Saturday, 18 February 2017

3 weekend escapes from London

How long to get there? From 55 minutes to 1.5 hours
Notable sights: Brighton Beach, Royal Pavilion and the Brighton Pier
Where to eat & drink? VIP Pizza & The Mesmerist
Where to shop? North Laine

Brighton is almost like a mini London, only by the sea, which, in my eyes, makes any place 100% better anyway. It's a small-ish city with approximately 300,000 residents, but considering how much there is to do it feels a lot bigger. Brighton is known as a very vibrant and bohemian city, and it's also the only place in the UK that has elected a Green MP.

The city's greenness is also quite apparent when looking at all the local business in the streets - there are lots of organic shops, second hand clothes stores and vegetarian/vegan restaurants - there is even a vegan leather shoe store!

How long to get there? 2 hours and 10 minutes
Notable sights: John Rylands Library, Heaton Park
Where to eat & drink? Rudy's, Yard & Coop & Terrace NQ
Where to shop? Record and vintage shops in Northern Quarter

I first visited Manchester about 7-8 years ago, and while I only spent 2 days there, I completely fell in love and have been wanting to return ever since. I finally went back last summer and it was every bit as wonderful as I had remembered.

For me Manchester will always be a music city, as I'm sure it is for a lot of others too. A lot of my favourite artists have come from here and so I have always thought that a city that has given us Oasis, The Stone Roses and The Smiths (and all of those other greats!) has to be something pretty special. I haven't had as much time to explore Manchester as I would have liked to, but just from spotting quite a few record shops and music venues on the streets makes me think that that spirit is still very much alive!

How long to get there? 30 to 45 minutes
Notable sights: St Albans Cathedral, roman ruins at Verulamium
Where to eat & drink? 23 George Street, Beech House & The Pudding Stop
Where to shop? The traditional street market every Wednesday and Saturday

St Albans is my new favourite London escape as it takes less than an hour to get there and yet feels like miles and miles away from the capital. The city is well known for its many historic features, as well as its gorgeous cathedral and great eating and drinking opportunities - I can definitely vouch for all of these myself!

The most breathtaking sight is, of course, the cathedral which beautifully dominates the cityscape. The surrounding park is also well worth a stroll - it's also where I saw possibly the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen in my life! After you've exhausted the cathedral and its grounds, it might be a good idea to go grab something to eat, and, luckily, at St Albans, you've got ALL the options. For a small city like this, I was very surprised how much choice there was when it came to eating out and going for a drink - I don't think I've ever seen so many pubs in one place..! So basically, if you like history, food and a drink (alcoholic or not!) you'll probably love St Albans. And who doesn't love all of those things?

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