June 18, 2016

burley manor, the new forest

After a long old drive from Norfolk down to Hampshire, and the night before we were due to set sail from Southampton to Norway, we had the sheer joy of driving through the New Forest for stay at Burley Manor. I've only ever been past the outskirts of the New Forest in the past, on the way to the Isle of Wight, and have always wanted to have the chance to explore it further. Burley Manor just so happens to be situated deep in the heart of the area, so beautiful views are to be seen all around.
burley manor blog review
burley manor blog review
burley manor blog review
burley manor blog review

The rooms are the perfect combination of luxury details, understated yet vivid use of colour and gentrified furnishings. I also found the bed to be insanely comfy which made rising for breakfast in the morning a task in itself.

burley manor blog review
burley manor blog review
burley manor blog reviewburley manor blog review
burley manor blog review
burley manor blog review
burley manor blog reviewburley manor blog review

Dinner was of top quality too and we even had the pleasure of having a mini wine tasting session from the wonderful waiter who made it his mission to convince me into considering something besides pinot grigio for a change. Considering I was only buying two glasses worth and not a full bottle I was super impressed to be treated to some expert wine knowledge before our meal. I always think the staff make or break a place and as everyone we met was so warm and friendly it made the stay that bit more special. 

A stay at Burley Manor on a Bed and Breakfast basis will start from £119 in a snug room. To book or for more information see www.burleymanor.com.

June 14, 2016

norway fjords cruise: olden and stavanger

For the second half of our cruise to Norway, we stopped first at Olden, a tiny little village hidden between the mountains.  Although this was our first real taste of colder weather as the sunshine had decided to desert us, I really enjoyed the fact the weather was so mixed and gave us a feeling of each season in the separate locations. It was truly so magical to experience landscapes so vastly different from one another all within the same few days. If you've never been to Norway before and imagine what a traditional, unspoilt and quaint little village will look like, Olden is exactly that. 


The final port of call was Stavanger, on yet another bright and sunny day. If you're in the mood for shopping and eating (which if you're like me, is always) then there's plenty of trendy places to explore. Though be careful when it comes to food as I somehow managed to spend just over £10 on a starter sized portion of nachos. Stavanger really has it nailed when it comes to being everything I love about Scandinavian cities, ultra clean looking and decidedly monochrome architecture along with the odd edgy graffiti artwork and of course a huge amount of plants and trees. 


Stavanger's answer to a Scandi hipster version of Selfridges comes in the form of Høyer, and if you have cash to burn, it's unmissable. It just so happens that I managed to stumble across a rather pricey bomber jacket and kissed goodbye to an eye-watering sum all at once. Enter with caution. 


I truly had the most incredible and memorable experience in Norway, and having the luxury of being able to see so many wonderful places all whilst hopping back onto the Britannia at the end of each day was an absolute joy. I know only too well that cruising can have the rep of being an older person's thing, but I strongly believe it's a gem left to be discovered for younger generations and I'm convinced that it's by far one of the most efficient and enjoyable ways to travel. As for Norway itself, I'm already hoping that I get to visit again one year soon!