Tag Archives: Trips

How to spend a Solo day in London

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There’s something quite refreshing about spending some time on your own. Not on the days when you’re already feeling a bit lonely and then go and spend the rest of the day in your own company. But on days when your full of energy and sass and just wanna get out and get some air, what the hell’s gonna stop you from just going?

This week I found myself in London with a little bit of time on my hands – so I guess this should really be called ‘how to spend a few hours solo in London’. But here’s a list of a few things that are easily accessible and don’t take too long to travel between; a couple of places to stop and chill, a few places to shop and a few cultural highlights just to give a nice balance.

  1. Oxford Circus

I’ve included this because it’s basically where I started from, and really every time I’m in London I end up here a my starting point. From Oxford Circus you can head for a little bit of retail therapy down Oxford Street of Regent Street. The giant Topshop is always a good place to start if you need pointing in the right direction.

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2. & Other Stories

& Other Stories is found just behind Oxford Circus and is always worth a little look around, mainly for the shop decor. The clothes and beauty products are also well worth a look, really beautiful contemporary pieces perfect for anyone trying to create a capsule wardrobe. If that’s not really your kind of thing then you could always pick something small and beautiful.

3. Joe and the Juice

This place holds a little something in my heart, with it being the place my boyfriend and I used to meet for day dates in London back when we were doing the ol’ long distance thing. They’re situated just to the left of Oxford Circus and serve every kind of fresh juice you can think of as well as a cup of well, joe. They have a really fab upstairs seating area, perfect for a little chill if you took my first advice and indulged in some retail therapy.

4. National Gallery

The National Gallery is one of my favourite galleries in London. That’s mainly because it’s so big that I forget what’s actually in there and it’s a bit of a surprise to find out again. But it’s also bang next door to the National Portrait Gallery which always has a new and super interesting exhibition on, including an Audrey Hepburn exhibition that I was just dying to see.

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5. Covent Garden

You could fill your whole afternoon with a visit to Covent Garden. There’s street entertainers, shops, usually on weekends there’s a market and just the general vibe of the place is worth going to soak up for a while. You can get there pretty easily from Oxford Circus on the tube, or you could go the scenic route and take in Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus and tick those off the list too. There’s something about the crowds in Covent Garden that kind of absorb you, so don’t worry about being on your own.

Sadly my day (read: few hours) had to come to end here, but if you have more time then I fully recommend a quick trip across the river to the Southbank. Again there’s plenty to do – there’s the Tate Modern which is such a classic London attraction, but there’s also the aquarium and usually a great book and record market under one of the bridges. So don’t be afraid to spend a solo day in the country’s capital, it’s really not that lonely or scary.

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The Doors of Norwich

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Pink House

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As I mentioned I was going to in a post not so long ago, I recently paid a little visit to the main city of Norfolk, Norwich. Having not visited before I didn’t really know what to expect, and since coming home I still can’t quite put my finger on the general vibe of Norwich. I liked it for sure, the town centre is a lovely mix of green squares and little lanes, like Brighton but on a larger scale. I think it’s the outer edges that confused me, they seem to turn into countryside much quicker than other cities, especially London or Bristol. A more country-fied city, if there is such a thing.

However small a city it might be there are still so many great places to visit. My trip was mainly to visit a friend so involved a lot of eating and drinking and catching up, so the vast majority of happened to be bars, coffee shops and restaurants, just as a little warning. If you’re looking for some really good coffee then Strangers Coffee and Artel (more to come on this!) are both excellent choices. For a nice casual pint I recommend Playhouse, but be prepared to sit outside whatever the weather. In terms of food we popped into Franks for some dinner – great for a large range from big meals, fab salads and smaller tapsa-y dishes. Just down the road there’s a classic fish and chip shop, famous for doing deliveries to the pub next door, so you can enjoy your cod with a nice pint.

In terms of things to see and do Norwich is the perfect size for a little weekend roadtrip. There’s a castle for something that takes up a bit more time, and also a cathedral that’s well worth a look. Mousehold Heath is slightly out of town but fab for a walk in the woods and great panorama of the city. As you can see from these photos I was rather taken with exploring the older side of the city and took a fancy to many of the doors and shop fronts.

If you have a car then head out to the beach to spot a few seal puppys. The weather prevented us from doing so, but word is that you can get pretty close without them flopping back out to sea. Observe responsibly though, it’s their home after all. No doubt I’ll definitely be back to see them…

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Sorrento Stole my Heart.

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I don’t think I’ve ever visited a place and it’s been exactly, to-the-point, how I imagined it to be. I mean I’ve liked a lot of cities and countries – I’ve really really like some of them (Barcelona I’m looking at you). But I think Sorrento is the first place I’ve been to that was exactly how I imagined it would be.

The journey to actually get to Sorrento was stressful. From Rome to Naples we were on a nice, cool, air conditioned high speed train. Not so stressful you must be thinking? Well, due to a closure on the Naples metro system, we then had to trek through the city centre and down to the port, in the midday heat, with our backpacks. I’ve never missed my wheel-y suitcase so much! But eventually we got there and, although my face said a different story, getting the boat across to Sorrento was the perfect way to arrive.

Sorrento itself was a beautiful little Italian town. We were on the very cusp of the summer season so things were getting pretty busy, but that didn’t stop us from wandering the tiny lanes, popping in and out of shops, and trying the towns famous Limoncello. Compared to our much busier previous days in Rome, then Sorrento was just the perfect chill time.

Although not the cheapest of day trips, I can recommend getting the boat across to Capri. Like Sorrento it was an equally beautiful Italian coastal town, although slightly more favoured by the rich and famous and judging by the yachts floating around the harbour they were all out sunning themselves! A trip back to Sorrento and the surrounding areas is definitely needed – we didn’t get a chance to visit Pompei or Almalfi or Postiano, which as pinterest tells me, is the most beautiful of all.

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Travel Planning 101

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First off I’d like to say that I am in no way an expert on this topic, but in recent months I’ve been doing slightly more in the way of planning than I have done before and I think I might have a few pointers that any beginner travellers out there could fine useful. These are mainly budget orientated, since my life is currently ruled by my ever decreasing bank balance, but I’ve still managed a good few adventures on my minimal amount of dollar.

I guess the first thing to say is to expect a little bit (read: a whole lot) of compromise. Sure, I would love to travel in style and would make full use of British Airways and their complimentary on-board snacks if I had the budget for it. But it’s always good to have something to aspire towards and until that day there are always alternatives.

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Coach travel is the one thing to consider. It’s a much slower option but it’s not particularly strenuous, there’s none of that trying to squeeze your liquids in a tiny clear bag, you just hop on and enjoy the ride. Price wise it can often be a fair amount cheaper than trains and planes, probably due to the slower travel pace, but you can’t enjoy the countryside views from the aisle seat of a plane, can you? I took an overnight coach from London to Paris and as expected it was not the most comfortable night of my life – but a little lack of sleep never hurt nobody and the price included the ferry fare too.

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Another tip I’ve learned is that when you can, don’t bother with hold luggage. On most of the budget airlines they whack an expensive extra charge on for baggage, which is probably why the ticket was so cheap in the first place. But depending on how long you’re travelling for and how much of an over packer you are (guilty!), there is usually enough space in a cabin bag for all your belongings. This also cuts down your time at your destination airport, when you glide on through to passport control and leave all the losers behind while they wait forever for their bags to come through. So long suckers!

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Accommodation can often rack up the cost of your trip if you’re not too careful and there are a lot of options out there, offering a much more low cost alternative to hotels. I’m a huge fan of AirBnB, so much so that I might even dedicate a whole post to it sometime. But having used it twice now and had really great experiences both times I can’t really recommend it enough. I love something that’s a bit quirky, and I promise you it’s not as weird as you might think to stay in someone else’s house for a few days. Often the whole apartment is available for you to stay in, which is possibly even more convenient and private than a hotel. You can grab yourself something from a local shop or deli for breakfast and make yourself a little picnic too – it’ll be far more cost effective than multiple restaurants for three meals a day. And yeah, maybe I’m just a bit nosey and enjoy having a little look around!

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Right now, I’m out and about in Italy. I cannot say how much I’ve been looking forward to this trip – I’m in desperate need of some warmth and some vitamin D and I plan on eating all the pasta and all the pizza. Watch out for some food envy posts!

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Oh So Modern.

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Sadly, I’ve now reached the end of my Northern round-up posts, but I’ve definitely saved the best for last. I first visited Liverpool a few years ago on a school trip and I have to say the city left me distinctly unsatisfied. Perhaps it was the particularly grey, cold and rainy day (despite it being summer!) or perhaps it was being escorted around by my teachers that meant the city didn’t quite do it for me on that occasion. Nevertheless, my more recent visits to the city have been far more inspiring and much more blog post worthy.

A few weeks back when I was up in the North West with my friend, we hopped on the Merseyrail over to Liverpool to pay a little trip to the Tate Gallery. I’m a fan of an art gallery occasionally, and definitely on a cold windy day like this day was. Now I can’t claim to be any kind of modern art expert, but I certainly like to have a look around, admire a few pieces and take away a few creative ideas, although there were a few pieces that left me a bit stumped. The Folded Blankets piece for example, left me a little confused!

At the moment it’s back to the reality of work. As much as I would like to be visiting cool new places on a weekly basis, I’m going to be kicking it around town for a while, until my next exciting trip at the end of the month.

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A belated Joyeux Noel

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City Loving

After my previous day trip to Paris it’s safe to say I was very keen to head back over the English Channel to see what else the city had to offer me. This time I made sure it was longer than a daytrip, not by much, but we sure packed a lot into those few days. Being a Londoner I like to think that I adapt quite well to new city surroundings fairly well and we hopped on and off the metro like true Parisians.

The weather could not have been more opposite to the brilliant sunshine that greeted us back in May, which is why all of my photos have a slightly soggy look to them. I’m an absolute sucker for a good view so another trip up the Eiffel tower was necessary, which we climbed up again, but I like to think I beat my time from before!

Paris (apart from the rain!) was lovely in December and like many European cities was host to a Christmas market. It was ideally located on the Champs-Elysees and full of Christmas-y trinkets. The Arc de Triomphe was on our list of things to see and was typically a prime spot for everybody to take a selfie or two! You’d think that we got our fill of all things Christmas-y, but in our two days we also managed to squeeze in some crepes and mulled wine (of course!) and window shopping the fab displays at La Galeries Lafayette.

Paris is definitely a city that has wormed its way into my heart and I feel like there’s still so much to see and do! It doesn’t help that one of my favourite bloggers parisinfourmonths.com is a constant source of beautiful images that fuel my travel bug!

Champs-Elysees

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Room with a view

The view from our apartment!

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Trekking in the Woods

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Living in the city, I sometimes forget how beautiful it is out in the countryside. Although I love Bristol and living right in the thick of it, I also get a lot of enjoyment out of visiting friends and family who live a lot more rurally than I do. Nothing can beat putting on your wellies and marching through the woods, invincible to the all mud and puddles!

My latest trip was out to Wales in early December, only this time there wasn’t so much walking through the woods, as racing through on segways! Up at the beautiful Chirk Castle, which is run by the National Trust you can not only walk through the 460 acres of grounds, but Segtrek offer a pretty damn cool experience for you too. It’s safe to say I fully enjoyed having a little break from busy city life!

I’ve always been a southern girl at heart, but every time I visit the north of England it charms me just a little bit more. In a few weeks time I’m taking another little trip up north, and maybe there will be a few photos to share.

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A Retiring Visit.

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What’s with the sea and feeling free?

Last month I took a trip to East Sussex, mainly to visit my Gran but also because my cravings for the Coast had been making themselves known! I just don’t know what it is about the Coast that makes me feel so good, so free and so calm. I think it has something to do when the never ending space stretching before you.

 

Just 30 minutes along from the great city of Brighton is the tranquil town of Seaford. The residents may be aged 60+ but the beach is half as busy and perfect for a little thinking time. The final photo of the post is my favourite and I’m so glad I caught them moment in a picture.


I happened to take a wander down there as the sun was setting and it just confirmed all my thoughts about living by the sea. It was just stunning! Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be a resident of Seaford. I might have to wait a few years before I’m in the average age range though!

 

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Barcelona: Part One

 

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This post has been in the pipeline for a long, long while. Considering these photos were taken in August and are only now appearing on here, it seems the real world just got in the way. Massively got in the way, I should say. It’s safe to say that life as a graduate has taken some navigating and  half of me feels like someone could have at least provided a compass.

I first visited Barcelona a good few years ago and I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with city quite as quickly as I did with this Catalonian city. So back at the start of 2014 when I saw the advert for CityTravelReview, I jumped at the chance to visit again. CityTravelReview offer work experience placements abroad for a few weeks over the summer, during which you and the rest of your team design and create a brand new city guide ebook.

Spending three weeks in Barcelona has only increased my love for the city. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is that I love about it. Perhaps it’s the ease of the city; it’s not often you visit somewhere and can see yourself living there within a second of looking around. But it’s also the architecture (hello Guadi masterpieces!), the beaches and the sun definitely helps! I have a few more post planned on my favourite city and what I got up to there, but here’s a few of my favourite photos that I took there.

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