Luxury Travel and Lifestyle Blog

What To Do When You're Sleepless In Seattle

“In the midst of a busy life, don't forget to live.” 

You may not realise this but we owe so much of our modern lives to a little city that exists right on the West Coast of America: Seattle. That grande vanilla soy latte that you order every morning from your local Starbucks? It actually came all the way from Seattle. The Microsoft computer systems that you're so familiar with? They were created by some of the best minds in the world, who happened to be born in Seattle. And what would we do without Amazon, one of the world's largest retailers? We'd probably have to leave the house to go shopping, but thanks to Seattle - we can shop for pretty much anything from the comfort of our own homes. Or we can binge-watch a new series on Amazon Prime. Or read something spectacular on our Amazon Kindle. Basically, Amazon owns our souls.

Seattle is a city that I never expected to visit (I was happy enough knowing it existed via Grey's Anatomy's opening credits) but on my recent travels along the West Coast of America with my boyfriend, it made sense for it to be our second stop after Vancouver, BC - and it turned out to be quite the cultural city. Rather than drive across the American border with a hire car, we took the Amtrak Cascades train, which drove us right into the city and meant Tom and I could happily sit next to each other and enjoy the journey without getting lost and arguing over directions.

With only 4 days to explore, we ventured around as much of the city as possible, taking in the sights and the history (and playing Spot the Starbucks wherever we went). It's a fairly easy city to navigate but if you ever find yourself in Seattle and at a loose end, here's a few places that are worth a visit and you never know, they may inspire you to build a global brand too.

Pike Place Market

Established in 1907 in downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market has since been a thriving farmer's market and a cultural hub for locals and tourists alike. With over 500 shops, restaurants and stalls within a 9 acre radius, get lost in the market's meandering passageways and gaze with eyes wide at the maze of arcades and storefronts. From fresh flowers, fruit and fish to handmade soaps, original artworks and unique crafts, go down in history and take a little bit of Seattle home with you. And be sure to stop by the Pike Place Fish Market - just below the Public Market Centre sign - where the infamous throwing fisherman toss their fish between themselves for your amusement.

Seattle's Underground Tour

In 1889, Seattle was burned to the ground by the Great Fire but rather than see this solely as devastation, the city officials believed it presented a unique opportunity to rebuild and improve Seattle. But instead of totally demolishing the city, it was decided that the new city would be rebuilt on top of the existing city to elevate the street level. So underneath the streets of the Seattle of today, lies a hidden network of alleys, derelict building and shop fronts which offer a glimpse into the past. During the 75 minute Underground Tour, you are led through the buried streets and regaled with untold stories by some very comedic tour guides, which ends with you exiting through the gift shop.

The Space Needle

Towering above the Seattle Centre at 605 feet is the iconic Space Needle. Like all observation towers, it's a great place to get a different perspective of the city (if you're not afraid of heights, of course) - but there is something else that makes the Space Needle so special; located just beneath the observation deck is a revolving restaurant, appropriately named SkyCity, where you can feast on the flavours of Seattle while savouring the sights. And if you choose to dine at SkyCity, a visit to the observation deck is included in the price of your meal.

Argosy Cruises Harbour Tour

Sometimes walking around a city can become a bit monotonous and you end up walking for so long that you become exhausted and too preoccupied to take in the sights (or is that just me?) - so mix things up, save those legs and hop on a boat! During this one hour narrated cruise of Elliot Bay and Seattle's harbour, you get up, close and personal with the historic waterfront, sailing past Pike Place Market, the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Space Needle while catching a glimpse of Seattle's shipping industry. And to make your journey even more relaxing, there's a fully stocked bar onboard so order your favourite tipple, sit back and enjoy Seattle from the sea.

Museum Of Pop Culture

Housed in a monstrously imaginative metallic structure next to the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture (or MoPOP for short) is dedicated to educating the public with its impressive collection of music, television and film memorabilia. Inside, the exhibitions are broken up into different 'worlds' where visitors can wander around and interact with the collections. Even if you're not a die hard pop culture fan, you are bound to be impressed by the giant guitar structure, the Jimi Hendrix exhibition and the sound labs.

Chihuly Garden And Glass

With 8 galleries, a centrepiece glass house and a delightful garden installation, the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition is a tribute to the works of artist Dale Chihuly. Made entirely from glass, Chihuly's colourful fine art structures appear almost plant-like, giving them an interesting lease of life. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is a permanent exhibition, celebrating Seattle's creative energy and inspiring visitors to engage with the city's cultural community but Chihuly's works have been celebrated globally, having been exhibited in cities including London, Paris, Venice, Boston and San Francisco.

Lake Union

Seattle is not all skyscrapers and corporate offices; it has some charming areas of natural beauty too and Lake Union is one of them. It's the perfect place to go if you need a bit of respite from the city; board a seaplane and soar across the skies, hire a boat and sail across the lake or take a stroll around Gas Works Park, where a former gas plant stands and overlooks the city. From here, you can see the city in all its glory while enjoying the serenity of the water and ponder life on the other side without the distractions of city life. 

What do you think of Seattle?

Summer Staycation: 48 Hours In Brighton

“A little piece of everywhere I go becomes a big part of everything I do.” 
― Richie Norton

It's fair to say that the UK is by no means a tropical paradise but it has such charming ways, it's very easy to fall in love with. Apart from it being my place of birth and my home for the last 25 years, one reason why I love Britain is for our quintessentially British seaside - something I've only come to appreciate in my adulthood. 

Like it or loathe it, there's nowhere on Earth that does the seaside like us Brits do. The fish and chips, the stripy deck chairs, the awkward changing-out-of-my-swimsuit dance, the sticks of rock, the penny arcades, the dodgy sun tan lines, the unpredictable weather, the sugar-coated doughnuts and the happiest of dogs bathing in the sea all make for an experience that stays with you forever. 

So to keep my love for the British seaside strong, my boyfriend and I recently spent the weekend in Brighton. A town renowned for being quirky, creative and positively fabulous, we decided not to make plans but to simply enjoy the moment and go wherever our minds wondered. 

And this is what we got up to.

Daytime Dreamin' on Brighton Palace Pier

Brighton has such a rich culture, there's always something interesting to see around the next corner. One of its most famous attractions is its lovely pier, which opened in 1899 and is still as charming as ever. The perfect way to enjoy the 1722ft stretch of historical beauty is to grab an ice-cream and take a leisurely stroll along it, hand in hand with your beau, until you reach the funfair. And if you're feeling adventurous, take a whizz on your favourite rides before heading back to shore.

Get Lost in The Lanes

I must admit, I am partial to the odd bit of online shopping (it just happens and suddenly I'm poor) but there's something rather special about choosing to shop in a place you're not familiar with. The streets seem more colourful, the restaurants more appetising and the shops more inviting somehow. With so many independent brands, vintage shops and art galleries to discover, The Lanes present a delightfully unique shopping experience where you're guaranteed to find something you didn't even know you were looking for!

Watch the World go by at Brighton Beach

In a former life, I must have been a mermaid because there isn't anything I don't like about the sea. I love how the salt settles on my skin after a dip, how the fresh air cleanses my soul, how the water is so powerful that it slips right through my fingers, how the infinite stretch of blue creates so much life; I could happily set up camp and stay there forever. Although Brighton Beach is a pebble beach, it's still a beautiful place to watch the world go by. Or if you're feeling a bit more energetic, make a splash and get involved with the fantastic watersports on offer. Whether you're a sporting champion or a complete novice, you'll have a whale of a time.

See Brighton from a Different Perspective Inside the British Airways i360

Created by the architects who designed and engineered the London Eye, the BA i360 offers panoramic views of Brighton from 450 feet in the sky. During each 30 minute vertical flight, up to 200 visitors can board the futurist glass pod and watch as the views unfold beneath them. With plenty of space onboard, you can easily move around to see the view from different angles (and the pod is wheelchair accessible too). If you're not too fond of heights, this may sound like quite a daunting prospect but worry not, there's a fully stocked bar onboard for when you need a bit of Dutch courage.

Dine Like a Queen

You may have already noticed that eating well is one of my favourite things to do. Although I love to cook, I also love eating out at nice restaurants and seeing how the best chefs plate up their culinary masterpieces. And when it comes to good food, Brighton is up there with the best. For lunch or a lighter dinner, I highly recommend Riddle and Finns; a little restaurant with a great vibe known for their delicious seafood. With two restaurants, one in The Lanes and one on Brighton Beach, you don't have to venture too far from the excitement to get your seafood fix. 

For a heartier meal, there's nowhere more inviting than The Coal Shed. Tucked away down an unassuming side street just off the sea front, The Coal Shed prides themselves on serving up an honest, tasty storm by using high quality and locally sourced ingredients. With a large portion of the menu dedicated to their infamous flame-grilled meats and steaks, The Coal Shed also serves a great selection of seasonal fish dishes, with oysters, octopus, monkfish and lobster making an appearance. One thing's for sure, you won't go hungry in Brighton!

Sleep in Style

Centrally located in the prestigious Regency Square, Hotel Pelirocco is the epitome of Rock 'n' Roll: sexy, indulgent and bohemian. What was once a traditional townhouse is now your best kept secret, even the exterior doesn't give anything away! With 19 boutique rooms to choose from, each individually themed, there is a room for everyone (some a bit naughtier than others!). A pin up parlour, a knitted room, a lover's lair, a Dolly Parton-inspired room, a koibito love room and a boudoir dedicated to Betty Page amongst many others, this vibrant hotel is bursting with personality and unlike any other in Brighton. 

Have you been to Brighton?

Travelling Tales: Why We Should All Vacay In Vancouver, BC

“I read; I travel; I become” 
― Derek Walcott

I've always wanted to travel but unless you live a flexible, carefree (and well-paid) life, it's not often convenient to put your life on hold, pack a bag and jet set halfway across the world. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to be able to reach your dream destination. Well, that's what I thought, anyway. But this summer, my boyfriend and I did just that. We travelled.

We threw whatever caution we had to the wind and decided to experience a little bit more of what this glorious planet has to offer. I quit my job as a Junior Researcher in London and took time to plan our first big adventure together, which would see us travel down the West Coast of North America. We planned to take 6 weeks out, starting in Vancouver, BC and ending up in Los Angeles, CA.

So, this is where our journey begins. 

Vancouver is Canada's third largest city by population. Where city and nature collide, it's a unique metropolis in which will see you relaxing in 5* luxury one day and chasing bears in the snow the next. So, when (because there will be a when) you find yourself in Vancouver, here's a few things you can do to experience the city at its best.

Spend a day at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Just a short journey from downtown Vancouver is one of the city's most popular attractions. Hanging 230ft above the raging Capilano River, cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge where you can explore the Treetops Adventure suspended above the forest floor and follow the narrow Cliffwalk to previously unchartered territory along the cliffside. And when the adventurer inside you is fully satisfied, treat yourself to some homemade fudge from Capilano's Trading Post gift shop. 

Enjoy the tranquillity of Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a magnificent green oasis in the midst of the heavily built urban landscape of VancouverThe 400 hectare rainforest is home to meandering trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, great restaurants and cultural landmarks, including the celebrated totem poles and Canada’s largest aquarium. There are several ways to explore the park: walk (be mindful that this would take a long time), hire a bike from the entrance, ride the train or hop on a traditional horse drawn carriage tour

Say hello to the sea life at the Vancouver Aquarium 

There are so many incredible species that share our Earth with us that there can never be a dull moment when you're getting to know them up, close and personal. Vancouver Aquarium is a great day out for all the family and what's more; it's not only home to some amazing aquatic life but it is also an Ocean Wise initiative, which works to conserve our oceans, protect our underwater world and inspire others to be more mindful of how we all impact the sea.

Explore the Mountains

Vancouver is overlooked by the picturesque North Shore Mountains. Come rain or shine, the mountains offer breath-taking views and an abundance of activities. Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymore are all excellent locations to enjoy the mountains at their best (these photos were taken at the summit of Grouse Mountain). The climate in Vancouver is mild and temperate, but the region's mountains are renowned for their epic snowfalls - even during the summer months. So if you’re a snow sport enthusiast, grab your skis and snowboards because the mountains are yours for the taking.

Take a stroll around Gastown

Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown, grew from a single tavern founded by John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton back in 1867. Today, the district retains its historic charm and it’s a great neighbourhood to explore on foot, where you’ll find a picture-perfect collection of Victorian buildings, cobblestones, the infamous Steam Clock, and vintage lampposts. Home to a unique selection of boutique shops, thriving cocktail bars and some fantastic restaurants, there's never a dull moment in Gastown so keep your eyes peeled and you'll be sure to find some hidden gems. 

Brave the Sea To Sky Gondola in Squamish

About an hour north of Vancouver - just off the Sea to Sky Highway - is a small town called Squamish, which boasts spectacular landscapes and epic adventures. Surrounded by coastal mountains, there are two ways to reach the summit and admire the views; hike or take the Sea To Sky Gondola. The gondola takes approximately 10 minutes to reach an elevation of over 2900ft and allows you to enjoy the panoramic views without even breaking a sweat. At the top, enjoy the serenity at your own leisure; meander around the different trails to the viewing platforms, grab a bite to eat at the Summit Lodge or spend your time hiking down to the base. Or just purchase a return ticket for the gondola...

Hop over to Granville Island on the ferry

If you love to browse around quirky, independent shops, then the Granville Island public market will be right up your street. With a vast assortment of colourful stalls, art, handmade products and fresh produce, you'll stumble across items you never knew you needed. A personalised workman's apron?  We found them. Vintage sports memorabilia? It's yours forever. A handcrafted broom? Bloomin' perfect. And once you've shopped 'til you've dropped, you can grab a tasty treat from the fabulous food market and catch the ferry back over to Vancouver.

See for miles from the Vancouver Lookout

The Vancouver Lookout allows you to see Vancouver from a higher perspective. Reaching over 500ft high, experience 360° panoramic views of the city from the observation deck. But to get there, you must ride for 40 seconds in a glass elevator so if you get a bit freaked out by heights, this might not be for you. Once you purchase a ticket, it's valid all day so take full advantage and visit in the morning, at dusk and in the evening.

Take a culture trip to Vancouver Art Gallery

Art is a wonderful thing and experiencing it in another country allows you a brief look into the mind of a different culture. With only 3 floors, Vancouver Art Gallery is on the smaller side but houses some thought-provoking exhibitions. Be sure to check the website for details on the current exhibitors and let the art speak to you in ways that you never thought possible. The gallery also holds regular classical music concerts, which are definitely worth a listen if you're in town.

Ride the FlyOver Canada Simulator

If you want to experience the rest of Canada without leaving Vancouver, the FlyOver Canada Simulator gives you an 8-minute insight of other areas of beauty that the country has to offer. The simulator uses state-of-the-art technology to create the feeling of flight, where riders are suspended in front of a spherical film screen while special effects, including wind, mist and scents, allow them to truly live in the moment depicted on the screen.

Have a hockey shoot out at the BC Sports Hall Of Fame

If you know anything about Canadians, you will know that they absolutely love ice hockey. In fact, they're rather proud of all their sporting achievements, so much so that they built the BC Sports Hall Of Fame. Whether or not you're a massive sports fan, it's fun to spend a few hours walking around the museum learning a bit more about Canada's great sporting history. And if you're feeling competitive, they also have a games area where you can test your sporting ability and try your luck at a hockey shoot out.

© Rosie Romance

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig