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A Cornish Coastal Walk. Boscastle to Tintagel In Photos

It is quite easy to fall in love with Cornwall at first sight. Dramatic coastline everywhere, well marked foot paths that make hiking extremely accessible, and the mildest and sunniest climate in the UK make for one of the pretties and most rewarding outdoor experiences.

In West Cornwall, Boscastle is one of the best starting points for exploring the region. 

Boscastle is a small fishing village with a very tragic recent history. 

In August 2004, an exceptional amount of rain fell over a period of 8 hours, resulting in the worst flooding in local memory. Cars were dragged into the sea and people needed to be rescues from the rooftop of their houses. Luckily no one died, and the tragedy resulted in a new wave of development. 

If it weren't for the water level marks and the footage rolling in the new visitor centre, you would never guess a tragedy of such scale took place here only 10 years ago. 

The village is shrouded in peace. 

We found the small parish church just by the Old Parsonage B&B where we were staying. A walk to the old lookout tower revealed some amazing coastal views, and a stroll through the village, the quirky Witchcraft Museum, boasting the world's largest collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia.

We spotted grazing horses, ready at any time to receive a treat from the human visitors. And we witnessed gorgeous sunsets we couldn't get enough of - we made a point out of not missing them.  

Walking the rugged coastal path from Boscastle to Tintagel Castle is an amazing experinece. This hiking trail includes some of the finest coastal scenery in Britain and it takes a good 3-4 hours. It is about 5 miles/8 km long, with many ups and downs and good walking shoes and a bottle of water are a must.

The hike has medium difficulty, but it is totally worth it. If it's sunny, make sure to use sunscreen, as shade is a very rare commodity on the way. The path is a dirt one and walking it in the rain might be dangerous. 

Tintagel Castle is steeped in legend and mystery. Reputed to be the birthplace of King Arthur, the castle was occupied ever since Roman times. Now only ruins remain, however the seascapes from the castle's peninsula are stunning.

There are lots of stairs to be climbed in order to get to the castle, not to mention the ruins of the castle spread over two hills that got separated due to earth movements. So the stairs must be climbed twice (not precisely the most accessible place!). Merlin's grotto is under the peninsula, while Arthur's footprint is forever carved in one of the stones. 

Arthur's footprint

In Tintagel, everything seemed related to King Arthur. Though there isn't much historical evidence to support the legend, the castle has been a paid tourist attraction ever since the 19th century. The actual castle was built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, back in the 13th century, in an intent to gain importance by association with King Arthur.

The Cornish coast is beyond amazing. And the Boscastle to Tintagel walk a must for any nature lover or photography enthusiast. We can't wait to go back!

Where to stay:

The Old Parsonage B&B offers beautiful and comfortable accommodations in Boscastle. Sunsets and picnics on the coast are very accessible from here, as all you have to do is cross the churchyard and you will be rewarded with the prettiest of views. At Old Parsonage they are expert in sunsets, but also at making guests feel welcomed by spoiling them and caring for them in any way possible. 

Eating Our Way Around London in Search For The Best Food in the City

When it comes to the old continent, London is a perfect melting pot of cultures and this is reflected in its culinary diversity as well. Though English food was often the joke of Europe in the past, truth is, British cuisine is very much alive and well nowadays, thank you very much! It was enough to join the Eating London Food Tour, to see this for ourselves.

We started the tour with a stop at St John Bread and Wine. Since the tour started at 10am, we had skipped breakfast altogether, and the Old Spot Bacon Sandwich was a Godsent. Among the specialties of this elegant restaurant in Spitalfields are Blood Cake and Smoked Backfat with Brown Sauce, but our guide, Nicole, guaranteed the Bacon Sandwich was their most incredible accomplishment.

After tempering our hunger a little bit, we followed to The English Restaurant for Bread and Butter Pudding. An old-fashioned English favourite, made with day-old bread, this was seriously our favourite dish during the whole tour. The quaint surroundings and the sweet delicacy were just perfect for a relaxed Monday morning trying to 'take a break from being a tourist'.

This is actually the motto of Eating London Food Tours. Nicole not only introduced us to some amazing plates that left us longing for more, but told us the story behind the people preparing them, the history of the buildings we were passing by and all in all, showed us a part of London we didn't have any previous knowledge whatsoever of. 

Food tours are an amazing way to discover a city. I would go as far as saying they are the best way. We like to eat when we are sad and we like to eat when we are happy. The way we cope with both feelings is translated in recipes and dishes. There's a wealth of knowledge one can learn from eating local foods. 

Our next stop was inside the Old Spitalfields Market, a fun and bustling covered market with over four centuries of tradition. Nowadays locals come less to buy fruits and vegetables here and rather to enjoy a glass of wine in one of the fancy restaurants. We had 3 British cheeses here, a Stilton (my favourite!), a Westcombe Cheddar and an Olgleshield and leaned a few fun facts. 

- Cheddar cheese is named after the Cheddar Gorge caves in Sommerset 
- the Cheedar cheese also accounts for the 51% of the cheese market in Britain
- only cheese produced in three counties in England and made according to a strict code may be called "Stilton" 

East End might be a nice and safe place to be nowadays, but it wasn't always like this. It has a history of violence and poverty, and many of the buildings are proof of its turbulent past. Like this Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor. 

The story behind this impressive facade is an incredibly interesting one. There was a time when London's Jews were divided in rich and poor, but they were all proud people. So the rich ones gathered the money for this lavish facade to make a statement. Jews help each other. They are not a burden on the shoulders of the local community. 

Stories like this are easy to miss when you explore the streets of London without a knowledgeable person besides you. They are also the salt and pepper, the thing that can make or brake your day out and about in search for a better understanding of the city.

Next we made a stop at Poppies for their famous Cod, chips and mushy peas. This was voted among the Top 100 Best Dishes in London and didn't disappoint. 

But Nicole promised us that by the time we'll be though with the tour, we will have tasted 3 of the plates that made the list. We couldn't wait!

Down a cobbled street off Brick Lane, we entered Pride of Spitalfields for a glass of Trumans Ale and Orchard Cider. It was an unpretentious bar, with black-and-white photographs of East End's past. 

But what caught everyone's attention was Lenny, the white-and-tabby pub cat. He treated everyone with distain, and it was difficult to win his favours, though I honestly didn't go empty handed and offered him some cat food. But Lenny was on a diet and quite grumpy about it too. So a bit of dry cat food didn't grant me access to petting heaven for long.

The streets of East End are filled with some beautiful graffiti artworks that only add to its trendiness. We felt cool walking the streets here. Nicole told us some of the stories behind the street art.

This huge bird from Banglatown for example was intended to be a heron. But when the locals came back from work, and they saw the resemblance with the crane, a bird considered sacred in the Bangladeshi culture, they chatted to the Belgian artist and he graciously agreed to make the necessary changes for the heron to become a crane. Now this forty-foot bird watches over the neighbourhood and it became it's symbol and an homage.

Likewise, this Muslim woman holding hands with a white man in a neighbourhood where there's racial tension, speaks volumes. 

"Chichen Tikka Masala is the national dish of Britain", Nicole told us. And at Aladin we were about to taste the best curry in London, as the tin sign outside so proudly announced. We love curries! We had Bhuna, Pathia and Madras - the last one seemed to be everyone's favourite. Fingers liking good, I'm telling you! Too bad we didn't manage to work our way back for more in the next days.

Our next stop was Beigel Bake, for a bite of the famous salt-beef beigel, another dish that made it to the top 100 best dishes in London I mentioned earlier. By now we were already feeling full. The Eating London tours involve quite a lot of food. Yummy too. So we couldn't say no to any. The Beigel Shop is open 24 hours and it is a great place to stop by on the way back home from the pub.

Our last stop before saying our goodbyes was at Pizza East. This spacious restaurant inspired by its industrial surroundings looks pretty row. Not the same can be said about the plates they serve, since the Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart was quite refined and elegant, and the majority's favourite. Yet another top 100 dish, it was the perfect ending to a great food tour. 

OK, so we spotted quite a bunch of interesting details along the way. East End is fascinating and not only when it comes to food. It's one of London's boroughs that we found most alive. Do not miss it!

The Perfect Base From Which to Explore London. Hilton Park Lane

London is never predictable. She can treat you to a raft of sights, sounds and emotions entirely different to someone visiting at the same time, all depending on where you lay your head. Her beauty unfolds in a multitude of ways. And that’s part of its charm.

Our stay at London Hilton on Park Lane certainly dictated a plush experience. This is one of the most emblematic hotels in the country, and noteworthy for its excellent services. In all honestly, we rarely felt more spoiled anywhere else. 

Towering 27 floors above the British capital, the Hilton offers some amazing vistas of the picturesque Hyde Park, Knightsbridge and Buckingham Palace. It is surrounded by other famous hotel chains, in a location that is so central, nothing seems too far away.

We absolutely loved our Park Lane Suite.

Elegant, classy and incredibly comfortable, we felt like our stay here could have lasted forever. I mean, why leave if it feels so homey?

The spacious suite came prepared with a walk in closet, and a window seat with soft cushions from where we could take in London's skyline for miles and miles. 

Room service was outstanding. We loved the Club Sandwiches - one of the Hilton classics. Definitely made to share, as each order is more than one person can eat, they were fresh and tasty even if we ordered them at 5am on our last day, as we were getting ready to go to the airport.

The Executive Lounge is a great place to grab a quick snack in between meals and have a chat. We spent some time here catching up with work, but our suite was simply too gorgeous and we preferred the intimate atmosphere that came along with it. 

The 'Confessions of a Chocoholic' afternoon tea they serve in the Podium Restaurant and Bar located at the ground floor is nothing short of amazing. The sweetest moments of our time in London were spent here, indulging in all the delicacies so beautifully blended with Pop Art. 

Simply put, the colourful cupcakes were the best we've ever had! 

The freshly baked chocolate chip scones came accompanied by praline chocolate spread and clotted cream. 

But the fancies were the highlight of our afternoon tea at Hilton. There were blueberry whoopee pies, lemon cheesecakes, iced sables, chocolate cakes, chocolate macaroons and meringue lollies inspired by the artwork of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and the rest. 

We also had dinner at Podium one of the evenings and it turned out to be a tasty affair with very attentive service. I had the 'French onion soup with cheese glaze' that a friend of ours recommended and I have to agree it was the best onion soup I've had so far. It totally restored my faith in the 'onion'. Not a big fan usually, but this was truly exquisite. My husband had the 'Duck spring roll with Hoisin sauce' and he loved it too. 

We also had the juicy 'Aberdeen Angus steak' and 'Teriyaki salmon' for the main dish, and finished in dessert heaven, with 'Rhubarb cremè brulèe' and 'Warm apricot tart'.

The guys at Hilton really know how to spoil their guests, believe me! Every single dish we had here was amazing!

We alternated in between breakfast in bed and breakfast downstairs. While the breakfast spread had incredible variety, breakfast in our room was so much more romantic!

Everything about Hilton on Park Lane was oh, so perfect! We only have fond memories of our stay here and we would return in the blink of an eye.

For more information on Hilton Park Lane, to book a room or a table at Podium Restaurant, please see their website.