Mikes the man from Europcar who upgraded us from our shitty ass Ford Focus to the ocean blue Mini Cooper. We left London around 3.00pm on July 31st and made our way to Stonehenge. After a 3-hour journey, we arrived and, Holy crap, it was impressive! We surveyed the area for about an hour or so as we had arrived late and only had a limited amount of time. After taking the necessary photos, we jumped back in the car and headed further south to Exeter to our first of many Airbnb’s.
The next morning, we left early and headed south west to Tintagel in the rain (obviously). Tintagel wasn’t originally part of the plan, but we found pictures of this castle on the web and decided to check it out. Tintagel is supposedly the birthplace of King Arthur and it didn’t disappoint. With stunning views and many hills to climb, it is understandable why so many tourists visit the area.
After a few hours of exploring Tintagel, we continued on our journey and headed to Bath where we visited the historical Roman Baths. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Romans built a series of complex bathhouses above Bath’s natural hot springs. Romans from all social classes would visit the baths to relax and catch up with friends. Like most modern-day spa’s, the Roman Baths also consisted of cold pools, steam rooms, saunas, exercise rooms and hair cutting salons. It was an amazing site to see. After visiting the baths, we headed to Wales for the night. The fellow we stayed with in Wales, Danny, was an absolute hoot. We stayed up all night chatting about completely random topics whilst playing with his two dogs.
The next day was a big one for me, driving to Liverpool to visit the Beatles Museum. This has been a dream of mine ever since I can remember and it definitely didn’t disappoint. After a good hour and a half there it was time to make our way to our next stop, the country town of Hornby in County Lancaster. We stayed with the parents of one of my good friends, Sophie. I had briefly met Dave and Hilary Conner once before in March of 2012, but it honestly felt like we were old friends. After putting our bags down and feeling a little more refreshed from a shower that had good water pressure, we ventured out to an old English pub in Kirby Lonsdale. After a few drinks and some good chit chat, we called it a night.
The next day, Hillary and Dave took us out to the Lakes District. This was just as I had imaged England to be, lots of tea, scones and people walking around with big woollen jackets, scarfs and beanie’s. The Lakes District is as picturesque in real life as it is when you Google it. So many rolling mountains, low hanging clouds and just that crisp chill in the air. We had morning tea at The Inn on the Lake and this consisted of tea (obviously) and a lovely tea cake. After, we continued our drive on to our next stop – lunch at the Belsford Hotel. The Belsford Hotel was built in the 19th century and its most famous owner was Henry Schneider who purchased the property for 25,000 pounds. Anyway, I digress, here, we had classic English sandwiches and they were absolutely delicious!
After a lovely day of exploring and eating, we ventured home for more food – home cooked pasta and 3 bottles of wine. It was a lovely evening spent talking to Hilary and Dave and listening to The Beatles and other classic English tunes. We ended staying at the Connor residence for three nights in total and it was, to date, one of the highlights of the trip. Who would’ve thought that hanging with a retired couple would have been so much fun. We honestly had such an amazing time with Dave and Hillary and cannot thank them enough for accommodating us for those few days. Thank you!
After Hornby, Lancaster our next destination was Edinburgh in Scotland. During our stay in Dalkeith (just on the outskirts of Edinburgh), we met some very lovely people, our Airbnb hosts, Jenny and Jon. We went to dinner with them the first night we arrived and they kindly took us to a few pubs in the local area. It was a very hearty experience and a great way to get to know the local area.
The following day we took a day trip to Glasgow. Here we went to the Glasgow Cathedral, walked around the main square and then also visited the creepy Glasgow Necropolis cemetery. After spending a few hours in Glasgow, we headed back to Dalkeith to plan our next day out in Edinburgh.
In Edinburgh, we visited Edinburgh Castle and walked the Royal Mile. Due to wet weather, we were forced to carry our umbrellas around and this naturally made it difficult to site see. Regardless, we were only in Edinburgh for a few days, so it needed to be done. We were lucky to have timed our trip in Edinburgh for the opening of the famous Edinburgh Festival. We checked out a few shows including the wonderful and witty Mikey P Keer who’s act is primarily focused around how close minded we have all become with the rise of technology. It was a good reminder and he put a few things into perspective in a comedic way.
Our road trip was almost coming to an end. We needed to be back in Luton, London to fly out to Ireland so we started making the journey back towards England. On the way, we made a slight detour to Alnwick Castle. The castle was made famous and was further popularised with the filming of several Harry Potter movies. Of all the castles we had seen to date, this was by far the most impressive. Its sheer size and stature alone was a significant standout, not to mention the maintenance and upkeep that keep it looking so fresh and clean.
We arrived back in Luton late in the afternoon of 17 August and decided to take a rest day. This basically consisted of doing absolutely nothing other than eating, playing on our iPhones and watching Netflix.
Overall, the UK road trip was a lot of fun. The highlight was definitely hanging out with the Connor’s and having a few laughs. It was great to stay in a nice clean place that really felt like home. Other notable highlights were Stonehenge, the Beatles Museum and Alnwick Castle.