Ultimate Bucket List Guide To The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is set over miles and miles of valleys, moors, hills and pretty villages and towns in northern England. It is located in the county of Yorkshire and sits central on the Pennines in North Yorkshire and Cumbria and also includes a small part of Lancashire. Unlike some overseas National Parks the Yorkshire Dales isn’t a wilderness area, it’s full of lots of wildlife but also home to many people who farm the land and live and work in the area.

This national park has so many recreational activities to offer its visitors from hiking, walking trails, waterfalls, lakes, cave systems, ravines and limestone formations. The Dales is famous for the Three Peaks which are Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent mountains, the peaks form part of the Pennine range.

If your looking for some adventure and love the outdoors then the Yorkshire Dales are for you, they offer a good balance of stunning outdoor sights and you can stop, refresh, shop, eat and drink in its quintessential English villages and towns. You could spend weeks in the Dales and explore so much and not get bored once. We spent a long weekend up in the Dales and had 4 days to go sightseeing, however there was still plenty more we could have seen. We chose to visit some of the top sites in the area. So if your short on time here are the absolute bucket list must dos when in the Dales!

What To See & Do

Bolton Abbey

Entrance Fee: £10 per car for parking

Bolton Abbey is one of the Dales top attractions it’s an area of stunning natural beauty sitting on the River Wharfe, and just a stone’s throw from the town of Skipton. The area has plenty to do with lots of walkways and countryside to explore and ancient priory ruins from the 12th century. You could easily spend a full day venturing around this area, it’s popular with families especially in the summer who come to have picnics and BBQs. There are also several cafes and places to get food and drink from at Bolton Abbey too. We visited in the morning and parked at the Bolton Abbey car park so we could easily explore the priory church, ruins and stepping stones, we spent about an hour or so there which was just enough time, however I would love to go back and spend a full day exploring the area. So if you have the time I would recommend spending a full day at Bolton Abbey.

Bolton Abbey

Burnsall, Grassington & Linton Falls

Burnsall, Grassington and Linton Falls are all closeby to Bolton Abbey and are all situated really close to one another and are easily accessible and easy to visit all of them in one morning or afternoon. Burnsall is a tiny village but draws many visitors because of its picture postcard setting. It’s surrounded by beautiful green hills and sits on the River Wharfe. There’s an arched bridge in the centre of the village which is a perfect spot for a picnic. There are several hiking trails which lead off from Burnsall as well. It’s a nice spot to stop off at to admire the views or to just grab a drink or something to eat as there are a handful of pubs and cafes and a village shop.

Grassington is only a few miles away from Burnsall and is another picturesque Dales market town, it has a cobbled square in the centre which is surrounded with lots of independent boutiques and craft shops, cafes and pubs and has quite a lively buzz to the area. Surrounded by the Dales it’s a great place to base yourself too as there is lots to see and do in and around this area, and with plenty of amenities close by.

A mile up the road from Grassington centre are Linton Falls which are some waterfalls situated on the River Wharfe, they aren’t very tall however they are the largest falls on the river and are very dramatic and powerful. There is a bridge over the top of the falls where you can witness their full force crashing through the jagged limestone rocks. A little upstream of the Falls there is a restored hydro-electric plant which has been restored and reopened and is supplying electricity through water power once again.

BurnsallLinton Falls

Haworth

Haworth is an absolute must when in the Dales, this pretty village has a vintage feel and feels like you step back in time with its cobbled street overlooking the moorlands. This village is most known for the Brontë sisters who wrote the famous book Wuthering Heights, which draws many literacy enthusiasts. As well as the village being steeped in history and heritage it has lots of independent businesses from specialist shops selling crafts, homemade produce, homewares, gifts, art galleries, cafes, tearooms and more for such a small village there is a lot to see and do.

We booked an afternoon tea at Forteas Tearoom which is a 1940s tea room and is another great experience to have while in the village, it’s a unique and quirky tearoom, service and the food is excellent and it’s such good value and you won’t leave hungry! If afternoon tea isn’t your thing then pop in for lunch or drink and a slice of cake. Haworth is my absolute favourite village in the Dales, and I can’t wait to go back. If you only have time to stop at just one of the Dales villages or towns then make sure it’s Haworth!

HaworthForteas Tearoom Haworth

Ingleton Waterfalls

Entrance Fee: £7 per person

Ingleton Waterfalls is a nature lovers dream, and one of the best nature walks in the UK in my opinion. This waterfall and woodland walk takes approximately two and a half hours and is just over 4 miles in a loop. It’s a pretty easy and accessible walk, which trails through woodland and moorland and along the way you will pass Pecca Falls, Hollybush Spout, Thornton Force, Beezley Falls, Rival Falls, Baxenghyll Gorge and Snow Falls. This was one of the highlights of our trip the scenery is truly stunning. We went late morning and it was busier than we would have liked but we still enjoyed it, I would recommend getting there for when it opens as I imagine it wouldn’t be as busy at that time.

Ingleton WaterfallsIngleton Waterfalls

Lund’s Tower & Wainman’s Pinnacle

Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle are located in Sutton-In-Craven set on top of a hill overlooking the Dales. The views up there are unreal! Both are stone-built towers also known as follies. Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle are also referred to as the salt and pepper pots by locals. We visited in the morning and pulled up on the side of the road as close as we could to them and walked up to them which was an easy walk up and we had the area to ourselves. The views were some of the best we saw in the Dales and we walked up the steps in Lund’s Tower for even better views across the moors. We spent less than an hour walking up to it and around so it’s the perfect place to start your day before venturing off to explore more.

Lund's TowerLund's TowerWainman's Pinnacle

Malham Cove, Gordale Scar & Janet’s Foss

Malham Cove is a huge 230ft curved limestone cliff formation, it attracts walkers and rock climbers from all over. It doesn’t feel like something you would normally see in the UK, the sheer scale of the rock makes you feel so small. While visiting Malham Cove also check out Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss as they are all within walking distance of one another.

Gordale Scar is a huge limestone ravine with overhanging cliffs and waterfalls, the landscape of Gordale Scar is just epic and looks like a scene from a film. I couldn’t believe the amounts of times I’ve visited Yorkshire and not been to the area of Malham which holds so much dramatic and stunning scenery!

Janet’s Foss is a waterfall and pool in a woodland area and feels like a scene from a fairytale as you walk through trees, ferns and pass moss-covered rocks. Along the footpath are several trees which have had lucky pennies pushed into the bark where people make wishes to the queen of the fairies, so it’s a great place to come with children as the whole place has a magical feel to it.

Malham CoveGordale ScarGordale ScarJanet's Foss

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct is just over the border from Cumbria into North Yorkshire, this viaduct is a huge structure on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. It was constructed back in the 1870s. The construction cost a lot of the railway builders their lives and many died due to accidents while constructing the viaduct. This huge structure is built 32 meters above the moor and made up of 24 arches, not only is the viaduct an impressive, but it has spectacular views stretching across the moorland and the three peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. This is also the starting point to where many people start their journey on the three peak challenge. You can spend time hiking around there or there is plenty of places to pull over and just admire the view.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Skipton & Ilkley

Skipton is a charming market town and is often referred to as the gateway to the Dales, the cobbled high street is popular with locals and visitors with lots of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs to visit. This market town has lots of history, one of its main heritage sites is the 900 year old castle – Skipton Castle. Bolton Abbey is also just a fewmiles up the road which is a great place to wander. I would suggest visiting Skipton for a few hours either over breakfast or lunch grab some food and wander the shops and make sure to have a browse in the beautiful shopping arcade – Craven Court. 

Either before or after visiting Skipton head into the former spa town of Ilkley as it’s only a 15 minute drive away. It’s another one of the Dales picturesque towns full of Yorkshirecharm. If you fancy a traditional afternoon tea then head to the famous Bettys Tea Room. Have a stroll along the River Wharfe and if it’s views your after head to Ilkley moor for panoramic views.

Craven Court SkiptonIlkley

Where To Stay

Catgill Farm

If you love the outdoors then why not camp or glamp in the Dales?! There are so many amazing places to stay from cottages, hotels, guesthouse and campsites the Dales isn’t short on accommodation options. We opted to glamp and came across Catgill Farm when we were searching for quirky places to stay. We booked one of their timber pods which had an en-suite, firepit, hot tub and views over the Wharfe Valley. It was honestly a perfect set up, the glamping pods aren’t the cheapest, it cost us £430 in total but between 4 adults wasn’t too bad for 2 nights. On our first night in the Dales, we stayed at the premier inn as nearer the time to our trip we all realised we had the day off so decided last minute to head up a day earlier.

Catgill Farm also has bell tents available to book as well as a campsite. We loved the timber pod as it was great for self-catering in the evenings and we cooked pizzas in the outdoor pizza oven and both nights spent the evening in the hot tub which was absolute bliss after lots of walking during the day. The glamping options are great for families too as while the kids are in bed the parents can enjoy the hot tub, firepit and views. The location is also a great place to base yourself as it’s set in Bolton abbey and a few minutes drive to the Bolton Abbey car park, and all other areas of the Dales are within easy reach.

Catgill Farm GlampingCatgill Farm Glamping

Transport & Getting Around

The best way to get around the Yorkshire Dales is to drive, by driving you have all the freedom to make quick stops at places of natural beauty and stunning viewpoints and get directly to where you want to go. It’s the easiest way I personally think to really get the most out of your trip. However if you don’t drive there are plenty of bus and train services available and taxis in Yorkshire are much cheaper than down in the south of England.

4 Day Itinerary

  1. After arriving spend an afternoon strolling around Skipton and Ilkley.
  2. In the morning walk up to Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle for amazing views, then head to Haworth for the rest of the day and book in for an afternoon tea at Forteas Tearoom.
  3. Start your day by exploring Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss grab a pub lunch from the Buck Inn. In the afternoon visit Linton Falls and then head into Grassington for a walk around and finish your day in Burnsall for picturesque views.
  4. Depending on where your staying I would suggest starting your day at Ingleton Waterfalls to beat the crowds, however if like us you’re going to stay at Bolton Abbey start your day by exploring some of the ruins and stepping stones in Bolton Abbey, then head to Ingleton Waterfalls. Before heading home after your long weekend make a stop at Ribblehead Viaduct for more gorgeous views over the Yorkshire landscape.

Top Tips

Pack for all types of weather and take walking boots as some of the walking trails can be especially muddy.

Helpful Information

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Covent Garden Market

A Quick Guide To Covent Garden

Covent Garden is one of Londons more upmarket areas and is situated in the West End. Covent Garden is both popular with Londoners and tourists as it has lots to offer all visitors from luxury fashion boutiques, arts and craft stalls, markets, a wide choice of places to eat, alfresco dining, elegant bars and the whole area has a buzz especially around the Piazza where you can find street performers and crowds of spectators.

This pretty area of London is saturated in history and heritage and has undergone many transformations over the centuries and should not be missed! You could easily spend a full day exploring the streets of Covent Garden and sampling what it has on offer, however if you are stuck for time why not make a pit stop and grab some food or a drink in the area and have a wander around Covent Garden Market and its Piazza.

In this quick guide I have listed the top sites, places to shop and explore, streets to stroll down and where to eat and drink. So pin all these places on your map or load it up when your there and scroll through the lists of my top recommendations, Enjoy!

Top Sites & Attractions

  • Covent Garden Market, Piazza & St Pauls Church: This is the heart and soul of the area and if you do one thing when visiting it should be this! Wander through the market, watch street performers and people watch in the piazza and visit St Pauls Church. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle go into St Pauls garden courtyard behind the church.
  • Gas Lamps: I know it’s a bit random to mention gas lamps, but around the Covent Garden Market, the Piazza and St Pauls still stand original gas lamps which are some of the last in the city, as most street lamps are now electric, they are still manually lit by lamp attendants every evening.
  • London Transport Museum: This interactive museum has a huge collection of London transport memorabilia and is a great place to come for families or anyone that is interested in the cities transport history.
  • National Portrait Gallery: It is home to a whole range of portrait paintings and houses many pieces of artwork of historical importance and well known famous British people.
  • Royal Opera House: Sometimes just referred to as Covent Garden this world-class opera house and performing arts venue is a stunning building, even if you’re not attending a performance you can’t miss this stunning building which is just by the Piazza. Keep an eye out as sometimes you can pick up tickets for as little as £10 depending on the show, day and time etc. There are also tours available.
  • Somerset House: Is a stunning neoclassical building which hosts a variety of art and film exhibitions, ice skating in the winter, as well as other events. There are several restaurants and cafes onsite too. In the summer you can sit outside in the courtyard with a picnic and watch the choreographed fountains. It’s free to enter inside, however you will need to purchase tickets for some exhibitions.
  • Young Dancer Statue: Just across from the Royal Opera House is a life-sized bronze ballet dancer statue, it’s a really pretty statue and great for a photo opportunity.
Covent Garden MarketRoyal Opera House Covent GardenYoung Dancer Statue Covent Garden

Best Places To Shop

Markets

  • Apple Market: Set in the main Covent Garden Market Building, this small market has a variety of stalls selling handmade crafts and gifts from local traders.
  • East Colonnade Market: These stalls are set around the Covent Garden Market and sell a range of products from handmade soaps, jewellery, sweets, homewares and much more.
  • Jubilee Market: This market is located just across from Covent Garden Market and is a general market selling clothes and souvenirs etc, but also has some antiques and collectables as well as craft stalls, there are different stalls on different days of the week.

Must Visit Shops

  • Benjamin Pollocks Toyshop: This eccentric toy shop dates back to the 1880s and specialises in theatrical, creative and educational toys. This shop is a perfect place for families to visit or if you’re looking for a quirky gift for a child.
  • Floral Steet Fragrance: Is an English fragrance brand, but the pretty shop in Covent Garden is a must-visit for any perfume fanatics out there.
  • Petersham Nurseries: This stunning shop sells an array of plants, homewares, gifts and more, they also have several cafes, delis and restaurants in Covent Garden too as well as in Richmond.
  • Stanfords Travel: Is a travel enthusiasts dream! They are the UK’s leading travel book, maps and travel accessories specialist. It was established back in 1853 by Edward Stanford. This is quite possibly one of my favourite shops in Covent Garden you could easily spend a while searching through the many travel books and guides, there is also a small cafe on-site too.
  • The Vintage Showroom: This gorgeous old fashioned shop sells all things vintage fashion and accessories alongside their own brand of up-cycled fashion, no clothes go to waste there and they have a an awesome sustainable ethos.

Shopping Streets

  • Cecil Court: A whole street dedicated to shops specialising in arts, antiques, books and curiosities.
  • Floral Street, King Street, Long Acre & Monmouth Street: Are all streets bursting full of a variety of shops from independents to brands and concept stores.
  • Neal Street: Neal Street is full of more great shops and just by Neals Yard.
  • Neal’s Yard: This tucked away colourful square has several cafes and small shops and of course a Neals Yard shop, this is a good place to stop for a coffee break.
  • Seven Dials: It gets its name from the seven streets that lead off from this junction. This area has both flagship shops and concept shops as well as boutiques, cafes, pubs and much more. It’s a more chilled out area of the city too, and has a much slower pace feel to it.
  • St Martin’s Lane & Courtyard: St Martin’s Lane is another popular shopping street, and the courtyard is a beautiful open-air shopping destination.
  • The Yards: Are made up of St Martin’s Courtyard, Mercer Walk and Old Brewer’s Yard, The Yards has a unique selection of shops throughout interconnected courtyards with pop up shops and events happening regularly.

Covent Garden MarketCovent Garden MarketJubilee Market Covent GardenCovent Garden MarketNeals Yard Covent GardenPetersham NurseriesStanford’s Travel

Best Places To Eat & Drink

Bars & Pubs

Cafes

Restaurants

Covent GardenCovent Garden PubCovent Garden

Helpful Information

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3 Must Do Things On A Day Trip To Holkham & Wells-Next-The-Sea

The beach at Holkham is a beautiful long stretch of sandy beach backed by beach huts, sand dunes and pine woodland. The award winning picturesque beach is perfect for a day trip or a UK getaway. There is so much to see and do in the area as well as the area of North Norfolk. The small harbour town of Wells-Next-The-Sea is walking distance from the beach and the nature reserve. The harbour is protected by salt marshes from the open sea and used to be one of the great ports of eastern England in Tudor times. The harbour is still active today and mainly used by sailing and crabbing boats.

We visited Holkham and Wells-Next-The-Sea on a day trip, we set off early from our hometown of Milton Keynes and made the most of a warm sunny day (a rarity in the UK). If you don’t live far you could easily spend a whole day there, however if you’re also seeking out a potential UK beach break then Holkham would be a great place to stay for a few nights or a week as there is so much to explore along Norfolks North Coast. So here are my must do things while visiting Holkham and Wells-Next-The-Sea.

Holkham National Nature Reserve

Holkham National Nature Reserve is a huge area and spans across 9158 acres which start from Wells-next-The-Sea and goes all the way to Burnham Overy. The area is made up of a unique variety of habitats including salt marsh, sand dunes, pine woodland, beach and grazing marsh. The majority of the landscape is man-made and was reclaimed from salt marshes back in the 17th and 19th centuries. Holkham is also home to lots of wildlife in particular birds, the area attracts a large number of flocks but also single rare migrant birds also.

Holkham National Nature Reserve is a must visit, we parked at Holkham Hall and the parking was only £4 for the day, and only a short walk to the beach, there is parking slightly closer which is about £9 for the day. Once you walk over to The Lookout Centre there are two options; a route which takes you straight down to the far end of Holkham beach, or a slightly longer nature trail walk which also takes you to the beach but closer to the pretty harbour town of Wells-Next-The-Sea.

We opted to take the more scenic route and walked along the nature trail towards the beach and Wells-Next-The-Sea. The nature trail is really peaceful and took about 40 minutes to walk along the gravelled path, which is surrounded by lots of trees, flowers and foliage and you can hear lots of birdlife. There are lots of different nature trails in the Holkham National Nature Reserve, however if your only visiting for the day, I would recommend doing this short nature walk at the start of your day, so you can have the rest of the day free to relax on the beach.

Holkham National Nature Reserve NorfolkHolkham National Nature Reserve NorfolkHolkham National Nature Reserve Norfolk

The Beach, Beach Huts & Sand Dunes

The Beach stretches between Wells-Next-The-Sea and Holkham and is honestly one of my favourite beaches in the UK! The beach itself is huge and spotlessly clean and easy to spread out from others and find your own little spot to relax on. With its soft powdery sand backed by pine woodland and sand dunes, it has something for everyone to enjoy. After lunch in Wells Town we sat down at that end of the beach for a while relaxing, then decided to walk past the many beach huts before reaching the grassy sand dunes towards the Holkham end of the beach. We walked through the sand dunes and dipped our toes in the cold sea.

Walking from one end of the beach to the other is a must do as there’s so much to see and you can take in the whole landscape by doing so. We walked the full length of the beach before heading back to the car, towards the Holkham end it was slightly quieter and had more dunes, woodland and wildflowers backing the beach. The beach that end is still sandy but with more shells and pebbles. Spending some time on the beach there is an absolute must and was our favourite part of our day spent there.

Wells-Next-The-Sea Beach NorfolkWells-Next-The-Sea Beach NorfolkWells-Next-The-Sea Beach NorfolkHolkham Beach NorfolkHolkham Beach NorfolkHolkham Beach Norfolk

Wells Quay

Once we reached the beach from the Holkham National Nature Reserve we decided to walk into the town of Wells-Next-The-Sea to get some lunch before getting settled on the beach. As you walk from the beach you can see the salt marshes straight away which act a barrier to shelter the town from the open sea. Once in the town visit the Wells Quay which is home to an array of little independent shops selling a whole range of things from gifts, sweets, beachwear and accessories and much more. Two shops which I loved and if your a girly girl like myself or your partner is then check out Natural East and Glitter and Mud which are next door to one another and overlook the harbour.

As well as lots of cute little shops there are some great places to grab some food from including several fish and chip shops, we saw lots of families sat along the wall at the harbour front delving into bags of fish and chips. My husband and I are both vegetarian so decided to eat in the Wells Deli as they had lots of vegan options, although some of the fish and chip shops we could see had some vegetarian and vegan options available too.

When you have had some lunch then take a little time to explore the narrow lanes and streets of the town before heading to the beach for the rest of the day. We loved Wells-Next-The-Sea it is a gorgeous little town. If you’re not feeling like the 20 minute walk back to the beach then you can hop on the Wells Harbour Railway, which is a miniature railway which carries passengers from Wells Town to the beach for only £1.50 per person. The short train journey is great for families with children, but also great if you have had a big lunch and just went to get to the beach quickly as we did.

Wells Quay NorfolkWells Town NorfolkWells Quay NorfolkWells Harbour Railway Norfolk

Helpful Information

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How To Spend A Long Weekend In Norfolk: Norwich, Norfolk Broads & The North Coast

Norfolk is a county in the East of England and is part of East Anglia. It’s a county which is bordered by Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. The county of Norfolk is surrounded by 90 miles of coastline and its famous for the Broads National Park, countryside, forests and the historic city of Norwich.

The county of Norfolk can sometimes be overlooked or associated with posh old people, but I can honestly say the past few times I have visited Norfolk I have been pleasantly surprised and asked myself why I hadn’t visited sooner?! I am the worst person at always jetting off to exotic locations rather than exploring my own home – the UK. Coronavirus this year has made us all slow down and appreciate just what we have on our doorstep.

My husband and I decided we fancied a little break after lockdown and somewhere that wasn’t more than 3 hours drive away from our home. So we opted for 3 days in Norfolk, and left our home Friday morning and spent our first day in Norwich, our second day kayaking and sightseeing around the Norfolk Broads and our last day doing a mini coastal road trip (a typical English weather day on our last day and it poured with rain for most the day). If your looking for a long weekend away then head to Norfolk it really does have something to suit everyone.

Norwich

Norwich is steeped in history from over the years and this still shows vividly through the cities unique and charming architecture and is the most complete medieval city in the UK. It’s been a city since 1094 and is the county town of Norfolk. Norwich used to be the largest city in England after London during the middle ages and right up until the industrial revolution. Norwich has two universities and has a hipster vibe to the place, I was really surprised at how cool and quirky Norwich actually was full of stunning buildings and cute shops and cafes. There’s plenty to see, do and eat in the city, even if you don’t spend a weekend in Norfolk, if your not too far away from Norwich it would also make an excellent day trip, just set off early so you can make a full day of exploring this pretty little city.

Sights & Activities

Cow Tower

Cow Tower is one of the oldest artillery blockhouses in England, and was constructed in approximately 1398 and was to assist with the cities defence. The inside of this brick tower is closed to the public, however you can wander around the outside and there is an information plaque just by it. It’s close to the city centre and within walking distance of Norwich Cathedral, Pulls Ferry and situated next to the river which is lovely to walk along.

Cow Tower Norwich

Elm Hill & Tombland

Elm Hill is a medieval street in the heart of the city located in Tombland, this cobbled street is the most famous street in Norwich and full of historic charm with merchant houses, thatched roofs, arts and crafts shops and cafes. There’s plenty to see and do and you can even do a self-guided walking trail (pick up a map from the tourist information centre or from specific shops in the cathedral quarter). The streets a great place to visit all year round and has a quintessentially traditional English feel to it, and lots of great spots to snap pretty photos.

There was a big fire back in 1507 which destroyed a huge majority of the street, but the street and it’s properties were rebuilt shortly after. The only surviving building from that fire was The Britons Arms which was originally a Tudor inn, but today is a family-run coffee shop and a must visit.

Tombland is in the very centre of Norwich and used to be the hub of activity before 1066 before the Normans arrived. There are lots of historic architectural gems to see in the area such as Erpingham Gate, Ethelbert Gate, Tombland Alley, Augustine Steward House and The Maids Head Hotel to name a few so pin these places on your map and seek them out.

Elm Hill NorwichElm Hill NorwichErpingham Gate Tombland NorwichTombland Norwich

Norwich Royal Arcade

Norwich Royal Arcade is a beautiful shopping arcade which was built towards the end of the Victorian era. The Royal Arcade is in the city centre and full of cafes, specialist shops, vintage boutiques and gift shops. If you enjoy shopping but prefer shopping from independent shops then this is the place to come!

Norwich Royal ArcadeNorwich Royal Arcade

Norwich Castle

Entrance Fee: £9.90 Per Adult

Norwich Castle is one of the cities famous landmarks and is perched on top of a hill overlooking the city. The castle was built over 900 years ago by the Normans as a royal palace. Today it stands as a museum and art gallery, there is a range of displays from various natural history, archaeology, fine art and much more. When we visited the museum was closed due to COVID-19 so we just had a walk around it to admire the building itself.

Norwich Castle

Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral is another one of the cities famous landmarks, the cathedral’s construction began in 1096 and was completed in 1145. The cathedral is run by the Church of England and is one of the most complete Norman cathedrals in all of England. The cathedral is a grand and stunning building with lots of intricate details both inside and outside. The cathedral is free to enter and explore and there are lots to learn about the cathedrals 900 years of history. There are some gardens, a cafe and lots to explore around the cathedral and visit the cathedral quarter of the city.

Norwich CathedralNorwich Cathedral

Pulls Ferry

Pulls Ferry is set along the River Wensum and is a 15th century watergate, the channel running up to the gate is much older. A canal used to run under the arch of the building and was built by monks to help with transporting stone and building supplies to build the cathedral which would have been offloaded there. The building is privately owned and you can access the outside of the building and walk around it, there isn’t much else other than a sign with information on about Pulls Ferry. I would recommend stopping by here as the walk along the river is a really enjoyable and relaxing thing to do in the city, and you can see many of Norwich’s famous landmarks which are closeby.

Pulls Ferry Norwich

The Lanes

Norwich Lanes are a must when in the city, these beautiful lanes, alleyways and courtyards are full of quirky appeal and lots of historical architecture. These narrow lanes are mainly pedestrianised and have lots of traders from boutique shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, galleries, museums and even an independent cinema and community theatre. We loved exploring the lanes and seeing what specialist shops were selling, the whole area has a real buzz about it.

The Lanes Norwich

Norwich Market & Jarrold Department Store

Norwich Market is an attraction in itself and is one of the oldest and largest markets in England. The market is bright and colourful and situated in the heart of the city. It doesn’t just sell your typical wares you would find on a market, but a whole range of unique stalls selling vintage fashion, crystals, homewares, homemade goods and lots of food stalls and delicatessens as well as your more obvious market stalls selling fruit, veg and flowers etc. We loved wandering through the market and found lots of cool things to buy.

Just a stone’s throw away from the market is the independent 250 year old department store – Jarrolds. This family-run business is a great little place to have a browse and shop, they have several other shops dotted around Norfolk but the one in Norwich is their flagship store.

Norwich MarketJarrold Department Shop Norwich

Food & Drink

Alchemista Coffee

Alchemista Coffee is a unique independent cafe in the city centre and serves up amazing food and drink, and specialises in quality coffee. Try out one of their speciality coffees or signature cocktails. We visited in the morning before we headed to the Norfolk broads and we got there just in time before there was a queue out the door, this cafe seems really popular with locals. I had the black toade coffee and it was delicious!

Alchemista Coffee Norwich

Erpingham House

Erpingham House is an absolute must visit if your vegetarian or vegan they offer a full plant-based and plastic free menu. Not only do they have a really good sustainability ethos and menu but the restaurant, bar and cafe themselves are stunning, the decor is very insta-worthy and very feminine, I dragged my husband there for dinner. It’s set in a beautiful old building and spread across three floors. I opted for the hoisin jackfruit pancakes which were amazing! Erpingham House is the perfect place to come and has a luxe vibe to the place. The service was also really good, add this restaurant to your Norwich itinerary!

Erpingham House NorwichErpingham House NorwichErpingham House NorwichErpingham House Norwich

Little Shop Of Vegans

Little Shop Of Vegans is the cutest shop and full to the brim with vegan products that I didn’t even realise existed. It’s a great place to come to pick up kitchen staples but also a great place to pick up lots of vegan snacks too. They also have a plastic free section too selling lots of sustainable toiletries. We bought a few items to take home with us to try and some snacks for the weekend. My husband and I are both vegetarian but dabble in veganism and love finding places like this as it gives us lots of ideas to make some more simple vegan switches.

Little Shop Of Vegans NorwichLittle Shop Of Vegans Norwich

Thai Kitti

Thai Kitti is a family-run restaurant and is a great place to come in the centre of Norwich serving up Thai comfort food. We went there after our day out on the broads, they have a lot of choice on the menu with a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes as well as meat dishes.

Thai Kitti NorwichThai Kitti Norwich

The Tipsy Vegan

The Tipsy Vegan was our absolute favourite place we ate at all weekend in Norfolk! It’s set in an old pub in the lanes area of the city and serves up delicious vegan comfort food, tapas and cocktails. It’s an intimate restaurant and the staff were really friendly and helpful. We opted for the tapas for lunch and selected several dishes from the menu all of them were cooked to perfection, my absolute favourites were the bao buns and coconut crusted tofu bites which I still dream about to this day! This small restaurant is a great place to visit any time of day for either brunch, lunch or dinner or just a few cheeky cocktails, make sure this place is on your must visit list.

The Tipsy Vegan Norwich

Accommodation

Suburban Bedouin Tent

If your looking for an affordable and eccentric place to stay then this Surbuban Bedouin Tent is the perfect place to stay for the weekend. As we visited Norfolk in the summer holidays and during the summer of COVID-19 where no one was really travelling anywhere outside of the UK. We found that a lot of places were fully booked or ridiculously overpriced, which for a UK break I just can’t justify. As I was searching for accommodation in and around Norwich I stumbled across this little Airbnb and it was an absolute gem. It was quiet and comfortable and at only £50 a night it was really affordable.

It’s set less than a 10 minutes drive out of the city centre of Norwich and our host Gary was really warm and friendly and couldn’t do enough for us, and even welcomed us with some traditional mint tea to get us settled in. The tents tucked away his back garden and feel really private and aren’t overlooked. Inside the tent is decorated beautifully and has a proper bed inside and is adorned with soft furnishings and lanterns. The bathrooms are in the house but you could access the bathroom from the back door which we had keys to, we also had access to the kitchen and there was parking available.

If you’re looking for an affordable stay in Norfolk and to be within driving distance of Norwich, Norfolk Broads and Norfolk’s coast, then this really is the perfect spot to stay and something a little bit different to your box standard hotel or bed and breakfast.

Suburban Bedouin Tent Airbnb NorwichSuburban Bedouin Tent Airbnb NorwichSuburban Bedouin Tent Airbnb Norwich

Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads is a huge national park full of waterways, lakes, rivers, marshes and countryside and has unique wildlife, flora and fauna. In between all the water are lots of lovely quaint towns and villages. The city of Norwich is in the national park, so it’s easy to reach the Broads from there. Spend a full day exploring the Broads as there is so much to see and do, especially if the weather is nice then there are lots of lovely walks to do around the area. The weather wasn’t great when we visited so we just opted to drive around and stop at various viewpoints and mills after a morning of kayaking on the Broads.

Sights & Activities

Hickling Broad

Hickling Broad is the largest out of all the broads and is a great location as it’s not too far from the Norfolk coast. Hickling is surrounded by pretty villages, pubs and a whole array of local wildlife that call this broad home. The best way to experience the Norfolk Broads is by getting out on the water either by hiring a boat or by doing some water sports such as paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing. We decided to hire a double kayak from Norfolk Outdoor Adventure which was £35 for two hours and included all our equipment. We spent the morning kayaking around the broad and saw lots of birds and wildlife. It was such a great way to start our day around the broads.

Norfolk Outdoor Adventure Hickling Broad NorfolkHickling Broad NorfolkHickling Broad Norfolk

Horsey Windpump

Entrance Fee: £7 Per Adult

After kayaking we drove to Horsey Windpump as it’s not very far from Hickling Broad, this mill has been there since 1912 and is one of the more well known mills in the area and is owned by the national trust. Due to COVID, it was closed however you could still walk around the outside and the tea room next to it was still open. Normally there is an entrance fee to go inside the mill so you can get views of the surrounding area.

Horsey Windpump Norfolk Broads

Stubbs Mill

Stubbs Mill was another mill we drove to as it wasn’t too far from Horsey Windpump, this brick mill was constructed between the late 1700s and early 1800s. You can’t enter inside but you can walk around the outside. When we visited we were the only ones there it’s quite hidden away and down a country lane. There also looked like there were plenty of nature trails nearby you could walk on a nice day.

Stubbs Mill Norfolk Broads

Thurne Dyke Mill

Thurne Dyke Mill was built beside the River Thurne in 1820, this was my favourite mill we visited as the surrounding area was stunning and there were lots of boats cruising down the river, there’s also a pub across from it so you can stop here for a drink too. The windmill is closed to the public like many of them are but you can still admire the building and the surrounding areas from outside.

Thurne Dyke Mill NorfolkThurne Dyke Mill Norfolk

Wroxham Barns

We stopped at Wroxham Barns for some lunch there’s a restaurant, tearoom, local arts and crafts shops and shops selling local produce. It’s a great place for families too as there are play areas and animal farms for children. I would recommend coming for lunch and a wander around the independent shops, we spent about an hour or so there in between driving around the Broads.

Wroxham Barns NorfolkWroxham Barns Norfolk

North Norfolk Coast

The North Norfolk Coast is a long stretch of coast with millions of years worth of history surrounding it. There are award winning beaches, salt marshes, coastal trails, pretty villages, seaside towns and inland there is plenty of countryside and nature walks. North Norfolk is also home to a big part of the UK’s largest wetland – The Norfolk Broads. The north coast of Norfolk is a great area to explore either for a day trip or you could easily have a UK holiday in the area and spend days at different beaches. The weather wasn’t great the weekend we visited so on the last day of our weekend away in Norfolk we decided to just drive along the coast and stop at different beaches and towns to sightsee.

Sights & Activities

Mundesley & Overstrand

Mundesley is situated on the eastern corner of the North Norfolk Coast and not too far away from the beach town of Cromer. The beach at Mundesley is backed by colourful beach huts, cliffs and a promenade. The beach is a lovely long stretch of sand and is spotlessly clean, you can easily find a nice quiet spot to yourself by just walking along a little bit away from the promenade. Overlooking the beach is the UK smallest museum which is the Mundesley Maritime Museum which is now used as a coastguard watch. Aside from the large beach, there’s plenty of nature walks and coastal villages to see in the area.

Overstrand is joined to Mundesley beach a little further along and is slightly quieter and again has lovely long stretches of sandy beaches and a backdrop of green cliff edges. Even if you just want to spend the day at one spot I would recommend walking along the coast between Mundesley to Overstrand or you can drive between them within minutes.

Mundesley NorfolkMundesley NorfolkMundesley NorfolkOverstrand Norfolk

Cromer

Cromer is the next town along from Mundesley and Overstrand, it’s a traditional seaside town with a Victorian pier full of attractions. We had planned to spend the afternoon in Cromer but it didn’t just rain it poured so we decided to skip past Cromer and carried on to Blakeney where the weather was much drier. I would recommend either spending a full day in Cromer or allow a bit of time to spend a few hours in the area if you’re doing a coastal road trip like we were. Cromer’s streets are filled with little shops and cafes to explore and if you enjoy shellfish then try some Norfolk Crab which the area is known for.

Blakeney & Morston Quay

Blakeney is an area of natural beauty providing stunning panoramic views over its vast coastline, this pretty village has traditional Norfolk cottages and buildings with lots of gift shops, boutiques, cafes and pub restaurants. It’s especially popular with families who come to try their hand at crabbing. Many people base themselves in Blakeney for holidays due to its central location on the North Norfolk Coast. We stopped in Blakeney for the afternoon and spent some time wandering it’s pretty streets and grabbed a bag of chips for lunch.

Blakeney is also the place to come if you’re interested in taking a boat to see the seal colony out on Blakeney point. I would highly recommend pre-booking your tickets, especially during the summer months as there are only several small boat tours that operate this tour. You can also purchase tickets in Blakeney and then head over to Morston Quay where the boats depart.

We booked through Bishops Boat and it was £13 per adult and the tour is about an hour long. This was an absolute highlight of our trip as you don’t really expect to see such a vast amount of wildlife in one place in the UK. The seal colony and seabirds were great to see and we had so many seals swimming around the boat too, this is an absolute must have in Norfolk.

Blakeney NorfolkBlakeney NorfolkMorston Quay NorfolkBlakeney Point NorfolkSeal Colony Blakeney NorfolkSeal Colony Blakeney NorfolkSeal Colony Blakeney Norfolk

Stiffkey Salt Marshes

The Stiffkey Salt Marshes are an important area of natural beauty and one of the country’s richest areas in wildlife. The area is full of plants and wildlife and the reason it’s so biodiverse is due to the muddy creeks which become flooded by the tide every day. Protected by the national trust the vast expanse of pristine saltmarsh form part of the Blakeney National Nature Reserve. The salt marsh is an important conservation area for breeding birds. You could spend a full day walking and spotting wildlife in this area, however if you are limited on time you could just make a flying visit on your coastal road trip. We drove over to Stiffkey while waiting for our seal tour time slot over at Blakeney.

Stiffkey Salt Marshes Norfolk

Transport & Getting Around

The city of Norwich is incredibly easy to get to and also to travel around. The city is accessible by train, coach and buses from other areas of the UK. Norwich also has its own international airport. We drove from our hometown of Milton Keynes which is about a two and half hour drive. We parked at St Andrew’s multi-storey car park which was cheap to park at for the day in comparison to other UK cities. Once parked we didn’t need the car for the rest of the day, Norwich is a small city and most places are easily accessible by foot and everything is within walking distance. If you did want to use public transport then there are plenty of buses and taxis around to get out of the city and around. I would recommend driving around the Norfolk Broads and the North Norfolk Coast as you can stop as and when you want in places and it’s the easiest way to get around.

Itinerary

Norwich

  • Morning: Grab a coffee and some breakfast at Alchemista Cafe, and spend the morning shopping and wandering around Norwich Market, Jarrolds, The Royal Arcade and The Lanes.
  • Afternoon: Have lunch at The Tipsy Vegan and afterwards visit The Little Shop Of Vegans which is across the street. After lunch head to Norwich castle and either wander the outside of it or pay to enter the museum. Explore Elm Hill and the Tombland area before heading to Norwich Cathedral. Spend the late afternoon walking along the river and stop at Pulls Ferry and Cow Tower for a quick spot of sightseeing.
  • Evening: Head for some pre-dinner drinks at one of Norwich’s many bars or pubs, then have dinner at Erpingham House.

Norfolk Broads

  • Kayak / visit Hickling Broad > Stubbs Mill > Horsey Windpump > Wroxham Barns > Thurne Dyke Mill

North Norfolk Coast

  • Mundesley > Overstrand > Cromer > Blakeney > Stiffkey Salt Marshes

Top Tips

My top tips would be to get up early and make the most of each day so you have a full day exploring each area as there’s so much to see and do! There’s still plenty we would have liked to have done but just run out of time. We found the city of a Norwich and Norfolk County to be a very relaxed and slow paced, not like other places in the UK, we had a really relaxing weekend exploring Norfolk and it really was a perfect weekend away minus the weather.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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A Day Trip To Phang Nga Bay From Phuket

Phang Nga Bay is a national park and sits in between mainland Thailand and Phuket island. These droplets of limestone islands sit in the emerald green Andaman Sea. These jagged rock formations, cliffs, and small uninhabited islands with mangrove forests and caves are a great place to explore. This bay is full of hidden lagoons which you can reach by kayak and going through the small caves. The bay also has plenty of coral reefs dotted around in its waters.

This gorgeous national park is a must especially if you’re staying in Phuket or nearby to the area as the bay is easily accessible. The bay can easily be done on a day tour and there is plenty to see and do.

Phang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand Phang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

One of the most famous landmarks in the bay is Koh Ta-pu also referred to as James Bond Island as the famous James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed there back in 1974. This rocky pinnacle juts out of the ocean and looks top heavy, and like it shouldn’t still be standing! The surrounding areas are spectacularly beautiful although can be crowded with many other tourists doing similar day trips.

Another area of interest in the bay is Koh Panyee which is a quirky village that’s built over the water on stilts, with a giant rock column at one end of it. At lunchtime many tourists on the tours stop by to eat and shop for souvenirs. Originally fishing was the main industry for this Muslim community but today about half of the locals work in the tourism industry, while the rest still continue to fish. The village has its own school, a mosque, a health centre, lots of small handicraft shops, and a few restaurants overlooking the sea where you can enjoy fresh seafood. Khao Khien is another place worth visiting as it’s close to Koh Panyee, and has ancient paintings of boats and animals on the rock walls.

Phang Nga Bay is an amazing place for cruising around on a boat. The limestone cliffs create a picturesque backdrop and scenic appeal and have an abundance of wildlife. The area is protected from both the northeast and the southwest monsoon seasons which means the waters remain calm all year round.

The hidden away lagoons in the islands which are referred to as hong (hong meaning rooms in Thai) are collapsed cave systems being overlooked by the sky and surrounded by towering limestone walls. The mangroves in the lagoons are rich in unspoiled flora and fauna. Many of these hongs were only revealed when they were picked up on aerial surveys.

Phang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

Many of the tours that run around Phang Nga Bay offer sea kayaking, where you can paddle through the caves into the mysterious centres of the islands such as Koh Panak and Koh Hong. Just make sure when kayaking through you might need to lay back, so you don’t hit your head and also make sure your mouth and eyes are closed, as many of the caves have bats in, and the last thing you want is any bat droppings going into your mouth or eyes.

Thailand was somewhere I had dreamt of going for many years all throughout my teenage years after I watched the Beach my infatuation for Thailand began, and after I graduated from university my then fiancée (now husband) decided to book a trip to Thailand – our first trip to Asia which sparked our obsession for the continent. For our first trip to Thailand, we booked a two week itinerary and went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

To be honest, we were really young and not very well travelled at this point and didn’t do much research before we went, so hadn’t even heard of Phang Nga Bay, the only reason we really ended up in Phuket was that we wanted to easily be able to reach the Phi Phi islands. While we were in Phuket we saw plenty of tours being offered to Phang Nga Bay and decided to book on one, and I’m so glad we did, the scenery was like nowhere else we had ever been before.

If your staying in Phuket this is an absolute must visit, this beautiful marine park is touristy and many tours operate there, but the area is large with so many limestone rocks and islands that I didn’t ever feel like it was overcrowded. The only place where it was busy was by James Bond Island which is understandable as it’s the main site. We really enjoyed our day trip here and loved kayaking into the mysterious lagoons and seeing lots of sea birds and eagles flying around, the whole place is a nature lovers dream!

Phang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

Transport & Getting Around

Phang Nga Bay is easily doable in a single day and personally, I would recommend booking onto one of the many tours available by long-tail boat, speedboat, cruise or chartering a yacht. Leaving from any point along the east coast of Phuket will take you straight into the bay. There are also several launching sites on the Phang Nga province mainland too.

Top Tips

When going to Phang Nga Bay go prepared with a waterproof bag and waterproof cover for your phone or camera so that they have extra protection if you’re out sea kayaking. When booking onto a tour try and opt for one of the smaller boat tours and try and get on one that maybe starts a bit earlier to try and beat the crowds to James Bond Island.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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A Day Trip To The Phi Phi Islands From Phuket

The Phi Phi Islands also known as Koh Phi Phi (Koh meaning island in Thai) is a cluster of six paradise islands set in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand, and are part of the Krabi province. With crystal clear turquoise ocean surrounding each of them and stunning white sand beaches curving around the islands and their jungle interior. They make the perfect tropical getaway, and they can easily be reached from both Phuket and Krabi.

Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest and most developed of all the islands, it’s where the main town is and all the hotels and resorts are located on this island, along with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars, Phi Phi Don is known as the party island! Loh Dalum Bay is the main party hub on the island, every night from 9pm the party kicks off on the beach with fire shows, Thai boxing and live bands all fighting for tourists attention. This is the place to come to drink buckets of booze and dance all night long.

Tonsai Bay is the bustling heart of Phi Phi Don it’s the main village on the island and the main arrival port. There are no cars or roads and everywhere can be reached by foot or bicycle, including Loh Dalum Bay which is a minutes walk away as this part of the island is so narrow.

All around Phi Phi Don are a variety of other beaches which are quieter such as Laem Tong Beach and Loh Bagao Beach. All of Phi Phi Don provides stunning scenery with its jagged cliffs and beautiful bays and beaches, however mass tourism has spoilt the island somewhat with over development and overcrowding of tourists.

Phi Phi Islands Phuket ThailandPhi Phi Islands Phuket ThailandPhi Phi Islands Phuket Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Leh is an uninhabited island that lies one mile from the southern tip of Koh Phi Phi Don. This island is most known for Maya Bay which was made famous by The Beach film back in 2000 that starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Phi Phi Leh offers stunning vertical cliffs capped with greenery, rocky caves, small sandy beaches and colourful coral reefs. Most visitors find their way around Phi Phi Leh on a tour boat.

The other four islands are Koh Pai also known as Bamboo Island, Koh Young also called Mosquito Island, and two islets marking the southern end of the archipelago named Koh Bida Noi and Koh Bida Nai.

With such a heavy footfall of people and boats coming to the islands, unfortunately, much of the coral reefs and marine life that once surrounded the islands have disappeared and much of the islands natural beauty is being threatened by more tourism expansion. Thai authorities are now seeing the effects of mass tourism on the islands and have recently been closing parts of the islands, and trying to reduce the number of visitors. So while planning your trip make sure to check what is open to the public, Maya Bay has been closed to let it recover.

Phi Phi Islands Phuket ThailandPhi Phi Islands Phuket Thailand

The Phi Phi islands were somewhere I had dreamt of going for many years all throughout my teenage years after I watched the Beach my infatuation for Thailand began, and after I graduated from university my then fiancée (now husband) decided to book a trip to Thailand – our first trip to Asia which sparked our obsession for the continent. For our first trip to Thailand, we booked a two week itinerary and went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

When we visited the Phi Phi Islands many years ago we opted for a full day tour from Phuket, which included pick up from our hotel in Phuket and ferry to the islands where we cruised around some of them. We got off at Phi Phi Don for lunch and to relax on the beach, before heading off on a long tail boat to some snorkelling spots.

The Phi Phi islands have mixed reviews and they have become like marmite you will either love them or hate them! I think when visiting you have to go with an open mind and manage your expectations, yes they are touristy and overdeveloped, and they may not offer an authentic Thai experience, however the natural landscape is undeniably stunning, and I would suggest not letting anyone put you off going, if it’s somewhere you fancy going I will always suggest doing what feels right for you, and go and make your own mind up about a place.

Personally, I liked the Phi Phi islands as much as they were touristy etc, were they the best beaches I’ve ever been to? No, I have been to better beaches and snorkelled in better locations, however we had a really lovely day out to the islands and I would definitely like to go back in the future to see how the government has implemented changes and to perhaps make the islands tourism industry more sustainable, so the islands can be preserved and enjoyed by people in years to come.

Phi Phi Islands Phuket ThailandPhi Phi Islands Phuket Thailand

Transport & Getting Around

Getting to the Phi Phi Islands is pretty straight forward, the islands are located about 30 miles from Phuket and roughly the same distance from Krabi. There are basically two options to reach the islands and that is either by ferry or speedboat.

The ferry is the most popular choice for reaching the islands. Ferries take about two hours from Phuket and about an hour and a half from Krabi or Koh Lanta. The main departure/arrival port in Phuket is Rassada Pier which is located in Phuket Town. In Krabi, the main ferry pier is Klong Jirad Pier, situated just south of Krabi Town.

Top Tips

I would recommend when planning any trip to the Phi Phi islands to check to see what is open as recently the authorities have been trying to help the islands marine life recover so have closed parts of the islands such as Maya Bay. So be prepared and know what you’re able to visit when planning. A day tour is a great way to visit the islands if you don’t have much time and there is a huge selection of tours to choose from, however personally looking back I wish we had stayed a night or two on Phi Phi.

If you suffer from travel sickness then make sure to take travel sickness tablets before getting on a ferry or speedboat to the islands as the sea can be quite rough! When we visited a lot of the passengers on board the ferry were suffering from seasickness, myself included!

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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Cultural Things To See & Do In Bali

Bali is a paradise island situated in Indonesia, Bali is known all around the world as a tourist hotspot, and there are so many reasons why people are drawn to this beautiful tropical island. Bali is known as the island of the gods, as its a really holy place full of temples and shrines. Many locals put out daily offerings to the gods with beautiful flower petals arrangements and burn candles and incense.

The island has a rich and diverse culture and most days of the week you will witness a procession of locals heading towards one of the many temple ceremonies. Bali is covered in forested volcanic mountains, green rice paddies, beaches and has coral reefs surrounding the island. The island itself is very spiritual and draws visitors from all around the world who are seeking peace, yoga and meditation practises.

We only spent 5 nights in Bali which definitely wasn’t enough! We stayed in Ubud and did a day trip around some major sites around the island, but would definitely love to go back and spend longer exploring some different regions of Bali. Many people that visit Bali split their stay between different areas and divide their time between the beaches and the green forested areas in the centre of the island. Bali has so much to see and do, you could spend weeks exploring its sites. In this quick guide are some of the main cultural sites and attractions to see if you’re limited on time.

Sights & Activities

Balinese Dance

Entrance Fee: 100,000 IDR

There are many places all around Bali that host ancient Balinese traditional dances and theatre shows. Many of these shows are artistic and express stories through the art form of dance and specific body movements with gestures being demonstrated using fingers, hands and eye expressions. These dances are truly unique to Balinese culture and are widely connected to the Hindu religion and Bali folklore. The dances all have different meanings and Balinese names such as Barong, Legong and Baris to name a few.

There are shows held all around the island but Ubud is a very popular place to view one of these performances due to it being the cultural and historical hub of Bali. There are shows every night in Ubud at several locations. I would suggest when travelling around Bali that you aim to see one of the shows in Ubud as they are frequent.

We went to one of the shows held every night at 19:30 at Ubud Palace, there is a different show every night which all perform various Balinese dance styles. The shows at Ubud Palace are only about £6 per person so really affordable. I really recommend spending one evening going to watch one of these shows as it’s great that these traditions are being kept going, they are truly unique and like nothing you have will have ever seen before.

Balinese Dance Ubud

Goa Gajah

Entrance Fee: 50,000 IDR

Goa Gajah is a Hindu temple and archaeological site located just outside of Ubud and is also known as the Elephant Cave due to its close proximity to the Elephant River. The site is said to date back to the 11th century, but with some fragment, relics found close by dating back even earlier! Entering through the face in the rock you step into a small cave which has some small statues and offerings, once you pass through the small narrow cave you come out to two bathing pools with statues. You only need approximately one hour or so to explore this historical site, it’s gardens and surrounding area. Go with knees covered or you can hire sarongs at the entrance. I really enjoyed visiting this site and if you can try and get there early to beat the crowds. We hired a scooter and drove to the temple as it isn’t too far from Ubud centre, however a lot of set day tours stop here too if you prefer booking onto tours.

Goa Gajah BaliGoa Gajah Bali

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are located in the centre of Bali and span over 600 hectares of rice fields following the hillside of the Batukaru Mountain Range, they are part of UNESCO world heritage sites. You could easily spend a few days exploring this area of Bali as there are beautiful mountains, small villages and lots of great local restaurants.

We stopped here on a day tour we booked and stopped to admire the views and for some lunch. It started to rain heavily while we were there, so took the views in undercover. The terraces are stunning, and I honestly have never seen a more vivid shade of green in my life! This area is the very definition of rural Bali if you’re looking to escape the crowds then look into staying in the area at one of the many mountain retreats on offer.

If your staying in Ubud and don’t fancy venturing very far for rice fields, then not to worry as all around Ubud there are plenty of rice terraces with the most famous ones being Tegalalang Terraces. Many tourists don’t leave the resorts or beaches which makes the rice fields a great place to escape and explore in peace and quiet.

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Monkey Forest

Entrance Fee: 80,000 IDR

The famous Monkey Forest is located in Ubud and is seen as an important spiritual and economic centre for the village of Padangtegal which also own the forest. Hidden in the forest are several ancient temples to visit as well. The forest is stunning and like many areas in Bali provides the most beautiful shades of green. The forest has a mysterious feel to it when wandering around and it’s great to watch the monkeys play. There is a large variety of species of trees as well as hundreds of monkeys that call this forest home. You can also feed the monkeys with fruits that you can purchase at the entrance too, do not take any food or drink from outside into the forest to ensure the monkeys don’t become aggressive to steal the food and also to ensure they are getting the correct diet of food. This was one of my favourite areas in Bali it had a really magical feel to the area and I loved watching all the monkeys and being amongst nature. If you’re in Ubud I personally think the Monkey Forest is a must!

Monkey Forest Ubud BaliMonkey Forest Ubud BaliMonkey Forest Ubud Bali

Taman Ayun Temple

Entrance Fee: 10,000 IDR

Pura Taman Ayun is in the heartlands of Bali and situated approximately 30 minutes drive from Ubud. It is a huge royal water temple surrounded by a moat, it was the main temple of the Mengwi Kingdom which survived until 1891. The temple was built in 1634 and was renovated back in 1937. The temple is full of traditional Balinese architectural features which spread throughout the many shrines, buildings, courtyards and gardens. The name of the temple translates into a beautiful garden. The temple forms part of Bali’s UNESCO world heritage site. It’s well worth a visit, especially as it’s not too far away from Ubud if that’s where you are basing yourself for your trip.

Taman Ayun Temple BaliTaman Ayun Temple Bali

Tanah Lot & Batu Bolong Temple

Entrance Fee: 60,000 IDR

Tanah Lot is a rock formation with a Hindu shrine dedicated to the Balinese sea gods, the temple forms an important aspect of Balinese mythology and spirituality. Tanah Lot is situated just offshore on the south east coast of Bali. It was created back in the 16th century by a Hindu priest. Some of the temple and rock has been restored, as they suffered badly from erosion from the large waves and high tides over the years. When it is high tide the shrine cannot be reached when it is low tide people can walk across to the rock formation and the low sea level exposes small caves and crevices.

The complex also has nearby shrines such as Batu Bolong Temple which is on the beach of Canggu, the name translates into perforated rock, as the name suggests it sits out into the ocean and the rock has a hole in the middle. This temple is popular with many Hindus who go there to pray daily.

These shrines are a must visit on any trip to Bali, I would suggest going early to avoid the crowds or try to be there for sunset, however it is much busier around that time. Unfortunately when we visited the heavens opened up and we got soaked, I would love to go back and revisit.

Tanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple BaliTanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple Bali

Ubud

Ubud is the cultural hub of the island, full with beautiful Balinese buildings, temples and green spaces. The area surrounding Ubud is full of jungles and rice terraces. Ubud is a very on trend place with plenty of spas, yoga retreats, fashion and homeware boutiques not to mention there are lots of traditional arts and crafts available all around Ubud from local workshops and markets.

The village of Ubud is also a foodies dream with so many cute hipster cafes and restaurants to pick from. Ubud really has it all apart from the ocean, but it is the greenest place I have ever been to and has so much nature surrounding it. I would suggest staying in Ubud for a couple of nights on your trip to Bali at least, and if your not a beach lover you could easily spend your whole trip in Ubud and get out exploring all the temples and historic sites. You can base yourself in Ubud and do plenty of day tours around the rest of the island too.

Most days we would take our scooter out and go driving around the area stopping at temples and then in the afternoon grab some lunch and hit the local markets such as the Art Market (Pasar Seni), Street Market and the Traditional Market which are a few we visited! There are so many markets and also night markets to explore if your a shopaholic then leave plenty of room in your suitcase.

Ubud BaliUbud BaliUbud Bali

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Entrance Fee: 50,000 IDR

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is one of Bali’s most famous temples and is placed on Lake Beratan which is Bali’s second largest lake. It is in the highlands of the mountainous region of Bedugul, and the temple is dedicated to several Hindu gods. There are signs that the temple dates back as early as 1556, but was rebuilt in 1633. The gardens of the temple are stunning with gorgeous views over the lake, temples and mountains in the distance. It’s a really calm place to visit and much cooler with its mountain air. This was our first stop on our day tour around the island if your planning on visiting Ulun Danu Beratan Temple I would suggest booking a private driver or book onto a tour that stops there, as it’s high in the mountains it might not be the easiest drive for someone not familiar with the roads.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali

Transport & Getting Around

Getting around Bali is pretty easy and most locals and tourists tend to opt for scooters, as they’re quick and easy to get from a to b and cheap to run and hiring them doesn’t cost much at all. When hiring a scooter make sure to wear a helmet as there have been so many horrendous stories of tourists having accidents not just in Bali but all around South East Asia.

You can also hire bicycles around the villages but Bali roads aren’t for the faint hearted especially on a bike! Some are in quite a poor condition too, so speak to you accommodation provider who will be able to recommend good places to hire bicycles and some hotels even have them to hire out as well as scooters. There is public transport in the form of a van crammed with seats like a bus called bemos, these aren’t a popular choice with either locals or tourists as they run on a set route, and are few and far between as most people tend to opt for scooters or private drivers.

Bali is easily accessible by many flights that land into Ngurah Rai International Airport with flights from all over the world and Asia. You can also get boats to Bali from both Lombok and the Gili Islands with plenty of different options available.

As we were limited on time we booked a full day island tour through Perama Tours who are reliable and great value and are an Indonesian based tour operator. The tour we booked took us to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Munduk Waterfall Valley, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Taman Ayun Temple, Tanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple. They have a variety of tours available if you’re tight on time then booking day tours are a great way to get out and see everything you want to see and with the knowledge of a local.

Top Tips

Bali is an incredible place to visit and it is an extremely popular tourist destination so do go with an open mind and expect crowds. Don’t always go expecting you’re going to be the only one at a popular tourist spot, don’t let Instagram fool you! Many of these travel influencers that get these amazing photos will get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds and a do a lot of photoshopping, so don’t be shocked if you go somewhere and it is heaving with people.

Bali is full of many religious sites and temples so dress modestly with shoulders and knees covered. A lot of the religious sites will allow you to hire sarongs to cover yourself too. Also note that many high end bars and restaurants have a dress code too, and beachwear in some places may not be allowed, check prior to going to certain places to avoid any disappointment.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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A Day Trip To The Gili Islands From Lombok

The Gili Islands are a group of three tiny islands clustered close to one another. The islands are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are situated near the coast of northwest Lombok. The islands are a popular spot for tourists for their white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and coral reefs just offshore.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Each island although similar in appearance all have quite a different vibe from one another. All of the Gilis do not have roads and do not permit any motorised vehicles on them, so the main way to get around each island is by foot, bicycle or by cidomo (horsedrawn carts). Just be careful with hiring a horse and cart as I have heard many stories of the horses not being cared for properly.

Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the largest of the islands and attracts the majority of visitors, it takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from the northwest of Lombok and regular daily fast boats depart Bali directly to Gili T. Gili T is popular with tourists as it has the most going on in comparison to the other Gili Islands – restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. Gili T was once known as a hippie party island, but today is popular with both backpackers and families.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and by far the most peaceful and underdeveloped, and is popular with honeymooners and the more mature traveller. The island is ringed by pristine beaches and coral reefs. Most accommodation is on the east side of the island with the most beautiful beach on offer, although there is some development going on in the west of the island. Inland on Gili Meno are homesteads, coconut plantations and there is a salty lake.

Gili Air is the island closest to Lombok and is a good island to visit if you want the best of both worlds – less busy than Gili T, but with still a little bit of nightlife, and chilled out enough so you can do plenty of relaxing. The snorkelling is really good right off from the main beach too. The beaches on Gili Air are said to be the best out of the three islands.

We visited the Gilis on a day trip from Lombok and booked a boat trip through Perama Tours which picked us up from the hotel in the morning and took us to the harbour where we then had a private boat that took us snorkelling around all three of the islands, and we stopped at Gili T where we had a wander around and had lunch and got to spend some time on the beach.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

After lunch, we got back on the boat for some more snorkelling around the islands. The Gili islands also have lots of scuba diving trips and courses available too, and the scuba diving is meant to be amazing! Snorkelling is really great around all of the islands and we were lucky enough to swim alongside a beautiful turtle.

Gili Islands Indonesia

The Gili Islands are an absolute must when planning a trip to Indonesia, and you could easily spend your whole holiday there or add it on to a Bali or Lombok itinerary. Personally, I would love to go back and revisit the Gilis and next time I would like to spend a few nights there. I would recommend that if you have time to spend a couple of nights on the islands. However if you are limited on time like we were, a day trip is a good idea so that you can get a taste of the islands.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Transport & Getting Around

The quickest and easiest way to get to the Gili Islands is from Lombok, as they are much closer in proximity than Bali. From Lombok, there are several transfers that can be booked as well as cheap public boats. Each of the Gilis has public boats in their harbour areas that leave when at full capacity.

Depending on which Gili Island you are visiting there are several departures from Lombok to the Gilis throughout the day, there is Teluk Nare Harbour which is where the ferries and speedboats come in, and Bangsal Harbour which offers public boats across to the Gilis. From both these ports, Gili Air is only a 10 minute boat ride, to Gili Meno it is 15 minutes and to Gili Trawangan its around 20 – 30 minutes.

Once on the Gilis you can easily get between each island by hopping on one of the boats which runs between them all regularly, and they are all between 5 – 10 minute boat ride apart from one another.

There are also plenty of options to reach the Gilis from Bali, which are longer boat journeys but easily doable and can take anything between 1 to 5 hours depending on which option you choose and where you depart from. There are fast boats and also ferries which run between Bali, the Gili Islands and Lombok. The ferry option is a cheap option, but I would only recommend to people on a tight budget and travelling for an extended amount of time. I would suggest anyone who is on holiday for a few weeks to go with the quicker options. You can also charter private boats to take you across from both Bali and Lombok.

We booked through Perama Tours to go from Lombok to the Gili Islands as they have daily tours but you can also book boat transfers through them as well.

Top Tips

The Gili Islands although set up for tourists, they are a little more behind with facilities to that of its popular island neighbour Bali. Make sure to carry cash as well as cards as ATMs are only in a few hotels in Gili T, and cards are accepted but monly in modern establishments.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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5 Things To See & Do In North Lombok

The island of Lombok is placed between the popular tourist island of Bali and the remote Sumbawa Island of West Nusa Tenggara. The residents of Lombok are predominantly Muslim, which makes it very different from Bali which is mostly Hindu. Before the independence of Indonesia, Lombok was mainly ruled by the chiefs of the indigenous Sasak tribe, which still dominates most of the population today.

Lombok has something for everyone from stunning sandy beaches, jungles and waterfalls, with plenty of surfing and trekking on offer for adventurers. Lombok itself doesn’t have a very big nightlife scene, however if you’re looking for something a little more lively then head to the island of Gili Trawangan for a few nights. The island is also home to Indonesia’s second largest active volcano – Mount Rinjani which is popular with hikers. Lombok is definitely more suited to travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle and looking for a quieter destination with plenty of off the beaten track natural wonders.

We only had 3 nights in Lombok and had a day trip out to the Gili Islands. I really would love to go back to Lombok and spend some more time there in the future. I really recommend that if your travelling to Bali and the Gili Islands then make some extra time and visit Lombok for a few nights at least, as it’s a complete contrast to Bali and the Gilis.

Sights & Activities

Malimbu Hill

Malimbu Hill is a gorgeous coastal viewpoint and is located 10 minutes drive from Senggigi. There are two viewpoint options one which is Malimbu Hill which is a grassy hilltop covered in palm trees, which is a perfect spot for watching the sunset, or there is Malimbu Cliff which is a higher viewpoint. We didn’t really get chance to stop here as we were on a Lombok day tour, but did get a quick glance over the view, and could even see the Gili Islands in the far distance. I would recommend visiting for sunset to take full advantage of the ocean views.

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest is a stunning jungle viewpoint set along a winding mountain road about a 35 minute drive from Senggigi. There’s a small lay-by to pull over in, which has lots of wild macaque monkeys roaming around because many tourists feed them. This is a great place to stop off and admire the forest views and of course see the monkeys climbing the trees and waiting to be fed.

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest LombokBaun Pusuk Monkey Forest LombokBaun Pusuk Monkey Forest Lombok

Senaru Village

Senaru Village is a traditional Sasak village which is located next to the Mount Rinjani Trek Centre where the Rinjani trail begins, it’s approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Senggigi. The Sasak inhabitants are the cultural guardians of Mount Rinjani and its surrounding forest. Visiting the village is a great insight into local life and getting to see the authentic thatched houses. It’s a great place to stop off at before visiting Sendang Gile Waterfall or if your heading to Mount Rinjani.

Senaru Village Lombok

Sendang Gile Waterfall

Entrance Fee: 10,000 IDR

Sendang Gile Waterfall is located close to Senaru Village and close to the base of Mount Rinjani. Lombok has many waterfalls to go and visit, but this one is a popular one due to its location and ease, as its an easy 15 minute walk from the entrance to view the waterfall. It’s a gorgeous waterfall surrounded by greenery and nature, on a hot day it’s really refreshing to take a dip in the pool or to fully submerge yourself underneath the falls. We booked a day tour so all prices were included in the tour price. I would really recommend visiting Sendang Gile waterfall or at least one of of the many waterfalls Lombok has to offer such as Benang Stokel, Benang Kelambu, Tiu Tedja and various other waterfalls dotted around the island.

Sendang Gile Waterfall Lombok

The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are a group of three tiny islands clustered close to one another. The islands are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are situated near the coast of northwest Lombok. The islands are a popular spot for tourists for their white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and coral reefs just offshore. Each island although similar in appearance all have quite a different vibe from one another.

Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the largest of the islands and attracts the majority of visitors, it takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from the northwest of Lombok. Gili T is popular with tourists as it has the most going on in comparison to the other Gili Islands – restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.

Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and by far the most peaceful and underdeveloped, and is popular with honeymooners and the more mature traveller.

Gili Air is the island closest to Lombok and is a good island to visit if you want the best of both worlds – less busy than Gili T, but with still a little bit of nightlife, and chilled out enough so you can do plenty of relaxing.

We visited the Gilis on a day trip from Lombok and booked a boat trip through Perama Tours which picked us up from the hotel in the morning and took us to the harbour where we then had a private boat that took us snorkelling around all three of the islands.

The Gili Islands are an absolute must when planning a trip to Indonesia, add it on to a Bali or Lombok itinerary. I would recommend that if you have time to spend a couple of nights on the islands. However if you are limited on time like we were, a day trip is a good idea so that you can get a taste of the islands.

Read more about The Gili Islands: A Day Trip To The Gili Islands From Lombok

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Transport & Getting Around

Getting to Lombok is pretty easy to reach from Bali, there are plenty of flights to Lombok airport which is what we opted for. We booked a flight with Lion Air which is a 20 minute flight and cost us about £30 per person return, however this can vary depending on when you travel. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Kuta from the airport and it’s an hour drive to Senggigi.

You can also head to Lombok by public ferry from Padang Bai Port in Bali which is really cheap and easy to do, however the ferry does take between 4 – 5 hours to reach Lembar Port in Lombok, which is approximately an hour away from both Kuta and Senggigi.

Lombok isn’t the easiest island to get around with regards to public transport as mostly it only operates in bigger towns on the island. Renting a car, motorbike or scooter is the best option or booking onto day tours if you want to explore more of the island if your short on time.

As we were limited on time we just booked all our tours through Perama Tours who are reliable and great value, and are an Indonesian based tour operator. We booked Perama for a Gili Islands day tour on our second day in Lombok, and on our last day, we booked a full day tour of Lombok where they took us to Malimbu Hill, Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest, Senaru Village and Sendang Gile Waterfall.

Top Tips

Lombok although set up for tourists, it is a little more behind with facilities to that of its popular island neighbour Bali. Make sure to carry cash as well as cards, as ATMs are only in the major towns and cards are accepted only in modern establishments.

As Lombok is mostly Muslim – make sure to cover up and dress modestly in the towns. Beachwear is fine when on the beaches and in the resorts, but covering shoulders is advised when in the towns and villages.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx5 Things To See And Do In North Lombok - Pintetest Pin

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