I’ve shared a few holiday posts lately, including outfits and what we got up to in Abu Dhabi. As it was our second trip there (and hopefully not the last!) we’ve done a fair bit of exploring and sightseeing. So I thought I’d do a round up post of 6 things to do in Abu Dhabi.

Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

The Sheikh Zayed mosque is a truly magnificent building (and very Instagrammable…yes that’s a word now!). The mosque, which opened in 2007, is one of the world’s largest, with a capacity for 40,000 worshippers. It has 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The design and construction of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is said to “unite the world” by using artisans and materials from many different countries. Last year we went inside, but this year we went in the evening to see it at sunset. It certainly didn’t disappoint…it was incredible. Entry is free, as is hiring an abaya if you need one…you can read about my insufficiently long maxi dress here!

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi at sunset

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi at sunset

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi at sunset

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi at sunset

Spend a day at Yas Waterworld

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld snake slides

We also went to Yas Waterworld last year and loved it so much we had to go back. Entry is quite expensive on the door, but you can get great deals from some of the hotels so it’s worth asking at the desk. What we also discovered is that although our hotel didn’t offer discounted child tickets it was actually cheaper to buy an adult ticket from the hotel than paying full price on the door for Isobel. So bizarrely it cost more for her than us adults. One to remember for the future.

It’s definitely worth spending a day at Yas Waterworld and making the most of all the fun slides and chutes.

There’s an area for smaller children that’s covered with canopies to keep it shaded. You can load up a wristband with credit and leave your valuables in the locker. That said, we found it to be very safe and felt happy leaving our bags by the sunloungers. It’s definitely worth spending a day at Yas Waterworld and making the most of all the fun slides and chutes. Even someone like me who usually steers clear of water slides had tremendous fun…you can read more about it here!

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld

Take a trip to the Louvre

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi rof dome outside

The “rain of light” which filters through the lattice dome roof mimics the dappled sunlight that shines through the palm leaves.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in November last year. Located on Saadiyat Island, on the periphery of the city, it is a little out of the way, but most definitely worth a visit. The plan is to transform the area into a new cultural heart, with the addition of a National Museum and a new Guggenheim, creating an island of museums and galleries. Inside the 23 galleries you will find everything from ancient Egyptian artefacts to modern art.  The “rain of light” which filters through the lattice dome roof mimics the dappled sunlight that shines through the palm leaves. It’s a great way to escape the midday sun. Plus, kids under 13 get in for free. You can see more photos of inside the Louvre here.

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi rof dome inside

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Ramses II statue

 

Walk, cycle or run around Yas Marina F1 racetrack

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, cyclists on Yas Marina racetrack

Whether you’re a fan of F1 or not, being able to walk, run or cycle around Yas Marina Circuit is a pretty cool thing to do. On Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays (ladies only) between 6pm and 10pm you can work up a sweat on the racetrack…and it’s free to get in! Bike hire is available but you have to be wearing trainers (no open toe sandals like us!). Due to my lack of suitable footwear we walked the 5.55km circuit which goes underneath the Yas Viceroy Hotel. Water stations are located around the track in case you forget your water bottle.

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina racetrack Yas Viceroy Hotel

6 Things To Do in Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina racetrack Yas Viceroy Hotel at night

And a couple of things for next time…

I always like to have a couple of things on my to do list if I plan on going back somewhere. These last two have been recommended to me by friends who’ve tried them and are top of my list for next time.

Go on a desert safari

A desert safari is most definitely on my to do list for my next trip to Abu Dhabi. Depending on your preference and budget, there are various options, from sunrise safaris with camel trekking to evening excursions with a romantic dune dinner. You can also stay overnight in a traditional Bedouin camp. Thrill seekers will love the dune bashing in a 4×4 and sand boarding, while those looking for a more sedate experience will appreciate trying traditional dress and watching live dancing.

6 things to do in Abu Dhabi, desert safari

Have afternoon tea at the Emirates Palace

For a little slice of indulgence what could beat having afternoon tea at the Emirates Palace? If your budget doesn’t stretch to staying in this luxurious 5-star hotel, you can marvel at the stunning surroundings while tucking into finger sandwiches and scones for an afternoon treat. Alternatively, you can opt for a coffee…not just any coffee though…a Golden Cappuccino. Also known as the Palace Cappuccino, this cup of frothy loveliness is sprinkled in real 24 carat gold flakes! Well this is the UAE after all!

6 things to do in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace

 

What would be your favourite thing to do in Abu Dhabi? Let me know in the comments!


 

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Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Louvre Abu Dhabi dome roof

My trip to Abu Dhabi seems like a long time ago, even though it was just earlier this month. I’m already looking for another holiday in October half term, and I would definitely consider going back to the UAE. Of course the weather is the main factor, but I do love to explore and go sightseeing, as well as lounge by the pool.

…after a few days of being lazy and soaking up the rays we spent an afternoon and early evening visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

When we went to Abu Dhabi last year the weather wasn’t great for the first few days, so we used the time sightseeing. We spent a day in Dubai, took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, and visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I’d since read that it looks even more beautiful at sunset, so that was on my “to do” list this year. Plus, we discovered that the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum opened five months ago. Having visited the Paris Louvre we were keen to see its Arabian counterpart. So, after a few days of being lazy and soaking up the rays, we spent an afternoon and early evening visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Although the dome appears lightweigh, it actually weighs 7,500 tonnes – the same as the Eiffel Tower!

Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the roof of the Louvre is a floating dome of light and shade. Nouvel (whose work includes the Quai Branly in Paris, the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, and the extension to MoMA in New York) took his inspiration from the palm trees in Abu Dhabi. The “rain of light” mimics the dappled sunlight that shines through the palm leaves, while the buildings resemble the traditional low-lying homes of the region. Although the dome appears lightweight, it actually weighs 7,500 tonnes – the same as the Eiffel Tower!

With 55 buildings – 23 of these galleries – you can easily spend a whole day here. It is certainly one of the best ways to escape the searing desert heat.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi joins a branch of New York University (which has its own art gallery) on Saadiyat Island, on the periphery of the city. The plan is to transform it into a new cultural heart, with the addition of a National Museum and a new Guggenheim, creating an island of museums and galleries. During the 30 minute taxi journey from our hotel it was evident just how rapidly this part of the city is developing.

The Louvre seems never-ending inside. With 55 buildings – 23 of these galleries – you can easily spend a whole day here. It is certainly one of the best ways to escape the searing desert heat. However, with an eight-year old we had to be realistic and planned on spending 2-3 hours in the museum. If it hadn’t been for the Egyptian artefacts (Isobel is studying ancient Egypt at school) I’m not sure we’d have managed that long!

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Luckily this magnificent statue of Ramses II was one of the first things we saw and Isobel’s curiosity was piqued! Seeing a real mummy bandage really fired her imagination!

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ramses II statue

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, mummy bandage

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Egyptian artwork

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

I have to admit to knowing very little about art, but I instantly recognised this painting. Hang on though…this has to be a print, because we all know that Mr Bean ruined the original, right? 😉

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Whistler paintingVisiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, art in Louvre Abu Dhabi

I couldn’t resist writing “Style Splash” on the projector (cue eye rolls from my husband)…the kids’ section of the museum kept me amused as much as Isobel!

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Style Splash projection in Louvre Abu Dhab children's museuam

Alas, the decency police stopped me and sent me to the ladies changing room where the attendant said it wasn’t long enough (a gust of wind might expose an ankle!).

After a few hours at the Louvre we hopped in a taxi and headed over to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to catch the sunset. I’d bought this dress (from Cocosa) with a visit to the mosque in mind, thinking it would cover up enough to avoid wearing an abaya. Alas, the “decency police” stopped me and sent me to the ladies changing room where the attendant said it wasn’t long enough (a gust of wind might expose an ankle!).

So there I was in two full layers, sweating profusely. Not only that, but the abaya I was given was about four inches too long and I almost tripped several times. The irony of it was that I had to walk around holding up the front of my abaya (exposing my ankles) to avoid falling flat on my face. So did quite a few other ladies. I’ve got to admit, I was a bit pissed off, but soon saw the funny side.

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, sunset at Sheikh Zayed mosque

The mosque is such a beautiful place, with a picture-perfect scene at every turn. Against the backdrop of the changing evening light it’s even more stunning. While we were there we heard the call to prayer, which was rather haunting and almost magical (and I’m not even religious).

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, sunset at Sheikh Zayed mosque

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, sunset at Sheikh Zayed mosque, minaret

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, sunset at Sheikh Zayed mosque

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, sunset at Sheikh Zayed mosque

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Zayed mosque evening

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Zayed mosque evening

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Zayed mosque evening

As breathtaking as the mosque is, I was glad to get outside the grounds and whip that abaya off. If I go again I’ll take an abaya with me (House of Fraser sell them in various colours if you ever need one). Having been to the mosque during the daytime and at sunset, I’d definitely recommend the latter. Just make sure your ankles are well-covered!

I’ve got a few more holiday posts to come…hope you’re not bored yet 😉 I’ll do a round-up of things to do in Abu Dhabi later in the week 🙂

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Zayed mosque evening

SHOP THE LOOK

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Zayed mosque evening

Visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Zayed mosque evening

Dress from Cocosa (no longer available) but I’ve picked out some lovely maxi dresses in the widget above

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliates links which means if you click on them and/or purchase via a link I may earn a few pennies, at no extra cost to you. This helps towards the running costs of the blog and is very much appreciated.

 

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Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque Hope poncho

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen some photos from my recent holiday in Abu Dhabi. I have to admit that having never visited the UAE before, I really didn’t know what to expect. Knowing how to dress appropriately was the biggest conundrum for me as I had read conflicting dress code guides on the internet. Luckily, as we were staying with friends I was able to ask for advice beforehand.  Of course that still didn’t prevent me from over-packing! Old habits die hard.

 The design and construction of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is said to “unite the world” by using artisans and materials from many different countries

Having done some research on what to do and see in Abu Dhabi, at the top of my list was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque, which opened in 2007, is one of the world’s largest, with a capacity for 40,000 worshippers. It has 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The design and construction of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is said to “unite the world” by using artisans and materials from many different countries. The seven imported chandeliers from Germany incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals….that’s a lot of bling!

All visitors are required to observe a strict dress code; women need to cover up from head to toe, including hair. Wearing a long sleeved top, full length trousers or maxi skirt is fine, but you are told at the entrance if you need to borrow an abaya (a full length loose robe) which is free of charge. The abayas at the mosque also have a hood, but they are not very flattering…Isobel said I looked like a dentist, so I used my pashmina to cover my hair.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

We used the cooler days to do most of the sightseeing, which gave me the opportunity to wear my gorgeous poncho from Hope.

The usually hot and dry weather seemed to be taking a holiday of its own when we arrived – it was actually raining when we touched down. The weather did improve as the week progressed, but for the first few days it was windy and a bit chilly at times. We used the cooler days to do most of the sightseeing, which gave me the opportunity to wear my gorgeous poncho from Hope. The visit to the mosque was the first stop on the Big Bus Tour which allows you to hop on and off, stopping at all the main attractions. The ticket includes a cruise along the corniche on a traditional wooden Arabian Dhow that lasts about 40 minutes. It’s a lovely way to view the Abu Dhabi skyline.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho-zara-trousers FitFlops

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Dhow cruise Hope-poncho

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Dhow Cruise

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Dhow cruise

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho-zara-trousers FitFlops

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho-zara-trousers FitFlops

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho Azuni-athena-cuff

Holiday in Abu Dhabi Hope-poncho-zara-trousers FitFlops

Outfit details: Hope poncho | Zara trousers | FitFlops | Azuni Athena cuff

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld-wave-machine

Towards the end of the week the weather had improved so we spent the day at Yas Waterworld. I have to admit that I’m not really a fan of hurtling down water slides at breakneck speed but it was a really fun day. In fact I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I was even brave enough to go on a rollercoaster…twice! It wasn’t a particularly scary rollercoaster (according to my husband who’s an afficionado when it comes to lunatic rides) but it was enough for me!

We floated serenely around the lazy river, before going on a white knuckle ride down a water slide on a big inflatable for six people.

Yas Waterworld isn’t cheap (it was about £100 for the three of us) but it was definitely worth it. It wasn’t at all busy so there were no queues and lots of sunloungers free. I got to relax and surf the internet (there’s free wifi) while watching Isobel get soaked by the giant tipping bucket and whizz down the little slides. We floated serenely around the lazy river, before going on a white knuckle ride down a water slide on a big inflatable for six people. I happened to be sitting backwards, which may have been a good thing as I couldn’t see what was coming. Halfway down Isobel decided that she didn’t like it…a bit late to bail out at that stage! Thankfully the arrival wasn’t as violent as the journey and I didn’t get dunked.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld-water-chutes

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld snakes

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld sun-loungers

Holiday in Abu Dhabi yas-waterworld dryers

As well as fun at Yas Waterworld, we did spend some time at the beach where we were staying. The sea was a bit cold for me to do more than paddle but I thoroughly enjoyed basking in the sun looking out towards the Yas Marina F1 circuit.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi al-muneera-beach-abu-dhabi

Going to the mall is a day out in itself – Yas Mall is huge and spotlessly clean, with plenty of pristine public toilets ( a bonus when you’ve got kids). I made a beeline for Zara (as I always do) and bought a couple of pairs of culottes. I also bought a pretty bird print bag with a chain strap from another shop, which I’m sure will make an appearance on the blog soon.

Holiday to Abu Dhabi Yas Mall

Holiday to Abu Dhabi Yas mall

The last day of our holiday was also the birthday party of our friend’s young daughter. I wore one of the many tops I’d packed but hadn’t worn, with some new culottes from Yumi.

Holiday in Abu Dhabi jane-norman-top-al-muneera

Holiday in Abu Dhabi jane-norman-top

Outfit details: Jane Norman top (similar)  Azuni Athena cuff  | Yumi culottes

During our holiday we took a trip to Dubai, which I’ll be posting about separately later in the week because otherwise there’d be far too many photos! Also, I think a trip to the world’s tallest building deserves a post all to itself 😉

Have you ever been to the UAE? Or are you planning a trip there? I’d love to hear about your travel plans in the comments! Now, let’s get the link up party started 🙂

 


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