A weekend getaway to Wells-next-the-sea, Holkham Beach and Thetford Forest

Looking to do something different with your weekend? Looking for a mini adventure?

Looking to do something different with your weekend? Looking for a mini adventure? Norfolk is one of the most unique and unspoilt parts of rural England and it is often one of the most underrated places to take a holiday in the UK. I first fell in love with this place when I was studying at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

I lived in Norwich for 3 years, so I spent a lot of time exploring the area around it. There are many things you can do in Norfolk. For example you can explore Norwich city, you can hire a boat in the Norfolk Broads, you can take a walk in Thetford Forest and you can visit beaches like Cromer, Great Yarmouth or Holkham.

I am always looking for a quick weekend getaway within short distance from London, just to break up the routine a little. As I know that Norfolk isn’t far away at all from home, we recently booked a last minute hotel (take a peak at the Georgian Townhouse in Norwich) and set off on a Saturday morning straight to Wells-next-the-sea. We visited Wells and Holkham on that day, and spent the night in Norwich city so that we could go to one of our favourite restaurants in town, The HOUSE Thai Restaurant. We then started heading back on Sunday, but made a stop at Thetford Forest so that we could take a walk in the woods. Take a look below to see the places we visited.

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Afternoon tea in Wells-next-the-sea
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Staithe St

Wells is a charming little harbour town in the northern part of Norfolk. We made a short visit before going to Holkham beach and took a walk around Staithe St, making a short stop at Raggedy Cat Tearoom for the best afternoon tea I have ever had. If you do visit Wells, make sure you stop at this little Tearoom and order a tea with a scone – I can assure you will not be disappointed!

Holkham Beach

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Sand dunes in Holkham

Holkham beach is without a doubt one of the best sandy beaches in the UK. Unlike many other beaches, Holkham is a nature reserve, a pine forest and it is also dog-friendly! It is a great place to visit anytime of the year because you will always find a peaceful spot on the beach due to its long stretch of golden sands. We visited Holkham in February, on a rainy day, and we still had lots of fun – we will definitely be going back in the summer.

More information about directions & parking can be found here.

Thetford Forest

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Taking a walk through the woods in Thetford

Approximately a 2 hour drive from London, Thetford Forest is a great break from the big smoke. We have visited this place a few times because we just love taking a walk in the woodlands to get a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery. It lifts our moods and refreshes our minds, getting us ready for the weekly routine. There are also lots of fun activities to do, including archery, paint-balling, horse-riding, mountain biking and many others. Take a look here to see more information.

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A dog walk in the woods

Thank you for reading and I will see you for the next mini adventure post!

Best place for a short ski break in Europe: Innsbruck

Innsbruck is known not only for its modern and imperial architecture, but it is also very popular amongst winter sports and hiking enthusiasts. It is an ideal destination if you are in need of a quick skiing getaway and a great place to visit if you enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountains whilst being within easy reach from the hustle and bustle of a big city. Having skied in other places like Les Deux Alpes, Alpe D’Huez and Tignes before, Innsbruck has been the best experience for me so far. Here is why:

5 reasons why Innsbruck is a great skiing destination

Getting there is easy and transfers to hotels and resorts are short

Innsbruck airport is small, easy and close to the city centre. You can stay in the town or just outside the city. Either way, you will still be very close to any resort surrounding the Innsbruck area. Take a look at Götzens if you fancy staying just outside the city (10-15 minutes drive from the city centre). There are also free ski shuttles which takes you to your desired resorts.

You can go to any resort around the Innsbruck area

Innsbruck can be a great choice for your skiing holiday because it offers a variety of ski resorts catering to all abilities. You can try different resorts each day, meaning you will have an endless choice of pistes throughout your whole stay. These are some of the resorts you can visit which are not very far from the city centre: Axamer LizumSchlick 2000 – FulpmesGlungezer – TulfesMuttereralmpark – Mutters/GötzensStubai Glacier (Stubaier Gletscher)Bergeralm – Steinach am BrennerRosshütte – SeefeldKühtai.

Slopes are not crowded and there are no queues for the ski lifts

Does the thought of huge crowds and massive queues fill you with dread? Yes? Then Innsbruck might be the right place for you. If you are skiing during the weekdays, even better! If you wake up early enough and get ready for the first lift up, much much better! It will literally just be you, the mountain and fresh powder.

Great value for money on the ski lift passes

There is an OLYMPIAWORLD SKIPASS you can get which costs around 135 euros for 3 days and it gives you access to 9 ski resorts in the Innsbruck area, covering 300km of slopes. You may also get a discount on the lift pass if you have an Innsbruck card, which is provided by some hoteliers. With the discount, our passes cost 120 euros for 3 days, which is great value for money compared to other lift passes in Europe.

Visit the city if you fancy a little break from skiing

Take a stroll around the Altstadt von Innsbruck (Old town). There are palaces, cathedrals, Baroque and Renaissance style buildings – in which some are over 500 years old – all surrounded by snowy peaked mountains, making it all a very picturesque experience.

Where to stay

Stay at the Alp Art Hotel to enjoy great views, breakfast and spa

Views from Alp Art Hotel

Sunrise from Alp Art Hotel

Breakfast room at Alp Art Hotel

Where to Eat

Try the Taverna da Guzzi for amazing homemade style Italian food

Linguine con Salmone

When to Go

Anytime between December and March, except during the school holidays, and you may get yourself an empty piste like the image below

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5 places you must visit for cheap short breaks in 2018

As we are coming close to the end of another year, it is time to start thinking of places we could go during the year to come. It is time to start thinking about how we can use our holidays wisely so that we could have as many adventures as possible. For this reason, I have put together a little list with some of the places I have visited recently which might not break the bank and may fit in perfectly with a weekend or a bank holiday.

Trani, Italy

Trani's cathedral

Trani is a hidden gem. Matt and I were there this year  for our friend’s wedding and thanks to them, we were introduced to this town. The town is a historic fishing port in the Puglia region and it is a lovely place to explore, eat and relax. Trani offers a sophisticated feel with its marina side bars and restaurants, limestone streets, medieval churches, and its enchanting cathedral. To get there, you will need to fly to Bari and then get a taxi or a train to Trani. The journey from the airport takes only 30 minutes.

Personally, I will definitely be visiting Trani again for a cheap and relaxing break, especially because of another hidden gem we found there. Quintessenza Ristorante is a Michelin Star restaurant where you can have a six-course meal with wine pairing for 70 euros per person. Compared to Michelin Star restaurants in London, 70 euros per person is very cheap and the food quality is the same or better. The brothers who own this restaurant are very passionate about the way they cook and you can really feel that when they are serving each course. The experience we had at this restaurant is absolutely worth a trip to Trani again.


Polignano a Mare, Italy

Polignano a Mare is another little treasure hidden on the coast, lying by the Adriatic Sea. During the few days we stayed in Trani, we took a day to visit this little town. This town offers everything you need for a perfect day out: a beach, caves, rocks (so that you can be a daredevil and jump a few times), white-washed winding streets and amazing fresh seafood.


Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca is one of the most popular destinations for holidays in Europe. Whether you are a party animal, a beach bum, or someone who just wants to relax and enjoy nice scenery and food, you will find that Mallorca caters to everyone’s needs. The island is also a great place for activities like rock climbing, sailing, kitesurfing and more. There are many beautiful places in Mallorca, like Cala Sant Vicenç, Cala Figuera, Cap Formentor and Playa de Formentor. However I want to share my favourite place with you:

Cala Tuent

Cala Tuent was my highlight because of its tranquil and scenic atmosphere. Surrounded by the Serra de Tramutana mountains, the way down to Cala Tuent through the winding narrow roads is breathtaking. The beach is approximately 100-meters long and it is made up of pebbles and gravel. The water is clear and clean, great for snorkelling. Cala Tuent is great for a relaxing day at the beach due to the fact that not many people go there. Tourist buses do not stop at this Cala and it is also not very family friendly. There are no facilities or snack bars at the beach either, however I would recommend eating at the Restaurante Es Vergeret so that you can have a meal with a view!


Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is known as the pearl of the Adriatic and also as King’s Landing, a fictional city in the famous Game of Thrones series. Being the huge fan that I am, Dubrovnik had to be on my list of places to visit. As a result of the show’s great success, Dubrovnik is now even more of a prominent tourist destination in Europe. Here are my highlights from Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnik City Walls

Views from the City Walls

Fort Lovrijenac

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View from Fort Lovrijenac ↓

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Day trip to Kravice Waterfalls and Mostar

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During our stay in Dubrovnik, we took a day to visit Kravice Waterfalls and Mostar in Bosnia.  There are many excursion companies in Dubrovnik which offer day trips to Bosnia and Hezergovina, Serbia and Montenegro for approximately £40 per person. Personally, I thought the day trip was very worth it since it gave us an opportunity to explore another country and know a bit more about its people and culture. 


Budapest, Hungary

Budapest surprised me so much as a city, I never thought I would like it as much as I did. Aside from its stunning baroque architecture, accommodation, food and drinks are very cheap. To find out more about my highlights, take a look at my post about Budapest: Tips for staying in Budapest for 3 days on the budget

Accommodation tip: Baroque Hostel ↓
→  Click here to get £15 off your booking


 

Happy new year everyone, and I hope your new year is filled with new adventures! 

Tips for staying in Budapest for 3 days on the budget

Budapest is a beautiful European city and a great getaway if you want a holiday on the budget. The idea of going there came about because my dad was visiting me in the UK for a few weeks and I thought we should go on a little adventure together. We decided on Budapest as one of the destinations when I saw a a pretty good deal of £45 per person for a return ticket on skyscanner

So here are my tips for having an enjoyable and relaxing getaway:

1. Go sightseeing and enjoy the walk around the city

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View from Gellert Hill

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Parliament Square
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Parliament

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Shoes on the Danube
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Matthias Church
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Fisherman’s Bastion

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View from Fisherman’s Bastion
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Parliament from Fisherman’s Bastion

2. Go to Food Markets and Szimpla Kert

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Karavan Food Market

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Szimpla Kert

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3. Don’t miss the Széchenyi Thermal Bath

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→ General cost of food, travel and accommodation in Budapest

Local shop Food market Tourist places General/Fixed Cost
Bus, Metro and Tram

72 hours ticket

3900HF per person
Local Beer 0,5L 270HF 590HF 800HF
Snacks, Coffee 150-300HF 400-500HF 500-600HF
Burgers, Pizzas, Salads 1000-2000HF 1500-2500HF
Thermal Baths ticket 5000HF
Taxi to/from Airport 7000HF
Hostel/Private Room in shared apt  27000HF

Total cost including flights, hostel, transfers and others: £392 / £196 per person
Exchange rate £1 = 310HF approximately

5 Best Walks in the UK

Sgurr na Stri – Isle of Skye

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Matthew and I went to Scotland on our motorbike, but I could not go to Scotland and miss out on a hike. Our aim was to get to the Isle of Skye and spend a couple of days there before heading back to London. I came across a picture of Loch Coruisk and I absolutely fell in love with it. The image showed the view from Sgurr na Stri.

After doing some research, I found out that the only way to get there “the quick way” was to go on a boat trip from Elgol. The boat takes you to Loch Coruisk and leaves you to explore for 3 hours and once the time is up they take you back to Elgol. We took the last boat journey that day. Thankfully we made it back on time for the departure to Elgol. See walk details below.

Car Park: Elgol car park
Route: Boat from Elgol to Loch Coruisk → there is no set route, so see map below.
Terrain: rocks, grass, gravel
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: approximately 6km to ascend and descend
Time: approximately 3 hours to ascend and descend
Highest ascent: 494m
Dog-friendly: yes

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Buttermere –  Lake District National Park

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Buttermere is definitely one of the most beautiful places I have been to in the Lake District, I may even say it is my favourite spot in the National Park. You can find additional photos and information here: Hiking and Camping at Buttermere and Helvellyn, Lake District National Park. See walk details below:

Car Park: Gatesgarth carpark
Route: Burtness Woods → Bleaberry Tarn → Red Pike → High Stile → High Crag → Hay Stacks → Fleetwith Pike
Terrain: rocks, grass, gravel, scree
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 15km
Duration: approximately 5 hours
Highest ascent: 802m
Dog-friendly: yes

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Snowdon – Snowdonia National Park in Wales

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The Snowdon walk is very popular and it cannot be missed on this list. Unfortunately the picture above is the only picture I have from the day we hiked up to Snowdon, but you can find more pictures of Snowdon here: Snowdonia

Car Park: Pen Y Pass carpark
Route: Pyg’s track → Snowdon → Miner’s track → Pen Y Pass carpark
Terrain: rocks, grass, gravel, scree
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 12km
Duration: approximately 3 hours 30 mins
Highest ascent: 1085m
Dog-friendly: yes

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Pen Y Fan – Brecon Beacons National Park

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Pen y Fan is one of my favourites because the walk is easy, the views are amazing all around and the landscape of the mountains are unlike anything I have ever seen.  You can find additional photos and information here: Hiking and camping at Pen y Fan, Wales

Car Park:  Neuadd carpark
Route: Track by Tor Gras → Cribyn→ Pen y Fan → Corn Du → Rhiw yr Ysgyfarnog → Lower Neuadd
Terrain: rocks, grass, gravel, scree
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 12km
Duration: approximately 3 hours 30 mins
Highest ascent: 886m
Dog-friendly: yes

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Helvellyn via Striding Edge – Lake District National Park

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The walk via Striding Edge is breathtaking. You can really feel the adrenaline whilst walking along the ridge. Be prepared to scramble! You can find additional information and photos here: Hiking and Camping at Buttermere and Helvellyn, Lake District National Park

Car Park: Glenridding campsite
Route: Little Cove → Hole in the Wall→ Striding Edge→ Helvellyn→ Swirral Edge→ Hole in the Wall → Little Cove
Terrain: rocks, grass, gravel, 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 9.5km
Duration: approximately 3 hours
Highest ascent: 947m
Dog-friendly: yes

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Motorbiking from London to the South of France

One motorbike, two sore bums and three panniers for seven days

In the spring of 2015, Matt and I were looking for a little adventure to go on our motorbike. We decided to go to the south of France based on the fact that we could do a round trip in seven days whilst also enjoying a little taste of summer.

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We planned most of our trip using the Explore feature in Google Maps. To summarise it, it shows you pictures of the place you are looking at and their exact location. Check it out below ↓

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So we planned our route, packed the essentials on to our three panniers – including our camping gear – and set off for another adventure. 

THE JOURNEY

DAY ONE: LONDON TO THE FURTHEST SOUTH WE COULD GET TO (TOURNUS)

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 12.05.16.pngDay one did not go exactly to plan. We took the ferry from Dover at around 5.30am and did not settle down until about 10pm. Day one was the hardest day for 3 reasons:

    • Driving for most of the time on a motorway is boring, especially at the back of a bike. There is no pretty scenery, just a dead-straight road.
      • Just after we left Paris, it started pouring down with rain and it did not stop until the evening. It was cold and we were soaked wet.
    • We stopped at a service station near Chalon-Sur-Saone for some dinner and we had a problem – the bike would not start again. We spent three hours at this service station thinking our holiday was over and thinking that we would have to spend the night cold and wet with no bed… Until someone who worked at the service station told us that some bikes have the same problem when they stop there. It was something to do with a signal tower and the motorbike alarm – so the bike should work again if we pushed it as far away from the tower as possible. Running out of options and feeling super tired, we had no other choice but to push that 1000cc bike plus the heavy panniers alongside the hard-shoulder of the motorway. After almost 20 minutes walking down the motorway, we arrived at the end of the hard-shoulder and prayed that the bike would turn on – and it did, finally! 

The original plan was to camp for the first night so that we could save some money. However, given the circumstances mentioned above, we resorted to Booking.com to find a property at a reasonable price for the night.

DAY TWO: RIDING FROM TOURNUS TO GORGE DU VERDON NATIONAL PARK

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Day two was a lot brighter and drier. Riding through the Gorge du Verdon National Park was stunning – we went through lots of small villages surrounded by beautiful scenery.
We settled down in a campsite called Camping Peyrengue near Moustiers Sainte Marie.
It was a very cheap campsite which also had its own little bar and restaurant plus a cute Labrador pup. 

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DAY THREE: FROM THE NATIONAL PARK TO CASSIS THROUGH NICE, FREJUS AND CAVALAIRE-SUR-MER

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 21.34.17.pngWe woke up early and rode to Pont du Galetas to find a kayak rental place. It was really easy to find it and also to rent a kayak. We were ready to kayak by 8.30am and that was the perfect time as there were not many people around.

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Pont du Galetas
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Kayaking through the Gorge

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After kayaking, we rode on through the scenic route to Nice. We did not stay in Nice for very long, we stopped for a while at the beach and decided that was enough.

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The rest of the day consisted of riding through the iconic cote-d’azur until we reached Cassis. When in Cassis, we looked for a little hotel/B&B as we would stay for two nights.

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View from the rooftop in our hotel

DAY FOUR: KAYAKING FROM CASSIS BEACH TO CALANQUE D’EN-VAU

Day four was amazing! We rented a kayak for the whole day and kayaked from Cassis to Calanque d’en-vau in under one hour. The Calanques cannot be reached by car, the only way is to walk or go by water. We thought that kayaking was the quickest and easiest way for us. Take a peak at this amazing place below ↓

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DAY FIVE: SPENDING THE DAY IN LA CIOTAT AND THEN RIDING TO ANNONAY

Day five was the day we needed to start making our way back to London. We made a quick trip to La Ciotat – a little town near Cassis – before we started making our way back. We visited the Calanque de Figuerolles. Later in the afternoon we started our journey back and settled down in a campsite near Annonay. 

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DAY SIX: RIDING FROM ANNONAY TO A TOWN NEAR PARIS

We camped on the last night in a little town just outside of Paris. It was a ghost town and the only open place was a kebab shop. 

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DAY SEVEN: TIME TO GO HOME

We woke up quite early as we needed to get our ferry back to Dover from Calais. Bye bye motorbike adventure.

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3 TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP TO THE SOUTH OF FRANCE

  • The best time to go is during Spring. Best month: May. Everything is likely to be cheaper and there are less people/tourists.
  • Go camping for a few nights if you can. The money you save by camping means you can spend it on a nice meal in a cosy restaurant (or however you wish to spend it)
  • Steer clear from the well-known cities like Nice, Cannes, Marseille and enjoy the little towns and national parks instead.

Thank you for reading and see you for the next adventure post! ♥

Hiking and Camping at Buttermere and Helvellyn, Lake District National Park

March 2016: 5-hour drive from London

Fancy going on an adventure for the weekend but you are short on money or cannot take many holidays off? Why not try a bit of camping? The Lake District sits on the north west part of the UK and it is beautiful – a must see if you live in the UK.

In March 2016, we drove up to the Lakes for a weekend and camped near Buttermere Lake. We left London on a Friday evening and stayed at a very cheap hotel by the motorway near the Lake District region so that we could wake up early on Saturday morning and drive up to the start point of our hike.


Saturday: Day 1 of Hiking in Buttermere 

We had asked a local if we could leave our car near their house overnight and then started our hike (alternatively, you can leave the car on a road lay-by). Our route was similar to the below.

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Take a look through some of our journey below.

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FullSizeRender 17.jpgFullSizeRender 24.jpgFullSizeRender 54.jpg As days in March are short, we had to settle down a bit early that day -around 6pm. After looking for a while, we had found just the perfect spot for a quiet and scenic camp.

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Sunday: Day 2 of Hiking in Helvellyn

We drove from Buttermere to Gillside Campsite in Glenridding on Sunday morning and left the car in the campsite before walking up to Helvellyn. The campsite is ideal if you want to take this route as it is the closest to the path from Glenridding.

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Day 3: Monday – Time to say goodbye and head home.

Thank you for your time and see you for the next adventure post. =)