A Staycation Guide to North Norfolk

I can technically tick Norfolk off my UK travel list now, but at the same time, four days cannot exhaust the places that Norfolk has to offer – I mean come on, I haven’t ventured to the Norfolk Broads yet. It’s next on the list.

But following my ‘staycation’, I can now give you a fairly comprehensive guide to North Norfolk (including some social distancing, ‘new normal’ observations).

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Planning a UK Staycation? Here’s How To Do It

Flights might be back up and running, but a summer staycation has never been so popular for 2020. At the end of June, there was apparently one holiday booked every 11 seconds in the UK. It seems to be the ‘new normal’, but that’s really not a bad thing – there’s some incredible offerings on our doorstep. It’s the perfect opportunity to ‘break the routine’ and stay elsewhere or rediscover your local area – a staycation which would involve very low mileage. Here’s how you can do it.

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48 Hours in Hereford

One of my favourite things about the UK, is that there are still so many places that I haven’t explored. Hereford is only an hours train ride from Birmingham, making it so easy to get there, but as the weekends have the tendency to fly by, I did my research to see as much of city as possible (especially as the weather was predicting floods but we’ll get onto that!). Here’s my list to make the most of Hereford in 48 hours.

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A City Guide to Bath

To make the most of the Christmas break from work, I headed to Bath the day after Boxing Day with my family, for time to explore and relax in the gorgeous city. As one of England’s most historical cities, there was more than enough to explore so I’ve complied a quick city guide in-case you need some inspiration of wheres best to head to!

Arriving at around lunch-time, the independent cafe’s were well and truly in full swing. There were plenty to choose from but at prime-time for lunch with 7 of us in total, we had to do a bit of a cafe tour before residing at Good Day Cafe, where there was a huge table in the middle of a very aesthetically pleasing cafe. Good Day Cafe cater for pretty much everyone and are more than willing to do so, I loved the ‘Beetroot & Feta’ wrap for a veggie food option and paired it with a Beetroot Matcha Latte to try something different.

The weather in Bath was pretty beautiful to say it was December, but even if the weather isn’t great, one of the best places to visit in Bath is the Royal Crescent. It may be a major tourist attraction, but it is definitely one of the iconic landmarks in Bath as there are thirty Grade I listed terrace houses formed in a sweeping crescent overlooking Royal Victoria Park. Perfect to walk around and admire the Georgian architecture.

To continue the walking tour, it is worth popping into the Botanical Gardens as it is very close-by to Royal Crescent. Although I can imagine spring and summer would be a much better time to visit the Botanical Gardens, it is incredibly tranquil in this neck of the woods and wandering through gives the impression that you are miles away from the city.

As it was approaching late afternoon, we headed back into the centre and visited Bath Abbey. It is a stunning piece of architecture and definitely worth walking round to admire.

It was time for a quick pit-stop cocktail at The Cosy Club, before heading back to the apartment for the evening. The Cosy Club is located in SouthGate, which is so easy to access and is very close to lots of shops in case you fancy popping in! The Cosy Club has a huge balcony with outdoor heaters, perfect for an evening drink, especially as Bath was looking very christmassy with all the lights.

We begun our second day in Bath with a visit to one of the most popular tourist attractions, The Roman Baths. Steeped in history, there is plenty to learn here and your ticket price (£14.50 for a student) includes an audio guide which will tell you pretty much everything you could ever want to know about the Roman Baths. There are plenty of exhibits as you walk through the Roman Baths, so more than enough information to choose from!

After pretty much two hours spent at the Roman Baths, it was time for a pit-stop so we headed to Sally Lunns for a late lunch. I’d heard that this was one of the best places to check out in Bath and it definitely is. Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House and Museum is located just off York Street, around the back of Bath Abbey. The very traditional English tea-room is in the oldest house in Bath, home to the famous ‘Sally Lunn’ bun in 1680. The buns have been made with the same recipe for centuries, so it is worth noting that the recipe includes milk and eggs as a heads up, but the menu is extensive with all the savoury and sweet toppings that you can have on the bun, as well as many other options. Pesto and roasted vegetables was my choice for the bun and it was so delicious.

To finish our trip in Bath, it was one last walk around the city, down to Pulteney Bridge. There’s plenty of independent shops and cafes along the bridge, along with the views of the River Avon, so it is definitely a good place to stretch your legs before a long car journey!

Bath is a beautiful city, steeped in gorgeous architecture and history, it’s hard not to learn about this city’s past as you walk through. There’s plenty to see in the city, but I’ll have to be back to visit the Thermae Spa!

How to Interail Europe: Croatia

I’ve always dreamed of visiting Croatia. Along with most of the countries I visited, it didn’t disappoint. It definitely had that ‘holiday’ feel, y’know when you can really feel the heat and everything is very slow-paced.

First stop in Croatia was Zagreb, the capital city. It was about a half an hour walk to our accommodation from the train station and it was perfect for what we needed – a balcony to sit out on, a traditional bakery across the road and only a 15 minute walk to the centre of Zagreb.

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Zagreb Higlights

Taking an evening walk around Zagreb is a beautiful way to see the city, we found an incredible pizza restaurant for dinner and in the centre, there was a music festival.

Museums – similar to our experience in Vienna, there are plenty of museums to choose from. The Museum of Broken Relationships tends to be a favourite within tourist information as it is a really interesting and ‘different’ museum, it displays artefacts, memories and stories from “broken relationships”, showing the many different layers of relationships. The Museum of Illusions is also worth a visit, there are so many different illusions to figure out – probably more aimed at children but nonetheless they can require quite a bit of thought!

Botanical Gardens – Zagreb is home to the oldest botanical gardens in Croatia, as it was founded in 1889, making it well worth a visit. It is definitely one of the best botanical gardens that I have visited and as it homes more than 5000 plant species, there is more than enough to explore. The greenhouses are really impressive, one was dedicated to lily-pads which is amazing!

Next stop in Croatia was Split, where we were based for 4 nights. It was planned as a relaxing end to our trip, easy to access the beach and the bars. But it was too hard to resist exploring so took day trips to Trogir and Braç.

Food & Drink

Bacvice beach has plenty of bars and restaurants along the promenade but the best one that we visited was Karaka, for our final Mediterranean meal.

Firule beach is slightly smaller, but the harbour is beautiful. Another good spot for beach bars and Mediterranean food. The best restaurant we visited in this area was called Kalafatić, the pizzas are DIVINE and as it is located so close to the harbour, its the best place to watch the sunset.

Split Old Town – The city of Split is rich in history with Saint Domnius Cathedral and Diocletian’s Palace, which is perfect to explore when the weather is cooler in the mornings and evenings. It is pretty touristy (as expected I guess, it is beautiful) so going at ‘quieter’ times is probably the best way to explore.

Trogir

A half an hour bus ride from Split makes Trogir a simple day trip. Similarly, there is plenty of history to explore here as Trogir is a UNESCO site. You do have to pay to explore the historical monuments such as Kamerlengo Fortress in detail, but taking your own walking tour still means that you can see the monuments and experience through history information boards how the two sides of town walls interconnected. We did manage to sought out one of the beaches along Trogir’s coastlines, but thunderstorms hit.

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Split is well connected to Croatian islands as there are plenty of islands which leave from the port in Split throughout the day. Visiting the island of Brač worked well for price and ferry time wise. The ferry goes directly from Split port to the city of Supetar, taking about 45 minutes and as we caught an early morning ferry, this maximised our time to explore. There is an ‘informal’ walking tour around the city, with history boards directing you from one place to the next, along the historical cobbled streets to monuments such as Church of the Annunciation.

Supetar’s pebbled beaches are just a stones throw (ha) from the centre and offer stunning views of the mountainous landscape and Split in the distance. This makes the beaches perfect for a chilled afternoon, but I would recommend some kind of water shoes to protect your feet if you plan on going into the sea – the rocks are PAINFUL.

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How to Interail Europe: Ljubljana & Lake Bled

I’m sure we’ve all heard of Lake Bled, the popular lake tourist destination with crystal clear water – it’s definitely ‘instagrammable’. We stayed in a small hotel in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, but the focus of our visit to Slovenia was for Lake Bled. I’m seriously regretting not spending longer in Slovenia – I want to see it ALL.

I can confirm that Lake Bled is as GORGEOUS as it looks on instagram. There were plenty of visitors there and I’ve read that some people find it too touristy now, but it didn’t dampen my day at all. We caught an early train from Ljubljana to Lake Bled (around 40 minutes) and train journey’s in Slovenia definitely did not disappoint with the views! Once you arrive in gorgeous Bled, there’s a short bus you can catch from the train station to the lake or an hours walk.

To begin the day, we followed the path around the perimeter of the lake first and I think that this is the best way to see every aspect of the lake. It probably takes around an hour to complete the walking loop, but it’s all signposted so easy to follow.

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Swimming – The lake is pretty much your oyster if you are a confident swimmer. We found a pontoon to sunbathe on, which was also great for jumping off into the lake! The water is so clear and beautiful to swim in, but with opportunities to do paddle-boarding, rowing, water-sports, the list is endless with things to do. If you prefer to swim with a lifeguard around, there are ‘swimming pools’ sectioned off along with an area with sun beds, music etc, but you pay to go into that area (A quick payment heads-up, it is also €1 to use the toilets around Lake Bled so have the coins handy).

Food and Drink – Take a picnic to have by the lake and you won’t regret it. But during our walk around the lake, there was a cafe signposted as the best views in Bled. You can’t go wrong with good views and a good coffee and the Bled Cream cake which was definitely bigger than we expected!

We headed back to Ljubjana in the evening to have some food and drinks in the restaurants on the riverside near Dragon Bridge. Slovenia feels like a hidden gem, whilst at the same time it well-worth the hype and I can’t wait to explore more.

How to Interail Europe: Budapest

Budapest was one of the first places on our interail list, a city that has always intrigued me. The old mixes in with the new, throughout the city centre and there are plenty of experiences not to be missed when visiting the city.

The City’s Highlights

Danube River – As we stayed on the ‘Pest’ side of the city, strolling along the Danube river was a perfect way to get our bearings with the city. There are incredible views of Buda Castle and Széchenyi Chain Bridge from this side of the river and you’ll be able to see the ‘Shoes on the Danube Bank’ monument, which is incredibly moving as a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives during the shooting in 1944.

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