Travelling whilst fear of Coronavirus takes over

I’ve recently come back from a long weekend in Madeira and in many ways the entire trip was overshadowed by Coronavirus despite us having no issues on our trip. This post isn’t about how to travel whilst there’s a global pandemic, but is just to share some of my personal experiences in what has become a very strange time for many of us. Our trip was booked back in 2019, well before the virus had spread worldwide and it had been deemed a pandemic. It was only in the week before we flew that I imagined we might have any problems at all. Italy had closed down, more countries were closing borders and there was widespread criticism of the UK’s approach. However I knew we were travelling to somewhere with no confirmed cases, nobody I was travelling with was displaying any symptoms and there wasn’t anything at the airport (other…

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New Year on the Isle of Bute

I am very lucky to have a friend who has a cottage on the Isle of Bute. In fact, it’s the highest cottage on the island which means that when it’s clear you can see some fabulous views. My friends had been encouraging James and I to visit for a while and at New Year we decided it was the perfect time. The island that had cast my friends under its spell did the same to us, and I definitely think we’ll be back again some day.

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Christmas at Stourhead

Christmas illuminations seem to have been particularly popular this year. Just in the area around Bristol I’ve seen adverts for illuminations at Westonbirt Arboretum, Longleat and Stourhead. I think I first received an email about the Christmas at Stourhead illuminations back in June – long before I’d begun to even start thinking about Christmas. However, it was instantly something I was interested in. I’d never been to a light installation before and it sounded like it would be a fun thing to do so we found a free weekend and booked our tickets.

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A festive day out at Bath Christmas Market

The best part of the festive season, for me, is Christmas Markets. With the smell of mulled spices and caramelised nuts in the air, and stalls adorned with unique Christmas decorations, there’s nothing that captures the spirit of Christmas better for me. My first experience of a ‘proper’ European Christmas market was when I was 12, and I can still remember the feeling of enchantment on my first evening. I get a similar feeling when I go to markets now, although I usually have a better idea of what to expect. Although I have a list of European markets a mile long that I’d like to visit, this year we stuck closer to home and decided to check out what festive delights Bath has to offer.

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An Autumn trip to Westonbirt Arboretum

Autumn is my least favourite season of the year. The days get shorter and darker, it gets colder (and quite often wetter) and people start talking about Christmas far too soon. It doesn’t really live up to the idyllic images of pumpkin patches, hot chocolates and trendy ankle boots which seem to be all over the internet. However, although I’ve never been autumn’s biggest fan, I do enjoy a sunny day when the leaves are on the turn – and Westonbirt Arboretum is the perfect place to go! I’d intended to go last year and ran out of time, so was determined we would make the time this year.

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