My Top 5 UK City Breaks

top 5 uk city breaks

The Hubby and I love a UK city break. More often than not, its a family trip. However on the odd occasion, when we have a couple of child free nights, its great to get away. When we look for a couple of nights away we like to choose different cities. The UK has many stunning places to visit. The UK has some of the most culture rich cities in the world, each steeped in history.

We have chosen our top 5 UK cities to visit, York, Edinburgh, Bath, Cardiff and of course, our capital city, London.

York

top 5 uk city breaks

York is my most favourite place to visit. Having stayed on many occasion both with and without children. Each visit we find a new corner of this amazing city we haven’t yet explored or a new favourite thing to do. This city is packed with history, visiting the Jorvik centre is a great way to learn about Yorks Viking history. It’s not just somewhere for children but great for adults as well. We have visited alone and with the children.

Walking though the shambles, seeing all the old shop fronts, popping in and out of the little shops. Just watch out for the cobbles. There are also lots of lovely antiques shops to wonder around. York Minister is a beautiful thing just to look at, even if you don’t go inside. However if you do, make sure you ‘climb the central tower’ it takes you up on to the roof walk, so gives you the best views of the city.

York is packed full of places to visit, restaurants, bars, unique shops. Not forgetting the famous afternoon teas at Bettys.

York is well worth a visit.

Edinburgh

top 5 uk city breaks

Edinburgh is a beautiful old city, full of cobbled streets and little alleys full of stylish boutiques. One thing I just love about Edinburgh is it’s city centre. It’s quite small so you can easily walk everywhere. Not having to jump on a tube or bus to see something new. Edinburgh has recently been named the UK’s Greenest City. You’re never far from rolling hills and lush inner city parks.

If you want to make the most of your trip to Edinburgh why not book a personal city guide, they will help you explore the city and fill you in on its rich history. Just make sure you visit Edinburgh castle, it dominates the city sky line and gives you some of the best views of the city.

No trip to Scotland is complete without Whisky (not Whiskey!), luckily there are lots of Whisky bars to choose from while you are there. Plus there are lots of different hotels and accommodation options to pick.

Bath

top 5 uk city breaks

Bath is another of the UK’s most beautiful cities. In fact it is the only entire city to have been awarded the accolade of World Heritage Site. Bath is the only place in the UK you can bathe in naturally hot spa water and home to the Roman Baths. People have been visiting Bath for over a thousand years just to experience the naturally warm, mineral rich waters.

The City of Bath is famous for its Cresent’s, housing the most in the UK. The Royal Cresent is beautiful to visit, showing off the largest collection of Georgian architecture in the UK.

If you are wanting a relaxing trip to Bath, you should visit the Thermae Bath Spa in the city centre. Relax in the thermal waters and enjoy the roof top swimming pool, that gives you great views of the city. Something that I would love to do, but haven’t been able to just yet… one day.

There are many other fabulous places to visit, including Bath Abbey, or take a walk around the city on the National Trust Sky Walk Trail.

Of course, shopping is brilliant in Bath, with local boutiques and high street stores set within Georgian buildings. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and hotels so Bath has something for everyone. Having written this post I cant wait to start planning our next trip to Bath.

Cardiff

top 5 uk city breaks

 

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales. Home to many historic houses, Dr Who, the Millennium Stadium and the newly developed Bay area. The National Opera house is meant to be an amazing place to visit, so it is on the list for our next trip to Cardiff.  Cardiff Bay is the largest water front development in Europe, which has transformed the dockland into an attraction all on its own.

Full of great restaurants and little bars, there is something for everyone in Cardiff. There are also plenty of hotels and B & B’s to cover all price ranges. The National Museum and Art Gallery is free to enter and has a stunning room of rocks and minerals, just amazing. There is also the Royal Mint experience, great for families too.

Cardiff is full of history. There are lots of Ghost walks all around the city, allowing you to have some fun but also learn about the history along the way. If you are planning a city break, Cardiff should be at the top of your list.

London

top 5 uk city breaks

London is our capital city, the hub of British history, fashion, business and tourism. Not forgetting our Royal Family. London is busy, but amazing. I have loved every trip we have made to London. Being a day trip on the train or a couple of nights staying in a cute boutique hotel in Covent Garden.

One thing we haven’t done is a open bus tour, which is the plan for our next visit. They take you around to all of the major sights: Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Big Ben, West Minster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament, London Bridge… the list is endless. It’s a great way of taking in the sights. But that isn’t all London has to offer, with the London Eye, Madame Tussauds and The London Dungeons there is so much to do in London with or without children.

Shopping is just brilliant in London. If you can’t find something in London, it’s unlikely you will find it on any other high street. Designer shops, boutiques, vintage shops and high street stores can all be found on the streets of London. Not forgetting the vibrant, multicultural markets.

Food is at the heart of life in London, with some of the most renowned restaurants in the country. So finding a great place to eat isn’t a problem, just make sure you book a table. There are clubs and bars are all over the city so night life in London is always exciting. Don’t forget to book in for afternoon tea in one of the many hotels in London, I love afternoon tea anyway but afternoon tea in London just seems more special.

London is a wonderful place to visit, it’s something that people either love to do or hate. I love it and would highly recommend that everyone goes at least once to see our capital city.

So there are my top picks for UK city breaks, York, Bath, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London.

What’s your favourite city in the UK to visit?

How to find the perfect wedding dress

how to find the perfect wedding dress

How to find the perfect wedding dress you ask? Well, it can be a tricky task, yet one of the most important. Each and every bride-to-be is beautiful in her own way. With each loving and loathing something about their appearance. Luckily we now live in a age of stunning wedding dresses, designed to suit every body-shape and personal style.

finding the perfect wedding dress

I love fitted lace style gowns. However as I am short and really quite curvy they just do not suit me. I’m ok with that, even though I would have loved a fitted lace dress. You can’t drastically change your shape but you can change the style of dress you choose.

finding the perfect wedding dress

I always felt I knew what styles suited me the best & I wasn’t too far off. I went to the bridal shop with an open mind, which allowed me to try on different shapes and styles that I wouldn’t normally even consider. By doing so I found that I really suited a fishtail style dress. Ok, it wasn’t the lace style which I loved, but a more heavy weight fabric that had some structure. Never the less it suited me.

finding the perfect wedding dress

As a bride you want to look your best. So have a look at my top tips for choosing the perfect wedding dress and you won’t go far wrong:

  • Set a budget – the last thing you want to do is fall in love with a £2000 dress when you only have £800 to spend.
  • Get recommendations for bridal boutiques.
  • Go with an open mind.
  • Research styles to reflect your style and personality.
  • Start looking as soon as you have set a wedding date. Some dresses take 9 months to make. Then you need time for alterations!
  • Take any cut outs or fabric samples you have.
  • If you have a colour scheme or flowers in mind let the boutique know.
  • If you have any jewellery or shoes you want to wear take them with you when you try on dresses. Remember, some types of shoe can be dyed to match an outfit.
  • Take a couple of people with you that will give their honest opinions. It’s no good having someone who will say that you look amazing in everything, it wont help you decide!
  • Visit more than one bridal boutique. They will stock different designers. Quite often designers will only work with one or two boutiques in one area. You might have to travel if the design you want isn’t available in your area.

finding the perfect wedding dress

Just remember the more details about you, your style and your ideas you give the boutique, the more chance you have of finding your perfect wedding dress. You never know what gems they might have hiding out the back!

Dreaming of a Castle Wedding…

Every little girl dreams of getting married in a big castle, with a horse drawn carriage to carry her and prince charming off into the sunset.

In the UK we are blessed to have some stunning wedding venues. Included in that are many beautiful castles. Which means your childhood dreams can come true. Although some of these venues are not for everyone’s budget, they are all stunning in their individual ways.

See my top 5 picks from across the UK.

Hever Castle – Kent

Castle Wedding - Hever CastleHever Castle was built in 1270 it was home to Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife. It is now privately owned by the Guthrie family. Hever Castle offers varying different options for wedding packages. The Castle, the Astor Wing, the Italian Garden or Marquee set in the grounds. There are 28 bedrooms to hire, perfect for guests wanting to stay over. Prices start from £165 per person.

Peckforton Castle – Cheshire

Castle Wedding - Peckforton Castle

Peckforton Castle was built in 1851 by John Tollemach, in a medieval style, taking 9 years to complete the build. Home to numerous TV and film sets. They proudly offer many different wedding options. The Great Hall, Hexagonal Room, Drawing Room, the Wine Cellar and the Chapel that offers blessings only. There are 48 bedrooms for hire fitting in family and friends for almost any size wedding. Prices are on quotation only, as they provide a price plan to meet your requirements.

Hensol Castle – Vale of Glamorgan

Castle Wedding - Hensol Castle

Hensol Castle was built in the 17th Century. Set in 650 acres of Welsh Countryside its a beautiful setting for your dream wedding. It has been used as the set for many TV shows. Hensol Castle offers 6 different functions rooms with its newly built Courtyard Hall. There is also the Oak Room set aside for ceremonies. The castle is adjacent to Vale Resort, a luxury spa resort, perfect for all of your guests to stay in. They offer discounts for people attending weddings. Prices start at £2750 for Castle hire, then packages start for 42.95 per person.

Dalhousie Castle – Edinburgh

Castle Wedding - Dalhousie Castle

Dalhousie Castle was built in the 13th Century it is proudly Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle. They offer various different wedding packages with prices starting from £1000 for 30 people, making it possible to have a castle wedding on a smaller budget. There is even a beautiful chapel that is perfect for your ceremony. It is a unique and romantic venue that offers extras that I haven’t seen in many other venues. Like the falconry package. Where an owl delivers the rings during ceremony…… perfect for any Harry Potter fans out there!

A castle wedding might not be for everyone but they are magical. Keep your eye out for future posts. Including weddings on a budget.

What would be your dream wedding venue?

Purple and butterfly themed wedding

purple and butterfly themed wedding

My purple and butterfly themed wedding

While planning your big day choosing a wedding theme is important. Along with the venue, the theme is what almost everything else will revolve around. It could be a colour scheme, fancy dress, black tie, vintage style, hollywood or anything that shows who you are and expresses your style as a couple.

For our wedding we opted for the colour purple and butterflies. Choosing a really deep purple for our September wedding fitted in perfectly with the flowers that were in season at the time.

purple and butterfly themed wedding

I love butterflies. Pretty, elegant little creatures, each one perfect in its own way. I had visions of them sat in in my bouquet, in the table decorations and in wreaths hanging in the trees.

After we had picked a colour and a theme we could start to make plans for the rest of the wedding. Arranging for invites to be made, choosing a florist and flowers, picking a bridesmaid dress, arranging for suits and all of the other little elements that combine to make your day perfect.

I loved looking through all of the amazing wedding magazines, coming up with ideas for our day. My Hubby wasn’t too worried about all of the little extras. So after we had chosen our venue and colours scheme, he was quite happy to leave the rest up to me. I was more than happy with that. He did however want to choose his own suit style (eeeeeek!) I need not have worried as he did a good job.

purple and butterfly themed wedding

I felt like the butterflies were a real focal point for our wedding. Finding some beautiful feathered butterflies on eBay, I bought around 200 of them in different shades and patterns. Knowing I wanted them within the bouquets, in the table centre pieces and sitting in wicker wreaths that were hanging in the trees. I really wanted to have that ‘confetti shot’ therefore I found some beautiful real petal confetti. There is still some on the kitchen dresser now, 6 years on.

We started our purple and butterfly theme with our invitations. I wanted it them to set the scene for the wedding. Our wedding cake was a cupcake tower, which had butterflies sat on each cake.

purple and butterfly themed wedding

Writing this down it seems like I went over board on butterflies! However they were all very subtle. All the little things bringing our wedding together from the invites, wedding flowers, bridesmaid dresses and cake. Right through to our thank you cards.

What theme did you choose for your wedding?