Anxious to Adventure

The thoughts, travels and tribulations of a recent graduate about to embark on the big bad world.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Ludlow


Last week, to escape responsibilities and builders, we headed away for a sort of 'staycation'. We spent a few days not too far from home in the middle of the rolling Shropshire Hills. It was hugely relaxing, staying in a sweet cottage in the middle of nowhere. It meant that I could still nip into work for a few days and we could still do all the 'half term' jobs that had been put off. However, the real treat was that when you went 'home' at night, you didn't have to worry about cleaning or washing, all we could do was read and relax.

Not too far from where we were staying was the beautiful market town of Ludlow. Now perhaps most famous for it's food and drink (see Ludlow Food Festival) it is a town steeped in history.

Ludlow's street are a wonderful mix of historic Tudor timber framed to the beautiful Georgian townhouses. There are almost 500 listed buildings in the town!



One of these buildings is the famous 'The Feathers Hotel' that has been an inn since around 1670.


I really wanted to make sure that my visit coincided with a market. Now, this is not hard as Ludlow has a market running most days of the week but if you want to double check when they're on, check here. We visited when the General Market was running and there was lots to see, everything from cheese to crockery to leather handbags!. I almost had to be forcibly removed from the cheese stall!!






Fun Fact - I never liked butter until I tried 'real, fresh' butter at Ludlow Market one day. Ever since, I've been a fan!

Walking through the town, we paused every now and then to read the blue plaques that are on so many of the buildings. They give information about what happened at or who lived in a particular building.

Although we didn't go in, we made sure to stop at Ludlow Castle. Almost 900 years old the Castle, now ruined, is the site of an unbelievable amount of history. So many people have called this castle home, including The Princes in the Tower. Prince Arthur died at the Castle, whilst on his honeymoon with Catherine of Aragon, thus changing the course of history. I must say that the castle didn't look too welcoming...


However, outside the castle is a lovely green, right in the middle of the town, which definitely looked more inviting than the castle did!




We stopped for a cup of tea - and smoked salmon sandwiches - at The Angel. There was a lot of wine available, so looks like I'll have to go back for a spot of wine tasting!





Ludlow is the perfect place to spend a few hours wandering through the shops and the picturesque streets.


There are the more traditional shops...



...and then the slightly more quirky.


So, I hope this gives you a little insight as to why John Betjeman stated 'Ludlow...is probably the loveliest town in England...' If you want to know more, you'll just have to visit Ludlow yourself! But I can promise you, it is rather nice!



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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A Long Weekend in London


London. I love visiting London, normally because it means that I'm doing something exciting or meeting some of my nearest and dearest. This weekend turned out to be both of those things, rolled into one.

We were down in London for my uncle's birthday celebration. It was quite a big birthday which meant family from all over the place flew in to celebrate with us. 

Before we met up with everybody, my Mum, sister and I went to find some lunch and oddly enough, Mum bumped into somebody she used to know in Bermuda about 15 years ago. In the space of about 15 minutes we all saw people we knew. Such a small world!


We strolled through South Kensington and along the Kings Road, admiring the quirky houses as we went past. As we reached Sloane Square, we got caught in a sort of farmers market/food festival which had every bit of food you could imagine from doughnuts to oysters. Unfortunately we were heading out for a meal, otherwise we could have done some serious damage!!

We were going out that evening in Borough Market so we had booked into the Blackfrairs (Fleet Street) Premier Inn. It was in a great location and - as always with a Premier Inn - they do a great breakfast!!


That evening, supper was at The Market Porter Pub. It was such wonderful weather that the street outside was full with people and the whole place had a really nice atmosphere. I feel as though I was too distracted to give an honest review of the restaurant because I was so busy catching up with family that I didn't notice how long between courses!

After we had demolished a lot of cake - and a lot of drinks - we headed back along the river to find somewhere to have a night cap. We paused for photos outside a place called 'Swan', right next to The Globe, and decided to pop in. It couldn't have been a more perfect setting. We sat, overlooking the Thames, admiring how beautiful St. Paul's looked!




The weather the following day was unbelievable. The last few times I have been to London, the sun has been shining and it makes me want to pack up everything and move down there!


I parted ways with my Mum and sister at St. Paul's and made my way across to The Ned to meet my Auntie and Uncle for lunch. I want to go back and do an entire post on The Ned because it's amazing! (*Ahem, sponsored post please!*) Walking into the building, it's honestly like something from New York in the 1920s. There are 10 restaurants in the hotel and as I walked in there was a jazz band playing. 



The Ned is part of the Soho House group. We had lunch on the roof terrace which you can only go to if you are a member or are a guest at the hotel. It's incredible, this sort of haven in the middle of the city with a rooftop pool and sun loungers. It was the perfect day to visit as the sun was shining. I don't think you're allowed to take photos upstairs so the following three photos come from The Ned's website.



After we left, somewhat begrudgingly, we headed out of the city. I needed to be back in London the next day so I was staying with my Auntie and Uncle in Cambridge. Not wanting to waste the sunshine, we spent most of the afternoon in the garden, catching up on reading, nibbling antipasti and sipping sparkling English wine. It sounds pretty idyllic...and it was! We even headed out in the evening to watch my cousin play cricket. 



On Monday I was back in London, this time staying at Comfort Inn Buckingham Palace Road. My room was less than £70, which for Central London is really good. It was only a quick pit stop to get ready before heading out to Leicester Square. I was really lucky to attend the premiere of 'Welcome to Curiosity' which was a little bit different to my usual Monday evening!



It was a really fun evening. After it was all finished, a couple of us headed off into the night to find food! We settled on a sweet little Italian, Il Cucciolo, in Soho - I think pizza was the only thing on my mind! They let us in and fed us at 11pm so they are the real superstars of the night!

The last day in London started with tea with the Queen...

...well, tea at the Queen's. 

Having left my luggage at the hotel, I made my way to Buckingham Palace. I had hoped to get up early to beat the tourists but I may have had a lie in! 

I love the parks in London and decided to spend my morning doing something a little more active. I rented a Boris Bike (now Santander bikes - definitely not as catchy!) This is a great way to see the city. If you're braver you can go on the roads, but I don't even think I could drive in London, let alone bike anywhere other than a designated cycle path. There are routes all over the city, but I decided to stick with the Hyde Park. It can be as cheap as £2 a day to rent the bikes and there are stations everywhere. If this is something that you want to do, make sure that you don't use them in 'no cycle zones' but don't worry, they're clearly marked.




I saw all sorts of sights on my bike ride...




I love that in the middle of London, there is still a little bit of countryside...



...I guess I'll always be a country girl at heart.

I headed over to Kensington Palace for a couple of reasons 1. because I had never been there before and 2. because I wanted to give Harry one last chance to make sure that he chose the right Megan. I didn't see him, so I guess we'll never know...

I did see Queen Victoria though.



I made sure that I saw a bit of the gardens, having heard so much about them. If I didn't have a train to catch, then I would have loved to have spent more time at Kensington Palace. 




I could do with a long weekend in London like this every week. What do you think, would I get away with it?


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