28.4.15

LONDON / BRIGHTON

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I had a bit over a week in London after returning from Wales and I spent a lot of time exploring the city by foot and the tube. I love how easy it is to get around London and taking the tube is a cinch. I was able to explore a lot of different areas that I wasn't able to visit last year including Paddington, Earls Court and Shoreditch. I had a chance to  catch up with the always lovely ladies from Next UK over lunch and a manicure - spoilt! 

I actually enjoyed having limited wifi while I was out and about as it allowed me to really take it all in, chat to strangers and being alone you can wander wherever you want as long as you don't get yourself hopelessly lost. I did explore a lot, although there are still a lot of places I want to hit when I return in June. I was able to get out to Brighton though which was lovely - I am always drawn to beachside towns and the ocean in general and Brighton is pretty quirky and unique. See my video for more from my time in London!


emma

26.4.15

HARRY POTTER STUDIOS LONDON

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For anyone who knows me it wouldn't be a surprise that I took myself to the Harry Potter Studios while I was in the UK. Also wouldn't be surprising that I took so many photos that I can fill a whole blog post with them. So that's exactly what I've gone and done. Sorry to all the muggles out there - tune back in this week for more travel posts! But for now, here's a post from my first visit to Hogwarts (not sure why my letter was 13 years late but hey! Ruddy owls)... I don't even care if you call me a nerd right now, it was MAGIC!

It's really lucky I did take so many photos because I'm still so blown away by the entire experience that it's hard for me to even explain how fun it was for a long-time fan to visit the place where they actually produced and filmed so much of the HP films. All the sets, costumes and props are original! The detail in everything is astounding! The Great Hall, Dumbledore's office, Gryffindor common room, Potions classroom, Umbridge's office, the Knight Bus, Godric's hollow and my personal favourite, Diagon Alley. I definitely lingered there longer than most that day. And that's not even half of it. The best way to describe my joy to other fans is the feeling right before you're about to read one of the books for the first time ... all the feels. And yes, Butterbeer was had! It's quite different to what I was expecting as they put a thick bubbly cream on top of the fizzy liquid underneath. I feel very lucky to say that I will probably be off to Harry Potter World while in Orlando (U.S.A) in the coming months - so I look forward to trying it there too. For any HP fans travelling to London, a visit to the studios is definitely worth it! Mischief managed, for sure. Pip pip! 


emma

21.4.15

Weekend in Wales



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I had a few days in London before I was off again and this time to Wales! That weekend I learnt that they don't call it Wild Wales for nothing. But I'll start at the beginning.

I set off with a small tour - only about 10 people and our tour guide who was a legend. I hadn't been on an organised tour before as I was always stuck in the 'traveller>tourist' mentality. After having done a few tours throughout my travels I can honestly say that an organised tour does not always equal 'tourist'. For a solo traveller it's a great way to meet people and from all over the globe too so you really learn a lot just by chatting away with fellow travellers. 

We set off from London and after crossing over into Wales our first stop was Chepstow for lunch. The main attractions were Chepstow Castle and the adorable old town streets, often dotted with pastel coloured houses. Another stop was Hay-On-Wye, a town famous for it's second hand bookstores - they are everywhere! I was travelling with a strict weigh limit but I couldn't resist grabbing an Agatha Christie for my collection. We also visited the ruins of Tintern Abbey - built in 1131 and reminiscent of Hogwarts. I actually ended up jumping the centuries old stone fence with 3 American girls after our tour guide mentioned you could easily do so to avoid paying. Seemed like a great idea at the time! In truth it was as I got to witness one of the girls go head over heels onto the other side while trying to get over... so stealth! 

We stayed the night at Baskerville Hall. Built in 1839, it was this very hall that hosted the Sherlock Holmes writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a friend of the Baskervilles, and inspired the famous story of his 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. Apparently the place is haunted. I didn't see any ghosts but the place definitely has an interesting aura about it - or maybe I was just in awe of this beautiful building that I was lucky enough to be staying in.

The next day we woke early to go on a 4 hour horse ride through the Brecon Beacons National Park. Yes, that's me rugged up like a dork with my union flag mittens. I first have to say, this was without doubt the coldest day of my entire life. This is when things got wild. We set off with lovely sunshine and everything was dandy. The weather shortly deteriorated and by the time we were on the mountains it was pretty much snowing! But not the nice snow, more like big chunks of sleet that froze everyone in their saddles. Thank goodness I knew how to ride from my childhood because at one point half the horses bolted for some reason and one of the girls fell off her horse - a crazy sight but luckily she was alright. 

Thankfully we ended the weekend with a traditional sunday roast by the fireplace at a pub - complete with yorkshire puddings which I will now have to learn how to make because it was heaven. To see more from Wales check out the little video I made below. Be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel too so you can see all my travel videos as soon as I upload them. More travel posts coming soon!




emma