Guide to London: Shoreditch

The East End of London has become famous for it’s soaps, cockney slang, the 2012 summer Olympics and even being the location of the Jack the Ripper murders. But in recent years it has been undergoing a gentrification that has made it one of the most popular places to visit and stay in London, or if you are so inclined, to move.

On my recent trip to London, I spent some time in my favourite part of London, Shoreditch in London’s East End.

As London’s burgeoning hipster and alternative community, where you will find street food markets, a cargo box shopping district, some of the best coffee & best curry in London. And it’s conveniently located right next to Liverpool Street Station a.k.a The City.

So here is a guide to my top things to do in Shoreditch and East End to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

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What to Eat & Drink

Brunch

As an Australian, I love brunch with good coffee. So no matter when in the world I am, I will fine the ultimate place to score a good brunch offering and incredible coffee. London has started to adopt a brunching culture, which I’m sure in influenced by the Australian invasion of the UK shores. Here are my top picks for brunch in Shoreditch, perfect to fuel you for a day of vintage and designer shopping.

  • The Attendant: If coffee is your thing then The Attendant is great for you. With everything from your standard cup of coffee to cold brew they have the caffeine to keep you on your feet all day or an afternoon pick me up. Plus, they don’t skimp on the brunch menu, I don’t remember a better avocado smash!
  • The Vintage Emporium & Tea Rooms: There is almost nothing more Brick Lane than the Vintage Emporium where you can shop for amazing vintage pieces while sipping tea and grabbing a bagel and watching the world go by outside.
  • Lantana Café: The origins of Lantana come from the land Downunder, set up in London by Australians and Kiwis who wanted to deliver great coffee and smashed avocados to Aussies living in London. Must have item, the Lantana Blowout with unlimited Bloody Mary’s, Prossecco or Mimosa for weekend brunch.
  • The Breakfast Club: Besides being named after a great 80’s cult classic, The Breakfast Club is one of the best places for a spot of brunch, if you can get to the front of their line. With both a weekend and weekday brunch menu, there is plenty of choice from breakfast burritos to fried chicken & waffles to your standard bacon and eggs!
  • Albion: This café, bakery and grocer all in one features all your favourite brunch and lunch favourites at superb quality. Located close to Box Park, this bright and delightful eatery will be a hit with everyone. Plus the coffee is pretty great!

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Cheap Eats

  • Poppies Fish & Chips: Traditional British fish & chips is a must try while in London. This traditionally authentic eat in & take-away restaurant is located in Spitalfields, and will have you dreaming for yesteryear as you served to you by waiters dressed in 1950’s attire…even if you were born after 1990.
  • Pump Street Food Markets: If you are looking for a filling, cheap eat for lunch or dinner then Pump Street Food Markets is your place. With a BYOB, which you can pick up a beverage of choice next door before deciding between Falafel, Turkish, Argentinean, Popcorn Chicken, Italian and many more.
  • Brick Lane Curry: It’s safe to say that Curry is pretty popular in the UK, especially in Brick Lane. Brick Lane is where you will be spoilt for your choice of curry and quality, so stop by and take your pick for the best curry in the UK.
  • MeatMission: If you are after something hearty or indulgent then MeatMission is your place. Serving Jack Daniels onion rings, cheesesteaks, Jagermeister ripple ice cream, buffalo wings and all the American diner favourites this place doesn’t disappoint or leave you wanting more.

 

Drinks

  • Be At One: Meeting up with friends for some low key drinks without losing the atmosphere, Be At One offers in spades. Here you can meet u with mates for a drink and as it gets later you can enjoy watching the bar staff and patrons get into the mood of the evening or get involved yourself!
  • All Star Lanes: Always a favourite, All Star Lanes offer a cute cocktail bar setting if that if your preference or you can step into a pair of bowling shoes and take on a friend in a game of 10 pin bowling!
  • Barrio East: The Latin attitude of Barrio East give this the perfect atmosphere for a drink at the end of the day or to hang with mates all evening! Plus, the Mexican Cantina themed food and drinks menu will have you salivating!
  • Bar Kick: Bar Kick has a casual vibe for that Friday night party vibe where you can get a cool drink to chill with mates and bring out your inner Joey & Chandler with a game of Fuseball.

 

Shopping

  • Beyond Retro: One of Brick Lane’s draw cards is the vintage on offer and Beyond Retro has this is spades. This underground of a warehouse room has vintage and second hand pieces from almost every decade and fashion trend that you can think of.

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  • Box Park: A series of storage containers converted into a series of boutique fashion & lifestyle stores and food stalls. Throughout the year they also host different series of music events from coffee sessions to busking gigs.

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  • The Laden Showroom: While Spitalfield’s market showcases lots of different fashion and goods, the Laden Showroom profiles up and coming designers! There is always well produced fashion to be found at great prices.

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  • Spitalfield Markets: This permanent market is always bustling, especially at weekends! It’s a great place to find a gorgeous London print as an alternate souvenir, a cute new outfit or gift for loved one back home. Plus, there is always some delicious cake stall to treat yourself with!

 

Things To Do

  • Jack the Ripper Tour: It took me a while to get around to taking this tour and now I recommend it to anyone going to London as a must do, especially for anyone still intrigued by this unsolved case. Pop your detective hat on and spend a few hours walking around the Whitechapel & Shoreditch area picking up clues!
  • Tower of London & Tower Bridge: While not located in Shoreditch, the Tower of London & Tower Bridge are both located a mere 30 mins stroll away. These iconic structures are a must visit to get that perfect tourist shot, and to take a squiz at the crown jewels to see what you could have access to if you were to marry Prince Harry.

 

Where To Stay

A stay in Shoreditch wouldn’t be authentic without giving Airbnb a try. Not only will, you in most cases, save a load on accommodation but you will be at the heart of the action as there aren’t too many hotels located right in Shoreditch. Airbnb offer many amazing accommodations from the current fad of warehouse style accommodation to penthouses, lofts to traditional London flats.

If you are staying further away and want to experience the nightlife in Shoreditch, the night tube does run on weekends from Liverpool Street on the Central line.

7 Train Journeys to add to your bucket list: Europe Edition

While plane travel will get you from A to B in a short amount of time, it can also be crazily hectic and stressful, from the expensive trip to the airport, the long lines at security not to mention dealing with everyone else on the plane and at the airport! When I started travelling by train, I found that not only did I get to see the incredible sights along the way, but it also formed a part of my holiday rather than just being my mode of transportation.

So I decide to put together a list of train journeys that will get you from one destination to another but will also take you back in time, to hard to reach places, show you incredible scenery or even take you somewhere magical.

This is the Europe edition…

 

1. Get to Paris on the Eurostar

Dreaming of traveling through Europe, I couldn’t wait until one day I would catch the Eurostar from London to Paris for a weekend getaway! A trip on the Eurostar is my favourite way to travel between London and the continent being hassle free, mush less stressful and makes me feel super classy. It’s the perfect commute and in just two and a half hours from the heart of London you could be eating croissants in the heart of Paris or dining on mussels in Brussels.

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2. Cross continents on the Trans Siberian Railway

The Trans Siberian Railway is your alternate route to the European continent from Asia, that will take you off the beaten track and is definitely an adventure to tell the grandkids about or at least brag to your mates on Instagram. If you take on the most popular route, leaving from Beijing, you will travel along the longest railway line in the world, through Mongolia then cross from far East Russia all the way to Moscow, stopping along the way at some of the world’s most iconic sights including the Gobi Desert, the Great Wall of China and Moscow’s Red Square.

3. Go somewhere magical on the Hogwarts Express

This adventure is one is for all the aspiring wizards out there! If you never received you entrance letter to Hogwarts, like me, then you no longer have to live a completely muggle lifestyle because you can fake your way to experience the magic by taking the Jacobite Steam Train through the Scottish countryside.

Most recognisable around the world for it’s role in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express, a train ride on the Jacobite Steam Train will transport you across the West Coast of Scotland where you will take in the exquisite scenery that J.K. Rowling describes in the Harry Potter novels. As you are transported by steam engine, you will be able to take in the incredible countryside featuring highlands, valleys, lochs, glens and most importantly a crossing of the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan viaduct – the most memorable imagery of the Hogwarts train journey from the Harry Potter films.

 

4. Glacier Express

Switzerland is more than just their chocolate and the picturesque snow capped mountains perfect for skiing! They also have watches, banks and fondue…. And the Glacier Express. The Glacier Express runs from Zermatt to Davos or St Moritz and will take you through deep gorges, enticing valleys, through tunnels, over hundreds of bridges and of course through those picturesque snow capped mountains. In just seven hours, you will see the most impressive sights of the Swiss Countryside as well as getting to your next destination on the other side of the country in style.

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5. Arctic Circle Express

Lapland and the Arctic Circle sound almost mythical to exist, even after you’ve made a trip there! All throughout the year the Arctic Circle and Lapland regions of Norway and Sweden contain absolutely stunning scenery from the mountains and fjords to the extreme daylight and night time. Travelling on the Arctic Circle Express into far north Lapland will take you well past the arctic circle where you will get to experience the culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Geirangerfjord!

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6. The Transylvanian Odyssey

If you want to see a different side of Europe, then the Transylvanian Odyssey will take you through the Transylvanian and Balkan regions. Boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express in Budapest, travelling through the Hungarian countryside making your way towards the Transylvanian region, where you will need to keep your cross and onions handy as you will stop at Sighisora the rumoured birthplace of Dracula and Brasov to visit Bran Castle, also know as Dracula’s castle! The Journey then continues through the countryside and cities of Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Croatia, Slovenia before finally arriving in Venice, Italy for a final gelato!

 

7. Step back in time aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Since recently completing a huge renovation back to it’s Art Deco origins, the Venice Simplon-Orient Express will transport you back in time to the golden age of travel, the 1920’s! Your time on board the Orient Express will prove that trains are more than just a means of transportation as you sip cocktails in the bar car in black tie or relax in your private room, you will make your way through Europe’s exquisite scenery, stopping at some of the continent’s major cities in complete luxury and style.

There isn’t only one way to experience the Orient Express as it can take you on a variety of routes throughout Europe, perhaps you are interested in the classic London to Venice route via Paris or a historical adventure, taking a similar route as the original 1883 inaugural journey donned in your best sequined flapper dress that will take you from Paris to Istanbul via Budapest and Bucharest. Now I just need to save up all my pennies!

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Which of these train journeys would you like to add to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments.

 

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9 Places to visit in Europe this Summer

If Europe has been on your list for a while, then the European summer is the perfect time to blow your savings on a big trip over to make the most of the weather and the adventures.

Whether you are have always wanted to see the historical and cultural sights of the most beautiful cities in the world, or you are harbouring teenage fantasies that a local superstar will fall in love with you, Lizzie McGuire style.

Whichever is your reason for wanting to see the sights of Europe, I have put together the must see summer sights that are a little off the standard travel list to get you started for this summer.

Now that there is less than 2 month until summer, it’s time to pack your bags and book your flights! Oh and check out this list of amazing places to visit in Europe this summer.

 

Sail your way around the Croatian Islands

Forget the Greek Islands, the Croatian Islands is where it’s at!

If you are heading to Europe with a couple or group of friends, then heading to the Dalmatia Coast of Croatia to spend 7 days on a boat with your best pals might be for you! If spending your days sunbathing, swimming off the back of a boat, eating traditional food, partying and sleeping at sea sounds like pure heaven then make sure you add sailing the Croatian Islands to your itinerary.

Most tours depart from Split, but some also depart from Dubrovnik. Check out MedSailors and Sail Croatia which are two of the most popular tour companies.

Best timing: Go anytime!

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Bask in Barcelona’s history and culture

Barcelona is a must see if you are in Europe this summer, with it’s rich history, art culture (Gaudi, am I right?), exquisite food and while were at it, just give me all the sangria!

Whether you are an art culture fan or not, there is no doubt you will enjoy Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces from Parc Güell, Casa Batlló to the La Sagrada Familia, they are all exquisite and a lot of fun! If you are looking for something a little different then a trip to the Tibidabo Funfair above the city is worth checking out, for the views over Barcelona city alone. Since you are visiting Barcelona in summer, make a day trip to a coastal town near by and enjoy the sunshine, sangria and surf!

With all the amazing sights to see come crowds and lines, so you will need to put aside a good chunk of time to see everything and by booking online you will save money and time.

Now go get some tapas and sangria, after all you are in Spain!

Best timing: The best time to go is June or July 

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Explore the Cinque Terre and stop for Gelato in each town

The Cinque Terre or ‘the five lands’ region of Italy is so incredible, it’s almost out of a fairytale book and they even have the UNESCO World Heritage listing to prove it!

When visiting, the towns are only accessible by train, boat or your own two feet! Most people take the train or walk between each town, so for a different experience approach by boat!

Exploring each unique town for adorable laneways, souvenir shopping in the quaint village shops, taking a dip in the beaches, stopping for incredible Italian food or a refreshing glass of wine and of course the killer views are what the Cinque Terre is all about. As well as grabbing a gelato at each stop because you deserve it!

Getting there: Accommodation options are available in either the Cinque Terre or in La Spezia, a 20 min train ride away. The easiest way to get to the Cinque Terre is to fly into Pisa and catch a train to La Spezia, just make sure you validate your ticket. And while in Pisa make sure you stop by the Tower of Pisa for your token tourist shot!

Best timing: You can go anytime, but try and avoid school summer holiday periods as this will be the most crowded.

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Water and Wine Festival in Requena, Spain

Requena’s Water and Wine Festival is the ultimate Spanish Fiesta experience, hands down! The Water & Wine Festival takes place each August in the town of Requena, where the whole community comes together to celebrate the grape harvest…and who doesn’t need an excuse to celebrate wine!

The festivities start with a show in the local bullring which then moves onto a procession of the whole town following the ‘charangas’ or small orchestras through the town. While locals and tourists follow the charangas through the streets the local tradition is for the locals to pour water onto the crowd from their houses. When the procession comes to a completion it is then time to try the freshly harvested time and celebrate with music and more festivities, like the Spanish do, well into the early morning!

Getting there: Requena is about an hour by train from Valencia, make sure you book accommodation before you go. Alternatively, more and more tour companies are offering trips to the water and wine festival so this is an option as well in a deal with La Tomatina which is generally the following day.

Dates: Tuesday 30th August 2016

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Laugh yourself silly at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festivals in the world, with a mix of well established, as well as up and coming performances, there is going to be something that you enjoy! During the day, you performers will take to the Royal Mile to flyer their shows for audiences, make sure you check out some of the free shows and try something new.

In between seeing shows, Edinburgh has so much to offer, you can check out the historical  walking tours that take you under the Royal Mile, explore Edinburgh Castle, climb Arthur’s Seat for incredible views of the entire city, or walk through the local cemeteries looking for names from the Harry Potter series – trust me it’s not as weird as it sounds.

Dates: 5th – 29th August 2016-04-03

Eat Portuguese Tarts in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is a great place to visit with friendly and welcoming locals, amazing sites, great night life and incredible food including the ‘Pasteis de Nata’ – the Portuguese Tart! While in Lisbon you will need to make a trip to Pasteis de Belem to try the best Portuguese tarts in the city, lines will be long but so worth the wait!

And if Portuguese Tarts aren’t your thing, make sure you check out the Castelo de Sao Jorge for great views above the city, a day trip to Sintra and the nightlife in the Bairro Alto district.

 

Dates: Go Anytime!

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Photo: Victoria Rhouliadeff

Get lost on the streets of Paris

Okay, so don’t actually get lost…

While Paris has some of the most amazing sights and attractions in the world, but a day roaming with nowhere in particular to be can allow you to see a lot more than rushing head down to the next place on your list.

I like to start the day off with breakfast at a café people watching, then strolling through the streets looking at shops and boutiques and picking up some treats for myself to take home. Go where you feel drawn to and what catches your eye and you will catch glimpses of the incredible landmarks that you may not have seen rushing about. My favourite region to explore is the Montmartre region where you’ll catch glimpses of the Sacre Couer as make your way through the region, and when you get to the Sacre Couer you’ll be rewarded with incredible views across the entire city!

Dates: Go anytime!

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Explore Brighton’s Seaside

Do you want to go to the seaside? Then make sure to take a daytrip to the Brighton Seaside where there is a great laneway culture of enjoying tea, home wares or souvenir shopping and buying lots of sweets.

And when you’ve had enough of shopping and tea then take a walk along the picturesque seaside or a trip to Brighton Pier for some fun fair activities including rides and arcade games. Just make sure you pack your sense of fun!

Dates: Go anytime!

 

Road Trip around the ring road of Iceland

While Iceland may not seem like the ultimate summer destination, it is definitely an alternate option from the more touristy and crowded European destinations. While sunbathing will be limited, there will be plenty opportunities for a swim in a geothermal beach or hot spring (the Blue Lagoon anyone?)!

Hiring a campervan for a couple of weeks to drive around the ring road and explore the incredible landscape of Iceland from the geysers, waterfalls and volcanos! Plus, there will be many opportunities to swim in hot springs, hike mountains and climb glaciers (must be done with a tour company).

Being summer, the evenings will be very short so make sure you take your strongest eye mask with you.

Oh, and try the hot dogs in Reykjavik, ask a local where the best hot dogs in the world are they will point you in the right direction.

Dates: Go anytime!

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And until next time, adios amigos!

 

Let me know in the comments where you are planning your summer trip to Europe.

How to make the most of your stopover in Iceland

What do you think of when you hear about Iceland? You probably know it as home to volcanoes, the mythical Blue Lagoon and that place Walter Mitty visits briefly in the film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. But what you might not know is that this island is home to an incredibly sustainable culture, epic landscapes and the friendliest people you will meet.

Oh and they also have some of the best hot dogs in the world! (We’ll get to that in a minute).

So if you don’t know where to start but are planning a trip there or a stopover on your way between Europe and the USA, here my tips to get through your stopover and will leave you wanting more.

 

The Blue Lagoon

A visit to the Blue Lagoon is definitely worth the trip, but try and remove the expectation that this is a completely natural hot spring haven, but rather a geothermal spa turned day spa. It a great place to relax in natures beauty while enjoying a delicious detox juice or cocktail with your girlfriends (like I did) or your significant other. You can either go for the basic package which will allow you to spend all day relaxing in the lagoon with the mud masks, or you can make additions on top from massages, facials to full body masks and everything in between. Plus it’s a great place for people watching.

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located right between KEF airport and Reykjavik city, making this an easy activity to complete on your way to or from the airport but you could also spend a whole day there relaxing.

Activity timing: half a day

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Golden Circle Tour

The Golden Circle was definitely my favourite part of my trip to Iceland, the incredible sights we stopped along the way were like no other and got me much more interested in geology that I ordinarily would be.

The Golden Circle tour stops at the Güllfoss Falls, a set of waterfalls that are so large you can’t really tell where they start and end, and while they may look like the earth could start caving in any minute! Then the tour takes you to the Strokkur Geyser, one of very few natural geysers with frequent eruptions every four minutes, making it really easy to get that picture prefect Snap Chat pic to make your friends jealous back home. And the finale of the day is Thingvellir National Park, where you will be able to see the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates or as I understand it, where the tectonic plates of Europe and Northern America meet! It’s so incredible to stand on this fault line and take in the scenery of these two different continents!

Activity timing: a full day

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Northern Lights Chasing Aurora Borealis

If you happen to be in Iceland from September to April then you may be lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights. You will need to leave the city to see the lights, you can either go via a tour or if you have hired a car. Most tours take tourists to the national park where there is a lot of space and limited lighting.

Note that coming at that time of year, seeing the Northern Lights isn’t always guaranteed, so if you are unsure of the weather or where to go, make sure you ask a local or tourist office. Oh and don’t forget your tripod or your photos will look something like this.

Activity timing: full evening activity

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Hallgrimskirkja

A trip to the Hallgrimskirkja is a must do and not only is this church a great piece of architecture, it kind of looks like a Viking, but it also offers incredible views of Reykjavik! Make sure you take a trip to the Hallgrimskirkja tower, there are incredible views across the entire city which is a great place to get those panoramas! On your visit you may even catch the organist rehearsing, adding to the atmosphere, aren’t you lucky!

Activity timing: half a day

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Baejarins Beztu Pylsur

Baejarins Betzu Pylsur has become a local institution for the city of Reykjavik, this Hot Dog stand is popular with both locals and celebrities alike, they even had a visit from former United States president Bill Clinton! From the outside this appears like any street food vendor but the product speaks for itself. So no matter how long your stopover is, you will definitely have to make time to enjoy a trip to try the infamous hot dogs, and make sure you get it with the lot!

Activity timing: lunch or snack

Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach

If you are sick of all the black sandy Reykjavik beaches, then you can stop by and relax on Reykjavik city’s only white sand beach. As well as being Reykjavik’s only white sand beach, Nautholsvik geothermal beach is a great way to experience the thermal activity of Iceland without the trip out to the Blue Lagoon or the cost! Located just a short trip away from the Reykjavik city center, this beach is frequented by locals, so you know it’s good!

Activity timing: half a day

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Have you spent time in Iceland on a stopover? Tell me about your experience in the comments below.

8 Places You Should Visit in Ireland

St Patrick’s Day is probably the most famous Irish tradition known around the world. The next would be the leap year rule where on the 29th February (every 4 years) a woman can propose marriage to her partner, this was best demonstrated in the movie Leap Year featuring Amy Adams

But I digress.

On St Patrick’s Day, the Irish, and those who love the Irish traditions of drinking and hanging out in Irish themed bars, do just that to celebrate the best in Irish culture.

So as it’s St Patrick’s Day, I wanted to celebrate all the places that I love from my trips to Ireland by sharing some amazing places that you should make sure you visit on your next trip to the emerald isle.

 

Galway

If you have always wanted to discover your inner Galway girl, make sure you have a decent amount of time to see everything you can in the Galway region. Galway has a lot to offer as the tourist mecca for Ireland, being close by to the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, the Aran Islands plus it’s also the party city hosting many hens and bucks parties every weekend!

For your daylight hours there is plenty to do, from a free tour of the town which gives a great history of the city, culture of the region and the legendary Claddagh ring. The Claddagh ring traditionally let potential suiters know if your heart is taken or open for love, this makes a great souvenir and can be picked up at many jewellers in town for not too much.

The most enjoyable thing about Galway is definitely the nightlife, and almost every pub has live local music running all night! Don’t worry if you are a solo travel as both the locals and tourists alike are extremely friendly and welcoming, you are sure to have a great time and make friends on a night out in Galway!

All tours for the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Aran Islands leave from Galway.

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Cliffs Of Moher

The Cliffs or Moher, while not the largest cliffs or Ireland, they are incredibly beautiful and easy to get to, just a short trip outside of Galway – definitely worth braving the tourist! If like me, you are a Harry Potter fan, then they will look very familiar from the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince films.

The best way to visit the Cliffs of Moher is on a day trip that will take you out to the cliffs and some stops along the way including a visit to a fairy castle, which you have to see to believe!

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The Aran Islands

If you are in Galway during the summer months, then the Aran Islands is a great day trip if you have some additional time in Galway. The only way to get out is to catch the twice daily ferry to the island which you can either get a return day pass or stay the night at an Island B&B. It’s easy to travel around the Island in a day, hiring a bike is the best way and almost everybody does this, giving you access to all areas of the main island. The Aran Island allow visitors to see historic sights and nature including some local seals that rest up each afternoon on one of the local beaches. This is an adorable town to visit!

Make sure you pick up an Aran Island wool jumper, it’s what they are famous for. Tours to the Aran Islands depart from Galway Town Centre.

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Donegal & Slieve League

Donegal, is a charming little village full of life, day and night! An underrated destination, I have to admit that this is my favourite location in Ireland.

The town is small and brimming  people, tourists are there to see the Bungass Cliffs, also know as Slieve League, which is the areas main attraction. There are two ways to see the cliffs, from the tourist viewing station or as part of the Pilgrim Walk. If you have the time and are a competent climber then I would suggest either the full pilgrim walk or part of the walk. The Bunglasss Cliffs are at least double the height of the Cliffs of Moher and I also think they are twice as beautifu, so the view is incredible.

At night time, make sure you unwind from a big day of climbing by listening to some local music and hopping from bar to bar.

Other sights you can check out in town is the local castle and the graveyard (I promise that’s not as weird as it sounds).

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Dingle

Oh Dingle, this is the sweetest town in all of Ireland!

Dingle is a beachside town, home to Fungie the Dingle dolphin, great adventure walks and Irish music.

A trip to Dingle should be on your list for the music scene alone, each night you can hop from bar to bar checking out different performers throughout the evening in a casual and friendly environment.

During the day, there are many things to do, if adventure is your thing then there are day hikes around the gorgeous countryside or if you want to enjoy the sights, take to the ocean in search of Fungie!

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The Giant’s Causeway & the Antrim Coast

Northern Ireland get’s left off a lot of people’s itineraries when touring Ireland, but Northern Ireland has so many incredible wonders including the Antrim Coast and the Giant’s Causeway.

A trip to the Giant’s Causeway will take you into the mythology of the Irish culture, so that you can see how this incredible natural phenomenon came to be. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to play on the basalt columns!

While in the area, it is a great chance to check out the rope bridge, which is just that, a rope bridge.

If you are travelling by car, and you are a Game of Thrones fan, make sure that you make some time to explore Co. Antrim in search of The King’s Road, Dark Hedges so you can briefly feel that you too could one day rule the Iron throne.

Day trips to the Giant’s causeway leave from Belfast or Derry.

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Belfast

In the last 10 years Belfast has seen a lot of positive change, it’s almost unrecognisable from my first visit. It not only offers great day trips out of the city, but there is so much to do whilst staying in the city.

To see the sights and get a rich history of the city in one hour, I recommend taking a Black Cab Tour, which will take you on a tour of the murals all around Belfast city.

A lesser known fact is that the Titanic was built in Belfast before departing for New York from Southampton. There is now an interactive Titanic museum in the docks of Belfast that offers a rich history of the construction of the ship as well as some interactive rides, plus on Sunday’s there is a afternoon tea in a replica of the grand ballroom – but make sure you book in advance.

After a long day, I enjoy relaxing in a park, and the Belfast Botanic Gardens are a great place to relax, take a picnic or wait for a friend.

For a black cab tour speak to any black taxi driver to negotiate a tour fee for your group.

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Dublin

Dublin is a city full of life, bussing with culture, music, tourist and students it’s hard not to have a great time in Dublin city, which is why I keep going back!

Free walking tours run and are great to get a layout of the city, from there you can enjoy a tour of the Guinness factory which includes a free pint at the end of the tour, a tour of Kilmainham Gaol – a highlight of any Dublin trip, or just chilling out on St Stephen’s Green on a warm sunny day.

Spending your evening in Dublin’s Temple Bar area is a real treat, while packed with tourists, it doesn’t detract from the incredible atmosphere of the music and the relaxed and friendly Irish nature.

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Other things to do in Ireland

Make sure you add some of these to your Irish #BucketList

Catch a glimpse of a Fairy Tree

If you believe, then the Fairy Trees of Ireland bring lots of luck, unless you cross a Fairy. If you don’t believe, then it’s a phenomenon to behold all across the country.

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Try an Irish coffee and a Guinness

Travelling is all about trying the local cuisine, in Ireland that means alcohol, so give these a go. I’m not a big fan of either so I usually go for the Bailey’s Irish Coffee instead!

Listen to live music and have a go at Irish dancing

I know I keep going on about the atmosphere and the culture around the live Irish music, but it’s electric, emotional and beautiful. Just sit back and listen or grab a partner at hit the dance floor (any spare piece of floor in the local pub).

Spot a Leprechaun

Keep your eyes open, there’s a pot of gold in it for you!

 

And lastly, have a great St Patrick’s Day! I’ll be the one in green.

 

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