I’ve had a few USA friends travel to London lately and ask me for tips on this city I love so dearly. I have been to London countless times since the first time I moved to England five years ago. I think that is the true sign of getting to know a place… it becomes more a city you love than a city you can count your travels to. Which is why I would love to be your London tour guide too, and share all my London tips and secrets!
When I read that the April travel link up topic was “places you can’t get out of your head,” well I knew there was one special place I had to write about! The United Kingdom, of course. I lived in southwest England for 3.5 years, and my heart does a little twinge at that past tense. I was so sad to leave the UK when my visa expired, but like I mentioned when I left the country nearly four months ago, I know my story with the UK isn’t over yet.
I felt a click the moment the wheels lifted off the tarmac. As in: it’s too late, there’s no turning back now. The frost on the airplane window is telling me this is no longer your home. I watch London’s close packed grey roofs fade into squares of white, cordoned by dark green hedges. All of England seemingly covered in crisp snowflakes, never more beautiful than in this exact moment, gazing down from my window seat. Beautiful because it’s no longer mine. It is like the country I love so dearly is sending me a white flag of surrender, offering up a final goodbye. Or maybe the snow is a celebration (of me leaving? or of my years here?).
What to do in Little Venice London is a good question, but the first question for most people is probably what IS Little Venice London? It took me years of living in England before I’d ever heard of Little Venice, and when I finally did I couldn’t believe that this unique area existed and me, a travel blogger, London lover, and frequenter of the city countless times, had never happened upon it! I suppose that is partly the magic of London: It is so vast and fascinating, that you can spend hours – a lifetime – exploring it and you’ll still happen upon new places to fall in love with.
Today, I’m excited to share my highly researched gluten free afternoon tea London bucket list! As you know, I am an afternoon tea fiend. Being gluten free throws a slight wrench in that (what with the scones, the sandwiches, the pastries… basically everything but the tea). Luckily, however, London hosts a good number of afternoon teas that cater to us who are gluten free!
I’ve had a rather odd item on my bucket list for a while now… heading to Pennywell Farm to cuddle mini pigs! I’m not sure how I first heard of Pennywell Farm, but it’s been on my radar ever since I lived in Exeter almost four years ago. As I approach the end of my time living in the Southwest, I’ve been trying to tick my Devon and Cornwall bucket list items. Pennywell Farm had finally made it to the top of that list!
Last week I investigated London’s pinkest bakery by testing out the Peggy Porschen gluten free options. And, like a good blogger, I’m here to report.
You know soul mates?
Screw ’em. Let’s talk about soul places.
To me, St Ives is one of those places. The first time I took a St Ives day trip, I meandered with friends through the low-tide harbor. I ate gluten free crepes, clambered on rocks, wrapped up in a warm blanket under a heat lamp at the Porthminster Beach Cafe with a bottle of wine and the sound of night-time waves just a few meters away.
Soon, I will be bidding farewell to my home of Exeter, England. I read once that we can never return “home” because places will never be the same as when we left them. We change, they change, the people in them change.
I haven’t lived in Exeter for a while, but I still consider it a home. It’s a bit ironic, really. When I studied abroad at Exeter, I did a poetry dissertation which focused on the complexities of defining “home” – it was my first time living in the same country that my maternal grandmother came from, my first time living abroad, and I spent a lot of time pondering what home means. It was one point in my seemingly lifelong mission to understand what home is. Four years later, Exeter is a place I consider home.