Malta isn't somewhere that I had really thought about visiting. My grandparents visit the country most years and absolutely love it, however I don't know too many other people that have been there. Therefore in my head it always seemed like a relaxed location for retired couples! They had a week long trip planned to Malta in October 2015 and I had some holiday days left at work for the year. I hadn't seen much of my grandparents during the year, so decided to fly to Malta for the last 3 days of their trip. I instantly fell in love with the place and I'm now sitting dreaming of being back in the 30 degrees Celsius sun while it's freezing here in England! Before my trip, my Grandparents reassured me that the country is very well linked transport-wise and therefore we could jet around seeing wherever we wanted whenever we wanted! On their arrival, they were told the old bus company had gone bust in July 2015 and the new ones were slower, more expensive, less frequent and generally much less reliable. So while I didn't get to explore as many places as I'd hoped, the places I did explore really were special! So without further ado... here's my favourite places from my whistle-stop trip to Malta! St Julian's Bay / Sliema This is my Grandparent's favourite area to stay in, so obviously it gets mentioned first! St Julian's is a small town that used to be a fishing village which has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years and therefore is much more touristy nowadays. It is also home to "Paceville" which is the hub of night-life in the area featuring many restaurants, bars and clubs. I obviously wasn't in the area for a clubbing holiday, however if you are, this is the place to be! Otherwise, the area is lovely to walk around, get fresh food and generally relax. My Grandparents absolutely love the Hotel Juliani (it has a beautiful rooftop pool!) and they recommend asking for a room that faces Spinola Bay (pictured above) with a balcony. It's beautiful, especially at night! If you are looking for accommodation on a budget, I opted for a small guest house called Sogdiana which was basic but very modern and the staff were ever so helpful! Mosta There isn't all that much to do in Mosta other than see the Rotunda (The Church of the Assumption of our Lady), the main reason for this is that the towns and villages of Malta are all so close together that by the time you've come into Mosta, you've driven out the other side without even realising, everything seems to blur into one! However, the Rotunda is DEFINITELY worth a visit. It gets quite busy in the high-season, so be sure to get there early. The building is absolutely gorgeous and is one of the few churches/cathedrals in Europe that I've enjoyed photographing the outside as much as the inside! Dingli Dingli isn't on most tourist's maps as a place to visit. It's a small town with only circa 3,000 people living there, however, I think the views definitely make this a great stopping point! This is one of the highest point in Malta, so be ready for cliff-top sea views a plenty! Rabat We stopped for lunch here on our day exploring all of the different towns at a little restaurant called "Grapes" who offer a Maltese speciality dish for a low price, I would highly recommend trying the food, it's delicious! Rabat is a lovely town with the main two tourist attractions being St Paul's Church and St Paul's Grotto/Catacombs - definitely worth visiting! Valletta Valletta is Malta's capital, so it's probably going to already be on your radar if you're visiting Malta and rightly so! Be sure to catch the changing of the guards in St George's Square, stroll around the city, explore the cathedrals and treat yourself to some ice cream in the blistering sun! Mdina Now I am definitely saving the best till last here! Mdina is also known as the "silent city" and is an old fortified bastion. The entire city is enchanting, due to the countless narrow streets, many beautiful churches, zero cars and beautiful houses (this is the most expensive area in Malta to live in!). This area is a UNESCO world heritage sight and you can see why! Have you ever been to Malta? What did you think?

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Danielle1

You've all seen the pictures of Lake Bled that are making their way around the travel blog scene. It's safe to say that this is one of the most romantic and beautiful areas in Europe, a  real hidden gem. If there's one word of advice I can give you before travelling to Slovenia, it's check the weather forecast. I stupidly decided to ignore the weather forecast for the second day of my trip to Slovenia and booked a trip to Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bohinj in torrential rain and fog. My photos of Lake Bled aren't quite as beautiful as those you may have already seen given the fact that fog was surrounding the entire area. Lake Bohinj was unrecognisable and we couldn't get out of the car because the weather was so awful. We also couldn't enter Vintgar Gorge because of how dangerous it would be. It did make for an interesting boat trip across the lake to the island of Lake Bled however... for someone that's afraid of boats, I did pretty well at keeping my calm in a tiny wooden boat during the middle of a torrential storm! Typically, a girl at the hostel visited Lake Bled the next day and had glorious sunshine for the entirety of the day. I guess this is an excuse for me to go back in the future! For some really beautiful sunny shots of the area, visit the beautiful Adventurous Miriam who seems to be as in love with Slovenia as I am! As I didn't have a lot of time in Slovenia and I wanted to cram as much in as possible while feeling safe given that this was my first solo adventure, I decided to book the Alpine Fairytale Tour with Roundabout Travel and I would highly recommend this company, our tour guide tried to make the trip as special as possible, even though we were severely hindered by the weather. If you don't wish to do a guided tour of this area, Lake Bled is easily accessible from Ljubljana by bus/train, although I've been warned that there is a fair walk from the train/bus stations to the main base of the lake. Many people also choose to stay the night in this gorgeous area, The Ace of Spades Hostel is highly recommended by the people I met in Slovenia! It's advisable to book this hostel in advance in the summer months as Lake Bled is such a popular destination with travellers! Top Things to do at Lake Bled
  1. Hire a Pletna Boat and rowing to the island in the middle of Lake Bled
  2. Visiting the church on the Island
  3. Climbing to the top of the hill and visiting the Castle
  4. Taste the famous "Bled Cake"

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Danielle1

I recently took a short city-break to Amsterdam between Christmas and New Year with my family. We quickly blitzed the main sights in Amsterdam and wanted to get out into the countryside for a bit of relaxing time seeing as the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam was crazy in the run up to New Year's Eve. We had one day left in The Netherlands and didn't know how to spend it. A friend recommended the Volendam, Marken & Windmills tour as a great way to see a selection of the Dutch countryside very easily in the space of a few hours. I love to get a feel for the country I'm in outside of the main cities. Don't get me wrong, Amsterdam is amazing, but it's always nice to see what else a country has to offer! It's also very nice to sit on a bus for a few hours after a few days of hardcore walking and exploring! My feet were very happy to partake in this day trip! The main stops on the tour are:
  • Zaanse Schans: famous for it's beautiful Windmills where you are able to visit a working windmill and climb to the top.
  • Marken: a former island where you will visit a clog making factory and have a demonstration on how they are made.
  • A 30 minute ferry ride from Marken to Volendam
  • Volendam: A picturesque fishing village well known for it's seafood,  where you also get the opportunity to visit a cheese factory and taste a variety of Dutch cheeses.
The Dutch countryside is truly beautiful and easily accessible from the popular tourist destination of Amsterdam so it's well worth a visit! Plus, who wouldn't want to experience everything Dutch? Windmills, cheese and clogs, couldn't get any more Dutch! I'd love to see more of what the Netherlands has to offer, where have you loved?

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This was without a doubt, my favourite day of the entire trip to Slovenia. Given that I was so impressed with the tour given by Roundabout Travel the previous day on my Lake Bled day trip (despite the weather set-backs), I decided to give them another chunk of my money and booked the Karst and Coast Tour. This was also the hottest day of my trip. The weather was around 28 degrees Celsius (in September) and was absolutely beautiful (thanks weather for not co-operating on my trip to Lake Bled - not!). Predjama Castle First stop was Predjama Castle, the famous castle in the side of a cliff! We were recommended not to waste time looking inside the castle as there isn't much to see (I believe it has been turned into a small museum) but I would definitely recommend checking out the outside of the building and the surrounding mountain areas - absolutely beautiful! Skocjan Caves

Photo credit: Skocjanske Jame Website

Next, on to the Skocjan Caves! There are two main cave networks in Slovenia, these being Skocjan and Postojna. While I didn't have time to visit both, I made my decision on which one to visit based on the advice that Postojna caves are like the "Disneyland caves" as you sit on a tourist train and work your way around the caves whereas Skocjan is a lot more raw and authentic. No internet research told me quite how much of a work out the Skocjan caves are - be warned, there's a lot of walking, a lot of stairs and a lot of steep climbs! But it's definitely worth it for the spectacular beauty of these caves. Unfortunately pictures aren't allowed in the caves due to artificial light affecting the colour of the cave structures, however this gives you more time to soak up the cave's beauty without looking through the lense of a camera! You are advised to wear jeans/covered shoes for the tour of the caves as it gets quite cold down in the caves, ignore this warning on a hot day! You will get sweaty for the rest of the day and the caves are such a work-out that you'll heat up even while a couple of hundred foot underground! Lipica Stud Farm Lipica Stud Farm is one of the few places on my trip that I hadn't heard about prior to my visit. It is the home to the beautiful white Lipizzaner horses. We stopped here briefly on our way to Piran and boy is it beautiful. Vast open green fields in the glorious sunshine filled with hundreds of beautiful white horses, I've never been somewhere so relaxing. Prosciutto, Ham & Wine Tasting The area of Karst is also well known for Kraški pršut (The Karst Prosciutto Ham). This tour takes you to a little beautiful restaurant where you are able to sample the amazing ham, cheese and wine while sitting in the glorious sun, shaded by a grape vine. This is one of my favourite memories of the trip. Our tour consisted of me, a male solo traveller in his 30s, a young couple in their 20s and a couple who were in their 60s. We sat drinking wine, eating amazing food and getting to know each other. The older couple were two of the most interesting people I have ever met and we all sat enthralled by their round-the-world travel stories. Travel isn't always about the places, but the people you meet too. Piran And finally on to our last stop, Prian! Piran is a beautiful seaside town where the weather seems to be eternally great! We started our trip to the area with a stop at Prian Wall which overlooks the town from a cliff for a breathtaking view of the tiny Slovenian coastline, as well as the neighbouring coastlines of Italy and Croatia! From here we were given free time to explore the town and do as we pleased (obviously, this meant a stop for ice-cream). Piran is absolutely beautiful and I would definitely recommend this as a town to get lost in.

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Having lived in 50 minutes from London my whole life, it's shameful to say that I've never entered some of the most iconic monuments in the beautiful capital city. My sister is a chef and she recently did two weeks work experience at Windsor Castle, so to keep up the royal theme and see where she could ended up working in the future, we took a tour of Buckingham Palace for my mum's birthday. The Tour Facts Tours of Buckingham Palace only take place in the months that the Queen isn't in residency. This means that you can usually enter the palace each year in August and September while Queenie is visiting her private residence Balmoral Castle in Scotland. There are a few different tours that you can do and each vary in price. We opted for the "State Rooms Tour" which is approximately £20 and covers 19 of the beautiful state rooms with an amazing audio guide (one of the best that I've ever had - it didn't drag on and definitely kept your attention the entire time). Unfortunately photos aren't allowed inside the palace, so I don't have much to show of the interior. The two above photos show the back of the palace and also the immediate garden you see as you exit the palace. Unfortunately it started raining just as we got to the garden, so we didn't spend too long exploring and instead headed to the fantastic gift shop! However if you want to see some photos head over to the Google Images page to see what sorts of things you'll be able to see! Got time to kill? check out my tips below for things to do while you're waiting  for your tour! Buckinghaam Palace The Palace While I was waiting for my tour I heard a Welsh girl say "I can't believe that THAT is it? Buckingham Palace is so disappointing". What was she expecting? Fireworks shooting out of the flagpole? I have heard that a lot of people have been disappointed with the palace and I can't understand why! The palace is HUGE. While the aforementioned Welsh female wasn't impressed, I really love the ornate gates, the traditional guards and the real sense of grandeur. The palace is usually heaving with tourists, but if you manage to visit at the right time and there are fewer tourists around, you'll be able to creep to the front of the crowds for the iconic photo in front of the gates! Buckingham Palace Guards Buckingham Palace Guards Changing of the Guards The changing of the guard ceremony happens at 11.30 every morning and lasts for about 45 minutes. Prepare for the streets to get seriously busy. However, I think that the hustle and bustle adds to the atmosphere. These guards are very disciplined, you won't see a foot out of line! Plus... who doesn't love a man in uniform. St James Park St James park Buckingham Palace St James' Park If it's a sunny day, head over to St James' Park for a wander. The park is right next to the palace, so you have no excuse to not pay a visit! If you're feeling a little bit more adventurous, why not rent a bike to explore the park? While it's not the most interesting park that London has to offer, it's nice to have a little bit of time to relax somewhere peaceful in the hustle and bustle of the city. Memorial Gates, Wellington Arch and various other War Memorials!   If you walk in a straight line between Buckingham Palace and St. James' park you'll stumble across Memorial Gates, Wellington Arch and an abundance of other war memorials. I am a bit of an absolutely massive nerd when it comes to anything related to the two World Wars. So I love roaming around looking at the memorials and getting to grips with the history. So while you're waiting for your tour of the palace, you'll find me being a nerd and reading all of the war memorial plaques!

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In September, I embarked on my first ever solo trip to Slovenia and I am far too excited to share my pictures/stories from this trip with you. Flicking through my camera photos from this trip made me very nostalgic, Slovenia is absolutely beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone. Over the next few weeks, I will be uploading a series of blog posts about Slovenia and what there is to do in this beautiful country. First things first, the city of Ljubljana! Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia and while it may not have the most tourist attractions or take very long to see, it's definitely worth your time on a trip to Slovenia! The city is oozing with charm and I could have spent hours just wandering the beautiful streets. It's never a very good idea to arrive in a city without a clue on how to pronounce the name of said city (this led to a very awkward conversation with a taxi driver) - so FYI, it's pronounced Lube-li-ana. Triple Bridge  If you've seen a photo of Ljubljana, it's probably taken from Triple Bridge looking up at Ljubljana Castle as this is one of the iconic sights of the city. Triple Bridge isn't the only riverside location you should check out, make sure that you take a stroll down the river, visit the other bridges, look into the cute independent shops, sample the amazing food and generally soak up the relaxed riverside atmosphere. Preseren Square Preseren Square is the main square of Ljubljana and is adjacent to Triple Bridge. The square is the home of the famous "pink church" formally know as Franciscan Church (Franciskanska Cerkev). This is a great place to relax, use as a meeting point or just explore - the church is definitely worth your time! Cathedral of St Nicolas  The Cathedral of St Nicolas is a beautiful cathedral indeed. Even the door is to die for. It's definitely worth peeking inside (while there isn't a service obviously) to soak up this beautiful architecture. If you can, try and join a walking tour or visit the church when a walking tour is about to go past, the history of this building is very interesting! Metelkova Metelkova is an "alternative" social centre. The buildings are crazy, colourful and you won't know where to look, there's too much going on! The area is made up of ex-army barracks and was squatted in 1993. There are plenty of bars, art galleries and small concert halls within the area, I'd love to come back and see the place light up at night! Ljubljana Castle Up on the beautiful hillside of Ljubljana stands a picturesque castle. The walk to the top is steep but the views are well worth it (walk round to the back of the castle for a beautiful view over the outskirts of the city). The castle itself has a small entry fee and there are always small exhibitions in some of the rooms - when I visited a very dark exhibition on torture devices was on! Central Market Ljubljana's central market is a situated in the city centre and is perfect for browsing if you have some spare time! It's mainly fresh fruit and vegetables that are sold on the stalls, so perhaps not the best if you're only in the city for a day. But it's nice to immerse yourself in the local culture, you'll find a lot of Slovenians doing their food shopping here on an early morning! Walking Tour Ljubljana is only a small city, and can easily be seen in a day or two. However, I love to take a free walking tour when I arrive in a city and Ljubljana was no exception despite it's size. Not only are these tours are great way to learn where things are within the city, my inner history nerd becomes unleashed as I love finding out about the history and culture of new cities! Explore the Beautiful Streets & Adorable Shops The streets of Ljubljana are beautiful. The buildings and architecture are colourful and reminiscent of the streets of Budapest or Prague. It's a great city to get lost in and take all the sights. Eat All the Ice Cream Italy is known for its beautiful ice cream, so given that Slovenia is only a few miles away (some tour companies even offer day trips to Venice from Ljubljana), you'd expect that Slovenian ice cream is just as good! Slovenia gets particularly hot during summer and Cacao Cafe is a must-try. There's an overwhelming number of flavours to choose from - go wild and at least try a few!

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Prague is a bea-uuuuu-tiful little city with plenty of things to see and do - a city that should definitely be on your list of places to visit for a few days, whether it be a short city break or a stop off point on a Europe adventure. We travelled to Prague in May 2015 and experienced a small heatwave which was unexpected and the city wasn't overfilled with tourists. Some of my friends who have visited more recently in the Summer months have complained that the city was too busy to really enjoy it, so I would definitely recommend May as the perfect time to visit. Whilst it may be known for being "The Stag-Do Capital of the World" (that's a bachelor party for all of you that aren't from the UK where we like to say things differently and be awkward!), we barely encountered any rowdy behaviour apart from one harmless group of men (obviously from the UK because "Bad Brits Abroad" didn't become a TV show for no reason!) and therefore I definitely wouldn't let this current stereotype put you off visiting. Without much further ado... here are the top 10 things you MUST do on a trip to Prague! 1) Prague Castle & St Vitus Cathedral! Wait, does that count as two things? Oops! Prague Castle is roughly the size of 7 football fields, therefore you could easily spend a day exploring inside! While one of the girls I was travelling with was disappointed with the "castle" as it isn't similar in any way to the stereotypical castles that we have in England, France, Germany etc. it is beautiful and is definitely worth your time! One of the main attractions inside the Castle wall is St Vitus Cathederal which has the most incredible exterior and equally fascinating interior. We actually took a guided tour of the Castle District with Sandemans New Europe  and would recommend this option if you have some spare cash to play with, the stories about the stained glass windows, the palace occupants etc. are all really interesting! 2) Visit a Beer Garden! There are a few beer gardens dotted around the City, however we chose to visit Riegrovy Sady which is located in Praha 3 and is apparently one of the more popular beer gardens with the locals. We visited on a Sunday, so it was really quiet, however that was nice as I can imagine it gets super busy in the summer months! The beer garden is located in the middle of a park at the top of a hill, so if you want to go for a walk (or rather... a stumble!) around the park, then you'll find fantastic views of the city. Do not be deterred by the fact that you may have to walk through some dodgy areas of Praha 3 to get there! And if beer isn't your thing, there's a cocktail bar there too! Although when beer is less than the equivalent of £1, you just have to try at least one! 3) Get Lost in the Gorgeous Cobbled Streets! Prague is one of those cities that you could easily just wander around and get lost in for hours. The beautiful cobbled streets (that do start to hurt your feet after a few days!) and picturesque decorated buildings provide the perfect backdrop for just wandering around and getting lost. In doing so, we actually stumbled across the Wallenstein Palance (the fountain is pictured above) which for some reason doesn't appear on any tourist maps or feature highly on any review websites. You'll be bound to stumble across some hidden gems of your own! 4) Eat on a Boat and Watch the Sunset Over the Castle! This was perhaps one of my favourite moments of the trip. We had just had an amazing day exploring the city, it was our last night and we had more cash left over than we expected, so we decided to treat ourselves. A few days earlier we had seen the Marina Grosseto Ristorante and automatically dismissed eating there as the location would mean that it would be SUPER expensive - we were wrong! Although it is obviously more expensive to eat here than in one of the authentic Czech restaurants outside of the centre of town (also all delicious), a 3 course Italian meal with Prosecco cost us little over the equivalent of £20. If you compare that to what it would cost to eat on a boat on the River Thames in London, that is an INCREDIBLE price. While it's an Italian restaurant so you wont' find any Czech delicacies here, the staff are incredible, the food is delicious and the view of the sun setting over the river is to die for. 5) Take a Day Trip!  Don't get me wrong, Prague is beautiful and there is plenty to do in the city. However, sometimes it's nice to get away and see other places within the country to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. We decided to take a trip to Khutna Hora and experience the UNESCO listed town and Sedlec Ossuary (a.k.a the Bone Chapel!). You can see a detailed post on my thoughts of the area here, although I can summarise it for you in one word - BEAUTIFUL! I had been personally recommended to visit the Sedlec Ossuary by a friend,, so this was the obvious choice. Since my trip, I've see a lot of bloggers raving about Cesky Krumlov which is slightly further away from Prague but looks beautiful also, see Brooke's raving review of it here. Is that an excuse for me to go back to the Czech Republic?! 6) Chill Out In The Old Town Square If you've seen photos of Prague, it's more than likely that you've seen a high up aerial shot over the river and cute little buildings, or you've seen a picture of Old Town Square. The Square is home of many of the "must see" buildings in Prague such as the "Church of Our Lady Before Tyn", the "Astronomical Clock", and "St. Nicolas' Church" - to name a few! You could easily spend an hour or two wandering around the Square and the surrounding streets that are lined with cute little shops (be warned that anything "touristy" will obviously be more expensive the closer you are to the square). There are also plenty of restaurants and places to sit and relax with a drink while you watch the world (well... the people of Prague) go by! 7) If Shopping Is Your Thing... Head To Wenceslas Square! At the top if Wenceslas Square, you will find the incredible National Museum which while we didn't have time to enter, is beautiful from the outside! The rest of Wenceslas Square isn't so much a "square" but more of a shopping boulevard. The further you head away from the National Museum, the more things start to look commercialised and you lose the historic, beautiful feeling of Prague, but don't worry, that feeling is just around the corner! The Square is also in a great location to use as a meeting point/place to get your bearings and work out where you're going! For some reason apparently I took no photos of this area... I was probably distracted by a pretty dress in Zara... 8) Take a Stroll Down Charles Bridge Charles Bridge is always on the lists of "top things you should see in Prague" and rightly so! The bridge is adorned with beautiful statues and the views of the river on a sunny day are unmatchable! You'll also find plenty of street vendors selling everything from tourist souvenirs, to paintings to jewellery. Although, given that this is a very touristy area, make sure that you're not being ripped off! 9) Visit The World Famous Astronomical Clock! A small disclaimer is needed here as many people have coined this as "one of the most disappointing attractions in Europe". But as it is one of the most famous attractions in Prague and it's located in the Old Town Square, you have no reason not to visit! My main problem is that it is very crowded with tourists, and the dial is quite high up, so you aren't able to analyse it in great detail.  I stumbled across a similar astronomical style clock inside a church in Sweden and we stood for the best part of an hour analysing the detail and working out what each part means - such intricate and beautiful work. Every hour, the mannequins on the clock "perform" a little song and dance. It's over within a matter of seconds and I'll admit, this "performance" is a let down... but watching all the disappointed tourist's faces is worth the wait! While you might be disappointed with the appearance of the clock, I find the history to be interesting - did you know that the creator of the clock had his eyes gauged out and tongue cut off under the order of the Prague Councillors so that he couldn't repeat his work anywhere else? Fun fact of the day! 10) Take a Walking Tour for Some Surprising Game Of Thrones Style History! I won't lie, my knowledge of Czech history was lacking before my trip. I couldn't remember it featuring highly in my school history lessons about the Cold War and the Sandeman's New Europe Free Walking Tour cleared up why. Hitler LOVED Prague. That's how beautiful it is - a notorious dictator didn't want to harm it because it was beautiful. Wow. His right hand man Reinhard Heydrich spent a lot of time in Prague and became to be known as the "Butcher of Prague". If you want to rewind back a few hundred years, the history gets a lot grimmer. Most people on our tour coined it as "sounding like a real life Game of Thrones storyline". A word you might need to learn is "defenestration" which is the act of throwing someone out of the window - you'll be hearing a lot about that! Have you visited Prauge? What would you recommend people do in this beautiful city?

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This is perhaps one of my favourite things that I've done during London in the Summer. I love London, and having lived 60 minutes away in rural Essex my entire life, it's shocking how little I have explored it in comparison to some tourists. I work for a firm of Chartered Accountants in Covent Garden and for the firm's 70th anniversary, we hired a boat (The Silver Sturgeon) and spent a ridiculously sunny afternoon cruising down the River Thames. Soaking up the sun, eating a delicious barbecue on board and demolishing the contents of the ice cream trolley - perfect. Not to mention that this is an amazing way to see a few of London's most loved tourist attractions without the hustle and bustle of actually visiting the sites themselves. You will get to see the London Eye, Tower of London, London Bridge, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Canary Wharf, the Walky Talkie - just to name a few! You're right, this sounds expensive (and no doubt it was!), I wouldn't have ever spent the day on a luxury boat if it wasn't paid for by my amazing employer. So how can you have this experience on a budget you ask?! The answer - The Thames River Boat Service. This is basically a regular boat service that operates from various points of the river and run to Greenwich. This option often gets overlooked when the London underground system is so convenient - however, who wants to be stuck in a hot sweaty tube with nothing to see when this is another beautiful option?! If you were to travel on the London Underground from central London (zone 1) to Greenwich (zone 3), it would cost you £3.30 and you'd lose some sweat in the process. The River Boat Service price ranges from £4.88 to £7.00 depending on your starting destination and it is a much nicer way to travel, especially in summer (unless you need to be in Greenwich quickly, in which case I'd probably take the tube!). Alternatively, there is the Thames Clipper services which are slightly faster and more luxurious boats but they appear to have less outdoor area (a hindrance if you want to get good photos but probably a better option in Winter!). And what to do when you get to the other side? EXPLORE GREENWICH! Greenwich is a beautiful UNESCO world heritage site and is definitely worth exploring!

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This was a particularly special trip to France for my family and I. My great-great-great-grandfather was killed in the battle of Arras during the first world war in 1917. So we surprised my grandmother with a trip to France to see where her Grandad had fought and also his name on a memorial. If you live in the UK, Arras and Vimy are easy to reach from the Euro Tunnel. If you are going for a "short stay", i.e. a trip to France for less than 5 days, it will cost £55 per car for a return ticket on the Euro Tunnel! Which is amazing considering that you can generally fit up to 5 people in a car - £11 return ticket each! Our first stop was the Canadian National Vimy Memorial - a great tall two pillar tower built in honour of the Canadians that fought for their country. It is a really beautiful memorial and it's SO well maintained. The site is truly picturesque. I recommend climbing the stairs of the memorial and walking to the other side, there's a viewing platform where you can see for miles (the memorial is on the top of a hill). Also located at the memorial are trenches that you can explore (although some parts are still protected from public access as there are undetonated war explosives... eeek!). Guided tours of the underground tunnels are available (you aren't allowed down there unassisted), however we weren't aware that you had to book in advance and our group was too large. Apparently, this is really interesting however! Next, we drove to the Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery in Arras. When I tell people that we spent a lot of time in a cemetery, people usually wrinkle their nose and ask "why on earth would you want to do that?" and the simple answer is that the French maintain these cemeteries so well that they are really peaceful, beautiful and interesting to explore. The walls of the Cemetery have names of 35,000 service men from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between 1916 and 1918. That's right... thirty-five thousand people in two years. My great-great-great Grandfather was one of these names and it was an honour to see him be commemorated among all of the other brave names. If you do your research beforehand, you can find out exactly what area of the memorial a certain name is - saves you trawling the walls through all 35,000 names! We spent the night in Arras town centre for dinner. The town centre looked really lovely and a I wish that we had more time to explore, however we were only in France for 2 days! The next day we headed to The Wellington Quarry which was really amazing! The adventure starts with a short documentary outlining the Battle of Arras and the conditions that the soldiers faced (a few tears were shed in my family!). You are then taken 20 metres below ground to explore the underground quarry and tunnels. It's a guided tour and I would recommend it to anyone. Nothing gives you a better idea of what the war was like for soldiers than exploring where they spent their time. This was a really special trip for me and one I would definitely recommend to others that have ancestors in a similar situation.

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