5 UK Cities We Want to Visit in 2018

We do love to write about the places we have visited, but this time, we thought we would write a post about the cities we want to visit in the UK. City breaks are great because you can go away for a long weekend, and it can feel like you have been away for ages.

York

We have wanted to visit York for a while not only to see the beautiful cobbled streets but also to visit Betty’s. Of course, with us, it’s always food-related, but Betty’s Tea Rooms are famous in York, plus the food looks divine. However, we would be torn whether to go for brunch in the morning or for tea and cake in the afternoon because they both look so yummy — guess we could go for both.

We would also like to walk down The Shambles, which is the maze of twisting lanes that we have seen in lots of pictures. Of course, we would also visit the famous York Minister, which is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.

Canterbury

Canterbury is only an hour’s train ride away from London so it’s easily accessible and a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of London.

Someone recommended we do a walking tour that takes 90 minutes, so we would definitely take part in that. We often go on walking tours when visiting a new city as firstly, we love walking, and secondly, it’s a great way to see all the city and learn about it. The tours leave twice a day, so you’ll be able to join one of them!

Manchester

We stumbled across a blog post about Manchester once, and ever since then, we have wanted to visit! It seems like there is so much to do there, and it is so easy for us to get to Manchester from London!  We would start our day with a run through Heaton Park like we do with any trip we go on!

We would head down to the quays at night to grab some dinner along the waterfront. We feel like when in Manchester, you have to do something football-related, so we would do a football stadium tour.

Newcastle

Newcastle is another city in the north of the UK, and although it may be famous for that crazy TV show called Geordie Shore, it’s also a City we would love to visit!  Newcastle sure does have a crazy night out (including a treble vodka mixer for £5), but there’s much more to the city than that. We would  choose to walk over the Tyne Bridge, as we feel like that is a must if you ever visit Newcastle.

Edinburgh

We have only ever heard good things about Edinburgh, so a visit will definitely be on the cards for 2018. As you probably already know, we love walking, so this would be the perfect city break, as we could visit Arthur’s Seat and challenge ourselves to climb the main mountain in Edinburgh. It wouldn’t be a trip to Edinburgh without a visit to the famous Edinburgh Castle.

Have we left any cities off our list that you think we should visit? We would love to hear your recommendations; there are so many beautiful cities in the UK that we need to explore.

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Marrakech- The City That Comes Alive At Night

Before this year I had never been to Marrakech before and in fact I had never even thought about going there. It wasn’t until my sister happened to mention what a great time she had had when she visited a couple of years ago and how amazing the hotel was she stayed in.

During our time in Marrakech we opted to stay in an all-inclusive 4* resort which was close enough to the city centre, luckily our hotel put on a shuttle bus during the day which was perfect as it took us right into the centre of the Medina.

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We visited the Medina in the day time arriving at roughly 11 o’clock, we headed straight to the square where there were a large selection of drinks stalls selling fresh juices for about 20p we couldn’t get over how cheap they were when in London you would be paying at least £4.50. The juices were amazing they were so fresh and made to order we got one orange and the other mango and they were both so delicious.

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The Medina in the day time was fairly quiet, there weren’t many tourists walking around instead it was locals trying to sell fresh local produce. We did notice however, there were a number of snake charmers in the square which was quite scary (especially if you are terrified of snakes) so we avoided them like the plague.

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When we returned to the Medina one evening the atmosphere was COMPLETELY different, as you can see from the title of this blog post it is literally the city that comes alive a night. The atmosphere was buzzing, there were hundreds of people walking around the Medina visiting the different performers, it was amazing and the hustle and bustle was exactly what we were expecting to see when we went in the day time.

Souks
Visiting the souks in the day and night were two completely different experiences and we would definitely urge everyone to visit in both the day and night. The souks are under cover keeping you out of the heat in the day which is amazing as it would be far too hot otherwise.

During the day time the souks were basically deserted, apart from the market stall holders and a few stray cats roaming around. Every stall and shop we passed would try and entice us in telling us all about their products. It is a known fact that you should barter with the shop keepers when in Marrakech so that is exactly what we did, it was so much fun and you could see the happiness in their eyes when you agreed on a price and purchased the item.

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In the evening the souks are literally as busy as Oxford Street the shop keepers are occupied by customers who are already in their shops as this is obviously prime time for them to make their money. During the day we noticed locals riding through the souks on their mopeds and bikes which was something we kept having to dodge, we didn’t expect to still see this happening in the evening but I guess they have got to get home somehow.

As we were browsing the souks during the evening taking in the atmosphere and culture we happened to notice the young boys working in the souks all had their phones out watching something very intensely. We wondered for a moment what they were watching when we noticed it was football it’s funny that you can be in the middle of Marrakech and there are still young boys obsessed with football- the sport that speaks one language.

Food Stalls
When we first visited Marrakech in the day time we were looking for the food stalls as we had been told we had to visit them during our stay. We couldn’t for the life of us find the food stalls and it wasn’t until we returned back in the evening that we realised they were only set up at night.

The food stalls were such an experience and something we would definitely suggest everyone visit during their time at Marrakech. The men working on the stalls were hilarious, they were coming out with some hilarious English phrases; ‘M&S simply the best’, ‘you are well skinny minny, you must be starving marving’, ‘where are you from Wembley, Hackney, Chelsea Essex?’.

We decided to go back to the first man we spoke to as the food on their stall looked so delicious. We were seated at the table and all the staff behind started to sing ‘….’ It was hilarious and they were all so full of life.

We decided to try the mixed skewers, chicken tagine, vegetable cous cous and of course some of the traditional bread we saw being sold. It’s safe to say we were so full after so it was nice to finish the meal with a Moroccan tea (fresh mint) although they seem to like putting sugar in their mint tea in Morocco so it is incredibly sweet, I wasn’t a massive fan but that’s probably because I am not used to it.

Transport
We were lucky to have a shuttle bus at our hotel but we happened to notice lots of other hotels did as well. We would definitely recommend the shuttle bus/coach so if you are thinking of booking a hotel a bit of the way then find out if your hotel puts on this service.

If you want to use a taxi we would suggest using a taxi that your hotel recommends. We found that the same taxi drivers often sat outside the front of hotel. One evening we had to get a taxi back from The Medina as the last shuttle bus was at 8pm, all I can say is that if you want a real life experience of Grand Theft Auto then by all means go ahead and take a taxi because my gosh we did and it was the  scariest taxi ride of my life. We might have just been incredibly unlucky with our taxi driver but just be careful when you do get into a taxi as health and safety goes completely out of the window.

There are lots of horse and carts in The Medina that will take you around the city, we didn’t do this so we are not sure how much it would cost but everything in Marrakech is so cheap so it probably wouldn’t set you back too much.

Marrakech is an amazing city and like nowhere we have visited before, we would 100% recommend visiting!

TRYP Palma Bellver Hotel Review 

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Recently we went on holiday to Mallorca and during our time there we stayed in Palma for three nights. We stayed in a Melia group hotel called TRYP Palma Bellver Hotel.

We arrived at the hotel at 22:00, checked in and went up to our room. The room we had been allocated upon arrival was spacious and very clean, the bed was comfy and we had a great nights sleep (all that travelling knocked us out). We woke up early and went for a morning run, on our return we had a shower and noticed a strange smell coming through the drains. We decided to go down to reception to voice our concerns and the staff on reception were great and immediately moved us to a new room which had a lovely view of the port.

We had to a wait a few hours for our new room to be ready and because of this the guest relations manager offered us free breakfast for the remainder of our trip. If you know us at all you will understand how happy this made us we LOVE breakfast.

The breakfast was incredible, we love hotel breakfasts and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. Not only did they have a great variety of products the quality of the food was also amazing. We have noticed that lots of hotels are now offering a wide variety of milks including lots of non dairy options which we absolutely loved. We loved the fact you could also sit outside and enjoy the breakfast, quite a few hotels like you to sit inside whilst eating which is something that really annoys us. If we went back to this hotel we would definitely book the breakfast there is nothing we could fault.

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The pool was a decent size but the sun beds were rather cramped. It was a nice surprise to see they provided towels at the pool, we didn’t actually use our own towels all week which we wish we new before because towels are dam heavy! One thing we noticed is the lack of music being played at the pool, we love a bit of music at the pool but maybe that’s the norm when your not at a cheap hotel!

We didn’t actually use the gym at this hotel but we did go and check it out while we were there. The gym at the hotel was a decent size and it was well equipped for a hotel gym. They had several machines and lots of free weights etc. We got the impression the hotel was used business conferences etc so it’s a good gym for individuals that are away on business.

Taxis were always waiting outside the hotel which was incredibly handy, especially if you want to hop in a taxi and visit another part of the island.

The wifi at this hotel wasn’t great in our room which was the place we were mainly using wifi (uploading YouTube videos was painful). Wifi in the communal areas was far better and we were not the only ones desperately trying to get a wifi connection over breakfast because we nearly chucked the laptop against the wall waiting for our YouTube video to upload in our room.

The aircon was brilliant and we loved the fact there was a dial next to the bed for us to use at night if we wanted to turn the aircon up or down. We didn’t have to pay extra for the aircon either like you do in some hotels which was nice.

The location of the hotel was superb, we were a 15 minute walk away from the town centre where there were lots of shops and restaurants to eat at. There were also several restaurants opposite the hotel on port which offered a very picturesque view.

BLOGMAS Day 15- Paris at Christmas

Paris at Christmas is most definitely magical, the city itself always seems magical any time of year you go, there’s something special about Paris.

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A weekend to Paris is so handy as the Eurostar is so quick. If you can get an early train you can be in the centre before lunchtime, so have the day to explore! Or you can easily fly too and get the train to the centre, public transport is great over there too.

I was lucky enough to spend the first weekend of December in Paris with my mum! We went for 3 days, leaving early Saturday morning and leaving on a late train Friday evening. We found an amazing deal on Voyage Prive and bagged ourselves a room in a beautiful 4 Star boutique hotel for a very reasonable price, the deal included breakfast and also a free boat trip along the River Seine (more on that later!)

We arrived into Gare du Nord and as the sun was shining decided to walk to our hotel to drop our bags off! Luckily the room was actually free so we could fully check in. The hotel was gorgeous, it was modern chic but also very elegant. Check it out Les Jardins du Marais

We decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower to make the most of the boat trip. We headed towards the river and onto to islands (Île Saint-Louis and then Île de la Cité Where Notre Dame is) then headed down next to the river and wandered under all the bridges including the love lock bridge, which is no more!
By this point we were feeling hungry so googled a supermarket and found an express carrefour to go to (we only wanted some snacks!). We headed north and to the Louvre where we took some funny pictures pretending the point at the top – classic! Then we headed along the Rue de Rivoli and grabbed some crisps from the supermarket. By this time it was getting later and we were cold and it would be dark by the time we got to boat, so decided to scrap that idea! We headed to the Ritz where there were some stunning Christmas lights and trees and took some pics. We headed further north and popped into Galaries Lafayette. We decided to head straight to the roof terrace for a view of Paris, and lucky we did because we arrived just as the sun was setting and it was simply stunning! Would reccomend this to anyone, especially as it’s free!
Then we went to the centre of the store to see the most amazing Christmas tree, it was all polar bear themed and even had polar bears in cable cars, so cute!
We hopped on a train back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.


For dinner we went to Cafe Breizh which is a creperie (pancakes to you and me!). We had a savoury pancake and finished with a sweet one, so delicious!!

The next day we woke up and had the most amazing breakfast at the hotel. If you visit Paris on the first Sunday of the month this means all the museums are free including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Pompidou and you can even climb the Arc de Triomphe for free! We decided to visit the Pompidou however we have never seen queues like it, they snaked all around the building! We decided to head to some famous passages wandering some beautiful streets on route including Rue Montorgueil and then went to passage Vivienne. If I’m honest if I hadn’t visited at Christmas I wouldn’t have been amazed by it, but with all the pretty lights I’m glad we stopped by! We then headed to Jardin du Palais Royal where there are loads of columns, kinda a bit of modern art and we took some fun pictures!!
We decided to walk back to Centre Georges Pompidou and the quees weren’t as bad. The weird thing about this museum is that you most of the museum is paid exhibitions, so if you pay normal entry on another day not sure what you can really see apart from the viewing terrace which I didn’t think was that amazing anyway. To summaries don’t pay to visit here, and we were glad it was free!

As I work for Disney I get free entry to the park, so the afternoon was dedicated to visiting the park. We hopped on the RER to Disneyland Pais – yay!! Now I won’t go into too much detail because I could probably write a whole separate post about the park! However I would most definitely reccomend visiting at Christmas, it is SO magical! The Christmas parade, the huge Christmas tree and of course seeing Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas outfits. We watched Buffulo Bills Wild West show, which is an hour and a half show with a 3 course meal and unlimited beer! It was so great, the food was delicious and entertainment was fab!!
We ended the evening watching the amazing firework display which included Christmassy illuminations on the castle. The perfect end to the day!

The following day was grabbed another amazing breakfast and decided to visit a part of Paris we hadn’t seen before, the Canal Saint Martin. This looks a bit like Amsterdam but not as prettier, but nice to see. We then walked to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and headed to a bandstand for a different view of Paris.
We then hopped on the metro to the Eiffel Tower to finally take our boat trip!
The boat trip may have been freezing cold as we decided to sit on the top deck to get good pictures but was worth it! The trip left from Pont de l’Alma and went all the way along the river towards the islands, around Île Saint-Louis, back past the Eiffel Tower and back to port. It was lovely seeing Paris from the river and we got some great pictures!
We then walked back towards our hotel to pick up our luggage. We firstly headed up to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and stumbled across a massive Christmas market! It was absolutely huge and I believe put Winter Wonderland to shame! If you fancy a tacky Christmas market in Paris then this is sure the place for you!
We got to the famous Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde and headed back along the Jardin du Tuileries through the Louvre and back to Rue de Rivoli. We passed the Hôtel de Ville and ended up back at the Mariais district. We went to L’As du Fallafel for a falafel wrap which had been reccomend to us! It was delicious. We ended the evening in Pozetto with a proper hot chocolate, basically melted chocolate!
We headed back to the hotel, picked up our luggage and headed back to the gare du nord to catch the Eurostar home!

I have never walked so much in a weekend before, and ached for days after! In total I walked 66.97km over 3 days which is an impressive 98,637 Steps!

Other places of interest you may want to visit:
Sacré-Cœur
Palace of Versailles
Moulin Rouge
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Tour Montparnasse
Les Invalides
La Defénse

24 hours in Sydney

It has nearly been a year since I returned from my solo trip along the East Coast of Australia so it only seemed fitting to remember my time in Australia with a post about my favourite city – Sydney.

Sydney is without a doubt absolutely amazing, with shops, restaurants and even a beach what is not to love?!

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If we had 24 hours in the city there is so much we would love to do, it would be hard to fit it in but manageable for sure!

A great location to stay is around Central station as the transport links are fab. If we were staying here we would wake up and go to breakfast at Devon Cafe,  which serves delicious breakfast and a great affogato coffee. The breakfast here is quite unique with different flavour combinations. We would then head to Paddy’s Market for some browsing. This iconic market is huge and there lots of cool shops to browse.If we were staying in Kings Cross then we would wake up and go to breakfast at Uliveto, which has an amazing menu and great outdoor seating area.

We would then jump on the train and head to Circular Quay which gets you out right by Sydney Harbour Bridge. Although you can pay to walk across the top of the bridge, however you are also able to walk across the bridge for free from. From the Circular Quay side of the harbour you can start from The Rocks District, and follow a sign along George Street directing you towards a flight of stairs, take these stairs and your walk begins here! The walk might be long and when hot super sweaty but when in Sydney it’s something you have to do. Once at the other side walk to Milsons Point to take some pictures from the other side of the harbour.

Walk back along the bridge Pop to The Rocks District For a sport of lunch, there are some great Street food style restaurants here so lots to choose from, Dare is a good option, which offers Delicious And Responsible Eating. You can even sit and watch all the huge cruise liners arriving. Or eat at The Glenmore Hotel which serves pub grub and sit on the rooftop with amazing views of the Opera House (if you can get a seat on the right side!)

After lunch you can take a quick visit to Sydney Opera House to take some photos outside it! Then hop on the train to Bondi Junction and then take the 313 or 314 bus to Coogee. You will spend the afternoon doing the Coogee to Bondi walk. This is an amazing walk along the coast and is very easily signposted. The walk should take around 2 hours and has stunning views of the coast, and you will walk past lots of stunning quiet beaches, where you may want to stop and enjoy. End the walk chilling on Bondi Beach and maybe even treat yourself to some ice cream, give Gelato Messina a go!

Get back on either the 333, 380, 381, 382 bus to Bondi Junction or take the 333, 380, 389 straight to Circular Quay. Jump on a boat to Manly Beach, the Manly Fast Ferry is the quickest and only slightly more expensive! Walk straight down manly highstreet and checkout the beach. If you have time walk around the right hand side of the promenade to Shelly Beach which can often be a little quieter and in my opinion more beautiful as it’s like a little cove.

There are lots of places to choose for dinner depending on what cuisine you fancy.  Hugos serves wood-fired pizza and an amazing roof top terrace/bar. Or you can try Garfish and the clue is in the name to what you can eat here – seafood galore! This also has views to die for whilst enjoying your freshly caught fish!

Get the ferry back to Circular Quay whilst the sun sets over Sydney Harbour Bridge and snap some stunning pictures

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If you are visiting on a Saturday head to Darling Harbour for the free amazing firework display to end the day in style!

We certainly packed a lot into the day in Sydney but sure made the most of what is to be seen in this amazing city and we hope you found this useful!