Hello lovelies, I have been missing in action and hope to remedy it this week. I joined a new full-time job couple of weeks ago in digital marketing (yipee to me). From learning the ropes to adjusting to life as a full-time working mum it has taken a while to think of blogging posts. But I have started structuring my days better and hope to fit in weekly blogging now. Enough said as the title suggests, this travel post is about Cambridge.

This year, hubby and I decided to explore UK and tick off some places from our travel bucket list. As some of you know, summer has finally ended here (sigh!!) and to mark the event we visited Cambridge. Famous for its University, Cambridge is a lovely town with an eclectic mix of old world charm with modern, contemporary beauty. From a choice of galleries to a buzzing theatre scene; from jaw-dropping architectural beauty of college buildings to scenic walks, Cambridge has a lot to offer to the curious traveler. Here are my top ten picks tried and tested by me and the family.

Punting: 

Punting in Cambridge

This sounds almost like a cliche but punting is a quintessentially Cambridge experience that you should not miss. Cambridge derives its name from the River Cam which runs through its heart.

Punting enables you to see the “backs” of the seven famous colleges from the comfort of a traditional Cambridge punt whilst your “driver” takes you through the enticing history of Cambridge, the colleges and its environs. I cannot recommend this activity enough and what’s more it can be done during a rainy day too (if not raining heavily).

Flitzwilliam museum:

Cambridge attractions

There are several museums in Cambridge but this definitely takes the prize. The intricate architecture on the front gate was enticing enough for me to step inside this museum and I was genuinely bowled over. It is a fascinating place with collections from all the world and various eras too plus it is free to enter.

From medieval armours and weapons collection to Egyptian collection, from Greek collection to the early works of Michelangelo made just before he was about to embark on his famous Sistine Chapel work, Flitzwilliam museum is a must if you love art, culture and history.

College tours: 

Cambridge attractions

Cambridge attractions

A visit to Cambridge is incomplete without touring some of the colleges. Visitors can enter the college grounds (to some extent) on weekends. My favourite was Christ College, Trinity and Kings College.

Bridge of sighs:

Bridge of Sighs Cambridge

This is covered bridge built on the grounds of St. John’s College. A namesake bridge it was named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. Built in 1831, ever since it has built, there have been fierce debates on which bridge is better. It is supposed to be Queen Victoria’s favourite spot in the city.

A common myth surrounding its name is that the students named it Bridge of Sighs as it was a favourite spot for pre-exam students to come here and let out a little sigh. It is also rumoured that this was former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s favourite place as he was also the student of the college.

Market Square:

Market square Cambridge

Although there are more interesting local markets I’ve visited in other cities, I would still recommend Cambridge’s market square as it is a great place to imbibe local culture, shop local products and meet some brilliant local artists. Plus, who doesn’t love browsing through interesting artefacts peculiar to a city?

Holy Sepulchre or Round Church:

Round Church, Cambridge

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate this Church. There is a definite melancholy feeling to this Church. Built entirely of stone, this is one of the four original medieval round churches still use in England. The Church was built around 1130 and its shape was inspired by the rotunda in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Large Gothic style windows and glass paintings adorn it from the inside.

Kings College:

kings college cambridge

cambridge attractions

Kings college is synonymous to Cambridge.Founded in 1441 by Henry VI and the earliest of the royal foundations, King’s College is worth visiting for the huge expanse of lawn extending down to the river, the King’s Bridge with its brilliant views along the Backs and the various college grounds situated along the riverside.

Seriously if I was lucky (or academically/ financially strong) to be a student here, I would never study but spend my days admiring the jaw-dropping beauty of the place or exploring the various nooks and crannies. It is definitely a place I would need to visit again to explore properly. Distinguished alumni include writer Horace Walpole, poet Rupert Brooke and economist Lord Keynes.

Street Food:

I am a self-confessed lover of street food and I find it a tad disappointing that not all UK towns and cities have a good variety of street food however Cambridge doesn’t disappoint you. From variety of mouth-watering cheeses to local ale to yummy toasties to scrumptious and healthy buckwheat crepes, the street food scene will sill your hungry stomach and soul in one go.

Corpus Clock: 

Image by: Wikimedia Commons, Rror

Image by: Wikimedia Commons, Rror

The Corpus Clock is a large structural clock locatedat the junction of Bene’t Street and Trumpington Street, looking out over King’s Parade. Bollywood lovers would have seen it in the movie Paa. It was unveiled to public in 2008 by physicist Stephen Hawking.

The clock’s face is a rippling 24-carat gold-plated stainless steel disc, about 1.5 metres in diameter. The clock has no hands or numerals, but displays time by opening individual slits in the clock face backlit with blue LEDs; these slits are arranged in three concentric rings displaying hours, minutes, and seconds. A metallic, huge grasshopper is the dominating feature of the clock and actually works as a pendulum. This feature,the grasshopper escapement is an unusual, low-friction escapement for pendulum clocks invented by British clockmaker John Harrison around 1722. The grasshopper in Corpus Clock is a homage to Harrison.

Christ’s Pieces: 

Image by: Wikimedia Commons , Mincebert

Image by: Wikimedia Commons , Mincebert

Cambridge is renowned for its green spaces and you will be spoilt for choice to choose a place to enjoy a spot of sunshine. I really loved Christ’s Pieces a victorian park with pretty flower beds and ornamental trees. It was previously used for agricultural and pasture purposes. Poet John Milton, who frequented this park has a dedicated walk–Milton Walk here too.

Thank you for reading. Hope you liked this travel post. Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to follow me 🙂

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The truth about British Summer is that the whole year you wait for it with baited breath before losing all interest and lo and behold it happens when you least expect it. The whole of last week, we had sun playing a nasty game of hide and seek. I was convinced it would be a typical washed out weekend but suddenly I woke up to a gloriously shining sun last Saturday. I am definitely an opportunity seeker so without further ado, I coaxed the hubby, dressed the little one and hopped on to the car for a day out at Durdle Door, Dorset.

Druilde Door Reviews

Druilde Door and Lulworth Cove

Durdle Door has been on my travel bucket list ever since hubby visited it few years ago without me but something or the other kept me away till now. I’ve often experienced that when I build up a place too much in my little head it falls extremely short of my expectations in reality. Hence, I was beyond chuffed when we reached this Jurassic Coast after a nice little drive all the way from Hampshire. Durdle Door does not disappoint you no matter what your traveling style is.

Druilde Door and Lulworth Cove

Within a mile or so of the place, you will see the rugged terrain of the mountains juxtaposing beautifully with sparkling azure water of the sea and a horizon that feels like you can almost touch it. This is your cue to Durdle Door.

The actual “door” itself is a nice, long trek away from the car park. There are several tricky pathways giving you a nice view of Dorset while you head towards the beach. Be mindful of the path as it can be slippery and challenging at the same time. After a bit of a walk you reach a plateau with Durdle Door on one hand and the Man of War beach and Lulworth Cove on the other hand. To navigate either side you need to trek downwards a slightly steep slope.

Durdle door, dorset

Durdle Door , Dorset

But once you have done this trek, you will see one of the most gorgeous spots on this earth (I kid you not!). Durdle Door and the Lulworth Cove form part of the Jurassic Coastline. And true to its moniker, the iconic Durdle door even resembles a dinosaur.

Dorset Lulworth Cove

This natural door on the sea along with an expansive pebble beach is definitely one of the jaw-dropping beautiful spots I’ve seen while the beach on the other side with a great view of the sea is something which will stop your senses right away. I recommend you don’t rush but slowly savour the incredible beauty of the place and let it envelop you completely because after all isn’t that what travel is all about—to take you out of the mundane and tease all your senses in one go?

PS: These photos are completely unedited, I wanted to show the place in all its natural glory

Thank you for reading. Hope you liked this travel post. Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to follow me 🙂

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Traveling with a baby is definitely not an idea of fun for many. I have in the recent weeks, cancelled plans because I just cannot be bothered packing the nappy bag, arranging for substitute clothes and making sure that every tiny thing is up to speed while we are out. But going out actually is not just wonderful for a growing baby (change of scenery is supposed to stimulate and develop their senses) but it is extremely essential for the parent too who can catch a break. So without further ado, here are some places in and around Hampshire that are baby and pushchair friendly.

Virginia Water, Surrey: 

Baby's day out

Located on the southern edge  of Windsor Great Park near Ascot, Virginia Water Lake Reservoir is a great place to enjoy a scenic and pleasant walk. The lake  forms the heart of the affluent Virginia Water village and was created from a water body that existed in the 17th century. The circuit around the lake is about 4.5 miles or 7.2 kilometers and consists of both paved and natural path, this makes it a perfect place to enjoy a pleasant walk with your baby in a pushchair. What makes the walk interesting is the number of eye-catching features that gives character to this place. You will find a luscious cascade, a 100 foot totem pole, replica of a ruined city which was imported from North Africa (pictured above) and so on. I felt that showing these things to the baby was really making her happy whilst stimulating her senses. The best part of the park? It is free (except for parking charges) and is open from 8AM to 7PM every day.

South Sea Beach, Portsmouth: 

south sea beach. portsmouth

I love the sea side and wanted my little one to get acquainted with it at the earliest. Her first beach stop was the South Sea beach, Portsmouth. Although a shingle beach, it has a very tantalizing affect. The beach is made of many  different types of stones, scattered and littered. There is a paved way just outside which makes it easier to navigate the place with your pushchair. There are two piers–the south parade pier and the Clarence Pier; the sites are now amusement centers. On a nice summary day, you will find people enjoying kite flying, para sailing and BBQ. The South Sea is a perfect place to enjoy a nice picnic with your loved ones. Just make sure to wrap your little bundle of joy with layers as the sea side can get cold and windy even during summer.

Royal Victoria Country Park, Southampton:

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons, Hethurs

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons, Hethurs

I love open spaces and gardens and I have realised that taking the baby out to a garden is a great way to calm her down. The Royal Victoria Country Park located in Southampton is a 200 acres mature woodland and grassy parkland, with a small shingle beach. The Park is an ideal place to enjoy some weekend relaxation and leisure with your family.  The park’s ancient woodlands, large open spaces, boardwalks and ponds makes it a great place to enjoy a stroller friendly walk with your little one. From 1863 until 1966, the site was home to the Royal Victoria Hospital. The Hampshire County Council acquired the place in 1969 and opened the park to the public in 1970. All that remains of the hospital is the chapel, which acts as a heritage centre providing history of the hospital. This park has greenery, expansive open spaces and plenty of eye-catching birds and mammals that makes the visit all the more interesting for your baby.

Hope you enjoyed this travel post. Don’t forget to show me your love with your likes and comments or better still follow me. Have a great week ahead 🙂 

I cannot believe that I have been this MIA, I don’t think I have ever gone without posting at least 2 posts each week since starting this blog but finally nature is taking a toll on me and as my due date nears I feel my energy is zapping out like crazy. I feel a little ashamed to admit this: but I am no super mum-to- be as I thought I would be. Traveling, walking and exploring a new place is something which still cheers my exhausted senses and this Easter break, as long distance travel is now out of bounds, we decided to explore the beautiful Cliveden Gardens located in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

A thriving Tulip garden

A thriving Tulip garden

Near the Water Garden

Near the Water Garden

Set on the banks of River Thames, Cliveden House is an Italianate mansion which was once the home of Nancy Astor, an American born British politician and her husband. Today, the House has been turned into a luxury hotel. Yes, it is as luxurious as luxury comes but we were interested in the outside this time. The entire estate extends to 375 acres (1.52 km2) of which about 180 acres (0.73 km2) comprise the gardens whilst woodland and paddocks comprise the rest.

There are quite a few cluster of gardens like the Parterre, themed gardens and of course the woodlands. We started our journey from the Clock tower (pictured below) and after a nice walk reached the Water Garden–a pretty little landscaped garden.

Weekends breaks in UK

IMG_20140419_195840

 

The central feature of the water garden is a diminutive pagoda that was purchased in the 20th century. The Pagoda is flanked with beautiful foliage in a every colour you can imagine whilst few Bamboo trees and wisteria gives it a Chinese Garden look. This was definitely a popular spot of the estate and it was easy to see why (see my second picture below). The sparkling stream, the leafy trees, beautiful blooms and the intimate pagoda gives it a rather romantic vibe.

Cliveden Gardens, Berkshire

 

 

Cliveden Gardens, Berkshire

The Cliveden Gardens also gets its character from well-etched sculptures placed strategically in its various nooks and crannies. I have been quite fortunate to explore various gardens in UK from the Chelsea Physic Garden in Chelsea, London to Oxford Botanic Garden but this definitely has to be one of the most beautiful landscaped gardens I have visited so far.

Run by UK’s National Trust, this place is also quite child-friendly with several rides and attractions exclusively for the kiddos–perhaps this is the reason why it is so popular with families. We could not explore the Woodlands this time but the fresh, leafy garden punctuated by beautiful Spring blooms was just what the doctor ordered and I cannot wait to go back.

Hope you liked this post on Cliveden Gardens and would visit the place at least once. Please don’t hesitate to give your likes and comments and don’t forget to follow me. I always follow back 🙂

 

As I mentioned here, Cotswolds is a gentle haven for travelers, wanderers and those looking to connect with themselves. Every village will leave you a bit surprised, happy and relax your weary mind. I have already mentioned about the three popular villages of Bourton on Water, Lower Slaughter and Chipping Campden. Here, I continue with other lovely villages and various attractions we had the pleasure to explore couple of weeks ago.

Stow-on-the-Wold:

Cotswolds attractions

Cotswolds attractions

 

Located on top of an 800 ft hill, Stow-on-the-Wold is a small market town and civil parish. This village was once the business centre of Cotswolds as several exquisite fairs were held here which attracted the best of local business. The first annual fair was established in 1330 by King Edward III. It was held for seven days every August but by 1476 was replaced with two five-day fairs.

The aim of these annual fairs was to establish Stow as a place to trade, and to take control of the unpredictable passing trade. These fairs were located in the square, which is still the town centre. Today, this square is filled with a plethora of antique shops, specialty wool shops and indigenous fashion shops. Stow is definitely a paradise for treasure seeks. Unfortunately, by the time we reached here most of the shops were closed which meant that my purse did not get any chance to become light.

Another main attraction of Stow is the St. Edward’s Church (pictured above). I am one of those people who finds an ancient church (and even cemeteries) extremely romantic and this 11th century Church is certainly one of the most romantic Churches I have ever visited. It is intimate, cosy and a strong sense of character to it. Definitely not to be missed.

Blockley:

Cotswolds

 

The village of Blockley was once the centre of silk production with several silk mills burgeoning here since the 18th century. The legacy of its silky past continues with most street signs named as one mill or the other and its collection of golden hued buildings.

blockley church-7

Cotswolds

Aside from the rather enjoyable walk along the beautiful countryside; take a trip down to the charming Norman Church (SS Peter & Paul Church) located at the centre of the village. This Church dates back to 1180 and was featured in last year’s TV series Father Brown. It is again a rather inviting Church with an intimate garden and cemetery which will instantly transport to a bygone era.

Broadway:

broadwaypastures-7

broadway-7

 

Located in the English county of Worcestershire; Broadway is often referred to as, “Jewel of the Cotswold.” Known for its sheer beauty and magnificence, several writers and artists like Oscar Wilde, Claude Monet, English textile designer William Morris and English composer Edward Elgar had made Broadway their home to draw inspiration from its beauty and location.

Broadway is flanked with a mix of Tudor, Stuart and Georgian buildings which lends this place a brilliant charm. Today, it is also another thriving centre of arts and antiques and hence it makes perfect sense to browse through its craft and antique shops for unknown treasures.

When you are here don’t forget the Snowshill Manor, a perfect spot to enjoy the unblemished green marshy plains surrounding this village and losing yourself to the pristine beauty of nature.

Hope you enjoyed this post on Cotswolds. Thanks for reading. As always likes and comments are most welcome. And don’t forget to follow me 😉