2020 : The year to holiday in the UK

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.

Multi-Cultural Cities

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.

Read : Best UK Weekend Hotspots

National Trust & English Heritage Sites

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 ).

Read : Must visit English Castles

We have some cracking Beaches

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!

Its home!

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.

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The best UK Weekend Hotspots.

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.

Read : Must visit English Castles
Read : My complete guide to a city break

South East 

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!!

Kent 

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!

South West 

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 –  Another city 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!!

London 

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.

Midlands 

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!!

North 

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!

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Must Visit English Castles

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.

Hever Castle

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.

Arundel Castle

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.

Warwick Castle

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 Castle

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!

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Searching for Winnie The Pooh – A morning in Hartfield

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.

Pooh Corner

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.

Pooh Bridge

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.

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Arundel – A travel guide

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!

Arundel Cathedral

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.

Medieval Castle

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!

Castle Gardens

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.

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Sheffield Park – National Trust

It was a glorious Saturday, and just by accident, we had a spare few hours which made perfect time to explore a new, local national trust site.

This time, we headed to the much loved Sheffield Park site. We had heard many rave about the gorgeous gardens, and it’s somewhere I frequently pass, to and from work. With out National Trust membership cards, we decided it was time we explored it for ourselves.

If you haven’t already been to Sheffield park before, it really is a stunning park and garden to wander. With paved walks, woodland trials and even a waterfall. Among the lakes and ponds too. There really is so much to see and explore in Sheffield Park. It may even be my favorite National Trust site to date.

Whilst we were there, the waterlily festival was in full swing. It was gorgeous under the summer sun and created a perfect photo opportunity on the mirror like lakes. With lots of ducks, small alcoves of trees and great spaces to kick back and relax, it is the perfect location to enjoy the summer evenings.

This is something that made me fall in love with the site. Despite being there only a couple of hours, we managed to see lots of the site and it was truly serine. Completely quiet. It was lovely, considering there was a lot of families relaxing on the grass and having a picnic in the afternoon sun.

Out of all the National trust sites we have visited lately, this is by far my favorite. We are already looking to head back soon, with a picnic and a book or two.

In a nutshell, if you want to enjoy somewhere blooming in plants, wildlife and serine clusters of parkland, I would highly recommend Sheffield Park. There’s plenty of space to relax as a family, and push-chair / wheelchair friendly paths and routes to explore the gorgeous gardens.

I’m not sure where our next National Trust site will be, but I will be doing something different, and let’s just say IGTV may become a new fav spot of mine!


Some of the other national trust sites we have visited

Nymans
Bodiam Castle
Scotney Castle
Wakehurst Place


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48 hours in Stratford Upon Avon including Warwick Castle – Photodiary

What a perfect place to spend the last May Bank holiday weekend of the year, than in the picturesque and rather charming location such as Stratford Upon Avon. Yes, 11 of us ventured to the gorgeous Warwick / Stratford area for a blissful 3 day break exploring and enjoying the gorgeous streets and sights.

It’s been a fair while since I have explored somewhere completely new, so you can imagine my excitement to do so under the sunshine of May. We had some plans, but ultimately we were pretty excited to just take in the area, and do what we could.

Stratford Upon Avon

We headed from Eastbourne at 10:30am on the Saturday and managed to reach Warwick, where our hotel was located, at around 3pm. We stayed in the Phesant Inn, and it was a fairly comfy stay. Let’s be honest, we weren’t there for a stunning 5* hotel stay. We had breakki included and there was wifi – what more did we need!

We ditched the bags and headed into Stratford Upon Avon. Just a short 10min drive away, our hotel was perfectly located outside the hustle and bustle.

We wandered along the River Avon, spotted Shakespeare monuments and grabbed a coffee in a cute courtyard coffee shop. After our pit stop, we headed towards Shakespeare’s birthplace on Henley Street and grabbed some traditional sweeties.

We finished the long day out for dinner and retiring back to the hotel early, ready for the next day.

Warwick Castle

On day 2 we headed to the much anticipated Warwick Castle. If you know me, you know I loveeeeee a good castle, rich in history and plenty of stately rooms and dungeons to explore. Warwick Castle certainly ticked that!!

We booked ourselves onto the Dungeons first off. It can get pretty busy, which I can completely understand since it’s ruddy fantastic.

Many of us were scared, but it brought laughs too. We also managed to see both the jousting and the falcon show, which again were brilliant. I would highly recommend trying to see the falcon show when you visit.

If you are more for one to explore a castle, Warwick has plenty to see. With stately rooms and impressive artifacts, there is lots to be had for exploring the grounds and rooms of Warwick Castle.

In all honesty, we didn’t think we would be there all day, but with so much to see and do, we didn’t leave till closing! Warwick castle is truly the perfect attraction for the whole family. There’s even a Horrible History maze that started a argument or two within the family.

Must do at Warwick Castle :
The Dungeons – if you’re brave enough
Climb to the top of the castle and overlook Warwick
Falcon Show – which is truly spectacular

Following a full day on our feet, we headed back to the hotel for a sit down, before heading to dinner in Stratford.

We did head to Kettering on our way home back to the South, since my Grandmother grew up there and wanted to re-visit some of her old stomping ground.

Our long weekend in Warwick / Stratford was everything we looked for. We had plenty to see and do, as well as spend quality time as a family together. Of course, there was plenty more we could have done, heck there’s so much more I’m planning another visit. Yet, if you’re looking for a quick weekend away, you couldn’t ask for better in Stratford Upon Avon.

Have you ever been to Stratford Upon Avon? Anything we should do on our next visit? As always, share your thoughts in the comment section below.

A perfect day trip from London – Nymans estate

I’m back with yet another glorious National Trust site! And this one makes the perfecttttt day trip from London. It’s been a fair while since our last excursion to a local site – Bodiam Castle, yet we decided a good old English bank holiday was the perfectttt oppertunity to explore a new site.

A rather nippy and over cast one albeit, yet we thoroughly enjoyed Nymans in West Sussex.

Upon recommendation, and my nifty national trust app, Nymans ticked all the national trust boxes with countless walks, gorgeous tended gardens and even a characted home to wander.

Just 10 mins outside of Haywards Heath, it wasn’t too far for us to travel and was the perfect destination for a bank holiday venture.

We even took a cheeky meal deal picnic to enjoy on the lawns over looking the house ruins.

History of the House

The rather beautiful thing at Nymans is the now ruins of the house being the center piece of the site. Following a great fire in 1947, most of the house was burnt down. Whilst a small part of the house was re-built and is open to the public, the ruins of the great hall is currently under conservation.

Although, it is due to be open to the public in June, so you will yourself be able to explore the ruins of the old grand hall. I think we may even return to explore the ruins!

Info:
Entry – Adult: £14.00 Child: £7.00
Parking – FREE
Facilities – Character house, 3 woodland walks, walled garden, garden center, second hand book store. Wheelchair friendly walking spaces.

There is so much to enjoy when at Nymans. With woodland, tended gardens and wide open spaces, it makes the perfect National Trust site to take the family, any time of the year! It’s pretty wheelchair and buggy friendly too with most of the tended lawns, gardens and estate walks level and maintained.

We spent roughly 4 hours at Nymans, firstly exploring the estate and then venturing the orange woodland walk.

Have you ever visited Nymans? Any other trust sites we should be making a visit to next?
As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Why not check out our other National Trust visits including Bodiam Castle and Scotney Castle.

A Sunny Sunday in Brighton

This won’t be a long one I promise, it’s just some insight into our glorious weekend exploring our local city. I took some pretty snaps so I wanted to share in a little diary style post.

Happy Spring – because I can officially say that!

The first full weekend of spring saw some productivity, as well as some much needed rest, chill and sunshine on our cheeks. We headed to Brighton on Sunday to enjoy arguably the best Sunday of the whole year – weather wise of course, us brits always bang on about weather!

Having been fairly long distant from Brighton for a fair while ( aside for the quick pit stops for blogging events ) I was rather excited to play tourist in the city. Under the glorious sunshine, we wandered Churchill Square, grabbed a coffee and mooched the infamous Brighton lanes.

It wasn’t long before we needed a pit stop and caught a bite to eat in our new favorite Italian restaurant – Ask Italian. They had a beautiful terrace where we could enjoy the fresh spring air.

After filling our bellies, we walked it off down the beach. It’s been a while since wandering the seafront of Brighton. It holds mostly redundant drunk memories of 18 year old Charlotte staggering out of Coalition heading towards the night bus on a Student Thursday night. It was rather lovely to experience it several years later, through sober eyes and on a day of glorious sunshine.

We maundered our way back to the station before taking just a 15min train journey home. I forget how close we really are to Brighton and so often I avoid it at all costs. It really has the hustle and bustle of a city and yet the shoreline and stunning array of quirky shops is what I always forget rather than remember. Safe to say, me and the hubby fell in love with Brighton this weekend. I’m sure we will be going back fairly sharpish.

Where’s your nearest city? What did you get up to the first weekend of spring? I love catching your thoughts so be sure to leave them in the comment section below.

If you fancy exploring some UK sights, be sure to check these posts out….

Bodiam Castle – Kent
Scotney Castle – Tunbridge Wells
Wakehurst Place – Haywards Heath

How to avoid Troublesome Tyres When Driving Up north

Scotland has some of the trickiest roads to drive on in the whole country. The large number of mountain passes and the numerous twisting country lanes mean that the wear and tear on your car’s tyres can be immense.

However, it is not just on exposed land in the Highlands that your tyres will suffer. You can expect just the same treatment from potholes and speed bumps in places like Glasgow and Edinburgh. The city streets in Scotland are just as bad as anything you might find in Manchester, Birmingham or London, for example. Indeed, in some neighborhoods, it is even worse with congested traffic adding to the pressure that your tyres will come under.

So, how do you avoid problems? I’ve collated together some tyre checkpoints before venturing anywhere long distant and rural like Scotland.

Keep Your Tyres Pumped

If you run around on partially flat tyres then they won’t perform as well. Not only do they increase the likelihood of skidding or spinning out of control, but flatter tyres also wear down quicker. Don’t over-inflate your tyres, however, since this can also cause problems of premature wear when you are driving about.

Tip : Head to a petrol station. Most if not all have tyre pressure facilities. The inside of your passenger door will have a guideline on the pressure your tyres should be pumped at. Petrol station facilities allow you to set the pressure you desire and alert you when you’re there.

Check Your Tread Depth 

If your tyres are wearing down because of the extra abrasion they get on Scottish roads, then you must make sure they are not illegal. By using a twenty pence coin, you can tell if your tread is sufficiently deep. Insert one into the tyres’ grooves. If the rim of the coin disappears from view, then the tread should be legal to drive on. If not, then change your tyres immediately.
You can get your tyres in the locality of Glasgow from the Point S website. 

Back Off From the Car In Front 

By simply giving more space when you are driving on Scottish streets, you will be able to come off your accelerator rather than apply the brake. Not only will this mean you brake pads are preserved but it will help to maintain your tyres for longer. It is a simple measure that more drivers should adopt.

Whether you are travelling or not, its well worth keeping an eye on your tyres monthly, where ever you drive. As we all well know, our roads are littered with potholes, and one to many bumps can cause serious damage to your tyres and car.

How often do you check your tyres? Are they in need for checking? Don’t delay and check today!