Grab a fruity beer and some poutine in Canada’s capital, Ottawa
Like so many Brits, my summer holidays tend to involve a packed beach, too many pina coladas and sunburn
But after six days exploring charming Ottawa, the capital of Canada, I am hanging up my “I love Magaluf” towel.
For a girl like me, who loves pigging out, playing out and chilling out in equal measure, this bustling city surrounded by luscious leafy scenery is the ideal location.
No sooner had we touched down at Ottawa International Airport than my friend and I were donning Biggles-style flying hats, goggles and ear defenders for our next flight.
For this time we were boarding a vintage biplane.
As we dipped and twisted through the air like eagles, I felt a huge surge of adrenaline.
Pilot Gregg, from Ottawa Biplane Adventures, had decades of experience so he made us feel at ease.
After the plane ride, we could not wait to explore the rest of the city.
We took a bike trip with Escape Bicycle Tours and pedaled along the quiet city streets and the Rideau Canal, which is awash with kayakers in the summer and skaters in the winter.
The best part of the excursion was Hog’s Back Falls — a series of waterfalls just outside the city.
Back in the centre, there is a burgeoning foodie scene. Most Saturdays, C’est Bon run a Food Tour of ByWard Market which I joined to sample the region’s delicacies and meet top chefs.
I discovered Oka cheese and Mrs McGarrigle’s mustard but my favourite local dish had to be beavertails (don’t panic, they’re huge, flat doughnuts) and poutine — fries laden with cheese curds and gravy.
Like beer? Ottawa has 28 breweries and every watering hole has local craft ales on tap. I couldn’t get enough Beyond the Pale’s grapefruit-flavoured Pink Fuzz.
I booked in for an authentic Canadian treatment at urban retreat Holtz Spa, which featured a maple body scrub and a maple shea butter wrap which saw me cocooned in a wraparound waterbed.
That evening, we ventured ten minutes out of the city to Nordik Spa-Nature in Gatineau Park.
It has log cabins, thermal baths, saunas and an infinity pool with breathtaking views.