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Lilly Graves

Hello! I'm a freelance writer, photographer, and travel planner originally from Northern Michigan, affectionately known as Up North. My first gig was a freelance position for who sent me to photograph and review hotels in the U.S., Caribbean, Central America, South Pacific, and South Asia. Since 2011, I've covered 500+ properties around the world.

During that time, I also planned personal trips as a travel expert for members. Among other freelance articles and projects related to travel, I've helped open a restaurant in Chicago and a hotel in Brooklyn so food, wine, and hospitality are high on the list of things that make me smile.

How did you get involved in travel?

"I started a blog during a budget around-the-world trip to Australia, Asia, and Europe in my 20s and became hooked on travel writing and photography. A few years later, I moved to London to attend journalism school and (no surprise) stuck to the travel industry. I then completed internships with the London Times Travel Desk and the New York Times Frugal Traveler, which led to my first job out of college. From then on it's been all about travel and hospitality. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"While photographing hotels in the Bahamas, a leg of my tripod slipped into the water when I debarked a boat. I didn't realize it until after I got to my next hotel to take 360-degree panoramic photos only to realize it was missing. Yikes! My entire work trip hung in the balance, as I needed this tripod leg before I could take any photographs of this hotel and several more in weeks to come. A hotel driver rushed me back to the dock to see if we could find it. That's when we discovered it at the bottom of the clear blue water. Without another word, he dove in, fully dressed, and fetched it while others gathered around to see what we were up to. I tried to tip him when we got back to the hotel but he refused and said he was happy to do it. Talk about personalized hospitality!"

The Manchester Christmas Market was the first in the UK, and is a local favorite
England in December: Travel Tips, Weather & More

England loves Christmas, and the entire country gets decked out for the holidays in December, adding some much-needed atmosphere to the shortest days of the year. If London is too crowded for your taste—and it will be busy—consider other great cities, like Manchester, as well as charming towns and villages where there will be plenty of festivities, plus close proximity to cultural attractions and nature walks.

Late fall is a less-crowded time to visit English castles
England in November: Travel Tips, Weather & More

November is one of the quietest months to visit England—a fantastic opportunity to spread out at cultural sites and historical attractions. When the sun is out, consider some time outdoors in the late autumn foliage. If the rain is stubborn, use it as an excuse to plan a museum day followed by afternoon tea or a pint at the nearest pub.

Glide past fall foliage in a river boat on Cambridge's River Cam
England in October: Travel Tips, Weather & More

Despite an increase in rain, October is a lovely time to experience autumn colors around the English countryside—perhaps with a self-guided road trip in the Cotswolds or a river tour in a medieval university town. If big city life is more your speed, London has plenty of action this month with a marathon (and half-marathon), a star-studded film festival, and Halloween-related events.

The Jurassic Coast near Dorset is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
England in September: Travel Tips, Weather & More

September is one of the best (and driest) months to travel in England. Summer is still in session, yet the peak crowds are starting to dissipate for more peace and quiet. Meanwhile, those who like to nosh can flock to several foodie events around the country—like a seafood fest in Dorset, which pairs nicely with the area's stunning coastal trails.

One of many peaceful and picturesque beaches in the Isles of Scilly
England in August: Travel Tips, Weather & More

In Augus, England is abuzz with summer vibes when crowds—especially families—head for the beaches and parks to soak up as much outdoor fun as possible. It's easy to find peace and quiet with a self-guided road trip in the countryside, while travelers seeking action can travel (perhaps by train) to bigger resort towns and cities where events and festivals are in full swing.

Turquoise sea views off the Cornish coast near St. Ives
England in July: Travel Tips, Weather & More

July is prime summertime in England, with the best weather of the year and long daylight hours to enjoy activities like hiking, swimming, and surfing. You can also kick back on a leisurely road trip through the stunning countryside and stop at historical attractions. Of course, England's cities beckon in July with music festivals and an enormous Pride parade in London.