If you have some free time for sightseeing in the UK and you want to experience the buzz of a big city, then London is a must! On a recent trip I was amazed at how easy it was to travel around London on the underground; it really is the quickest and most effective way to get from A to B. There are so many things to do and see that you really need more than 3 days to experience all that is on offer.
I have been to London previously and visited Buckingham Palace, the London Planetarium, Madame Tussauds and also went on The London Eye. This time I visited the Tate Modern Gallery and managed to fit in a top West End musical “Sister Act” – there are always so many shows to see from Wicked to Billy Elliot and these are all considered excellent. After Sister Act, a visit to China Town is highly recommended; you are absolutely spoiled for choice with so many restaurants there.
Yes, London is busy, but it has a great buzz and it is amazing what you can fit in over a few days – comfortable shoes are a must as, although the underground is the easiest way to get around, you will cover miles with everything that you want to do. Shopping for the ladies is excellent with so many designer stores and, of course, Harrods. I’m already planning my next trip!
By Denise McKee. Denise has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is a member of our admin team.
Should you find yourself staying in Glasgow’s West End, it would a waste not to take a stroll along the bustling Byres Road. Staying in the luxury boutique hotel, Hotel du Vin & Bistro (a 15 minutes drive from Glasgow Airport) means you are but a minute’s walk from one of the most eclectic and intriguing streets in Glasgow.
Full of boutiques, pubs, bars and restaurants; there really is something for everyone. Only just this weekend a friend and I decided to head there to the new Italian-style tapas restaurant, La Vita Spuntini, for lunch. After several delicious mini-dishes of meatballs, frittatas, one-too-many slices of homemade Italian bread and a fantastic bottle of wine, we wandered up and down the busy street window-shopping at the clothing, home-ware and music stores.
As a rule, if you are in the West End of Glasgow, you are ‘morally obligated’ to take a trip along the cobbled back-road of Ashton Lane; a small passageway, only about 170 feet long, but which houses the best bars and pubs in the area. Naturally, we did not want to ignore this tradition and so resolved to visit another couple of bars before heading home.
The newly opened Visitor Centre at Culloden is superb and full of interactive displays. We visited on a bright sunny day but it was not hard to lose yourself in the full horror of the brief, but bloody battle. It took barely an hour for the government troops to defeat Charlie’s Jacobite army, resulting in the Bonnie Prince fleeing to France. In the weeks that followed, the clans were ‘tamed’ and the kilt and tartan were banned!
Anyone with roots in Scotland will want to work through the chronologically themed corridors, discovering what led to the battle, where their clan was involved and the affect it had on Scottish history. I was particularly moved by the ‘battle room’ where you are immersed in the combat; with commands, voices, gunfire, etc all around you.
There is a very good café area and shop, and it is somewhat disconcerting to see a Jacobite or English soldier queuing for home-made soup! Back outside, with our battlefield plan, we visited Leanach Cottage, a farmhouse on the battlefield which still stands there today. It has been carefully restored to its original state – people must have been shorter then! Each area of the field is marked with stones to the clan or troop that fought there and we were able to find Clan Farquharson, with whom members of the Shaw clan fought on that day.
By Yvonne Shaw. Yvonne has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is a member of our admin team.
Wherever you are in the Cameron House Hotel, you cannot help but notice the boats of all sizes enjoying the loch, and so we decided to join one of the daily cruises. The skipper of the Astinawas very knowledgeable and entertaining and I sensed we were in for a good trip around a few of the thirty-eight islands. We headed north away from the ‘busy’ end, past the famous Loch Lomond Golf Club and some of the larger islands and up to Tarbet where history has it noted that Viking raiders would drag their longships overland from the sea-lochs to the west. Turning back south we saw the cave where Rob Roy is reputed to have hidden (he was often in hiding from the law!) This is MacGregor country and there are many links to the infamous outlaw around the loch. The clan burial place lies on the island of Inchcailloch.
Our lunch stop was at the tiny (but very busy) village of Luss; with its sandy beaches, narrow lanes of tiny cottages and flowers everywhere, it’s a step back in time. There is a small sea-plane based there and we were just leaving as it flew in; an impressive sight below the mountain of Ben Lomond. The plane is apparently popular with golfers, as it can take them and their clubs to courses that are our hours away by road. Our return journey took in the larger islands, each with a story to tell and lots of rumours too. We didn’t see the wallabies on Inchconnachan, hear the ghostly bell on Inchtavannach, or catch sight of any nudists on Inchmurrin…but who could doubt that they are there?
By Yvonne Shaw. Yvonne has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is a member of the admin team.
New Zealand is a beautiful country with so many unique and breathtaking sights. One of my most memorable experiences there was when I visited Huka Falls in Wairakei Park; the largest falls on the Waikato River (New Zealand’s longest river) near Taupo on New Zealand’s North Island. Huka Falls is only a short 5-minute drive north of Lake Taupo.
The Falls have to be one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen; there are several viewing platforms and a 30-minute riverside walk that incorporates the many observation points. Located along the banks of the Waikato River (about 300m from Huka Falls ) is the award-winning Huka Lodge – you couldn’t imagine a better place to stay! With just 25 rooms in total, they offer a relaxing, intimate and first class service. Their dining experience is a must thanks to the Michelin star chefs working with local produce to provide an unforgettable culinary event for guests. Located in the grounds is their wine cellar, an underground chamber that can seat up to 10 guests for dinner – but this is just one of the fun and innovative ideas that the Lodge has in place.
In my mind, Huka Lodge is worth the expense, and incorporating a trip to the Falls is an absolute ‘must do’ on any vacation to New Zealand.
By Denise McKee. Denise has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is one of our team members responsible for our South Pacific programs.