Category

Travel

Day Trips, Travel

The Kelpies, Falkirk

the kelpies
the kelpies

If you live in Scotland, or are planning on visiting Scotland this summer then I heartily recommend a trip to see The Kelpies, in Falkirk.  We headed over to The Kelpies at the start of this year, and I’ve been meaning to share some photos from the trip ever since!

What Are The Kelpies?

The Kelpies are giant horse head statues. They stand at an impressive 30 metres high and are such a thing of beauty.  

We visited on a sunny afternoon in late winter but you can also visit at night when they’re bathed in coloured light.  You can even book a tour and go up inside the Kelpies. We were with our three year old and didn’t think she’d be too into that, but it’s definitely something I’d like to do!

the kelpies falkirk

Where in Scotland Is The Kelpies?

The Kelpies are situated in Falkirk’s Helix Park, on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal. Here you can stroll along the canal and enjoy the views, and there’s a network of footpaths and cycleways connecting the Kelpies to other parts of Helix Park.

forth and clyde canal
wendy graham moral fibres

(ps: my Orla Kiely tea dress is from People Tree)

What Can You Do There?

As well as marveling at the statues, and perhaps having a cup of coffee or a pizza from one of the nearby cafe, there are lots of things to do at the Kelpies. Once you’ve had your fill of the Kelpies you can walk from the Kelpies Hub through the rest of Helix Park.  If you’re with kids, then there’s a fantastic playground for kids age two and up that we had a blast in, playing with our nipper. There is also a splash park in Helix Park for cooling off on hot days, which is a lot of fun.

The Park also has some lovely nature walks along the lakes and marsh lands, which we also really enjoyed.

swan frozen lake

You can tell how early on in the year we went because the lake is frozen over!

Are The Kelpies Free?

Yes, it’s free to get into the Kelpies and to Helix Park, which is an added bonus!

How Do You Get There?

If you’re travelling there by public transport, then from Glasgow or Edinburgh then you can easily get a train from either Queen Street Station in Glasgow, or Waverley or Haymarket Station in Edinburgh to Falkirk High Station.  From the station, there’s a frequent bus service that serves all the attractions in Falkirk, including the Falkirk Wheel.

Don’t make the same mistake we did – we assumed the Falkirk Wheel was next to the Kelpies, and in actual fact it’s over 2 miles away.  We didn’t factor in enough time to visit the Falkirk Wheel, but that’s for our next trip!

PS: other places to visit in Scotland – Burntisland and Falkland, and the Kinghorn Earthship.

Day Trips, Travel

Great Things to Do In Deal, Kent

deal pier
deal pier

Looking for things to do in Deal? I’ve got lots of suggestions for what to get up to in this Kent hotspot. Read on!

I’ve got a lovely guest post for you today from Anmarie Bowler. Annemarie is the author of Huntress London, a lovely blog all about Anmarie’s love of secondhand shopping.  I’m keen to expand the travel section of Moral Fibres, and Anmarie was kind enough to write about her favourite UK holiday destination: Deal on the Kent coast. 

Every year my husband and I board a long-haul flight to America.  This Yankee girl living in London occasionally longs for baseball, corndogs and the company of my joyfully unruly family.  That said, I find international air travel wasteful, exhausting, and terribly dull.  So we’ve made an effort to holiday the rest of the year closer to home, and the Kent Coast has proved a rather good Deal!

The Best Things to Do In Deal

Deal, the secluded maritime town situated between Sandwich to the north, Canterbury to the west, and Dover to the south, has become our delightful default destination.  Today, more a home to holiday makers than maritime adventure, Deal boasts an impressive naval and shipping history.  Good food, good beer, good walks, and very good secondhand shopping make this Kent Coast corker the ideal get-away. There are so many things to do in Deal!

Train travel to Deal from London, always convenient, has recently become even easier as a fast train every hour has been added, making the journey from St Pancras less than 90 minutes.  Once you’ve arrived, foot travel is all that’s required.

Dunkerleys Deal

The Best Hotels in Deal

Deal offers a handful of typical seaside hotels to accommodate you on your visit.  The best among these is certainly The Dunkerly. This is a family run establishment that will welcome you with open arms.  While the rooms are small, they are spotlessly clean. What’s more, several have views out to the Pier and the rolling sea.  The downstairs bar is cosy and breakfast included everything we could have wanted.

For a more glamourous night’s sleep, The Royal Hotel offers huge, well-appointed rooms. Several even face out to the sea, with balconies and roll-top bathtubs with views of the sea.  The Royal stands proudly on Deal’s seafront and is a popular spot come summer as it provides plenty of outdoor space for eating, drinking, and relaxing.  Again a hearty breakfast awaits you in the morning and while we found the pub restaurant in The Royal rather run of the mill, the staff are friendly and welcoming.

royal hotel deal

Holiday Cottages

Deal is also dotted with any number of holiday cottages to let for a weekend or longer.  I highly recommend the relaxing benefits of cottage accommodation. We’ve found it as economical as a decent hotel, if not a slightly better bed-down bargain.  Enjoy cooking your own breakfast, private wining and dining, snuggling up on a sofa, lying in, and spreading out in your own quaint home-from-home.

By far, the best place we’ve found to hang your hat is Turnstone Cottage, pictured below.  Turnstone is a two-bedroom jewel. And owner Eleanor has thought of everything. From board games to bicycles, and extra pillows to glossy magazines.  We’ve already reserved the cottage for a week at Christmas, but there’s plenty of other weekends available to you.  Truly a treat, Turnstone will rejuvenate you during your days in Deal.

deal, kent

Vintage Shopping

In terms of things to do in Deal, the good news is that Deal offers a variety of exciting secondhand shopping. I’m a dedicated secondhand shopper. Tou’ll find my happy ramblings on the pleasures of pre-owned style at Huntress London. And typical of a town this size, you’ll find a clutch of charity shops, well-run and friendly they are all worth a look in.

Outside of the high street, Deal boasts an ‘Old Town’ featuring 6 to 8 vintage shops of varying descriptions.  While they’re more furniture than fashions, set amongst the painted tables and quirky floor lamps, the keen hunter will spot jewellery, scarves, belts, and the odd military jacket or fancy hat.  This is a browsing bonanza. More looking and less buying (music to my husband’s ears).

vintage shopping

On Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm the Union Road car park also hosts an antique sale that is small but perfectly formed.  Don’t miss it.  Might I suggest rolling out of bed early, perusing the stalls, buying, breakfasting, and heading back to bed?

Other shops I’ve enjoyed in Deal include Fox and Spindle at 16 King Street. This is a tiny treasure trove that includes hand knit scarves. Full House, a clearance and antiques shop on Park Street not far from the station, is also worth a browse.

Eateries

Eateries?  Let’s just say you won’t go hungry in Deal.  Our favourites include the Middle Street Fish Bar – simply the best fish & chips I’ve eaten since relocating to England nine years ago.  Out of the way on a back street, what it lacks in sea views, it makes up for in fresh sea flavour.  Want something a bit more fancy than fish and chips?  A reservation made well in advance is required at The Prince Albert on the corner of Alfred Square. However, it is worth the extra effort.  They serve posh pub grub that’s fit for royals.  And for the sweet-toothed, Harriet’s Cafe at 7 Board Street, serves home-made cakes that rival my grandmother’s.

harriets of deal

What Else?

One of Deal’s best assets is surely the Astor Theatre.  This community centre in the heart of the town offers concerts appealing to music lovers of all stripes, yoga classes, comedy nights, film screenings and much more.  Once a month the Astor hosts a Sunday antique market that is a small but sparkling selling spree you won’t want to miss.  We almost always plan our Deal adventure to coincide with interesting goings-on at the Astor.

Finally Deal is a walkers dream, motor traffic is light and the coastline serves as a lovely natural guide.  We enjoy walking south to Walmer, where Walmer Castle offers peaceful pleasure, the grounds in particular.

Walmer Castle

Walking north to Sandwich is doable for the fitter among us (just over 5 miles) and on a sunny day this flat, scenic amble that crosses a historic golf course, is delightful.  Catch the train one stop back to Deal once you’re ready to return to your base.

Whether for a weekend or a fortnight, this friendly seaside town is the real Deal indeed!

Deal

Thanks, Anmarie!  Do you live in the UK and want to write a guide on where you live or your favourite place in the UK to visit?  Drop me a line on moralfibres@gmail.com! Here’s my favourite place to visit – it’s Aviemore!