View from Vianden Castle Girl Vianden Scenery Vianden Luxembourg Walkway A picturesque town with an impressive castle? Get me there immediately. As soon as our trip to Luxembourg was booked, Vianden was on my radar and I couldn't wait to explore!

How to Get There

Despite our first day in Luxembourg being the gloomiest of them all, we set off early with high spirits. As we were staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton which is slightly outside of Luxembourg City centre, we walked to the Dommeldange Station (rather than a station in the city centre) and hopped on the train to Ettelbruck which takes a quick 30 minutes. On arrival at Ettelbruck station, there are three separate bus stops, so be sure to stand at the correct one ("routriere 2" if I remember correctly) before hopping off the bus at Vianden Bréck. There are a few bus stops  in Vianden but this one was in the perfect place to get off and explore!

RELATED: Train and bus travel is extraordinarily easy and efficient. If you're looking for another day trip from Luxembourg City, I highly recommend a trip to the Moselle Valley!

What to Do 

Vianden is another area of Luxembourg where I would highly recommend using the Luxembourg Card! Not only was our transport to the town completely free, so were most of the attractions! If you plan your day in the same way we did, you'll only end up paying for food and drinks during the day!

The Vianden Chairlift

Vianden Chairlift View of Vianden Castle It's no secret that I am scared of heights, but I had been told by many reliable sources that the views from the chairlift were unrivalled and I will do anything for some good scenery (it's all about that Instagram grid after all). Sweaty palms and a fair amount of squealing later, we were off and it wasn't that bad after all! My hands were steadily gripped to the safety bar, so my photo taking abilities were somewhat hindered but I did it! The views definitely live up to the hype from both the chairlift itself and the viewing deck at the top!

RELATED: Do you push your fears while travelling? My fear of heights is always tested while travelling - it's safe to say that dinner in the revolving restaurant at the top of the CN Tower was an experience!

Woodland Walk to the Castle

Walk to Vianden Castle The chairlift actually takes you above the height of the castle and therefore you need to walk downhill slightly to reach the castle's entrance. Approximately 33% of Luxembourg's land is covered by beautiful woodland and this walk is no exception! It's an easy downhill stroll, however it's probably a good idea to wear sensible shoes to conquer the dirt path! But as it's such a pretty walk, you won't mind taking your time in unsuitable shoes! Catching glimpses of the castle getting closer through the trees is also exciting!

Vianden Castle

Vianden Castle Roleplay Vianden Castle Couple Undoubtedly, the castle is the main reason that most people visit Vianden! You are free to explore the castle at your own pace, so there is no reason to wait for a guided tour etc. When entering the castle, we didn't notice the audio tour headsets but they would have been helpful at some parts of the visit - predominantly the museum element where signs for items on display were in French. The castle is absolutely gorgeous and definitely worth your time if you visit Luxembourg!

RELATED: I seem to find myself always visiting rural castles in Europe - have you read about my trip to Burg Eltz?

Take a Wander Around the Town

Vianden River Scenery Vianden Sculpture While the castle steals the limelight and is the reason most people visit Vianden, the rest of this little town is definitely worth your time too! Vianden is filled with picturesque little streets lined with gorgeous buildings and plenty of colourful flowers. The houses in Luxembourg are unlike anywhere I have ever seen before. While many of the houses don't depict a particularly modern style, you can tell that this is a very rich country and most of the houses are maintained to perfection.

Eat All the Gorgeous Food

Banana Nutella Crepe As with most picture perfect towns, there are lots of cute little eateries lining the streets. We opted for a crepes - obviously!

The Things We Didn't Get To Do

As with anywhere, there were a few bits that we didn't get to do which may spark your interest:
  • Trinitarian Church - After searching TripAdvisor before our visit, a quick look inside this church was on my to-do list but we ended up accidentally walking straight past it - oops!
  • Adventure Park Tree Climber - If you're from the UK, think "Go Ape" - this would be a great idea to keep the kids entertained after dragging them round the cultural sights! We definitely would have joined in if we were suitably dressed.
  • Maison de Victor Hugo - A small museum about the French novelist Victor Hugo, set in the house that he lived in for a short period in the 1870s.
Have you ever visited Vianden? Did you have a good time?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Danielle1

      ESCAPING ESSEX - Looking for a good day trip from Luxembourg City? Vianden is the place to be! With an impressive castle and gorgeous side streets, it is the perfect place to explore!
Moselle Valley View of River Our trip to Luxembourg was filled with sunny weather and long relaxing days, one of which took place in the Moselle Valley region of the country. We were stuck for ideas for the last day of our trip (we had already decided to dedicate the other two days to Luxembourg City and Vianden), but when colleague of mine suggested a day in the Moselle Valley region - I quickly fell in love with the idea after a quick google image search!

Where Is It?

The Moselle Valley is a region in Eastern Luxembourg, North-Eastern France and South-Western Germany, so if you are crossing borders between these three countries and happen to do so through the Moselle Valley area, make sure you stop and explore! The area centres itself around the Moselle River and has jaw-dropping views no matter which way you turn. But alas, pretty views aren't the only draw to this area - the Moselle Valley is also famed for being a producer of high-quality white and sparkling wines (yippee)!

RELATED: I've visited the Moselle Area of Germany previously - have you read about my trip to Burg Eltz? It is the most beautiful castle! 

How To Get There

As the Moselle Valley is such a large area of Luxembourg, you will need to decide which town to visit (it's possible to do more than one in a day if you travel fast). We decided to visit Grevenmacher (after some very intricate decision making that revolved around the question "what town can we get the most free things from our Luxembourg Card?") You can get to Grevenmacher using bus 130 from Centre Royal bus stop. The bus runs hourly and you can find timetables here. There are a few bus stops with "Grevenmacher" in the name, we hopped off at Grevenmacher Tanneurs and it was the perfect location.

Our Itinerary

Hire Bikes and Cycle Around the Vineyards

Moselle Valley Grevenmacher Bike Hire Grevenmacher Views Vineyard Moselle Bike Girl Resting Grevenmacher Vineyard Using the Luxembourg Card, bike hire was free for up to 24 hours from a nearby campsite. The bikes were good quality and didn't give me severe bum ache (I have been known to struggle walking after riding a bike before). We planned to do the Circular Walk of Nature and Wine Discovery route but found out after a very steep hill climb that bikes weren't allowed on a certain part of the trail and therefore stuck to the lower levels of the vineyards and the river front. As it was such a hot day and there was very little shade, being on the bikes was the perfect way to get around as it meant you got some breeze! We had a great time just cycling and exploring, this ended up being the majority of our day!

Take Hundreds of Photos Along The River

Moselle Valley Grevenmacher River Photos Moselle Valley Grevenmacher With the sun shining, the river looked absolutely gorgeous and I couldn't help but stop every few minutes to take a picture... or two... or three. I remember thinking the river area of the Moselle was beautiful on our train ride through Germany last year to reach Burg Eltz, so to be able to stop and enjoy the views properly (i.e. not on a train) was great!

Explore the Town Centre

Luxembourg Cute Buildings Luxembourg Yellow House On the hunt for lunch, we wandered into the town centre which is set back from the river and of course, as with the rest of Luxembourg,the buildings were gorgeous! The buildings throughout the entirety of Luxembourg were really stunning, a true mix of old and new styles and everything looked immaculate at all times. Luxembourg is a rich yet small country and this could be seen through the always prim and polished exteriors.

Go Wine Tasting with Bernard Massard

Bernard Massard Moselle Valley Bernard Massard Wines We made a slight error when planning our trip to Grevenmacher by visiting on a Monday. More careful research would have told us that Bernard Massard aren't open on a Monday for vineyard tours and wine tasting (which is free with the Luxembourg Card). However, the extensive shop is open all days of the week and is definitely worth a visit! On explaining to the lovely shop assistant that we were hoping to to a wine tasting and vineyard tour, she gave us an explanation of the wines they have on offer and allowed us to taste a few!

Jardin Des Papillons

Jardin Des Papillons Jardin Des Papillons Luxembourg Butterfies Luxembourg After returning the bikes to the campsite (side note: probably the nicest campsite I have ever seen), we went to the nearby butterfly garden before returning to the bus. Butterflies have a significant meaning within my family, so I loved wandering around and snapping photos of the beautiful creatures.

The Things We Didn't Get to Do In the Moselle Valley

Take a Cruise on MS Princess Marie-Astrid

The Princess Marie-Astrid is a large boat on the river Moselle which offers a wide range of entertainment. From simply hopping on board to enjoy the scenery from the river, to entertaining themed nights and even a good old Sunday Lunch! The MS Princess Marie-Astrid is not open on Mondays, check here for timetables.

The Printing Museum

Also closed on a Monday (top tip - don't visit Grevenmacher on a Monday!) is the Printing Museum which houses items dating from the 1930s used to make playing cards. Entry is free on the Luxembourg Card and the building looked small and worth a quick stop while you are passing by. Are you planning a trip to Luxembourg? If so, be sure to add a day trip to the Moselle Valley!

Disclaimer: In light of full disclosure, we did receive our Luxembourg Cards for free on behalf of the Luxembourg Tourism Board, however all thoughts are my own, as always. 

Danielle1 THE MOSELLE VALLEY - When visiting Luxembourg, be sure to visit the country's wine production area - the Moselle Valley!  
Peak District Sheep Peak District Couple The Peak District is somewhere that I have ALWAYS wanted to visit (if you can't tell from that happy face above). So when we were arranging to see my dad’s cousin in the Stockport area, I made sure that the Peak District was incorporated into our itinerary! After spending Saturday with family at Tatton Park (Knutsford), we were ready to make the long drive home on Sunday with a detour through the Peak District. This was just a “taster” of the area and I REALLY want to go back, but if you only have a day, here’s what you can get up to in the Peak District!

RELATED: The Peak District was actually on my list of places I am dying to visit in 2017 - find out where else I want to visit here!

Just Drive Through the Peak District

Peak District Winnatt’s Pass One of the best things that you can do is just drive (or walk if you have more time!). The area is so scenic that you are bound to stumble across some gems. This happened to us when stumbled across Winnatt’s Pass (thank you to Barefoot Backpacker for identifying my Instagram photo for me)!

Head for Epic View Points / Caves

Peak District Landscape Scenery Peak District Friends Family Peak District Girl Pink Raincoat Next up, we were driving without real purpose towards Blue John Cavern (if you didn’t know, the Peak District is home to many really impressive networks of underground caves and caverns). After struggling to actually find the entrance and car parking areas being full (it was a sunny morning after all), we got highly distracted and just spent time at an incredible viewpoint that our Sat Nav had led us to on route!

Bakewell

Peak District Bakewell Tarts Bakewell Town Centre Bakewell Church Bakewell Cute Houses As an avid fan of Bakewell Tarts, the town of Bakewell has been on my radar for years but I’d never been. Although stories say that Bakewell Tarts don’t actually originate from Bakewell and instead the Bakewell Pudding is the local delicacy. Most shops sold both and of course we had to try both! The town of Bakewell is truly picturesque and is definitely worth having a wander around. We first went for lunch in a cute little café, took a stroll around the main town, visited the beautiful church, went on a hunt for Bakewell and finished our time here by sitting in the sun at the edge of the river feeding the ducks. All in all, it was the perfect little stop-off!

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House Chatsworth House is probably one of the more famous destinations in the Peak District and as you would expect, on this sunny day, the grounds and car park were absolutely heaving with people. We wanted to have a wander around the grounds and not necessarily the house (we had been warned that the house warrants around half a day to fully explore and we simply didn’t have the time). Given how busy it was, we snapped a few pictures and quickly left. But the house is really gorgeous and such an impressive building. Next time I am in the Peak District and I have a bit more time on my hands, I will do a proper stop-off!

Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall After spotting signs for Haddon Hall near Chatsworth House, we decided to follow them, hoping that we would be able to do a similar quick stop off to admire the building before making the long journey home. Unfortunately, we had no such luck! It cost us £3 to park and with no view of the hall. When we walked through to the “admissions area”, we could only see the very top of the hall over some high hedges and trees – with admission at a steep £14.50 per person and us being pushed for time, we decided to give this one a miss! One thing we did learn was if you are looking to hit some of the main attractions in the Peak District, it can lead to being a very pricey day out (especially as there were 5 of us)! Everything has an admission price and a parking price – but never fear, the surroundings are so gorgeous that I would happily drive/walk around and not have to pay a penny! Have you ever been to the Peak District before? What was your favourite part?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Danielle1

       
Budgeting European City Breaks Macedonia Ohrid Wall "How do you afford to always travel" is something I get asked by certain friends/family members of mine on a regular basis. Yet said individuals have been known to spend 2 weeks every year in an all-inclusive resort that costs around £1,500+ per person just for those two weeks which just isn't my style! In 2016 I went on less European city breaks than I would have liked too - I had to spend too much annual leave on exams/study time unfortunately! I only managed 5 city breaks, but the total cost was £1,405.21 (average £281 per trip for flights, accommodation and spending money). When I've told people this, they've seemed shocked and confused - so I thought I'd set it all out in a blog post!

Krakow, Poland

Krakow Poland Auschwitz
  • Flights = £81
  • Hotel = £72.50
  • Spending Money = £110
  • Total = £263.50
  • Dates = Friday 18 March - Tuesday 22 March 2016
  • Total days = 5
  • Annual leave = 3

Ohrid, Macedonia

Ohrid Macedonia Church Budgeting City Break
  • Flights = £51
  • Hotel = £43.86
  • Spending Money = £64.94 (see full breakdown here)
  • Total = £159.80
  • Dates = Sunday 22nd May - Wednesday 25 May 2016
  • Total days = 4
  • Annual leave = 3

Salzburg, Austria

View Salzburg Austria Budgeting Europe City Break
  • Flights = £38 (after using £50 RyanAir gift card)
  • Hotel = £124
  • Spending Money = £152.15 (see full breakdown here)
  • Total = £314.12
  • Dates = Friday 3rd June - Monday 6 June 2016
  • Total days = 4
  • Annual leave = 2

Cologne, Germany

Burg Eltz Cologne Germany Budgeting
  • Flights = £60.98
  • Hotel = £73.69
  • Spending Money = £170
  • Total = £304.67
  • Dates = Friday 26 August - Monday 29 August 2016
  • Total days = 4
  • Annual leave = 1
  • Bank holidays = 1

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Scotland Budgeting City Break
  • Flights = £83.96
  • Hotel = £81
  • Spending Money = £198.16
  • Total = £363.12
  • Dates = Thursday 1 September - Sunday 4 September 2016
  • Total days = 4
  • Annual leave = 2

Summary

  • Total spending = £1,405.21
  • Number of days abroad = 21
  • Total annual leave days used = 11
  • Percentage  of fun had = 100%

Booking.com

So What Are my Top Tips?

Work out what your priorities are £1,400 is still a lot of money, but in 2016 travelling was a priority for me and was worth every penny. I don't spend money on clothes and accessories (although I definitely used to!) and that definitely helps to save. This £1,400 was spent over the course of a year, so if you want to experience the 5 city breaks listed above, you'd need to save £116 per month - given that my main blog audience are 18 - 25 year old females (much like myself), making the huge assumption that you are in a full time job without the responsibilities of kids or a mortgage, this could be entirely achievable depending on your priorities. In 2017, I haven't taken half as many trips as this but I'm currently saving every penny and thinking about getting on the housing ladder - priorities change and that's okay!

RELATED:  Find out what I've given up in order to save money for travel here

Travel at non-peak times where possible I could have been FAR stingier with my spending on travel during this year. A prime example is my trip to Cologne. I was limited on annual leave by this point and had to utilise the August bank holiday weekend meaning flight costs rocketed. Our £60 return flights from London Stansted with RyanAir can be snagged for £18 most of the year (these seats are also always included in RyanAir's sales). And generally speaking, flying mid-week will be cheaper than utilising a long weekend (something I am a big fan of given my lack of annual leave), so if you work unusual hours, you could be quids-in! Be flexible I have the Skyscanner widget on my Android phone homepage, so I am constantly able to see what the cheapest flights from London in the next month are. When Skysanner were advertising £25 flights to Ohrid (Macedonia), I knew that I HAD to have them. I hadn't even heard of this city, but I know it's not normally in the "cheap flight" category! After a quick google, I knew it was beautiful and I knew I had to go.

RELATED: Have you seen any cheap flights to Ohrid? If you manage to catch them, read all about my time there here! You won't be disappointed! 

Make sure you understand the budget airlines So above I mentioned that I saw £25 flights to Ohrid but I actually paid £50, what happened there?! Well, budget airlines have to make their money somehow and Wizz Air make you pay for normal sized cabin bags. Where possible, I fly with RyanAir who allow you to have one normal sized cabin bag and one small personal item (like a handbag, backpack or laptop bag) included in the price of your ticket!

RELATED: Do you know what's included in your ticket price? Read my guides for RyanAir and Wizz Air!

How Could You Save More Money Than I Did?

My biggest downfall when travelling in 2016 was having to make lots of little short breaks, this means that I was continually paying for return flights to the UK. I spent a total of 3 weeks in European cities during the year - so if you could get 3 continuous weeks off work and pick cities that are relatively close to one another, using public transport to get from one to the other will be much cheaper than continuously flying to and from the UK! Also, you'll notice that my spending money in a city is normally on par with the flights and accommodation. This is because I like to FULLY immerse myself in a city and do absolutely everything that's on offer. I rarely leave a city without having ticked off all of the "must see" tourist attractions. If you slow down and don't feel the need to spend money on every single entrance fee, you will definitely save money.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Danielle1

     
Isle Of Scilly Couple Beach Isle Of Scilly Cromwell Castle “Where?” people asked. “Is that the island off the coast of Italy?” others asked. While a part of me wished that I was going to the gorgeous island of Sicily to soak up some Italian sunshine, I was going to somewhere just as beautiful! If you are still confused about where the blimmin’ hell I was heading, the Isles of Scilly are an archipelago off the coast of Cornwall. There are 5 inhabited islands that you can visit with ease but there are a whopping 140 uninhabited islands in the area too! So, here’s exactly why you should consider the Isles of Scilly as your next destination… Isle Of Scilly Group of Friends

The Weather

You’d think that because you’re still technically in the UK, you’d be destined for gloomy, miserable weather no matter what time of year you go (apart from the unpredictable week of glorious sunshine we seem to get in Spring/Summer). But no, given the fact that the Isles are the most Southern point of the UK, their climate is surprisingly tropical! Isle Of Scilly Beach View

The Beaches

So, do you want crystal clear waters? Forget Mexico, forget Bali, head to the Isles of Scilly. When I showed my Uncle some photos of the beach, his immediate reaction was “that is the kind of beach we were looking for when we booked our Mexico honeymoon”! There are hundreds of little beaches dotted around the Island. We visited in May and rarely saw other people on the beaches with us! Unfortunately (despite my previous point), we did have some freak cold/rainy weather in May which meant the sea was absolutely freezing – but the beaches were still the perfect place to chill out and explore! Isle Of Scilly Food Burger

The Food

Oh. My. God. This should be my first point really. The food on the Isles of Scilly is impeccable, no matter where you eat. My personal favourite was brunch in The Flying Boat Bar & Bistro on Tresco Island (which was handily right outside our accommodation), I highly recommend! Isle Of Scilly Flying Boat Cottages Isle Of Scilly Flying Boat Cottages

The Accommodation

We stayed in the Friendship Cottage (one of the Flying Boat cottages) on Tresco Island and I only have good things to say about it. The cottage was spacious, well decorated, modern and had an impressive veranda area that led onto the beach. The master bedroom had huge double doors that opened onto a small balcony with a perfect view of the sea. There aren’t many better views you could wake up to (apart from maybe George Clooney, I don’t know).

RELATED: I've been trying to explore more of England recently, see all of my posts on our glorious country here

Isle of Scilly Tresco Abbey Gardens Isle of Scilly Red Squirrels

The Wildlife

Both in plant form and animal form, the wildlife on these Island will make you feel like you’ve to a tropical Caribbean Island. For plant-life, Tesco Abbey Gardens is where you need to be (and I’m not just bias because my friend works here).The gardens are really beautiful, especially on a sunny day and will make for the perfect afternoon of wandering. For animals, head to St Agnes Island where you will be able to take tours to (try!) see seals as well as many different species of birds. We unfortunately didn't have time to take this trip but we did spot the gorgeous Golden Pheasant! Isle of Scilly Accomodation Isle of Scilly Gallery

The Chilled-Out Lifestyle

If you’re looking for a chilled, relaxing break, there isn’t a better place. If I were to summarise a perfect day on the Islands, it would be waking up to the view of the sea before having your morning cuppa on the beach. A long brunch is the best way to get your energy (especially with the Islands’ great food) before taking a long relaxing stroll across any of the Islands taking in the truly picturesque scenery. While there may not be many people living on the islands (a 2001 consensus shows that there were a mere 2,153 people living there), they have the best lifestyle. Everybody knows each other, everybody is friendly and the relaxing lifestyle works wonders. Isle of Scilly Girl At Sunset Isle of Scilly Sunset View

The Sunsets

If there’s one thing that having a friend in living in the Isles of Scilly who regularly sends me pictures has taught me, it’s that the Isles of Scilly have the most impressive sunsets in the whole of the UK. No, I haven’t tried and tested this, but I am almost 100% sure that this is the case. So, if you’re ever considering a break in the UK, make sure you give the Isles of Scilly some thought, you won’t regret it. If you're thinking of taking a trip, make sure you check out the Isles of Scilly Travel website for advice & bookings! Have you ever been, what was your favourite part?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.

Danielle1

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THE ISLE OF SCILLY

After dipping my toes into the realm of UK travel last year and discovering two of my favourite cities (Edinburgh and York, you are beauties), this year I have vowed that I will see more of our glorious little nation. My first port of call in 2017 was the "Island City" of Portsmouth - did you know Portsmouth is technically an island? I didn't - you learn something new every day! Myself and my buddy Alex jumped in the car early one Saturday morning to visit our uni-going friend Graceybum (who would probably prefer to be referred to by the name Grace but that's boring) and we had the BEST weekend. I am now very concious of the fact that Grace has shown my blog to her uni buddies and they are probably sniggering at the fact that someone could write a travel blog post about Portsmouth... shut up guys, I promise I have super exciting posts about Morocco and Canada coming up. When I returned to work, all I heard was "what is there to do in Portsmouth!? That must have been boring" - oh how wrong they are! When you live somewhere, you don't tend to truly explore the area like a tourist would, so we decided to make Grace visit all of the touristy areas! Get ready for the ultimate tourist-fest!

Day One

Drive!  First job of the day was to jump in the car and drive our ass' to Portsmouth - it takes us around 2 hours to get to Portsmouth from our near-coastal towns in Essex, so it's the perfect journey for a weekend! Alternatively, Portsmouth has great train connections to London and the surrounding areas. Grab an Amazing Late Breakfast / Brunch IMG_4841 v2IMG_4843 v2 Before arriving in Portsmouth, Grace had expressed that she wanted to visit The Tenth Hole for breakfast/cake/both. We obviously happily obliged and I shouted from the rooftops to anybody at work who would listen about how amazing the cake in this cafe looked, so obviously this was our first stop. I opted for the the breakfast bruschetta followed by a GIANT slab of chocolate fudge cake and they were both incredible! (If you're reading this The Tenth Hole, please have your bakewell in stock next time I visit - the photo on your website looks TOO good to be true)! Play a Round of Crazy Golf (... or two) IMG_4858 v2 The Tenth Hole is situated on a golf course, which lead to the revelation that Alex had never played golf of any kind before (not even crazy golf), which obviously meant we had to enlighten her on the sport of champions. So we headed down to Treasure Island Mini Golf and completed both crazy golf courses like the absolute cool kids that we are. If crazy golf isn't your thing (I refuse to believe that you visited the sea-side if you didn't play a spot of crazy golf), there are fairground rides and Clarence Pier in this general area - or you can skip to the next stage of the journey... Enjoy the Beach!  IMG_4855 v2IMG_4867 v2 A beach? In England? In February? Yep, you're right, we were blessed with some freaky weather during this weekend and a stroll across the beach was just what the doctor ordered. Splash The Cash at Gunwharf Quay A few years ago, you could count on me for a shopping trip, I'd have been recently and I'd know exactly what each shop is selling at that present moment  right now, I couldn't care less. So it's very strange for me to really enjoy a little shopping area! Gunwharf Quay is an outlet designer shopping centre right in the middle of the city - it's sleek, it's modern and it's surrounded by loads of fab looking restaurants - perfect! Take a Trip Up the Spinnaker Tower IMG_4945 v2IMG_4905 v2IMG_4894 v2Tile 2Now, for perhaps the most touristy item of all - if you're only in Portsmouth for a short period of time, it would be rude not to visit the Spinnaker Tower really! This led to lots of freaking out on my part while trying to get onto the glass floor section of the viewing area - note to self: you don't like heights. Annoyingly, the Spinnaker Tower's windows are tinted blue and whilst the view is fab, taking photos is an absolute nightmare!

Day Two

More Amazing Breakfast... Duh IMG_4919 v2 After yesterday's amazing breakfast, we knew that day two's breakfast would have to be pretty damn good to top it. We headed to Feed and the food was unreal - I opted for the Eggs Benedict (apparently I had an fixation with eggs this weekend) but all of the full English options looked amazing! The Historic Dockyard IMG_4926 v2 Another big "must" if you want to be the ultimate Portsmouth tourist is a trip to the Historic Dockyard to see the likes of the likes of the Mary Rose and the HMS Victory. Tickets looked pretty pricey, but as we were entering,  a nice security man told us that there's a free ticket available if you just want to wander around and not actually enter any of the ships - so we opted for that! Portsdown Hill  IMG_4953 v2Slowly running out of ideas for things to do in Portsmouth, we turned to trusty old TripAdvisor and decided to take a drive up Portsdown Hill for pretty views of the city and the opportunity to play with horses! Grace says that the view from Portsdown Hill is even prettier at night when the city is all lit-up and pretty! Fort Nelson IMG_4987 v2IMG_5001 v2 On the way up to the viewpoint on Portsdown Hill, we drove past Fort Nelson and were sold at the "FREE ADMISSIONS" sign glaring in our faces, so on our way back down the hill, we decided to make a pit-stop. The fort was MUCH bigger than we had expected and is the perfect activity to fill a few hours without breaking the bank (although you would need to drive there). Take a Trip to Southampton Tile 1 On the weekend of our visit, Southampton's Westquay was having a "Festival of Light", so we decided to head down in the evening to check it out and attempt to take some nice photos (emphasis on the word "attempt"). Eat More Food We tried so hard to find Bills, only to be turned away at the door (apparently everyone else at the festival also wanted to eat in Bills) but we stumbled across Thaikhun and fell in love with their Thai food - I'm very upset that they don't have any Essex / London branches! With very full stomachs, we jumped back in the car to start our 2 hour journey back to Essex. After a surprisingly good weekend (tourist attraction-wise, I knew the company would be good!), I'm looking for more UK cities to explore for the weekend - where would you recommend? Have you been a tourist in your own city recently? I'd love to hear about it!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

Malta St Julians Bay October Prague Castle River Foggy Lake Bled Hallstatt fog St Jovan Kaneo Ohrid Macedonia Shoulder season travel is something I recommend to everyone. What could be better than cheap flights, cheap accommodation and best of all, having a destination all to yourself away from hoards of tourists? When it comes to shoulder season travel, I am the Queen. From soaking up 30 degrees sunshine in Malta in October to avoiding the crowds in Prague in May (my friend went in August and said it was unbearable), I’ve done it all. But there is a slight downside... the weather likes to mess with me. You know those glorious photos of Lake Bled that everyone and their dog are currently posting? Yep. My experience involved being stuck in a car for the day with no ability to see Lake Bohinj or Vintgar Gorge due to extreme fog and dangerous weather conditions. When we could exit the car at Lake Bled, we almost got stuck on the island due to a torrential thunderstorm. It’s all fun and games! The next day, a girl from the hostel went and was greeted by a big beaming sun!

RELATED: Read all about my foggy storm-filled day at Lake Bled here

Lake Como? Same thing happened. Luckily I wasn’t a photo obsessive travel blogger back then! But I can assure you that my old photos look nothing like the sunny Italian scenery you’re used to seeing! Halstatt? Forget being able to see those gorgeous mountains, here comes the fog! That was the luckiest experience of the three however as it did brighten up eventually!

RELATED: Find out exactly what there is to do in Hallstatt here!

Should the weather affect your experience, I hear you say? No, it shouldn’t. All three times I was with great people and still had a great time. On the even brighter side, it gives me an excuse to go back (although that’s a scary prospect – I’m not sure my life is long enough to see everywhere that I want to see)! Last year when I was planning an September trip to Bergen and the Norwegian fjords, I was told by so many sources that I was stupid for even thinking about planning a trip to Bergen outside of May – August as even some of Bergen’s biggest tourist attractions close in that time! So, I cancelled the trip. 2 weeks later on the weekend I was meant to be exploring the magical land of the fjords, Planet D post photos of Bergen on their Instagram page looking gorgeous – the caption even saying how they were experiencing freak good weather! Do I regret it? Life’s too short or regrets, but I would I have had more fun in Norway that weekend than I did sitting at home studying? Most definitely. Moral of the story & a message to future Danielle – don’t cancel a trip because it might not be “perfect” at that time of year. You never know what might happen. You know you’re too addicted to finding cheap flights to give it up! What are your thoughts on travelling in shoulder season? Has the weather ever ruined your trip?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

HOW is it almost the end of 2016? This is absolutely ridiculous, I'm sure January 1st was yesterday. Back in April, I wrote a blog post called "My 2016 Travel Plans", so today I'm going to do a big summary and see how well my plans held up! January 2016 - Work Busy Season As long as I'm working in personal tax, I won't be travelling in January any time soon! This is our busy period and we work 6 days a week - I definitely am not allowed a holiday! February 2016 - York, England I didn't get my butt in gear quickly enough after the January busy season at work to plan a trip for February, but I did get to discover a new UK love of mine - York!
  1. A Day In Beautiful York!
March - Krakow, Poland Wahoo, the first international trip of the year! To Krakow, a city I had been dying to visit for quite some time due to my inner history geek! Having the opportunity to visit Auschwitz was incredible and I really want to return to take some of my family members who are as history obsessed as me!
  1. What’s It Like to Visit Auschwitz?
  2. Top 16 Things To Do In Kraków!
  3. Kraków – Is it Worth the Hype?
April - Studying I had two pretty massive exams at the start of May, so April wasn't a great travel month for me! I was confined to my desk with my head in books for most of the month! The good news is that next April should be my last study session EVER! May - Ohrid, Macedonia Lake Ohrid Macedonia Swan Lake Ohrid Macedonia Boat After the mayhem of exams at the beginning of the month, I was dying to have a trip booked for late May. When I saw cheap flights to Ohrid (a place I'd not even heard of) on Skyscanner, I was sold! I treated my friend to the trip for her birthday and I honestly think it was one of my favourite trips this year - I don't think I've ever been somewhere so beautiful!
  1. Best Things To Do in Ohrid
  2. Things You Should Know Before Visiting Ohrid
  3. Budgeting For Ohrid
June - Salzburg & Hallstatt, Austria Here's the true Instagram trip of the year - I can't scroll through Instagram without seeing a picture of Hallstatt! I originally started looking at booking a trip to Vienna but the prices for accommodation were just too ridiculous in June, so we settled for Salzburg and I am SO glad! It was the perfect little city for a long weekend!
  1. How to Spend A Long Weekend in Salzburg
  2. What Is There To Do In Hallstatt?
  3. How To Get From Salzburg To Hallstatt
  4. Is The Salzburg Card Worth It?
  5. Budgeting for Salzburg, Austria
  6. Visting Arundel Castle
July - Arundel & London, UK One of my New Year's Resolutions was to see more of the UK and I think I achieved that this year! Arundel was my favourite little day trip this year, if you live nearby, I would definitely recommend that you visit! I walked around the town exclaiming "I want to live here" more times than I care to admit! The latter half of the month saw me and my friends take another friend on a surprise day trip to London for her 21st birthday which featured drinks at the Sky Garden and dinner at Crazy Bear - both are now highly recommended by me!
  1. Visting Arundel Castle
  2. The Sky Garden, London
August - Cologne, Germany Dun dun dun, my first international trip with Callum! And he was the unlucky soul that got to experience my incessant need to visit remote castles. Visiting Burg Eltz was perhaps my favourite day of this year - the long hike was beautiful in itself but having the perfect travel buddy made it even better!
  1. How To Spend 3 Days In Cologne
  2. Is Cologne Worth A Visit?
  3. Our Experience of Burg Eltz
September - Edinburgh, Scotland (& Nearly Norway) Another UK gem was found in September - how bloody lovely is Edinburgh?! This is the "surprise" birthday trip that I described in my 2016 travel plans! I tried to throw her off the scent by saying in that post that it was an early birthday present for someone when in actual fact it was a late birthday present for her! We had the BEST long weekend in Edinburgh and I have fallen head over heels in love with the city!
  1. How to Spend 4 Days in Edinburgh!
  2. Visiting the Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh!
  3. Hairy Coo Tours – The Best Tour Company!
This was also the month of the almost trip to Bergen (Norway). I had reserved a space at a hostel and cancelled at the last minute because I had been told by everyone that experiencing the fjords in September was a bad idea because of fog - little to my dismay, after cancelling Planet D were in Bergen that EXACT weekend and took so many amazing photos with glorious weather! October - Centre Parcs, UK This was another month that I should have been sitting at home revising, but I did manage to sneak away on one little trip! I headed to Centre Parcs with my Callum's family for the weekend. It was my first time there and I've just realised that I never wrote about it! Watch this space! November - Birthday Month Keveldon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker At the beginning of the month, I had more exams and I turned 22! Sadly, I didn't go away anywhere to celebrate but I did book my first trip for 2017 in November - so that counts right? Marrakech here we come! We did however take the time to explore some more of Essex (my home county if you couldn't tell by the blog title!). We had the best day at Rope Runners, Kelvedon Secret Nuclear Bunker and Hopefield Animal Sanctuary using my trusty Essex Pass!
  1. £20 Day Out Using the Essex Pass!
December - Toronto, Canada From 26 - 31 December, I will be in the very cold city of Toronto! It's my first time in the city (and Canada for that matter), so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

IMG_3477 v2IMG_3468 v2IMG_3478 v3 If you've read my London Winter Bucket List, you'll know that I wanted to try a "festive" afternoon tea because there is no combination better than "food" and "Christmas". You may also be aware if you follow me on Twitter that I have two work buddies who are also bloggers, so we jumped at the chance to make a booking a B Bakery in Covent Garden for one night after work! Sadly Charlie (lifestyle blogger) wasn't able to make the evening but it's okay because myself and Amy (baking blogger) definitely ate enough on her behalf! I'll stop nattering now and get on to the good stuff... B Bakery Formally know as "Bridget's Bakery", B Bakery is famous for it's Afternoon Tea bus tours which, if you hadn't guessed, involve eating a selection of Afternoon Tea classic foods whilst touring around London on a big red bus - could you do something more quintessentially English? My friend Charlie has written about her experience on the bus here if you're interested. I really like the idea and it would be great for someone who is only in the city for a few days but wants to sample the English tradition of Afternoon Tea whilst still being able to continue their sightseeing! However, if you're not a fan of eating whilst in motion (not an issue for me, I will eat wherever and whenever I can), you'll be glad to hear that the have a cute little bakery in Covent Garden. The Menu From 15 November 2016 - 5 January 2017, B Bakery offer a "Christmas Afternoon Tea" and the menu features some great twists on the usual afternoon tea classics. The turkey sandwich was to die for (who doesn't love a good turkey sandwich?!) and there wasn't one thing on the menu that we didn't enjoy. I only removed the salmon from the smoked salmon blinis as I don't eat fish - otherwise everything was perfect! The only thing that could have improved the menu is something that truly makes you think of a good Christmas dinner like pigs in blankets maybe? I am obsessed with those tasty little buggers. There was a wide selection of teas and coffees, including one Christmas Tea which is cinnamon based - yum! But of course I opted for the hot chocolate which was great! As well as a hot drink, a glass of fresh orange juice and a glass of prosecco are included in the price! Menu.PNG Overall Opinion For £33 on a weekday and £36 on a weekend, this isn't the most expensive afternoon tea experience available, you get a lot of food/drink and it will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit - there's something about pulling a Christmas cracker and plonking a silly hat on my head (ridiculous selfie below) that makes Christmas seem real - so if you are in London and want to try something new, I'd definitely give this a go! IMG_3480 - v2 I'm an avid fan of afternoon teas and it was great to try something a bit different to the usual fare. Have you visited B Bakery before? What did you think?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

London Winter Pavement LightsLondon Oxford Street LightsLondon Winter Snow Big BenLondon Harry Potter Studios HogwartsLondon Festive Afternoon Tea B Bakery
Where photos are not my own, the watermark shows the credited author. Please click on the photo to view the original source.
Working in London means I take it for granted and don't go out of my way to enjoy what the city has to offer. I rarely visit London at the weekends seeing as I have to do the 3 hour round commute every week day already! However, London is the perfect place during Winter (despite the bitterly cold weather). So in an attempt to get myself out and exploring this beautiful city, here is the ultimate Winter London Bucket List!
  1. Visit the ultimate Christmas London destination - Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
  2. See the Covent Garden decorations because who doesn't love a giant reindeer?
  3. Ice skating at Somerset House (once I stop being a wuss)
  4. See the amazing window displays on Oxford Street
  5. Eat festive treats at Borough Market (... and the non festive treats... JUST EAT EVERYTHING)
  6. Explore the lights of Kew Garden After Dark
  7. See a Christmas show on the West End - Cinderella pantomime anyone?
  8. Stumble across Christmas Markets
  9. Take a frosty walk around the many parks - who knows, you might be lucky and get snow!
  10. See Trafalgar Square's  giant Christmas tree (which apparently resembles a gerkin this year lol)
  11. Grab a mulled wine... or two!
  12. Splurge on loved ones in Harrods and Hamley's for the little ones!
  13. Curl up in a cosy English pub to escape the cold because there's nothing better than a hearty pub lunch!
  14. Treat yo'self to a luxury Christmas decoration from Liberty (and then cry when it comes out of the loft broken next year)
  15. Explore the WHOLE Christmas floor at Selfridges (and probably the other floors too, just for good measure)
  16. If Somerset House isn't your cup of tea, head to Canary Wharf for futuristic skating surrounded by skyscrapers
  17. Experience a luxury Fortnum and Mason Christmas Hamper
  18. Go for a festive afternoon tea
  19. Get squished in the crowds watching the New Years Eve fireworks
  20. Eat your way through the Taste of London Festive Festival (which is stupidly in November and I have now missed)
  21. Go behind the scenes of the films and visit the Harry Potter Studios for "Hogwarts in the Snow"
  22. Hit the Boxing Day sales (... if you're brave)
  23. Drink in a rooftop WigWam surrounded by Winter Nordic Viking decor at Queen of Hoxton
  24. Shop, eat and Drink at the Southbank Winter Market
  25. Test your cold threshold by taking a drink at The Ice Bar
  26. Just explore and enjoy all of the pretty twinkly lights!

RELATED: Want to see my all-year round London bucket list? Be sure to read this!

I absolutely love the city at this time of year and definitely want to take a trip one weekend in December - is there anything else you love doing in London? Also, I'm heading to Toronto this Winter, recommendations for Toronto are welcomed! :-)

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1