Only 50 miles from London, and easily accessible via train, Cambridge makes the perfect day trip. While you’re there visit the colleges, go punting, stroll The Backs, enjoy a pub lunch and of course some sweet treats.
You’ll feel like you’re on the edge of the world, or at least I did, while exploring the White Cliffs of Dover. Visiting the White Cliffs and the surrounding area was a highlight of our summer vacation, and I know that our experience there will stay with me forever.
We spent hours wandering the grassy paths high above the English Channel. Afterwards we made our way to Dover Castle where we explored centuries of fascinating history.
The White Cliffs
There are various trails of varying difficulties all with breathtaking views, and on a clear day, which we were lucky to have, you can see across to France. Thankfully the trails are just far enough back from the edge, so you won’t feel nervous.
If your visit coincides with the low tide you can take the trail, which includes stairs, 350 feet down to the beach below, but keep in mind you’ll have to get yourself back up.
There is a lighthouse at the end of the trail, and if you’re so inclined they offer a lovely afternoon tea right inside the lighthouse. However we had the castle in mind, so we opted for an ice cream cone to go instead. We were joined by a park ranger along the way who chatted with us about the area’s fascinating history.
There is no fee to walk on the Cliff trails, but there is a fee for parking as well as some of the area’s other attractions. Check the official website for more information.
For over 9 centuries Dover Castle, in one form or another, has stood sentry on the cliffs overlooking the Channel, the gateway to the United Kingdom.
Exploring inside the castle walls, was one of our favorite part of the day, in some places they are 21 feet thick. You’ll learn about castle life in the 11th century from the wonderful staff who work there, and they’ll share castle secrets and other fun tidbits with you.
This is the view of the Roman Lighthouse, as seen from atop Henry II’s Great Tower, at Dover Castle. The lighthouse is one of three surviving Roman Era lighthouses in the world and dates back to the 2nd century AD.
A visit to Dover Castle is a fascinating journey, which will have you traveling through time as you learn about the Castle’s important defensive role throughout England’s history. You’ll want to allow as much time as possible so you can really explore all the exhibits and the underground war tunnels.
Check the Castle’s official website for opening hours and special events.
Banksy’s Brexit Mural
The search for public art, wall murals and graffiti often plays a large role in my travels, but I admit I practically stumbled upon this very large Banksy piece, while on the road to Dover Castle. As you can imagine I was really excited to see the Brexit inspired piece up close. You’ll find the mural on the Castle Amusements building near the Ferry Terminal in Dover.
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Have you been to London? If you have, then you’ll know that in London there is simply no such thing as having been there done that. For every item you cross off your “London List” two more will be added. Neighborhoods, museums, parks, restaurants, and… Treats.
We spent three days roaming the City’s neighborhoods in search of treats both sweet and savory. We found this was a perfect way to tour the city enjoying a comfortable feeling of familiarity when we walked by old favorites and a feeling of excitement when we discovered new ones.
We did a big loop which took us past many of the city’s most famous spots including: St. Paul’s, the Millennium Bridge, The Globe Theater, The Tate Modern, The London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, and so many more. Stopping periodically for a treat was a great incentive and the 8 miles we walked helped to assuage any guilt we may have felt eating all those treats.
Here, for your convenience, is a list of sweet spots including all the new locations and old favorites, which have been grouped by neighborhood:
Touted by multiple sources as having the “best cupcakes in the world” we decided a visit to Peggy Porschen Cakes, would make our list. We sampled cupcakes and cocoa, and both were delicious. The pretty pink building with its candy colored decor and beautifully decorated deserts has made it a very popular Instagram photo location.
Dark Sugars Cocoa House
Hot chocolate is a travel tradition in our family, and no trip would be complete without it. My younger son and I made sure that a visit to Dark Sugars Cocoa House, on Brick Lane, was the number one stop on our recent sweets and treats tour of London. The tricky part was getting a photo of all that delicious chocolate before it melted… Also on offer, bowls of decadent and beautiful chocolates and creamy gelato in bright candy colors.
Taiyaki – Various Places
Stopping in Chinatown for Taiyaki, fish shaped cream filled buns, is another London tradition, and this visit was no exception. The texture falls somewhere between a waffle cone and a pancake, and they are traditionally filled with red bean paste, but custard and Nutella are other popular options. Larger taiyaki are filled with soft serve in traditional asian flavors like ube and black sesame.
Warm Caramelized Peanuts
You’ll find cart vendors selling warm caramelized nuts all over the city. We’ve often stopped at the one at the foot of the Millennium Bridge just outside the Tate Modern. Sticky sweet and warm makes for a nice combination on a cool evening by the river.
This delightful Pink Panther Mousse was the perfect end to our Sketch experience. Sketch, located in London’s posh Mayfair neighborhood, is one of The City’s trendiest dining spots, but it’s not just a pretty face with Insta worthy decor (though it has plenty of that in spades), the food is also beautiful and more importantly delicious. Each of the multiple dining areas, all with different themes, has its own menu and price point making this fun and quirky spot accessible to everyone.
Not that I ever need an excuse to sample delicious sweets and treats, but as I’ve recently opened my own cookie company, @cookiesareeverything, (yes, a shameless plug), we made sure to include cookies, or as they say across the pond biscuits, to our list of must try treats. We discovered @biscuiteersltd and were delighted to find that they don’t only sell their beautiful creations, but offer an afternoon (sweets only) tea as well as private icing lessons and parties. Yes please!
We’re big fans of bubble tea (boba) and apparently so are Londoners as there were long lines at every bubble tea spot. Bubbleology in Notting Hill was a perfect place to stop and take a break. I chose the more traditional Milk Tea with boba, but they offer many unique flavor combinations including, grape, lychee, and even Nutella boba, which was my son’s choice.
Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum and Mason has been a London institution for over 300 years, so when I told friends I’d never been they were shocked! How could I have missed such a special place? I knew I had to remedy this situation on my very next visit and so I did.
To say we were not disappointed is an understatement. Pastry cases filled with the most decadent treats, dark wood shelves lined with the prettiest biscuit tins you ever saw, tea, coffee, jams, picnic hampers, iced biscuits, and chocolates, and that was just the food hall. The interiors are as decadent as the offerings and we spent ages admiring everything and doing our best not to put everything we saw into our basket. Fortnum and Mason is now on our permanent London List.
Rebel’s Alliance Motorcycle Club
Raise your hand if you’re a coffee lover! If so, you’ll want to stop in at the Rebel’s Alliance Motorcycle Shop on Sclater Street in London’s Shoreditch Neighborhood. Enjoy a cup of coffee surrounded by vintage motorcycles, art and vintage style clothing.
Although our recent whirlwind day out in London was mainly about where to find the sweets, that didn’t mean we couldn’t make time for some treats too. In my book that means street art, and we were delighted to visit @einesigns most recent addition to the Shoreditch neighborhood.
It’s good to have a delicious destination at the end of a long walk, or if you’re like us stop at 5 along the way! @maitrechoux has multiple locations, but their SoHo shop was on our route and turned out to be one of my favorite stops as not only were the eclairs beautiful, but they were delicious as well.
London’s oldest food market has been serving the people of Southwark for over 1000 years. You’ll find stalls, shops, cart vendors and restaurants selling everything from the freshest produce, fish and artisan breads to Indian food, meat pasties, dumplings and so much more. The Borough Market has something for everyone.
What fun treats have you found in London, have you visited any of these spots? Let me know in the comments below.
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Summer projects have become a tradition in our household. Previous years, have included make your own longboard, and paint your own skateboard deck. Most recently we gave my younger son’s room a complete makeover. Elliot graciously let me choose the design, and looking for a way to incorporate all the photos we take on our family adventures we decided on a travel photography theme.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
We visited Batuu, a planet located at Galaxy’s Edge, or at least we really and truly felt like we did. Okay, so we weren’t really at Black Spire the last outpost before Wild Space on the planet Batuu, but rather in Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California.