Visiting the UK, Part II – Heading North

We’ve travelled almost 1000 miles through the UK since the last posting in my blog… What a beautiful country this is. As we don’t really have a pre-defined travel itinary, I won’t say we got lost many time or took many detours, but we did (this blog entry was written a few days before posting, but finding an Internet connection in the middle of the countryside in the UK while not really actively looking for it is not as easy as in London)

Within the last few days, we left North Cornwall to head into Wales (stopping in Bath for the night) and then continued our visit of this beautiful island to the North through the Lake District. So far, it has really been amazing, and the weather has been beautiful (yes I know, UK and beautiful weather in the same sentence) 😉

Lynton, Cornwall, UK + our way to get there

Tintagel in Cornwall seems to be known for being the place where King Arthur was born when it comes to tourist attractions… to bad he is just a legend. This little city on the northern coast of Cornwall is really beautiful and the Old Post Office (a National Trust building, more on that later) is worth a visit, as well as the see shore (next to King Arthur’s castle).

Tintagel, Conwall, UK

Now one thing I would highly recommend to anyone looking at the same type of tour as we are currently doing: Get a National Trust membership before you start and follow the guide. For those who don’t know it, the National Trust is an organization which owns and maintains beautiful heritage places (countryside, see shore, houses, castles and gardens) across England (in Scotland, there is the National Trust of Scotland). Selworthy Green is one example of a beautiful place to stop and have a cup of tee.

Selworthy Green, near Minehead

Turing left or right without really knowing where we wanted to go, we stopped in a small town in Wales called Liandielo. I hope that i am not introducing typos in the names of the places in Wales, but that won’t be easy… must be great to play Scrabble when you have G W Y L L and a few other letters…

Dinefwr - Liandeilo, Wales, UK

Back to our tour of the UK. Our method so far has been to pick a place on the map in the morning where we would want to be for the evening. Taking the name of that town / city, we are typing it into the SatNav system, with the clear instruction that it should avoid all highways. We also set the guidance to be the shortest route and not the fastest route, so that we avoided the larger roads. Here is a rule of thumb that has proven great to find beautiful (and not to touristy) places so far: Don’t even get on a M road (that’s a highway), an A road with 1 number is to be avoided, two numbers is still not perfect but is OK for small periods of time. To really enjoy the country, go with a 3 numbers A road, or even better a 4 number A road (such as the A1234). The ideal is a B road with 4 numbers, but then it really gets interesting when there is a two way traffic. Taking that method, we arrived in Aberystwyth on evening.

Aberystwyth, Wales, UK

Back to the National Trusts. Bodnant Gardens in Wales are absolutely beautiful. And the good news is, it was (almost) on our way. So when you see a sign with the little logo of the trust, go with your instinct and follow it (if you want to stop for a walk). So far, we have not been disappointed and I don’t think you actually can be.

Bodnant Garden, Wales, UK (National Trust)

One more National Trust we stopped (you can see that we start to be addicted to these) is the one called Dunham Massey, near Manchester. One quick comment for that region… don’t try to stay there over night :-)

Dunham Massey, UK (near Manchester)

Next day, in our pursuit to head North to Scotland, we decided to take a little detour through the Lake District. This was simply amazing. Getting lost in the middle of the lakes has resulted in a great day. And with the Sun taking part in our trip so far (except near Manchester), we can only hope that it will stay this way for the reminder of our tour.

Getting Lost in the Lake District, UK

If you want to get professionally lost and have got our message about the National Trusts, type in Watendlath near Borrowdale into your GPS and stay on that tiny road for a while. Really worth the extra few miles to get there.

Borrowdale, Lake District, UK (National Trust)

We are now about to enter Scotland where we will be for the next few days.