Where I went and stayed :o)
by email@example.com. on October 31, 2012
The zoo was on the top of my ‘must see’ list to get there it was only a small bus journey from Waverly Train station. It was around 15 minutes on the bus and it also dropped you right outside the zoo and when you needed to be picked back up it collected from outside the zoo too. The buses run every 10 minutes or so, so there isn’t much waiting around. There really is so much to say when it comes to the zoo, so will try my best to fit it all in!Once arriving at the zoo it really didn’t look all that big from the front entrance, to gain access you either walk up the ramp or take the stairs. Then it is through the main glass doors to the ticket booth, like everywhere I had been in Edinburgh the welcome was lovely. The lady attendant was very informative, she told us about the giant pandas and that we were only 10 minutes from the next showing so she booked us up there and then at no extra charge.So all we had to do was have our passes scanned and we was all set to go, she gave us a map of the zoo and wished us a pleasant day around the zoo. Stepping out into the zoo for the first time it was raining! So on the map we took the undercover route to the pandas. From the entrance it was almost a 10 minute walk to the pandas so we got there just in time for the showing, it was clearly sign posted which made it so much easier. I didn’t know what to expect, I was just excited to see them! The panda tour is guided and the gentleman there told us all about the pandas. Sadly as it was cold and wet the pandas where locked in the rooms because it would have been to cold for them out in the enclosures. There is one male and one female panda at the zoo and we were able to get a close look at both of them. Seeing them in real life just shows the beauty the television misses. The panda tour lasted around 15/20 minutes all of which was very informative, once all finished it was time to explore the rest of the zoo. Cheerfully the rain had slowed down so out came the map so we could follow where we going, as it may have looked small from the outside but inside the place was massive! As it was still drizzling we took the route with the most shelter.Due to the cold weather I was expecting most of the animals to be tucked up in their shelters, however surprising most of them were out and about. (brave fella’s!) The park wasn’t busy at all which I really enjoyed as we could walk around in our own time and stay looking at animal enclosures for as long as we wanted. Walking around the park I took note of how clean and well kept it all seemed, there were plenty of seating around the zoo. Only some of them are undercover or less you go sit in one of the eateries. There were also a good amount of toilets jotted around too, all of which had disabled facilities and baby changing access. During our walk we spotted a few attendants making sure it was clean, they were also getting the leaves up to hopefully stop anyone from slipping. Outside the leopard enclosure there was a member of staff sweeping the leaves up, the animal was just watching him and drooling! I guess he must be the one that feeds him too? After around an hour around the zoo the rain had completely stopped which was good for us as there was still so much to see! The zoo offers a safari bus that you can hop on which will also take you around the zoo. Brilliant for some of us that are less mobile, or if you have younger children this is a great way to explore.One thing from the zoo I will never forget was the Lions den; he wasn’t out in his enclosure but sat in his den. There was an opening you could look through to see him. He was huge! Again the television just doesn’t capture this and he let out an almighty roar, so loud that everywhere went slight. This really did send shivers down my spine, despite how cute he looked! If you are planning a trip to Edinburgh Zoo I would fully recommend comfy and sensible footwear. As it is hilly and one patch in particular is on the steep side which is where I almost went I my bum! It’s the top side path coming down from the lions. Another part of the zoo I really liked and spent a little time there was the African Plains exhibit, this is a large field where you can watch the animals go by. There is a walkway and a mini hut look out centre at the end. It is lovely to just sit and watch the animals be free (well as much as they can) the animals that wonder there are Grevy’s zebras, some different types of deer’s and some cattle. The zoo itself it set over 82 acres of land and has now be running from July 1913, they work hard with helping conservation work for endangered and rare animals. Which I think zoos should do, as much as we would like to see animals in there natural environment sadly it is not always possible. There are three main places where you can get food from if you are feeling hungry – Penguin Coffee ShopJungle Food CourtGrasslands RestaurantAll of which have been themed to suit its name, there are also kiosks around the zoo where you can get sweets, popcorn, burgers, flatbreads etc if you didn’t fancy a full meal you can snack from the kiosks. Please note that kiosks only run weather permitting and the day I was there I couldn’t find any of them open. The animals within the zoo are broken down into three sections – mammals, birds and reptiles. Now I can’t really list every single one so here is the link where you can see all the animals they have. www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/animals/ I personally was surprised they have so many! All of which look like they are being cared for well. At the zoo they run a few attractions – Giant Pandas – Tian Tian and Yang Guang, these are at the moment the only two giant pandas within the uk. This was the first thing we did when in the zoo and it was lovely to see them up close.Brillaint Birds – I really liked this one, it is a walk through bird aviary. I loved seeing the colourful birds just flying around, certainly not like the ones I see in my garden.Budongo Trail – This is where you can see the cheeky chimpanzees, I must admit as lovely as it was seeing them. They must have been on a mad one so to speak as they was running around like crazy and making so much noise!Sun Bears – This really wasn’t much of an attraction if I’m honest it is just seeing the bears in the newish enclosure. But still there was super cute but smaller than I thought they were going to be.White-faced saki Monkey – This is another newish walk through enclosure the zoo has done. Pretty much my least favourite as I found them a little freaky!Living Links – from the web site it states an indoor/outdoor facility that houses capuchin and squirrel monkeys. I guess I missed this as I don’t remember seeing it. Around the zoo it also has ‘Zoo Gardens’ which sadly was closed off at the time of our visit, but after I came to see the animals more so! As with most places there is a gift shop! I really liked the gift shop here; yes it was on the pricey side but the items were just beautiful with all the different animals! I treated myself to a few items one of my favourite being a chimpanzee bookmark which changes and you move it.There really was just so much to we spend just over four hours walking around the zoo but could have easily stayed the whole day. Prices: An adult ticket costs £15.50 and a child ticket which is ages 3 to 15 years will cost £11.00. I personally feel the price is about right from what they offer around the zoo.The Zoo operates different times through out the year normally 9am till 6pm but closes earlier during the colder months so do check before going. Another thing it is always worth checking daily events as they offer different items to do through the day at different times.
by firstname.lastname@example.org. on October 23, 2012
When walking around Edinburgh we noticed a Chinese restaurant right by Waverley Train Station, where we were dropped from the airport. As I love Chinese food we decided we would certainly be giving it a go!Jimmy Chung’s Chinese Buffet Restaurant: My Findings:In Birmingham close to where I live there are some great Chinese all you can eat buffets, one of my favourites being Big Wok. As Jimmy Chung’s is twice the price as my beloved Big Wok I was hoping for something special!As we walked in we were greeting straight away and directed to a table for two, the waiter only gave us a couple of minutes before coming back to take our drinks order. As this was our first time here, I personally would have found it nicer if the waiter had told us ‘when you’re ready, please go help yourself’. However I had to ask if it was ok to just go up. The restaurant was set out well, even though there was a lot of tables you still had a good amount of space and wasn’t right on top of one another. At the back of the restaurant there was even a place to sit and eat outside. However it was closed off, I’m guessing it was closed due to the time of year being on the chilly side. Warm plates awaited you and your cutlery was already on your table but still a set out if you wanted more.Luckily when going up to the buffet everything was clearly labeled, so it was easy to see what we wanted to try. It was set out in sections, vegetarian and starters, mains and soups then a third section for desserts. It also stated that sushi was available however I didn’t see any but that didn’t bother me as I don’t like it anyway. If you would like to see there menu it can be found here - www.jimmy-chungs.com/buffet-menusThe cleanliness of the whole buffet and surrounding areas was immaculate which is something I personally always look for. There was a chief/waiter by the buffet making sure it stayed clean and the food items where kept stocked. He was also friendly and you could ask him any questions you wanted regarding the food.Being vegetarian can sometimes be a pain when it comes to buffets as they normally seem dominated by meat. However I was really surprised as the vegetarian options were rather good, and even better they tasted amazing! I must admit I did pig out a fair bit, my starter I had spring rolls, spicy vegetable samosa, egg fried rice and curry sauce! All of which I really enjoyed and the curry sauce was sweeter than ones I have tried before but still lovely.After each dish and the waiter saw it was finished with on your table it was soon taken away. When drinks were gone they soon asked if you wanted more, so they really did keep an eye on you. So my second time up I had foo young, chow mien, mixed vegetable and sweet and sour sauce! I really was in heaven and writing this review and thinking of the food I want it all over again!The toilet facilities where clean and kept well, which is always a plus in any restaurant as I personally don’t like using the toilets when I’m out but there is only so long you can hold it in! The bar area was neat and presented well, but you didn’t really need to go to the bar yourself as the waiters took care of all your orders.For the desserts there was a nice little selection, I enjoyed a fruit salad and banana fritters. I must admit they were the best fritters I have even eaten at a Chinese. My partner went for a few helpings of ice creams and sponge cakes. My partner being a meat eater tried a few more dishes than me and even he really enjoyed the food. So all in all paying more than we normally do was worth it for our lovely meal. Price and Availability:Lunch – Monday – ThursdayAdults: £7.99Children under 11 years or under 135 cm £ 5.49Friday – SundayAdults: £8.99Children under 11 years or under 135cm £ 5.99Dinner –Monday – ThursdayAdults: £11.49children under 11 years or under 135 cm £ 6.49Friday – SundayAdults: £ 13.49 per personchildren under 11 years or under 135 cm £ 7.49Overall:For me I really enjoyed the food, it was cooked well and tasted lovely. When I go back to Edinburgh I will certainly be visiting here again! The drinks were reasonable priced, the whole ambiance was great and I was comfortable which really does go along way. The restaurant is also wheelchair friendly.Five out of five stars from me.Thank you for reading. Additional Information: Opening Times – 11:45 till 23:00 hoursJimmy Chung’s,17 Waverley BridgeEdinburghEH1 1BQTel: 0131 556 3313Fax: 0131 556 3393E-mail: email@example.com/waverley-location/
by firstname.lastname@example.org. on October 27, 2012
There really is so many wonderful places to visit around Edinburgh however museums wasn't on my 'to see' list. As we was walking back from sightseeing we came across the National Museum, it just started to rain so we thought to kill some time why not go in?National Museum of Scotland:'From the age of dinosaurs to the technology of the future, our galleries contain treasures from around the world. From meteorites to monsters from the deep, our natural world galleries tell the story of our planet, while our world cultures gallery link people and possession across the globe.'- www.nms.ac.ukMost of the museums around Edinburgh are free admission so it is a great way to have a few hours out and keeping the spending low. From the outside I didn't think the museum was going to be as big as it was, it was like Alice stepping into wonderland as you walked through the doors.When I walked in the first thing that hit me was the size of the museum, it was clean, bright and well just so much to see and take in. The museum is spaced out over several floors; and sections on each floor had different exhibits to see. Pretty much things from all around the world, past, space and pre-historic times. I personally went into my own little bubble going around the museum in other words I geeked out!Inside despite there being a lot to see it was spacious, disabled friendly with good sized lifts to each floor. All items were set out well and weren't stuffed together, which was great as the public could see everything they wanted. Around the museum there were also places you could sit and several toilets dotted around which were again spacious, clean and with mother and baby facility.There was also a cafe which I must admit was on the pricey side but as we didn't pay for admission we didn't mind paying. For a large slice of cake and two cups of tea it came to just under £10.00, the carrot cake was scrumptious and tasted homemade which I really liked.I can't really write about everything within the museum but one of my favourite parts to see was the space exhibit it had the map of the stars. The room lighting had been dimmed down to fit into the darker atmosphere of space. Wonderful light up displays and little educational games that were set out if you wanted a go.From the space theme it leads onto dinosaurs and pre-historic animals and creatures which are again something I find that interests me. The t-Rex bones that are there are moulded from some original ones! In this section again there were little educational tools you could do.The museums is based in eight sections -Grand GalleryDiscoveriesWindow of the WoldScotlandNatural WorldWorld CulturesScience and TechnologyArt and DesignPlease see for more in-depthwww.nms.ac.uk/our_museums/national_museum/explore _the_galleries.aspxAnother section I spent a lot of time in was fascinating mummies, which had a great selection of items from ancient Egypt another passion of mine. There was a great display of coffins, figures, mummified items, masks, jewellery and lots of interesting facts from around that time and some information on today's life in Egypt.If you do plan on visiting here I would in my opinion give yourself a good few hours so you can take everything in. There really so much to see and something to interest everyone, great for education for children and well just and interesting place in general.Throughout the year the museum hosts many different events having topic of month etc, so well worth looking to see what is on before you visit. It really was just so intriguing to see such wonderful/different/odd items from around the world. Even Dolly the sheep!The gift shop inside the museum was by the exit; well the exit and entrance doors are the same. The gift shop is a good size with plenty of gifts that relate to items that are exhibited within the museum. Price wise I personally felt they were a little pricey but other items rather reasonably priced up.Getting to the museum itself from the main Waverley Station it took us around 10 minutes, it is just off the Royal Mile. So you are out and about sightseeing in town it isn't going to take you long to get there.Overall:A nice place that I would consider viewing again, a lot to see and a great way to kill a few hours and the bonus is it being educational too. Free admission so great if you're trying to limit the spending while out, you don't have to purchase food from them as you can take a packed lunch if you wish. All in all I enjoyed my time here and would certainly recommend it.Five out of five starsThank you for reading my review.
by email@example.com. on October 18, 2012
Once all unpacked in our room me and my partner were both rather hungry so out popped our handy free map, we found Bella Italia just minutes walk from the hotel and the bonus of a 25% voucher. Entering the restaurant it looked wonderful as did the outside of the building. It had an old looking feel with different photos on the walls all in different types of frames. A waiter came to greet us straight away; he was lovely and welcoming and seated us at our table for two. The menus weren’t set out on the tables but the waiter came over with two even opening them ready for us.The menu was typed up in both Italian and English which fitted in well with the restaurant; you also have a choice of specials which were written up on the wall. The waiter left us for around five minutes so we could pick what we wanted to eat. I ordered a margarita pizza and my partner chose to have pasta and meat balls.As we were giving the waiter our order he also asked if we would like drinks, and well of course we did! His time keeping skills were fantastic, only a few minutes the waiter was back with our drinks. While waiting for our meals just observing the restaurant all guests seemed to be satisfied. It was clean, well looked after and all members of staff seemed happy which made it feel more at ease.We waited around 15/20 minutes and our food had arrived. My pizza was much bigger than expected but I was hungry so I welcomed the bigger meal! My pizza really was wonderful, nice soft, rich tomato sauce and the cheese was just right. So for me my meal really was five stars. Asking my partner what he thought of his main meal, he said it was nice however Frankie and Bennies are better!The whole ambiance of the restaurant was wonderfully fitting even down to the candle in the wine bottle on the table. The lights were down low to but you could still see fine, the tables were a little small and slightly close together but this all added to its cosy feel.As the waiter noticed we had finished with our meals as he was cleaning our table he asked if we would like to see the dessert menu. So as we are on our mini holiday of course we had to have a pudding! I and my partner always share a pudding as we never finish a whole one anyway so she decided on the warm cookie dough with vanilla ice cream.What can I say the dessert really was to die for, again like our meals was on the large side. Once we were finished it wasn’t long for the waiter to come take our plate away. We gave the waiter our voucher and asked for bill. Promptly as ever the bill arrived and for £20.70 two lots of drinks, two mains and one dessert is excellent value for money and the bonus really was the perfect service.Overall:Bella Italia is a chain of restaurants so I will certainly be trying the ones close to home. As we plan on going back to Edinburgh soon this is a place I will definitely be going again. The service was second to none, the food was scrumptious and the whole place just felt lovely. I really do miss this little place!The down side to this restaurant are that the toilets are upstairs and there is no lift facility, being that I have mobility problems this was a little bit of a pain. For wheelchair users sadly the area isn’t big enough for wheelchairs, there is another Bella Italia just up off the Royal Mile which is suitable.
by firstname.lastname@example.org. on October 8, 2012
I'm a person that loves anything spooky so after reading about different attractions within Edinburgh the haughty Edinburgh Dungeons certainly appealed to me. I loved the idea of live characters, for me it was going to like being in a creepy live play up close.We booked our time slot for 10am and from our hotel getting to the dungeons was only a short walk, as it is right by Waverley Train Station. Walking up to the building it didn't really look as creepy as I thought it was going to be, however looks can certainly be deceiving.The Dungeons also open at 10am the same as our time slot, we arrived bang on 10am and the door opened straight away. There was no waiting around at all, which was great for us as the weather in late September isn't the best. We received a warm welcome and were directed to the ticket booth.First off we had our photo taken, I was in the stocks and my partner was given an axe! As the photo was about to be taken we were told to scream. This for me started to the tour off well, we both screamed as loud as we could and was given an around of applause for our brilliant effort. After our photo we were given a ticket number so we could collect our photo at the end of the tour.At the ticket booth we handed in our printed tickets to the attendant, he was brilliant telling us about the tour and health and safety. Once finished at the ticket booth we were sent to the waiting room, where we would be collected to face our doom!In the holding room it was themed brilliantly and very suiting in the style of the dungeons, it had posters of whom we would be meeting and gruesome tales that happened around Edinburgh. Only a few minutes wait in the holding room, and then we were greeted loudly by the Judge! We knew then that is tour wouldn't be for the faint hearted.The dungeons are set in eight sections, the first one being the Judgement of Sinners. This is themed on the 17th century justice system. We were all seated in the dungeons courtroom, were the judge shouted at us for our crimes. There were a few guests, my partner being one of them that was singled out his crime was stealing underwear and his punishment was either death or being sent to Wales (he chose death).Once the judge had finished with us we were all then sent to the next part of the tour which was the Torture Chamber . This where madam torturer showed us what torture was like on the Edinburgh Royal Mile. Again this room was themed to suit, the actor was brilliant and again my partner was picked for the women to show how the torture tools worked. Even showing one that used to castrate men, then giving us a little smile telling us they were available from the gift shop!Now onto the third part of our tour, which also consisted of a little boat ride to our gruesome next destination. Sawney Bean Cave of the Cannibals! Riding down into the cannibals caves, in the dark we experienced many bumps along the way. There were screams, gust of winds, bits dangling down tickling your head. At the end of the ride we were greeted by Sawney Bean's children, telling us how much they will enjoy eating us! If you have even seen the film Wrong Turn, that is also based on Sawney Bean.Okay half way now on the fourth part of our terror tour, Burke & Hare the Business of Murder. Burke and Hare were notorious serial killers and grave robbers. They used to sell the bodies for medical research that the doctors had a no questions asked policy! Burke & Hare came up with a way to kill their victims without their bodies being marked. They have themed an operation table and a graveyard, which was all rather spooky and jumpy too!The fifth installment was Mary King's Ghost, based in 1646 at Mary King's Close on the Royal Mile. The streets were ridden with the horrid disease plague. A ghoulish figure appeared to tell us of the awful tales that happened there. For me this could have got the best performance award! Just a few minutes walk away from the Dungeons is also the real Mary King's Close!Our sixth treat was William Wallace, whom I'm guessing most people have heard of due to the film of Braveheart. The tale was told of the size of William and how he came to meet his end, the female actor played out her character well. But for me for such a huge figure this was played down a little.Seventh was the Drop Ride to Doom! This ride was our sentence at the gallows; we were all seated then raised up. At the top of the ride there was a video being played telling us of our sentence and we were all about to be hanged. Then all of a sudden with great speed we were all dropped!Then Labyrinth of Lost Soul was our eighth and last instalment, it was a glass maze where we had to try and find the exit. For a few minutes we were walking around the maze, with no hope what so ever but then a door opens up into the photo booth and gift shop.As we walked out of the maze we walked straight into the photo collection, there was two photos of us one on the ride the other at the start where my partner is about to chop my head off! We picked the photo we wanted and there was a different price deals. Ours came to £10 which was for a keying, magnet and large photo which was a good for the price in my opinion.And then after the photo it was gift shop time! The gift shop on the hold is average size in term for a gift shop. Many gruesome items and novelties, all set out sell and not over crowed at all. We purchased some sweets and two mugs. The shop assistant was lovely, asking us if we enjoyed our time in the dungeons and wished us well for the rest of the day.Price and Availability:Buying tickets via their website certainly gives you the best deal. Door price is £16.20 per adult and £12.00 per child, however online you save £6.00 per ticket. So for me and my partner is only cost up £20.40 which for the time we had was a great price.On there website they also do deal bundles with other places so well worth a look if you are planning a visit. Please check website for opening times as it changes through out the year.Overall:On the hold I had a great fun time it lasted around an hour and thirty minutes, lots of drama, the actors did a brilliant job in their role play. If going to Edinburgh again this would be a place top of my list to go again. From this visit I would also be interested in visiting the other Dungeons too. Hope I haven't given too much away, a place well worth a visit!The Dungeons do have disabled facilities but do only permit only one wheelchair at a time, there also toilet facilities if needed but no where to eat. However the Royal Mile just a few minutes walk from the Dungeons has plenty of places to eat.There isn't a set age range really as child tickets start from the age of 4! I personally think this is more suited to 8 years and over.
by email@example.com. on October 17, 2012
Going off to Edinburgh for the week I wanted a cheap place to stay, as I’m able to get discount in Travelodge that was the first place I started to look. There are a few in Edinburgh however I wanted one by the train station and the one that has now been open a few months was right in the place I wanted, bonus!Edinburgh Travelodge Hotel – Princes Street: My Findings:Getting to the hotel was nice and easy, plus speaking with the hotel before hand on there location. Personally a good job I called as it could be easily missed. As like some Travelodge’s it is built on top of another building. This Travelodge has been built on top of Top Shop, so if you don’t look up you really could miss it!Getting to the hotel from Edinburgh airport was simple; from the airport we caught the airbus which drops you right by Waverley train station in the centre of the town. From there you are only over the road from the hotel. The only problem at the moment is around the hotel there is a lot of road and maintenance work going on.When you find the hotel you think looking up at the building it will have a nice large grand entrance, however it is tiny and up the side street again so easy to just walk right past. I spoke with a few guests when arriving at reception that all was talking about how they missed the entrance and walked past. In Travelodge you can check in from 15:00, unless you pay £10.00 for an early check at 12:00. We weren’t arriving until 15:15 so we didn’t need this option. Checking in was simple and the receptionist greeted us warmly within minutes we were checked into our family room. Room 510, getting to the room was kind of like a mini maze as the hotel is built over shops and spread over two floors. You could either go up the stairs or hop into the lifts and we used the lifts the whole time! There were two lifts in fully working order.So now in our room, being that it should have been set up for two people there was only one set of towels, no toilet roll, the pillow case was ripped and no bag in the bin. So I went straight back to reception to get those things corrected and the receptionist was very helpful in getting this rectified. We settled into our room, which was rather cold this is where we found out the heater only worked intermittently! So we found it best to leave it on high and hope for the best. When we came to make a drink, the caddy trays had not been cleaned and there was also no milk. So again off back to reception I had to go. I must admit these things really bug me when staying anywhere!As we where going to be out during the day I left the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign off as I wanted the housekeepers to add fresh towels etc. And each day after our travels around Edinburgh it was nice to see the drink trays had been refreshed, clean new cups and fresh towels. For the duration of our stay 4 nights this was always done.One thing I hate when I stay anywhere is noise and luckily here we where at and end of a corridor and high up. There was no traffic noise even though the roads where busy; we didn’t here any noise from the room next door either.This hotel doesn’t cater for warm breakfasts; however it does offer you the continental breakfast box for £4.50. I personally do not think it is worth its money at all and there are plenty of places you can get a breakfast from which is much better value. There is also a vending machine in the reception area which contains chocolates, drinks, crisp etc again on the price side. On our last morning check out was simply, you can either hand your card into the receptionist or there is a slot on the reception desk you just pop your key into. So within seconds you’re checked out and off.Overall:For the money I paid it was fantastic, to start with we had to sort out a few bits but after that it was all fine. I would certainly go back again, the staff where nice and welcoming, room was refreshed daily and best of all the location is was central to a lot of places on our visit list.
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