All posts filed under: Travel

Three Things I’m Loving This Week

My new book…. I have my ‘book club’ book on the go but couldn’t resist getting hold of this book as I’m being a bit of a nature lover just now, ‘Wonderland – A Year of Britain’s Wildlife Day by Day’. Just love the book cover, so pretty. It’s by two guides to natures wonderland, Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss and takes you through the year, day by day, sharing the unexpected delights that we can experience in our skies, beaches, rivers, fields, forests and back gardens. I’m getting into a routine of having a cuppa in bed in the morning and reading the entry of the day. Today, 27 April, Stephen Moss wrote about ‘Sea’ Swallows flying up the Bristol Channel as global voyagers. A real swallow that just happens to be flying across the sea! These short paragraphs are just long enough to give me more daily insight into Britain’s wildlife. And now back to the book club read, ‘Inferno’ by Dan Brown!! Boroughbridge….. A lovely North Yorkshire town I’ve discovered this week. …

Weekend Away:Alnwick

A few weekends ago I spent a long weekend in Alnwick and the Northumbrian coast with my partner in crime. Despite the chilly weather we had a smashing time having some much needed R&R. Stay We based ourselves in the market town of Alnwick, dominated by the famous Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Garden all within a few miles of gorgeous sandy beaches and more castles. Just around the corner from Barter Books, that very famous second hand bookshop home of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, we stayed in a delightful and sympathetically renovated holiday cottage kindly loaned to us by friends who were overseas on holiday. Set just off the High Street, with free parking, this was a perfect base offering all home comforts and more besides. For those not so lucky to have such friends Coquet Cottages have luxury holiday cottages in Northumberland. Eat It’s a few years since I’ve been to Northumberland but I have fond memories of visits and a couple of the old favourites did not disappoint. My friends …

Seville:awe-inspiring architecture

My recent Spanish visit inspired by Rick Stein began and ended in Seville. Seville is a city with something of a split-personality. It’s a giant mish-mash of Moorish, baroque and gothic architecture with a dash of the ultra-modern thrown in there for good measure. Simply put, it’s stunning. It’s an incredibly walkable city typified by the small windy streets that sporadically open out on to beautiful plazas. Walking is definitely the best way to get a true sense of Seville’s soul. There’s a church on every corner. And colourful mosaics and tiles, the detailing on the buildings is something else. Even the undersides of the balconies are adorned with beautiful painted tiles. Seville’s Old Town is the third largest in Europe and contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. My globe-trotting friend and I had two nights at the Hotel Fontecruz Sevilla Seises. It was ten minutes by taxi from the station down the narrowest of streets that no serious motorist would dare to drive. The hotel was right in the city, on the edge of …

Secrets of Cádiz

Rick Stein and his recent TV series (and now a book!) ‘Rick Stein’s – Long Weekends’, has a lot to answer for, he has encouraged my get up and go, to get going. His series of culinary city breaks prompted my globe-trotting friend and I to jet off to Cádiz to explore this Andalusian city. Helping me restore my confidence to travel too!! The best gateway was Seville airport, add a train journey of an hour and a half from Sevilla Santa Justa station and we got off the train in Cádiz met by a wonderful fresh salty smell of the sea!! So here we were, in a city that is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe. Don’t you just love superlatives? 😉 Surrounded almost entirely by water, Cádiz’s ancient centre is a romantic jumble of narrow streets and tall, once grand buildings covered in brightly-coloured, peeling paintwork and ornate wrought iron balconies.  The waves of the Atlantic crash against eroded sea walls, sea gulls circle the skies. Cádiz’s links with …

November in North Yorkshire

I’ve just come back from a bit of a retreat. I get this urge now and again to go to the seaside and I jump at the chance of a visit to see the sea, more so now that I live 70 miles inland. I was thrilled to join a dear friend 70th birthday celebrations at The Star Inn, Harome, which is just outside Helmsley. And then I was even more excited to combine a hop over the North Yorkshire Moors to Sandsend to curb my craving for the sight of the North sea. See what you think…….I love this bit of North Yorkshire, even in dull and damp November. And I even managed a misty and sunny peep over The Vale of York from Sutton Bank on the very edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. A treat like this is just what you need before the run up to Christmas.    

Going Swiss:Loved it

September: Has been and almost gone but what warmth and sunshine we have enjoyed. Recovery: Well on the way, not as fast as I would like, but slow is best. Retirement: Is going OK, and started with a great emotional and fun BBQ (on the only wet day in September) for friends and family and ex-colleagues. Everyone contributed to a Retirement Bucket List for me, and it’s going to be fun working through them. I might just share a few here as I tick them off! The first one was to travel first class, and enjoy a new city, so off I went by train to Zurich to meet an Australian friend that I had not seen for 35 years. Did we talk and walk??? Oh yes! What did I love about Zurich and Switzerland? Clean streets Gorgeous, good looking people Mega efficient trains, trams and buses and boats Fondue Rosti Sitting in awe of so many Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Braque originals in the art gallery in Zurich. A great place to …

Copenhagen in Three Days

A couple of weekends ago a friend and I  landed at Copenhagen Airport, with an address for an Airbnb apartment, a 72 hour Copenhagen City travel pass, and an exciting prospect of three days ahead to explore this Danish capital city. I absolutely adored our three days in Copenhagen and here are the reasons why: Unbelievably cool Scandi design and our delightful Airbnb Copenhagen was my first Airbnb stay and it literally couldn’t be topped – I’m now an enormous advocate of Airbnb. The apartment in residential Christianshaven was both 5 stops on the Metro and 15 minutes from the airport, right next to one of the many canals. It belonged to a doctor in southern Denmark, their flat was clean and bright, with minimalist features that gave me the impression of living inside a friend’s house. Having a kitchen for breakfast and a relaxing lounge, with a balcony view over the canal just made our trip. Cycles everywhere You have to watch out for them when crossing a road. The city’s small and the cycle …

Inside the Walled Garden of Wynyard Hall

I’ll be perfectly honest with you. Wynyard Hall is a hotel that I’d been itching to try out. I’d visited about five years ago to attend a New Year’s Eve party but since then it’s been developed into a top notch hotel in its own delightful country estate with a recently redeveloped Rose Garden, farm shop and café. But this was an Easter day out, an hour and a half away drive north, passing the North Yorkshire Moors on your right, over the ‘steel’ river Tees, past Billingham and into the Wynyard Estate. No Sunday lunch or rest and relaxation today at Wynyard Hall Hotel. I wanted to check out the recently opened farm shop and café, the bonus being a stroll around the Rose Garden. The Rose Garden, within the original walled garden, is the realisation of a boyhood dream for Sir John Hall, the owner of Wynyard Hall. It was designed by award-winning landscape architect Alistair Baldwin and currently contains over 3000 David Austin roses of an incredible 135 species. It is beautifully …

3 Things to Go Do in the South Lakes

You can take the girl out of Cumbria, but you can’t take Cumbria out of the girl. I’ve frequently been back visiting the Lake District since I left many years ago. Apart from the STUNNING scenery, it has some great places to visit tucked away in the South Lakes area, even in these chilly, early months of the year; here they are: 1. Visit Walney Island I love islands. There’s something about their isolation and separateness from the modern world that intrigues me. Sometimes they’re wild and forgotten places but they can also be a mere stone’s throw from civilisation which makes them seem otherworldly. Walney Island is one of the latter, lying off the coast of Barrow in Furness which is best known for its industrial heritage and nuclear submarines. But a trip over the Jubilee Bridge from Barrow to Walney is one of winter’s great treats, especially when you leave behind Vickerstown and escape to the island’s wild beaches. Walney, lying along the tip of the Furness peninsula with spectacular walks along the Irish Sea …

New Year at The Lakeside

My 2015 ended in Cumbria, ending a year of challenges for myself, friends and family. So to spend a few chill out days in an amazing location, with stunning views overlooking the southern tip of Lake Windermere, was an invite I could not refuse. A peaceful and idyllic place for a New Year unwind. The Lakeside Hotel is that for me. I jump at any chance to go back to the Lakes, my homeland. The festive house party was just amazing….the staff were ‘genuinely’ friendly, service excellent and high house standards maintained throughout. Originally a 17th Century coaching house you can feel the history throughout this hotel with its beautiful entrance foyer and large hallways with numerous fires blazing and filled with fresh flowers and plants. Loved all the terracotta Yorkshire flowerpots, and recalling memories of sitting in the snug of the wood panelled bar frequented in my youth! With its own pool, spa and restaurant together with the incredible views I can completely understand why people don’t want to leave The Lakeside. The views across …