3 extra-special experiences and hotels in London, Ireland & Scotland 👑

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community!  It’s been hot outside, so I’ve been dreaming of the UK and Ireland where it’s typically cooler in the summer.  These days there’s no predicting the weather so I revert to what’s typical.  

Whether you’ve been to London, Scotland, and/or Ireland many times or never before, you will be excited to learn about some extra-special expriences and hotels that will absolutely uplevel your vacation.  Why do the group tours that everyone does when you can opt for something special and exclusive?  Your vacation will rise from good to amazing – the ultimate travel experience.  Actually, the ability to offer these types of experiences is what drew me to starting my own travel business.  

Interest piqued? Read on for scoop…

London, England

There are so many amazing hotels in London. I have tales to tell from my personal experiences across the city. Suffice it to say that I can match you to the best 4 to 5 star hotel for your trip. Bottom line: your London hotel can be a ‘home away from home.’

Exclusive Access: Behind the Scenes at the Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard is one of London’s most famous ceremonies and with Hidden Gem Travel’s partner in the UK, you can experience preparations behind the scenes. 

You will meet the King’s personal guard as the suited and booted gather for inspection before their duties begin. You will have the chance to learn about the ceremony from the Guardsmen, as well as opportunities for memorable photos with the serving military officers at your side. 

When the time comes for the parade, you and your family will watch from inside the Parade Ground, separated from the tourists crowding the railings who get a much less satisfactory glimpse of the proceedings. 

After your special access experience, you will visit the Guards Museum, where you can try on the Guards’ tunic uniforms and bearskin hats. This experience is enriched, both before and afterwards, by your insider guide’s tales about London’s most important sites nearby, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Whitehall and St James’s Park.

Conscious Travel Promise – By including this experience in your itinerary, you will be directly benefitting the Guards Museum. Opened in 1988, it tells the story of the Five Regiments of Foot Guards, from the 17th century to the present day. The museum supports the Royal Collection to help preserve it for future generations. The image of a Guardsman in his scarlet tunic and his bearskin cap is truly iconic and it forms part of the fabric of our nation.

💎Hidden Gem Tip: If you’re interested in more extra-special experiences in and around London, reach out to find out the full range of options.

Edinburgh, Scotland

100 Princes Street – a brand new hotel with deep history and Hidden Gem Travel perks!

Just opened this spring! Uplevel your time in Edinburgh to stay in a one-of-a-kind hotel. Setting a new standard in luxury hospitality, 100 Princes Street is poised to become a beloved destination for those seeking an exclusive, immersive and opulent Scottish experience. Located in the heart of Edinburgh, within the storied walls of what once was the headquarters of the Royal Overseas League, 100 Princes Street is an exquisitely curated haven that promises an adventure into Scotland’s rich cultural and historic legacy. Echoing the ambiance of an elite members’ club, 100 Princes Street offers an exclusive escape into a world where tradition and modern luxury converge.

Design your own handwoven tartan with an expert

Step into a regency gothic turreted atelier and experience the finest textiles and centuries of Scottish craftsmanship, in the home of the largest producer of handwoven tartan in Scotland. Go behind the scenes and have a rare opportunity to see traditional handweaving taking place. During this experience, exclusive to our clients, you will meet with the expert who designed Dame Judi Dench’s tartan to start designing and creating your own, which will then be woven into a cloth of your choice. You will be taken on a journey drawing inspiration from your family history, life story, important dates and numbers to create unique handwoven products that will become family heirlooms to be passed to future generations.


Ashford Castle – an Irish castle extraordinaire with deep history and Hidden Gem Travel perks!

Standing sentinel on the shores of Lough Corrib for over 800 years, magnificent Ashford Castle occupies an estate of such spectacular proportions, that spending any amount of time in its grounds creates indelible memories. Once home to the Guinness family and today a multi-generational resort, Ashford Castle is lovingly run by a team which passionately cares about every single guest. Once you enter the grand stone gates, you will be amazed by this incredible place. Take it from me, I’ve stayed here myself and loved every.single.minute of my stay 😊

Be sure to take a hawk walk through the falconry center and spend time relaxing at the luxurious spa.

Private whiskey tasting with one of Irelands’ whiskey ambassadors

Ireland’s whiskey ambassadors are highly qualified, go-to experts on all things amber-hued and cask-aged. This experience gives you the chance to try a range of Irish and Scottish whiskies in the company of one of these connoisseurs, tasting rare blends and modern classics, peaty flavours and smooth finishes. 

As you learn how to identify the differences in flavour and quality, your expert companion will fill you in on the history of Irish whiskey brewing, local drinking customs and the technical processes involved in its creation. You will also have the chance to buy a bottle to take home — guided by a true industry expert.

These are just a few examples of the extra-special experiences that are accessible through Hidden Gem Travel and my local partners. Are you ready to learn more??  Reach out to me now to get your questions answered and begin the planning process.

Wishing you amazing travel adventures,


NEW Section: Travel News You Can Use

💎 Hidden Gem Tip:  Global Entry – Sign Up Now

Global Entry can expedite your reentry into the US after an international trip.  If many other planes arrive at the same time as yours, this can be a huge time saver when you’re tired from traveling and can’t wait to get home.  

Global Entry includes TSA prechek to it makes sense to get Global Entry if you travel internationally.  It costs a bit more and requires an in person interview but worth the extra step.  

Good news – there is a app coming to make the process even faster!


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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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