As I mentioned earlier this week, I have been incredibly lucky with the amount of travel I have been able to do in my relatively short life. In almost 21 years, I have been to 19 different countries (India will be my 20th!), and there is nothing I love more than going somewhere new and wandering around a city I’ve never been to before.
I want to compile a series of places which have truly captured my heart, and give my recommendations of things to do and visit in these places. I hope this series either helps you get some travel inspiration or maybe even features some places you might know and love. Also, despite hating even having to type this, I want to make a disclaimer that when I speak of my travels I am in no way bragging or anything of the sort. I do recognise that I have been unbelievably lucky in my life when it comes to how much I’ve travelled, and travel for me has often presented itself in some crazy ways. I simply want to share with you places that I love in the hope that I can relate to you or give you inspiration.
So, to begin with, is my beloved London. England has always held an incredibly strong place in my heart. My mother was born just outside Liverpool, and moved to Australia when she was 12 years old. I first visited England when I was four, then again when I was 16, then twice at the age of 19. While I’ve been to various areas of the entire country, it’s London that will always remain my favourite. While I usually hate crowds, the bustling nature of London is something that just gives the city so much character. Everyone’s always doing something, there’s always something on. Even in the middle of the night, somewhere around London there would be something for you to do.
Shopping on Oxford Street
Yes, yes, typical tourist behaviour, I know. But there’s a reason that the street is famous. Every single thing you could possibly need ever is there. New clothes? Plenty. Sleeping bag? Gotcha covered. Christmas baubles? M&S has them. Spending an entire day (or two) going from one end to the other is something I did many times during my last visit.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
While Winter Wonderland is another place that draws in tourists, they’re definitely not the only ones who visit this magical kingdom. Set up in the park in the lead-up to Christmas, a trip here will make you feel like Santa, if you weren’t feeling in the spirit of things beforehand. Food, drink, ice-skating and anything else that is slightly Christmassy (in the most non-Australian way – think mulled wine and wooly jumpers) condensed into one big wonderland. 100/10, even the Grinch would love this place.
Smoothies at Neal’s Yard
This is a weird one, but during my last visit to Londres I found myself visiting Covent Garden purely for a smoothie a shameful amount of times, considering my apartment had a blender and I was literally two doors down from a Sainsbury’s. Filled with all sorts of weird ingredients (Irish moss, anyone?), these liquid meals are best paired with a wander and a people-watch around the Neal’s Yard and Covent Garden area.
One of my favourite things to do, in any place in the world, is sit and watch the people walk by. I love observing the differences between wherever I am and Melbourne, whether that be in what people look like, how they dress or how they act. I find people so fascinating, how we are all so alike yet so complex and different at the same time. Whenever you’re in a new place, I recommend the first thing you do is to just wander through a busy place, find a seat, and – in the least creepy way you can possibly manage – watch the world go by.