Every year, my friend and I embark on a venture to a new, unseen place. Although we have many worldwide destinations listed on our endless travel bucket list, we believe that exploring your own country is where travelling should start. Each county, city, town and village holds something authentic to it’s beginnings and it’s on-going history. There are many locations within the U.K that we have ticked off and have yet to tick off. Whilst we plan future adventures that will see us ambling around Italian villages eating our weight in carbs or wandering around the charming perimeter of Lake Geneva, for now we are fond of our memories from our explorations in our never disappointing U.K!
FIRST STOP: ALNWICK, NORTHUMBERLAND
There are some places that you visit, where you get that feeling. The feeling of being at home even though you have never lived there. The feeling that you belong there. For some, this feeling may occur in 5* beach resorts or in the centre of a city’s hustle and bustle. But for me it is different. For me, the feeling is rendered from this: small places where history thrives as prominent and as beautiful as the rolling fields that blanket them, places where idyllic buildings are scattered beside the cobbled pavements that lead to purely charming coffee shops with vintage teacups and wooden furnishings, places where the world slows down and humans can be at one with the nature around them. Four days on and I already have the urge to make my way north and visit Alnwick again!
On arrival, we lathered on the sun-cream, dodged a few perfume obsessed wasps and got our pre-booked tickets ready to pass through the gates of the magnanimous Alnwick Castle. This is truly a history lover’s cherry on the cake! As well as the fascinating history that has been iconically recognised throughout the time since the creation of the castle, the grounds also feature in some very famous films. We went on a film tour around the site and were shown the specific locations in which scenes from Harry Potter, Robin Hood, Transformers as well as Downton Abbey were filmed: interesting I know! My favourite part of the castle has to be the library that literally took my breath away: it was literally a mini version of The Beauty and The Beast library! I was in my element.
Strolling along the castle grounds, you come across the most incredible scenery, but I was not quite prepared for was the tremendous Treehouse resturant/cafe! The quintessential lights lining the treetops complimented the mixture of greens that fell graceully along the edges of the tables and woodwork. You almost felt like you were in a secret fairy garden! We had a quick energy boosting coffee and went to our next must see spot….
I didn’t think the day in Alnwick could get much better than an awe-inspiring castle and a treetop cafe (which didn’t get the better of my fear of heights yay). BUT, my friend then led me to a place that only I would completely lose my head over….. an old train station converted into a used book shop called ‘Barter Books.’ Walking in, I felt my jaw drop. I love to browse charity shops for used books but this place blew my socks off! There were 2 cute cafes with a toy train trudging along its tracks that were carefully positioned over the top of the bookshelves. No joke, we were in here for about an hour! I picked up numerous books that were dating back to pre-1940’s. There is something so raw and authentic about old books : they have literally been through time, a capsule that has survived the elements and has reached us in the present all the way from its origins. I opted for a 1934 edition of ‘Black Beauty’ and I cannot wait to add it to my collection of used, historic books! If only I could afford a first, second or third edition of the classics. This became – within 10 seconds- a new addition to my small list of happy places. It is the literature lover’s paradise.
On the evening we drank Italian white wine, ate pasta and shared garlic bread in Di Sopra followed by a nice evening stroll home. We stayed in The Oaks Hotel (booked through booking.com) and I cannot recommend it enough!
SECOND STOP: NEWBIGGIN-BY-THE-SEA, NORTHUMBERLAND
To add to our adventure, we decided to drive via the seaside in order to get the most out of our summer trip! One thing my friend and I have never done together, is to visit the beach together, so this was a first for us! We sat with our coconut ice cream, paddled in the cooling calm waves that ran upon the sand and then had a relaxing and slightly unexpected nap (it is totally acceptable to fall asleep on the beach, sea air is tiring!).
FINAL STOP: NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
Finally, we stopped in the Northern land of the Geordies! We donned our curls, lipstick and heels and ventured out for drinks up the toon. We ended up in Bijoux and had a fun, girlie night. The best part was sitting in the seats by the toilets fanning ourselves : it was like a pizza oven in that place, but it only added to the hilarity of it!
In the morning we had a scrumptious breakfast in a lovely little cafe called Violets Cafe. We thoroughly appreciated the knitted tea cosies! How CUTE!
We stayed in Greys Street Hotel.
We cannot wait to get planning next year’s trip! xx