Monday, 1 August 2016

Novotel Cardiff City Centre

Sadly not all travel experiences are as good as we hope.  Our stay here was at best mediocre. 
I booked an overnight stay for my daughter and I and we were left feeling disappointed.
The bathroom was very dirty and when we reported this to reception nothing happened and we ended up cleaning it ourselves.
The breakfast staff were rude and when I asked for caffeine free coffee (for medical reasons) my request was ignored. Breakfast buffet was overcrowded and chaotic.

Drinks in the bar
The bar staff however were very friendly and helpful and the bar area was light and airy.
Having a pool and hot tub was a lovely addition as we were on a shopping trip so welcomed some relaxation time.  There was a dedicated time for children which we thought would be abused but 5 minutes before the end of their session the staff came in and announced they needed to exit the pool. Very impressed. On a safety note; the hot tub has a raised area in the middle that is not visible and I stubbed my little toe which I discovered when getting home was broken. I'm not blaming the hotel just think you should be aware it's there – I spent my evening walking around in very clumpy shoes with a lovely dress so not the best look.
Overall a very average hotel that benefits from good facilities.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Mother's Day Afternoon Tea at Thornbury Castle

My husband and 7 year old daughter booked me an afternoon tea as a surprise for Mother's day and it was lovely.
The service was exceptional from start to finish.
We were seated in a small room with just a few other tables right next to a large fire. The sandwiches, cakes and choice of teas/coffee was really varied. The cakes and particularly the scones were delicious.
When booking my husband had tried to book my daughter as well but was told she could just eat of our selection as she wouldn't eat nearly enough to justify paying full price. When we arrived the waiter asked if she would like anything and she asked for a plain cheese sandwich and a glass of milk (she ended up having 3 glasses), this was bought out to her presented really nicely with a selection of crisps as well. When my husband paid the bill they didn't charge anything for her food or drinks.
Having fun in the cloakroom!
The grounds were lovely and we had a wander through the garden before going in.
Even the toilets were pleasant with period clothes hanging up for decoration.
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable visit which we will definitely be repeating, hopefully overnight next time.
The only negative would be the lack of choice for vegetarians which seems to be the norm wherever you go. The only sandwich my husband could eat was egg. He didn't mind but I felt a guilty but only a little!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Littledean Jail - Forest of Dean

Avoid Avoid Avoid
Where to start?
I love reading and researching all things crime related so was initially very pleased by our unexpected visit to an authentic jail.  Firstly, this is not a historic, authentic jail in any way. The jail is basically a building to house some seriously disturbing memorabilia.
The entrance should be a warning of what is to come and boy should we have trusted our instincts.
We stopped here when our visit to the Forest of Dean was cut short due to bad weather. We went as a mixed group ranging from age 7 - 55. We took the age warning with a pinch of salt after all we thought it was a jail! We soon regretted taking our 7 year old daughter in when we were faced with some very questionable displays.
All I can think of is that the owner is racist, sexist, homophobic or all of the above. Everything in the 'exhibit' is an homage to violence or the macabre. The cabinet showing a graphic sex attack by guards at a Jewish concentration camp was a sample of what was on offer and was truly disturbing.
My husband quickly took our confused daughter out and stupidly our curiosity got the better of the rest of us and we continued. The Ku Klux Klan memorabilia was in extremely bad taste and my (mixed race) 21 year old daughter was very upset by it.  My older brother tried to speak to the person behind the till about the awful content and was met with a barrage of abuse.
Overall, I would wholly recommend you miss this awful, offensive exhibit and please do not judge the beautiful surrounding area on this appalling place.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Longleat Safari Park

We are a family of animal lovers and like to visit lots of different places both in and out of season.  It gives a more rounded view of animals at different times of the year. 
We visited the park in February so expected it to be cold and realised this would also apply to the animals and which ones we were likely to see. Unfortunately, there were so many animals missing it became like a scene from the Jurassic Park movie. No cheetahs, no elephants, no giraffes, no tapir etc on and on went the list. Again we realise the weather was the cause but I think perhaps a reduction in the entrance fee or some forward planning from the management with regards to extra displays etc
The monkey enclosure should be avoided at all costs, nearly every car that went through was attacked and damaged including our own. We ended up driving home with no windscreen wipers in the rain.  It was a very long and dangerous journey.  Whilst there are warnings regarding this they are taken with a pinch of salt but please please heed the warnings and take the exit to avoid them.
The extra activities were fun and all were open.  We had a great time navigating our way round the maze and whilst I would like to say that I won I can't lie.  I was last.
Surveying the maze at Longleat Safari Park
Lunch was an interesting option, if you're a vegetarian then take your own. There was literally nothing available and when we asked we were met with absolute shock. Vegetarian??  We ended up eating doughnuts and crisps - I suppose we should be grateful the doughnuts were warm. 
The walk through with both the meerkats and the penguins was something I've never seen before and I’m not sure how much benefit it is to the animals for everyone to be walking through their habitats. 
Staff were helpful and informative when you could find them which unfortunately proved to be quite a tricky task. Overall, very very disappointing.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Cotswold Motoring Museum Bourton on the Water

We visited this museum as a family with our 7 year old daughter Libby and everyone found it very interesting.

Lots of information about cars, bikes and toys which you could read about in whatever quantity you liked – lots for the more interested or small snippets for the younger more restless members of the group.
Libby completing the treasure trail at Cotswold Motor Museum

There were several different trails for the children to do and silly jokes with a car theme dotted all around the museum to keep the younger ones amused.

Not sure I like the fact that toys I played with as a child are now museum pieces

It’s not a large museum so doesn't take a lot of time to go round but then it isn't expensive either.