Category: Honeymoon Inspiration

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Bolivia Bound

Sofia has been exploring the world and has kindly taken us along with her on her travels. So far she’s showed us RajasthanSouth IndiaNepalMyanmar, the PhilippinesJapan, Cuba, and Peru. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from the final stop on her epic journey – Bolivia.

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At times Bolivia feels like it’s in a bubble, separated from the rest of the world. The country has such a strong culture and traditional dress that speaks of years gone by. And the landscapes seem to belong to another planet.

Throughout Bolivia you will find cholitas – women with long dark hair in plaits with beaded tassels attached to the ends. They wear black hats and large petticoats with huge Cinderella-style skirts, and on their feet they have schoolgirl-style socks and sandals. Unlike in parts of India, where things seem to be evolving to adopt western ways, Bolivia feels like it still very much embraces its culture, through the local dress, the food or the many band parades. There is an authenticity to the country even throughout the big cities.

When I arrived in La Paz, the first thing that struck me were the women lining the streets between the high rise buildings, each one selling her beautiful wares. Every turn you make reveals a new square and as you look out you can see the valley, scattered with square brick houses in uniform rows. Parades fill the streets with women twirling their skirts and men playing trombones. Everything here feels a little offbeat and everyone moves at their own pace.

The strangest experience I had in Bolivia was the San Pedro prison tour. Our guide walked with us around the prison walls, explaining that the prisoners have their families living with them inside and that they buy their own cell. The more money you have, the better your cell will be. There are no guards, justice is doled out by the criminals themselves. The prisoners run a cocaine operation – producing it, selling it to outsiders and apparently giving a cut to the prison. It was the craziest tour I’ve ever been on, that’s for sure.

Beyond the crazy though, are the beautiful landscapes. Copacabana and Lake Titicaca offer stunning mountain views at altitude – the most tranquil backdrops you can imagine. Take a trip through Uyuni and you’ll come to the world’s largest salt flats, which are an enormous white expanse that reflect like mirrors during the wet season. You’ll see flocks of pink flamingos, and beautifully colourful lagoons in shades of red, blue and green. The hidden marshlands and streams in the middle of the desert feel like something from Lord of the Rings – each new setting transports you somewhere new – somewhere magical and quite surreal.

From the Andean highlands to the Amazonian lowlands, Bolivia is so climatically diverse and incredibly interesting. Take the time to go and explore this beautiful country. Appreciate all of its charms and quirks and allow yourself to be amazed.

Sofia’s Top 5 Tips for Bolivia:

  • Get those layers on and venture to the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. I would recommend doing one of the longer 3/4 day tours to see all the ‘National Geographic’ landscapes.
  • Go wild at one of the many parties in La Paz.
  • Rummage through the never ending lanes off La Paz’s flea market where you’ll find yourself many a bargain, I picked up an 80s festival swimsuit and ‘spice girls’ style bomber jacket, both under £1!
  • Spend an afternoon at the Mirador Cafe in Sucre. Enjoy the tranquil laid back vibes of the city, whilst indulging in the panoramic view and one or, go on, two bottles of great red wine!
  • Catch a boat across Lake Titicaca to the tranquil island of Isla Rosa. Watch the Cholita women herding goats across the mountains and take in the beautiful scenery of the mountains sat against the sparkling lake.

 


 

Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here.

Sofia’s Photo Diary: True Adventures in Peru

Sofia is travelling the world and has taken us along with her on her incredible trip. So far she’s showed us Rajasthan, South India, NepalMyanmar, the Philippines, Japan and Cuba. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – Peru.

From the tribes who live within the Amazon to the ancient Inca civilisations, Peru is steeped in history. It’s a traditional land and the people in it praise the pachamama (Mother Earth). You can definitely relax and admire the beauty of Mother Earth in this country, but you can also be challenged by it and revel in the new experiences you’re bound to have.

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Throughout Peru there are tons of beautiful spots to hike and explore, like Colca Canyon – the second deepest canyon in South America, just off from Arequipa or Hauraz. Or of course, the most famous of all Peru’s incredible sights – Machu Picchu. I decided to opt for the jungle trek when I booked my trip, which was four days of pure adventure. We mountain biked through the towering mountains, sailing above the clouds. We whitewater-rafted through the valleys and zip-lined through the jungle. We walked the path of the Incas and learned how they built a city that would still be standing 500 years later.

From Cusco you can also discover the layered wonder of the colourful Rainbow Mountain. Or if you’re super brave, you can try your hand at cycling ‘Death Road’. Call me crazy but I wasn’t feeling quite that brave. Cusco itself has a clear Spanish influence, the cobbled streets of San Blas and the churches in San Francisco Square are distinctly colonial. It’s here you’ll find amazing flea markets with retro sports apparel for your inner 90s kid, and street food aplenty!

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In fact ceviche may just be a reason to travel to Peru alone. Peru, and more specifically Lima, is a culinary feast. Earning itself multiple Michelin stars, the city has endless high quality restaurants for you to sample. However, head to the streets for lunch and you’ll be equally impressed.

For a change of scenery, try Huacachina – a natural oasis in the desert. Get out on the dune buggies and explore, or try sandboarding and go sliding head first down the steep slopes, it’s a quick adrenaline rush! By night you can climb the towering dunes and look down across the land. Marvel at the curving structures as the shadows fall across the dunes at sunset.

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For even more jaw-dropping nature, make your way into the Amazon jungle from Iquitos, in the North of Peru. The town itself can’t be reached by cars, so you’ll find plenty of tricycles buzzing around. Around Belem market you can see witch potions, BBQ’d maggots on sticks, furs and animal teeth. You definitely have a feeling that you’re entering somewhere different, of different values and customs. Most restaurants will even offer an ayahuasca menu as this is one of the most popular places to try the traditional healing ceremonies.

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I spent 4 days at a retreat, La Luna del Amazonas, learning the ways of the shaman and having a total out of body experience. You can jump in a boat for several hours, float down the river and stay in one of jungle cabins, listen to the orchestra of creatures as they sing the songs of the jungle. There are birds calling, frogs ribbiting and insects buzzing. The fireflies flicker as little fish leap in and out of the water. You’ll see sloths, monkeys and dolphins. If you want you can even hold a tarantula or catch some piranhas for lunch!

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I spent 4 weeks in Peru, but only just scratched the surface. I’d love to see the surf and beaches in the north, do plenty more treks and explore many more small cultural treasures.

Sofia’s Top 5 Peru Tips:

  • Learn how to make ceviche. I did a lesson with in Lima, which I would very much recommend, Lima Gourmet.Whilst I didn’t find Colca Canyon the most rewarding trek, the town of Cabanaconde where you finish is really interesting to see. We were there over a festival weekend and watched women swirling in local dresses, whilst the men marched in the band with drums and trombones. Taking the time to see a village, slightly off the beaten track is well worthwhile to see how the Peruvians live outside of the modern cities.
  • Challenge yourself to the 2,500 steps to get to Machu Picchu. Be there to see the sunrise over the impressive ruins.
  • Try sandboarding in Huacachina, find yourself screaming as you fly through the dunes on the buggies!
  • If you are open to new experiences, head to an ayahuasca retreat in either the Amazon or Sacred Valley

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Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here. 

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Captivated by Cuba

Cuba photo diary

Our lovely Sofia continues to share her gap year adventures with us. Check out her stunning photo diary of Cuba and read her five top tips for anyone travelling to the island.

With each footstep I take through Havana, the further I become suspended in time. Tall, crumbling buildings, once full of grandeur and wealth, now crumbling but still full of character. Music spills into the streets, people tapping, clapping, singing; they rise to dance. They seem almost physically unable to resist the urge of the music around them. There’s colour and vibrancy everywhere – bright pink and yellow paint that flakes away from the deep orange brick. Blue soft top 1950s cars that roar past. There are no adverts, very few shops. Just roads filled with history and music. Women with cigars, men carrying the weight of a cello on their back, old cars fill the streets (spot a new one and you’ll be sure to find a ‘gringo’ inside – it’s a rental!)

Cuba photo diary

Part of the reason visiting Cuba feels like entering a time warp is the revolution, the resulting US embargo and the isolation that the island has felt ever since. Throughout Cuba there are museums, monuments and evidence of the revolution everywhere. Particularly in the noisy, bustling city of Santiago de Cuba, where street art depicting the political situation covers the walls. However, it’s apparent that despite the official communications celebrating the communist way of life the reality is very difficult for many. I spoke to a couple of taxi drivers who discussed smuggling American branded clothes and illegal satellites for WIFI, as life in Cuba is a simple one. Food is basic but tasty – meat, rice, beans and plantain. People dress simply in lycra and denim. They’re laid back and there’s a slower tempo to life.

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If you head to Vinales or Cinfeugos, you can expect to get around on horse and carriage. Just be glad you’ve got a seat – unlike the cowboys you’ll see galavanting through the fields on horseback without even a saddle! You’ll see the farmers wearing their cowboy hats with a cigar in their mouths as they walk through the fields. They’re heading off to one of the many sugar, coffee or tobacco plantations set in the countryside. If you stroll into town you’ll see the locals sitting in their rocking chairs watching the world go by. Pull up a chair and join them.

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Whilst these sleepy towns may seem quiet, at night salsa music fills the air. Every town has a Casa de Musica, a square where live music is played in the evening and the locals dance all night. Be prepared to be asked to join them! You’ll be escorted to the dance floor to be swirled to the beat of salsa, then returned to your table at the end of the song. Forget cinemas and tv shows, the evenings here are for socialising, dancing, and almost certainly a rum or two!

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The other joy of Cuba is its natural beauty. Outside of the charismatic cities, you’ll find beautiful waterfalls such as El Nicho, pristine white beaches with crystal clear waters, the most famous being Varadero (if you don’t mind crowds, it’s only two hours out of Havana), and brilliant spots for snorkelling and diving, such as the Bay of Pigs. There are big open fields, surrounded by caves and mountains – great for hiking and horseriding. If you are considering a two week holiday, the classic Havana, Vinales, Trinidad, Varadero loop will show you the diversity of the country. You’ll have a laid back adventure, where you’ll find yourself simply getting lost in the streets and soaking up all the rich culture the country has to offer.

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Sofia’s Cuba Top 5:

  • Visit the Fabrica de Arts in Havana – wander around this old peanut factory, sipping on mojitos whilst admiring the modern art. Make sure to get there before 8.30pm if you want to get in, but stick around as the live gigs, DJ sets and contemporary dance acts start to kick off around 10/11pm.
  • Indulge in happy hour at Oasis de Creperie in Havana, the most amazing daiquiris for just £1.50!
  • Spend an evening dancing with locals at the Casa de Musica in Vinales
  • Go horse riding through the beautiful national park of Parque el Cubano in Trinidad
  • Stay in a casa de particular. In Cuba, families will rent out a few rooms to guests. You can eat with them and if you speak Spanish have a chat and learn about the local way of life. An authentic experience, which can be so charming. You’ll definitely feel looked after!


 

Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here. 

The Most Stylish Way to Ask For Cash Towards Your Honeymoon

stylish honeymoon fund

Want to forego the embarrassment of asking for money for your honeymoon fund? Save your guests the awkwardness of making a bank transfer/writing a cheque or bringing cash to the wedding by making a stylish honeymoon patchwork. You get to show everyone all the personal experiences that will make your honeymoon perfect. And guests get to choose what they would like to make a contribution towards. You can go all out for the wealthier family members who may like to chip in for your flights or pay for hotel stays, but you can add some more affordable little treasures in too such as two glasses of ice cold rosé on the Cote d’Azur, a cheeseboard in a Pyrenean mountain restaurant or a camel ride through the Abu Dhabi desert.

stylish honeymoon fund

Couples using Patchwork not only get to fund the honeymoon of their dreams, enjoying all the trips and experiences that their friends and family have funded, they also get to read personal messages that their guests are able to leave alongside their contributions, feel the love that everyone has for them as a couple and enjoy their best wishes for the future together.

Setting up a Patchwork is probably the most fun part of planning your wedding too. So much more fun than dragging your other half around John Lewis picking out your wedding gift list. Browsing readymade honeymoon templates is super fun and also helpful for planning your honeymoon – giving you ideas of destinations as well as activities you can do and things to see.

And contributing to a patchwork is not just easy and fun for guests but allows them to feel part of your union, understand your future plans and help make your dreams a reality.

“We funded a whole list of lovely things we wanted to do on our honeymoon – we thought it would be nicer for someone to know they bought us a boat trip, or dinner at the top of a mountain, rather than a gravy boat or a hand towel. Setting off on our trip knowing everyone had chipped in felt like a big extension of our amazing day. We were thoroughly overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our family and friends and being able to think of them as we went on our adventure was such a nice feeling. Our friends loved how original the idea was.”

 – Patchwork Couple Bea & Robbie

A Patchwork is a super stylish way to set up your online honeymoon registry. We have some readymade patchworks with honeymoon ideas that you may never have even dreamed of. Whether you’d like to soak up the Santorini Sunshine, enjoy a Marrakesh Mini-Moon or cosy up in Cornwall, we have enjoyed putting together lots of dream honeymoons here at Patchwork HQ.

Or perhaps you’d like to make a completely fresh Patchwork and add in your own personal ideas for gifts or experienced you’d like guests to help fund. Create a Pinterest-style board for all the things you need for a new kitchen, upload a photo of a work of art you love or choose images to show how you’d like to landscape the garden! Patchwork is designed to be totally flexible so you can make your gift list or honeymoon fund entirely unique to you.

And the wonderful thing about our honeymoon and wedding registry is that you needn’t pay anything until a guest makes a contribution towards something on your patchwork. There’s no upfront fee to pay with Patchwork. We make our money with a 3% commission on all contributions you receive through the site. Quite simply, if a friend were to give you a £100 contribution, you would receive the full amount directly into your PayPal account, at which point Patchwork and PayPal deduct transfer fees.

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Pure Beauty in the Philippines

Sofia is taking a career break, exploring parts of the world she’s never seen before, and has been sharing her journey with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us bustling Rajasthan, the beautiful landscapes of South India, the tranquility of Nepal, and the mystery of Myanmar. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – the Philippines.

  

Luscious green vegetation and sparkling blue seas contrast with the pristine white sands of the Philippines – a place of natural beauty, paradise on earth. Once you’ve entered the home of the blue lagoon and discovered its many hidden treasures, you may never want to leave.

The mainland of Manila has a familiar vibe to many south Asian cities. An abundance of street food, busy roads, lots of noise. But don’t be fooled – it’s filled with plenty of its own unique quirks. From the Wacky Races-style tricycles, to obscure coffee shops (like the Harry Potter bar that I stumbled upon), or over-the-top karaoke, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. But the main event are the islands – island hopping is an absolute must. Just be aware when planning your trip that flights and boats are often delayed, so do account for a full day of travel when getting from one island to the next.

With so much to see and do in the Philippines, you can really feel your surroundings and ‘holiday mode’ change as you jump from one island to the next. One minute you’re chilling out in the luxury resort of Bohol, with infinity pools and cocktails aplenty. Then you’re in full adventure mode – canyoneering in Cebu or diving in Coron, or partying the night away in Boracay on its famous white beaches, lined with bars and clubs.

Whichever island you go to, you’re sure to find many boat trips offering you the chance to snorkel, visit private islands and hidden lagoons and take in everything nature has to offer.

Personally, I could have stayed in El Nido forever – there are several beaches to choose from, each with a different vibe – beach bums chilling to music with a beer, quiet empty spaces or the perfect surf. It has the most serene surroundings and smaller islands and lagoons to visit. At night you can either relax watching the sunset or you can be sure to see some familiar faces at its one and only late night beach club.

Sofia’s Philippines Top 5:

  • Go diving in Coron! Swim through sunken shipwrecks, find Nemo in one of the many beautiful coral reefs
  • Fly yourself to the Birds Nest in El Nido and unravel the love story of Camilla and Mark, who set up this incredible glamping spot at the end of their honeymoon. Wake up to views of the mountains and seas and read a book in their swinging chair, sniffing the sweet aromas of home-baked treats that await you
  • Go to the floating bar at Snake Island in El Nido, sip on a fresh piña colada and dip your toes in the crystal clear water
  • If partying is your thing, shake your hips to the beats of Boracay’s Rasta drum circle on Station 1 beach.
  • Go to the stunning twin lagoon in El Nido. If you’re able to, find a boat tour that sets off a bit later avoid the crowds, so you can make the most of this incredible setting. Crack open a beer, kayak through the narrow passageways of the rocks and enjoy the cool waters

 


 

Thank you Sofia! Next time, Sofia’s in Japan.

Patchwork Loves: SOON THE SUN + Giveaway!

Soon the Sun is a stylish new label designed for women who like to travel far and pack light. Their essential holiday collection is made up of versatile pieces that can be pulled straight out of your hand-luggage, ready-to-wear on the beach during the day, or out for dinner at sunset. We interviewed STS Founder Pusia Chatfield to find out more.

First up, for all the super stylish women using Patchwork as a honeymoon fund, why is Soon the Sun the perfect honeymoon collection?

So much organisation and thought goes into the big day that by the time the honeymoon comes around there isn’t much space left to plan for that “What am I going to wear?!” moment. So I think “Soon the Sun” is the perfect match for the busy bride because she cares how she looks and feels but hasn’t got much time or headspace left to worry about what she’s going to take on her honeymoon, or even start to think about packing it. It’s a capsule collection made up of eight garments that answer all your holiday needs.

Ok let’s back up, why did you start Soon the Sun?

The idea came to me when I was away on holiday. I’d packed for twin boys, aged eight months, myself and half-packed for my husband too. I realised after the holiday how little I had worn, I literally had only worn a few things – my staple favourite pieces that I had always taken on holiday, that were now threadbare but still very much loved. The rest had stayed in the suitcase. This was the starting point for Soon the Sun.

What’s your design process – how do you decide what makes it in the collection?

I guess I just looked at the things in my wardrobe that I had worn over and over. They were the same pieces that came on holiday with me every year and I think this is probably what everybody else does. We tend to buy new things to take on holiday but we don’t really need or want them. These pieces that I love so much were my perfect garments, they answered all of my needs whilst on a sandy beach or in a busy market. They are lightweight, not precious fabrics, just cheesecloth – so no need to iron, easy to dry, timeless, throw on pieces, to wear from beach to bar.

What’s the difference between style and fashion?

Style stands the test of time, it’s fashion but timeless. It’s about knowing what suits you and what makes you feel comfortable – if you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll look stylish, confident and sexy. Stylish garments are usually a combination of the right fabric, shape, fit and colour. These elements can transcend fashion trends and decades.

Your garments are all organic, using 100% natural fabrics and dyes. Why is this important to you?

I just feel there is a small but growing amount of women who are starting to think about where the things they wear (like make-up and face creams) are being produced. We worry about what we eat – we are concerned about where it’s from and how it’s produced. There’s a growing conscience. I think every new business should be concerned with the environment and aim to reduce their impact in whichever way we can.

I thought it was time we started thinking about garments, the clothes we wear on our skin. If you’re in a beautiful place then you want to feel close to nature – you’ll feel good that your garments have done as little damage to the planet as possible. Our garments are made in India with a fantastic small factory, which is a start, but we still have to ship them back here – so I’m not totally there yet.

Why should we all consider buying less and buying better?

We are taught that fashion is fast moving, and that you need to keep up with the trends. When in fact a good garment can stand the test of time and transcend eras. My favourite era was the 70s and lots of my garments have been inspired by that time. You know when you own a good piece and it comes out every year and you still love it and wish you could buy it again, that’s what Soon the Sun is about – relaxing in the knowledge that you can come back time and time again and your favourite style will be there so once you’ve loved it ’til it’s threadbare, you can come back to buy the same piece again. Not much will change except maybe a new colour. Buy what suits you and buy what you love. We encourage women to #wearlessmore. It’s much cooler.

Along with the entire STS collection what are your holiday essentials?

+ A good skin cream with 50+ factor – LA ROCHE-POSAY is excellent!
+ Sunglasses – two pairs, big ones and less over the top ones
+ No underwear, waste of packing space. Always in my swimwear anyway
+ A good read or two. Anything set in a warm climate. I love ‘My Family and Other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell
+ Maybe a “sexy book” (as my nan would say)
+ Lots of Coco de Mer
+ Good shawl for cold nights.

What songs are on your holiday playlist?

Oh man this is hard… Any Prince obvs…
Relax Your Mind – New Look (whole album) – For dreaming in the car on the way to the airport or on the beach
Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac – Driving in the car with the roof open, sunnies on, morning sun on your face, first day on the beach
Pennies from Heaven – Inner City – For dancing on the beach, reminiscent of raving days, hands in the air moment
And any jazz for when you’re home cooling off and having a chill with a glass of wine in your hand and salty snacks, looking out at the view (if you have one) or just looking at next door’s towels.


 

Thanks, Pusia! Is anyone else now desperate for a holiday? Well if you’re lucky enough to be off on your travels soon, you’re going to want to enter our Soon the Sun giveaway. Head to our Instagram page to be in with the chance of winning your favourite piece from the new collection. All you have to do is follow @patchwork_it and @soonthesun and comment on the post telling us which item from Soon the Sun you can’t live without before midnight on the 23rd June – good luck.

For full terms and conditions click here.

Is This the Most Useful Honeymoon Planning Tool Out There?

If you were to write a list of requirements for your perfect honeymoon, chances are it would vary wildly from your friends’ – you might want to spend your days lazing on golden beaches while they’d rather white water raft or head to a hectic city. But there will always be one thing on that list that will crop up again and again – good weather. We all want to find that ideal honeymoon weather – hot, but not too hot. No rainy days. A light breeze wouldn’t go amiss.

Until now people have had to rely on that ever-popular Google search ‘What is the best time to visit [insert-destination]?’, which, with general temperature ranges and a few anecdotes, can give you a vague idea of the weather in the area. But it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of specifics. When you’re trying to plan the trip of a lifetime, you’re going to want to know exactly what you can expect.

Decision Data

Now, thanks to this handy tool created by digital data expert Ryan Whitaker, you can find out the temperature in any place in the world on any given week. So whether you’ve got time booked off and need to find out where in the world will give you those blue skies, or if you have a dream destination in mind and want to figure out the best time to go, this tool will help. Hooray.

Just enter your ideal mean temperature, low temperature, and high temperature, as well as a preferred amount of rain (none, surely?). Then little pink dots will pop up showing you where in the world those conditions exist.

To build the map, Ryan downloaded 10 years worth of weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from more than 10,000 weather stations around the world.

So go on – have a go – find your perfect honeymoon weather. And if you’re still looking for honeymoon inspiration, check out the Lonely Planet Honeymoon Handbook, co-written by Patchwork founder Olivia.

Discovered via Lonely Planet.

Top 10 UK Honeymoon Destination Ideas for 2017

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

Whether you’re honeymooning on a budget, limited for time, need to take the kids or pets, or just want to celebrate your marriage by exploring the beauty of Britain, we’ve got 10 brilliant UK honeymoon destination ideas for summer 2017.

Find laid-back luxury in London

Our first UK honeymoon destination is our cosmopolitan capital. London has much to offer honeymooners, from must-see sites in the Centre to hip bars in the East. But if you want to relax and enjoy a truly luxurious London honeymoon, head West to stay at the Artist Residence between stylish Belgravia and Chelsea. A chic London bolt-hole with an intimate 10 rooms, its own cocktail bar and an all-day restaurant it has a super lux yet laid-back vibe and is perfectly positioned with the whole of the city on your doorstep.

Things to do:

Visit the beautiful V&A Museum of Art & Design to enjoy their summer exhibitions including ‘Shaping Fashion’ showcasing Spanish couturier Balenciaga, where you can drool over decadent silk gowns. Then dine like royalty with their recreation of Queen Victoria’s Afternoon Tea in the exquisite Morris Room. For a budget-conscious alternative (but still in sight of a real palace) take a picnic in to St. James Park. Set in the heart of ceremonial London, the oldest of London’s Royal Parks is an oasis of peace for newlyweds; with a lake, the Tiffany fountain and its own lovebirds – the famous pelicans.

Hopefully summer in the city will mean sunshine, but a rainy day is the perfect excuse to cosy down together in the beautifully restored Electric Cinema in Notting Hill. Spend an afternoon watching arthouse, classic or mainstream flicks from red velvet-covered double beds while a waiter delivers you cocktails. Then step out onto the Portobello Road and head up to The Dock Kitchen for dinner and a pick-me-up. Located in a stylish Victorian Wharf building this experimental restaurant with rooftop bar overlooks the Grand Union Canal. Perfect for people watching on a balmy summer’s evening with a chilled bottle of wine.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: artistresidencelondon.co.uk

Enjoy family fun in Norfolk

Cooler than the Cotswolds, quieter than Suffolk – cheaper than both. Norfolk, with its thriving independent scene, quirky festivals, big skies and rolling hills, is also one of the driest areas of the UK. So you might not need your umbrellas on the beach.

Where to stay:

The Victoria Inn and Ancient House at the Holkham Estate are nestled in an especially romantic setting in the windswept Norfolk countryside and boast beautifully appointed en suite rooms. After a brisk walk to flush your cheeks on nearby Holkham Beach, guests can enjoy relaxing in the peaceful and private walled rose garden of the Ancient House, or enjoy a modern British menu at the hotel restaurant which uses seasonal and locally produced ingredients. Children are welcome and dogs can stay in the rooms at the Victoria Inn.

Best place to eat:

For lunch head to The White Horse at Brancaster to enjoy the freshest of locally caught seafood including oysters during the season. Take in the spectacular views across the Norfolk Coastal Path and the tidal marshes and if you’re lucky, you might even catch Cyril or Ben, the next door neighbour ‘mussel men’ cleaning and netting their mussels for delivery to the kitchen door.

Getting around:

Exercise kids and dogs as you wander along beautiful sandy beaches to between five star pub stops along the coast. And if you want an even more more leisurely way to enjoy the scenery, you can take a steam train ride along the Wells Walsingham Railway full of old England charm and eccentricity – with five bridges en route for extra excitement.  

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: holkham.co.uk

Discover True Romance in Margate 

Grab your bucket and spade – Margate has recently put itself back on the map as a desirably hip destination, so much so that it has been renamed by some as ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’. Perfect for couples that long for salty beach-kisses and some good old fashioned fun, with an ironic twist.

Only two hours from London, Margate has burst back to life with a spruced up version of its famous kitsch past thanks to the sleek new Turner Contemporary Gallery and a wave of independent retailers. You’ll still find striped deckchairs and sticks of rock but you’ll now find ultra-cool Margate born brands like Haeckels, alongside vintage furniture shops and new pizza places like the Great British Pizza Co.

What to do:

Get your adrenalin pumping on some heart-stopping rides at the newly reopened Dreamland; spend the day on roller-coasters and eating candy floss against a backdrop of vintage cool and modern design. You can’t visit Margate without sharing a traditional vinegar soaked fish ‘n’ chips (grab a large one from Mario’s) then head down to the beach for frolics at sunset and see why Turner described the skies here as ‘the loveliest in Europe’.

Where to stay:

If you’re looking for somewhere super stylish to stay, The Reading Rooms offer the perfect antidote to Margate’s colourful kitsch. Muted colours complement this beautifully restored Georgian townhouse and make this luxury boutique hotel an oasis of calm for couples seeking pared-back grandeur. Top tip: Make sure you book a room with a roll-top bath to enjoy champagne and bubbles.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: rhymeandribbons.com

Enjoy an outdoor adventure in Cornwall 

Boasting the best surf in the UK, amazing Michelin star restaurants and as much art and culture as you can shake a stick at you’d be pushed to find a soggy pasty in Cornwall these days. But you will find beautiful villages with vibrant communities that welcome all-comers, tons for kids to do and 50 beaches are dog-friendly too!

Cornwall offers great self-catering options such as Treworgey Cottages in the Looe River Valley, where children and dogs are welcome. With picture perfect cottages covered in honeysuckle, a horse riding centre, heated swimming pool, a small petting farm and an indoor beach for rainy days, this is the perfect place for couples honeymooning with kids in tow. 

Things to do:

Take a day trip by boat to the stunning Looe Island Nature Reserve. A one time haunt for smugglers and a sanctuary for sea and woodland birds, this tiny island has a fascinating history and the waters around it teem with marine wildlife.

Book a family surf lesson with the passionate people at award winning Sennen Surf Centre. Crystal clear waters, golden sands and consistent surf make this place a winner. After working up an appetite on the rollers, check out beach side restaurant Benn Tunnicliffe restaurant that promises ‘Good food and family time in beautiful surroundings’. 

Don’t miss a trip to St. Ives; with its cobbled charm, quaint cottages and literary heritage it’s the perfect place to take in some culture including the Tate Modern GalleryBarbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. And if you’re near Penzance head to the Jubilee Pool, a recently refurbished Art Deco Lido perfect for an invigorating sea water swim.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: jubileepool.co.uk

Find a family paradise on the Scilly Isles

Stay close to home on a sub-tropical family honeymoon with a large dollop of Enid Blyton time-warp. Uncrowded, unspoilt, and surrounded by golden-sanded beaches, the Scilly Isles archipelago really are a paradise on your doorstep. Located at the most Southwesterly point of the UK and an area of outstanding natural beauty, these islands are rugged, remote and virtually car-free, making this a great holiday for couples who want to escape it all or families who want the freedom of a get-out-there-and-explore holiday without the long haul flight.

Getting around:

Arrive at your island destination by propellor plane or ferry and experience a simpler way of life. Visit www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk for travel options. Island hopping by boat is a fantastic way to see marine wildlife and explore some of the uninhabited islands. Check out www.islandseasafaris.co.uk for day trips from St. Mary’s; go on their ‘Shipwrecks, Seals and Seabirds’ excursion for the best of the island sights.

Things to do:

The islands, some with as few as 80 inhabitants, are dotted with small farms and farm shops, walking and cycling routes and boast a wealth of ancient remains, castles and towers as well as amazing local produce and seafood. A sub-tropical microclimate make the Scilly Isles a unique place to see flora and fauna not found on the mainland and the gardens at Tresco Abbey are considered to be the UK’s most outstanding horticultural paradise. You might even spot a red squirrel, now almost extinct on the mainland.

Stay at Tresco Sea Garden Cottages with sailing, a beach cafe, swimming pool, tennis courts and a gym to keep everyone happy. All cottages also have wi-fi and satellite TV for when the kids have had enough of playing Enid Blyton style.

Eat at Juliet’s Garden on St. Mary’s  to enjoy seafood, steak or vegetarian dishes and Artisan Cornish cheeses on the beautiful terrace providing breathtaking views across the harbour and the other islands.

Don’t miss: Troytown Farm on St. Agnes for their spectacular ice-cream made from their small herd of 9 dairy cows.

Top UK honeymoon destinations

source: smithandfamily.co.uk

Celebrate your love-story on the Yorkshire Moors

Live out your own Gothic love story in our next UK honeymoon destination – the rugged and romantic Yorkshire dales. Take a blustery walk in the Bronte sisters’ footsteps and discover the atmospheric ruins, dramatic skies, and windswept moorland that inspired them. Then look forward to cosy evenings snuggled up with a glass of red in front of a roaring fire.

Things to do:

Embrace your rebellious spirit and stay in a bright red Gypsy van, ‘Carmen’, set in a peaceful glade at historic Markington Hall in North Yorkshire with bountiful welcome hampers, your own campfire, a nearby river to fish and frolic in and the moors at your doorstep.

For long walks, breathtaking scenery and dramatic views, Bronte Falls at Haworth, Sutton Bank on the North York Moors, Aysgarth Falls in the Yorkshire Dales, and Hardcastle Crags at Hebden Bridge are all must-dos. Then for a real treat, book a table at the michelin-starred Black Swan at Oldstead. With a mix of traditional Yorkshire warmth and a dynamic and creative menu, this not-to-be-missed restaurant is perfectly located on the edge of the North York Moors National Park.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: markingtonhall.co.uk

Go free wheeling in Wales

Be the envy of everyone else on the road behind the wheel of your very own classic original VW Campervan like ‘Lily’ from Pembrokeshire Classic Campers. Lovingly restored and ready to take you on your honeymoon adventure. Then it’s just you two and the open road, with the wind in your hair and Wales at your feet.

With activities in the area ranging from canoeing and surfing, to hang-gliding and golf you’ll find adventure awaits at every stop-off.

Things to do:

Highlights include Caerphilly Castle, the stunning coastlines of the Mumbles and the Gower peninsula. If your honeymooning in May – June you can catch the Literary festival at Hay-on-Wye and if you’re headed to Wales in August don’t miss the annual Jazz festival in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Long drives require constant supplies of Welsh rarebit (the world’s finest cheese on toast) so make sure you’re well stocked up.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: pembrokeshireclassiccampers.co.uk

Explore Connemara on horseback

Always wished you lived in a castle? Pretend you do for a week at luxurious Ballynahinch Castle in Ireland. Situated in the heart of Connemara, this stunning castle hotel is set in 450 acres so it’s easy to wander through the woodland together imagining it’s all yours.

Things to do:

Located along the wild Atlantic Way, set against the stunning backdrop of the 12 Bens mountain range, Ballynahinch is the perfect base for exploring the area either by car, on foot, or even on horseback.

Riding school Erislannan Manor close to the castle can organise riding and trekking on Connemara ponies for which the region is known. For guided walks, island trips and general advice on exploring this stunning part of Ireland, contact Walk Connemara.

If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the fairytale-like Kylemore Abbey and take a walk hand-in-hand around the woodland and lakes in this1,000 acre estate. And if you’re feeling lazy, enjoy a pint (or two) in a typical Irish village, such as Cong, famous as the location shoot for the 1951 John Wayne film ‘The Quiet Man’.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: kylemoreabbey.com

Live like kings in a Scottish Castle

Rich in history, with stunning cities, mysterious lochs and delicious whiskey to discover, Scotland is the perfect place for a honeymoon fling. And if you really want a honeymoon fit for Kings why not stay in a real Scottish castle? Just 8 miles from Edinburgh Dalhousie Castle  is a 13th century fortress on the picturesque banks of the river Esk. This castle hotel and spa has traditional decor and uses a lot of tartan so won’t necessarily win any design awards. But it’s interior style is certainly warm and welcoming. And you get to sleep in a four-poster bed, in a castle! 

Things to do:

Once you’ve been properly pampered in the spa, have explored the castle grounds and the water-y wilderness beyond head to Edinburgh. Wander around the Grassmarket and Victoria Street to browse bustling independent shops, artisan stores and take your pick from the excellent range of lunch options in this vibrant al fresco setting. Then visit the magnificent Edinburgh castle for afternoon tea. Spend an elegant evening starting with cocktails at Panda & Sons on Queen Street, then take a stroll back up towards the castle to dine at the lavish and decadent Gothic institution The Witchery by the Castle

Top 10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: dalhousiecastle.co.uk

Fall madly in love in Manchester

Our final UK honeymoon destination is Manchester. Whether you were there back in the day – or just wish you had been – go all-out with a love fuelled Manchester weekender. The best bit? Now you’re grown ups you can dance together till dawn, then sink into a luxury king size bed rather than crash on your mate’s saggy sofa.

Check out The Red Door in Deansgate for cocktails and classic tunes – open till 4.00am on Fridays and Saturdays. For a more chilled out night, get yourselves to the Soup Kitchen, award winning canteen and bar with communal tables, vegan food and a great selection of cask ales. Located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter District, this is your go-to destination for live music, film nights, comedy events and art exhibitions. Or head to Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club in the Northern Quarter. Showcasing the hottest jazz talent, as well as a host of other genres, this place also doubles as a restaurant with great pizzas and sharing plates and has a fantastic selection of wines and a great cocktail list.

Where to stay:

If you want to avoid disapproving glances from hotel receptionists when you rock up at 6am, book yourself an apartment so you can come and go as you please. To experience stunning loft living in an historic 200 year old building a stone’s throw away from the city’s bars and clubs check out the Old Mill on Airbnb.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: visitmanchester.com

5 Reasons to go on a Great British Road Trip

Couples use patchwork to collect cash wedding gifts towards honeymoons all over the world. But in summer 2016 we noticed a new trend – adventurous newlyweds using our site to fund honeymoons around the UK. If you’re planning your honeymoon but aren’t sure you’re ready for the long-haul, why not organise something a little closer to home? Far-flung beaches and exotic sights, sounds and cultures are wonderful. But there’s a lot to be said for honeymooning at home.

What could be a better way of seeing these beautiful isles than a Great British road trip? Just pack up a trusty VW camper, bring some blankets and go wherever the mood takes you. Just you and your new husband/wife for life. Here are five reasons we love the idea:

No long haul flights. And most importantly, no jet lag. Those super long flights to destinations like Australia, Hawaii, or Madagascar will have you feeling like you’re on another planet, never mind another country. With no dreaded jet lag to contend with, you can get the most out of every single minute of this amazing honeymoon you’ve been planning for so long.

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You don’t need to stress about the weather. Yes, it might rain, but you may also get some days of beautiful blue skies. To be honest you’ll probably get everything in between. If you splash out thousands of pounds on a beach holiday, you’re going to be pretty upset if you end up sheltering from a storm. With a British holiday, you know what you’re getting. Or rather, you never know what you’re getting, and that’s okay.

You can bring Rover. Or any dog with a less obvious dog-name. If your dog is the most important thing in your life (aside from your partner) you won’t be too keen on the idea of leaving them at home while you go off on your jollies. So pack them up too, bring their bed and a bone and stop off at beautiful parks/fields/beaches where you can let them run free.

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It won’t cost the earth. You’ll need to shell out for the campervan hire and pay for all things like food and drink, but the cost compared to a long haul trip to a five star resort will be minimal. Weddings are expensive times and there’s no need to put extra pressure on yourselves to be able to afford the holiday-to-end-all-holidays. Plus, if you’re saving on accommodation and flights, you can spend a little more on luxuries; a dinner at a lovely restaurant, cashmere socks to keep your toes cosy in bed and a really posh bottle of wine.

You’re the masters of your own destiny. Don’t really like the look of the place you were planning on staying the night? Just keep going. Your van is your home. If you book 14 nights at an ‘exclusive’ hotel on the other side of the world, you’ll be heartbroken to arrive and find a problem. A campervan road trip is the ultimate freedom.

If you like the sound of a honeymoon at home and want your wedding guests to help make it happen, just customise our readymade honeymoon fund for a British road trip then let friends and family choose which part of the adventure to treat you to. 

How to Fund a Honeymoon

There’s no denying it, honeymoons are expensive. Especially when you’ve just shelled out a ton of cash on the wedding day of your dreams. Traditionally, it was up to the groom’s family to help out with the honeymoon costs, as the bride’s family were usually involved in paying for the day itself. But now that times have moved on, and we’ve all agreed to throw a lot of these traditions out of the window (thank goodness!), things have changed. Of course, if you’re lucky, and your parents have very kindly offered to help you pay for the honeymoon, we’d recommend that you graciously accept. When it comes to paying for your honeymoon, every little helps, and you don’t want to offend anyone.

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Save

If not, your first option is to save, save, save. Decide where you want to go on your honeymoon and figure out a budget. Include flights, hotels, meals, drinks, and of course some extra cash for fun. Then, get saving! It’s a great idea to open a separate account specifically for honeymoon savings – this can just be another bank or PayPal account, but a high interest savings account or ISA is ideal. This way your savings will be earning for you, and the limited access will mean you wont be as tempted to keep dipping in to pay for napkin hire and flower girl dresses. The key is to set out exactly how much you will both need to put away per month to afford the honeymoon you really want, then set up a direct debit and then you wont have to worry about it.

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Ask guests to help

If every last penny you have is going on the wedding, there’s another option – ask your wedding guests to forgo traditional department store gifts and instead contribute cash towards your honeymoon. If you’re like most couples these days, you’ll have been living together for a while and already have all of the household ‘stuff’ you need. And with a little help from your friends and family, you’ll be able to afford the honeymoon you’ve been dreaming about ever since you started planning your wedding.

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Asking for cash

Of course, you can just put your bank details in your wedding invitations, and politely ask for bank transfers, but if you feel that you or your guests might feel awkward asking for money directly, you could create a honeymoon fund that means your guests can contribute towards your trip.

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Set up a honeymoon fund

Whilst some honeymoon funds are attached to a travel agent, our online cash gift registry, Patchwork, allows you to collect cash contributions direct for you to spend when and how you like. Patchworkit.com is unique in that you can create a visual representation of your ideal honeymoon broken down into individual experiences, so your friends and family will be able to see exactly what you want to get up to. You can include photos of everything, from the hotel you want to stay in, to the cocktails you want to drink, then give each of those experiences a price and description, i.e £100 for a night in a hotel, £50 for dinner, or £5 for beers on the beach. Your guests will then be able to choose which bit to treat you to and leave a lovely message. Plus, unlike other gift registries all cash contributions will go straight into your PayPal account, so you can keep the money separate from any other savings.

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Fees

If you’ve already decided on a travel agent, you might find that they have a honeymoon fund you can use included in your package. However, most independent honeymoon funds will charge either a one off fee, or a commission on contributions. At Patchwork, we charge a 3% commission on contributions, meaning it’s free to create and share a patchwork, and we only make our money when you start to collect yours. To read more about our fees, go here.

Ready to get started on your own honeymoon patchwork? Get some inspiration from our customisable honeymoon registries, or create your own from scratch.

 

 

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