You might know how to visit all your favourite buildings from the movies — such as Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire which became the Dark Knight’s Wayne Manor in Batman and scenes from Durham Cathedral which became the classrooms for Harry Potter and his friends. But what about famous gardens and landscapes that might be near you? If you’ve spotted a scene in a film that you’d like to visit, then read on we tell you where to find them:

The Dark Hedges, featured in Game of Thrones

The Dark Hedges are a row of beech trees that sit on Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland. They were made famous by Game of Thrones. They were first featured in episode one of the second series as King’s Road — the path that Arya took as she escaped from King’s Landing dressed as a boy, travelling through the Hedges to reach the Night’s Watch.

After the popularity of the show, the destination has become a hit for tourists. To locals, this is a surprise as it is a rural road in Ballymoney, out of the way from the main villages. The avenue is quite difficult to find though and there is to be more signs built so that it is easier for tourists to visit the spot. Local legend says that the avenue is home to a grey lady who walks between the trees as it gets dark.

The spot isn’t far from other tourist spots on the northern coast either. This is where attractions lie such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway. They are part of the popular Game of Thrones tours that are in Northern Ireland. The trees have been voted one of the world’s most beautiful places by the Architectural Design magazine too. They were planted in the 18th century and intertwine to create a mystical avenue. If you’re one for bright hues and colours that stand out, this might not be for you. However, the earthy tones of the trees are certainly spectacular.

Stourhead, featured in Pride and Prejudice

Made famous by the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice, Stourhead Landscape Garden in Wiltshire is not something to be missed. It is the place where Mr Darcy first proposed to Lizzie, before she made her exit across the Palladian Bridge. Work on the garden begun in 1740 and wasn’t completed until 1780. It’s since been described as a ‘living work of art’ — if that doesn’t convince you to visit, we don’t know what will!

A lake sits in the middle of the famous garden, making the destination truly spectacular. See a range of trees, from beech to Spanish chestnut, and explore the temples that sit close to the lake. Visit the garden in spring and you’ll also see rhododendrons in bloom, while in early summer you can enjoy the azaleas.

Alnwick, featured in Harry Potter

It was Alnwick Castle that became Hogwarts in the famous film of Harry Potter in 2001. It was also in the grounds of this castle where Harry and his friends learnt to fly their broomsticks. Students of Hogwarts walked through the courtyards and baileys of Alnwick Castle too, as they went about their day-to-day lives. Features of the castle were even shown as a path to Hagrid’s cabin and the Forbidden Forest.

The gardens that are joined to the castle are a must-see for gardening enthusiasts. The gardens are home to 200 different species of roses; see the Christmas Rose bloom in December and the English Shrub Rose open up in June. It’s wonderful all year round too, so you can enjoy brightly coloured water lilies in March and the delicate Peruvian Lily in June. There is also a large water feature that sits in the centre of the garden, which is something else to admire.

Venture over to the Poison Garden where you can see and read about plants that can kill. Educate yourselves on a range of flora that can cause death through pleasure or pain and see how some of the most popular drugs are grown. Just be sure to follow the recommendations that you do not smell or touch the plants, as visitors have been known to faint due to inhaling toxic fumes.

The Eden Project, featured in Die Another Day

This destination sits in the south of the UK, in Cornwall. It’s considered to be the world’s biggest indoor rainforest and is made up of two huge biomes — a Rainforest Biome and a Mediterranean Biome. It is home to the longest zip wire in England too, which flies you over the biomes to give you a birds-eye view of the spectacles beneath. In 2002 though, the Eden Project became Gustav Graves’ Ice Palace and high security lair in the James Bond film, Die Another Day.

The two biomes bring you an opportunity to see plants and wildlife that wouldn’t normally be found in the south of England. Experience tropical heat in the Rainforest Biome and discover over 1,000 varieties of plant — it’s even complete with a waterfall. Visit an authentic south-east Asian home too, as well as a vegetable garden to see how herbs, flowers and trees grow in the climate.

Soak up some heat too as you can feel temperatures from between 9 and 25°C in the Mediterranean Biome. This climate is usually well-known for luscious fruits and tasty wines. Take a walk through the iconic grass trees, see huge aloe veras and walk past tulips in the springtime. There’s also a perfume garden, which is filled with scented plants such as jasmine, roses, lavender and thyme.

Aysgarth Falls, featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

You can take a trip to the falls where Robin Hood fought Little John in the film. It’s situated next to the village of Aysgarth in the Yorkshire Dales. The falls are made up of three different waterfalls that are within walking distance. It was at the upper and middle fall that shot to fame in the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves film. You can pay a small, voluntary fee to get close to where the scene was filmed.

It’s a lovely walk on a fine day too. You can walk further than the falls along the River Ure to explore the village or Carperby and Castle Bolton as well, while in the spring and summer, expect to see wild flowers through the valley. Visitors have said that the site is best explored after heavy rainfall, when the water is most powerful and the falls look especially spectacular.

 

This piece was written by Suttons, retailers of vegetable seeds.

Sources

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/jane-austen-film-and-tv

http://www.edenproject.com/

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/travel/game-of-thrones-dark-hedges-in-antrim-voted-one-of-worlds-most-beautiful-places-35274545.html

https://www.alnwickcastle.com/explore/on-screen/harry-potter

https://www.alnwickcastle.com/events/broomstick-training

http://www.coolplaces.co.uk/places/uk/england/north-yorkshire/aysgarth/7841-aysgarth-falls

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/step-inside-worlds-most-dangerous-garden-if-you-dare-180952635/

https://where2walk.co.uk/yorkshire_dales/aysgarth-falls/

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/features/the-world-famous-garden

http://www.britainexpress.com/counties/wiltshire/gardens/stourhead.htm

 

The Pramshed

If you are getting ready to go on your next roadtrip, it is important to prioritise your health. This is especially the case at this time of year. After all, nothing can ruin your break quicker than falling ill. Keeping that in mind, read on to discover four important tips you should follow to maintain your health while travelling.

Car Seat Safety Tips

Tip #1 – Watch what you drink – It can be very easy to get carried away with alcohol when you go away for a week or weekend. However, this can be dangerous if you drink too much and you don’t know anyone. It is important to be responsible. After all, do you really want to spend a day of your vacation in bed? Not only this, but there have been many people that have blown their holiday budget in one night because they have overindulged in alcohol.

Tip #2 – Be mindful of sleep deprivation – It is important to be mindful of sleep deprivation. If you have had a long journey, it is likely that you are going to be short on sleep. A lot of people travel during the night to avoid traffic. So, once you get to your destination, make sure you catch up on sleep. This does not mean that you should take lots of naps, though, as this will only mess up your routine even more. Go to bed an hour or so earlier than you usually would once you get to your holiday location, and this will give you the bit of extra sleep you need so that you do not suffer the effects of sleep deprivation.

Tip #3 – You can indulge, but don’t overindulge – We have a tendency to go a bit crazy when we go on vacation. We tend to have a starter, main, and dessert, and then second helps, and that is only at lunch time! There is nothing wrong with indulging. You are on holiday, after all. But, be careful not to overindulge.

Tip #4 – Don’t forget to take all of your medication with you – The importance of this cannot be overlooked. You should grab your phone right now, and set an alarm that reminds you take your pills, inhaler, and nebulisers with you. The last thing you want to do is get to your holiday destination only to discover that you have forgotten your medication. If you are not able to give your body what it requires, you won’t feel 100%.

If you follow the four pieces of simple advice that have been provided above, you can ensure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible. You will be able to keep those illnesses at bay so nothing gets in the way of you having an amazing time.

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Hawaii has always conjured up a sense of luxury to me and as a child seemed totally out of reach much like a trip to Disneyland. I had no idea what properties were available on Hawaii and certainly no concept of houses for rent in Hawaii at all.

Hawaii

I have already via my blogging career visited Disneyland and in a year where I am making my dreams come true, perhaps I should plan a trip to Hawaii.

It’s all perfectly achievable and I have enjoyed looking at houses for rent in Hawaii.

So what tempts me to see Hawaii apart from the well-known warmth of the people?

1. Food

Any description of Hawaii culinary treats is so tempting to the taste buds.

The Pacific Ocean provides a wonderful catch of sashimi-grade fish whilst the fertile land provides a rich source of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Hawaii has seen many immigrants over the years from around the world all having their own influence on the cuisine so there really is something for everybody to savour.

Street food is out of this world for sure served on a paper plate and featuring everything from teriyaki beef with rice to the Japanese hybrid, spam musubi. You could also try loco moco breakfasts which is made up of white rice topped with a hamburger, fried egg and brown gravy. I am not sure what I think of that one but when in Hawaii …

I absolutely love how farmers markets are referred to as “Sunshine Markets” and the fertile volcanic soil makes for some amazing produce ready to purchase at a farm stand or market.

Relish the sight of colourful fresh fruits, flowers and vegetables. You will also find Hawaii-grown coffee, local jams and baked goods, macadamia nuts and pop-up restaurants too.

Be tempted by hulihuli chicken, gigantic papayas and avocados, coconuts, passion fruit and freshly-squeezed juices. Hawaii is a food-lovers dream destination.

One thing is certain, when you are in Hawaii you wil be saying “ono!” for all the right reasons as it means “delicious”.

 

2. Culture

Native Hawaiian culture is a big attraction. Island communities always have a unique way of doing things and Hawaii is no different. I might even try to learn a little of the native Hawaiian language and attempt to match the warmth of the  local community.

What I love about Hawaiian culture is how very rich it is as so many nations have contributed to it. It also has a lovely feel about it with the kissing on the cheek on meeting and the taking off of shoes when entering homes. I want to experience the “Aloha Spirit” up close and personal. This is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. That seems a pretty good way to run a life to me!

3. Events

The famous Prince Kuhio is honoured in March with special celebrations marking his impact on the island.

The following month, you can enjoy the Merrie Monarch Festive. This sounds a lot of fun as it promotes the art of the hula amongst other things.

From Spring right through to the start of Summer, the Mele Mei and Na Hoku Hanohano awards are held celebrating traditional music and dance.

Don’t think it ends there. In June, Hawaii’s first monarch King Kamehameda is celebrated.

The next month the Prince Lot Hula Festival makes a big deal of all things hula but in a non-competitive event that attracts people from overseas

In August right through to October all the major islands take part in the Aloha Festivals.

4. Natural beauty

As someone who loves nature, Hawaii has so much to recommend it. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream location. There are beautiful beaches with a diverse range of colours of sand, hidden sea caves along the Napali Coast and volcanic landscapes all of which are awe-inspiring sights.

I also want to explore at least a few of Hawaii’s 50 state parks perhaps  putting the Volcanoes National Park and the Kalaupapa Historial Park top of my list. Did you know that 90% of the 1,000 species found in Hawaii’s parks are found nowhere else on earth?

Adventure

Or course, I would be perfectly happy eating and exploring natural beauty but my family may want a little more adventure. Fortunately, this is also in plentiful supply. I can see my youngest son loving to try out surfing, scuba-diving and snorkelling. He is an adrenaline junkie and I think my teenage boy might also have a go. He recently expressed an interest in water sports which took me totally by surprise. My daughter may just be tempted to try paddle-boarding. By the way, if you have not read about Hawaii and the history of surfing, you should as I found it quite fascinating.

The really good news for someone who is not particularly sporty like myself is that there are readily-available lessons in these activities so you can be sure your children are safe and know what they are doing.

When it comes to adventures, I may well be tempted by a boat trip to watch the whales. I have always fancied that so it is high time it got ticked off the bucket list.

Conclusion

The more I read about Hawaii the  more I want to get there and enjoy that lovely culture whilst discovering the history of the islands too. I just need to work out which luxury retreat appeals to me most as the place to savour all those fine views and gorgeous food.

Australia is most definitely tourism worthy, but if you asked someone why, you would probably get a lot of different responses. Some will say that the absolutely must-do things in Australia involve shopping, checking out the local flea markets, looking at the antiques and the local delicacies. While some will say that the beaches which are a landmark of Australia are unmatched all over the world, and should easily be your top priority. With so much to do, and so many conflicting opinions, it might be hard to form your own one and decide what you want to see the most. Depending on whether you find yourself to be a bit more adventurous than the average person and seek adrenaline pumping action mixed in with a few thrills here and there, or you just want to lay under a palm tree and take it easy while sipping on a mojito, your holiday plans will probably look pretty different. However, no matter how much you may think you may have researched or how well you’ve planned out your journeys, you will most probably miss something, and when you get back home, it is definitely going to bug you. If this is your first trip over to the glorious land of the Kangaroo, then a guided tour might be just the thing you need to fully enjoy your holidays. Let’s look at just three, but absolutely quality tours, which are most definitely worth taking a look at during your trip in order to enrich your Australian holiday experience.

Australia

 

Image source: Pexels

The big walkabout

Officially named “The big walkabout with sailing”, the title is pretty self-explanatory and presents what the tour’s contents about rather well. Lasting a total of 25 days and visits to over 20 cities, it is most definitely worth checking out if you are starving for some good cultural enrichment. With preemptively sorted accommodation, included transport and “authentic foodie experiences”, it is most definitely an appealing option to the explorer within all of us. Oh, and don’t forget the sailing as well!

Image source: Pexels

Great Barrier Reef Tours

The barrier reef not only has worldwide fame for being one of the most beautiful things on this earth, but also being the largest living organism, consisting of nearly a whopping three thousand (2,900) individual reeds just off the coast of Queensland. Its majesty can even be witnessed from space, and the biggest living structure on earth most definitely lives up to its name. Needless to say, it is most certainly worth seeing with your own eyes. Tours for the great barrier reef can be found on https://www.reeffree.com.au/, so you can look into it and maybe even get your booking, way in advance.

Image source: Pexels

Kangaroo Island in a Day

What good would going to Australia be without visiting a renowned resting place of the iconic Australian Kangaroo? If you have a spare day in your schedule and happen to be fond of animals or just feeling a bit curious, why not make your way over to one of Australia’s most popular wildlife destinations? The tour starts in Adelaide, and you can make your way over to the island via ferry, coach or even air. When you are already there, you can expect a guided tour amidst the famous Australian Sea Lions, and a two -course lunch in a location which will leave you breathless in awe.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Winter isn’t just for ski holidays. In fact, it could be the perfect time for escaping to the beach. Here are just a few reasons to go away in winter rather waiting until summer to get your vacation in.

Winter Sun

Many places are still hot

There are lots of places to catch some winter heat. The likes of the Caribbean, South East Asia and Central America are hot all year round. Then there’s the entire southern hemisphere, which is currently in it’s summer as we’re having our winter. Those wanting a European holiday may struggle a little bit more – the likes of the Canary Islands are your safest bet.

Your body is craving the sun

A mixture of cloudy weather and reduced sunlight hours makes it harder for us to get our healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun. Many of us that work 9 to 5 jobs may not see the sun at all during the week. Vitamin D is important for our skin’s health. It’s also been linked to good mental health – too little vitamin D can lead to seasonal affective disorder and make many people depressed. A trip to a sunny location in winter could be just what your body and mind needs.

It’s cheaper

With less demand in winter, holiday companies often slash their prices to try and get more customers. You can save a lot of money on flights and hotels in winter as a result. Not only that, but you may be able to find deals on holiday items such as swimwear. Christmas is usually a little costlier, as people may be flying home to see family or spending the festive period on vacation. However, January through to March is always a lot cheaper. If you want to plan a budget holiday, save up for this period of the year rather than saving up for summer.

It’s less crowded

Less demand also results in many attractions and resorts being less crowded. This could mean not having to fight for a sunbed in the morning or not having to queue for hours to get on a theme park ride or being able to take a clear photo of a famous landmark or natural wonder without other people blocking the way with their selfie sticks and tablets. All in all, winter could be great for getting more done with your holiday. You’ll also have a more peaceful stay as there won’t be as many people crowded around the pool.

There are less pests around

In winter, you may not have to worry about pests like wasps and ants as much. These bugs generally only come out in the summer after long heatwaves. This could make eating out in the evenings a whole lot more relaxing as you’re not having to constantly swat away wasps or keep sugary snacks contained from ants.

There are still things going on in winter

The biggest downside of going away in winter is that certain facilities may be closed. Whilst some resorts and hotels are open all year round, restaurants and theme parks may be closed in certain areas. You may not get famous DJs touring the party islands and certain tours may not be operating.

That said, this is very much dependent on where you go. You’re always going to be able to enjoy the theme parks in Florida, just as there will always be restaurants to go to in Barcelona.

Besides there may be other things that you can only take advantage of in winter. February is carnival season in many Catholic countries, which can be a great experience. There may also be special Valentines attractions on running all the way throughout February. Visiting at the beginning of January may even allow you to experience some of the late festive cheer without having to pay full price as you might over the Christmas period.