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Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris!

We’ve had our Hyundi 100 van conversion a little over 2 months now, giving us plenty of time to take it on some adventures! Initially we’ve only taken the van out locally in Cornwall so we can get an idea of what to expect when we go away for longer trips. The last thing we want to do is find out that we’ve got some kind of problem when we’re thousands of miles away from home. It’s also good to get an idea of temperature so we don’t end up overheating or freezing, which might result in a trip being cut short.

Another reason we’ve not taken it out as much as we hoped, is we still have a few jobs to do. We’ve pretty much got the van ready to go now though, and as I’m typing this, I’ve just received word that our lovely handmade curtains are ready to be fitted. This means we’ll have grey curtains that are both black out and thermal lined, which is going to make a huge difference compared to the blinds we have at the moment.

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Luckily, Cornwall has a lot to offer and we’ve had plenty of fun being tourist in our own county. There are so many places we haven’t been that we want to explore. I couldn’t list everywhere we’ve been because we take it wherever Magicseaweed says the surf is (Perranporth, Polzeth, Praa Sands, Newquay etc). But here’s a round up of some of our trips exploring the Cornish coastline beyond the surf!


St Agnes Head, St Agnes

When we first picked up the van in March we were eager to take it out as soon as possible. It was a little bit chilly but we decided to head up to St Agnes, pull back the sliding side door and enjoy the view. Thanks to the previous owner, Boris has a great sound system, so we put on some Bon Iver and watched the sunset with our dog.

There’s nothing better than being able to watch the sun go down over the sea whilst being cuddled up in bed. I can see us spending a lot of time up in St Agnes in the warmer months. It’s so quiet and peaceful, and you don’t get other people in camper vans up there. There is a height restriction to get into the carparks overlooking the headland but Boris just managed to slide under the barrier.

Minack Theatre, Porthcurno

If you live in Cornwall, as soon as the weather starts to warm up, you’ll notice your feed covered in pictures of Porthcurno. I’m ashamed to admit that before May, I’d never been to this scenic village on the coast.

Desperate to go, we packed up the van with our dog on the first sunny morning and headed down towards Lands End. We left our van in a nearby carpark and followed the coastal path from the beach over to the Minack Theatre, taking in the incredible views on the way.

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

The views were breath-taking, just as we expected. I’ve got so much GoPro footage to sort through, I don’t even know where to start. We were blessed with sunshine all day which made such a difference.

We soaked up the sunshine at the Minack Theatre and ate our packed lunch before heading back along the beach.

Of course, dogs aren’t allowed on the beach during the summer but we recently discovered a little loop-hole… Nobody minds where you take your dog if you carry him in a backpack. In matter of fact, it’s actually encouraged.

Everybody swoons over how cute our scruffy little Jack Russel is, when they see his happy little face poking our of our K9 Airsack. I don’t blame them – he looks absolutely adorable! It’s also really handy if we’re going over dangerous bits of loose rocks or if he gets tired after a long day of walking.

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

St Michaels Mount, Marazion

The first place we slept in the van was overlooking St Michaels Mount from Marazion. We arrived with plenty of time after our trip to Porthcurno so we could get a good spot. There’s so many great places to park up but we had to make sure we could stay somewhere it was legal to sleep.

First, we headed over to a carpark that was right next to the beach. We reversed into a space in the quiet carpark before popping the back door. When we were laying on the bed drinking a cup of tea, all we could see was the calm sea and hear the waves gently crashing, bliss!

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

We spent a couple of hours enjoying the view before moving on to somewhere we could sleep, because we didn’t know how easy it would be to find somewhere. We drove a little bit further down the road and found Slipway carpark, located right opposite St Michael’s Mount. We pulled up and made a beef stew with dumplings and had our dinner whilst the sun went down. We couldn’t believe we got such a good spot with toilets nearby!

Surprisingly, I slept like a log and we didn’t wake up until 10am. It was so nice being away from technology (although we do have electrics, chargers, lights etc in the van). The distractions of televisions and laptops were left at home so we could just be in the moment. We had a slow morning with the doors open, having hot drinks, chatting in bed and letting the dog play on the nearby footpath.

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Somebody came past our van at about midday, just as we were about to leave for a day out at the castle and said we shouldn’t have slept here, but it wasn’t a problem and he was really understanding. Oops!

We walked across to St Michael’s Mount and had a lovely day out, capturing even more amazing GoPro footage!

Tintagel Castle, Tintagel

North west Cornwall is an area we haven’t explored much, so I was really excited to visit Tintagel a village situated on the Atlantic coast. Tintagel lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with the same status and protection as a National Park. I didn’t know much about Tintagel but I was aware the area was associated with the legends surrounding King Arthur.

We parked in a field near the coastal path to Bossiney Haven overlooking panoramic ocean views.

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

There were 3 other campers parked up in the field and the adjacent fields were empty, so it was really quiet. Once we got settled we walked into the village and had a drink in a nearby beer garden just a short 10 minute walk from where we parked up.

We headed back to our van and warmed up our smoked beef cheeks and macaroni cheese before having an early night so we’d be full of energy to explore in the morning. We woke up roasting at about 9am which soon got me out of bed and out in the sunshine. I must have spent about an hour throwing Alfie’s kong in the field before we got ready and headed to the castle.

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

If you’ve never been, then you should definitely go! We spent hours just walking around in awe of the scenery and learning about the history of Tintagel. I couldn’t recommend it enough. Especially Bossiney Haven carpark (if you’re vanning it!) because it’s only £1 and overnight sleeping is legal. There’s also clean public toilets at the top of the field, just next to the coastal path.

As you can see from our pictures, Tintagel is BEAUTIFUL 👇😍

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle BlogArizona Birkenstocks from Footway

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Touring Cornwall in our converted campervan, Boris! | UK Lifestyle Blog

Next stop: Snowdonia 🏔

2018-06-06T21:53:42+00:00 June 6, 2018|Van Life|

Our unique stay at Chelsea House in Falmouth, Cornwall

Our unique stay at Chelsea House in Falmouth, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Two weeks ago it was my lovely boyfriend’s birthday, so naturally I spent the entire week spoiling him. I baked him a gigantic peanut butter chocolate cake, cooked him a Chinese dinner and hide his present inside a fortune cookie – sneaky! What on earth could fit in a fortune cookie I hear you ask; I had a secret message slipped into the cracker that read ‘Your adventure begins soon. Bon Iver in Frankfurt, Germany in January 2017. Happy Birthday, Love you’. 

To top of a perfect weekend, we checked-in to Chelsea House for a mini-break. Chelsea House is a stylish mid-century bed and breakfast in Falmouth, Cornwall on the seafront in Emslie Road, Falmouth, next to Princess Pavilion Gardens. Only about a 20 minute walk from our house, it was the ideal staycation break for us to have some alone time.

Our unique stay at Chelsea House in Falmouth, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Built in 1908, Chelsea House isn’t your average B&B in Cornwall. Refurbished by loving owners, Sharon and Nigel, Chelsea House oozes character and sophistication. Full of mint condition g-plan teak furniture, it’s safe to say I was in my element as soon as I stepped through the front door. Each mid-century sideboard, desk or sofa was handpicked for each guest room. 

When we arrived from the freezing outdoors, we were greeted and shown to our gorgeous large king superior ensuite room with a south facing sea view and private balcony. The bedroom was light and airy, incredibly spacious and very warm (perfect after a chilly walk along the seafront). The room was equip with a Smart TV, free Wifi, DAB Radio and fridge, topped up daily with fresh milk and bottled water.

Our unique stay at Chelsea House in Falmouth, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

For me, the details are what makes a memorable stay, and Chelsea House nailed this. The bed was by far the most comfortable nights sleep I’ve had in a very long time. To be completely honest, when I stay away I’m sometimes miffed with showers because I’m lucky enough to have a steaming hot high-pressure shower at home. Chelsea House didn’t disappoint though, thanks to their power shower, luxury toiletries and their fluffy towels. 

As much as we were enjoying the room, we had to go out and grab some food because after all, we were on holiday. Chelsea House is a 6-minute walk from Gyllyngvase Beach and a 13-minute walk from Falmouth town centre, so there are heaps of restaurant options nearby.  We know the area well, so we decided to head to Gyllyngvase Beach cafe just down the road, however if you don’t know the area then there is plenty of suggestions in the guest house book located in your room. 

Our unique stay at Chelsea House in Falmouth, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

We indulged in a discounted three course meal with some wine, thanks to a voucher courtesy of Sharon and Nigel at Chelsea house. Once we’d filled our bellies with pigeon, steak and chocolate torte, it was time to drag ourselves back up the road to our lovely room. 

In the morning we headed downstairs to the retro dining area for breakfast. There were so many options, from yoghurt to fresh-fruit to granola and jam – we were truly spoilt for choice. Sharon offered us a full English breakfast or homemade pancakes and maple syrup. I highly recommend the fluffy pancakes if you get the chance!

Our unique stay at Chelsea House in Falmouth, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

We absolutely loved our stay at Chelsea House and we felt so welcomed the entire time. I’d hurry back to stay in one of their rooms without hesitation. Over breakfast Nigel and Sharon told us about how they are building a garden room opposite the property, so I’ll definitely be checking back in to visit once this is finished. 

We were invited to stay at Chelsea House for the purpose of a review, however all words are my own. We stayed in room 8 – the large king superior ensuite with south facing sea view and private balcony £110 – £145 per room breakfast included.

2018-06-04T01:31:14+00:00 December 6, 2016|Travel|

#Poetryinmoments with Sony – Cornwall style!

Sony Mobile recently ran a campaign with the help of The Poetry Society where members of the public were invited to capture a fleeting moment on their smartphone, and share the photo with the hope of inspiring a short poem from a team of poets.

Micro-poems were then written in response to people’s pictures and circulated around the world via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I was tasked with sharing a moment from my personal morning regime for the campaign and here’s the result!

#Poetryinmoments with Sony - Cornwall style! | UK Lifestyle Blog

These boots have trekked this morning miles
to reach rolling blue beyond a rocky ledge.
Time to soak it all in, wait awhile
As white waves foam at the world’s edge

I was super stoked when Sony asked me to take part in this campaign for the Z5, and it was such a beautiful sentiment to team up with The Poetry Society to deliver a truly unique campaign. That’s more than you can hope to ask for when it comes to most marketing activity.

Not to mention, how perfectly it reflects my mornings in quaint Cornwall – when I have the chance to head down to the rocky coast before heading into work. There’s no better way to psych yourself up for a day in the office, than a blustery walk with a lung full of sea air.

The only thing that could possibly make this better, is when the rain passes and I can trade these wellies for a barefoot adventure, and lend myself to a spot of yoga with views that you would NOT BELIEVE!

Until next time. x

*Poems for the Sony Mobile Poetry In Moments campaign are written by The Poetry Society’s team of poets, including Ben Wilkinson & Will Burns.

2018-01-08T03:34:03+00:00 February 26, 2016|Uncategorized|

Things to do in Cornwall before you die

Tempted to cross the Tamar and touch down in the magic Kingdom of Cornwall? You’ll be in good company. You’re not going to fit everything in, so don’t try and wear yourself out. Dip into this sample of Cornish must do’s and let the wind fill your hair and the spray, surf and sun fill your heart.

Beaches are the Best

Some of the best beaches in the UK are in Cornwall. If you are ready to surf, or simply just out for an invigorating run there may be no better place than the stretch of coast from Newquay to Perranporth. Newquay’s reputation has just grown and flown. And with good reason; your surfing experience here will be simply stunning. Hire a surfboard or book into a surf school for the best experience. Perranporth’s miles of sand and stunning vistas lends itself to mind blowing walks and is the perfect place to clear the cobwebs with a good run. Ever dreamt of riding a horse along a beautiful beach? This is the place to do it.

Things to do in Cornwall before you die | UK Lifestyle Blog

Check out the Pasties

Heading down towards Truro and Falmouth. Two of Cornwall’s most famous towns contain plenty to see and do and eat if you’re feeling ravished after some time on the water. Cornish Pasties are a protected brand and here is the place to see why. A genuine pasty has a potato, swede, onion and beef filling. Accept nothing less and they are delicious

Rest and Relax

You’ll need somewhere to stay and there are no shortage of options. Basing yourself somewhere central to your list of things to do and makes real sense. Check out hotels in Looe for a relaxing change. Looe is just brilliant and has bags of atmosphere. From here it’s not far to spread your wings to take in some of Cornwall’s major attractions.

Green fingers

Both the Eden Project and the Lost Garden’s of Heligan show the visitor real gems at both ends of the gardening spectrum. Eden has over 100,000 plants and is an amazing sensory experience. Heligan displays the finery and grandeur and vision of a beautifully restored 19th century garden. Both are equally stunning.

Stretch your legs

The coastal path winds around Cornwall and offers the walker some incredible vistas. You might not feel up to taking on the whole track so why not dip for a five mile section that stars in Looe and winds down to Polperro?

Have a drink

Cornish Ales are famed and rightly so. Mix it up your beer with a little genuine piratic atmosphere. St Agnes has it all and the famous Driftwood Spars will hold you spellbound.

Leave the tourist trail

If you have the time, head further down towards Land’s End. Take a detour out to St Michael’s Mount and walk the causeway at low tide. Or head down to the Lizard and Kynance Cove. These stunning beaches will have you held for hours simply watching the surf pounding over the rocks.

Be entertained

The Minack theatre tucked into the rocks near Penzance is an unforgettable experience. If you are visiting in the summer, try and catch a performance.

With your senses filled, head back to your hotel for a sumptuous hot tub and a deep revitalising sleep. Knowing you’ll head back restored rested and taking home some Cornish magic.

2018-06-04T01:31:15+00:00 November 26, 2015|Travel|

Top Running Beaches in Cornwall

We all know that getting ready for your next beach break can be intense, with months of prep, staying active and eating well it’s a shame when you finally get on holiday and within a few days your hard work is all gone! To stop all the hard work going to waste, we’ve put together our top running spots in Cornwall so you can stay beach ready during and after your holiday too!

1. The Camel Trail (5 miles) – If you have a willing volunteer to pick you up at Wadebridge, this is a stunning run along the South West Coast Path. About 5 miles, or 10 if you run there and back again, the route runs along the coast from Padstow to Wadebridge. The route is almost completely flat so it is great to run as a beginner, plus you can admire the views while you run.

Top Running Beaches in Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

2. Perranporth Beach (3 miles) – Running in Cornwall would only be complete with a route along the beach, with this one you can spend the whole time on the beach. Just be wary of tide times to make sure you don’t get stranded! Run from one end right up to Penhale and you can always turn back again if you want to double your miles!

3. Falmouth Circular (4 miles) – You can start anywhere along this route and shorten or lengthen it as needed. Run along the beautiful Gyllyngvase beach and up along the South West Coast Path towards Swanpool. Back to the main road behind Swanpool beach turn right and head back towards Falmouth. At the crossroads turn left and then right onto Melvill Road.

Top Running Beaches in Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

A little way down take a left and run through Fox Gardens (Falmouth University) and down through the campus. Head out through the woods and past the Falmouth Town railway. Back onto the main road; run along the coastline, taking in the naval port along the way. Head back up the hill towards Pendennis Castle and along the coast path. When you reach the castle, you know the rest will be down hill – head back along the cliff and back to Gyllyngvase beach!

4. Helston to Porthleven (5 miles) – This route can be a tricky one with a few minor hills mixed in the route; it will keep your heart pumping! Start out by Coronation Park Boating Lake at the bottom of Helston; you can park opposite the lake in the Penrose Amenity car park. The path to follow heads into the woods, next to the car park, and onwards past traditional buildings and National Trust land.

Eventually you will come out above Loe Bar and see the stunning views out across Porthleven beach. Our advice for getting back to Helston after your run is to jump on the bus (unless you fancy another 5 miles back!) If you’re feeling inspired to take a trip Cornwall you can find more useful tips and things to do in our Guide to your Cornwall holiday here.

What’s your favourite route? Find out what everyone else thinks!
Check out the other Cornish Bloggers’ posts below:

Holly @ Full of Beans & Sausages: ‘My Top 5 Beaches in Cornwall
Anna @ The Cornish Life: ‘5 Best Beaches in Cornwall
Jess @ Jessica Cece: ‘Life’s a Beach
Alice @ Wooden Windowsills: ‘5 Cornish Beaches You Should Visit This Summer
Liv @ Maiden in Cornwall: ‘My 5 Favourite Cornish Beaches
Abel @ Brainfood: ‘Top 10 Beaches for Summer 2015′
Chloe @ Life Unexpected: ‘Top 5 Family Friendly Beaches in Cornwall

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2018-01-08T03:34:35+00:00 May 15, 2015|Health|

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall

With all the drama of the house, working and trying to squeeze in doing university work – as well as leading a normal life, O and I felt like we could do with a little weekend away for just us. We packed our bags and headed over to the North Coast of Cornwall to spend the weekend at The Headland Hotel.

If you haven’t heard of it, all you need to know, it’s in 1990 movie “The Witches” based on Roald Dahl’s book. Having never seen the movie (don’t worry – it’s on my list of things to do..), and to read this blog post.

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

I packed up my stuff and O picked me up straight from work and we set off to Newquay for our mini break on the North Coast. Our package included a two night stay in a beautiful sea-view bedroom overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, a delicious Cornish breakfast each morning, unlimited access to the spa and leisure area, a three course restaurant dinner on our arrival night and a 60 minute Rejuvenating Facial.

Not to mention all the lovely little complimentary extras like the porterage on arrival and departure, a box of Cornish Fudge and the designer Elemis amenities in the bedroom, as well as the use of the luxurious Headland Spa robe, towels and slippers.

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Stepping inside The Headland, you will appreciate our investment in comfort and luxury, whilst being struck by the timeless quality and many original features of this iconic Victorian hotel. The pictures truly do not do the bathroom or the bedroom justice.

We were lucky enough to be put in a room with panoramic views of Fistral beach in both the bedroom and the bathroom. I could definitely get used to underfloor heating, his and her skins and a double bath and separate double power shower.

Once we’d had a good snoop around the room and a quick wander around the hotel, we scrubbed up to go down for dinner in the restaurant over-looking Fistral. Both O and I ordered the medium rare venison, rocket and Parmesan warm salad to start, followed by a char-grilled 28 day aged Cornish fillet steak, hand cut chips and roasted vine tomatoes. Without a doubt, this was the best steak I’d ever had!

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle BlogFor dessert I order the chocolate delice with mango sorbet, and O ordered the fresh fruit and substituted the ice cream with sorbet.All this washed down with the Headland Hotel, Cépage Colombard Côtes de Gascogne. Sharp service, coupled with friendly staff and tasty food was a cracking start to our stay.

We woke up lost in a bed that was big enough for us to both starfish in. We had a cup of tea in bed (from one of the many teas that were hiding in the cupboard), and watched the waves crashing onto the beach – this is how mornings should be spent.

Surprisingly, after eating so much the night before, we managed to force ourselves to breakfast – when we arrived it didn’t seem like such a chore anymore. There was every option you can imagine from cured meats to a full fry up, to pasties and fruit. In addition to all of this, you could order breakfast fresh off the menu, and alas! they have gluten free options.

After breakfast we went for a stroll around the Headland to explore the area and walk off our food babies.

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle BlogReview: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

I popped back to the hotel to have my facial that was pre-booked, whilst O went for a surf. I’d never been to the Headland for a treatment before, so I was keen to see what the treatment room and spa was like.

My treatment was what I expected and more – just what I needed after the last couple of weeks. The rejuvenating facial is designed to refresh the skin, leaving it looking and feeling radiant. Incorporates a face-lift massage and acupressure point techniques to alleviate the signs of ageing combined with a deeply hydrating face mask to leave the skin visibly smoother. The facial also eliminates congestion, returns moisture to the skin and restores luminosity.

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle BlogThe Headland Spa has six treatment rooms with two double treatment rooms, comprehensive heat experiences, a mani and pedi room and the spa lounge which overlooks the Atlantic ocean. Freshly renovated, the treatment rooms ooze sophistication. I was offered a robe and flip flops after my treatment and waited for O to come and meet me downstairs so we could relax in the spa together.

The Headland Hotel and Spa is Cornwall’s only ‘Five Bubble’ rated spa hotel, complete with united pools with varying temperatures, aromatherapy showers, jacuzzi, Swedish sauna, Cornish sea salt steam room, hydrotherapy suite, gym, tanning suite, mani and pedi room, and seven treatment rooms, as well as a deep relaxation lounge and couples suite.

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

We headed to the pool, which at the time was quite busy, however they do have slots that you can visit the pool for adults only. The swimming pool is open every day from 7.30am – 10pm. Adult only swimming times (no under 16s) are between 11am – 3pm and after 6pm.

Unfortunately, we didn’t spend much time in the bar area, except to have a glass of water but we completely fell in love with the interior design. If anybody knows where I can buy these chairs, then please let me know – because I absolutely need them in my life!

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

We spent hours unwinding in the spa, before pulling ourselves together and heading to the Stable for dinner just a stone-throw away from the hotel. We had to keep our energy up after all, it’d been a hard day 😉

Two very full stomaches later, we couldn’t resist popping back down to the spa. Just a couple more minute in the steam room was enough to ease us back into our calm state before we headed to the relaxation lounge. This, without a doubt, was the most precious, memorable and my favourite part of our trip away — and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Review: Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

After the best night sleep, EVER! We then woke up and headed down for our last breakfast, and to our surprise, when O ordered some gluten-free bread, the waiter told us that he had already ordered it for him – impressive! It’s the little things that count, the personal touch was so lovely!

The weekend absolutely flew by, but now it was time to pack our bags and say goodbye.

Thanks to Headland Hotel and Spa for inviting us to come and stay!

2018-06-04T01:31:15+00:00 April 18, 2015|Travel|

Porthminster beach cafe – St Ives, Cornwall

It’s official, I made it to 24 years-old.. Luckily, O softened the blow for me by waking me up with tea, breakfast and showering me in presents. After a lovely lie in, we set off to St Ives to visit the Tate, have a meander around the shops and go for lunch.

Porthminster beach cafe - St Ives, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

After working up an appetite, walking around the gallery, we head off for some food at Porthminster beach cafe, nestled beneath the steep slopes of Porthminster Point. Themulti award winning seafood restaurant sits right on the beach with unbeatable and uninterrupted views across St Ives Bay to Godrevy Lighthouse. Porthminster beach cafe.

Porthminster beach cafe - St Ives, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

The café specialises in Mediterranean and Asian seafood cuisine and is an oasis of taste and visual beauty. The menu was to die for, with so much to choose from and an bottomless wine list. If that wasn’t enough, everything on the menu can be made suitable for celiac/(gluten free) and lactose free – hurray!

Porthminster beach cafe - St Ives, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

I ordered St Ives Bay Mackerel Pate Ponzu, dulse, black mustard and grilled flat bread to start, followed with Crispy Black Squid Lime and miso dressing, Asain style salad and crispy shallots – washed down with a glass of Albarino Colleita de Martis, Spain white wine. Bliss!

Porthminster beach cafe - St Ives, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Alas! I forgot to take a photo of the crispy squid, I just couldn’t help myself and tucked right in. O had Pork Cheek Celeriac and apple, spiced beetroot, macadamia nut and honey dressing with a side of salt and rosemary hand-cut chips.

Porthminster beach cafe - St Ives, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Despite the chocolate torte calling my name, we decided against a dessert as we were so full. I’d definitely recommend go checking it out though.

The café is open daily, all year round for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a selection of homemade patisserie and fine coffees from St Ives Small Batch Coffee Roasting Company.

Porthminster beach cafe - St Ives, Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

2018-01-08T03:34:37+00:00 March 4, 2015|Food|

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall

After a busy couple of weeks, it feels somewhat surreal to be back at the keyboard again. O and I decided to beat the January blues by booking an impromptu getaway to a beautiful log cabin set in the forest in Herodsfoot – an excellent place to visit if you want to get away from it all.

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Our Silver Birch cabin was tucked away deep in the forest, yet close to the coast. I’d read on trip advisor everyone recommending to choose your own cabin, but as it was our first time at Deerpark, we didn’t know any better. Luck was on our side and we were allocated, what we thought, was the best lodge in the forest. The lodge was well positioned close to reception, out of view from neighbours with astonishing views of the woodland and lake. I can safely say that timber frame homes are now on my dream list.

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

The private hot tub was checked everyday and was one of many of my favourite parts of our break. It was amazing to unwind in, gaze at the stars and listen to the owls with a glass of wine in the evening. Equally, just as relaxing in the day surrounded by the crisp trees towering over the lake.

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

Located 30 miles from Polperro and Looe, there are some stunning beaches worth visiting nearby, not to mention the stunning woodland to explore in Deerpark. The site was perfect and the staff were just incredibly friendly and helpful – you can even get little extras delivered to your cabin such as pizzas, curry’s, cream teas.

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

There is no mobile phone signal and the only emergency phone is at reception (however, there is free wifi in the retreat if you need it!). It took a little getting used to, but we loved this – it’s a true escape from every day life. If you want to spend quality time with your loved ones in beautiful surroundings, then this is for you. I could not recommend it highly enough.

Silver Birch cabin getaway, Deerpark Cornwall | UK Lifestyle Blog

In a nutshell: Our 4 nights flew by,
I fell in love with Deerpark.

2018-06-04T01:31:16+00:00 February 2, 2015|Travel|

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary

If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know that in spring I bought a van with the goal to go traveling around Europe with my fiancée and our pet dog, Alfie. Fast-forward eight months later, and we’ve just arrived back home after an epic 2 month road-trip! It’s been a crazy adventure and there’s so much to write about.

Here’s our trip in a nutshell: 6,150 kilometers, 920,692~ steps between the 2 of us, 9 countries, 15 cities, 10 towns, 24 areas of natural beauty, 17 lakes, 3 summits, over 48,000ft altitude gain (4,265ft of which was a toboggan run!), 19 bucket list items, 2 roadside assistance breakdowns, 1 gas leak that resulted in the van catching fire. Still with me!?

Our route is slightly different to what we planned… the idea was to chase the sunshine, starting in France and working our way through Portugal and Spain. The goal was to end up in Milan, Italy by the end of November because I’m talking at a conference for work. We had some pins on a map of where we wanted to go but not much of a route. We wanted to find places along the way and make it up as we went along because that’s the beauty of having a van.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Almost immediately after we arrived in France, we decided to dip into Belgium to grab some chocolate waffles next thing we knew, we completely ended up changing our route. We never made it to Spain but instead we toured the Alps, and it was the best decision we could have made. We had a suitcase full of vest tops and shorts, and no hiking gear which was frustrating, but we got by (and I never go anywhere without my Sorel snow boots and Berghaus GORE-TEX® shell anyway, so I was slightly prepared!). It was so fun waking up each day and having no idea where we’d be going next, and just exploring wherever we wanted.

I’m currently in the process of writing posts about the trip but there’s so much to write and never enough hours on the day! Keep an eye out of the upcoming posts though:

  • Must-Have #Vanlife Apps To Download Now 
  • Why We Came Home from Our Roadtrip Early
  • FAQ: Traveling Europe for 2 Months in a Van with a Dog
  • Things Nobody Tells You About #vanlife

This post details the places that we visited during our road-trip and over the coming months I’ll continue to update it and link to new posts about specific areas we went to. I’ve broken it down to particular places on our bucket list (castles, lakes etc) or listed it by town/city if we explored more than just that specific spot. I’m still writing about some of the locations but I’m 50% of the way there!


1. London, England 🇬🇧

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2. Canterbury, england 🇬🇧

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

3. Dunkirk, France 🇫🇷

We got the ferry over from Dover to Calais then drove directly to Dunkirk. This trip was the first time I’d driven on the right-hand side of the road, and I knew I was going to have to get used to it soon because we would be covering thousands of miles. We made sure the van adhere to EU regulations (stickers on our headlights, first aid kit at the ready etc), but there wasn’t anything to prepare me for driving on the correct side of the road or going the right way around the roundabout. Surprisingly, we settled into it almost immediately with no major disasters. Once we arrived and parked up, we spent the afternoon strolling up and down Dunkirk beach, reading the info signs about the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II, which was really interesting. It’s definitely worth the short drive from the ferry port 👌

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

4. ghent, belgium 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

As I mentioned above, almost immediately after we arrived in France we decided to dip into Belgium to grab some chocolate waffles next thing we knew, we completely ended up changing our route. Ghent is a little city in North-west Belgium, famous for medieval architecture such as the 12th-century Gravensteen castle. It’s a popular city that’s been on our bucket list for a while because we’ve heard a lot of good things, and it’s clear to see why! This place is gorgeous, as is the rest of the places we visited in Belgium. My fiancée Sam even said it was perhaps his favourite place on our entire trip, which is quite a statement (the waffles were phenomenal, too!). I would 100% recommend Ghent for a couple of days to soak up the atmosphere in the city centre, enjoy some chocolate and the architecture.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

5. Brussels, Belgium 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Brussels hasn’t ever really appealed to me, although I was excited to see the Atomium. As soon as we drove into Brussels (we didn’t know about Low Emission Zones at this point…), my perception of Brussels changed – this place is buzzing. There’s something going on in every corner of the city and the architecture will make your jaw drop to the ground. If we do get a LEZ fine for driving through the city, it’ll be worth every penny. Oops!

Some of the highlights from our trip to Brussels:

⭐️ The iconic steel atom sculpture, the Atomium
⭐️ The Grand Place in the market square
⭐️ The Church of Our Lady of Laeken neo-Gothic church.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

6. Brugge*, Belgium 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

We drove straight past Brugge, waving as we went by. The week before we left for our road trip we went on a mini-cruise with my family to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday, and Brugge was one of the stops! Honestly, I’d never thought of coming to Belgium (as I mentioned before about Brussels!) but soon fell in love with the quaint shops, beautiful architecture and tasty chocolate. We ate waffles, rode a canal boat and explored the markets. 100% worth a visit if you’re planning a route similar to this. The funny thing is, if we didn’t go on a cruise with my family just before leaving for our road-trip, we wouldn’t have thought about detouring for some chocolate, which means our route would have been so different 🦋

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

7. Diest, Belgium 🇧🇪

If you travel around Europe in a 20 year old van, you’ve got to expect some problems. Next thing we know we’re on the side of the motorway waiting for roadside assistance with no breakdown cover (nobody offers it for a van as old as ours!). We spent 5 days in a Hyundai garage in Belgium whilst they tried to fix it. This gave us plenty of time to explore the area and enjoy the gorgeous parks and lakes nearby. It was a beautiful town to breakdown in… We were told at one point he wouldn’t be back on the road and we’d need to tow him to the UK, then we accidentally set him on fire because of a gas leak. It’s a story for another time, but they found the problem and re-built the engine. Once we cleared the fire extinguisher powder from the van, we were back on the road feeling a little defeated an €2,000 lighter.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

8. Maastricht, Netherlands 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

9. Eltz Castle, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

10. Eifel National Park 🇩🇪

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

11. Nürburgring, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Visiting the Nürbergring had always been one of S’s dreams, after years of racing around it on Gran Turismo (a PlayStation game apparently!) So he was really excited that our German detour allowed us to take a look at the beautiful but loud 12 mile long racetrack through the German woodland. As a bit of a speed-freak myself I was secretly excited to see some Porsches and Ferraris flying around the ring! The Nordschleife circuit is so large that we could only sit at a couple of corners and watch the sponsored supercars zoom past us, but it was a moment to remember, and pretty cool considering you can watch for free! We were mildly disappointed we could take Boris around the ring but it was so fun and interesting watching all the different race cars speeding around the track.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

12. Hängeseilbrücke, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

13. Lingenfeld, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

14. The Rhine, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

15. Hohenzollern Castle 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Perched on the top of a hill, you can see it for miles off as you drive towards it, which was striking – with battlements and towers, this castle looks straight out of a storybook. You might even recognise it from the horror movie A Cure for Wellness (2016). If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a hardworking Wall Street stockbroker who attempts to find refuge in a remote mountain spa but instead gets trapped in something far more sinister. The coolest thing about going to this castle, is we had no idea it was where A Cure for Wellness was filmed, until we passed the draw bridge. From then, we ran around excitingly trying to remember shots from the movie. There’s plenty of explore here, by far one of the most interesting castles we visited on our trip, and mostly likely my favourite out of all of them.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

16. Lichtenstein Castle, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Less than an hours drive from Hohenzollern Castle is Lichtenstein Castle. Not to be confused with the tiny European nation of Liechtenstein, Lichtenstein Castle is located in the southwest state of Baden Wurttemberg, in Germany. Might I add, the scenery is absolutely epic, especially when the castle and blooming flowers frame the view overlooking the village of Honau. This castle is completely different to Hohenzollern – it’s far smaller and has a different presence, it’s also built right on the edge of a cliff, which is like something out of a fairytale. There are a few walks in the area that are perfect for exploring and taking the dog for a run. Lichtenstein Castle was probably one of the quietest castles we visited and it didn’t seem overly touristy, just a few magnets here and there, and a small coffee shop nearby.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

17. Hopfen am See, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Driving towards the Alps as the sun went down was magical. The sky gradients from pink to purple and the light bounced off the mountains in the distance. We pulled up next to a lake and cozied up for the night. In the morning we popped our backdoor snd was greeted with the best breakfast-view of the trip. We sat in bed with a cuppa tea and swooned over the epic scenery. Once the sun rose, luckily so did the temperature. We decided to hire a paddle boat and explored the lake. The day continued to get hotter, big regret wearing snow boots on this day! Other than going for walks, playing on the lake and enjoying the views, we didn’t do much here. It was nice after a busy and cold week to just enjoy the weather and relax. We stayed for a couple of nights o marvel at the sunsets before moving onto our next stop.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

18. Neuschwanstein, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Neuschwanstein Castle is the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destination in Europe. What’s the big deal? Well, this is the real-life palace that Disney based their castle on. We’d dreamed of visiting this castle for ages and it’s always been on our list of places to see. We naively wasn’t prepared for it to be so touristy; signs in Chinese and English, souvenir shops everywhere and €5 bottles of water. We hiked for 40 minutes to the top of a steep hill to be greeted by crowded-scaffold covered castle. The pictures we saw online didn’t even slightly resemble from the hideous building we saw. Needless to say, we quickly left Neuschwanstein Castle after leaving a 1-star review on Google, warning other travellers not to waste their time walking up the hill.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

19. Plansee, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

I’d never been to Austria, but always swooned over their gorgeous mountains and log cabins on Instagram. Over and over again, I’d see Plansee come up on my feed. When I discovered our route was taking us near Austria I was so excited. The lake was so relaxing, and it remains one of my favourite spots on the trip. I’ve never seen water as clear as the lakes in the Alps. The water quality of Level I, which apparently means you can see 15 metres ahead of you, enabling divers to perfectly explore the world under the water surface. We actually came back here 2 days in a row because we enjoyed it so much, and we wanted to see the lake at different times on day. In the day, it’s beautiful and turquoise, but at night there’s a moody atmosphere which is magical. You can camp overnight at Plansee, but you can pull up and have dinner like we did, with a beautiful view!

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

20. Biberwier, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Located between the Fernpass mountain pass, connecting Austria and Germany, and the Zugpsitze, Germany’s highest mountain, the small village of Biberwier lies on a steep mountain slope near the Wetterstein Mountains. In the morning we caught a cable car to middle station Marienbergbahn to do Tyrol’s longest summer toboggan run. The track is 1,300 metres long, has an altitude difference of 2,300 ft (700 m) from the top to the bottom, with 40 curves and 1 tunnel passage. It was so much fun, we wanted to do it over and over again, and it only cost €7,80!! 100% recommend coming here and doing the toboggan run, alternatively, you can hire mountain bikes and scooters to come down the mountain on. It’s was so quiet, we only saw a couple of other people, which is good considering I screamed all the way.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

21. Blindsee Lake, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

22. Innsbruck, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

23. Pettnau, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

24. Maria am See, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

25. Pragser Wildsee, Italy 🇮🇹

The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies is a lake in the Prags Dolomites in South Tyrol, Italy. This was right at the top of places I wanted to go, so I was so happy when I found out our route passed here. Before we arrived I was aware that I was hyping up this lake more than I should, and I’d probably be let down by having high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed though, instead I was left picking my jaw up from the ground with every step we took. Never in my life have I seen water as blue as the lake at Pragser Wildsee. Everything about this place is beautiful, from the towering trees to the floating pontoons, I could spend all day here. The only downside is the fact it was slightly touristy but the views made up for it. This was undoubtably the best lake, and one of my favourite stops on the entire trip.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

26. Brunico, Italy 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

27. Vahrn, Italy 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

28. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy 🇮🇹

Cortina d’Ampezzo is a ski resort in northern Italy surrounded by the Dolomites in the southern part of the Alps. Driving into this town we got our first glimpse of the famous peaks, which was so exciting. If you’re not familiar with the area, the Dolomites are widely regarded as being among the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world (… and it’s easy to see why!). It’s a clean town with lots of boutiques and coffee shops, just like your usual ski resort town.  Even during low-season there was still a buzz with plenty of shops and restaurants were still open, making it the perfect base for our week in the Dolomites. It’s slightly expensive, we paid €25~ for 2 hot drinks and 2 pastries but that’s pretty normal in a ski town, and you can’t argue when you’ve got the amazing mountains views all around you.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

29. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italy 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

No trip to the Dolomites would be complete without completing the 6 miles long and mostly flat loop circumnavigating the three colossal pinnacles. The Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike is 10.3km, has about 400m of ascent and descent, and is easy. The paths are well signposted and clearly shown on Google Maps. The hike begins nearby a car park (€25 fee for a minimum of 24 hours to be paid at the bottom of the road before heading up) at Rifugio Auronzo 7,677ft above the sea level. The drive is about a 40 minutes from Cortina d’Ampezzo and it’s the highest we ever took our van! He’s old, so he did struggle with the hairpin turns and the steep ascent but we made it up there mostly in 1st and 2nd gear. Coming back down we had to break with our engine and pull over so our brakes wouldn’t burnout!

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

30. Zwölferkopf, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

During our trip we’d planned lots of hikes and typically spent at least 12 hours a day walking, so when we found opportunities to cheat and get cable cars, we did. We caught the Karwendel Bergbahn cable car that takes you from Pertisau to the small Zwölferkopf skiing area high above Lake Achensee. We visited in the summer, so of course, there was no snow here. We ate the best turkey burgers 5,394 feet above sea level, overlooking the incredible views and had a little wander in the area. Considering the views and the quality of the food, it was pretty affordable here, too (surprisingly!). There’s a ton of summer hikes here and you can continue up higher to reach more summits such as or you can just enjoy the views of Lake Achensee from where the cable car takes you, like we did.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

31. Achen Lake, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

32. Bad Reichenhall 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

33. Berchtesgaden, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

34. Königssee, Germany 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

35. Hallstatt, Austria 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

36. Lake Bled, Slovenia 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Lake Bled is Slovenia’s most popular tourist attraction and although it’s getting more and more famous, it’s still relatively unknown comparing to other European landmarks. Lake Bled sits in a picturesque environment, surrounded by mountains and forests. Medieval Bled Castle stands above the lake on the north shore. The area was significantly larger than I imagined it would be with far more going on. It’s a whopping 2,120 m (6,960 ft) long and 1,380 m (4,530 ft) wide, with a maximum depth of 29.5 m (97 ft)! We walked our dog Alfie around the entire lake, watching people stand-up paddle boarding, sunbathing and row boating. There’s a few different areas around the lakes that have diving boards and areas to swim but none were in use when we were here. We got this snap of us all together at the Heart of Bled ❤️👉

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

37. Lake Bohinj, Slovenia 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Lake Bohinj, covering 318 hectares, is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia. It is located within the Bohinj Valley of the Julian Alps, in the northwestern Upper Carniola region, and part of Triglav National Park. This was more exciting to me than visiting the commercial Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj is less crowded, and in my opinion, more beautiful. The entire trip I’d be going on about hiring a row boat, and this was the perfect spot. The lighting was just perfect for the time that we were out on the water. It was one of the most peaceful and awe-inspiring moments of our trip. The pictures on my iPhone which are completely unedited, really don’t do this gorgeous lake justice. If you’re going anywhere in Slovenia, make sure you stop here.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

38. Verona, Italy 🇮🇹

Best known for its Shakespeare associations attracting a multinational gaggle of tourists to its pretty piazzas and knot of lanes. Verona is a bustling centre, its heart dominated by a mammoth, remarkably well-preserved 1st-century amphitheatre, the venue for the city’s annual summer opera festival (which I’m now desperate to attend!). Verona is completely underrated, which I found much more inviting and romantic than Venice.

Highlights of our time in Verona include:

⭐️ Seeing Juliet’s balcony and statue
⭐️ Viewing the city from Piazzale Castel San Pietro
⭐️ Walking around the Arena di Verona.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

39. Venice, Italy 🇮🇹

Highlight of our time in Venice:

⭐️ Exploring the the basilica-dominated square, Piazza San Marco
⭐️ Private gondola tour of the city from the Grande Canal.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

40. Milan*, Italy 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Milan was always on our road trip itinerary, even before we changed our route. This is because at the end of November I’m delivering a presentation at a digital marketing conference.

We ended up passing Milan earlier than anticipated because of our route change, so we’ve decided to miss this stop as we’re going to fly out a couple weeks after we get back.

If you’re planning a road trip like this, it would be silly not to drop by! We’ve got a couple of things planned when we visit, such as:

⭐️ Get a snap in front of Milan Cathedral
⭐️ Explore Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

41. Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

⭐️ Exploring the grounds of the gorgeous Scaligero Castle.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

42. Jamaica Beach, Italy 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Naturally, living in Cornwall, I’ve become a little bit of a ‘beach snob’. We’re so lucky where we live, we’re surrounded with gorgeous coastline, so a beach has to be pretty outstanding for me to rate it above some of the places we have right on our doorstep at home. Jamaica Beach is nothing like what we have in England though. Of course, this is Lake Garda, it isn’t the ocean crashing onto a beach like you’d expect. Instead, Jamaica Beach is still lake like a sheet of glass across smooth rocks. The vibe at Jamaica Beach is what makes it really special though. Everyone is quiet, it’s not busy, and there’s a sense of calm. Quite a few people were just doing yoga or meditating by the edge of the water, others were taking a dip in the lake. Ridiculously beautiful and a zen vibe, this is my jam.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

43. Varenna, Lake Como, Italy 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

We’ve been spoilt with incredible lake views on this trip but one of the lakes we thought was going to impress us the most, did the very opposite. We arrived at Lake Como after driving from Lake Garda – these two lakes are relatively close to each other. We had a great couple of days in Garda, so we anticipated a different, but equally great time in Como. When we arrived we could barely see the other side of the lake due to thick smog, after a bit of research we learnt this was normal and we would be considered lucky, should the smog lift. The lake was filled with litter, and we learnt that the lake was 68% above the safe limit to bath in the water; very different to the crystal clear water at Garda. Perhaps on a clearer day we could have appreciated this more but we didn’t stick around – I guess we’ll never know.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

44. Laguno, Switzerland 🇨🇭

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

45. Swiss mountain pass 🇨🇭

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

46. Täsch, Switzerland 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

We spent a couple days parked up in Alphubel camp site in Tasch whilst we explored the car-free mountain town, Zermatt (see below!). The plot is located about a 3 minute walk from Matterhorn Terminal Täsch railway station that takes you directly to Zermatt. The train comes every 12 minutes from 7am until 10pm, so there’s never any hanging around. We could hear the train when we were in our van each time it passed, but we’ve been so tired traveling that as soon as our heads hit the pillow, we were out like a light anyway! The campsite had hot showers, toilets and an area to empty your chemical toilet, as well as top up your water. It was a little pricey at 33CHF pp but given the average price of a hotel in this area, it’s not too bad.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

47. Zermatt, Switzerland 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Coined one of the most popular ski resorts in the world, Zermatt is a car-free mountain town in Switzerland. The streets are lined with boutique shops, cozy restaurants and luxury hotels. Switzerland generally tends to be quite expensive, but Zermatt is particularly pricey. I did a little bit of shopping in the North Face shop and picked myself up a new duffel bag, but I didn’t dare poke my head into the Rolex or Omega stores. Zermatt was great to explore for the day, and I’d love to come back in the height of ski-season to soak in the atmosphere, but to get the most out of your stay, I’d say you need to head there with a lot of disposable cash to really enjoy it. We paid €7~ for a takeaway coffee in Zermatt, which is significantly more than any other place we bought coffee for in Italy, France, Slovenia, Austria or Germany.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

48. Matterhorn, Switzerland 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Viewing of the iconic Toblerone peak, Matterhorn, has been at the top of my bucket list for years. I honestly never thought I’d be so lucky to see it in the flesh, and I certainly never expected to get so close. Standing at Riffelsee lake 9,045 feet underneath the world’s most beautiful mountain was one of the most humbling and breathtaking experiences of my life. We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather; there wasn’t a cloud in sight! We woke up at sunrise to ensure we’d get to the viewing point with plenty of time before the sun moved behind the mountain, and our efforts to pull ourselves out of bed when it was 0 degrees were rewarded 100%. We spent 3 – 4 hour at high-elevation and the afternoon views weren’t nearly as impressive as the morning, so I’m really glad we got to see it when we did.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

49. Gornergrat, Switzerland 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Once we finished swooning over Matterhorn, we continued up to the Gornergrat summit (10,285 feet) to marvel at the Monte Rosa massif. The Gornergrat is a rocky ridge of the Pennine Alps, overlooking the Gorner Glacier south-east of Zermatt in Switzerland. The pictures really don’t do the view justice but I can assure you, it was EPIC! Nothing beats the panoramic you’re rewarded with when you reach high-elevations; it’s no wonder that climbing mountains is addictive. A cool perk about this summit is the 360 AR viewfinders that show you the name of peaks and glaciers wherever you point it – pretty smart. We ate lunch in the sunshine, overlooking the snow capped peaks before making our descent to Zermatt via Riffelsee.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

50. Lac d’Emosson, Switzerland 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

On our way to Chamonix we decided to stop at Lac d’Émosson, a reservoir in the canton of Valais. knowing it was a short-drive from where we were heading, it felt like the perfect detour to break up our drive. Little did we know that the drive to get there would take up to an elevation of 6,332 feet on mountain roads. Our 20 year old van struggled to pull us up the windy roads even more so than when we drove up the Dolomites, but eventually we get there and had our first view (on this trip!) of Mount Blanc. There’s some incredible hikes in the area that lead you to find the 150 million year old dinosaur tracks. We wanted to do this but we arrived later than we anticipated so we didn’t have a chance to squeeze it into our schedule. Something to put on the list for our next trip to the Alps!

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

51. Chamonix, France 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

We first visited Chamonix two years ago when for my birthday and I instantly fell in love with the mountain town. From the gorgeous log cabin we were staying in at the foot of Mount Blanc, to the chalet food, the buzzing atmosphere during ski-season, and the magical views. I could be bias though, because the summit of Aiguille du Midi is where S proposed (coincidently, we were here 6 months before our wedding day). We decided to book a luxury hotel room with a king-size bed, bath and balcony with mountain views. Having a bath and sleeping in a proper bed for the first time in 2 months was he BEST. The next day we re-visited our favourite places but sadly the Midi cable car wasn’t running due to maintenance. In the evening we met with one of our friends from Cornwall that now lives in her van in Chamonix.

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

52. Annecy, France 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

53. Lyon, France 🇫🇷

⭐️ Exploring Musée Miniature et Cinéma in the city
⭐️ Swooning over plants at Jardin botanique de Lyon

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

54. Paris, France 2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

55. Calais, France 🇫🇷

2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog
2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog2 Month European Road-trip in our van (with our dog!): Travel Diary | UK Lifestyle Blog

2018-11-16T00:06:37+00:00 November 16, 2018|Popular, Van Life|

5 Romantic Honeymoon Destinations to Consider

If you watch my Instagram stories, you’ll know that something insanely exciting happened last month; we finally booked our one-way ticket to Thailand for our honeymoon! We’re leaving straight from the bridal-suite at our manor house wedding in Cornwall, and jumping on a plane to Phuket. The idea is to explore until our hearts content, then make our way to Cambodia, Vietnam, and wherever else takes our fancy.

If you are also getting married soon, chances are you’re about to book your honeymoon, too. No matter if you want peace and quiet or great tours and attractions (trust me, we struggled to decide!), you will find something you like on the below list. Stay close to the beach, connect with ancient cultures, embark on a spiritual journey together, and make the most out of this romantic getaway.

5 Romantic Honeymoon Destinations to Consider | UK Lifestyle Blog

Costa Rica

Just a few hours by plane, Costa Rica’s natural beauty and great biodiversity will help you relax and enjoy “pura vida”. There is so much to see in the country; from animal sanctuaries to small fishing villages, stunning active volcanoes, waterfalls, and beaches. You can book a five star hotel near the beach and one of Costa Rica’s national parks to get closer to nature and each other.

Maldives

You might think of the Maldives as a location for the millionaires, but actually there are plenty of budget friendly packages available for honeymooners. You can book a bungalow on the beach and enjoy the independence of waking up when you want and going to bed whatever time you feel like. To make your vacation even more memorable, you can even go on a week cruise around the islands on a catamaran.

Thailand

From stunning beaches to great nightlife and low cost accommodation, you can find everything in Thailand. Try the food at the market, shop around for souvenirs and decoration for your new home and take your travel to the next level. Bangkok has fantastic markets you can walk around all day, and there are several islands to discover on a boat tour.

Crete

The Greek island is famous for the locals’ hospitality and the great atmosphere. The weather is great all year round, and you can find ancient temples, great monuments, and fantastic wine to taste in Crete. There are regular flights in the summer, and you can get active, cycling, horse riding, or hiking on the beach. Before you start booking your honeymoon, look for beach resorts with great bars and all inclusive packages, as eating out can be costly.

Malta

To have a water themed honeymoon with loads of things to do and see, Malta is your destination. From old churches and forts to shipwrecks just off the Mediterranean Coast, local markets, and small villages and festivals, there are plenty of reasons why you should go to Malta. There are also several famous diving schools in Malta offering basic and advanced training. Whether you would like to sail around the island of Comino, visit Sicily by boat, or try scuba diving, you will find this the ideal honeymoon destination.

Choosing the right honeymoon destination is almost as important as getting your wedding venue right. Choose a place where you can be free from the hustle and bustle of the big city, try new things, connect with nature, and each other while exploring diverse cultures.

2018-08-10T12:59:37+00:00 August 10, 2018|Travel|
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