Lunch Cruise on the Thames with Citycruises

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lunch on the thames citycruiseHaving both been to London before, but amateurs to the city’s iconic history, we were both excited to find out more. And what better way to do this than during a relaxing cruise and lunch along the river Thames! We were lucky enough to be invited on this experience, giving us the opportunity to explore the famous landmarks from a whole new angle. Here’s a bit more about our experience…

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We hopped on the Tube to Tower Hill  station and made our way to Tower pier, which was very easy to find. Due to arriving early, we decided to pop into one of the various cafes surrounding the pier and grab a drink. Once it was time to make our way down to the boat, our group was instantly greeted by the Captain himself and the rest of the staff, as we climbed aboard the Citycruiser. After being shown to our table, that was right next to the window with a perfect view, it was time to set off. We started our journey by the Tower of London, setting off past the Shard, Gherkin and heading down the river through London Bridge. It was time to get our cameras out to start capturing London’s skyline from this unique angle.

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The next part of the trip was something we had all been looking forward to – lunch. The set menu included- a delicious plate of chicken breast with cream of mushroom sauce, dauphinoise potatoes and a mixture of seasonal vegetables (vegetarian options also available). We enjoyed the views of Westminster Abbey, The Houses Of Parliament and of course – Big Ben, whilst enjoying our meal. Throughout our trip, we listened to the Captain’s live commentary of fun facts and historical details of each landmark. One fun fact is that it is illegal to enter the Houses Of Parliament in a suit of armour! After some more sightseeing, dessert was served –  a layered double chocolate mousse cake (perfect for chocaholics!). We then travelled past the London Eye and County Hall, where we decided to go to the top deck to get a better view. Despite the clouds, luckily  for us it stayed dry and we could enjoy the remainder of the trip upstairs, taking in the stunning views.

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Before long the trip was over and we returned back to Tower Hill pier, with a full belly and knowing all about London’s history and its quirky truths!

If you fancy having a fun day out in the city over a delicious lunch for two, this is the experience for you! Or if you’re looking for something a bit lighter, why not try the Afternoon tea cruise on the Thames for Two ?

 

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Welcome to the team! Here’s all you need to know about our new interns…

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It’s sad to see Rosie leave after a year in the office, but it’s time to meet the new interns! They’ll be running and editing the Experience Days blog with all the exciting and new experiences they’ll be faced with in the coming year.

Here are some questions we asked them about the exciting things to come at Experience Days.. 

Q:What was it like meeting the team?

Maddie: I was apprehensive on Monday morning waiting outside the office, but everyone soon put me at ease. I was quickly introduced to the whole team and shown to my new desk. The office is really nicely decorated and welcoming. It even has a balcony where you can sit and eat your lunch overlooking the centre of Brighton. It’s really nice that I have Leoni (the other new intern) here as well, so we are both the new girls! There has been lots to learn so far but everyone has been so helpful if I have been stuck on a task. I am excited to see what the year will bring and the experience I will develop.

Leoni: Although I was very nervous about meeting the team, it was nice to meet Maddie before hand so we could talk about it on the way to the bungee jump. We already knew each other from Uni and we were both nervous about the same things. When we got to the bungee jump in the marina – despite all the adrenaline – actually meeting the team was really relaxed. I quickly felt comfortable and everyone was really friendly and welcoming. After the jump which Maddie and I did together (despite being petrified.. we thought we’d make good first impressions) we all went for a meal and then drinks with the office and the bungee jump crew. It definitely made me glad that I knew I’d be working in a small office for my placement and got me excited to start my first day.

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Q: Are there any experiences that you would really like to do?

Leoni: Almost having finished day two, there have been loads of experiences that I have come across over the last few days that I am really keen to try. Since facing my fears at the bungee jump, it’s made me want to do more adrenaline fuelled experiences such as sky diving or paragliding, dirt bike riding, jet skiing, helicopter riding etc. As well as these I’d also really like to do some cooking courses or drink making/ tasting courses to try and develop my culinary skills

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Maddie: Well considering Leoni and I have already done a bungee jump, any more experiences are a bonus! Although we were both very scared on the day, especially considering this was the first time we had meet our team, I am so proud we decided to do it. It was nice after the jump and the initial meeting of the team that we went for dinner to get to know each other. This made my first day  less nerve-wracking as I knew how welcoming everyone was. Throughout the year, I would love to try some of the water experiences like scuba diving or power boat activities, they all look so fun.

Q: What aspects of the internship are you most looking forward to?

Maddie: I am most looking forward to taking part in the activities and writing reviews for these. This is one of the main factors that attracted me to applying for this placement. It provides something different and interesting to do, whilst still gaining all the experience needed to further progress in my business degree and future employment. I am looking forward to working in a small team as I feel I will be given more responsibility, which will help me develop more employable skills. It will be interesting to learn about a solely online company and the ways in which it operates.

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Leoni: I’m really excited about the whole thing really, to learn the ins and outs and about the fundamental runnings of how the company works day to day. I have already learnt so much that I know I’ll be able to apply for the rest of my career and I am excited to learn and do more as time goes on. I am also looking forward to doing experiences with Maddie, as I know we have a similar adrenaline threshold and it will be fun to do all the experiences with her.

Q: What do you hope to get out of your year working with us?

Maddie: I am hoping to put some of the knowledge I have learned at Uni into real-world application. I’m hoping to develop this knowledge through creating content for Experience Days like blog posts, social media activity and website content. This is something I have never done in previous jobs but I am up for the challenge of trying it out. It will be useful to be able to gain feedback on what I create from the experienced team and improve my work. I also want to gain an insight in business life, to help me in whatever I decide to do after my studies.

Leoni: Just to learn more about the company as a whole, as well as all it’s little bits on day to day running etc. I think it’ll be really important to learn how Experience Days operates and I know I’ll be able to apply everything I learn in the next year in the future too. I’m so glad to have got this placement too, as I think it’s a fun company to start my working career in and I’ll get to do a whole range of tasks, – and of course the activities too!

 

We will be handing over to Maddie and Leoni from now, so we look forward to hearing from them throughout the year!

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Experience Days Interns: Where Are They Now?

 

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So, my year interning at Experience Days has come to an end. And what a year it has been! I’ve learnt loads, experienced amazing moments and worked with the best people. I’m so sad to be leaving, but it’s time for me to return to student life and finish my degree. Not to worry though, I’m leaving the role of Experience Reviewer in very safe hands… Leoni and Maddie, our new interns, are starting very soon!

To try and cushion the blow of leaving such an awesome job, I’ve been chatting with all the past interns to find out where they are now and what life is like after Experience Days… Check it out, these guys have done some incredible stuff!


 

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What are you up to now?

After Experience Days I finished my degree at Bournemouth in Leisure Marketing. I was very lucky to land a job at Living Social in Covent Garden, London. My role started as a marketing manger and then moved into a digital marketing exec role.

However my real passion in life is skiing so after 2.5 years I got my Canadian visa and moved back to Whistler, British Columbia. I have been working as a ski instructor and absolutely love it and can’t see myself changing for a long time.

What was the best thing about working for Experience Days?

Working for Robb was a great experience as he was always keen to share his knowledge with me and help me progress. Working for Experience Days itself in such a varied role made me really grow up fast and prepare me for the real world after uni!

What was the best experience you took part in or best memory whilst on placement?

My most memorable experience was attending a seminar put on by a digital agency at a gokart track. We spent the morning learning lots about digital marketing and the afternoon racing each other in 70mph go karts!

 


 

Jo

 

What are you up to now?

I’ve spent the past year as a programming assistant and producer for Capital radio, working along side the presenters and breakfast producers to enhance the shows and provide content. I also learnt how to edit audio for interviews and promotional work, as well as creating posts for social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat for both local and regional shows.

What was the best thing about working for Experience Days?

The experience and skills I gained from working with in a small company with a huge global reach. I developed my knowledge both in the office and out on the road, covering everything from email etiquette to networking.

What was the best experience you took part in whilst on placement?

I was given an incredible opportunity to visit the American office and participate in numerous Experience Days events – including learning how to fly a plane! Can’t really beat that!


 

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What are you up to now?

After my placement ended I continued to work for Experience Days on a freelance basis, fitting in work around my final year studies. When I finished my degree in July 2015, I came back to work full time! It was such a relief to have the job security, knowing I didn’t have to apply for graduate schemes or apprenticeships.

What was the best thing about working for Experience Days?

My favourite part about working for Experience Days was the people. I’m so glad I chose a placement at a small company rather than a large business where you can easily be overlooked, and I’ve made valuable friends and connections here that will help towards my future career – whether that’s here or elsewhere. I found the experience and knowledge I picked up from placement was far more specialised and relevant than those who worked for big corporations, so that’s something I’ll be eternally grateful for.

What was the best experience you took part in or best memory whilst on placement?

Whenever people ask me this the Fire Eating always comes to mind, as this is something I’ve never heard of anyone else doing and makes a pretty good conversation starter. That said, the parties with the UK Bungee Club are always a highlight, and of course visiting our US office in Colorado!

 


 

Poppy

 

What are you up to now?

I have currently just graduated from completing a Marketing Communications BA at Bournemouth University. I plan to move to the states and start working for a mobile commerce shopping site. I have even been given the opportunity to connect with the Experience Days team in America, which is definitely something I would like to look in to in the future!

What was the best thing about working for Experience Days?

I really enjoyed my time at Experience Days, first and foremost because of all the exciting experiences I was able to participate in. I tried a wide range of activities that I know were one off chances to try something that sometimes challenged me but also just purely things I never even thought to try! My favourite which was probably a combination of both these factors was bungee jumping 60ft near Brighton Pier. It was such a nice day and although I was nervous, it all sort of added to the excitement and ending adrenaline. Also I can’t not mention the staff (shout-out to: Robb, Rush, Gary, Evie, Toby and Rosie)! Even though it was a small team, everyone got on really well and it was just a pretty chilled atmosphere overall, like I wouldn’t describe it as a typical office environment… it definitely wasn’t as corporate as I know some of my friends placements were. That was a something I personally preferred, it sort of took off a certain pressure and I found it quite easy to just be myself and feel comfortable with everyone which I think is important because when you’re making the transition from a university life to a full time job, it in some ways becomes your second home so you want to feel at ease where you are.

Also location wise, I really loved Brighton especially coming from Bournemouth which I would describe as more of a town than a city. Brighton just has a lot more going on, there’s literally something going on constantly. I especially would recommend it if you have an interest in music or art. I also had the amazing opportunity to do a few experiences on holiday in New York due to the company’s American sister- Xperience Days. I went on an interactive theatre bus tour and a food tour which was so much fun and something I never even considered when I initially applied for the position.

What was the best experience you took part in or best memory whilst on placement?

As I’ve already mentioned experiences… I’ll mention a memory connected to my degree- Marketing. I was happy that via Twitter, I approached Krispy Kreme’s and ended up making a connection with their Social Media Manager. We ended up creating Krispy Kreme’s campaign as collaborated for a competition with them via social media. We celebrated with A LOT of donuts and I ate about 8 donuts in one day. So yeah, that was a pretty good day.

 


 

Hearing all the awesome things these guys are up to has definitely cheered me up! Who know’s where I’ll be this time next year? For now, it’s goodbye from me and a massive thank-you to everyone at Experience Days for one hell of a year.

Over and Out!

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Poole Harbour Boat Tour with City Cruises

Sightseeing cruise in Poole Harbour

If you have an interest in bustling seaside towns and want to experience Europe’s largest natural harbour, the splendid town of Poole has a lot to offer. I had never previously ventured into Poole, despite only living a short distance away, in Bournemouth. However, last week I had the fantastic opportunity in doing so and was fortunate enough to be invited onto one of City Cruises’ Poole Harbour Sightseeing Tours!

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The quay is located within walking distance from the station, meaning I reached the City Cruises red and white kiosk in plenty of time for the 11am Poole Harbour and Island Cruise boat tour. The 70-minute cruise offers an alternative way to explore the hidden treasures of the beautiful coastline. Want to sneak a peak at some of the rich and famous residents of Sandbanks? Or indulge in the culture of Brownsea Island featuring its ancient castle and green surroundings? Then this is the tour for you!

Even though it was raining, typical of British weather, it didn’t put a downer on our excitement as we stepped on board. Heading out to sea, one of the many landmarks in view was the magnificent Old Harry Rocks visible in the distance, making a great picture opportunity. As we cruised close to Sandbanks, described as the 4th wealthiest place to live in the world, we learnt that these famous houses start from £14 million and is home to QPR boss Harry Redknapp, along with other millionaire football managers. It is known for its blue-flag awarded pristine sand beaches, perfect for a hot summers day!

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The tour came to an end back at the Quay, and despite the weather the experience was really worthwhile. I felt I learnt many things about Poole and was keen to go visit some of the islands on foot. I would highly recommend this boat tour of Poole Harbour for people who are looking to explore more of Dorset’s coast line and bays, and families looking for an enjoyable day out.

Purchase a gift voucher here: Poole Harbour Sightseeing Cruise 

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Fathers Day Gift Guide

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It’s Father’s Day on the 19th June! Why not spoil your Dad this year with something a bit special? With our range of experience gifts, you can spend some quality time with your Dad and make memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Check out our top picks for Father’s Day:


Off Road Experience Fathers Day

Off Road Adventures

Monster Trucks! 4×4 Driving! Off Road Buggies!

What could be better than an adrenaline pumping driving experience to show your dad just how much you care? If this sounds like something he’d love, we have some great Father’s Day driving offers available in Sussex. Take on the ultimate driving day with a Monster Truck Driving experience in Sussex, test your nerve and try out 3 off road vehicles, or go the whole way and spend the day roaring around the tracks in 6 different vehicles. This is bound to be a Father’s Day to remember!


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Indoor Skydiving

Celebrate Father’s Day in style and learn to fly!

This is one for all the cool Dads out there. Futuristic, fun and fantastically thrilling, Indoor Skydiving is a must do for any adrenaline junkie. This makes a great activity gift for Father’s Day and in honour of this special occasion, we are now offering Indoor Skydiving – 2 for 1! Take your Dad out for this awesome adventure and you can even have a go yourself!


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Father’s Day Fishing

Fresh air, fishing and loads of fun.

Fishing is surely one of the best ways to spend an afternoon, and is definitely up there with the best father-child bonding activities. Why not treat your Dad to a day out in the country side with a special Lads and Dads Carp Fishing experience? Located in Essex, this full day fishing experience is bound to be a wonderful day out and the perfect gift for Father’s Day.


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Maserati Driving in London

Roof down, sun out, cruising London in your dream sports car.

For most of us, this is probably just a dream. Well, not anymore! Drive a Maserati around the streets of London with our newest supercar experience. This is a driving experience like no other and the closest thing to experiencing what it’s like to own your very own supercar. Why not make Dad’s dream come true with a voucher for a Maserati On Road driving day? There are loads of different options, from a full hour to a 20 minute thrill, so you’ll find something to suit any budget. Check out the options below:

London On-Road Maserati Driving Experience – 1 Hour

London On-Road Maserati Driving Experience – 1 Hour Weekday Only

London On-Road Maserati Driving Experience – 20 Minutes

London On-Road Maserati Driving Experience – 40 Minutes

Ultimate London On-Road Maserati Driving Experience – 90 Minutes

Ultimate London On-Road Maserati Driving Experience – 90 Minutes Weekday


Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Check out our full range of Father’s Day gift ideas here.

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Beer Tasting Masterclass in Poole Staff Review

Beer Tasting Masterclass 1.jpgThe world of beer is changing. Craft beers, speciality beers and world beers are appearing in our pubs, and beer drinkers around the UK are rejoicing! We visited Poole, a pretty Dorset seaside town, to try the Brewhouse and Kitchen’s beer tasting masterclass and find out what all the fuss is about!

Poole’s Brewhouse and Kitchen Pub is located in the heart of the seaside town, just a short walk from the train station and bus stops. It’s a beautiful pub full that’s of character. Beer bottle lamps light the bar and the walls are jam packed with bottles and quirky decoration. Our master brewer greeted us and showed us to our table, introducing us to the beer tasting class that would follow. She began our experience by explaining the brewing process and showing us the onsite brewing equipment. She explained how every beer has very few ingredients and the varying amounts of Hops and Malt used gives a unique flavour.

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Then it was on to the bit I’d been waiting for, the tasting! We were handed a tasting sheet for note taking and our brewer went off to collect our first sample of the session. Every beer we tried was completely different. Some had been brewed on site (delicious by the way), some were bottles that had travelled from Europe or America and others were beautiful British craft beers.

The specific flavours and aromas were explained in detail for each sample we tried. We tasted a cloudy wheat beer that tasted of Banana and a gorgeous dark porter that was so smoky it tasted exactly like Bacon! Who knew you could experience so many delicious flavours within a single taste of beer? Of course, we also sampled more traditional styles of beer, all of which were delicious.

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Between each new sample, we had plenty of time to sit back and relax with our beer in hand, enjoying the lovely atmosphere of the pub and chatting with our brewer. After tasting about 8 beers (and finishing a couple of the bottles off…) it’s safe to say we were feeling a little merry and ready for some lunch!

Included in this beer tasting experience experience is a gourmet burger – just what we fancied to accompany the last of our beer samples! I opted for a tasty goat’s cheese veggie burger and Naomi went for the bacon burger. Both were amazing and accompanied by a generous portion of chips. Delicious!

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After we’d devoured our lunch and spent a little time exploring the rest of the bar and asking any last questions with our host for the day, it was time to head home. We left feeling extremely full and very happy with our introduction to the world of beer. I’d gained a great amount of knowledge and sampled some fantastic beers. I would highly recommend this masterclass to anyone who has an interest or love of this wonderful drink!

Brewhouse and Kitchen offer their beer tasting masterclasses at a number of different venues around the south. Check out the full range here. If you want to delve deeper into the world of beer, why not try out one of their brewing experiences? Have a look at the experience here.

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Candy Making Class in London

Candy Making Class (4)

With a self-confessed sweet tooth, I’m always on the hunt to find my next sugar fix! So it’s safe to say I was very excited when invited to take part in a Candy Making Class held in London’s stylish Spitalfields Market. What better way to satisfy my sweet tooth than by learning how to make candy – and of course eating it afterwards!? Have a read to see how we got on.

The day started at the Spun Candy store in Spitalfields Market, London. On arrival, you are initially taken aback by the vibrant shop layout, then by the fragrant smell in the air. It was clear the day was going to be full of sweets, sweets and more sweets! The master candy makers warmly welcomed us into the store and after a quick wander around the variety of treats on offer, it was time to get our aprons on.

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The first step in our candy making experience was to decide on the flavourings for our candy. Pawel, the lead candy master, showed me and Rosie a collection of glass bottles filled with coloured liquids and corked tops. The bottles contained different flavourings. There was a bottle to suit any sweet tooth with flavours varying from fruity bases like lime and raspberry, to more unique tastes like cola.

After smelling a selection, we decided to compliment the full flavour of raspberry with a tasteful splash of passion fruit. Our flavourings were then mixed with sugar, water and glucose. The ingredients were brought to a bubbling boil, ready for us to begin the artwork. Pawel set the hot liquid onto the worktop and Rosie and I took turns mixing in food colouring in order to gain our desired rainbow shades.

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We folded the play-doh like candy until the colours glowed and the mixture began to stretch, then it was onto the hard part – the moulding. As beginners, we were shown how to make the simple shape of the classic lollipop swirl. After rolling each end of the candy in order to twist the colours together, we rolled it into the swirl. I found this pretty easy and was rather impressed with the shape I made (if I do say so myself). However, I soon realised a much more artistic hand was required for the more complex shapes. Pawel showed us how to make a variety of shapes ranging from hearts, snails, flowers and my favourite – a butterfly (I actually managed to create this as I intended)!

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Our master candy makers were very talkative and were always on hand to help. They kept us entertained with fun facts on the creation of candy and explained how they came to join the business. We ended up taking a huge bag of our creations back with us and we even made it onto their wall of fame! Each treat was individually wrapped and would make a great gift for a loved one.

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This experience caters for all sweet needs, suitable for children’s parties, a romantic day out and many more occasions. The products are suitable for vegetarians and are all made from natural flavourings, which is an added bonus. The location is easy to find and the class was short and snappy, a definite recommendation for a fun day out in the city!

Check out our full range of candy, lollipop and confectionery classes:

London Candy Taster Class

London Candy Flower Making Class

London Lollipop Making Class

London Confectionery Making Class

Children’s Candy Making Class In London For Two

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Movie and Muscle Car Driving Experience

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Driving American Muscle Cars has got to be any petrol head’s ultimate dream. And, when they have been featured in top block buster films like the cars we were to drive, it only adds to a super cool experience.

I knew we were in for a real treat when invited to drive these awesomely powerful cars at Abingdon airfield. I was excited, but I have to admit, a little nervous! I struggle to break 70mph on motorways, let alone take control of an incredibly powerful classic car and race around a track…

We were each testing two cars; I was taking on the classic Camaro SS as seen in Fast and Furious, and the Camaro ZL1, otherwise known as Bumblebee from Transformers! Evie was driving two very famous cars, Lightning McQueen himself and General Lee, the iconic Dodge Charger from The Dukes of Hazzard. Robb was to test the super fast Toyota Supra and probably the most iconic muscle car out there, the Ford Mustang.

We arrived early at Abingdon Airfield, the sun was shining and we could hear the roar of engines as the cars were warming up for a day of driving. After showing our driving licences and registering in the tent, we received a group introduction to each of the cars from a highly knowledgeable instructor, then it was time to go!

We waited our turn at the edge of the track, marvelling at the awesome cars lined up in front of us, perfectly happy to stand as watch as other drivers had their go. I could feel my nerves rising as the true power of the muscle car was demonstrated by the other drivers taking them for a spin.

Then it was our turn! Check out how we got on…

Camaro SS driving Experience

The Camaro SS

I was driving the classic SS first, and as I stepped into this beautiful car, my instructor immediately put me at ease. He explained how best to control the car and the differences I should expect in comparison to modern cars. My first impression was that this car is HEAVY, you have to press hard on that accelerator to get going and with no power steering, you really have to concentrate on driving this Camaro. It was an absolutely fantastic insight into classic race cars and although I didn’t go much more than 40mph (I know…) I really experienced what it is to drive a car of this calibre.


 

Ford Mustand Driving Experience

Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang… probably the most iconic Muscle car of the lot and I was thrilled to have to the chance to test it out. This 30 year old classic car was quite tricky to drive, but that’s all just part of  the experience. After getting used to the gearbox and accelerator, I was driving the car perfectly fine and enjoying the ride! – Robb.


 

Toyota Supra Driving Experience

Toyota Supra

Next up was the Toyota Supra. After driving the Ford, this was a bit of a shock. This modern machine is so much lighter and so much easier to drive. Even a light touch on the accelerator and you can feel the pace pick up. The thrill of whizzing around the track in this modern race car was intense and an entirely different experience from the classic cars. – Robb.


 

Camaro Bumblebee Driving Experience 1

Camaro ZL1 aka Bumblebee

Bumblebee is a truly beautiful car. Big, bold and bright yellow, I was extremely excited at the prospect of taking this supercar out for a spin! Sitting in the drivers seat, I couldn’t wait to get out on the straights and push the limits. I’m not a overly confident driver, but I can honestly say this Camaro was a dream to drive and I was reaching speeds of 80 without even thinking about it.


 

Mazda Mx5 Lightning McQueen Driving

Mazda Mx5 aka Lightning McQueen

As we waited to drive the Mazda Mx5, or Lightning McQueen himself, we watched numerous kids taking him for a ride. The look of joy of their faces as they drove their Disney hero really was lovely and only helped build excitement for my own drive! Once I hit the accelerator, there was no looking back as I whizzed around in this super fun, easy to handle sports car. – Evie.


 

General Lee Dodge Charger Driving Experience

Dodge Charger aka General Lee

The instructor had explained how this Dodge was actually used in The Dukes of Hazzard television series and, just in case I didn’t believe him, he pointed out the cast and crew’s signatures on the boot. Knowing this was an actual car used in the show made this driving experience even better! The power of the Dodge was evident from the word go and this famous car was a delight to drive, if a little hard to handle! – Evie.


After an amazing morning driving these cars, it was time to head home. First though we took a quick peep of the in-car footage you can purchase as a video, just so I could prove I did get above 50mph!

 

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Manchester City FC Stadium Tour Staff Review

 

Machester City Stadium Tour 1

As a Liverpool fan, a trip to Manchester is usually filled with hope and expectation. The trip back – full of disappointment and what might have been. That, of course, is if you’re heading to the red half of Manchester. So when I was invited to the blue half by our partners at the Etihad stadium, I had no such reservations. My enemy’s enemy and all that.

The overwhelming first impression upon approach is that the Etihad is more of a small town than a stadium; it’s a seriously impressive complex. Originally constructed as part of the 2002 commonwealth games bid, the Sportcity complex itself houses the football stadium, Manchester Velodrome, the National Squash Centre and the National BMX arena.

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We met in the City Store surrounded by City souvenirs and merchandise; sky blue everywhere. The check in process (first floor, upstairs) was easy and the staff were all very helpful and happy. If it was an act it was a convincing one as everyone seemed genuinely happy to be part of the club! Our guide soon arrived and took a quick register confirming that everyone was in attendance; we then headed back out into the biting Manchester air and headed across to the stadium.

Our guide first introduced himself and quickly asked each member of the group where they had come from and any reasons behind the visit. The group included tourists from Australia, Dubai and Ireland as well as some more local fans. Conscious of the temperature our guide quickly ushered us into the main entrance and upstairs to the opulent Chairman’s Club.Manchester City Stadium Tour 3

The Chairman’s club is THE place to watch a game if money is no object. It’s here that the players and directors meet after games to unwind. Continuing the theme of City being a fan-centric club, the new owners tore down barriers inside the suite to make sure that paying fans mingle with the directors of both clubs.

Heading out into the stands via the Chairman’s Club private exit, you’re greeted with the best view in the stadium. Right on the half way line, high in the stand with heated seats – this is the way to watch a game of football if you can afford it.

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We headed back inside and wound our way down through the innards of the stadium past the Mica Richards Youth Development wall (a permanent pictorial fixture showing his progress from youth academy to Premier League winner) and into the press area to take part in a simulated press conference in front of the sponsors boards, just like on match day. Here we learnt about the hierarchy of the various media outlets as well as some of the more bizarre sponsors demands on Champions League nights (no non sponsor logos are allowed anywhere – including the brand name on the TV sets on the wall).

On to the dressing rooms, away team first. Away changing rooms tend to be designed to give subtle (or not so subtle – http://bit.ly/20viNRN ) advantages to the home team. No such obvious signs in this away dressing room, everything seems to be functional with plenty of room for the opponents to prepare. The only distinct ploy, or the only one admitted, is that the changing rooms sit right underneath the loudest section of the home fans – the constant chants to remind them exactly where they are.

Manchester City Stadium Tour 4

Onwards to the home dressing room, past a room dedicated to the 2011-2012 title winning season, complete with a replica Premier League trophy.  Instead of hard wooden benches, there is soft car racing seats for each player. A tactics board with video to allow half time reviews of key incidents, first class medical facilities and lots of sky blue make the home dressing room a much more comfortable place to be. Individual lockers also help protect the players’ valuables from Mario Balotelli (apparently there was no need before the enigmatic Italian arrived).

The tour finale arrives as we took the players route from dressing room through the tunnel and out onto the pitch. Or, at least to pitch-side, since the turf is protected like hallowed ground before match days. A final reminder of the fan focused message of the team sees fan names line the sides of the tunnel to inspire the team.

Manchester City Stadium Tour 5

The Manchester City tour of the Etihad is a must for any Sky Blue fan, or for football fans in general. It’s a great insight into the inner workings of a football club and stadium. The tour itself is just about the right length to keep it interesting and our guide made it all the more entertaining.

You can also give an extra special tour to your loved ones, with an extra special guide! Check out our Manchester City Stadium Legend Tour for the ultimate Manchester City Stadium Tour experience.

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London Bridge Food Tour Staff Review

London Bridge Food Tour 1

When it comes to exploring the various culinary delights the UK has to offer, a Food Tour of London Bridge is a great way to discover the best food on offer, as well as enjoy the surrounding London landmarks.

A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to take part in the guided food tour of London Bridge! It was a fantastic experience where we had fun picking up a wealth of local foodie knowledge, learning about traditional dining customs and testing the latest gastronomic trends that London offers. We feasted on a huge selection of traditional British foods, from Cumberland sausages, battered fish and chips and various cheeses to lovely cakes, desserts and the humble doughnut. Tours are run for small numbers of participants, ensuring everyone receives a friendly and personal experience.

My tour, and I call it my tour as our guide, Raj, really went that extra mile to make the tour feel personal and ensure I had the best experience possible! He made a point to explain each of the foods on offer and the culture and history behind them, making our experience extremely enjoyable and educational. The tour itself lasted for about 3 hours, during which we made a total of eight tasting stops.

London Bridge Food Tour 2

The first guided stop of the day was to the vast and diverse Borough Market. During our time here, we learnt about the history of London’s most renowned food market, whilst also devouring our first food of the day – a delicious original recipe, Cumberland sausage.

We then progressed further into Borough Market where we spent around about 20 minutes wandering through the array of food stalls, sampling the different foods on offer and purchasing gifts.

One of the highlights for me during our visit was the chance to indulge in various flavours of English fudge. My personal favourite had to be the peanut butter rocky road made with milk chocolate fudge!

For me, a firm second ‘must try’ on the London Bridge Food Tour is the “fish!Kitchen<”. They produce the best fish and chips in town by using only fresh fish and triple cooking their chips.

London Bridge Food Tour 3

After visiting Borough Market, the next part of the tour was spent viewing the impressive Shard. Raj was full of interesting facts about the the tallest building in the European Union, including it’s design faults and how these issues had been resolved. Following this, we were given the chance to visit Southwark Cathedral. Here, we viewed the Cathedral’s stunning architecture and learnt about it’s history. We learnt of Doorkins, a cat who has made the cathedral his home and has become a bit of a celebrity and myth amongst the locals. We were even lucky enough to actually spot him roaming around during our visit!

The tour then continued on to a historic pub situated by London Bridge. Here, we tried the best of British cheeses served with grapes, fig cake, chutney and crackers. To wash down the cheeses, we sampled a real London ale and a cider (non-alcoholic options were available).

London Bridge Food Tour 4

We then moved on to Hay’s Galleria where we were given the much anticipated ‘Secret Dish’. So as not to spoil the secret I won’t give much information away here – other than that it was delicious! We were then taken to view the world famous London Bridge and Tower Bridge.  Here we could see and appreciate the London city skyline with views of “The Gherkin”, “The Walkie Talkie” and “The Cheese Grater” – all iconic buildings in the London skyline.

London Bridge Food Tour 5

For the last part of the London Bridge Food Tour, we enjoyed a quintessentially British dish, a traditional cream tea. This rounded off the whole experience wonderfully!

This is a fantastic sightseeing experience, perfect for any lover of food. It’s a great way to explore the London Bridge area and witness all the famous sights, whilst indulging in a huge variety of delicious treats. Purchase a gift voucher here.

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