Now, it is not a secret that 2016 was a disastrous year and 2017 is already not looking so shiny either. We welcome the new year with our imminent departure from the EU and have to come to realisation that we have a new ludicrous, nightmarish President of the US who will probably blow us all up in the near future. So in light of these disasters, I feel that we need to make the most of the time we might have left on this beautiful planet.
Moving away from the realities of Brexit and President Fart, one way we can relax and forget about our worries in a full hakuna matata style is through the art of travel and escapades around England and the world. Whether it is visiting the natural wonders in Australia or trekking through The Lake District, holidays in any shape or form are as good as a change, sometimes better, than the drug of everyday life and post Christmas blues. (I still haven’t recovered). The same as most people, I love to travel and I always like to have something planned, maybe a weekend away or my two week summer holiday which really gets me through these terribly cold, foggy January days.
To share the feeling of excitement and joy that one gets from a holiday, I felt as one of my first acts of charity this year, I would compose a list of ‘must’ places to visit in 2017.
Now, I know that this is quite a mainstream place to visit, but I have only just recently discovered the appeal of Cornwall. I braved the 4-hr both ways drive to and from St Ives for New Year’s Eve from my home in Dorset and, with my very awful hangover (understatement), I came home wanting to see more of this delightfully quite county.
Take a road trip with your friends or with your family and see that there is more to Cornwall than the famous surfing scene. Rent a cottage or stay in a B&B and discover the apparently haunted castles, the darling small towns, the art scene, or maybe visit the places that the BBC filmed Poldark. Who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of the stunningly beautiful Aiden Turner, swanning about in the corn fields without his shirt on.
Anyway, the views that you can see over the Cornwall dales (is that what they’re called?) will remind you of the natural beauties you can find right here in England, and it will be a damn sight cheaper than going anywhere abroad.
2. Prague, Czech Republic
This week, whilst tucking to my breakfast, I was flicking through the pages of the worldwide Lonely Planet book my sister was given for Christmas, and I was stunned by how stunning Prague looked in the pictures provided. So I thought that Prague had to be on my list as through I haven’t been, this is definitely somewhere I feel is a place to go this year. The whole city is rich with culture and history, and its architecture is visually profound. Western Europe is over done, so the Eastern countries are climbing into their rightful popularity and I believe in the Czech Republic you will be able to have a fabulous holiday with a nicer hotel for more nights at a better value than many of the usual hot spot choices for European breaks.
Considered to be one of the culture centres of Europe, there are plenty of things to do and see, which is perfect for a weekend away from the usual crap of everyday life. Prague is a huge city, and will not be short of nightlife, sites, shopping, and most importantly, restaurants.
3. Venice, Italy
I don’t think I really need to say much about this one, as Venice pretty much speaks for itself. Don’t believe the tripe of people saying that Venice is an expensive holiday, as believe me, you can find places to eat that are of better value or places to stay for a lower cost. You just have to be savvy and research before you go.
Have tea in the Florian (the oldest tearooms in Italy) overlooking Piazza San Marco, or relax on the beaches of Lido, and see that there is more to Venice than the usual prancing about in gondolas like all the other tourists. You’ll see that there are a plethora of family run restaurants and dainty little hotels dotted around the city, all a while you are wandering the street of arguably one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
4. Brighton, England
I recently stayed in Brighton with my friend, and it was such a good weekend, the best even. Brighton is an already popular destination, but I feel in the summer, it is such a pleasant way to visit somewhere fun, quirky and decent very easily.
Built beside the sea with a pebbly beach and pier, which boasts a few questionable, but jolly fun rides, and find that Brighton is a magical place. Explore the North Lanes and see the antique and vintage shops that are an ultimate favourite of mine, or take a look into the giant Regency palace with its Middle Eastern roofs that are iconic for the city. You will be spoilt for choice with how many places there are to eat so 100% the ideal place to stop if you are a fatty/foodie like me.
Brighton can be enjoyed for a long weekend so make sure to stay at the many B&Bs littering the likes of Regency Square and all along the promenade, so you can easily look out onto the sea and Brighton’s energetic vibes. I said go in the summer, but it is also a good place to go if you have Christmas presents to buy or lots of general shopping (aka. presents to get for yourself) so really any time of year is good fun!
5. Seville, Spain
My parents and I visited Seville last summer, and it was gorgeous. The weather is glorious, the city is packed with things to do: shopping, restaurants, historical attractions, and there are very decent hotels that are on booking sites, e.g. Expedia, for super cheap rates. I stayed in a hotel called the Hotel Sofia (I can’t remember the actual name to be honest) and it was £200 for five nights or something ridiculous like that. I didn’t even get a chance to see the deals on AirBnB, which is also a great option.
I think Seville is perfect for a long weekend, so I think forget about Barcelona or Madrid and instead go to one of the main cities of Andalucia. Take a trip to the Alcazar of Seville or Plaza de Espana, or just wander the streets and see the old fashioned styles of Mediterranean living, such as sheets are draped between the building tops like a canopy to create shade. Something which has been happening since the time of the Romans and before.
A small warning though: please do not take a ride in the horse drawn carriages as I felt sorry for them as they looked sad and hot in the boiling Spanish sun, and please avoid the Ball-fighting Ring as we are boycotting that, cool?
6. Bath, England
This city is a place of leisure. Everything is stunning. The food. The shopping. The whole aesthetic. I mean the entirety of the city is “listed” as an important historical site and it is in the government’s interest to renovate it so you know its going to be nice.
There is lots to do in Bath from shopping in the newly build shopping areas or taking a trip around the famous Roman baths; so this place will not disappoint. Like Brighton, which carries the same feel as Bath, except obvs. Brighton is by the sea, you will find so many B&Bs to stay in or if you want to be more fancy there are more luxurious options. I’ve been told that Bath is ideal for a pre-Christmas get-away as its got one of the best Christmas markets so maybe something to keep in mind for the later half of 2017.
And is those things don’t persuade you … Kevin Spacey said this was his favourite place in the world. (Don’t make me find the reference, I promise I did read it somewhere, and no, I cannot remember where.)
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
Okay. I don’t know much about Denmark, other than its super nice place to live, super clean and the people there are super blond. I have seen that in the space of January alone, three different sets of people I know have taken a trip to Copenhagen, and my parents went last year and were not disappointed. So this place definitely had to make it onto my list. It is a north European country, not that long a plane journey, so excellent for a weekend away, like most of the things on this list. The flights will be super cheap, and like all European cities check out the AirBnBs as there will be some down right awesome/quirky places to stay for very excellent prices. In fact, with most places I visit nowadays, I look at the costs to stay in a decent AirBnB before even looking at the hotels. You can even rent islands on AirBnB, that’s how awesome it is.
So there you have it! My list of places to visit in 2017. I know I apologise, I have made you increase that bucket list of yours to so many places you will be destitute by the end of the year. But I have always been the type to put holidays before most other things, as you just can’t get through the year without something to look forward to. And what better way to get you through the year than booking a impromptu trip abroad and having an stupendous adventure somewhere new!
Vive le 2017!
Images & Gifs:// Jennie Watkin, tumblr.com