Magical light tunnel: Norwich’s Tunnel of Light for Christmas

Magical light tunnel: Norwich’s Tunnel of Light for Christmas

We’re Australian and while we sometimes miss the sun and prawns at this time of the year, there’s a certain magic to Christmas in England.

We found extra sparkle in a special light tunnel – the Norwich Tunnel of Light, an easy day trip from London.

*Update: the Norwich Tunnel of Light is back in 2018 – make your way there to have a look, and let us know in the comments below what you think of it.

Christmas in England and a magical light tunnel

This unique Tunnel of Light Norwich installation is a one-of-a-kind in Europe and intended to simulate the Northern Lights (or aurora borealis).

The trip from Liverpool Street is about two hours to Norwich, and it’s well worth it for a few reasons:

  1. The city has a really nice vibe and boasts clean streets, pretty views, a cathedral and cool pubs (important here in England!).
  2. There are lovely markets in the city, undercover so it doesn’t matter if it’s raining. At the markets you’ll find sweet hand-made goods and delicious fresh food to get stuck into after a hard day’s worth of shopping. At Christmastime there are festive markets open too.
  3. We discovered a fab little shop called Cupcakes & Bubbles – yep, champagne and sweet treats. Amazing.
  4. Plenty of cute dogs in the area too, and it was lovely to see a group of people in the town centre raising awareness for Action for Greyhounds, an organisation that campaigns for these lovely dogs who can sometimes be mistreated when their owners are finished racing them.
  5. If you visit Norwich, don’t miss a lovely waterside dining and entertainment precinct (just around the corner from the train station), Riverside Norwich.

Then of course there is their very special light tunnel, the Norwich Tunnel of Light, right in the city centre.

Light tunnel: magic in Norwich


For more on the area and the Tunnel of Light, take a look at the city’s official tourism site, Visit Norwich. We bought train tickets in advance on Trainline which meant for two of us it cost around £35 return trip on Greater Anglia trains.

There’s plenty of amazing festive experiences on offer at this time of year. You can travel within the UK, or might we suggest further afield to Amsterdam or Paris?

Let us know in the comment what your favourite thing to do in the holiday season is.

Days out in Kent – Broadstairs and Botany Bay

Days out in Kent – Broadstairs and Botany Bay

Updated for 2024

There’s something timeless about the Kentish coastline; its rugged beauty never fades, nor does the allure of its seaside towns.

In 2024, Kent, often referred to as the ‘Garden of England’, continues to be a treasure trove of experiences, from its historical gardens to the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.

We recently revisited the serene shores of Broadstairs and Botany Bay.

Much has changed since my last visit, but the charm of these best beaches in Kent remains unaltered. In 2024, the area is buzzing with excitement, celebrating a host of anniversaries and new events, like Leeds Castle’s 50th year as a charitable trust and the Historic Dockyard Chatham’s 40th Anniversary. These special occasions offer more reasons to explore this stunning part of England.

Setting off from London, the journey to Broadstairs is a pleasant reminder of how accessible Kent is. A direct train from London brings you to this coastal haven in no time, making it an ideal destination for a quick getaway or a leisurely day trip.

Days out in Kent – take the train to Broadstairs


Broadstairs – A Beachside Beauty for a Day Out in Kent

Broadstairs has always been a family favourite, and in 2024, it’s no different. The town retains its classic English seaside charm, with its beachside promenades and quaint cottages. This year, more than ever, Broadstairs is a hub for cultural festivities. The whole county is abuzz with the Medway’s Festival 2024, a year-long program brimming with creative events that bring together Kent’s rich history and vibrant local communities.

Strolling along the beach, I couldn’t help but reflect on Charles Dickens’ love for this place. His affection for Broadstairs is well documented, and it’s easy to see why. The beach, with its powdery sand and gentle waves, is as inviting as ever. Families still gather here, building sandcastles and enjoying the sun.

For those who aren’t keen on taking a dip in the sea, there’s a plethora of activities to indulge in. You can explore Broadstairs’ historical pier and boathouse, or visit the Dickens House Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the famous author.

The town has also embraced its hop-growing history, with local pubs serving an array of Kent’s local beers. It’s a perfect way to taste a bit of the county’s heritage.


Days out in Kent: Broadstairs town


Botany Bay – A Gem on the Kentish Coastline

Just a short drive from Broadstairs lies Botany Bay, a place of dramatic natural beauty. In 2024, Botany Bay continues to captivate visitors with its towering chalk cliffs and expansive sandy beach. It’s a photographer’s paradise, offering a multitude of vistas that change with the tides.

This year, Botany Bay is more than just a scenic spot. It’s part of a larger celebration of Kent’s coastline, tying into events like the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s 50th Anniversary. These events highlight the region’s natural splendor and historical significance, making a visit here all the more special.


Whether you’re here to soak in the sun, take a leisurely walk along the coast, or engage in a bit of history, Botany Bay never disappoints. It’s a reminder of the unspoiled beauty that Kent has to offer.

As I wandered along the beach, I marvelled at how Botany Bay’s cliffs stand as natural sentinels over the sea. This year, these cliffs are not just a backdrop for beachgoers but also a part of a significant celebration. 2024 marks Hornby’s 50th anniversary, and nearby Margate is hosting WonderWorks, a family-friendly event celebrating this iconic brand. It’s a fun addition to any day out in Kent, especially if you’re traveling with kids.


Days out in Kent: Botany Bay cliffs


Exploring Beyond the Beach

Kent, with its diverse landscapes, offers more than just seaside experiences. The Kent Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a short drive from the coast. It’s a fantastic place for those who love the outdoors. The area’s rolling hills, ancient woodlands, and picturesque villages are perfect for hiking and exploring. This year, the Kent Downs is more captivating than ever, with its historical ruins and scenic beauty drawing visitors from all over.

For history enthusiasts, 2024 is a year of rich offerings in Kent. The county is commemorating 250 years since the birth of JMW Turner. The Turner Contemporary in Margate, inspired by Turner’s life and work, is showcasing a range of exhibitions and art installations. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the arts and culture of Kent.


Days out in Kent with dogs and their humans


A Taste of Kent’s Culinary Delights

No trip to Kent would be complete without indulging in the local culinary scene. The county’s hop-growing history and vineyards are more renowned than ever in 2024. Sampling the sparkling wines from Kent’s vineyards is a delightful experience, combining the joys of beautiful landscapes with exquisite tastes.

Seafood lovers will find themselves at home in Kent. Places like Whitstable are famous for their oyster bars, offering fresh and delicious seafood. The Taste of Kent Food Festival is another highlight this year, showcasing the best of local produce. It’s a celebration of the county’s rich agricultural heritage and a testament to its burgeoning food scene.


Broadstairs and Beyond – Connecting with Kent’s Heart

In Broadstairs, the connection between past and present is ever-present. The town’s historical pier and boathouse, Bleak House, and Admiralty Cottage are testaments to its rich history. A self-guided walk through Broadstairs is like stepping through pages of history, with each corner revealing a new story.

This year, the town is also part of a larger narrative that celebrates Kent’s heritage and natural beauty. From the Medway’s Festival 2024 to the Castle Concerts in Rochester, there’s a wealth of cultural experiences to be had.

As we wrapped up our day in Broadstairs and Botany Bay, I couldn’t help but feel a deep appreciation for Kent. Its blend of natural beauty, historical depth, and cultural richness makes it a unique destination. Whether you’re here for a day trip or a longer stay, Kent offers an escape into a world where the past and present coexist beautifully.


Days out in Kent: Broadstairs beach


Venturing Further: The Charm of Kent’s Countryside

Leaving the coast behind, the allure of Kent’s countryside beckons. Here, the Kent Downs and the High Weald unfold in a tapestry of lush greenery, chalk streams, and quaint villages. This area, steeped in natural beauty, offers a tranquil contrast to the lively beaches. The Kent Downs, in particular, are a haven for walkers and nature lovers, with its diverse topography and historical ruins. In 2024, the area is as inviting as ever, perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat into nature.

As I ventured through the Kent countryside, I was reminded of the county’s rich agricultural history. The hop gardens and vineyards tell a story of a land deeply rooted in farming and brewing. This year, with events like the Taste of Kent Food Festival, the spotlight is on the local producers who are the heart and soul of Kent’s culinary scene. Their dedication to quality and tradition adds an authentic flavour to any visit.


Days out in Kent - Botany Bay offers lovely scenery


Engaging with Kent’s Cultural Tapestry

Kent’s cultural landscape is as varied as its natural one. The county is a mosaic of history, art, and tradition. In 2024, Kent’s cultural calendar is particularly vibrant. The commemorations at the Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Turner Contemporary in Margate are just a few examples of how the county celebrates its rich heritage.

The Medway’s Festival 2024 is a centrepiece of this cultural celebration. It’s an amalgamation of local creativity and ambition, showcasing the best of what Kent’s communities have to offer. From music and theatre to art and craft, the festival is a testament to the county’s thriving cultural spirit.


Days out in Kent: beach fun and paw prints


Broadstairs – A Conclusion to Our Journey

As our day in Kent drew to a close, we found ourselves back in Broadstairs, the starting point of our adventure. This quaint beachside town, with its historical significance and seaside charm, had been the perfect introduction to all that Kent has to offer.

In the evening, the town’s streets came alive with the sounds of local musicians playing at the pubs, and the scent of fresh seafood wafted through the air. We ended our day with a meal at one of Broadstairs’ renowned eateries, reflecting on the day’s discoveries and the endless possibilities that Kent presents.


Days out in Kent: Kingsgate town and Botany Bay




Days out in Kent: Kingsgate Bay and Botany Bay beach landscape


Looking Ahead

Kent in 2024 is a place where the past and present merge seamlessly. It’s a county that celebrates its history while embracing the new. As we plan our next visit, we’re excited to explore more of what Kent has to offer.

From its iconic seaside towns to the rolling hills of the Kent Downs, from its historical sites to its vibrant festivals, Kent remains a destination that continues to surprise and delight.

Whether you’re a returning visitor or discovering Kent for the first time, there’s always something new to experience. So, pack your bags, set off on your journey, and discover the myriad charms of this enchanting county.


Days out in Kent: Kingsgate Castle on a hill



Out and about on a day trip in Kent

Life certainly is better at the beach, and our day trip to Kent included breathing in the fresh ocean air, patting plenty of puppies, enjoying a pub lunch with a view and feasting on the scenery this coastline offers.

We can’t wait to get back this way, and would highly recommend the easy trip if you want to experience the English seaside.

A gorgeous alternative (also in Kent) is Whitstable, or head for the bigger fun of Brighton.


Trip details

Time: about an hour and a half by train to and from King’s Cross in London; we would suggest four to six hours here for a decent day trip.

Train booking: we booked our tickets through

Cab: Broadstairs Taxis, phone 01843869999. 

Tourist information: try Visit Thanet or Visit Kent.


While in Kent, you might also like to check out Margate :) Find out more here


The 7 most romantic things to do in Bath England

The 7 most romantic things to do in Bath England

Bath is the epitome of Georgian elegance and is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. It’s a pleasurable day trip from London (take Great Western Rail from Paddington); or stay a night or two and truly indulge in all the romantic things to do in Bath!

Personally, I love Bath because it’s easy to get around but has all the perks of a city like shopping, coffee, plenty to see and do. Bath is rich in history – the buildings tell many lifetimes worth of tales, dating back to the Romans right through to Jane Austen, and even the birth of Royal Mail. And, aside from anything else, the city is strikingly beautiful.

It’s one for the romantics, for sure – a very special place, like York (which you also must visit). Here are seven of our sweetest ideas for you to explore…

7 romantic things to do in Bath, England

Bath Abbey Tower Tour

Bath Abbey is the divine structure that makes for a perfect meeting spot in the town centre. It is an utterly surprising find as you’re wandering the old streets, and you’ll have your phone in hand snapping pictures before you even realise what you’re doing!

Indulge in some people watching in the square, and when you’ve gathered your breath, climb to the top for a bird’s eye view of the area.

If this idea takes your fancy, you can book exclusive personalised tours which take place out of hours. Watch the sun set over this uniquely lovely place, away from the tourist crowds. More at

Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn

Stroll along the Gravel Walk

This is fine for all, but Austen fans will especially rejoice because it is the setting of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth’s proposal in Persuasion.

Continue your wander through to Royal Victoria Park for a picnic, and wind up your exploration in the lovely woodland of the Botanical Gardens.

Be mindful after dark though, for although it might seem pretty at dusk it is said that a number of Bath’s former residents often also wander here. Particularly notable is a white haired man who will appear before you on the Gravel Walk, only to vanish back into the night. Spooky, although perhaps a romantic pursuit for the ghost-hunters (like me) among you…


Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn

Take to nature – canal ride, row boat or horse drawn carriage ride

As you step off the train into the city of Bath, you’ll spot signs for visitor information centres. Drop in and enquire about one of the unique opportunities to interact with nature.

Particularly special on a sunny day, is the opportunity to hire a row boat or board a quaint vessel headed along the canals. There’s plenty of romantic little spots to stop at, like The Bathampton Mill pub, or choose a more remote countryside patch of green and relish in the serenity.

Back in town, we suggest skipping the cab line and instead take a horse drawn carriage ride around the city, just like in Austen’s romantic age. Be enchanted as you pass by grand spaces like the Royal Crescent, Royal Victoria Park and The Circus. Courtyard Carriages will make it happen.

Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn

Stay overnight in a romantic hotel!

Bath is brimming with excellent accommodation options for all budgets. If you’re willing to splash out for a special occasion and take full advantage of this city’s status as a centre for romance, this one looks nice – the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. It’s centrally located with sublime views of the city! We’ve not stayed here, but sure would like to. Seems so very Austen-esque.

Another decadent property I spotted on our travels was Bath Spa Hotel, a five star stay overlooking the breathtaking Bath landscape.

Jane Austen festival in September

Yes, yes and yes!

Indulge in regal splendour – performances, balls, workshops, promenades, fairs, lunches, breakfasts (and the odd Mr Darcy sprinkled around town for good measure)…

There are even short tours of the surrounding area on offer so you can get your entire literary and adventure fix with the least amount of effort. If you’re a fan of the author, don’t miss visiting in September. More at

Note: there’s a plethora of Austen experiences open all year round too if you can’t make it in spring.

Things to do in Bath - Travel Live Learn

Thermae Bath Spa

Bath is of course famed for its ancient baths and healing waters, and now thanks to Thermae, we can all take a dip.

After you’ve explored the interesting old ruins, step it up to contemporary times in an utterly indulgent and romantic manner. Thermae now boasts a sensational rooftop pool with sweeping city views. There’s plenty of other treatments you can enjoy too – the best of modern pleasures and old world lush blended into a sublime chance to unwind and feel the love.

Country walks and quaint villages

When we visited Bath recently, we actually took the Hop on Hop off bus tour, which features two routes through Bath. One travels around the city and explains the local history, and the other highlights the outskirts upon the hilltops overlooking the city’s skyline. This is an excellent way to get your bearings in the city. Helpful too, because Bath is very hilly so it’s easy to get tired making your way around. An option like this makes it simpler to identify the places you might like to go back to, and the skyline journey in particular showcases some lovely walks.

Suggested places to visit include the ‘prettiest village in England’, Castle Combe (accessible from Bath), Kennet and Avon canals which are some of the loveliest waterways working their way through England. The tour guide also pointed out walks you can try nearby to stops on the tour’s itinerary such as around Middle Hill Lodge.

Words can’t describe how lovely it is here, although many writers have attempted to do so throughout history. Why not visit and see for yourself? You may find the Visit Bath website useful, and book your train tickets in advance for the best deal, Trainline.

If you’ve found this helpful or have a tip to add, please let us know in the comments.


Keen to get around England but on a budget? Why not try house sitting: Find out more Or, give this place a go for great romantic staycation deals in London.

What to do in Hastings, England

What to do in Hastings, England

Don’t write this lovely little seaside area off, it’s absolutely worth your time. What to do in Hastings? History, creative experiences, shopping and yummy food await.

What to do in Hastings: history

Take a trip through time with us to Hastings, in Sussex, England.

October 14, 1066 − a most famous date that changed the course of English history. The English army, led by King Harold, was deployed on Senlac hill, where the town of Battle and its beautiful abbey presently stand. William (“The Conqueror”), positioned his army strategically, and although it’s understood to have been a close battle, at the end of a very long and bloody day in time, William won the war, bringing Norman rule to England. —click here to read the story


Creative things to do in Hastings

When we think of creative escapes within easy proximity to London, usually somewhere like Brighton or Whitstable come to mind. But, recently we decided to venture further down the coast for the first time, to historic Hastings.

If you want to know what to do in Hastings, stop and chat to the locals. They’ll give you tips on all the ways to experience living history and where to get the creative juices flowing. From castles to caves and ghost tours, this quirky, poignant and pretty seaside stop-over is ideal is brimming with options.

A photographer’s dream

Gardens, ocean and cliff-top landscapes abound, making it simple to find what to do in Hastings that is perfect for you. It’s the colourful maritime heritage that makes this place excellent for discovering unique shots, whether you’re an amateur or pro photographer. Hastings and nearby Rye and Winchelsea belonged to the Cinque Ports Confederation and this heritage is still evident in their fishing trade and medieval experiences.

Take a free walking tour of the Stade (organised by the Hastings Fishermen’s Museum) or through Hastings’ quaint Old Town (also free, organised by Old Hastings Preservation Society), get your bearings, then explore and image-capture til it’s time for bed. On a sunny day, the light here is divine at sunrise and sunset.

Unique pieces

More of what to do in Hastings? Get amongst the antiques shopping! Interestingly, there’s plenty of delightful vintage shopping here, but not so much that it’s overwhelming (like in some other larger cities).

If you’re seeking one-off trinkets and pieces to make your home stand out, wander the boutique stores of Hastings’ Old Town and be ready to snap up a delicious deal. Wander off to Courthouse Street too, and you’ll discover a treasure trove of surprises that’s been a local secret here for over 30 years − known as Courthouse Mews − ask for Dee or Beverley. The sale space is vast once you move through the front of this vintage shopper and collector’s dream!

Wine and dine

There’s a number of lovely wineries in the area, including award-winning Sedlescombe Organic and Carr Taylor that offer tasting experiences among other events throughout the year.

Or head to Hastings for a unique day, week or month cooking experience with renowned chef and restaurateur, Paul Webbe. Where better to refine your seafood culinary skills than in the town that boasts Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet? Drop the team a line and ask about the Hastings fish and seafood school. bon appétit!

Man’s best friend

We very much loved how dog-friendly Hastings turned out to be, and will return for this reason. Why leave your best mate at home when you can bring them along with you for extra joy and companionship. And, if you’re craving a fix of uplifting dog energy, this place works well too, because there’s plenty on hand who are happy for an extra pat on the head (or bum scratch as the case may be).

Write it out

Wander the alleys, chat in the pubs, meditate on the beach − be inspired, and write or blog til your heart’s content. Hastings is big enough to not get bored, but small enough that you can really relax and take it all in.

Visitor information

Getting there

Approximately two hours by coach or train from London; or drive.

Where to stay

White Rock Hotel on the waterfront.

Cocktails & a bite to eat

Try Black Market in the Old Town, looks like a hole in the wall pub but inside is a surprisingly fun, spacious, prohibition-themed diner complete with toe-tapping house beats and cocktail specials.

Dancing the night away

Brass Monkey in the city centre.



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Take a trip through English history:

Images © Sarah Blinco and Cooper Dawson


Visit UK filming locations of 2015’s big releases

Visit UK filming locations of 2015’s big releases

From Far from the Madding Crowd in Dorset to Frankenstein in Manchester, England staged one big, beautiful movie set in 2015, and crowds flocked to see where their favourites were shot.

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford said: “Our research shows that 40 per cent of tourists want to visit locations they’ve seen on the big and small screen [like Downton Abbey], so we know there is a huge appetite for ‘set-jetting’.”

VisitEngland teamed up with Creative England to select some of the biggest films to grace our screens in 2015, revealing to film buffs exactly where the action was shot…

CINDERELLA   film 2   film 3


The film adaptation of the eponymous Broadway musical Into the Woods features an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp. Showing off a number of quintessentially English locations, the soon-to-be Disney hit was shot at Dover Castle in Kent, Waverley Abbey and Virginia Water in Surrey, the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire, Hambleden Village and Hambleden Barn in Buckinghamshire. The film follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.


This live-action feature is inspired by the classic fairytale Cinderella and brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece. English locations including the grand bridge at Blenheim Palace, Black Park in Iver Heath and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich all help to set the scene for this childhood favourite. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden and Helena Bonham-Carter.


Starring Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci and Alan Rickman. The story centres on a female landscape-gardener who is awarded the esteemed assignment to construct the grand gardens at Versailles, a gilt-edged position which thrusts her to the very centre of the court of King Louis XIV. But the 18th century French palace and grand houses were actually shot in England at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire and Cliveden House in Berkshire. Some of the cast stayed at the Grade I listed, luxury hotel and grand stately home, Cliveden House, during filming. With a garden central to the story, the production also needed some versatile outdoor space and found most of what they were looking for in Black Park, a country park next door to Pinewood Studios, which covers over 500 acres of woodland, heathland and grassland.


A new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, the film stars Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen, with screen play by David Nicholls. Filmed predominantly in and around Hardy Country in Dorset; Mapperton House, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Sherborne, Eype, Purse Caundle, West Bay, Beaminster and National Trust property Cogden Beach all play a part. Few authors have such strong associations with their local area as Thomas Hardy, and today you can explore two of the writer’s houses – his childhood home and Max Gate, the property Hardy designed himself and moved into with Emma after his marriage.National Trust property, Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, also features in the film, doubling up as Boldwood.



Based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel of the same name, the latest adaptation features an all-star cast. Daniel Radcliffe will star as hunchback Igor, whilst James McAvoy will portray Victor von Frankenstein. Filming locations included Manchester Town Hall, Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Old Royal Naval College, including King Charles Court, and the bank of the river Thames in Greenwich.


Have you ever set-jetted? Drop us a line in the comments to let us know where you’ve visited and what was filmed there. We’re keen to find this one being filmed in Scotland!… 


More things to do in England

We’ve had a helpful piece shared with us via on 100 things to do in England – worth a browse if you’re heading over this way!


Images copyright to individual film distribution companies.