Top Office Breaks of 2014

As the working year draws to a close, what will you remember most from 2014? While career satisfaction is vital to our happiness, it’s the experiences that we have outside work that create our lasting memories.  For me, it’s the thrill of trying something completely new and this year that’s ranged from my first night time trek to dining at her Majesty’s pleasure in Brixton prison.   As I look back on a packed 2014, here’s a selection of my favourite office breaks.

costumed woman at the Venice Carnival

Office Breaks Venice Carnival

I kicked off the year in style with a mini break to Venice Carnival, taking in two days of unashamed posing and preening against a spectacular backdrop of piazzas and grand canals. Once I win the lottery, I’ll be back to book one of the Palace balls.

costumed characters at the Venice Carnival

Office Breaks Venice Carnival Office Breaks

From cavorting in Europe’s playgrounds to dining at her Majesty’s pleasure, you couldn’t get a bigger contrast than my lunch date at Brixton Prison.  An office break with real social value, my experience served as a timely reminder of the essential and transformative impact of work.

The Clink Restaurant

The Clink Prison Restaurant The Clink Restaurant

One of my 2014 resolutions was to experience more culture and I was amazed and enthralled by the antics of the poly bags at the London Mime Festival.  On a par with the plastic-fantastic bags were the human lego sculptures at Art of the Brick.  Expressing every-day joys, delights and frustrations, never has a children’s toy displayed so many of the dramas of daily life.

The Art of the Brick

Office Breaks The Art of the Brick

Seeking a sanctuary from the stress of city life, I set off for the wilds of Wales to experience a spa weekend at Bluestone Wales National Park.  Located in beautiful rural Pembrokeshire, it was a delight to switch off from the tyranny of internet connectivity and completely rest and recharge.

cottage at dusk, Bluestone Wales national Park

Office Breaks Bluestone Wales National Park

As a fan of Eastern Europe, Croatia had been on my wish list for a while and I was delighted to be able to maximise my annual leave allowance by packing in day trips to Montenegro and Bosnia from Dubrovnik all in the space of five short days.

In unseasonably balmy October, I forced myself out my comfort zone with a night hike through eerie Epping forest – a challenging sensory experience which opened up a whole new way of experiencing the natural world.

twilight Epping Forest

Office Breaks Twilight Epping Forest

More nocturnal adventure awaited at the UK’s largest Bonfire Celebrations in Lewes where bonfires blazed, effigies raged and chariots of fire flew through the streets.  One of Britain’s most adventurous festivals.

barrel racing Lewes bonfire celebrations

Dominic Alves Lewes bonfire celebrations

By December, feeling frazzled with work and Christmas commitments I was delighted to escape to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath to experience the Bath Christmas market and soak in the warm, mineral-rich springs waters of the Thermae Bath Spa. A perfect end to a memorable and fun-packed year.

rooftop pool, Thermae Bath Spa

Matt Cardy Thermae Bath Spa

What was your most memorable experience of 2014?   I would love to hear all about your adventures.

Happy holidays everyone!

 

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