Scotland Trip – part 1

I went to Scotland in the Summer with my sister and her family and having spent a day in the Peak district, the next day we continued driving north to our destination, Scotland.

On the drive up we could see the landscape change. The view became more hilly and the greens became deeper and more lush. With the grey clouds chasing us the view became quite dramatic but so beautiful.

Once we arrived at the hotel we checked in, found somewhere to have dinner and then had an early night.

The next day we spent at a theme park so the kids could have some fun (and me of course). We walked through the nearby country park to the rides on what was a bright, beautiful day. Quite a change from the day before.

We spent some time on the rides, and then we visited the small indoor rainforest which was also on site. Here they had some quite impressive species, and we spent time marvelling at the different and some quite deadly animals we could see.

We spent the afternoon at a park as the sun was out with some friends of my sister and her family who then invited us back to theirs for dinner, which was a nice end to the day.

Chatsworth House

Earlier in the year my sister was kind enough to invite me to go away with her and her family for a few days to Scotland. We were driving up so we decided to make a stop on the way to break up the long journey from London. We stopped around half way at the Peak District and while we weren’t able to spend any time in the country park I did suggest going to Chatsworth House, a place I’ve wanted to go to for years (as any Pride and Prejudice fan will understand).

Driving towards the house I suddenly spotted it sitting in the amazing green landscape with the Peaks as it’s backdrop. I couldn’t wait to get a closer look.

We only had an afternoon so we decided to explore the gardens where we could also have a picnic instead of going inside the house. The gardens were huge and were broken down in different parts. There were flowery gardens which were organised and had some very pretty flowers in them.

There was also the Victorian rock garden where I didn’t know what to expect but I was quite impressed with. The kids (and some adults) seemed to love climbing up the rock sculptures which were scattered at different heights. We ended up climbing quite high after following steps to wherever they took us.

There was the Cascade Fountain on the grounds too, which had water flowing down a long pathway of steps. It was quite an amazing feature due to it’s size and how perfectly it sat in with the slope of the hillside.

Walking on, we found a maze which was sadly closed but I loved the gate at the parameters which seemed to be in the shape of the face of a certain gentleman perhaps.

We finally made out way around to the other side of Chatsworth house, where there was a huge fountain called the Emperor fountain. We had actually spotted the water shooting high up in the air on our drive down and wondered what it was. The water shoots up upto 300 feet into the air.

The Emperor fountain sits in front of the house. Here was the iconic view from the films and photos that we always see. The house was simply stunning in all grandeur.

The house had been celebrating dogs so there were statues of them scattered statues around the house. Maybe a good idea to help give the house some scale.

Having spent some time taking pictures and admiring the house we started making our way towards the gift shop and then the car as the kids (and the rest of us) were tired and the dark clouds that had been present all afternoon had finally decided to let loose and pour down on us. I really enjoyed our visit and it’s a place I can finally tick off my bucket list. I really hope I can come back one day and explore the house and walk further into the grounds. A memorable visit for sure.

Springtime Park Visit

Things have changed a lot here in London over the last few weeks as I’m sure it has around the world. Before they did though I did spend a few days out and about. One sunny day I spent in a local park, taking in the blossoming trees and interacting with the wildlife, just as Spring was beginning to spring.

The sky was bright blue and the clouds were light and fluffy creating great reflections on the lake.

As I walked through the park I spotted lots of flowers already blooming or that had been planted to bring in some colour.

There was a smaller garden that I passed by which has a carved owl statue and some pretty gates. Nearby was a small stream where ducks and geese were soaking up the sunshine.

Further along were some huge vibrant green fields, the product of all the rain we’ve had recently. There were also lots of curious, friendly squirrels that were brave enough to come close enough for food. I eventually gave in and gave this cheeky little one some food I had in my bag, which it took straight out of my hand.

There were other little spots tucked away around the park which had some lovely flowers blooming too.

I enjoyed my walk around the park, always find it calming to be in nature and just to be able to switch off from the world for a while.

As things develop at a rapid and unsettling pace around the world, I hope you all are staying safe and well and that we all get through these unpredictable times. I pray that our loved ones are safe too and that this pandemic that has struck the world so suddenly disappears as quickly as it came.

Soaring Seagulls

I took my little nieces to the park on a bright, blustery winter’s day, to help them burn off some energy and to stretch my legs. They started off by racing through a whole flock of seagulls who were happily feasting on bread that someone had dumped. The birds soared in the bright blue sky as my nieces chased them, screeching loudly at being disturbed.

Seagulls

Winter sunset

One of the things I love in Winter, especially on a cloudless day are the amazing sunsets that I can see from my desk at work. The beautiful shades of orange and yellows that blaze just before succumbing to darkness always makes the London skyline that I can see in the distance even more enticing.

Regents Park in Spring

The recent Easter break in London was accompanied with soaring temperatures, and I wanted to make the most of having a couple of extra days off work and the great weather. I love the royal parks in London so I decided to explore Regents park especially as Spring is well and truly in swing.

The area surrounding Regents park is quite posh, the Regency style buildings look really elegant with their tall pillars. Upon entering the park I was greeted with a beautiful, colourful flower display, a theme that carried on throughout the park.

Walking through the main path I came across a pretty pink, blossomed tree overhanging a stream that I thought looked iconic of Spring.

Walking over the nearby bridge I came across wonderful weeping willow trees and what I loved even more was that the humble daisy was making it’s mark too among it’s beautiful cousins by creating what seemed a carpet white. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many daises before.

Further on I came across some more beautifully arranged flower displays, the colours and types all cleverly and carefully working together.

Moving away from the flower displays I spotted trees that had pink and white blossoms. There were plenty of flowers on the trees but the grass seemed to be covered in pink and white petals, making all look very pretty. One blossom tree that really intrigued me had dark red flowers and red leaves too. I’ve never seen a tree like this before so it was nice to come across it.

Following the path through the trees I came across a garden with a waterfall so I tried to make the water look misty by slowing down the shutterspeed. I think my photo came out ok but I still need to work on my skills.

Also in the area I saw a well-dressed scarecrow guarding the allotments and its early sprouting vegetables, people sheltering from the sun under the long droopy branches of willow trees with a book, and a really interesting but slightly creepy tree with branches that were growing and intertwining with the fence it was next to.

As well as the areas of that park that were groomed and very orderly, there was a section that had trees and foliage growing more wildly. I liked that you could go off track if you wanted to and get lost among tall tress and less beaten path.

At this point, having walked around for a few hours (and getting lost a couple of time), it was starting to become quite hot and I was getting tired, so I thought I should leave and get something to eat. I headed towards the Avenue gardens and the exit nearby. The Avenue gardens have lots of formal displays of flowers and fountains. I like that they have used flowers in some of the fountains too instead of water to create an interesting look.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Regents park and I loved the wonderfully varied, colourful, flower displays, which all made me smile. I look forward to visiting other royal parks soon and coming back here to see what more there is.

Southend

We’ve had some unexpected warmer weather recently so to make the most of it I made a trip to the nearest coast; Southend. My last visit was a few years ago so I was keen to see what had changed. I love being by the sea, I find it so calming and it’s always a welcome change of scenery.

When I arrived it was still a little hazy and misty so the sea wasn’t quite as clear as I expected. Looking across the fairground rides the sea looked welcoming. Walking down to sea level, the first thing I did was head towards the longest pleasure pier in the world at 1.34 miles long. Walking along the pier is a must for me and I wanted to do this before it got busy.

Walking along the pier there were benches where you could rest. I loved that each one I came across had a pretty seaside themed silhouette scene on the backrest.

Eventually I reached the top of the pier where there surprisingly, some colourfully decorated beach huts. I thought they looked great, especially as the sun had now come out through the clouds and made the colours pop. I think my favourite was the rainbow one with the giant silver ball on the roof.

There was also a restaurant and a RNLI Lifeboat base and giftshop, so I bought a few souvenirs for my sisters.

After taking in the view and soaking in the warm, bright sun at the top of the pier I decided I should head back to the coast and get some lunch. There’s a train that runs along the pier too but I decided to walk back as I was in no rush.

Having had lunch I decided to take a walk along the beach and take in the view from the coast end to the pier. The beach is a pebbly one and there were lots of seashells and oyster shells scattered throughout. I picked a few up before finding a spot to rest. By late afternoon the wind was feeling cooler so I headed back to the station. On my way back I found some really cool street art, which I stopped to look at and admire.

The train home was quick and easy and I left Southend feeling refreshed. I hope to visit again soon and would definitely recommend a visit.

Bournemouth Family Trip

At the end of Summer I went to Bournemouth for a few days with my family, it was initially meant to be a several days away for a few of us, but in the end it was 15 of us in our cars heading to the coast.

On the day we got to Bournemouth and once we were settled into our hotel rooms, we decided to make the most of the rest of the day and headed to the beachfront. Although it was late summer it was still pretty warm, especially as we have had an incredibly hot summer this year in the UK.

We all spent time splashing around in the sea, relaxing on the beach and then when it became too cold we started our way back to our room to freshen up and then go to dinner. I found it incredibly refreshing to be by the sea and away from the city landscape.

The next day we split up into smaller groups, with my group first going to the aquarium. I didn’t really take many photos here as the lighting wasn’t great, and with the thick glass it was difficult, so I just enjoyed my young nieces’ excitement at the various fish and sea creatures they saw and tried to guess the names of, and walked steadily through the exhibits taking in the sights, sounds and smells.

After the aquarium we decided to go to the gardens that were nearby. There are Lower, Central and Upper Gardens, which seem to stretch on for miles, with changing flora and fauna to create various textures as you walk through.

After lunch we had planned to do some more activities but it rained for the rest of the day. It didn’t stop me though; I asked my sister, her husband and her daughter to pick me up and we made our way to another beach close by called Boscome. It was still raining steadily and it was quite windy too on the seafront, but I thought it felt refreshing and a change from the sun. I was also really pleased to find some colourful beach huts, which I have been on the look out for whenever I go to the coast.

We didn’t stay too long, as it was getting cold and quiet late. After my sister dropped me back at my hotel I rested before getting ready for dinner and then to watch the fireworks on the pier.

On the third day we packed our bags and checked out, ready to leave Bournemouth, but before we did we made a detour to Durdle Door, which is along the Jurassic Coast, and is a World Heritage Site. I’ve been go Durdle Door a few years ago and loved it, so I definitely wanted to visit again. There’s a really steep rocky path that leads from the car park to the coast edge, and then a steep set of stairs that lead to the beach. On my last visit you had to walk strategically on rocks to get down and then back up again, thankfully since then they’ve carved out steps that make it much easier.

The view from the top was amazing, and we were lucky to have some fantastic, sunny weather too, making the blues of the sea and sky really striking.

Once on the beach we soaked in the sun and the sea breeze while walking along the pebbly beach.

We didn’t stay too long, before making our climb back up to the car and heading towards another place nearby called Lulworth Cove. This is also along the Jurassic Coast and seemed to have a lot of boats sitting in the arc made naturally by the sea.

After sitting on the white pebbled beach and relaxing for a while, we made our way back to the car, visiting the gift shop along the way and started our very long journey home.

The trip to Bournemouth was great, I really liked that there was a lot to see and do, and most of it didn’t cost very much or was completely free. We had some really good weather and I loved walking along the various seafronts, and exploring the seemingly endless gardens. I would go back again some day as I’m sure there’s much more to do than what we covered in the few days that we were there.

Primrose Hill

In North London there is a park call Primrose Hill, and when you climb up the steep hill, the park is names after, and reach the top you are rewarded with a stunning view of London’s skyline. I was lucky to go on a clear day and loved the urban London landscape juxtaposed with the nature’s greenery. I would definitely recommend a visit, but go early to beat the crowds.

Brighton – part 2

The Royal Pavilion is one of the most famous sights at Brighton, but you can’t come all the way to the coast without making it to the sea, and that was the next stop on my trip earlier this year.

It was a beautiful, sunny, day and although not the warmest, the deep blue sea sparkled against the largely cloudless sky. First off my friend and I headed to the pier where there were traditional rides and a stripy helter skelter.

We then walked along the very pebbly beach, which was quite a work out and just soaked in the view and the sun as well as just enjoying the stiff breeze against our faces. Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with delicious ice creams and colourful slushies.

One of the things we looked out for on the coast was the bandstand and when we came across it we could see why it was considered so iconic. It was right on the seafront and the Victorian style was stunning against the sea and sky.

Something else I unexpectedly saw nearby was the shell of a pier. Looking into the details, the West Pier had burnt down in 2003 and the remains were left and have since become one of the most photographed landmarks in Brighton, and it’s not hard to see why. Juxtaposed against the old was Brighton’s newest attraction; a moving viewing platform. I didn’t have time to go on myself, but I can imagine the views were amazing.

After spending some more time just walking along the seafront, we slowly started making our way back through the town centre and towards the station, to head home. We were really lucky to have such great weather for the day out in Brighton; there was plenty to keep my friend and I interested and there were some really beautiful views and buildings to photograph. I would very much recommend a visit to anyone who is interested.