I am a holiday addict. Some say travelling, but when you head off on a holiday to a resort or a tourist ridden country for 10 days in summer, its nothing but a holiday.
And there’s not many people that I know that don’t like a trip, or several, across the year to experience / holiday / relax / unwind / explore.
With Greta preaching us all, global warming hitting hard, and holiday prices pretty expensive, 2020 is the best year to consider a holiday in the UK! It’s greener, easier and often cheaper. Plus, its a great time to explore and experience some of the beautiful scenery right on your doorstep.
But why would you want to stay in the UK when there are beautiful places worldwide?
Whilst you’re not all going to cancel your trip abroad, perhaps the below lists of fairly straight forward reasonings might just give you the nudge to think twice about jumping on a plane for your summer trip. Our little island has some cracking features, and if you’re looking for a reason to save a little cash this year, scaling back that summer holiday might just be the answer.
Here’s just some of the many many reasons why you should holiday in the UK in 2020, and the reasons why so many tourists ( even Americans ) head to the UK for a holiday. If its good for the yanks, it good for us, right?
The weather can be bloody toasty
Unfortunately we are all too aware the globe is heating up, and if the last 2 years is anything to go by, we brits have been having some pretty scorching weather, especially during Spring / Summer. That of course gives us more reason to stick around – my hubby often asks why, when its heating up at home, many of us brits head off elsewhere for much of the same weather – strange isn’t it.
Stick around, enjoy the heat and sunshine and explore home, or further afield in your own country.
Many of us ( me included ) head on long-haul city breaks often, and yet our very own British Cities have lots, if not more to offer. Beautiful architecture, historic sites and landmarks, bustling nightlife and so so much more. Consider exploring a UK City before booking that further afield one.
We are so lucky with hundreds of beautiful, historic sites, grounds and castles to visit. And lucky that the likes of National Trust and English Heritage offer memberships for a reasonable price. You could have a whole years worth of exploring for the price of one holiday!
Personal highlights include Stone Henge and Heaver Castle ( I am a sucker for a castle – true brit ).
Yes, whilst not every beach has endless golden sands ( Brighton, my local, certainly does not ), there are plenty of sandy UK beaches and coastlines that make up for it. And honestly, even the pebble ones are really rather pretty. Plus, we have the traditional pier which features arcades, ice cream vans and of course fish and chip shops – you don’t get that in Barbados!
I feel it can be pretty shameful not to have experienced and explored your own home country and yet have many others. We should be proud of our historically rich island, and certainly relish in the amount it has to offer. Being a tourist in your own country has soo many perks I would be here forever, but when there’s a long car journey, no currency exchange needed, no worry for roaming charges and the same tv available wherever you go, there really are so many reasons to pick a trip in the UK over abroad this year.
Will you be staying in the UK for your exploring? Have I urged you to consider closer afield this summer? Let me know, and share your uk destinations in the comment section below.
With Christmas a-coming, and *most* people getting a hefty week or two break from work, it really makes the perfect time to head somewhere new, probably cold , but ultimately Christmassy before, or even after Christmas itself.
It’s perfect. And if you’ve never thought to take the time to explore a new city, country and county at Christmas, this post is about to change your mind.
Yep, there’s no where better than a good old city in the cold air of Christmas. Sparkling lights, huge Christmas trees and eloquently dressed shop windows enticing you to spend yet more money. But what makes the best Christmas city break? I’ve collated the Best Christmas City Breaks perfect to explore this coming Christmas time.
Starting with the BEST place in the world for Christmas. New York City. The BIG apple! The mother of all cities. They didn’t film Home Alone here for no reason – its truly magical at Christmas.
We were fortunate enough to head here last year just before Christmas, and whilst it didn’t snow, it was the perfect place to be in the lead up to Christmas itself. Top tip : Book a Christmas show at Radio City – really magical and we were sooo lucky to get last-minute tickets!
You don’t have to head far from the UK for a slice of city Christmas magic. And Paris is not only magical, it’s romantic too. Being just a train ride away, Paris makes the perfect pre-Christmas city break. Grace the Persian streets lined with festivity and climb the Eiffel tower at sunset for a winter gaze across the city. You could make it even more magical by visiting Disneyland. It makes the perfect day trip and at Christmas, easily makes the most magical destination.
As a child, we used to venture to London on a cold winter’s evening, middle of December, to see the Christmas lights! It often included some fast food of some kind, and well, it was a highlight of the festivities. Whilst its not just the Christmas lights to enjoy in the capital, your’re bound to feel pretty festive following a trip to the city, or stay over night and really enjoy the ice skating, christmas shopping festivities.
Whilst there are many cities to enjoy in the brisky, chilly air, there is nothing more magical than those rich in history, and twinkling fairy lights! Where will you be heading this festive period?
You know when you return home from a trip, of which you never wanted to leave, and instantly look at returning dates, that’s what our recent city break to Boston did to us.
Our most recent trip took us to the US City of Boston. My husband turned 30 this year, and we decided to celebrate in the city he always wanted to visit, and watch the team he’s always supported – The Boston Celtics. As with most of our trips, we planned and booked just 8 weeks out, but we managed to find a brand new hotel that worked perfectly for our trip, and the city we were exploring.
We were instantly attracted to the look of this hotel. It was located on top of TD Garden itself (where the Boston Celtics played ) and posed a great location for us and everything we wanted to do in the city. The rooms and decor of the whole hotel looked modern, simplistic and honestly, right up our street.
We booked without even looking at reviews, and it turns out, there were no reviews since it didn’t open until a couple of weeks before our trip.
We had 4 nights and 4 days in the city. After landing at 7 pm, and an exhaustive 2 hour wait for baggage, we finally arrived to our hotel at around 10pm. 24 Hours before our stay, we received an email welcoming us to check in early to our hotel. This was super handy, easy and made our arrival at the hotel the quickest we have ever experienced. Within 2 minutes we had our room key and were in the lift to our room.
When it comes to a city break, we really aren’t that fussy with rooms. What matters to us, and what only should matter when exploring a city is comfort, cleanliness and location. As mentioned this was a perfect location for us, and as long as the bed was comfy and the room clean, we would be hunky dory. And yet, we were blown away from the room.
Whilst it could be argued the rooms are a little small, for a pair of brits who would spend all day in the city and nearly every evening at a sport game or out for dinner, they were perfect. And with nifty storage ( under bed draws that were huge ), we had plenty of space to unpack and feel at home.
The shower imposed in the room and, and the oversized bed put you right on side of that picture perfect city view! There were lots of clever tech additions too. A in room ipad controlled everything in the room including temperature, mood lighting, blinds, tv, music and more. Your TV even comes equipped with new released films, of which you can watch 2 free a day! ( We watched the new Aladdin when we were jet lagged! ).
We had a fantastic time in Boston, and that includes this hotel. We couldn’t recommend it enough! Everything about the hotel made it feel like home away from home. On our last day before our returning night flight home, we lazed and chilled in the lounge of the hotel. It was so comfy with gorgeous furniture, real fires and super helpful staff – we have never been so relaxed before heading to the airport.
We were so blown away with the feel and comfort of the hotel, we are looking at just going wherever they have a hotel next! If you are looking to head to Boston any time soon, consider citizenM hotel above all else. Just a 10 min walk to Quincy market and just 15min from the airport!
There is nothing quiet like Halloween, especially when stumbling across homes covered in gorgeous, creepy and sometimes realistic decor. It’s certainly taken some years, but it seems us brits are becoming a little more involved when it comes to decorating and embracing Halloween. And yet, we ventured a little further afield to get a real taste for it.
This year, we headed to Boston to celebrate my husbands 30th birthday. Having his birthday 2 days before Halloween always makes a celebration a little more special. Boston is somewhere he had always wanted to visit. His childhood basketball team, the Celtics, played there, and it was his lifelong dream to watch a home game. So, that was the agenda.
Thankfully, our trip extended into Halloween itself and we managed to catch a real glimpse of Halloween across the pond, and even ventured to the infamous town of Salem to hunt the scary.
Being just a 34min train ride from the heart of Boston, we knew a trip to experience Salem during Halloween was a must. We were leaving the city at 10pm Halloween night, and thought a day in Salem on actual Halloween was the best way to round off our trip.
There didn’t seem much going on in the day, but there was still plenty to be wandering and exploring. We managed to visit the witches house, among other infamous spots in the small town of Salem.
It was lashing it down with rain for the entire time in the town, so we only spent a couple of hours wandering and taking in the sights.
As expected, the streets were full of people dressed up, including lots of Jokers, Jason and even the scary clown from American Horror Story.
Ticket Price : $10 Each – return Info : Just a 34min train journey from Boston North Station
We spent 4 days on the lead up to Halloween, wandering the city of Boston. With gorgeous New England architecture, and the autumn colours, Halloween felt present in every turn of the city. During a exploration of Beacon Hill, we found stunning private homes decorated with skeletons, zombies and of course pumpkins.
Whilst we weren’t there to enjoy Halloween itself in the city, it would have been wonderful to wander the streets with trick or treaters on Halloween eve!
Whilst I haven’t been many places at this spooky time of year, spending it in the Boston region certainly made me tempted to make trips Halloween time whenever possible. Boston is a great region to be in, especially if wanting to explore the spooky town of Salem too.
There is nothing better than being a tourist in your own country.
Heading for a long weekend with friends, family or a loved one is a perfect opportunity to explore and uncover some true British gems! Whether you are sticking to a budget or just eager to experience some of your home, there are some pretty gorgeous locations perfect for a weekend getaway.
So if you’re like me and looking for a quick pit stop, somewhere not too far, expensive yet rewarding, then I have a good couple of places you can catch a breather, where ever you are in the UK, or want to visit.
Sussex – My home, but I’m no way biased. There is plenty to keep you occupied in Sussex, from medieval castles, low lying country villages, and bustling cities. It’s fairly vast, so choose where you stay wisely depending on where you want to explore.
ps. Brighton is a great base. The city is a vibrant one with plenty to see, do and shop! You’re all real close to other natural hotspots like the seven sisters in Eastbourne.
Cotswold’s – A pretty rural part of the country offering rolling hills, grassland and thatched medieval villages. If you fancy a rural retreat with over 100 miles of walking trails on your doorstep, the Cotswold’s is the place to go! Plus, you’ll get some gorgeous insta worthy pics too!!
Canterbury – Another city with encapsulating Roman walls, cathedral, cobbled streets and timber framed buildings a plenty. If you’re not too keen on the history aspect, Howlets is just a stones throw away!
Salisbury – A medieval city with beautiful and ornate architecture. Venture to Stone Henge or mooch around the gorgeous Cathedral and soak up the true atmosphere of Salisbury. It offers you the perfect balance of city and countryside some times needed when catching a break. Whatever you fancy, Salisbury has you sorted!
Exeter – Anothercity bursting with history. This ancient city lies on the bank of River Exe nestled in the heart of the South West. The Roman era city has a castle, cathedral and city walls – plenty to fill your boots if you like culture and history!! There’s even vaulted, medieval underground passages that snake under the city. Want a history lesson with some gorgeous scenery? Go, go go!!
I don’t think there is a bad spot to stay in THE CITY , especially in a city where there is so much to do in such a wide net, you won’t be disappointed in whatever and where-ever you stay.
Warwickshire – The birthplace of William Shakespeare teaming with history and rural areas to explore and enjoy. I have always wanted to visit this gorgeous part of the country, especially since Warwick Castle has plenty to offer, including dungeons!
Oxford – It may be known for its prestigious university, but this city has plenty to offer outside of education. If you ever seen The Theory of Everything (and if you haven’t, by god do it now!), you’ll know the pure beauty this city offers. Take a little boat ride down the central river and explore local sites, streets and even castle!!
Birmingham – With it’s industrial revolution history, Birmingham is a very different city from all those others I have mentioned. But, there is plenty to see, do and enjoy in and around Birmingham. Cafes and bars line Sherbourne Wharf, and plenty of museums and galleries can keep you entertained. Including Cadbury World!!
Manchester – Not just a football powerhouse, but a culture one also. With lots of activity centres, museums and shopping malls, anyone and everyone can have a good break away from home in Manchester.
Liverpool – The birthplace of The Beatles, trace the steps of the bands early years in local pubs and bars. Aside from the Beatles reference, Liverpool is pretty maritime city offering culture and history.
Our country is riddled with culture, history and gorgeous places to visit. It shames me to say I really haven’t explored enough of my home soil just yet. Bank holiday weekends make the perfect time to get out, visit a city or county you never have, and learn more of our beautiful country.
Where will you be heading on your next weekend away? Any ideas generated from this? As always share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Are you even British if you don’t love a good wander and exploration of a classic English Castle. They are often full of secrets and history of our countries past and make a great Sunday stroll.
Yes, exploring every nook and cranny of a real castle is a real British activity, and one I try to do often as possible. Luckily for me, I’ve been so fortunate to visit some stunning castles packed with true charm ( I even live near one ) . The South East is littered with grand castles and even ruins of many hundreds of years old.
So, I’ve collated some must visit English Castles to wet your appetite when it comes to medieval turrets and grandeur.
Last year we headed to a true gem when it comes to castles – Hever. Being Ann Boleyn’s childhood home, it has everything you expect from a real British Castle. Stunning, vast gardens, grand bedrooms and dining halls and lakes fit for any Princess to row across.
You’ve probably seen the whole post, but encase you haven’t, there’s lots to explore and uncover at Arundel. Nestled in a beautiful and rather rural part of Sussex, Arundel is perfectly perched atop a steep hill. With glorious gardens and spectacular stately halls and rooms to wander, as well as a whole town surrounding the castle walls. Arundel makes the perfect day out and is certainly a castle not to be missed.
A castle that was high on my list to visit and I finally managed to explored this year. It is drowning in rich history, making it a perfect castle for old and young. Stately rooms, medieval history, far reaching views and even dungeons to be scared and panicked – Warwick Castle is my favorite castle I have visited in the UK.
Bodiam is unlike the other castles, as it is pretty much derelict. With many of the internal walls gone, Bodiam is just a shell. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a castle worth visiting. With stunning grounds and far reaching views from the remaining turrets, Bodiam makes a great Afternoon location – and even better if you take a picnic. ps. It has the BEST moat I have ever seen and well worth the visit.
These are just a few of the glorious castles that can be found across the British countryside and in my opinion, some of the best ones to visit. All are great for young and old visitors and many have some stunning gardens that you can visit without having to enter the castle.
As always, leave your thoughts below, as well as castles you think I should visit next!
Deep in the hundred acre wood Where Christopher Robin plays You will find the enchanted neighbourhood Of Christopher’s childhood days A donkey named Eeyore is his friend And Kanga and little Roo There’s Rabbit and Piglet And there’s Owl But most of all Winnie the Pooh
My whole childhood is etched with Winnie the Pooh teddy bears, video tapes and even the song available on a cassette. It was our favorite, even as a family. My mum adored it, and me and my sister were pretty stoked when it came out of the video cupboard on the occasional afternoon!
As I’ve grown up, I have realised how close to home I am to the real story of Winnie The Pooh. Hartfield is just over 45minutes from my childhood home, and we often ventured to the magical wood as a child.
If you are a fan of Winnie the Pooh, much like me, the 100 acre wood couldn’t be any more magical. And the fact the fictional land is based upon a real place in which Christopher Robin played as a child, and somewhere you can explore yourself, is even better.
With Pooh Sticks bridge, the enchanted place, Roo’s sandpit and ofcourse Pooh Corner Tearooms, visiting the real place makes a perfect bank holiday weekend activity.
So if you fancy a venture yourself, or discovering the marvelous story of the tubby bear, here’s everything to know when visiting the real 100 acre wood.
The great thing is that everything is in walking distance – if you’re prepared to walk. In the 28 degree heat however, we decided to park and walk to what we wanted to explore. All parking is free including at Pooh Corner, which I advise is where you start.
Pooh Corner is actually the local shop Christopher Robin visited when he was a child, so it’s only fitting its now the infamous Pooh shop and tea room filled with gifts, books and even a museum.
Ps. here you can grab a handy map of the forest including car parks and hotspots.
After grabbing our map we headed to Pooh Bridge – to play Pooh Sticks of course. The infamous spot, especially in summer, is a pretty busy one. What’s more, it’s hard to find sicks on the route to the bridge so its advised you take your own. We nabbed some wooden stirrers from Starbucks before our trip, which FYI made fantastic Pooh Sticks.
tip. Get your sprogs to colour the end of their stirrer to make it easier to establish who’s is who’s!
After the short walk through the forest, we decided to head to another infamous spot for the classic Winnie the Pooh tales – The enchanted place. Again, the heat was a little too much, so we decided to take the short drive to Piglets car park.
The Enchanted Place
We ended our summer walk under the trees in the enchanted place. Perched atop a hill, it was a stunning spot to look over the forest and the 100 acre wood! From here we settled with some homemade snacks before heading back to the aircon in the car!
Our very short wander of famous Winnie The Pooh hotspots may have been shorter than anticipated, they made a great bank holiday activity. Bearing in mind the heat, heading here in autumn would be utterly perfect. I think we will be heading back late September for sure!
My top tip would be heading to Pooh Corner before anywhere else. To say that map was a life saver would be a understatement. Thanks to that nifty map, we managed to find spots I had never even been to – even as a avid fan of the tubby bear! So, if you’re a fan, or even just aware of Winnie The Pooh, this is certainly a trip to make.
Have you ever been to Pooh Bridge? Somewhere you fancy heading? As always, share your thoughts in the comment section below.
When the bank holiday spells stella weather, and endless sunshine, what better than exploring somewhere new, and somewhere you’ve passed multiple times on the way to university.
I had managed to book 2 extra days off the last bank holiday, and I was determined to make it count. The first on our agenda – Arundel. A stunning town nestled in the South Downs of West Sussex, and somewhere I have passed on countless journeys to and from my university city of Southampton. Being just over an hour from home, we thought it only fitting we both finally experience the medieval town that we had always passed with intrigue.
Despite being just a town, Arundel offers plenty to keep you occupied and meander round, including quaint tea rooms, shops and festivals during the summer. It even has ample parking, neither to costly – just £5 for all day!
If you have ever passed the area, you are always drawn to the stunning Cathedral that overlooks the town. Perched atop the town, and steeped in stunning architecture, this was our first pit stop.
It’s worth noting, the cathedral is atop a pretty steep hill – and in the heat this was a challenge. But the view over the town was worth it, and the Cathedral itself made a nice respite from the heat.
You really can’t head to Arundel without stepping into the Castle grounds – and you know how much I love a Castle. However, we didn’t fancy a castle walk, and after considering the weather, we decided to stick to the outside spaces. You can purchase tickets to do the grounds and the castle, which works out at £22.00 per adult.
The castle looks spectacular, and I have never really seen a castle so grand when walking around the base. I was a little regretful we didn’t go inside, but it means we have a reason to go back!
On a stunning day like ours, the gardens were gorgeous – we generally felt like we were abroad. Beautifully tended, and with many open spaces, and almost Venetian sculptures, it was perfect on a hot day. I would highly recommend wandering the castle grounds. You even get some stunning views of the Cathedral through the gardens.
We of course wandered the picturesque streets of Arundel and stopped off for classic English tea including homemade scones and clotted cream, before heading home in the evening sunshine.
Our afternoon in Arundel was a great way to spend a bank holiday Friday. So, if you’re looking for somewhere offering English heritage, and history, make Arundel your next day trip destination.
Okay I am abit of a city wanderer. Honestly, I love a city break. Exploring somewhere completely new and experiencing the hustle and bustle of a completely different world. Because that is what a city is. A new world of history, new modern buildings and a mass of people from all walks of life and countries.
I even managed to turn my husband into a city break lover. With many cities packed with plenty to do, I hugely recommend everyone and anyone into doing atleast one.
Since i’m forever planning city breaks, and trying to explore as many worldwide cities I thought I’d share a complete guide for a perfect city break.
Read: Boston – A Travel Guide
Double check flight times
When heading on a city break, chances are you are only heading for a couple of days. When it comes to booking flights, really consider the time you are flying. Whilst the cheaper flights tend to be at the most inconvenient time of the day it will be well worth spending the extra dosh on early flights on your way out and late flights on your way home. This way it gives you two days either side to make the most of your trip. ,
Consider budget and location of your hotel
Understadably the more central located hotels tend to be a little pricer. But before you dismiss them, consider how much money this will save you once you’re there since you can pretty much walk everywhere.
If you do have a strict budget, do remember the costs you will incure if your hotel is out of the city, or go a little low standard – it is only a base for sleeping of course.
Pre-book airport travel
Although most cities have brilliant transport systems to and from the airport, it’s well worth pre-booking something ahead of going. It makes it easier, and stressfree. Plus there’s no worry a taxi is going to swallow lots of your cash.
Double check the luggage allocation
*Most* city breaks are short, sweet and fairly local. So handluggae cases are just enough for a fw days exploring. Double check you are content with that arrangement as hefty fees can be incured at the airport to check in extra baggage. The further afield cities offer hold luggage but still incur weight restrictions.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to research what there is to do in the city. Seachpinterest for blogger travel guides and use instagram to find hotspots. Don’t miss out on the best places for pit stop coffees and candlelit dinners. Create a board, take screen shots, print webpages. Whatever your find easier to research the city you’ll soon be exploring.
Set a itinerary
Now you’ve done the research, you can carefully set an itinerary for your trip. Don’t underestimate how long it will take you to find your bearings around a new city and pencil in plenty of breaks. Sometimes I don’t set itineraries as weather and other things can play a role in what you end up doing when. But having a good idea of what you want to visit and experience is a must. .
Book if need be
Whilst I don’t advise booking everything before you go, you can get some cracking deals online if you book ahead. Consider carefully and be sure to shop around before hand.
Any city break is going to be tiring and include a lot of walking. Be sensible in what you pack. Comfortable shoes, clothes to cover your from the elements including sun and rain, and bags that will hold everything you need for a day out and about. Whilst you will be able to buy somethings there, this can be rather expensive and time consuming when you are there.
Buy your cash before you head to the airport
I have always avoided airport currency exchange counters. They really don’t give you the best deal, and if you shop around before heading away, you can get some cracking deals online and at your local supermarket. It’s worth researching exchange rates, as it can save you some pennies in the long run!
This was the first year we were eager than ever to just get away, without a care in the world other that what to wear for dinner and what bikini should I switch to tomorrow. Of course we wanted to see and experience some culture and some of the place we planned to jet to, but it wasn’t essential. This holiday was about relaxing and having nothing to worry about nor anything to really get up for.
Two weeks away from the desired departure date and we booked ourselves a 10 day time out trip to the Greek island of Crete. A half board, adults only resort packed with numerous pools (3 to be exact), poolside bars and a sandy beach to walk and stare upon after dinner. It looked dreamy as hell.
We spent the 2 week lead up dreaming of sleepy days by the pool and updating our summer wardrobe. The day to leave had finally arrived and my teacher husband had said good bye to the school year and was ready to hit a sprog free oasis. Within a matter of hours, we were mooching around our Cretan resort.
Now I’ll stop the over dramatic descriptions ( clearly read 3 too many fiction novels on said holiday ) and get to the nitty gritty shall I.
As mentioned up top, it was the perfect oasis for a young, newly married couple ready to celebrate their first year anniversary. Just a 30 minute coach journey from the airport, and boasting its own beach, it had everything we wanted from a quiet yet relaxing time on Crete.
We were lovingly upgraded upon arrival and our pretty average room now included access to a shared pool. Albeit shared it was, it was perfect in size and our two neighbours seem so to enjoy casual dips and quiet time as much as we did. We only ventured to the main pools ( 3 to choose from) a handful of times – mainly when the sun on our private veranda had depleated.
We had seen better, and worse hotel rooms, and personally on a holiday where you wanted to be poolside or strolling the beach, this didn’t bother either of us. It had a big enough bed, a shower that could be hot or cold and a tv that showed some English speaking channels. We had a safe and a fridge which we stocked up with ciders and Smirnoff ice we purchased from the up the road supermarket. We even got a free bottle of water daily!
So, we were half-board. Without the choice of all inclusive this of course is the next best thing. If you haven’t been half board before, essentially you have breakfast and dinner provided. All drinks need to be purchased, aside from your morning coffee and juice. Most resorts offer your food on a buffet style – just like this one. I would really recommend, on a hot holiday style getaway, to spend a little extra and try and get this. You needn’t worry about food and whilst you do pay for evening drinks, there are always local supermarkets to stock up on for mid evening drinks.
The food offered on site was actually really good. There was always lots of choice and as a picky eater, or so my husband calls me, there was only one evening where I just ate pizza and chips – not that I’m complaining!
Whilst we did mostly lounge round the pool, we did take a day out to explore the west coast of the island. Most of the tourist attractions and hot spots are on the west coast so we decided a day on the road exploring these popular areas was a must.
Best of the west
As we had booked our entire holiday through Tui, we downloaded their pretty nifty app and managed to decide and conclude the tour we desired without a pesky tour operator in sight. Nothing against tour operators and reps but God how early 2000s is that spending your first morning being lectured into the tourist excursions. We paid online and had the confirmation In minutes.
On our tour of the west coast, we would more notably visit two of the most stunning cities on the island : Chania and Rethymno . We had heard both cities were abundantly in culture and gorgeous architecture, as well as unique stalls and market places.
This excursion cost us £57 each and included transport two and from the hotel as well as a tour guide for the day. It was minimal stress and we would be able to experience the most visited spots on the island for little to no hassle for us. Winner winner chicken dinner I say!
We packed sun lotion, hats and plenty of water. We had a busy day ahead and we knew in the cities we would most likely melt. Our first leg of the trip to our first city was 1hr 20mins.
Our first city was Rethymno. We don’t like to research tooo much of where we are heading, since we like to have the element of surprise. Arriving into the city, we saw the very quaint lanes and the stunning Venitian harbor. There were lots of people around, but it was pretty easy to find some quiet back lanes to explore and wonder.
We only had one hour here to experience the city and honestly, that was enough. It was peaking 34degrees and although the narrow streets offered plenty of shade, it still didn’t ease the heat.
There were lots of pretty shops, restaurants and waterside coffee shops to stop off and catch some shade. There is of course the Venetian harbor to explore. The stunning beauty of Rethymno is in the architecture that surrounds the city. I would even go as far to say that with the beauty of the buildings, and the relaxed almost romantic feel within the streets, it really doesn’t feel like a city.
After wandering Rethymno we headed further west to Chania. This was a further hour, of which our tour guide filled us in on more history and landmarks of the island.
When we arrived at Chania, we swiftly made our way to the Agora, which is essentially a indoor market. I didn’t think there was much to it, but it’s a pretty good starting point. From their we wandered down towards the harbour, stopping in cute stall shops and weaving throughout the lanes. I would say, Chania is more commercialised. We even managed to grab a Starbucks!
We had 2 hours here to wander and explore, and we mostly shopped. There were lovely stalls among branded stores too, so we managed to pick up lovely pieces. As it was so hot, neither of us were actually hungry and mostly lived off 1euro slushies – which were delish and refreshing!
Both Chania and Rethymno are so similar, just different in size. After finishing at Chania, we made our way back to our hotel. It was a really long day and so tiring, but it was well worth the excursion to see more of the island.
My advice if you are heading there…..
Crete is a gorgeous Grecian island to head to if you are on the lookout or a quick plane ride ( only 4hours ), and looking for some sunshine, a little bit of culture and great, friendly people. We really were looking for a relaxing holiday and we got just that. We didn’t venture out much and I really don’t regret not seeing more. The hotel was superb, the food amazing and the pool perfect.
You should visit….
Next time we might just consider hiring ourselves a car. Whilst the excursion with Tui was really good, having a bit of freedom would certainly make it easier to get around what is a pretty large island. Here’s a couple of places I would visit on my next trip to Crete :
Santorini – you can go for a day trip from the island. It’s a little expensive but a good idea if you had always wanted to visit the ever popular island.
Knossos – Its ruins left of the oldest city on the island. This would make a great trip for half a day to get to know the history of the island.
Psychro Cave – Located not too far from Malia, this is said to be the birth place of Zeus and looks like a great exploration day trip!
There is ofcourse lots of stunning beaches up and down the West coast that would be pretty pricey to visit without the use of a car. I would highly recommend you researching the key sites and what you wish to do whilst you are there. We were only 20min transfer from the airport of Heraklion however, we were a fair distance from key hot spots along the west coast.
We had such a brilliant time in Crete, it’s spurred us to look closer a field a little more often instead of always looking at long haul destinations.
Have you ever been to Crete? Heading to Greece this summer? Have somewhere you think we should head to next? As always, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.