The words that come to mind when I think of Birmingham are chocolate, industrial architecture, cats, Ozzy Osbourne and alchemy. Potentially the most random combination that I can conjure, but that can the joy of exploring less touristy destinations. Disclosure: this alternative city guide to Birmingham was commissioned by Hotels.com to showcase booking in at the Birmingham airport hotel, but all random adventures are very much my own (you’ll see).
Something people say to me all the time is ‘I bet you’ve been everywhere in England… I’ve never really explored that much of the UK and it’s such a shame’, and honestly, I agree. England is such a diverse patchwork of villages, towns and cities – and the history is second to none.
Over the years I’ve made it a mission to explore as many unique London nooks and crannies as I can, and yet I’ve never actually put them altogether and written an ultimate London bucket list. So, without further ado – or more fluffy pre-amble – here it is! Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Keith Prowse, the official hospitality provider for many iconic venues and stadiums across the country including Wimbledon hospitality 2020.
Living in London long-term is a fascinating window into the eccentricities of British history. Buildings that have survived more than 10 generations of human stories, streets that echo the rambling paths of underwater riverbanks, rolling acres of grassy parks and the delicious smells of a melting pot that is London cuisine. History books be damned, this city is alive with the most incredible tales.
On this trip to Rheims, instead of simply visiting as a day trip from Paris, we stayed overnight in the Continental Hotel, a very short walk through beautiful gardens from the train station. I was a guest of the Régionale du Tourisme Grand-Est and I would 100% stay in this beautiful hotel again on my own. Where to stay in Rheims
We wheeled our suitcases straight from the train station – so fresh from Paris you could practically smell our breakfast baguettes – and through the gardens to our home for the evening – the Continental Hotel.
I have a confession to make. I’m slightly obsessed with castles, and I knew that we had to visit Wawel Castle in Krakow. (Long term readers won’t be very surprised – I have form in this area – exploring them, staying in them, insisiting my family stop at them on car trips etc.)
Wawel Castle is a sprawling patchwork of history – personal and political stories that you can explore on foot. I learned that the Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally significant site in the country.
My only disappointment with our city break to Krakow is that we hadn’t visited sooner. The medieval city had been calling our names for a fair amount of time, so one grey January day I seized the wanderlust zeitgeist and booked in a load of city breaks – including Krakow. Finally! As a result, this is my (entirely subjective) Krakow what to do list.
We visited in May as the weather should be fairly settled, and it’s the beginning shoulder season (compared to July/August when a lot of schools have their summer holidays) which means that tourist season hasn’t begun yet.