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Within just a few hours of arriving, Bucharest was already one of my favourite European cities. I'm excited to share this post with you guys because so many of my followers and friends have said Romania is not a country they would have thought of visiting. But after I had such an amazing time there, I couldn't wait to share this post with you to encourage you to travel to this beautiful city. I spent a few days solo exploring Bucharest and it was one of my favourite solo trips to date. It's a perfect city for exploring whether you're alone, with friends or on a romantic weekend away. If you've visited Prague or Budapest, Bucharest is like their arty, colourful, quirky little sister. The city has so many different sides to it, from the history and vibrant culture, to the great party and food scene.

Absolutely Lucy at Arthur Strada Verona, street art in Bucharest

How long do you need in Bucharest?

Bucharest is such a lovely small city, it's perfect for a weekend trip. You could easily just spend 1-2 nights and manage to fit in most of the sights. I had a full two days in the city, plus two extra chilled evenings, and I managed to see pretty much everything! If you stay in the Old Town, you'll be walking distance from most of the main sights, plus lots of lovely bars, restaurants, parks and markets. I found I never even needed to use public transport because it was so easy to walk everywhere.

How to get to Bucharest & is it safe to travel solo?

It's really easy to get to Bucharest from the UK and very cheap if you regularly check for flights. I flew from Stansted Airport late on the Friday night and arrived back in the UK around dinner time on the Monday. The flight takes around 3 hours and with the time difference it can mean arriving late in the city. However, I arrived at 11pm and found it really easy to navigate my way to my apartment by Uber. It took around 20 minutes to drive from the airport to where I was staying and it felt very safe. This is what I want to stress the most – Bucharest was a very safe city for a solo female traveller. Even walking alone at night, I always felt very safe and confident.

Absolutely Lucy, streets of Bucharest, Romania

Where to stay in Bucharest?

I knew most of what I wanted to see and do during my time in the city was based around the Old Town so I made sure to book accommodation around this area. There are lots of great hostels, hotels, Airbnbs and apartments around to choose from. On my first stay there, I chose to stay two nights in an apartment which I found super reduced on Booking.com and turned out to be absolutely lovely! Then for my final night, I stayed in a private room in a hostel which also gave me my own window-ledge over looking the city. Both were fantastic places to stay and I was very impressed at how far my money went in Romania.

Top 8 places to eat & drink:

There are so many great bars and restaurants to check out – I wish I had been there for longer so I could visit more of them. If you're planning a Bucharest stag do or hen do, you'll be spoilt for choice for places to go out and celebrate. My top 10 are based on the places I loved and some top recommendations from my Romanian pals that I will definitely be visiting next time!

  1. Aubergine Restaurant, Old Town – amazing healthy food with fantastic vegan and veggie options
  2. Nomad Skybar, Old Town – rooftop bar, super Instagrammable inside and great food
  3. Lacrimi și Sfinți, Old Town – authentic Romanian food with recipes dating back 100 years
  4. Care' cu bere, Old Town – the most well known restaurant in the city, beautiful and traditional food (pricier)
  5. The Urbanist, Old Town – fancy coffees and cocktails in a cute leafy bar, or outside in the sunshine
  6. Upstairs Rooftop, Bucharest – bright and colourful rooftop bar with an a la carte and full menu
  7. Bistro Acuarela, Bucharest – an artist's café with burgers & cocktails, plus you can create your own art!
  8. Gradina EDEN, Bucharest – huge outdoor leafy terrace, cheap drinks & food plus great live music

Absolutely Lucy at Pasajul Victoria, Bucharest, Romania

The top 5 most Instagrammable locations:

Bucharest is a hugely Instagrammable city – that's not why I visited, but it's a nice by-product of the trip when you can get some awesome pics! The mix of different styles of architecture, modern touches and vibrant colours make it a perfect place to jazz up your Insta-feed. Now while I'm a big believer in putting your own unique spin on photography and trying to find lesser known locations. If you only have a short trip and want to hit the highlights, these are the top 5 most Instagrammable locations in Bucharest:

  1. Pasajul Victoria – the Umbrella Alley! A riot of colour down a cute little side street.
  2. Cărturești Carusel – the famous bookshop. One of the most beautiful bookstores I have ever seen.
  3. Stavropoleos Monastery Church – a stunning Eastern Orthodox Church dating back to 1724.
  4. Nomad Skybar – the most Instagrammable bar in the city and even has rooftop views!
  5. Strada Arthur Verona – while the street art was a little disappointing. It's colourful and surrounded by cute little streets.

Top tip: If you want to have any of these places to yourself, I recommend going early. I went early in the morning and had each place entirely to myself. I also saved the most popular spots such as the bookstore for Monday morning and it was a lot quieter.

Absolutely Lucy in Bucharest

Check out these other hidden gems across the city:

Vintage & Markets

Bucharest was an absolute gem for vintage shops and antique markets dotted around the city. Keep your eyes open when you walk around, I just stumbled across all of these great little finds.

Architecture & Art

The architecture was one of my favourite things about the city. But I loved the contrast of all the more classic styles alongside some of the most vibrant and colourful street art. A great place to see local art work is the Art Walk Street where several local artists display their works which are also for sale.

For key architectural sights – don't miss the Palace of the Deposits and Consignments – it's truly spectacular. And also check out Cantocuzino Palace and Hala Traian (which also houses a food market) for some very impressive buildings. I also really recommend visiting Biserica Rusă din București (Bucharest's Russian Church) which is incredibly beautiful. I was staying nearby and watched as a wedding procession arrived to the church bells – just beautiful.

Absolutely Lucy at Carturesti Carusel, bookstore

Parks

It's always lovely to have green spaces in a city so you can escape when the sun is shining. I had a lovely time exploring Cismigiu Gardens and ended up walking around the whole thing. As well as a boating lake, there is also a section filled with huge swans and birds, plus a café and a food & gifts market. Really recommend for a great place to enjoy a different side to the city.

I also heard fantastic things about Carol Park – one friend said it was her highlight of the whole city – but sadly I didn't have time to go. It has a huge lake and monument in the centre. If you have time, Văcărești Lake and Lake Dâmbovița also look amazing for serious nature views – I'll definitely be visiting both on my next trip.

Have you been to Bucharest? Would you like to explore more of Eastern Europe?

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*This libraries post is a collaboration with Holidu

I've always been a bit of a bookworm and my love of literature has followed me round the world from bookshops, to libraries, to book swaps in hostels. I'll admit I've never gone tech and swapped up my paperbacks for a Kindle because I just love the feeling of slamming a book closed when I finish. It's a satisfaction that can't be beaten. Those of you who have been following my trip to Romania on Instagram will have seen I visited the rather beautiful Cărturești Carusel bookshop. It was even more incredible in real life than from the pictures in this post. Wherever I travel, I love to visit bookshops and libraries – one of my faves I've seen was the New York Library – and lose myself in the stacks. This post is for all my fellow bookworms who just love to lose themselves in the pages of a good novel.

10 unmissable libraries for the literary traveller

Europe has such a fantastic selection of libraries to offer the literary traveller, from the old school to the more modern styles. When travelling is all about discovering different cultures and traditions, what better place is there to truly indulge than its libraries? From the second you walk in the door, you can smell the history and the creativity immersed in these countless volumes. Rare books and architectural masterpieces await the literary traveller, ready to envelop the senses. If you're a true book lover, then Holidu – the search engine for holiday rentals – has the perfect list for you. From the classic to the sleek and chic, these are the must-see libraries to plan into your next European getaways.

Libraries around the world, Carturesti Carusel bookshop in Bucharest, Romania

Top 5 modern libraries

1. Wirtschaftsuniversität Bibliothek - Vienna, Austria

Go against the classic Baroque style and majestic rooms of Vienna's beautiful national library. Instead, seek a more modern vibe when you visit the library at the University of Economics. Just a short walk from the Danube lies this futuristic six storey building which houses 745,797 books, 59,009 e-books and 1,014 newspapers. The original library dates back to 1898, but was destroyed by arson in 2005. Renovated with a modern twist, now the innovative interiors use bright lighting and sinuous movements are like something from another planet. Open daily 8am to 8pm.

2. Warsaw University Library - Warsaw, Poland

Modern and colourful, head to Warsaw University Library in Poland where over 350,000 volumes await the avid reader among us. Located in the city centre and founded in 1816, the new building was opened in 1999 and features a terrace with four different gardens. Don't miss the entrance where there are several writings in various languages including Plato's in Ancient Greek and another in Ancient Polish. Receiving multiple accolades for its beauty, the entire outside of the building is in patinated copper and the greenhouse-like building blends with the vegetation which climbs up the exterior towards the roof garden. Open all week, 9am to 9pm.

3. Royal Library - Copenhagen, Denmark

Dive into 200,000 volumes at Copenhagen's Royal Library – a true neo-modern jewel known as the "black diamond". Overlooking the Strait of Øresund in the historic district, the black cube was built as an extension of the old library in 1999. It bewitches on the outside with its curated lines and glossy black granite and glass surface, while on the inside it seduces with its twisting lines, wide spaces and escalators. In addition to its seven floors, the terrace can accommodate as many as 600 people for events such as concerts and plays. Open daily from 9am to 7pm.

Follow me to libraries around the world, Carturesti Carusel bookshop in Bucharest, Romania

4. Central Library Oodi - Helsinki, Finland

Of course, Helsinki's brand new Central Library Oodi had to be included in this list, only inaugurated at the end of 2018. Home to 100,000 books in 17 languages. The futuristic building has an imposing three-story structure made entirely of glass and wood. A masterpiece of Finnish architecture, the building is also eco-sustainable and looks from some angles like a ship, and from other angles, like the waves. Close by the city centre, it's worth visiting to study, work or even express your own art. Open midweek 8am-10pm / weekend 10am-8pm.

5. Stadtbibliothek am Mailänder Platz - Stuttgart, Germany

Think minimalist style for the final modern offering on this list – the new civic library in Stuttgart. Opened in 2011 and designed by Korean architect Eun Young Yi, this architectural gem spans eight floors. A "big white cube" like no other, the symmetrical entrance and spiral staircases offer a view of the interior from all angles. Holding 500,000 volumes within the external cubic structure and a wash of white colour that pervades the interiors. Open Monday to Saturday 9am-6pm.

Carturesti Carusel bookshop in Bucharest, Romania

Top 5 old school libraries

1. John Rylands Library - Manchester, United Kingdom

Seizing the top spot on my list is a stunning neo-Gothic building housing 1.4million items. John Rylands Library in Manchester took 10 years to build and was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her late husband. Designed in 1889 by architect Basil Champneys, the library is in Deansgate, in the heart of the city. Don't miss The Reading Room, with its high columns and vaulted ceiling complete with intricate decorations. It will provide the perfect photo backdrop when visiting this truly iconic building. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm / Monday to Sunday 12-5pm.

2. Stiftsbibliothek Admont - Admont, Austria

Explore the largest monastery library in the world in central Austria, an enchanting building designed by Austrian architect Josef Hueber. A man who firmly believed in the ideals of the Enlightenment and thought that the spaces should also be "enlightened". Completed in 1776 and in a beautiful Baroque style, the building features statues and frescoes. There are four bronze statues in the corners of the main hall, representing death, the resurrection, Hell and paradise. The entrance to this enchanting building costs €11.50. Open all week 10am to 5pm.

3. Kloster Wiblingen - Ulm, Germany

Head to the south of Germany, to Kloster Wiblingen to find a breathtaking 72m long library filled with frescoes, statues and extravagant coloured marble columns throughout. Dating from 1903, this Baroque Benedictine monastery is one of the best examples of Rococo art. The architects idea was to preserve the treasures of wisdom and science and to visit it will only cost you 5€. Holds 9,000 volumes and open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Carturesti Carusel bookshop in Bucharest, Romania

4. Biblitoeca Marciana - Venice, Italy

Home to 622,804 volumees, 13,113 manuscripts and 24,069 16th century manuscripts. The Marciana Library contains one of the most important collections of Greek, Latin and Oriental manuscripts in the world. Located in San Marco Square, Venice, it's one of the largest and most prestigious libraries in Italy. The building, which was designed by Sansovino, was built in 1588 and has an unusually elegant style for the time. Many contributed to the beauty of its interior, including painters of the calibre of Titian and Tintoretto, among others. Open during the week 8:20am - 7pm / weekend 8:20am - 1:30pm.

5. Sainte-Geneviève Library - Paris, France

And last, but by no means least, a stunning Parisian library is a must for this list – especially when it's one dating back to 1850. Home to 1.5million volumes, 85,000 manuscripts, 15,000 periodicals and 87 databases. This library is located in the 5th arrondissement and was completed in 1850. A mixture of architectural styles, the main façade is in Neo-Renaissance style and its shape is long and rectangular. The body of the reading room is divided into two large naves, decorated with cast iron columns. Engraved on the walls are the names of the most important authors. Open Monday to Saturday, 2pm to 6pm.

Have you been to any of these libraries? Or have you visited Cărturești Carusel bookshop in Bucharest? 
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*This Vietnam e-visa post is a collaboration.

Vietnam remains one of my favourite countries I have travelled and it is a place I would recommend anyone visit if they want a taste of authentic Asia. It's rough around the edges in a way that Thailand has lost, and at times a challenge to travel in the more rural areas. But it still retains the charm, luxury and vibrant culture that we all love about Asia. I dived headfirst into travelling Asia solo, and while Thailand stole my heart, Vietnam touched my soul. It was the people, the history, the culture and the food. Despite spending a much shorter time travelling Vietnam, it really connected with me in a completely different way. The countryside and stunning nature blew me away, as did the kind and welcoming people who made every day an adventure.

Read my previous blog posts from Vietnam:

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Travelling Vietnam – what visa do you need?

One thing that has changed hugely since I travelled Vietnam five years ago, is the visa. When I visited Vietnam in 2015, I had to have a visa before arrival which meant sorting it from the UK and getting a company to visit the embassy on my behalf. The only other option was getting it on arrival and potentially facing big queues. It was not too complicated because I used a company to help, but it certainly wasn't as easy as it is now! The rules have changed with the times and as of 2018, now it's possible to get a Vietnam e-visa online before you travel and avoid the costs and long queues when you arrive in the country.

Applying for the Vietnam e-visa

It couldn't be easier to get your Vietnam visa with E-Visa! It takes just a few minutes to fill out the online forms and a one-off payment of £39.99. It's this payment that means you avoid the stamping fee of up to $50 and waiting in line when you reach the border. You can pay for the visa safely and easily through Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal. Within a few days you will receive the visa documentation for you to print and take with you, show this on arrival and you're in! It's much quicker, easier and cheaper than previous visa applications and will help you avoid getting your visa on arrival.

The Vietnam embassy are currently advising travellers to get their visa before arrival as they can no longer guarantee travellers will get past the passport check without trouble. Many travel bureaus will also offer this service, but be careful to check whether you actually get the visa. Some actually only get you the approval letter which means you still have to get the visa on arrival and face further costs.

If you're looking for accommodation for Vietnam – try these areas to find some great deals:

Hanoi, Vietnam

Visa requirements for Vietnam

If you are planning on travelling to Vietnam and come from the UK, you must meet certain Vietnam visa requirements. This is subject to change and will differ between countries of citizenship. Always double check the embassy's website and government advice for the most up-to-date information. Currently in 2019, the regulations state that all travellers including children require their own Vietnam e-visa to travel. However, citizens of some countries including the UK may stay for up to 15 days in Vietnam without a visa.

You can get the Vietnam e-visa before you even book your flight to Vietnam. But your entire stay, when booked, must fall within 30 days. You must also have at least one address in Vietnam to list on the application (this could be your first night's accommodation). You can only travel in and out of Vietnam once on this visa, you must apply for a different visa for multiple entry. Also, you must adhere to the following:

Hoan Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam

Don't forget when you apply:

Applications can be made 24/7 via the website. You will need a passport photo and a scan of your passport ready to upload to your application. If you submit your application with e-visa, the team will check for any of the common mistakes that can cause an Vietnam e-visa to be declined. They will contact you directly with any issues before submitting your application.

If you wish to stay longer than 30 days in Vietnam. You will need to contact the Vietnam embassy to submit an application for a different visa. We all just want to get on with the fun part of travelling. So finding great ways to minimise the paperwork and admin of travelling is so important. Skip the queues and get on with enjoying your trip – travelling Vietnam has never been easier!

*all images by cloud.shepherd

Have you been to Vietnam? Would you like to visit? Does applying for visas stress you out?

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Bangkok is one of the most popular destinations in the world. There are plenty of things to see — from beautifully serene temples to the colourful hustle and bustle of the city. While the city can be touristy with all the comforts of home and more, there is so much more to see. If you’re looking for a different experience, you’ve come to the right place. Here's 5 ways you can experience the land of smiles like a local and immerse yourself in the breathtaking charms of the Thai capital.

Eat on the Bangkok streets

One of the best ways to experience any culture is through their food – and Bangkok is a world-renowned street food haven. Eat like a local, as it will only cost you a few baht to gorge at the various markets. Delicious satays along with custardy khanom krok tarts are just some of the many treats the street market have in store for foodies.

Choosing the best markets to eat in can be hard, but a general rule of thumb is to check out if locals, especially the elderly, are buying from the shops you’re eyeing up. Additionally, the best stalls to check out are those that specialise in a single dish, as they have likely cultivated that recipe over the years. Try heading out to Silom Road in the central business district and follow the hoards of office workers during lunch hours to authentic cafeterias and stalls.

Temple views, Bangkok, Thailand, 2019

Visit a floating market

Floating markets are a unique shopping experience. Take a long-tail boat down winding waterways and take a look at the wares surrounding you. Don't forget to keep your eyes on both the boats and at the market stalls! These floating markets sell everything, from souvenirs and handmade products, to fresh seafood and locally harvested fruit. Visit the largest and oldest floating market, Damnoen Saduak, or choose Klong Lat Mayom to avoid the crowds.

See live horse racing

Live horse racing is popular among Thais as they get to watch exciting races, socialise, and make bets. It’s both a serious enterprise and a favourite pastime for Thais with 188bet pointing out that while most players place a few bets on their favourite horses for fun, others will really take the time to scope out the competition and research the horses’ competing and their form. But don’t think you need to understand the intricacies of betting to enjoy live events. On a casual afternoon, head on over to one of the two horse racing courses in the city, the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, and the Royal Turf Club.

Watch (or join) a Muay Thai class

Muay Thai, or Thai kickboxing, is the national sport. You can even find it practiced on more remote islands such as Koh Lanta, Koh Yao Noi, and Koh Pha Ngan — that’s how popular it is. There are plenty of places in Bangkok where you can take classes. Check out classes at the gym frequented by Thai royalty, the Siam Hotel. Or learn from a master at the Muay Thai Academy, run by Grand Master Toddy. He has a long history of training the very best kickboxing champions.

Temple views, Bangkok, Thailand, 2019

Ride a motorbike taxi across Bangkok

Often referred to as motorsai, one of the best ways to get around Bangkok is through riding a motorbike taxi. Of course, there are still the tourist-y tuktuks that you can take. But if you’re aiming to get to your destination quickly, then motorsais are the way to go.

There are commonly lined up near tourist spots and malls and the drivers wear numbered orange vests. Motorbike taxis around Bangkok don’t cost that much, as the Bangkok Post states that for the first 2 kilometres, you don’t need to pay more than 25 baht. You’ll only have to pay an extra 5 baht for the next 3-5 kilometres. Then 10 baht for the next 6 to 10.

Enjoy Thai culture

With something new around every corner, Bangkok can offer you a trip that surprises you every time. Be a local, practice your Thai, and immerse yourself in a rich culture. Enjoy a holiday filled with exciting activities, beautiful markets, and delicious food. Don't forget to go to an evening show of the local dances – it gives a fascinating insight into the culture.

Have you been to Bangkok? What was your favourite Thai cultural experience?

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A Norfolk holidays post is long overdue from the gal who was born and raised on the North Norfolk Coast. I'm super excited to share this post with you guys because it celebrates all that I love about my home county. For those who don't know, I grew up in a beautiful part of the UK – rural Norfolk. But there is so much more to Norfolk than just tractors and – if you haven't visited – you have no idea what you're missing! It is easily one of the most diverse and nature-rich areas of the UK. It boasts everything from stunning coastline to forests, wetlands, vast open fields and even the city. Maybe I'm biased, but I've always been so grateful that I had the chance to grow up here. It made for an epic outdoor childhood that probably led me to loving the adventurous lifestyle that inspired this blog.

Something that put me off writing this post for a long time was that I actually didn't want to bring attention to the area. One thing I really love about Norfolk is the way it has remained relatively untouched by tourism and the crowds of holiday-makers. The towns and villages still retain a quaint and quiet charm, and you can still easily find empty beaches even during the summer school holidays. I don't want that to change, and I know many other Norfolk locals really treasure that the county is one of the UK's best kept secrets. So my plea to you guys, is that if you do love the sound of Norfolk. Please visit respectfully and help maintain and protect this beautiful part of the world.

Absolutely Lucy in poppy field, Norfolk

How to get to Norfolk and where to stay?

Norfolk is easily accessible from London – taking just 1 hour 45 to reach King's Lynn by train, or two hours to Norwich. You can also reach Great Yarmouth by train in just three hours. If you're driving – even better! Driving to Norfolk or hiring a car is a great choice because it will give you so much more freedom to explore the different villages and beaches at your leisure. Norfolk is rural and there are so many beautiful places to explore, but it can be costly if you have to pay for taxis, or slow if you have to rely on buses and trains. It's definitely an area where you will relish the independence and freedom that comes with having your own wheels. Read more details of how to reach Norfolk from your area.

How long should I visit for my Norfolk holidays?

If you're visiting Norfolk – you can easily squeeze a lot into a weekend. If you're staying at a lovely hotel on the coast and fancy a few days of beach-hopping, it's perfect for a weekend break. However, Norfolk is also ideal for a week, or two-week stay if you fancy it as a summer holiday with the family. There are so many beautiful places to explore – you could either choose a base for the whole holiday and take day trips out around the county. Or, you could move around, spending a few days based in Norwich and visiting the city, before heading to the North-Norfolk coast.

Hotel recommendations for Norfolk

Norfolk has a huge selection of beautiful boutique hotels to choose from, so if you're looking for a place to stay you'll be spoiled for choice. There are also a huge number of caravan parks, holiday homes and B&Bs which you can easily find if you search online. Here are some of the hotels that come highly recommended for the area:

Norfolk coast at Cromer, Absolutely Lucy on beach at pier, Norfolk holidays

Top beaches to visit on the North-Norfolk coast

Best for old-fashioned Norfolk charm

If you just love the idea of old fashioned seaside villages and a good dose of Norfolk charm, then head to the likes of Cromer and Sheringham. Full of quaint little seaside shops full of knick-knacks and gifts, cosy and traditional Norfolk pubs and of course, all the fish & chips and ice cream your family can eat!

I had a little staycation in Cromer a few weeks ago, check out my blog post to read about my experiences.

Best for beach huts and kids – pack your bucket and spade

Now I'm a bit beach hut obsessed as my family actually owns one at Old Hunstanton and I've lovingly painted and helped decorate it with all the seaside charm. But I know I'm not the only one who loves checking out the beach huts and keeping the kids entertained with buckets and spades. If this is more your scene, head straight for Old Hunstanton or Wells-next-the-Sea which both have a gorgeous array of wooden huts along the seafront with plenty of space for the kids to play.

Best for huge deserted beaches and dog walks

If you love Norfolk for it's wide open skies and huge empty beaches, then Holkham and Brancaster are the beaches for you. Perfect for getting away from the crowds, and with plenty of space for the dog (or the kids) to run off some of that energy before heading back to the hotel.

For those bringing the dog on their Norfolk holidays, you can check out a full list of dog-friendly beaches and the best locations in the county for a walk. These include some of my closest beaches including Old Hunstanton and Brancaster, plus those further afield including Holkham and Mundesley.

Best for fish & chips on your Norfolk holidays

If you follow your tastebuds when you travel, then the classic fish & chips will be top of your Norfolk bucket list when you visit. One of the UK's finest traditions has to be chippy chips by the sea with mushy peas and I always make sure to get it when I come home. Every town and village along the coast will have several fish & chip takeaways and restaurants – the difficult part is choosing one! Here are some of the top choices along the Norfolk coast:

Norfolk holidays take you to the countryside, Absolutely Lucy posing by hay bale

What else to do during your Norfolk holidays?

Get active

Norfolk holidays are a perfect opportunity to get out and get active. Why stay in when there are so many amazing places to explore? Whether you prefer beaches or woodlands – there's plenty of places to get moving. Why not hire bikes and go cycling or hike some of the great nature trails or coastal routes? If you're a fan of horse-riding, there are lots of stables and places to take lessons around the area. Check out this full guide for Norfolk walking, cycling and horse riding routes.

For those who love watersports, or have always wanted to try, head to the beaches! Hunstanton Beach is home to a Watersports School where people of all ages can get specialist instruction in kitesurfing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding and power kiting. You can also try Hunstanton Sailing Club for a host of water-based activities including canoeing and kayaking. They have in the past hosted the British Kitesurfing Championships and regularly have summer events with taster sessions for the whole family.

Culture & Heritage

The county is an absolute hive of culture, heritage and history so prepare to dive in when you visit. From the Hanseatic heritage of King's Lynn to the vast fishing history that surrounds the Norfolk coastline, to the Royal traditions of the Queen's winter residence, Sandringham House. You'll be spoilt for choice of places to visit, but perhaps it's worth organising your Norfolk holidays to fit in with some of the many events happening in the area. Why not plan to visit the King's Lynn Hanse Festival or the Sandringham Flower Show?

If these don't tickle your fancy, you could plan a visit to one of the many historic National Trust properties across the county for a look at our local history. The combination of magnificently preserved buildings, stunning gardens and wide-open skies is always a winner. Personal favourites include Oxburgh Hall, Felbrigg Hall & Gardens, and the Blickling Estate – find out more on Norfolk National Trust properties here. There are also a great range of stately homes that aren't managed by the National Trust, including Houghton Hall and Holkham Hall which both have beautiful gardens, host festivals and events, and regular exhibitions of the arts.

Woodlands

Norfolk holidays can be about more than just beaches. Why not stray from the coastline and head inland to discover the amazing woodlands we have right on our doorstep? From Sandringham Park and Sheringham Park, to Holt Country Park and even parts of Thetford Forest. There are also Burlingham Woods and Foxley Woods which is famous for the annual bluebells in May. Plus enjoy Wayland Wood, Bacton Wood and Mousehold Heath which are all stunning in autumn.

If you just fancy a good walk but don't mind where you go - choose from this great list of walking routes across Norfolk.

Norfolk Lavender, Absolutely Lucy in field of lavender

Festivals and events

Despite being such a sleepy, quiet part of the UK, Norfolk still manages to smash it when it comes to festivals and events. Every year you can expect a packed calendar of music, arts, sports and much more taking place across the county. King's Lynn and Norwich provide busy hubs with various festivals taking place throughout the year including:

Elsewhere around the county, you'll also find a range of events taking place including the following:

Find a full list of events here. And a short drive into Suffolk, you will find:

Norfolk Broads

I've lived in Norfolk all my life but it was only this year when I finally visited the Norfolk Broads. It's a huge draw of tourism for the area and after spending an evening cruising around the waterways, I can understand why. This national park is made up of 125 miles of man-made waterways set against beautiful countryside. Visitors can hire cottages on the water, or boats during their stay. Find out more about visiting the Broads in this article. You can also read my article on booking a cruise as your next trip!

Attractions & Kids

Whatever the weather during your Norfolk holidays, there's plenty to keep the whole family entertained. With lots of great attractions and plenty of fun activities for the little ones, it's a perfect holiday destination. Top attractions include:

Absolutely Lucy in the forest, Norfolk

As someone who has grown up in North Norfolk and started her career at the local newspaper. I have always been a cheerleader for the area. I'm so proud to share this Norfolk guide with you, which I hope will help you plan your dream holidays. And for those who have never thought of visiting before. I hope I've helped to show you a whole new side to the county that will inspire you to visit.

While I have tried to feature a huge range of events, locations and things to do in this post. I was also very aware that it had hit the 2000 word mark. So if I've left out anything you would like featured, please do feel free to contact me at hello@absolutelylucy.com

Have you been to Norfolk? Has my guide helped place it on your UK bucket list?

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