A Sunday at the seaside – day trip to Brighton

After a pretty hectic Saturday, we headed to Brighton for a day of relaxation on the beach. With the cost of the train under £15 from central London [if you go on Thameslink – there are quicker Southern trains from Victoria but they cost more], we took a morning train with croissants, strawberries and apple juice, and were ready to go by the time we reached the coast.

We avoided the stag and hen parties and walked along the pebbly beach towards the famous Pier.

Deckchairs on Brighton beach

We passed a Punch and Judy show, but by the time they came out to play we had continued on to discover the next excitement!

Punch and Judy in Brighton

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A summer break in the Algarve, part 2 – exploring Tavira

Welcome back to Part 2 of our Algarve adventure (catch up with part 1 first if you haven’t already)! As well as exploring the city, we made sure to make some time for the beach – which, as we mentioned, was on its own island, the Ilha de Tavira. The ferry took us through the harbour and moored up on the edge of the beach:

Boats on the beach on Ilha de Tavira

We passed some fascinating natural wildlife, so to see it a bit more closely we took a tour in a small speedboat along the coast. We passed storks, white flamingos, egrets and other animals!

Storks around Ilha de Tavira

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A summer break in the Algarve, part 1 – trip to Tavira

We’re very British [and proud of it]. One of us is from Yorkshire, and the other one is so pale she’s blue in certain light. So 37°C in Portugal was both stunning and a shock to the system! We chose Tavira, a little town [technically a city but it certainly didn’t feel big enough to be] in the Algarve, because it looked attractive, historical and quirky. It’s also a pretty convenient 30-minute train ride from Faro, where the airport is located.

The town is built on a river, with extensive beaches on an island a short ferry ride away. This didn’t put us off, and we’re glad, because the ferry was reasonably priced, cooled us down and made a trip to the island that bit more of an occasion.

Tavira

There was a festival on, and we saw some great evening performances in the town square. The town was also decorated with a nautical theme:

Festival decorations in Tavira

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Her birthday adventures – looking over London

Amongst other brilliant happenings, including a horse riding lesson in the countryside and the aforementioned barbecue, we returned to London on the Sunday evening for a lofty surprise. 20 Fenchurch Street, otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie (or the Scorchie, after it melted some cars when it was first built) is home to the Sky Garden, bookable for drinks, snacks or just a wander around.
20 Fenchurch Street

You need to book a couple of months in advance, but it’s free, and you’re whizzed up in a lift to floor 35. Once there, you’re free to walk around the outer perimeter and get a panoramic view of London.

St Paul’s looks dwarfed by the BT Tower:

St. Paul's surrounded by other buildings

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His birthday adventures – from Regent’s Canal to a secret Tube station 

Our birthdays are six days apart, which in effect means about three weeks of continuous sociableness and fun. We thought we’d share with you a little snippet, though, of each birthday – the bits that you might like to do for yourselves (rather than have a barbecue/camping/mini-festival with my friends, which you might enjoy less than I did, for example [oi, stay on topic – this week is my birthday]).

First, it was his birthday [better]. Given our (his) [definitely our] slightly geeky propensity for transport, I booked a canal boat trip along the Regent’s Canal, from Little Venice to Camden Lock. Simply called Jason’s (both the boat and the enterprise), it trundled up the river while the owner gave us a fascinating historical commentary.

Cafe boat in Little Venice

We passed lovely boats, old factories, beautiful houses, and ended up at the love-it-or-hate-it Camden Lock.

Boat passing through Camden lock

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We’re back!

Hello! We know we’ve been quiet for a while…

It’s not been the greatest few months and blogging wasn’t something we were in the mindset to do. But all is now well – with a brand new job, new flat and new National Trust membership in time for summer, we’re full of fabulous weekend trips and summer excursions to tell you about! In fact, this month includes both our birthdays, which may or may not include some superb days out – we couldn’t possibly comment… (Even to each other! [The suspense is killing me…])

Theo the dog

Two fabulous summer happenings already (above and below) – a dachshund and a rose (both from my parents’)!

Rose

We’ll also be belatedly posting back through the last few months [I’ve got quite a few photos to dig through], so there should be plenty to read very soon! Thank you for sticking with us :)

A trip to the Avebury stones

To road-test my fancy new pay-monthly National Trust membership [previously you had to pay for the full year in one go, but now you can pay by monthly direct debit: currently £5/month], we paid a long-overdue visit to Avebury in Wiltshire. You may know Avebury for the prehistoric stones, in the manner of Stonehenge – some would say Avebury is far superior! Although less impressive as a photo-op because they are more widely spread, the stones at Avebury cover a [much] bigger area and are many more in number. It’s also a wonderfully cute village [partly encircled by the stones] and contains a manor house which is also worth a visit.

Dinner at Avebury Manor

Avebury Manor was chosen in 2009 by the BBC for a restoration project (The Manor Reborn) with the NT. They restored each room from a different era of its life and ownership, making it the first ‘hands on’ house – everything is touchable, which makes it a great place for children (and adults! [it’s amazing, you can even try out the beds…]) to visit. The dining room (above) is a Georgian recreation, where it’s entirely possible to sit at the table as though you were taking part in that excellent cheese course… Featuring real port too, judging by the smell! [Real, yes, but I wouldn’t advise drinking it…]

Below is a detail from Alexander Keiller‘s sitting room, in rather garish 40’s style – he was the archaeologist who excavated and restored the stones, and made Avebury the site it is today. We may have played with this camera for a fair while…

Vintage Kodak camera

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