Stonehenge

I was lucky enough to be invited down to Bath to try the Mad Max full day tour of Stonehenge,  Avebury Stone Circles, Castle Combe & Lacock village. So on a grey and cloudy Saturday morning, I found myself staring at some big rocks in the rain.

Stonehenge is a bit of a strange duck really. There is so much mythical mystery attached to this stone circle that you expect something more when you visit. Its a bit like going to see the Mona Lisa – you walk into the Louvre and there are just too many other tourists and its smaller than you thought it would be.

At Stonehenge you have to walk on a set path around the stones (the photo below is about as close as you can get). I think if you were able to get up close you would appreciate the magic, or sheer human bloody mindedness, a lot more. It would also have helped if the sun was shining…when you are focused on running between rain-drops you aren’t exactly focussing on historical conspiracy theories!

But despite the vague sense of disappointment, akin to finding out the Easter Bunny is actually Dad, it is still well worth the trip. If you don’t go and see Stonehenge for yourself there will always be that box on your bucket list left un-ticked.

Conclusion? I wouldn’t bother to make the trip to Stonehenge by itself, but as one part of a day tour it is a good thing to tick off the list.

Oh, and remember to take your umbrella….

Stonehenge

Runawaykiwi was a guest of Mad Max Tours but all views expressed are my own.

Hodge

I am a bit of a mad cat woman. Although catless right now, I fully expect to meander through my latter years surrounded by sarcastic plotting felines. So you can imagine my pure joy when I found a cat statue just off Fleet Street.

The statue is of Samuel Johnson’s cat Hodge. Although the statue is meant to celebrate Johnsons’ contribution to literature, to me it just goes to show how much a man can love a cat.

To go and see Hodge for yourself, head down to Gough Square.

170 Gin Bottles

Gin has always been my family drink, as soon as summer comes a knocking Dad would start cutting up the lemons. Which is why I was intrigued when a colleague mentioned the City of London Distillery, a distillery and gin bar just off Fleet Street. From the very first sip of their gin and tonic I was hooked, and I’ve been back three times within a week.

As well as having over 170 different types of gin from around the world they (as the name suggests) distill their very own in limited edition, 200 bottle, batches. It is like nothing I have ever tasted before, naturally sweet and with lovely citrus notes. There was only one thing for it really, time for a gin tasting.

First step is to numb the alcohol receptors in the mouth, so take a sip of pure City of London Distillery gin and swirl it round  (this is the only time you can use alcohol to numb the senses and it is considered a good thing). Once your receptors are all happy and numb you will be able to truly taste the botanicals in the next sip. And boy can you taste them, if you focus you might be able to pick out notes of juniper, lemon, pink grapefruit, orange, coriander seeds, angelica root and licorice.

If straight gin is not your poison, the cocktail list is pages long. Or there is an even better way for the indecisive to pick a drink, ask the bartender. The team behind the bar have been expertly trained by the London Bar Consultants and can essentially create the cocktail of your dreams. Given that the 170 gins come in floral, herby, citrus, spicy, strong, woody and navy strength – the expert guidance was much appreciated!

Before my Mum starts worrying about my gin consumption, it was invented by the Dutch as a medicine – to cured the plague (turns out rats don’t like the smell of juniper, and sick people really like alcohol). So technically I am just being really healthy.

I honestly can’t recommend this bar enough. Go, drink gin and try and impress with misremembered Casablanca quotes.

Top tip: the staff are unbelievably eager to share their knowledge, if you have a moment go and ask for a tasting and learn the globe-trotting history of this family drink.

Oh and if you head down in a couple of weeks they are going to be serving food – each dish designed around the botanical notes in the gin…amazeballz.