougainvillaea. It’s gorgeous colour just illuminates and really is the prettiest of sights. There are lush green parks with tropical plants and to wander around.

You can even get up high in the sky with the Wheel of Brisbane. I think it might be sponsored by 7.Mainly due to the 7 logo right in the centre. I’ve not been on this but I can imagine it would give some amazing views of the South Bank Parklands, the Brisbane River the City skyline.

Being considered the cultural heart of Brisbane It ozzes culture. With The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, The Queensland Performing Art Centre, The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Queensland Maritime Museum and the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre all in the area there is plenty of places to get your cultural fix.

But as with many people, the absolute cherry on the top of this stunning parkland is the swimming facilities! There are three different areas including the Streets Beach, Water Play Park and the Boat Pool. All are free to use, patrolled by lifeguards and open all year round. Whilst they do get pretty busy especially in the summer months you can always find a spot on the sand (yes they even have real sand!) or in the crystal blue water to unwind. I’ve heard that the sand is brought in from the nearby Moreton Bay and that there is enough water to fill FIVE Olympic size pools.

It really is a great place for everyone living and visiting Brisbane and if we haven’t sold you on visiting already then takes a walk through the South Bank below….

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The Best View in NYC- Top of the Rock

For someone slightly afraid of heights I do love to see a city from above and New York is one city that you’ve not really seen till you’ve got up high.

On my first trip to NYC I went up the Empire State Building (which was amazing) but on a recent trip, I’d heard a lot about Top of the Rock and I wasn’t leaving till I had gone up there to see what all the hype was about.

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Opened in 2005 the Top of the Rock is an observation area literally on top of the Rockefeller Centre. The observation area is across 3 floor 67th, 69th and 70th (no idea what’s on the 68th!). You can visit every day of the year and the usual opening times are 8 am to Midnight with the last elevator going up at 11 pm but do check the website just to make sure. I visited at lunchtime but I’ve heard and seen amazing photos during the golden hour, sunset and in the evening with the city lights shining brightly. New York is one of those cities that you know is pretty darn special but once you get up top and look out across it you have a whole new appreciation for it. I could have had hours up there taking in the views and filling my memory card with pictures.

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On the 67th and 69th floor there are big panes of glass for protection and to stop the wind but if you take the stairs to the 70th floor you get a sweeping unobstructed 360 view of the city. You can see Central Park, the streets of midtown, Chrysler building,  Statue of liberty in the distance and the best is that you get a view of new york with the Empire State Building standing tall and strong in the foreground. Even on a cloudy grey day, it was the most beautiful view. You should note that is you are visiting during the Christmas holidays sadly you can’t see the ice skating and Christmas tree from up top but you can spend some time taking in the festive spirit once you’ve come back down to street level.

It’s a popular attraction for millions of visitors every year. It’s also a popular place for engagements and wedding photos. We were lucky enough to see a couple up there having some pretty spectacular wedding photos. Who wouldn’t want the NYC skyline in their wedding album! The tickets run on a timed system so you need to book for a certain time however once you are up there you can stay as long or as little as you want. I’d recommend at least an hour.  We booked online and you can do that or at the box office with several different options for tickets availabl. Do check out their website but a standard adult ticket is $36 which is brilliant value for an almost priceless view.

The main entrance is on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. You can’t miss it there is a big red carpet out the front and likely a queue of people. The queue does move fairly quickly and be ready for security checks when you get inside.

We visited late December and even with the foggy and grey skies, it’s still so beautiful…

Central Park is there under the clouds I promise

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I’d seen this shot on Instagram so obvs had to copy

Looking for other things to do in NYC then check out our post on The High Line and The Brooklyn Bridge.

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The best view of NYC from Top of the Rock on The Wandering Darlings

The beauty of Glastonbury Abbey in pictures

Glastonbury Abbey by The Wandering Darlings

Glastonbury Abbey has long been one of my favourite places in the UK. As soon as you walk into the abbey grounds you just get the feeling you are in very serene and special place. Maybe its the connections to King Arthur and the legend that he’s buried here, maybe it’s the many stories the ruins hold or maybe it’s just that its a place of worship.

Located in the town of Glastonbury, Somerset (more popularly known for its ties with Glastonbury Festival) the Abbey is a popular visitor attraction. The Abbey buildings date back to 688 and whilst they are now ruins, they are still just as beautiful as what you would imagine they were back in their heyday.

The buildings are Grade 1 Listed and set in within 36 acres of parkland which is all immaculately preserved so that history lives on and that visitors can learn about the history and myths of this tranquil area. Whilst visiting you can see what is believed to be King Arthur and Queen Guinevere’s final resting place, Lady Chapel, St Patrick’s Chapel, the Holy Thorn, Cider Orchard and Abbot’s Kitchen. The museum helps answer any questions that you may have about the area and in the summer months, there are even costumed guides walking around sharing information about the ruins.

There are so many stories both historic, legendary and mythical within these ruins and parklands. Including that it is considered the earliest Christian Foundation in England and linked to Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Thorn, ties to the Saxons, Romans and Normans, it’s been raged by fire and rebuilt and has considerable connections to the legend of King Arthur.

To visit the Abbey the admission price is £7.34 per adult if bought online (slightly higher if paying at the gate) and there are student, over 60 and family tickets also available. For less than a tenner it is well worth the entry price and with so much to see and do its a great (and educational) day out for all the family.

You can also visit the Abbey for plays, gigs, workshops and other events so do check out the events page of their website here for what is coming up.

It’s a mystical and mythical place that I have visited several times and is one place that I could visit a thousand times more. Take in the beauty for yourself with these serene pictures of the majestic Glastonbury Abbey.

Glastonbury Abbey in pictures from The Wandering Darlings

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Glastonbury Abbey in pictures pin for blog post from The Wandering Darlings

Where in the world Wednesday- St Nicks Market, Bristol UK

  Where in the world is this little alleyway?

Those familiar with Bristol in the South West of England will be well aware of St Nicholas Markets and also would only refer to it as St Nicks. It’s one of Bristol’s historic hot spots for food and shopping with over 60 independent traders.

One of the oldest and most adored markets in Bristol it has been a huge part of Bristol’s past and is still located in the heart of the old city. Established in 1743 it now brings the old Georgian style architecture together with the new fashions, handicrafts and world food cuisines. It’s the perfect mix with just the right ambience that makes it the perfect place to meander around whilst visiting the city.

St Nicks is home to the Indoor Market and on certain days is also home to the  Bristol Farmers and Producers Market, Street Food Market (Tuesday and Friday) and The Nails Market out on the adjoining pedestrian streets- Corn Street and Wine Street.

You will notice outside the Exchange Hall several big brass pillars. These are referred to as ‘Nails’ and are where traders would settle their deals in the past and is where the phrase ‘Paying on the Nail’ came from. There are inscriptions on the nails that date right back to the sixteen hundreds and are a great reminder of the historic past of St Nicks and market trading in Bristol.

I can 100% recommended the Street Food Market which is every Tuesday and Friday. Most workers within the city centre have had their lunch from this diverse market. They honestly have the best range of cuisines from the Old Smokey Belgium Donut Chimneys, to Indonesian Nasi Goreng, to Italian sausage you can get whatever you desire and it all tastes amazing.

Within the Indoor Market areas, there are three areas- Exchange Hall, Glass Arcade and Covered Market.  The Exchange Hall is an open planned trading area and it’s MASSIVE. The mix of items to buy is so eclectic you’ll find something you never even realised you needed. The Glass Arcade is home to the eateries and you will be in awe of how many unique options are available.  Some stands even have seating so you can sit and take in the buzzing atmosphere. The Covered Market consists of small alleyways and independent retailers to further fill your bags and empty your purses at. It’s a great place for finding a really original gift.

The markets are open Monday- Saturday 9.30-5pm. Do check for bank holiday opening times and also for the speciality outdoor markets. You can find St Nicks here Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1JQ. It’s very centrally located and easily accessible from central hotels, the bus and train station.

For more information please do check out this link

Bristol is a great place to explore and whilst visiting you should also visit The Lido and visit during the Bristol Balloon Fiesta

To see Where in the World we were last week check it out here.

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Two Bare Feet- Waihi Beach, New Zealand

Two Bare Feet the perfect accommodation in Waihi Beach, New Zealand.

Located in the Bay of Plenty and roughly 2 hours from Auckland, Two Bare Feet was the perfect place for us to spend a few nights before we headed back to the UK. We wanted somewhere romantic, secluded, relaxing and unique from the hotels we had been previously staying at on our journey around the North Island.

After looking online for the above specifications we found the stunning Two Bare Feet in Waihi Beach. And my word did it live up to photos, reviews and our high expectations.

The wonderful hosts have converted the downstairs of their house to a secluded coastal retreat. Renovated and decorated to the highest spec and teamed with the fact it was literally a stone’s throw from the glorious white sand of the beach it was all we had hoped for. There are 3 accommodation options available – we had the Apartment stay option. There were two other guests in the private room option but we didn’t see or hear them. Which as antisocial as it might sound was just what we wanted. The other option is exclusive stay in which you would have access to the whole area and would be ideal for two couples.

Our apartment was huge! With the dreamlike king bed, large flat screen tv, the comfiest sofas, kitchen/ dining area and a substantial bathroom, we had more than enough space for the two of us to relax comfortably. I could have lived there with pleasure.

There are Bali and Coastal influences all over the apartment and gardens. The outside area was beautiful with a daybed just made for reading in the sun, BBQ and outdoor seating area for alfresco dining listening to the sea, pretty lights and beautifully manicured garden area.

Everything is designed and laid out to be just perfect, and it really is.

Breakfast was left every morning in the kitchen also there is a cooker etc if you really fancy it. We, however, opted for eating out and can recommend The Porch in Waihi Beach. Do speak to the hosts they have lots of recommendations for places to eat throughout the area for all budgets.

For those wanting a little more of an active holiday, there is sporting equipment available to borrow. Including mountain bikes for the Hauraki Rail Trail, tennis racquets for the local tennis court and they can arrange surfboards and paddle boards along with lessons.

If the accommodation wasn’t’ enough to get you to visit then the charming little beachside community of Waihi Beach should do the trick. Located in the Bay of Plenty Waihi Beach is one the of the safest surf beaches in New Zealand. A sweet little village with cafes, restaurants and boutique shops with local artists and handmade items paired with the glorious 9km of sweeping white sand we hit the absolute jackpot with coming across this gem of a place.

While you are in the area you should also check out the numerous walking and cycle tracks around Anzac Bay, Karangahake Gorge, Hauraki Rail Trail, the beautiful Owharoa Waterfall and get historic in the gold mine town of Waihi and view the open pit of the Martha Mine.

It really was the perfect beachside retreat and one that I would go back to in a second.

To see more about Two Bare Feet click here

As much as I would have loved for this to have been sponsored post it is not. This accomodation was paid for by myself and all view are my own

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Seaspray Day Cruise – Fiji

Oh Fiji,  I couldn’t rave enough about you if I tried!

We were staying in Sigatoka but knew that we really wanted to get out and explore some of the many islands that make up this picturesque country.  With so many day tours to choose from we finally decided upon the South Sea Cruises Seaspray day trip. The main reason was that it included a visit two of the Mamanuca Islands and we wanted to see as much as we could. Greedy I know.  It also included a barbeque lunch, unlimited drinks (beer, wine & soft drink), morning and afternoon tea, visit a traditional village and snorkelling gear to explore the colourful reefs. It was the complete package!

We were lucky enough a to do this tour on Fiji Day and the Fijian spirit was out in full force and what better way to spend  Fiji day sailing around the islands with the dulcet tones of the Fijian crew singing.

The day starts with a South Sea Cruises catamaran from Denarau in which we passed some well know islands – Southsea, Bounty and Castaway. I was in love already and I hadn’t even set foot on the soft white sand of an island. After powering through the islands on the catamaran we went aboard the yacht at Mana island and then set about sailing around islands to our first destination, Mondriki Island.

It was like a little piece of paradise just lying there in the crystal clear waters waiting to be explored. You could get the dingy boat over to sunbathe or you could don the complimentary snorkel gear and dive right off the boat and swim your way into shore whilst taking in the coral reefs below. This deserted island is actually famous for being on the big screen. It was the island used for filming Castaway with Tom Hanks. Funny how he just wanted to get rescued from this island but trust us you will wish you never had to leave. You have almost an hour there to walk around the white sandy beaches, sunbathe, find the HELP ME sign written in coconuts or stay within those clear waters watching the world below you. It was a really beautiful place and one where you felt like you were nowhere near civilisation.  No other tour group can visit this island so if you want to go here you need to book this cruise. And you really want to go there.

Once we had finished exploring the pristine Mondriki we boarded the yacht and whilst we had been swimming and snorkelling the crew had been cooking up an absolute feast for lunch.  Sat on the yacht eating the amazing bbq lunch with a wonderful array of salads, beer in hand, the crew singing and with the most stunning view, you literally couldn’t imagine life being any better.

A quick sail over to the days next stop off on the lovely island of Yanuya.  This island is a little haven and has a gorgeous colourful traditional village. Once ashore the first part of the visit was to experience a traditional kava ceremony. Please note this doesn’t happen on a Sunday. Two people from the group are chosen as the group’s chiefs and they sit down with the village chief and partake in the ceremony while the rest of the group watches on. Once they chiefs have taken their cup of kava the rest of the group can try it.  It’s certainly an interesting tasting drink! The women of the village have all their handicrafts out so you can purchase some lovely souvenirs and presents. There is then a tour through the village where you can see the homes and meet some of the villagers. We met some friendly children by the school who were quick to show us around their dorms and playing fields. The Fijians certainly are the most loveliest people. There are some village customs to be aware of you need to make sure you aren’t wearing a hat within the village and you need to dress modestly in a sarong or longer skirt.

After two amazing visits to two picture-perfect islands, the voyage finishes with a quick anchor out in the lagoon for a 10 min dip jumping straight off the boat. The most fitting way to finish an amazing day.

Throughout the journey the service by the crew was outstanding. They were happy, knowledgeable and sang and played the guitar to ensure that each and every passenger had the best time. We absolutely loved it and I still look at our pictures and can’t believe we were there and got to experience it.

There are daily departures just bear in mind that the cava ceremony is not available on Sundays. The catamaran leaves Denarau at 9 am (do check as this may change in time) and returns back around 6 pm.  If you are staying on other islands you can also transfer over to Mana to pick up the yacht there do check the times and prices as they will be different to those travelling from Denarau. We did this tour in October 2017 and paid FD$259 per adult from Denarau. I believe this to still be the price but do check their website.

If you need even more inspiration to visit Fiji then check out another of our posts here.

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Being Brunel- A new must visit museum in Bristol

Visiting Bristol and need something to do? Then you must visit the new Being Brunel Museum at the SS Great Britiain

Do you know this man?

A few hints

–  He is the reckless engineer

– He was quite partial to a top hat and cigar

– He built bridges, railways, ship and tunnels

– He is a big name in British history

– He was a change maker

– He’s got a pretty awesome name

Guessed it yet?

It’s Isambard Kingdom Brunel and this is a 3D statue of him at the new museum Being Brunel In Bristol. It has only just opened at the site of one his spectacular ships the SS Great Britain. It’s a must-see attraction if you find yourself in Bristol or the South West.

The museum opened in March 2018 and houses a fantastic range of artefacts from Brunel’s life. It’s taken a few years to build and once you get there you’ll understand why. There are 6 galleries which include a moving replica of a train carriage, a huge display of letters, sketched and photos, a massive mural of his life, a video show with smells and sounds to put you firmly in the past. You can see his office in London and Bristol as well as his Shakespeare dining room and the dockyard. Everything is so detailed and you can tell that it’s been built with passion and respect for the forwarding thinking legend.

The crowning glory is the gigantic statue of Brunel’s Head in the middle of the main gallery. You can see he commanded attention when he was alive and this statue is no different. It’s also very clever as you can literally walk inside his mind and experience a 6 min film of his personal thoughts (from letters and diary entries) of key points within his life and career. Most of the scenes were filmed on site and once you have seen the video you can then walk around and put yourself in the picture.

History has to be engaging these days to capture people and to teach them that we are where we are now due in the past. Both from the failures and the successes. We have access to all the news and all the information, so I really enjoy it when I see a museum or historic attraction use such interactive ways to draw in both children and adults. All of the galleries at Being Brunel allowed you to open draws, test out an old-fashioned train carriage, look at drawings, interactive video games, see how they used to make 3d pictures and even put a top hat on. In this day and age, you wouldn’t have an engineer celebrated like Burnel was and is. It’s great that children can have access to people in our past like this and not just the celebrity culture dominating the news headlines.

To see the drawings, letters and even newspaper articles of the past was amazing to get an insight into how some of the bridges and railways that are in my day to day life were first conjured up and then went from an idea to a reality.

As a photography lover, I enjoyed discovering a new contraction. They also had these great viewfinders which when a picture has been inserted it would show as a 3D image. They were really cool and I just loved the vintage photos.

My other half has long held Brunel in the highest regard so it was a must for us to visit but I can guarantee even if you have no idea about who Brunel was before you entered you would be sure glad you learnt who he was. This new museum is a wonderful celebration of Brunel and his life’s work and also a great insight into the man behind the top hat and cigar.

As Being Brunel is housed within the SS Great Britain you can also explore the majestic ship and the dry dock it’s housed in. I’ve not yet posted this yet (I promise it will be live soon!) so you can learn more about it here  

Where – Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Road, Bristol, BS1 6TY

Prices (as per their website in April 2018) – All tickets are for a year and you can go back and explore as many times as you like within that period.

  • Adult £16.50
  • Students and Seniors £14.50
  • Under 4 Free
  • 5-16-year-olds £9.50
  • Companion or assistant (alongside a disabled paying visitor) FREE
  • Family £45

Check out their website here for more details and to book tickets http://www.ssgreatbritain.org/

Queenie, Murwillumbah – An Airbnb Gem

If you find yourself in Northern NSW and in need of a funky place to stay then I have just the place… Welcome to Queenie.

Queenie is located in the lovely town of Murwillumbah in Northern NSW. Surrounded by sugar cane fields, tropical hinterland and the majestic Mt Warning watching over the town.  It’s close to Byron Bay, Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast and is sat on the banks of the Tweed river so it’s in pretty fabulous company and some of the best landscapes Australia has to offer. It’s always been a key place in my life as my grandparents have lived there for most of my life and my grandfather was born and grew up there. Many holidays and breaks from Uni were spent with family exploring the hinterland, swimming in the Murbah pool, exploring the coastal towns nearby, taking a million photos of Mt Warning and just sitting outside drinking tea and taking in the tropical surroundings.

On a recent visit to Murwillumbah, my family and I discovered the retro paradise Queenie. First, off I was quite surprised there were any Airbnb’s in Murwillumbah (i have since found out there is several) and secondly, I was in awe that it wasn’t just your standard house (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but…  Queenie was bursting with character, it was just like stepping into the pages of an interior design magazine.

The attention to detail, the charm, the style, the colours, the beds. OMG, the beds.  It is hands down one of the best Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in. As a vintage lover, this place was what my dreams are made of and ‘house’ Pinterest board is full of. Light muted tones, tropical vibes, hand picked vintage furniture, art deco styling that all just went so well together and was totally #housegoals.

The beds were like sleeping on a cloud. My jetlagged self just melted between the Tommy Bahamas sheets. There is room for four guests with two bedrooms- one king and one queen. There is a bright open kitchen/diner area with a super cute little retro bar. If you do want to watch a film or Tv there is a small entertainment room with a million DVDs to choose from. If you want to eat your breakfast listening to the birds there is a lovely outside area to sit and take in the sounds…

To get into the town there is a very short walk to the main street which is full of cafes, eateries, boutique and antique shops. There is a pool with waterslide, lots of brilliant walks, the Wollumbin National Park is only a short drive away. I haven’t been myself but I’ve been told the Margaret Olley Exhibition and Tweed Regional Art gallery are well worth a visit. Byron Bay and the Gold Coast are also within a short driving distance. I can thoroughly recommend having fish and chips in Kingscliff and visiting Point Danger where you can stand with one foot in NSW and one in QLD (obviously doesn’t take much to entertain me). Green Point, Currumbin and Kirra are also within a short drive. You won’t run out of things to do and places to explore.  Also If you are a fan of I’m a celebrity get me out of here then its filmed in Murwillumbah as well so you may even catch a glimpse of Ant and Dec!

The only downside for Queenie (and I’m clutching at straws for a downside!) would be there is no wifi which isn’t really that big of a deal but as I was travelling with an international sim card I wanted to the internet without the data roaming charges so wifi would have been a bonus. Thankfully a lot of cafes in town had free wifi.

We loved our stay at Queenie and if you want to explore this beautiful house and area then I thoroughly suggest jumping on Airbnb and booking them up. To see more reviews or to book check out their Facebook and Airbnb pages below. Trust me you won’t regret it!

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Airbnb

This was not a sponsored stay and this post includes all of our own opinions.

Do check out their reviews on Airbnb and you’ll see it’s not just that are big fans.

Do you have any amazing Airbnb’s that you’ve stayed at? If so share below in the comments.

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