Sunday, August 21, 2016

Maps and Routes and B&B's: Planning Our Trip to the UK

I've been deep into the final details of our upcoming trip across the pond to England and points beyond. What fun it is to read, look up, dream, and figure where to go, what to do, and where to stay! This is not a tour, we'll be on our own and the itinerary is ours to plan.

Originally I thought we would travel in England and maybe go up into Scotland a bit. But as I worked on a route, my eyes kept being drawn to Wales, and to Cornwall. And even though we'll have almost two weeks for this trip, I could not make it work out in some reasonable fashion to go to all of them. So after many draft plans, I regretfully left Scotland off the list (this time) and focused on a more southerly route.

It will be an ambitious route even so. We will land in Bristol and stay overnight with a friend who has offered to show us around his city. The following day will find us exploring the stone circle and antiquities at Avebury, and possibly making a trip down to Glastonbury if we have time. And at Avebury, the circle is more accessible than Stonehenge--and it's free!--and that will suit me better. Some of you may know the legends of the Glastonbury Thorn, and of Joseph or Arimathea's supposed trip to the area. Storyteller me wants to see this place.

Then we will have two days visiting family around the Cambridge area. I am really looking forward to this part of our trip. I still have two aunts living in England, my mother's sister and her sister-in-law, along with several cousins. We saw them in 2013 when we visited, and I am excited to be able to see them again.

Our next day should prove really exciting as we travel west across England and hopefully meet up with my blog friend Gretel! If all goes well we'll be able to have lunch and a good chat, then we will travel on to the coast of Wales and the town of Aberystwyth. There are several things I want to do there--take the steam train into the heart of Wales, maybe go out on a boat trip. Who knows? I do know I want to explore that gorgeous coastline.

Then we drive south and a bit east to the town of Merther Tydfil, and a stay in an old miner's cottage. The lady who owns this b&b has told me she is also a storyteller and has promised some interesting times. We'll leave there and head for Ilfracombe (I can't wait to hear how these places are actually pronounced) and another b&b. This town has spectacular scenery and so much to see but it's the coastline that we really want to just drive along and look at the beauty all around.

I used Air BnB to book rooms and have my fingers crossed that it all goes well. It is certainly a less expensive and far more interesting way to travel. We could have chosen to stay on a fishing trawler, or in a yurt, a gypsy caravan, a camper, an old rail car, or we could have gone "glamping." None of these worked out for us this time (at our age, easy access to a bathroom at night is kinda important!), but the cost is incredibly cheap for most of these intriguing places if you're game.

After Ilfracombe we will go to Minions (that's its name, really), to stay in an odd little stone hut with a fantastic view of the Bodmin moors. Don't worry, we won't "go Bodmin" I promise! (For those who haven't heard that term, it's from the BBC TV series Doc Martin. Basically it means to go mad and wander the moors, I think.) We'll be in Cornwall by this time, of course, and lots of local lore and legends abound. I know we'll find plenty of stories to bring home. We are excited about seeing Port Isaac, the home of the Doc Martin series, and hope to be able to take a boat trip here if time permits, to explore the coast.

Next stop will be Newquay and a hotel overlooking the ocean. It's the most expensive of our places to stay, but that water view will, I hope, be worth it. We may be taking a boat trip here as well, out to an island for some seal and porpoise watching. We'll see how that pans out. There is so much we want to see and do, and so little time.

Finally we will drive back for one last night in a B&B near Bath, so we will be close to the airport for our flight home. I imagine we will be worn out by then, but filled with new sights, new friends and plenty of pictures and stories to bring home with us.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Nance said...

Wow, Sue! Sounds like a dream trip. Bon voyage! Will look forward to your posts.

Granny Sue said...

We are so excited, Nance! The driving part is a little scary--wrong side of the road, wrong side of the car, but I guess we will figure it out. Larry has to drive so I can be navigator. He's not very good at that job, and I am always happy to let someone else drive.

Brig said...

This is going to be a wonderful adventure. I'm excited to read your posts while you are on this trip. Have always wondered how I would do with the opposite side driving, and the B&B's in another country. Please keep us posted.

Granny Sue said...

It will be an adventure for sure--good or bad :) One of my favorite movies is How Green Was My Valley, set in a Welsh mining town. That's one reason for our visit to Merthyr Tydfil, even though it was actually an iron-producing town in its (ugly) past. Now there are some mines near there--it's sort of the other side of Wales and its history. Every place has its dark side, and I am interested to see how it is there now.

Rowan said...

Sounds like a great trip, Avebury is a good choice, there's a nice manor house there as well. Ilfracombe (Ilfracoom)is where I spent some childhood holidays and Aberystwyth is where my husband went to university. Hope you have a really good time.

Granny Sue said...

I am so reminded of what a small world this is. Several friends have connections to the areas we will be visiting; some have lived there, some have friends there, others have visited. Many have read books set in Wales and in Cornwall. Connections, connections.

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