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09 October 2013

Cornwall and Dover

So onto the last part of my parent's visit to the UK! The last adventure outside of London was a long weekend down to Cornwall, with lots of sightseeing. On our way to Camelford, Cornwall we took a detour to Stonehenge. While you can see it from the road, it is definitely worth the stop to walk around. We were fortunate to have a another beautiful day, which always makes for better pictures. This was definitely another highlight from their visit.

We spent the next 2 days exploring Cornwall. We went to Tintagel Castle, one of the better ruined castles we've seen. We didn't have the best of weather, which made for some slippery walking around the area. Though the misty rain made it a bit more enchanting and added to the experience of King Arthur's birthplace and the caves of Merlin. After a couple hours and a delicious lunch of pasties and scones, we headed down to Newquay to explore the beach side town. Owen and I decided that we should take a little swim, so we changed out of our nice warm clothes and rain jackets and ran into the ocean! It wasn't nearly as cold as we expected and may have even felt nice if it was sunny out.  

The next day, Owen and my dad went out for a round of golf in the morning. After, we went to Truro and wandered around town and the beautiful cathedral there. Then we went to another beach side town, St Ives. We wandered around town and the beach side, watched the tide come in, and enjoyed a nice afternoon. Overall the few days in Cornwall was very relaxing and we all enjoyed being by the ocean for a few days.

On the way back from Cornwall, we went to Bath for the afternoon. We spent a couple hours checking out the cathedral, the Roman bathhouse, the Royal Crescent, the Circus, and the Jane Austen center. The Roman bathhouse was the highlight, there is so much there and a lot that you are allowed to see, including some original springs and a place to sample the water (very mineral/iron tasting!). Bath was a beautiful town and we would recommend a visit there. 

Finally, Monday of our long weekend was the last summer Bank Holiday, so we spent the day in Dover. We again had a beautiful, warm day, one of the last for the summer. We spent the first part of our day at Dover Castle, which was very busy and had special events happening for bank holiday, including a medieval knights fighting demonstration. Dover Castle was our favorite intact castle and they allow you to explore a lot more of the castle, including some underground passageways. After the castle, we went to the White Cliffs. These were even more spectacular in real life than I had imagined. Owen and I walked the 2 mile trail out to the end by the lighthouse. Unfortunately the stairs to the beach were closed due to a rock fall the week before, but there were plenty of beautiful vantage points along the way. If we had timed our day better, we would have taken a boat ride out to see the cliffs from the ocean side. Either way, the White Cliffs are one of my favorite places in the UK!

Well this wraps up the 3 weeks of my parents visit. As you can see we fit a lot in to 3 weeks and put a lot of miles (~2000) on the car driving all over the UK. It was a great time and we really enjoyed their visit, as I hope they did too. Thanks again for visiting and giving us a vacation! We never would have seen so much of the UK on our own. Again I have far too many pictures to post, but here are a few highlighting the different adventures from Cornwall and Dover. Enjoy!

Such a beautiful day at Stonehenge

Tintagel from a distance
Just half of the many, very slippery stairs

Beautiful cliffs and clear water

Merlin's caves below
A quick break in the rain for some pictures

Appropriately dressed for the weather (Newquay)
Maybe a little crazy
ok our faces give away how cold it was, but still so fun!
Truro Cathedral

St Ives at low tide
Tide coming back in
Out on the pier
Cathedral and Roman bathhouses in Bath

Roman Bathhouses

Royal Crescent
Dover Castle
Chapel at Dover Castle

close up of the chalk rock

26 September 2013


My parents visit was during Owen's only week off this year, so we all took a holiday! The original plan was to spend the week in Italy, but we had to change our plans and decided to spend the week in Scotland instead. It was definitely worth spending the week, rather than a long weekend as we originally planned. We all loved Scotland and would have spent even more time there if it was possible. Scotland was a much needed break for us, it was so good to get out of the big city and into the countryside. The Scottish people are also some of the nicest people, which was very refreshing. We would definitely return to Scotland on holiday in the future. 

We left London on Monday, after my parents had the chance to settle in and get over jetlag. On our way to Edinburgh, we stopped in Derbyshire, in the Peak District, to see the Chatsworth house (see previous post for pictures). After spending the afternoon at Chatsworth, we continued up to Edinburgh. Once we got off the motorways, the drive was beautiful, through farms and rolling hills. We arrived in Edinburgh and met Gordon, whose flat we rented for the few days. We had a lovely evening with him and even got to see fireworks over Edinburgh Castle from the dinning room window that night! The Royal Military Tattoo and Fringe Festivals were going on, so Edinburgh was quite busy. 

We spent the next 3 days exploring all of Edinburgh, though most of the time was spent along the Royal Mile, not as much in the "new" city. We toured Edinburgh Castle, visited the Tartan Weaving Mill, saw a lot of Fringe street performances, went to Calton Hill, drove up the Salisbury crags, went on a ghost tour, and just explored and enjoyed Edinburgh. It was a very different experience than when my brother and I were there 6 years ago; it wasn't the quiet city we remember due to the festivals, but it was still a great time.

After our time in Edinburgh, we headed up to the north end of Loch Ness, just south of Inverness. We took out time and the long way through the beautiful Highlands. We stopped for lunch in Fort Williams, saw Ben Nevis in the distance (unfortunately there wasn't time to hike it), stopped for lots of pictures, and ended up at the quaint B&B we spent a few nights at. It was great to get up to the quiet part of Scotland and enjoy the loch and some hiking. We took a boat tour on Loch Ness to Urguhart Castle, went for a hike in Glen Affric, saw some hairy coo (aka furry cows), wandered around Inverness, tried to look for dolphins at an inlet but it was low tide, and went to Cawdor Castle. We also really enjoyed our time at the B&B and getting to know the host, again Scottish people are incredible nice. The time in the Highlands was definitely the highlight of the trip and made us wish we lived there instead :) On the way back to London, we stopped at Hadrian's Wall, which was interesting to see some Roman ruins all the way up here.

Overall it was a great holiday and we all loved Scotland! Owen and I may try to get back to Ben Nevis in November during our holiday to the Lake District, we'll keep you posted. Thanks again to my parents for an awesome holiday in Scotland! I have countless photos from the trip, so here are just a few!
View of Edinburgh Castle from the flat we rented
View from the Castle overlooking Edinburgh "new town"
Fireworks over the Castle from the flat
Salisbury Crags

Calton Hill
View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill

Fringe performances
Lots of time in the car!

Photo stop in the Highlands, so many waterfalls and everything is so green!

Ben Nevis behind the clouds

A bit of blue sky, just enjoy for some photos
View from window at B&B on Loch Ness

Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle

Hiking in Glen Affric

Hairy Coo!
No jumping dolphins at low tide :(
Cawdor Castle

Hadrian's Wall