A chef adding salt to salmon

Top 3 Restaurants in Scotland you have to Visit

If there’s one thing you’re guaranteed to remember when reminiscing about holidays, it’s the food. If you don’t remember your food, then you’ve not experienced a true taste of the country. We explore the restaurants in Scotland you have to visit this summer.

Brea, Stirling

Almost as soon as it opened, Brea in the heart of Stirling’s historical centre began winning awards. It’s mixture of relaxed dining, excellent service and superb Scottish food made it an instant hit with both critics and the general public. Offering fresh, locally sourced dishes means you are guaranteed a taste of Scotland.  And not only that, they sell some of the finest burgers in the land, having been named winner of ‘Best Burger in Stirling’ at the Restaurant Guru Awards 2019!

Booking is highly recommended.

A view of Stirling and the castle

The Conservatory Restaurant, Inverness

Head onto the luxury hub of Inverness, the Kingsmills Hotel and spa, for a delightful evening in their Conservatory restaurant. Enjoy a varied menu of Scottish culinary treats such as Loin of Ardgay Red Deer, served with roasted parsnips and Pan Seared Scottish Hake Fillet, served with dill and lemon potato cake.

Totally tantalising? We agree.  Book your table here!

inverness over the River Ness

Asknish Bay Restaurant, Loch Melfortg

Located just outside Scotland’s seafood capital, Oban, enjoy world-class views and dining in the Asknish Bay Restaurant. Boasting two AA rosettes for their outstanding fine dining restaurant, this is a destination worth travelling to. Enjoy incredible local seafood such as Islay scallops, lobsters, langoustines and crab.

Book in for a fine-dining experience of a lifetime here!

oban view

 

Restaurants in Scotland you have to Visit

There’s never been a better time to hit the road and take a road trip to explore the best of Scottish cuisine. Scottish food is going through a renaissance right now – come and be a part of it! Not sure where to stay when visiting our favourite restaurants in Scotland? Check out this helpful guide here.

 

Read More

A photo of a beach and flipflops

Top Tips for Getting the Best Holiday Deals

With so many taxes and fees being whacked on at the payment page of a website, it can seem like you’ve already spent a small fortune before even booking your holiday. Looking for a budget escape away? Don’t worry – simply follow our top tips for getting the best holiday deals!

Book Direct – Best Holiday Deals

We cannot emphasise this tip enough – when booking your holiday, always book direct with the hotel you’re planning to stay with. Whilst rates may not necessarily be cheaper than when booking through the likes of Expedia or Booking.com, often booking direct with a hotel is inclusive of additional perks – such as a free breakfast.

Passport and sunglasses on a world map

Book Mid-Week – Best Holiday Deals

If time isn’t an issue and you’re simply looking for a lovely getaway, then consider booking a break that departs mid-week. Booking onto a Friday or Saturday flight typically tends to be more expensive, and that makes sense. It’s the time when most long-distance commuters return home!

Even when booking with a hotel, mid-week rates are typically cheaper as this is when people are less likely to stay.

A plane in flight

Always Book in Advance – Best Holiday Deals

Despite the age-old adage that it’s best to wait last minute to book a bargain, this does not ring true with long-haul flights. Long haul flights typically tend to point toward destination business central hubs (such as New York to London, etc.) and as such rarely come down in price, but can in fact actually increase.

If you’re planning to visit a particularly popular destination, it serves well to book in advance, not only to get the best price, but ensure you have a spot on the flight too!

Tips for the Best Holiday Deals

Stick by our tips and you’ll not be without the best holiday deals possible! Not sure where you want to go? Check out some of our suggestions here.

Read More

A view of York from York Minster

Planning Your Next UK City Break

Planning an escape away this autumn but not sure where to go? Don’t worry, here at Best UK Hotels we have it covered. Pick one of our top three destinations listed below and get planning your next big UK city break.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is the inspiring capital of Scotland. Centuries of history meet a vibrant and beautiful setting. Whilst in Edinburgh, you’ll discover stunning scenery, creative architecture and mouth-watering food. From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to Edinburgh Castle – you’ll never be short of things to see and do on your city break.

Edinburgh is known for its spooky history. We recommend visiting the Edinburgh Old Town – Edinburgh’s oldest neighbourhood – dating as far back as the medieval age. The Old Town’s small streets are lined with boutique shops, pubs and historical monuments.

Edinburgh festival

Where to stay: Parliament House Hotel

Situated just minutes from Edinburgh’s bustling city centre and train station, Parliament House Hotel offers visitors a cosy welcome to the city. This affordable Edinburgh hotel offers the perfect Scottish experience. This 53 bedroom hotel combines modern-day luxuries with touches of history, like a Victorian elevator. So check out their special offers and remember the mantra of this blog – always book direct with the hotel!

London, England

There is just so much to see and do in London – the capital of the United Kingdom. If you’re not sure where to begin, then it can be completely overwhelming. Cut down your exhaustive list for a day of sightseeing around the city. Must-visit attractions include The Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace. Rather helpfully, they are all within walking distance of each other!  So if you’re a bit of a shopaholic, then head on down to the iconic Oxford Street for fashion shopping galore. For foodies, cream tea at Harrods simply cannot be missed.

a view of london

Where to stay: Double Tree by Hilton (Victoria)

For a warm welcome and convenient location, the Double Tree by Hilton (Victoria) is a great choice. This hotel is just minutes away from the heart of the city, making it the perfect base if you’re planning to do some serious sightseeing. The hotel is ideal for easy access to central London and has great transportation links.

York, England

York, England is an up and coming destination. Having been voted Europe’s most favourite city in 2007, the city is home to Europe’s most visited street and has quickly evolved to become one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations.

Visit the JORVIK Viking Centre, a fantastic local attraction, exhibiting artefacts over 1,000 years old. The National Railway Museum is also the largest of its kind in the word, and to add into the bargain, admission is completely free. Of course, this is just a snapshot of all the wonderful attractions York has to offer.

York is a beautiful place with a fascinating history. York was also regarded as one of the two capitals of Roman Britain. So, sounds like your cup of tea? Then book your visit today!

shambles street in tork

Where to stay: The Grand Hotel and Spa

The Grand is classed as a 5-star hotel and spa and is widely regarded as the finest in the area. With a century of history behind it, this luxury destination is an absolute must-visit for history buffs. The hotel is just five minutes’ walk from the city’s delightful maze of medieval streets as well as boutique shopping spots.

UK City Breaks – Which One Will You Choose?

No matter what UK city break you pick, we are positive that Edinburgh, York or London will not disappoint. There is so much to see and do, you will have to plan carefully to make sure you don’t miss out on anything. The only question is, what destination will you choose?

Read More

Fireplace at Christmas time with decorations and tree

Christmas in the UK – a Claus For Celebration

Winter is when the days begin to grow shorter and the winter chill sets in. The UK is transformed from a bustling summer getaway to a wonderful winter wonderland. It’s time to get out and enjoy all the age-old traditions of a traditional Christmas in the UK. And while there may be no place like home for the holidays, by the time the festive season is over, you’re often in need of another holiday. If that sounds about right, check out our top tips for getting the best holiday deals. Book early and enjoy a Ho-Ho-Ho-liday with Christmas in the UK.

England: a Festoon of Festivities

England enjoys some good Christmas cheer. Spreading Christmas cheer from the West End to the far South, the English capital dons a special sparkle throughout the festive season. Experience the giant Christmas tree and traditional carol singing in Trafalgar Square. Enjoy the annual Nutcracker ballet at the Royal Opera House. There’s the outdoor ice-skating rinks or Christmas markets to walk through. And don’t forget the bright lights of the London Eye. London is transformed into our very own tinsel town.

What to do:

Enjoy some retail therapy with Christmas markets in Bath, Lincoln, Birmingham and Salisbury. Experience ‘squibbing’ at the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, take to the streets in Worcester’s Victorian Christmas Fayre and eat your heart out at the Slindon Pumpkin Festival.

Scotland: Scenic Extravaganzas

Edinburgh is famous for its hilltop castle, cultural festivals and Hogmanay street party. CNN has named Scotland’s majestic capital as one of the best cities in the world to enjoy a winter break. With a huge line up of Christmas markets, glittering lights, fairground rides and Europe’s largest open air ice rink, Christmas in Scotland this year promises not to disappoint.

What to do:

At the heart of the festivities, St Andrew Square will host a variety of live shows, festive markets, fantastic food and musical extravaganzas. If you’re looking for a quieter winter break with friends and family, escape the city with a Railway Holiday to the Highlands and discover a side of Scotland you’ve never seen before.

Wales: a Winter Wonderland

When it comes to spending quality time with family and friends, Christmas in Wales will ensure you get all you could ever want at this time of year. With all the charm of quiet village living, as well as the festive season madness of the bigger cities too, Wales offers anyone looking to spend Christmas in the UK the best of both worlds.

What to do:

Enjoy ghosts of Christmas past at a Welsh Castle. Take a walk along the Coastal Path or go shopping at the Swansea, Cardiff and Blackwood markets. Wrap things up with the Caerphilly or Llandudno Christmas Fayres. Take a Santa Special train ride in Llangollen and let the Abergavenny Christmas Food Festival leave you hungry for more.

Read More

Spooky room with spooky shadows

Spook-tacular UK Halloween Destinations

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, All Hallows Eve is approaching on the double. With deadly dungeons, haunted castles and a bloodthirsty history, enjoy heart-stopping tours, potent pub potions and ghoulish creatures with the most horrifying UK Halloween destinations.

Scary London

Are you ready to get a fright in London? Because at the top of any UK Halloween destination list has to be the Tower of London. As London’s most notorious prison famed for torture and executions in the days of yore, the Tower of London is full of wonderful historical horrors.

So if you’re in the mood for things that go bump in the night, then take a night crawl through London’s cemeteries. Walk the walk with Jack the Ripper Ghost Walks or brave the spookiest locations in London. There’s loads of horrifying events, eerie tours, blood-chilling venues, zombie dawn raids and costume scare tactics around. Make London your UK Halloween destination of choice…if you dare.

Haunted Edinburgh

If you’re looking for horrible history, then Edinburgh is one of the spookiest cities in the UK. Each year, Edinburgh plays home to a host of traditional Halloween festivities. There’s fancy dress and bobbing for apples. Trick-or-treating, making Jack-o-lanterns, chilling ghost stories and Halloween parties means Edinburgh will push your scare threshold to the limit.

So for a truly chilling Halloween experience, hop on to the Ghost Bus tour, or enjoy a night of the living dead with a City of the Dead tour. Celebrate Halloween at the Dungeons or relish in one of the many ghost tours throughout the city.

Ghoulish Wales

Steeped in a history of myths and legends, Wales is the UK Halloween destination of choice for all things paranormal. With haunted houses, haunted castles and haunted tours, Halloween in Wales will leave you breathless. If you’re looking for a spooktacular holiday destination, then Wales is it!

Deck the halls with home-made Halloween decorations, dive six feet under with Dolaucothi Gold Mine tours. Search for bats at Tudor Merchants House and then enjoy spooky stories at the National Waterfront Museum and Dyffryn Gardens.

Spooky old doll makes a perfect UK Halloween!

Spooky Ireland

Take a walk on the dark side of Northern Ireland this Halloween. Are you looking for scary outdoor adventures, spooky family activities or horrific Halloween festivals? Northern Ireland is taking fright night to a whole new level. Visit creaky homes and haunted landmarks. Explore Dracula’s lair on location of the newest blockbuster. Mash things up at the Metro Monster Mash in Belfast.  Then get your scream on at the Halloween Howler in Lisnaskea!

So if you’re looking for a traditional, scare-the-socks-off-you Halloween experience, then book the perfect UK city break today. Experience all the horrors that UK Halloween destinations have to offer…and just hope you make it out alive!

Read More

A woman wild swimming near a waterfall

Wild Swimming in the UK

Wild swimming in the UK – it’s the new sensation sweeping the British nation and with Great Britain boasting so many platforms and terrains to try it out, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Wild swimming is the sport or practice of swimming in open natural waters such as rivers and lakes. With a summer heatwave rising temperatures across the UK of up to 28 degrees Celsius, it’s easy to see how wild swimming fever has grown in popularity.

Wild Swimming in the UK – Safety

Before you pull on your goggles and head straight for the lake, it’s important to remember that wild swimming, like any sport comes with risks. We share a few top tips for you to bear in mind when wild swimming in the UK:

  1. Never swim in canals and urban rivers. Asides from the nasty critters and bugs you can pick up in these waters, there’s also the risk of being injured by passing boats as well as being swept away by river rapids.
  2. Under all circumstances, avoid contact with green or blue algae. This sort of algae can be harmful to human health and is not something to be trifled with. If you’re unsure, we recommend staying out of the water. Always remember to cover cuts and scrapes with waterproof dressings before swimming to prevent any infection.
  3. Never ever swim alone. It’s also good practice to keep an eye on other swimmers and ask your swimming partner to keep an eye out for you if you don’t have great confidence in the water.
  4. Always have an escape plan. In the event you find yourself in a sticky situation, it is important to know how you will exit the water before you even enter it.
  5. Keep an eye on depth at all times. It is not advisable to jump or dive in shallow areas. Especially when wild swimming, make sure to wear footwear – there’s no smooth chlorinated pools here!

two people wild swimming under a bridge

So, where can I go wild swimming in the UK?

The Outdoors Swimming Society is a great authority to refer to when searching for your next wild swimming spot. Head on over to their website to find out if there’s a spot near you! In the meantime, you may wish to head to these popular wild swimming spots:

Have you tried wild swimming in the UK? Share with us your top tips for staying safe as well as your favourite spots in the comments! Keen to explore more of the UK? Check out more attractions in the UK here.

Read More

A view of Edinburgh's Old Town

Attracting Edinburgh Attractions You Have to Visit

If you’re planning on spending Christmas in the UK, then Edinburgh has been voted one of the best cities in the world to enjoy a winter break. And while Edinburgh may seem small compared to other cities, in terms of unique Edinburgh attractions per square mile, it’s top of the table.

The city is packed with amazing things to do. So unless you’re planning on making your stay a permanent one, you’re going to struggle to see even half of what’s on offer. To help you get the most out of Edinburgh attractions, we’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Edinburgh.

Greyfriars Bobby Statue

This wee dog has had a vice-like grip on the hearts of the British public since the late 19th century. Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye terrier who stood vigil at his master’s grave for years until his own death. In life he was dearly loved by the people of Edinburgh. In the intervening years he has done little to diminish that. His fierce loyalty has inspired books and even a movie by Walt Disney! A life-size statue was erected in recognition of his love for his master at the corner of Candlemaker Row and the George IV Bridge.

Over the past few years, it has become “tradition” for visitors to rub wee Bobby’s nose for good luck. Tour guides made this story up to encourage engagement, but it’s a load of old toot. Unfortunately, it has resulted in Bobby’s nose has lost its colour. This has resulted in the statue previously being taken away for repairs. So please, if you are going to visit him and his grave, then don’t touch the nose. He might bite!

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby Image title bobby’s bar by zoetnet is licensed under (CC BY 2.0)

National Gallery Of Scotland Complex

The Scottish National Gallery and the adjoining Royal Scottish Academy form a complex in the heart of Edinburgh city. Situated just off Princes Street, the galleries are Edinburgh attractions in their own right. They house a magnificent collection of both classical and contemporary art. The complex is comprised of distinct buildings, linked via an underground tunnel. Both are the designs of the renowned architect William Playfair. Also, the complex includes the Scottish Café & Restaurant, which boasts spectacular views of Princes Street Gardens.

The Royal Botanic Garden

This magnificent 70 acre garden is the second oldest of its kind in Britain. It is home to a herbarium, Britain’s biggest palm house, a tropical house, a terraced moorland garden and many other delights. The Royal Botanic Gardens also host many exhibitions. You can learn more about the beautiful species on display, and join a guided tour of the gardens. For instance, some tours take you through many of the edible plants that grace the UK’s countryside. If you are going on a camping trip, then that might come in useful!

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and the glasshouse

Image title Rhododendron at Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden by Karen Bryan is licensed under (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Our Dynamic Earth: Edinburgh’s Science Centre

Our Dynamic Earth is an amazing multimedia journey back 500 million years through Earth’s history. It’s located at the foot of Arthur’s seat near Holyrood Park. The science centre is housed in an ultra-modern tent-like structure and invites guests to take part in a series of interactive exhibits. State of the art technology brings it all to life with an amazing 360 degree full dome film theatre.

A view of Our dynamic Earth from Arthurs Seat

 

Read More

Things to do in 2020

The social circus in the UK today makes for a diverse cultural experience spanning the shores of Britain. But where to be in 2020? The taste for culture seems to be spilling from the pot of 2020. The samples of what to do in 2020 from this blog have barely skimmed the surface of how to experience the Great British culture. Best UK Hotels looks at a sample of young, old and cultured preferences.  The diversity of samples proves where to be and things to do in 2020 marks the cultural centres of the UK.

Race into Riches

Hear the engines scream, smell the rubber burn and feel the ground move.  The F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone is between 17 – 19 July 2020. See some of the world’s fastest cars and best drivers descend on the UK to see who takes the chequered flag. It’s a day of thrills and excitement, suitable for all ages.

Rewind All The Way to Perth

Rewind Festival is the ultimate hidden gem. Tucked away in the remote Scone Palace of the quiet village of Perth and Kinross, Rewind Festival is one of those events that fans consider a landmark of their year. It will take you back in time to the 1980’s! Previous stars have included Bananarama, Lulu and Paul Young. Enjoy camping out, dancing and drinking with all the fun of a modern day festival. Take your wellies, hats, neon paint and roll back in time with us, dancing and raving into the darkness as if time stood still. Or why not try the phenomenon that is Glamping? Take your style and suave with you into the raving, muddy fields of Perth. Rewind seems one of the ultimate things to do in 2020.

Perfect Pride In The Capital

Of the gazillion attractions in London – the shows, the tours, the shops – perhaps one of the most not to be missed things to do in 2020 is the LGBT Pride event. Having grown from a small festival of dance and celebration, the Pride Parade in London now is a cultural extravaganza that takes over the city, from Trafalgar Square to Oxford Street. Lose the stigma and this is now one of the hottest places to be. Immerse yourself in the music, culture, stalls and atmosphere. So this celebration of equality and pride is sure to have you grinning like a Cheshire cat and lost in the moment. Stay in the heart of the drama as this event commands the attention of its audience. Enjoy our tips for why booking direct is always more beneficial as a consumer to catch the best deals.

 

Read More

Orange and red leaves

Harvesting The Best UK Autumn Festivals

Autumn is the time when the leaves begin to change colour and a slight chill sets in. It’s time to enjoy the last of the beautiful crisp, clear days before the UK is transformed into a magical, winter wonderland. We’ve got apple harvests and harvest festivals to look forward to. Halloween is looming. And there’s even a hint of Christmas in the air. October promises to be a multitude of golden hues and golden festivities as the autumn festivals get underway.

Spooktacular Ghost Festivals

Halloween may not be one of the more traditional autumn festivals. It is, however, one of the most exciting. With deadly dungeons, haunted castles and a bloodthirsty history, All Hallows Eve throughout the UK is sure to be a horrifyingly chilling experience. London is full of historical horrors. It’s rich history offers up a number of tricks and treats. Take a deadly tour around the Tower of London, walk the walk with Jack the Ripper Ghost Walks or brave the London Bridge experience. You miss the terror of London only if you dare.

Table with halloween pumpkins, autumn leaves, sunflowers and a basket of produce

Food And Drink Festivals

Scotland’s breathtaking scenery and picturesque cities makes it our autumn festivals destination of choice. And with autumn being the harvest season, it promises a multitude of foodie festivals guaranteed to leave you hungry for more. If one of the many farmers’ markets or drinks fairs isn’t your cup of tea, master the malt with whisky tasting in Islay, or get into the swing of things with a Golf Break in St Andrews.

Baskets filled with various fruit at a market

Medieval And Middle Age Festivals

Enjoy a variety of mixed literature, fine and performing art, pop culture and comedy shows at the Canterbury Festival in October. Growing in size and stature, the Canterbury Festival now has its very own Fringe. It is one of the most important cultural events of the South East.

If you’re more of a medieval history fan, join in the celebrations and festivities of October’s Gwledd Cowny Feast. The medieval town of Cowny will play host to the largest celebration of music, art and food in Wales. The charming quayside, castle and medieval streets will be bursting with fun and flavour. It’s one of our favourite medieval autumn festivals!

Cowny medieval castle in Wales

Read More

Inside whisky distillery

Malt in Your Mouth Whisky Distilleries in Islay

Are you looking for a special UK winter getaway? Perhaps somewhere quiet and relaxing but with plenty to do? If so, then Islay might be perfect for you – especially if you like a dram or three. Islay is home to a number of world-famous Scottish whisky distilleries.

Since the fourteenth century Islay has been fermenting grain mash into smooth, distilled, traditional whiskies. An island ideal for growing barley, Islay’s pure water sources, fertile lands and abundance of peat has put Islay at the top of every whisky connoisseur’s bucket list.

5 Whisky Distilleries Off The Peat-en Track

Laphroaig Distillery

For over 200 years, Laphroaig Distillery has been crafting the world’s most richly flavoured Scotch Whisky. Join in a one-hour tour of the Laphroaig Distillery and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Laphroaig process. You can also test your taste buds in a flavour or premium whisky tasting with an experienced Laphroaig Host.

Exterior of Laphroig whisky distillery by the sea

Image title Laphroaig Distillery by Ed Wolstenholme is licensed under (CC BY-SA2.0)

Lagavulin Distillery

Situated in the picturesque Lagavulin Bay, the Lagavulin Distillery is well worth a visit. Take a tour of the distillery, watch the distillers at work and discover the rich peaty flavour of the Lagavulin magic. Nestled in a small and beautiful bay on the south of Islay, Lagavulin’s guided tours and local legend (Ian McArthur) will divulge all the secrets of their world famous malt.

Exterior of Lagavulin Distillery by the sea

Image title Lagavulin Distillery by Stephane Farenga is licensed under (CC BY 2.0)

Ardbeg Distillery

Since 1815, Ardbeg Distillery has been distilling their distinctive single malt Scotch whisky. To get a feeling for the true spirit of Ardbeg, you can visit the distillery where their whisky is crafted to perfection. With regular tours, a great shop and an excellent café, Ardbeg is a favourite among the whisky distilleries on the island.

Bowmore Distillery

Established in 1779, Bowmore Distillery is the first recorded distillery on Islay. It’s also one of the oldest in Scotland and renowned for its peaty flavour. Bowmore malts have been brewed the same way for over 200 years – carefully smoked in a peat-fired kiln. Bowmore itself is home to almost a third of the island’s population. Besides the distillery, Bowmore is well known for its white-washed houses, stone-built harbour and iconic Round Church.

Kilchoman Distillery

Established in 2005, Kilchoman Distillery is the newest addition to Islay’s famous whisky distilleries. It is  one of the smallest whisky distilleries in Scotland. Also, it holds the honour of being the first whisky distillery to be built on the island in 125 years. Set on a farm on the rugged west coast, Kilchoman has gone back to the roots of traditional Scotch whisky distilling. From barley to bottling, Kilchoman farms its own barley and is one of only a handful of whisky distilleries still practicing floor malting. Unlike other whisky distilleries, Kilchoman is the only distillery to complete all parts of the whisky-making process on site.

Visiting Islay

If a tour of Scotland’s most notorious whisky distilleries is for you, then you can book in to Islay Cottages’ self-catering holiday accommodation. Perfectly positioned in both rural Kilchoman and the main village of Bowman, you can make the most of Islay’s vast whisky presence in its small village setting. So make the most of your trip to Islay with great whisky, great accommodation and great views!

Read More