12 Days in the U.K.
Now that I'm a full week settled back at home, I've finally had a chance to look through all of my pictures from our 12 days spent in the UK. With 6 of us traveling together (Andy and myself, my parents, and my brother and sister-in-law) we had no choice but to travel the countries in a large black van that was not necessarily meant for some of the tiny roads you encounter in the English countryside. We managed to travel to almost every corner of the UK though, as you can see in the map above. So where exactly did we go?
Robin Hood’s Bay, England (North York Moors)
Litton, England (Yorkshire Dales)
Betws-y-Coed, Wales (Snowdonia)
Tewkesbury, England (Cotswolds)
Keswick, England (Lake District)
While you might be thinking that this post could be packed with hundreds of pics, I narrowed it down to some of the highlights of the trip; at least, highlights for me. I'm sure every member of my family came home with a different idea of their favorite parts.
I hadn't been to Edinburgh since our first family trip over to the UK when I was 18. On that trip we didn't make the hike up Arthur's Seat, but I'm glad we took the time on this trip since it provided the best view of Edinburgh below. Similar to London, you can see where old meets new in the larger city. My dad's college roommate and his wife joined us for our time in Edinburgh so it's always entertaining to hear the city through their stories.
The great thing about England is that there is literally a beautiful scene everywhere you look. These trips are always full of lots of detours as we seek out the most scenic spots to get good pics, like random benches overlooking a hillside.
Robin Hood's Bay was a surprising little village. We had never been there before but wanted to stay somewhere along the coast. It was pretty sleepy the Sunday night we were there, but we were still able to glimpse the small walkways leading to homes and businesses that were spread throughout the town. The entire village is also on a hill so after dinner we had quite the trek back to our Bed and Breakfast.
I'm always amazed at how many castles are spread throughout the UK. It seems like every important family at some point had a castle built, but the family struggles to maintain it in the present day so they're open to the public (for a high entrance fee). We explored the grounds of Alnwick Castle. Apparently it was one of the castles that Harry Potter creators drew inspiration from when dreaming up Hogwarts, but as a HP fan I struggled to see the similarities.
York is always one of my favorite cities to visit. It's also got it's own mix of old meets new, with the church towering over the city shops. It was also the host of one of the best meals I ate on the trip. Andy and I found a market in the center of town with a hut selling North African food where I ate the BEST falafel and hummus wrap.
Previously on these trips, good food was hard to find. But England has SERIOUSLY stepped up it's food game. Eating at local pubs meant getting a lot of farm to table style meals with the freshest veggies and meats.
Something we never see in our neighborhood in Tampa but is literally around every corner of the UK? Sheep. They aren't always as friendly as this one, and have no problem stopping traffic to take a leisurely stroll across the street, but they're definitely cute.
London is always my favorite place to visit (you can read a little bit about why here). Some people might hate that the city is being built up, but there is something so beautiful about how these centuries old structures still exist next to new skyscrapers being built. It really puts into perspective how young America is when we see the history that exists in London.
And of course, no visit to London would be complete without a stop to say hello to the queen. We only had one full day to explore London, but Andy and I managed to walk over 18 miles as we explored every corner of the city. Out of the entire city we also managed to end up in the same restaurant as my brother and sister-in-law where we enjoyed the BEST ramen. It was the perfect ending to a packed day in London.
We ended the trip in the Lake District which I have fond memories of after spending my 22nd birthday there. While we had rainy weather accompany us on the morning we went hiking, you could still see how beautiful the mountain sides were beneath the layer of fog. Even with a cold, side-ways rain coming at us, it was still worth it for the views.