Jess Highclere Castle by Laurence Norah

One of the things I love about England is how well it does stately homes. These imposing constructions were generally built to house the aristocratic families of the country, and tend to be rather grand affairs with formal rooms, impressive architecture and, depending on the whims of the owners, some form of landscaped garden.

These homes, which are generally in the country, can also be referred to as Country Houses or Country Homes, and they are where the gentry would retire to when not hanging out in the cities taking part in the social scene. Clearly, a tough life, but someone had to do it.

During the 20th century though, and for various reasons, many of Britain’s aristocratic families ended up short on funds and so weren’t able to keep these homes maintained. One of the ways around this was to open them up to the public (or sell them to a public body), which means that today a great many of England’s finest homes and palaces are open for touring.

Some of these are still privately owned, whilst others have been given to national organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage for ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

10 of The Best Stately Homes to Visit in England

Jess Highclere Castle by Laurence Norah

One of the things I love about England is how well it does stately homes. These imposing constructions were generally built to house the aristocratic families of the country, and tend to be rather grand affairs with formal rooms, impressive architecture and, depending on the whims of the owners, some form of landscaped garden.

These homes, which are generally in the country, can also be referred to as Country Houses or Country Homes, and they are where the gentry would retire to when not hanging out in the cities taking part in the social scene. Clearly, a tough life, but someone had to do it.

During the 20th century though, and for various reasons, many of Britain’s aristocratic families ended up short on funds and so weren’t able to keep these homes maintained. One of the ways around this was to open them up to the public (or sell them to a public body), which means that today a great many of England’s finest homes and palaces are open for touring.

Some of these are still privately owned, whilst others have been given to national organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage for ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

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Sandia Peak Albuquerque_by_Laurence Norah

In the late summer of 2016 we decided to take a road trip around New Mexico for five weeks. Jess had lived in Albuquerque for a year, and we’d also passed through during our Route 66 adventure, but neither of us had really explored the state much, and we wanted to change that.

Obviously, we had to spend a few days exploring Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city - not least for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It turned out, there was a lot to do in Albuquerque, and most of it has nothing at all to do with Breaking Bad! Without further ado, here are:

20 Of My Favourite Things To Do In Albuquerque

20 Of My Favourite Things To Do In Albuquerque

Sandia Peak Albuquerque_by_Laurence Norah

In the late summer of 2016 we decided to take a road trip around New Mexico for five weeks. Jess had lived in Albuquerque for a year, and we’d also passed through during our Route 66 adventure, but neither of us had really explored the state much, and we wanted to change that.

Obviously, we had to spend a few days exploring Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city - not least for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It turned out, there was a lot to do in Albuquerque, and most of it has nothing at all to do with Breaking Bad! Without further ado, here are:

20 Of My Favourite Things To Do In Albuquerque

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Old Fort Point Loop hike jasper by Laurence Norah-21

Our recent visit to Canada was two-fold – first, we visited the city of Edmonton, ate lots of food and took in a number of sights, and came up with a guide for things to do in Edmonton. And that was all a lot of fun.

I have to admit though that the part of the trip I was most excited about was our trip to Jasper National Park for the annual Dark Sky Festival. This should be fairly obvious – as a passionate landscape photographer, heading to somewhere as famously picturesque as Jasper was definitely going to excite me!

Visiting Jasper for the Dark Sky Festival

Old Fort Point Loop hike jasper by Laurence Norah-21

Our recent visit to Canada was two-fold – first, we visited the city of Edmonton, ate lots of food and took in a number of sights, and came up with a guide for things to do in Edmonton. And that was all a lot of fun.

I have to admit though that the part of the trip I was most excited about was our trip to Jasper National Park for the annual Dark Sky Festival. This should be fairly obvious – as a passionate landscape photographer, heading to somewhere as famously picturesque as Jasper was definitely going to excite me!

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Charing Cross from above_by_Laurence Norah

I recently wrote a post about the best ways to get around London. That’s all well and good, but it’s missing a key component – the most cost effective way to actually pay for transport in London.

You’d think this would be a fairly obvious answer, but unfortunately it’s a little bit more complicated than you might imagine. Fear not though, this post will guide you through the options and help you decide which payment option is best for using London’s public transport system!

Oyster Card vs Contactless: The Best Way to Pay for Public Transport in London

Charing Cross from above_by_Laurence Norah

I recently wrote a post about the best ways to get around London. That’s all well and good, but it’s missing a key component – the most cost effective way to actually pay for transport in London.

You’d think this would be a fairly obvious answer, but unfortunately it’s a little bit more complicated than you might imagine. Fear not though, this post will guide you through the options and help you decide which payment option is best for using London’s public transport system!

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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
This year we took a trip to New Mexico, where we spend five weeks exploring this truly wonderful state. Lots of posts on this topic coming soon!

In the meantime though, I wanted to share our experiences visiting probably the most famous annual event to take place in New Mexico – the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This is the largest balloon event of its kind in the world, and it plays host to around 600 hot air balloons, who fill the skies over Albuquerque for almost two weeks!

It’s billed as the most photographed event on earth, and the largest event in the USA. Obviously – we had to visit!

26 Photos From The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
This year we took a trip to New Mexico, where we spend five weeks exploring this truly wonderful state. Lots of posts on this topic coming soon!

In the meantime though, I wanted to share our experiences visiting probably the most famous annual event to take place in New Mexico – the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This is the largest balloon event of its kind in the world, and it plays host to around 600 hot air balloons, who fill the skies over Albuquerque for almost two weeks!

It’s billed as the most photographed event on earth, and the largest event in the USA. Obviously – we had to visit!

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Sunset over Edmonton by Laurence Norah-20

Somehow, in all my wanders, I’d not made it to Canada. This was a particularly nagging omission in my mind, largely because I’m a passionate landscape photographer, and, well, Canada has some pretty epic landscapes.

Thankfully, the nice folks at Explore Edmonton & Tourism Jasper thought to invite Jess and I over to have a little explore. We spent eight days in Canada in total, partly in the city of Edmonton, and then in Jasper National Park for the Dark Sky Festival. The Dark Sky Festival I’ll be covering in an upcoming post.

In this post, I’m going to share our Edmonton experiences, in the form of a series of suggestions to inform your visit. First though:

13 Things to Do in Edmonton

Sunset over Edmonton by Laurence Norah-20

Somehow, in all my wanders, I’d not made it to Canada. This was a particularly nagging omission in my mind, largely because I’m a passionate landscape photographer, and, well, Canada has some pretty epic landscapes.

Thankfully, the nice folks at Explore Edmonton & Tourism Jasper thought to invite Jess and I over to have a little explore. We spent eight days in Canada in total, partly in the city of Edmonton, and then in Jasper National Park for the Dark Sky Festival. The Dark Sky Festival I’ll be covering in an upcoming post.

In this post, I’m going to share our Edmonton experiences, in the form of a series of suggestions to inform your visit. First though:

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Tips for driving in the USA

Exploring the USA by road is definitely one of the best ways to experience everything this incredible country has to offer. From exploring a state like California, to taking a classic road trip like Route 66, or just thoroughly exploring a section of the Pacific Coast Highway – hitting the open road in the US is a thoroughly rewarding experience.

It’s by far my favourite way to explore the country, and we’ve done thousands of miles of driving in the US, including Route 66, the Oregon Trail, and the Deep South.

I also love driving in the US. It’s a really car friendly country, with big, well maintained roads, clear signage, and no shortage of places to visit.

Tips for Driving in the USA

Tips for driving in the USA

Exploring the USA by road is definitely one of the best ways to experience everything this incredible country has to offer. From exploring a state like California, to taking a classic road trip like Route 66, or just thoroughly exploring a section of the Pacific Coast Highway – hitting the open road in the US is a thoroughly rewarding experience.

It’s by far my favourite way to explore the country, and we’ve done thousands of miles of driving in the US, including Route 66, the Oregon Trail, and the Deep South.

I also love driving in the US. It’s a really car friendly country, with big, well maintained roads, clear signage, and no shortage of places to visit.
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Scottish Highland and Skye Tour

This summer, we had the pleasure of being invited on a number of tours with a Scottish based tour operator – Rabbie’s Trail Burners. Given that we’d recently moved to base ourselves in Scotland, taking these tours seemed like a handy way to get to know our new home a little better, and let someone else do the heavy lifting for a change in terms of the planning, driving, and itinerary management.

All we would have to do was sit back, soak up the scenery, and decide where to eat each evening. I have to say, that was a good proposition, and one we were happy to take up.

We started our Rabbie’s adventures with three one-day tours, a Whisky Tasting Tour of the Highlands plus two different one-day tours of the Scottish Border region. The day trip tours from Edinburgh are great for those looking for a tour outside Edinburgh but don’t have time for a multi-day trip.

A Five Day Highland and Skye Tour with Rabbie’s

Scottish Highland and Skye Tour

This summer, we had the pleasure of being invited on a number of tours with a Scottish based tour operator – Rabbie’s Trail Burners. Given that we’d recently moved to base ourselves in Scotland, taking these tours seemed like a handy way to get to know our new home a little better, and let someone else do the heavy lifting for a change in terms of the planning, driving, and itinerary management.

All we would have to do was sit back, soak up the scenery, and decide where to eat each evening. I have to say, that was a good proposition, and one we were happy to take up.

We started our Rabbie’s adventures with three one-day tours, a Whisky Tasting Tour of the Highlands plus two different one-day tours of the Scottish Border region. The day trip tours from Edinburgh are great for those looking for a tour outside Edinburgh but don’t have time for a multi-day trip.

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Dream smoothed scotland

Everyone has a tale of smartphone woe, right? We’ve all had that moment where we need to get something key done on our smartphone, and for whatever reason – battery life, poor camera, just generally being unresponsive – we’ve not been able to do what we want.

The folks over at Mediatek (they provide the hardware that powers many of today’s smartphones!) understand this pain, and they got in touch with me to ask me to share my own story of smartphone woe. Being a photographer, obviously I wanted to talk about when using a smartphone has let me down in the photography department, so we put together the following fun video story about a shoot in the Scottish Highlands. Check that out here:

Win a trip to New York or a brand new Smartphone! #mediatekpumpexpress

Dream smoothed scotland

Everyone has a tale of smartphone woe, right? We’ve all had that moment where we need to get something key done on our smartphone, and for whatever reason – battery life, poor camera, just generally being unresponsive – we’ve not been able to do what we want.

The folks over at Mediatek (they provide the hardware that powers many of today’s smartphones!) understand this pain, and they got in touch with me to ask me to share my own story of smartphone woe. Being a photographer, obviously I wanted to talk about when using a smartphone has let me down in the photography department, so we put together the following fun video story about a shoot in the Scottish Highlands. Check that out here:

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Deep Time Edinburgh Castle

If I asked you to name the festivals that Edinburgh is known for, I suspect you’d probably tell me all about the comedy-focused Fringe Festival. Which is a pretty great festival, with hundreds of venues popping up all over the city and serving up some of the world’s best comedy and drama, ranging from brand new acts to internationally recognised names.

What you might not know is that during August, Edinburgh plays host to no less than six festivals, many of which run in parallel to each other. This is in addition to the six other festivals that run through the course of the year, bringing the total number of festivals that the cities Festivals team manages to a rather staggering twelve.

Visiting Edinburgh for the August Festivals

Deep Time Edinburgh Castle

If I asked you to name the festivals that Edinburgh is known for, I suspect you’d probably tell me all about the comedy-focused Fringe Festival. Which is a pretty great festival, with hundreds of venues popping up all over the city and serving up some of the world’s best comedy and drama, ranging from brand new acts to internationally recognised names.

What you might not know is that during August, Edinburgh plays host to no less than six festivals, many of which run in parallel to each other. This is in addition to the six other festivals that run through the course of the year, bringing the total number of festivals that the cities Festivals team manages to a rather staggering twelve.

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