We were excited to be returning to England to begin this year’s long term housesitting assignments. This is the second year of long term house sitting and our calendar was jam packed for the next five months. We were ready to start our adventures house sitting London and beyond.
We lead a transient life and find that house sitting is a way to enjoy pet company while travelling. It is an economical way to travel the world and it allows us to immerse ourselves in the day to day life of the local area.
Here are just some of the cities we visited during this year’s house sits.
- House Sitting in New Cross London
- Where to stay in Bristol
- House Sitting in Stratford Upon Avon
- Where to stay in Stratford Upon Avon
- House Sitting in Brightwell Baldwin
- What to see near Oxford
- House Sitting in Cambridge
- House Sitting in Stowmarket
- What to see around Stowmarket
- House Sitting on the Black Isle of Scotland
- House Sitting Summary
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House Sitting in New Cross London
We took the train to the suburb of New Cross in London to look after two cats, a handsome young man called Ivan and a pretty princess called Pippi. Inside cats, Pippi and Ivan liked to play ball, chase reflections on the wall and jump up high to catch things. In the evening, we had the battle of the blanket, a struggle that was often won by Pippi, a victory for girl power, luckily Pippi liked sharing so there was plenty of room for Ivan and Pippi to snuggle up together on the lounge.
What to see around New Cross London
New Cross is very close to the centre of London, just one train station from London Bridge and its connections to the London Underground (tube).
New Cross has a multi-cultural mix, walking down the street you will see European, African, Middle Eastern and Asian faces. This is also reflected in the shops and restaurants on the high street that sell a range of cuisines, including Caribbean.
New Cross is also home to Goldsmiths University which attracts a youthful vitality to the area. New Cross is different from the London of grand historical monuments, New Cross is a more real, truer London.
On previous trips to London, we enjoyed exploring all the popular tourist attractions, this time we decided to discover a different part of London.
The River Thames
The Thames Path follows the River Thames on its 297-kilometre journey from its source to the sea.
In Oxfordshire, we walked along the Thames Path from Benson to Wallingford and fell in love with a quiet scenic stream. Now we wanted to experience the River Thames from a London point of view.
In London, the River Thames is wide, a muddy brown colour, has a strong current and is busy with tour boats clambering to make their way downstream, a very different River Thames from our peaceful stream where we would see the occasional narrowboat making its way slowly upstream.
Start the walk at St Paul’s Cathedral, a breathtaking Cathedral that is a must see for anyone interested in English history. After exploring St Paul’s Cathedral walk down to the Millennium Bridge. Take in the sweeping views of the river as you cross the Bridge over to the Tate Modern Art Gallery. If you have time, visit the Tate Modern, it’s a great way to spend a few hours especially if it’s raining.
From the Tate walk down to the Shakespeare’s Globe. The Globe is a realistic recreation of the original Elizabethan playhouse that had links to Shakespeare. At the Globe you can relive history by seeing Shakespeare’s plays in their original setting. After coming from Stratford Upon Avon we felt we had come full circle to the places that were important in Shakespeare’s life.
From Shakespeare’s Globe walk on to the Clink Prison Museum. This small museum shows the history and gruesome side of prison life and why you’d never want to find yourself in the “Clink”.
Next stop is the Golden Hinde, a full-size replica of the English galleon Sir Frances Drakes used to circumnavigate the World. After visiting the ship, I have nothing but respect and admiration for the men that set off to sea in such a small vessel.
We walked on to Borough Market, a hive of activity with stall upon stall of delicious treats, food from all over the World all tempting you to try. Bough Market is a must see in London.
On to London Bridge where we crossed over the River Thames, stopping in the middle of the bridge we watched a group of barges, filled with shipping containers tow each other up stream. In the distance were the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, we walked toward them, enjoying the sun and marvelling at the wonders of this remarkable city.
The Tower of London is a huge complex and the Beefeaters make the tour fun and informative. The Tower of London has had a long and bloody history, I have read many books about famous people who have ended up in “The Tower” to see it first hand was extraordinary.
We have been to London many times in the last 10 years and in that time we have seen a dramatic increase in the price of hotel accommodation. Housesitting in London is an attractive option for those wanting to save money. Long term house sitting London assignments can be found on house sitting sites such as Trusted HouseSitters.
House Sitting in Bristol
In Bristol, we looked after two Tonkinese cats, Kynsna and Karoo. These glamorous girls were so much fun to play and snuggle up with. They were extremely thoughtful and clever girls who loved sit on my computer to help me type and proofread my writing. The girls were great company and like every house sit, we left a little piece of our heart behind when it came time to leave.
What to see in Bristol
We loved Bristol and it should be included in any itinerary when visiting the United Kingdom. From the wonders of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the steam ship ss Great Britain, famed engineer Isambard Brunel has left his mark on the city.
Bristol has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene where colourful, sometimes thought provoking street art is celebrated. One of the most famous street artists is the elusive Banksy and examples of his works can be found dotted around Bristol. With a huge selection of dining choices and shopping delights, Bristol is a place to come back to again and again.
If you want to learn more about Bristol and the surrounding attractions, click on our article below to read about our experiences in this vibrant city.
Where to stay in Bristol
We were invited to the opening of the Harbour Spa at the Bristol Harbour Hotel. Exploring the Hotel, we discovered a luxurious hotel with a perfect mix of old world splendour and contemporary design. We enjoyed a drink in the stylish Gold Bar and marvelled at the lavish interior of this former bank. The Bristol Harbour Hotel houses the award winning Jetty Restaurant and the Harbour Spa, a place to relax in the hydrotherapy pool or be pampered with a range of spa treatments.
For the ultimate urban escape in Bristol, we recommend the Bristol Harbour Hotel.
House Sitting in Stratford Upon Avon
We had the pleasure to looking after Bella, Daisy and Blue. Daisy and Bella were pretty girls who liked sleeping, going on adventures, food and cuddles in the evening. Blue stayed in hiding, only coming out at feed times, it wasn’t until the last day that she let us cuddle her, she was such a sweetie, it made me sad for all the cuddles we missed.
What to see in Stratford Upon Avon
Sitting on the banks of the River Avon this charming town is devoted to its famous son William Shakespeare. You will find many buildings that relate to Shakespeare’s life including his birthplace and his wife’s family home “Anne Hathaway’s Cottage”.
Stratford Upon Avon is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company and performances of Shakespeare’s plays can be seen throughout the year.
There are Canal and River Tours that take you to the Stratford Canal Basin and River Avon to discover the history and wildlife of the area.
I loved walking along the River Avon foreshore, exploring the parks and wandering through the streets of this historic town.
Where to stay in Stratford Upon Avon
We had two separate nights in Stratford Upon Avon, before and after our house sit. We stayed at the Falcon Hotel and Crowne Plaza Stratford Upon Avon.
The Falcon Hotel
The Falcon hotel is a historic building which dates back to Tudor times. It has the whitewashed walls and dark wooden beams, that are typical of Stratford Upon Avon’s old world charm.
We stayed in the modern wing of the hotel. The room was comfortable and the Staff helpful. The restaurant is warm and welcoming, we treated ourselves to a delicious meal of Roast Beef and all the trimmings.
The hotel is in the centre of town, close to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and is surrounded by shops, restaurants and pubs. The River Avon and its parks are within walking distance.
For a night of living history, we recommend the Falcon Hotel
Crowne Plaza Stratford Upon Avon
We loved the Crowne Plaza Stratford Upon Avon. The rooms were stylishly decorated and the beds so comfortable that I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. The Crowne Plaza’s Riverside Restaurant and Terrace Bar and Lounge have scenic views overlooking the River Avon.
The Crowne Plaza Stratford Upon Avon is in the centre of town, a short walk to shops, theatre, restaurants and pubs.
For a night of comfort and style we recommend the Crowne Plaza Stratford Upon Avon.
House Sitting in Brightwell Baldwin
The pretty village of Brightwell Baldwin is only 25 kilometres from the University city of Oxford. Here we had the pleasure of meeting Max and Lenny two handsome cats who loved to prowl the open fields in search of mice. These strapping boys proudly left us presents after a big day of hunting. In the evening, Lenny and Max turned into big softies who loved their cuddles and purrs.
What to see near Oxford
Brightwell Baldwin was a great base for exploring the things to do around Oxford. We discovered so many hidden treasures, scenic walks along the Thames Path, picturesque villages, charming country pubs and a tour of the Mini Plant which produces a new car every sixty-two seconds.
We visited the colleges of Oxford, walked in the footsteps of its famous alumni and enjoyed the stunning beauty of this University city. Of course, a visit to Oxfordshire wouldn’t be complete without seeing Blenheim Palace, a World Heritage site that will astound you with its majesty.
If you want to learn more about Oxfordshire attractions, click on our article below to read about our experiences in this picturesque area.
House Sitting in Cambridge
In Cambridge, we looked after Bob. Bobcat was a fluffy ginger cat with a big personality and knew who was boss. Bob loved nothing better than to have his slaves (us) brush his luscious locks which we willingly did because we loved to hear him purr.
What to see in Cambridge
Though we didn’t have a lot of time in Cambridge, we were impressed by what we saw and would love to spend more time visiting in the future.
Cambridge was at its best with the sun shining and it was a pleasure to explore the city. We had fun at Cambridge General Market searching for trinkets and clothing. The markets sell a variety of locally grown fresh produce, cheeses, baked goods and breads that are simply delicious.
We were astounded by the beauty of Kings College and the tranquillity of Corpus Christi and Pembroke College. We watched as students walk across manicured lawns and wondered what the future had in store for them.
House Sitting in Stowmarket
We started our house sit in Stowmarket looking after two lovely girls, Daphne and Barney. We took special care of Barney who was a beautiful old cat with a gentle soul and loved a cuddle. Daphne was young and liked to spend a lot of time outdoors, in the evening Daph would snuggle up close and purr.
We arrived in Stowmarket and were met by Paulin who whisked us home to her Airbnb. Paulin was lovely, made us feel welcome. Paulin’s dog Ronnie, greeted us at the door and we fell in love with this gentle giant who made sure we were safe and well.
What to see around Stowmarket
The Museum of East Anglian Life is a Stowmarket attraction that shouldn’t be missed. Set out over more than 30 hectares the museum is made up of several lovingly restored historic buildings that include a windmill and 14th century farmhouse. The museum is the perfect place to learn more about the agricultural and social history of East Anglia. With farm animals, nature walks, picnic areas and café, it is an enjoyable day out for all the family.
Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds is a pretty market town that is a 20-minute train ride from Stowmarket. At the heart of Bury St Edmunds is the St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Abbey Gate and the ruins of a former Benedictine Abbey.
The Abbey Gardens are planted within the Abbey ruins and feature rose, herb and sensory gardens as well as bowling green and tennis courts. Visiting in Spring, we were welcomed by a profusion of colour and the sweet smell of flowers.
Bury St Edmunds Markets are fun, a mix of trendy clothing stalls, jewellery and gifts, as well as fresh produce, wild game, flowers and streets food, something for everyone. As well as markets, Bury St Edmunds has charming shopping streets as well as modern department stores.
House Sitting on the Black Isle of Scotland
We returned to the Black Isle of Scotland, this is the second time we have been house sitting in Scotland and we were looking forward to seeing our crew of four cats and a dog.
When I got out of the car, Maudie the dog ran over to me wagging her tail, I was so excited that she remembered me. The cats, Raggie, Ossie and Scarlett enjoy the thrill of running through the open fields and often bring presents back to for us. Smeagle is a lovely little girl who likes to stay inside and sit next to you for a cuddle or curl up for a nap with her best friend Raggie. Maudie, “the best dog in the world”, loves to chase rabbits across the fields. All have their have different personalities and are so cute when they have their smoochie moments. In the evening, we all enjoyed snuggling up by the fire, a lovely way to end a busy day.
What to do around the Black Isle of Scotland
The Black Isle is stunning, as I write I’m looking out over the Cromarty Firth, the distant farmlands and the rugged snow-capped mountains above. We call it God’s country.
The Black Isle is a short distance from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The Black Isle is a peninsula that is surrounded by the Cromarty, Beauly and Moray Firths.
There is so much to see on the Black Isle, here are a few of our favourites.
Cromarty is a small village on the tip of the Cromarty Firth, I love its art galleries, museums and the Cromarty Bakery has a reputation for baking the tastiest bread around.
Rosemarkie is on the other side of the Black Isle on the Moray Firth and has views overlooking Fort George. Chanonry Point has spectacular views of the Moray Firth and is a great place to spot bottlenose dolphins and other wildlife.
If you want to learn more about the Black Isle and the surrounding attractions, click on our articles below to read more about our experiences in this beautiful part of the world.
House Sitting Summary
As you can see, we are happy house sitters, during our travels we have met some gorgeous pets and seen some wonderful places.
We have lived like a local, using the local public transport, shopping at the local supermarkets and farmer’s markets and along the way have found people to be friendly and eager to help two Australians during their adventures house sitting London and beyond.
If you would like to find out more about house sitting click here to get started.