The first leg of our honeymoon was San Francisco! The flight itself from the UK to San Francisco was great! We travelled with United Airlines and paid to upgrade to Economy Plus, which I do recommend. I can never sleep on planes so spent the entire 11 hours watching films. I love films so it was not a bad thing!!
We landed in San Francisco at around 1pm and probably cleared security roughly an hour or so later. I pre-booked a car to come and fetch us from the airport and take us to our hotel. They were there waiting for us and the driver was friendly and the car was clean. I cannot remember the company that we used but there are many available, id check reviews out first though.
I went to America prior to starting this blog, unlike now everywhere I go I take notes/pictures etc to do a blog update on. Therefore I have not been able to do full reviews/show pictures of somethings.
The hotel we booked into was the Sir Francis Drake. It was in an ideal location with some nice restaurants within walking distance. The famous cable cars also pass the front of the hotel, so ideal when wanting to get onto them.
The rooms are great and the restaurant is also ideal if not wanting to go out. There is also a bar on the top floor if you are wanting to enjoy some drinks. You can find a full review of the Sir Francis Drake here; http://amateurchef.wpengine.com/sir-francis-drake-hotel-san-francisco/
We were in San Francisco for 3 days, giving us plenty of time to try a couple of restaurants out. Before leaving we did agree that we would try to have at least 1 really nice meal in each place we stay.
Prior to leaving I was doing some research on places to eat and came across Gary Danko’s. It had excellent reviews and needed to be booked in advance so thought it would be an ideal place to eat on our first day in America.
The atmosphere was excellent, cocktails were excellent and the food was simply incredible! I would really recommend Gary Danko’s if you want a romantic meal out to celebrate a special occasion.
I have done a complete review of Gary Danko’s which can be found here; http://amateurchef.wpengine.com/gary-danko-san-francisco/
Lori’s Diner San Francisco
I don’t have a review written for Lori’s Diner as it was a unplanned meal but I have to say it was very nice.
The diner is just across the road from Sir Francis Drake and is actually open 24 hours a day. We came here as we had been out all day and wanted something quick to eat before going out for a few drinks.
Being from England we don’t really have any American Diners that you tend to see on films like Back To the Future, this place was therefore a treat! The decor is what I would imagine when thinking of a 50’s diner with the tables set out like the back of cars.
The food as well is typical diner food such as chips and hot dogs. I had enjoyed a nice hot dog which was very tasty. If you are in the area and looking for a quick lunch/dinner but want to experience nice decor and tasty food then I would recommend Lori’s Diner.
The URL for it is: www.lorisdiner.com
Obviously we cannot come to a great city like San Francisco and not explore and see what it has to offer! We had an incredible time and did a lot of fun and exciting things, although there was just not enough time to do everything we would have liked. For example id have love to have gone into the wine region and enjoyed walking through the vineyards.
Below are things we did however get to do and enjoy, if you are in San Francisco then these are things I would recommend.
While planning our trip to San Francisco, I had a look to see what we could do and see. I love films and The Rock is one that I have enjoyed watching a number of times, making it essential to visit Alcatraz.
We were told to pre-book our tickets as it does get booked up, I would recommend doing the same to avoid disappointment.
Alcatraz is an interesting island and is home to a number of buildings such as one of the oldest lighthouses, as well as a prison. The prison is famous as it was said to be impossible to escape from. It was therefore the home to some of the most well-known criminals such as Al Capone.
It closed its doors as a prison in 1963, 29 years after it had opened. Since then it was occupied by Native American Activists, this occupation ended in 1971. I believe it opened in 1980 to be opened to the public to be able to venture into its grounds and learn of its history.
We got the boat across and had as much time as we wanted to walk around it, the boats come every 10 minutes or so. As long as you get on the last boat then you can spend as much time on the island as you want.
Whilst walking through you also get a MP3 player and headphones to listen to the history of Alcatraz as well as examples of how it would have been IE the kitchen/exercise room etc.
We had a good walk around and really enjoyed the experience, it was somewhat unnerving seeing how prisoners lived in their cells and imagining that it was actually a functional prison. When we left we went through the gift shop and saw William G. Baker one of the actual ex prisoners, he was signing copies of his book that he had written.
The boats to and from the island are regular, I’d suggest getting an early one so you have as much time on the island as you want 🙂
Find out more about the Alcatraz trip from here – http://www.alcatrazislandtickets.com/
You cannot come to San Francisco and not experience the cable cars. It is the last cable car system in the world that is still manually operated. There are 3 different lines and are a great way of travelling parts of the city.
The cable cars are one of the many well-known tourist attractions of San Francisco. I’d recommend getting on them early in the morning as they do get incredibly busy during the day!
We have done a number of bus tours which allow you to hop on and off. They are amazing as you really get to see all the sights and decide if a certain attraction is something you want to get off and look at. The buses are usually fairly regular and I have never had a problem getting a seat on the top deck.
In San Francisco we used the company Big Bus with a standard full 24 hour ticket costing $45, which I don’t think is bad at all!
The tour like many others come with headphones which allows you to learn a little more about what you are looking at.
On the tour we got to see the main highlights such as the incredible Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf. Other things to look at include;
If you wanted to see as much as possible in the shortest time then I really would recommend giving one of the San Francisco Big Bus tours ago. You can find out more about them and the places they stop at here: http://bigbustours.com/sanfrancisco/home.html
We spent an entire day just walking around the city. we walked down to the piers in the hopes of going to Fisherman’s Wharf but ended up turning right instead of left… This resulted in us walking to AT&T Park the home to the San Francisco Giants, at least we got to see even more of the city.
During the walk back we went past the San Francisco Aquarium and decided to have a walk around it and see some incredible sea life. The Aquarium of the Bay works to help protect and restore the conservation of the sea life within the San Francisco Bay.
During our walk around we go to learn a great deal about many of the sea life as well as see over 20,000 different animals within the bay. This also included walking through a tunnel with sharks and turtles swimming past, which was a great experience.
The San Francisco Aquarium is the perfect place to take kids and doesn’t cost too much. Adults are $24.95, with children prices only being $14.95.
Check out their official website here – https://www.aquariumofthebay.org/
I am sure you would have an excellent time, we did! It is incredibly relaxing walking around and looking at some incredible sea life. It has amazing colours and the music in the background is so nice. You wouldn’t believe you were in a busy city!
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the major tourist areas of San Francisco. It features lots of bars, restaurants, shops and entertainment. I found a Zoltar machine from the film BIG, I had to give it a go 🙂
It has alot of attractions such as 7D experience, Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s believe it or not museum. If you’re after food then you would be in the right place, its perfect for food lovers. It has over 25 different places to eat with a wide range of types of food. It’s close to the sea so I would recommend trying out some crab!
Looking to do a bit of retail therapy then check out the shops, there are plenty of them! Perfect for finding the gifts for those at home!
You cannot come to Fisherman’s Wharf without checking out the seals…When we came they had gone to mate which was a shame. There was just 1 seal (felt so sorry for him!!)
Find out more about Fisherman’s Wharf here – http://www.visitfishermanswharf.com/
We had 3 incredible days in San Francisco and loved every single minute of it. We were very tired as we had suffered from some serious jet lag but didn’t let that stop us!
Now all we had to do was get ourselves to the airport to pick up the car. We had decided to drive down to Santa Monica. Due to time restraints we couldn’t do the whole drive on the coastal route. Instead did some on route 101 and then did the last half on the coastal road.
We hired the car via Alamo and they gave us exactly what we asked for…
A red convertible Mustang…a real dream of mine!
Find out what we got up to on the next leg of our honeymoon!
Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!
Up until about 2 years ago we enjoyed most of our holidays abroad, recently we have enjoyed many holidays within the UK. A year ago we went to Cornwall and I fell in love with it straight away, we returned again this year and I was glad to be back!
We had a week booked into a holiday home near Wadebridge in Cornwall, however due to it being roughly a 7 hour drive we decided to spend the night in Weston Super-Mare to help break up the journey. We left Nottingham at around 4pm with the aim to get on the motor way before the rush hour, which seemed to work as we didn’t really hit much traffic other than a few issues with roadworks now and again.
As we wanted to get there in plenty of time we drove along the motor way most of the way, hitting the M42 and then the M5 all the way into Weston-Super-Mare. We stayed 5 minutes away from Weston-Super-Mare in a place called Uphill Manor, it is old stately home with a great deal of character.
If you are planning on visiting the area then I really would recommend this hotel, it has a good amount of land so even if you was wanting a weekend away somewhere it would be perfect!
As we went motorway to Weston-Super-Mare, we decided to go more of a scenic trip so went A39 which takes you through Devon and then into Cornwall. The trip took roughly 4 hours, half way through we stopped off at a pub for a spot of lunch.
There were 7 of us so we decided to rent out a holiday home, last year we rented an excellent modern house just outside of Padstow called the Kismet. It had a nice amount of space, the rooms were decent in size and the outdoor space for the BBQ was perfect.
If looking Kismet sounds interesting you can find out more about it at Cornish Cottages by clicking here
This year we decided to try another house and booked a house called Pendavey farm in Wadebridge. The building is very different compared to Kismet as it was a very old building with a lot of history, whereas Kismet was a modern building. This did mean it had a couple of quirks such as uneven floors, older looking kitchen etc. There was however a lot of space inside and outside. One of the best things about the house was the swimming pool, which was heated and was an often stop first thing in the morning before breakfast!! 🙂
Pendavy is a great place to stay if your wanting a break away with friends or family. You can find out more about it by clicking here…
One of my favourite places to visit in Cornwall is Padstow, for me it has everything you need for a nice and relaxing holiday. Padstow is a little fishing port which is located on the North Coast of Cornwall and is steeped in history. It was named after a Welsh missionary called Saint Petroc and Padstow was called Petroc-stow. (Interestingly one of Rick Stein’s restaurants is called Saint Petroc)
The fishing port of Padstow is still in full working order today, you can visit and have a sit around the port watching the fisherman coming in or going out with their catch and simply watch the world go round.
There are plenty of shops and galleries around the Padstow area, as well as plenty of places for something to eat or drink. The pubs that are in Padstow are excellent and a perfect place for you to give some Cornish Ales a try…believe me I tried a fair few 🙂
As well as a port if you are into beaches then there is an excellent beach, roughly about 5-10 minutes walk from the centre of Padstow. The sand on the beach is perfect, it’s sandy with very little stones and the water is very clean. We did have a funny time when we almost got stuck on the beach because of the tide, we ended up having to climb over some rocks and got very wet 🙂
I would also recommend a look at the lobster hatchery, it’s interesting to see how much work they are putting in to keep the amount of lobsters up. Near the hatchery is Rick Stein’s Delhi, well worth a visit if you want to purchase some gifts or food. I bought a couple of books and one happened to be signed by Rick Stein! I would also give his wine a go, it tastes very nice!
One of the things I love about Padstow is the food, there are plenty of nice places to eat all varying in cost. If you’re in Cornwall and looking for somewhere to go as a foodie, Padstow has to be on your list.
I have been to a number of the restaurants in Padstow and can fully recommend many of them, there is even a review of many of them available.
If you are looking for some lunch, I would recommend Rick Stein’s fish and chips. When we went, we sat in and it must be one of the best fish and chips I have had. If you don’t want to queue up to sit in, they do also do a take away option.
Paul Ainsworth No 6 – http://amateurchef.wpengine.com/paul-ainsworth-no-6/
Rojanos – http://amateurchef.wpengine.com/rojanos-restaurant/
St Petroc – http://amateurchef.wpengine.com/rick-steins-st-petrocs-bistro/
There are so many beaches that I would recommend visiting, we went to Porthminster one day and it is an excellent beach although it was not great for crabbing! One of the best beaches we went on was Thistral Beach in Newquay, its miles of sandy beach with a nice sea and plenty of rocks to go crabbing!
There is also a couple of bars with some nice places to eat, we had chips from Rick Stein’s on Fistral and it was very tasty so would recommend that.
Another beach I would recommend is Watergate Bay, this is home to the well known Fifteen restaurant which makes for an amazing lunch or evening meal!
I have done a review of this which can be found here;
There is so much to do in Cornwall that you couldn’t possibly fit it all into one journey, which is one of the reasons why I love it so much. Cornwall is also one of those places that you can generally get to most parts if you have a car.
Many of these I did last year as this year was more of a relaxing week away with very little activity, other than eating, drinking and going in the sea or the pool. I would however recommend these if you are looking for something nice to do.
We have been to a couple of Birds of Prey places and have to say we were very impressed with the one in Cornwall. We actually lucked out as the day we decided to go they had a event on, allowing us to see many of the birds actually flying and doing displays.
As well as there being a large amount of birds to see, there are also nature walks, picnic area and a nice lake.
Find out more about it here: http://www.cornishbirdsofprey.co.uk/
We decided to have a day out to Lands End, we took the scenic along the coast so we probably added a good couple of hours to the drive but it was well worth it. I personally didn’t think much of Lands End, we had to pay £5 to park and to be honest I don’t think we were there for more than a hour.
It is very child friendly though so if you do have young kids Id recommend a visit, I wanted to go in a couple of the attractions but Rach said I was too old 😛 We did go in the 4D cinema which was good, as we loved these when we went to America.
Again though, if you have a free day I’d recommend visiting!
If you are a fan of the series Doc Martin, you have to visit Port Isaac as it is where it’s filmed. I have watched a bit of it but we were close to it so decided to pop and have a look. We didn’t spend very long here so didn’t get to see everything, although it is fairly small. There is a nice pub to go in and have a drink whilst watching the world go by.
Even though it is a cider farm, you don’t have to be a big fan of cider to enjoy it. I imagine it does help but it is interesting to learn how it’s made and you do get to taste a little. As well as the tour to see how cider is produced here, there is also a little farm with a few animals. We had our niece who was 2 at the time so an ideal place to take her to look at the animals.
Find more information here http://thecornishcyderfarm.co.uk/visit-us/
Without a doubt to be honest, it’s only my 2nd time to Cornwall but there is nothing I don’t like about it. Incredible beaches, plenty to do, amazing food and lovely people. Everyone that we have spoken to whilst on holiday has been friendly, what more could you possibly want!
It’s actually somewhere that I would love to move to in the future!
In fact we have already started planning our visit to Cornwall in 2017, my restaurant stop will be Nathan Outlaw’s as the food looks excellent!
Don’t forget to check out the Visit Cornwall website for more info – www.visitcornwall.com
Please comment below to let me know what you think and if you do have any questions please feel free to ask, i’ll be more than happy to answer what I can 🙂
We have been lucky enough to visit Uphill Manor a couple of times over the past couple of years, each time we visit Cornwall we have a night here as a halfway point. It’s a stop be look forward to for a number of reasons, great rooms, impressive looking building, grounds and an amazing breakfast.
The building is full of history and dates back to to 1805 and is one of the most historic buildings in the area. There are a total of 5 guest rooms all of which are a great size with en suite bathrooms, the room we stayed in had a very large bath which was very nice!
Each room has a TV and tea/coffee facilities, they even have candles and matches by the bath in case you want a relaxing soak. Needing the internet? Not a problem! They provide high speed wifi in all rooms and it doesn’t cost anything extra.
Recently some of the rooms were redecorated and the decor really does fit well with the feel of the building, including a grand wood staircase. As well as the bedrooms there are a number of rooms that you can sit down and enjoy a good book or the snooker room that has a full sized snooker table.
As Uphill Manor is a bed and breakfast they don’t offer lunch or an evening meal, we arrived fairly late so got a pizza delivered. They are however more than happy to give directions to recommended places to eat, Weston-Super-Mare is only a 3 minute drive as well so there are plenty of options when looking for somewhere to eat.
One of the things we enjoy doing whilst here is visiting the honesty bar, its a room situated on the ground floor that has plenty of seating and a wide range of drinks. They have a nice collection of non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks that you can enjoy. As it is an honesty you simply mark down what you drink and settle the bill on checkout.
Even though they don’t offer lunch or dinner, each morning they offer an incredible breakfast. The owners do an incredible breakfast which includes cereals along with toast, there is then a menu to select a warm breakfast. I chose the full English breakfast, with this you then get a choice on how you want the eggs cooked. I went for the poached eggs and they were cooked perfectly.
After breakfast if you don’t need to rush to your next destination you should check out the grounds, we had a quick look around but didn’t get chance to explore it all. There is an impressive 17 aches worth of grounds to venture in, perfect for when the weather is nice.
The location of Uphill Manor is ideal, it’s just a 3 minute drive outside of the main commercial part of Weston-Super-Mare but close enough to get to enjoy all of the attractions such as the restaurants, pubs, sandy beach and the Grand Pier.
If you are in the area I couldn’t recommend this bed and breakfast enough, it is a great building with comfortable beds. The Bed and Breakfast is perfect for families, couples or even when visiting on a business trip.
Address: 3 Uphill Road South, Uphill, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, BS23 4SD
Contact Number: +44 (0)1934 644 654
As apart of our honeymoon in America, Rach and I visited San Francisco for 3 nights. When booking the hotels the travel agents recommended the Sir Francis Drake, we had a look online and it looked great so went with their recommendation.
The Sir Francis Drake hotel is apart of the Kimpton group who have a variety of hotels, all of which look very good. The location of Sir Francis Drake is actually pretty good, located in Union Square near lower nob hill.
The trams go straight past the hotel and it’s only a couple of miles away from the popular tourist destination, Fisherman’s Wharf. If you need a taxi anywhere the staff are more than happy to arrange one for you.
The Sir Francis Drake Hotel was built in the 1920’s and you can see from the decor that they are trying to keep this style, although at the same time making the hotel feel modern with things such as free in-room wifi. Welcomed by a man dressed as a beefeater, you enter the large lobby. The italian marble and glittering chandeliers really gives this hotel some great character.
We arrived at the hotel and to be honest we were a little jet lagged but at the same time exciting to see what San Francisco had to offer. The checkin was quick and simple, the person that served us was very friendly and as it was our honeymoon gave us a little upgrade on the room.
The room that we stayed in was a decent size, with a massive bed, cabinets and a TV. The bathroom was to the side which again was an okay size and everything looked nice and clean. We were fairly high up so we managed to get a really nice view of the city from our room, there was a little street noise but that’s to be expected with an old building. The noise however didn’t keep us awake at night.
In the lobby of the Sir Francis Drake there is a large bar with some nice seating, we had a few cocktails here which were all very nice and the staff were very friendly. We didn’t see it unfortunately but at the top of the hotel is the Starlight room which serves cocktails whilst being able to see the sky-line of San Francisco…maybe next time we come we can check it out!
The hotel do offer a valet service but we were not driving at the time so didn’t need this, this service comes at a cost of roughly £38 a night, which might seem steep but compared to some places I don’t think this is too bad.
The hotel does also have a restaurant that serves italian food, we cannot really comment on this though as we did eat out. We did however experience the breakfast here and it was excellent, there is plenty of choice and all of it tastes fresh. Food wise, there really is something for everyone and I think it would be hard to find something not to like about it.
I do think if I was to come to San Francisco again, I would certainly book the Sir Francis Drake again. It’s a great hotel in an excellent location and as I said the staff have a real positive attitude and really want to make your experience with them a good one. If you are looking for a hotel then I couldn’t recommend this one more, perfect if you’re on business, on a romantic holiday or a family vacation.
The rooms cost around £170 which includes breakfast, there are however many booking websites such as expedia where you might be able to get them at a cheaper rate. I don’t think this is too expensive for the location and the quality of the hotel.
Find out more about the Sir Francis Drake Hotel In San Francisco via their link below;
If you have been or do plan on going here, please feel free to comment below with what you thought about it or if you have any questions. I’ll be more than happy to answer them 🙂
After all of the buildup and excitement of our big day, it was now time to start our honeymoon and boy was I excited. It had been a dream of mine to visit America for as long as I can remember, I am a big fan of TV and films so I expect a lot of it came from that.
We chose to go to America for several reasons however Rach new how much I wanted to go and the more we looked into where to go and what to do, Rach had fallen in love with it to. We both also wanted to go somewhere on our honeymoon that neither of us had been to before, which made this even more perfect.
Many months before the our big day we sat down and planned out what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. We booked our honeymoon via Kouni but did go to a number of places to price it up and also get a feel for what they offer/suggest. I was always under the impression that Kuoni were expensive but to be completely honest I thought the price was reasonable. It could have been done cheaper if we booked everything ourselves IE flights/hotels etc but I worry about things too much so was better to go through a company.
So where would we be going?
Rach and I sat down and discussed what we wanted to do and see, I had 3 things I MUST experience and that was Las Vegas, Los Angeles and drive a Mustang. Rach really wanted to visit New York and this was something she had always wanted to see. We sat with the rep from Kuoni and came up with the plan to fly to San Francisco for 3 days, drive down to Los Angeles for 3 days and continue on from there to San Diego for another 2 days.
From San Diego we will then drive to Las Vegas for an additional 3 days and then fly to New York for the final 3 days and then return home. Including travel time it would work out at around 16 days in total, which we felt was plenty of time. Prior to the honeymoon we were very much beach visitors, most of our holidays consisted of holidays around the beach but we really wanted to do something different and this holiday would be just that!
The planning is not over…..
I am a planner, I have to literally plan everything and have things organised. We had where we were going sorted but my brain started asking questions…
Don’t get me wrong I think it’s important to have a little surprise and I didn’t want to have everything planned to military standards, however I did want to plan a good % of it so that we got the most out of the limited time we had in places.
I got my laptop out and opened up a word document, I typed the cities we are visiting and made these bold. Under each one I put Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3, this was so that we could plan what was happening on each day.
There were a few things that we had to do in certain areas such as visit some nice restaurants, warner brothers etc. The things that we wanted to make sure we did I put down on the days and then saw how the plan was looking, I made sure to give us a few days where we had nothing specific planned so we could just explore and see where the day took us.
Now that it was all planned, a few restaurants booked and tickets had been purchased to a few experiences it was time to wait….and wait…and wait…
Check out the next post to see what we got up to in San Francisco!!!Continue reading