The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

Yoo-Hoo!

I’m back from Sweden!

And what an adventure.

It was Wow!

This summer is going to be so awesome!

If you’re just joining us, I have plans for the summer. Fantastic plans!

Travel through Europe via FlixBus!

I’ll be travelling to Sweden & Slovenia. By bus. OMG!

I have a million things to tell you so I’ll be breaking the posts down. This week is about the absolute best things to do in Stockholm, and next week will be where we stayed and what we ate and drank. Oh goodness me!

After that, I’ll be giving you some details about my up-coming trip to Slovenia.

E-X-C-I-T-I-N-G!

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

But first, Sweden.

Today, I’m going to tell you why the winner takes it all, in Stockholm!

HELLO SWEDEN!

Sweden, really needs no introduction!

Sweden, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Sweden, really needs no introduction, and is a small Scandinavian country in Northern Europe.

It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest, by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund.

Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union with a whopping mass area of 450,295 square kilometres or 173,860 square miles, and a population of just 10 million people!

The capital city is Stockholm.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO STOCKHOLM!

The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!
The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic countries. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.

Stockholm has been a settlement area since the Stone Ages around roughly 6 B.C. and was founded as a city in 1252!

It is spread across 17 islands on the coast at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, and to the Baltic Sea!

Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government & the official residencies of the Swedish monarch & the Prime Minister!

Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government and the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister. The Stockholm Palace is the official residence and workplace of the Swedish monarch, while the Drottningholm Palace, is the Royal Family’s private residence.

Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. It is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita, is a very important global city, and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region!

The Nordic region is defined as Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, including their associated territories (Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the Åland Islands)!

The Nordic Nations are quite trendy and all the range right now!

I had never been to Sweden before as the prices used to frighten me, but right now, the Nordic Nations are trendy, fashionable, and pretty much all the range, and I absolutely adooooore ABBA!

In fact, I was actually supposed to go to Sweden for the TBEX conference last year, but opted to go to the Philippines instead!

And I annoyingly regret it now!

Book your hotel here!

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

I so wish I had been able to do both TBEX Europe & TBEX Asia Pacific, but it just isn’t possible as I have a family, and a respectable job!

Ah well! This year, I’ve chosen TBEX Europe. In Killarney, Ireland!

Exciting stuff. Back to Stockholm.

THE TOP 10 BEST INTERESTING THINGS TO DO IN STOCKHOLM. BECAUSE THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL!

Stockholm is a most fascinating city, that is why EVERYONE is here!

Stockholm is a most fascinating city of trendy music, design, fashion and technology. It also has a rich history comprising exciting architecture, museums, a medieval urban core, and is home to the Nobel Prize!

  1.  ABBA – THE MUSEUM:
There is a reason why millions of people around the world go mad for ABBA. it. And we were no exception. We loved it!

OMG! We absolutely loved it! I brought along The Tall Young Gentleman who at 15 years old, is sceptical about everything, and he loved it too!

At first, he whinged and whined, because as a toddler, he loved the music of ABBA, until he saw the film MAMMA MIA! And then he was totally turned off!

However, what he liked most was not ABBA itself, but the Good Evening Europe new official exhibition dedicated to 60 years of the Eurovision Song Contest!

In the first section of the ABBA Museum is an interactive exhibition that celebrates the story of the world’s longest running annual television competition first held in 1956. Yep! The Eurovision Song Contest! There is a reason why millions of people around the world go mad for it. And my teenage son was no exception. He loved it!

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest – Kyiv2017

And why?

Because of the songs, the singers, the live performances, the fact that you get to see Celine Dion with a hideous mullet but winning the Eurovision in 1998 for Switzerland, and taking off in her career, Ms. Conchita Wurst the winner of 2013 for Austria, the Irish Jedward twins in 2011, with the largest shoulder pads that TV has ever seen! Michael Flatley’s Riverdance for the very first time in 1994, and the fact that Ireland holds the world record for the highest number of wins, having won the contest seven times! Sweden six times, the UK along with France and Luxembourg, five times, and Germany, along with Austria, Italy, Spain, Ukraine and Switzerland, only twice!

Where would we be without ABBA who won the Eurovision in 1974, with Waterloo!

And of course, where would we be without ABBA who won the Eurovision in 1974, with Waterloo, wearing those fabulous glam sparkly clothes and huge platform shoes, thus changing the Song Contest forever. Previously before that, everyone wore tuxedos and bow ties!

The Museum also includes a new exhibition with more than 250 swedish and international artists, otherwise known as the Pop House, and the Gröna Lund Backstage – Photo Exhibition.

Note: The Swedish Music Hall of Fame is no longer located at ABBA – The Museum!

Yes. I danced with the holograms. It’s ABBA. What can I say!

You also get to walk, dance and sing as many ABBA songs as you like, which you can save and record. And for once, my teenage son wasn’t embarrassed by my singing, he actually thought my voice and ahem! my dance moves were pretty alright.

Yes. I danced with the holograms. It’s ABBA. What can I say!

Because ABBA!
©APA – dpa

ABBA – The Museum is modern, interactive, and a non-stop musical experience. A Must Do!

Cost: Adults 250 SEK or €26.00. Children between 7-15 years – 95 SEK or €10.00. Family tickets – Up to 2 adults and 4 children between 7 – 15 – 595 SEK or €61.50. Children under 7 – free of charge.

NOTE: NO cash accepted. Cards only.

2.  THE VASA MUSEUM:

We loved the VASA Museum in Stockholm – Sweden!

Another fantastic win. Again, we loved it! The VASA Museum is a unique museum that was built around the 17th century royal warship that sank on it’s maiden voyage in 1628!

I know!

What a disaster!

I mean, people were still waving goodbye with their handkerchiefs when it sank! Honestly speaking, I was expecting heads to roll for that, but you’ll need to find out what happens yourself!

The VASA was submerged at the bottom of the Stockholm harbour, pretty much outside the museum, for 333 years! It was finally found by an amateur archaeologist – Anders Franzén – in 1956 and rescued from the seabed in 1961!

VASA is the only preserved 17th century ship in the world & is on record as having the shortest maiden voyage in history, ever!

VASA is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia. It’s also the only preserved 17th century ship in the world, and is on record as having the shortest maiden voyage in history. Ever!

I had planned to spend only an hour, as we wanted to go to the SKANSEN Open-Air Museum too. Ha! Ha! That was a mistake, as in fact, we spent over three (3) hours at the VASA Museum instead!

The VASA is presented in all it’s glory, and there’s loads of things to do!

The VASA MUSEUM is presented in all it’s glory. There’s loads to do, with film screens, guided tours, interactive exhibitions, pictures, and of course, the enormous beautiful ship – the VASA – herself. A must do!

Cost: Adults 130 SEK or €13.50. Students – 110 SEK or €11.50. Children under 18 – Absolutely free of charge!

3.  THE SKANSEN OPEN-AIR MUSEUM:

Skansen – Easter witches in Stockholm – Sweden!
©Marie Andersson

This was supposed to have been one of the highlights of our trip, but we never did it!

We got to the front of the gate, and then turned around, as I wanted to go on the boat, one more time, AND visit the Old Town!

We were going to spend a few hours here because I am obsessed with open-air museums! 

I am disappointed that we didn’t make it, but I’m absolutely sure that we’ll be back to Stockholm, and when we do, it’ll be on the top of my list!

The Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world & so I weep, as I write!
©Christina Westberg

The Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world. I weep as I write!

This museum was founded in 1891 and tells the story of five (5) centuries of Swedish history. It comes complete with historical buildings, Nordic animals, a zoo, an aquarium, costumed characters clothed in period dress, and doing the work their ancestors probably would have done.

It would have been a crime to rush through it, so perhaps on reflection I was right to leave the open-air museum, to another day. Sob!

The best way to get to Skansen is by the ferry, as it’s on the Island of Djurgården!

You’ll probably need a minimum of two (2) hours, perhaps even three (3). And the best way to get there is actually to take the ferry, as it’s on the Island of Djurgården! Do it!

Cost: There are a variety of prices depending on what you want to see but generally, adults 180 SEK or €18.50. Students – 160 SEK or €16.50. Children between 4-15 years – 60 SEK or €6.00. Children under 4 – free of charge!

4.  THE ICEBAR:

Having a great time in Stockholm – Sweden
©Icebar by IceHotel

OMG! This. Was. Awesome!

I didn’t know what to expect, but we were invited by the Sales Manager of the Hotel C Stockholm!

We had been in communication whilst I was at the ITB Berlin, but we weren’t actually able to meet, as I was fully booked up! However, we stayed in contact, and once she realised that I was going to be in Stockholm, and even though I had already had my hotel organised, she invited us to an evening of cocktails at the ICEBAR by Ice Hotel!

ICEBAR by Ice Hotel in Stockholm is the world’s first permanent ice bar. Created 100% out of ice from the Torne River in Northern Sweden, it’s the Stockholm branch of the original ICEHOTEL created in Jukkasjärvi, back in 1994!

Book Hotel C Stockholm here or here!

Once you step into the ICEBAR by IceHotel in Stockholm, you’re bundled up in a warm coat with a furry hood, and gloves!

Once you step in, you’re bundled up in a warm coat with a furry hood, and gloves. You then step into the beautifully sculptured interior where the blocks of ice are crystal clear, and carved into fish!

There’s a seat of ice, covered with furs that made me feel like the Ice Queen in Narnia. The air was crisp, the floor was slightly slippery, and a sense of awe, comes over you.

We were served cocktails and non-alcoholic champagne, presented in a glass made entirely of ice, at the ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL in Stockholm – Sweden!

With our complimentary VIP cards, we were served cocktails and non-alcoholic champagne, presented in a glass made entirely of ice!

We were duly impressed!

Absolutely recommended. A Must Do!

Cost: It’s cheaper to pre-book or if you’re a hotel guest. Adults 199 SEK or €20.50. Non-alcoholic drinks – 170 SEK or €17.50. Children between 3-17 years – 99 SEK or €10.00.

Book Hotel C Stockholm here or here!

5.  THE ARCHIPELAGO:

The Stockholm Archipelago, otherwise known as skärgård, is the largest archipelago in Sweden!

The Stockholm Archipelago, otherwise known as skärgård, is the largest archipelago in Sweden, and the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea (the largest being across the Baltic in Finland)!

The Stockholm Archipelago comprises about 30,000 islands, islets, and rocks that are accessible from Stockholm itself! We didn’t have enough time to do this as first time visitors, but if you’re in Stockholm for more than 3 days, or you’ve been to Stockholm before, this  is an excellent activity to do. There are 40 reserves with small settlements. Many of the islands have unique nature and beautiful cultural landscapes. You can even dine or spend the night, as well as enjoy seal safaris, visit historic settings, see art, hike, cycle, paddle, and eat locally sourced dishes and archipelago delicacies!

Enjoy 30,000 islands, islets, and rocks, at the Stockholm Archipelago – Sweden.

Make it a day trip to remember.

Cost: Variable depending on which ship company you go with. This is where the Stockholm Pass comes in handy. We had VIP passes for 72 hours, and could have gone on an Archipelago Guided Tour, for free!

6.  OLD TOWN / GAMLA STAN:

Gamla Stan – the Old Town in Stockholm – Sweden, is a medieval urban core & also one of the world’s best-preserved medieval city centres!

The Old Town, otherwise  known as Gamla Stan in Stockholm, is a medieval urban core, and also one of the world’s best-preserved medieval city centres with it’s meandering alleys lined with crooked buildings next to crooked art shops and galleries!

Gamla Stan is a traffic-free living museum stuffed with sights, restaurants, cafes, bars and places to go shopping! The narrow, winding cobblestones streets with buildings in fantastic bright colours, are a sight for sore eyes, and like Schnoor, the medieval centre of the city of Bremen, gives the Old Town a unique character.

The narrow, winding cobblestones streets with buildings in fantastic bright colours, are a sight for sore eyes in Stockholm – Sweden! Me too!!!!

We went on a free walking tour which was packed with young visitors from all over the world, but really gave us an insight into what Stockholm is all about. There are many free tour companies in Stockholm, but we chose this one ‘cos the timings of 10:00 & 16:00 were much better than 13:30! They even mentioned the Roof-Top bar of our Hobo Hotel, which was pretty dandy!

More about that next week! A Must Do!

Cost: Nothing at all, except a tip at your own discretion!

Book Hobo here or here!

7.  BOAT SIGHTSEEING:

Our Swedish boat sight-seeing guide in Stockholm – Sweden!

Stockholm lies on 14 islands, connected by 56 bridges! As a result, you can travel from place to place on a sightseeing boat. The sights are beautiful and the journey is unique. You can do a hop-on-hop-off boat tour, you can also take boat tours to Birka – the Viking City – Sigtuna and Skokloster, Drottingholm, Gustavsberg, Artipelag, Fjäderholmarna, Vaxholm, Rosersberg, as well as Royal Canal Tours, Under the Bridges of Stockholm Tours, and Historical Canal Tours.

Boats depart from various places and if using a Stockholm Pass, are included in the price!

NOTE: Depending on which pass you purchase, you can only validate the museum or attraction once. However, if you had a 48 hour pass, and wanted to do the same thing twice on separate days, I don’t think it would be an issue, but do check for confirmation before you travel!

8.  GO TO ANY OF THE PALACES:

Stockholm view with balloons
©Jeppe Wikström – mediabank.visitstockholm.com

The two most important palaces that you absolutely must go to, are the Royal Palace and the Drottningham Palace.

A guard outside the Royal Palace in Stockholm – Sweden!

The Royal Palace, with 600 rooms, is one of the largest inhabited palaces in the world! Not as many as Buckingham Palace though, which has 775 rooms. Just saying!

The palace is built in baroque style and formed as a Roman palace. The palace contains many interesting things to see such as the Royal Apartments, three (3) museums steeped in regal history, and the Royal Armory. I managed to watch the Changing of the Guards, but I only had the chance to spend snatched minutes basking in it’s elegance beneath the river, before it was time to move on! I would very much have enjoyed sitting on the steps, or just laying on the grass in the sunshine, and taking it all in!

The Drottningham Palace in Stockholm – Sweden.

The Drottningham Palace is Sweden’s best preserved royal palace from the 17th century. It serves as the Swedish Royal Family’s permanent private residence, and is one of Stockholm’s three (3) UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

The Palalce can be reached by water and features magnificent pieces from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as well as a beautiful park, a unique palace theatre, and a Chinese Pavilion.

The Royal Palace – Cost: Adults 160 SEK or €16.50. Children between 7-17 years – 80 SEK or €8.00. Children under 7 – free of charge!

The Drottningham Palace – Cost: Adults 130 SEK or €13.50. Students – 65 SEK or €7.00. Children between 7-17 years – 65 SEK or €7.00. Children under 6 – free of charge!

9.  GO ON A GHOST WALK:

The Stockholm Ghost Walk. Ooooo!

There’s a reason that I love Game of Thrones, and it’s because of the blood and gore. I’m also very much into witches, ghosts, vampires, and wolves!

It should be of no surprise therefore, when I discovered that Stockholm has a Ghost Walk!

Now, I ran out of time, and was far too tired, as I had cocktails to drink…but I’ve been told that you can explore dark alleyways of Gamla Stan on an exciting mystical tour through history, about tales of murder, disease, fires, legends, and a houseful of ghosts! Rattle!

Tales of murder, disease, fires, legends, and a houseful of ghosts in Stockholm-Sweden. Rattle!

RATTLE!

A Must Try!

Cost: Adults 200 SEK or €20.50. Children between 7-14 years – 100 SEK or €10.20. Children under 7 – Not recommended.

  1. ART IN THE SUBWAY STATION:
The Stockholm Subway station – at 110 kms – is the longest art gallery in the world!

The Stockholm subway station opened in 1950, and is – at 110 kms – known as the longest art gallery in the world!

Over 90 of the 100 subway stations have a unique style with exciting art and embellishments covered with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs, by over 150 artists!

You can either explore the art independently or take a free guided art tour in the Stockholm Subway station – Sweden!

You can either explore the art independently or take a free guided art tour to learn about the architecture and artwork, and meet some of the artists.

I so wanted to do this as I like alternative street art, but I was so engrossed with things on land and on water, that I completely forgot!

Still, a Must Try!

Cost: Absolutely free of charge, as long as you have a valid train ticket. Don’t forget now!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Sadly, the Nobel Museum in Stoxkholm – Sweden, isn’t free!

 NOTE: The Museums and Attractions in Stockholm below are completely, and utterly free of charge!

  • The Army Museum
  • The Museum of Ethnography
  • The Hallwyl Collection
  • The Swedish History Museum
  • The Royal Coin Cabinet
  • The Royal Armoury
  • The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities
  • Moderna Museet
  • The National Museum
  • The Swedish Museum of Natural History and Cosmonova
  • The National Maritime Museum
  • The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquties
  • Skokloster Castle (unguided)
  • The Medieval Museum
  • ArkDes – national center for architecture and design
  • The Bonniers Konsthall art gallery
  • The National Sports Museum of Sweden – Riksidrottsmuseet
  • Dansmuseet – A museum dedicated to dance, theatre, art and photo
  • The Stockholm City Museum – closed for renovation until 2018! Guided tours available

Book your hotel here!

THE TOP 10 BEST INTERESTING THINGS TO DO IN STOCKHOLM. BECAUSE THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL!

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Visit Stockholm, and the above organisations, absolutely all opinions, and the fantastic time that I had, are my very own!

Thanks so much!

In June, I’ll be writing more about Sweden, and visiting Slovenia! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook to find out what I’m up to!

I’ll be there. Will you?

The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

That’s it for now.

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!

The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

Have you ever been to Stockholm? What do you think of ABBA? 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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48 hours in Bristol – 48 things to do!

© The Milk Thistle.
© The Milk Thistle.

Have you ever been to Bristol – Let’s eat & drink ’till the cows come home!

My second glorious press trip to England. Yes, I’m going to Bristol & Bath. Yippee!

But first, did you know that:

I thought I would put Shaun the Sheep in for light relief, in Bristol LOL!
I thought I would put Shaun the Sheep in for light relief, in Bristol LOL!
  • Bristol is located just 120 miles west of London.
  • It’s the largest city in the south-west of England.
  • Bristol is the only UK city to have won the title ‘European Green Capital’ for 2015 and is one of the first cycling cities in the UK too!
  • Bath is about 12 miles to the east of the city.
  • Bristol is a 45 mile trip across the Bristol Channel to Cardiff in Wales.
  • The city is situated on the rivers Frome and Avon.
  • Bristol has been a wealthy trading port since the Roman era.
  • Bristol is a port city known as the “Birthplace of America”.
  • John Cabot sailed from Bristol to help “discover” North America in 1497.
  • The city played an important role in England’s maritime trade in tobacco, wine, cotton and more.
  • From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, Bristol was involved in a massive slave shipping industry.
  • Bristol is a university city of 400,000.
  • The infamous pirate Captain Blackbeard once had a hideaway cave under St. Mary Redcliffe church. His original birthplace and childhood home still stands on Bristol’s harbourside.
  • Pero’s Bridge is named after Pero Jones, who was the African servant of a plantation owner.
  • John Wesley’s New Room in Broadmead, is the oldest Methodist church in the world!
  • Hollywood legend Cary Grant (Archibald Leach) was born in Horfield, Bristol. Grant’s first role in theatre was working at The Bristol Hippodrome.
  • Bristol is the street party capital of the UK. I know. Bristol!
I'm sorry but I look amazing! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m sorry but I look amazing!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

As you all know by now and if you don’t, whose blog have you been reading? No! Don’t answer that. Back to me!

As you know, I went to Bristol and I stayed there for two days. In short, just 48 hours. I’m sure that I could have stayed for at least a week but time is tight for many of us so I’m going to tell you how I managed it. And if I can do it, so can you!

Yes, I was working in partnership with Visit Bristol but if you’re looking for maps, brochures, addresses and the like, just log onto their website. It’s free and they’re wonderfully helpful.

So without much ado:

48 HOURS IN BRISTOL – 48 THINGS TO DO!

© The Cowshed.
© The Cowshed.
  • Go forth and have an English breakfast. As I told you last week, whenever you’re in England or anywhere else in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you must get yourself a full English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish breakfast. If you’re vegetarian, not to worry, just order a veggie English breakfast instead!
  • Book a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) rather than a hotel as a B&B has a more distinct British flavour. I went to the boutique Brooks GuestHouse B&B situated right next to the St. Nicholas Market!
  • Go on a walking tour: You know how much I like city walking tours here or here! I had my historical walking tour organised by a Blue Badge Guide called Liz Gamlin who even collected me from my B&B! She was lovely and flexible enough to make the walk geared towards my needs. She was also sensitive to my interests, and would stop whenever I wanted to take a photograph of something or needed more info. We got on so well that we eventually left each other about 13:00 instead of 11:30!

Banksy in Bristol.

  • Check out the Street Art: Banksy is huge in Bristol. I didn’t go on a specific street art tour but if you want to, you can contact the guys at The Ultimate Bristol Walking Tour.
  • Visit Bristol’s oldest market – the 200-year-old St Nicholas Market and soak up the delights of the vibrant marketplace that has been trading since 1743! I really liked it and bought many nostalgic English gifts!
  • Check out the historical buildings. Bristol is centuries old and there’s a lot to see.
  • Ramble and stroll through the cobbled streets. Don’t be afraid to go down a narrow off-street path, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
  • Go into The Commercial Rooms or the Cosy Club on Corn Street. I won’t tell you what’s there. Go see for yourself!
  • Check out the churches: In pretty much every corner is a church or cathedral sticking out or hidden around the corner!
Redcliffe Sunset in Bristol. © Gary Newman
Redcliffe Sunset in Bristol.
© Gary Newman
  • Take a harbourside stroll along the floating harbour.
  • Have a snack on the river side. What better than with a bag of fish n’ chips!
  • Meet some of the locals at a typical old-time historical pub!
  • Go to the Old City and check out Norman Bristol, Georgian Bristol and Medieval Bristol which look as they did hundreds of years ago!
The Crucible at the Bristol Old Vic in Bristol with Daniel Weyman as Rev Hale and Dean Lennox Kelly as John Proctor. © Geraint Lewis.
The Crucible at the Bristol Old Vic in Bristol with Daniel Weyman as Rev Hale and Dean Lennox Kelly as John Proctor.
© Geraint Lewis.
  • Watch pieces of drama at the Bristol Old Vic. I watched an outstanding performance of The Crucible which was marvellous. I totally loved it.

The Bristol Old Vic is the oldest theatre in Britain and celebrating 250 years with a special year-round anniversary programme that will feature five (5) world-class productions – one from each century of the theatre’s life – as well as a production of a Shakespeare play to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.

Jane Eyre at the Bristol Old Vic. © Manuel Harlan.
Jane Eyre at the Bristol Old Vic.
© Manuel Harlan.

With actors like Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, 2016 represents an extraordinary moment in British theatre history.

I’m a lover of the creative arts so this was always going to be something that I would be eager to watch. It was a great performance and surprisingly, the actors came out and mingled with the audience at the end. I’m used to this in Berlin but I’ve never had the luck in England, unless it was a premier night, so I was pleasantly surprised. Saturday, November 7th was effectively, the last performance night and everyone was in a merry mood. I would usually stay and hang out with the cast but was exhausted from the long day, I did however, manage to have a quick chat with the leading actor –  Dean Lennox Kelly – who used to be Kev in the original British series Shameless and who I found to be extremely humble as he told me that he couldn’t quite believe that he was performing in such an establishment as that of the Bristol Old Vic.

Dean Lennox Kelly
Dean Lennox Kelly

I found that charming!

  • Have a snack or a drink at the Llandoger Trow which was built in 1664 and one of the last timber-built buildings in Bristol! It’s also said to be the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and where Daniel Defoe met his Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk!
  • Go on a ghost walking tour!
  • Bristol is surrounded by water so take a ferry ride with Bristol Ferry Boats which provides a scheduled water bus service around Bristol’s unique Floating Harbour. Due to Remembrance Day or Armistice Day on 11 November – a day used to remember all the people who died in wars since the Great War or WWI, I decided to sail with the Bristol Packet Boat Trips.

I was the only customer for half the ride but the skipper and his assistant were friendly and chatty and pointed out the best places to take photographs.

A Whippy 99 flake ice cream! © wouldliketoeat.wordpress.com
A Whippy 99 flake ice cream!
© wouldliketoeat.wordpress.com
  • Get yourself a Whippy or a 99 flake ice cream and make sure it has an original chocolate flake bar with raspberry or strawberry syrup on it!
  • Go to a museum or gallery. Most of them are completely and utterly free. Hurrah!
  • Take a trip to the M Shed which is on the harbourside. It focuses on the history of Bristol and it’s people and is a historic wharf which has been turned into a museum. I only had 1.5 hours there but I certainly could have spent more!
©Brunel's ss Great Britain in Bristol.
©Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol.

I would utterly agree!

If you only have time for one thing, I recommend you do this one! I had a marvellous time sailing the flag, skipping through the decks and imagining what it would have been like to be a passenger on board. It’s got a dockyard museum, a glass sea view of the ship’s hull, a dockyard where you can dress up and take photos, and you can climb up the top deck complete with flags, and then go from deck to deck opening doors and seeing what’s behind them. Some even have sounds and smells!

Myself "sailing" Brunel's ss Great Britain in Bristol.
Myself “sailing” Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol.

I liked it so much that I spent three (3) hours there!

  • Potter around a vintage or second-hand bookshops.
  • Hang out and chat with the locals. I spotted quite a few people in fancy costume and one of them was dressed as Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean!
  • Go to fringe theatre performances. Perhaps make a stop at the Tobacco Factory Theatres or the Raucous.
  • If you’re into film culture and media and digital technology, then the Watershed is not to be missed!
  • I haven’t visited myself but I hear that the riverside restaurant – The Glassboat  – is to be considered for that extra something.
  • Take a hop-on-hop-off city sightseeing bus and let a local guide provide a unique and personal experience of Bristol.
  • Explore British artists and go to the gallery.
  • Get yourself a plate of good British grub and chomp on locally served nosh at The Cowshed.
  • Have a pint of ale, craft beer or English cider and scrumpy.
A speakeasy at the Hyde & Co. in Bristol.
A speakeasy in Bristol. ©Hyde & Co.
  • Be creative and search for Bristol’s speakeasies which have secret entrances and payphones to call a waiter, so part of the fun is to find how to get to the entrance in the first place!
  • Go unconventional and chase the white rabbit at the Illusions Magic Bar!
  • Go to the Old Market Quarter which is home to a great selection of vintage fashion and antique shops and also has strong connections to the LGBT community and popular gay-friendly shops, pubs, bars and clubs.
  • Climb up the hill and go to the bohemian village known as Clifton.
  • Be an undergraduate for a day and visit the University of Bristol.
A bottle of sherry from Harvey's Bristol Cream.
A bottle of sherry from Harvey’s Bristol Cream!
  • Get a real taste of Bristol’s heritage at Harvey’s Cellars – the home of Harvey’s Bristol Cream –  and relax while you fantasise about Bristol’s glorious past!
  • Take a discrete peek at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, an independent school for boys and founded in 1586!
  • Go for a walk through the huge protected parkland and countryside known as The Downs.
  • Gasp over the amazing views and wildlife of the Avon Gorge.
  • Have a classy meal or Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel.
  • Prepare yourself for the gorgeous unparalleled views of Brunel’s grade-one-listed Clifton Suspension Bridge. A bridge said to be one of the greatest bridges in the world!
Go for a night out at the Milk Thistle in Bristol.
©The Milk Thistle in Bristol.
  • Go for a night out at any of the 101 bars and restaurants dotted about the Old City, the Harbourside, the West End and Broadmead.
  • Explore Bristol and hop on a bike.
  • Take out your credit card and go shopping at the Bristol Shopping Quarter. You know you want to!
  • Be an artist for a day and join in one of Bristol’s biggest and oldest art trails.
  • Visit The Harbourside Market which describes itself as ‘no ordinary market’ but an independent alternative to the high street, supporting local creativity and providing a safe space for people to shop, eat and relax within a setting rich with tradition. I saw a few food stalls, arts, crafts. It definitely lives up to it’s name!
  • Experience the luxury and glamour of a roof top Retro Rocket. The only one of it’s kind in the UK! More about that next week!
  • Have champagne. Why not!

 

 A glass of champagne at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Visit Bristol all opinions and the sailing experience and skipping that I indulged in, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you and will continue next week with my final post on Bristol!

In December, I’ll be taking part in The Best of Berlin in 48 Hours campaign.

Yay!

Sausages and a meat pie at the AspirePlus Airport Lounge in Bristol.
Sausages and a meat pie at the AspirePlus Airport Lounge in Bristol.

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you have any questions about Bristol or Bath, let me know!

November is going to be frosty!

Watch this space!

48 hours in Bristol - 48 things to do!

Have you ever been to Bristol? Is there anything else you would do on a 48 hour weekend visit to Bristol?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or 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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Osnabrück – a medieval town in a German valley – the hometown of my German husband!

Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle © Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle
© Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.

As you read this, I’m actually in Bath!

Yep! Bath.

In England.

Not the object of your morning ritual!

I was previously in Bristol and it was amazing. Once again, thank you Bristol for making my stay fun and exciting!

More about that next week. For now though, the medieval town of Osnabrück!

When I told The Music Producer that I was going to write about his home-town, he was chuffed and extremely pleased. My hubby is a lovely fellow and so is his hometown, so here we go.

OSNABRÜCK or in English OSNABRUECK

Greetings from Osnabrück in Germany!
Greetings from Osnabrück in Germany!

I love going to Osnabrück. It’s a quaint town, enveloped in medieval history, quite German-like in nature, pretty to look at, and once known as the happiest place in Germany! What not to like!

What not to like in Osnabrück!
What not to like in Osnabrück!

Osnabrück is a city in the Federal State of Lower-Saxony in North-West Germany.

Even though Osnabrück is regionally based in the region of Lower Saxony, historically, culturally and linguistically, Osnabrück is said to be a part of Westphalia. Osnabrück is situated in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest, has a population of 158,000 people, is the third (3rd) largest city in that State and the only German city situated in a nature reserve that is a 1,220 square kilometer, UNESCO Nature and Geo Park TERRA.vita!

THE HISTORY OF OSNABRÜCK

Church tower of St. Mary's Church in Osnabrück ©Osnabrück-Marketing und Tourismus GmbH
Church tower of St. Mary’s Church in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück-Marketing und Tourismus GmbH

The history of Osnabrück began in 780, when Charlemagne – King of the Franks, erected a stone church on the banks of the Hase River – the nucleus of today’s Osnabrück.

The city’s name is presumably a combination of the German words “Ossen” (ox) and “Brügge” (bridge). In 1002, the Bishop of Osnabrück was granted a charter to hold a market, mint coins, and collect customs dues.

Slightly before 803, the city became the seat of the Prince-Diocese of Osnabrück which is believed to make the city the oldest diocese in Lower Saxony! As an old trading route hub and as the seat of a bishop, Osnabrück developed into a thriving center for commerce in the Middle Ages. In 1157, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted the city its fortification privileges.

The Heger Tor, otherwise known as the Waterloo Gate in Osnabrück, Germany.
The Heger Tor, otherwise known as the Waterloo Gate in Osnabrück, Germany.

Most of the towers that were part of the medieval fortification are still visible in the city and are a rather interesting, energetic  photographic walk!

From 1412 to 1669, Osnabrück became an influential member of the “Hanse” or Hanseatic League, which was the most important trading alliance of its time and brought great stature and wealth to its member cities. Magnificent town houses and other prestigious buildings reflected the power and wealth of the medieval merchants.

Friedensdokumente_Referat-Medien, Osnabrück, Germany.

Osnabrück also became hugely important during the negotiations for the Peace of Westphalia that took place here as well as in Münster between 1643 – 1648. In fact, it was this treaty in October 1648, that finally ended the Thirty Years’ War and changed the face of Europe forever. To commemorate this event, the treaty is annually recreated by local children with a hobby-horse parade! Osnabrück also adopted the official title of Friedensstadt known as the “city of peace.”

While the Catholics used Münster as a venue, the Protestants resided in Osnabrück. As a result, Osnabrück was alternately peacefully ruled by both Catholic and Protestant bishops, until 1803!

In contemporary times, the old trade routes have been turned into pleasant streets and the mixture of historic quarters and modern architecture is the hallmark of Osnabrück today, not only as a university city, but also a cultural and commercial trading centre in industries such as automobile, paper, steel and perishables.

Gabled houses in Osnabrück market place. ©Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
Gabled houses in Osnabrück market place.
©Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.

Due to it’s industrial importance, Osnabrück was heavily damaged during WWII although the Old Town, had it’s medieval architecture reconstructed.

It’s just so lovely that the locals still come together in places where merchants used to meet in the old market place, also known as the “Markt.” You can regularly find either the farmers’ market, local festivals, or the native German Christmas Market right there and we’ve always enjoyed either having an organic grilled sausage of some sort or organic home-made cheese. Don’t even get me started on their historic craft beer and fine German wine!

The Christmas market in Osnabrück ©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.
The Christmas market in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.

Osnabrück’s picturesque flair is formed by the Town Hall, the various churches, the Romanesque St Peter’s Cathedral and the high gables of the old merchant houses.

Osnabrück is surrounded by charming countryside and around 2,300 km of long distance and circular footpaths in a romantic landscape, and 1,500 km of bike paths. The ridges of the Teutoburg Forest and the Wiehen Hills shape Osnabrück’s surroundings, and most of the region is part of the UNESCO nature reserve Geo Park TERRA.vita, a European network of nature parks.

"The Music Producer" looking cool, calm & gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.
“The Music Producer” looking cool, calm & gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.

Now when I first met my husband, I actually thought he was Danish as his English was incredibly good, with a slight North American tilt! Hardly any wonder when Osnabrück used to be home to the largest British garrison (outside of the UK), in the world!

WHAT TO DO IN OSNABRÜCK

Dancing around the Maibaum or May Pole in Osnabrück, Germany.
Dancing around the Maibaum or May Pole in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Osnabrück is a really sweet place and so we tend to go for the May Week Festival locally known as Mai Woche. Mai Woche is a bit like dancing round the May Day pole in England and is a unique festival with ten (10) days of music, comedy and open-air shows and entertainment. This takes place annually during the second (2nd) week in May.
  • Visit the picturesque Market Square and the wander through the weekly Farmer’s Market.
  • Visit the historical Town Hall and engross yourself in the history of Osnabrück, with the help of the Town Hall museum.
A family bike ride in Osnabrück. © Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
A family bike ride in Osnabrück.
© Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
  • Get out and cycle or bring your own bike! Osnabrück has ten (10) attractive cycling tours, four (4) long distance bike trails and a total of 2,500 kilometers marked routes.
  • Drink wine! Osnabrück always has local wine tasting sessions in the Old Town. And why not, it’s Germany after all!
  • Eat chocolate! I don’t like chocolate but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t indulge in one of Germany’s oldest family owned chocolate shop. The 106 year old Leysieffer is a confectionery that is famous world-wide for it’s hand-made chocolate truffles and chocolate bars, with exotic flavours such as chili peppers or sea salt!
Fireworks & moonlight shopping in Osnabück, Germany.
Fireworks & moonlight shopping in Osnabück, Germany.
  • For one night only. Experience the cultural diversity of outstanding cultural entertainment in Osnabrück. On the last Saturday in August. At night!
  • Check out the traditional and historical Christmas Market from the end of November to December 22nd.
  • Visit the “Dom St. Peter” also known as St. Peter’s Cathedral which has been a place of worship for more than 1,225 years!
  • Visit other churches!
A Self Portrait of Felix Nussbaum in 1943.
A Self Portrait of Felix Nussbaum in 1943.
  • Make it a point of duty to get to grips with the Felix Nussbaum Museum which houses the impressive life collection of Felix Nussbaum as a German-Jewish surrealist painter, in a desperate state of living, in Holocaust Europe.
  • If you aren’t short on time, visit other museums such as the Museum of Cultural History or the Museum of Industrial Culture. I guess you can see a running theme here, I like museums LOL!
  • Discover Osnabrück’s history with the Romans!
Grützwurst!
Grützwurst!
  • Eat a variety of delicious rustic German food such as asparagus – Spargel – green cabbage – Grünkohl – served with cured and slightly smoked thick cuts of pork – Kasseler –  or a traditional blood sausage made out of pig’s blood, pig offal and buckwheat stuffed in a pig intestine flavored with onions, black pepper, and marjoram – Grützwurst!
  • Go high-brow and dine at Osnabrück’s most famous three (3) Michelin star exquisite La Vie restaurant and don’t forget to make a reservation!
  • Have a bite and a rest at Walhalla – Osnabrück’s oldest inn built in 1690!
The most famous Rampendahl brewery in Osnabrück, Germany.
The most famous Rampendahl brewery in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Drink litres of German beer in large beer steins and glasses at the merchant-friendly Rampendahl brewery re-collected in historical books as far back as 1177! Go upstairs for a better view and don’t forget that you can even go on a tour of the brewery itself!
  • Go shopping and really stroll around into nooks and crannies and cobble-stoned streets!
  • Track down dinosaurs!
  • Go to as many monasteries as you can muster.
The Old Town in Osnabrück, Germany.
The Old Town in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Take a walk down memory lane and go to the most exquisite Old Town in Osnabrück. Think taverns bustling with merchants. Think black and white half-timbered houses and Romanesque vault buildings and monuments from the 13th century. Think knights , ladies and serfs, from the Middle Ages!
  • Visit one of the earliest baroque palaces in Germany built in 1668 with it’s stylish palace gardens, palace´s terrace, palace statues and palace fountains. Now a part of the University of Osnabrück but open to the general public and quite enchanting!
  • Visit the various castles in Osnabrück.
"The Tall Young Gentleman" at Bad Rothenfelde - the salt spa near Osnabrück, Germany.
“The Tall Young Gentleman” at Bad Rothenfelde – the salt spa near Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Go to the spa town of Bad Rothenfelde where my husband’s father grew up. It has a spa garden and the famous Saline Rothenfelde salt works. The water is warm and you can really taste the salt!
  • If you’ve got a couple of days, you could get yourself the Osnabrück City Card. It allows you access to every bus within the city, free admission to six museums in Osnabrück, plus a voucher booklet for other interesting cultural activities. Prices for 24 hours are €8.00 per person (adults & children 14 and above), €11.00 for a family (two adults with a maximum of two children up to the age of 14). Tickets for 48 hours are €11.00 per person or €16.00 per family. Valid for any two days within a period of three months.

HOW TO GET TO OSNABRÜCK

Osnabrück - The City of Peace.
Osnabrück – The City of Peace.
  • By train: The train station that you would need to get to is Osnabrück Hbf (Main Train Station) via Germany’s Deutsche Bahn. It’s about  four (4) hours from Berlin.
  • By plane: The nearest airport is the Münster/Osnabrück International Airport. It’s about 30 minutes from Osnabrück and has an airport express bus that operates regularly.
  • By bus: Many coach/bus companies also travel to Osnabrück and within Osnabrück itself, the public transport network is highly efficient throughout the day and night!
  • By car: You can reach Osnabrück via the motorways A30 Amsterdam – Bad Oeynhausen, A33 Diepholz – Bielefeld and A1 Hamburg – Dortmund.
My husband - "The Music Producer" and "The Tall Young Gentleman" in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.
My husband – “The Music Producer” and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

I might be biased but I really like Osnabruck as the German traditions are still very much sought after for example, my husband told me that there is an ancient custom that unmarried men who are 30 years old must sweep the streets in front of the town hall or have their houses covered with paper and plastic, until they are kissed by a virgin. As punishment!

Go see for yourself!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the wonderful time that I had in Bristol.

Get out your brolly and put on your wellies!

See you next week.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!

Osnabrück - the hometown of my German husband!

Would you go to a medieval town? Have you ever been to Germany? Isn’t my husband cute?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or 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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