Let me introduce you to The Beach (yes, that’s actually what it’s called), located just 45 minutes to an hour from London.Continue reading “The Sandy Beach Near London You Probably Didn’t Know About”
Last weekend, a friend and I were thinking of things to do that was different and not too far, when she stumbled across Mayfield Lavender Farm. Only half an hour to an hour away from London, Mayfield Lavender Farm is a huge family-run lavender field in Banstead, available for visitors in to walk around in, take pictures, stop by the cafe and even buy some home-grown lavender of their own!
What caught my eye is obviously how beautiful it looked in the pictures, and it did not disappoint. It’s 25 acres of blossoming lavenders that honestly just looks endless from the bottom – how much more picture-worthy can you get? It was evident that I wasn’t the only one keen to take photos either, with nearly every visitor snapping pictures on their phone or cameras. It’s no shock that photographers also flock in to snap photos either (although you do need to register beforehand if you do want to take commercial photography).
We went on a Saturday, which ended up being very busy, so I would recommend getting there early, or even coming on a weekday. They have a car park with free parking next to the fields, but again, it does get busy quite quickly so I would come earlier. They do have a second car park up the road, but I believe you have to pay for that car park. Otherwise, you can take public transport from London Victoria (if travelling from central London).
Once you get there, if walking in, you may have to queue for a ticket in, otherwise if you park inside the fields, they take your payment as you’re driving in (card only at the moment). The entry ticket is £4 or free for children under 16.
Once You Get There
You’re pretty much free to roam around, chill and take as many pictures as you like! It’s a nice little walk to take to go up and down, and the smell is incredible! We kept commenting how we could’ve gone to sleep surrounded by all of the lavenders. If you’re shy to take photos – don’t be! Literally every family, couple and even solo visitors were taking photos! We saw this one girl who came alone and bought the whole setup – tripod, camera, the handheld button for the camera timer – all to take pictures of herself in the field. If she can go all out for the photos, so can you! For those keen photographers, they even have little unique ‘structures’ dotted around the field to take pictures by, like a red telephone box.
We spent a bit of time at the shop/cafe too. They also have a few picnic benches under the shade of a gazebo to enjoy anything you eat or drink there. We stopped by one of the food trucks to get some food and drinks, and funnily enough, most of the menu incorporated lavender! I got myself a lemon and lavender drizzle cake (which was more like a lemon and lavender muffin in all honesty) and it was the first time I’ve tried lavender in something. So if you’re a curious foodie, why not give it a go?
I also found out, when I got some apple juice, that Mayfield Lavender also own an apple orchard, so the apple juice is also grown and produced there too. They have a range of drinks and cakes (including a GF carrot cake option, which was unfortunately sold out when we went) along with a cafe, so this compensates for the fact they don’t allow picnics due to discarded rubbish left in the fields.
Unfortunately, there’s not many. There’s quite a lack of social distancing and not many hand sanitizing stations around, so bring a mask and your own hand sanitizer if you go.
It’s beautiful! I’m glad I went. It’s stunning and I didn’t realise that we had something like this so close to London (I honestly thought the closest lavender field was in Kent). The best time to come, considering the peak time for the bloom of the lavenders, would be late July to early August, but as you can imagine, it would be pretty busy.
It was nice to just do something different for a change and it was very much up my alley – flowers, photography and a sunny day. I would recommend going at least once, however I would be cautious of the social distancing/coronavirus measures if you go. Other than that, embrace your inner photographer and have a nice day out!
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We can finally travel! I’ve been wanting to explore and see new places so badly since lockdown started, and have been dreaming up locations from the get go. Although not every area is safe to go to, I thought for those planning to travel sometime soon, I’d post some suggestions and inspiration for your next visit. I’ve included a few destinations for each country in which I’ve heard of, been too or just look nice from pictures I’ve seen) And for those who aren’t 100% comfortable travelling abroad right now but still want to go somewhere, I’ll add some English destinations too.
Happy searching!Continue reading “Places To Go For Your Next Getaway (England & Europe Edition)”
Just outside of the busy centre, you can take a wooden boat out for the day! Sure, boat hires are scattered all along the Thames, but the ones nearer to central London will often be more busy. The Richmond area offers peaceful scenery with beautiful houses and restaurants, with unique boats scattering the edges of the river.Continue reading “Things To Do In London: Richmond Boat Hire”
So you’re off to Amsterdam! You’ve mapped out which places you absolutely want to go and visit, but you want to make the most out of your trip and find the best food places available. All the places below have options for gluten-free meals, as the friend I travelled with is allergic (I’ve got the coeliac’s covered!) but there are also options for people (like me) that can luckily indulge in all the food they like. Most of these places also accept cash, so for everyone that doesn’t want to use their card, that’s covered too. Here are my top picks:
There’s no wonder this place is packed! For the best Dutch pancakes in town, this is the spot. I wanted to make sure to try something that’s Dutch whilst I was here, so we opted for pancakes, and Pancakes Amsterdam did not disappoint. I was thrilled with my monthly special pancake (apple, raisins and cinnamon) and my friend with her lemon and sugar gluten-free pancake. If Dutch pancakes aren’t your style, they also make American style pancakes. I even got a mini stroopwafel with my latte! Make sure to pop in here (preferably early to skip the queue) to indulge in your choice of a savoury or sweet pancake, and you will not be disappointed. It’s also based in a very picturesque area, so make sure to take a walk around after too.
Bakers and Roasters
One of my favourite places we went. Bakers and Roasters is a Kiwi/Brazilian fusion restaurant in a serene area, with lots of their ingredients being locally sourced, ethical, free-range and organic. I had the most amazing brunch there (would definitely recommend the ‘Vege Brekkie’) and frankly, it was faultless. Again, it’s a very busy place but it’s a lot bigger than Pancakes Amsterdam, so you shouldn’t have to wait for long. If you’re looking to stop off for breakfast or brunch somewhere, this has to be top of your list.
Bagels & Beans
Bagels & Beans is a great place to stop off for a quick lunch: the menu is filled with savoury, sweet, hot and cold bagels, porridges, salads and fresh juices, again with lots of the ingredients being natural and healthy. The café has a very tranquil atmosphere to it, with a mix of tourists and locals. The best part is, there’s more than one location around Amsterdam! Make sure to find your nearest if you’re in need of a quick fix.
The Hard Rock Café
Yes, there’s one in Amsterdam too! I had never been to a Hard Rock Café before this, but more than just the atmosphere of the restaurant, the food definitely didn’t disappoint. I opted for the Original Legendary Burger, and it had to be one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. For a fun, easy-going, delicious experience next to the canals, this is a definitely worth a visit for dinner.
As soon as you step inside, you can see that the restaurant has a warm, cosy and authentic Italian style to it. De Italiaan has wood-fired ovens, making the pizza next to none: the food was phenomenal and my friend commented that this was one of the best gluten-free pizza’s she had had. For a pleasant and enjoyable dinner, pop into here one evening and you will not be let down.
Grab a Bite and Go…
If you’re not looking for a complete meal, here are three places we quickly stopped off at along the way.
Manneken Pis: the best chips to go the city has to offer. Quick, easy and most importantly, tasty.
Croque Madam: A completely gluten-free café. A bit pricier but the pressed orange juice is lovely to grab and have a stroll with.
Amsterdam is a wonderful place with even more wonderful food. These are only a few options, so please leave any recommendations down below. And most importantly, enjoy your trip!
All pictures are my own unless stated otherwise.
My friend and I decided to book a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam one day, only for it to become one of the best trips I’ve been on to date. If you’re ever looking to go, let this be your sign! Amsterdam is a trip you have to do in your lifetime if you can. We were only there for 2 nights (3 days), so we had to make the most of it. Here are my top picks:
- The Van Gogh Museum
Our first stop on arrival: we were staying near the Rijksmuseum, so the Van Gogh Museum was a walk away. The area around there is beautiful too: a really calm, scenic area with multiple museums and shops dotted around. There was even an ice skating rink next to one of the café bars! The Van Gogh museum is packed with the history behind the man, his paintings, and work from the artists that inspired his well-known masterpieces. I was surprised about how many different styles he had that I didn’t know about: obviously there were the classic still-life pieces, but it was interesting to see his work inspired by peasant life, and even some nods towards his Japanese inspirations. If art tickles your fancy, or you just want to know more about the man himself, this is definitely worth a visit.
- The Moco Museum
So close to the Van Gogh Museum, it’s a must. If you’re not so interested in classic art, why not try the Moco Museum? It’s filled with modern and contemporary art, with, at the time of going (January 2020), holds a lot of Banksy pieces, which my friend and I showed a particular interest towards. His art in particular was so stimulating to the mind: so simplistic and modern, yet truly awe inspiring and so so clever. For a fun, quirky museum with all kinds of art (no spoilers!) give this a try.
- The Canals
Did you even really go to Amsterdam if you didn’t go to the canals? They’re everywhere! And they’re truly beautiful. Make sure to get lost in the city: take a walk and really take in how stunning yet quaint the city is. The buildings lining the canal are old fashioned and all different, which really highlights the city’s best features. We found a really beautiful and quiet alignment of canals when hunting for Dutch pancakes (food recommendations coming to the blog soon!) a short walk away from Elandsgracht tram stop. If you really want a full view of the city, why not try a canal cruise? There’s the option of a day time, night time and a light festival cruise (only available for a limited time). It’s really beautiful and gives you a full tour of the city from the water.
- The Red Light District
When walking towards the area, the narrow streets are lined with medieval buildings and not really much indication about what you’re going to approach. But when you get there, prostitution services are found one after the other, highlighted signs everywhere, red lights glooming over multiple windows. We went during the day, so there wasn’t many prostitutes at the window when we were there. However we did visit Red Light Secrets, the museum of prostitution. If you want to know more about the profession, all the questions you could ever want to know are answered there, lead via audio by one of Amsterdam’s most famous prostitutes. You’ll find out the good and the bad, and you’ll get to have a laugh at the hilarious confession wall, written by the public, at the end. If you don’t go for the museum, go to explore the beautiful buildings, café’s and shops around the area.
- The Shops and Café’s
A lot of our time was spent walking round, exploring the city and what it has to offer. So, I thought I’d share my two favourite locations to walk around, with canals, shops but mostly restaurants and café’s: the area around Elandsgracht was beautiful as it had cute, aesthetically pleasing shops and is filled with coffee shops if you need to stop and have a drink. My friend and I bought a little souvenir to remember the trip by (we both got rings) in a shop called ‘Pretty Things’, which provides jewellery and other beautiful and dainty souvenirs. The area around there is beautiful more a morning/afternoon stroll too, with lots of canals, churches and other beautiful sights. My second pick is the area around which we stayed, near the Rijksmuseum: there’s little parks scattered around, lots of shops, museums (as mentioned before), all with beautiful architecture and just makes for a wonderful walk round. Nearby the Heineken Museum (we didn’t go, but I heard it’s great!), there are plenty of well-known café’s, restaurants and even a huge market during the day, called the Albert Cuyp Market, located in the De Pijp area. If you’re looking for a more central shopping area, I would recommend Amsterdam – Centrum.
- The Anne Frank Museum
This is a must. Anne Frank was such an inspiring young girl, who went through so much and had such big dreams. She had so much hope, which I think is something we all need more of. In this museum, you see extracts from her diaries, her goals, ambitions and you get to walk through the annex she was hiding out in with her family. Its mind blowing really, thinking about how they were actually there, where everyone ate, slept, wrote, how careful they all had to be. It’s led via audio tour, telling you about the Nazi’s moves, rules, how Anne documented everything and eventually, how it all ended. If you want to know more about the war, or just want to get to know Anne Frank in more depth, this is something you have to visit.
If you’re going to Amsterdam for a weekend, these are my top recommendations. Travelling around is easy too: there are plenty of public transport links (we used a 3-day travel card, which works the same as an Oyster card, if you’re from London, which allowed us to use all methods of transport) which you can use to get around pretty much the whole city. It really couldn’t be easier! If you’re looking for a city break, this should definitely be top of your list.
All pictures are my own unless stated otherwise.