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In Search of England: Cornwall

Botallack Mines, used in the filming of the BBC drama series Poldark

Botallack Mines

For the late May bank holiday last year we took a road trip down to Cornwall from East Sussex, driving through Thomas Hardy country and Poldark country. One year later, I’ve finally finished Tess of the d’Urbervilles and the entire Poldark saga, and am ready to relive my holiday.

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Flanders: A region that features cities of strong and different personalities

The murals at Gent-St-Pieters Station depicting the Flemish cities of Bruges, Ghent and Ostend

The murals at Gent-St-Pieters Station

Holidaying in Bruges for Easter was an easy decision to make for my friend Charles and I. I have a habit of refusing to go to places I’ve been to before, and the places that Charles wanted to go to were mostly places I’d already been to. So after a quick process of elimination we settled on Bruges, which Charles was excited about for the history and award-winning film In Bruges, and I liked for the art and architecture. We holidayed in Flanders from our base in Bruges for 4 full days and 4 nights, visiting Ghent on a day trip and Brussels before taking the Eurostar back to London. Below is some advice for first-time visitors to Bruges, especially if you are travelling via the Eurostar and at around Easter time. All three cities considered, Bruges is the best preserved historically and very touristy, Ghent is more affordable and hipster, and Brussels is the the only one that feels like a city.

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In Search of England: Winchester

A Bank Holiday Monday fête at the cathedral square in Winchester with a bouncy castle modelled on Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral Square

As the final episode of Channel 4’s documentary Britain’s Most Historic Towns airs tonight, I am going to recount my August bank holiday weekend 2017 in Winchester to add to my account of escapades in York in July 2015. Two historic towns down, four more to go (not counting my school visit to Cheltenham for the Cheltenham Literary Festival)! Here are tips on holidaying in “Britain’s most Norman town”, including 5 must-see places.

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Copenhagen: An underappreciated city

Famous landmarks of Copenhagen in silhouette

From left to right, on the silhouette pasted onto our hotel room wall: The Little Mermaid, The National Opera, Tivoli Gardens, statue of Christian X, Amalienborg, Town Hall.

Lydia, a friend of my friend Qi, told me last January that Copenhagen was doable in a weekend. I had written Copenhagen down as a potential city to visit by then, but still had many months before I had to book the holiday, and this had disheartened me. Nevertheless, the price of flights at the time that I wanted to travel was right, so I did go in the end, with my Mum. We visited over Halloween, flying there on one day, spending four full days in the city without venturing beyond it, and flying back on the 6th day. In my experience, I would say that the opening statement is true if you want to tick off all the things that Copenhagen is famous for, since the Denmark is similar to England in terms of weather and food (mostly gloomy and plain). However, you need more time to see the things that I think Copenhagen should be famous for.

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Dublin: The past, present, and future of Ireland’s capital city

Space Lingus

Dublin 2116 art competition entry

Over the May bank holiday weekend, my Mum and I visited Dublin for the first time. It was my second, more informed, trip to Ireland, and we saw into not only Dublin’s past and present but also future. Other first-timers on a similarly short break, you may find this a good introduction to Dublin. It is not a sightseer’s guide to the city, but more of a recollection of personal impressions of the people and their attitudes, the city’s culture and heritage, the weather, and a few tourist tips we learned by trial during our brief stay.

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In Search of England: York

York Minster

The best place to view of York Minster from the City Walls.

If you’re looking to holiday “at home” in England this summer, as many are doing because of Brexit and terrorism, think about York! I visited for the first time with my Mum and my friend Charles (leaving part-way through) last month. Not only is it one of the most English-feeling cities I’ve stayed in, but this city has many layers of history and a laidback attitude that Londoners lack, and is now my 2nd favourite city in England after London. Whereas previous places I’ve stayed in have been good for transport connections but were themselves unexciting, York ticks both boxes and more. Continue reading

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The Dalmatian Coast: A funny thing happened on the way to the peristyle

I visited Split with my Dad in July this year, the first stop in our journey along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and on my first journey using a mobile boarding pass. Game of Thrones fans will know the city for being the filming location for the dragon pit in Meereen; this is the underground caverns of Diocletian’s Palace.  There we saw many interesting sights – in Split we saw a dalmatian dog with spots of the darkest black which Cruella de Vil would drool over, and in the nearby UNESCO World Heritage city of Trogir, we encountered an ice cream flavour in my name (‘Hello Kitty Pinky’) – and had some embarrassing moments like falling short to pay for a meal; my Dad had to rush back to our hostel for more money, and we were dining, ironically, at a restaurant called NoStress. Here are some photos of other things we spotted on the way to the peristyle.

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