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Wanderlust Wednesday: Top 10 European City Breaks

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my new Wanderlust Wednesday feature.. with summer fast approaching the time will soon come for me to venture abroad for my next European city break. I’m really in to booking busy sight seeing weekends away as opposed to week long beach holidays and I want to fit in as many trips as I can over the next few years! Im currently trying to book a break away during our next UK bank holiday which falls at the end of August but I have no idea where to go! So with the help of some brilliant fellow travel bloggers (pics credited below) I thought I’d compile a wanderlust list to give me some inspiration! Here goes…

1) Rome, Italy

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Image courtesy of Emily Pearson of A Befuddled Life

Top of my list and for very good reason, Rome is the place I am absolutely desperate to visit as soon as physically possible! I’ve always loved the thought of exploring the historic coliseums’, visiting the religious Vatican area and consuming copious amounts of Gelato – authentic Italian ice cream-yum! I’ve wanted to make a wish at The Trevi Fountain and walk down the Spanish Steps ever since I was a little girl so The Eternal City is definitely calling my name!

2) Copenhagen, Denmark

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This image & my feature image of The Little Mermaid statue are both courtesy of Shelly Borga of Norway to Nowhere

The capital city lies in the heart of Scandinavia and boasts many exquisite landmarks and popular tourist attractions whilst having a very laidback feel. Home to Denmark’s Parliament and Royal Family, this city is by far the largest in the country. I’ve always wanted to go to Copenhagen to visit The Little Mermaid statue as everyone knows how much of a Disney geek/storybook fan I am! The picturesque Nyhavn Harbor and breathtaking Tivoli Gardens also look amazing places to visit. Although quite expensive this city break is definitely on my next go-to list for the summer!

3) Budapest, Hungary

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Image courtesy of Tangerine Trubiano of A Travelogue by Brock & Tanj

The capital of Hungary is split into two districts; Buda and Pest, hence the name, and is bisected via the River Danube. Home to The Hungarian Parliament Building, many museums and galleries and the largest thermal water system in the world, Budapest is a cultural paradise not to be missed! I’m so tempted to book a trip there this August and experience everything that this beautiful city has to offer.. prices are super cheap out there as well so that’s another reason it features high up on this list.. watch this space!

4) Berlin, Germany

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Image courtesy of Tangerine Trubiano of A Travelogue by Brock & Tanj

Famed for its large involvement in both world wars, Berlin offers a wealth of culture and history with plenty to do both in the summer and winter months. Well known attractions include The Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag Building, Checkpoint Charlie and The Berlin Wall. I’d love to visit during December to experience their fantastic Christmas markets but have been told it gets bitterly cold with temperatures as low as minus 18 degrees.. thermals at the ready!

5) Lisbon, Portugal

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Image courtesy of Maaike Van Kuijk of A Travellous World

A quirky alternative to Barcelona/Madrid, the coastal capital of Portugal offers a mix of a busy sightseeing break with a more relaxed beach style holiday. I’m always on the go when I do city breaks as I like to pack as much in as I can and never get a chance to relax, so the allure of a beach in the same city appeals to me a lot! Main points of interest include the beautiful Sao Jorge Castle, Lisbon Cathedral, the zoo and the oceanarium.

6) Bruges, Belgium

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Image courtesy of my good friend Stephanie Lett

This chocolate box capital in North West Belgium looks like something out of a fairy tale and I’ve been wanting to visit for years! Full of medieval buildings, winding canals and cobbled streets, the city offers tonnes of beautiful history as well as the best beer and waffles you’ll ever taste! What’s more, you can even get there via high speed Eurostar Train from London in just a couple of hours which is incredibly convenient and takes all the hassle out of flying.. there really is no excuse not to visit this beautiful city. Like Berlin, I’d love to visit Bruges at Christmas time to see the hundreds of little markets that take over the city centre.

7) Madrid, Spain

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Image courtesy of  Henar Gomez of Wanderwings

I’ve been going to Spain most years throughout my life and have visited a total of nine times so far! Spain is the perfect holiday destination for us Brits; sun, sea and sangria all within a two hour flight.. what more could we ask for?! The country boasts many beautiful beach resorts as well as plenty of interesting cities including Valencia, Marbella, Leon & Malaga and I’ve already been to Barcelona so would love to head over to Madrid to see how the two compare! Famous attractions include The Royal Palace (the largest in western Europe), Madrid Cathedral and The Bernabeu Football Stadium.

8) Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Image courtesy of Maaike Van Kuijk of A Travellous World

Best known for its colourful nightlife, elaborate canal system and artistic heritage, Amsterdam is the cultural capital of The Netherlands. Famous attractions include Anne Frank’s House, The Van Gogh Museum and The Royal Palace. In addition, The Red Light District is notorious amongst tourists with stag weekends a plenty so best to avoid this area if, like me, you’re looking for a more relaxed and cultural weekend break!

9) Venice, Italy

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Image courtesy of Sarah Gallo of The Five Foot Traveler

Perhaps the most romantic place in the world (along with Paris) is the stunning Italian city of Venice. Criss crossed with canals and pretty bridges, Venice is one of the largest pedestrian only areas in the world. I’d love to go here to experience the romance, although I think I need to find myself a boyfriend first!! This is probably one for my bucket list that I’ll definitely visit later on in life when I’m happy and settled.

10) Vienna, Austria

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Image courtesy of Menorca Chaturvedi of Europe Diaries

The enchanting city of Vienna, the capital of Austria, is well known as one of the most musical cities in the world, and was once home to the likes of Mozart & Beethoven. There are many museums, galleries and gothic Cathedrals to explore, or why not take a cruise down the River Danube for a more relaxed experience. I think I’d tie in a trip to Vienna with a weekend in Budapest and do the two at the same time, rather than booking two separate trips as the countries are quite close together.

All of the above cities are places I definitely want to visit soon so I’ve got lots of planning to do, but I think my top three are next on my immediate hit list. I’ll be researching each place in more detail before making my final decision, but I will of course let you all know once I’ve booked up… watch this space!

Love Jess x

SPECIAL BIRTHDAY POST: JOURNEYS WITH JESSICA TURNS ONE TODAY!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

It’s finally here, my blog turns the big one year today! This time last year I had just started my first ever post, the ridiculously titled ‘Hello!’ with a big smiley face on the front page! The first trip I blogged about was a weekend city break to Barcelona, and since then I’ve been to Prague, Reykjavik, Majorca and tonnes of UK cities. It’s crazy to think how much I’ve grown over the last twelve months. Back then, I could count the number of readers I had on my hand, and now I have over 1700 followers on my combined social media channels and over 43,000 readers on my expanding Trip Advisor account, quite an achievement I feel!

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So to celebrate my blog being a year old I’ve decided it’s time to have a complete re-shape and have totally edited the look of my website. I have been bored with the layout for ages so a makeover was well over due. A long running debate in my mind has been the question of should I stick with my free WordPress.com template or take the plunge and create a brand new site from scratch? I can now say I have FINALLY decided and I’ve gone for the former, to stick with my trusted WordPress template. There are few reasons for doing this, and I’ve outlined them below:

– WordPress is free (bonus!)

– It allows me to easily link all my social media channels

– The brand new Cube design theme is a winner (where have you been all my life!?)

– WordPress has been with me from the start, I wouldn’t be where I am now without it!

I know what you’re thinking, soppy Jess doesn’t like change! But seriously I’ve found a brilliant theme on WordPress, I absolutely love the cube design and hope you do too- it’s something I’ve envisaged for a while and I’m so glad it’s a workable, easy on the eye template for me to use.

I just have a few questions that I hope my lovely readers can help me with…

1) Should the layout be a black background with white writing and blue highlight?

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2) or should it be a white background with black writing and green highlight?

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3) Should I create separate Twitter and Instagram from my personal accounts or keep the current large following I already have and stick with those? I want to be seen to be professional but also friendly and real!

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So what’s next on the 1 year forecast for Journeys with Jessica? Well, I’ve got loads of trips planned with my friends and family and cannot wait for all my adventures. I’m heading to Royal Ascot on 19th June, followed by a trip into Oxford the next day and a theatre show in the evening, and then on 21st June I’m travelling to London for the British Summertime Festival at Hyde Park! I’m also going on a family holiday to Cornwall for a week and then potentially a quick city break either to Budapest or Berlin at the end of July which is super exciting but nothing’s been booked yet so watch this space!

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I’ve also got a special birthday announcement to make… I’M ATTENDING MY FIRST EVER CONFERENCE AS A TRAVEL BLOGGER NEXT SUMMER! AHHHH! I’ve bitten the bullet and booked a space at TBEX Europe 16 which takes place next July- I’ve been wanting to attend TBEX for the last year but haven’t had the confidence to do so until now! The conference is taking place in Stockholm, Sweden and I’m joining loads of fellow bloggers so here’s hoping that my first ever conference will be a success! It’s over a year away so I have plenty of time to plan, but I’m so looking forward to meeting new people and learning lots of new travel blogging techniques. If anyone has any advice on how to get my blog ready for TBEX please please get in touch as I’m eager to prepare as much as I can!

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Thanks as always for your continued support, and here’s to another year of Journeys with Jessica!

Love Jess x

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What makes Britain Great?

Hi everyone,

With all the recent Royal Baby Fever that has swept the nation it’s an exciting time to be British so I thought I’d put together an inspiring post of what makes Britain Great! Here’s my personal pick of my top ten favourite places to visit in our lovely country…

1) London

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Steeped in hundreds of years worth of history and offering endless numbers of tourist attractions, the capital city has it all. In my opinion, London is without doubt one of the biggest reasons why tourists flock to Britain year after year. The most iconic landmarks include Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, The London Eye, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey & Buckingham Palace to name but a few. I’ve been going to London many many times since I was young and I never tire of it- I could wander round those streets forever! It’s my dream to live in the city one day and I’m very much determined to make that dream a reality in the not too distant future. London has so much to offer you need a good few days to do it all but there are lots of well organised bus tours and trips that can be done within a day if you are pushed for time. Have a read of my most recent day trip to London here:

2) Stonehenge

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One of the most iconic monuments in English history is the legend of Stonehenge in Wiltshire; a circular group of Stones that were said to have been a place of healing in medieval times. Alleged to have been built in 2000BC, the Stones offer a wealth of history and have been a tourist attraction for hundreds of years. People flock from all over the world to see Stonehenge, and it’s easy to see why with so much history. Also named a UNESCO heritage site, Stonehenge offers an interesting day out for all the family although the entry prices aren’t cheap! As a tip, you can see the Stones from the main road if you don’t want to pay to view them up front!

3) Cornwall

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I’ve been visiting the beautiful county of Cornwall pretty much every year since I was born- it was the first ever holiday I was taken on as a baby and we’ve returned as a family countless times since then. Our most recent visit was in 2007 but we are heading back this July for a week and I’m so excited! The little fishing village of St Ives is my all time favourite part of Cornwall, bringing back so many of my childhood memories with every visit. Situated around the harbour, there is such a buzz about the place and there are lots of things to see and do. Enjoy the famous cream teas in a local Cornish pub, visit the well known Tate Gallery, fish off the end of the harbour, while away the hours with the kids in one of the many sea front arcades or simply relax on the beach. The rest of Cornwall has so much to offer, including the nearby Flambards Themepark at Helston, the mystical Zennor where you can learn about the local mermaid myths, the beautiful beaches of Kynance & Sennen Coves and experience the famous Eden Project at Bodelva. For a truly amazing and magical day out head to Lands End- the place where it really does feel as if you’re standing at the edge of the world.

4) Liverpool

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I’ve grown up visiting Liverpool since I was born and my family are from there but, although I am obviously a bit biased, there are tonnes of reasons why this city is on my list! Named European Capital of Culture in 2008, it’s easy to see why it achieved that impressive title with all the things there are to see and do. The historic Albert Docks are one of my favourite parts of the city and my grandad always has endless stories from his Royal Navy days to tell me & my sisters whenever we visit! Shopping and nightlife in Liverpool are fantastic, with so much choice you’re never stuck for somewhere to go! Head to the new Liverpool One shopping centre for a mix of high street and designer stores, or check out Concert Square for an evening of night time clubbing and entertainment. The historic Cavern Club, where it all began for 60s icons The Beatles, is also a must see attraction. Read my most recent Liverpool write up here:

5) Oxford

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Ok so I know that this one’s going to be biased AGAIN as this is my home city but no visit to the UK is complete without a trip to Oxford! Famous for its first class global university status, Oxford has it all. Go punting on the River Thames, wander round the many impressive Churches or museums, take a picnic in the uni parks or hit the shops on the pretty high street; there really is something for everyone. For me, I love nothing more than exploring the landmarks that are tucked away behind the hidden side streets- don’t miss The Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library and The Bridge of Sighs. Oxford isn’t the largest city so you don’t need too long to see the sights, but you can make the most of your day by hopping on one of the tourist buses and doing everything all at once. A visit to the nearby Blenheim Palace in the picturesque Cotswold village of Woodstock is also an absolute must. It’s the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill so it’s an obvious tourist destination and I’ve blogged about Blenheim ALOT lately as I’ve recently become a season ticket holder, but it really is a fantastic day out for all the family and should definitely be included in a visit to Oxford. Read my latest Blenheim & Oxford write ups here:

6) Bath

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Named a UNESCO world heritage site and famed for its Roman roots, the city of Bath is stunning and well worth a day trip when visiting our historical country. Relax in the thermae spa’s, the only place in the UK where you can bathe in the same natural hot springs as the Celts and Romans did over 2000 years ago. Visit the Roman Bath museum to learn of the origins of the hot springs and the roles they played in Roman times, and listen to an interactive audio commentary as you explore. Other famous attractions are The Royal Crescent and Pultney Bridge which are beautiful pieces of architecture. Dining in Bath is very good, with a lovely selection of bars and restaurants the city caters for all types of appetite. Don’t forget to enjoy afternoon tea with cake and scones at one of the many traditional cafe’s in the heart of the city. Shopping wise, Bath offers a mix of well known high street and designer stores and everything is located close by. Don’t miss the stunning Abbey which is truly spectacular, especially when lit up at night. I visited the Christmas markets a few years ago and there were hundreds of little wooden stalls located in the Abbey grounds, along with carol singing in the Church itself which was just magical. If you have time, climb up to the top of the Abbey for magnificent views across the city.

7) York

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Similar to Bath, the city of York is a rich in romance and culture with history dating back to Roman times. Famed for its winding streets, cobbled roads and one of the largest pedestrian only areas in Europe, York is the perfect place for a quintessentially English break. Take a ghost tour after dark to explore the mythical haunted areas of the city or visit the York Dungeons for a jaw droppingly spooky experience which is fun for the whole family. The Jorvik Viking Centre and the iconic York Minster are also must see attractions. When visiting York I love nothing more than sitting in a cosy little pub enjoying traditional British (and Northern!) pie and chips on a cold winters day. A visit to Betty’s Tea Rooms in the heart of the city is also a must and their world famous cakes aren’t to be missed. York in December is particularly special with all the Christmas markets and the Minster looks even more beautiful especially when lit up at night. There are many bars, restaurants and a few clubs in the city which make for a brilliant night out- just watch your heels on all those cobbles!

8) Bournemouth

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The seaside town of Bournemouth is always popular with tourists and residents alike, especially during the summer months when we catch a rare glimpse of the sun! Typically, our weather over here is incredibly dull and rainy but when the sun shines it’s certainly brightens the place up and hundreds of people flock to our beaches to try and tan their pasty legs! Bournemouth is lined with arcades, bars, cafes and restaurants all along the sea front and the pier is one of the main attractions. Home to a brilliant Sea Life Aquarium, National Exhibition Centre and the best fish and chips in England (Harry Ramsden’s is a must visit!!) Bournemouth is a brilliant day out for all.

9) Stratford upon Avon

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Set on the River Avon in Warwickshire, Stratford is the birthplace of the great William Shakespeare and is a typical example of a historical little English town with lots of attractions on offer. The buildings in Stratford are beautiful, and with so many to marvel at you could easily while away the hours wandering round the streets just admiring the architecture. The centre of the town is situated around the river with canal boats often cruising up and down making their way through each lock. On my most recent visit a couple of years ago I hired a boat and rowed down the river with a friend- on a lovely day it’s a great way to enjoy some fresh air! The Royal Shakespeare Company put on some great shows at their flagship theatre and there are many references to the man himself throughout the town. Visit his birth place and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage to get your fix of tourist attractions. Stratford also has many high street shops, lively bars and pretty pubs if you’re looking to relax and take some time out.

10) The Lake District

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Home to many beautiful national parks, The Lake District is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the whole country. I’ve been visiting most years since I was little and have never had so much fresh air in one week! I’ve spent hours climbing up mountains and hills, going on endless dog walks, and cruising along the lakes in large boats whilst breathing in the wonderful sea air. The Lake District is a perfect getaway if you’re looking to explore the wilderness and be away from the hustle and bustle of normal city life. The winter is a great time to visit although it does get bitterly cold! Admire the stunning snow topped mountains, cosy up in pubs with roaring log fires, and visit a number of pretty national parks. The Lake District is simply English countryside and landscape at it’s very best.

So there you have it, my list of top ten places to visit in the UK. I’ve also been to many other cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff that haven’t made the top ten but are still worthy of a visit if you are in the country! I’ve primarily been to places that are based in England which is why there is no mention of Scotland and Ireland, but there are also lots of other cities which I am still yet to tick off my list and am planning on visiting in the near future. Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh and Newcastle are in the pipleline for me so hopefully I can squeeze in a few trips sooner rather than later! Are there any places I’ve missed off that you would like to have seen on the list? Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Love Jess x

N.B All photos are my own, other than the Stonehenge images 1,2 & 3 and York images 3&4 which are from Google Images.

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Throwback Thursday: Paphos, Cyprus

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Welcome to this month’s Throwback Thursday feature!

I’ve not done one of these for a while but I’m super excited to be blogging about one of my favourite places in the world! Paphos is truly a beautiful holiday destination which is perfect for families, friends and couples alike looking for a relaxing break away in the sun. I traveled here in June 2013 for a weeks holiday and had a fantastic time, so here’s my best bits!….

The Journey

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You can fly to Cyprus from pretty much any airport in the UK but I chose to go with Thomas Cook on a package holiday from East Midlands airport which offered great flight times at very reasonable prices. The average flight time is 4 and a half hours on the way there and just over five hours on the way back. These were actually the longest flights I’ve ever been on as I’m yet to venture out of Europe (sigh!) but both journeys went really quickly and we were well looked after by our cabin crew.

The Hotel

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We had booked into the four star Avanti Village in the heart of Paphos on a self catering basis for the duration of our stay. The complex was beautiful with a large fresh water pool, lazy river, pretty gardens and plenty of activities on offer. Our first floor one bedroom studio apartment was spacious and clean with good quality facilities and was situated at the front of the complex so we had a lovely view of the pool. We ate at the snack bar a couple of times and the food was great. I particularly enjoyed the swim up bar in the pool which was brilliant, a real novelty for me.

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There were a few restaurants (BBQ grill & an Italian) to the rear of the complex if you wanted to eat closer to home as the hotel was around a 30min walk from the centre of Paphos. If you dont fancy walking it the buses in Paphos are amazing, 1Euro each way per person, or 3Euro per person for a full day ticket so you could hop and hop off wherever you wanted! We did this a couple of times and uses our day tickets to go to Coral Bay, the Old Town/Market and into Paphos Harbour when we were feeling more tired! This actually worked well for us as we liked to be away from the hustle and bustle. The scenic walk along the coast was beautiful each night and we got to see the sun go down day after day which was a real treat. You can read my Trip Advisor review of the Avanti Village here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g190384-d622520-r164249468-Avanti_Village-Paphos_Paphos_District.html#REVIEWS

The Resort

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The resort is situated around Paphos Castle and Harbour, so everything is all in one place. There are tonnes of souvenir shops, bars, cafe’s and restaurants so we were never stuck for something to do. It’s well worth visiting Paphos Castle and having a wander round as the views over the harbour from the top are truly stunning.

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As we were on a self catering holiday, we chose to eat dinner out every night and I was so glad we did this as it gave us the opportunity to try out loads of beautiful restaurants. As is expected, the closer you are to the sea the more expensive the meals are, but you get what you pay for and the experience of enjoying an evening  of food and drink whilst watching the waves roll in was something we didn’t want to pass up on! As the centre of Paphos is situated around its harbour, the beach was a bit further away and wasn’t the focal point of the resort which actually made a nice change for me as I often get bored on beaches! The beach wasn’t typically long and sandy, but it was pleasant enough and was a great place to watch the sun set over the nearby harbour.

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Price wise, the restaurants in Paphos are a little on the expensive side but again it does depend where you go and what you eat. An average meal and drinks for a couple was around 40-50 euros which is higher than what I’ve previously paid in places like Spain, Greece and The Canaries. On our last night we spent €80 on a posh dinner and cocktails by the sea which was a lot of money but it’s nice to be able to push the boat out once in a while! I can see how it would be costly to feed a family each night at this resort so hotels offering all inclusive or full board deals might be worth considering for larger parties.

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Nightlife in Paphos is great, there’s always something going on! There were a number of clubs, our favourites were Flairs and Linekars, which did great drinks deals and planned party nights. Hen do’s and stag weekend’s were arriving for the start of the season and we were told it gets extremely busy during the main summer months. For a more chilled night out there are plenty of bars on offer if you’re not looking to go clubbing.

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Day Trips

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There’s tonnes of excursions on offer in Paphos, from boat trips and jeep safaris to horse riding and wine tasting, there really is something for everyone. We did three day trips in total, one day exploring the old town and the markets, another on a half day boat trip and one on an all day jeep safari.

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The old town was beautiful with lots of historical buildings and places of interest together with panoramic views across the resort. We spent time rambling down little side streets exploring the hidden gems and grabbed a few bargains at the local markets before catching the bus back to the harbour. As mentioned above, the buses in Paphos are brilliant and are excellent value for money, a great way of exploring further afield. As the old town was away from the sea it got incredibly hot and humid so just be wary of that if, like me, you struggle with the heat! June was a great time to visit Cyprus as the temp reached around 26-28 degrees so it wasn’t too hot. We were told that it gets as hot as 35 degrees during July and August as its peak season so I’d recommend avoiding these months if you want the weather to be a little more bearable.

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The half day boat trip with Paphos Sea Cruises was a brilliant day out and probably the highlight of the holiday. We boarded the luxurious Ocean Flyer from the harbour at midday and cruised along the West Coast of Paphos sailing the Mediterranean sea towards the nearby beautiful Coral Bay beach. There were a couple of swimming stops along the way and a buffet was served on board along with as much drink as you could handle- this was included in the ticket price of €40pp which we thought was great value for money. The cruise lasted for four hours and you could jump straight on to an evening one if you wanted to continue with your day at sea- with dinner, musical entertainment and fireworks on offer we were hugely tempted!

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The last day trip we did was the Akamas jeep safari, something I had never done before and it was truly amazing! We were in a group of around 8 people plus our driver/guide who took us high into the mountains and showed us a completely different side of Cyprus. We started with the magical sea caves which were breathtakingly beautiful and then made our way up to Avakas Gorge where we trekked through a pretty waterfall.

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After a short stop for lunch (included in €35 ticket price) we were taken to a couple of small fishing villages, Polis and Latchi, one of which was close to Turtle Beach but unfortunately we didn’t spot any of the turtles as it was out of hatching season! We were told July- September was the best time to catch them. Finally we headed to the Baths of Aphrodite where the famous Goddess of Love once bathed with her soul mate Adonis. On our journey back down to Paphos we passed through Greek and Turkish villages which were like ghost towns due to the after effects of one of the wars, our guide explained the history of the town’s and it was very moving. We were dropped back at our hotel by about 5pm and were shattered after a long days exploring! I’d definitely recommend this excursion to make the most of your time in Cyprus.

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So that’s this month’s Throwback Thursday finished – have you ever been to Cyprus or ever wanted to go? Feel free to ask any questions you might have, I’d be delighted to help!

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My next post will be a short write up on a recent day out to nearby Cheltenham, so watch out for this coming soon!

Love Jess x

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Blenheim Palace: A brilliant family day out!

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Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the lovely sunshine we have been having lately! Last Saturday I went on a family day out to the beautiful Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire (the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill!) and had such a fantastic time. We had bought annual passes for my mum for her Mothers Day present so we took the opportunity to use them and spent the whole day at the palace and gardens.

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The arrival to the Palace is truly spectacular, it’s such a beautiful building and looks so impressive from the outside. The interior is equally as stunning and, as this was my first time going in to the Palace since a primary school trip, I couldn’t wait to start exploring properly! We were taken into the Palace bedrooms where Winston Churchill resided and learnt a lot about the history of the rooms. We then joined The Untold Story which outlined the heritage of the Churchill family and took us back in time to the 1700s. The tour was a walk round event but each room had interactive features including touch screen monitors, audio speakers and screen projectors. Lasting for around 30 minutes, the tour was really informative and I’d recommend attending to ensure you make the most out of your visit to the Palace.

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After a short stop for lunch at the on site Cafe we then headed to the Pleasure Gardens to enjoy the afternoon sun. The Pleasure Gardens are a 5-10 minute walk from the Palace or a short train ride away if you prefer to use this method of transport- bear in mind that it will set you back 50p per adult! The Gardens is home to the exotic butterfly house, model village, family maze and children’s play area. You could bring a picnic and easily spend a couple of hours here exploring, and there is a nice restaurant/cafe on site. The maze was brilliant, and yes I did get lost as it was much more difficult than I thought!

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We bought Annual Passes for Blenheim so we can come back as many times as we want and therefore we didn’t experience all that there is on offer. For our next visit we will be taking the dog and going on a long walk around the grounds, so I’ll be sure to write another blog post on this! Blenheim really is a beautiful place and is fun for all the family. As a tip I would definitely recommend getting an Annual Pass as it’s the same price as a 1 day ticket! Don’t forget to head over to the kiosk next door to the Palace Cafe to get your pass. For an extra £5 you can also upgrade to a prestigious card which will get you 15% off all purchases in the cafe and gift shop – definitely worth it!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my Blenheim write up- have you ever been/ever wanted to go? Make sure you do – you won’t regret it! If you have any questions at all please just ask 🙂

Love Jess x