We have officially been Londoners for over 4 months now so I thought it was time for an update! We went through plenty of up and downs to get to this point but I can hand on my heart say we are absolutely loving it. People warned us about arriving in the deep, dark, wintry months but we thought “what better way?” experience it at its worst and work our way to a sunnier disposition (still waiting for that to arrive…). One thing, among many, that we have come to comprehend (but still take the piss out of) is how English people LOVE to talk about the weather – I absolutely get it now and we have joined the conversation.
Further to job market fears and people’s warnings before we arrived, we both managed to secure jobs relatively fast (Andrew went through a less tedious hunt than me). What we were both surprised with here is the willingness of Recruitment Agents to get you under their wing, sweet talk you, fight for you, bad mouth the competition, then drop you if you don’t succeed first time. We also managed to find a lovely little flat in Fulham (West London) with minimal stress and teamed up with another Kiwi couple – thanks to Kiwis in London.
Since we spent the majority of our life savings getting to this point we haven’t done a lot of overseas travel – a short trip to Amsterdam and another family visit to Geneva. What we have done however is make the most of our weekends exploring London and its surrounding areas with a few overnight stays and day trips. Not having a car doesn’t restrict us in any way as the train network is great and not too hard on the pocket.
The photos featured below are a collection from London and some of its glorious parks, Windsor, Bath, Wales and from our most recent trip to Brighton.
Some of the highlights…
When we first arrived in January we lived in a short-term apartment in Bayswater, a short walk from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens – we have come to love these and many other green spaces in London. These are absolutely critical to the majority of us who don’t have any outdoor living space and are amazing on a sunny day for a walk/bike/row boat/picnic with friends/squirrel spotting. And yes, girls do sunbath in their bikinis (so weird!).
Richmond Park is another great day trip from London, it’s the largest of the capital’s Royal Parks and home to Red and Fallow deer. When we visited in early April and were lucky enough to see a huge number of deer roaming around the park – some people only see a few or none!
For my birthday in April we spent a night in Bath – 1 ½hr train ride from London – known for its Roman-built baths. We explored the quaint city sights, hiked the Bath Skyline Walk, had the delicious (and famous) Sally Lunn Buns and treated ourselves to a dip at the Thermae Bath Spa. It’s a lovely place to spend a day or overnight trip – but be warned it does get quite busy in the shopping district.
For the early May Bank holiday (aka Public Holiday for us Kiwi’s) we headed west, hired a car and drove to Wales. I had high hopes of doing numerous hikes along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path but unfortunately the weather was against us! We had a lovely two night stay in St Davids, however, exploring numerous castles and other small coastal towns.
The dizzying heights of the white cliffs at Seven Sisters – we did the 22km walk from Seaford to Eastbourne. Another perfect day trip which will get your heart rate up ascending and descending the multiple peaks. But be careful on those cliff edges, we saw a rescue mission that day after a man fell off!
Our latest venture was to Brighton in the latest Spring May Bank holiday. Only 1hr by train from central London – it’s perfect for a day getaway to the coast. Due to the miserable weather we wallowed away the morning in the Brighton Pier and sunk a few craft beers at two pubs, but once the sun came out it was like Brighton literally came alive. The famous North Laine was bustling with people and the rocky beach front was the perfect spot to catch up on some Vit D – I even managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping with a reluctant husband in tow.
Look out for our next blog about our upcoming Whisky tour trip to Scotland (Edinburgh, Islay, Glasgow) – mid June.