Regularly escaping the UK with its temperamental climate had always been the plan.
Whether it was by ticking off the bucket list and trekking the rugged Wild Coast of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, or doing the budget list and navigating through boozy hen dos on the streets of Ayia Napa – If I could fly there, I would try there.
Then 2020 happened and suddenly we were put on a seemingly never-ending naughty step.
So when lockdown lifted in 2021 and the skies opened up again, I thought I’d have been the first to grab a golden ticket out of here.
But the random red-listing of countries and having to possibly quarantine on arrival and departure made me slink right back under my duvet.
It was only when a fellow travel loving pal, who was just as apprehensive, suggested that I follow her lead and play local tourist, that I finally saw a light – albeit a very dim one – at the end of the long tunnel.
Staycations may have long been a thing, but it just hadn’t clicked to me that the UK could be an escape from, well, the UK.
But I would soon discover that from London’s hidden ‘mini countries’ with their diverse cultures to the stunning villages on the fringes of towns like Oxford that there’s more than meets the eye and truly no place like home.
My first stop was Oxford, one of the most beloved and visited cities in the UK, but it was its lesser known Iffley – a seriously pretty little village on the outskirts – that brought me