Rangitoto Island: Our Final Day in New Zealand

It’s over a year since I left New Zealand and I have no idea where the time has gone. In some respects it feels like only yesterday that we were backpacking around the two islands and seeing some incredible sights, but it also feels like a lifetime ago. There’s still one very special story from my time in New Zealand that I haven’t shared yet, and so here it is just over one year on.

View Post

An Autumn Weekend in Bakewell, The Peak District

Take 12 friends, who all have different jobs, different leave entitlements, who all live in different parts of England (and one currently in France), and try to organise a weekend together. It’s a little bit of a challenge. However, with a bit of discussion it was decided that autumn would be the best time to go. A weekend in October was selected, and then the next challenge was picking a location. It needed to be somewhere that wasn’t too far to drive from Cumbria, the North East, Bristol or London. It needed to have access to a train station, and possibly be near an airport. However we also wanted somewhere reasonably rural so that we could go out for walks in the countryside. Eventually it seemed like the Peak District was the place to go, and Bakewell offered us the opportunity to stay in the beautiful Haddon Villa.

View Post

Christmas Markets: How to plan the perfect winter break

Christmas markets have fast become my favourite way to prepare for Christmas. The food, the stalls, the decorations, the gifts… there’s nothing quite like a Christmas market to put me in the mood for 25 December. For the past few years I have tried my hardest to go to one (last year I even went to one in Brisbane!) as I know it helps break up that long slog between the summer and a break at Christmas. A Christmas market can be a really good excuse to explore somewhere new and it’s also a really good way to get unique gifts for your family and friends.

View Post

A day trip to Stourhead

Stourhead is one of those National Trust properties that I somehow knew about, despite having never previously been. Its gardens are world-famous and I instantly recognised them from photos that I had seen elsewhere. What I hadn’t realised was that it’s not actually that far from Bristol, and is an easy day trip if you have access to transport. As soon as I had twigged this, I was keen to dust of my National Trust membership card which had been languishing in my purse for a while, and explore somewhere new.

View Post

5 Disappointing Places to Visit

Too often with travel we focus on the good things. Nobody wants to admit to a failed trip, a disappointing visit or a holiday that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. As such, it can sometimes feel as though there is a certain amount of pressure to have enjoyed every minute. If you didn’t find everything wonderful, were you really travelling properly? Well actually, yes. Like all things in life, travel has ups and downs, highs and lows, and sometimes there are places that turn out to be disappointing to visit. I usually try to focus on the highlights of a trip, the bits I would recommend to other people, but sometimes it’s good to share the places that weren’t so great. If anything, it might reassure someone else that it is ok to have a sub-par travel experience.

View Post