So Me and Brad went to the Netherlands in June 2019 to meet up with some of our closest friends Mel and Stan! Stan actually lives in the Netherlands too, so it was a pleasure to be hosted by him in his home country! We also met out friend Kaat from Belgium, she came across and stayed a few days with us.
We had an awesome few days and did some amazing things together. These photos below don’t actually do it any justice and it was so hard to find my favourites! We did a boat tour, went to the beach in Zandvoort, the A-dam look out and Swing, so many coffee shop and also a night out on the town! So these are only a quarter of my favourite shots I took in the Netherlands because If I had a choice I would have chosen all of them.
Enjoy and let me know which ones your favourite & if you’ve been to these places below!
Covid might still be very much a thing but we really can’t let it dull our Christmas spirit. Especially with how this year has already gone. So as part of the Blog Brew Collaboration this month and sticking to the theme of Christmas I wanted to share some of the top Christmas markets all over the world! Just because we can’t physically travel to them or they might cancelled due to Covid 19 doesn’t mean we need to forget about them, especially because we can keep up the Christmas spirit!
So here are some of the most beautiful Christmas Markets around the globe. Personal opinion and preference pending here! I’m doing this from my preferences and likes, If I miss any awesome Christmas markets let me know in the comments! I wanna research and add those bad boys to my bucket list! I will also be posting which Christmas market was my favourite that Ive been too (Hint: Its in Norway).
And before you say it, no, Winter Wonderland does NOT Make the cut.
None of the photos below are mine except for the Lincoln, Manchester & Oslo Market pictures
Vienna, Belvedere Palace
This Christmas market is a lot smaller than your usual Christmas market, you can go to a larger ones elsewhere in Vienna. This market is open for longer than usual, from mid November all the way through to the New Year which gives such a good time frame to visit. Plus its located in Belvedere and is also hosted along side a palace! A baroque palace! THE Belvedere Palace which I bet is beautiful and absolutely breathtaking when it comes to a Christmas markets, there are plenty of stalls and amusements for all the family but the main focus is on couples for this one.
You can head to Liseberg for an incredibly magical and family friendly Christmas market, with endless light shows, loads of Christmas stalls, they have an ice rink which they do shows on for an audience, they also offer Christmas with RABBITS? HOW SICK IS THAT. There is something magical about rabbits at Christmas. plus you’re in Sweden!
New Zealand, Wellington, Underground Market
New Zealand, Wellington has this pretty cool underground markets you can shop in and in the run up to Christmas these markets turn into Christmas stalls! Although this only happens on the weekends throughout December, In the week they are just your normal stalls and admission is completely free.
I’ve always really wanted to go to Canada, I bet no Christmas market is as magical as a Christmas market in CANADA. Not only do they have Santas Grotto, a kids day, plenty of stalls with for and drink, Christmas presents and gifts. THEY HAVE A WALK IN CHRISTMAS TREE? I don’t know about you guys but I’m moving to Vancouver. Plus a majority of the food and drink is all local or locally sourced, they also have their own mascots? Holly and Jolly! It is also situated right on Vancouver Harbour so you can watch the lights reflect off the water!
Singapore, Gardens by the Bay
I definitely feel this is the most impressive market. With the market itself spanning across 8 football fields of amusements, food, drinks and the most amazing lights, whats not be impressed about? Oh, not to forget it is held in the STUNNING Gardens by the Bay. I don’t think I really need to say much more than that. Not only that but there is also a parade and endless theatrical entertainment! They also offer a Flower Dome. I’ll let you look that one up yourself. AMAZING. BOOKING MY FLIGHT NOW.
Now is Cusco, Peru they don’t so much hold a Christmas Market but a market that is held on December 24th where you go to buy yourself a gift and no one else! This event is actually a National Cultural Event and recognised by National Institute of Cultural Heritage which is Pretty awesome if you ask me. It is based on the Retablos, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Santurantikuny stands for ‘Saints for Sale’ and is the largest craft market in Peru.
Birmingham, Frankfurt Style Market
Being from the UK its definitely on my bucket list to go to Birmingham Christmas market, its hugely popular and mimics the Christmas Market in Frankfurt which is what its really popular and well known for, it is also the largest Christmas market outside of Germany! Unfortunately it has been cancelled due to Covid but we continue to be festive. With 80 stalls all Christmas themed and endless mulled wine on every corner its a great place to explore and see friends and family. Birmingham itself is also supposed to be a greta city, so why not check out the rest of it whilst you’re at it?
Markets I’ve been too!
Manchester Christmas Market
After a heavy heavy night at WHP (Warehouse project Manchester) seeing Bicep we were all a bit reluctant to check out the market with the way we were feeling but I am so glad we did it, a hot chocolate with marshmallows and walking between the stalls it was so beautiful and very aesthetically pleasing. It also had some amazing Christmas lights and decorations. We managed to get lucky and go on a really nice day so the weather was glorious but cold and we managed to meet up with a good friend there as well who was in the city the same time we were so it was really great to experience something this GRAND with friends.
Lincoln Christmas Market
I went to university at Lincoln so of course I have visited it every year I was there, unfortunately the first year absolutely killed it for me because I was doing a tourism study on the market so I went up Steep Hill EVERY DAY. It was worth it because of course I got all the data I needed but i also go to experience all different aspects of the market. Lincoln market has so many stalls to offer of all varieties, its really good for your Christmas shopping and the best mulled wine is definitely form the BAR BUS which can usually find outside of the castle walls in the amusement area! Oh yeah, the start of the market is in the castle grounds, how beautiful is that? Its always really enjoyable and also has stalls by the cathedral but its a real shame because the past few years the market has gotten smaller and smaller, so I am hoping that come Christmas 2021 it will be back and teeming with life. It holds a lot of memories with all my friends from Uni and also my family when they visited for the market. Here is hoping for a better Christmassy 2021.
My all time favourite;
Oslo Christmas Market, Norway
This was without a doubt one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! I’d never been to Christmas market in another country so this was such a fun experience. Oslo Christmas market isn’t huge but it has all the essentials from Locally made Christmas gifts and clothes to the yummiest waffle and food stalls. And my god, the mulled wine was the best mulled wine I had ever had. There is a light tunnel you can walk through, an absolutely huge ice rink running through the middle and a beautiful big wheel where you can see the whole market and some of Oslo. They also have two talking moose heads in the bar area and at the entrance and they are SO funny. It was such a great vibe to go with some of my girlfriends as well, such a memorable experience.
Whats been the best Christmas market you’ve ever been too?
If there is anything I’ve discovered from Covid-19 is that I love road trips. It’s made me appreciate where I am a lot more and especially just how much there is to do in the UK. When people tell you to visit England, they aren’t lying. There are just so many beautiful places in the UK which are so worth the journey, but when you go on the journey you need to be prepared!
This post is based for those who don’t have some super savvy RV or camper van to go road tripping in and have to go in their Renault Cleo to do 17 hours of driving (plot twist, that’s Brad and I!). We drove the South West coast of the UK staying in multiple Airbnbs, which you can view here, and driving along in Brad Renault Cleo. The OLD Renault Cleo too, and it was great!
When you’re travelling with a person like me who had a bladder the size of a pea and also struggles to sleep, did I mention I’m also a top worrier with my anxiety hitting extortionate levels when I feel the situation is out of my control, so I like to be prepared when we are doing things like this!
I am really glad we did the trip because it felt liberating after so long being inside. Of course we took all the necessary precautions and in doing so this also added a few extra essentials to our trip! So see the list below on what I feel are the best Road Trip essentials!
Our Road Trip Essentials
Covid-19 Essentials to start with:
Correct paperwork if you are exempt from mask wearing.
Books! Lots of good books for the journey! Or a Kindle!
Your phone, of course! Or not! Depends how disconnected you want to be whilst away!
Your purse/wallet, ID and card.
If you like to film your adventures like I do, a Go Pro, memory card and external hard drive.
Torch (ESSENTIAL this one).
Chargers for every electrical appliance you are taking with you.
A print out of your Airbnb or hotel bookings just in case!
A cool bag for food if you take any perishables with you.
Neck Pillow & An Actual Pillow.
Sat Nav (Or your phone in these modern days).
Aux Cable & Aux Adapter!
Underwear (I mean you can’t forget that, unless you’re a nudist, then you do you!).
Shoes and extra socks for all weather. E.G Walking boots, flip flops.
Swimming Costumes & Trunks
Jeans & Trousers
‘Going Out’ Wear, Anything from dresses to skirts, blouses to shirts, whatever you feel comfortable in!
Summer Dresses are always a must (weather permitting).
A Coast, Cardigan, Hoodie, all of the above. I always tend to bring an extra coat with me just in case the car breaks down and you’re stuck on the side of the road, got to keep warm!
A smaller bag instead of your backpacks! If you head out for some food you need a nice handbag or clutch bag to take with you.
Blanket, a KEY essential especially if your road trip involves any form of camping. Maybe even a duvet.
Slipper socks & Slippers.
Winter Coat (as above) to keep you nice and warm!
Fluffy PJ’s are always a vibe.
For the ladies: Tampons, Pads etc.
Toothbrush and toothpaste.
Shampoo, Conditioner and Dry Shampoo (a must).
I also headed to twitter to ask my fellow bloggers if they were going on a road trip (in a Pre Covid-19 world) and they could bring 1 Essential item, what would it be?
The dreaded last day of the road trip, it definitely had a downward feeling about it. I wish we could’ve been going for a little bit longer and seen a little bit more!
So after spending a nice relaxed morning we decided to head for some breakfast which was included in our stay at the Pig and Fiddle. Breakfast was SO tasty, so well cooked and beautifully presented. It tasted absolutely amazing and perfect kick starter for the day ahead!
We had some time to explore Bath so decided to go for a wonder and see the beautiful sandstone bridge that is Pulteney Bridge and the water running underneath! We walked over the bridge as well! We also had a look at the parade gardens and definitely had a look at the beautiful Bath Abbey as well. Bath has some of the most beautiful architecture of any English city I have seen so far. Just absolutely breath-taking.
Once we had had a small exploration walk around we decided to go for a pint at The Boater which boasted the largest beer garden in Bath city centre! It was a lovely day so we had some refresher drinks before we packed the car up and headed onto our last stop of the whole trip! Sad times!
Last on the agenda once the car was all packed up, was heading to Stonehenge!
Now I’d always wanted to go to Stonehenge so I am so glad we managed to go when we did, it was nice and warm as well! When we arrived, because you have to pre book tickets, we got all check in at the ticket desk and received our welcome packs. I believe the tickets, of the top of my head, were £24 per person. Now personally, I felt it really honesty wasn’t worth this price. But to see and help British heritage some things have to be to be done in the name of tourism!
Once we headed through we had a look at some of the history behind Stonehenge, they had huts which they believe those who created Stonehenge lived in and also a demonstration of how they believe they moved the stones to where they are now. It was really interesting. Once we had brushed up on our history it was time to go to THE Stonehenge. One thing they forgot to mention? THE WALK.
Easily a mile and a half and took us a good half hour 40 minutes especially in the heat. You could have gotten the shuttle bus to and from the stones but with Covid-19 so prominent then and the social distancing on the bus it would have been quicker for you to walk. So that’s exactly what we did and my god it was so LONG. Although halfway you do learn about the surrounding areas and how the people who created Stonehenge also adapted farmland, I just couldn’t get over the distance you had to walk! Only when you get there to continue to walk around it! But that was fine because once we were there it was really nice and so cool to be up close to something so historical! Then the dreaded walk back, which went fairly quickly!
We arrived back at the car and realised this was it. It was our last part of the trip before we headed home. It was a sad moment as we drove past Stonehenge (as you can see it clearly from the road as well!) and realised it was back to normality, or as normal as it could be right now.
I’d never done something like this before and since doing this I’ve had road trip fever, to the point that I’m looking to go to Iceland and road trip all of Route 1 around the country. It also made me realise that there is SO MUCH in this beautiful country to see, you just have to get up and get going! We definitely want to do this again, so many great and fun memories, all the things we’ve experienced and the friends we’ve seen, next time I want to go up north and explore Scotland and the highlands, especially John O’Groates! The most Northern part of the UK! This is on experience I don’t think the two of us will ever forget.
Here is to ‘Visiting England’ as they say and making more of my home country!
Once I got wind we were heading to the peak district ironically, a Tiktok came up on my feed about a crash site up in the mountains! The B29 Bomber plan crash and i love dark tourism so this was an awesome find. So upon learning it was also half an hour away from where we were staying I had to suggest it to the group and luckily they were down for it.
So we jumped in the car with our packed lunches, walking boots in the boot, our raincoats and drove down Snake Road and stopped on the side of the road which has limited parking as it was basically like a lay by either side of the road, right at the start of the walk!
It wasn’t the most beautiful sunny day and it had been raining the day before so the main pathway was like a mini waterfall with water running along side and down the actual path itself. Nothing too unbearable for us in our walking boots, although I did feel sorry for Jack who was in just his NIKE trainers for the walk. We saw some beautiful waterfalls and had a beautiful hike, it was so much fun to do because I’ve only ever been to the lakes before with my parents for Christmas and New Years not with friends so it was such an enjoyable walk.
Once we got to the very top we came across the B2 Bomber Plane Overexposed crash site. It was definitely an experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
So a little history. The B29 Bomber Plane was making a renaissance journey back to base with 13 passengers on board, including the pilots. Unfortunately the visibility was incredibly poor that day and its believed that they didn’t even see the ground before they hit it. The plane was destroyed and all 13 of the passengers died on impact. The wreckage is still up on the moors to this day (of course we you can walk there!). Its incredibly interesting and there is a mural for the remembrance of these soldiers.
Once we had walked through the wreckage of the plane we walked to the summit which was literally just beside the site. The views were absolutely outstanding and it was decided our lunch spot for the afternoon! Once we were done it was time to make our way back to the path! Now admittedly we when en route to the site went only slightly of piste, and because of this decided we could do the same walking back and in the process got, not exactly lost? But we definitely went the wrong way, we even climbed up a waterfall in the process! it was fun and exciting and just when Jack and I were looking at the map to find the path both Brad and Maddie turned around and were like guys, we found it!
We managed to stay dry most of the day as well until literally 30 metres from the car jack decided to stand in a large deep puddle. So nearly all of us stayed dry the whole way!
This was without a doubt the most anticipated day for the both of us, we were so excited!
We headed out nice and early for some breakfast on Newquay high street at a place called the Concho Lounge! Here we both had a fry up and an entire gallon of tea before we headed down to Fistral beach for some surf. I would say sun but there was definitely no sun and absolutely a lot of rain but that didn’t stop us and if anything made the swell so much better!
Brad had never surfed before but I had done, although it had definitely been a good 3 years since I had been so we both started as beginners. We headed down and rented two board for the day, both of us got foamies. Brad got 8 foot and I got cocky and got 7 foot and I definitely regretted this choice later on! We also rented a couple of wetsuits, I went for a shorty because they’re my fave to wear and Brad got a full wetsuit! £37 Later we were ready and raring to go!
The surf zone was down the very other end of the beach so carrying our boards down to the flagged area was a mission I itself but we managed it! Especially with foam boards and the wind was absolutely crazy. Of course when surfing look for the black and white flags and make sure to stay well and truly out of the red and yellow flagged swimming zone when on your boards! Last thing you want is to hit a swimmer!
Brad and I spent at least 5 hours out trying to stand up and ride the waves all the way in, Brad was so good I considered packing my hobby in a finding a new one he wasn’t good at. We had a great time and It was really important to me that Brad also enjoyed it because there will plenty of learning how to surf once we move to Australia, its also just something I enjoy doing when I do get to go (rarely) so the fact he enjoyed it as much as he did was such a bonus!
Once we were done for the day we were lucky because our Airbnb literally backed onto the beach so it was an exhausted 10 minute walk in sandy towels and I could not WAIT to get a cup of tea in me. Once showered we had absolutely NO plans until 9:15pm when we had managed a dinner booking last minute through all the Eat out to Help out madness, at a Mexican called Senor Dicks Mexican (It made me giggle as well). But in that time beforehand it was used to just lay in bed & eat endless pot noodle and Jaffa cakes. I also tried to nap but I figured if I stayed awake I’d sleep better that evening.
Once 7pm followed round we were up, showered and out the door and back to the Lost Brewing Co where we had food and beers the night before for a very special occasion. They brew their own beers and were releasing a beer that tasted like a Pornstar Martini cocktail and was only available whilst it was in stock. Once it was gone, it was gone as it was a one time only brew! So we got there and managed to got two and my god they were so sweet but also so damn tasty! We actually managed to take one home with us as my dad is a beer drinker and we wanted him to try it. I don’t usually enjoy that sort of stuff but it was so worth it.
Once we’d have a few drinks we sauntered over to Senor Dicks and enjoyed a Mexican sharing platter with quesadillas, a burrito to share, nacho hips, a couple of tacos as well and endless sour cream, guac, cheese sauce and salsa. And of course, because I cannot go without them at a meal. ONION RINGS. The meal was really well priced especially as nice as it sounded, we wont be rushing back as it was pretty average. But I’d never been anywhere with the option of a sharing platter for 2 with so much variety so that was pretty awesome.
After dinner it was straight home to pass tf out in bed, we were well and truly exhausted after this day and what a day it was. We were also really sad as it was coming onto our last morning in Newquay and our last few days on our road trip! Stay tuned for our remaining couple of days!
We woke up refreshed andready to go for another day of exploring the South West coast!
Waking up In the Hobbit Homes was really cool and very refreshing. You stepped straight outside into the fresh air so it was nice to have a cuppa and enjoy the fresh morning weather! Once we had walked down to the washrooms, had a shower and freshened up check out was at 10 so we got sorted and headed out to explore St Ives! The washrooms were also really clean and fresh. Although it would have been nice to see someone cleaning it straight after we had used it for other guests we also understand in todays climate that might not be possible!
So we jumped in the car and drive the 10 minute drive into the centre of St Ives. The first mistake we made was driving. Parking is really very limited so if possible park at the top of the hill on your way into St Ives. The walk back up might be painful but not as painful as trying to find parking in the centre because it isn’t really plausible on a busy summers day.
St Ives from the off was so beautiful, the blue water and the beautiful beaches and harbour. It was low tide so all the boats were resting on the sand in the harbour as we waded through the masses of people who had finally escaped after the coronavirus lockdown. Admittedly this was the only location out of the many that we visited where I didn’t feel Covid safe walking through the streets. Usually when we were outdoors I’d keep my mask off but when we were walking through I felt incredibly uncomfortable especially being basically shoulder to shoulder and popped my mask on until we had reached the other side of the harbour. All the restaurants were open and it was Ice creams galore! I love all the stone buildings and the cobbled streets. I imagine in winter its the cosiest town of them all.
We wandered across to Smeaton Pier and followed the coastal pathway along the seafront around to the piece of land known as ‘The Island’. To get there we walked past Bamaluz beach and also Porthgwidden beach to finally make our way up to St Ives head, situated on The Island, and also to take a nosey at St Nicholas Chapel too! It was a really lovely walk with beautiful views of St Ives beaches and the harbour. We then finished off with a picture overlooking Porthmeor Beach and a walk back through the cobbled streets of St Ives (trying not to buy even MORE fudge from some of the delicious shops) and up the dreaded hill to the car!
Next up on the agenda was to drive across from St Ives to Lands End! I was really excited for this as I’m from Lowestoft (although no longer residing there now) and Lowestoft holds the landmark on our coast for the Most Easterly Point of the UK! So Complete opposite sides of the country which is pretty fun. So I was very excited when we arrived.
We paid the £7 parking fee which is basically your entry fee and then headed down to the entrance! When you arrive there are so many facilities I really didn’t expect. I was expecting to arrive to the lands end landmark post, the flag and that was really about it. I was shocked to find children’s amusements and also multiple food stalls and places for drinks! There is even a hotel and place for you to stay if you wanted too! It was good as I was hungry so had a portion of nachos for the price of a small London Flat. It was massively overpriced but I guess its the tourist attractions that do that to you!
We wandered past the stalls after some food and headed down to look at the actual Lands End landmark, unfortunately again you had to pay for a picture in front of it. But we didn’t do that and just took a pretty good picture from the other side of the line and our own pictures as we walked down the slope towards the first and last house! It was cool to see the first and last post box and the first and last house, the first and last flagpole and the Lands End viewpoint. I never imaged I’d be that far South West in my entire life. Now all I want to do is go to the most Northern and Southern point! It would have made sense really to go to the most Southern point whilst at Lands End as it was just an hours drive away! Highlight of Lands end was definitely the proposal we saw by the Lands End sign, so nice that even the bad weather didn’t bring the mood down for such a special occasion!
Next location on the adventure for the next two days, the longest we will have spent anywhere on the trip, was Newquay! Now I was so excited to go to Newquay so I could teach Brad how to surf! The drive from Lands End to Newquay was only an hour or so and was really easy.
We arrived at our Airbnb and it was absolutely beautifully decorated and so cosy. We had everything we needed from a coffee machine, bathroom with a shower next door to the room with towels, a TV, a place to put our sandy things from the beach, the COMFIEST double, wardrobe space, Wi-Fi and a TV to relax and watch when we weren’t out exploring. It was like an upside down house, Kylie the host lived upstairs and the room ad bathroom was downstairs. During these Covid times she kept the bathroom sparkling clean also which was amazing. The best part about this Airbnb though? I went to the toilet at 6am and was greeted in an open kitchen door to A HOUSE RABBIT. I must have missed this part on the listing as it definitely states she’s in there but I was so pleasantly surprised, what a great way to wake up! She was super cute!
As we arrived quite late in the evening we decided to walk into Newquay and find some food. Unfortunately at this point the Help out to Eat out scheme had just started and we didn’t even think to book, everywhere was SO busy. We manged to find a table on the main high street at a place called Lost Brewing Co. On a complete whim and reluctantly we went inside and I am so glad we did, it was so good we went back the following day for drinks before our meal elsewhere. Not only do they brew their own beers and sell them here but the food was amazing. I had Halloumi fries, Battered prawns, Chicken strips and some fries as well for finger food as I was just so hungry and couldn’t make my mind up but they are actually super popular for their burgers as well!
All in all another successful day, we headed back to the Airbnb shortly after so we could get some good nights sleep ready for a day full of surfing the next day!
Another early wake up on Day 3 for a full day of action and exploring with Tasmin as our tour guide showing us around Brixham, Berry Head, Totnes and Dartmoor before we headed across to St Ives!
Our first stop was Berry Head just around the corner from Torquay and Brixham. It was a beautiful spot for a walk and to enjoy the sea views off the cliffs! Berry head is a nature reserve and coastal headland which houses an old quarry, a lighthouse and a cute little cafe for anyone wanting a hot drink and a cake whilst they take in the views of the ocean! It was a gorgeous spot and I’m glad we went on such a hot day! Its also one of only 7 Unesco Geoparks in the UK, 140 only in the world, how fascinating is that? It certainly didn’t disappoint.
Once we had finished in Berry Head it was off to Brixham. A bustling and very colourful seaside town on the coast of Devon. The houses were all beautiful colours and there were endless families crabbing in the harbour! I hadn’t been crabbing since I was a kid so this was so great to see which they had managed to catch with their lines and bits of bacon on the end. Of course fish and chips was in order. Tas took us to this amazing fish and chips shop called Rio’s Fish & Chips restaurant and takeaway. We decided on a takeaway and went and sat at Brixham Breakwater, a small flat stoned beach just the other side of the harbour!
The food was amazing and we spent the next half a hour watching and learning how to skim stones. Tas and Brad were really good but I just got into the habit of just throwing them into the water and giving up. But I tried and thats what counts!
Next up on our travels was the cute town of Totnes. With a beautiful river on low tide as we arrived we walked up the main high street which is a slight hill to enjoy all the small independent shops and to watch them make fudge in the window at Roly’s Fudge Pantry. A place we noticed is EVERYWHERE. Exeter, Lincoln, Brixham, Bournemouth, you name it chances are they have a shop there. We ventured up a small alleyway underneath the archway that hung over the main high street to find a quaint church of Totnes with low hanging trees all down the pathway, It was really beautiful. Followed by a browse in a book shop, mine and Tas’ favourite place! We then headed back down the hill for the next leg our journey!
Tas wanted to take us to Princetown in the Dartmoor National park and it was without a doubt the most stunning part of the trip when it came to driving routes! There were wild horses everywhere and sheep all over the hills and in the road that you had to slow down and swerve just so you didn’t hit them! One sheep did decide to run out in front of the car but thanks to Brads quick reactions he was safe and so were we! Honestly the views were like something from a movie, I’d never expected views quite like those here in the UK but how mistaken I was. It was breathtaking.
We arrived in the small village of Princetown and decided we wanted to have a look at Dartmoor prison. The prison is a category C mens prison with huge granite walls and a very gothic looking demeanour. We made it to the outside gate before realising we probably shouldn’t snoop any further but it was so cool as I’d never been so close to a prison before and I have a real fascination with prisons (dark tourism and all that). After a full day of exploring it was getting late and we still had an hour and a half drive to St Ives from where we were we decided to have a quick tea at The Old Police Station cafe in Princetown before we all went our separate ways.
We couldn’t have had a better day with Tas as our tour guide showing us places we had never even thought to go too! Plus it was so so wonderful to spend time with her, especially as when we left Dartmoor for St Ives she had an hours drive home for herself she brought us all this way. I’ll always be grateful for this time spent.
Next up was St Ives! Once we jumped in the car again we were off to our Hobbit Home! Yes you read that right, Brad and I were staying in a coastal Hobbit Home! It was so cool. The driveway once we arrived was small, narrow and windy and if anything a little bit dangerous. Once we arrived we grabbed our wheelbarrows, popped our luggage in the barrows and trekked our way across the field to our hobbit home.
We had our own hammock outside and a log fire too for us to prepare which accompanied an honestly box at the entrance where we could pick up a bag of wood. £5 down later and cracking fire we absolute could not complain. That same evening we used the communal kitchen and living space to cook up an easy meal of tortellini. The shared kitchen was amazing, wonderfully decorated and literally had everything you could ever need. The only things we brought was our food! Really resourceful. There was also perfectly clean and functioning toilets and showers but if you didn’t want to do the trek from your hobbit home or cabin up to the communal areas you had the option of a compost toilet. Personally, I chose the communal area toilets because the smell of the compost one nearly knocked me clean out. That and there was no good lighting in them either so if you fell over, oops.
The Hobbit Homes themselves were super cosy. There was a double bed and inside was a hamper with blankets inside if we needed them for around the fire. There were fake candles which were cute and fairy lights all around the cabin which gave it such a homely feel and there was plenty of room for our bags and belongings. You really are one with nature though as just as we went to sleep something started scratching at the walls of the home and naturally, not literally, I shit myself.
It was a great night and just as the sun was setting we ventured up to Knills monument which was only a 10 minute walk from where we were staying and got the most beautiful 360 view of the St Ives coastline, St Ives itself and we watched the blood moon come over the hills. It was definitely one of the most relaxing nights on the trip ready for another day of exploring the next day!
After an awesome first night in Bournemouth Brad and I were up early (which makes a nice change) and ready for our next adventure to Durdle Door, Exeter and Torquay all in one day!
We decided to get some food once we had arrived at Durdle Door so skipped out on breakfast to get on the road. It took us about an hour to get to Durdle Door from Bournemouth and once we arrived it was already getting busy! We paid the £5 car parking fee for 4 hours and headed down the big cliff to see the sights! Before you make your way down the cliff there is a cute little ice cream shop and a pasty van so we made note of those to make sure we grabbed some food once we made it back up to the top again.
Fun fact: Durdle Door is part of what is known as the Jurassic Coast! What is this? 96 Miles of English Heritage Protected Coastline!
Top tip. DON’T WEAR FLIP FLOPS. The views are beautiful and its really pleasant but the pathway down in white gravel and I nearly fell down multiple times I had to hold onto Brad basically all the way because the one time I let go I fully nearly stacked it. Once we made it to the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach we were in awe. On the left was Man O War Beach and further down from that was St Oswalds Beach. The water was beautifully blue and clear we could’ve been in another country! Then to our right was the monument itself, the beautiful Durdle Door and beach! We headed down the steps to the stoney beach to get a closer look. The waves were crashing and we took a seat right on the shoreline to enjoy the sun. We then headed up the beach to enjoy and sit in the small caves in the cliffs too.
Finally we grew an appetite and it was back up the hill (which was a struggle in the heat and flip fops) and onto the next part of our journey. NOT BEFORE a pasty and a sausage roll overlooking the Jurassic Coastline.
Then it was my turn to drive the 2 hour Journey to Exeter. Unfortunately for us Exeter was not what we expected and we didn’t find all that much to do. We headed over and saw the cathedral in all its glory which was an absolutely phenomenal piece of architecture.
Once we had seen the cathedral the town centre was pretty quiet so we decided to head to a riverside pub for a light snack and a pint (or a cup of tea if you’re me). We walked towards the River Exe and walked past what is known as and what is left of the old Medieval Exe Bridge which has been around for centuries. It was really cool to see the last remains of this piece of old historic architecture! We then walked along the river until we arrived at The Mill on the Exe pub and sat by the river to enjoy our pit stop!
Then it was back to the car for the rest of the drive to Torquay to see my beautiful friend Tasmin! Tasmin lives in Torquay so it would have been SO RUDE to no pop in. To top it off she also did us a huge favour, saving us a fair whack of money on accommodation, and let us stay with her as a bonus. I’ll always be thankful as this also meant we got to spend more time together and it had already been 11 months since I last saw her at our graduation. The Journey from Exeter took us 40 minutes which was really nice and short! When we arrived in Torquay we had a dinner booked to get ready for!
Once we were ready it was into Torquay Harbour for a meal at Twenty 1! This restaurant overlooked the harbour and the 4 of us enjoyed beautiful sunset views, great food and drinks and even better company. We laughed all night and caught up with everything possible, it was such a lovely evening with friends and I was so grateful to be able to do this.
For dinner I think we ordered the whole menu. I had the Chicken and Chorizo flatbread pizza as well as the Tempura Halloumi and the Cheesy Garlic Bread (because no meal is complete without cheesy garlic bread). Another brilliantly priced meal as well with a good vibes atmosphere and great cocktails!
We walked home along the harbour back to Tas’ house well and truly full of food for a final late night cup of tea and bed ready for Tas to show us around Berry Head, Brixham, Totnes and Dartmoor the next day! Another successful travelling day completed!
Im joking, we got in the car in Cambridgeshire and started off on our 7 day adventure! We popped our Bournemouth Airbnb destination in on Google Maps and were off! The first half of the journey apparently only taking us 2 and a half hours. Naturally the route to Bournemouth took us down the M25. If you’re from the UK you know this instantly as the M25 Car park. You’d be spot on, after one food stop on the way post M25 we arrived in Bournemouth 4 and a half hours after we left. Just a touch longer than it should have taken but we didn’t mind.
Once we drove under the bridge that said ‘Welcome to Bournemouth’ all of our travel grumbles had well and truly gone away.
Our Airbnb was in Winton which is just outside of Bournemouth. Only a 10 minute Uber from the beach and centre of Bournemouth too which was really helpful! The Uber only cost us £8 as well which was super cheap! We had a shared bathroom but it was beautifully clean and the room was also cosy and had everything we needed I.E a double bed, bedside table and a wardrobe that we didn’t use because we didn’t even unpack really! We paid £38 for one nigh and between the two of us this was such a brilliant price. It meant we could spend more money out and about.
I’ll be posting a link to where we stayed in a later post on which Airbnb’s we stayed in on our trip so you also have the opportunity to stay in these too!
We arrived at Bournemouth beach and as soon as we got out of the taxi we whipped our masks off (as you can’t get an Uber without a mask due to Covid) and breathed in the sea air! It was absolutely rammed on the beach, luckily we hadn’t planned to go in today. Bournemouth beach is huge and beautiful. Bournemouth was actually one of my university choices when I was doing journalism. Once I decided to change my course I was sad that Tourism and Hospitality etc wasn’t an option anymore, so it was good to be able to visit a place I could’ve spent 3 years of my life!
We paid the £1.30 each for Bournemouth pier admission and made our way down to the end. There was a restaurant and the end and also a beautiful butterfly mural on the way down to the left of the pier. Of course I had to get a picture! As we got to the end of the pier it was awesome to see a zip wire that went from the end of the pier to the beach! It was £25 but because we already had the Eden Project Hangloose Zip Wire booked for later on in the week we settled for some cocktails at Key West Bar and Grill and watched everyone fly over our heads instead!
After a few cocktails and the temperature drastically cooling down we decided to walk along the promenade of the beach for a while and then head to find some food. The beach huts were all really cute and there were plenty of amusement arcades right on the seafront. There was even a boujie bar on the sand with deck chairs and seafood. It was super fancy and we were not dressed for the occasion so decided to head into Bournemouth for dinner at a recommendation called 60 Million Postcards.
Originally as we hadn’t booked we got tired away, they told us to try again later so we headed to Backyard Bar which was in the car park of a bar/hotel called 1812. We definitely weren’t dressed for this place either but they let us in for some drinks because money is money! After making some friends and drinking more cocktails we tried to head back to 60 Million Postcards and we were in luck! We got a table for 2 sat outside and the food was INCREDIBLE.
I had a couple of gin cocktails and Brad enjoyed a couple of beers, but the food was absolutely something else. The two of us were taken by the Chicken Katsu Burger so we both decided to have this. We both also ordered Skin on Fries to have with this and they didn’t do Onion Rings (my personal favourite) but they did do some Spicy Battered Onions so I absolutely got a bowl of those as well. The whole meal was out of this world delicious and the vibe here was just so relaxed and mellow. If you went into the restaurant and bar you can see on the walls why its called 60 Million Postcards, there are postcards all over the walls! I believe the building used to be an only post office and when they found all these left over postcards what better thing to do with them then place them all over the walls. Thus 60 Million Postcards was born. It was also really well priced! For a couple of roads of drinks and food for the two of us we payed £30 each which was really really good and it was all so worth the money.
We then headed back to the Airbnb in our £8 Uber to get some good sleep ready for the next day of road tripping ahead!