Tag Archives: travel

A weekend in the city of Bath at The Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

This is the second post in a sequence of posts about escaping London for the weekend. In my last post I told you about how I was whisked away for the weekend to Marlow in Bucks.  I’ve always loved the city of Bath after reading Jane Austen’s book Persuasion and recently I had the chance to visit Bath for the second time. After finishing work on a Friday evening the boyfriend and I hopped on the fast train from Paddington up to Bath. After reading many reviews about the best hotels to stay in Bath we decided on the Bath Priory Hotel. We chose the hotel mainly because because of its beautiful gardens and spa. I have to apologise as this post maybe a tad on the long side, I had some many pretty pictures I couldn’t decide what to pick!

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa
Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Bath Priory Hotel and Spa
Bath Priory Hotel and Spa

Pulling into the driveway of the hotel I was already pretty impressed. Bath is famous for this Georgian architecture and the hotel a beautiful example of this. I especially loved the beautiful arched windows and landscaped facade. After we arrived, a porter came and collected our bags and we were given a quick tour of the hotel. After this we were taken to our suite in order to be checked in. For the next 2 days we had booked ourselves into the Cavendish Master Suite. The pictures below don’t quite do it justice as it had beautiful views overlooking the landscaped garden and the bathroom was huge! The suite included a separate seating area for sitting with a coffee machine, TV, DVD player, iPod dock and telephone. Touches that we were particularly impressed with was a hand written note from the hotel welcoming us and a bottle of madeira wine. I have to also add that although the suite was not cheap we managed to get 400 quid off because it wasn’t high season. 

Cavendish Suite at The Bath Priory
Cavendish Suite at The Bath Priory

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Cavendish Bathroom at The Bath Priory

We arrived too late to dine in the restaurant so instead we decided to order from the room service menu. I went for the steak and salad while my boyfriend chose the club sandwich.

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steak and club sandwich

The next day it was time to discover the city of Bath! We got up early in the morning and went down for a bit of breakfast in the Bath Priory Restaurant. photo 2

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After breakfast we headed into Bath town centre, both of us are budding photographers and I had read about a photography tour of Bath that runs on Saturdays outside the tourist office. I was quite disappointed to discover that the tour would not be running that day. However, we were told by the kind lady in the tour office that we would be able to go on one of the free walking tours of bath. If you visit Bath I recommend that you take one of the tours, we found it very informative and we learned lots of about the history of Bath.

Here are some highlights of the tour:

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River Avon

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Pulteney Bridge which crosses the River Avon in Bath

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Morris dancers in Bath town centre

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The iconic Royal Crescent in Bath

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Baths oldest house – where Sally Lunn lived

If you get the chance make sure you try a Sally Lunn bun!

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A bit of history about Bath’s Georgian architecture

A trip to Bath would not be complete without a trip to the Thermae Bath to relax, I strongly recommend that you buy spa passes in advance as the queue for this was ridiculously long!

I also discovered that Bath is fantastic for shopping, they have a lot of very pretty boutiques and home furnishing shops. I came home with a quite few nice goodies from Joe Malone and new pair of leather boots from Ecco.

In the evening we dined at the Michelin starred Bath Priory Restaurant, both my boyfriend and I are big foodies so we were excited to learn that the chef here was Sam Moody  who has quite the reputation for coming up with interesting combinations, exciting flavours and who has a passion for fresh, local ingredients. We both were feeling quite brave so were opted for the 7 course chef tasting menu, which meant we had no idea what we would be eating until it arrived at our table.

I have to say that were blown away by both the knowledge and service provided by the staff, which was faultless and the food really did live up to its reputation. I didn’t get a chance to write the names of each of the dishes down but you can see what we had below.

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By the time we finished eating it was nearly midnight and we were the last ones in the restaurant, so if you are feeling inspired to do the same – maybe try eating earlier around 6. Then it was time to sleep off our food coma ready to head home the next morning.

The next day before we left we took the time to look around the gardens, luckily for us we had lovely sunny weather which highlighted the beauty of the place even more. photo-6 photo-7

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Bath priory Gardens

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A stunning mini waterfall

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A sleepy bee came to rest

We loved our weekend getaway in Bath, we just wish we had spent more time in the Spa! However, I am sure we will be back sometime soon. We really enjoyed staying at The Bath Priory Hotel, the staff couldn’t do enough to make sure our every wish was granted, the views from our suite were spectacular and the food in the restaurant was to die for.

 

Easter bank holiday ideas – Getting out of London for some sun

The first major Bank holiday of the year is only five days away And I can’t wait. I’ve also decided to take a couple of days off before in order to get the most out of the Easter break. My boyfriend and I did think about having a staycation in which to make more discoveries in the capital, but as nice as the weather has been it still isn’t warm enough for a bikini. So it’s time to leave the UK for sunnier climes. After a quick search on Google I found that the Mediterranean is rather warm at the moment and the flying time isn’t bad either. I spent the day scouring sites like First choice for holiday deals, which gave me the idea for this post. If you are also thinking of escaping the capital Easter Bank Holiday here are my top three places you have to go:

Sorrento in Italy

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If you follow my blog closely you will remember my trip to Florence last year. It was during this trip that I fell in love with Italy, its culture, food and beautiful architecture. Sorrento is based in Campania in Italy and is home to just 16500 residents. It is also very close to Naples and Pompeii which could make very good day trips if you have the time. Sorrento like other parts of Italy is filled with beautiful churches, the Chiesa di San Francesco is particularly worth seeing if you choose to visit. Sorrento’s cobbled streets make it perfect for those of you who fancy a little wander. There are lots of little cafés to stop and sample some good Italian coffee as we’ll as lots of antique and craft shops to buy something to remind you of your visit. If you’re looking for sandy beaches this may not be the place to visit but the plethora of bathing platforms beneath the cliffs mean you won’t have a problem finding places to swim.

Heat factor? The weather forecast for bank holiday looks to be around 18 degrees.

Marmaris in Turkey

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For beach lovers I would recommend Marmaris in Turkey, it has a beautiful coastline with a gorgeous backdrop of pine clad mountains. Going at Easter means it will be sure to be slightly quieter than the summer season. If you are willing to splash out a little then this is perfect place to hire a yacht to explore the coastline. Those of you looking for a bit of relaxation and pampering should make sure to book in for a Turkish bath. After an hour and half of exfoliation and steaming you will feel like a new person. If you’re intending to bring your family then head down to the Aquadream watermark for the day. It is located on the outskirts of Marmaris and has wave pools, rapids and massive water slides to keep the whole family entertained.

Heat factor? Around 21 degrees if the weather forecast stays the same.

Playa de las Americas in Tenerife
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Tenerife is an old favourite with British holidaymakers mainly for its consistency on the weather front. Tenerife enjoys year around sun due to its proximity to the equator. Playa de las Americas is situated on Tenerife’s southwest coast, and is the place to head to If you’re looking to party this Easter bank holiday. Most holidaymakers looking to party head for the one kilometre stretch known as Verónicas that is packed with nightclubs, cabaret bars, live music venues, shops and restaurants. The crowd here is of the younger variety and the partying can go on all night. So if you are looking for a quiet break this possibly wouldn’t be the place to go. However, families can head to the resort during the day to be entertained.

Heat factor? Looks like it will top 24 degrees throughout next week.

Intending to enjoy the holiday in London. Make sure you check back later in the week for a list of things to do in London.

A weekend in Marlow, Bucks at Danesfield House And Hotel

Danesfield House
Danesfield House

As much as I love living in London, sometimes it is nice to explore what else the UK has to offer. Getting away for the weekend can be a lovely way to escape the rat race and recharge your batteries. This post is the first in a series of posts about weekend mini breaks in the UK that I have recently taken. Back in February, I found myself whisked away for a romantic Valentines Day weekend getaway. Marlow in Buckinghamshire is a picturesque little town situated on the River Thames about 33 miles from London.

For our weekend we chose to stay at Danesfield House and Spa a luxury country house hotel which is situated within 65 acres of land, high in the Chiltern Hills and overlooking the River Thames. The hotel has a total of 87 rooms and suites. For the weekend we chose to stay in one the hotel’s Junior suites, unfortunately I didn’t remember to take a picture of our room but the pictures you will find on the website are pretty accurate.

The drive up to Danesfield House was pretty spectacular as you can see below, and we were pretty lucky that the weather was pretty mild. Danesfield House used to be a RAF base back in 1940’s and has retained much of its previous character, it’s a turreted white country house framed by crisp landscaped gardens, which give it a fairytale quality.

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Daanesfield House and Spa Courtyard
Danesfield House and Spa Courtyard

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Danesfield House

After arriving on the Friday evening we took a light dinner in the drawing room which was decorated in a traditional style and had military artefacts. Our room was located in one of the turrets of the hotel and was spacious with a large four poster bed and a little seated area by the window for relaxing. Unfortunately the room was also very cold! I’m not sure if this is common with old country house hotels but for some reason the heating only came on sporadically for a couple of hours each day. Fortunately we had thick covers under which to snuggle to keep ourselves warm.

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In the morning we woke up and took breakfast in the Orangery restaurant which is overlooks Danesfield’s beautiful landscaped gardens, some of which you can see below.

The Orangery at Danesfield House
The Orangery at Danesfield House

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Beautiful landscaped gardens

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A lot of people visit Danesfield House for the Spa, unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try it out whilst we were there. After breakfast we decided to go for a long walk in the lovely grounds that surround the hotel.

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Beautiful snowdrops

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Lanky Girl hanging out in the field

After waiting what seemed like an eternity, we took a short bus ride into Marlow. The weekend we were there was also the weekend parts of the UK were heavily flooded and Marlow being on the Thames didn’t escape unscathed. Luckily for us Danesfield House is on a hill which meant we weren’t affected.

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The River Thames

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Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Marlow itself is a small town, with pretty little boutiques and cafes. We had a walk around and visited the suspension bridge which overlooks All Saints Church which you must see if you visit. After all that exploring we stopped for a spot of afternoon tea.
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First time I spotted a red telephone box outside London

In the evening we returned back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. As it was Valentines Day the hotel had put on a special Valentines Day menu. All the ladies each received a lovely rose.

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We both opted for a lovely fillet of beef with fondant potato, it was delicious. A lovely end to the day. In the morning we took one last stroll around the grounds before setting off for home.

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If you like weekends away that involve walking and relaxation a visit to Marlow is recommended.

Travelling around London – what you need to know

The vibrant and bustling atmosphere of London is well documented and is a large part of what gives the capital its charm. For those not used to visiting this busy metropolis, the experience of trying to navigate your way around can be somewhat daunting. To ensure you can enjoy the culture of the city stress-free, this quick travel guide is here to help you get around with minimal hassle.

Getting around

Once you have decided to visit London, it’s best to plan how you will get around. Whilst those further away might consider taking a flight to Heathrow, Luton or London City airport, those not too far outside the city might fare just as well using public transport or even a minicab. Since to even the most seasoned of Londoners the city can seem like a labyrinthine nightmare, often the quickest solution to getting from A to B without feeling flustered is to hail a cab.

Since it’s now easier than ever to get a quote and book in advance with just a click, taking a cab is perhaps the simplest method of transport for those looking to get to or around London. Any driver worth their salt will know the capital like the back of their hand and as they will be working to your itinerary, you will be saved the woes of trying to make public transport timetables work for you!

What to do once you arrive

Home to historical architecture, dazzling contemporary art, delicious restaurants and vibrant theatre, there really is plenty to see in London. One of the best ways to soak up London’s buzz is by taking a walk through the city. An overhead route is not always quicker but it will allow you to absorb some of the vitality of this busy and energetic town.

However, whether you just fancy a long walk along Southbank or you plan to shop until you drop, the beauty of the city’s strong infrastructure is that you can get across the capital in minutes. Once you’ve topped up your Oyster card, you can use an array of public transport and get between different locations with ease.

If you don’t have time to explore because you’re on a tight schedule, cabs are much better for keeping you on time. London can seem like a vast landscape, but it’s much easier to enjoy the sights with a ride on a bus or in a cab.

A trip to Florence – Day 3 – Visiting the Boboli Gardens

On our third day in Florence we moved to another apartment on the other side of the river to the area of Santo Spirito. The other side of the river is know as the Oltrarno and the name means beyond the Arno. The Santo Spirito area is home to many of Florence’s artists, musicians and antique sellers. It is also where most of the Florentines live. It reminded me a little bit of Shoreditch (before it got too commercial).  Our lovely apartment was owned by a photographer and furnished by a mixture of reclaimed and  modern furniture.

Our Street in Santo Spirito
Our Street in Santo Spirito

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https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1272618

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https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1272618

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After we had settled into the apartment we made our way to the Pitti Palace to visit the Boboli Gardens. The Gardens are situated behind the Pitti Palace, the main seat of the Medici grand dukes of Tuscany.  If you get the chance to visit Florence I recommend you visit the Boboli Gardens but make sure you bring your trainers and be sure to visit later in the day when it is cooler. We made the mistake of going at midday and the heat made it hard work to climb the steep ascent to the top. The view of Florence and gardens was definitely worth the sweat though.

Boboli Gardens
Boboli Gardens

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View of the Florentine hills

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Neptunes Lake – boboli Gardens

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Pitti Palace

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The steep descent

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A mini maze

In the evening we went for dinner at one of Florence’s most popular and cheapest restaurants Trattoria La Casalinga. It is family run and the food was simple but delicious. I opted for the grilled chicken and mixed salad. It is popular with tourists and locals so if you visit be prepared to wait.

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Trattoria Casalinga

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My grilled chicken

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Mixed salad



A trip to Florence Day 2

We had a very cultured day in Florence yesterday by visiting the Uffizi Gallery which is packed with paintings by  renaissance artists like Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da vinci.

As the gallery is so huge if you do visit it yourself one day make sure you are tactical in your visit about what you want to see and also purchase skip the line tickets to cut down on queueing.

We were able to see works by Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli and Carravagio.

It was amazing to get up and close to see Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and Carravagio’s Medusa head painting on a shield.

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The Birth Of Venus

Unfortunately there is no photography in the gallery but the Uffizi does offer some fantastic views of Florence.

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After visiting the gallery we stopped for lunch at a restaurant on Via Faenza where I had a nice meal of chicken in mushroom sauce. The food so far in Florence has been hit and miss. Although my food was ok my friend’s fettuccini was pretty dire.

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After we went to the Accademia gallery to see the David sculpture but the line to get in was ridiculously long so we decided to go to the San Lorenzo Market.

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San Lorenzo Market

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It’s a great place to a little souvenir or  present. I ended buying this lovely coral hat.

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My new hat!

Tired out, we headed back to the apartment for a rest. In the evening we out for dinner at restaurant l’Parione. The food was amazing! We opted for the pici pasta with smoked bacon, ravioli with ricotta and spinach, white chocolate moose and tiramisu for dessert. They served us the best food we have tasted in Florence so far.

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Pici pasta with smoked bacon

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Ravioli

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White chocolate moose

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A trip to Florence Day 1 with Lanky Girl

This is what we got up to yesterday…

We started the day enjoying breakfast the Florentine way  standing at the bar with a coffee and a pastry. After that we went for a wander to see what we could discover. The great thing about Florence is its small size which means you can easily get around on foot.

The first place we discovered was Via Tornabuoni which is Florence’s answer to Bond street. Bvlgari, Ferragamo and Roberto Cavailli are just one of the many designers who have shop on this street.

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Via tournabuoni

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After tearing ourselves away from the fashionable wares we walked towards Palazzo Strazzi. Apart from being a museum its a great place to spot trendy Florentines enjoying a coffee.

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Next we headed to the Piazza de Republica which is historically the centre of Florence where the Romans first decided to build the city.

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Piazza de republicca

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Finding ourselves a bit lost we accidentally came across the Signoria Square which being situated in the historical centre I later learnt has always been the political center and the heart of the civil life in Florence. It is also home to a replica statue of David and the Uffizi gallery which we will visit tomorrow.

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The river Arno runs all the way through Florence and is just beautiful to look at.

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It seems lovers also come to the Arno to attach padlocks showing their love for one another. Very romantic!

After this we headed to Santa Maria Novella Square for lunch.

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I went for an artichoke pizza – unfortunately it looked better than it tasted. Probably not wise to expect great food from restaurants in tourist haunts.

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After lunch we took a cycle tour with Florencetown Tour company visiting many of the main sights including the Duomo, Santo Croce Square, Santo Spirito and the Pitti Palace.

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I also had my first gelato of the day (so delicious I had to have two) from Gelateria Pitti near Santo Spirito Square.

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Pitti Palace

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Santa Croce Church

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Palazzo Veccio

Taking a cycle tour is great way to get orientated with the city and we learned a lot about the history of a Florence.

In the evening after a bit of a rest we headed out to try some Apertivio which is like happy hour but with lots of food included. Kitsch American bar is popular with Florentine students and we enjoyed a lovely buffet of tasty pasta and pizza with a cocktail for just 9 euros.

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Apertivio at Kitsch

A jam packed fun filled first day!

Bonjourno from Florence

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Hey loyal readers so I know I haven’t been posting much the last week or so but that’s because I’ve been working my arse off leaving no time to blog – boo!

This week you are in for a little treat – im taking you all on holiday with me (well virtually). As much as I love London sometimes we all need to get away from big smog. Yesterday I arrived in Florence or Firenze to the Italians – which is home of art, beauty and amazing food.

We are staying right in heart of Florence close Santa Maria Novella church.

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Today we visit the Duomo, and take a cycle tour of the city. So stay tuned for more updates!

Sud de France Joie de Vivre Festival – Saturday 31 August 2013

Beach in Cannes
Beach in Cannes

The South of France has a special place in my heart. After finishing uni I spent many holidays partying in Cannes and visiting little villages on the French Riviera. One thing that the South of France is well known for is amazing food. So I was pretty excited when information dropped in my inbox about the Sud de France Joie de Vivre Festival which comes to London this weekend.

This weekend you too can experience Southern France life, as the first large‐scale Sud de France Festival will recreate a perfect day in the South of France. It brings to London the adventurous gastronomy and wines of the sun kissed destination of Languedoc‐Roussillon, an authentic food market and music from the region’s Worldwide Festival curated by acclaimed DJ Gilles Peterson. The vibrant event will be FREE to enter and take place on Saturday 31 August 2013 on an extensive stretch of the South Bank; from Riverside Walkway with its Thames views, through to leafy Bernie Spain Gardens next to Oxo Tower Wharf, SE1

 Visitors to Sud de France Joie de Vivre Festival will able to experience:

  • French market traders selling a variety of delicious regional foods and produce.
  • Pop‐up restaurants offering a menu of authentic artisanal dishes will take bookings.
  • A pétanque pitch with a competition.
  • A beach of fine sand, where visitors can take part in a sand castle competition to build the
  • iconic sites of Languedoc‐Roussillon, such as the medieval city of Carcassonne.
  • Chefs, food producers, winemakers, and travel experts will host talks and taste experience
  • A tourist office with information on the best places in the region to visit as well as a book
  • signing by best‐selling author Kate Mosse.
  • At dusk, DJ Gilles Peterson steps onto the stage with the sounds of his renowned, annual
  • Worldwide Festival from the beach of Sète.

For foodies and Francophiles alike it is a day not be missed! 

When: Saturday 31 August 12 noon to 9pm, free admission. Sud de France Joie de Vivre Festival
Where: On the South Bank ‐ Riverside Walkway & Bernie Spain Gardens, Upper Ground, next to Oxo Tower
Wharf, London SE1 9PH. Tube/train: Waterloo, Southwark.

For more information please visit: www.festival‐suddefrance.com/Londres.1.0.html

Competition Time! Win a trip from London to Lyon, Lille or Paris with iDBUS

idbusLondon is great but sometimes its nice to leave the big smog for different climes. The London Perspective in conjunction with IDBUS is offering you the chance to win one return ticket from London to Paris, Lyon or Lille at any time.

SNCF has created iDBUS, a long-distance coach service that links the major European cities. With its latest generation regular lines. On board passengers will find comfort and accessibility, attention and information.

No more crammped coach journeys! On the  iDBUS you can expect to travel in comfort with lots of space, WiFi, electrical outlets and geolocation in real time.

To win a return trip all you have to do is enter the competition by liking The London Perspective facebook page and answering a simple question.

Good luck guys -competition ends on Tue, 18 June!