"When I tick something off, I usually end up doing more than I bargained for. Here I've recorded all of those extra experiences so they might make it on your list."
Owner of LJP Bucket List
Working Steam Weekend
Not far from home this one. Every year the local town of Stotfold hold a festival to pay tribute to all things steam powered.
On display are classic cars, trains and all other manor of contraptions you can see. It is also a festival, so there was music, shopping opportunities and the odd show going on.
If you're interested in these types of machines or just in the Bedfordshire area in October, add this to your diary.
Visit the Winnie the Pooh tree
Not far from home for me lies the massive wood/dog walk called Rowney Warren. As we have a very energetic dalamation, long walks are essential for him, so we decided to pay this place a visit.
As we walked through the trees we came across a tree with a door at the base. Loads of people lined up to get a photo with it. I was a little clueless at the time but it turns out this was a homage to Winnie the Pooh. His house in all the cartoons is a hollowed out tree with 'Mr Sanders' across the top. Don't believe me? Take a look.
More info on Rowney: here
Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while traditionally encased in the animal's stomach. Despite all that, it tasted pretty good.
I had it as an extra on a breakfast sandwich (just in case I didn't like it), but to my surprise I did! It reminded me a little of black pudding, so if you like that, then I'd recommend giving it a try yourself.
The Falkirk Wheel
The Falkirk wheel is essentially a lift for boats. This massive structure can be found in, you guessed it, Falkirk Scotland. There's a victors centre were you can sit and watch the wheel work whilst having a cup of tea or checking out the gift shop.
Sadly, the day we went the rain was coming down, it was a Sunday and the wheel just wasn't running, so I'd advise you to check before hand if there's any issues.
Watch your team at Wembly
I'm a spurs fan, which means if we go Wembley, we usually lose and miss out on another trophy. Regardless of the result though, there's nothing like supporting your team in the national stadium. Crowds are bigger and there's loads to do in and around the stadium.
Even if you don't like sports, Wembley offers a tone of events, so check out what's on and grab the opportunity to visit this amazing stadium.
More info: https://www.wembleystadium.com/events
Complete a Go Ape
Ok, so this one was from a while ago, as you can see from my baby face and smaller tum tum, but regardless it's something I did and want to shout about.
Go Ape is an outdoor treetop adventure that involves jumping, swinging, zip lining and all sorts of things that can cause rope burn. However, it's fun as hell and you get a certificate at the end.
I actually took on another one a few years on from this, but alas, the extra pounds made it so I had to withdraw half way through. (I got stuck and had to be rescued). So top tip, do this only if you aren't carrying a few extra kilos.
More info: https://goape.co.uk/
Visit Big Ben
It's iconic of London, so you really should make the time to go see it.
There's not much to say really. It's a big clock. If you want to you can actually enter the parliament building and see the debating going on, but it's not exactly how I'd choose to spend time around this area of London.
Drive a Beach Buggy
I did this on a family holiday to Cyprus, but to be honest, you can probably do this in most places by a beach. It was great! As easy as driving a car, and we could pretty much go anywhere.
My advice - Put on some sun lotion on your arms. Mine were red raw when the day was done. Oh and make sure you remember to take off the parking break. I don't know if it was the heat or just me being an idiot, but I somehow managed to drive for at least an hour with it on.
More info: https://easyriders.com.cy/
As part of one of my friends stag do, we had a number of activities. One of them was Zorb Football.
To be honest, football takes a back seat, and everyone just takes each other out the entire time. Whilst it was a tight squeeze for someone my size, this is one of the rare occasions that being a bit heavier is an advantage. Most of the guys couldn't tackle me down, because they'd rebound or go flying down the pitch.
But, a great activity to do with some mates, and one I'd happily do again.
More info: https://www.bubblesoccerworld.com/
Dr Who Experience
During the David Tennant and Matt Smith eras of Doctor Who I became a Whovian. I watched every episode, had all the books and even had a remote control sonic screwdriver. My parents recognises this love for the Time Lord and sent me to the Doctor Who experience when it was in London.
I got to tour the sets of the Tardis, see all the costumes and battle the Daleks first hand. I have no doubt it has changed over time with new monsters and new doctors taking the role over.
If you're a Whovian I recommend checking it out:
Go Karting seems to becoming more of a thing for men my age (early 30s). Stag dos and birthdays seem to be the main cause.
Either way, if you've never been Go Karting I recommend it. Getting all kitted out and racing your mates around a track is a great way to have a laugh and gain some bragging rights. I never got to brag because I came last in everything. If you're a heavy set fellow, the kart doesn't go as fast!
Everywhere seems to have a track, but I'd recommend Team Works. The staff, course and equipment all met expectations.
Watch Live Cricket
My friends love cricket, but I was happy to tag along to the T20 final in Birmingham a few years before the Bucket List.
Me and my friends actually spent a few days in Birmingham as the T20 lasted an entire day. Everyone was getting drunk, singing and generally having a good time. I ended up understanding a lot about the game, but to this day I'm still not 100% on the rules.
If you want to give a new sport a try, I would recommend cricket as I went a few more time after this. If you don't like the sport, you can just get drunk with your mates.
We're not all event winners. Some of us just want to give golf a try. Top Golf in Watford certainly allows you to do just that. With great food, great drinks and a great activity, you'll be sure to have an awesome time.
You can even be taught by a pro to get your technique on point. The main objective is to hit the ball into one of the flag areas to win points. If proper golf isn't your thing, then there's a mini golf adventure right outside.
Sadly, I never did quite get the swing right, but I've actually been here several times and it never gets old.
Top tip though - book online in advance. One time we went and were 66th in the queue!
More info: https://topgolf.com/uk/
I'm not a massive Halloween guy. I never really went trick of treating, horror movies don't really do it for me and most of the stuff people decorate their house with makes me cringe. However, during the Halloween of 2020, during the COVID lockdown, pumpkin carving was a fun activity to do. There's loads of guides and tips online.
I recommended tracing a design over the face of the pumpkin and then using a small knife to get the detail. I'm no expert, but I think my Gengar pumpkin came out pretty well. I'll be doing it again this year.
I followed this YouTube guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhNsbPJcAFw
Take part in an Am Dram
I've always thought of myself as a little thespian. I loved Drama at school, but I do lack a little bit of confidence to go to auditions. Plus I can't sing which doesn't help. That being said, my sister can and I've been fortunate enough to piggy back onto some of the shows shes been involved in.
Whether I'm a sailor, a security guard or even just the guy that comes on and takes furniture off, I'm always happy to be involved with talented people. Plus most of the time you get to just sit back and watch a show for free!
Strongly recommend you take in any Hitchin Thespian shows. You never, know, you might spot me.
More info: http://www.hitchinthespians.org.uk/
British Airways Brighton i360
Right in front of the old burnt down pier in Brighton you'll see the seaside's answer to the London Eye. The i360. It basically a giant pole and a glass lift takes you to the top and back. You get some great 360 views of Brighton, the countryside and of course the sea. There's a nice little bar and shop and its relatively inexpensive at £16.50 per person. Your 'flight' as they say, will last around 30 minutes and can be done at sunset. You don't need to pre-book, just head into the ticket office and get in the queue.
More info: https://britishairwaysi360.com/
Go see Aladdin on stage
I would say Aladdin is my favourite Disney movie. My grandparents had it on video, and it's all I'd watch when I went round theirs.
For my birthday, my sister paid for me to go to see Aladdin on stage in the West End. It was a great show, with an amazing cast. The tap dancing, the songs and the mechanics on stage were second to none and I strongly recommend checking this out.
Sadly, it's time in London came to an end recently, but you can catch it from 28th September 2021 on Broadway:
More info: https://aladdinthemusical.com/
Axe throwing is harder than it looks. Those things are heavy! You have to do it over our head and aim to get it as high as you can. The second you let it go, it's falling to the ground.
Luckily mine in this photo made it just to the bottom of the board. As well as the large axe, we also had a go with little ones, daggers and my favourite Batarangs.
Feed a baby tiger
I was on a family holiday in Cyprus for around 10 days in 2019. Pafos zoo, in my opinion, could do with a little investment as some of the enclosures looked a little worse for wear.
We decided to watch the bird show and as a surprise at the end, they brought out this little guy. His name was Shere Khan and for the price above, we all got a chance to feed and stroke him for a photo. He was lovely and may have been the highlight of my holiday.
London Natural History Museum
If I hadn't been so many times before I started my Bucket List, this would 100% be on it. I mean come on... Dinosaurs!
The London Natural History museum is massive and really does open your eyes to the natural world around us. My favourite part is the dinosaurs of course, but there's equally great exhibits on insects, normal animals and space.
The best thing about it all, is its free entry (but please make a small donation when you enter).
If you're in London, this is an absolute must see.
More Info: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/
Me and a few mates decided to go camping for the weekend and after looking around we chose to go to Brighton. Seaside places in the UK aren't as glamorise as abroad. Give us a tiny bit of sun and some fish and chips and we're happy.
We stayed a short drive away from the pier in a lovely campsite called Stud Farm.
Whilst in Brighton we had some great food, took in the local tourist attractions, sat on the beach and had an ice cream.
If you're in Britain and fancy a weekend or even a day trip away, I would rate Brighton higher than Blackpool.
Camping Info: https://studfarmsouthdowns.co.uk/
More info: https://www.visitbrighton.com/
I'm not an artist, but building sand castles and other things on the beach is a bit of a must for me when I go on holiday. This one is the one I'm most proud of. Made on a beach in Cornwall when I went away for the weekend with some friends.
Most people just want to sun bath or swim in the sea, but if the sand is just right, you can make some really cool stuff.
Afternoon Tea at Cadbury World
Afternoon Tea anywhere is always delightful. But if you find yourself going to Cadbury world, you won't be disappointed by theirs.
Sandwiches, scones, cakes and a few hot drinks was a lovely way to round off an amazing day out.
Blackpool. A well known seaside destination here in the UK. Every year thousands and thousands of people flock to the sea front to have an ice cream and some fish and chips.
It's also home to the Blackpool tower and entertainment piers. We just happened to be within spitting distance one day when we was on a long drive and decided, why not!
It's not somewhere i'd go out of my way to visit, but it's a great place to check out if you're every in the area.
The New Club Restaurant - Brighton
I don't normally include every restaurant I go to on here, but sometimes one does just blow you away.
The New Club is located just a stones throw away from the i360 and Brighton Pier. The services was brilliant, the atmosphere was friendly and inviting and most importantly, the food we had to choose from was incredible. My friend who is vegan had one of the best breakfast I'd ever seen and the rest of us got spoiled with halloumi, avocado, bacon, sausage and egg.
Honestly, just go have some breakfast and you'll be as chuffed as I was. I would recommend booking in advance, as sometimes walk-ins may need to wait (we got lucky).
More info: https://thenewclubbrighton.com/
Drive a Boat
Own a boat is part of my bucket list. Mainly because when I drove one, it was awesome.
Boats aren't like cars in the sense that turning left takes a while and if your anchor/brake isnt good enough, it may not be in the same place you parked it.
Overall, it was very easy and light to drive. One day I'll have one, but I'll probably start with a little dingy and work my way up.
Swim with dolphins
As you can see, I did this one a looong time ago. Look at little Luke!
Despite me being prepubescent at the time, I remember this amazing experience so clearly.
We sat in the deepest aquarium I'd ever seen and dolphins just came up and started splashing me. Despite them being in captivity the trainer gave the impression she really cared for them. I will 100% do this again now I am an adult, but having done it already, it just missed out on a place on the Bucket List.
Sadly, I don't know the prices for this, and it will all depend on where in the world you are.
Watch a match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Being a Tottenham fan meant I had already done this quite a few times, but still this is something to shout about. It's arguably the best stadium in the world and the atmosphere is great on a Match Day. I will go back for many more matches and I hope to do the tour and the Sky Walk soon!
More info: https://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/
Dinner and a show at Bunga Bunga
Going out for dinner is always better with some entertainment, and boy does Bunga Bunga entertain you. Professional singers, dancers and acrobatics whilst cocktails and pizza come to your table. It was a great night. The Mrs even got a free hat.
The food wasn't pulling up trees, but as soon as you walk in you know that food is secondary to everything else that Bunga Bunga delivers. Sit back relax, eat ya pizza and have a good time.
More info: https://www.bungabunga.com/
Go to Cambridge Food Festival
I love food. So when the Mrs found a food festival going on about an hour away, I was quick to say 'get in the car'. It wasn't this gigantic thing, but there was:
Brownies - lots of brownies
Duck wraps and duck fat cooked chips
Cheeses - so many cheeses
Your usual burgers and sausages
All manner of Asian cuisine
And cock/mocktails served in pineapples!
Unfortunately, nothing came in a small portion, so you either need a big appetite, or you need to choose your lunch wisely.
More info: https://foodiesfestival.com/cambridge/
Bodnant Garden Wales
A massive, and I mean massive garden in North Wales. It had flowers and trees I'd never even heard of. It was such a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. We got some great Instagram worthy photos and even picked up a souvenir bird house for our own garden back home. It rained, but we didn't care. If you like pretty flowers, gardens, tall trees and picture esc welsh countryside, get yourself to Bodnant Garden.
We did book in advance which is recommended. More info: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden
Alice in Wonderland tour (Wales)
Spread out across Llandudno in Wales, you will find a nod to Alice in Wonderland. You can follow white rabbit foot steps all round the town and encounter statues of the most famous AIW characters. My favourite one was the mad hatter. The tour takes you by the beach and in through all the best shops and restaurants in town.
Eat a fish platter in Mossel Bay South Africa
Before my trip to South Africa, my friends kept salivating over the idea of this place. When we actually got there and they brought out this 80cm wide platter (there was a sushi one as well) I nearly died! If you're a fish eater - check this place out.
On the menu in a beachfront restaurant in South Africa, you can order Crocodile which of course, comes with strawberries. Imagine eating some of that wafer-thin ham, but more... fishy.
Overlooking Loch Ness you'll find Urquhart Castle. (I can't pronounce it either). The visitors centre is of high quality and you can explore the ruins of it as much as you like. This is also where you can get fantastic pictures of yourself, arms out, embracing the Lochness winds.
Visit the Clootie Well
I was in the neighbourhood visiting Loch Ness and heard about this weird and wonderful place a short drive away.
My girlfriend and I decided to give it a try and it turned into one of the most interesting parts of our trip. Long story short, you take a rag or piece of clothing, dip it in the water stream and hang it on the surrounding trees. You can read more about it here. If you go, keep an eye out for a bobble hat on the top of a tree. That's ours!
Who would've thought! Deep in the Scottish Highlands at the visitors centre at Queen's view, we found Santa and only a few weeks before Christmas. He must've been doing a promotional tour or something.
Anyway, as we were the only people there at the time and the fact that we took his picture with the staff, he agreed to honour us with our own and satisfying both our needs for a new profile picture every Christmas for the foreseeable future.
Motionless in White Gig
An amazing band that my friend got me into. If you've never heard their songs and you like the type of music you'd hear at a Download Festival, check these guys out. One of the best bands I've ever seen live.
Deep in the highlands of Scotland, after one of the windiest roads I'd ever driven on, you'll find the Queen's view. Queen Victoria claimed this view as her own owing to its beauty. They also had a visitors centre where I ate Haggis and we met Santa!
See a Scottish Highland Cow
We came across Robertsons Farm Shop. At the time we visited they had just taken in an orphan cow called Jamie. He was black instead of the usual ginger.
We got told that black is their normal colour. It was Queen Victoria who ordered farmers to breed them to be ginger because she liked that colour better. So Jamie is what you'd consider an original Scottish Highland Cow.
Sea Lion Island
A short 20-minute sail from a port in Mossel Bay South Africa, you'll find Sea Lion island. Surrounded by Great White Sharks, the Sea Lions lounge on this massive rock all day. They were very loud and they smelt very fishy. I even saw a Hammerhead shark swim by our boat!
Post Office Tree
In the middle of the Mossel Bay museum in South Africa, you'll find the Post Office Tree. A Navigator put a letter in his shoe and left it in the tree a long time ago. This was then discovered many years later and the tree remains a protected historical site. Read more.
Just before you get the little bus to go see Stonehenge, you'll find these little huts which are pretty cool - but I wouldn't want to spend the night in one.
The Dias Caravel (South Africa)
Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex is located in Mossel Bay South Africa. It has multiple places of interest, including an aquarium, the post office tree and then you have this massive ship. They allow you to go aboard for a few extra Rand and my first thought (other than how did they get this thing in here), was how does this thing float, it's massive! Well worth spending a few hours here and soaking up some history.
The Lochness Exhibition Centre
Just to the side of Loch Ness, you'll find this interesting little place. It takes you back through time, through all the projects that have set out to find Nessie. You're left with little doubt at the end that she doesn't exist which was a little saddening, but it's interesting nevertheless. The gift shop's nice too!
Blue Shed Coffee Roastery (South Africa)
I'm not a big coffee drinker, but my friend was, so we decided to check this place out as it had great reviews online. They had amazing cakes and a very wide variety of coffee to choose from (my friend had rose flavoured latte). Not only that it felt like I was in some sort of antique loft. There was thrones to sit on, old cars and boats parked up outside and loads of very old art. It's just a great place to visit. You can find them on Facebook here.
With the world slowly coming out of Lock down, we looked for more ways to get out of the house and keep our distance from people. My girlfriend loves flowers, so she found the Hitchin Lavender fields, just 20 minutes away. It's a sea of purple and if you go at the right time of year, there will also find a lot of sun flowers. You can also try Lavender lemonade and ice cream if you like.
Go to the longest named Train Station in GB (Wales)