Travel Strategy: Inspirations of Day Trip to UK Cities from London Part 2

10509603_10202168631963616_7334239794689673106_nSometimes I love having a spontaneous weekend trip to different cities in the UK. Most of them are well-known for a specific things like its historical buildings, architecture or those famous one born in the city etc. So, if you’re not particularly very into any of those factors, I suggest a day return trip from London would be enough for most of them.

Here are some of the alternative recommendations besides Part 1:

Yorkshire

My Rating: 5 ★ 

The only thing I know about York before I get there is probably Yorkshire pudding, but I instantly fell in love with this little old town when I get there. The town centre is full of handmade or art crafts shops along the narrow street made out of stone. Everyone is chilling with a cup of coffee or a pint in hand in the big park next to the beautiful cathedral or along the stunning cannel.

10450382_10202283141826291_723621452756378083_n

The National Rail Museum in York in quite fascinating as well. The museum is partly open-air,  displayed full sets of trains according to their service era or serial number, from the oldest steaming on to the latest bullet train. Detailed explanations of how people build those train, rails history and life in the old days. Easily spent a whole afternoon taking photos in and out of the trains.

I and my mom tried the British tea set in the Yorkshire famous tea room Bettys, well, personally I found it just average and there’s plenty of better scones around the UK.

Brighton

My Rating: 4 ★ 

One of my friend is studying in Sussex University, so I’ve spent few weekends there. Brighton is a beautiful seafront city specially in the summer. The Brighton Pier is a mini carnival, with indoor arcades and outdoor rides. It’s great fun to spend the afternoon in it testing your luck. Alternatively, it’s nice to simply grab a cool beer and chilling under the sun.

10346442_10202168610963091_5966315919940410359_n

The Royal Pavilion

Walking through the city centre, you’ll see The Royal Pavilion, a place of the British royalty and refurnished into an Indian style dome. Next to the pavilion is the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, with varies collection from the porcelain decoration, Egyptian pottery to the contemporary interior design. The museum is recording the timeline of Brighton history. In the main street, there’re plenty options for nice restaurant, from budget to fancy dinning. Bill’s

If you’re ready to stay overnight in Brighton,  don’t forget to check out the clubs along the beach front. Since there’s two universities around, the club will filled with students and wild vibes!

Oxford

My Rating: 2.5 ★ 

10482498_10202327245648859_6200730125176097825_nLots of people struggled choosing between visiting either Oxford or Cambridge, the two world class  universities in the UK. I would say the two are quite similar with a classic Royal like college, but personally I prefer Cambridge than Oxford.

Once you get out of the train station, you will see a bronze Ox statue that represent the city. The main attraction is the college itself and the museums surrounded. The city is also known as the birth of the classic Alice in The Wonderland, but only you could find that in the souvenir shop.

Advertisements

Travel Strategy: Inspirations of Day Trip to UK Cities from London Part 1

10553352_10202378387487373_1097319061743792693_nApology for the late post! Was a super busy week dealing with filming and editing for my last project of the year. This month I decided to write about my life in London, embracing my identity partly a Londoner (for 3 years) and partly a tourist, still exploring the UK.

During summer 2013, my mom came to visit for a month and we decided to travel throughout the  Britain. Here are the list of cities that we’ve been that may help when you plan your trip around UK:

Salisbury + Bath

My Rating: 5 ★ 

One of the main reason of my mom’s trip to the UK is to see the heritage and mystic Stonehenge. Personally I think Stonehenge is a tourist must see compare to the other check-in spots, these strange stones has a fascinating story behind indeed. Remember to book your ticket with certain time slot that helps you to skip the walk-in queue and secure your entrance to the stone circle.

We travelled from London Victoria to the old town Salisbury in the morning. At the entrance, we were given a time slot ticket and a guild headset. Then there was a transfer cart to take the visitors to the stone circle group by group. The Stonehenge are bounced that we couldn’t get close access. The headset guild introduce the history, myth, and fun facts about the stone.

After lunch in the old pub in Salisbury we headed to bath. I instantly fell in love with this little old town. We visited the Roman Baths Museum, where included the actual hot spring pools, the temple and artefacts from the Roman period. I recommend to rent the audio guide as well,  surprising well made with detailed information and special narrative with  virtual characters that made the history easy to remember. It’s a lovely to spend your afternoon in the Roman Plaza, it became super beautiful when the sunset hit the main street and everything turns into golden colour. Chilling with a cup of coffee or gelato, with the classical guitar playing along. I’ll definitely visit again in the summer time!

Cambridge

My Rating: 3.5 ★

10561818_10202283015863142_8970734540735064806_n

Mom outside the King’s College campus

Cambridge is well known for its college. If you’re a fan of Academicism or simply want to listen to  some proper British accent, Cambridge is worth visiting. I didn’t try the punting since it’s a bit pricey but the campus and botanic garden is very nice indeed.

The most interesting part about Cambridge to me would be there’s lots of free, hidden, small museum that you will find around another corner. These museum are usually sponsored by different departments in University of Cambridge, that specialized in a field of collection and researches. I found some weird one but I like it.

The city centre have everything for daily life, shopping mall, restaurants and so on, nothing really special though. Day trip is pretty enough for me.

Manchester

My Rating: 2.5 ★

10494698_10202282905780390_6574679349631947492_nManchester is another big metropolitan city in the UK, with busy town centre, a city university and national museum and so.

There are a National Football Museum that still pretty interesting for sport dummy like me. And the city is full of modern architecture and contemporary art piece. Well, it maybe a holly place for football lover, match is proper in Manchester Stadium. However, I won’t say it’s a must visit city for a regular tourist like me.

Oi oi! Scoltland is a 24/7 Beaut

1660851_10203421602885447_1693260532_nI was born in a big city and living in one, that’s why I really appreciate and feeling blessed whenever I came across in nature. Scotland is probably my favourite country in the UK, where you can find those eyes widen sceneries. I went to Scotland twice, once in winter and once in summer. She offers us her two sides of beauty, different yet still a stunner.

Since we don’t drive, I joined a 3 days tour the Highland, Isle of Skye and Loch Ness for both of the trips of different companies. There are several tour company running for local tours, itinerary may varies but similar, and some of the attractions have  added on admission upon aboard. Remember to check the tour start day, not every tour are departure every day.

Winter Scotland

Feb 2015

Duration: 5 days

Group size: 3

Tour company: Highland Experience

It was a week break of my first year studying in London. With the accompany of 2 friends, we decided to head North to feel more of the winter. We arrived Edinburgh and stayed for the first night, visiting the city centre to some of the main attraction like Edinburgh Castle.

It was nearly a day driving just to departure from Edinburgh to highland, remember to take pills or sleep all the way through if you’re sensitive to motion sickness!

On the second day we visited the highland waterfall, The Quiraing and the Eilean Donan Castle, which used to be where the Scottish Royal lived and now refurnished to be a museum. Then we visited the old battle field you see in the movie Braveheart – Culloden. On the last day of the tour, we walk along the mystery Loch Ness and learn about this mythic creatures of its museum. Then ended the trip with a visit to Scottish whiskey factory.

Highlights of the tour: The mountain covered in snow and the purplish sunset is stunning. Seafood and Scottish beef in a Michelin restaurant next to Loch Ness taste amazing! Since the accommodation of the tour was along the way, we stayed at two fine and cozy BnB with tasty breakfast!

Remarks: The ticket to Eilean Donan Castle, Culloden Museum, Loch Ness Exhibition and whiskey factory is additional. Remember to let your driver know if you are participating or not to avoid misunderstanding. Since that happened in our tour that a guy complaining and saying the driver is deceiving his money, leaded to a delay of the whole tour.

Summer Scotland

Jun 2015

Duration: 5 days

Group size: 2

Tour company: Rabbie’s

10526017_10202226528210986_74040982688759160_n

It was during my mom came to visit for a month before going back home for summer in my first year. I though Scotland is beautiful enough in winter and never expected that she has another sprit in summer! The weather is so nice and the nature is awaken, the mountain, the sky, the sea… are painted with saturated colors.

Like the first trip, we stayed in the Edinburgh for a night and enjoyed some cheap but tasty mussel in the Mussel Inn.

10429341_10202221019193264_5115708014588862128_n

Mom’s genius picture of me with the castle and everything out focus…

We headed to the departure point and drove away by our energetic guide Andrew. We arrived the Eilean Donan Castle on the first day. The itinerary was bit different from our last trip, Andrew took us to many nature sites like cliffs and hills with striking view. Despite Andrew’s age(he told us he’s in his 70), he led all the way running uphill and climbing on rocks!

A lady from Australia in my dorm told me that she has been travelling in the highland for a month without renting a car. Since there’s no fixed schedule for transports, she was simply taking an adventure and a good way to discover Scotland.

Highlights of the tour: Summer breeze in Scotland is gorgeous! Everywhere I’ve visited before look very different! Another important factor that make this great trip is our tour guild Andrew. He asked us to sit together and introduce ourselves so everyone became friends on the way. He also showed use some exclusive spots that not included in the trip that are very beautiful and photogenic.

Remarks: The accommodation these time is according to the price range so we stayed in the cheapest one in a dorm. Many restaurant there offers late lunch menu till 6pm so you can enjoy a tasty and budgeted 2 or 3 courses if you check on the time.

Ultimate Guide to Bricklane Market, London: Insider Tips from East Londoner

10446477_10202158111900621_8023066287751226761_nChilling with a pint of cool cider along with live jazz music on a Sunday afternoon? That’s proper for a East Londoner like me.

If I have to pick my favourite place in London, the answer would be Bricklane Market on Sunday without any second thoughts. Bricklane Market is one of the well-known street markets in London, it’s different from the others like Camden or Nothing hill, with the real East London vintage vibe (oversized sweater and ripped denim jeans). It became my habit to go there at least once weekend in a month, I can nearly tell where’s where with my eyes shut and my friend joke about I spend more time there than my uni. If you’re looking for some insider tips of the market, here are few things you should know:

Come on Sunday or you Missed EVERYTHING!!

Ok, every times I talked to people that found nothing special about Bricklane came to one and only conclusion: They never visit it on Sunday. Yes, there’s plenty permanent vintage boutique in the area but there will be pop-up cloths racks, food cart or street performers that filled up the street only on Sunday! A big empty car park will turn into a pop-up market that half filled with food stalls from all around the world and half with budget vintage or designer shops.

So plan a visit on Sunday, nearest tube station: Shoreditch High Street/Liverpool Street

Budget Vintage Fashion

Fancy some hippies round glasses, oversized leather jacket, turtle neck sweater, high waist denim? Bricklane will be the shopping paradise for you. The style here are more like a rock n roll, worn out 70s-90s style than the classy Parisian vintage, so the price are relatively cheaper than any other vintage market I’ve ever been! Simply look through the pop-up one along the street or in the car park, most of the time they will have sales like all racks for 5 quid or 10! You can even try asking for a cheeky price cut when around 5 at  the closing time!

Here are some of my favourite budget vintage shop:

Beyond Retro

IMAG1993

One of my favourite coat brought in Beyond Retro

Definitely my first pick! Sailor anchor with a yellow background is symbolic! It’s a vintage chained stall all over the UK or even Stockholm. Located 5 minutes away on a side street along Bricklane, only true vintage lover know the place. With an outlet that clothes are always on sale and every sales are one fashionista!

Rokit

Another vintage chained store, located in the middle of Bricklane, the two stores are separated by a brand outlet. Each one have a slightly different theme, and both men and women fashion. The racks are classified into styles or materials, and those Rokit Recycle are redesigned pieces perfect for the petite vintage.

Vintage Basement

Two floor filled with vintage clothing, all pieces in the basement are 10 quid under!

Foodie Paradise

Sunday Bricklane is not just for fashion lover but all foodie, literally you will find one in every ten steps! There are few places filled with food carts and pop-up food stalls:

Old Spitalfield Market, with all kinds of freshly made food

Sunday pop-up corner/Truman Brewery Food Court

Along Bricklane

Last but not least you can’t leave before you get a proper British salted beef bagel! 10/10 with tender salted beef server with mustard and London gherkin in the signature bagel! Fancy something stylish, try out the Cereal Killer Cafe or amazing Mexican restaurants along the road!

Art and Lifestyle

Once you step outside Shoreditch High Street Station, on your left hand side of the  main road there’s a series of designer brand inside Boxpark, a pop-up venue made with shipping containers. You will find some really fun and stylish stuffs to get home. Along Bricklane, you will find some show look like a garage or filled up with messy antique. If you’re not afraid to get your hand in the messy, you may find some really unique and budged decorations.

If you’re a music lovers, you should love the Rough Trade, with all kind of Indie, Alternative music. On the weekends, the shop will turn into a gig venue, as well Cafe1001 right opposite to Rough Trade. You can find lots of vintage, classic vinyl records in the market as well.

Not far from the station, there’s a flower market named Columbia Road Flower Market, you can get all kinds of plants in there.

If you ever see me there on Sunday, don’t hesitate to say hi!

Shopping in Style: 5 Picks of Vintage/ Flea Market Around the World

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Everyone have their own favourite golden era, mine is the 80s with all the dramatic hair and fashion. Walking through vintage market it’s like an alternative way to see their history through fashion and antique that represent certain eras of different countries. I love collecting second hand fashion and gadgets that so unique and real bargain! Here are my few picks of budgeted vintage market:

#1 Bricklane Market, London

IMAG1532

Mural with constantly changing graffiti.

Basically heaven for vintage lover like me! The area is filled with East London vintage vibes, with cheap vintage clothing, eyes catching graffiti and full of street food! Bricklane is my favourite area in the entire London and may find me wondering around with handful of bags and food on Sunday. The market is full of second hand cameras, antique, furniture and much more to offer.

IMAG5442Oversized jackets, cardigan sweaters, high waist denim jeans,? You can find everything to complete your look from 20s to 00s. With vintage chain shop like Rokit and Beyond Retro, you can find high quality second hands in bargain! Or search  through a rank all for 5 quid on the street stores, here is no pressure to your wallet!

The area is open daily however, the best visit to Bricklane is on Sunday. On Sunday, it’s filled with streets of food carts, a whole floor of pop up shops, and street performers just around each corner! Don’t forget to try out the best salted beef bagel!

#2 Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, Paris

The largest flea market in Paris, open on the weekend. The market started with ordinary flea market stuff like retails clothing or tourists goods. Vintage gems are located at the end of the market, filled with vinyl records shops, second hand fashion, antique, and lots of amazing interior stores.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Amazing modernism interior decorations on the road.

The shops here are full characters, like each boutique is specified in its own era or style. Each and every little interior store is a complete decorated room with its own theme. A laidback atmosphere is in the area, you can certainly enjoy a chilling Parisian afternoon there.

#3 Brooklyn Flea, New York

My host in New York offered to take me to breakfast and the flea market on a Sunday morning. I had the best avocado toast ever in my life!

The market is kind of hard to find in the middle of the community but it worth visiting if you’re a antique or furniture fan. The market has lots of old furniture and I was addicted to an old greenish wooden chair. There are many fascinating little gadgets like metal toys or military pledges. Apart from vintage stuff, you can find some local artists or designers stores as well. Tired after a long shipping day? Simply grab a beer next door and meet some cool people.

#4 Ap Liu Street, Hong Kong

Flea market in Hong Kong is popular for its cheap price and variety. These markets are differ from the western one, most of them are selling daily goods instead of second hand stuff which people consider those may bring bad luck.

Ap Liu Street is located at Sham Shui Po district, was one of the old public estate area in Hong Kong, the lower living standard explained the low pricing of goods in the area. Ap Liu Street aimed selling electronic gadgets, from phone case, machine pieces to devices repairing services. There are many shops for fabric and clothing export and retail as well. Not to mention you will end up in a food coma after having cheap and tasty street food along the market.

#5 Sofo, Stockholm

Walk pass the Old Town in Stockholm will enter the artistic area Gamla Stan. Alternatives of northern Europe interior, you can find best of both from aged and classy to modern and posh. Looking for high fashion? Then you may find some recycled vintage garment with designer retouches.

If you are a photographer or simply looking for some cool museum to visit then walk along the sea side of Gamla Stan. Beside a beautiful view over Stockholm skyline you will find Fotografiska, a contemporary photography museum showing some of the most significant photographer’s work of the century.