North East Family Fun

Family, Travel & Adventure

Monday, 25 July 2016

Hunting for the Loch Ness Monster

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster has captured imaginations around the world for centuries. Harry even learned all about Nessie as part of the National Curriculum this year so we thought where better to base our summer break than Loch Ness. We were hoping a little sprinkle of Scottish magic and outdoor life would really inspire and ignite our children's imagination to learn more (and it did). 

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

Our first stop in our hunt for Nessie was the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition which is a five star rated attraction taking visitors on a journey through the history of Loch Ness. Entry is £7.95 for children and £4.95 for children (children aged 5 and under are FREE). You can pre-book tickets online or pay on arrival.

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

There is plenty of FREE parking outside and the centre is very well signposted. We picked up our tickets from reception and entered the first room.......

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

The exhibition is a self-guided tour around 7 rooms which chart the loch (and Nessie's) history from the Jurassic age right through to the present day. You stay in each room for around 5 minutes and listen to stories, myths & legends about the loch and are provided with lots of food for thought - what would a monster of Nessie's size eat? Can she hide? Did people mistake Nessie for a boat or a seabird? 

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

The rooms feature special effects, lasers, real photography and eye witness reports as well as cutting out all the jargon and providing the findings of various scientific experiments that have been conducted on the loch. 

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

The exhibition very much held our children's attention and they were captivated right from the start. It really is a place that makes you think, not just about Nessie, but the wider context of scientific study, myths, hoaxes and reporting.

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

After the seven rooms we entered a room filled with news reports, real artifacts and more eye witness statements that help you to make up your own mind. Our three couldn't get enough and listened carefully to reports and read up on newspaper stories. I loved seeing them going off and learning by themselves like this :D

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

I think the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition are missing a trick and at the end they should have some sort of voting system where kids (and grown ups) can vote whether they think Nessie is real or not and then compare to how others have voted. The exhibition certainly prompted lots of discussion between us and for me, I am still well and truly undecided. Steve has never believed in the legend but the kids still truly believe. Even more so after the exhibition I think.

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

Did you know Loch Ness holds more water than all of the rivers and lakes in England and Wales put together and is big enough to submerge every single human on the planet? WOW! It's facts like this that kind of make me think the legend could be true.........

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

Of course we exited through the gift shop which is THE place to come for your Nessie memorabilia. You could buy everything from Nessie hoodies to aprons and there was something for all budgets (we even noticed some smaller items were only 30p). We picked up a cuddly Nessie as a reminder of our trip from what I think must be the biggest collection of Nessie cuddly toys in the world.

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

There is a Whisky Shop on site too and the lady who works in there was lovely and very knowledgeable - writing down lists of nearby distilleries for a fellow tourist to visit plus offering samples and tailored recommendations. Steve was in his element and had to pick up a bottle for home.  There is also a cafe in the centre and they can organise loch ness cruises for you as well.

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

If your children are keen Nessie hunters, I really would recommend starting your adventure with a visit to the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. We left feeling as if we really had learned a lot about the legend and really wanted to spot Nessie ourself.

Onto real life Nessie hunting........

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

We searched the loch by the shores of Loch Ness Shores where were staying. Unfortunately, we couldn't see anything with our naked eye. However as Steve and I enjoyed a cuppa by the loch, the kids used to love grabbing my camera and could spend hours searching for Nessie. This spot by Harry is pretty convincing......what do you think?



Our next chance to hunt for Nessie was at Fort Augustus where we didn't manage any sightings at all.......

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

However we were luckier at Urquhart Castle where special telescopes allowed us to see far and wide. I am pretty convinced I spotted Nessie swimming off in the distance :-)

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

What do you think? Is Nessie real or simply a legend? Why not visit the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition and come to your own conclusion. We could not recommend a weekend spent hunting for Nessie with the kids enough.

In the end, I think Steve came around to our way of thinking when he spotted Nessie himself on the banks of Loch Ness Shores just before we left......

Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Review with Kids - We spot the Loch Ness Monster!

Disclosure: We were provided with complimentary tickets to the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition in return for an honest review. 
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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Disney On Ice Presents Frozen Ticket Giveaway from Cocktails In Teacups

If you love all things Disney & don't already follow Cocktails In Teacups, you simply must pop over and indulge yourself in all things Disney.

Disney On Ice Presents Frozen Ticket Giveaway from Cocktails In Teacups


While you are there, make sure you enter Amy Louise's giveaway where you can win a pair of tickets to see Disney On Ice Presents Frozen this October.

Enter the Giveaway Here (closes on 23rd August)

Good luck! 



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A Perfect Wedding at Doxford Hall, Northumberland

Doxford Hall near Alnwick is a place I've often considered visiting but for some reason or other have never had the chance, so when I found out my gorgeous friend Claire was getting married there, I was intrigued to see what it would be like. It turns out that just like my friend, it's stunning & if you are looking for a luxury Northumberland getaway, I could not recommend Doxford Hall enough.

A Perfect Wedding at Doxford Hall, Northumberland

I have known Claire for 20 years now and she is one of those people who just light up a room when she's in it. She has such a kind and generous heart and is if you get talking to her you can expect to be there for at least an hour. It was an honour to be invited along and share her special day with David.

Wedding Outfits


I'm lucky to be attending another wedding in September so I wanted a dress I could wear to both. I found this gorgeous dress from John Lewis with I teamed with a pair of Hotter Shoes and a beautifully detailed cream bag from House of Fraser. 

A Perfect Wedding at Doxford Hall, Northumberland


If you struggle in heels I cannot recommend Hotter Shoes enough - they were so comfortable and I lasted all day, all night dancing and the 20 minute walk home from the bus at 1:30am in the morning. Definitely worth the investment. Steve looked very handsome too if I do say so myself (check out his guide to buying a suit here). 

The Ceremony


The ceremony was held in our village church which was lovely. Most of us know our vicar and he made us smile with his stories. The ceremony was personal to the bride and groom and really did not feel generic at all which can often be the case. The salvation army were there to keep us entertained as was the most fabulous male voice choir. Claire even surprised us all with a recording of her singing the most beautiful song as we all left the church. It really was perfect. 







We climbed aboard our coach which whisked us off to Doxford Hall. Claire had thought of everything and provided us with Pringles, Prosecco and Haribo! YUM! 


Doxford Hall Wedding Reception & Wedding Breakfast


Photographs at weddings always seem to take FOREVER but it wasn't the case here. Claire mingled between photographs and as I was there with friends, time seemed to fly by. We were greeted with Pimms & Lemonade on arrival (first of the summer for me) and enjoyed our drinks in Doxford Hall's beautiful gardens. 








Isn't Claire stunning!! I'm pleased we had the chance to catch up for a bit in the gardens too. 





Before we knew it, we were called into the hotel function suite for speeches (and food!). As is usually the case at weddings these days, the speeches were first. They were all from the heart and had us crying, laughing and even participating in a random game! 





The room was classic, elegant and understated. A beautiful location for a wedding I thought. 




This is the first wedding I've attended where we actually had to select our meal from a menu. Very fancy! I went for the salmon terrine and duck which were both delicious. Steve opted for the soup and chicken (also good). Not too many pics of food though as the Prosecco was free flowing by this point!


I loved the attention to detail with pretty table cloths and homemade truffles which were served with our coffee.


We headed to the bar before the 'evening do' and Steve had to order himself a martini. Very dapper! 


The Evening Reception at Doxford Hall


I loved how there was a face painter at the wedding and as well as the children having their faces transformed, quite a few of the blokes were turned into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the night. There was also a caricaturist who was actually pretty good too :-)


 
The cake was cut and I even managed to grab a slice (delish) before the Bride and Groom headed to the dancefloor for their first dance. 



By this point in the evening I started to feel ill and very, very tired. Silly me had enjoyed a day out with my friends and no children a little too much. I think I had probably consumed a couple of bottles of Prosecco by this point and mixed it with wine. Not good! So there was only one thing for it - a little disco nap at my table. I think I had a sleep for maybe 90 minutes but at around 10:45pm I woke up and had a brand new lease of life and I immediately joined the congo queue that was dancing around the room and from then on there was no stopping me. Steve, Jo and the rest of our friends danced the night away to songs old and new before saying our goodbyes at 12:30pm and hopping on the coach back home (via the 'sweet shop' table which I spotted out of the corner of my eye during the conga).



We had THE BEST time at Claire & David's wedding at Doxford Hall. Everything was perfect and it was such a treat being in the company of two people who are obviously so genuinely in love. I wish the happy couple all the very best for their future together. 

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. 
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