21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach – Winter is coming!

Hi everyone!

Gosh, the weather has been something else.

All over the world there have been storms, winds, and lashings of rain. Luckily, in Northern Europe, it hasn’t been too bad.

As you know, I’m travelling to the English countryside, and part of that has already begun!

Just to recap, I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire, with a few secret bits added along!

However, not all of our travels would be the countryside itself, some of it would be of English quirkiness, and one of those places is Blackpool!

When people think of England, they don’t really think of the seaside.

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

Come to think of it, they don’t think of the seaside in Germany either!

However, for many British people including myself, happy memories abide of going to the seaside as a child. Being that I’m from Manchester, the nearest beach would have been Blackpool!

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.

Victoria looking as cool as a cucumber, in the Philippines!
©Ruchika Shankar

England isn’t known for sunshine!

So what do you do on a cold, windy, rainy day?

On a beach.

In Northern England.

In Lancashire.

Otherwise known as Blackpool!?

Well, I’m going to tell you.

Here we go!

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WHAT TO DO IN BLACKPOOL?

Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

There are loads of things to do on the Blackpool beach starting with:

  1. Go to the sea: There’s nothing better than a day out to the seaside anywhere in the United Kingdom!
  2. Take a stroll on the beach: Believe it or not, Blackpool is one of the best beach resorts in the UK and is considered at par with beaches in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific coastline! It’s not going to be spicy hot as it isn’t Thailand or the Philippines, but the English seaside is crisp and fresh, you can run along the beach, and it’s absolutely free of charge!
  3. Have ice-cream: You can’t go to the seaside without availing yourself of a lovely 99 flake ice-cream whippy!
  4. Experience Blackpool Illuminations: The Blackpool Illuminations are world-famous and has been one of the UK’s greatest visitor attractions since 1879! It’s such a unique event that it brings in more than 3 million visitors every year! It’s a family seafront show of miles of traditional garlands of lights, models, figures, images and extraordinary 3D projection on the front of the Blackpool Tower building, and other buildings around the town. It takes place every night from the end of August until early November, and is free of charge! Is it any wonder that the Blackpool Illumination is known as the greatest free light show on Earth!
  5. Dance in the street: We ended up dancing in the street with strobing lights, a live DJ, embarrassed parents, and kids jumping up and down to disco classics!
  6. Have an exciting day at Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Let your hair down, take off your glasses Ho! Ho! and experience the largest number of roller coasters in the United Kingdom, at Blackpool Pleasure Beach – the most visited amusement park in the UK!
  7. Ramble through the streets and take the air: Although Blackpool became fashionable in the mid-18th century, Blackpool has been around since the Middle Ages when it was just a coastal hamlet, and has quite a number of interesting buildings and monuments!
  8. Go for a walk along Blackpool’s Golden Mile: The “Golden Mile” is the name given to the stretch of promenade between the North and South piers in Blackpool and is 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometres) long in length. It emerged in the late 19th century, when small amusement ride operators, fortune-tellers, and oyster bars set up in the front gardens of boarding houses and dodgy hotels, to take advantage of punters and passing trade, as well as the very high concentration of slot machines!
  9. Amass yourself in local amusement: Blackpool today is a very long stretch of family attractions, theme pubs, fish-and-chip shops, amusement arcades, souvenir stalls, rock (candy) shops, and general seaside knockabout cheer!
  10. Use public transport: Blackpool isn’t just a town for modern jollies, but also has a lot of historical background by use of traditional old-time public transport! It may surprise you, but only three cities in the UK actually have an underground train system – London, Tyne and Wear, and Glasgow!  Most cities tend to use either the overland train, or the buses. A few use the trams! These seven (7) cities are London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester, and Blackpool!
  11. Take the Heritage Tram: The Blackpool Tramway dates back to 1885, runs for 11 miles (18 km), is the only surviving first-generation tramways in the UK, one of the few systems to still use double-deck trams, and one of the oldest electric tramways in the world! Not only that, but tram conductors are still very much in play. Wow!
  12. Go up Blackpool Tower: Inspired by Eiffel Tower in Paris, Blackpool Tower is a popular tourist attraction and opened in 1894! It’s 518 feet (158 metre) tall and is the 120th tallest freestanding tower in the world!
  13. Frighten yourself at the Blackpool Tower Dungeon: The Blackpool Tower Dungeon is one of the must-see signature attractions of the Blackpool resort and a 60 minute journey through 1,000 years of Lancashire’s murky past. We’re huge fans of the Dungeon franchise and have been to many of them in London, Berlin, and Edinburgh, and they’re based in Hamburg and York too!
  14. Stroll along the promenade: Make sure to visit at least one of the piers as Blackpool has three (3) – The Central Pier, the South Pier and the North Pier. All of them are completely free of charge!
  15. Get excited on the Blackpool Big Wheel: You can find it on the Central Pier which opened in 1868! It’s also known as the People’s Pier, since it’s emphasis was on fun and dancing rather than genteel relaxation! There are fairground rides, amusement arcades, roller skating venues, bars, and theatres galore.
  16. Go on the Dodgems: You can find them on the South Pier which opened in 1893! It was known as Victoria Pier, contains a number of amusement and adrenalin rides and is only opened from March to November! It was originally considered more “upmarket” than the North and Central piers, as it had very little “entertainment.” Today however, it has an amusement arcade, live entertainment, and white-knuckle rides.
  17. Take a ride on the Venetian Carousel: The Carousel is almost a quarter of a mile out into the Irish Sea, and is unusual because it’s a two-tier-double-decker! You can find it on the North Pier which was built in the 1860’s and is also the oldest and longest of the three piers! Originally intended only as a genteel promenade, competition forced the pier to widen its attractions to include theatres and bars. Unlike Blackpool’s other piers, which attracted the working classes with open air dancing and amusements, North Pier catered for the upper middle class market, and had orchestra concerts and respectable comedians. Its attractions today include a Fortune Telling palm reader, an ice cream parlour, a theatre, a Victorian tea room, the Carousel, Merrie England bars, live entertainment, an amusement arcade, and a wide promenade deck that is still in its original Victorian 19th century glory!
  18. Visit the Winter Gardens Blackpool: The Winter Gardens Blackpool is a large entertainment complex opened in 1878! It has twelve (12) different venues, including a collection of theatres and ballrooms. The great thing about the building is the Art Deco architecture found everywhere, and the Opera House which is one of the largest theatres in the UK!
  19. Go on a donkey ride: Ha! Ha! You’d think that they no longer exist, but they still do! We saw a few donkeys on the beach taking kids for a ride. Even in October!
  20. Blackpool rock: You haven’t been to Blackpool if you haven’t got yourself some Blackpool rock!
  21. Indulge in fish n’ chips: Where would we be, if you couldn’t indulge in a portion of good ‘ole fish n’ chips? Eaten on the beach! Be careful though as it was so windy, that a quarter of my chips simply blew away!

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TAKE ME THERE?

The Tall Young Gentleman taking a very early flight on EasyJet!

Our holiday was half a family visit, and half a mid Autumn / Winter break!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, England is quite far from Germany, so of course, we flew from Berlin to Manchester!

We had planned just fourteen (14) days in the UK because of school commitments, but as I always advocate, be smart, use all the weekends, and make it work!

I’m no longer a fan of budget airlines, but I very much enjoy flying with EasyJet, so I booked our tickets with them. We flew Berlin Schönefeld – Manchester – Berlin Schönefeld, with flights being a speedy 1 hour and 15 minutes!

Being that we booked ahead, return flights for 2 adults and a 15-year-old “child” cost a rather wonderful €89.03!

Effectively, €30.00 each!

In fact, if I remember clearly, one of the flights for The Tall Young Gentleman was just €5.00, and ours was €12.00!

We booked it immediately!

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Blackpool Rock & cheese!

Mind you, the cost of luggage was €20.00 per person on each leg of the journey. It was still worth it though, but we tried to save money by booking only two suitcases instead of three, and on the way back found it very difficult to stuff all the chocolates, biscuits, and other gifts, into our already over-packed luggage. We were close to being charged a penalty of £50.00, but we made it work!

We certainly won’t be stingy with luggage anymore.

Phew!

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The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

As such, we started from Cheshire where my family live.

We were staying with my brother – The Writer – and took a train into Manchester. We then took another train from Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North.

I booked the tickets online and in advance. If you use the website National Rail Enquiries, it would give you the variety of available train options. Britain isn’t known for having cheap transportation, so the trick is to book well in advance!

Our journey took just a little under 2 hours with two (2) sets of trains!

Using the TransPenine Express train!

Cost: Warrington Central or Bank Quay to Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road or Manchester Deansgate – on an Anytime Day Single ticket – Adults – £6.20 each. Children (5-15) – £3.10 – Altogether  a lovely £15.50 on the TransPennine Express train.

Cost: Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North – Adults – £5.00 each. Children (5-15) – £2.50 – Altogether a fantastic £12.50 on the Northern Railway train!

You could of course take the bus-coach using the National Express or Megabus, but in this case, the trains were surprisingly, by far the cheapest way to travel through the North!

The trains are not as plush or as spacious as those in Germany, but if you book reserved seats, it should give you an element of comfort!

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IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Look! We’re all alone in Blackpool ‘cos there’s nobody here!

I didn’t think so!

Blackpool is a very popular British institution, but it’s not your usual destination for international tourists, so it’s still a little bit of a secret, but I’m writing it here.

Right in this here blog, so it’s not going to be a secret for very long.

Hurry up!

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WHAT IS BLACKPOOL LIKE?

British icons Morecombe and Wise, in Blackpool!

I was a little nervous as Blackpool has a reputation of being slightly shabby, tacky, and a little rough on the edges, but luckily, we had nothing to worry about.

Most tourists don’t really understand why Blackpool is so popular, but it’s part of our history and distinct English quirkiness.

We were only there for a night, but we could have quite happily spent another day.

We’ll do that next time!

Book your hotel here!

I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH VERY WELL.

Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles ready to help you in Blackpool!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

The locals speak with a Lancashire accent.

The type of working class English that you would find in Manchester, the Merseyside, Cumbria, Cheshire and certain parts of Northern England!

But don’t worry.

Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles, ready to help you.

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AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You’re not ging to live in this abandoned hut, so don’t worry!

Ha! Ha! It’s England. We’re cultured and civilised!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

You might be cheap, but I’m not!

Not. A. Problem!

If you’re ever going to find cheap accommodation in the UK, it’s in Blackpool!

In fact, I saw places going for as low as £16.00 per night!

However, we were definitely not going to be choosing that!

We also didn’t want to go to a bland franchise hotel which would be rather boring, so we chose the middle ground.

A Bed & Breakfast type hotel!

Book your hotel here!

WHERE WE STAYED:

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

After much research, I chose the family-friendly Rockcliffe Hotel.

I made our reservation via booking.com.

Use my link and book your hotel!
Use my link and book your hotel!

In many cases, I prefer to use booking.com because you can make hotel / hostel reservations, and cancel for free, if you’re not sure. Not only do I recommend them, but I use them myself! Note: I’m an affiliate member of booking.com. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

Sweets & Fudge at the North Pier – Blackpool
© 2017 The Blackpool Pier Company Ltd

After our holiday in Madrid last year, we decided to always get an extra room, or an apartment, so that our teenager doesn’t have to share personal space with his parents!

The Rockcliffe Hotel isn’t your fancy boutique hotel, but neither is it a spartan bunk-bed affair. It is what it says on the tin “a three-star hotel property 2 minutes walk from the beach!”

A Full English Breakfast at the Rockcliffe Hotel, in Blackpool

We booked two private en-suites rooms, with English breakfast included.

There was free WiFi but it didn’t always work on the top floor and was a little spotty, so you had to move around a bit to get into position.

However, The Tall Young Gentleman loved his room and our bedroom, was right opposite the sea, which I liked very much.

Cost: For the Third Floor Double Room with Sea View. With breakfast – £60 per room or £30 a pop!

Cost: For the Single Room (with a double bed). With breakfast – £45 per room!

You really can’t get better than that!

Book the Rockcliffe Hotel here!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

How to use the tram in Blackpool!

Blackpool is quite small and compact so that everywhere is walkable.

You could also use the trams, take a bus, hire a carriage, go horse-riding, or take a ride on a donkey!

The English Electric Built Balloon Car Heritage Tram in Blackpool

I recommend the trams as the trams are just so cute, and you actually get to meet and chat with the tram conductor, which in many cities, no longer exist!

We bought a 24 hour saver family ticket that could be used on both the trams or the buses, but not the heritage trams, for just £11.00. Note: It’s valid for 1 adult & up to 4 children, or 2 adults & up to 3 children. A bargain!

ANYTHING ELSE?

It rains in the UK!

Oh yeah.

It’s Britain.

It rains, so be prepared and take a raincoat or get an umbrella from your hotel or B&B!

MY VERDICT:

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!
©Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Blackpool is a seaside destination and great fun for the family.

It might have a dubious reputation, but if you look deep enough, you’ll find that it’s still as attractive and as historical as ever.

I wouldn’t leave Germany just for the chance of an English seaside, but if you’re in the North of England, and looking for a new British city to visit, go visit Blackpool!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Totally!

Let’s do it!

21 THINGS TO DO ON A BLACKPOOL BEACH ‘COS WINTER IS COMING!

At the beach under the North Pier in Blackpool!

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the great walks and sea experience we had are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Derbyshire, Blackpool, Lancashire, Yorkshire, & a secret location!

Yippee!

November is going to be smashing!

Book your Blackpool hotel here, or here!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!
21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming!

Have you ever been to an English beach? Would you go to the seaside in winter? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Red letter box in the village of Stanton – the Peak District – Derbyshire

So Autumn / Fall is going to be just so exciting!

As you know, I’ve been hinting about where I’m going, and now I can reveal the details.

But first.

Top 100 Best Expat Blogs on the planet!

A couple of weeks ago, I was featured as one of the top 30 most inspiring expat bloggers in 2017!

And then not long after, I was featured as one of the top 100 Best Expat Blogs on the planet!

p.s. I’m number 43!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

There’s simply no stopping me!

Isn’t that quite inspiring?

I’ve never been featured by other bloggers before, so it’s a real honour in my book.

Go have a look, and check out the other expat bloggers too.

Thanks so much!

Back to the British stuff!

How to be British!

As you know, I’m The British Berliner, and the British part is the fact that my original home country, is England.

You know the one.

Ye Olde England!

That’s right!

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

My original home town is Manchester.

Not industrial steel Manchester, but the leafy suburbs of Cheadle!

In fact, not far from my parent’s home is Abney Hall Park – the inspiration for country house life, and indeed, many of the scenes – of Agatha Christie!

Makers Market in Cheadle Village

What I’m trying to say is that even though I sound as if I come from the manicured landscapes of Surrey, I’m actually from the North of England!

And what was once the suburbs of Greater Manchester in Lancashire, is also part of the suburbs of Cheshire!

Follow the path and route in Cheshire

If you would like to know a little bit about England just follow the links below:

And of course, if you want to read about Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

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I had plans to go to Russia…!

Let’s make a re-cap on where I’ve been to, in 2017 so far:

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

HOLLAND:

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

I went skiing in January, but I didn’t actually write about it. Oops!

 

Here’s what I wrote previously…

At the Vienna Opera Ball.
@ WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud/Couture Vivienne Westwood

AUSTRIA:

CROATIA:

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

SLOVENIA:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

UK:

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

GERMANY:

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!
© Enrico Verworner
Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz

Book your hotel here!

Now that’s out of the way, let’s move forward.

OMG!

EXCITING NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. ISN’T THAT SPIFFING!

All you need is, some strawberries, a picnic hamper & a bottle of Pimms!
©British Tourist Authority

I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

CHESHIRE:

Tegg’s Nose in Cheshire
©Visit Chester & Cheshire / NWDA

I grew up in Cheadle, a suburban village in what was then known as Greater Manchester, and when my brother and I went to university, my family moved to Cheshire.

Cheshire is an Anglo-Saxon settlement first thought to have been created by King Edward (Edward the Elder) in AD920. The county is in the country (the country-side) and is mostly rural, with small towns and villages supporting the local agriculture and industry, and so we have horses not too far away!

I’ve written about it before, but it’s such a lovely place that I’m going to show you around a bit more!

Book your hotel here!

STAFFORDSHIRE:

Walking on The Roaches – Staffordshire

Staffordshire is a county in the West Midlands of England.

It adjoins Cheshire to the north-west, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the south-east, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, and Shropshire to the west!

The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of the West Midlands, parts of Derbyshire, and in the area now known as the Black Country.

Black Country Industrial Scene
©Edwin Butler Bayliss (1874–1950) – Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage

The Black Country is a region of the West Midlands in England, and commonly refers to all or part of the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. It’s so-called, because during the Industrial Revolution, this part of the country became one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coal mines, coking, iron foundries, glass factories, brickworks and steel mills producing a high level of air pollution, thus turning the air black!

Staffordshire has many small towns, and we’ll be going to the  Northern part of it.

Book your hotel here!

MANCHESTER:

Imperial War Museum North – Manchester

Manchester really needs no introduction, but if you insist…

Manchester began as a Roman fort called Mamucium or Mancunium, in about AD 79 and was historically a part of Lancashire, and until the 20th century, became a part of Cheshire.

The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the South, the Pennines to the North and East, and an arc of little towns surrounding it!

In fact, where I grew up, is technically no longer known as Manchester, but Cheshire!

Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, bringing extreme wealth to Manchester, and making it the first industrialised city in the world!

Now even though I’m a Mancunian, I haven’t lived in Manchester since I went to university!

I haven’t been back to Manchester for quite some time!

And that’s quite some time ago!

So we’re going to do some day-trips.

I’m planning to visit some cultural galleries and museums, check out the night life, drink cocktails on Canal Street – Manchester’s Gay Village – and chill out by the canals.

Yippee!

Book your hotel here!

BLACKPOOL:

Blackpool – A seaside resort on the coast of North West England!

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.

Blackpool faces the Irish Sea between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, and is 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bolton, 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester, and has a population of about 142,065 people!

Throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire’s Hundred of Amounderness, and remained so until the mid-18th century when it became fashionable to travel to the coast in the summer, for a bit of seaside air and the attraction of a sandy beach!

Beauty Queens in 1950’s Blackpool

Blackpool rose to prominence when a railway was built in the 1840’s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. By 1881, Blackpool was a booming resort complete with piers, fortune-tellers, public houses, trams, donkey rides, theatres, fish-and-chip shops, and was otherwise known as “the archetypal British seaside resort.”

Shifts in tastes, combined with opportunities for your ordinary Brit to travel abroad, affected Blackpool’s status as a leading resort in the late 20th century, and it fell to tacky, shabby decay.

In fact, I haven’t been there myself since I was twelve (12) years old, and found £5.00 in the sand!

We spent all our money on Blackpool Rock!
@Kate Hopkins

I was enormously pleased I can tell you, so my brothers and I spent it all on Blackpool Rock!

However, lots of money has been ploughed into it, and quite frankly, Northerners haven’t been deterred by it’s less than reputable past. In fact, at one time, it was billed as England’s answer to Las Vegas!

In 1954, Blackpool enjoyed a tourist boom and attracted up to 17 million visitors a year!

Blackpool’s major attractions and landmarks these days include Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, the Winter Gardens, its sandy beaches, and the UK’s only surviving first-generation tramway!

We’ll be out there to see what all the fuss is about!

Book your hotel here!

DERBYSHIRE:

Winnats Pass, Hope Valley – Derbyshire

Derbyshire, otherwise known as Derbys or Derbs, is a county in the East Midlands of England.

The county contains part of the National Forest, and borders on Greater Manchester to the northwest, West Yorkshire to the north, South Yorkshire to the northeast, Nottinghamshire to the east, Leicestershire to the southeast, Staffordshire to the west and southwest and Cheshire to the west!

Fischer’s Baslow Hall – Derbyshire
©Baslow & Bubnell Parish Council

Kinder Scout, at 636 metres (2,087 ft), is the highest point in the county, whilst Trent Meadows, where the River Trent leaves Derbyshire, is its lowest point at 27 metres (89 ft). The River Derwent is the county’s longest river at 66 miles (106 km), and runs roughly north to south through the county, and Church Flatts Farm at Coton in the Elms (near Swadlincote), is the furthest point from the sea, in the whole of Great Britain!

A huge portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire and the Pennines, and we’re going to be staying in a cottage, in the village of Baslow!

Exciting stuff!

Book your hotel here!

YORKSHIRE:

Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK!

Yorkshire, otherwise known as Yorks or the County of York, is a county in Northern England, and the largest in the UK!

Within the borders of the historic county of Yorkshire are areas which are widely considered to be among the greenest in England, due to the vast stretches of unspoilt countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

The emblem of Yorkshire is the White Rose, of the royal English House of York.

The War of the Roses – The White Queen!

If you are versed in English history, you’d know well the Wars of the Roses between the two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster – a red rose – and the House of York – a white rose. If you enjoy watching British cultural dramas, you might recognise the name in the wonderful BBC TV series – The White Queen!

I have happy childhood memories of camping in the Yorkshire Dales, but this time we’re going to be visiting the lovely historical city of York!

Book your hotel here!

WHY THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE?

Chelmorton in the Peak District National Park
©Simon Harrod

Even though it might not always look like it, we are actually outdoorsy type of people!

Ha! Ha! I’m not going to be climbing live volcanoes anytime soon, but we do enjoy horse-riding, sailing, hill-climbing, trekking, and rambling through the countryside.

One of the reasons that I chose Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire is not only because of nostalgic visions of my childhood, but also, because parts of it belong to the National Forest, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the North York Moors National Park, as well as the Peak District National Park!

Even though it might not always look like it, we are actually outdoorsy type of people!

Yep!

We’re going to be getting ourselves dirty, wrapping ourselves warm, and breathing in fresh clean wholesome air!

Book your hotel here!

ANYTHING ELSE?

It’s embarrassing! I have never been to York!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

You won’t believe it, but I have never been to York!

I know!

It’s as bad as when I didn’t go to Switzerland, even though Switzerland is literally next door!

Which way to the City of York?

To rectify that, I’m going to be working in partnership with Visit York in order to experience all that is best for an Original City Adventure in York, and the surrounding area!

We’re going to be using the York Pass, going on a hop-on-hop off bus, visiting historical attractions like The Richard III & Henry VII Experience, York Minster, York Castle Museum, and possibly, squeezing in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway!

Dick Turpin, the infamous 18th century highwayman!
©The York Dungeon

Since we’ll have a teenager in tow – we’re also going to be spending some time at the York Dungeon, the JORVIK Viking Centre, York’s Chocolate Story, and an interactive horror history experience organised by the York Theatre Royal! 

We’re going to have a wonderful time!

Book your hotel here!

EXCITING NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. ISN’T THAT SPIFFING!

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Visit York, absolutely all opinions, and the delicious Yorkshire puddings that I’m certain to have, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Have you ever been to the English countryside? Have you ever been to Northern England? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

A shepherd girl on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Chiara Marchi

Sloooovenia!

What a pretty little country it is!

We visited Slovenia in June and it was utterly new, making the countries that I’ve visited (not that I’m counting you understand!) to be 37 countries in Europe, 12 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, and 5 dependent islands! 3 countries (so far), have been new in 2017.

That makes a grand total of 64 countries and 5 continents!

I pledge to travel and to share others how to do so too!
#ExploreMore2017

From the moment we got off the bus and fell exhausted into our hotel in Ljubljana, to the time that we fell bone-tired, into the arms of a loving husband and father one week later.

Slovenia has been nothing but an utter pleasure!

And the locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.

And the locals in Slovenia have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful!

If you’re just joining, and why is that?! This is what I have written so far:

WHY SLOVENIA?

Dragons are everywhere in Slovenia!
©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

Book your hotel here!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do day-trips to other regions of the country, fairly easily!

  • You can be a craftsperson for the day, and learn how to be a herdsman or a shepherd in the Velika Planina
  • You can go hike up the Alps, mountains and waterfalls in Kamnik
  • You can take a bus or train out to Lake Bled. More about that in a few weeks!
  • You can go to the beach or even go wine-tasting!
  • You can get off the beaten path and discover the unknown parts of Slovenia

Even with 7 days, we didn’t have time to do that, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

This week, I’m going to tell you about the charming time we had in Kamnik!

KAMNIK

The Little Castle / Mali Grad in Kamnik – Slovenia
©A. Fevžer – Ljubljana Tourism

Kamnik, otherwise known as Stein in Oberkrain, is a town in northern Slovenia, beneath the peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps!

Kamnik was first mentioned in 1229, when it was an important trading post between Ljubljana and Celje, thus making Kamnik one of the oldest towns in Slovenia!

In the Middle Ages, Kamnik was one of the most influential centers of power for the Bavarian Counts of Andechs, and developed into a charming medieval town. Sadly, the only remnant of the Bavarian nobility are the ruins of two castles near the town center, and the Franciscan monastery!

Kamnik – Slovenia still retains it’s rich history and many cultural sights in the Old Town!

Having said that, Kamnik still retains it’s rich history and many cultural sights with the Old Town still very much present in the Austro-Hungarian style, as well as it’s surrounding area, representing a starting point for the numerous outdoor activities such as hiking through the valleys, hills, and mountains around Kamnik, and the breath-taking nature of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps!

Courtesy of Ljubljana Tourism, we were invited to go on a day-trip to experience what it was like to be a craftsperson for the day, how to be a herdsman or a shepherd in the Velika Planina, and to do a few hikes up the Alps, mountains, and waterfalls in Kamnik!

We took the local Kamnik bus in Slovenia!

We were supposed to take a local bus and make our own way to the city of Kamnik.

At first, we were a little confused as the bus station in Ljubljana doesn’t really look like a bus station, and is sort of in the middle of the road! And we thought we would be meeting our guide in Ljubljana, so we spent a bit of time wandering around and wondering where our guide would be!

Once it clicked that we were to meet in Kamnik, we found many a bus going in that direction. Our ticket was just €3.10 each, and the journey took about an hour!

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Our smiling guide – Matej Hribar – on the Velika Planina – Slovenia!

Once we got to Kamnik, our smiling guide – Matej Hribar – was there to meet us!

We shook hands and then drove through the village in his car to the next meeting point, which was to the Velika Planina cable car, and also to meet our lady cheese guide!

Unfortunately, I can’t remember her name. ‘So sorry!

Going up the Velika Planina cable car in Kamnik-Slovenia

The aerial cable car usually takes just five (5) minutes from the Kamniška Bistrica Valley at 560m, to the Velika Planina’s Šimnovec at 1419m above sea level, which we had to go up to!

Myself in the mountains of Kamnik on a day trip in Slovenia! With incredible views!

Even though we were in Slovenia in June, the weather was visibly cool and even rather foggy and misty, but the view was incredible!

And stupidly, for some strange reason, I opted to wear my nice orange suede shoes rather than my hiking shoes!

I mean, I knew that I was going hiking, and took my hooded jacket and rain coat, but it just didn’t occur to me to take my hiking shoes too!

I’m still smiling, even though my suede shoes were utterly ruined on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia!

Well, I paid for that, as my suede shoes were ruined and utterly soaked through!

Oops!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS THE VELIKA PLANINA?

A shepherd on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Aleš Fevžer – Ljubljana Tourism

The Velika Planina, otherwise known as ‘big pasture’ is an independent settlement of herders and shepherds on the Big Pasture Plateau, in the Kamnik Alps of Slovenia!

In fact, the Velika Planina is one of very few herders’ settlements of this scale, and is the largest shepherds’ settlement in Europe!

The Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia, is the largest shepherds’ settlement in Europe!

Wow!

It is distinct because of the homes which are scattered around the Velika Planina.

The wooden huts and barns on the Velika Planina, are single-room dwellings with oval roofs covered with pine shingles, and extended extremely low!

The wooden huts and barns are single-room dwellings with oval roofs covered with pine shingles, and extended extremely low, so that space is created for livestock to be inside the huts too!

Nowadays, there are very few permanent residents in the settlement, but every June, the local herdsmen bring the cattle to the Velika Planina, move into the herdsmen’s huts, and stay there until September, to tend to grazing cattle!

Grazing cattle in Slovenia!

Sadly, we arrived at the beginning of June, and were a little too early to see them all!

And so the hike began.

On the ski lift in the Slovenian Alps. But I won’t be doing it ‘cos I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic!
©Andrew Lloyd – Slovenian Tourist Board
The empty chair after I fell off the ski lift!

There is actually a chair lift that takes you from the highest summit in the Velika Planina at 1666m, and is used during the skiing season or for cycling and running competitions!

I don’t like chair lifts as when I was younger, I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic! It wasn’t pretty, so hiking down the mountain it was!

On the way down we saw many more huts, and hiking trails for trekking, sprinting, and mountain biking on the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

On the way down we saw many more huts, and hiking trails for brisk walking, trekking, sprinting, and mountain biking!

Ahoy! The path is rocky on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
©Matej Hribar

But do be careful, as running down the mountains and valleys could lead to breaking your ankle, as the path is rocky!

Follow the signs on the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

And if you’re ever lost, just follow the signs!

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The cheese lady, myself, The Tall Young Gentleman, and our guide – Matej Hribar – at the Preskar’s Hut Museum, on the Velika Planina – Slovenia!
©Matej Hribar

As part of our hike journey, we went to Preskar’s Hut Museum!

Preskar’s Hut Museum is a hut that exhibits the life of herdsmen in the 19th century. We were far too early in the season for the traditional herdsmen and workshops, but our guide – Matej – had the key, so we could venture inside!

And what an exhibition. Take a look at the photographs!

Shepherd’s tools at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
Shepherd’s churning jugs to make cheese, at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
Shepherd’s traditional clothing, at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!

 

In front of Shepherd’s traditional clothing, at Preskar’s Cottage on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!

We continued our hike and by this time we were pretty peckish, so to the Zeleni Rob Lodging House we went!

And in this lodge, we not only had a bite of lunch, but we also learnt how to make cheese!

Not your typical hard cheese but a Slovenian speciality called “trnič.”

Book your hotel here!

HOW TO MAKE TRINIC HARD CHEESE!

How to make Trnič hard cheese on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
©Jošt Gantar – Slovenian Tourist Board

Cheese making has a long tradition in Slovenia and the Velika Planina is particularly known for Trnič, which many consider the most romantic of Slovenian cheeses!

Trnič is a pear-shaped hard cheese from Velika Planina – which resembles a female bosom!
©Klemen Brumec

Trnič is a pear-shaped hard cheese made in the Velika, Mala, and Gojška Planina, in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, which resembles a female bosom!

In the 19th century, “Trnič” hard cheese was only made by the herdsmen, and was a symbol of love, given to a sweetheart as a sign of faithfulness, and also a promise of marriage! They were always made in pairs and decorated with the same ornaments.

The herdsmen kept one of them and presented the other to their beloved. If she accepted this gift, it meant she agreed to his courtship!

Our lady cheese guide showed us how curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!
First, the curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!

First, the curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!

Next, the clumps are shaped and kneaded into the shape of a female bosom!

Next, the clumps are shaped and kneaded into a dough. We found this difficult to do, as the dough is kneaded into the shape of Ahem!

A female bosom!

Afterwards, the trnič dough is decorated with patterned wooden sticks!
©David Lotrič – Slovenian Tourist Board
My own effort at decorating the trnič dough, wasn’t quite as good!

Afterwards, the dough is decorated with patterned wooden sticks!

The trnič dough is left to smoke over an open fireplace or dried in a warm, dark, airy space!
©Jošt Gantar – Slovenian Tourist Board

They are then left to smoke in the shingle over an open fireplace or dried in a warm, dark and airy space for about two (2) to three (3) weeks!

Finally, the trnič cheese is grated which you can just about see!

Finally, the trnič cheese is grated and sprinkled on risotto, porridge, pasta, soups, salads, or very thinly sliced and sprinkled with honey, pepper, olives, pumpkin seeds, or butter!

Phew!

Now for a bite of lunch!

We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaazing!

‘Remember when we had Štrukli Truffles in Zagreb – Croatia?

This time we had the Štrukli with trnič cheese and berries.

It was amaaaazing!

We needed to work off some of that delicious snack so more hiking was necessary, and a drive to the valley of the Kamniška Bistrica!

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THE VALLEY OF THE KAMNISKA BISTRICA!

The Valley of the Kamniška Bistrica in Kamnik – Slovenia!

The Kamnik Bistrica, otherwise known as Kamniška Bistrica, is an Alpine river in northern Slovenia.

The valley of Kamniška Bistrica Valley is named after the Kamnik Bistrica River, which is 33 km or 21m long!

The river is one of the cleanest in Slovenia and boasts a series of natural attractions.

I wasn’t able to hike on the Koželj Trail, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” did a short version, with our guide!

I wasn’t able to hike on the Koželj Trail ‘cos of the wetness of my orange suede shoes, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” did a short version, with our guide!

Look at the lovely gorges of Veliki and Mali Predaselj in Kamnik – Slovenia!

The valley of Kamniška Bistrica plunges from the south, into the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and is a very popular starting point for outdoor activities such as the gorges of Veliki and Mali Predaselj, and the 30 metre high Orglice Waterfall, otherwise known by the locals as Worglše, Orglice, Orličje, Orlišče, or simply, the eagle!

Look beneath your feet! It’s the beauty that is Slovenia!

What can I say!

Next, we had even more food!

I think I’ll postpone it and tell you all about it in a few weeks!

Myself & “The Tall Young Gentleman” on top of the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

That’s it for now.

See you next week.

Book your hotel here!

HOW TO VISIT SLOVENIA: INTRODUCING KAMNIK – A TOWN STUFFED WITH MOUNTAINS AND CHEESE!

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!
©Tomo Jeseničnik – Slovenian Tourist Board

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism, absolutely all opinions, and the trnič cheese that we made, are my very own!

I’ll be spending the summer in Germany!

Will you?

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

Have you ever heard of Kamnik? Would you spend your time hiking, being a shepherd, or eating cheese? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!