If you like sightseeing tours and enjoy learning more about the city you are in then we really recommend the City Sightseeing tours in Geneva! There’s quite the range on offer!
The City Sightseeing transport and tours around the city are all included with the Geneva Pass and so we were keen to go on all of them! The tours include riding trains, trolley trams and buses and take you all over the city to see the sights. They all have audio commentary which you can listen to in various languages and free headphones too. I always really enjoy listening to them as they tell about the sights you are going past and I always learn a lot about the history and culture of where I am.
Left Shore Tour
We enjoyed the mini-train tour of Geneva’s left shore. This train ride took us through the walkways along the shore which was simply beautiful and gave us some great views of the lake and areas surrounding it.
Old Town Train Tour
The mini-train tour around the old town of Geneva was awesome too. Here you pass Place de Neuve, Place du Rhone and see the gorgeous looking Opera House. You also pass the reformation wall and the train takes you past lots of old houses and beautiful architecture. I love that you can see all these lovely places from the comfort (and shade) of the train without having to walk around for hours! The duration of this tour is about 45 minutes which was a very welcome foot rest!
International District Tour
Another sightseeing tour we took was the one that took us to the international district. Here we saw the headquarters of the NGOs and international organisations working for humanity and world peace. We saw the United Nations building and the famous broken chair symbolising the opposition to land mines and reflection to those lost. This tour is a little longer and took over an hour but we did get stuck in the city rush hour traffic for quite a while – long enough for Nathan to take a quick nap and not miss any of the sights! If we had been in Geneva longer I think we definitely would have come back to this area to explore it more and maybe even take a guided tour of the UN building.
Parks and Gardens Tour
The final mini-tram tour we took was the one though the parks and gardens. This tour was particularly pretty as you ride alongside the shore and through the lovely lush green parks. It was so hot when we visited that there were a lot of people out sunbathing and enjoying themselves in the park so we were sure to give them a wave as we rode through! Be careful not to get in the way of the trams when they are moving though as the drivers tend to get a little cross (very entertaining to watch!).
All the Sights
We really enjoyed the sightseeing tours offered here. You can buy tickets separately if you don’t have the Geneva Pass and just choose to do one that takes your fancy instead of doing them all as we did! The prices semm quite reasonable and they run multiple times a day.
I think they offer lots of information, a cute way to travel around and take you to places you might not have explored otherwise. They also helped us get a sense of the city and make note of places we liked the look of and wanted to come back to explore such as the St Pierre Cathedral and a couple of small museums in the Old Town.
St Pierre Cathedral
The St Pierre Cathedral in Geneva is a beautiful old building. The building of the Cathedral started back in 1160 and so some parts really are rather old! You can go into the cathedral for free and it is worth a look around to see the beauty inside. I do believe you can climb the towers of the cathedral too for a small entry cost. This was included with the Geneva Pass but wasn’t one of our must-dos and so we didn’t do it this time.
It was quite busy when we went in though so we didn’t spend too long looking around. We did sit outside on the steps for a rest and to have a drink which was nice and very picturesque.
We Love Geneva
Geneva is full of amazing architecture, cute traditional shops and lovely fountains and gardens. With so much to see and explore it’s a wonderful city to go on a city break to! Even better, you are never far away from the amazing shoreline and the lake which is just stunning.
Have you ever been to Geneva? What was your favourite site? Do you enjoy city sightseeing tours? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
For all you science and universe lovers then a visit to the CERN when in Geneva is a must! The best thing is, it’s free to enter and is really rather unique!
CERN stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (in French) and was created by the European Council for Nuclear Research. It was founded in Paris in December 1951 and is concerned with the fundamental structure of the particles that make up everything around us – rather niche I know but it really is more interesting than it initially sounds! Basically it’s all about physics and particles and how the universe is made up!
We took a tram from the city centre to CERN which didn’t take long at all – it was easy to navigate as the stop for the tram is actually called ‘CERN’ and the buildings are literally right next to the ram stop – easy peasy!
The Globe of Science and Innovation is a really striking and unique looking building and is an emblem of science and innovation and a symbol of planet Earth. I read online that the building is actually the size of the dome of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome so it is rather large!
Inside the Globe, visitors can wander around the ‘Universe of Particles’ exhibition which takes visitors on a journey into the deep world of particles, details the big bang and even tells you about the creation of the worldwide web – which happened here in Geneva!
One of the big questions which attempts to be answered in this exhibition is where do all the particles in which the universe is made up of come from? There really is so much to learn about if you are interested in this scientific big questions!
Nathan is a web designer and so spends his life on his laptop working on the internet and so he was particularly interested in the displays on the world wide web and how it was created. As it was his birthday trip I allowed him to geek out for a bit!!
The exhibition is really futuristic and cool looking with its dark lighting and interestingly shaped objects. There are lots of graphics that appear on the walls and information galore!
Across the road from the Globe building is the main CERN building and exhibition centre. Here, visitors are able to marvel at the huge apparatus and equipment scientists use to study the universe and its particles and if you’re interested, you can find out all about how the machine works (warning, it’s all rather technical!).
CERN is also great in that it offers free guided tours for all. We didn’t get a chance to go on one during our visit as we were quite tight for time, but I can imagine they would be very interesting and informative if you get a chance to join one.
There’s a lot of interactive displays too and a chance to look around where the workers exercise their brains and discover all things physics!
As with any good tourist attraction, there is a small gift shop at CERN seeling all this science and particles! The CERN is free to enter too which is great! All visitors with the Geneva Pass get a complimentary CERN postcard – one for the collection! We enjoyed our brief visit to the CERN, I think we spent about an hour here wandering around but you definitely could have spent longer if you not in such a rush to get to the next attraction!
Have you ever been to visit the CERN? If so, what did you think? How much did you learn? Let us know in the comments below!
We arrived at Has & Has Porta Dextra on a very chilly afternoon in January ready to warm our insides with some good local Austrian wine. We enjoyed looking around the shops vast array of food on sale including fresh meats, loaves of bread, nibbly bits, fancy popcorn and of course a lot of wine!
We were greeted warmly and shown downstairs into the upper level of the cellar where all the wines were displayed for customers to peruse at their leisure. A little table was set up with some fresh tasty snacks and 2 empty wine glasses just waiting to be filled!
Barney Our Wine Connoisseur
Our wine tasting host Barney joined us and introduced himself. He was super friendly and clearly very enthusiastic about wine and the cellars in which he worked. Barney invited us to ask questions as we go and was very approachable – even to us wine tasting novices! Barney was keen that we tried wines in which we liked and so we told him our preferences for white wine and he adjusted his suggestions accordingly to our tastes.
As we nibbled on the accompanying snack board full of meat, bread and cheese, Barney poured us our first glass of wine to taste – a very easy to drink local wine. Barney told us about the region in which the wine came from, about the grapes used and showed us pictures on a map to give us an idea of its distance from the city and type of landscape on which the wine is produced.
Sneak Peek of the Cellars
Whilst Barney topped up our glasses, he showed us down to the lower levels of the cellars. He told us all about the history of the cellars – which date back centuries – and how the wine would have been transported and stored here in Vienna. There was history to be heard from back to Roman times which makes you realise how long humans have been enjoying wine! I can tell you that after three weeks of being on anti-biotics and not drinking for a few weeks longer, the wine was going down very well indeed at this point!
The cellars can be rented out for events and parties; the brickwork and lighting add to the cool vibe of the place and I can see why it is popular for hosting exclusive functions. We went back upstairs and sampled two further gorgeous tasting white Austrian wines. Again, as with our first wine, Barney told us where they came from, how they were made and any accompanying history about the company.
After tasting the three wines we chose our favourite and asked Barney to put a bottle aside for us for we were planning to enjoy our final night at our Air B&B with some home cooking and some good wine. Barney left us to it to finish our glasses and the remainder of the snacks (avoiding the horseradish – why is that so popular in Austria?! We finished up, brought our wine and headed back out into the cold crisp Austrian air (for which I think I needed!).
The wine tasting experience can be booked through the 365 Days in Vienna website. 365 Days is a company that offers sightseeing tours and excursions allowing both tourists and locals to see the best of what the city has to offer. They offer all sorts of tours including the Scent of the Empress perfume tour, Vienna photography Tour and a chance to discover the secrets of the Fiakers (another tour we tried). They also offer the incredible looking sparkling sightseeing in a classic electric car which includes a 40-minute sightseeing tour with sparkling wine (insert link) and what’s not to like about that?! If you are visiting Vienna anytime soon then certainly get in touch with the lovely Marco from 365 Days in Vienna and get some awesome sightseeing tours booked! 365 Days in Vienna can also be found on Instagram and Facebook so go check them out!
The wine tasting experience costs €27.50 per person (approx £23.00). The duration is stated to last 30 minutes, although we had a little longer with Barney and we weren’t rushed in any way to finish our drinks and snacks after the tasting had finished. There was no pressure to buy any of the products sampled either which was nice – no one likes the hard sell do they!
We both really enjoyed our wine tasting experience and appreciated getting to see and hear about the wine cellars too. If you’re interested in wine (and drinking it!), with a bit of history and some tasty snacks thrown in too then this is the tour for you! Big thanks to Barney for being a lovely, friendly and knowledgeable host and for 365 Days in Vienna for gifting us this experience.
***Whilst the wine tasting tour as gifted to us by 365 Days in Vienna in return for this review, all thoughts, opinions and pictures are my own.***
When we visited Geneva, Switzerland back in August for Nathan’s 30th birthday we stayed at the fantastic ibis Styles Geneve Mont Blanc hotel. I chose the hotel for its great city-centre location and modern looking rooms and we weren’t disappointed.
When we arrived we were warmly greeted by the staff at reception who checked us in and told us a little bit about the hotel and local hotspots in Geneva. We had been delayed overnight when flying from Bristol and so annoyingly had missed a night at the hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel was unable to reimburse the money spent for the night we missed or add a day onto the end of our stay, as I had brought a non-changeable or refundable rate on booking.com. Whilst this was a shame and felt a little frustrating at the time, I guess this is what happens when things like delays occur that are out of your control and you book the cheapest rate possible for a room online! Luckily, we did get compensation from Easyjet for our cancelled flight and this covered my losses so it all worked out in the end!
Our room was a few floors up in the lift and was bright and modern. Nathan was excited to find a mini bottle of prosecco, chocolate and special birthday note on the bed – this was such a lovely touch and made the stay extra special given we ended up actually arriving in Geneva on Nathan’s 30th birthday. The Ovaltine chocolate, by the way, was super scrummy and I ended up buying a bigger bar to take home!
We liked the modern yet simple design to the room and of course the huge TV! The theme of the cogs and wheels followed throughout the whole hotel, including the bathroom where the cog pattern was etched into the shower door.
The bathroom was clean, modern and the shower had plenty of hot water. There wasn’t anything to dislike about this room to be honest – it suited our needs and was ideal for our little mini-break.
The hotel’s location is fab! Right in the streets of the city and a short walk from the main train station and tourist information office. It is also within a 10-minute walk of the lakefront making it the perfect location to reach either the city’s shops or Lake Geneva on foot. It was also next door to an ice cream shop so we made the most of this by having late-night ice cream!
Free wifi is available and actually works which was good and helped us plan our itinerary for the short trip. We had a late evening flight back to Bristol on the day we left and the hotel kept our bags for us after we had checked out so we didn’t need to lug them around whilst sightseeing – always very helpful and much appreciated!
The hotel offers a buffet-style breakfast which was really good actually. Available was fruit, yoghurt, cereals, meat, cheeses and pastries. There was a small selection of hot foods and pancakes too!
We liked the little dining area too with its modern and chic feel. There seemed to be travellers from all over Europe when we visited so there was a really nice friendly, multi-cultural feel at breakfast.
Probably the best bit about this area was the drinks machine – free hot drinks of all varieties offered 24/7 for you to help yourself too and take away aswell. The hot chocolate was divine!
Overall, the ibis Styles Geneve Mont Blanc Hotel was the perfect place to stay for a busy and fun trip in Geneva – I can see why it has such good reviews on Tripadvisor now! A great mix of comfort, modern amenities, cleanliness and a good breakfast. The special touch of the birthday greeting was extra special too – thank you ibis!
Fancy taking a ride on the deer feeding train, hand-feeding sheep and trying your hand at goat walking? Ever wondered how ferret racing works, what it’s like to cuddle guinea pigs or see birds of prey soaring above your head. Well, look no further than the World of Country Life where you find all this and more!
Towards the end of the summer, my sister, niece, nephew and I visited The World of Country Life in Exmouth, Devon. It was a highly anticipated visit having heard lots of good things about the attraction and after Orlagh, my four-year-old niece, asking for the fortieth time if we were there yet, when we pulled into the spacious car park, I was pleased to be able to say “yes!”
We were warmly greeted by the staff at the ticket desk and were handed our deer train safari tickets – there was excitement all round I think! Armed with a map of all the attractions and a list of the daily events, we were off!
Taking a Step Back in Time
Our first stop was to take a wander through exhibition hall – a historic snapshot of rural life featuring a large collection of farming memorabilia, tractors and old fashioned phone and post boxes.
We made out way through the Victorian street, lined with old fashioned shops, houses and even a pub! Adorned with items from the bygone era and scarily real looking mannequins this really is a chance to step back in time.
Sarah, Orlagh and Cillian enjoyed giving this old fashioned game a go – does anyone know what it’s called? I have no idea! I think we could have stayed here longer but there was plenty more to explore and a deer safari train to catch too!
I love how interested Orlagh was when looking at the different displays. She seemed to enjoy the toy shops, dress shop and the royal box the most. I wonder if she was just waiting for the mannequins to move!
Making Deer Friends
After exploring Victorian life we headed outside as it was time for our deer train safari ride. We boarded the tractor train and waited for our tickets to be checked. Orlagh and Cillian were very excited to be riding on a real tractor!
The train ride was hilarious! We took a little ride through the paddocks where we were greeted with a huge herd of deer eagily awaitinging their breakfast.
After a short ride the train stopped and the driver brought round a huge bucket of food which we could hand feed to the hungry deer. And boy were they hungry! They weren’t shy either and leant right in to take the food from your hands, leaving a nice slobbery mess on your fingers!
Cillian had no fear and was confident when feeding the deer, he giggled and wriggled when they licked the food off his hands and he didn’t think twice about sticking his hands out and attempting to grab hold of the deer’s ears!
On the other hand, Orlagh was a little more reserved, initially ducking away from the incoming deer and hiding behind my sister and I. After showing Olragh what to do and allowing her to see they deer wouldn’t hurt her, she slowly gathered up the courage to try feeding them for herself. She did this and loved it! Soon she was scrabbling around on the floor of the carriage picking up all the bits of food that had been dropped in order to feed the deer over and over again. I was so proud of her!
It was really lovely to see the deer up so close; they really are such pretty animals. I wasn’t so keen on the llamas though – slightly bigger and more scary looking!
An Abundance of Play Areas and Activities
Next, it was time to explore the many children’s play areas and activities. There is soooo much for the kids to explore and have a go at. From the puzzle pen to the raceway electric cars, to the awesome looking tower of slides there is something for kids of all ages. We spent time in the indoor soft play area for under 5’s where Orlagh and Cillian enjoyed riding around on mini motorbikes and bouncing on the bouncy castle. It was a super hot, sunny day when we visited so it as quite nice to spend some time undercover away from the midday heat.
Back outside there was more to explore including outdoor climbing frames, slides, swings and trampolines. It was funny watching Orlagh and Cillian bouncing each other on the trampolines and making each other fall over – siblings eh! There’s a zip slide, monkey bars and all sorts to explore as well – the kids could have stayed and played there all day!
However, our map told us there was plenty more to explore! Sarah and Orlagh spent some time bouncing around on the air bouncer – a huge, brightly coloured giant bouncy pillow – fun for all the family if your game!
Without a doubt, one of Cillian’s favourite parts of our visit was pretending to drive Harry the Harvester – a giant wooden combine harvester with lights and sound effects. Cillian sat for a good while steering the wheel and pressing the buttons to make the lights flash and the horn blast. He was very good at sharing and taking turns with other little ones too.
Eagle Eyes at the Birds of Prey Show
After enjoying a picnic lunch on one of the many picnic benches we decided to head to see one of the daily flying displays. Sitting on rows of wooden benches we were treated to a fun and interactive display from Hawkridge Birds of Prey and saw some incredible birds. It’s always such an experience to feel the wind in your hair as the birds soar above your head! Cillian wasn’t too good at sitting still for this one (he is only a toddler after all) and needed to be kept occupied with a couple of satsumas!
Apparently Hawkridge Birds of Prey offer special packages and experiences which offer a chance to get up close and personal to the birds and learn more about them – great for a kiddies birthday gift one year!
Pet Centre Fun
As if our day hadn’t been fun-filled enough, we came across the Pet Centre in which the animals live. Here you are able to enter the pens and get among the goats and sheep. A great experience for kids (and adults) and a great introduction to being kind to animals. Orlagh and Cillian were great at stroking the animals carefully and enjoyed walking among them. It made for some very cute photos too!
Orlagh was lucky enough to bottle feed one of the sheep – a new experience for her and one she embraced with ease. The sheep was very hungry and drank the milk very fast so she had to be quick to have a go and then pass the bottle on to the other children. She loved this experience and seemed very impressed with herself once it was over.
Ferret Racing Extravaganza
Heading out to the Barnyard Theatre we took our seats and enjoyed a ferret racing show – defo a new one on me! It was so funny, placing our bets on the hilarously named ferrets and watching them complete the obstacle challenges. I actually wished we were able to bet real money on the races as Orlagh guessed the right colour/ferret every time!
After the ferret racing, it was time to meet Angus the green reindeer – yep apparently they exist at The World of Country Life! Orlagh and Cillian were both super keen to meet Angus and have their photo taken with him – something which my sister said she was surprised by as during their last holiday Orlagh had run a mile from any dressed up animal characters.
Ever Walked a Goat?
Continuing the fun we visited the Old Time Farmyard and made friends with the range of animals that live there. This included chatting to some alpacas, ducks, ponies, calves and some rather smelley pigs! All the animals seemed really well cared for and there were plenty of children enjoying getting to know them.
The highlight of the day has to be goat walking! Yes you read that right, goat walking! After queuing up, we were handed a goat on a lead and we were off. It was hilarious, wandering around with our goat called Betty who was rather quick at times, pulling Orlagh, Cillian and Sarah along at one point! There were certainly lots of giggles and Orlagh just loved it. What a unique and fun experience for sure! I’m not sure who was taking who for a walk though – I think Betty the goat was firmly in charge to be honest!
A Spot of Competition
No fun day out would be complete without a bit of competiion. We enjoyed a round of mini-golf in which Orlagh showed off her putting skills (or lack of!. It was so cute watching her try and line the ball and the golf club up and the concentration on her face was adorable. The mini-course was good fun and even Cillian gave it a go.
Time for Animal Cuddles
Our last timed event of the day was to check out the animals in the Animal Nursery. Here there were the cutest little chicks, rabbits, parrots and guinea pigs. Whilst Sarah went and got us some hot chocolates, Orlagh and I attended one of the daily pet handling activities which was so lovely.
We got to hold guineas pigs, rabbits and stick insects – Orlagh was less keen on the latter, refusing to hold the funny insects. It was nice to sit and have some calming gentle time with the animals and Orlagh sat in silence for ages cuddling and stroking the guinea pigs. Never underestimate the soothing and therapeutic nature of animal handling! Of course, even big kids like me could have a go! Animal handling takes place twice daily and comes highly recommended from us!
Heading Home High on Animal Fun
After a day full of adventures, animals and fun it was nearly time for us to leave. We made our way through the Hall of Transport admiring the old fashioned cars and steam engines. The World of Country Life boasts a huge collection of vintage transport and is well worth having a nosey around – you might even spot some famous vehicles as seen on Downton Abbey!
We enjoyed walking through the Steam Engine Shed too, which is full of vintage tractors and steam engines. Cillian enjoyed climibing aboard the choo choo trains and pretending he was chugging along the tracks.
By the time we had finished our exploring it was closing time at the World of Country Life and we had just enough time to visit the vast gift shop and pick up the all-important pencil and rubber! We left feeling high on animal fun and having had a day of unique experiences and making brilliant memories.
The World of Country Life is easy to find, well signposted and located on the Devon coast of Exmouth. It’s a popular touist town and the family attraction is located next to the Devon Cliffs Holiday Park – ideal for guests staying there! Being just 10 miles from junction 30 on the M5 The World of Country Life is easily accessible from across Devon and is certainly not to be missed if you’re visiting the county!
Opening times are 10am – 5pm every day of the week and the season runs between March and November. There are special events during half terms and the daily programme of activities which include the birds of prey shows, animal handling sessions and goat walking. Check out their Facebook page for current events.
Entry tickets cost £14.45 for adults, £11.95 for children and little ones under 3 go free. There are discounts avaliable for the over 60’s and family tickets too. If you can I recommend buying your tickets online in advance as you can save 10% on day ticket prices – every penny counts and all that! As well as day tickets, visitors can purchase annual memberships which start at £39.60 for children or buy a combo saver ticket and enjoy visiting both The World of Country Life and a cruise with Stuart Line Cruises – something I have done before for an Afternoon Tea Cruise and really enjoyed! Extras such as the mini-golf, the deer safari and raceway electric cars are charged in addition to the entry tickets. Check out more fun on Instagram (there’s lots of cute animals pics!).
We had a fantastic day at The World of Country Life which was full of laughter, love and family fun. I really enjoyed being able to spend quality time with my sister and her children and loved the fact there was so much for everyone to get involved in and some unique first-time animal experiences too! I will never forget Betty the goat walking Sarah, Orlagh and Cillian, pulling them along in excitment or the calming time Orlagh and I spent cuddling the furry animals. When Sarah and the children come and visit me in Devon next time we will definitely have to make a repeat visit!
***Whilst our entry to The World of Country Life and the Deer Train Safari tickets were gifted to us on a complimentary basis, all thoughts and opinions in this article are entirely my own. ****