Monday

Family Fun in Abu Dhabi

A trip to the United Arab Emirates’ second largest city Abu Dhabi is an exciting and fun experience for all. So what are the five best family activities for those visiting Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi, the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates, sits on the coast of the Gulf Peninsula. A modern city in an exotic location, it’s a popular tourist destination for families. 


It is also home to many workers from overseas who service the construction, leisure and of course oil businesses.  Taking advantage of tax free salaries many UK expats choose to protect their income by opening an offshore bank account and depositing their income in them for safety.

So when visiting Abu Dhabi, what are five great family activities to take part in?

Al Ain in Abu Dhabi offers a selection of opportunities for family fun. The second largest city in the Abu Dhabi Emirate and also known as ‘The Garden City,’ it provides a number of activities to excite the little ones, while still ensuring Mam and Dad will have fun.

One of the best family activities in the area is Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium, situated at the foothills of the Jebel Hafeet Mountains. The Zoo, which contains a cathouse and reptile house also has a selection of animals at home in the Arabian environment such as the Oryx and the Lechure.

Notably, it keeps a near extinct White Lion, one of only 200 of the creatures remaining in the world. Even more unusually, it also hosts a number of mechanical dinosaur models called the ‘Dinosaur Trail.’ http://alain-zoo.com/

However, if you’re family are more inclined towards action, then Hili Fun City may be more up your street. The amusement park which was referred to as the Disneyland of the GCC has a large selection of amusement rides for families.

Varying from adrenaline inducing roller-coasters to the more sedate carousels, the park is a great place to engage in family activities. It also offers a selection of shops and it prides itself on the fact it is an eco-conscious amusement park.

Corniche, offers a more natural form of entertainment, situated along Abu Dhabi’s spectacular waterfront; it winds along from the Sheraton Hotel to the Hilton Hotel along the coastline. Lined with trees and parks, Corniche is one of the most picturesque places in Abu Dhabi.

While visiting, lie under one of the many umbrellas on one of the beaches in the area, or swim in one of the beautiful life-guard manned pools. Corniche is also a great place for a family walk, bike ride or rollerblade and in addition offers children’s playgrounds and beach volleyball courts. 



Ferrari World on Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi offers more petrol orientated thrills. The world’s largest indoor theme park, it’s themed around the Italian car maker and boasts the world’s fastest rollercoaster - The Formula Rossa. If touching near 150mph speeds doesn’t suit you, the park also has junior go-carts and junior driving schools for children as well as less hasty adult rides for non-speed freaks.

Finally, for a more traditional Abu Dhabi experience why not go and see a camel race at the Al Wathba Race Track. An experience unique to the Middle-East, camel racing is sure to intrigue adults and children alike. Visit the races from Winter-time, until they end with the Annual Camel Racing Festival in April.


Thursday

An Authors Trail Through Stockholm

Film and book related tourism have long provided people with a great reason to travel. Stockholm has become the latest in a great line of tourist destinations to benefit from a fan’s desire to visit the inspirational locations behind a story. 


The Millennium Trilogy

Steig Larsen’s summer time hit, The Millennium trilogy, features Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist’s adventures around the streets of the Swedish capital and the release of the Hollywood movie remake only reignites interest in visits to Stockholm.

Stockholm self-guide walks

The city has not been shy on promoting its place in the Millennium Trilogy tales and the Stockholm Museum organises guided tours of the city, pointing out the places mentioned in the books and visited by the film crews. There are also a number of books and websites that have published a list of Stockholm’s tourist attractions that feature in the book and allow tourists to take their own self-guided tour of the city streets. 

Larsen’s locations

Stockholm is based on 14 linked islands, criss-crossed with bridges. The island district of Sondermalm is where Larsen lived and features prominently in his stories. Walking around Sondermalm’s streets you can pass Salander’s scruffy apartment in Lundgatan and her luxurious suite in Fiskgatan 9. Blomkvist also stays in this area in the top floor flat of Bellmansgatan 1.

Sondermalm is also where the offices of Millennium can be found at Gotgatan or the Seven 11 where you can buy your own Billy Pan Pizza. If you are looking for somewhere to relax then the KaffeBar CafĂ© now called Mellaqvist’s in Hornsgatan is one of Blomkvist’s favourites, while you might catch the Evil Fingers playing in the Pub Kvarnen on Tjarhovsgatan. 

Stockholm is not a particularly rainy place, especially compared with northern Sweden.  Visitors from dry climates should expect to encounter some rain throughout the year and should pack accordingly. There is a wide selection of waterproof clothing, walking boots and outdoor clothing available to order online at Cotswold Outdoors.  


Stockholm Attractions

Although whether you are a fan of Larsen’s works or not, Stockholm provides an interesting and evocative place to visit and you can understand why he based his novels here. There is plenty to see in the usual museum and gallery circuit, points of interest such as the Royal Palace with its pomp and ceremony and the beautiful Stockholm Cathedral.

Events like the dazzling Christmas markets, smooth Jazz festival or the 22-hour midnight cruise around many of the islands that make up the archipelago of Stockholm make for a fun visit to this popular destination.