As an avid reader, I often find myself transported into the pages of an enthralling book. Whether I am side by side with Harry and Ron flying over the Scottish Highlands or tiptoeing through a dystopian city with Katniss, my mind conjures up vivd images of the destination. As a traveller, I wonder what it would be like to really be in those places. Some are more difficult than others; Narnia, while enchanting, may be tough to reach. My closet isn’t very big. And as much as I’d love to follow Alice down the rabbit hole, I don’t seem to have any in my yard. But there are some literary destinations you can travel to in real life! Rather than just listing London and Paris (home to plenty of literary heroes), I attempted to make this list a little more creative. Here are some literary destinations you can travel to in real life, as well as a few luxury properties you can stay in while there.
There are unique festivals and events around the world, from the rowdy Songkran water festival in Thailand to the rather calming hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In fact, Buzzfeed has a list of festivals you don’t want to miss. There are some people who make an effort to get to all of these crazy festivals or cultural events. Some enjoy seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan while others strive to attend Hogmanay. Other fun festivals and events include Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras, and Carnevale. I recently experienced the sensational Up Helly Aa in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland. Influenced by the Vikings, it dates back to the late 1800s. What is Up Helly Aa? How do you experience this wild night? And where are the Shetland Islands?! Read on…
On my way home from the Shetland Islands back in early February, I had one night in Edinburgh. Since I was with my parents, I reached out to one of my suppliers to ask about hotels. They came back to me with the Old Town Chambers, serviced apartments in the heart of the old city just off the Royal Mile. These apartments are super easy to get to from Waverley Train Station, the bus stop at Waverley, and the tram station at St. Andrews Square. They’re also literally only steps from the high street. Great food, drink, shopping, and nightlife is on your doorstep at the Old Town Chambers!
On our way to the Shetland Islands for Up Helly Aa, my parents met me in Edinburgh, Scotland for Burns Night. This national night celebrates Scottish poet Robert Burns, most well known for Auld Lang Syne. With only one night, we stayed at the luxurious Prestonfield House in Edinburgh and attended their gala Burns Supper. If you have already been to Edinburgh and seen the sights, this is a great hotel to relax at. However, for travellers keen to get out and explore town, it’s a bit removed.
Recently, while in Edinburgh, Scotland, I had the chance to visit The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel. This five star property sits atop Waverley Station, Edinburgh’s main train station. It’s well known for its clock tower, which is visible from almost anywhere in Edinburgh, and its kilted doormen who also meet guests trainside. The Balmoral isn’t to be confused with Balmoral Castle, in the Scottish Highlands, the Royal Family’s Scottish home, although the hotel is certainly fit for a queen, or possibly a Half-Blood Prince. Read on for a glimpse into this Virtuoso luxury hotel in the heart of Edinburgh.
One of things I really like doing when I travel is learning about the history of the destination. I have a Masters degree in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, and obviously find it all fascinating. Plus, when you look at the history of the world on a broad scale, it really does link together. You’d never know it by looking at today’s news, but we have a lot more in common than we think. Of course, I’m not here to give a history lesson but more to share the history of Scotland’s Orkney Islands. Orcadian history spans from the Romans to the Picts, the Vikings, and finally the Scots. For such a small island chain in the middle of nowhere, it’s bursting with interesting history.
Whisky and winter go hand in hand, I often think, and no better way to kick off talking about Scotland’s Orkney Islands than by discussing Orcadian whisky! Did you know there are TWO distilleries in Orkney? They are both located on the mainland but are vastly different. More
Scotland holds a special place in my heart, and Scotland’s Orkney Islands do as well. This tiny archipelago at the top of the mainland is home to Neolithic ruins, World War II historical sites, award-winning distilleries, and incredible Norse heritage. The islands are easy to get around; there’s a dedicated ferry service to all inhabited islands. The Orkney Islands are also super easy to get to, on daily flights from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Inverness.
I know I’ve talked about Scotland’s Orkney Islands before, but I want to go a little more in depth this week! Check back at 10am each day for a post about this fascinating destination!
By far one of my favourite solo trips with a short two and a half day trip to the Orkney Islands, a quick hop from Scotland’s north coast. Because my background lies in history and culture, I was fascinated by the extensive prehistoric sites. Like the Shetland Islands, Orkney has a very strong Norse culture.
As a lover of remote, windswept islands, I’ve long known where Scotland’s Shetland Islands are, but for many they’re just another North Atlantic island chain. However, this small archipelago is a rare bird paradise (ok, Arctic bird paradise), a hiker’s dream destination, and if you like to explore shipwrecks you will find plenty of them here. More