2014 travels (1)

In just over a week we’ll all be ringing in the New Year, looking forward to all the travels 2015 will bring us. But, before that, I thought it would be the ideal time to take stock of everything that occurred in 2014.

Before I started this list, I hadn’t actually thought I had really done that much travelling this year. Most of the last 12 months has been taken up with completing my NCTJ Journalism course, plus freelancing and working full-time. In fact, looking through my posts from the last few months, I realise I have actually fitted a lot in. All of these trips below were visited using just four days of my annual leave, so I can’t wait to see how much I can fit in when I have my full quota of holiday to play with in 2015!

April

My bonanza of 2014 travel kicked off as my NCTJ journalism course started to wind down. I headed up north for a press trip over the Easter holidays, where I discovered that Salford Quays is a lot more than just an industrial region just outside of Manchester. Rather, it’s a hotbed of family entertainment, shopping and inventive architecture.

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While I was up that way, I also managed to squeeze in an afternoon looking around Manchester. Thanks to my two good friends who gave me a historical tour of the city, we managed to really dig deep beneath the surface and find out more about this often overlooked region of England.

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May

May saw my first ever trip to the English Heritage site of Stonehenge, a place that I’ve heard so much about from friends over the years. We were thankfully treated to a rare dose of sunny English weather which made our few hours of looking round the stones an absolute delight. From Stonehenge, we headed over to the Georgian city of Bath, where we had a decadent afternoon of afternoon tea, leisurely strolls and photo-taking.

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July

After passing all my journalism exams in June (*fist pump*), I spent July in a field in East London seeing the likes of M.I.A. and Woodkid at the annual Lovebox festival. The night before I got to stay in the incredible Park Plaza Hotel on Westminster Bridge after my boyfriend won a swanky competition at work. I’m still dreaming of going back…

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August

August was the month in which I decided that if I really wanted to make this blog work, I’d have to get serious. I managed to nab a last-minute ticket to the first ever blogging festival, Blogstock, in Elstree, Hertfordshire. As well as listening to some informative talks from the likes on Contiki and Monica from The Travel Hack, I also got to meet some fantastic bloggers from various industries.

In August I also had my favourite trip of the year: to Amsterdam! I wasn’t expecting that much from it as I felt like I had already seen so much of it on my Facebook feed, but it absolutely stole my heart. From canal-side walks to taking in the historical sights, the city was picture perfect and resulted in me taking over 500 photos in just three days!

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The weekend after Amsterdam, I took the train up to Yorkshire to spend the night at the rural Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in North York Moors National Park. Despite finding it hard to ‘switch off’ and handle the lack of things going on nearby, I loved the hotel’s gorgeous surroundings and the opportunity to stock up on country air.

DSC_0730From there, I took a taxi over to Scarborough, the site of many a family holiday when I was younger. Coastal views, seaside milkshakes and a visit to Anne Brontë’s grave made it a very traditionally English day out.

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September

Back up to Yorkshire for a weekend of hen-do festivities! I spent a little time wandering around the cobbled streets of York, and I also found a cafe that offered you blankets if you were a bit chilly…so that was a successful weekend all round.

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October

In October, I spent a few days in Athens, Greece, at my first ever TBEX conference. It was so overwhelming, and I’m not sure I really got as much out of it as I should have, but it gave me some fantastic ideas and motivation to move this blog forward. Oh, and I also met a load of cats up at the Acropolis.

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December

Over five years since my last visit to the city, I returned to Bruges to soak up the Christmas spirit by way of the traditional markets. It was a trip ever so slightly ruined by a painful sprained ankle, but it did the job, and I returned to England full of Christmas cheer!

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Other memorable trips…

I made many a day trip to London town for various events and occasions, from a River Thames jazz cruise to afternoon tea at Lady Dinah’s and a visit to Ham Yard HotelOne of my favourite trips was for a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired afternoon tea at One Aldwych. I’m still getting over the deliciously fluffy candy floss and cheese cake. Definitely my meal of the year.

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2015

So what am I hoping for next year? I don’t want to give away too much just yet (expect another blog post on this in the new few weeks), but I’ve been busy squirrelling away money for some fabulous trips in 2015, both closer to home and further afield…watch this space!

How was your 2014? Let me know your highlights in the comments below!