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From London to Wellington: Amanda's 5 gorgeous getaways

From London to Wellington: Amanda's 5 gorgeous getaways

My Gorgeous Getaways series is a collection of destination highlights from different members of the South Island Art community, each sharing their unique viewpoints on their top 5 places. This month's perspective is from Amanda, based in Victoria, Australia.

1. London, UK

Photo by Francois Genon, via unsplash.com

There were so many favourites to choose from, but Amanda’s must-visits are St Paul’s, Kew Gardens and West End shows.

St Paul’s Cathedral is without doubt a renowned icon of London and the City skyline. Book a sightseeing ticket to explore the ground floor of the Cathedral, the Crypt and the Dome Galleries, including the famous Whispering Gallery.

Kew Gardens is a gorgeous oasis, with so much to explore and a huge diversity of plants. From tropical and alpine glasshouses to the towering Great Pagoda and the serenity of the Japanese Gardens, you can easily spend a day wandering around. Amanda's other recommendations include the Freud Museum for Psychology fans and the beautiful Florence Nightingale Museum.

A top tip: Amanda had a London Pass which she found to be great value and easy to use for the main sights and attractions.

2. Bath, UK

Photo by Lisa Van Vliet- via unsplash.com

Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for its thermal baths and exquisite Regency architecture. It's also well-known for its Christmas markets, but there is plenty to see and do all year round, including visiting Amanda's favourite places:

The Jane Austen Centre, set in a Georgian townhouse, brings to life what things would have been like for the author and living in Bath during the Regency period. After exploring, head upstairs to the Regency Tea Room for a traditional Afternoon Tea. It’s worth booking in advance to be sure of a table.

As well as the thermal baths, The Royal Crescent is probably one of the most iconic landmarks that springs to mind when you think of Bath. It’s a beautiful example of Georgian architecture, made all the more impressive when you realise it’s 500 feet long - that’s just over 152 metres! The crescent overlooks lawns - a gorgeous view from the bottom when you look up at the terraced houses - and is right by the Royal Victoria Park.

3. Victoria, Australia

Photo by Thomas Bassett, via unsplash.com

In Melbourne, Amanda suggests a walk along the Yarra River and the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens. Admission is free to the Gardens, which cover more than 38 hectares! It is a real oasis in a city, with collections of plants from across the globe.

Also visit the National Gallery of Victoria (look out for Picasso’s Weeping Woman which was stolen, and later recovered, in 1986). 

Photo by Richard Lin via unsplash.com

If you're looking for a regional day trip, Bendigo is about a 2-hour drive from Melbourne. Highly recommended, there’s lots of gold rush history to learn about - it was thought to be one of the richest places in the world during the 1880s (source here) as so much gold was found there. You’ll also find plenty of beautiful architecture, art, culture and nature to discover - Bendigo Art Gallery presents a lot of international exhibitions, and there are also gardens and a National Park to explore.

4. Wellington, New Zealand

Photo by Sulthan Auliya, via unsplash.com

Originally from Wellington, Amanda recommends visiting Te Papa Museum, Oriental Bay and if you’re a fan of the Lord of The Rings, Weta Workshop.

Te Papa is the National Museum of New Zealand. It’s a place to explore and discover the history and culture of New Zealand, and its collections have everything from art to fossils.

Oriental Bay is perfect for a swim and stroll along the sandy beach, with plenty of places to eat and drink.

Wētā Workshop is a film effects company, and Lord of The Rings is among many of the film and TV series they have worked on. You can take a tour to discover how they bring those worlds to life.

5. Tasmania, Australia

Photo by Beniah, via unsplash.com

Head to Cataract Gorge in Launceston where you can enjoy incredible views and time out in nature - with just a 15-minute walk from central Launceston. There are walking trails for all levels, and you can take a chairlift across the river for unforgettable views from above.

If you go to Hobart, don't miss the Salamanca street market, held on Saturdays. They have around 300 stalls with a variety of food, drink and designer-makers. Their website has lots of helpful information about visiting

Photo by Laura Smetsers, via unsplash.com

Whilst Amanda didn’t get to it during her trip, Cradle Mountain is iconic. There are walks along the lake and different ways to explore the area - find out more here.

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