Having previously visited Sally in Scotland and Ireland, we set off at the beginning of April for three months in England.
We planned to stay in cottages in small villages and try to "live the life".
All our school lives we have been steeped in all things British - history, literature, geography.
Our ancestors have all come from the UK.
Our traditions and way of life have all been based on that in the UK.
My family's background is English ( my grandfather was from London) and Irish (on both sides ) - but oh, how I would love some Scottish blood (those bagpipes really talk to my heart ).
Tony's family's background is English (his grandfather was born in England ) - but his school had Scottish links and he wore a kilt when in cadets.
So we set off hoping so see in person all those things we had heard/ read/ learnt about our whole lives.
I especially wanted to see the daffodils ( all those poems !!)
This map shows the extent of our wandering.
* a couple of days in Salisbury to get over the flight and draw breath (and of course see Stonehenge and also Bath from there)
a bitingly cold wind was there to greet us
* next, 2 weeks in Polruan, a tiny fishing village across the bay from Fowey in Cornwall. Our trusty TomTom took us all over Cornwall every day from Tintagel to Land's End and all stops in between. We did our shopping in St Austell with all the locals, cooked dinner at home in our little cottage and walked to our local pub for hot chocolate after dinner each night.
lovely clifftop walks
* then 3 weeks in the Cotswalds via Castle Coombe on the way, staying in the little village of Wellersey, near Broadway. Out came the Lonely Planet and we worked our way through the section on the Cotswolds, stopping at little pubs and tea shops on our travels. Our supermarket shopping was done in Evesham.
beautiful picture-perfect villages
* next, 2 weeks in the Peak District in the village of Winster where we reached our cottage by walking down the maze if ginnels to the front door which looked out over the pretty undulating countryside. Here we experienced the old custom of Well Dressing and Chatsworth as well as lovely walks like Monsel Head. This time we went to Matlock for groceries.
Old Hardwick Hall and New Hardwick Hall
those ginnels and our front door(blue)
* 1 week visiting family in North Wales visiting Chester, Snowdonia and delightful Conwy as well as a host of completely unpronounceable places that would take ages to look up for the correct spelling !!
Chester -from the wall
Conwy from the wall
* 1 week in the glorious Yorkshire Dales at Askrigg where the series "All Creatures Great and Small" was filmed. My absolute favourite, the walks through the meadows full of buttercups will never be forgotten. We travelled over the tops to Cattarick Garrison for shopping and free wifi at Mac Donalds.
those fields of buttercups
* 1 week near the Lake District with Aussie friends, where crowds of people eating ice creams disappointed us in Wundemere until we climbed Kirkstone Pass to get away from them and a hike to Beatrix Potter's house was unexpectedly enjoyable despite the touristy nature of the place.
with our Aussie pals
* We left our friends and spent a week moving south, on the way taking in Cambridge and Duxford till we arrived at Winchester and Ichen Abbas from where we managed a quick trip to the New Forest and Windsor and Eton on Ascot Day.
inside Windsor Castle
* 1 week in Royal Tunbridge Wells to explore Dover and those white cliffs we sing about, as well as Canterbury and Chartwell to name but a few.
those White Cliffs
* We finished up with four days in London to see a few more of the many sights this wonderful city offers .......
Tower Bridge - a very lucky shot!
we flew home.
We covered a lot of ground and saw a lot of England in that time.
Not too much time was spent in cities. We purchased membership in the National Trust and English Heritage when we arrived and stopped at every place we passed!!
Every day we fanned out from our cottage into the area all around where we were staying.
So you can see that our next trip, in May, is to explore a few areas that we missed.
I know there are lots more but hopefully this will not be our last trip to England, and Scotland and Ireland need further exploration too,
and we have barely started on Europe!!!
We just need to win a lottery to finance all these future travel plans. One of those huge ones that they have in the USA might just do it.
Where can I buy a ticket ?