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Travel Guide to Bratislava, the charming Slovakian capital

I'm just gonna keep posting pics from my #Bratislava trip cos I was there this time last week and I LOVE IT SO MUCH 🏰😍 @visitbratislava

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If you follow me on social media you’ll know that I’ve done a lot of travelling already this year. Although we are only four months in to 2017, I have explored four new countries, and new four cities, and have had numerous days out and weekend stays too. Two weeks ago I headed on a mini European adventure with my wonderful friend, and fellow travel blogger, Lucy. We had booked 2 nights in Bratislava and 2 in Vienna and were so excited to be kicking off our holiday exploring the Slovakian capital. We had the best possible start to our trip as this place totally stole my heart and, in my humble opinion, it’s extremely underrated and is a true hidden gem! When you think of city breaks, Bratislava might not be at the top of your list, but here’s why I really think it should be, and here’s my ultimate guide to this beautiful city…

Get around on foot

Although Bratislava is a fairly big city, pretty much everything you would want to see and do is located in the Old Town and Historical Centre, which is a small area and can easily be covered on foot. If you’re anything like me, you’ll LOVE wandering around on foot, getting lost down side streets and discovering places off the beaten path. You can use trams or buses to get around the city, but to be honest everything is close by and walking along the cobbled streets really helps to immerse yourself in the true Slovak culture. During our trip, Lucy and I planned the landmarks we really wanted to visit and then roughly mapped out our day making sure we ticked off everything we wanted to see during our short time there. We managed to see almost everything we wanted to, but I could have wandered for hours more and really wanted to hike up to the Slovak Monument for panoramic views across the city below… There’s always next time though!

Take advantage of cheap accommodation

Room with a view! Good morning #Bratislava we can't wait to spend all day exploring 😍☀️ #VisitBratislava #WanderlustWednesday

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Part of the beauty of visiting Eastern Europe is that prices are super cheap compared to back home in the UK, or in other parts of Europe such as Scandinavia, where things tend to be more expensive. Bratislava was hands down one of the cheapest places I have ever visited, along with Prague and Budapest which I found to be really good value for money too. Hotels were inexpensive with top chains like Ibis, Crowne Plaza and Hilton offering fantastic rates on rooms, but in the end we opted for different type of accommodation, and one I had never experienced before! Yep, we booked a hostel!

I was super nervous about staying in a hostel as I’d only ever heard horror stories of unclean rooms, dirty dorms and shared areas, but we booked a private apartment which was actually part of the hostel itself so this meant we got the benefits of a hotel room for the price of a hostel which worked really well. We stayed at the funky Freddie Next to Mercury Hostel which was a 5 min walk from the train station and about a 20 min walk to the Old Town – a little out the way but the apartment was HUGE with great views and for just 36 euros pp for two nights who were we to complain?! I’d definitely stay in a hostel again, as long as it was a private room with private bathroom, and will be using this mode of accommodation to save pennies on future trips!

Purchase a Bratislava City Card

During our trip we were delighted to be working with the fantastic team at Visit Bratislava who were super helpful and gave us loads of tips to help us plan our time in the city. We were treated to complimentary City Cards which also meant we were able to join one of the free walking tours that depart daily from the Tourist Information centre just behind the Old Town Hall. The walking tour lasted for around an hour and a half and we covered all of the main sights and really got to understand the history behind this little known city.

Our tour guide was fantastic, she knew her stuff, had perfect English and was happy to answer any questions we had. Being in a small group of four also meant we could take our time and really enjoy the tour without rushing round, so it was a great way to explore the sights as well as find out all about the places we were visiting. I’d highly recommend purchasing a City Card during your time in Bratislava, but only if you have a good few days to explore as I feel we missed out on a lot of the benefits we could’ve taken purely because we didn’t have the time to do everything we wanted to do! A big thank you to the wonderful team at Visit Bratislava for looking after us!

Explore the beautiful castles

If you see just one thing in Bratislava, make sure it’s at least one of the beautiful castles – seriously these things are sooo princessy and dreamy and I was totally in my element! Hrad Castle, on top of a hill overlooking the city, was the highlight of the trip for me and it was so worth the hike up there from the bottom of St Martin’s Cathedral! The red turrets, the white walls, the black lampposts, everything about it was like something from a Disney film and I just gazed up at it in awe for ages taking it all in!

If you have the time and don’t mind venturing a little out of the city, a day trip to Devin Castle should be on your go-to list and will be well worth the visit. From all the photos I saw on Instagram, and in the tourist brochures, this place looked AMAZING and I am so gutted I didn’t get chance to visit!! With history tracing back to 5th Century BC, the castle and its ruins stand on a cliff over 200m high offering spectacular panoramic views of both the Danube and the Morava rivers. It’ll take you around 20 minutes to reach Devin, and the easiest and quickest way to get there is either by bus from Bratislava’s main bus terminal every half an hour, but if you’re looking to make a day of it why not jump on a boat from one of the nearby ports? The boat service runs twice a day and a comfortable cruise along the Danube will get you over to Devin in no time.

Base yourself at the Main Square

By day one way, by night another 🌓

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Every city should have a main square, right?! I just love finding central squares to base myself from, it really helps with getting my bearings and knowing where to come back to after a long day of exploring! The main square in Bratislava is really beautiful and boasts some incredible architecture. We spent most of our first morning in the city wandering around the little side streets, eating ice cream, pigging out on pizza and just enjoying the sunshine and the cobbled pathways. The square is also home to cafes, shops and restaurants offering plenty of places to stop and recharge your batteries.

My favourite thing about the main square though was the old town hall with its coloured roof and its impressive tower and spire. We climbed the tower and were treated to stunning views across the rest of the city, catching all the landmarks lit up in the glorious spring sunshine. Looking down towards the square you’ll find the stunning fountain right at the heart of it, and see the surrounding architectural buildings too.

Eat in Hviezdoslav Square

Finding a nice restaurant to eat in after a long and tiring day’s walking can sometimes feel like a chore, especially if you don’t have any recommendations to go on, or if you don’t really know here you’re going! Lucy and I felt a bit like this in Bratislava, we were both exhausted after walking over 18km, and were absolutely starving! After visiting Hrad Castle we’d walked past a few places that took our fancy but it was quite early to eat and, naturally, most places were empty and not yet serving food.

On our walking tour earlier on in the day we stumbled upon the pretty Hviezdoslav Square and so headed back there to see if we could find somewhere to feed ourselves and rest our feet for a couple of hours. The Square is one of the focal points of the city, with fountains, shops, hotels, bars and restaurants dotted along each side of the street. Named after poet and dramatist Pavol Hviezdoslav and located in the Old Town, between the Slovak National Theatre and the UFO Bridge, the Square is the perfect place from which to unwind after a busy day’s exploring. We chose to eat at Carnevalle, a meat restaurant serving steaks, poultry and more, but there were lots of other places to choose from and the Square was lively with plenty going on both during the day and in the evening too.

Ride up the UFO Tower and cross the SNP Bridge

This is another major tourist attraction in Bratislava, and sadly one which I didn’t quite get to tick off my list! Lucy and I trekked down from Hrad Castle, over the SNP bridge and along the river Danube, only to be told that the tower was closed for a private event and no longer open to the public for the remainder of the evening. We. Were. GUTTED! We had planned to watch the sunset there and take in some fantastic views across to Austria and Hungary, but sadly it just wasn’t meant to be. I will definitely return here though and see it for myself, and there’s a fancy restaurant right at the top of the tower with gourmet cuisine and panoramic views which looks right up my street! I’ll be back UFO, I’ll be back.

Discover the charming churches

St Martins Cathedral was looking so beautiful in the #Bratislava sunshine today 😍💒 #visitbratislava @visitbratislava

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Anyone that knows me will know that I LOVE churches. I love exploring inside them, I love climbing their towers, and I love gazing up at their ornate architecture and pretty ceilings. Bratislava is home to a number of impressive churches, and you could spend so much time exploring just these buildings alone, but my two favourites were the stunning St Martins Cathedral, and the striking Church of St Elizabeth, also known as the Blue Church. The Cathedral is one of the focal points of the city with its spire standing 279ft tall and dominating the Old Town’s skyline. We were given scarves to cover our bare shoulders inside this Roman Catholic Church and were not allowed to take any photos so instead just gazed up at its beautiful altar, stained glass windows and intricate gothic ceiling. If you have the time you can purchase a ticket to go down to the ancient catacombs hidden beneath the church floors to see the crypts that have been discovered there.

Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, the Blue Church was a special sight to behold and one of my favourite places in Bratislava. Built in the early 20th century and designed by Hungarian architect Edmund Lechner, it’s art nouveau style is absolutely beautiful, and both the interior and exterior are of the building are painted shades of blue all over. The Church also boasts a 36 metre high round tower which I would love to have seen but sadly the building was closed when we went to visit!

Find somewhere special to watch the sunset

🌅🏰 We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill 🌅🏰

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This was quite possibly the highlight from my entire trip to Bratislava. If you do just one thing in the city, PLEASE make sure you find somewhere incredible to watch the sunset. We wandered over to the swanky Lemontree & Sky Bar Restaurant just before 7.30pm to indulge in a yummy cocktail before watching the sun set and cast its golden shadows across the whole of Hrad Castle below. We had planned to watch the sunset from the UFO Tower and, as you know, we weren’t able to do this but our plans turned out way better than expected as we enjoyed Bratislava’s golden hour in the most amazing surroundings. The Sky Bar was absolutely beautiful and it was the perfect place from which to watch the sun set over the castle on the hill, in true Ed Sheeran style.

So there we have it, my ultimate travel guide to Bratislava. For the best possible experience I’d recommend getting around on foot; the city is small enough to explore everything this way, but you can use the tram system to get around if you don’t fancy walking , or you can take a river cruise down the Danube if you’re wanting to venture a little further afield. Hopefully this post inspires you to think about choosing Bratislava for your next city break, I would 100% recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere totally new and exciting to explore!

Have you ever been to Bratislava? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

Thank you to the wonderful team at Visit Bratislava for our complimentary city cards for the duration of our trip.

Because blue ice cream and blue skies make for the perfect day in the spring sunshine ☀️☀️ #Bratislava @visitbratislava

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A Day in Malmo, Sweden

#tbt to when me and the sis were a little windswept overlooking #Malmö city centre 🇸🇪 #Sweden #throwbackthursday

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So last month, as part of our little winter escape to Copenhagen, my sister and I decided to take a spontaneous day trip to Malmo, Sweden to tick another city, and another country, off our ever expanding bucket lists. From Copenhagen airport we took the train, crossed over the spectacular Oresund Bridge and, within less than half an hour, we had arrived safely in the Swedish city. With only a day to explore we got straight to it and made the most of our short time in Malmo; here’s my guide of what to see and do during your time there too…

 

Arrive by train

 

 

Day returns either from CPH Central Station or CPH Airport Train Station run pretty much every hour to and from Malmo, and we paid around £15pp for a return ticket which we thought was really good value! The journey across the Oresund Bridge was incredibly scenic with some brilliant views of the Flinte Channel below. Snap your photos quick though, as the bridge blocks a lot of the daylight out, and you’ll be in a tunnel for part of your journey too.

Explore Little Square

This place was super cute and it was as if we had found a little slice of home right in the middle of Sweden. Lilla Torg, or Little Square as it’s known as, had a mixture of trendy bars and restaurants and it’s cobbled streets and colourful buildings really made for the perfect escape tucked away from the bustling high street.

Spot the Turning Torso

Can you see it? Can you see it? If you look really closely at this picture you’ll find the Turning Torso, the most famous landmark in Malmo, hiding just behind the tall grey curved building on the right hand side. Granted, the weather was horrendous while we were there and the fog was so thick you could barely see a thing, but I promise it was there! I wish we’d have seen the tower on a clearer day though as I’ve been told it really is a sight to behold.

Discover Malmo Castle

#Malmo castle… Probably the most unconventional castle I've ever seen! Have you been? #Sweden #city #citybreak #europe #visitsweden

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Sadly we didn’t have time to go inside the actual castle, but we wandered around the grounds and saw it from the outside so we got a feel for the place and what it would have been like all those years ago. Unlike most castles we have across Europe, this one felt really traditional as it was in the middle of a moat so I could imagine the draw bridge being let down and the horses trampling over it during it’s busy times! I’d highly recommend a trip to the castle during your time in Malmo.

Wander round the parks

 

Because windmills look prettier when they're in #Sweden 😍 #Malmo #city #europe #flashbackfriday @visitsweden

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The weather wasn’t great when we visited, it was pretty cold and super foggy but I imagine you could spend a whole day wandering through plenty of Malmo’s pretty parks when the sun is shining and the climate is a little warmer! You’ll find green spaces, lakes, ponds and lots of wildlife to chase as you’re wandering through the parks and whiling away the hours.

Take a stroll down by the harbour

Another day, another country! Oh hey #Malmö 🇸🇪🇸🇪 #Sweden #city #happymonday

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The harbour was probably my favourite place in the whole of Malmo, I really loved the mix of the cobbled streets and funky buildings that complemented each other perfectly. The boats were moored and the water was totally calm, making it a really peaceful place for an afternoon stroll, a world away from the typical working harbours that are so often found throughout Europe and the UK.

 

So there we have it, my guide to exploring the little Swedish city of Malmo in just a day. Obviously, if you have more time to spare you could fit more in, but Malmo is fairly small anyway so you can do most of it in a day. If you’re looking to venture a little further afield, why not head over to the nearby cities of Lund and Helsinborg to discover more of this Scandinavian gem? I loved my little taste of Sweden during my time in Malmo and am planning to head back there and make my way over to Stockholm as soon as possible!

Love Jess x

 

 

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A guide to Florence, the charming Tuscan capital

#Florence sunsets 😍🌅 #Italy #visitflorence #nofilter #takemeback

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The prettiest cathedral I've ever seen 😍🇮🇹 #duomo #florence #firenze #italy #ig_italy

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Hi everyone,

Last month I spent some time in the charming city of Florence, somewhere I hadn’t really thought of visiting until I started planning my Italian Escapade ! Three nights/ four days is a perfect amount of time to spend soaking up the typical Tuscan atmosphere, and you could even plan a day trip to a nearby city if you’re wanting to explore a little further afield. Here’s my ULTIMATE guide to visiting this beautiful city…

Arrive by train

 

firenze-smn

Photo credit: www.acprail.com

 

 

Arriving by train is a really easy way to begin your journey to Florence. The city is well connected to other major cities in Italy, just 2hrs from Venice, 1hr30 from Rome and 1hr 40 from Milan, with up to 40 trains a day running between them. The Santa Maria Novella train station is centrally located and easy to navigate. Taxis are waiting to collect you as soon as you exit the station, so you’ll arrive at your accommodation in a matter of minutes, depending on where you’re located. We found all the trains to be high speed, very clean and quiet and extremely efficient, as well being a great stress-free alternative to flying!

 

Cross the Ponte Vecchio bridge

 

 

Perhaps one of the most iconic landmarks in the whole of Florence, the Ponte Vecchio bridge is one of only 4 bridges left in the world with shops built in to it on either side. Accessed only on foot, the medieval bridge is popular with locals and tourists looking to buy authentic souvenirs, expensive jewellery and quirky handmade gifts. At night when the shops have closed, the bridge is lit up beautifully and is fairly quiet, apart from the occasional band or busker playing on site. Famously, the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge in Florence to survive the German bombings in 1944, with Adolf Hitler claiming it was ‘too beautiful to destroy’. One of my favourite things to do during my time in Florence was to grab some proper Italian gelato (ice cream), soak up the sunshine and perch on the edge of the bridge gazing down to the River Arno below – bellissimo!

 

Jump on the Hop on Hop off bus

 

Panoramic views over #Florence? Yasssssss 🙌🙌 #Firenze #michaelangelo #italy #ig_italy #sundayfunday

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So this is a pretty touristy thing to do, and it might not appeal to everyone, but a CitySightseeing Hop on Hop Off bus is a really great way to explore Florence and beyond. It’s a large city, and not everything can be reached within walking distance, so using the bus allows you to see just about everything whilst giving your legs a rest! An adult ticket costs €23 and there are three routes in which to explore. Line A is a great one to start with as it lasts for just an hour and you can see everything  you need to without getting off – it’s good just to get your bearings and see where everything is. Lines B & C run for 120 minutes each, but they cross over a lot in parts, so between all three lines you’ll see just about everything. I’d highly recommend getting off at Michaelangelo’s Piazza for stunning skyline views across the city, as well as stopping off at Fiesole, a pretty town high on the top of a hill, just a few kilometres out of Florence, which is worth a visit in itself.

 

Purchase a 5 in 1 church pass

 

 

Florence is quite a religious city, and there a number of important buildings that should be seen on your visit. Queues can be extremely long, so I would recommend purchasing a 5 in 1 combo ticket (€15) either from the ticket office in piazza San Giovanni, or online if possible. We actually just turned up on the day to purchase but had to queue for around 40 mins first! The 5 in 1 pass is great as it gives access to 5 fantastic buildings; The Dome, The Basilica (although entry for this is free), Giotto’s Bell Tower, The Baptistery & The Opera del Duomo Museum. You can climb both the dome and the bell tower for spectacular panoramic views across the city, but be prepared to climb a significant number of steps at both! We climbed the bell tower and were treated to some amazing views, including a close up of the dome itself which, in our opinion, was arguably better than the view from the top of the dome! No visit to Florence is complete without visiting these fantastic buildings.

 

 

Eat dinner in the piazza

 

 

Florence is all about the food, and what better way to enjoy the famous Italian pizza, pasta and Prosecco by sitting in one of cities beautiful piazzas and soaking up the Florentine atmosphere?! There are a vast array of restaurants to choose from in the city, many of which are centred around some of the most picturesque piazzas. You’ll often hear musicians playing in the squares, or see buskers performing their talents and offering some light entertainment whilst you’re dining. Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza della Signoria are great places to enjoy typical Italian dining and the prices aren’t extortionate either. If you’re not on a budget and you fancy eating in front of the beautiful cathedral head over to Piazza del Duomo, although it’ll cost you a little bit more, the setting is truly stunning.

 

Plan an excursion

 

 

Florence is perfectly positioned to explore some of the finest hotspots in Italy, so why not wander out of the city and take a day trip somewhere new to satisfy your wanderlust cravings? Tour operators such as CitySightseeing and Viator offer some fantastic half and full day trips to a whole host of nearby destinations. Why not take a tour of Pisa and the Leaning Tower? Hike the Cinque Terre for some spectacular scenic views? Or enjoy a unique Vespa tour of the Tuscan hills? Italy offers so much choice, and there are a multitude of things to see and do in this beautiful country, so go and explore it while you’re in Florence!

 

So there we have it, my top tips on exploring Florence! Immerse yourself in the true Tuscan charm of the city, visit the sights and learn about its fantastic history. Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to the city and helps with that all important planning!

Have you ever been to Florence? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

 

😍🇮🇹 #Florence #duomo #visitflorence #italy #ig_italy

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Hotel Review: Hotel Opera Roma – A hidden gem in the heart of Rome

entrancehoteloperaroma

Image courtesy of www.hoteloperaroma.com

 

Last month I had the pleasure of staying at the wonderful Hotel Opera Roma, a smart 3* hotel located in the heart of Rome. I stayed with my sister as part of our Italian Escapade; we were on the last leg of our trip so were feeling utterly exhausted and were hoping to spend our last few days in Italy getting some good nights sleep in-between our final days of sightseeing. We were greeted with friendly smiles and looked after well by the staff on site, with the receptionist even taking us up to our room in the lift and carrying our suitcases for us! Here’s my full review of this lovely hotel…

 

The Location

Perfectly positioned on Via Firenze, just off of the city’s main street, Via Nazionale, Hotel Opera Roma enjoys a quiet but central location close to all of Rome’s major landmarks. As the name suggests, the wonderful Opera Theatre is right opposite the hotel and is just a 5 minute walk to Roma Termini – super handy for those walking/getting a (very quick) taxi to and from the railway station! There are a handful of bars and small shops dotted along Via Firenze and the surrounding streets, but Via Nazionale is where the action happens and is home to most of the high street shops as well as bars, cafes and restaurants. Piazza della Repubblica is also just a 5 minute stroll away and is brimming with small shops, cafes and a couple of museums.

 

Sometimes a Hop on Hop off bus is the best way to see the #city #sights! #Rome #italy #wanderlustwednesday #citysightseeing

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Most of Rome’s major landmarks are within easy reach of this hotel; the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps were a 15-20 minute walk away (quicker once you know where you’re going!) and the Pantheon can be found in approx. 25 minutes. The Colosseum and Roman Forum were a 20 minute walk away, although we used the Hop on Hop off buses to navigate our way to and from these areas, and Vatican City should be explored by bus too as it’ll take you over an hour to walk it! Pretty much every thing you would want to see in the centre of Rome can be walked to without the need for a taxi, so the location is perfect.

The Rooms

The hotel is made up of a small number of rooms and suites laid out over two floors accessed by an elevator; all tastefully furnished and with modern bathrooms. The beds are comfortable, the wardrobe (complete with electronic safe) is spacious and there is desk-space as well as a small fridge with mini-bar. Our room had a small balcony overlooking a quiet street and there was an air conditioning/heating system as well as LCD satellite TV too. The bathroom was gorgeous, and had one of the best showers I’ve ever seen!

 

I stayed in over 30 different hotel rooms this summer, but this one in #Rome was one of my faves! #roma #italy #ig_italy

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The Breakfast

Breakfast was served each morning in the downstairs dining room and there was a large continental section with croissants, pastries, breads, fruit and cereals, as well as a strange assortment of cakes, pies and quiches (not quite a full English, but that’s continental breakfasts for you!). The breakfast room was small but modern with elegant décor and had room for guests to sit down and take their time over breakfast, starting the day off nicely.

 

The breakfast room at Hotel Opera Roma – full #review and #blog #post coming your way! #Rome #Roma #italy #ig_italy

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The Staff

The staff onsite at Hotel Opera Roma were so lovely and couldn’t do enough to make our stay a pleasant one. Upon arrival we were given maps of Rome and the locations of all the local landmarks were explained to us, as well as info on nearby bus routes, recommendations for local restaurants and details on airport transfers. The reception is 24hours but the exterior doors are always locked so access with a key card is needed at all times – that actually gave us a sense of added security and made us feel totally safe during our stay.

I needed to print some train tickets out whilst I was at the hotel so I forwarded the email to the reception staff and they printed the document for me with no problem at all and were on hand no matter what our query was. The staff really helped to make our stay a happy one and we couldn’t have asked for more!

 

 

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful Hotel Opera Roma. I cannot recommend the hotel highly enough for anyone looking for a comfortable and affordable stay in the heart of Rome – thank you all for making our last few days in Italy so fantastic! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

Last night in #Rome booooo 😭😭 #ciao

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A Charming Cotswolds Retreat: Royal Afternoon Tea at Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham Spa

ellenborough park hotel

Image courtesy of www.ellenboroughpark.com

 

Last Monday I was invited to the beautiful Ellenborough Park, a five star Cotswold manor house hotel located on the outskirts of Cheltenham Spa, to review their Royal Afternoon Tea. The promotion is running until 30th June 2016 in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday celebrations and offers guests a fantastic dining experience amongst stunning settings on the original Cheltenham Racecourse estate. I attended with my sister, Hannah, who absolutely LOVES afternoon tea. I thought she would be the perfect plus one to help me with my review and, I was right, she definitely didn’t take much persuading! 😉 We had a fantastic afternoon in the most beautiful of surroundings and were suitably stuffed by the time we had finished! Here’s how we got on…

Upon arrival we were greeted by the lovely Jonathan, one of the waiters who looked after us for most of the day. We were shown to our table, or in this case, an exclusive lounge on the first floor of the dining room where we were made to feel like true VIP’s for the day. With quirky antique tables and chairs and large windows as well as a balcony overlooking the rest of the dining room, our executive lounge made the perfect place from which to enjoy our Royal Afternoon Tea.

 

Exclusive lounge for our #royalafternoontea @ellenboroughpk yesterday! 🍰☕️#Cotswolds #cheltenham #review #traveltuesday

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Shortly after we were seated, and had finished gazing in awe at our new surroundings, we were shown the menus by Jonathan and were able to select our teas. There was a wide range of teas from traditional English breakfast to raspberry, rooibos and even chocolate flavoured. We both chose the strawberry and mango infused tea which was brought to our table in a cute little teapot with cups and saucers. We then ordered the Royal Afternoon Tea for two which was brought to us promptly.

 

 

Hannah and I couldn’t believe our eyes when the afternoon tea arrived, there was literally SO. MUCH. FOOD! The menu, by executive head chef David Kelman, boasted three tiers of sumptuous goodies including sandwiches, scones, cakes and sweet treats. The bottom tier comprised of a range of sandwiches including honey roast ham with Tewkesbury mustard, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise with cress and cucumber with tomato and spicy relish. We actually swapped the smoked salmon sandwiches for cheese and pickle ones as we aren’t huge fans of salmon but we both love our cheese! The sandwiches were perfectly cut, neatly filled and incredibly tasty.

 

The middle tier was home to freshly baked Ellenborough Park fruit scones with jam and clotted cream. The scones were fresh out the oven and were still warm so the jam and cream set on the top just nicely and were mouth-wateringly good! Finally, the top tier showcased some of the most fantastic dessert pieces I have ever seen. We were treated to meringue swans filled with fresh strawberries (they were GENIUS!) and Her Majesty’s  favourite chocolate cake with white chocolate flag which was truly scrumptious. There was also a salted caramel Tudor rose chocolate which was incredibly rich as well as Her Majesty’s passionfruit hat, a passionfruit mousse set on a biscuit base with passionfruit glaze and edible sugar flowers which was a delight!

 

Hannah and I devoured almost everything on each tier and were fit to burst by the time we had finished! We thoroughly enjoyed each and every aspect of the afternoon tea and there was no item on the menu which wasn’t expertly made or presented. The 5 star surroundings added to the luxurious atmosphere and it was certainly a dining experience to remember.

 

Can I eat all of these again please?! ☕️🍰 @ellenboroughpk #cotswolds #cheltenham #review #afternoontea

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Ellenborough Park’s Royal Afternoon Tea prides itself on reflecting “the Queen’s love of horses, decades of fashionable hats for royal engagements and guardianship of the nation’s swans.” Executive head chef David Kelman’s “celebratory afternoon tea adds a touch of regal splendour to this quintessentially British delight, served on china fit for a queen.”

With its stunning buildings and sprawling grounds, Ellenborough Park prides itself on “providing guests with the finest hotel accommodation and service in the Cotswolds.” You’ll find 60 large bedrooms and suites as well as two on-site restaurants lead by award winning executive head chef David Kelman. Facilities include an impressive Indian-themed spa and a 15m heated outdoor swimming pool  whilst other leisure activities within the hotel grounds can also be arranged.

 

Beautiful day, beautiful hotel! Thanks so much for having me @ellenboroughpk ☀️🏨 #Cotswolds #visitgreatbritain #cheltenham

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To celebrate all things British and enjoy a quintessentially English dining experience book your table at Ellenborough Park today! Royal Afternoon Tea is priced at £22pp Monday – Thursday or £25pp Friday-Sunday. An optional glass of Champagne Billecart-Salmon can be added for an extra £12pp. To book, please call the hotel directly on 01242 545454 or email info@ellenboroughpark.com. Thank you to all at Ellenborough Park for looking after us and for giving us such a wonderful afternoon – I cannot recommend the hotel highly enough and I will certainly be back!

Love Jess x

NB. I dined with Ellenborough Park as a guest for the purpose of this review but all views are my own.