We spent two and a half luscious weeks in The UK with our daughter and her boyfriend in August, 2016. We started our journey in Oxford, and ended up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Almost 1,500 miles (yes miles, not kilometers, even the speed limit signs are in MPH!) in a little standard transmission rental – gear shift on the left. Kevin passed his UK driving test with flying colors!
This is the first of three blog posts about the trip: Part one Oxford and Cornwall, Part Two Stratford-Upon-Avon and The Lake District, and finally, Part Three Edinburgh, Scotland. My husband timed them and said they each take about 10-12 minutes to read. I hope you enjoy!!
Lots in the UK revolves around pubs…and during our trip, we revolved with the best of ‘em.
At Cailin and Jack’s lovely house in Oxford (which we finally found thanks to Choudry at the local grocery store) we were treated to nice meals – and got to reconvene with Harlem!!
Just missed the championships…darn!
We took a trip to Burford, a small medieval town nestled in the hills
Pimms and punting…a nice combination
Dinner at Magdelin Arms…a cozy local – what else? – pub for melt in your mouth lamb
Then off to St. Ives in Cornwall. Not sure what we would have done without Jack navigating and coaching the driver about the roundabouts and one lane roads. I was usually in the back seat lying down.
Our AirBNB was wonderful. It was in the midst of farm fields, so we surrounded by animals, including cats like this tabby who served as our greeter. Nothing feral about them.
Here are some photos of the cottage from a rock outcropping nearby, and views from the cottage. We could see both coasts from the outcropping.
Parking is always a problem…always. Here’s the tiny spot we claimed. And we were lucky. The fellow who helped us find it told us the last renters’ car was damaged by cows and bulls heading out from the barn to the fields. (This same neighbor told us his house had been built by Tom Smith, a famous makeup artist and that Harrison Ford had been up to visit.)
On the plus side, blackberry bushes were plentiful.
We headed to Land’s End to hike. This day’s hike was a mere 6 miles, up and down along the rocky coast.
On the way back we headed over farmer’s fields. There are gates and rock steps between the farms.
Watch out…don’t climb the telephone poles, whatever you do.
St. Ives was very busy and beautiful! (And, they were surfing!)
That night we had a wonderful dinner and celebrated my brother, Dan’s, 74th birthday.
Next stop was Tintangle. Some think it was the home of legendary King Arthur.
Ever heard of Rick Stein? Neither had we. He is an English celebrity chef and a phenom in Padstow. We had to have the famous chef’s fish and chips from his line-out-the-door café.
Bells at the church were ringing and ringing, so we had to explore. We saw guests gathered in the garden awaiting the new bride and groom to emerge. Beautiful!
Right near the church we were warned that Fly Tipping was not allowed. (Google it!)
Next stop was The Eden Project. This is the brainchild of Tom Swif and friends. They transformed a 35 acre 200 feet deep clay pit into Disneyland for earth-huggers. There are two giant-giant biomes — one a rainforest, the other a Mediterranean climate.
Included here is a view of the interior waterfall so you can gauge the scale.
Because millions of tons of composted dirt were hauled in for the project, the gardens are magnificent.
Note the brilliant marker in the garden…message in a bottle.
There were many sculptures, including a giant man/monster made entirely of junk.
We wondered why it was so full of kids, and then we ran into the dinosaurs.
On day 7 we headed out to a very medieval looking castle on a “sometimes island”, St. Michael’s Mount. It kept reminding me of my writing buddy, Kim Love Stump’s new book “A Clearing in the Forest”. (Yes, there are palm trees in Cornwall!)
I loved the hint on the castle tour: “please do not sit here”
Cailin and Jack with Union flying overhead
We ate sandwiches at the beach park before our next stop. (And I was starting the process of drying out my boots.)
Remember I said a “sometimes island”? If you don’t leave the castle by way of the causeway before the tide comes in, your shoes WILL GET WET. Mine got soaked…they took days to dry.
We visited sculptress Barbara Hepworth’s studio in St. Ives. She produced lovely stone sculptures with these tools. Unfortunately, she died inhaling fumes from burning plastics in her studio when she was just 72.
The next stop was “Lizard Point”. We took a 5 mile hike along the coastline to Kynance Cove. But not before treating ourselves to some of the wonderful ice cream for which Cornwall is famous.
What was crazy was that nearly everyday, Kevin and I wore the same color shirt without consulting one another. Are we sympatico, or what?
Cailin and Jack at the pub that night.
This is one of the many brilliant English inventions. Wash and dry your hands using one simple device. Now, why didn’t we think of that???
We left Cornwall the next day for Stratford-Upon-
Avon…stay tuned for that post next!
For a different take on the very same trip, check out our daughter, Cailin’s blog post: