6 things I love about England

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1) The green countryside that just seems to go on forever, with its rolling hills and yellow flowers. And the fact that apart from London, you are never really that far away from it. It has public footpaths throughout its fields, and with a pair of Hunter boots, you can embark on a countryside walk of so much beauty and silence it will inspire you.

2) PUBS. The culture of the pub is dear to me – it’s the coffee house but with beer. A relaxed vibe, good ales, calm atmosphere (most times) is all I ask for in my pub. Log fires? Sure. Beer garden in the sun? I’ll take it. And there is no other country in the world who has this nor can mimic it successfully. I once went home and walked (over a half mile!) to the local bar. Greasy men, beer taps unseen, loud sports on TV, lack of comfy seating, and no pint equivalent made me miss the English pub even more.

3) I bloody love cricket. I love the atmosphere, the game, the crowds, the commentators (TMS is my favourite thing to listen to on the radio), the people, the sportsmanship, the players, the equipment. It is the most English game to have ever Englished – and I love it for that.

4) The public transport. It is efficient (on good days), safe, and can connect you with most parts of the UK no problemo. Trips to the seaside? Check. The North? Check. Cornwall? Check. What more could you ask for?

5) It’s quirky towns that have adorable old houses and at least three pubs. I adore the high street and how everything is walkable – no need for your gas-guzzling 4x4s here! Everyone is out and walking.

6) The BBC – say no to commercials! I am now so spoiled. No longer can I watch tv or listen to a radio station that has commercials. The great BBC churns out show after show that is intelligent, unbiased, and entertaining. My favourite programmes are BBC productions: The Great British Bake Off and Sherlock. My favourite radio shows are on the BBC: Kermode & Mayo Film Review and TMS (of course!). I can’t live without it anymore.

And that’s not even the half of it. I adore this great country! X

River Stort | Hertfordshire & Essex

   

     

The sun was shining brightly on Monday morning, and brighter than usual. It was a bank holiday. All hail days off work! The sun was warm, the breeze was calm, and the sky was nearly cloudless. You cannot ask for better weather in the beginning of May.

So around 11 am, when Ben would be with his third class of the day and I would be slogging away at my desk, Ben and I gleefully headed to the nearby river for a walk down to Sawbridgeworth – the next town down only 4 miles away.

I had always seen the river walk from the train on my commute, and I loved how it wound its way around the grassy countryside. It almost flirted with the train tracks at times, which enticed me even more. I was always afraid of going on the path alone, as it always looked deserted except for the occasional canal boat. 

Well – it certainly wasn’t deserted on Monday afternoon! It had a lovely flow of people, runners, cyclists, families, dogs, and kayakers on the river. Everyone was out. (One of the things I do love about this country is that on sunny days everyone takes advantage of the good weather and countryside. Everyone!) 

Ben and I only made it halfway to Sawbridgeworth before turning around, but we would have happily kept on the trail. It’s already earmarked for our next long run as it was so scenic and quiet. You ca also rent boats and canoes to explore the river on – and you can watch the canal boats navigate the locks (which might not sound exciting but it is incredibly intriguing).

Stansted Mountfitchet | Essex

   

       

I’ve been sick all weekend with a terrible cold. It was horrible! It comes like any cold does: hits you mildly on Friday and then by the height of the weekend it’s knocked you cold. Then you are recovered enough to be back at work on Monday. Yippee!

I missed a great day in London, where I was suppose to be watching the Oxford and Cambridge boat race with friends on the river. It was a sunny, beautiful day as well which made me feel even worse. Oh well. Maybe next year.

So on the Sunday, even when I was feeling horrendous, I packed up my tissue box and concealer, popped a few pills, drank some vitamin c, and headed with Ben to the early town of Stansted Mountfitchet. 

This town has a lot of local history, but is incredibly small. We were there for no more than 3 hours and we saw absolutely everything. They have a small high street full of cute pubs and old timber framed houses, and they even have an adorable old windmill! 

There is even Mountfitchet Castle which is a reconstruction of the old Norman fort that once was on the site. We paid around £10 each to get in, and there was a ton of things to do and see. It is set up as a semi accurate representation with plaques of the history. It was a bit cheesy to me as an adult, but it would be a great day out with the family. In fact there were several families there when we visited!

City of London | London

            

Not to boast, but I would say I have one of the best commutes for a London worker. I start early, as I live outside of the city about halfway to Cambridge. So around 7:30 I head out of my lovely little flat I share with my fiancé, and walk four minutes down the road to our local train station. At this point, there is not much to share. My train station is bog standard, the walk to it fast and mostly through a parking lot. My trains are clean and fast, and I always get a window seat facing forwards at a table (I am a creature of habit after all). 

At 8:20am I arrive into Liverpool Street station among crowds of commuters, and it is here that the best part of my commute begins: 

I walk from Liverpool Street Station to Southwark.

It’s a 25 minute walk at a good pace. This sounds long when you say it out loud, but trust me, it goes by quickly. I walk through the middle of the City of London, past the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange, with the tall towers like the Gerkin, Cheese-Grater, and Walkie Talkie in the background. I pass over Bank and Mansion House, the home of the Lord Mayor. I wander through old cobbled roads near tucked away pubs and wind up on Southwark Bridge to walk over the Thames. To my left is the City, the Shard, and Tower Bridge. To my right is St Paul’s, Millenium Bridge, the Globe Theatre, and the Tate Modern.

When England is basked in sunshine, this is where you need to linger. London always makes me smile.

Just thought I’d share! What are your favourite walks through the city?  X

Copenhagen | Denmark

   

       

Part 2! 

Here is my summary of the trip in 5 tips:

1) Stay in an AirBnB location that is not in the inner city. Reason for that? All of the main attractions are located next to each other for the most part, so Ben and I had no reason to head over to Norrebro or Vesterbro. We explored Christianshavn mostly because we were staying there!  And it was great to have that as an option.

2) Get active! Ben and I loved our run around the Kastellet and our walking tour. There are bikes, kayaks, boats, and walking trails all over the city. Get involved!

3) Nationalmuseet was well worth the visit. It’s free, well laid out, and filled with history.

4) We didn’t get a chance to go up the tower at Christiansborg Palace, so we paid 25kr and went up the Rundetarn instead. It was well worth the small amount of cash for the view at the top!

5) Nyhavn is gorgeous and one of the best places to sit along the harbour in the sunshine. Grab beers from the local shop along with some nibbles and have a mini picnic. It will save you a fortune rather than going for the pricey restaurants along the sides and you get the same view!

Just my opinion of course! See Copenhagen Part 1 here. X

Copenhagen | Denmark

   

       

This past holiday weekend, Ben and I decided to get away from our English lives and visit a new city. After much debate, we narrowed in on the Scandinavian city of Copenhagen! I jumped at the bit as it has been on my bucket list for ages… And away we went!

We flew in early Friday morning with the intention to stay for 4 whole days. This is more than enough time to see everything you want in the city- I’d say you could even do it in 3! But we were happy to take our time with the sites. We stayed in an AirBnB apartment in Christianshavn which was a short walk to all of the main attractions. It allowed us to really relax and eat in, which saved us a lot of money in the long run!

One thing I’ll start out saying is that many people find Copenhagen expensive. And it is, in one sense. But Ben and I found that if you were savvy with where you went to eat and drink, it was really equivalent to what you would get in any major city. We had a beer right off the main walkway and it came to around £4. We had an amazing sandwich with homemade bread at the coolest little cafe called the Next Door Cafe for only £5. You can go into the Nationalmuseet and up the tower of the Christiansborg Palace for free. And, as I always say, walking is the best way to see a city! We went on this free walking tour and had the best time!

Now, the city is known for being cycle friendly. Everyone is on bikes! It looked like so much fun. Ben and I decided to get in on some of the active energy and on Sunday went for a long run around the Kastellet and paused for a bit at the Little Mermaid Statue (my favourite fairy tale!). It was the best run along the water. We barely felt the miles as we put them on! I highly recommend it. If running is not your thing, grab a bike!

The city is lined with rows and rows of beautiful architecture and colourful buildings. I was in love! And all of the cute boutiques and design shops tempt you to spend all of your money… The objects are beautiful so I cannot say no to that! We walked away with two hanging metal wire candle holders and a carafe. No regrets.

I highly recommend a visit for a long weekend! This beautiful city will not disappoint. X

Farringdon and Clerkenwell | London

 

  

  

  

At the weekend, Ben and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. 5 years! To celebrate, we headed into the great city for a day out, starting with a walk to the Museum of London.
Neither Ben nor myself had been to the museum before (free, by the way, as many of the great Lindon museums are) so we didn’t know what to expect. 

Inside was a large collection of artefacts from Londons history, from before the Romans arrived over 2000 years ago until current day. They have a life size Victorian walk, clothing, jewellery, signet rings, bones, maps, and my personal favourite, the Olympic Caldron from London 2012. It was a fantastic display.
Overall I’d say it took 3 hours to go through the museum in its entirety, and at the weekend the area surrounding the museum is calm and quiet.
After the Museum, we headed to The Modern Pantry for afternoon tea in which we had prosecco, and bite sized sandwiches and scones and brownies that were so scrumptious I could have had more. 

 The area around is great for a walk and only about 20 minutes on foot from Liverpool Street Station, and so lovely and quiet on weekends that I’d recommend a visit for the tourist fed up with tourists or the Londoner wanting some calm in the heart of the city.