It is always nice to score a first when you visit somewhere new. And we hit lucky when we found ourselves sitting in Scotland’s latest – a low hydrogen powered taxi.
The Hyundai ix35 silently and sleekly pulled up outside the railway station and before we knew it, we were purring along and heading for the country and to the Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel.
The hotel which sits within the grounds of the 15th century Pitfodels Castle is a little beauty. It has a sweeping drive which leads you down to the lovely oasis and the petrol free taxi just loved it as much as we did! The forward thinking council has bought a fleet of the renewable energy cars and they are proving a big hit.
Once inside the hotel, you are greeted by a roaring fire and shortbread and sherry . A wood panelled hallway takes you to the elegant Georgian Bar where you can curl up and enjoy a good dram or try out from the well stocked food menu. Children have a choice all of their own from healthy nibbles to good old-fashioned fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding, while the grown ups can enjoy some fine starters such as salmon with the trimmings, haggis and black pudding and main dishes of Highland venison casserole or a rump steak, all finished off with delights such as Arran ice creams or cheese and biscuits.
Across from the bar is the majestic Tapestry Restaurant where fine dining is the order of the day, with ham hock terrine and buttersquash soup a favourite, followed by such gems as breast of chicken or lamb shank and rounded off with some delicious chocolate marquise.
This restaurant is where you have breakfast and its just as good, with a lovely continental selection or for the more hearty, a full Scottish or eggs benedict ready to entice you.
And if you fancy a wee treat , afternoon tea served in the small, but intimate library is scrumptious, the macaroon balls and cinder toffee scoring top marks with Ruaridh (10) and Flossie (8)
There are 73 bedrooms in the hotel which has won an array of awards and each are well appointed and tastefully decorated, with all the mod cons you could wish for and a big bathroom to boot.
Once you can tear yourself away from Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel, a short hop will take you into the grand old city, which has much history to offer and lots to see.
Ruaridh and Flossie are huge space fans and love all things about Tim Peake, the British astronaut, so the Satrosphere Science Centre by the beach was the obvious choice.
It is quite small, but packs a real punch and you can wile away several hours learning as you play. There are plenty of hands on tests and games to see if your brain is in working order and an interesting exhibition on Tim and how he survived space.
Workshops such as Brain Games and fun experiments are brilliant too and the young team of experts hold you spellbound as they work their magic.
Renewable energy is big in Scotland and the science centre has lots of renewable energy gadgets and information on offer and before we knew it, we were back on the road trying it out again for real, in the fancy and fuel saving taxi!
Accommodation: Aberdeen is the city of granite where the buildings all sparkle, but sometimes it is nice to get away from all the hustle and bustle. The Macdonald owned Norwood Hall Hotel is known as Aberdeen’s country house in the city and it’s a lovely place in great surroundings. It has a traditional style, but with all the mod cons needed. The hotel currently has a great offer on of £65 per person for dinner, bed and breakfast based on sharing an executive room. This is valid until the end of February, but excludes December 24th and 25th and 30th and 31st and is subject to availability. Check out via: www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-norwood-hall-hotel
Activities: Science is the big subject at the moment as children are encouraged to learn through play. Aberdeen Science Centre is just the place to try the theory out. Check out: www. aberdeensciencecentre.org
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