Let’s back track a little bit (or maybe A LOT) . . . When my Mum came to visit me during Spring time in London, we decided to take a little weekend trip to Brighton to explore the coastal city and catch some rays along the beach. It was a quick and relatively inexpensive train ride from the centre of London and since the city is so walkable, finding our hotel was pretty straight forward. Luckily I had my mother with me who has a much better sense of direction, which if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that wasn’t a trait that was passed on to me haha. From our experience, the people in Brighton were very friendly and some even struck up a random conversation with us as we were walking to our hotel. The beach is really lovely on a sunny afternoon; however, if you are used to the sandy beaches of California, you may be surprised to find that the beach is more pebbly than anything. Being a Pacific Northwest girl this didn’t bother me at all because we’re pretty used to the rocky shoreline. After settling into our hotel, we took a stroll down the street lined with cute cafes and shops towards the Brighton pier which had the classic 1800’s seaside style. There were lots of people and luckily, the weather held up so we could enjoy a nice evening walk. I loved how vibrant the beach life was with tourists looking at the different seaside attractions, people on holiday basking in the sun, and street performers entertaining a crowd. Continue reading
As you probably already know if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, for reading week this term, my Dad and Brother came to visit me and while they were over in the U.K. we took a side trip to Bath. Bath is only about an hour and a half away from London by train and it truly is a lovely ride! Once we arrived in Bath, it was only a short walk from the train station to the bed and breakfast we stayed in, so we checked in, dropped our belongings off and set out to explore the historic city. One thing I loved about Bath was how charming and walkable it was, and we definitely lucked out on the gorgeous weather while we were briefly visiting, which probably enhanced our experience even more! Our first stop was to the city centre to pay the Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths a visit.Here is the front side where you enter. When we went on the free walking tour of the city, the guide told us about parts of the architecture that revealed bits of Bath’s history, which was quite interesting.The interior of Bath Abbey was so intricate and beautiful!
Our next stop was the Roman Baths . . .Don’t mind the very attractive scaffolding, repairs have to be done sometime or another to keep everything in tip top shape!View from the top balcony overlooking the main bath. Another balcony view overlooking the main bath.You can even see the steam rising! The tour guide at the baths said that the water was just about body temperature or a bit warmer. Off to the East baths we go . . .Although we were given hand-held audio guides during our visit, we stumbled upon a tour guide leading visitors around the baths which was a much more interactive and interesting way to learn about the history of the remains.I thought it was neat that there were torches lit to create a more authentic atmosphere.Such a beautiful reflection that the time of day allowed. Here is where you could toss a coin into the pool and hope that it was denser than the water because if it sank, your wish supposedly was meant to come true. However, if your coin floated, you would be cursed according to Roman beliefs. Luckily my coin was on my side with this one . . .Classic touristy sibling picture! I felt so short next to my Brother ha ha.
On day two, a.k.a. our final day to explore this wonderful city, we had a lovely breakfast at our hotel and made our way back to the city centre where we attended a free walking tour of Bath led by local volunteers who were incredibly knowledgeable about the history and knew interesting facts about the area. Although it was a pretty lengthy tour, it was such a beautiful day that I hardly noticed, and it was definitely worth learning about the city through the perspective of a resident. This isn’t to say that it was a waste to explore the area on our own, but I think it is quite nice to gain some depth by listening to someone who is excited, passionate, and proud to speak about the place in which they live because it makes learning about a new place much more engaging! I learned quite a bit about Georgian architecture including the rule of three and the strive for symmetry and balance, at least when you look at the front side of the buildings that is. . . You see that was the irony of it all as our tour guide explained, because during this era, the buildings were often composed of eight or more residences and for each home, a separate architect was hired. This meant that although the building face had to be cohesive with the other places of residence, the architects had full reign over what the interior and back sides could look like, and therefore, when you look at the back sides of the buildings they look like a hot mess of random designs. I think it adds character to the homes and it certainly makes a more interesting story, don’t you think? I wish I had a picture to show you, but I guess you’ll just have to pay the city a little visit yourself sometime! During our tour, we were also able to look at some of the ornate rooms in the building where the Fashion Museum was located.Here is everyone in my walking tour group trying to snap quick photos of the beautiful room.Here is another grand room where you are greeted by the balcony that Keira Knightley made a speech on top of during the film The Duchess.
After finishing the walking tour of the city, we visited the Fashion Museum which primarily focused on the historical dress of the Georgian period and included modern-day fashions and how trends have evolved over time. As someone who enjoys seeing what people wore during different eras, I found this museum really informative and visually interesting! Although I love looking at fashion designs, I think that this museum is definitely a must see for everyone because it is nicely put together and even my Brother and Dad liked it! (and let’s be honest they’re not the most concerned with keeping up with the latest fashion trends). By the end of the day we were all pretty exhausted so we went back to the lovely Kennard to gather our belongings and board the train back to London. I was sad to leave “the red room” that I stayed in and travel back to reality, but the trip had to come to an end at some point. . .My Brother reading his Game of Thrones book in the red room at The Kennard Hotel.
Family is so important to me and since I hadn’t seen my family in person since I left home back in September, it was so nice to see some familiar faces and spend a week showing them around my new home in London! It was especially nice to get to have some sibling bonding time with my younger Brother and learn more about how things are back home. He probably would never admit it, as I suspect he really enjoys being an only child back home, but I think he secretly appreciated my company on the trip as well. Hopefully I will make my way back to Bath sometime in the future as it is such a calm and friendly city to explore! But . . .
Over reading week, while my Brother and Dad were visiting me, we took a side trip to Bath, Somerset which is about an hour and a half away from London by train. Here are a few suggestions I thought I’d give for those of you who are interested in paying this area a brief visit!
1. When purchasing train tickets, I would recommend going to the ticket booth in person. This way you will have the opportunity to speak with a ticket agent in person who can provide you with the best available deal, especially when traveling in a group!
2. This may seem like a silly tip, but when on the train, try to avoid sleeping and take a minute to appreciate the scenery on the short journey to Bath. I’m a bit weird, but I always like to find a nice piece of music to pair with the trip as I observe my surroundings. After all, the ride is not long at all and it will keep you from waking up tired from the trip.
3. When visiting Bath, going to the Roman Baths is a MUST! Although you do have to purchase tickets for this tourist attraction, it is not only a beautiful sight to see but also provides a tangible look into history!
4. If you are interested in fashion I would highly recommend paying the Fashion Museum a visit. Not only is is very informational, but often times you can get a deal when visiting both the Roman Baths and this Museum.
5. When purchasing any tickets, always ask if they have student discounts. Most places do, and even if they don’t it doesn’t hurt to ask!
6. Take a free walking tour around the city! I enjoy exploring different cities on my own as much as the next person, but volunteers conduct free walking tours leaving from the bath pump rooms in the city center throughout the day and they are very educated about the history and secrets of the city. I walked away not only with a lovely tour around Bath, but also with information that I probably wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t taken this opportunity!
I hope that some of these suggestions helped and have a lovely time exploring the city!