One year ago we visited England for the first time. We thought London would be a great place to spend our Christmas holidays, so we booked an appartment for 10 days just outside of the city.
We always knew cities weren’t our favourite travel destination, but a few days in London were something we had on our wishlist for a while. Especially during Christmas!
Our first day was spent walking along the Thames for hours, wishing every passerby a merry Christmas. Although we love the calm of hikes in the wilderness, there was just something warming about this walk in the festive streets of the city. Everyone was so happy and that got us in a very festive mood as well!
Four days of our trip to the UK were spent in the city centre and Mojo accompanied us on two of these days. We walked through London with Marijke’s step sister and her fiancé who lived in the area at the time.
The city centre was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Although all those lights are a complete waste of energy, it was so overwhelming and beautiful that somehow that thought did not come to us. We had some delicious cupcakes in Crumbs and Doilies, a store that we knew from watching Jemma’s Youtube channel. We ate dinner at Jamie’s Italian, it was delicious.
London was beautiful, and it was great to see the architecture and other features we’d seen in pictures so often before our trip.
During our stay in London we quickly realized that citytrips really aren’t our thing. Although we would definitely spend a few days exploring a city centre again, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever spend 10 days in such a busy area.
We’d rather sleep in a little tent in the middle of nowhere rather than on a queen sized bed in a hotel room, however crazy that may sound.
There was one city though that Marijke really wanted to visit. We spent an amazing day in Brighton! It’s a lovely town next to the seafront with narrow streets and quite a cozy atmosphere for a city.
There’s something about this beach town that we adore, somehow everyone is kind, spontaneous, and in a great mood. We especially loved walking through the lanes, visiting small stores that were all so dog friendly, at least compared to London where it was horrible to find a dining place. It’s definitely a place we’ll visit again.
We bought tea at the Bluebird Tea Company, ate lunch at The New Club, and Mojo enjoyed playing and running after seagulls on the beach.
Although our visit to Brighton was amazing, and London was spectacular, we had to take one day off to escape from the buzz of the city lifestyle. Before we booked our hotel, there was one nature area nearby, we really wanted to visit. New Forest.
As you know, we love spending time exploring in nature. Our country doesn’t have large forests so we knew we would love our trip to the South of England.
Early one morning we set off to Lyndhurst – which at that point was easy, we had finally gotten a bit used to driving on the wrong side of the road.
Lyndhurst is a village in Hampshire. It is situated in the middle of the New Forest national park. It was definitely a public attraction, but that was to be expected as the surrounding area is stunning and a great place to visit.
We had been lucky all throughout this holiday, the weather had been nice to us. On this particular day it was brisk, slightly foggy during the morning, but the sun was bright and there was barely a breeze.
From pasture trough forest to heathland
When arriving at Lyndhurst we parked at an information centre to see which route would suit us best. We wanted a long hike through nature and found a trail of approximately 12 kilometers. We were even offered a brochure that listed all dog-friendly cafés along the way, which was perfect because we had obviously taken Mojo along to join us on the hike.
The New Forest is an unenclosed national park with pastures, forest, and heathland. Although most plants were not in bloom, the lovely autumn colours and amazing weather allowed for us to take some pictures that we will cherish for many years to come. We much prefer to photograph these memories than taking snaps of the Tower Bridge.
After gathering all information we needed, we took our car to a nearby parkinglot on the edge of the village.
Our hike started on pastures with crisp grass as the temperatures were just around 0 degrees. Since the parkinglot was nearby it was still quite crowded, there were numerous families with little children enjoying their last hike of the year. Mojo played with several dogs before we entered the forest.
The forest was stunning, unlike one we had seen before. It was very muddy and as the map was not as easy to follow, we had to find our way around small creeks and large puddles. But this was much more fun, and it’s always so interesting to see how easy Mojo deals with these situations.
Where dogs run right through and over all obstacles we encounter, people have to find a way to get to their destination without being covered in mud – it’s actually insane that this is something we fuss about.
Whilst we enjoyed the stunning views of our surroundings, Mojo explored and ran around playing in leaves and gnawing on sticks. It’s safe to say all three of us had an amazing time.
After about 90 minutes we arrived to a large open heathland area. We always love to see the difference in vegetation when we exit a forest and enter a new area.
We saw numerous wild horses roaming around, grazing just outside of the forest, not phased by all people passing by. Although we take most pictures on our DSLR, Jordy took out his phone to make some panorama shots and we’re glad he did because they perfectly show the amazing views as well as the lovely weather.
A lovely encounter
We entered the forest again and passed by a number of houses whilst we made our way towards a small café. It had been fairly quiet for a while when we suddenly heard something drop in the grass behind us. We turned around and saw a dog standing up to the fence of his yard. He had thrown his toy over the fence and invited us for a game of fetch. Marijke threw the toy for him a number of times and when we continued we saw another couple approaching the dog.
We had lunch in a large tent outside of a café. We enjoyed some lovely warm soup and hot chocolates, it was just what we needed to warm up and keep going. Mojo got to enjoy some meaty snacks as well, of course.
At that time we did not have a hiking GPS, and we definitely could have used one! We’re not entirely sure but it seems as though the second right we took was the wrong one. We didn’t follow the trail we set out to walk, but that might have made it more adventurous and that’s just the way we like it!
We eventually made it out of the forest and walked back to our car through the lovely village, after what was a much longer hike than we had anticipated. Lyndhurst has stunning houses, with small shops and cafés on every corner. New Forest is definitely an area we will visit again when we take our future home on wheels to the United Kingdom, and we can’t wait to explore the area further!