I’m ever-so-slightly embarrassed to say that I love a good travel quote. They’re the perfect pick me up for when you’re trying to recover from some post-trip blues and are the perfect bit of inspiration for when you’re planning a new trip.
There are travel quotes about all sorts of things – from adventure to self-discovery to inspiring you to live your life to the absolute fullest and so many other wonderful things….now without further ado, here is a little list of some of my favourite travel quotes. I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” – Ibn Battuta
2. “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before” – Anonymous
3. “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars” – Jack Kerouac
4. “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow” – Anita Desai
5. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” – Gustav Flaubert
6. “To Travel is to Live” – Hans Christian Andersen
7. “The earth has music for those who listen” – Shakespeare
8. “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled” – Mohamed
9. “For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home” – Simon Van Booy
10. “The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life” – Agnes Repplier
11. “Oh darling, let’s be adventurers.” – Anonymous
London is undoubtedly my favourite city in the whole world. I love the hustle and bustle of city life, but to me, London is a city where I feel very at home. It contains many famous buildings, art galleries and museums making it a rather popular location for tourists from all over the world.
Part of what makes me love London so much is that there is just so much to do there-there is always something on and you can come back time and again and see a completely different city every single time.
So without further ado, here are 13 things that I think you must do while in London…
1. The Skygarden
The Skygarden is one of my favourite London attractions. It offers beautiful views of the city which you can enjoy and take in while sipping on a cup of tea and munching on a scone (one of my favourite food combos) all while being surrounded by a stunning indoor garden. Its a free attraction (another bonus) and tickets are generally available to reserve three weeks before your desired date. Its located in the 20 Fenchurch Street building – fondly known as the ‘walkie-talkie’ by locals due to its shape.
2. St Pauls Cathedral
Not only does the St Pauls bost stunning architecture (both inside and outside) but it’s another way to get spectacular views of London. While quite a hefty climb is required to see the views, no trip to the Cathedral is complete without climbing the 528 steps of the dome’s interior (a climb that almost reaches 365 feet in height). There are three different stages of this climb – the whispering gallery where you can get spectacular birds-eye views of the cathedral floor; then the stone gallery at 376 steps up and finally the Golden Gallery with a view that makes climbing all 528 steps absolutely worth it (outside the Cathedral is a cafe aptly called ‘Paul’ which serves the most amazing, to die for hot chocolates which is a good way to treat yourself after essentially climbing the equivalent of a small mountain).
While St Pauls is a little on the pricier side with admission fees (about £20 for an adult or £16 for a student/ concession), I believe that a trip to London is not complete without coming here.
3. Portobello Road
Located in the lovely Notting Hill, Portobello Road is most famous for its antique stores and markets as well as it’s all-round quirky vibe. Stalls and shops sell everything from fruit and vegetables to antique teacups to sparkly underwear and ballgowns. The market is open every day, except for Sundays, and I believe that a stroll through this market is something everyone has to experience at least once in their life.
4. Camden Markets
Camden Market is incredibly diverse and extensive – it contains lots of stalls, and street foods from all almost every cuisine imaginable. You can go from browsing artwork and photography to rummaging through racks of vintage clothing and antique trinkets to stepping inside a futuristic, neon-lit store that sells light up and glow in the dark clothing.
Afterwards, a stroll down to the lock is nice to do or you can walk along the water all the way to Kings Cross and beyond.
5. Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is, in my opinion, the most enchanting of all the Palaces in London that you can visit. This palace is most famous for being the early home of Queen Victoria and its main exhibition focuses on her life there. An exhibition on the life and fashion of the late Princess Diana is also found here (and will be for the next year or so) which is very inspiring and really gives you an insight into her life – I had very little knowledge of the influence that Princess Diana had on people and the way she would dress just to cater for her different appearances.
The palace is surrounded by the stunning and extensive Kensington gardens which is great for a little wander round afterwards.
6. New Years Eve
New Year’s Eve in London is in my opinion, one of the most spectacular ways to ring in the New Year. I got the chance to do this a few years ago on a river cruise and I will never forget sitting in a boat on the River Thames while watching the sky light up behind the houses of parliament and the London Eye.
7. The Natural History Museum
London is FULL of fantastic museums which makes it hard to just choose one. However, my personal favourite is the Natural History Museum. I have visited this museum countless times over the years from when I was small to recently just a few years ago. It contains varying ‘zones’ that cover different parts of natural science – human biology (my fave), planet earth, dinosaurs and lots more.
The natural history museum is perfect to have a wander around on a rainy London day. Its a place I’m very fond of and couldn’t recommend visiting more (especially with children).
8. Shakespeares Globe
Shakespeares Globe is almost undoubtedly the most famous Elizabethan theatre in the world. While the Globe that stands on the banks of the Thames today isn’t the original theatre (the original burned down) you can really get a sense of what viewing a play was like here back in Shakespeare’s day. Guided tours through the playhouse occur regularly and are filled with stories of the comings and goings of this playhouse from a time when this part of London was regarded as far from respectable.
The theatre itself is stunning – its made from the same materials the original theatre would have been made from, with oak galleries and a thatched roof. Plays still take place here as the theatre is still operational, with the Globe being used for outdoor plays during the Summer and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse being used in the Winter.
Attached to the globe is an exhibition about the life and times of Shakespeare. Though different parts of Shakespeare’s Globe are open at different times throughout the year, so its best to head to their website to find its exact opening times.
9. Houses of Parliment tour
Guided, pre-booked tours or self-guided audio tours occur here most days during certain months of the year. You can book here , or if you’re a British citizen then you can also book through your local MP.
The Houses of Parliment (also known as Westminster Palace) is a very interesting place to visit and I definitely learned a lot about both the history and traditions that lie at the heart of British politics during my visit. Even a visit just to see its stunning architecture its worth it.
Harrods is one of London’s most famous department stores. Its most well known for serving rather affluent people, including Oscar Wilde, Laurence Olivier and the Royal Family since its opening in 1824.
The luxury that is Harrods is spread across a number of floors, laid out in style through themed halls. My favourite part of Harrods is its ice cream parlour, where they serve large bowls of ice cream sundaes that are so large they require at least two people to finish them.
Harrods has something for everyone – cosmetics, clothing for days, jewellery, foods, London souvenirs, a toy department so large it makes me wish I was little again, a pets section and so much more.
11. The ‘Keeper for a day’ Experience at ZSL London Zoo
For those who are avid lovers of animals (like me), this is something I could not recommend more. You get to spend the day preparing food, feeding some animals, cleaning exhibits and petting certain animals. Getting to pet the Galapagos Tortoises and feeding anteaters were only two of my highlights from the day.
12. Medical Museums – Hunterian and the Wellcome Collection
If you’re a bit of a nerd (like me) who is super interested in medicine, then the Hunterian Museum is a perfect place to visit. This museum isn’t a place for the faint-hearted…It’s full of the anatomical-pathological collection of Doctor John Hunter who was known as a bit of a ‘mad scientist’and is thought to have changed the practice of surgery. Items on display include one half of the brain of the famous mathematician Charles Babbage, fetuses from varying species, and the skeleton of the tallest known man in the world (7’7” tall Charles Byrne).
13. Platform 9/34
This is an absolute must-do for any Harry Potter fan. It’ll instantly become one of your favourite London memories. Why you may ask? Because parts of your favourite childhood (and adulthood) books come to life right before your eyes.
Kings Cross Station is one of the busiest places in London. It connects London with a majority of the UK by rail, but, to many people all over the world, Kings Cross is known for a reason other than just being a busy train station – its the Station where Harry Potter boards the Hogwarts Express via platform 9 3/4. Here, you can wander around the shop full of Harry Potter memorabilia or pose for a picture beside a luggage trolley that looks as if it is disappearing into the wall. It’s a pretty magical experience if you don’t mind me saying so.
Back in late January, I was lucky enough to have visited the little Swiss town of Zermatt. Zermatt is well known for the famous mountain that looks over the town, the Matterhorn (aka the Toblerone mountain), as well as its ski fields and overall charm. It is one of the most idyllic and beautiful places I have ever been lucky enough to visit and I certainly won’t forget my visit here anytime soon (because it’s such a beautiful place and they literally have an unlimited amount of Toblerone) and I will most definitely be going back in the future.
In order to get to this small, rather isolated town in the middle of the Swiss Alps, a 4am getup, five train rides and nine hours of twiddling my thumbs while admiring the French and Swiss countryside were involved. We travelled from London St Pancras on the Eurostar to Paris Nord, had a short walk through Paris (just as you do) to Paris East station then a few more train rides through France and Switzerland to reach our final destination of Zermatt.It all went by rather quickly as the views were spectacular for most of the journey (especially from Bern onwards) and I have a tendency to fall asleep in trains (and cars, especially cars) during long journeys.
Once we arrived we had a shortish trudge through the snow to our accommodation – the lovely Residence Patricia. Settling in involved McDonald’s for dinner (yes, even in the middle of the Alps they have Mcdonalds) and a well needed early night.
We had mostly planned to ski during our time there, but, because of a snowstorm we only managed three days out of five. Skiing in Zermatt is powder heaven. Its the highest ski resort in the Alps and has over 360 km of pistes. Due to the sheer amount of snow the town had had the only ski area that opened was Sunnegga (though even this area was closed some days while we were there, leaving no ski runs open).
Now, I’m not a very experienced skier, and before this, I hadn’t skied for about four years so blue and red runs are about my limit while I was getting my ski legs back. My favourite run on this part of the mountain was one that you could take right from the top, with a ride on one of those massive aerial trams to the top all the way to the bottom of the ski field and into the town.
While we weren’t or were unable to ski, the town of Zermatt entertained us.
The town is full of patisseries, watch, chocolate and ski shops – literally everything a girl could ever want and ask for. The Lindt store, which I particularly enjoyed because the staff gave you a free piece of chocolate of your choosing every time you went in, was a chocolate lovers paradise. Tins with the Matterhorn or swiss flag embossed on the front, chocolate bars the size of my torso and literal mountains of pick n mix chocolate are just a few of the items you could find in the Lindt chocolatier store. Its safe to say my suitcase was only a little heavier after visiting that particular store.
Restaurant Du Pont, the oldest business in Zermatt, offers a traditional Swiss cheese fondue with a cosy atmosphere. A Swiss fondue is essentially a pot of warm, mixed cheeses set over a gas stove served with bread, vegetables and boiled potatoes to dip into it. I can tell you it is most definitely as good as it sounds, especially after a long day of skiing.
The Matterhorn museum was a perfect way to escape the cold (the temperature didn’t get above zero degrees Celsius most days) and to learn a bit more about thetown we were staying in. Inside the museum, a velvet cushion with the rope from the first tragic ascent up the Matterhorn is laid out (which you can read more about here), as well as a mock set up of what the town originally looked like when it was predominantly an agricultural community. Tourists first visited the town in 1865.
The old part of the town, known as the “Hinterdorf” was a part of Zermatt we didn’t get to explore very well but what we did see of it was lovely. This part of the town consists of barns, stores, stables and old houses that were built between the 16th and 18th centuries. A stroll through the narrow alleys feels almost like a trip back in time.
Many times over the course of our time in Zermatt the words “if only we could stay a bit longer” were mentioned more than once. We never thought that this would be the case through until we got to the train station to leave one morning. As it turned out, a heavy snowstorm through the night had caused a critical avalanche warning to be out in place so the roads and railways in and out of Zermatt were essentially cut off and no one was leaving. This, shall we say coincidence, which had only occurred previously in 1999, left us ‘stranded’ us in Zermatt for another two days. While this caused us to miss visiting Rome, I don’t think I would have traded those extra few days for Rome at all. To put it as the rail ticket manager said: “Zermatt is much nicer than Rome anyway, consider yourselves lucky – it’s not every day a person gets stuck in such a beautiful place”.