Traveling and exploring new destinations has always been a cherished passion of mine. Whether it's the exotic landscapes of Kerala or the charming charm of Kufri in India, the vibrant cityscape of Singapore, or the bustling streets of Chicago during a business trip, every journey to uncharted territories has been an exhilarating adventure.
In the middle of 2018, my family and I eagerly packed our bags for a much-anticipated vacation to the United Kingdom. The allure of its breathtaking architecture, world-renowned museums, rich historical sites, and diverse array of unique experiences made it an irresistible destination. Prior to our departure, we diligently researched and planned our itinerary, ensuring that we made the most of our time in this captivating country and its neighboring regions.
Day 1 – Arrival in the Enchanting City of Big Ben
The initial day in the UK brimmed with excitement as we embarked on our exploration of renowned landmarks such as The National Art Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and the bustling Oxford Street. Additionally, we stumbled upon some hidden local gems that proved to be a delightful surprise. From the mesmerizing artwork to the awe-inspiring architecture and the vibrant atmosphere, each experience was a true treasure to behold.
Established in 1824, The National Gallery stands proudly in Central London, boasting a remarkable collection of over 2,300 paintings spanning from the mid-13th century to 1900. Its rich history and intriguing facts can be further discovered on the official website, offering a deeper appreciation of this esteemed art museum.
Located in the heart of Central London, Trafalgar Square is a renowned public square within the City of Westminster, originally developed around the historic site known as Charing Cross. The square's name pays homage to the decisive triumph of Britain in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Navigating London is most efficiently achieved through the Tube or the Underground, which offers a swift and convenient mode of transportation. Alternatively, the city bus system provides an excellent opportunity to explore various attractions while traveling between destinations within the city. To streamline your travel experience, consider purchasing an Oyster card, a versatile card that can be utilized for both train and bus journeys.
Day 2 – Embracing the Beauty of London City
Day 1 filled me with so much excitement that I eagerly woke up early on Day 2, thrilled to embark on another day of adventure. My itinerary for the day included visiting some iconic landmarks, such as The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and the renowned London Bridge.
The magnificent London Eye, a feat of engineering, took approximately one and a half years to construct. Its mesmerizing structure comprises 32 oval-shaped capsules, numbered from 1 to 33, with the omission of number 13 due to superstitions. Proudly situated on the banks of the River Thames, this giant observation wheel promises breathtaking views of the city. For those seeking more information and ticket bookings, The London Eye website awaits your exploration.
Situated in close proximity to the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge gracefully spans the River Thames, now standing as an iconic emblem of London. Among the five London bridges under the care of the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation, the Tower Bridge holds a significant place in the city's heritage and identity.
Day 3 – Exploring Windsor Castle: A Day Well Spent in Windsor
Nestled in the southeastern part of England, just west of London along the picturesque River Thames, lies the quaint town of Windsor. This charming town boasts the magnificent Windsor Castle, serving as the esteemed residence of the British Royal Family. Delve into the rich history and beauty of the Castle, its exquisite Chapels, and the sprawling Windsor Great Park. Thanks to the convenient train service from Paddington Station, you can reach Windsor in less than 40 minutes, making it an easily accessible and enchanting destination. To embark on a memorable visit, unravel more and secure your bookings here.
Day 4 - Embracing Brighton's Pebbled Beach
Embark on an exciting day tour from London by hopping on a train from St Pancras International, and within a couple of hours, you'll find yourself in the vibrant city of Brighton. Once there, relish some leisure time on the inviting beach, savoring the delightful combination of fish & chips and beer. Immerse yourself in the beachside ambiance and consider joining a walking tour to further explore the beauty and charm that Brighton has to offer.
Day 5 - Embarking on a Road Trip to Scotland
Our journey from London to Edinburgh spanned nearly the entire day, but it was a mesmerizing experience. The breathtaking scenery coupled with the uninterrupted driving made for an amazing trip, with minimal inconveniences on the road. While we encountered a few road closures and traffic delays, they were temporary and did not significantly impact our overall enjoyment of the trip.
Upon arriving in Edinburgh, we proceeded to check-in at the Airbnb accommodation we had booked. The apartment turned out to be wonderful and provided a comfortable stay throughout our two-day visit.
Day 6 – Exploring the City of Edinburgh
Edinburgh boasts a plethora of exclusive destinations waiting to be explored. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, experience the grandeur of The Royal Yacht Britannia, indulge in The Scotch Whiskey Experience (a must for enthusiasts), and stroll along the historic and charming Royal Mile. To make the most of your city exploration, hop aboard a local double-decker bus and revel in the sights and sounds of Edinburgh.
Day 7 – Back to London with a twist
As we made our way back to London, we decided to forego the highway and took an off-route adventure to immerse ourselves in the picturesque beauty of Scotland's charming villages. Additionally, as a whiskey enthusiast, the visit to the Glenkinchie Whiskey brewery proved to be an unforgettable and delightful experience. Cheers to a memorable journey!
Day 8 – Enjoying a Leisurely Day in London
On our eighth day in the UK, we enjoyed another leisurely day in London, beginning with a visit to the renowned Madame Tussaud Museum, where we encountered lifelike wax figures of celebrities and historical figures. The grandeur of Buckingham Palace and the tranquility of Hyde Park were also on our itinerary, making it a memorable and enjoyable day in the bustling city.
Day 9 – Punting Cambridge
As part of our UK trip, we had to choose between visiting Oxford or Cambridge, and we settled on Cambridge. The journey was swift and comfortable, as we hopped on a train from King's Cross station, arriving in Cambridge within an hour.
Cambridge offers a plethora of famous colleges to explore, among them being King's College and Trinity College. To fully immerse ourselves in the history of these esteemed institutions, we embarked on a punting tour, where the punter regaled us with fascinating stories about the colleges and their surroundings.
Trinity College, in particular, stands out for its impressive list of Nobel laureates. We made sure not to miss the chance to visit the library and delve into the remarkable works of luminaries like Newton and Ramanujan. Cambridge's intellectual legacy left a lasting impression on our journey through the city's rich history and academic heritage.
Day 10 – Another fine day in London
Finally, the day I had eagerly anticipated had arrived—the visit to Lord's Cricket Ground, a place every cricket lover dreams of experiencing at least once in their lifetime. Immersed in the cricketing history and ambiance, I couldn't resist purchasing some cherished memorabilia to forever commemorate this unforgettable moment.
Situated in the charming Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, the British Museum stands as a revered public institution, devoted to the exploration of human history, art, and culture. Boasting an astonishing permanent collection of approximately eight million works, it stands as one of the most extensive and comprehensive collections in existence. This vast array of artifacts has been diligently sourced from various corners of the world during the era of the British Empire, making the museum a treasure trove of knowledge and historical significance.
Day 11 – Immersed in the Rich History of The Roman Baths
Nestled in the charming city of Bath, Somerset, England, the Roman Baths stand as a remarkable testament to ancient history and culture. These well-preserved hot baths were initially accompanied by a temple, built between 60-70CE, during the formative years of Roman Britain. The presence of this temple gave rise to the development of the small Roman urban settlement, fondly known as Aquae Sulis, centered around the site.
For a convenient journey to the Roman Baths, trains prove to be the ideal mode of travel across the UK and its neighboring regions. By booking train tickets from Paddington Station, you can reach the enchanting destination in just over an hour, ensuring a hassle-free and memorable experience.
While exploring the United Kingdom and Scotland, make sure to indulge in various cuisines and wines, as there are plenty of delectable options available everywhere. Don't miss the chance to savor the renowned Yale Beer during your travels.
The overall travel experience in the UK and Scotland was absolutely fabulous, with top-notch hospitality adding to the enjoyment. I'm already eager to visit these remarkable places again in my lifetime, hoping to uncover more hidden gems that I couldn't explore during those couple of weeks. Stay tuned for my next travel experience to yet another wonderful destination. Until then, hasta la vista!