Cambridge Photo Tour

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Cambridge is one of (maybe THE) my favourite cities in England. Luckily for me, I only live around 45 minutes away so I can visit pretty often. I could write so many different articles on this city I wouldn’t even know where to start, so, for now, I will share a few of my favourite spots. Oh yes, and it is autumn, one of my favourite times to visit!

Oh and to save confusion, each photo refers to the text underneath it 🙂

Magdelene Street, named after Magdelene College, part of the University of Cambridge. This street is filled with charming houses with colourful windows and doors. One of the main thoroughfares into Cambridge, this road will bring you in from the west and across the River Cam right into the centre of the city.

Magdelene turns into Bridge Street as you cross the river, great if you are looking for a bite to eat, this street is lined with some well-known chain restaurants such as Cafe Rouge and Cote Brasserie, as well as some small independent cafe like Fitzbillies, known for its delicious Chelsea Buns!

It is easy to be enticed along the city’s main streets but don’t forget to look left or right because you might miss one of Cambridge’s many alleyways.

St Johns Street Cambridge is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful in Cambridge. If you are interested in visiting some of the uni’s colleges then this is your place as you can access Trinity College, St Johns College and Gonville and Caius from this street and Trinity Street which it leads into. However, it does get a little busy with selfie-taking tourists. Head over around 5pm and it is much quieter.

33 Nobel Prizes have been won by members of Trinity College, the highest of any college of Oxford or Cambridge University! There have also been some pretty famous students here, including 6 former Prime Ministers, Prince Charles, King Edward VII and even Isaac Newton.

Visitors can have a walk around the grounds and a peep into the chapel, however, there is only a small amount of the college you can access, but it only costs £3 for entry!

When you exit Trinity College you will find yourself on the very quaint Trinity Lane, lined by magnificent brick chimneys that won’t leave your imagination in a hurry!

You may wonder where to turn left or right… if you turn left you will find yourself on King’s Parade, a major tourist area taking you along the front of Kings College and up to Cambridge Market and the city’s best shopping areas.

If you turn right up Trinity Lane you reach the impressive Kings College Chapel, one of Cambridge’s most recognisable buildings. Not to be confused with Kings College London, Kings College Cambridge looks out onto the River Cam on one side and the stunning King’s Parade on the other.

The college was founded by King Henry VI who also founded its sister college, Eton, in 1441. Construction was interrupted by the Wars of the Roses so the development was put on hold (largely due to lack of funds) until Henry VII took an interest. The building of the chapel began in 1446 and was completed in 1544 during the reign of King Henry VIII.

The chapel is one of Britain’s finest examples of Gothic architecture and boasts the world’s largest fan vault!

So there it is, a quick tour around some of my favourite sights. I haven’t even covered half the city, I guess that’s just another excuse to go back…

Liverpool Street, Spitalfields and Shoreditch

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When you think of London, what springs to mind? I can guarantee for a lot of people it will be Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. But what about the more hidden London? The London with more locals than tourists, a melting pot of culture, quirky, individual shops, and some of the city’s darkest and bloodiest history.

Sitting very slightly east of the City of London (I am talking about the original square mile here) is Spitalfields, Bricklane and Shoreditch, a buzzing neighbourhood with so much to offer. Easily accessible from London Liverpool Street, the narrow streets could trick you into thinking you have stepped into the Victorian times, just without the unsanitary stench that lingered back in the 1800s.

Like normal, I stepped off the train at Liverpool Street without any sort of plan. Other than having breakfast with a friend we hadn’t even chosen a place. This is an area you can walk the main streets, back streets, side streets, and it doesn’t even matter because you will always see something interesting.

Spitalfields, whilst being described as being in the East End, is still very much part of Central London. The land once belonged to St Mary Spital, a priory or hospital that was constructed on the east side of the Bishopsgate thoroughfare in 1197, this is where the name ‘Spitalfields’ came from. The district was rural up until the 17th century when streets were laid out for Irish and Huguenot silk weavers, the end of the century saw large amounts of terraced homes being built to home the weavers, this building continued into the 18th century alongside grand urban mansions built around the newly created Bishops Square.

The area is an interesting mix of old and new, with the skyscrapers of Liverpool Street just a stone’s throw away, Spitalfields is characterised by cobbled streets, cafes, olde pubs and one of London’s oldest markets. This was also one of the worst criminal slums in England and an old hunting ground of Jack the Ripper who slew a number of local prostitutes in the 1800s. If you want to learn more about this still unidentified serial killer, there are a number of Jack the Ripper tours operating in this area.

The famous Spitalfields Market was established in 1638 when Charles I approved the selling of flesh, fowl and roots, the market now sees around 25,000 visitors each day.

It was during the Victorian Era where the area went into decline due to the weakening of the local silk industry and the area fast turned into slums. As more and more migrants arrived in London, the pressure on housing was reaching a breaking point. Landlords were dividing houses up into multiple dwelling so families were having to live in tiny, unsanitary conditions, leaving a cholera outbreak imminent.

The area around Brick Lane saw a huge influx of Bangladeshi immigrants, making it one of the best places in the world to enjoy a curry. However, this area offers so much more than Asian cuisine, the nearby area of Shoreditch has fast become one of London’s most popular areas for the younger generation. Historically an entertainment district, the streets are still dotted with bars, restaurants, cafes and ample nightclubs, Friday and Saturday nights do not tend to be quiet here.

The area has undergone considerable gentrification in the last 20 years, becoming one of the biggest transformations in London within the last 30 years. The word Hipster is thrown around a lot, but the general consensus is that Shoreditch contains the largest proportion of ‘hipsters’ in London. Quirky and alternative establishments continue to pop up, including a cereal cafe, cat cafe and of course there are plenty of places for bushy-bearded, skinny jean wearing cool kids to get their flat whites.

 

South West Coast Path and Soar Mill Cove Hotel

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Have you ever considered the UK for a beach holiday? If you live abroad then you probably haven’t, most people turn their noses up and assume England’s beaches are filled with tacky arcades, sticks of rock and only see the sun a few times a year. Oh how wrong people can be! Simple google the beaches in Devon and Cornwall and you might well be surprised. Okay yes the weather isn’t always going to be like that of the Caribbean, but who gets beaten by a bit of rain anyway?

Devon is in the south west corner of England, because of this the climate is both warm and damp. Thanks to the North Atlantic Drift, this cost corner is kept mild all year round, even in winter. When the sun shines, it really shines, and we will forgive you for thinking you are somewhere far, far away.

Much of the south Devon coastline is a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty, and rightly so. The area boasts crystal clear waters, stunning sandy beaches, and cute coastal coves that might even make you feel like you are a pirate hunting for buried treasure. The best way to explore this magnificent stretch of coastline is actually on foot, across the South West Coast Path, a 630 mile stretch of path, making it the UK’s longest National Trail.

Of course not everyone is going to get a chance to walk the entire thing, and neither did I (although it is now on my bucket list), but you can still enjoy snippets of it depending on where you are staying. My sister and I stayed at the Soar Mill Cove Hotel, a lovely boutique hotel that overlooks the ocean. The hotel is situated just a five minute walk from the Bolt Head Walk, part of the larger South West Coast Path. From here you can either turn left and enjoy the walk round the headlands to Salcombe, or, like us, you can turn right and climb the hills over to Hope Cove.

I mentioned the weather previously, stating it doesn’t rain all year round like some might think, annoyingly for us it did decide to rain on the day we walked. But no fear, the rain added nothing but character and charm to the views, we were slightly soggy by the end of it but we rewarded ourselves with a lovely cup of tea and a scone at a cafe in Hope Cove. The walk took us just under 2 hours, that includes the my constant stopping to take photos. It isn’t the easiest, there are some steep climbs as the landscape is very up and down, but the walk is worth it! I am not a gym bunny by any stretch, in fact, I haven’t stepped foot in a gym for a long time, but I managed the walk okay. I would say if you have mobility issues then the walk isn’t for you unfortunately.

Hope Cove is a pretty little village set in two parts. With the sea on one side and rolling green hills on the other, I can only imagine this is one of the most idyllic places to live, although beautiful on a sunny day, this is the sort of place I would love to be during a storm. The village is home to some beautiful cottages (I believe some of these are now holiday homes), as well as a handful of cafes, pubs, a hotel, a couple of gift shops and a Post Office.

After admiring Hope Cove we set off back to Soar Mill Cove Hotel, the walk on the way back was definitely easier and more downhill than up, so that was a treat! Back at the hotel we had ordered a traditional cream tea which we enjoyed in our room, we thought we would make the most of our sea view after all! The scones were huge, and more than just one each, that is the kind of serving I appreciate! Everything tasted home made, we had ample jam and cream (nothing worse than stingy portions), a lovely pot of strawberries, and of course a beautifully brewed pot of tea.

All the guest rooms have been recently refurbished at the hotel, making it a really fresh, charming and inviting space to stay. My favourite thing was the wall paper! We had beautiful seagull patterned wall paper in our suite, and there were other beautiful patterns throughout the hotel. Breakfast was included in our stay and we enjoyed a lovely hot breakfast both mornings.

Dinner service was just as impressive as the service we received in the mornings, our meal was accompanied by a live pianist which was a lovely touch, I believe he plays at the hotel twice a week. Dinner can get booked up quickly here so please book ahead if you would like to eat here. The food was fresh and there were lots of local ingredients on the menu, including ample fresh fish straight from the Atlantic.

I don’t eat fish (fussy me), there was a range of dishes for different dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free meals. I started with a salad of heritage beets and honeyed figs with whipped goat’s cheese and walnuts (yummmmm!), followed by the confit leg of Creedy Carver duck, baby kalettes, gratin dauphinoise, caramelised apple and mixed peppercorn sauce. My sister of course opted for all fish!

Call me ignorant but I wasn’t expecting such sophisticated and flavoursome dishes, I’m not sure why other than a strange assumption, but I was totally wrong. These are the kind of meals I would have expected to find in a high end London restaurant, served with the warmth of friendly waiters and a relaxed, chatty atmosphere.

The next day we were greeted by wall to wall sunshine, we decided to drive into Salcombe (we would have loved to have done the walk but we needed to drive to Dorset later that day) which is around 15 minutes away by car. These aren’t the easiest roads to drive around, the roads are narrow with high hedges, but the views are beautiful each time you reach the top of a hill.

Salcombe is a well known tourist destination in the south west, especially amongst those who love boating! Its location at the mouth of the Kingsbridge Estuary means visitors are greeted by stunning views across a beautiful harbour, rivers, beaches and coves. Salcombe is so popular in fact that it has the highest average house prices in the whole of the UK, this has meant over recent years the town has become very upmarket in terms of boutique shops and restaurants.

So whilst I might not have the amount of pennies to enjoy a posh meal on the harbour side, there is still plenty to do and see that is affordable, one being a very delicious ice cream with chocolate swirls and white chocolate buttons. There are lots of shops in the town, including chain clothes stores such as Joules and Jack Wills (jack Wills actually has its roots in Salcombe), but also some smaller, independent boutique stores where you can get one off pieces of jewellery, scarfs, handbags etc! There is also a chocolate factory, bright pink sweet shop and a few art galleries dotted around.

For those of you who like views, Snapes Point is your place. Looked after by the National Trust, Snapes Point boasts panoramic views over the Kingsbridge Estuary, Salcombe, and the rolling green hills that surround you. Popular with locals, dog walkers and ramblers, visitors can explore on the longer walk from Salcombe, or from the conveniently located National Trust car park!

So as you can see, it was a fleeting visit to Devon for me, but I would highly recommend staying a full week (or longer!) down here to make the most of all that is on offer. For those interested in booking a stay at Soar Mill Cove, click here.

Bradford on Avon and Widbrook Grange

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Country hotels are my absolute favourite places to stay and lucky for me Widbrook Grange invited me along to experience their Georgian country house accommodation. The name Widbrook dates back to the 1200s after the brook that still runs through the hotel grounds. The property, originally a model farm built in the 1700s is now a cosy house with traditional English guestrooms, a number of snuggly living rooms, a restaurant, beautiful gardens, gym and even an indoor swimming pool.

Widbrook is just a short drive (or longish walk) from Bradford on Avon, one of the Cotswold’s most recognisable towns. Built in the same honey-coloured stone that has made the Cotswolds so unique, Widbrook Grange offers 19 beautiful boutique guestrooms that have been inspired by the best of the British countryside. The service matches the stunning decor, friendly and inviting, from the reception staff to those working in the bar and restaurant, there was always someone happy to help us.

Oh yes I did mention bar staff, a gin bar to be exact, offering over 150 gins no less. My sister and I enjoyed a tipple after a long day of driving – it was the perfect way to relax on a sunny September afternoon. We had a cheeky sniff of some of the gins and settled on the violet – fresh, delicious and fruity!

We popped into Bradford on Avon for the evening where we had a little peruse of the shops and a gander at the buildings. It is a lovely, bustling town with a lot going on. Whether you want to simply relax and enjoy a country pub, or whether you want to visit places all around the area, Widbrook Grange is a magnificent spot to base yourself. We also visited Lacock, around 30 minutes away, and Frome, around 25 minutes, there are also many other places to explore!

On arrival back to Widbrook Grange we were greeted with a gorgeous sunset so we decided to have a walk around the grounds before dinner.

We ate at Widbrook at the onsite restaurant, the menu offers traditional farmhouse cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant offered a lovely ambience with low volume chatter and mood lighting. Service was excellent as usual, dishes were brought promptly and were beautifully served on each and every plate.

The next morning we head back into Bradford, it is one of those towns that draws you in over and over again. We were also in search of an umbrella as unfortunately, the weather was not on our side on day 2 of our trip. Alas, all the lovely independent stores in Bradford on Avon and we couldn’t find an umbrella? Luckily the architecture more than made up for that small glitch…

Bradford on Avon is relatively quiet in comparison to the other more well-known towns in the Cotswolds, it is also just 11 minutes by train to Bath, making it a much quieter and more relaxing place to stay if you want to include a day visit to the city. It is also a town in which it’s rare to see a chain, other than the Co-op, the majority of shops, cafes and restaurants are completely independent.

This is a good looking town, the George Clooney of towns if you will. There is history in every building and every wall, with a mix of Georgian and Medieval buildings, making it an entirely pleasant town to walk around.

The bridge across the River Avon still boasts two of its original 13th-century arches, but the town’s roots date even further back to the Roman times. Like most of the Cotswold’s Bradford on Avon prospered under the wool trade, many of the 17th-century buildings date back to this time.

Bradford on Avon is perfect for a long weekend away or as part of a wider Cotswolds itinerary. As mentioned before, there are many fascinating towns and villages in the local vicinity so you will never get bored!

You can book your own stay at Widbrook Grange here.

Lacock – National Trust’s Most Beautiful Village?

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Lacock is (in my humble opinion) one of England’s prettiest villages. The centre of the village has retained all its historic charm, largely thanks to the National Trust who has been tasked with taking care of it.

However, before I get you too excited, I will just start with one thing, this village is by no means a big secret. Lacock is very popular with day trippers, particularly from June-September so can get very busy. If you want the whole place (almost) to yourself, you are best visiting when the weather is rubbish or throughout winter and early spring. In fact, I think the rain gives a lot of these places some added romance!

Our first stop in this chocolate box village was Lacock Abbey, an old monastery turned country house which is now also owned and run by the National Trust. Surrounded by woodland and gardens, the abbey has been used multiple times for filming, including standing in as Hogwarts for not one, but two Harry Potter movies.

Despite the busy nature of the village itself, we actually found the abbey to be fairly quiet and pleasant to walk around. There is a car park provided and if you are a National Trust member you can park and enter the abbey free of charge. If you are not a member, adult prices are £13.40 and child prices are £6.70. The abbey is usually open from around 11am so please don’t rock up too early, you might be waiting a while to get in!

You can walk into the centre of Lacock from the abbey in less than 5 minutes which is handy! The village has a couple of pubs, some gift shops, a lovely bakery, a church, tearoom and post office. Every building you look at is steeped in history, with many dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The name Lacock dates back to the Saxon times, when it was named Lacuc, meaning ‘little stream’. The village looks a lot like it would have 200 years ago when it was prospering under the wool industry, new development has been minimal and there is a house dating back to before the 13th century.

Ksiaz Castle and Walbryzch

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If you want to find a castle, come to Europe, dotted all around the European countryside visitors can find real life fairytale scenes. Poland is no different, and a country with such a rich history has of course some beautiful castles.

We took a train from Wroclaw Glowny Station and 1 hour later we arrived in the city of Wałbrzych, just 6 miles from the Czech border. Like the rest of Poland, the city has swapped hands many times and oozes history, what keeps the visitors coming is the world-renowned Ksiaz Castle.

Ksiaz Castle is within easy reach from the train station, less than 10 minutes! The castle complez hosts a number of hotels, my friend and I stayed at the only accommodation actually owned by the castle, Ksiaz Hotel.

The hotel is excellent for those looking for a one or two day stay to explore, and at just 280.00 zł per night (£58/€65), it’s a bit of a bargain really. It is simple accommodation with good service, spacious rooms and a comfy bed! You have the convenience of being able to walk straight into the castle pretty much from the building.

The castle has become famous in recent years due to the network of underground tunnels that have been found and also its connections to World War II. In the last decade tourists have flocked to Wakbryzch due to the legend of a Nazi gold train hiding somewhere beneath the castle, no train has ever been found but people still visit in the hope they may stumble upon some riches!

Ksiaz Castle has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, with its life dating back to 1288. The current structure has been handed between different hands through the years and in 1944 fell into the hands of the Nazis, historians believe it was planned that the castle would be the future abode of Adolf Hitler himself had he not lost the war.

Visitors are free to explore the public rooms of the castle, and there are lots of them! There are guides in numerous languages and even an app being rolled out to make it even easier for guests as tourist numbers rise. You could spend hours upon hours making your way round the different rooms and learning about what once went on within the castle walls. For me I was most fascinated by the photographs that are now on display showing the life of the von Hochberg family who once owned the castle. On display are around 200 photographs taken between 1909 and 1926, giving visitors a real taste of family life here.

After exploring the interior of the castle we headed out into the gardens which were just as beautiful. the whole property is surrounded by thick woodland, and if you have the energy, you can climb 300 steps up the tower of the castle where you can witness incredible views. I can imagine this would be especially stunning during autumn.

In the evening we popped into Wałbrzych itself for dinner and a quick walk around the town square. The centre of the town seems fairly small but it is a large city with a population of over 120,000 inhabitants. There was a great sense of community in the town square and the city has done a lot in recent years to decrease crime (which has worked very well thanks to new CCTV). There was a music concert on which had pulled in a great crowd.

For dinner we ate at ‘Zielona Sofa‘ cafe, which in English means ‘green sofa’. I was almost sad it wasn’t freezing and snowing outside as the cafe had the cosiest interior and is well known for its hot chocolate and other tasty treats. You could tell straight away this was a popular place to eat and it gave off the same sort of vibes as Central Perk in Friends.

I devoured an entire pasta bake (with cheese) and also tried some of the cafe’s home made lemonade, which was delicious by the way and tasted like liquid sherbet. All food and drink is homemade, meaning no brands such as Coca Cola or Pepsi, this works very well.

So in conclusion, Ksiaz Castle and Wałbrzych were a great addition to our trip to Poland. I would highly recommend visiting for the day, or even spending a night here if you have time, when you are visiting Wroclaw!

Colourful Wroclaw

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When the Polish Tourist Organisation invited me to the Polish city of Wrocław I had no idea what to expect, in fact I had never even heard of it! Of course I googled photos straight away, and that is when excitement set in, and not just because of the rows of colourful buildings. The city is within easy reach from the UK, just under 2 hours from Stansted infact, so door to door, I was able to get there within hours from my own house.

On arrival into Poland I was still pronouncing Wrocław as ”Wro-claw”, because, who wouldn’t!? Turns out I couldn’t have been saying it more wrong. The city is actually pronouced “Vrohts-wahf”, because whilst the Polish alphabet has similarities to the English alphabet, it is not exactly the same. ”W” in Polish is pronounced with an English V and the ”ł” is pronounced as the English W.

Okay now we have that covered, we can talk about the actual city itself! We were picked up from the airport and took a 25 minute transfer to the city centre, not far at all. We were staying at the Novotel Wrocław Centrum and lucky for us our rooms were available to check into early. The hotel looks like any other building from the outside, but inside is like a different world. With a modern, industrial feel the hotel is home to 192 contemporary guest rooms, a fitness centre, sauna, bar and restaurant.

We were staying in an executive room, and it was so nice to leave my bags and grab a shower before lunch. We ate in the Novo Square Lounge Bar which is a medium sized restaurant next to the bar. The menu offered a range of international dishes so I, being the cultural gal I am, opted for a Club Sandwich with a side of fries (very tasty).

We then had a guide who took us on a walking tour of the city, which is split between old and new. This was a great way to explore the city as it was great walking through the different neighbourhoods and watching both the architecture and history transition. There is a huge amount of history in this one city and I could sit here for hours writing about it, but I will try to keep it short and sweet!

Wrocław started as a Bohemian stronghold situated at the intersection of two long-existing trading routes, the Via Regia and the Amber Road. The city was first recorded in the 10th century as Vratislavia, thought to have derived from the name of the Bohemian duke Vratislav I. In 1241 the city was destroyed after the Mongols invaded eastern Europe, the city was then rebuilt south of the river and a new market square was put into place which began to flourish again.

The city has changed hands over the years, being took over by the Czechs then the Hapsburg Empire in 1526 when many of the city’s recognisable buildings were constructed. In 1741, Wroclaw then became part of Prussia, Frederick the Great decided the whole of Silesia would be his and the city’s name changed to Breslau, it then later became part of Germany (the German border is still fairly close today).

The city has an important educational background, an academy was founded in 1702 which later became Wroclaw University in 1811 and the city began to flourish even quicker. During WWII the city was turned into a fortress by the Germans and it was besieged by the Russians in 1945 during which Wroclaw was destroyed (largely by the Germans in fact). Germany later surrendered the city and it became part of Poland again, the Germans were expelled and the city rebuilt. Today the city is thriving, with increasing industries in manufacturing and hi tech. It has also become a popular tourist destination, particularly amongst the Czechs, Germans and Spanish who are all very much welcome in the city today.

Below are just a few snapshots of my time in Wroclaw, if you want to find out more on things to do, check out my Wroclaw Weekend Guide!

 

 

 

 

Wroclaw Weekend Guide

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If you have already read my ‘Colourful Wroclaw’ post, then you will already know that this Polish city is just a short hope from England, less than 2 hours from Stansted Airport. Because of this, it makes a great choice for those looking for a weekend getaway. Below are just a few of the things to check out whilst you are there.

Where to stay

Novotel Wroclaw Centrum

A short walk from the city centre, the Novotel Wroclaw Centrum hides away fairly unnoticed. It’s only when you walk into the lobby you realise this is in fact a very stylish and convenient place to stay.

With prices starting from just £51 per night, guests are getting a very comfortable stay for a relatively low price considering the location and quality of accommodation. Modern and trendy in design, the hotel is home to 192 guest rooms, bar, restaurant, fitness centre, sauna and lounge area.

Staff are extremely helpful and service is friendly. There were some minor language barriers when ordering lunch in the restaurant but this was no problem, both my friend and I got the delicious food we ordered, it was tasty!

Things to see

Wroclaw Zoo

Wroclaw Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the city, with up to 1 million guests visiting per year. The zoo is open all year round and focuses on conservation and protection of animals, rather than keeping the animals in cages and making a spectacle of them (I didn’t see a cage at all in fact!). The zoo dates back to around 150 years ago, making it the oldest in Poland.

The Afrykarium is the main attraction and it the only oceanarium in the country. Visitors can see many types of fish species, sea turtles, manatees, seals and even Nile Hippos.

Tickets can be purchased here or at the zoo and cost 45 PLN for a standard ticket (£9.45)

Market Square

If you type Wroclaw into Google you will be shown an abundance of cutsie multicoloured buildings. These buildings are shops and restaurants located in the city’s main square. This area once sprawled across the city but was sadly destroyed in WWII and only a small portion remains, however, this is where visitors will tend to flock to during meal times!

Hydropolis

A place that will feed your need for geographical knowledge, the Hydropolis was one of my favourite places to see in the city. Ok so I might be a HUGE geography geek but even those who are interested in the ways of the world on a normal level can have a bit of fun here.

The Hydropolis is a perfect fit within Wroclaw, a city quite literally surrounded by water. This is a museum dedicated to all things water, one of the most important components on this earth. Start your journey through the exhibition with a cinema film on how the world came into place, and how water got not just here, but in space as a whole, it definitely left me contemplating my place in the universe.

My favourite exhibition was all about the states of water, but a close second was the relaxation room where you could sit back and feel like you are resting in the Amazon Rainforest.

Four Domes Pavillion

For all you art lovers, the Four Domes Pavillion is the place for you. Housed in a building designed by the famous architect Hans Poelzig, the Four Domes Pavillion was built e between 1912 and 1913 using reinforced concrete. In June 2016, a new branch of the National Museum opened here, allowing access to the public, opening as the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The exhibition contains a range of contemporary art created in the latter half of the 20th century and early 21st century. Much of this art has been inspired by post war Poland. Entrance into the Pavilion is 20 PLN (£4.20).

Places to Eat

Marina

Amazing at any time of the day, Marina offers some of Wroclaw’s most stunning dining views. Looking our across the river and the university, Marina offers a relaxed, ambient dining experience with delicious and flavoursome food. We dined in the evening with the city’s lights lighting up and reflecting in the water across from us, it was a stunning experience.

Pod Fredra

We ate at this traditional Polish restaurant on our first night. I was slightly apprehensive as I am an extremely picky eater, especially when it comes to international food, I had no idea what to expect.

The restaurant is located facing onto the most colourful buildings in the market square, if you like people watching there is an outdoor seating area perfect for the job! We sat in doors where we were surrounded by a gorgeous wooden decor and lots of paintings of historic places in Poland. The staff were extremely accommodating and spoke great English so we didn’t get stuck!

I went for a chicken dish with a chive sauce, potatoes and vegetables doesn’t sound like the most interesting thing in the world but it was rich in flavour and very tasty! I polished the meal off with an apple pie for dessert, just as good as any homemade apple pie I have ever had.

I would highly recommend this place if you fancy trying typical Polish dishes in a relaxed environment in one of Wroclaw’s prettiest locations.

Getting There

Ok ok perhaps I should have written this at the beginning, but to be honest this is the boring bit, but it would probably help you to know exactly how you can get to Wroclaw.

One of the easiest ways of arrival is flying, the airport is large, modern, efficient and only 20 minutes from the city centre.

Visitors can fly direct from Stansted with Ryanair or from Luton with Wizz Air, for as little as £50, flights take around 2 hours.

Depending on where you are travelling from, you can reach Wroclaw by train. The city can be reached on a direct train from Berlin in Germany within 4 hours and 15 minutes, for less than €60.

So that sums up Wroclaw in a quick weekend! If you want to learn more about the city itself and see more of my photos, check out my Colourful Wroclaw write up!

Robin Hood’s Bay with Premier Inn

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This week I have been exploring North Yorkshire with Premier Inn, taking part in their initiative to help us all discover some of the UK’s best hidden treasures. I chose North Yorkshire because, well, it’s not the easiest place in the world to travel to and it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves!
 
 
I set off early morning (5am!) so I could make the most of my time here, Robin Hood’s Bay has unknowingly been on my travel to list ever since I watched ‘Wild Child’ in 2008… you know which movie I mean right? Emma Roberts and Alex Pettifer meeting at a very traditional British boarding school and of course falling in love. Yes that one, in my opinion, it is one of the best. Anyone remember the scene of Freddie and Poppy on their date? In the cute hilly town by the sea? I ALWAYS wanted to go here, so one day I googled where it was filmed, turned out it was Robin Hood’s Bay and finally, ten years later (am I getting old that fast!?) I made it.
 
 
Seeing as the town is tiny there are not many places here to stay. So I booked into the Premier Inn in Scarborough, a 20-minute drive away. Turns out this was a very good idea, as I managed to fall in love with Scarborough itself whilst I was staying here, that was not in my original plan! Staying with Premier Inn is convenient and easy, you always know the room will be spacious and clean and the beds comfy, it is also accommodation at an affordable cost meaning I can take more of these trips. You can check out the exact hotel I stayed at here
 
 
I knew I would have a long day on my feet so I fuelled myself with a rather delicious breakfast provided by Premier Inn. You can have pretty much anything! Pancakes, croissants, pain au chocolat, fruit, yoghurt, cereal and of course a traditional English fry-up, so me being me decided to try a bit of everything. 
 
 
With a full stomach and a good night of sleep behind me, I walked down to Scarborough Beach, from the door of the hotel to the beach it only took five minutes, if you are feeling tired you can get a cute tram that will take you up and down the cliff! I opted for the stairs, had to burn off those pancakes somehow…
 
 
Scarborough really surprised me, in fact, I don’t think I had given the town a second thought before. The sandy beach was home to a few clusters of sunbathers, it was to be another hot day. I felt as though I was back in the 90’s on a family holiday to the seaside, with ample amounts of 2p machines, rock shops, shells, plenty of buckets and spades, and even the option of a donkey ride on the beach! This was refreshing, I have been to a number of seaside towns in England before and it’s safe to say, they are not always the best. I took a walk along the seafront and used up all my willpower on not allowing myself an ice cream. At the end of the beach is a funfair for kids, a couple of shops selling shell boxes and dream catches, and the entrance to Scarborough Castle.
 
 
 
From here I headed back to town to pick up my car as I wanted to spend as much time as possible in Robin Hood’s Bay, the focus of my trip.
 
Like I said earlier, I first saw this charming town back in 2008 when I watched Wild Child. To be honest, I never gave it much thought in my everyday life since then until I saw it pop up on Instagram a couple of years ago. I don’t see photos of this place often, the town is tucked away in a small bay on the Yorkshire coast and takes a bit of a (beautiful) drive to get to from most places. 
 
Located in the North York Moors National Park, it is unlikely Robin Hood ever frequented the small fishing village, however, there is an ancient legend of Robin Hood encountering French pirates who came to pillage the fisherman’s boats and the northeast coast.
 
 
Although now much smaller, Robin Hood’s Bay was once even more important than neighbouring Whitby in the 1600’s and has a long and interesting history involving smuggling! Smuggling was commonplace in the 18th century and rumour has it there is a network of subterranean passageways linking the houses. Vessels from mainland Europe would stop here and bring in contraband which was then distributed outside of the village
 
 
Unfortunately, if you have mobility issues, this would not be the top place on my recommendations due to the steep steps and narrow alleyways. However, there is step free access into the centre of the town so you can still enjoy some of the delightful shops and accessible eateries. Further exploration may prove difficult.
 
 
The village is easy to explore on foot as it is fairly small, my recommendation is don’t stick to just the main walkways, the town is full of alleyways to explore, each one with a different view! On sunny days visitors can walk down to the seafront and splash around in the rock pools and enjoy an ice cream (or two…). For those with young families, there are shops in town which sell buckets, spades and other beach items, just in case you forget to bring your own!
 
 
 
My main advice is don’t come to the town with a plan, just enjoy having a wander through the winding alleyways and enjoy the fresh sea air!
If like me you love exploring the UK, then you have to check out the Premier Inn Hidden Treasures here!
 
#hiddentreasures #AD