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There was a time when cruises were exclusively for the wealthy and elderly who want a luxury holiday experience like no other, yet the cruise industry has evolved over the past decade. The numbers of families that take cruise holidays is growing, and with exciting on-board activities for the kids, a cruise is the ideal holiday getaway for a young family. Aside from family-oriented cruises, the single traveller has everything on tap, and when you want some peace and quiet, relax on one of the many sun lounges. The Best Of Both Worlds For the single traveller, a cruise offers the best of both worlds, and when you want to socialise, there are almost unlimited options that include bars, casinos, cabaret shows and sports, to name but a few. When you want some alone time, you can find a quiet corner of the sundeck, or spend a few hours in…

Essex is a county east of London and is most notorious for its hit T.V. show Towie where the shows boys and girls act like bumbling idiots and hook up with each other. It is the standard junk reality T.V. that everyone pretends to hate but simultaneously cannot get enough of. However, Essex has a lot more to offer than just fake tan and Vajazzles (if you do not know what a Vajazzle is, I suggest you do not google it). With a gorgeous coastline and vast countryside, Essex makes the perfect place for a road trip. The Essex road trip itinerary below contains all the things to do in Essex including all of the hidden gems of Essex!

For the sake of this road trip around Essex, it is starting in the area of Chigwell, but depending on your location you can drive around Essex in the opposite direction. Alternatively, you can use this ultimate Essex road trip guide as a starting point to planning your own road trip.

Chigwell

In the district of Epping Forest sits Chigwell. Just outside of London, Chigwell is the perfect location to live if you want to be just outside the city but further enough away that there are plenty of places to walk your dog. However Chigwell is not the most affordable area to live. The area is notorious for homing the rich including the billionaire business man Sir Alan Sugar.

For the first stop on your road trip across Essex, you should take a stroll around Epping Forest and then perhaps pay a visit to the Hainault Forest Country Park. There is a boating lake and a small farm inside that is appropriate for the whole family. Or why not browse in envy at all the mansions in the area and dream about how the other half live?

Brentwood

On the next stop on your Essex road trip you should consider visiting the famous Brentwood. Home to the Towie cast and the town in which most of the show is filmed, when visiting Brentwood you can spot some of the places from the show. From Amy Childs Salon to the Sugar Hut, most of Brentwood’s high street will look familiar if you’ve ever seen the show. If you’re spending the night in Brentwood, why not pop in the Sugar Hut for a drink or two. Who knows who you will bump in to!

Southend-on-Sea

When travelling around Essex you cannot skip past Southend-on-Sea. It is a very traditional British seaside town and it has everything you need for the perfect day at the beach (if the weather is all good, that is). It has an extremely long pier that you can catch a train to get from one end to the other and along the seafront is a big theme park. So if you’re after a scenic walk, or you much prefer some adrenaline activity, Southend-on-Sea has something for everyone! Southend-on-Sea is also a good place to visit for the weekend as they will have numerous caravan parks at an affordable rate! There is so many things to do in Southend-on-Sea and so you shouldn’t miss this town out of your road trip.

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo is rated the second best zoo in the United Kingdom and therefore can’t be missed from the ultimate road trip around Essex. The zoo has over 250 animal species to discover and it is praised for its number of interactive activities. Did you know that you can feed both the elephants and giraffes and you don’t have to pay a penny on top of your ticket price? A day is never enough time to spend at the zoo however, if you only have one day in Colchester the zoo will definitely keep you entertained.

If you have a bigger budget for your road trip around Essex then Colchester Zoo offers many different unique experiences such as being a zoo keeper for the day. All dependent on the animal of your choice, this will include making food for the animals, feeding them and you might even get the chance to cuddle them!

Colchester Castle

Colchester is the oldest recorded town in the country. It is a town you cannot miss on your road trip around Essex because it was the countries first ever city. It is full with a rich history dating all the way back to the Roman era. Soon after the Roman settlement of Britain in AD 43, Colchester (known back then as Camulodunum) became the capitol city of England. You can understand just why Colchester was chosen when you walk around the town. The town centre is on top of a big hill which would have given the Roman’s an advantage in battle.

The Temple of Claudius used to sit where the Colchester Castle sits today. Today it forms the base of the Norman Castle that you can take a look around and learn a lot about the history of not only Colchester but the history of England. So if you’re fascinated by history then Colchester Castle is a must see on your road trip across Essex!

Walton-on-the-Naze beach

If you’re looking for a quieter beach on your road trip then Walton-on-the-Naze is only a 30 minute drive from Colchester. It is the perfect place for beautiful coastal walks and it even has a pier that will keep you entertained. With a little imagination there are plenty of things to do in Walton-on-the-Naze, however I have put together a list of things to do in Walton-on-the-Naze for some inspiration.

Hedingham Castle

Again, if you are interested in history, or you just like walking around pretty places then Hedingham Castle cannot be missed from your tour of Essex. Hedingham castle is a 900 year old Norman Keep and it is a part of an estate of gorgeous woodland. It is a common estate in Essex to get married in as on a sunny spring day, the flowers surrounding the area blossom and the lake glistens.

Other than weddings, medieval themed pantomimes are common shows that you can watch at Hedingham castle. You can also view bird shows on this estate and this is something worth looking into when planning your Essex road trip.

Dedham Boathouse

Dedham is on the boarder of Essex and Suffolk and is a beautiful village with gorgeous countryside. Along the river you can hire rowing boats and row along the river. Alternatively you can bring your own paddle-boards and/or Kayaks and spend the day exploring the riverbanks. When the weather is nice, this makes for a beautiful day out. The last time I rented a rowing boat, a herd of cows came right down to the river for a drink and they came very close to us. It is a lovely opportunity to see some cows in their natural environment.

Audley end house and garden

The last stop on this road trip across Essex is to a large 17th century country house outside of Saffron Walden. It is named as one of the finest Jacobean houses in the whole of England and is absolutely stunning. Just like Hedingham castle, there are always events on at this estate. Not only can you admire the interiors of this mansion but you can also walk around the beautiful well maintained gardens of this estate. Therefore, if you are interested in history or you just like walking around beautiful places then Audley End House and Gardens is not to be missed when road tripping around Essex.

If you are planning a holiday in Devon this year, you will no doubt be interested in the local cuisine, of which there is plenty. Devon has a unique culture and that is reflected in the delicious dishes they create, and with that in mind, here are a few must-tries when holidaying in the beautiful county of Devon. Pies and Pastries – Thanks to high quality of dairy products available in Devon, you can enjoy a wide range of dessert type pastries in any of the tea shops, and with clotted cream and home-made strawberry jam, there is a wide range of delicious pastry-based dishes on the menu. The Cornish and Devon Pasty – This delicious pie that is filled with meat and vegetables is known the world over, and for good reason. Anywhere in either Devon or Cornwall, you can sample many types of Cornish Pasty, especially when you…

While most people may visit Silicon Valley for business, there are many places to be explored outside of the high-tech bubble. Here are a few Silicon Valley hidden gems worth visiting when you make your way south of Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram headquarters towards a collection of cities called the South Bay!

Start off your day at Living Room Coffee Craft where a portion of your purchase will be donated to local organisations. You will find a spacious interior filled with tables of all sizes to relax and enjoy your morning. Have a coffee or tea with their fresh pastries! The peach brown butter cake has an amazing caramelised exterior and the fresh peach slice compliments the cake. Their gluten-free “everything cheese waffle” is a fantastic version of the Brazilian pão de queijo made of tapioca or rice flour giving it a distinct chewy texture. Mix that in with sesame, poppy seeds, dried garlic, and onions for a unique bite! The Living Room Coffee Craft is definitely a Hidden Gem of Silicon Valley!

If coffee wasn’t enough to get your blood pumping or you have the desire to be in nature, we have that too! Head to Villa Montalvo and hike among California Redwoods without having to drive an hour away through windy mountain roads. As a non-hiker, I really appreciate the easy incline and shaded trail here. To make things more interesting, there is actually an arts residency program attached to the grounds of Villa Montalvo and hosts over a hundred artists a year. (Probably the reason people don’t think you can hike here.) Check out the statues located inside the picturesque garden while you cool down from your hike. Both entrance and parking is free in Lots 2, 3, or 4.

Ready for lunch? Pop into one of my favourite Silicon Valley hidden gems at family-owned Antipasto’s Deli for salad, a plate of pasta, or a completely customisable sandwich. I recommend their chicken ravioli with half tomato basil cream (TBC) and half alfredo sauce. The in-house ravioli is one of the best I’ve ever had. (There’s an all-cheese version, too!) They are so soft and comforting, just like fluffy pillows. The meat for their sandwiches is sliced upon ordering and pairs incredibly well with their fresh baked bread.

While street art isn’t exactly hidden, it will be easy to miss if you don’t know where to go. San Jose is a really big city! The Arts District lies mainly on South First Street in Downtown San Jose. Check out The 100 Block Mural Project to see the work of 100 local artists who created their own mini mural on a 3×3 square. The resulting 900-square foot space is filled with different art styles, techniques, and colours is truly a sight to behold. If you want to see more, wander over to the next few blocks and see what else you can find!

Since you’re in the downtown area, don’t leave without trying another Silicon Valley hidden gem with some of the best tacos in all of San Jose! Stroll down or catch a ride on an electric scooter towards 10th Street to Cali Spartan Mexican Kitchen. I highly recommend their guacamole and chips (with a chili lime seasoning) and any of their tacos. They have a full menu so you’re bound to find something delicious! Note: It is cash only. There is an ATM on the premises.

If you plan to visit the area, which of these places would you check out? If you’re a native to the South Bay Area, have you been to any of the places I recommended? What Silicon Valley hidden gems would you add to the list?

Walton-on-the-Naze is a small seaside town in Essex and it is where I spent a large proportion of my childhood. My Nan owned a caravan at the Naze Marine holiday park and so me and my family always had a place to stay. This week my family spent a week in Walton-on-the-Naze and the weather wasn’t brilliant however we managed to make the most of it. Although Walton-on-the-Naze is only a small seaside town there are plenty of things to do. I am going to tell you just how you can make the most of your time at the seaside by keeping yourself entertained in Walton-on-the-Naze. The Beach The main thing to do in Walton-on-the-Naze is to take advantage of the fact that you are at the seaside. This past week, although the weather has fluctuated, we managed to have one sunny day at the beach. From swimming in the…

After living in Manchester for the best part of three years, it now feels like home. That being said, when I first moved to Manchester from Essex, I found the city very daunting. I have lived very central to the city centre and so it feels like the city never sleeps (not that I’m saying that Manchester is in anyway on the same scale as New York City). Fortunately for me, my partner is from Manchester and so when I met him, I became more familiar with what to do in Manchester. There are so many different areas in Manchester to explore. So, I’ve compiled a guide to living in Manchester for the people who are thinking of moving to the city. This way you won’t be as clueless as me on my first day in Manchester and you’ll know what to expect. Everyone is extremely friendly When I first…

It’s that time of year when I begin to start thinking about where I want to be this summer. After a hard year of work, there is nothing I would want more than chilling on a beach with a cocktail in hand. But, before you can be relaxing in paradise you need to consider a few things. The first thing you need to do is actually book a holiday, which sounds easy enough but when there are thousands of hotels to choose from, it can be hard to make a decision. So, I’ve decided to write a post containing all the things you need to look for in a summer holiday. Budget The first thing you need to consider is how far your budget will take you. There’s no point thinking of booking a holiday in Barbados for two weeks from England if the flight alone would steal half of…

Valentines Day brings romance and joy to people all over the world. For some reason, there is a whole day out of the year dedicated to couples which part of me thinks it’s cute. However, the more rational side of me believes that Valentines day is a big marketing strategy for restaurants and bars to get more money out of people (but that’s a post for another day). That being said, I can speak from experience that when it comes to this time of year, my mind begins to become blank of Valentine date ideas. This will be my second Valentines day with my partner and as we live in central Manchester, there are endless things to do. Sometimes it’s when there are too many options that my mind begins to not function. Do you live in the Manchester area and are lost for ideas of how to spend Valentines…

After a short but scenic tour of Northern Ireland this past weekend, I thought I would write a review of one of the many things I got up to. Before heading to the airport on our last day in Northern Ireland, we decided to pass through Belfast to visit the Titanic Museum which tells you everything you need to know about the building of the ship and -of course – the sinking of the ship. Visiting the Titanic Museum in Belfast was incredibly interesting and the attraction even includes the opportunity to go aboard the SS. Nomadic – the last surviving White Star Line ship which was a sister ship to Titanic. For me, I have been a huge fan of the movie Titanic for as long as I can remember and I even did a school project on the tragedy at school. So, visiting the titanic museum in Belfast…