Tag: honeymoon ideas

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. 

Patchwork Couple: Ange & Steph’s Winter Honeymoon Adventure

Ange and Steph met in 2011 at work in Birmingham, and Ange says it was ‘friendship at first sight’. They both needed flatmates so they moved in together with another work pal. They soon found out they had loads in common and shared a bond only Celts living away from home amongst the English can share! A year later, Ange got a promotion and moved to London, and it was then they realised their true feelings. After 9 months of living apart and getting trains up and down, Steph decided to move to London so they could be together. Fast forward five and a half years and the couple are joined at the hip, still working and living together, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. We asked Ange all about their beautiful wedding day and found out how Patchwork helped give them the honeymoon of their dreams.

How did you two get engaged?

Steph organised a wonderful day of treats to celebrate our anniversary, including a spa day, lunch in our fave cafe, a stroll via ‘Love Lane’ (in London) before heading to a rooftop overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral, where Steph popped the question under the stars. It was a very surreal moment and one we will never forget. We took the next hour to ourselves sipping on champagne before we called the family to tell them the good news.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We were very much inspired by our family and friends.  We are both really close to our family and have a tight knit group of pals. We wanted it to be as much about them as it was us. That’s what inspired a lot of the personal touches and the location itself allowed for that, since the barn we chose pretty much comes as an empty shell with all the potential!

We wanted there to be music at all times and every song was chosen by us, from the pre-ceremony playlist right through to the party tunes. Music evokes memories and says a lot about a person. There were Irish jigs interwoven with Scottish tunes throughout the drinks reception and songs from the early days of us, giving our guests a little insight into our life through music.

Did you have a first dance? What was it?

The idea of a first dance had never really appealed to us. Our wedding weekend was very much about bringing our families together so we decided to share our first dance with the whole wedding party and cheekily selected to dance to ‘The Gay Gordons’ to kick off the ceilidh. I’m not sure anyone got the irony in the song choice, but we did so that’s all that mattered.

What was your favourite part of your wedding day?

It’s really hard to choose just one so we are going to be a bit greedy. We often recall when reminiscing about the day the moment we entered the barn together. We decided to walk each other down the aisle, to symbolise the fact that this marriage was equal and we were in it together. This was met with a thunderous round of applause from our guests which actually made us stop in our tracks. We were overwhelmed by this ‘wall’ of love greeting us and it really set the tone for the rest of the day and night.

We can’t not mention that our Our ‘Pals of Honour’ rewrote the lyrics to Beauty and The Beast ‘Something there that wasn’t there before’ as part of their speech and toast, which was incredibly personal, memorable, hilarious and special.

Why did you choose Patchwork for your wedding registry?

We knew we didn’t want a traditional gift list so went in search of something we could personalise. We had our dream honeymoon in mind, full of experiences and culinary adventures instead of material gifts. Patchwork made that so easy for us to do.  

We wanted a winter honeymoon full of romance, fairy lights, mulled wine and christmas markets, as well as history and culture to fulfil our inner geeks. Since trains featured quite highly in the early days of our relationship and they’re just so old school and romantic, we decided to ‘winter-rail’ across Western Europe. We left on the 5th December from Edinburgh Airport and travelled across Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and Belgium on first class trains before returning home to London just in time for the Fireworks of New Year.  

We spent Christmas in Paris and visited fairytale castles in Bavaria, tasted numerous gluhwein the length and breadth of Western Europe, explored ancient Rome and got lost in the cobbled streets of Brugge.

How did you feel when you set off on your travels knowing all of your loved ones had chipped in?

So grateful! We wouldn’t have been able to do everything on our wish list if it hadn’t have been for our friends and family funding our trip. Things we could only dream of doing like travelling 1st class across Europe, our 7 course christmas dinner in the legendary Le Train Bleu in Paris, sipping coffee from the same cups as poets Keats and Shelley at Caffe Greco in Rome, champagne and macarons at Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées, geeking it up on the original Sound of Music tour in Salzburg and a night at the Moulin Rouge. And that’s just scratching the surface.  

Would you recommend your winter adventure to other honeymooners?

Yes we would recommend our honeymoon, especially around Christmas time, just so magical. It was definitely just as much about the journey as it was the destinations and countries we went to. Some of our most treasured memories are whilst getting from one country to another, like the time we almost missed the train because of a very heavy overnight snowfall which meant we had to tobogan our way to the station on our cases. It was a true adventure and a way to discover hidden treasures in big cities and off the beaten track towns and villages.

What was the best bit about using Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

Well firstly, it was just so much fun to create! It actually helped us to plan our honeymoon and was really great for us to refer to when planning what to fit in and when. Secondly, it looks really cool and is so user friendly, both to set up and to use even after the Patchwork goes live. There was a couple of times when some of our items sold out and we had to go back in and up the quantity. This was super easy to do.

Our patchwork became such a talking point at our hen dos and the wedding and some of our guests have since got in touch asking for the website, so they could use it too. They seemed just as excited about our honeymoon as we were!


 

Thank you Ange & Steph for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

 

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.

Patchwork Couple: Nareni & Paul’s Sri Lanka and India Honeymoon Fund

India honeymoon

Paul and Nareni have been together for 5 years and they share the same passion: travelling. They’re happiest when they’re exploring, seeing the world through each other’s eyes and learning from different people and cultures. Nareni says ‘the world is just too big to stop looking at.’ And although the couple were living in different parts of the world when they met and neither were particularly looking for love, fate brought them together. Nareni tells us all about their wedding and honeymoon – made possible with gifts from friends.

How did you get engaged?

Paul got extra excited once he had gotten my dad’s blessing and planned the proposal right away in the lakes of Mexico city. We went there to see the sunset for one of our famous walks and whilst he was talking to me about all that we have achieved together and everything we meant to each other, he proposed. It was the best day of our lives – until our wedding day!

Then he proposed again in Eastbourne, when he took me by surprise on a weekend trip and whilst we were going for a hike in the cliffs next to the sea, he popped the question again. Yes, I have two rings and I wear them both!

The fact that Paul proposed first in Mexico gave me the opportunity to celebrate with my family, including my grandparents, who are very important to me. I will always be thankful to him for thinking about this when he was planning it.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We wanted a wedding with great music and plenty of surprises. We wanted everyone there – all of our friends and family, and we were truly blessed to see that on the day – everybody came, people flew from all over to be with us on our special day. It was the best day of our lives.

The theme took inspiration from rustic temples in the middle of the rainforest, we wanted lots of green (which the venue had already) with flowers and candles everywhere. We wanted ice-cream and Batucada dancing, and a band and yes, of course Mariachi. Plus Irish music as Paul is Irish. We wanted to merge our two cultures together, and we got a great result, just like in our partnership!

What was your first dance?

Ma Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder and You Are The First, The Last, My Everything by Barry White. And Paul really wanted us to dance to Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, so he asked the band to play the song later for us.

Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

We loved the idea of people being able to gift us with an experience. And then to later show them pictures of that experience and say, look! This is thanks to you!

Also, we wanted to give people the freedom of giving us whatever they could, as we appreciated the fact that they were all making the effort of either flying or driving for hours to come to meet us on the day.

The best gift for us was our honeymoon experiences. So facilitating that through Patchwork was brilliant. We chose to fund a trip to India and Sri Lanka because we had always wanted to go there – we also thought India was a country that would cherish marriage, so what best time to do this trip but on our honeymoon. And being so close to Sri Lanka we didn’t want to miss it, it was the best!

We were so excited when we set off for our honeymoon and pumped up to do it all – to experience everything to the fullest, as people had trusted and wished we would.

What was your favourite thing about using Patchwork?

We loved that you can build up your page with everything you want – it’s flexible so you can add all of the experiences you want or trips you want to do but you can also cater to all budgets. Also, because our friends and family were able to leave us messages and wishes for the day, trip and life, it made the full cycle really cute and enjoyable. Our friends and family thought it looked beautiful and they loved the phrases and creativity we put into it.

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

OMG, yes, it was such an amazing experience, Sri Lanka is such a magical country and India is crazy! We got the best combination, from the mountains and sea in Sri Lanka, with their great animals – the leopards, the whales, elephants, and adventures of the safaris, their people are incredible and so caring, they definitely tried their best to make every day on our honeymoon the best day ever. And in India, going to the Taj Mahal, experiencing the festival of colour and the parties by the beach, going for cooking lessons and then enjoying the feast.

The sunsets and sunrises were beautiful, and the way you can do as much or as little in both countries as you want each day, giving you the perfect atmosphere for spontaneity. It was absolutely amazing!


 

Thank you Nareni & Paul for sharing your story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

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

£6k Wedding Series: Hen do, Marriage & a Mini-moon in Marrakesh  

Want to get married in style on a super tight budget? Our £6k wedding series is here to help. We’ve got six fully-costed wedding concepts for under £6000 for you to choose from, complete with a superstar list of recommended suppliers.

To plan a fabulous wedding abroad with 12 best friends (including hen and stag dos, wedding celebration and mini-moon) read on…

Who is this wedding perfect for?

It’s ideal for globe-trotting couples looking for a unique wedding adventure in an exotic destination with a handful of close friends. This 1970s inspired Moroccan wedding is all about laid-back luxury and deliberate decadence. A week long celebration, it involves you and your 10 best mates flying to Marrakesh for your hen and stag dos, your wedding ceremony, an all night party and a day of pampering before returning to celebrate your marriage with family and friends.

Read More

Neil & Zoe’s Honeymoon in Japan

Engagement photo with dog paw

Neil and Zoe are both actors and live in South East London with their dog Pickle. They married last summer in a beautiful weekend-long extravaganza. Then, with a little help from their friends, jetted off to one of their favourite places on earth – Japan. We asked Neil all about it.

So how did you two get engaged?

The 11th March is a strange anniversary for us both as it coincidentally marks the date both of us lost our mums. Each year we try and do something special to celebrate their lives and two years ago I thought ‘what could be better than to make this difficult anniversary mean something completely different’. Zoe loves a good treasure hunt, so I planned an epic journey to lead her across London to a lovely vegetarian café. Whilst we ate, my friends laid out hundreds of candles in the beautiful nearby Bonnington Square gardens and as night fell I took Zoe into the square and popped/blubbed the question. Thankfully, she said “Of course!” as I had boldly arranged for all our friends and family to be in a nearby pub waiting for us. 

Neil & Zoe on their wedding day – by Howell Jones Photography

What kind of wedding did you plan?

When we thought about our favourite weddings, the one thing that they all had in common is that we never wanted them to end. So, we decided to have a weekend long wedding where we could have everyone stay on site with us from Friday ’til Monday. We hoped it would be a chance for friends & loved ones to have a mini holiday with us, for them to get to know each other and for us all to share our post wedding hangovers over a game of rounders by a lake and a moonlit cinema. We found a beautiful 22 bedroom house called Colehayes in Bovey Tracey, situated in beautiful acres of stunning Devon countryside.

It was everything we dreamed of and we were so moved by how all our guests threw themselves into the whole thing. It had a glorious feeling of community and connectedness that we wish we could have bottled. 

Neil & Zoe on their wedding day – by Howell Jones Photography

What was your first dance?

We both love the film When Harry Met Sally and Harry Connick Jr, so we went for “It Had to Be You”. We had grand hopes of doing a short dance routine to it but with Zoe’s dress being very long and so much else to plan, we simply didn’t get round to it, so ended up doing the traditional but loving ‘foot-to-foot shuffle”. 

Why did you decide to use Patchwork?

We wanted a website that could bring together all our honeymoon ideas and give people a chance to see what was on our honeymoon wish list. Patchwork was so easy to use and helped us put together a beautiful visual itinerary that our friends and family could feel part of. It also made it easier for us plan our trip and start to get really excited about it.

We guess, like many couples who get married, we felt tentative about asking people to contribute to our honeymoon as everyone was already travelling so far to join us for our wedding and we honestly didn’t expect anything in addition to this! However, we were aware that some people kindly wanted to get us something in the way of a gift. We were absolutely over the moon with how generous people were and the simple truth is that without their help, we couldn’t have had such an epic honeymoon in Japan.

Wedding couple by lake

Zoe & Neil by Howell Jones Photography

Patchwork was so easy to use and gave us something we could easily send to people so they could feel like they were directly contributing to a part of our journey. We also loved that we could create a variety of different value gift options so people didn’t feel pressure to give lots of money and yet were still going to be adding joy to our honeymoon with options like Karaoke and Sink a Sake.

Neil & Zoe on honeymoon in Japan

Why did you decide to have your honeymoon in Japan?

Ever since we first went to Japan back in 2014, we had a dream of returning and exploring more. We adore Tokyo and whilst we wanted to go back, we also wanted to travel further afield and see what other parts of Japan were like. Kyoto and Osaka were cities that we wanted to explore and we also wanted to visit snowy Nagano and see the snow monkeys and stay with Buddhist monks up in Mount Koya. We feel so lucky that we got to do all of this and more on our holiday.

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

Yes. Japan is simply one of the most remarkable places on earth. Their culture is so different to our own but yet strangely familiar at the same time as if visiting a parallel universe. It has everything- epic landscapes, ancient historic temples, futuristic cities and a blend of nature and technology like nowhere else. It’s also inhabited by such polite and gentle people that make travelling around it feel easy and safe. We have fallen in love with Japan, in fact, we have fallen so in love that we’ve even started making a series of vlogs about our trip and all things Japanese called Woman, Man, Japan with the hope of helping likeminded people plan their own trips there and so that we can get back there as much a possible.


Thank you Neil and Zoe for sharing your brilliant story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

News: The Lonely Planet Honeymoon Handbook

Last year Patchwork founder Olivia was asked if she would contribute to Lonely Planet’s new Honeymoon Handbook. Having become something of a honeymoon expert through Patchwork and being a huge fan of Lonely Planet guide books, she jumped at the chance. And after a lot of hard work, the Handbook is finally here. It’s a brilliant resource for anyone planning their honeymoon. And we couldn’t be more excited about it being released. This guide to honeymoon planning can be purchased on Lonely Planet’s website or you can find it in the shops.

Here’s what Lonely Planet have to say about the book:

“Getting married is the best excuse to take the romantic getaway you and your partner have always dreamed about. The Honeymoon Handbook is an essential planning tool for making it come true. Lonely Planet’s first and only travel guide for newlyweds, The Honeymoon Handbook features over 25 of the most exciting locations for couples – from Andalusia to Zambia. It starts with a quiz to determine what kind of trip to take based on what you two love the most, whether it’s backpacking in Borneo, touring Tuscany or cruising around Cuba.

Beyond the destination sections, The Honeymoon Handbook also offers safari, luxury, island and family-themed getaway ideas – even how-to’s on ‘minimoons’ and getting married abroad. Other features include budget breakdowns and alternative destinations (Can’t afford Italy? Try Croatia) and an LGBT-friendly indicator for same-sex couples.”

Liv had so much fun contributing to this brilliant book (and has fulfilled her teenage dream of becoming a Lonely Planet travel writer) and we may be biased but we think it’s a super useful resource. So make sure you pick it up when you see it on the shelves.

Want to plan a honeymoon on a budget? Why not ask friends and family to help fund it? Check out all of our customisable honeymoon templates on our honeymoon fund collection page.

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