Souvenirs From Across the World: Welcome to England

Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books is hosting a brand new, amazing sounding, you-don’t-want-to-miss-out-on feature; Souvenirs From Across the World. It’s a chance for people from all around the world to share their culture, their hometown, their country, and connect with other bloggers.

This week is all about getting to know everyone’s countries, already plenty of people have posted from their hometowns and now I’m posting from England.

Souvenirs From Across the World

There’s still time to sign up, if this sounds like something you’re interested in. There’s plenty of information about the feature itself here, and you can check out Marie’s post on her hometown here. Subscriptions close on the 25th of June so seriously get going because this sounds like an amazing features, hopefully one we will see more of, and I am so excited to be taking part.

Welcome to England

I have travelled a lot in recent years, with plans to travel more in the near future; I’ve stayed as close to home as Scotland in March and gone as far as Cancun back last August. When it comes to England itself I haven’t seen much of the country I’ve lived my whole life in; my home is Southend and it has been my whole life, London has quickly become my home away from home, and I spent three years in Brighton while at University there. Other than that there is still the whole of England for me to explore when the opportunity presents itself.

First, some background on England. It’s a small country, part of the UK along with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We’re known for our fish and chips, the royal family, and tea, but there’s so much more to us than just that. However if you do come to England, seriously, get some fish and chips at some point.

Southend Beach Huts

Southend

I’ve lived in Southend-on-Sea my entire life and honestly can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s a small seaside town, although technically not actually on the sea. Southend actually sits on the mouth of the Thames Estuary so you can see Kent on the other side of the water, I guess Southend-on-the-Thames-Estuary didn’t have the same ring to it as Southend-on-Sea.

When it’s the summer and the sun is out we get rammed with tourists and happy families down on the beach; eating ice cream and fish and chips, spending money in the arcades, screaming on the rides at Peter Pan’s, wandering down the longest pier in the world (it’s caught fire at least twice though so I’d visit before someone proves the adage that these things come in threes). I’ve spent many a day with my friends down on the beach; eating the fresh doughnuts and walking out towards Kent when the sea’s out.

Just a short travel away there are more coastal towns which are worth a visit; one such is Leigh, home to Old Leigh and Hadleigh Castle which are both well worth going to when the sun is shining.

Hadleigh Castle

One of my favourite things about Southend is that, just a short train ride away, you can find yourself in the centre of London.

London

London has quickly become my home away from home. I spent a lot of my free time there and it’s one of my favourite places to be because there is always something going on. It’s the city that never sleeps; everywhere you turn there’s something new to see, something exciting to do, something amazing to discover.

If shopping is your thing then we have Oxford Street, stretching from Tottenham Court Road all the way to Marble Arch, with all the high street flagship stores and always plenty of people. It’s the place to go for shopping and there are plenty of hidden treasures down some of the side streets if you wander far enough; like St. Christopher’s Place, full of bars, cafes and restaurants it’s at the same time so close to the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street but it feels so far away.

Oxford Street

Then there are the markets. Stand to one side and sample some of the food they have to offer. If you have the time spend an hour losing yourself inside the maze that is Camden Lock Market. I’ve done it myself, spent hours wandering around visiting stalls I’ve never seen before or since. There are plenty of markets all over London all offering something different; Maltby Street Market, Portobello Road, Brick Lane, Covent Garden, Southbank, all of them offer something different so make sure you check out what they’re known for before going. If you’re in London though I’d recommend checking out at least one or two of the markets.

Covent Garden and Neal's Yard

Then there are the tourist attractions themselves which, although crammed with tourists especially in the summer, are still well worth the visit. The Tower of London is a must, full of England’s history and close to the Thames it’s a brilliant photo spot, London Zoo is a great day out if the weather is nice and you have the time to spare, the Reptile House is where they filmed a certain scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The London Dungeons shows a more gruesome side to history but the actors there and the stories they perform make that history come alive. There’s Leicester and Trafalgar Square, Madame Tussaud’s, the London Eye. There are plenty of museums to go to if that’s more your thing; the V&A, the Tate Collective, Somerset House, the National Museums of History and Science.

Tower of London

Then at night the city comes alive. Take in a Broadway show or have a few drinks in one of the many bars in and around London. Whether it’s the local pub or a more eclectic one there’s always an amazing experience to be had.

I could take for days and days about all the things there is to see and do in London, instead I will offer two pieces of advice for anyone visiting London:

  • One; walk as much as you can. Sure you can take the tube, it’s convenient, cheap and fast. However why would you want to be stuck underground when you can get around on foot just as fast and see an array of sights while you’re at it. Walk from Piccadilly Circus, to Covent Garden, to Neal’s Yard and see what else you can discover along the way.
  • Second; get lost in the city. Start in the middle of Oxford Street, or the edge of Southbank and take the side paths seeing what you discover. There’s always something amazing to see in London and you’ll be surprised what you discover if you give it a chance.

None of these photos belong to me, with the exception of the Tower of London ones, all were found through Google images.

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77 thoughts on “Souvenirs From Across the World: Welcome to England

  1. I love this post so much! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit London and this post both satisfies the need and intensifies it madly! The sights just look so absolutely lovely, the pictures are amazing! I’ll definitely follow those two pieces of advice, I’d LOVE to get lost in such a beautiful place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank so much, I’m glad you liked this post so much, and you should definitely visit London if you get a chance. It’s an amazing city and honestly the pictures/facts I included are only a select part of it, there’s so much more to discover!
      Oh that’s a must. In fact it’s something I do pretty much every holiday I go on as well, you always see so much more that way! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post, makes me want to visit England (and London especially) even more than I did. And it’s a great advertisement for London as well! I’d like to find those coloured storefronts and your advice to get lost in the city seems spot on. Thanks for sharing! Southend looks great too, I’d love to explore parts of the English coast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed my post! 🙂
      Oh London is a brilliant place to visit, and there’s so much more to see than what I featured, honestly what I showed is just a small part of London. The coloured storefronts are part of Neal’s Yard. I find that’s the best way to see any city you visit, to get lost, you always discover so much more that way!
      Southend is my home so it’s always going to be close to my heart but there are so many other places along the English coast that would be wonderful to visit one day if you get a chance! 🙂

      Like

  3. I am so planning on getting lost in London. I’ve lived in a town where we could see the English coast when the weather was good, and I never took the ferry or the Eurotunnel. What a waste for a girl passionate about the English language! I loved the pictures of your town, it looks lovely. I can totally picture myself living in such a place. Thank you so much for this post, it has reminded me how much I wanted to visit England.

    Like

  4. It’s my life’s dream to visit England one day and I love all the places you mentioned! I will definitely have to see them all when I get the chance to visit. Thank you so much for sharing! I especially love Oxford Street and the Tower of London 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Then I hope you get to visit England, and London, soon 😀 and I hope you really love it too!
      Oh yes and there are plenty more places London has to offer but I like to think I’ve picked up the main ones everyone should visit at some point! 😀

      Like

  5. Wow, this post left me with all levels of wanderlust!!! Thank you for this. ❤️ The photos are beautiful and the way you wrote about London is even more beautiful.

    Honestly, I’ve only left my country once and that was just for a few days in Hong Kong. Traveling more is definitely one of my goals once I graduate. Actually, backpacking through Europe is one of my many, many dreams — and if ever this does happen, I’m pretty sure my stop in London would take me the longest because the city, the lively atmosphere, the sophisticated culture — I just want to soak it all up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad you liked this post, and that it left you with wanderust as well. It’s how I feel when I see travel posts so it’s nice to be able to inspire that feeling in others! 😀
      I would love to backpack around Europe as well actually. One of the best things about living in England is that Europe is so close but it would be amazing to take an extended trip all over the continent.
      There’s so much to see in London, honestly what I wrote is just a small part of the city so I can easily imagine it would take a while to soak up everything the city has to offer! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m kind of envious that you’re surrounded with all that gorgeousness, to be honest! It does look like London has way too much to offer. I really hope I get the chance to explore the area one day.

        Here’s to all our future traveling adventures! 🎉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I kind of feel that way about a lot of other countries out there, there’s always something to see out there. London does have so much to offer, there’s probably a lot of things I haven’t even discovered and I live near there!
        Yep, it would be a great experience for you to explore the city for yourself, see it with your own eyes! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh, I love this post Beth! You make London look a whole lot better than what I’ve seen 🙂 maybe I’m just too used to it. I definitely agree about the tube though. Outside of London, I’ve only been to Oxford, so I haven’t traveled much in the UK. Oxford street is definitely my favourite though 🙂 and Portobello road. The National History Museum is amazing too! Have you been to any bookshops like Daunt books? That’s got to be one of the best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Fatima. I still seem to have a sort of nostalgia about London at the moment, though I do agree there are downsides to the city (must be the same with everywhere though!)
      Whenever I’m in London I seem to end up down Oxford Street 😀 I love all the museums there are as well. I seem to end up at the V&A the most, they have some amazing exhibitions on a lot of time (the Alexander McQueen one they did last year was my favourite of the lot!)
      I haven’t been to Daunt yet, although I’ve been to a few other independant bookstores in and around London. Daunt is definitely on my list now though! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yeah, totally agree. The V&A is great! I love the National History Museum too 🙂

        Definitely go to Daunts if you come soon 🙂 there are a few around London, and I think the one in Marylebone is the biggest.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There’s so many great museums in London, V&A and the National History Museum are just two of those.
        Next time I have some free time in London I’ll definitely check out Daunts, I work quite close to Marylebone so it won’t take me too long to get there! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I want to visit England! Eat fish and chips and drink some tea! I really love the historical buildings, especially castles. Getting lost in the city would be amazing, but with my sense of direction, I hope can manage to find a way back to wherever I’m staying. Haha. Oh, and I hope to experience a football match if I ever go to England.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well in that case England is the place to go, we have so much tea (it’s pretty much what I always drink), and plenty of fish and chips and history (the history is one of my favourite parts of England in general!)
      Getting lost in any city is something I try and do, I find you always discover so much more that way, the same definitely applies in London because there is so much to see and do.
      Ohh, football is not my area of expertise, but I imagine you’d be able to find one or two games over here if you ever come to England 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this idea! Was there a particular date for doing this post, or is this for the whole week? I’ll check out the link you provided to the host’s blog 🙂
    As for your post, it was amazing! I’ve been to London, when I was ten years old 😂 and there’s not a whole lot that I remember, but it’s probably one of my favorite cities I’ve visited outside India 🙂 I totally agree with the exploring part – though I didn’t do much exploring when I was ten, I remember the city to be beautiful and vibrant and so full of life! It would be amazing to go back there as an adult and explore every little detail.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh it’s a brilliant idea! And I’m so glad I’m getting the oppertunity to take part. We have the whole of this week to make the post, I’m guessing it probably wouldn’t be the end of the world if we posted it a litte later than planned! You should definitely check out the feature, and the host blog as well, you seriously won’t regret it! 😀
      I’m realy glad you liked my post as well, it’s been great introducing people to my city and all the things I love about London as well. London is an amazing place, definitely beautiful and vibrant and you must have loved it if you still have fond memories of visiting when you were ten! Do you plan to come back again sometime, explore more of London as an adult? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course I plan to come back again! And yep, I absolutely loved London when I visited and I know it’s hard to believe but a lot of the things there are etched in my memory 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah this was wonderful to read! Since I’m moving to England soon, there’s nothing quite like reading posts about how wonderful it is. 😃 I’m hoping someone will post about Norwich soon, since that’s where I’ll be! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In that case I’m really glad you enjoyed this post. And I hope you enjoy Norwich as well, everything in England is quite close together so you’ll be able to make weekend trips to London if you wanted to! 😀
      Norwich is an amazing place as well, I used to go there every year when I was little on family holidays and I have so many nostalgic memories from there. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. AH this post is everything ❤ And it makes me even more impatient for this summer, I love England and London so, so much! ❤ I have one question: where are those incredibly colorful houses? 😀
    I really love the beach in England, it might be weird but I feel like it's less crowded and I don't know, there's just something about it that makes me feel so, so happy. And London, I could talk for HOURS about my love for the city, it's always so busy yet I feel like I am at home everytime. ❤
    Thank you so, so much Beth for your contribution, I am SO happy you like that feature!! ❤ (and I'll be waiting for your great advice :P)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really glad you enjoyed my post, honestly it means a lot to me ❤ I am currently working on your recommendations for London (I'll probably send it as an email, I feel it's too long to post as a comment somewhere!) but I am also really excited for you to come to London and see the city.
      I did use two pictures of colourful houses so I'll answer where both are just in case. The first picture by the beach can be found literally in any seaside town, obviously the pictures I used is from Southend. The second is Neal's Yard which is near Covent Garden, it's an out-of-the-way spot but full of health food and herbel beauty products and remedies. It's a gorgeous street!
      There are some beaches that can get really crowded but then others which are more quieter. But I know what you mean, I love going down the beach on a sunny afternoon, there are always quiet spots around Southend! Oh I could definitely talk for hours about London, I feel this post is just a fraction of my favourite things about the city! 😀
      That's all right ❤ like I said I'm really really glad you liked my post, and I can't wait for the next stage of the SFATW feature.
      I will try and send you my recommendations for London tomorrow evening sometime. I will probably email it to you because it's kind of long at the moment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohh you are INCREDIBLE, thank you so, so much Beth, I can’t wait to read (and try to squeeze in a very tight schedule) ALL of your recommendations! Thank you ❤ ❤
        I am in love with these colorful houses, really, I'll have to remember to stop there myself then! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s all right ❤ hopefully you'll have enough time to get through a lot of everything London has to offer, and experience the very best of the city! ❤
        They are definitely a sight, and even better in person so yes you'll have to stop off there yourself if you get a chance! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I absolutely love it, and we already stopped by a couple times on our way to other places in England, Brighton, Bournemouth etc, I can’t just, not spend a day or two here ❤
        I am absolutely IN LOVE with your suggestions, really, I feel like I need to extend my trip to do it all now, because everything seems incredible and there are lots I had NO idea existed, THANK YOU ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh Brighton is amazing! I lived there for three years while I was at uni and fell in love with the city. I try and go back as often as I can because there’s still a lot there I haven’t seen. And while I haven’t been to Bournemouth myself my friend went to uni there and I know she feels the same about that city as I do about Brighton. ❤
        Oh yay! I'm glad they're useful to you, and that just means you'll need to make more trips to London in the future to do everything 😀
        That's all right, seriously if there's anything more you need to help plan your trip just let me know ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It is, I really liked the city! There are just so many cute and great places around in England, I just want to visit them ALL ahah ❤
        It is so, so useful, and obviously I'm going to come back a thousand times to London, it's a city we really can't get enough of, well, that's the case for me ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I feel like I need to discover more of England than what I’ve seen so far, your enthusiasm is really catching! 😀
        Well yay for return trips in that case! And I think that’s how I feel about a lot of cities I’ve visited and really really loved! ❤️
        Also I thought of something else that may be of interest during your trip, I’ll send you another email tonight about it! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Oh yes, same here, I’m really feeling the need to actually plan a trip soon, at the moment I haven’t really got anything in the works!
        That’s all right, I really hope you love your trip in London, and if I can suggest somethings for you to do then it’s a win win I guess! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Oh no, I always feel bad when I don’t have any trip planned ahah. I’m already thinking about the next one, after this summer, it’s crazy, I can’t stop. 😛
        You’re THE BEST, really, I can’t thank you enough, and you’ll be one of the reasons I will enjoy it so, so much ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      9. That has changed as of this morning! My sister has booked flights for me and her to go to Copenhagen in November! 😀 Now I have something I can actually start planning! 🙂
        I am aware I didn’t email you my additional idea last night, I’ll send it today. Been a crazy week so far, and it’s only Tuesday! 😀
        But that is seriously all right! ❤️ I really do hope you enjoy London and your whole trip, and I’ll be asking you to return the favour when I plan my next trip to France! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      10. AHHHH so jealous right now, I would love to go to Copenhagen someday. That’s awesome how quickly you plan out a trip ahah 😀 I hope you’ll have LOTS of fun 😀
        Oh no worries, that’s already way too sweet of you to think about me, thank you, I can’t thank you enough actually for your sweetness ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Well, I’ve never been either, and my sister mentioned it a while back but she’s booked the flights today so it feels a little more final at the moment! I’m sure it’ll be great, and I’ll come back with loads of photos as well! 😀
        That’s all right ❤ ❤ I wanna make sure you have the best time ever in London! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      12. OK, I have sent you some recommendations for London 😀
        I will keep thinking of more and if there’s anything else which comes to mind I’ll let you know, I think I got the main ones down for you!
        I sent it to your blog email account so hopefully it’s gone through all right and you’ve received it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      13. I have received it, not read in details yet but YOU HAVE INCREDIBLE SUGGESTIONS I am so glad I asked you!! Thank you so, so much for taking the time to write such a long email, I’m going to experience the city a whole other way thanks to you! If you have any Southend suggestions as well… like, where we can get tea together ? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Oh I’m glad you got it OK, I always worry when I send emails to new addresses something will get lost in the process. But yay, hopefully there’s some stuff there you can use during your trip, and if I think of more I’ll let you know as well!
        Ohh, I’ll think of some suggestions for Southend for you as well, and some places we can meet for tea too! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Those colourful houses remind me of the Harbour at Portree on the Isle of Skye! I miss Scotland so much and am super jealous of people that live in the UK (and the rest of the Europe) because everything is so close, transportation is functional and cheap and CASTLES!!! everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh, I really want to visit the Isle of Skye one day, I’ve been to Scotland before but really want to go back again! 🙂
      Yeah I love living in England and so close to Europe, it does make travelling so convenient for weekend breaks. We have a lot of history here as well which I do love, I’m a big history fan! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You take such good pictures. Mine are terrible. I think I’ll do a post on Philadelphia and certain cities on the East Coast of the US for this meme. London looks amazing in pictures. And so does your hometown. I love the beach. I own a house on a really large bay in Maryland that’s only three blocks from the beach. There’s nothing like sea life. 😊 I’ve always wanted to go to England. I was supposed to go years ago to visit my ex but that didn’t work out. Which market is the colored storefronts? That looks like a fun place, similar to what we have in Pennsylvania called New Hope. Is that a very artsy area? Seems like it would be. I love places like that. So, the tube is what we would call the subway here. We hardly ever have any use for it. Only people who live in what we call Center City Philadelphia use it to get around. You’re so right about walking. It’s the same way in Philly. You can get lost easily but it’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh most of these pictures I got through Google images, with the exception of the Tower of London pictures, those were mine.
      Yeah London always looks amazing in pictures and it’s pretty amazing in real life as well, and I’m glad you liked the pictures of my hometown as well. Southend is obviously a place close to my heart! 😀 I know what you mean, I don’t think I’d be able to live anywhere else but by the sea, hell even moving away from Southend feels too weird for me to consider at the moment.
      The coloured storefronts is part of Neal’s Yard which is near Covent Garden, it’s a kind of out-of-the-way spot but it’s full of health food and beauty products and remedies. It’s definitely a beautiful street though! 🙂
      Yep, tube, subway, underground, all the same thing. It’s great for getting around relatively quickly but I guess like you said it’s better to walk and get lost and discover something new! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad it inspired you to want to plan a trip, it’s how I feel when I see all these posts from around the world!
        It took me a while to do my post, honestly I wasn’t sure I’d get it done to post it yesterday but it was a lot of fun writing about my city. I’m sure it’ll be OK if you post something after the 26th, and even if not just post something about your city in general because I’d love to read about Philadelphia and I’m sure there are other people out there who’d agree with me. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohh, maybe do one for the fourth of July, that’d be brilliant to read! 😀
        That’s all right 🙂 I love reading about other countries and cultures so getting to share my own was a great experience. And other people seem to have loved my introduction to England as well which makes it worthwhile! 😀

        Like

  13. Thanks for taking us around England! I’ve definitely eaten some fish and chips and drank tea when I was there. I lived in Norwich, but I’ve made many weekend trips to London – the tube system is great, though I actually hate being underground. I found the city itself INCREDIBLY BUSY though, and admittedly I’m not super fond of crowds.

    Also those rows of colourful houses? Melbourne has something like that too. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s all right! I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I practically live off tea, fish and chips are more of a treat for the weekends! Ohh, I love Norwich, I used to go there on holiday every year with my family when I was little, I have a lot of nostalgic memories of that place.
      I have a very love/hate relationship with the tube. When it’s running well it’s great but when it’s delayed I cannot stand it. Most times it is super convenient.
      There are parts of the city that are really crowded but the rare few places that aren’t actually that bad. I’m not great with crowds either but I feel with London it’s kind of part and parcel of the whole experience.
      Ohh, they look really pretty. You always have houses like that by the beach don’t you, when the sun comes out and it’s a beautiful day they just look amazing! 😀

      Like

      1. Ughhh it’s been so long since I had fish and chips! OMG, did you? I didn’t know anyone who has been, haha. Whereabouts in Norwich did you go? The only thing I remember about it is my uni (I went to UEA) and Waffle House, because waffles.

        It’s super convenient, and I think if I lived in London, not Norwich, I would be a bit fitter HAHA. All that running up and down the stairs during rush hour surely counts as something, and I’m always late so I’ll be running all the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s been a while since I had fish and chips as well (sometimes I feel like I should hand in my British citizen card!) but actually the best fish and chips I’ve ever had was in Brighton so I should go back there and get them again! 😀
        We went to Norfolk and small seaside towns in and around there. It was where my mum and nan grew up so it’s kind of a tradition to go there for the whole extended family every so often.
        See I actually think the opposite! 😀 If I lived somewhere like Norwich I would do a lot more walking. In London it’s just more convenient to jump on the tube whenever I need to get somewhere but back in Southend I tend to walk a lot more.

        Like

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