5 Things to do on a Short Stay in London | England 

London is a city of nearly 9 million people. More people live in London than in my entire country. It’s big. And that means that even if you’ve lived there your entire life and you’re about to retire, there’s no way that you’re going to see everything there is to see. Even more so if you’re just there on a short visit.

During my time in England, I was able to go to London several times, sometimes just for the day, sometimes for a couple of days. Each time I managed to do different things, so as to best get as much in as possible. If you’re one to cut up your time into morning and afternoon segments, then there are a few things that don’t take more than that time. I’ve narrowed that list of places down to 5 that I really enjoyed.

sea life

Sea Life Aquarium

There’s just something about an aquarium that’s almost other-wordly. The London aquarium is truly of superb quality, and can be done easily in a morning or afternoon.

How to get there: Get off the Underground at Westminster and cross the brdige. It’s on your left. Or get off at Waterloo, and make your way towards the River.

camden market

Camden Market

Easily accessible from the Underground train line, Camden Market is a rabbit warren of wonders, a sprawling market with everything from delicious food stalls, clothing shops and jewellery stands. Whether you go for lunch and the wander around, or you arrive early afternoon and stay on for dinner, there’s always something happening, always something to see and do.

How to get there: Get off the Underground at either Camden Town station or Chalk Farm station.

v and a

 

The Victoria and Albert Museum

If you’re a museum or history lover, then the Victoria and Albert is definitely worth a visit. 8 miles of corridors full of history, art and sculptures, you could spend hours and hours wandering their beautiful halls. But if there are specific things you’d like to see, you can easily head to that floor and just see the things that really interest you.

How to get there: Get off the Underground at South Kensington station and walk to Cromwell Road.

abbey road

Abbey Road

Fans of the 60’s band The Beatles will be sure to head to iconic Abbey Road anyway, but if you’re interested, it is a fun expedition, and you’ll forever remember trying to get the ultimate Beatles-style photo across the zebra crossing. If this sin’t something that you’d like to spend your afternoon doing, but you’re still intrigued, you can check out Inside Abbey Road by Google for a virtual tour.

How to get there: Get off the Underground at St John’s Wood, or Maida Vale.

st james park

St James Park

If Hyde Park’s vastness doesn’t do it for you, St James park, which runs between Buckingham Palace and the Parliament buildings, is a beautiful walk. With a river running through the park, it’s full of wildlife, cyclists, picnic-ers, and, well you.

How to get there: Get off the Underground at St James’ Park or Westminster


Obviously there are so so many more things to do in a half day, but that’s a start for you, and some of the things that I’ve done in a short space of time that I really enjoyed. Feel free to drop other suggestions into the comments!

3 Cotswold Villages to Visit | England

South Central England. The home of the Cotswolds. In among the winding roads of the far reaching hills, are tiny villages full of personality and quirk. All are worth a visit, but there are 3 in particular that I recommend having a wander around, or near.

painswick

Painswick

Just outside the city of Gloucester there is the little town of Painswick. Little paths a few feet wide and stone walls lead you around this little town, and the cafes are well worth popping in to. In particular, Olivia’s Café, which not only sells delicious food, but has great décor, complete with bicycle out the front.

All the houses and buildings are really old, as you expect in England, and are all made from a light, yellowy coloured brick, called Cotswold Stone. They all have names like ‘The Weavers House’, ‘Coomb House’, and ‘Daisy Corner’. The Catholic Church graveyard in its centre has huge trees which are kept in large oval shapes, rather than left to grow how they may.

bourton on the water

Bourton-on-the-Water

With an incredibly British name, Bourton-on-the-Water is exactly what you’d think it would be – a small town with water at its centre. The Cotswold town’s claim to fame (or at least acknowledgement) is the High Street that runs next to the River Windrush. With large, wide greens on either side, it’s a place for picnics, walks and general relaxing.

The river has arching bridges so pedestrians can move from one side to the other with ease, and the shops that line the streets open out onto the green. If you happen to be around at Christmas time, it’s well worth a visit, as the town becomes very festive, and lights up the streets. Something worth mentioning is the Model Village, which is a 1:9 replica of the town, and was built by craftsmen in the 30s. Definitely a sweet little set up.

winchcombe

Winchcombe

Perhaps not a main-stream Cotswold village, but Winchcombe’s streets are narrower than a lot of the others, and homes’ front doors step straight out onto the footpath. It’s what’s around Winchcombe that is perhaps of more interest.

Belas Knap is up on Cleeve Hill, and is a Neolithic long barrow. There is also Sudeley Castle, which is known for being the ‘only private castle to have a queen buried in its grounds’(source). It’s a beautiful building, which many gardens, and sweet cottages. The remains of Hailes Abbey are also within a short distance of Winchcombe, and is owned by the National Trust. Outside the remains still sits Hailes Church, which is older than the ruined Abbey, but well worth a stop at.

Gloucester Docks | England

Living in England for two years meant that I managed to do quite a bit of exploring around the country. But it was often the places nearby that I really loved and would go back to time and again. One such place was the Gloucester Docks.

A complete Victorian port system, surrounded by brick buildings and house boats, the Gloucester Docks are still used, to some extent, for what they were originally designed for. Of course these days there are modern buildings scattered around, and old buildings that have been turned into apartments overlooking the water ways.gloucester docks 2

There are so many things to do in and around the docks, so you can easily spend a good morning down there, or even the day. There’s the Waterways Museum, the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, an outlet shopping mall, the Mariner’s Chapel, Antique shops and even a brewery. As well as just taking a wander and seeing what you can find, you can hire a narrowboat for the day and cruise through the canals, or if you’re not into driving the boat yourself, you can take a 45 minute cruise.

As well as all these things, during the year there are different events, markets and fairs that take place. While I was there, we went to the Victorian Christmas Market, and it was amazing. Stalls lined the carpark, with twinkling lights and hot mould wine were in everyone’s’ hands.  There was an old fashion merry-go-round, and people dressed up in Victorian outfits. If you happen to be in Gloucester when the Christmas Market is on, then it’s definitely one to head along to.

gloucester docks 3

If not, then check them out anyway. It’s a proud part of the Gloucester community, and used by a lot of people, both from Gloucestershire and around that part of England.


Cost: Walking around the docks is free

Hours: All hours for a wander around. Check out the Gloucester Docks website for specific shop/museum times