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Miniature, minute, and delightfully accurate down to the very last detail, the tiny model village in the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ is open every day with the exception of Christmas and is certainly one of the more unusual things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water. There’s even a replica River Windrush with real water trickling through the pint-sized settlement! Here’s how to visit Bourton on the Water Model Village, including tips on when to go and a brief history of this quirky Cotswold attraction. A history of Bourton on the Water Model Village There’s a reason that this is the only Grade II listed model village in England, and it’s not just because the buttery stone façades of the teeny tiny abodes (80 in total) and replica shops are made of local Cotswold stone. Instead, the one/ ninth scale replica of the village of Bourton-on-the-Water took five years to build in the 1930s. Opened to the public on the Coronation Day of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937, the miniature Cotswolds Village was the brainchild of a previous publican of the Old New Inn, a pub which is still in operation to this day. Complete with churches (the main church […]

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Tiny, secluded, and off the beaten path, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the tiny village of Stinchcombe is miles away from the closest hint of habitation. After all, step outside the car and you’ll hear nothing: silence with the exception of a nearby bird-call or perhaps the sound of the wind rustling through the trees. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, Stinchcombe lies along a tiny country lane somewhere between Dursley and North Nibley (famed for its towering Tyndale Monument that sits on a steep hill, presiding over the town) and is just half a mile or so from the ever-busy M5 motorway. The tiny community of under 500 residents is home to just one church, a drinking fountain, and the buttery stone houses that are so synonymous with this region of the English countryside. Once upon a time, the village would have also have had a village shop and post office, though these closed in 1956. Before planning a visit, just be clear that this is the kind of the pretty Cotswold village you simply stop through en route to somewhere else, as there is little by way of attractions to see once there! Luckily, gems […]

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Meandering alleyways, centuries-old stone cottages, and panoramic views over towards the glittering Mediterranean Sea: it doesn’t get much more stunning in the South of France than this. St Paul de Vence is a fairytale village perched high on a hilltop somewhere between Nice and Vence. A place that’s frozen in a time-warp of the past, here’s a quick guide to the best things to do in Saint Paul de Vence… Why you should visit Saint Paul de Vence on your next French Riviera Trip Often dubbed the ‘second most beautiful village in France,’ Saint Paul de Vence seems a world apart from the glittering azure sea, the bustling city of Nice, or the star-studded streets of Cannes… And yet the town is just a mere few kilometres away. As such, if you’re looking to lose yourself among cobbled lanes, want to soak up some history, and wish to see for yourself, then you should visit St Paul de Vence next time you’re in this part of the Côte d’Azur. Best explored over the course of at least half a day, if you want to truly soak up the ambience, consider staying for a longer stint. Things to do in Saint-Paul […]

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If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to visit Paris at night, as well as the best nighttime attractions the City of Love has to offer, then we have you covered! From strolling along the Seine to enjoying dinner to spending a night at the opera, here’s your complete guide for things to do during the perfect evening in Paris… But first, an introduction to Paris by night… There’s a reason the French capital is known as the City of Light! And yes, although the French Capital is named for the city’s great contributions to the Age of Enlightenment, nowadays, thanks to the many twinkling lights and outdoor delights, the City of Light has been given new meaning. Experience the sunset in Paris Before meandering along the River, enjoying a romantic dinner, or simply experiencing Paris after dark, start your evening the right way by enjoying the sunset from one of the many beautiful locations that the French capital has to offer. For example, the view from the Arc de Triomphe, the Parvis du Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre, and the viewing deck of the Tour Montparnasse all provide perfect bird’s eye perspectives of the city. For more golden hour inspiration, check […]

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It’s just about 9 AM when I stroll into Noen coffee house. Suitcase in tow, I’m off to Brussels airport… But not before I’ve sampled some of the best of café culture that the tiny city of Mechelen has to offer. Off the beaten path and away from the crowds of Ghent, Brussels, or Bruges, Mechelen is best-known for its 13th-century Saint Rumbold’s Cathedral and bar-studded Vismarkt (fish market). Address | Leermarkt 24, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium Noen: Where to find the Best Cafe in Mechelen Wander into Noen at any given moment and you can expect to be greeted by friendly staff, a countertop stacked with mouthwateringly delicious homemade cakes, and some pretty chic decor. All minimal design with plant highlights, there are a few well-chosen posters on the walls, the decor is the brainchild of Tim Nuyts. Meanwhile, the tableware is an earthenware mix that’s carefully been selected to complement the rest of the vibe of the café. The crockery is actually created by artist Marie Laure, and if you fancy bringing home an extra special souvenir from your time in Belgium, you can even purchase some of the plates and bowls in the café! How to visit Noen in Mechelen Open […]

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Picture perfect Provence has been a dream destination for travellers for centuries. And once there, it’s easy to see why. Breathtaking mountainscapes are crowned by fortified castles which, in turn, give way to meandering waterways and medieval towns. Here’s your ultimate guide on how to spend the perfect 5 days in Provence by taking the Eurostar from London to Avignon! #ad | This post is written in collaboration with Eurostar and @London. However, all words and opinions are my own.  How to get from London to Avignon with Eurostar You may well not know this, but once a week, from May until September every year, Eurostar offers a direct service between London and Avignon. No getting off, no lengthy queues, no switching trains: pure relaxation right up until the moment the train pulls into the Avignon TGV station. And at under six hours journey time, reaching Avignon from London is closer than you’d think. More details about London to the South of France here. We personally journeyed in Eurostar Standard Premier, which meant two delicious meals en route, plenty of coffee, and even a glass of wine! Trust me, the upgrade is worth it! Between chatting, spying fairytale castles out the window, and reading […]

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After you’ve seen the Gingerbread Houses on Damrak, cycled along the canals of Jordaan, and admired the paintings of the Rijksmuseum, there’s a whole other side of off the beaten path Amsterdam that’s also worth exploring. Here’s your guide to the best of hidden gems, unusual things to do, and secret spots in Amsterdam you won’t want to miss on any visit to the Dutch capital! Shop on Nieuwe Spiegelstraat Close to the Rijksmuseum, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat is home to all manner of boutiques and independent shops. From clock vendors to ceramic sellers, this antique lover’s heaven lies to the South of the historic city centre and has been home to all kinds of stores for well over three centuries. Visit today, and you can expect to discover stores selling authentic Delft blue tiles, ceramic tulip vases, and even some cool vintage clothing shops. De Waag, the oldest remaining non-religious building in Amsterdam Now a pleasant restaurant in the heart of a square that overlooks a particularly pretty canal, you would never have guessed that De Waag was once part of the historic city walls of Amsterdam. Dating all the way back to the 15th-century, De Waag is the oldest non-religious […]

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Between endless vineyards, timber-framed façades, and a wine culture dating back millennia, it’s no surprise that Bourgogne is one of those French regions that’s a total must-see once you’ve enjoyed the glittering lights of Paris and soaked up the sun of the Côte d’Azur. Here’s your ultimate guide to the best of beautiful villages and towns in Burgundy that will absolutely steal your heart! Mâcon All pastel hues with a Provençal feel, the pretty town of Mâcon can be found somewhere between Chalon-Sur-Saône and Lyon. The town also happens to be the birthplace of the famous 18th-century politician Claude-Philibert Barthelot de Rambuteau (I dare you to find a town in France that doesn’t have at least one square or street named for Rambuteau!). Other highlights of this off the beaten track settlement include admiring the ruins of Cathédrale le Vieux Saint-Vincent and enjoying the works of the Museum of Fine Arts, which is housed within a former Ursuline convent. Nearby, the Beaujolais vineyards are often said to produce some of the best wines in Burgundy. Cluny With a population of just under 5000 residents, Cluny is easily one of the smaller towns in Burgundy. Cluny is characterised by its central […]

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Thanks to its glittering central pyramid and status as the largest art museum in the world, the Louvre is one of Paris’ top attractions. Home to the likes of the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, here are eight must-know things before visiting the Louvre! What started out as a medieval palace during the 12th-century has since been transformed into a Royal Residence, and nowadays, a world-class museum. Spanning 60,600 square metres of publically viewable exhibition space, the collection comprises of over 30,000 pieces across eight departments. Things to know before visiting the Louvre for the first time There are two entrances to the Louvre Of course, the main entrance to the Parisian museum can be viewed from the nearby Tuileries garden. After all, it’s in the 1989-opened central glass pyramid. But what many visitors to the Louvre don’t know is that there’s actually a second, more hidden and secluded entrance close to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The ‘hidden’ entrance’s name is Porte des Lions and it can be accessed if you cross over the roundabout near the glass pyramid as if you were heading into the Jardin des Tuileries. Just before you reach […]

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I’ll be the first to admit that my visit to Aachen was mostly planned with the sole intention of seeing the city’s iconic cathedral, a place steeped in history and surrounded by legend. The city of Charlemagne is a place known by many names; Bad Aachen, Aix-la-Chapelle in French, Aken in Dutch, and Oochen in Luxembourgish. Perfect to explore over the course of one day, or a long weekend if you have a little more time, here’s a guide to the best things to do in Aachen! Why you should visit Aachen on your next German trip The historic city of Aachen can be found close to the Belgian and Dutch borders, making it a meeting place of sorts. Just an hour away from Maastricht by bus, half an hour from Cologne via train, and around an hour away from the Belgian city of Liege, you need no longer than around a day to explore this small German city. Humans have inhabited the site where Aachen now stands since prehistoric times and recent finds have been dated all the way back to around 3000 BCE. During Roman times, the popular city of Aquae Granni was founded as a result of the natural […]

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