How To Visit London’s Top Landmarks In One Day

When a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life.

There was a time when I was at University that I got bored of London, and began to slowly retreat back to my quieter life in Essex. I’ve since fallen back in love with the city, and am starting to really miss it.

Before I moved out to Canada I decided to spend a day in my hometown of London doing bunch of touristy things. I wanted to see my home city for one last time before I flew out the week after.

I’ve seen a lot of London, like I mean a lot. But I still haven’t seen everything.

It took me 25 years to see the inside of Buckingham Palace after saying I’d book the tickets year after year. And last year I saw Number 10 Downing Street for the first time. I must admit, Downing Street has never really held my interest but it was still nice to walk past.

I much prefer walking on foot around cities, I find that this is how you find hidden gems, side streets etc. So everything we did today was on foot (minus one tube ride)

So with just under 24 hours to play with, this is what I ended up doing.

(Keep in mind that I travelled approximately 1.5 hours into London and left much later in the day than I’d planned – meaning if you’re staying in London and get out earlier than I did you can do so much more)

Tower Bridge & The South Bank

I arrived at Tower Hill around 11am and browsed the area around the Tower of London. We gazed at remnants of the original roman wall and the famous views of Tower Bridge.

From here we caught the tube to Blackfriars, and walked across Blackfriars Bridge towards the South Bank. Along here you can see the Oxo Tower, Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye.

If you have more time you can always start further back than I did, adding in Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern which are both worth a visit while in London.

Just by the London Eye is the County Hall. Where you can visit tourist spots such as Shrek’s Adventure, The London Aquarium and the London Dungeon. These are all great attractions if you are traveling with children.

Westminster Bridge & Palace of Westminster

From the South Bank, you reach Westminster Bridge. This is a great photo spot for the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. Even more striking at night.

Make sure to check out the statues of important figureheads in Parliament Square

Walking along past Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, we took a right down Whitehall and peaked a glimpse at 10 Downing Street.

Until now, I’ve never had a photo taken with a Horse Guard. I guess there is a first for everything.

Trafalgar Square

The end of Whitehall brings you out to the Magnificent Trafalgar Square. Looking up you’ll see Lord Horatio Nelson, keeping guard over the city. The beautiful building in the background is The National Gallery, my favourite art museum. It’s extensive collection feature’s paintings such as Sunflowers by Van Gogh and Water-lillies by Monet.

Trafalgar Square is a nice place to take a breather. Enjoy the fountains, climb the lions and take a moment from the busy city to embrace it all.

Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus

From Trafalgar square, we then decided to take a walk down the Mall, towards Buckingham Palace. This is a beautiful walk and the sides of the road leading up to the Palace will sometimes be lined with British flags.

On the right side of Buckingham Palace you will find Green Park, a great place for a leisurely stroll all year round. Here you’ll find the Princess Diana Memorial fountain.

Heading out of Green Park and taking a right is Piccadilly. A long road featuring, De Beers, The Ritz hotel and the Wolseley.

Everything in London is at your finger tips. At the end of Piccadilly, we reached Piccadilly Circus. Similar to New York’s Times Square and a very busy intersection. From here, you can access, Regent Street, Liecester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue. We took Shaftesbury Avenue as we needed to make our way in that direction for our Afternoon Tea reservation.

Covent Garden & Theatreland

A short walk away from Piccadilly Circus is Covent Garden. Covent Garden is one of my favourite places in London. I find it to be much calmer during the daytime and it comes alive at night. Covent Garden is home to many quaint unique shops and market stalls. You’ll find cute little bars and restaurants adorning the side streets.

Covent Garden is in the heart of Theatreland and many restaurants and cafes offer a pre-theatre menu.

Here we browsed in the Moomin shop, which is a relatively new addition to the shop. I believe this used to be David & Goliath?

There is now a Laduree patisserie in Covent Garden too. There used to only be the Harrod’s and Burlington Arcade shops. I popped into the Laduree and already saw what I’d come for – the Caramel Cat! As a lover of pretty boxes and macarons, I bought 6 macarons presented in a box featuring a cat. Everything I love in one.

You can be sure to see many street performers in Covent Garden, we watched an Opera singer for a little while in the main market square. He was incredible.

British Museum

It was now time for us to head to the British Museum, another one of London’s gems. Situated in the Holborn area of London, it was only a short walk away.

We had a reservation booked for afternoon tea here, we checked in and chose our tea of choice. English Breakfast all the way for me.

A variety of finger sandwiches, mini bagels and quiches. Sweet and savoury scones in the middle, topped off with an array of sweet treats. Finally accompanied by a glass of champagne.

I’ve been visiting this museum since I was a small child. It’s always fascinated me. Me and my sister are really into ancient Egyptian history, so we spent a while checking out the real-life mummies on display. Here is where they also display the original Rosetta Stone.

One of the West-End’s best attractions is the Theatre. I was lucky enough to see one of the previews for School of Rock thanks to my sister’s friend who works on the show. Even Andrew Lloyd Webber was attending that night. How exciting!

There is so much more to do in London, further afield. But with one day to play with this route hit some of London’s biggest landmarks and some of my favourite places.

Have you ever visited London? What are you favourite London landmarks? 

 

2016 in review and goals for 2017

2016 in review and goals for 2017

It’s two weeks late but, happy new year!

Every year I say it’s going to be my year, and 2015 was, then 2016 came along and although I had a few ups and downs it topped 2015 by far. I managed to do a bit of travelling, to new countries and cities.

In March, I spend a few days in Prague, which was amazing!

Highlights included:

Watching the astronomical clock

Walking across the Charles Bridge at night

Staring at the ceiling of the St. Vitus Cathedral

Eating Trdlnik, with ice cream!

In June I took a road trip north along California’s highway 1

I visited Pismo Beach

Hearst Castle

Big sur and it’s beautiful beaches

Watched the sunset on a beach in Carmel

Got to witness a family of wild Orcas off the Californian coast in Monterey

I started a new job in June, then went on to start a second job over at my local airport. Both which I loved.

In August I got to tick off one of my biggest bucket list hits. Paris!

It was an exhausting 4 days but I loved every minute of it. I did everything I really wanted to, even if I did fall asleep on the river cruise on my last day. The weather was beautiful for most of my trip and it gave me the inspiration to tick off another big hit on my bucket list next year. hint hint.

I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, witnessed it sparkle at night, which was just magical. Ate more crepes than I could handle. Walked through the hall of mirrors at Versailles. Imitated the hunchback of Notre Dame. And finally saw the famous Mona Lisa.

Birthday in Budapest

In October I ventured over to Budapest for four days and was lucky enough to spend my birthday there, soaking in the Szechenyi thermal baths.

Whilst in Budapest I got harassed by a violinist in a creepy park by the anonymous Statue. Yelling at me half in English, half in Hungarian, for being rude simply because I didn’t want to pay to have photo with his violin. I stood there in disbelief at my friend and had no words. After taking the photo I wanted. We walked off in the opposite direction. A strange moment, but one that we couldn’t stop laughing over.

We ended our trip by walking aka hiking to the top of Gellert hill to see the liberty statue. The views from here are amazing, and I would absolutely recommend doing this.

Budapest was an amazing city, one of my favourite places I’ve been to.

I ended the year by having an interview for my dream job and two days later I flew out to Canada. I’ve been living in Whistler for just over two months now. I’ve not had a whole bunch of time to blog because I’ve been working so much. Right now I’m stuck indoors sick, like the rest of staff housing. Boo!

The weeks leading up to Christmas were so busy at work, I got in lots of overtime however and today’s paycheque paid off! Christmas day itself was spent at work, I made cupcakes a few days prior for everyone as Christmas is my favourite time of year. I spread some Christmas cheer and gave the liftie on my gondola to work one.

New Years Eve was going to be spent at the bar next to where I work, instead I decided to spend it in creekside with someone special. And it was awesome, I’m not a big NYE person anyway but I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way.

The past few weeks I’ve spent getting to grips with the world of snowmobiling and going for late night walks to Nita Lake.

Snowmobiling was fun! But in -15 degrees my fingers were about ready to fall off by the end of it. I watched the sunset over the mountains as the peaks turned pink. This view from Cougar Mountain never fails to amaze me.

I tend not to set myself too many goals each year, my only real goal for 2016 was to move to Canada, get an interview for my dream job, get the dream job (still waiting), and travel to new places. All of which I did!

I did want to do more travelling however, I was going to leave my job around October, spend 3/4 weeks backpacking Europe and then move to Canada. But I got offered a new job, which paid more and then decided I’d much rather keep working and save as much as I could. There is always this year!

My goals for 2017

I don’t have any real goals for 2017 but here are a few things I’d like to achieve:

Visit New York City

The place I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. It needs to be done, once and for all. Every year I say I’m going to do this and I never do. The price just always puts me off. Well this year I’m going to do it. No excuses. It’s not going to be cheap, hence putting my Canadian savings account into good use this week and finally watching what I spend my money on here in Whistler. I like to go out here but it’s not cheap to do. Last week I must have spent about $170 on just alcohol (and yes, I felt like shit the next day). That money could be put towards skiing equipment, so I can actually get good at it instead of spending $50 a time renting.

So I booked my hotel room for NYC already, for the beginning of July. My friend is going to come out and I’ll meet him in NYC from Whistler.

So, while I’m at it I may as well tick off some other things while I’m in the states. I’m a huge history nerd, and I find American history quite interesting. So, after New York I’ll be heading down to Philadelphia and then onto D.C.

This trip isn’t going to be cheap, I’ve booked hotels and not hostels, because my friend who will be travelling with me is far too stuck up for hostels and when I weighed up the costs of hostels V hotels we’d still be paying around the same price anyway.

To get better at Skiing!

Yes, I’m going to get up early and go out on the mountain on my days off more. I don’t do hangovers so well anymore now that I’m in my late 20’s. Yes, I might not always act my age but hangovers are a no go for me! Less drinking, more skiing! I will be good by the time the season ends!

To get a new/second job in Whistler

My main career goals are to get into Hospitality and/or Travel & Tourism. Whistler is a resort town with many world known resorts and hotels and I think this would be a great opportunity to further my skills and resume. My job at Whistler Backcomb will only last until mid-April at most when the season ends. They may keep me on over the summer, but there will be a break in between the winter and summer season. So I’d need another job at that point unless I decide to travel instead. At the moment I’m keeping my options open as I’ve done the two job thing before and I didn’t love it. Having two jobs here seems to be the thing most people do anyway, and I will definitely need the money.

Travel more

This year I want to travel a whole lot more than I did last year. There’s been brief discussion about going down to Cuba with a few people I work with, which would be super fun.

Seattle is not too far away, so maybe I could do a few days down there too.

Vancouver – I spent 3 days in Vancouver and saw very little of the city, due to getting boring paperwork done. I’d like to go back for a few days and really get to see what the city offers.

Travel through Canada

My goal for this year is to travel through Canada, from Vancouver right through to Niagara falls, Montreal, Quebec etc. I have signed up for my free National Parks Pass, which is free for the whole of 2017 to celebrate Canada turning 150!

To pick up your free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass, visit here:

http://www.commandesparcs-parksorders.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/parksb2c

I’m considering doing a 3 week tour through Trek America, rather than booking everything myself. I think this would be a great way to meet other travellers and I wouldn’t need to think about where to stay or which greyhound to get. I think this option might work out cheaper too.

Celebrate Canada day while in Canada

Canada day this year is July 1st, which is the day before I would be jetting off to New York. I didn’t know this at the time of booking my NYC trip, which is good timing or else I would have amended my booking.

And on Canada day I plan to have my photo taken with a mountie (RCMP) in their red uniform!

To see a wild bear

I didn’t get to see any bears before the season started, they are (mostly) sleeping now, so it is unlikely I’ll be able to see one until April time. But apart from eating maple syrup and having your photo done with a mountie is there anything more Canadian?

Spend the summer in Whistler

Whistler is beautiful in the summer, the lakes come to life and there are many different hiking trails. I want to visit Brandywine Falls, Joffre Lakes and do some stand up paddle boarding.

Start blogging more

When I first decided to start this blog I had so many ideas for blog posts and then I started working two jobs, I moved to Whistler and kind of lost my enthusiasm. I get it every so often here, but I think if I make it a regular thing it might help me in the long run to achieve goals, look back on what I’ve already achieved and be somewhere that I can look for inspiration and motivation. I’ve always found it hard to put myself out there, to let my personality come through, but this is one place I really want to express myself.

I’m also going to invest more time in this blog altogether, putting together a new theme, rather than using a pre-set. Setting up analytics, giving people a way to follow my blog, get used to using widgets and wordpress, have more of a social media presence.

Call my mum/family more

Since moving here, the time difference and work/play has made it somewhat difficult for me to call my family back home. But I really miss them, I miss my cat and I miss my friends. This year I’m going to try and call them at least once a week or more and update them on what’s going on in my life and what’s going on in theirs. Did I mention I miss my cat?

And my last goal of the year is,

To take better care of myself

I wouldn’t say that I haven’t taken care of myself, but compared to early last year and summer everything seems to have gone out the window. Since moving to Whistler, I’ve not had the best diet. The grocery stores here are expensive so naturally, to save money and time I’ve been eating out of a microwave. I also get free meals at work, which is great because it saves some $$. But our food is mostly breaded and deep fried. The good thing about working in the kitchen however, is that you can get a little bit more creative and make whatever you like. I’ve been trying to avoid the burgers and fries and instead having omelettes with veggies and a fruit cup.

I’d also like to get back into the gym, even if I just do 30 minutes every other day in the free gym at WB housing. There is free yoga on Tuesdays and Sundays that I’d like to take advantage of too. Or even if I just go for a walk somewhere every now and then. I want to take better care of both my physical and mental health.

So here’s to an even more amazing year!

My European Bucket List

My current European bucket list

Almost everyone has a bucket list, whether it’s specific to travel or learning/experiencing something new. For me, my bucket list relates mostly to travel, and seeing new places and historic monuments. Having a huge interest in world history plays a part in this too I think. But I’d also like to learn or experience new things along the way, whether it be skiing for the first time or skydiving.

These places will more than likely be on a ton of other travel bloggers bucket lists,  I suppose there is a reason for that. These places obviously draw in like-minded people and reading other blogs is what inspires me to check out new places.

The world is a big place, with amazing places and people in every corner. So, where do I start?

Being as I’m already in Europe (or was at the time of writing this!) I decided to start there. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the states but there are so many amazing places right on my doorstep. Mainland Europe is easy to travel to from the UK especially with airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet offering affordable flights. In fact I’ve found that flying from the UK to Eastern Europe is cheaper than flying from Eastern Europe to… well, Eastern Europe! Nowhere is more than say, 5/6 hours away? And because these countries are in close proximity, you don’t get super jet-lagged and can make the most of your first day there, meaning you can do a four day trip and still see so much.

I started writing this blog post before I actually moved to Canada, so now that I’m in North America, jetting over to Europe for a long weekend is no longer cheap or easy. However when I do eventually return home this is what my travel goals are going to be aimed at.

Paris

I can’t believe it’s taken me 26 years to finally visit. I’m an hour away by train from London! I have visited Disneyland Paris 4 times so far and not once did I venture into Paris city Centre. It’s been the top of my list for years. Its beauty has always drawn me in, not to mention it’s the location of some of my favourite Disney movies. Hunchback of Notre Dame, Aristocats, need I say more?

I have since visited Paris, 3.5 months ago now, which I will be blogging about soon!

Copenhagen

The home of the little mermaid. Anyone noticing a theme here? I do love Hans Christian Anderson but I also love Scandinavian architecture (and furniture!) The Nyhavn harbour really fascinates me with its’ bright colours. And the Tivoli Gardens is of course a must when visiting. It only opens certain times of the year however, so I think my visit will have to coincide with this. I don’t know a whole lot about the city but I’m keen to learn a little more.     

Croatia

Probably one of my biggest lusts right now is this country. I can’t get over its beauty. Ideally I’d like to do a long road trip up the coast to visit several places here. Places of interest include:

Dubrovnik

The whole of Croatia fascinates me, and ideally I’d like to explore more than one place here but Dubrovnik is my top pick. The Dalmatian coast as a whole is just breathtaking. This also happens to be where they film Game of Thrones. Yes, I’m a total fan girl. Walking the city walls for that reason is a must.

Split

Split is a beautiful harbour town, not too far from the Krka National Park which is big on my bucket list so visiting this beautiful town would be great to do along with it.

Krka National Park

This is the place where, not only can you go and visit the waterfalls; you can actually go for a dip too! Who wouldn’t want to visit this place?

Plitvice Lakes

This is the main place in Croatia to go and see the amazing waterfalls. Unfortunately, its not possible to actually get into the water here, unlike the Krka National Park waterfalls. This is the more popular between the two and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Zagreb

Yet another Beautiful town in Croatia, Zagreb is not too far from the Plitvice Lakes so I think a visit here during the summer would be great.

There is also the idea of island hopping which really draws me in. I can see myself spending quite some time in Croatia.

Vienna

Vienna has been on my list a while, but it’s not the only place I’d like to visit in Austria. The Alps are on there too. One of my bucket list experiences is to eat Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher. New and different cuisines are big on my list of things to try when travelling.

Lake Bled

Situated about 45 minutes north of the Slovenian capital city. It’s just… beautiful! I mean just look at this? I can’t think of a reason not to visit here. It just looks so peaceful and serene. Somewhere you can escape the city for a few days.

Berlin

Easily accessible from almost every UK airport and only a short plane journey away. My fascination with Berlin relates back to my interest in history. The Berlin wall came down the same year I was born and top places on my list to visit would be Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag Building.

Well that’s my European Bucket list as of right now. There are of course many more places I’d love to visit, but these are my top picks.

What’s at the top of your travel bucket list right now?

 

 

*All images taken from google

Welcome to “From Adventure With Love”

Hello! Welcome to my very first blog post! I had no idea what to actually write here or how to start this blog, so I’ll just give some background about me and why I started this blog.

My name is Rachael and I’m currently 26. I know most young people go travelling at an earlier age but it’s something I’ve toyed with for a while and finally decided life was too short not to. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t travelled at all. When I was 21 I took my first flight/trip abroad by myself and worked in the United States for 3 months. Since then I’ve taken solo flights by myself more times than I can remember. And although I was so scared the first time there was something quite nice about going alone.

Right now I’m saving as much as I can before I finally jet off in a couple of months time. I have just accepted a job from Whistler Backcomb ski resort in British Columbia, Canada. This will be a completely new experience for me. I’ll finally see a country that’s been on my bucket list for a while. I will also have time to really get to experience everything Canadian as I’ll be there for a minimum of 6 months.

Travel is something that I’ve always been interested in. I took my first plane journey when I was 9 months old and many more after that. Other countries and cultures have always fascinated me, not to mention I’m a history geek. There is just something so fulfilling about seeing beautiful sights, monuments and landscapes with your own eyes.

So far I have visited 9 countries, including my own. And I’ve been to 6 US states (stopovers in Minneapolis, Dallas, Philadelphia and Charlotte don’t count!)

Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to gaze at the ceiling of the sistine chapel, get whipped by Krampus in Germany, watch the sunset from the Eiffel tower, take a river cruise through the Amsterdam canals, walk across the Charles Bridge and witness a family of wild Orca off the Californian coast. Travelling isn’t about ticking off countries or seeing who can see the most but about the memories you make.

This blog will be a documentation of where I’ve been, where I’m going and to share my stories and tips with others.

I am nervous, and very excited about starting my new journey and will experience lots of things for the first time, like staying in a hostel!