When it comes to travel, one of my favourite things is familiarising myself with the trendiest spots, cultural musts and most exciting places to eat in whatever our next destination is. As someone who is constantly on the lookout for new places to add to my little travel book, I cannot bear lazying around and absolutely have to visit as many different spots as humanly possible. A control freak, I know.
There aren’t many cities that I fall head over heels for at first sight, but I have to admit Edinburgh won me over from the very beginning. Having never been to Scotland before, I was really excited to see bagpipers in person – something that had been on my travel bucket list for quite a while! Thankfully, they were far better than Ross’ bagpipe performance in Friends! That being said, how could I possibly not include a bunch of recommendations to make your time in the Scottish capital far more enjoyable? Shall we go ahead with my best things to do in Edinburgh?
The unexpected (but very much welcome) sunny weather in London last weekend had me truly wanting to soak up every beam of sunshine. I couldn’t have been happier to have clear blue skies and the regrettable coat choice weather well above the usual crisp degrees this time of the year. So obviously, we did what every Londoner does when the sun emerges from behind the clouds – pack up a picnic and invade the nearest park, or in our case, Kew Gardens (aka Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew).
Coincidentally, the annual Kew orchid festival was on, this time showcasing the world’s most biodiverse country and bursting with surprises in every corner. From February 9th to March 10th, wonderful colours fill the Princess of Wales Conservatory in celebration of Colombia’s remarkable biodiversity and vibrant culture, where orchids represent a key part of the ecosystems of this South American nation. Naturally, walking into the conservatory was arguably the easiest decision I had to make (especially when the entry is included in your pass!).
Tucked away in a little brick courtyard on Ezra Street, just off the hustle and bustle of Columbia Road, lies Lily Vanilli, one of the daintiest little bakery gems in town. This captivating little spot could easily go unnoticed if it wasn’t for the hundreds of recommendation lists it keeps on popping up on. This, of course, was more than enough to make me stop by after a busy Sunday morning battling the crowds on Columbia Road Flower Market in search of the perfect pot plant and seasonal blooms. Any excuse for a slice of cake and a cuppa…
Bath is one of the most picturesque corners in the UK. Located in the county of Somerset, in the southwest of England, Bath somehow evokes a mix between a metropolitan, urban feel and an idyllic English countryside atmosphere. Being an hour an a half train ride from London and an even shorter drive from Bristol, it’s become a preferred destination for those seeking a natural spa treatment, a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke and quite charmingly, Christmas markets lovers.
From the Romans to its world class Palladian and Georgian architecture, honey-coloured Bath stone buildings and winding cobbled streets, it’s no wonder the whole city is a UNESCO Heritage site. Its rather small size also means it can be easily seen in a day or two…and yes, I mean by foot! Who needs public transport when you have 2,000 year old Roman Baths waiting to be explored?
It’s no secret that you can eat some of the best food in the world in New York. From $1 pizza slices to gourmet dishes at renowned Michelin-starred restaurants, the Big Apple offers meals for all budgets in every corner. There is, however, a common misconception that better meals equal higher prices. As bizarre as it might sound, you don’t necessarily have to spend most of your budget to eat well in the Big Apple.
In fact, you can find food markets filled with stall after stall of tasty meals all over NYC. Not only do you get to sample great food from a variety of cuisines, this actually comes at the fraction of a price of a restaurant. Sam and I are always up for a good food market and, luckily for us, London is teeming with them. As is natural, our American cousins across the Atlantic have the same idea and we were happy to find some incredibly delicious food halls among the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. Here’s a selection of some of the best food markets in New York City to grab a bite to eat.
More than half a century since its accidental discovery, the Terracotta Army is still one of the most important archaeological findings in history. And I am not surprised at all. Who would’ve thought that there was a hidden 76m tall underground tomb in a remote area of China? Sounds bonkers, right? Unsurprisingly, visiting the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor has always been on my travel bucket list. I often find myself astonished at this wonder. How is it possible to build an underground city filled with thousands of warriors to serve and protect the self-proclaimed First Emperor of China in his afterlife? The perseverance of humankind never ceases to amaze me.
Naturally, when I learnt that the World Museum in Liverpool was temporarily exhibiting part of of the collection of this archaeological complex, I immediately had to add it to my Liverpool itinerary.
How can it be 2019 already? Seriously, where has the time gone? I feel like it was only yesterday when Sam and I were working on one of our first travel guides. Now more than thirty posts later including reviews, travel tips, recipes and bucket lists, I can wholeheartedly say 2018 has been a hell of a year.
But what’s stood out the most? Join me on a trip down memory lane with a look back at the different places we’ve visited, as well as our favourite activities, restaurants, brunch places, cocktail bars and bakeries of the year.