Oxford Travel Guide

University campus, high streets, restaurants, markets…

Things to do in Oxford

 

Walk around the university buildings

Of course Oxford is most famous for its university and when you arrive in Oxford, you’ll see why. The buildings are stunning. Walking around the centre of Oxford you will pass the majority of main university buildings, as the colleges are spread across the city.

Oxford University

28033540_10204161977526720_129742

Oxford university building
The Bridge of Sighs

Shop and eat

Oxford’s centre is full of high street shops and restaurants.

28033573_10204161979486769_2041821252_o (1)

Including the most beautiful Pret.

27999831_10204161979446768_969387075_o

28033452_10204161979126760_839021682_o

Westgate shopping centre is the perfect shopping hub and even has a rooftop terrace with several different restaurants.

Visit the Modern Art Gallery

Entrance to Modern Art Oxford

Oxford’s Modern Art Gallery is free. And tiny. Don’t expect much. It’s got a small shop and cute cafe, but despite its size, the gallery is worth visiting for a exhibit called ‘Speakers’ by Swedish artist Nicolas Party.

Nicolas Party Speakers Oxford museum

Yes. Those are huge heads. Trust me, the exhibit is definitely worth a visit.

Head inside the indoor market

28033494_10204161978126735_1569570989_o

Oxford’s covered market is definitely worth a visit. Inside you’ll find small boutique shops, cafes and… a butcher… be warned, it’s not for the faint hearted!

 

Overall, Oxford is perfect for a day trip. It’s got beautiful buildings, high street shops, great restaurants, a modern art gallery and…

Wetherspoons Oxford

A great Wetherspoons.

 

Read my Cambridge travel guide by clicking here!

Advertisements

5 reasons why you should visit Brighton

1. The Pier

Brighton’s pier has to be one of the most photographed places in the whole of Brighton. You’ll no doubt have seen its iconic sign before, and it’s definitely worth seeing for yourself.

2. The Lanes

Brighton is known for The Lanes, a unique group of roads which are filled with bars, restaurants and shops ranging from high street to independent.

3. The Beach

Of course, Brighton is worth visiting for its beach alone. The pebble beach is wide and perfect for sitting on to watch the waves.

4. The seafront

Along the seafront is a variety of small shops and cafes, so there’s plenty to do by the sea.

5. The sunset

Okay, sunsets may be nice everywhere, but can you really beat this?

There’s plenty more reasons why you should visit Brighton. To read what I got up to on my first visit there, click here.

How to Find Cheap Accommodation

One of the biggest questions with travel is the cost. How can you afford it? But, if you look in the right places, travelling doesn’t have to be expensive. After several trips I began to find my favourite websites for finding cheap hotels and apartments, so today I decided to put them all together in a post as a little travel tip list.

How to find cheap accommodation

Airbnb:

It’s no secret by now that Airbnb is one of the easiest ways to find cheap accommodation. Airbnb is a website which lists available accommodation according to location, with verified hosts and travellers. Simply enter your destination and it lists all available rooms. These can vary from caravans to single rooms in someone’s house to an outhouse in someone’s garden. There’s a wide variety of room types and locations – even within your preferred area. It’s useful to examine the map location, as some properties are farther out than they initially advertise.

TIP: use the filters to narrow your search – enter your desired price and room type so you don’t have to scour through everything on offer.

Onthebeach.co.uk

I’ve spoken about this website already in my post on how to find cheap flights, which you can read here if you wish. Onthebeach is a really easy to use website, it’s best for package deals, but it totally cuts out the middle man – the travel agent. Because it’s online, you aren’t paying the excess commission, you’re doing the work yourself – but it’s so easy! Simply enter your destination, your desired dates and browse! I’ve found some amazing deals on here, including a five day, all inclusive stay in Crete for £200!

It’s definitely worth a search.

Hostels

This is the classic cheap option when travelling, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Hostels are a great option if you’re planning on spending full days out sightseeing and just want the basics. I’ve seen hostels as cheap as £6 a night for some destinations – and I’m sure cheaper prices exist. Don’t splurge – this is a totally budget option, it’s worth hunting around online to find the best value.

Book Last Minute

So this isn’t a website, but this tip is important to find the best deals. To truly find cheap accommodation, you should try booking about a month or two before your trip. Hotels don’t want empty rooms, and by this time they’re slashing prices to fill up. Always try to book as late as you can for the best deals.

(If you can) Avoid School Holidays

From my experience, the cheapest months to travel are usually April and May, but you can find some great deals out of the UK’s holiday season. If you can, always avoid the peak weeks – the school holidays, the end of July until the beginning of September are always the most expensive because of the demand, so definitely try to avoid this period.

And most importantly…

Shop Around

Never book the first deal you find, it is always worth searching around for other deals, so be patient, some deals are hidden.

27484884_10204114001447348_49305503_o

I hope these tips help with your next trip, if you want to find out about how to book cheap flights, you can read my blog post on it by clicking here.

Free London – Hidden Gems – Little Venice, Paddington

Deep in west London (well, not that deep, or that west) is a small suburban area called Paddington. Yes, it was where Paddington Bear was found, and the reason he was named Paddington, but it also hosts one of London’s hidden gems, which is free to visit.

27484523_10204114207412497_1494765016_o

Within and next to huge office blocks are restaurants, cafes and large fake-grass covered steps, which are actually perfect to sit and people watch from.

27484932_10204114206372471_551662298_o

Little Venice is a small canal which filters through Paddington. It’s filled with house boats and is surrounded by canal-side restaurants and coffee shops, which as you can see, are lit up at night.

27537445_10204114206452473_1999726607_o

Little Venice is a summer haven because of its waterside, outdoor seats but is also perfect for winter. Each restaurant has glowing outside fairy lights and toasty, warm interiors.

27606255_10204114205972461_9108804_o

For a free experience of Little Venice, simply walk along the canal, day or night time. Unlike the majority of London, the canal walk isn’t heaving with people – at night it’s actually positively peaceful, apart from the odd bicycle rider who may scoot past. Bright lights beam across the water and huge, white wash, millions of pounds- Paddington houses loom over the canal.

 

Despite its lack of publicity, Paddington truly does host London’s answer to Venice, Little Venice is well worth an evening stroll or a romantic meal.

Bournemouth Travel Guide

Bournemouth is the place to go for a classic British sea front. It may not have the most busy and thriving town and nightlife, but its huge stretch of golden sand more than make up for its calm streets. Don’t get me wrong, Bournemouth is far from derelict, it’s filled with chain restaurants and shops and a beautiful garden leading from the town to the beach, but it’s definitely a calm place. There’s not much of a hustle and bustle here, granted, we were out of season, but for a break, Bournemouth is the perfect place.

Bournemouth’s huge beachfront is lined with hundreds of multi coloured beach huts which can be hired out when you visit.

27485312_10204114001287344_928169211_o

Bournemouth’s beach is the ultimate relaxing destination, it’s a place to truly unwind and lay back from the bustle of a city.

27604013_10204114001167341_890856166_o

27604447_10204114001527350_741226198_o

On a windier day, if you’re feeling active, you can squeeze into a wet suit and join surfers, as Bournemouth has some huge waves.

27535621_10204114001767356_1928094615_o

With such an inviting seafront, of course you can eat with a sea view and Bournemouth restaurants perfect for foodies.

27536832_10204114001047338_904078357_o

A huge Harry Ramsden’s restaurant sits seafront for all of your fish and chip needs, or for something a little further a field, walk across the seafront towards Boscombe, to the Urban Reef Seafront Restaurant, a charming place full of character with a great view of the seafront.

Or for something a little more ordinary, head into the town, especially if you’re a literature buff.

27485076_10204114001807357_706694933_o

Yes, a Wetherspoons named after Mary Shelley herself.

27604981_10204114001687354_1533763661_o

If you’re looking for a relaxing British escape, Bournemouth is a laid-back, calm option that you should definitely consider. A day or two here is enough to see the sights and to have a few long seafront sits. It’s more than worth a visit.

 

Looking for something a little more lively? Check out my travel guide on Brighton by clicking here.

 

Cambridge Travel Guide

Cambridge is one of the most quintessentially British towns in the country. It’s a British tourist’s haven, it’s got a city and countryside combined feel.

27604958_10204109423612905_1483507939_o

The town is filled with classic British architecture, with black and white buildings and Tudor style buildings. The city also contains many large, grand Cambridge University buildings which are spread out across the city. You can visit some of these buildings and go on tours of the university campus.

27399144_10204109423172894_1741942088_o

27485318_10204109423412900_288943922_o

Despite its historic look, Cambridge definitely has a city feel, there’s a large shopping centre and many small winding streets filled with everything from high street shops to small independent stores. Expect chain and individual restaurants and a range of coffee shops and bars.

27604672_10204109423012890_363617908_o

27484971_10204109423452901_1495770585_o

Of course Cambridge is famous for its punt tours along the river Cam, so if it’s warm enough when you visit, definitely take a trip, there’s lots of tour guides and people standing advertising the tours, so you can easily book your trip when you arrive.

There’s also a great Wetherspoons which is well worth a visit for a cheap drink at the end of the day.

24129681_10203907172476753_1878428483407303244_n

Have you ever been to Cambridge? It’s the perfect city to get that classic British feel.

Look at my ‘Destinations’ for other Travel Guides.

Top 5 Things to do in Rome

Rome is arguably the most romantic city in the world, but whether you’re travelling with your other half or alone, I’ve compiled the 5 best things to do in the city of Rome.

  1. Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

This was my favourite experience of my whole time in Rome. You can hear the fountain before you see it, and when you see it… it is so beautiful.

27393684_10204106312255123_1934944482_o

Of course you have to throw a coin in the fountain, two, in fact, traditionally one coin is for love and one is to hope that one day you will return to Rome.

27484551_10204106312535130_1614812715_o

And while you’re in the area…

2. Sample some of the Italian food

Of course, Rome is full of Italian restaurants, and of course you have to try the food in the most authentic place.

27535246_10204106308615032_646068515_o

27398908_10204106318695284_699648053_o27536998_10204106320615332_1631379139_o

27484680_10204106313415152_1180929997_o

3. Wander around the city

This may seem obvious, but to get the feel of a city you have to have a wander around the centre of it.

27479488_10204106319255298_1152133446_o

27394013_10204106320095319_1814113095_o

27480235_10204106320375326_1193654582_o

4. Visit the Colosseum

Rome is famous for its colosseum and it is truly spectacular to see. Snap some pictures during your walk towards it.

27536746_10204106309215047_2006287083_o

27394082_10204106309815062_1408178354_o

5. Enter Vatican City

Obviously, this is technically not in Rome, but if you are in Rome, Vatican City is a must see.

27485350_10204106315335200_1123088321_o

Whether you’re a Catholic or not, or a Protestant or not, or religious or not, you should definitely visit St Peter’s Basilica, it’s free to enter and is a truly stunning building.

St Peter's Basilica

27536909_10204106317095244_984878277_o

27535683_10204106316415227_1296442049_o-e1517078073367.jpg

 

What are your favourite places to visit in Rome?

For tips on how to find cheap flights, read my blog post by clicking here.

Top 5 Things to do in Barcelona

During the summer I was lucky enough to visit Barcelona. Barcelona is a cultural hub, with endless things to do, but here’s the best five I’ve experienced.

1. Watch the Magic Fountain

The Magic Fountain Barcelona

27335237_10204101267689012_1728365967_o

Hundreds of people gather to watch the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. As loud music plays, the water lights up and if you’re sat close enough, you even feel a light spray.

27479199_10204101267489007_1852858045_o

27335886_10204101267569009_727147042_o

Head here to watch the sunset and be in awe of such a beautiful experience. Get there early, as the area quickly fills up with people. But the crowd and wait is more than worth it.

2. Visit Tibidabo

Tibidabo is one of Barcelona’s hidden gems. As you make your way around the city, you can see a tall spire and castle-like building up atop of a huge mountain – that’s Tibidabo.

27484672_10204101267048996_1159944769_o

Religion and amusements combine here as an enormous church is adjacent to an amusement park with views over the whole city.

27479484_10204101267209000_338661225_o

 

3. Walk through the city

A fairly obvious one, but for the Barcelona experience, you have to walk the streets. Head to Las Ramblas for one of the main tourist hubs, with markets and street performers lining the streets.

27335981_10204101269729063_1084628967_o

27394091_10204101268169024_1641454433_o

 

4. Shop

Head over to Maremagnum shopping centre for all of your retail needs. And whilst you’re there…

 

5. Watch boats at the harbour

Next to the Maremagnum shopping centre is a large harbour filled with boats, the perfect location for a post-shopping wander.

27480041_10204101268049021_98209916_o

Honorable mentions:

Barcelona Beach

The beach is definitely worth a visit but it can be incredibly busy. The beach can also be full of people trying to sell things to tourists – illegally, so definitely watch out for that.

 

Have you been to Barcelona? What are your favourite spots?

 

Click here to read my blog post about how I find cheap flights!

Travelling on a Budget: How to find Cheap Flights – the best websites

Whether it’s a holiday or a year of travel, these websites will help you save money on your travel.

Sky Scanner:

Sky Scanner is a website which compares hundreds of flights so you can find the cheapest deal.

How to find cheap flights

 

How to use:

  1. Enter your departing airport
  2. Enter your destination
  3. Instead of entering specific dates – select the entire month
  4. Look at the flights available throughout the month and select the cheapest

Yes, it’s really that simple!

Great for:

  • Any holiday
  • Finding the cheapest deal

 

Icelolly

Ice lolly is a package holiday website which offers some of the best accommodation and flight deals.

How to find cheap flights

How to use:

  1. Decide whether you’re looking for a package deal or only flights or hotels
  2. Enter your destination
  3. Enter your departing airport
  4. Choose your dates

Great for:

  • Summer holidays
  • Beach holidays
  • Last minute deals

Onthebeach

On The Beach offers some of the best holiday package deals on the web.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 10.35.05

How to use:

  1. Decide whether you want a package deal or only flight or hotel
  2. Type in your destination
  3. Type in your departing airport
  4. Enter your dates

Great for:

  • Summer breaks
  • Flights or accommodation

The next time you’re booking a trip, look at these websites for the best deals.

 

Check out my Edinburgh itinerary by clicking here

The Ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide

The top free things to do in Edinburgh.

I recently travelled to Edinburgh, somewhere I have been desperate to visit for as long as I can remember. After scouring Trip Advisor and many travel blogs for the best things to do in Edinburgh, I compiled my itinerary and have written this blog to inform you of my favourite free things to do in Edinburgh.

Walk Down The Royal Mile and The High Street

The Royal Mile and Edinburgh’s High Street are essentially one long combined street, walk from one end to the other to explore coffee shops, quirky cafes and Scottish stores alike. A highlight of The Royal Mile is its indoor market complete with stunning stained-glass windows and stalls.

20727010_10203513812162991_310565709_o

20706141_10203513811442973_981125502_o

 

20706167_10203513811402972_1218486521_o

Walk up to Edinburgh Castle

After walking from the Royal Mile to the High Street, continue straight to reach Edinburgh Castle. Although you have to pay to enter, you can stand outside of the castle for free and marvel at its bemusing exterior. The walk up to the castle also consists of charming cobbled streets and Scottish memorabilia shops.

20706177_10203513816283094_1006581081_o

20706113_10203513816363096_1308822588_o

Walk Up Calton Hill

Calton Hill is a hill near Princes Street which consists of a short walk up to stunning views over the whole city. Hundreds of people sit, walk and relax on the hill.

20707407_10203513812723005_1871557323_o

20727733_10203513812523000_1273598484_o

20726858_10203513812843008_1254741375_o

 

Sit on Princes Street Gardens

Speaking of Princes Street, by all means visit the main street for a splurge in the expensive retail shops but don’t miss Princes Street Gardens, a large green park with winding paths and huge sprawling trees.

20746764_10203513813163016_1989225407_o

20684503_10203513813203017_1143474209_o

Visit Harry Potter hotspots

It’s a well known fact that JK Rowling started writing Harry Potter in Edinburgh and her initial inspiration is still evident across the city. Walk down Victoria Street to see what inspired Diagon Alley.

 

20727341_10203513816083089_1404317372_o.jpg

Head to The Elephant House Cafe to see where Rowling began writing the Harry Potter story. Filled with tourists, don’t worry about getting inside, being able to stand outside and see where such an iconic book series began is truly magical.

20706970_10203513814843058_1765663128_o

20705995_10203513814883059_488075182_o

Walk up Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is the main peak in a groups of hills in Edinburgh. There are several paths up to the peak but the quickest is to walk along Queen’s Drive and then follow a trail walk up a steep set of steps. Be warned, this is no easy walk but it’s well worth it.

20707220_10203513813403022_948029269_o

20684373_10203513813483024_170448013_o

20706978_10203513813643028_1959189098_o

 

So those are my top free things to do in Edinburgh. Edinburgh has definitely been one of my top travel experiences over the past year, I loved the traditional feel and historic atmosphere. It’s well worth visiting. Have you ever been to Edinburgh? What is your favourite thing to do there? Let me know in the comments and look out for my next post on my most recent trip!

 

To check out my guide to Stratford Upon Avon, click here