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Kickass Bacon Pancakes

We all love our pancakes, and I prefer mine savoury. Not just savoury, but served with crispy bacon and butter. Sometimes, when I am in no rush and fancy a big breakfast, I even cook eggs and sausages. You could say, this is my version of an English breakfast.

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg, lightly whisked

Serve with crispy, streaky bacon and butter (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Whisk in the lemon juice, whole milk and egg
  3. Leave the combined batter in the fridge for 20 minutes
  4. In the meantime, you can heat a non-stick frying pan and start cooking the streaky bacon in its own juices, until golden
  5. Clean the non-stick frying pan, and over medium heat, start frying the batter to make these lovely, fluffy pancakes. If your pan is good, you don’t need to put oil or butter.
  6. Allow around 2 minutes on one side, flip with a spatula and wait another 1 minute. Lower the heat if you notice that the pancake colour is darker than golden.

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With this recipe I make 9 pancakes of roughly 15 minutes in diameter. Serve with crispy bacon and butter, or anything else you might fancy for your breakfast!

And, if you don’t feel like making them yourself, look for some destinations that serve pancakes for breakfast.

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Destination: Cruise

If you are on a tight budget, and would prefer knowing how much your trip will cost you before even getting to your destination, then you are probably into the idea of going on a cruise! There are several other advantages when choosing to go on a cruise.

  • A cruise is as luxurious as it gets in terms of rooms – It is as moving hotel! Picture this, you have to unpack once, yet you get to see tons of different cities and exotic places. Your room will contain perks such as air-condition, flat-screen TV, a mini-bar, wardrobe space as well as tea and coffee making facilities.image.png
  • You don’t even have to think that far ahead on where to go for drinks or meals as you have several options under one roof. Not just that, but it is included in the price! On top of that, one can enjoy the entertainment provided. From live music, to west-end shows, to quizzes, casino and even stand-up comedy! There is really something for all ages!

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  • You don’t have to do much planning – You just have to be ready to go when the ship comes in. Who doesn’t enjoy being driven around – Less stress, more fun!
  • Traveling on a cruise is most definitely more convenient – You get to enjoy whatever you fancy, move around at your convenience, and appreciate the fresh air! Highly recommended for those who are claustrophobic or afraid of flying!

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  • If you enjoy socialising, going on a cruise is by far the best way to meet new people. People tend to enjoy chatting and getting to know each other, especially when drinking is involved.

There are many destinations to choose from, and you can get on a cruise ship from any continent in the world, as long as it has a port:

  • Sail from Newcastle, UK to the Fjords and Glaciers. This is a dream destination for me when it comes to enjoying a holiday in Northern Europe. This one week long cruise would take you to Flam, Skjolden, Bergen and Olden in Norway. These picturesque villages offer beautiful sightseeing opportunities ranging from mountains, to glaciers, to even historical cobbled streets.

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Nærøyfjord, Norway
  • Leaving from Montenegro Bay in Jamaica, embark a cruise liner for the next 15 days. Enjoy the rainforests in Costa Rica, Panama, the coastline in Colombia, old towns in Cuba, followed by the white sandy beaches in Mexico. This is truly a magnificent way of appreciating the simple life away from modern, hectic America.

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Havana, Cuba
  • The eastern Mediterranean offers so much when it comes to history; A 7 nights cruise would cover stops such as Alanya in Turkey, which is the legendary hangout spot for Queen Cleopatra, the holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and of course Crete – famous for the Greek mythology remains.

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Alanya, Turkey
 

Personally, I like the idea of going on a cruise, to relax and sample destinations. This way, I can decide which localities are worth revisiting for a longer time period in the future.

Perfect Perth

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Perth not only enjoys wonderful weather, beautiful beaches and a laid back demeanor but there is more to this captivating city than the myriad of bars, restaurants and activities. Perth’s pristine parkland, nearby bush, and river and ocean beaches allow its visitors to spread out and enjoy what’s on offer.

The transport system is fabulous but to truly take advantage of all that’s on offer you may wish to hire a car. Burswood Car Rentals offers free delivery to all city hotels allowing you to explore further afield and visit some of the less well known yet spectacular spots that cost next to nothing. (Please note that costs may apply for some activities)

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is accessible from Rockingham which is less than an hour’s drive south of Perth. Swarming with marine life including sea stars and urchins as well as a number of fish species flitting through the shipwrecks and makes for excellent diving, snorkeling and wildlife watching. While in the water you’ll probably run into a pod of bottle-nose dolphins and can swim with these on the regularly operated tours.

Penguin Island, a breeding colony for an array of perth1incredible birds, has Little Penguins which breed in the burrows and you can watch them being fed at the interactive center.

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If you have a dive permit, The Saxon Ranger, a 400 tonne former fishing vessel takes residence at the Park. The boat is first purpose sunk dive wreck in the Perth metropolitan area.

Just 20 minutes east of Perth, sample the divine fruits of the vineyards of Western Australia’s oldest wine region at the Swan Valley and Darling Range.  Here you may indulge on award-winning local produce, discover the incredible local heritage or simply relax in the stunning bush-land of the Darling Range. The antithesis of the bustle of city life, it can be reached via road or aboard a Swan River Cruise from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.

Sharing a glass of red with the vineyard owners, they are happy to recount stories of the generations of their families who owned the vineyards before them, some dating back to the early European settlers.

With over 70 eateries to choose from you are spoiled for choice or pack a lunch enjoying the breathtaking views of your surroundings.

You can also partake in many activities including horse riding, cycling and Indigenous culture.

perth2If you fancy getting even closer to some furry friends, head to Caversham Wildlife Park –  where close encounters with kangaroos and koalas is order of the day.

Alternatively you could choose to drive along the Great Eastern Highway to the blissful tranquillity of the Avon Valley heritage town in under an hour and a half. One of the few towns in WA to hold ‘Historic Town’ status, the proud residents of York have taken great care over restoring its many Victorian and Federation buildings. Due to retaining its heritage charms, it remains Perth’s favourite country escape.

No wonder this area is a top spot for romantic weekends or family fun.

And Relax: How To Create An In-House Spa Experience

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We all love those weekends away at a spa. Whether you take your Mom or go with a group of girls, there’s nothing more relaxing than being treated and pampered for a few nights. But busy schedules, money and getting everyone together at the same time doesn’t make it easy to treat ourselves to a lot of them. So why not bring those blissful spa vibes into your own home as well. With a few clever ideas you can create an in-house spa that will ensure you feel relaxed every weekend. Here are some ideas to get you started.

An At-Home Steam Shower

If budget permits and it’s time you renovated your bathroom, why not consider investing in a plush steam shower at home? With advanced technology, it has never been easier to install a steam shower or steam bath into your property. Steam showers can include overhead rain showers, hand-held showers, built-in music, LED  lighting, and even foot massagers. And of course, they enable you to create a hot steamy retreat in your bathroom. Jet systems and steam generators will create the ultimate in-house Turkish bath experience. Cutting edge technology will allow you to feel revived and refreshed in the morning and let you wind down and relax at night. Benefits of a steam shower include improved circulation and recovery after exercise. They also promote healthier, clearer skin by opening up the pores.

A Personal Massage Chair

For the ultimate relaxing experience why not invest in a massage chair for your home? Shiatsu chairs offer everything from Yoga and Chiro programs to Swedish and Shiatsu massage treatments. You may never need the services of a spa again! They are a great way to loosen up muscles and unwind in the evening or on the weekend. If you don’t have the space for a massage chair, you could consider getting a massage cushion instead. Many cushions also come with heat facilities, vibrations and built in rollers too. These are perfect for those times when your muscles need kneading, and there’s no time to book in for a treatment.

Luxury Products

Of course, no in-house spa would be complete without spa experience products. Brands such as Elemis and Decleor offer many super luxurious products that are also used in their very own spas. Decleor products are focused on essential oils, skincare rituals, and innovative treatments. And they also happen to smell delicious too. So if you want the scent of a spa in your home, it’s always worth investing in some high-end products too. Choose everything from bubble baths to body scrubs and body milks to facial night balms for the ultimate in-house spa experience. If you are doing a facial treatment, always keep a few hot towels close by for wiping off oils, just like they do at the spa. Simply soak the towels in hot water then wring them out before use. Adding essential oils to the water will also add an extra spa-like touch to your treatment. For lots more beauty tips follow the click.

Ambiance

To top of your at home spa don’t forget to include a fluffy bathrobe, Egyptian cotton towels and a pair of sleek slippers too. And soothing music and scented candles go a long way to creating a blessed out ambiance too. Engage your senses with relaxing scents, soft touches and calming sounds to feel like you are in a plush spa, even when you’re at home.

Find Your Centers Of Spirituality Around The World

Human nature leads many of us to find spirituality during our lives. You may seek religion, meditation, or community. Whatever your choices in life, it can be a wonderful experience to seek out other centers of spirituality. We’re all different, but many of us are united in our love for travel. Why not check out some of these wonderful places next time you take a vacation?

India

The Garhwal region is home to four of the holy shrines of Hinduism collectively known as Chota Char Dham. The area itself is stunning. Just being here can be an experience you’ll never want to forget. The landscape is so beautiful and so peaceful, it’s no wonder people come here to explore the spirituality of the region. The rivers here are very significant, so it’s worth making an effort to explore their paths.

You can also find an important center for Yoga here, with many options for a retreat. If you enjoy the physical side of Yoga practice why not come to explore the internal or spiritual side? If nothing else, it’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with new people. Cities like Mumbai offer plenty of fascinating temples to visit as well. Some are an integral part of beautiful cave systems. Others are magnificent stone structures of extraordinary architectural design.

United Kingdom

Stonehenge is a mystery. It has been there for thousands of years, but nobody can determine with certainty why. Even more mysterious is the answer to the question how. It doesn’t seem to be humanly possible for the stones to have been erected in that place at that time. Yet they exist, and they continue to be an important center of spirituality for people all over the world. The position of the sun has been successfully charted using these giant standing stones. This makes it an important place for gathering during the solstice.

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Standing stones are more common than you think in the UK. Orkney’s Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar are Neolithic. These ancient structures must have been incredibly important to our ancestors. It was during a time when life on earth here would have been harsh. While they don’t draw as many visitors as the Salisbury Plains, the atmosphere here is no less captivating.

Egypt

Ancient Egyptians worshiped their pharaohs but also had deeply held beliefs of their other gods and deities. Animal shaped statues and ornaments are still revered, and many are on display for visitors to see. The connection to their past is still highly regarded by modern-day Egyptians. But is it perhaps the magnificent pyramids, like those at Giza, that we marvel at.

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Getting in touch with an ancient culture’s spirituality is more than just an educational experience. It can be a route to finding your own interests and perhaps even the roots of some of your own ideals. More than anything it is a connection to past civilizations not so distant from our own.

We all find spirituality, faith, and connection in different ways and in different places. Why not add a few more places to your list?

 

Save Some Bucks This Christmas By Getting These Things Ready Now

We all know that Christmas has the potential to be an extremely expensive time of year. After all, there is a lot that you need to buy for it! From food and presents to decorations and greeting cards. But you don’t have to let the festive season be a drain on your bank account. In fact, if you start preparing now, you will find that you could end up saving a few books. That’s all because you’ll be buying out of season. We’re now in the run-up to Halloween and Thanksgiving. Stores are now focusing on selling all their Halloween and Thanksgiving products; you will find that Christmas stuff is still quite cheap.

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So what should you focus on getting ready now before the season starts? Here are some of my best ideas.

Christmas Presents

Ideally, you should look for Christmas presents for your friends and family all year round. There is no point waiting until December to do all your Christmas shopping. The stores will hike up their prices then so that they can make some extra cash before the holidays. So if you see something that you think might be suitable for a relative earlier on in the year, buy it! It doesn’t matter that you will have to wait a few months to give it to them. Just keep it in a cupboard or drawer where the recipient won’t be able to find it. If you do leave your Christmas shopping till later on in the year, it might be worth doing it online. Generally speaking, online shopping is a lot cheaper than going to a store. Looking for the perfect gift for your mom? You’ll be able to find unique gifts for her from Cuckooland.com.

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Food And Drink

Now is the best time to start thinking about the feast you will be having on Christmas day! If you have a big freezer, you will be able to buy quite a bit of the fresh food now and freeze it. Even your turkey! Try and buy your turkey within the next few weeks. Otherwise, you could end up paying quite a bit for it once we are into Thanksgiving season. Don’t worry that the one you buy now isn’t specifically a Christmas turkey. The only difference between a Christmas one and the ones you can buy all year is the packaging! And why pay more for a turkey that is covered in a festive wrapper? Buy all the dried and tinned foods that you need now as well. These will keep in your store cupboard. However, you can’t buy your fresh fruit and vegetables too far in advance. You will have to wait and get them a week or so before the big day.

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Greetings Cards

Most stores that sell greeting cards will have some Christmas cards on sale all year round. You probably haven’t noticed this before because you haven’t looked hard enough! As they aren’t in demand outside of December, they won’t be placed in a noticeable place. So next time you go shopping, have a long, hard look for the Christmas cards. If you buy them now, you will make a significant saving. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that there might not be a great selection just yet. If you don’t like what you see and want to wait till there is more choice, there is another way of saving some cash. You just need to buy in bulk in December. Sure, you will have more cards than you need, but they will last you for a couple more years!

Christmas Decorations

There may not be many decorations in the stores just yet. However, you might start to see some in large supermarkets such as Walmart. The supermarkets tend to display a small portion of their stock during fall to start selling as soon as possible. If you look now, you might notice that there are a couple of discounts and deals advertised. Buy them now before all those savings disappear in December! But, do you want to know the best way to make a huge saving on your Christmas decorations? You can make your own! This isn’t as difficult as it may sound. You will find plenty of guides and how-tos online on sites such as goodhousekeeping.com. There is, of course, another way to save some bucks on your Christmas decorations. And that is just to recycle them and use the same ones every year. If you do this, it is a good idea to check yours now to make sure they are still in good condition. If they aren’t, you then have plenty of time to make or buy some new ones. That way, there is no chance of the kids getting upset when they find all their Christmas decorations are broken!

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Plan Christmas Parties

You will no doubt be having an office party with work at Christmas. And many families and groups of friends also enjoy meals together in restaurants over the festive period. If you are planning any big celebrations such as these, it is a good idea to get everything booked now. The earlier, the better! That is because many restaurants and function rooms offer early bird deals. It’s just like the saying, the early bird catches the worm. Wait too long, and you will end up paying full price. However, book now and you could find that you can take advantage of deals and price cuts.

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Clothes

Are you looking for the perfect outfit to wear to all your Christmas parties? Maybe you want a cute dress for Christmas day? Now is the time to buy your festive wardrobe! It’s true that more glitzy stuff will come into the stores in November. However, this can be quite expensive. It’s a good idea to buy something from fashion stores’ fall and winter collections that are out now. You can always add some sparkle with some cool accessories!

Dreading an expensive Christmas? Not this year!

Travel Bucket List: Luxury Destinations I’d Love To Visit

I think having a bucket list is a great idea. Setting and achieving goals is how we can all progress in life. So if you don’t have one already, then you should! I have set one in general, but I think there are a few other things that I would like to add.

As a couple, we love to travel, so I need to include some more places that we would like to visit. Being able to travel in style would be amazing too. I would love to fly first class to a long haul destination and stay in a luxury hotel. Having a chef to cook for us while we are there would be the icing on the cake; quite literally! That would be the plan to do some day, each time we travel. I just need to make my millions! So here a few ideas and dreams of mine. Have you ever been to any of them? Would love to hear about it if you have.

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Caribbean Cruise

I think a cruise is one of the ultimate ways to see the world in style. You can get to experience a variety of places, as you sail around several countries and islands. The Caribbean would be one of the top choices. As there are so many of the islands that I’d love to visit, a cruise would help you to see plenty of them. I like the idea of hopping off and on as seeing some lovely places in this world. There are so many luxe cruise liners out there too. So it makes the time on board fantastic, and they’d make sure you are treated like a guest. All inclusive activities and food would be a dream.

Asia

Having been to Asia once before, it would be fantastic to visit again. It isn’t a continent that is necessarily synonymous with luxury, but there are plenty of places that fit the bill. Staying in a luxury hotel in Bali or on the island of Phuket would be a dream come true. The beaches in those places are second to none. White sands and clear seas make it perfect for relaxing, as well as diving and snorkeling. Not to mention the fantastic weather that is pretty much all year round. Even in the ‘rainy’ months, the temperatures are high. Asian food is to die for, so having it made for you each day would be amazing.

Italian Amalfi Coast

Italy is such a gorgeous location. The Amalfi Coast, including places like Capri, can get a little bit forgotten about. When you think of Italy, most people think of Venice or Rome. But the Amalfi coast area is just stunning. There are plenty of exquisite restaurants to visit, to try the Italian cuisine in style. A lot of them are tucked away off the main areas, so feel like such a private getaway. It would be awesome to have a little road trip along the coast, and stop off at all of the towns along the way.

 

Travelling Abroad With Kids

 

Family holidays are what memories are made of; fun in the pool, ice creams and sand castles on the beach. But taking young children on holiday requires a fair amount of planning and consideration. To keep your holiday fun-filled while keeping safe and everything running as smoothly as possible, here are a few things to bear in mind.

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Get Vaccinations Up To Date

You won’t always need specific vaccinations when you’re travelling abroad depending on where you’re going. However children should be vaccinated with their regular childhood immunisations. Ideally they will be vaccinated at the routine times for their age, although if you are due to travel abroad it’s likely that these will need to be done more quickly. It’s important be be aware that not all travel related vaccines are effective in infants, and in some cases they may not be recommended at all due to the risk of doing more harm than good. Making sure your child’s regular immunisations are all up to date before travelling is important, for the full list of jabs they need check out this.

 

Hire a Car

It’s no secret that young children get restless quickly. Instead of lugging them (and all of their stuff) onto public transport you might find it’s easier to hire a car. You can load everything into the boot before you leave each day, and you have much more control of getting from A to B. Most car hire companies will offer hire of children’s car seats and booster seats too, giving you one less thing to pack.

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Get The Right Visas

A huge number of countries require Visas before you’re able to enter. For example if you’re from outside the US, you’ll require an American Visa application in order to visit. Both accompanied and unaccompanied children no matter what their age require their own independant Visa. It’s quick and easy to do, most are granted online within seconds although it’s recommended that you do this seventy two hours before you’re due to fly. The same applies if you’re an American looking to leave the US, you and the children will require Visas for a large proportion of places- so make sure that’s all sorted in advance. Something to bear in mind when you’re travelling abroad with kids, as they won’t just be covered under your paperwork.

 

Plan Activities

Having a rough idea of what you want to do while you’re away (with the willingness to be flexible) can help to add some structure to the chaotic fun. Don’t try and cram in too much, instead choose a few key activities and assign them to certain days. Leave plenty of time before and after each trip or excursion to relax and rest.

 

Choose The Right Travel Insurance

In most cases you will be able to get cover through a family policy but it’s important to read through carefully, or you could end up out of pocket if you need to make a claim. You will need something with a high level of medical cover, and which includes all of the activities your children will be doing on holiday. This is why it’s worth spending time on the point above and planning some activities beforehand, so you have an idea of what you’ll be doing. Swimming, biking, outdoor games- make sure they are all included. Don’t skimp to get a cheaper premium cost, you’re much better off making sure they’re completely covered.

 

The Best Geek Locations in England

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A lot of people in England want to realize their nerdy dreams overseas. This is because a lot of what we love comes from other countries. We want to visit Hollywood to see the museums and filming locations of our favourite movies. We want to visit Japan because it gave birth to anime.

It’s easy to forget that there are plenty of perfect geeky or nerdy locations right here in England. And when I use those words, I mean what we usually mean. I’m talking about fans of films, books, comics, theme parks and technology!

Here’s a quick, but by no means exhaustive, guide to some of the best examples!

Comic conventions

There are plenty of comic conventions in London. The most famous example would be the MCM Comic-Con. Contrary to popular opinion, this isn’t officially the British version of the San Diego Comic-Con. But this is closest we’ll get, and it’s amazing in its own right!

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When the MCM Comic-Con is on, you’ll know about it wherever you go in London. Geeks from all over the country flock here in their best cosplay outfits. Celebrities attend the event and meet fans. Comic stands are everywhere. And beware, those of you who think selfies have replaced the autograph! Celebrity autographs are still alive, kicking and very much available at the MCM Comic-Con!

The next MCM Comic-Con takes place in late May. The celebrity guests will include Warwick Davis and Meg Turney, the Internet’s favourite cosplayer. Remember, though, that there’s more than one comic convention in England! There’s also the London Super Comic Convention, which takes place earlier in the year. For less mainstream tastes, there’s also the brilliant East London Comic and Arts Festival. You can find out more at http://www.elcaf.co.uk.

Theme parks

Theme parks are a great way to pretend we’re in a loud, colourful fantasy land. For geeks with courage, there’s not much better than a roller coaster! For many of us, it’s the closest we’ll get to the thrilling action and speed we see in our favourite movies. There are a lot of theme parks in England, but you may as well visit one with the best roller coasters.

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The names Thorpe Park and Alton Towers often come to mind. But if you’re going to experience roller coasters, you may as well do it properly. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is consistently ranked as the best theme park in England and one of the best in Europe. (Remember that it has to compete with Disneyland Paris when the whole of Europe is invited to the competition!) It has more roller coasters than any other theme park in Europe. Its attractions are also world-renowned record breakers. When it launched in the mid-nineties, the Big One was the tallest and the fastest roller coaster in the entire world. It’s still the tallest in the United Kingdom! There’s also Valhalla, the longest indoor roller coaster in the world. (It was also the most expensive to build!) You can find out more at https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com.

Not too far away from Blackpool is the Laurel and Hardy Museum. It’s the only such museum in the world. It has a 1920s style theatre that shows classic comedy. It’s a must for movie buffs!

Literature hotspots

England has an amazing history of literature! For any book geek, it’s one of the best countries in the world. The first place you may think of is Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes lived in Conan Doyle’s novels. In these stories, Holmes and Watson lived at 221b Baker Street. Back then, though, there were no property numbers beyond 100 on Baker Street! These days, 221b Baker Street does exist. It’s the Sherlock Holmes Museum! Any fans of the stories or the BBC show must see this museum. You can read more about it at http://www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk.

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The real homes of many authors can be visited by the public. The Brontë Parsonage Museum preserves the residence of the literary sisters as it was when they wrote their classics. The home of legendary poet John Keats can also be found in Hampstead.

The hangouts of some of the great writers are also easily accessible. A trip to Oxford isn’t complete without a visit to The Eagle and Child. This is the pub where the fantasy writers C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to drink and chat with each other. Cornwall also houses the Jamaica Inn. The name isn’t a reference to the Daphne du Maurier’s classic horror novel. The novel was named after the inn! du Maurier stayed there on a particularly foggy and scary evening. The inspiration for her novel hit her there.