A weekend away in West Mersea

This weekend we took a family trip to West Mersea. West Mersea is a small town on an island (just) in Essex. It is about 1.5 hours from London so makes for a very easy weekend away. With a population of just over 7,000 (according to Wikipedia) it is a lovely quiet seaside town. Being winter it was very quiet this weekend, however I expect it will get very busy during the summer months.

We stayed at an Air B&B house, which was perfect for 4 adults, 2 kids & a dog. Highlights of the trip were walking along the beach, watching the sunset and a short boat trip with the kids to see the mudflats. It has been 4 months since I saw the sea last, so it was very LOVELY to be by the seaside. I think the best thing about London is getting out of London, this trip reinforced that in my mind.

The beaches in the UK are quite different to the ones at home. One thing I find amusing about beaches here is the rows of little beach huts. I used to think the huts were sheds for sporting and picnic equipment, but now I can see they are little spaces for comfort and cups of tea. They are very cute and a little strange to this kiwi that would be perfectly happy with a blanket on the sand.

The other interesting thing about West Mersea is the crabbing. On the wharf the kids lower bangs of bacon, the crabs latch on & get caught in a net. They end up in a bucket for a while & eventually get released back into the sea!  An entirely pointless exercise, but hey a the kids seem to enjoy it!  

Hackney City Farm

Hackney City Farm is a 30min walk from my place and a great place to take my niece and nephew. We went this weekend, checked out the farm animals and then had some food at the cafe. The kids got to do some Easter activities too. It’s nothing like the farms you can visit in Wellington (Staglands was a favourite when I was a kid), but better than nothing. I understand they rotate the animals, bringing them into the city from a real farm.  

    
    
    
 

A day trip to Greenwich 

On Friday it was a stunning spring day, I took the bus & DLR to meet my friend at Royal Victoria DLR station. From there we walked to the Emrites cable car, crossed the river and ended up in North Greenwich. From there we got a bus to Greenwich town centre. The town centre is lovely, almost felt like a beach town, but that might have just been because of all the tourists. We checked out a little market and had a picnic lunch in the park. After that headed to the Royal Observatory & Planetarium.  There were too many people to make a wander around the museum enjoyable, but I loved the show at the Planetarium. 

There is quite a lot to do in the area and we didn’t have time for it all, definitely worth a trip back there. In particular I’m keen to visit Cutty Sark, the last clipper ship to sail between China and England. I’m also keen to visit the Maritime Museum.  

   

    
    
 

An unexpected visit to a wig shop

One of the things I love about London is how multicultural it is. You name an ethnic minority (or majority) and there is bound to be a group of people living somewhere in a cluster in London. The consequence is that there are shops and restaurants tailored for ethnic groups that in New Zealand there really isn’t enough people.

Yesterday I was in Walthamstow with friends and we went into a wig shop. It was a whole shop dedicated to wigs & hair products. It was pretty impressive and not something I’d seen before.  I admit I was a little overwhelmed so didn’t try on any wigs. Next time! 

 

2016 in London

I’ve been living in London for almost a year and have a love-hate relationship with this city. I can see that I need to make an effort to step out of the rat race and tip the scales in the direction of ‘love my city’.  So for 2016 I’ve promised myself 2 touristy things a month, thats 24 touristy things a year. I’m already behind as January was a crazy months for me. I’ll be flexible about when I do things, but the goal is 24 touristy outings in London during 2016.

My wish list contains things like:

  • Tower of London
  • Buckingham Palace when the state rooms are open (Aug/Sept)
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Greenwich and the Royal Observatory
  • See a West End show (a famous one)
  • Tate Modern
  • National Gallery
  • Museums (incl, British & Natural History)
  • Yoga class at the top of The Shard

There is plenty more and I’m hoping to do some random things too. You know, go to a new part of town and do what the locals are doing. A few weeks ago my brother and I ended up in Ilford and went to an Turkish restaurant, it was very traditional and the food was so good that it took me back to Istanbul.  London is a really good place to travel the world via visiting restaurants!