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nic7602

nic7602
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Member since: 25.03.2010

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      02.06.2010 18:00
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      Worth a visit

      We often visit Chatelherault Country Park in Lanarkshire as it is only a 10 minute drive from our home.

      The Park is situated between the towns of Hamilton and Larkhall

      The park houses an 18th century hunting lodge which was designed by Scottish Architect William Adam. The lodge was built in 1732 for the Duke of Hamilton who was also the Duke of the French town of Chatelherault (hence the name).

      When the lodge was originally built it was at the end the "Grand Avenue", a tree-lined avenue which ran all the way from Hamilton Palace, the home of the Dukes of Hamilton, to the Hunting Lodge. The Palace, which was once the largest non-royal palace in Britain, along with the Grand Avenue, are unfortunately no longer there.

      The lodge is open to the public but is actually much smaller inside than would appear from the outside, so it doesn't take long to walk around.

      The park itself has over 10 miles of some fabulous woodland walks leading down to and along the banks of the River Avon. There are plenty of wide pathways which are ideal for families with prams or buggies but some of the walks do have quite steep steps going down towards the river. We have been going to this park for several years now and still seem to find a new route each time we go.

      The park also contains the Ancient Cadzow Oaks which have been said to date back to the mid 12th Century which puts them amongst the oldest trees in Scotland.

      The rear-side of the lodge contains the visitor centre and coffee shop. The visitor centre is really interesting and has quite a few hands-on exhibits which are great for the kids to explore.

      It not only tells the story of the history of the lodge but also the geological history of the area.

      Theres also a small shop selling the usual gifts and souveneirs you tend to get at visitor centres.

      For our children though, the best part of the park for them is undoubtedly the Adventure Playground. It's a large, well equipped play area with different sections for younger and older children.

      The play park is always busy at weekends with lots of people having picnics and bbqs in the surrounding area.

      Entrance to the park and visitor centre is free and there are plenty of free parking spaces. You can also get to it by public transport as there is a train station directly opposite the park.

      A great day out for both children and adults.

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        07.05.2010 13:32
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        A good day out

        We often visit Calderglen Country Park which is situated on Strathaven Road, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.

        There is plenty to do for everyone within the park and it is especially good for large families as entrance is free, although from April this year they have started charging £1 per adult (children free) to enter the Zoo and Conservatory. I really do think however this is a small price to pay for what you get.

        Facilities

        Conservatory

        This area has lots of tropical plants and also has some fish, insects and reptiles all contained within the glass roofed building. There are information boards at each of the exhibits so you can easily find out information on each of the species. This area's quite small so doesn't take too long to walk around, which is quite good as I think some kids can start to lose interest after a while if mainly looking at plants.

        Small Zoo

        There a good selection of small animals within the zoo, such as meerkats, wallabies, marmosets, guinea pigs and a variety of exotic birds. The zoo is well maintained with plenty of paths around the enclosures. It can easily be accessed by wheelchair users and prams and buggies. By far the most popular area of the zoo is the meerkat enclosure, we couldn't drag the kids away from watching the funny antics of these little creatures.

        Adventure Playground

        The play park caters for children of all ages and is fenced off from the rest of the park, so you feel safe knowing the kids can play here and not wander off.

        The toddler area has a sand pit, a climbing frame and a small slide. For older children there is a huge, climbing frame build to resemble a tower with rope bridges, tunnels and various slides.

        Wooded Glen

        The glen has over 5km of woodland walks leading down to and along the banks of the River Calder. There is some really nice walks here and you pass some lovely waterfalls, only problem here is due to steep steps and quite rugged terrain it's not suitable for prams or buggies so you really have to carry small children and babies. The Northern area of the glen is a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest.

        Visitor Centre

        The visitor centre provides an audio-visual display of the history of the park. There's also the Courtyard Café which provides a selection of hot and colds snack and also main meals with seating inside and outside of the café.

        Opening Times

        The park grounds are open throughout the year.

        The Convervatory, Zoo, Vistor Centre and Café have the following opening hours:

        Summer (April - Sept) 10.30am - 5pm
        Winter (Oct - Mar) 11.00am - 4pm


        Verdict

        A great park for spending a fun day out in the Lanarkshire area

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          06.05.2010 20:52
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          Recommended

          I don't normally buy pasta sauces as I much prefer making my own using tinned tomatoes and various herbs and spices....and maybe some cream if I'm not being too health conscious.

          I often find pasta sauces to be pretty bland; however this particular sauce is certainly the exception.

          I decided one evening I would try this Lloyd Grossman Smoky Bacon sauce as I was after something quite quick and tasty for tea. The cost of these in Morrisons at the moment is £1 each but I think they're normally around £1.60.

          On opening the sauce I was a bit concerned as it looked very oily but it did have a lovely sweet aroma of fresh tomatoes and smoky bacon. The consistency is quite a bit thinner than other sauces I have used but it has a much more home-made look, with lots of chunky tomatoes and small bacon pieces unlike that factory produced look you get from some of the other popular brands. My husband didn't actually realise I had used a jar this time and mentioned how much better home-cooked sauces were!!

          The sauce also contains red chillies and garlic but these only compliment the flavour of the bacon and don't overpower it at all. The sauce has a rich tomato and bacon flavour and the added kick from the chillies really gives subtle warmth to the sauce.

          The sauce is simple to use, like most other sauces it just requires emptying into a saucepan, simmering gently until it's heated through then add to your favourite pasta.

          To be honest though I tend not to bother heating the sauce beforehand and just pour it over freshly made pasta direct from the jar as I find the heat from the pasta also heats the sauce nicely.

          It states on the jar that the sauce will remain fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days after opening, I can't however comment on this as I have always used the full jar which does for a meal for husband and me. Half a jar of this sauce contains approx 201 calories.

          Below is more detailed nutritional info:

          Typical values per 100g

          Energy 115kcal
          Protein 3.5g
          Carbs 7.3g
          Fat 8.0g
          Fibre 0.8g
          Sodium 0.6g

          Verdict:

          Would I use this again? Definitely!

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            05.05.2010 17:50
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            An excellent yoghurt

            Thick? Yes
            Creamy? Yes
            Delicious? Definitely!

            What more can I say?.... well a few things actually.

            My new number one favourite yoghurt at the moment has got to be the Naturally Creamy Split Pot yoghurts from Nom.

            The yoghurts come in a pack of 4. (I'm not sure if you can buy them separately yet)

            These yoghurts are currently on offer at Morrisons. A pack of 4 (all of the same flavour) costs 90p and are also on a Buy 1 Get 1 Free, so paying less than £1 for 8 yoghurts I thought was really good value for money.

            The yoghurts come in 3 fruit flavours, Senga Strawberry, Alphonso Mango & Passion Fruit and Morello Cherry.

            Each yoghurt comes in a 175g tub which is the ideal size for lunchtime snack or as a quick breakfast substitute

            The tubs are split similar to Muller Fruit Corners with approximately 2/3 of the tub taken up with the deliciously creamy natural yoghurt and the remaining 1/3 containing a scrumptious, syrupy fruit compote.

            These are also suitable for vegetarians

            The yoghurt itself is lovely and tasty with a creamy texture which I would be more than happy to have on its own however with the addition of a swirl of the deep red strawberry compote, it really is a marriage made in heaven.

            All the Nom yoghurts are produced from 100% natural ingredients in their Shropshire Dairy.

            Nutritional Info:

            Typical values per 100g

            Energy 106kcal
            Protein 3.1g
            Carbs 15.0g
            of which sugars 14.7g
            Fat 3.8g
            of which saturated 2.4g
            Fibre 0.3g
            Sodium trace


            I would highly recommend these yoghurts to anyone.

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              29.04.2010 13:38
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              Healthy snack, wouldn't recommend it though

              Having recently decided to try and eat healthier snacks at lunchtime (rather than the usual calorie laden chocolate bar) I have been on the look-out for new low fat yoghurts to try.

              On my last shopping trip to Morrisons I came across the Weight Watchers Dessert Recipe Yoghurts. I'm not usually a big fan of Weight Watchers yoghurts but thought these looked to be particularly nice and tasty.

              These yoghurts come in packs of 4 and are currently half price at Morrions, hence the reason for buying them, at 69p for a pack of 4 I thought this was really good value.

              Each pack contains 4 different flavoured yoghurts, Strawberry Tart, Raspberry Tart, Lemon Cheesecake and Toffee Apple.

              So far I have only tried the Lemon Cheesecake as I thought this sounded delicious and would try this first.

              To be honest I was quite disappointed. The picture on the tub shows a slice of mouth watering lemon on a crumbly biscuit base......if only the product could live up to the picture.

              On opening I thought the yoghurt looked appealing, it has a nice pale lemon colour and a sweet lemon aroma.

              However on tasting I found the yoghurt to be quite sweet but with a bitter aftertaste. There are no juicy bits but only what I could describe as pieces of lemon rind floating around the yoghurt.

              The consistency is quite thin and runny not as thick and creamy as I would have liked even considering that it is a low fat product.

              On the plus side though each 120g pot only contains 58 calories and 0.3g of fat (of which 0.2g are saturated) so it does make for a healthy snack.

              Personally don't think it's anywhere near as tasty or filling as Muller Light or Activia Fat Free yoghurts.

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                27.04.2010 12:58
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                A great day out

                You can tell spring is here, lambs are in the fields, leaves are on the trees....and the racing season at Hamilton Park Racecourse is about to begin...summer's truly on it's way.

                Horse Racing has been taking place in Hamilton since as far back as 1782, although it wasn't until 1926 that the first race took place at it's current location on Bothwell Road, Hamilton.

                Hamiton Park, the only dedicated flat course in Scotland, was the first racecourse in the UK to hold evening racing, which began on the 18th of July 1947 and has been a important part of the racing season at Hamilton ever since.

                The park hosts approx 18 meetings throughout the season which runs from May to October. These consist of different themed events from Family days, to the highlight of the Season, the Cash For Kids fundraising evening where a percentage of the takings go to the Cash for Kids charity. This is a great night where ladies get to dress up in their finest although hats are not a requirement you'd be hard pushed to find any of the ladies not wearing one.

                Facilities

                The park has 2 separate enclosures, (with varying price structures which I'll discuss later) the Grandstand enclosure which has a family restaurant / bistro and 3 bars, and the Club enclosure which has a formal dining restaurant, 2 bars and also a separate Champagne bar.

                The Paddock Lawn is an area outside of the main building where they have various hot food vans, a picnic area and a children's play park.

                During the Family Day meetings there is also a small funfair and various activities for children ie face painting, arts and crafts etc which are all free of charge.


                Themed Meetings

                As mentioned above, throughout the year the park holds various Themed Meetings, where although the racing is the main event there are also lots of other activities taking place. For instance one of the more popular evenings is Braveheart Night where they stage battle re-anactments, highland dancing displays and local pipe bands play.

                The Cash for Kids evening is probably the most glamorous and star studded event where it's a great excuse to get your glad rags on and have a stroll around the park with a glass (or two) of Champagne.

                Another popular meeting is the Family Night where for the last 2 years there have been a performance from the X-Factor finalists, this always proves a huge hit with the children and adults alike.


                Prices

                The are various ticket options starting from the cheapest which is approx £12 per person. This allows access to the Grandstand Area and the Paddock Lawn. Access to the Club enclosure is more expensive at £18 per person, this will however give you access to all areas of the park and I would say is generally the best option to go for. Tickets can purchased online or at the gate on the day of the race. If however you go for this option it's usually about £2 more expensive per ticket. Under 16's (accompanied by an adult are free)


                Overall

                A day (or night) at the races it's a great, fun, social occasion, where you don't even have to gamble on the horses if you don't want to as there are plenty of other things going on.

                There really is something for everyone at this racecourse.

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                  24.04.2010 13:01
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                  Great for anything from leisurely swim to gruelling fitness regime

                  Hamilton Water Palace is our local swimming pool / leisure centre. The complex was built in 1995 as a much needed replacement for the old Edwardian swimming baths that we had in the town. Ornate as they were they really didn't provide a pleasureable swimming experience. The centre is one of the most popular swimming pools in the South Lanarkshire area and is always busy especially on weekends and school holidays.

                  The centre is not only just a swimming pool but has plenty other facilities including a gym, fitness studio, health suite, beauty salon and coffee shop.

                  The centre offers various memberships which not only allow you unlimited access to the facilities within the Water Palace but also all other leisure centres within South Lanarkshire.

                  Swimming Pool

                  The swimming pool has 3 distinct areas, a 25 meter pool with adjustable floor level, which is used for normal swimming and also swimming lessons, a shallow childrens pool with a pirate ship and a leisure pool which has a large flume, a tyre slide and a lazy river. The leisure pool can get really busy and is not suitable for really young children as there's always a lot of older children splashing about a bit. There's also a small outdoor pool, which is never used that much as it is in Scotland after all and we're not renowned for having tropical weather.

                  One thing to remember if you visit the pool is that for there must be 1 adult present for every child under 4 you have, and 1 adult for every 2 children between 4 and 8. Any children over the age of 8 are allowed to swim unsupervised and there are always plenty of lifeguards on duty making sure everyone is safe.

                  Club Gym

                  The gym is relatively small compared to some other gyms in the area but is well equipped with 28 cardiovascular and 15 resistance machines and a number of free weights. There's lots of TV screens around the gym with music playing all the time and plenty of air-conditioning so it's always nice and cool. The gym also offers Personal Training Programmes on a 1-2-1 basisbut these are at an additional cost over and above the normal membership fees.

                  Fitness Suite

                  The centre has a number of rooms used for fitness classes which can either be booked on a weekly basis or you can attend as part of your membership. I've only ever been to one of these classes, Circuit Training.....and after an hour of thinking my heart may explode and my limbs would be ripped apart....(no exaggeration there!)...I decided I would maybe just stick with swimming.

                  Health Suite & Beauty Salon

                  The Health Suite has Saunas and Steam rooms which are great for relaxing and detoxifing, also good for easing aching muscles (espcially if you've just endured a Circuit Training class!)

                  The Beauty Salon offers various treatments from facials to full body massages and also nail extensions and professional make-up applications.

                  Coffee Shop

                  There is a small coffee shop area within the reception area of the complex offering teas, coffees, snacks etc. It's quite a small area but has plenty of seating and lots of vending machines if you just want to grap something and go.

                  Overall it's a great facilty and as it's a Local Authority run centre the prices are a lot more reasonable than some private clubs which offer the same level of amenities.

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                    16.04.2010 14:32
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                    Good hotel. Good location

                    I am not usually a big fan of Travelodges but on a recent trip down South we decided to break our journey up with a stopover somewhere on the M6. We would normally stay at a Premier Inn but on this occasion couldn't get anywhere reasonably priced. After reading several reviews of the Travelodge at Warrington Lymm Services we opted to give that a go, the cost was only £19 per room as we booked 21 days in advance. The usual price is roughly £50 per night.

                    The Travelodge is based within the Services which are situated on the A50 just off Junction 20 of the M6 Southbound. The services themselves have plenty of facilities including all the usual suspects like Costa, McDonalds and WH Smiths but it also has, bizarrely enough, a hairdressers and a small pub!

                    There's no problem with parking as there are over 60 spaces which are allocated to the hotel and all you have to do is enter your registration number at reception and the parking is free for the duration of your stay.

                    When we arrived at the hotel, on entering reception we found it to be bright and clean, the receptionist was really friendly and helpful and the booking in process was quick and efficient.

                    We'd booked a family room as there were 2 adults, 2 children and a baby. Our room was on the first floor and was lovely and warm when we got in. There was 1 double bed, a couch with a pull out bed below and a travel cot for the baby and there was still enough room that the kids could have a bit of a play before going to bed.

                    The room didn't have the general musty smell that I've found a lot of Travelodges to have and was really clean and fresh. The carpets looked to have just been cleaned and the bathroom was spotless. The TV had quite a few freeview channels, unfortunately no kids channels though.

                    The hotel offers early check-in from noon and late check-out (2pm) but the cost of this is an additional £10 per service!

                    Also the hotel is only 11 miles from Manchester Airport and 10 miles from Gullivers World Theme Park.

                    I would definitely use this hotel again.

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                    31.03.2010 13:40
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                    Tasty, healthy snack

                    I usually buy Muller Lite yoghurts but decided to try the Activia Fat Free Yoghurt for a change....and because they are currently on offer in Morrisons.

                    I thought these may help me on my endless crusade to find snacks that I actually like that don't contain enough calories to sustain a small army.

                    The individual pots were half price at 39p each which I think is a fair price for them as I'm not sure that I'd buy them at full price. They come in 4 flavours, Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry and Peach.

                    I'm not really a big fan of Fat Free yoghurts as I think they sometimes have a sort of synthetic, bitter taste from them however I was pleasantly surprised by this yoghurt.

                    I have so far only tried the peach and strawberry flavours which I both found to be deliciously creamy and filled with lots of juicy, chunky fruit pieces.

                    These individual pots contain 165g which I find are a much better size for a snack than the smaller pots that you tend to get in packs of 4.

                    This yoghurt, as does all the Activia range, claims to reduce digestive comfort, I can't however comment on this either way as it's not something that I suffer from.

                    Each pot contains 101 calories and 0.2g of fat so not entirely "Fat Free" although the fat content only contributes less than 1% of the entire yoghurt and has only a trace of saturated fats.

                    This is certainly a yoghurt that I would buy again and would definitely recommend for a healthy tasty snack.

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                    • London Eye / Sightseeing National / 56 Readings / 56 Ratings
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                      29.03.2010 13:29
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                      Definitely reccommended for something a bit different to do in London

                      As a surprise birthday treat for my husband, I decided I would book the London Eye as it was something both of us had never done before and we definitely wanted to give it a go.

                      There are various ticket options and as this was a special occasion I wanted to do something a bit different.

                      The ticket options range from the cheapest which is the standard ticket (approx £14 per adult) where you can either book online or turn up and pay on the day, to the most expensive which is a Private Capsule where champagne and canapés are served. It's usually about 20% cheaper to book tickets online

                      I had initially looked at a Private Capsule as they have an option called Cupid's Capsule, this is for a maximum of 2 adults and you receive a bottle of Champagne, I thought this would be lovely experience but the price of this was £299! As I had already arranged a few other things for us to do in London over the weekend I couldn't really justify the price of this so I opted for the Champagne Flight.

                      The cost of this to book online is £26.40 per person and includes a glass of champagne each, you can also book an additional glass for an extra £8 each, which of course I did as 1 glass of champagne is never enough!

                      With the Champagne Flight option you get to check-in a lot quicker and there's no real queuing. You really get the sense of feeling a bit special as you board before others on the Standard Flights and you have your own personal host who has a wicker picnic basket containing champagne and glasses. When we were on our flight there were only approx another dozen people, so I assume these are a lot these crowded than the Standard Flights. The host who is with you on the flight will serve your Champagne and will try and answer any questions you have about the Wheel itself or views from the wheel.

                      The flight takes approximately 30 minutes and you hardly feel as though you are moving at all, which was quite a relief as I did become slightly apprehensive just as I was about to board.

                      You have a 360 degree view from each capsule and on a good day apparently you can see as far a Windsor Castle, unfortunately this was not the case on the day we were there. It was slightly overcast but the views were still exceptional.

                      The London Eye is located on the South Bank just opposite the Houses of Parliament and is easy to get to from several tube stations including Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster.

                      For something a bit different to do when visiting London I would certainly recommend it.

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                        26.03.2010 14:14
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                        A great place to visit with plenty do to and see

                        Kelburn country park is one of our favourite places to visit with the children we have been a few times now and don't tire of the place in the slightest.

                        On our first visit we thought the entrance fee of £7.50 per adult and £5.00 per child was pretty steep but on seeing what you get for the money it is probably reasonably priced. During the autumn / winter season though admission is half price, and to be honest although there are not as many areas open, the park is probably as it most beautiful especially if it has been snowing. There's wonderful views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran.

                        The park is situated appox 2 miles South of Largs just off the A78 coast road. There's a train station in Largs and it's on the main bus route to Ayr with a bus stop directly outside of the park. We have taken the car on all occasions and never had any problems find a parking space.

                        There's a 13th Century Castle in the middle of the park which is reportedly the oldest castle in Scotland to be inhabited by the same family. The castle is open to the public during peak season (July and August) and they provide free guided tours, we haven't actually had a tour of the castle yet as the kids are always desperate to get to the Secret Forest and the Adventure Play Area, although I'm sure it's something we will do on future visits.

                        Our first point of call is usually the Secret Forest, a vast area of raised walkways and paths which meander through the forest (known as the Wild Wood). The area is magnificent for children as there is always something unexpected around the next corner, from a Chinese Garden to a Gingerbread House and a Castle that appears to have no entrance. There's also a maze which is a big hit with our kids as they manically run around trying to get to the middle first. Each year they add new features the Secret Forest which is great as each visit is always going to be different.

                        The Adventure Course is an excellent area for the children to burn off their energy. It's a wooden area complete with climbing frames, rope swings and ladders, it also has a high-wire crossing which is approx 15ft off the ground. It's not suitable for young children and toddlers but older kids will think it's great.

                        For the younger children there's an indoor play area which only costs £1.50 per child, this is quite good if the weather's not too good which is usually the case in the West of Scotland!

                        We always make sure we have a trip down to the Waterfall Pool area which has spectacular waterfalls and a great spot for a few family photos.

                        One of the Parks claims to fame is that it is home to Scotland's tallest tree, the Monterey Pine, at over 100 feet tall it's easily distinguished from the rest of the trees as it looks about twice the size!

                        There's a café on site which is reasonable priced, but we love to take a picnic with us when we visit here as there are plenty of grassy areas and picnic benches.

                        Overall I think this park is a fantastic day out for both adults and children and we'll certainly be visiting again as there a always plenty of new and exciting things to do and see.

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                        25.03.2010 23:36
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                        Recommend to anyone looking for a budget hotel with character

                        I have now been to New York twice and both times stayed in the Pennsylvannia Hotel.

                        The first time myself and my husband went was for a short break for valentines weekend. We booked the trip through a travel agent as a package holiday and therefore didn't choose this hotel ourselves. I subsequently read reviews of the hotel and was a bit worried as they weren't great and overall opinion was that it was a basic budget hotel so don't expect too much. When we got there I was pleasantly surprised. The lobby to me is a typical New York hotel, although was a bit shabby. The hotel was really busy when we arrived and it took a good 30-40 minutes waiting in the queue to check in. The staff weren't particularly pleasant but were efficient enough. When we eventually got to our room we were hugely dissappointed to find the bed hadn't been made and had hairs on the sheets!!! My husband went straight to reception to make a complaint which they dealt with very well and we were immediately moved to another room. The 2nd room was certainly clean but was very cold as the heating wasn't working. As it was getting late and I really didn't want to move rooms AGAIN, we just left it that night and spoke to reception next morning. The heating was fixed by the time we got back to our hotel that evening. Generally the hotel was a bit downtrodden looking. However that didn't stop us booking the hotel again for a Xmas break in New York (2008). Well what can I say. What a difference. There appeared to be new carpets throughout and the hotel just looked so much nicer. The room we had was lovely with really thick carpets and a HUGE double bed. The bathroom was small but clean. The hotel has lots of character and has a real New York buzz about it. There's also restaurant and 24 hour coffee shop within the main lobby area. The location is fantastic just opposite Madison Square Gardens on 7th avenue and 33rd Street. Macy's Department Store and The Empire State Building are both only 1 block away and it's within easy walking distance of Times Square. Overall I would certainly recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a reasonably priced hotel in the centre of Manhattan.

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                          25.03.2010 21:50
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                          Great hotel in an excellent location would definitely recommend

                          We booked 2 nights in this hotel in between xmas and new year so we could have a break away with the kids that wasn't too expensive (£29 per night for a family room).

                          This was by far the cheapest accommodation we could find in York City Centre. The hotel is right in the heart of the city so is great for exploring York and it's many attractions such as York Minster, The Castle Museum and the Jorvik Centre to name but a few. It's less than half a mile from the train station which is good if you are travelling by train.

                          The hotel has a small bar / restaurant and a Costa Coffee lounge whichis great for sitting having a relax after a days shopping / sightseeing. We didn't eat in the restaurant in the evening but the prices looked reasonable.

                          The room itself was lovely and spotless with quite a large flat screen television. We stayed in a family room which had an extremely large and comfortable double bed, two single beds and a travel cot and there was still plenty of room left.

                          We booked for breakfast for my husband and myself in the morning and the kids eat free. It's a cooked buffet breakfast with plenty to choose from. The kids loved the fruit, yoghurt and muffins.

                          Only downside we had was the parking. There's a small NCP car park adjacent to the hotel but it's a real struggle to get parked there if you don't arrive early enough. We were lucky that we eventually managed to get a space but that was after a 40 minute wait. Parking costs £8.00 for 24 hours.

                          Overall though I would certainly recommend this hotel to anyone and we will be going again the same time this year.

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                            25.03.2010 21:35
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                            Good base for a budget holiday

                            We have stayed at a few Haven sites and have always found them to be quite nice, however I was a little disappointed with Blue Dolphin. We stayed 3 nights in a "Deluxe" caravan which could hardly be described as Deluxe. When entering the caravan we were initially hit with an overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke which was so bad my husband who suffers from Asthma couldn't go back into the caravan until we had opened all doors and windows to air the place. Although we hadn't paid that much for the holiday (£150 for 3 nights) I was expecting a slightly better level of accommodation as we had a bit extra for the Deluxe. The carpet was exceptionally dirty and the shower and toilet didn't look as though it had been cleaned.

                            We took the children into the Funworks which is full of amusements that the kids loved, although cost us a fortune the downside was it was overrun with teenagers pushing and shouting not great when you have young children and toddlers. The evening entertainment was fine as the kids loved seeing the characters and having the photos taken, however this stops about 7.30ish then the entertainment is more aimed at older children / adults. This may have been because it wasn't in the height of the season.

                            The site is an old Butlins site and looks as though its not changed much since then, could really do with a bit of a spruce up. The advantages are though it's right on the Yorkshire coast and there's so many places around that area to visit, so it's great if you're just looking for a base to explore the area. I wouldn't recommend staying there for a week if you weren't planning on leaving the site. Overall though it's a reasonably priced caravan site in an area with lots of to do and see.

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                          • More +
                            25.03.2010 21:20
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                            Would recommend for a short break in Ayrshire

                            We visited Craig Tara for this first time in March this year, the opening weekend.

                            We have been to quite a few Haven sites and have read the reviews about Craig Tara which weren't that complimentary (to say the least) however as we hadn't paid that much (approx £100) for a 3 night break for 5 of us I was too bothered.

                            When we got there however I was more than pleasantly surprised. We arrived about 6pm on the Friday and was expecting long queues at check in however there were a few people waiting but there was plenty of staff on and we were checked in and had our keys within 5 mins.

                            It did however take us quite a while to eventually find our caravan as the map that is given to you when you arrive was nothing like how the site is actually laid out. There's a lot of work going on at the moment and lots of new caravans being sited. Our caravan was right next to the building site which I was quite disappointed with initially but there was no real disruption to our holiday because of this.

                            We had booked a Deluxe caravan and were extremely lucky to be alloacated one new ones as it was immaculate to say the least. Everything was in pristine condition, and I couldn't fault it in the slightest. All bedrooms had heaters which was great for the kids as it got quite cold during the night. The lounge area was lovely and big with plenty of room for the kids to run around.

                            The grounds outside the caravan have been well looked after with lots of grassy areas for the kids to play. There were site employees going around each day picking up any litter which had been left.

                            The entertainment in the showbar each morning was quite good for the kids, there was dancing, arts and crafts etc and it passed a few hours 'til lunchtime. The evening entertainment I didn't think was that great. You have to be in the showbar around 6ish if you want to get a seat and there's a lot of waiting around before any of the entertainment begins.

                            There's plenty of facilities on site, although some of it is a bit rundown looking. The swimming pool is great for the kids with plenty of slides and shallow areas for younger children.

                            The one area which I thought let the park down was the amount of (drunk) youtths running about the site at night causing quite a bit of damage. There didn't seem to be any security guards patrolling the area on an evening.

                            Overall though I would definitely recommend this site for a short break as there is lots to do on site and plenty of things to do and see within the area.

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