Uncovering Inverness’s Hidden Charms: A Local’s 5-Day Guide

As you sit sipping whisky by the bar at The Gellions pub – reportedly the oldest pub in Inverness, dating back to 1841 – try chatting with the bartenders about obscure legends from Inverness past. Such tales encapsulate what makes Inverness so magical – a layers-deep story just waiting to be uncovered if you know where to look.

Top Attractions for Your Inverness Stay

Inverness Castle
Wake early and take the footpath along the river, watching the rising sun cast a golden glow over the castle walls. This fleeting moment of tranquillity evokes the long history within these walls.

Kessock Bridge
Moss-covered trails wind below the bridge, providing intimate views unmatched by crowded overlooks. Listen for the ethereal skirl of bagpipes, as if the muses honour this feat of engineering.

Urquhart Castle
Climb the Grant Tower steps just as Lady Rose’s beloved did centuries ago, stealing a secret rendezvous before she married the castle’s Lord. Peer through the arrow slit and imagine warriors storming the shores below.

Culloden Battlefield
Wander past clan headstones and hear a rendition of “The Skye Boat Song” float on the breeze, transporting you to the tragic aftermath of battle.

Botanic Gardens
Meander past riverside gardens abloom, pause to admire the vibrant purple rhododendrons contrasted against the emerald lawns and inhale the relaxing floral scents.

Must-See Day Trips Around Inverness

Loch Ness
Board a small cruiser and glide across Loch Ness’ glassy waters, the boat captain regaling you with tales of Nessie sightings over whisky tasting.

Cairngorms National Park
Traverse ethereal Caledonian pine trails, glimpsing the aquamarine waters of Loch an Eilein through the forest before emerging to spectacular Highland vistas.

Speyside Whisky Trail
TIP: Visit a whisky distillery on a misty morning and enjoy a private tasting experience in one of the cosy stone warehouses, sampling signature drams surrounded by oak casks. Choose between the famous Glenlivet, Glenfiddich or McCallan or pick a more quirky one like Dallas Dhu.

Black Isle Peninsula
Traverse single lane tracks bordered by vibrant purple heather, stopping to photograph uninterrupted views of the Moray Firth at Chanonry Point Lighthouse.

Glen Affric
Pause along An Caorann Mòr’s stepping stones while enchanting birdsong echoes through the glen. Dip your toes in the brisk loch waters before hiking on through mossy boulders and soaring pines.

5-Day Itinerary to Maximise Your Time

  • Day 1: Inverness Castle and Culloden Battlefield
  • Day 2: Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
  • Day 3: Whisky tour of Speyside distilleries like Abhainn Dearg
  • Day 4: Hike through Cairngorms National Park
  • Day 5: Stroll through Inverness’ Botanic Gardens

Follow this 5-day itinerary to uncover the most unique highlights of Inverness and the Scottish Highlands. From dramatic landscapes to experiences steeped in Scottish heritage, Inverness is sure to captivate you with its depth and originality. And if you need a base while exploring Inverness – consider staying at our Inverness Serviced Apartments with your own kitchen and living room. Slàinte Mhath! Slàinte Mhath!

clock icon November 30, 2023
The Natural History Museum

Uncover the Hidden Gems and Secret Things to Do in Kensington: The Local’s Guide

Kensington is a historic neighbourhood in London known for its world-famous museums and royal palace. But beyond these main tourist attractions lies a vibrant area full of hidden things to do in Kensington – you just need a local to uncover all the secret spots!
This insider’s guide takes you off the beaten path to discover the hidden gems of Kensington’s shops, architecture, gardens, music venues and more. Read on to explore this neighbourhood’s secrets like a local.

Meet Kensington’s Beloved Quirky Characters

Beyond its landmarks, Kensington’s is defined by some beloved local legends who give the area its quirky charm. Cheesemonger Chris the Cheese Man, for example, has run his stall at Kensington Market for over 20 years, supplying artisanal cheeses and fun facts.

How Kensington’s Evolved Over the Centuries

Kensington has transformed over various eras:

  • 1600s: A small village outside London
  • 1700s: Georgians built stately terraces for respite from the city
  • 1800s: Victoria era brought museums, shops and libraries
  • Today: A hub of arts and culture with intimate neighbourhood flair

Kensington’s Hidden Architectural Gems

Beyond the well-known buildings, Kensington hides architectural gems like:

  • Leighton House Museum: Arab Hall with ornate Islamic tiles
  • 18 Stafford Terrace: Elaborate Victorian townhouse
  • St Mary Abbots Church: 700 year old parish with Gothic details
  • Albert Court: U-shaped Victorian complex with iron balconies

Wander Through Kensington’s Secret Gardens

Kensington has gorgeous green spaces perfect for wondering:

Kensington Gardens – Don’t miss the sunken “Secret Garden” and fountains.
Holland Park – Peacocks roam the grounds by the serene Kyoto Garden.
Kensington Roof Gardens – An oasis three stories above the street that has, unfortunately, been recently closed down.

Trendy Vintage & Boutique Shops

Beyond the chains, Kensington has unique independent shops, such as:
Rellik – Chic recycled and vintage clothing curated by a designer.

Underrated Museums to Explore

Lesser-known niche museums in Kensington include:

The Sewing Machine Museum – Over 200 Victorian-era machines.
The Royal Air Force Museum – Vintage planes and WWII pilot stories.

Find the Cosy Local Music Venues

Intimate pub in Kensington host live music events:
The Troubadour – The legendary coffeehouse that hosted Bob Dylan himself.

Kensington’s Hidden Food & Drink Gems

Beyond the well-known spots, hidden food and drink gems include:

Lisboa Patisserie – Charming cafe with delicious custard tarts.
Queen’s Arms – Relaxed local hangout with seasonal fare.
Min Jiang – Elegant Chinese cuisine in a sophisticated setting.

Insider Tips to Uncover the Main Attractions’ Hidden Corners

Even at Kensington’s top attractions, hidden corners exist for locals:

Kensington Palace – Find the sunken garden oasis and King’s Staircase guarded by carved figures.
Natural History Museum – Escape the crowds in the genetics “Who Am I?” gallery.

Use this local’s guide to uncover the hidden gems, secret things to do, and insider spots beyond Kensington’s tourist attractions. And if you ever wondered where it is best to stay to be close to all that Kensington has to offer – explore our Kensington Serviced Apartments and experience this vibrant area like a Londoner!

clock icon November 30, 2023

The Best Things to See and Do at the Edinburgh Christmas Market

As one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe, this iconic Scottish festival transforms Edinburgh into a fairy tale city each and every festive season. With over 2 million visitors annually, the Edinburgh Christmas Market has grown tremendously since it began at the turn of the millennium.

Edinburgh Christmas Market 2023 Dates and Times

The Edinburgh Christmas Market 2023 runs from November 17th until January 6th, 2024 and this six-week festival brings Christmas charm to Scotland’s capital during the height of the festive season.

Market Opening Hours:

  • Monday–Sunday: 10am–10pm

The market stays open late into the evenings when Edinburgh Castle and the old town are lit up, creating a nostalgic Christmas atmosphere.

The Fairytale Location of Edinburgh’s Famous Christmas Market

The Edinburgh Christmas Market takes place in East Princes Street Gardens, situated right against the backdrop of the majestic Edinburgh Castle. The Gothic spires tower over the market stalls, ice rink and fair rides, creating a magical fairy tale setting not to be missed.

Nearby Calton Hill also offers breathtaking views over the Edinburgh Christmas Market and the old town skyline, particularly special at sunset. The charming location makes the Edinburgh Christmas Market a truly Instagram-worthy experience during the season.

Unique Attractions at the Edinburgh Christmas Market

As well as the traditional market stall delights, Edinburgh offers many special attractions:

  • Live Performances – Listen to traditional Scottish music and watch Highland dancers while staying warm with a cup of mulled mead (try it!)
  • Artisan Whisky Tasting – Sample fine Scotch whiskies and get gifting inspiration for loved ones
  • Traditional Storytelling – Hear ancient folktales from master Scottish storytellers in cosy forest huts.

Insider Tip: Weekday mornings are the best times to catch unique shows before crowds arrive.

Must-Try Food and Drink in Edinburgh

Indulge in these delicious Scottish treats whilst you meander your way through the market:

  • Freshly baked mince pies, shortbread cookies, and sticky toffee pudding.
  • Warm spiced cider and mulled Irn Bru.
  • Smoky Scotch broth, haggis rolls, and meat pies.

Best Food Stands:

  • The Wee Highland Bakery – Award-winning cakes, tarts, and pies.
  • G&T Bothy – Scottish gin samplers and craft cocktails.
  • Cranachan Kitchen – Sweet whipped oats topped with raspberries, honey, and whisky cream. A Scottish dessert staple.

Shopping for Rare Scottish Gifts and Souvenirs

Find truly authentic Scottish gifts and goods at the Edinburgh Christmas Market:

  • Woollen scarves, hats, and mittens from local artisans. Stay toasty during an Edinburgh winter – a must!
  • Ornaments handcrafted from natural materials like wood, granite, clay, and horn.
  • Shortbread, fudge, tea tins, and Scotch whiskies to gift to friends and family a taste of Scotland.
  • Celtic-inspired jewellery forged by local Edinburgh jewellers.
  • Framed prints and paintings by Edinburgh artists.

Tips to Maximise Your Edinburgh Christmas Market Visit

With so much to see and do, follow this 1 day itinerary to make the most of your visit:

  1. Start with a coffee and mince pie from the Wee Highland Bakery.
  2. Ride the carousel or ice skate when the market opens to beat crowds.
  3. See the Scottish storytelling show at 11am in the forest huts.
  4. Have a hearty lunch at Cranachan Kitchen. Try the signature cranachan!
  5. Shop for locally made woollens and whisky gifts.
  6. Catch some Scottish music or highland dancing in the evening.
  7. Wander the market at night when Edinburgh Castle is magically lit up.

Even during peak times, use the full market hours from morning to evening to avoid overwhelming crowds. Focus first on what’s important to you, then simply wander and explore the market. Savour a cup of mulled wine and the energy of the Edinburgh Christmas Market!

Experience the Magic of Edinburgh’s Famous Christmas Market

The Edinburgh Christmas Market brings fairy tale charm to this historic city each festive season. From exciting attractions to delectable Scottish foods and gift shopping, it’s a magical event that makes Christmas in Edinburgh a truly unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re travelling with family, friends, or a loved one, our Edinburgh’s Serviced Apartments offer a range of options to add to your Christmas getaway. Situated in the heart of the historic Old Town near Edinburgh Castle, it’s a perfect location to immerse yourself in Edinburgh’s Christmas activities. Wrap up, and come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year at one of Europe’s best Christmas markets! Edinburgh is waiting for you.

clock icon November 3, 2023
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