The Isle of Wight is one of my favourite places in the world. It will forever hold a special place in my heart as it’s where we got married and we spend a lot of Bank Holiday weekends there with family. A trip to the Isle of Wight is unlike any other – you truly feel as though you are stepping back in time. Although the Island is small, there is a lot do and see. Imagine yourself taking a walk along the beautiful coastline and stopping at the local crab shack to eat some fresh lobster and fish + chips, or enjoying a pint at the Lobster Tap, where King Charles I visited and was sketched by the owner. If you’re looking to escape for a fun and relaxing weekend, look no further than the breathtaking Isle of Wight!
The Maldives is the most breathtaking destination I’ve ever been to. We made the journey there for our honeymoon last year and it’s a place that will always hold a special place in my heart. If you love the beach, crystal clear turquoise water, swimming in the ocean, snorkelling, relaxing, amazing seafood, walking around barefoot and relaxing in the sunshine, then I would highly recommend popping it on your bucket list!
You’ve booked your trip to the Maldives and bursting with excitement to relax for a week or two in paradise. When it comes to packing for your trip, you may be wondering what to bring? I’ve created the ultimate list filled with all the essentials you’ll need to make the the most of island life!
When Ciaran and I were planning our honeymoon in the Maldives, we came across the magnificent 5.8 Undersea Restaurant on Hurawalhi Island and instantly popped it on our bucket list. The restaurant is the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant that not only has an awe-inspiring atmosphere, but takes you on a culinary journey of gastronomic delights. We knew it would be a very special, once-in-a-lifetime experience that we hoped would become a reality on our honeymoon.
We have just arrived back in London after two weeks of pure honeymoon bliss in the Maldives, a tropical oasis in the Indian Ocean made up of more than 1000 beautiful islands. We stayed at one of the first designer resorts called Cocoon Maldives – a short 45 minute seaplane from Malé located on a picture perfect atoll in the middle of the ocean on the Ookolhufinolhu Island. To say it was paradise would be an understatement.
Prague completely stole my heart when we visited in January. It is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited – the gothic architecture makes you feel as though you’re in a fairytale. It’s home to some of the best-kept architecture in Europe and it’s wonderfully charming. Between the gorgeous castles and cathedrals, the fantastic restaurants and its rich history, it’s no surprise that Prague attracts thousands of tourists each year. Here’s all my recommendations for what to see, where to eat and where to stay in Praha!
GETTING TO PRAGUE & WHERE TO STAY
Prague is a really short plane ride from London – we flew via Stansted Airport straight into Prague. Wheels up at 7am, we arrived in Praha by 9am – ideal timing for an entire day of exploring! From the airport, we grabbed a taxi and drove 20 short minutes to our hotel. It is brilliant driving through the Old Town and up a narrow, winding cobbled street to our hotel, the Hotel Golden Star, that sits right beneath Prague Castle. It is truly like something out of a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale book. It’s worth noting that Prague is a really cheap city overall. Our cab to our hotel from the airport only cost about £18.
As we arrived to our hotel, the snow was falling and I was just in awe of the sheer beauty of the city. The Hotel Golden Star, which I have previously written about, is a fantastic hotel to stay at. Located in the heart of the Castle District and right underneath Prague Castle, it is a wonderfully affordable option in a spectacular area of town. The hotel concierge is incredibly accommodating and even let’s you have your choice of room. Once we checked in, we enjoyed a glass of welcome bubbles and admired our insane view. The hotel costs around £70 a night depending on when you go and that includes welcome champagne and a full on breakfast along with bottomless prosecco should you wish. The rooms have been newly renovated to a very high standard and they have all the amenities you could want for a few days stay.
WHAT TO SEE: THE ESSENTIAL SIGHTS
Our first full day in Prague was spent seeing as much as we possibly could. There is so much to see and do in Prague that very shortly after we checked into our hotel, we set off on foot to explore. We had no real itinerary in mind, but we knew a lot of the spots we wanted to definitely see.
The Charles Bridge – Prague’s most iconic bridge is a must-see for any first timer in Prague. Commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357, the stunning bridge spans 16 arches and is lined with 30 baroque statue of religious figures. The bridge is lined with cobblestones and has the most fantastic views of the Vlatva River. It’s a real cultural melting pot that meets together at the bridge – think painters, dog walkers, food vendors, and musicians – all gathered together day in and day out. If you want to beat the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience of the Charles Bridge – head there at dawn and watch the sunrise! Something I wish I would have done!
The Old Town & the Famous Clock – On the other side of the Charles Bridge is Prague’s famous Old Town – best known for the Astronomical Clock. It is a breathtakingly beautiful area of Prague, but be careful of falling into tourist traps, and overpriced food stalls! Keep reading for my food recommendations below.
Prague Castle & St. Vitus Cathedral – One of the most enchanting castles and cathedrals I’ve been to, you have to pop them both on your Praha bucket list. St. Vitus Cathedral is located within the Prague Castle complex and is the grandest gothic cathedral I have ever seen. Give yourself plenty of time to walk around the castle’s complex, where you’ll find yourself walking down winding cobblestone streets to surprises around every corner.
Josefov – Prague’s Jewish Quarter is one of the best insights into the rich Jewish history you’ll find in all of Europe. I highly recommend a visit to the Jewish Museum, taking a walk through the Jewish Cemetary and visiting the Old New Synagogue. While it is a bit of a sobering experience, I am really glad that we did the tour as I learned so much about Jewish culture that I didn’t previously know.
WHERE TO DRINK
Prague is best known for its Pilsner Lagers – and truth be told, beer is cheaper than water. There are plenty of drinking dens to hide out from the crowds of bustling Prague and we found a few great ones I’m happy to share with you guys.
Svaty Norbert Strahov Monastic Brewery – We happened to stumble across this 17th-century brewery that was restored and reopened as a craft brewery in 2000. They serve a small, but outstanding selection of craft beers that they home-brew. In fact, it’s some of the best beers I’ve ever had. The food is also quite good – simple, hearty Czech food – think sausages, dumplings and bread. We came for the beer, not once but twice during our three days in Prague. It’s really close to Prague Castle, so after you’ve done a tour, unwind with a pint of dark beer. Also, the Strahov Library is a short walk away and apparently gorgeous inside.
Tygra – The Golden Tiger – this hidden gem was recommended to us by one of Ciaran’s colleagues who is from Prague. It is located right in the centre of Old Town, so we were a bit worried it would be totally touristy but we were wrong! Hidden behind an unassuming green door on the street – you walk in and are led down a long corridor until you hear the sounds of laughter and lively conversation coming behind another door. Walk through and you’ll be met by a crowd of friendly bartenders and regulars. Take a seat (if you can find one) and breathe in the Czech atmosphere of the pub – oh and don’t worry about queuing to order a beer – the awesome bar staff will welcome you with a round of beers and will keep topping you up til you leave. They tally up the amount of beers you’ve had on a receipt that you bring up to the front when you leave. Oh and apparently, Bill Clinton has frequented this mythical place. It’s worth finding and staying for a really fun evening. PS. It’s cash only.
WHERE TO EAT
Chimney Cakes/Trdelník – These are the most sinfully delicious treats that are really popular in Eastern European countries. I first came across them when we went to Budapest, but they are all over Prague. You can get them in all different flavours – chocolate, vanilla, almond, etc. You can also get them filled with ice cream or savoury fillings like ham and cheese. Bottom line, they’re delicious and they are sold on pretty much every street corner, the perfect snack to enjoy on-foot whilst traipsing through the city.
Hergetova Cihelna-if you want a more upscale restaurant, this beautiful spot right on the river is just for you. It is one of Prague’s best restaurants located on the bank of Prague’s Vlatva River with spectacular views of the Charles Bridge. The food is equally as stunning – featuring out of this world dishes like fluffy dumplings with pulled pork, saddle of deer and slow baked wild boar. The setting is utterly romantic and the service was impeccable.
Bellavista – What can I say – I am a sucker for an incredible view and Bellavista is such a special restaurant nearby Prague Castle that has some of the very best views of the city. Even in the winter, they have heated tents so you can sit outside and take in the gorgeous views whilst warming up over delicious Czech food. The pumpkin soup was the best I’ve ever had and the turkey schnitzel – dreamy. Bellavista was wonderful in the winter, but I can only imagine how fantastic it would be in the summertime with a beer or glass of wine in hand sitting out over looking the city.
We were only in Prague for 3 short days and I would without a doubt go back. It was magical seeing it in the winter with a blanket of snow over the rooftops, but I would love to go back in the summertime and experience it again. Let me know if I’ve missed anything off of this list that I can save for the next time I visit. Have you been to Prague? What’s your favourite part?
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Prague is a truly magical city filled with fairytale castles, pastel-coloured facades, gothic architecture and so much culture and history. It’s not hard to fall in love at first sight. Check out some of my favourite photos from our trip a few weeks ago that will have you booking the next Easy Jet flight and packing your bags for Prague!
Our flight took off at 7am from Stansted Airport in London and we arrived in Prague around 10am – nice and early for a day’s worth of exploring! We grabbed a cab from the airport and headed to Hotel Golden Star, our home base for the next few days! Located right underneath Prague Castle and just a short walk from the Old Town, it’s the ideal spot to stay. The hotel itself has been newly re-constructed and is located in a magnificent baroque building. You get all the modern comforts with old world touches like the 270 year old staircase and wooden beamed ceilings throughout the hotel.
I really can’t say enough lovely things about the staff at Hotel Golden Star. They are incredibly accommodating and ensured we were very well taken care of throughout our stay. As we checked in, we sipped on a complimentary glass of prosecco as they let us choose between two rooms on the top floor. The entire hotel itself is beautiful, but the view from up top is something rather spectacular. We went for the smaller room that had one of the best views of the city.
Waking up to this view every morning makes you giddy inside. It looks particularly enchanting when you wake up, look outside and all of Prague is under a beautiful blanket of fresh snow…
The rooms feature a large King Size Bed with soft linens and fluffy pillows for a wonderful night’s sleep.
The marble bathrooms are lovely and clean with a large waterfall shower to warm up in after a day of exploring Prague in the snow.
The rooms have everything you’d need for a few night’s stay – a hairdryer, toiletries, a mini bar stocked with wine, beer and water, a kettle with coffees and teas, etc. There’s free wifi throughout the hotel and the complimentary breakfast in the morning was superb. Fresh, homemade omelettes to order, warm pastries, cereals, granolas, fresh bread and cheese, fruit, yoghurt, Prosecco, Nespresso coffee – you name it, they had it! Perfect for fuelling up before braving the cold and exploring Prague.
There is a restaurant in the hotel as well that is great for grabbing a Pilsner and some snacks before heading to dinner. In the summertime, they open the terrace outside so you can enjoy the beautiful views of the Lesser Town with drinks in hand. I definitely want to make a trip back in the summer – I can only imagine how gorgeous it must be.
Hotel Golden Star is a fantastic and affordable hotel option if you’re visiting Prague for a few days. The service cannot be beat and the hotel itself is quite charming. The location is ideal – right underneath Prague Castle and just a short walk away from Old Town. There’s tons of bars and restaurants in the area if you want to stay close to home. I would definitely choose to stay here again the next time I visit Prague.
Hotel Golden Star | Nerudova 48, 118 00 | Prague |1-Malá Strana | Czech Republic | Book Now
Sometimes, there is nothing better than escaping London and one of the amazing perks of living in the UK is having an awesome train system where you can visit lots of beautiful destinations with ease. Windsor is one of those lovely escapes that is just 45 minutes from London via a Southwest train from Waterloo or Paddington – perfect for a day trip or a weekend away. I’ve been to Windsor quite a few times over the last few years and have put together some recommendations for how to make the most of your time in this charming and historic British town.
You can’t visit Windsor without a trip to the castle of course. Part-time home to the Queen and steeped in 900 years of history, it’s an absolute must-see for history buffs, anglophiles and tourists alike. Tickets are only £20 and you can buy them ahead of time online. You can also visit for free up to a year if you save your ticket stub!
Be sure to visit St. George’s chapel – it’s breathtakingly beautiful inside. I like to light a candle and say a little prayer every time I visit.
After a visit to Windsor, be sure to take a walk or enjoy a picnic in the Windsor Great Park. You may recognise it from pictures of the long road leading to the castle. Windsor Great Park dates back to Pre-Saxon times, and today you’ll discover historical monuments, rare wildlife, deer, and beautiful plants as you walk along. It’s perfect for long walks in the summertime.
The town of Windsor is very charming, with little shops, side streets and fantastic pubs, it is truly a quintessentially British town. It’s also equally as beautiful in the winter with Christmas baubles and lights as it is in the summertime.
Take a wander around the town and head over to the river where Windsor meets Eton. Both towns are fully walkable and you can get around without a car just fine.
A footbridge along the Thames connects the lovely towns of Windsor and Eton. Eton High Street has remained unchanged for many years and you’ll find plenty of antique shops, cute restaurants and cafes, and of course Eton, one of the most famous colleges in the world. Royal processions from Westminster to Windsor passed along the High Street, one of the most famous being the funeral of Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII, in 1537.
The Two Brewers Pub on Park Street, (the oldest street in Windsor) right outside Windsor Castle, is the perfect spot to grab a pint of English beer. The pub dates back to 1792 and is one of the smallest pubs in the town with only 9 tables inside and a few benches outside. This is a must-go spot for a drink, but be sure to book ahead!
Gilby’s on Eton High Street is a fantastic little wine bar and restaurant that is ideal for a spot of lunch on their fabulous terrace in the summertime or a cosy dinner inside in the winter. Gilby’s used to be a an old butcher’s shop and then it became one of the first wine bars outside of London in 1975. After years of success, they changed the name to Gilby’s as the food became more well known than the wine (it’s still great for the wine!). This quaint restaurant serves up delicious modern British food in a picturesque setting with wonderful service.
Ciaran and I visited Windsor right before Christmas and it was beaming with charm. We made a relaxing weekend out of it and stayed at the Castle Hotel conveniently located on Windsor’s quintessentially English High Street directly opposite Windsor Castle. It was amazing to wake up to the view of the Queen’s residence in the morning.
You’ll find a “welcome” fruit platter upon arrival to enjoy whilst you unpack your suitcase. The suite features everything you could want and more including a luxurious large bed fit for a queen, a waterfall shower, fluffy bathrobes for lounging, The White Company toiletries and a Nespresso stocked with a variety of coffees and teas for your convienence. The hotel is also steeped in history, dating back to 1528.
History and charm resonate throughout the hotel. We noticed little details and touches that brought the past and present together. We were pleasantly surprised to find we were staying in the gorgeous Charles Sheriff room, the Royal Warrant Holder during the 1850s.
After day of exploring Windsor, enjoy a cosy afternoon tea in the lounge of the Castle Hotel next to the crackling fire. The Afternoon tea at the Castle Hotel is lovely with fresh warm scones, finger sandwiches, an array of teas and champagne to wind down before a glass of wine in the bar.
Whether you are visiting Windsor for the day or making a relaxing weekend out of it, there is so much British history to explore in this beautiful town. Have you been to Windsor before? What’s your favourite thing to do?