A week of healthy eating at Champneys spa resort Tring, Herts

Last month my daughter and I enjoyed a fabulous six-day spa break at Champneys Tring, a health resort and well-being retreat which is set in 170 acres of idyllic Hertfordshire countryside. The once Rothschild family-owned estate complete with a Downton style driveway impressed from the moment we arrived. Outside the front entrance is a dramatic, modern fountain. IMG_2118 (2)

Inside, the decor is modern, cool and elegant with an instantly calming sense of light and space. IMG_2120 (2)

Britain’s original health spa was established by eccentric naturopath Stanley Lief in 1925 at Tring and it’s the flagship property of the Champneys Group.IMG_1098

tring (2).png

IMG_1061
A frosty start to a sunny morning at Champneys, Tring. This was the splendid view from the patio of our Ground Floor Garden Room.

We exchanged the routine of work and the stresses and strains of everyday life for a week of healthy eating, exercise classes and treatments in the tranquil bubble of the spa.

relaxationarea2
One of the fabulous relaxation rooms at Tring
IMG_1142 (3)
The Champneys Plate

The Champneys Plate illustrates what a balanced diet actually looks like, showing how
much should be eaten from each of the three main food groups, with an equal proportion of 33 percent. The Champneys food philosophy relies on the principle of balance, moderation and variety and therefore, all Champney’s cuisine is high in fibre, low in fat and uses complex carbohydrates. For guests who are looking to lose weight, Champneys also has a Light Diet Menu and Plate offering 25 percent complex carbohydrates, 25 percent protein and 50 percent fruit/vegetables.

IMG_1170 (2)
One of my choices for a typical nutritious breakfast! Champneys soaked muesli with soya milk and added nuts. Half a banana, Orange juice, and for a treat  – a mini blueberry muffin.
IMG_1147 (2)
There was a wide range of hot and cold dishes available at the lunch buffet with lots of different salads and vegetables

IMG_1106 (2)

IMG_1115
 Three examples of the yummy desserts which were available at lunchtime 

At all the Champneys resorts the dress code is relaxed during the daytime and most guests wear their signature white towelling robes for breakfast and lunch, although for dinner smart casual wear is requested in the evening. At lunchtime, there is soup, a choice of hot dishes and a selection of colourful superfood salads. Desserts were of the healthy variety and came in small portions including an apple crumble, coconut rice pudding and fruit mousses, with the additional choice of fresh fruit or yoghurts. robe (2)

The spacious dining room is split-level with upholstered dining chairs and white linen tables, and the large French windows let in lots of light. We helped ourselves from the extensive self-service buffet for breakfast and lunch, and for dinner which is table service in the restaurant, there was a three-course meal with a wide range of healthy eating or light diet choices of starters, mains and desserts.

Dinner is a rather grand affair and on our first evening, a pianist was playing in the restaurant. I particularly enjoyed some excellent fish dishes which were accompanied by flavoursome sauces that certainly didn’t taste low cal but were the epitome of healthy, nutritious cuisine. Game and poultry are on offer and even some red meat dishes. Champneys take food intolerances seriously with plenty of gluten-free and lactose-free choices. There is no bar at Champneys Tring but they do offer wine or Prosecco with meals. We were very good and just drank copious amounts of water and soft drinks for the duration of our stay.

Incidentally, all meals are included in the price of the Champneys spa stay packages which make it excellent value. Guests could spend a whole week here and not pay anything extra unless you want to add treatments or drinks. Dining.jpg

IMG_1121

diningroom

Everything you could wish for in a spa is on offer at Champneys Tring: a 25-metre pool, a well-equipped gym, two activity studios with a wide range of classes and a host of thermal experiences. We spent a lot of time in the water during our week at Tring, as we attended Aquafit classes twice every day, and enjoyed using the Thalassotherapy pool and jacuzzi frequently too. One day when the temperatures were barely above freezing we even braved the large outdoor whirlpool for a very short while! untitledA separate area houses the large warm saltwater thalassotherapy pool which has glass windows overlooking the grounds and a wall of slate with a soothing waterfall running down it. The water is enriched with minerals like magnesium, zinc, potassium and iron to nourish the skin and aid the detoxification process whilst the pool’s hydrotherapy jets stimulate and tone. It was my daughters’ favourite place at the spa!

The surrounding 170 acres of gardens and woodland make Champneys Tring a peaceful and quiet place to relax and provides the opportunity for a countryside stroll. However, we only ventured out once for a short walk around the beautiful grounds on a cold and frosty morning when the sun was shining.IMG_1092

Detox-centre.jpg

The Marine and Wellness Spa is a new feature exclusive to the Tring resort with its own Reception area so we were keen to see what was on offer there. We booked in for a guided wellness “journey”, a combination of treatments designed to de-stress, detox, slim or rejuvenate. The full treatment lasts for two-and-a-half hours and costs £125, but we chose the shorter version which was £75 and included a foot spa, a salt scrub, an algae wrap and a session in the salt and oxygen inhalation chamber.Detox-salt-and-oxygen.jpg

My daughter and I have been guests at many different health resorts and spas over the years but Champneys Tring is the very best we have ever experienced for location, treatments, classes, food, facilities, and customer service. If you are looking to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul and beat the winter blues this place has it all and is highly recommended.

Advertisements

A visit to the Christmas Markets of Goslar, Hamelin and Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany: December 2017

I wish all my WordPress friends and followers a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

National Afternoon Tea Week celebrated at SIX Panoramic Brasserie, Cambridge : August 2017

IMG_0911 (2)

To celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week I sampled a traditional Afternoon Tea yesterday with two friends at SIX, the restaurant at The Varsity Hotel in Cambridge.

SIX is located on the top floor beneath The Roof Top Garden of The Varsity Hotel and Spa with its own terraces for al fresco dining and breathtaking 360° panoramic views across the Cambridge skyline.IMG_0900 (2)IMG_0910 (3)

IMG_0907 (2)
To accompany the Afternoon Tea we chose interesting tea blends from an impressive selection

IMG_0913 (3).JPGIMG_0916 (2).JPG

IMG_0917 (2)
We started with delicious finger sandwiches which included smoked salmon and watercress mayo, Coronation chicken, cream cheese and cucumber and ham and mustard fillings
IMG_0918 (2)
IMG_0925 (2) Before we moved onto the cakes we enjoyed warm freshly baked fruit and plain scones with strawberry preserve and Cornish clotted cream

IMG_0922 (2).JPGIMG_0920 (2).JPGIMG_0926 (2).JPGIMG_0930 (2)

We were spoilt with sweet treats at SIX which included a three chocolate mousse mini-dessert, a blueberry and custard tartlet, an orange and chocolate macaron and an indulgent dark chocolate truffle. I was delighted that we were able to order fresh pots of tea at no additional cost too.

IMG_0894 (2)
One of the spectacular views over Cambridge from the terrace at SIX

SIX is located on the sixth floor of this boutique hotel with floor to ceiling windows ensuring spectacular views of the historic Cambridge skyline. This is certainly a magnificent location for enjoying Afternoon Tea in Cambridge, and the food and service are of a high standard so it ticks all the boxes.

The traditional Afternoon Tea at SIX remains faithful to the classic combination of finger sandwiches, followed by warm scones served accompanied by clotted cream and Jam and a selection of sweet treats. I was particularly impressed with the extensive loose-leaf tea menu which featured many interesting and unusual blends from Ceylon, China, and India.

Vegetarian and gluten free Afternoon Tea options are available and booking is essential as all the food is freshly-made daily.

Afternoon Tea at SIX is available Monday to Friday: 2 pm – 4.30 pm at £19.50 per person or on Saturday and Sunday: 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm at £24.50 per person.

Afternoon Tea Week is an annual celebration of one of this nation’s favourite traditions. Whether it’s enjoyed in a 5-star hotel, or as a home baked treat, we British love the combination of savoury and sweet treats, accompanied by some of the 165 million cups of tea we drink each day in the UK!six

the-varsity-hotel-spa
There is also a stunning Rooftop Bar and Terrace at The Varsity Hotel which is open from 12 -10 pm (weather permitting)
SIX at The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Thompsons Lane,
Cambridge
CB5 8AQ

A celebration lunch at The Packhorse Inn, Moulton, near Newmarket, Suffolk : June 2017

Last week I had lunch at the award-winning Packhorse Inn with two friends to celebrate a birthday. It was a glorious summer day and our meal at this five star AA restaurant and hotel owned by the Chestnut Group didn’t disappoint. Moulton is an idyllic village located to the north east of Newmarket, and just beyond “The Gallops” where they exercise the racehorses.

IMG_0662
The Packhorse Inn is located on Bridge Street, in the picturesque village of Moulton near Newmarket, the home of horse-racing 
IMG_0631
These freshly baked rolls and canapes made an excellent appetiser
IMG_0638
A starter of blow-torched mackerel for one of my companions
IMG_0640
For my starter I chose Salmon and dill fishcakes with fennel salad
IMG_0642
Another starter of Quail with pea mash

IMG_0648
I chose a hearty-sized main course of veggie risotto 
IMG_0644
Another main course – Scampi with fries
IMG_0651
Sea trout with globe artichokes was another of our main courses
IMG_0656
Two of us chose the blackcurrant soufflé and raspberry sorbet for dessert
IMG_0658
Another dessert – Coffee and Chocolate bar with Guinness ice cream

We all enjoyed our splendid three-course meal from the a la carte menu which was beautifully presented. The bill came to £40 per person including drinks which I thought was on the pricey side, but then this was a birthday celebration lunch so it was well worth pushing the boat out!

IMG_0676-EFFECTS
The picturesque Packhorse Bridge at Moulton, near Newmarket, Suffolk

IMG_0675IMG_0667

IMG_0671 (1)
This pretty four-arched late medieval bridge spans the River Kennett on the old route from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds

The Packhorse Inn

Bridge Street

Moulton

Newmarket

Suffolk

CB8 8SP

Tel: 01638751818

http://www.thepackhorseinn.com

IMG_0666 (2)

 

Afternoon Tea and a spa stay at Wyboston Lakes Hotel and SPA, near St Neots, Beds: June 2017

IMG_0584 (2) (1)

Last Sunday my daughter and I enjoyed an excellent Afternoon Tea in The Waterfront restaurant at Wyboston Lakes Hotel and SPA, near St. Neots in Bedfordshire. To celebrate my daughters birthday we were booked into the hotel for the *Sunday Runaway spa package, (details below). Set in 350 acres, this modern 4 star hotel and spa, with a golf course and leisure centre is 2.8 miles from the market town of St. Neots.

wyboston 2
The Waterfront restaurant at Wyboston Lakes is in a lovely location
IMG_0578 (2).JPG
A choice of loose-leaf tea was available with refills at no extra cost
IMG_0580 (2) (1)
We were delighted to receive a glass of bubbly on the house as it was a special occasion
IMG_0581 (2).JPG
This traditional Afternoon Tea had everything we would expect and more…..
IMG_0588 (2)
The ham on brioche was a delicious twist on the usual sandwich selection
IMG_0590 (2)
The food was served on pretty pink floral china
IMG_0591 (3).JPG
The plain scones were served warm with strawberry jam and clotted cream
IMG_0586 (2) (1)
The Waterfront traditional Afternoon Tea cost a very reasonable £13.95 per person
IMG_0593 (2)
My daughter ended her meal with a complimentary cup of coffee 
IMG_0601 (2)
The extensive terrace area outside the lounge bar and restaurant

IMG_0596 (2) (1).JPG

wyboston 3
We enjoyed relaxing in the fabulous outdoor Hydrotherapy pool at Y Spa, Wyboston Lakes

*SUNDAY RUNAWAY Y Spa stay 

This Sunday night break includes dinner, bed and breakfast, and a full day’s use of thermal spa facilities on Monday which includes a two-course buffet lunch and a choice of one of the following treatments.

  • Y Spa Fresh Face
  • Y Spa Soothing Scalp
  • Y Spa Happy Hands

£119 per person

To book call 0333 7007 667 or email reservations@wybostonlakes.co.uk

 (Many thanks to Wyboston Lakes Hotel for use of the Spa photographs)

Wyboston Lakes Hotel and SPA,

Great North Road,

Wyboston,

Bedfordshire

MK44 3AL

http://www.wybostonlakes.co.uk

IMG_0623

 

  

Afternoon Tea at Cambridge’s cool new hotel The Tamburlaine

Tamburlaine-Hotel-Cambridge1578

Tamburlaine-Hotel-Cambridge1579-700x464
The Tamburlaine hotel is located on Station Road in Cambridge, very close to the railway station
2017-04-11 16.22.52 (2)
We enjoyed our traditional Afternoon Tea in the plush and luxurious Garden Room

2017-04-11 14.59.47 (3).jpg

2017-04-11 14.59.56 (4).jpg

Afternoon Tea was served on pretty bespoke china with linen napkins

2017-04-11 15.00.51 (3)

Unusually The Tamburlaine Afternoon Tea was served on a floor-standing three tiered stand

2017-04-11 15.00.54 (3)

The finger sandwiches were freshly made with delicious fillings of egg, smoked salmon, ham and cheese and cucumber

2017-04-11 15.25.33 (2)

The large freshly baked raisin and plain scones were served warm, and there were two of each

2017-04-11 15.01.00 (3).jpg

The top tier held a selection of gorgeous miniature cakes and sweet and tangy Mango Panna Cotta mini desserts

2017-04-11 15.25.40 (2).jpg

2017-04-11 15.25.07 (2)

The scones were light and fluffy and served with strawberry jam and fresh cream

This brand new four-star hotel is the first UK property from the Irish O’Callaghan group, who own four stylish hotels in Dublin. The Tamburlaine is ideally located on Station Road close to the rail station at the heart of the extensive regeneration of this business and residential area, which has now changed out of all recognition. The 155-room hotel had only been open for three weeks when I visited yesterday, and work is still ongoing inside and out. The staff are very friendly and enthusiastic and they gave us a guided tour after our tea. I noticed that the restaurant has an impressive fine dining menu which I intend to sample sometime.

By the way, the hotel’s name Tamburlaine references a 16th-century play by Christopher Marlowe, who attended Corpus Christi College in the city.

My friend and I were celebrating her birthday and taking Afternoon Tea amid the genteel grandeur of the Colonial-style Garden Room made an excellent start to her celebrations. With ornate Victorian wallpaper and gorgeous silk velvet sofas, this is an exceptionally light and splendid room with a unique style.

The Tamburlaine traditional Afternoon Tea cost £21.50 per person and is priced on the high side for Cambridge, so not the best value for money but the surroundings more than compensate with a strong sense of occasion. One minor quibble though – I was surprised that a selection of loose-leaf tea blends wasn’t available, although we could have unlimited tea or coffee to accompany the food. Highly recommended.

Tamburlaine
27-29 Station Road
Cambridge
CB1 2FB
Tel: 01223 792888

email: z.pearse@ocallaghanhotels.com

http://www.thetamburlaine.co.uk

A delectable Afternoon Tea at the Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa : Newmarket, Suffolk – March 2017

This week I had not one but two good reasons to celebrate as it’s the 2nd anniversary of the date I started my blog and it was a friends birthday, so we treated ourselves to a delicious Full Afternoon Tea at the Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa in Newmarket, Suffolk.

2017-03-09 17.43.18 (2)
The Bedford Lodge Hotel is located on Bury Road, close to the centre of Newmarket

 

We ate in the elegant Squires restaurant which although contemporary was the epitome of comfort and luxury that one would expect from a 4 star country house hotel. It was very quiet on a Thursday afternoon so we had the restaurant entirely to ourselves. The service was friendly and attentive, and we were offered limitless refills of pots of tea which I always think is a prerequisite of an Afternoon Tea, but unfortunately this doesn’t happen everywhere.

2017-03-09 16.09.03 (2)
The finger sandwiches were served on a 3 tier stand and were very generously filled with smoked salmon, ham and egg mayo

The food was freshly-made and served on attractive Villeroy and Boch china, with white linen napkins and tablecloths. The finger sandwiches had exceptionally tasty fillings and were generously filled. The scones were extremely light and still warm when served with the very best lemon curd I have tasted anywhere. In fact, I liked it so much I asked if they sold it in pots to take home. (They didn’t!) We also had both plain and fruit scones, with plenty of clotted cream and strawberry jam.

2017-03-09 16.39.43 (3)
We enjoyed warm freshly baked scones, plain and fruit served with lemon curd, strawberry jam and clotted cream

In addition to a delightful selection of cakes and sweet treats we also enjoyed a refreshing seasonal fruit sundae served with a dark chocolate spoon, which was a lovely touch.

2017-03-09 17.10.07 (2)
The next course was a fresh seasonal fruit sundae served with a dark chocolate spoon

Presentation of the Afternoon Tea was especially attractive and appetising. Although we had skipped lunch deliberately we soon ran out of room, so a selection of cakes were boxed up for us to take home to enjoy later.

2017-03-09 17.08.32 (2)
An exquisite collection of sweet treats completed our meal

 

 

2017-03-09 17.44.02 (3)
The elegant entrance to the Bedford Lodge hotel

We had a guided tour of the elite spa adjacent to the hotel which has superb facilities at surprisingly affordable prices, so we plan to book a spa day there soon.

Newmarket is the ancestral home of British horseracing and a unique town in Suffolk which is well worth a visit. The Bedford Lodge Hotel would be an ideal location to stay, and I’m more than happy to recommend Afternoon Tea at the award-winning Squires restaurant – which is open to non-residents.

Next time I visit I intend to try the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea which was a quirky twist on the traditional. Our Afternoon Tea was £18.95 per person which was exceptionally good value, and is served from 2.30 to 5.30pm, throughout the year. This stylish hotel is set in lovely grounds and there is ample parking.

I only have one minor quibble, and that is the tea was not loose-leaf which one would expect from a hotel of this quality, but a selection of teas were available (or coffee if preferred).

Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa             

Bury Rd

Newmarket

CB8 7BX

http://www.bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk

For reservations call: 0800 6522991

 

The triumphant return of Cotto Restaurant – now at The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge

This week Steve and I dined at Cotto in it’s new home at The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge. The reopening of this highly acclaimed restaurant has been long-awaited and much anticipated, so after reading lots of ecstatic reviews we were very keen to see what has been a triumphant return for ourselves. Readers we weren’t disappointed – as the food, the service and the ambiance were all delightful. The perfectly cooked dishes were well-devised with interesting flavour combinations, and the presentation was nothing less than fine art on a plate. This is special occasion fine dining at it’s absolute best!

cotto outside.jpg
Cotto is located at the front of The Gonville Hotel on Gonville Place, Cambridge
cotto1
The splendid and inviting entrance to Cotto can be found on the far side of the hotel’s bar area
cotto13
The tables had fresh flowers and I loved the chairs which were upholstered in crushed velvet
cotto16
The interior dining area was spacious and classy
cotto2.jpg
The Amuse-bouche featured mini-tartlets of hummus and Venison wasabi
cotto3.jpg
Black truffle and plain butter accompanied a delicious range of home-made bread
cotto4.jpg
This unusual centre-piece was certainly a talking point!
cotto6
For my starter I chose a piquant Loch Duart salmon and Cromer crab dish which had robust flavours including Soy, Wasabi, Ginger and Miso
cotto5.jpg
Steve chose the Gressingham Duck Terrine Parfait, with Spiced Apple and Plum Chutney for his starter ….

 

cotto8
and for his main course Steve enjoyed the Rack of Salt Marsh Lamb with Thyme, Rosemary and Natural Jus with seasonal vegetables

 

cotto9
For my main course I chose the Halibut with Olive Herb Crumb and Fregula Pearls

cotto11

 

cotto21 I chose ‘Chocolate Time‘ for my dessert – Papouasie Milk, Single Estates Dark and Milk Ice Cream.

The fine detail of this stunning dessert designed by Masterchef and chocolatier Hans Schweitzer was awesome. The plate was covered in a fine chocolate spiral which was so perfect I thought it was actually a design on the china !

cotto12
Steve chose to complete his meal with this splendid Cotto British Cheese selection with crackers and fruit. The cheeseboard included Vintage Barber Cheddar from Berks, Organic Meadow Brie from Bath, Wobbly Bottom Goat from Herts, and the Duke of Cambridge Blue from Cambs. As it was a special occasion he treated himself to a glass of Baros Port too !

 

 

Sublime, superb, and supreme are just three of the superlatives I could use to describe the Cotto dining experience. This is an inspirational partnership between The Gonville Hotel  and the restaurant. Now in the perfect location overlooking Parker’s Piece with the welcome additions of the hotel’s bar and car park Cotto can only go from strength to strength. We loved the design of the new restaurant which has been purpose built and is light, bright and welcoming, with décor which oozes taste and class. The attention to detail is obvious and the service is exemplary from a young, well-trained team who are professional, friendly and attentive without being intrusive.

 

cotto-18-2
The Bar at The Gonville Hotel

 

We started our evening with a Gin and Tonic at the hotel bar and with dinner Steve chose a dry white wine from Germany – Schloss Johannesburg Yellow Seal, and I drank Prosecco.

Booking in advance is essential  and prices are £65 for three courses (minimum) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and £70 on Fridays and Saturdays. Expensive yes, but well worth it for a special dining experience which never disappoints.

cotto-og-img

Cotto Restaurant at The Gonville Hotel

Gonville Place

Cambridge

CB1 1LY

Tel: 01223 302010

info@cottocambridge

Art, Afternoon Tea and Cocktails: London – January 2017

new-tate-modern

Last week I had a lovely day out in London with a friend to celebrate her birthday. We started our day with a visit to The Switch House, – the new extension to the Tate Modern gallery in Southwark which opened to the public in June 2016.

turbinehallfromviewing
The 360 degree panoramic view from the 10th floor of The Switch House at Tate Modern was a spectacular start to our day

Having skipped lunch we were looking forward to enjoying a full Afternoon Tea at our next destination The Wolseley, a café-restaurant in the grand European tradition located on Piccadilly, London.

the-wolseley
The ornate and beautiful frontage of The Wolseley
wolesley2
The Wolseley dining room is elegant and sophisticated with a grand atmospheric interior

In a classy and relaxed atmosphere we enjoyed The Wolseley’s full traditional Afternoon Tea, which had a lovely selection of finger sandwiches and small cakes, with freshly baked warm fruit scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a choice of loose-leaf teas. At £28.50 per person I considered this to be excellent value, as we were offered more sandwiches and a second pot of tea at no extra charge. Although this place is always busy the service is remarkably good because they have lots of staff. The ambiance is buzzing and it was a super place for people-watching! It’s good to know that their scones and pastries are made on the premises, with an ever-changing selection of cakes, which typically might include a Battenberg or Sachertorte. Everything was perfection, from the white linen napkins, the marble-topped tables, the silver cutlery and tableware, to the bespoke china. We felt that this Afternoon Tea provided a quality experience and it’s the perfect venue for a special occasion. Highly recommended if you are looking for somewhere to eat in London, but booking is advisable.

wolesley3-2
The Wolseley’s traditional Afternoon Tea was perfection and there was plenty of it!
2017-01-05-17-22-07-2
A nice touch to mark this special occasion – a  birthday tuile for my friend
2017-01-05 17.00.24-1.jpg
We enjoyed a tasty mix of finger sandwiches and were offered seconds!

The sandwiches were freshly-made and especially tasty with fillings of Chicken and tarragon, Smoked Salmon, Celery and Tomato, Cream cheese and cucumber, and Egg and Watercress.

2017-01-05 17.19.38 (2).jpg
At The Wolseley the freshly-baked scones were kept warm under a silver cloche

                        

2017-01-05-18-11-18-2
There was even a bespoke goodie box to take home our left-overs!

A full Afternoon Tea is served from 3.00pm (3.30pm at weekends).

First opened as a prestigious car showroom in 1921 for Wolseley Motors Limited, the venue became The Wolseley in 2003 and soon became the famous institution it is today.

g-s-1
We ended the day with cocktails at the fabulous bar of The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Kings Cross, London

logo

g-s-2gscott15low

the_gilbert_scott5
The opulent interior of the 19th century Gilbert Scott bar

The Bar at The Gilbert Scott offers flavour, ingredients and theatre and provides the ultimate cocktail experience in show-stopping 19th century surroundings. Guests are welcome for drinks on a drop-in basis, and although I thought it was expensive, it was well worth it for a special occasion.

Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. It’s Britain’s national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group. Based in the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art. Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world, and the new Switch House extension provides one of the best panoramic views over London free of charge, so it’s well worth a visit. As with the UK’s other national galleries and museums, there is no admission charge for access to the collection displays, which take up the majority of the gallery space.

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly

London

W1J 9EB

Telephone: 020 7499 6996

http://www.thewolseley.com

Scenic Travels along The Upper Middle Rhine: A German Road Trip – Part 2

img_20160906_1323169-2Part 2 of our German road trip along the Middle Rhine area, including Koblenz and Cologne, and a mini-cruise on a boat which was part of the flotilla bound for the spectacular Rhine in Flames Festival at Oberwesel, (more firework pics follow later in this post.)img_20160910_2145332-2

We continued our journey to Koblenz, one of Germany’s oldest and most beautiful cities, situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle.

koblenz-germany
We enjoyed this awesome cable-car ride which gave stunning panoramic views of Koblenz

1473438285235

One of our stops was at Rüdesheim on The Rhine, a romantic and picturesque winemaking town in the Rhine Gorge and thereby part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. We found it very busy in September and extremely popular with tourists.

rudeshine

I enjoyed another iced coffee and Steve had a *Rüdesheimer Kaffee, which he liked so much he brought home both the special cup and a bottle of Asbach brandy!img_20160908_1159542-2

*Rüdesheimer Kaffee is an alcoholic coffee drink from Rudesheim am Rhein in Germany  invented in 1957 by television chef, Hans Karl Adam. A delicious and popular drink in coffee houses, it’s made by adding Asbach Brandy and sugar cubes to a cup specially designed for this beverage. The brandy is flambéed and stirred for a minute until the sugar dissolves. Strong coffee is added, followed by a topping of thickly whipped cream sweetened with vanilla sugar, and finally chocolate flakes are sprinkled on top.

rudes-4

We couldn’t resist another spectacular cable-car ride to the world-famous Niederwald Denkmal monument topped by the iconic central statue of Germania, from which there is one of the most scenic views over The Rhine Valley. monument

On another day our travels took us to Beilstein, which must surely be one of the Moselle Valley’s most picturesque old towns, nestled on a beautiful stretch of the river.mosel-3moselle-1

Every nook, cranny and corner of Beilstein was visually charming, with it’s magical fairy-tale style architecture.

img_20160911_1459330-2

In the middle of our holiday came the highlight of our trip when we embarked on a mini-cruise from Koblenz to Oberwesel bound for The Rhine in Flames event. This firework extravaganza was really special, although it’s almost impossible to capture in photographs the magical atmosphere of being there and seeing the images live ….

img_20160910_1934549-2

img_20160910_2002217-2 img_20160910_2027067-3

As dusk fell we became aware that we were one amongst dozens of boats which were all headed for Oberwesel where the Rhine in Flames display took place.

img_20160910_2157550img_20160910_2154023-2

 

 

Prominent buildings in Oberwesel were floodlit which added to the spectacle from our vantage point in a boat on the river. The display lasted a full 30 minutes and was accompanied by classical music. We both agreed it was the most impressive firework display we had seen anywhere, and The Rhine in Flames more than lived up to our expectations.

From Koblenz we moved onto the elegant city of Cologne for a few days before returning home…..

cologne-cathedral-4
Cologne’s Cathedral – known as The Dom is located in the city centre and a famous example of Gothic architecture in all it’s magnificence

Cologne Cathedral is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day. Currently it’s the tallest twin-spired church at 157 metres, which dominates the skyline. Cologne is the fourth-largest city in Germany, with more than ten million inhabitants. Steve and I had visited Cologne before for the Christmas markets, and liked it so much we had been keen to return in warmer weather.

We found a busy ‘holiday’ atmosphere along the Rhine embankment with lots of river excursions, stunning old town houses, hotels/restaurants galore and a vibrant nightlife.img_20160913_1255494-2

img_20160912_1559301-2
We stayed at Das kleine Stapelhauschen, a quaint 13th century hotel in the historic Fish Market. A very central location situated on the banks of The Rhine and a big photo opportunity for tourists!

img_20160912_1930501

 

img_20160912_1931201-3
We ate here….just one of dozens of waterfront restaurants with terraces affording panoramic views of The Rhine

img_20160913_1601285-3IMG_20160913_1601367 (2).jpgimg_20160908_1701046-3

img_20160913_1408101-2

 

img_20160912_2100470-2img_20160913_2216433-2

A final beer and a final nightcap at the end of a memorable road trip! We will be returning to Germany in December to explore the Christmas markets of Hamburg.

img_20160910_1248052-2