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A Travel Guide to Cornwall: The Capital of the South West

 

Located on the southwestern tip of England, and famed for its sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and glorious bays, the rugged county of Cornwall offers the perfect stay-cation to thousands of holiday makers year after year. The Cornish Riveria is home to popular seaside resorts, beautiful harbour towns and awesome surfing regions too, offering a fun filled family holiday or weekend break. Whether you’re going surfing in Sennen Cove or fishing in Falmouth, you’re sure to have an amazing holiday with so many things to see and do. I’ve been going to Cornwall almost every year since I was a six month old baby and, to this day, I never tire of its beautiful scenery and it’s long sandy beaches. I love Cornwall so much that I thought I’d put together a round up of my top things to do in one of the UK’s most loved go-to getaways at any time of year, and with a little help from the guys over at Clickstay, you can find your dream Cornish holiday home too…

 

Stand on the edge of England at Lands End

 

My whole world in one picture, at our favourite place

 

I don’t know what it is about this place, I can’t help but feel emotional each and every time I visit. I’ve been going to Lands End, the most westerly point of England, for years now; I’ve been as a baby, as a child, as a teenager and as an adult, and each time I go I get the same feeling. I get goosebumps on my arms,  shivers down my spine, and tears running down my cheeks. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve stood near one of the cliff edges, standing alone and just gazing out into the sea, lost in my own thoughts. As the name suggests, standing in those places and looking out to sea literally does make it feel as if you’re standing on the edge of the world, at the place where the land ends, and it’s pretty damn special if you ask me! As well as offering stunning views across to the Atlantic Sea, you’ll also find a whole host of fun things to do for all the family, including exploring one of their interactive exhibitions, playing in the park, visiting the wildlife centre and stopping off at the  shop and large restaurant.

Go surfing in Newquay

 

Image courtesy of Visit Cornwall – I only have hard copy photographs from my time in Newquay a few years ago but  they’re all in the loft!

 

Newquay is perhaps one of the best loved surfing spots in the whole of the UK and for very good reason. With its large sandy beach, crystal clear waters and awesome tidal waves, Newquay provides the perfect surfers paradise and attracts thousands of tourists year after year. Some of the UK’s surfing competitions are held there and their surfers rank amongst some of the highest in the world. There’s more to Newquay than surfing though, with its busy high street and pretty promenade which is popular with locals and tourists alike. This seaside resort is located on the North Atlantic coast of Cornwall and offers one of the best beaches in the entire county. As well as surfing, Newquay is also famed for its vibrant nightlife and is often a hit with men and women on stag and hen do’s looking for a memorable weekend away down on the Cornish coast. The last time I went to Newquay I headed straight to the Sealife Centre to discover some of our beautiful marine life and spent an afternoon in the sunshine devouring homemade ice cream – bliss!

 

Go mermaid spotting in Zennor

 

Image courtesy of Encounter Walking Holidays (I don’t have any pics from my time in Zennor when I was a little girl!)

 

I love a good fairytale, and Cornwall has myths and legends at every corner, which is one of the main reasons I find it so magical! The Zennor Mermaid is something that has fascinated me since I was a little girl, and it still continues to do so even now… Legend has it that Mathey Trewella, son of the local churchwarden, became transfixed with a female parishioner who attended services and sang every hymn sweeter than all the rest. With her enchanting beauty and haunting voice, Mathey followed her home and was never seen at Zennor Church again. Years passed and, one Sunday, a ship allegedly cast anchor in a nearby cove prompting a mermaid to rise from the ocean and beg for the anchor to be removed as it was trapping her home beneath the sea. Recoiling in horror, the sailor quickly set sail believing that the mermaid was an ill omen and that she would curse them. When the villagers heard of this, they agreed that the mermaid was the same lady who had long visited their church, and that she had enticed Mathey Trewella to come and live with her under the sea. Today, the famous “mermaid chair” at St. Senara’s Church can still be seen and is one of the popular tourist attractions in Cornwall, putting Zennor firmly on the map for centuries to come.

 

Go back in time at Tintagel Castle

 

Image courtesy of English Heritage – sadly I haven’t managed to get to Tintagel yet!

 

This medieval fortress is one of the best known in the whole of England, and one of the most visited too. Located in North Cornwall, Tintagel Castle was built in the 13th century by Richard, first Earl of Cornwall, and was settled during the early Medieval period. The castle was believed to have fallen into disrepair and was left to rot for hundreds of years before archaeological investigation on the site began in the 19th century. Like many castles in England, Tintagel was linked to yet another hisotric myth, this time the legend of King Arthur, where the castle was believed to be the place of his conception. Since the mid 1900s the castle has been turned into a major tourist attraction and is now owned by Prince Charles and managed by English Heritage.

 

Celebrate the New Year on St Ives Harbour

 

Fireworks over the beach on NYE

 

I’ve only actually done this once, and I can’t believe I haven’t done it more times if I’m honest! I love celebrating New Years, even more than I love Christmas, because I love the idea of reflecting on the past year but also looking forward to the next year ahead too.  My family and I celebrate NYE together every single year and last year we went to St Ives for the first time during the festive period. It’s an old tradition for everyone in St Ives to wear fancy dress on new years eve, with literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the town going all out and dressing up – you end up looking pretty stupid if you DON’T dress up so we knew we had to go hard, or go home! Once we’d picked our outfits we headed down to the main street to do a pub crawl. Everyone tends to have the same idea and it’s so much fun looking at all the different outfits – I was people watching til my heart was content! Just before midnight everyone runs down to the harbour to get their spot for watching the fireworks over the sea, and there’s then a marching band that goes on parade up and down the harbour front and off onto the cobbled side streets. The whole night was amazing and we had so much fun! I would highly recommend St Ives for NYE for a quirky, alternative place to go – it definitely beats queuing in clubs and paying for overpriced drinks!

 

So there we have it, just a few of my top picks for your visit to this beautiful county. Whether you’re off surfing, rock pooling or standing on the edge of England, you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time. Have you ever visited Cornwall before? I’d love to know what you thought of it! Don’t forget to find your dream holiday home with Clickstay to make your holiday extra special.

Love Jess x

NB. This post was brought to you in collaboration with holiday rental company Clickstay, but all thoughts & comments are of course my own.

Hotel Review: The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington (Oxfordshire) -The perfect base for exploring the Cotswolds and the Chiltern Hills

 

Just another hotel review 🏨🏨🍾🍾 #standardmonday #luxlife #ionlygetoutofbedforchampagne

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Last Monday I was invited to stay overnight at The Fat Fox Inn, a wonderful pub with 9 cosy rooms nestled in the medieval market town of Watlington in South Oxfordshire. Conveniently located just three miles off the M4o, with easy access to London and the Midlands, and a short drive from both the dreaming spires of Oxford and the delightful Henley on Thames, The Fat Fox Inn boasts the perfect location from which to enjoy some of the Cotswolds’ and the Chilterns’ finest tourist attractions. I invited my best friend Emily to be my travel companion for the night (she gets all the good jobs!) and so, without further ado, here’s my full review of this cosy property…

The Location

 

 

The Fat Fox is right at the heart of the Cotswolds and the Chilterns; close enough to explore everything this area has to offer, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities, so that you can get a good night’s sleep and a true taste of market town life in Watlington. As mentioned above, both Thame and Henley on Thames are approx. a 20 minute drive away, whilst other places of interest, including Reading and Oxford, are both a 30-40 minute drive away .

 

The Room

 

How cute does this cosy little room look?! Can't wait to get a good nights sleep here tonight 😴😴

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The Inn boasts 9 cosy rooms made up of standard and economy double and twins, premier doubles and a larger family room. The rooms are separate to the main building and are located to the rear of the car park, just opposite the pub. Each room boasts an en-suite bathroom, with large shower and bath tub, central heating, freeview TV, tea and coffee making facilities and there is free WIFI throughout. Our twin room was located at the top of the stairs on the right and was so cosy and warm. The bed (and the pillows!) were super comfy and the hot shower was amazing the next morning. We both had a great night’s sleep and really loved the homely, comfortable feel to our room.

 

The Bar

 

 

The Fat Fox is cleverly split into a few different areas, with the bar, pub seating areas and separate dining room all split up, but all next to each other, it felt like we were able to enjoy a restaurant and a pub atmosphere at the same time, giving us the best of both worlds. The atmosphere in the dining room was still as relaxed as the pub/bar area, but the food was exceedingly good and felt much more than just ‘pub grub’, with imaginative dishes and creative presentation, I’d liken it to a bistro or proper restaurant menu.

 

The Dinner and Breakfast

 

 

We were both so looking forward to dinner after a busy day at work and a long journey down to the hotel so couldn’t wait to tuck in to our food for the night! The menu was really interesting and offered a range of dishes to suit every palette.  We opted to skip starters (although I’ve heard the speciality scotched egg is a MUST!) and went straight for the main courses, choosing the braised shoulder of lamb (£16) and the bavette steak (£20) respectively. My steak came medium rare and was cooked to perfection, with mouth-wateringly good straight cut chips and gremolata as an accompaniment. Emily chose the lamb, which came with gratin potatoes and sprouting broccoli, and she loved the tenderness of the meat which was cooked perfectly.

For dessert we chose to share the chocolate cookie dough torte (£6 I think) because we were both soooo stuffed but felt we should at least make an attempt to taste it for you lovely lot, nothing to do with the fact that we wanted to be in cookie HEAVEN. The torte was amazing but super rich and I was so glad we shared as I couldn’t possibly have managed one on my own!

 

 

Breakfast the next morning was really lovely; a choice of fruit and cereals were served first, before we were shown the menu.We both opted for the Full English and enjoyed freshly cooked sausages, bacon, eggs, tomato, black pudding and mushrooms with toast and a handmade hash brown – my particular favourite! The breakfasts set us up for the day ahead and we left feeling content and with our tummies full, although I could have managed another hash brown or three before leaving! 😉

 

The Verdict

 

 

Overall we had a really wonderful stay at The Fat Fox and I would highly recommend staying here on a mid-week or weekend visit for a cosy and comfortable stay in Oxfordshire. Every aspect from the warm and welcoming staff to the brilliant dinner and gorgeous room made our stay such a pleasant one; the staff made us feel so welcome throughout the whole of our stay, from the minute we arrived at check in, to the second we checked out the next day

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful Fat Fox Inn. I cannot recommend this place highly enough for those looking for a comfortable stay in the heart of the Cotswolds and the Chilterns– thank you to the lovely staff for making our stay such a pleasant one! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

NB. I was a guest of The Fat Fox Inn for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are of course my own.

 

Another day, another hotel review! Here's my home for the night 🏨🏨

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Hotel Review: The Francis Hotel, Bath – 4* Luxury in the heart of Bath Spa

 

 

Last week on my press visit to Bath Spa with Visit Bath I was invited to stay at the gorgeous Francis Hotel, a luxurious 4* hotel located in the heart of Bath. Formerly a row of Georgian terraced houses, the hotel has been glamorously restored and fitted with the newest mod-cons, whilst retaining the same 18th century charm that was once present on site. With fluffy pillows, retro in room telephones and cosy tea rooms, The Francis Hotel offered a luxurious and comfortable stay during my visit to Bath. Here’s my full review of this stunning hotel…

 

The Location

 

The exterior of this #hotel is so beautiful 😍 #bath #visitbath #Igersbath #tbt #getaway #UK #GB

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Set in the popular Queens Square area, The Francis Hotel is in a perfect location from which to enjoy the best that Bath has to offer. Both the city centre and all the major landmarks are within walking distance, and there are an abundance of shops, cafes and restaurants within easy reach. The hotel offers onsite car parking on a first come, first serve basis, and is easy to find. If, like I did, you’re arriving by train, the station is just a 10 minute walk or 5 minute taxi ride away.

 

The Room

 

 

This hotel isn’t just 4* for it’s fab location, the rooms are gloriously spacious and comfortable with little luxurious touches. We stayed in a superior twin room that was complete with en-suite shower room, large wardrobe with slippers and dressing gowns and an LCD TV and desk area. The room was so lovely and a really welcome place to return to after a busy day’s sightseeing! We were left a little note and a sweet treat by the hotel staff which was a really lovely touch, and I just LOVED the retro in-room telephone!

 

The Facilities

 

The lounge area at The Francis Hotel- I'm still in love! 😍🇬🇧 #bath #visitbath #hotel #getaway #UK #GB #igersbath

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This isn’t a spa hotel so there isn’t a spa, sauna or swimming pool, but the hotel does boast a range of other facilities making it worthy of its 4 stars. There are really beautiful lounge areas in which to relax and indulge in some quintessentially English afternoon tea, and there are bar areas too. There’s also a lovely little secret garden at the rear of the hotel offering guests the chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre.

 

The Staff

 

 

We found the staff at the hotel to be really friendly and helpful during our stay. Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived, but the concierge and reception staff were on-hand to make sure our bags were kept safe and were subsequently delivered to our room whilst we were out exploring. They opened the doors and lifts for us and we were greeted with friendly smiles whenever we walked in and out of the hotel. A big thank you to the lovely staff for making our stay so special!

 

The Verdict

 

Overall we had a really wonderful stay at this stunning hotel right in the heart of the city. I would highly recommend staying here on a mid-week or weekend visit to Bath for a truly luxurious stay. We didn’t have breakfast so I can’t comment on that, but if you wish to opt for breakfast you can do so at a cost of £19.50pp. The Francis Hotel is genuinely one of the best UK hotels I’ve ever stayed in, and I already can’t wait to plan a return visit in the not too distant future!

 

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful Francis Hotel. I cannot recommend the hotel highly enough for anyone looking for a comfortable and luxurious stay in the heart of Bath – thank you for making our stay in the city such a pleasant one! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

NB. I was a guest of The Francis Hotel for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are of course my own.

 

Wishing I was back at this beautiful hotel on this sunny Thursday! #tbt #bath #visitbath #hotel #getaway #igersbath

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Press Visit: 24 Hours in Bath Spa

 

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited on my first ever press trip to the beautiful city of Bath Spa and I had the most AMAZING overnight stay! Working in conjunction with Visit Bath and the stunning Francis Hotel, I was able to obtain a press pass which granted me access to some of the city’s top attractions. Located in the pretty county of Somerset, the city of Bath is one of the most visited in England, attracting over 3.8 million visitors each year.

Bath became a Spa in 60 AD with the Latin name Aquæ Sulis when the Romans built the baths in the valley of the River Avon, and remains the only place in the UK where you can bathe in thermal waters from the natural hot springs underneath the city. The whole city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and is still the only place in the UK to have this title. The centre of Bath is pretty small, and everything can be seen in a day or two so, without further ado, here is my ultimate guide to this gorgeous city!

 

How to get there

Bath is perfectly positioned just off the M4 and M5 motorways, just 19 miles from Bristol Airport and a 90 minute train ride away from London Paddington station, meaning it can be accessed by bus, car, coach, train or plane. However, as it’s a fairly small city, the roads are often congested with heavy traffic and parking can be a little tricky as it is often so busy. The whole of Bath can be explored on foot, and walking is the best way to truly discover the city, so ditch the car and arrive by train instead! Bath Spa station is just a 5 minute walk from the city centre and offers fantastic frequent services that run smoothly, allowing you to visit from many different UK rail stations.

1024px-bath_spa_railway_station_from_beechen_cliff

Photo credit: By Rwendland – Own work. Source: Commons Wikimedia

 

 

Where to stay

There’s a vast array of different hotels and B&B’s in Bath, many of which are luxury spa hotels given the city’s thermal water heritage, but there are properties to suit every need and budget. For a luxurious stay in a beautiful setting at the heart of the city, I’d highly recommend the Francis Hotel, located on Queens Square. With it’s original Georgian architecture still in tact, the hotel was converted from a row of terraced houses and now boasts 98 individually designed modern bedrooms with a distinct historic feel.

 

There’s also a delightful tearoom where afternoon tea is served daily, snug lounge and bar areas, an underground dining/breakfast room and famous chef Raymond Blanc’s signature restaurant, Brasserie Blanc. Onsite parking and free WIFI is available at the hotel, and the friendly staff are on hand to help whatever your query might be. For a 4* stay at the heart of Bath you really can’t go wrong with the Francis Hotel – my full review will be posted on the blog soon!

 

What to see

There are a number of impressive landmarks in Bath which are not to be missed on your visit to the city – here are my Top 5:

 bathabbey Bath Abbey – one of the oldest Church buildings in the UK, with striking Perpendicular Gothic architecture and history dating back to the 7th century. The Abbey runs frequent tours allowing visitors t0 climb the 212 steps up to the top of the tower for spectacular panoramic views across the city.

 

 

The Roman Baths – follow in the footsteps of the Romans and explore the site where they bathed in thermal plunge pools over 2000 years ago. With a fantastic museumromanbaths and original architecture dating back to 70AD, the Baths are a natural wonder and perhaps the city’s most popular tourist attraction.

royalcrescent

 

 

 

The Royal Crescent & The Circus – a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in the shape of a sweeping crescent overlooking the gardens of the Royal Victoria Park. Both the Crescent and the Circus are some of the country’s best examples of fine Georgian architecture.

pulteneybridgePulteney Bridge – one of only 4 historic bridges left in the world with shops built into it on either side. Completed back in 1774, the bridge was designed to connect the city with the Georgian town of Bathwick. Cross the River Avon in style & gaze down to the striking crescent weir below.

 

Thermae Bath Spa – award-winning natural spa allowing visitors to bathe in the UK’s only naturally warm mineral waters, just as the Romans did over 2000 years ago! Immerse yourself in the spa’s different chambers; a lazy river with Jacuzzi, a range of aromatic steam rooms and a thermal rooftop pool with spectacular views of the city skyline.

thermae-spa

Photo credit: Rob Slade Photography

Where to eat & drink

Bath is known for its high end eateries and its iconic Pump Room is a stunning restaurant at the heart of the city, located just next to Bath Abbey & The Roman Baths. There are also a number of popular chain restaurants, such as Pizza Express, Nandos, Prezzo, Wagamama & Browns which offer visitors an eclectic choice when it comes to dining. As Bath is also a uni city, there are plenty of bars, pubs and even a couple of clubs for those looking for some adventurous nightlife.

 

For a quintessentially English treat, Sally Lunn’s Tea Rooms are not to be missed! With history dating back to the 1400s, Sally Lunn’s is one of the oldest eateries in England. Guests flock from all corners of the globe to get a taste of the world famous sweet and savoury buns, served with different flavoured toppings and fillings to suit every palette. The buns are so large that they’re served in half and traditionally eaten with a knife and fork. Today the restaurant serves up a menu based on the buns that were first created by Sally Lunn herself back in 1680 when she arrived in England as a French refugee. There is a museum and small gift shop underneath the restaurant which houses the original kitchens that Sally used to bake her world famous buns. The museum is free for diners to enter and you can even buy your own buns to take home!

 

What not to miss

Discover a hidden gem at the heart of the city and indulge in a private spa session at The Cross Bath. Located next to the Thermae Spa and part of the same building, although it is not attached, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the steaming thermal waters and enjoy an intimate spa session with private changing facilities. The Cross Bath can be visited individually, or hired out by a maximum of 12 people at a time, making it a quiet alternative to the busy facilities offered at the Thermae Spa. The spa’s catering team can also provide nibbles and champagne for a luxurious treat and an occasion to remember. The Cross Bath is recognised as an official sacred site and is a hidden gem not to be missed when visiting the city!

The Cross Bath- a hidden gem at the heart of #bath! 🇬🇧 #visitbath #visitengland #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain #UK #GB #igersbath

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When to visit

Bath is beautiful at any time of year, but I particularly love it during the autumn/winter months, when the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on! In the lead up to the big day, there are a number of popular events in the city, such as The Great Bath Feast, The Bath Film Festival, Bath Rotary Club Fireworks Display, and The Bath Christmas Markets, making autumn/winter one of the busiest times of the year.

Ladies and gents, The Roman Baths! 🇬🇧 #bath #visitbath #UK #GB #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain

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Visiting in spring or summer is just as lovely too though, with the better weather Bath comes alive and the blue skies and green grass really shows off the city in all its glory. Bath Literature Festival, Vitality Bath Half Marathon and the Bath Comedy and Bath Digital Festivals are all fun, family friendly events on the spring/summer calendar making it a great time to visit.

How beautiful is the #royalcrescent looking in the sunshine today?! #bath #visitbath #GB #UK @visitbath #visitbritain #lovegreatbritain

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Why visit Bath?

In summary, Bath is one of those really gorgeous cities that should definitely not be missed when planning a trip to the UK! It’s super easy to visit by either rail, road or air and is in a prime location in the west of the country, perfect if breaking up your journey to London and surrounding areas. Offering a whole host of things to see and do, the history and charm of Bath will leave you wanting to return time and time again.

Oh Bath Abbey how I've missed you! 😍🇬🇧 #bath #wanderlustwednesday #UK #GB @visitbath

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So there we have it, my full guide to visiting the city of Bath – you can now plan your trip and go enjoy a fabulous stay there whenever you choose to visit! Have you ever been to Bath before, or are you planning on going anytime soon? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Love Jess x

NB. For this press visit I was lucky enough to be a guest with Visit Bath and with the Francis Hotel, but all opinions are of course my own.