My year of UK travel

Welcome to 2019 everyone! If you’re anything like me, you partied loads on December 31st and are probably feeling a little fragile still. But isn’t it exciting to start a new year? So rich with possibility and fresh adventures. I’ve actually been planning my travel for this year for some time now, so I’m very excited to finally share my plans with you. Yes, 2019 will be my year of United Kingdom travel, which means I’ll be focussing adventures almost exclusively within the UK. You probably think the reason for this is obvious (duh, Brexit!) and while this is definitely a big reason why, I also have a couple of other reasons. Read on to find out more.

United Kingdom travel @minkaguides Union Jack dress

Me finally becoming a UK citizen (yes, dressed as Ginger Spice) at Hackney Town Hall in 2017.

A landmark anniversary

2019 will mark 15 years since I first moved to London from Australia. Yes, in 2004 I arrived all fresh and full of enthusiasm to finally start my life here (I’d been planning my move here since I was a child – yes, I watched that much BBC growing up). Flash forward a decade and a half, I’m still here but whilst I’ve seen a small amount of the United Kingdom, I’ve travelled so much more around Europe. So, I thought, what better way to celebrate this anniversary than to spend this year actually exploring the best of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? There’s actually so much to see and do in the UK and I’ve barely even scratched the surface. So, I’m very excited to finally see this country properly.

United Kingdom travel @minkaguides Trafalgar Square 2004

Yes, that’s me just after I first arrived in 2004 – caressing the lions in Trafalgar Square. Clearly, I liked wearing black A LOT back then.

We need to talk about Brexit

One of the not so exciting things about 2019 is that this is the year when the UK will leave the European Union. I’m not going to lie – I’m pretty hellishly devasted about this and the last couple of years have done little to ease that feeling. Putting aside my feelings about what this means for the future of the United Kingdom, it also means travelling from the UK to Europe over the coming months is one big unknown. Booking a trip to the continent anytime from April onwards feels like a bit of a risk right now. What if the British pound plummets and suddenly the cost of travelling to Europe (or anywhere really) becomes super expensive? Plus, what about all this talk about needing a visa? I love to travel around Europe, but it feels like this isn’t the year to plan lots of mini trips there, sadly. So that’s why it feels like a good idea to plan my trips a little closer to home this year.

United Kingdom travel @minkaguides EU flag

EU flag out the front of the Barcelona Pavillion.

Saving for my Southeast Asia trip

I promised myself a few years ago that I would backpack Southeast Asia before I turned 40, which means as of this month I have exactly two years to make it happen. It actually doesn’t cost that much money to see this region on a budget but as I’ve also been saving to buy a flat in London this past couple of years, I haven’t had much money left over. But I’m hoping if I start putting a little aside each month from now on, I will have a little travel fund ready by late 2020 (just before I hit the big 4-0). So as part of this, I’m hoping that some short trips around the UK won’t cost much more than my regular trips around Europe – I may even save a little if I plan ahead properly. Fingers crossed!

United Kingdom travel @minkaguides Hong Kong

The only time I’ve ever been to Asia was when my flight was delayed for 12 hours in Hong Kong, en route to Australia. Luckily for me, they put me up in a fab hotel, the Hong Kong Harbour Grand, while we waited.

Europe: I still love you

Of course, this doesn’t mean I won’t go to Europe at all this year. I find the idea of doing that really depressing and would really struggle to get through the year if that happened. So I think I’ll still sneak a couple of Euro trips in there. I’m planning to go to Berlin the last weekend before Brexit, to party in the last dying days of unity with Europe. Feels like the only appropriate thing to do. I’ll also probably still go to the continent for a summer holiday as usual. I’m not sure where I’ll go and I probably won’t book it till we have some idea what is going on with Brexit, but it would be nice to still do something. And I might squeeze another mini trip to Paris in there somewhere maybe.

Things to do in Paris @minkaguides

There’s always time for a cheeky trip to Paris, right?

So, where should I go?

Once I started thinking about primarily travelling around the UK this year, I realised that there are so many places to visit and things to see. Even though my real name (not my performer name, Fanny Minka) is very Welsh and I have strong family ties there, I’ve never visited Wales in all my 15 years in the UK so that is definitely a priority for me. I’ve also only been Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland but never been to the Scottish countryside, which I would love to do. Plus, having visited Dublin last year, I’m keen to see Northern Ireland now too – partially because of the Irish culture and partially because of its history. Then there is England, with so many places to visit. Having studied the Roman conquest of Britain in high school, there are loads of things I want to do, such as walk part of Hadrian’s Wall. I also want to go to lots of Pride celebrations across the country this summer and explore more fabulous things about the UK. So, tell me: what are your favourite places to visit in the United Kingdom and why? I’m putting my plan for the year together now and would love your recommendations!

Comment below and let me know 👇🏼

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