Cambridge College Touring

Over the early May bank holiday, Mike and I decided we wanted a day out of London to do a bit of an explore.

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After a bit of debate (Mike is an Oxford man), we landed on Cambridge as our destination of choice, as it is an easy hour train ride from London, with enough going on to keep us entertained for the day. We were also thinking about going to the coast, but with the English weather playing up, as usual, we thought we would play it safe and save the coast for a sunny day. Stay tuned!

Cambridge is a very charming small city, quite a bit smaller than Oxford, so not much of an itinerary is needed for a trip. In a day, you will have easily walked around the centre and most of the colleges. It would be very hard to miss anything out!

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Cambridge, like Oxford, has some stunning colleges, and most are open to the public to have a look around, so we spent most of the day doing just that!

Our favourites included:

St John’s College, probably the grandest College of them all. You get a lovely view of from the meadow behind the College.

Jesus College, which was lovely and quiet being set a bit further out than some of the others.

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Sidney Sussex College, which had the lost amazing wisterias on display. Sorry, still can’t get over these beauties!

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The River Cam runs through the heart of Cambridge and you are bound to come across punters. It is possible to hire a boat for an hour to see the city and get an upfront look at Cambridge College ‘Backs’.

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The city is also lovely to walk around, although a bit on the small side, it is very picturesque! We had a lovely late lunch at Trinity, before heading back to London.

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Steph xo

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Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo

There is a great art gallery, just over the border from Canada, in Buffalo, called the Albright Knox. It makes the perfect excuse for a day trip from Toronto, being just a couple hours drive away and close to both Niagara Falls and the outlet malls.

Although it was a very rainy day, Mum and I decided to make the journey over the border to visit this lovely modern and contemporary art gallery, as they had a very interesting exhibition on, Menagerie: Animals on View. Mum and I are both massive animal lovers and we didn’t want to miss out!

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This furry friend exhibition was assembled from Albright-Knox’s expansive collection, bringing together more than 50 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and videos.

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It features creatures as agents of storytelling, humorous personifications, and echoes of the human spirit.

After touring the exhibition, we made sure to check out the permanent collection, which we have seen many times, but is always worth another visit. The permanent collection features work by well known artists such as Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol.

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My favourite piece is a massive mural made of scribbles by Sol LeWitt! Wall Drawing # 1268: Scribbles: Staircase, holds the distinction of being the artist’s last and largest scribble drawing.

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The mural was made by 16 artists scribbling directly onto the gallery’s walls for seven hours a day, over 54 days, using a total of 1,717 graphite pencils. The end result is pretty spectacular! It doesn’t look like scribbles at all!

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Outside the gallery, there is nearly 20 different sculptures to explore as well.

But, we could only stay and play a little while, as the rain started up again!

Looking forward to another visit to the Alright Knox Gallery soon!

Steph xo

Leeds Castle

This past weekend Mike and I along with our very good friends, Lizzie and Dan, decided to go on an adventure to Leeds Castle.

I have been wanting to see the castle in person for some time, being a feature in several films/TV shows. It is also branded ‘The Loveliest Castle in the World’, so I was so glad to have finally made the trip to Kent to see the castle myself first hand and to see if I agreed with this bold claim!

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To get to Leeds Castle we took the train from Victoria to Bearsted and a coach shuttle service run by Spot Travel that is available from the station from there.  It only takes just over an hour in total.

Given it was a lovely (admittedly greyish) spring day, we decided the plan would be to do a walk in the countryside around the castle to work up an appetite for lunch at one of the castle’s restaurants.

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We followed a great walk Lizzie found online, which after some help from a couple of locals on directions, ended up being a perfect two hour tramp with views along the way of the North Downs (covering about 5miles/8km).

We walked through a couple of lovely, picturesque villages…

…Beautiful woodland and meadows.

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The end of our trip had us arrive at Leeds Castle itself.  And the view is worth the wait!

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Using the public footpath, we could enter the castle grounds free of charge which allowed us to get a closer look at the building and the grounds.

We were even greeted by the local fauna.

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Leeds Castle dates back to 1119,  built on islands in a lake formed by damming the River Len to the east of the village of Leeds. Before being open to the public in 1976, Leeds Castle was home to six of England’s medieval queens including Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII’s first queen), so it is rich in English history.

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Given entry to the Castle was a bit pricey (£24.50/pp), we decided to skip looking around the castle interior on this occasion and stick to enjoying the view and the grounds.

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A super fun day out!

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Steph xo

 

Seven Sisters & Beachy Head Walk

If you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, why not get out of London and head to the South Coast.

Get away from it all, get outside and get walking!

Seven Sisters and Beachy Head are a series of beautiful cliffs by the English Channel, and they make a perfect day trip from London.

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The Seven Sisters County Park  is a two hour drive from London, with parking on site at a small cost.You can also take the train from London to Seaford or Eastbourne and the bus from there.

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Once you arrive you will be taken aback by the amazing scenery, beautiful white cliffs with crystal clear water below.

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Despite being set between two famous seaside resorts, Brighton and Eastborne, it is one of the longest sections of coastline in the South of England to be undeveloped.

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Barbour Jacket, Walking Boots, Leggings, Striped Top, Sunglasses

Seven Sisters is named for its seven cliffs, so the walk is not for the faint hearted or anyone scared of heights.

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But, there is encouraging signage along the way to keep you going!

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The first part of the journey, the Seven Sisters Cliffs, is a two hour walk from the car park. There is a National Trust cafe at the Birling Gap, the divider between the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, where you can take a break and fuel up on coffee and cake for the rest of your walk to Beachy Head.

At the Birling Gap you can also walk down to the pebble beach, which I think would be a lovely option in the summer time.

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The second part of the walk, from Birling gap to  Beachy Head, it gets a bit more crowded, being more popular among tourists, but only takes around an hour and a half to walk.

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Beachy Head has a famous lighthouse located  just below the cliff in the water, which draws in the tourists. The lighthouse was built in 1902 to guide sailors in the fog.

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The view is pretty amazing on the ground, but I bet it is even better from up in the air!

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Now, after all this walking you are going to need a pub lunch to rest those sore feet of yours! I would recommend heading to Tiger Inn for some classic British pub dining.

Steph xo