2019 has been a year filled with lots of travel and I’m grateful to have been able to explore more of the UK as well as visit new countries, new cities and return to some old favourites, having brand new experiences in them all.
Here’s where I went and what I have planned for 2020.
In February, I headed to Valencia with freelance friend Emma, for a city break and were blessed with warm weather and our apartment was close to the local market, which was perfect – all that fresh orange juice just on our doorstep alongside other amazing produce.
Read about our trip here: Top 10 things to do in Valencia
In February I also headed home after almost 2 years and spent some quality time with family in both Nairobi and Mombasa, as well as attended the wedding of our dear sister in law.
You can read about 10 moments from Kenya that sparked joy here: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/03/01/travel-moments-from-kenya-that-have-sparked-joy/
March was the month I was most excited about – I finally got to go on my trip of a lifetime, which was my prize for winning The Post Office Blog Awards in July 2018, to India. I went with my dear friend Priyam and we landed in Delhi and then travelled to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Mumbai, and made a special stop in Osian, which was part of my quest to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors.
You can read about my India Itinerary here: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/04/29/my-india-itinerary-delhi-jaipur-jodhpur-osian-ranakpur-udaipur-and-mumbai/
You can read about Osian here: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/04/19/retracing-my-ancestral-roots-in-osian-the-gateway-to-the-thar-desert/
I spent a quick 24 hours in Amsterdam with Holland America Line to celebrate their newest ship. Highlights included visiting the Rijks Museum and eating at the Michelin starred restaurant Rijks.
Over the Easter bank holiday, Amit and I headed over to Bradford-on-Avon for the long weekend and had an incredible time with great weather, visiting National Trust properties and soaking up the early sunshine.
We stayed at Widbrook Grange which I highly recommend, and it is a dog friendly hotel. Read about it here: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/05/01/a-staycation-in-bradford-on-avon-at-widbrook-grange/
By now you know I loved food themed press trips and so when I was invited to attend the Grenada Chocolate Festival in June it was a massive resounding yes from me, and what a trip it was! If you are planning to visit the Caribbean, would highly recommend Grenada and if you can time your visit with the Chocolate festival, it is truly an amazing experience.
Read about the festival here: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/06/12/the-grenada-chocolate-festival-2019/
7. New York
Blogger friend Sima and I also headed to New York in June for a girly holiday which involved sightseeing, rooftop bars, gourmet food and lots and lots of shopping! It was a fantastic trip and we are already planning to go again next year!
Read about our trip here: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/07/08/5-days-in-new-york-the-ultimate-guide-on-what-to-see/
8. Studley Castle
The week we got back from New York, Sima and I headed to Studley and stayed at Studley Castle, an adults only hotel by the Warner Leisure Hotel group and where you can do lots of activities, watch live performances, go to the Spa and have a fantastic staycation.
We tried our hand at Archery which was another first for me and something I absolutely loved!
No year is complete without a trip to Devon, and we headed to Plymouth and stayed at Boringdon Hall which was just superb. They have an excellent Spa, fantastic food (the 7 course tasting menu is really special) and it is the perfect escape for some R&R.
Coventry may sound like an unlikely place to head for a staycation but the Laura Ashley Tearoom was an excellent reason, especially as it had just been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the Afternoon Tea Awards 2019.
We stayed the night having a girls night in there and it was buckets of fun!
Paris is always a good idea and in mid- September Emma and I headed there on the Eurostar, Croissant and Prosecco on hand, and had a wonderful time eating and drinking before taking the train to Reims and Epernay for a press trip to the Champagne region.
The Champagne region has always been on my wish list and an opportunity for a press trip presented itself and we visited both Reims and Epernay, both within easy reach of Paris, and had a wonderful time tasting various Champagne from different houses and seeing the buzz during harvest time.
Read about Epernay here: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/10/04/visiting-the-champagne-a-corker-of-a-time-in-epernay/
In October I returned to Lisbon with my sister in law for a girly break and we had a fantastic time.
Lisbon is an unbelievably underrated yet very accessible city full of sunshine, culture, panoramic views (as it is built on 7 hills), romantic cobbled streets and amazing food. It is perfect for a city break and there is so much to do and see.
I particularly loved how the vibrant colours all over the city contrasted with its historical charm. With castles, colourful streets and custard tarts to look forward to, I very much hope my post encourages you to visit Lisbon if you haven’t already!
Read about our Tuk Tuk tour: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/10/22/a-tuk-tuk-tour-of-lisbon-with-local-tuk-tuk/
In November I headed to Hamburg on a culinary press trip and explored the Hanseatic city, the second biggest city in Germany, and an upcoming destination in its own right. It’s perfect for a city break or longer depending on what you want to immerse yourself in – be it the thriving food scene, the plethora of historical sites, or to catch one of the concerts or performances at the stunning music hall.
Read all about it here: https://www.binnysfoodandtravel.com/2019/11/22/travel-guide-top-13-things-to-do-in-hamburg/
The week after Hamburg, Sima and I headed out to Seville but you’ll have to wait until 2020 to find out why 😉
My final trip of the year was to Cyprus for a much needed break with family just relaxing and re-charging before the new decade. We ate, drank, did a Winery tour, went on a Segway tour and had some much needed soulful time by the ocean.
You can read about my previous trip here if you are planning a trip to Cyprus.
So far in 2020 I have:
- Panama at the end of March booked with fellow blogger friends Emma and Sima
- Kenya (dates TBC)
- Canada (dates TBC)
- New York (dates TBC)
- France (dates TBC)
It is also Amit and my 10 year Wedding anniversary in April and so we will be booking a trip to celebrate that!
This year I will also be doing another solo trip so as I firm up plans for that will keep you posted!
What have been your travel highlights for 2019 and what are your plans for 2020?
Let me know in the comments below xx