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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Facing My Fears in the Water, Vorgee goggles

Although the thing I was most looking forward to about my recent holiday was relaxing in the sun, I also wanted to be braver in the water. I’ve always been apprehensive in the pool and the sea, due in no small part to being reliant on contact lenses/glasses. Even playing with Isobel in the pool has been problematic because kids do love to splash! If you wear contact lenses you have to be really careful in swimming pools because of the risk of infection.

But I took facing my fears in the water to a whole new level when we spent the day at Yas Waterworld!

When my new goggles arrived just before heading off on holiday I was determined to have fun in the pool – no more sitting on the sidelines. Isobel has weekly swimming lessons and is much more confident than me in the pool. She gave me a few lessons which did actually improve my technique. But I took facing my fears in the water to a whole new level when we spent the day at Yas Waterworld!

Facing My Fears in the Water, Vorgee goggles

Facing My Fears in the Water, Vorgee goggles

When we went to Abu Dhabi last year we loved Yas Waterworld, so going back there was top of our list of things to do. I wasn’t very adventurous last time and spent most of the day chilling out on a sunlounger while Pete took Isobel on the rides. I said that if we went back I’d be brave and go down the snake slide…and I did…three times!

Facing My Fears in the Water, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

In fact I was so emboldened that I went on the Sebag (head first on a foam mat down a big slide) and Hamlool’s Humps, which is the big blue chute in the photos below. I now know why they tell you to cross your legs…I got the mother of all wedgies!

Facing My Fears in the Water, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

Facing My Fears in the Water, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

The second drop is really steep and creates a big splash on landing, so I would never have done this without goggles. It’s funny how something so small can make such a big difference. Just being able to “waterproof” my eyes totally transformed my experience of the water park and enabled me to get the most out of it.

Facing My Fears in the Water, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

There was time to relax though – going on a weekday was a good call because it wasn’t too busy. We topped off the day with two goes on the rollercoaster. It’s only a little one – the fastest rollercoaster in the world is just a stone’s throw away at Ferrari World…maybe one for next year!

Facing My Fears in the Water, sunloungers, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

Facing My Fears in the Water, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

I’m so glad that I challenged myself to do the “scary rides” because I’ve always chickened out before. Yas Waterworld isn’t cheap (although we got a good deal through the hotel this time) so there’s no point going just to sit on a sunlounger. We all had such a fun day (and holiday) with the help of our new Vorgee goggles!

I’m making it my mission to try as many new (and even scary) experiences as possible…you only live once, right?

You may remember back in February I shared my thoughts on why it’s good to do something that scares you. Well, I’m making a point of following my own advice. I’m making it my mission to try as many new (and even scary) experiences as possible…you only live once, right? In fact I’m not long back from London where I tried out a really fun new experience (take a look at my Instagram for a sneak peak). I’ll be sharing all the details in next Sunday’s post 🙂

Do you like to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new experiences? What’s top of your list of things to do?

 

Facing My Fears in the Water, Vorgee goggles

Disclaimer: The goggles were gifted to me in exchange for a review. My opinions are completely honest and unbiased. 

 

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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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