Hello all, my name is Abbie Melle, and I am an editorial, travel, and lifestyle photographer based in Australia. I’ve been privileged to work with various clients and magazines over the last few years, capturing and sharing the stories of people’s lives and work, both here in Australia and also Europe. Traveling and experiencing new (and also familiar!) countries is something I love to do. Today I’d like to share my love letter to the beautiful country of England and offer some highlights should you end up on English soil wanting to explore.
A Love Letter to England
When I was a child, we lived as a family in my Dad’s birth land of England for 5 years. Those formative years of growth and learning in a setting so rich in history and beauty inevitably created deep roots and a love for this country. I was in my mid-twenties before I traveled and then lived in the UK again, yet the memories that flooded back when I returned to the scenes of so many childhood moments were as clear and definite as if no time had passed.
This feeling of connection remains strong each time I visit. It’s a sense of being home, of feeling truly myself in a culture that is so similar yet so widely different to my Australian one.
The Inspiration of the English Landscape
Whenever I return, I feel creatively inspired in a different way than when I’m in Australia. Perhaps it’s the softness of the light lying low over lush green fields, or the rushing, babbling rivers that flow throughout the land, or the little villages clustered together with homes dating back hundreds of years. Sometimes it can be the simple glimpse of a blackbird in a tree, trilling its sweet familiar song, or the flash of a squirrel scampering up an old oak tree. Regardless, I feel a greater sense of freedom in how I capture an image, and less pressure to follow a particular style or pattern when I shoot.
Slow-Living English Style
Some of my favourite parts of visiting England are the simplest ones. I love heading back to old familiar haunts, especially to the friendly country pubs, lining the main streets in the villages, or often tucked away down a lane or estate. These are spaces of warmth and welcome, with blazing fires in winter and cosy couches pulled up close. You can spot the locals right away, walking in straight off the land with muddy wellington boots, mingling around the bar, or sitting down with their dogs obediently lying at their feet. The traditional Sunday roast, with Yorkshire puddings and gravy jugs filled up high, are the highlight of the weekend. And then there are the little tea houses and cafes, with toasted tea cakes on the menu and always, always, fresh scones and clotted cream. Many a rainy grey day, I would tuck myself up in the corner of a cafe, with a pot of steaming tea, and find myself writing pages in my journal as the raindrops dashed against the windows.
A Photographer’s Dreamscape
The British weather, with their infamous rainy days, actually brings me so much joy. As a photographer, grey skies and diffused light inspires me to no end, showing in sharp contrast the richness of the rolling green hills and old stone homes. Days when the mist hovers low over the laneways, and the sky feels so close above, will have me craving to head out and walk. In England, there are ‘right of way’ paths that wind their way through farms and woods, and often you will pass through a farmyard during a wander, the gentle glow from lights shining from within the farmhouse spreading across the cobblestones, the air quiet and still.
The Beauty of A Cottage Garden
There are many quintessential scenes that are so very English, but their cottage gardens would have to be top of the list. These gardens are done so very well and proudly in the villages. Old fashioned roses abound all summer long, cambering up the cottages and spreading across stone walls, their sweet scent lingering on the breeze, and wafting in through the open windows. The striking beauty of this scene, displayed countlessly across hundreds of villages is stunning, and no matter how many homes I see, each one will make me catch my breath a little.
Why I Return Again and Again
Living and visiting England over the years has also given me a greater appreciation for the slower, more deliberate way of living which they do so well. One where people still walk to market with baskets slung over their arms to buy fresh produce from the local growers. A life where families are welcomed into old fashioned pubs and play board games while waiting for their meals to arrive. Gardens are lovingly tended and bring so much joy. These are traits I bring back home with me to Australia, and these are the reasons for my love letter to England and why I keep returning to this beautiful country.
My 20 Essential Stops When Traveling through England
Small Towns to Visit
- Corfe Castle
- Castle Coombe
- Robin Hood’s Bay
Places to Dine or Imbibe
- Beckford Arms, Wiltshire
- Pythouse Kitchen Garden, Tisbury
- At The Chapel, Bruton
- The Drunken Duck, Ambleside
- The Compasses, Chicksgrove
Photo Worthy Destinations
- Gold Hill, Shaftesbury
- Dural Door, Lulworth
- Stourhead Park and Gardens, Wiltshire
- Bilbury, Cotswolds
- Tarn Hows, Lakes District
Slow Living Inspired Shops
- Daunt Books, London
- Francis Gallery, Bath
- The Botanical Candle Co., Shaftesbury
- Petersham Nurseries, Richmond & London
- Nam Store, Bath
Abbie Melle writes from her home in a small Australian country town. When not traveling on assignment or working on shoots, she loves to spend time creating the home which she shares with her sister and sharing glimpses of that on her Instagram.
Did you catch last week’s post about high vibrational living and eating? Wondering what that even means? Click here to catch up and learn more!