Sailing The British Isles with Ed Buchholz on Cunard’s Queen Victoria | All About Stornoway, Scotland

Hosted Cruise – Cunard Queen Victoria – 12 Nights
June 7 – 19, 2020
British Isles

Port of Call – Stornoway, Scotland – June 12

Located in the Western Isles of Scotland is a fascinating town called Stornoway. With a history dating back many centuries, a beautiful setting and much to please the eye, Stornoway of Lewis is well worth a visit.

Stornoway is said to have begun as a Viking settlement that progressively grew in a lovely natural harbor. The town’s name is believed to come from the word ‘Stjornavgr’, which means “Steering Bay” in Norse. Sometime in the 1100s a castle was built proudly overlooking the town by the MacNicol family. Stornoway Castle was annexed by Leod, predecessor to the MacLeods of Lewis. The Middle Ages saw much fighting amongst Scottish clans and the MacLeod family was much despised by the government in Edinburgh. King James VI attempted to remove their influence in 1597, but did not succeed. In the 1600s the castle of Stornoway was crushed by forces led by Oliver Cromwell. The town came under control of the MacKenzies.

As time progressed, Stornoway town saw the rising of buildings, a port and other developments. In 1844 the area of Lewis, including Stornoway was bought by Sir James Matheson. Matheson was responsible for the construction of Lewis Castle. Then in 1918, Lewis was sold to Lord Leverhume.

Today, Stornoway is a popular tourist destination. A busy little town with a bustling harbor, visitors to Stornoway will have a delightful adventure. The town is a doorway to the island of Lewis and its many attractions dating far back in history. Stornoway itself offers sightseers plenty to view including the Stornoway Town Hall, Lewis Castle, the arts center and Lewis Loom Center. Many streets have been made available only for use by pedestrians. Around the town center, visitors will discover pleasant stores including those which sell Harris Tweed.

Located on the castle grounds you will find Stornoway Golf Club. Interestingly, this is the only golf course in the Outer Hebrides with 18 holes.

Top Attractions:

The Narrows:  Start in the centre of town and stroll these pedestrian streets.  There are plenty of shops to browse here, as well as pubs, butchers, the local art gallery, and the Stornoway Town Hall.  On a sunny day you could be mistaken for thinking you were somewhere more tropical, thanks to the brightly painted facades of the buildings!

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Lews Castle:  The Castle started life in the 1680s as Seaforth Lodge; it wasn’t until Sir James Matheson bought the land in 1840 that construction began on the building that we image004know today, using the fortune Matheson had amassed through his role in the opium trade. (In short, the Castle was basically built with drug money from China – how’s that for a bit of scandalous local history?)

Lord Leverhulme bought the island in 1918, modernizing the Castle further, before the building and the land surrounding it came into public ownership in the Twenties. Since then it’s been a WW II naval hospital, student accommodation, and even lain derelict. After extensive renovations, the Castle reopened this year, providing a home for the local museum, a café, shop, and the latest addition to the luxury accommodation line-up of Natural Retreats: it’s now a must-see on any visit to Stornoway.

Castle Grounds:  Outside the castle, you’ll find sprawling grounds that are ideal for taking a stroll.  You’ll find many people taking their dogs on woodland walks around the vast 270 hectares of trails and pathways that follow the River Creed as it winds its way down towards the mouth of the harbour. Listen for the sound of herons and if lucky, you will also spot seals in the waters.


Museum Nan Eilean:  A modern extension built to the back of Lews Castle holds the Islands museum which, is funded by Western Isles Council (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar) among others. The museum offers an interactive insight into the culture, history and diversity of life for those living on the Islands, from prehistory to present day. The museum also features artifacts from history, some of the infamous Lewis chessmen, to more the current Nike and Vivienne Westwood tweed collaborations.


Ready to dive in and join this amazing sailing through the British Isles?  Reach out to the team at UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel Group in Saskatoon at 306-242-TRIP today!

What To Do When Things Go Wrong – Correna’s Blog

For today’s blog I am going to tell you what not to do, based my experience today. So today is the end of my trip to the U.K. and as I packed up I decided to move my passport folder from the pocket of my carry-on to my travel purse for safe keeping. I received this travel purse from my sister this Christmas as I had bought her one before her trip to Greece. It is an anti theft purse with all kinds of security added features. Well, the purse is only as smart as the user as I found out today.

I had put my most important item on my body as I can’t travel anywhere without it. I had everything all ready to go with all the hooks and clasps done up and then I had to get my Oyster Card out of my bag and must have forgotten to redo a clasp. We boarded the tube from Sloan Station and to make a change at Victoria to Piccadilly square. The tube was packed and I never felt anyone move the zipper at all. We arrived at Piccadilly all proud of our selves as we made it and then BAM – I went to pull out my passport folder to pull out my rail ticket and I just about puked right there and then! Passport folder gone!!!!! We checked all my bags and it was nowhere to be found. There were police officers standing nearby so our little group of three headed over to let them know that my passport folder had been stolen. Now, I got a little upset at this point as they told me there wasn’t a lot that could be done as I didn’t witness the theft happen. By this time I was just about in tears. How was I going to get home? How would I get a new passport issued? Could I make it on my own to Trafalgar Square beings upset and alone? Well suck it up princess and get this looked after!  I called the hotel that we had just left and had them check everywhere but they found nothing. I spoke to our group leader who made arrangements for me to stay tonight at the Draycott, I will get back to them later. So I left Piccadilly Station to get back on that damn tube and my Oyster Card had cancelled for some reason. Now I start to cry and the ladies in the tube station were great. They let me through and radioed ahead to let them know at my stop to let me through there too. When I arrive at Canada House, the Canadian Embassy, they already knew I was on my way 🙂 they had tissues for me and told me that everything happens for a reason. I got inside with my passport photos which took me five different photo places before I found one that does Canadian passport sizes. I left Canada House around 5pm with a temporary passport in hand. This all started around 914am. You want to talk about a long stressful day!


Canada House

Now, onto the Draycott Hotel, they met me at the door, made sure I was alright, showed me to another beautiful room and then served me champagne. They have been outstanding and now if I have anyone traveling to London, be prepared to be sent to the Draycott lol.  Seriously it’s amazing, check it out here  Also, thank you so much to Jamie and Heather who helped keep me sane and got be booked on a flight home for tomorrow morning. I can’t imagine why people would not use a travel agent! How would you be able to get this all done within a few hours and be on a plane home within 22 hours. I also contacted Manulife as soon as I knew what was going to happen and my agent there was very helpful. This is just another reason why to buy travel insurance. You may think nothing is going to happen but believe me it can!

Bonnie Scotland with Correna – Part 1

March 7 2017

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My plane finally appeared through the blizzard at YXE


What a stormy winter day, I am guessing that Mother Nature didn’t know that I was supposed to be leaving this morning for Scotland.  My flight was scheduled for 11:20 but since they were concerned with planes landing because of the wind we were delayed about an hour.

The flight from Saskatoon to Toronto was pretty uneventful.  I have never flown out of Toronto before for an international flight so I did walk around a bit before heading to the Maple Leaf Lounge.  By the way the tomato red pepper soup was delish!


This was a huge trip for me as I have never been across the Atlantic.  With all my traveling it just hasn’t happened before.  My flight from Toronto to London Heathrow wasn’t too bad; we did have quite a bit of turbulence but just shut your eyes and hang on.  I did get a bit of sleep which made the flight much better.  Since I have never been to the UK before, I had to get myself around Heathrow Airport.  It was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I had to transfer from terminal 2 to 5 but there were signs everywhere and I have no problems asking for help if I need it.  The flight from Heathrow to Glasgow was another story.  There was a problem with the fuel gauge so it took them just about an hour to get the all clear.  Since the flight was sold out, I had the lovely middle seat and we just sat and waited for the hour to get going. Oh, I just about forgot that there was a footy team on our flight so it was like peddle to the metal to get them to Glasgow to get to their game.  Again turbulence and not a happy tummy, on the bright side my ear problems weren’t an issue at all!

Harry Potter LHR

Of course I had to stop at the Harry Potter Shop in London Heathrow Airport!

Joanne’s Collette Tour of Britain – Final Blog

On Nov 23 at 8 am we departed for the longest bus journey of the trip. We travelled south to Wales stopping at Greta Green, where generations of runaway couples came to be married. We travelled through the picturesque Lake District finally arriving at the beautiful Ruthin Castle at about 5 pm. This Castle dates back to 1283. They say that Lady De Grey’s ghost is still here.  I did not encounter her but some did. Her suite was next to my room. I slept with the light on in the closet that night. It just felt a bit eerie.  We toured the grounds in the morning for about an hour. We did find the grave of Lady De Grey!!

We departed early the next day for Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. We toured this birthplace, his wife Anne Hathaway’s cottage and then his daughter’s house, Hall’s Croft. Stratford is a beautiful quaint town with lots of boutiques and restaurants. We ended our adventure with a private farewell dinner at Hall’s Croft. We were entertained by costumed actors who performed some of Shakespeare most renowned scenes.

We travelled 1500 km on this British Landscapes tour!

My amazing trip comes to an end with a two hour transfer back to London and then a nine hour flight back to Calgary then Saskatoon.  Collette Tours is a great tour company and I can’t wait to travel with them again.

Here are some of my favourite moments from my trip!

If traveling with Collette or to Britain interests you please feel free to contact me at or 306-934-3400.




Joanne’s Collette Tour of Britain Part 2

The last 2 days have been very busy and chilly. Once we arrived in York we had a walking tour around the city. What a cute little city with lots of boutiques and restaurants. The Christmas market was on so we wandered through it. We had the choice tonight to attend a traditional Yorkshire dinner at a local pub. It was delicious!!


Edinburgh Castle

On Nov 22 we departed by bus for Edinburgh, Scotland. The bus ride is about 4 hours. We stopped a few times so the ride didn’t seem too long. Once we crossed the Scottish border we hit snow. We drove through a snow storm for about 1 hour.  The drive is very curvy and it is like a roller coaster.  Yuck! I turned a few shades of green on that ride. We arrived in Edinburgh around 4 pm.  Edinburgh is a beautiful city and the hotel we are staying at is right in the centre of the city. There are lots of shops and restaurants in the area. We toured the Holyrood Palace and the Edinburgh Castle. Both were amazing!!  The rest of the afternoon and evening was free so we wandered around the city and did a bit of shopping. We toured the old city and the new city across the bridge by foot. We also wandered through the Christmas market here and sampled some traditional mulled cider to keep warm.  Tomorrow we are off two Ruthin, Wales to spend the night in a castle!!

Follow @UniglobeCarefreeTravel on Instagram for some great photos of all of our consultants’ travel experiences!

Joanne’s Collette tour of Britain Part 1

My adventure started on Nov 17. I flew from Calgary to London direct with Air Canada. The plane was half full so I had 3 seats to myself. I laid across all 3 seats and I think I slept for 4 hours.  When we arrived in London we were met by a representative from Collette Tours who drove us to the hotel. It took us 2.5 hours to get to hotel because the traffic is so bad here.  We are staying at a beautiful hotel in The City area. You can walk to the Tower of London and across the Tower Bridge which I did yesterday after we checked into the hotel.


Westminster Abbey

On Saturday Nov 19 we had a panoramic city tour. We were lucky to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. After lunch we had a guided tour of St Paul’s Cathedral. I walked up 257 steps to the whisper gallery at the church. What an amazing view.  Tonight we had free time so I decided to take in a show.  We went to Leicester Square and found a half price ticket booth. We decided to go to the musical Kinky Boots!! Even though we had to take single seats the show was amazing!!

Tomorrow we are off to York on the train.


Jamie’s London and Amsterdam

May 15th, 2012


We flew from London to Amsterdam on a one and a half hour flight, which was quite rough. The weather in Amsterdam in early May is cool and a bit rainy. The high’s were ten to sixteen degrees Celsius.

My first impression of Amsterdam was that it a pretty city and a totally different atmosphere than London, (Quite a different feel from London which had a classier, more reserved feel).  It’s a young crowd, vibrant, busy and anything goes. At 2 AM, this city was just getting started!

The train is about 4 Euros from the Schipol airport to the central station. Our hotel, the NH Grand Krasnapolski was about a five minute walk from the train station.

This hotel is rated at a four star property. The location is excellent, as was the included breakfast, but it is an old hotel and in need of renovation. Some of the rooms have been renovated but ours was not one of them. It was big and clean but very dated.  They also charged $17EUR/day for WIFI!!

We did a mini city tour as part of the conference, which included such fun as a canal cruise, a walk through the red light district, chocolate tasting and a beer at a local brewery. We also booked a wine and cheese candlelight canal cruise through Viator, available on our website. It was two hours long, the guide was awesome and very Dutch, plus it included Dutch cheeses, two bottles of wine and a night walk through the red light district. For 20 dollars it was a good value.

I found Amsterdam to very expensive; more expensive than London. Coffees and pastries would be 20 Euros and the average lunch cost for two would be at least 50 Euros if you had a drink with lunch.

Amsterdam is a great walking city with most museums and tourist attraction being within walking distance if the city center. It’s known for its cheeses, chocolate, deft blue China and orange soccer gear….and let’s not forget the wooden shoes and tulips!

I really enjoyed my time in Amsterdam and it’s definitely for those who are young, young at heart and who don’t mind lots of walking.

May 10th, 2012

Well, we have just completed our three day stay in London and loved every minute of It! OK maybe not the sore feet and tired legs, but everything else, for sure!  In a nutshell, here is my official top 10 list for London and the reasons why:

1) Westminster Abbey

For 19 pounds you can enter the Abbey and have a self guided audio tour. Far and away, the most magnificent building I have ever been in and it’s incredibly to think it was built and some of those tombs were placed there almost 1000 years ago….plus let’s not forget the recent Royal Wedding of William and Kate, which adds to the star appeal for some of us!

2) Tower of London

We bought our tickets for 18 pounds each through the Hop-on Hop-off London Tour company. This saved us a few pounds and meant we didn’t have to wait in the ticket lineup. We were there for about three hours but could have easily spent a few days exploring the gory history of prisoners, torture and kingdoms being overthrown.  The best part for me was the crown jewels, which are also held there. The 52 carat diamond in the scepter was amazing!

3) Imperial War Museum

The entry was free, but the accept donations.  This was definitely the best war Museum that I have been to; great, detailed displays with the history of each item. I particularly liked the interactive displays, such as the Holocaust memorial, the Blitz display and the display showing what life in the trenches was like. We could have easily spent a full day here.

4) British Museum

This also had free entry, but the recommend a five pound donation.  We only had two hours here before the closed and we hardly touched on it. The have over 6 million items on display and many that we saw were dated back to 600 BCA to 200 AD. Amazing items and history, but it would take you a month to get through everything properly. Go when you have lots of time!

At the British Museum

5) Royal family

We were lucky enough to have our hop on tour guide tell us that the queen was opening parliament the following day at 11am.  We walked down and witnessed all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with that and it was the highlight of the trip for me. Next time, I would research if there are going to be any events going on while we are here in hopes of seeing some of that again. It doesn’t get much more British than seeing the Queen!

Queen’s Speech procession

6) Buckingham Palace

The palace itself is a site worth seeing as well the changing of the guard which takes place around 11 AM most days.

7) Pubs

We went to at least one or two different pubs each day. The food was always good, at a reasonable price and they had great atmosphere. There are at least two to three pubs on each block so it’s easy to try a new one each time.

8) Hop on Hop off tour

This is a great way to orient yourself to the city and to see the places that might not be walking distance from your hotel.  We did the Big Bus tour and the red line has live commentary which is very entertaining.

9) Covent Garden Market

Grate shopping for all tastes as well as lots of el fresco dining options and live entertainment; a busy, lively, fun area. It is also right near the theatre district the pubs and restaurants can be very busy in the late afternoon and early evening prior to the shows starting.

10) Walking

We could walk to all of these attractions from our hotel and saw so much scenery along the water, such as parliament, big Ben the Thames, the London eye, not to mention the people watching. Taking the time to wall around really gives you a feel for the city……take good Shoes!

Next stop Amsterdam!

May 9th, 2012

Swanky Savoy! Top 10 reasons to stay here:

1)  The doorman discreetly asks your name as you pull up so the girl inside can call you by name and have your room key ready

2)  They take you to your room for private check in

3) The rooms are gorgeous

4) They have heated towel racks

5) They make the best shortbread and homemade strawberry rhubarb jam Ever!

6) The location can’t be beat -you can walk to almost anything

7) Free wifi, I dislike paying for wifi at expensive hotels when it’s now free at most budget hotels.

8) Where else in London would you go for afternoon tea, if not the Savoy?

9) When they turn down your room, they place the slippers beside the bed, ready for your use

10) Its a once in a lifetime experience and the service can’t be beat!

The Savoy entrance

Stay tuned for my top 10 things to do when you have three days in London!

Delta Premium Economy-Worth It?

We decided to try Delta Airlines Premium Economy seats for our trip to London.  The flight from Minneapolis is eight hours and we are both tall people.  The premium economy seats are $80 more per person, per direction.  The website said you would get more leg room, more seat recline, priority meal service and free spirits, in addition to free wine and beer served in all economy.  The only real selling point for us is the extra room.  I am currently on board and would say that we easily have double the leg room and 50% more recline than the seats located behind us.  Combine that with still having three available meal choices to choose from, and I’m sold!  We also chose the middle section that has three seats. We each took an aisle and hoped for the middle to remain free, which it thankfully did, giving us even more room to stretch out.  All in all, our Delta flights have been good, on time and with lots of seat-back entertainment options. A good choice for this international flight, although you have to watch as not all their 767 aircraft have been reconfigured with the seat-back entertainment and it would have been a long flight without it!

Next stop – London and The Savoy.

Czarina’s London and Italy Experience – Venice

Venice – I find it so hard to believe this city is able to exist and function on this huge body of water. Driving to Venice was long and painful since it is quite the journey between Rome to the island with multiple stops.  Our group is from all over the globe and we have so many different age groups within.   A lot of us were waiting and wanted to see Venice more than anywhere else on the tour and it is absolutely not disappointed.

Heather’s European Discovery Tour – Day 1

Hello, Hallo, Bonjour from Europe!  I am sitting in my room at the Best Western Blue Square here in Amsterdam taking a minute before I start my day to let you know how things have been going so far.
My Contiki tour started yesterday in London.  We did not get a chance to really experience London but what I did experience I quite liked.  I will have to come back and spend much more time in London some day! I did stop

Fish and Chips in London!

in a great pub and have some fish and chips.  The fish was amazing exactly like I expected it would be.

From London we drove to Dover to catch a ferry, and then drove through France, Belgium and here to Amsterdam.  We arrived quite late in the day, had a quick supper and headed down to the water for our Amsterdam Canal


Cruise and a “cultural event”.  It was awesome to see the city from the waterways.  Many people in Amsterdam live in houseboats on the canals.  They pay taxes, have sewage hook ups, have electrical hook ups and I’m pretty sure the boats rarely move.  However, SOME houseboats do not have sewage hook ups… so you can imagine what happens there.  Bikes!  There are SO MANY bikes in Amsterdam!  Everyone in this entire country rides a bike instead of a car it seems.  There are actual bike parkades with thousands of bikes parked in them.  I’m pretty sure people completely lose their bikes and just go get new ones because it is unbelievable how many bikes are parked EVERYWHERE!  There are also separate bike lanes or paths everywhere, if you walk on them you will most likely get run over (some locals informed us of this).
Today I am going to the Anne Frank house and will eat a waffle (which is very popular here) then we will be taking a bus to the Rhine Valley to see some castles and drink some wine!

I will be in touch with more of my blog very soon!


Czarina’s London and Italy Experience – Day 1

LONDON:  This city takes my breath away.  This is any fashionista’s paradise.  You could easily spend all your time people watching because the streets are busy and bustling.

Tavistock Hotel

We are staying at the quaint and cozy Tavistock Hotel in Russell Square, which is a great location for any tourist.

We spent our first day checking out the sights using the Big Bus Tour Company (Only $27 GBP per person/24 hrs).  The bus picks you up right in front of the Royal National Hotel (same block as the Tavistock) and provides you with a dynamic guide to the city.

It is a great way to familiarize you with locations and landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, West Minister Abbey, and Big Ben and so on.  My highlight of the day: Crossing Abbey Road!  Being huge Beatles fans, this was an experience we could not pass up.  Thankfully, we have mastered the tube system and were able to make it there on our own since it is not a stop on the bus tour.  We are very glad we bought Travelcards in advance; this allows unlimited travel on the tube and local buses.

Abby Road

We still have a lot of exploring to do….

I will keep you posted!