5 Outstanding Places to Visit in Britain!

1.London

London at twilight

London at twilight

 

 London can certainly be described as one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan cities in the whole world!  The capital city of England and the United Kingdom is the most populous city in the United Kingdom and Europe‘s most visited city, attracting over 14 million international visitors per year!! Some of the top attractions people come to see include the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. They come to marvel at the National History and National Maritime Museums, the Imperial War Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, WOW – so many museums. They come to be intrigued at Madame Tussauds and delighted by the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London! Also, not forgetting Big Ben and other famous landmarks including Piccadilly Circus, Nelson’s Column and the lions of Trafalgar Square. Finish a visit by  exploring Knightsbridge, home to Harrods and many other stylish shops and boutiques, and a wander around  the famous Hyde Park!

2.York

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York Minster

 

If it’s history you are into, a visit to Medieval York is an absolute  must. This ancient city offers an abundance of historic attractions which  has made it a popular tourist destination for millions of people over the years. York’s tourist attractions include the National Railway Museum, the Jorvik Viking Centre, York Castle Museum, York Maze, Holy Trinity Church, and of course, the majestic York Minster, England’s largest medieval cathedral. Walk inside the city walls and view the magnificent Gothic York Minster before making your way round the famous crooked ‘Shambles’. Walking tours also offer fascinating insights, stories and history of the city, whilst their famous ‘Ghost Walks’ will also tell you about its chilling, ghostly past!

3. Bath

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Roman Baths

 

Visit the  Georgian City of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring some of the finest architecture in Europe and admire the wonderful Georgian architecture it has to offer.  Visit the Roman baths from which the city derives its name and hot mineral-rich springs that have been popular since Roman times. Join the 1 million international tourists which visit every year and experience a  guided walking tour of the town, learning about the historical significance of the region and soaking up the decadent atmosphere.

 4. Lake District

Rowing Boats

Lake District

 

Admire the stunning views when you visit the beautiful English Lake District. Take a scenic drive through the Lake District National Park, inspiration to a host of poets including William Wordsworth. Wordsworth lived in a beautiful cottage in the village of Grasmere and the wonderful surrounding scenery provided William Wordsworth with the inspiration to write the poem ‘Daffodils’. Admire the glorious lakes including Windermere and Coniston Waters,  the scene of many attempts to break the world water speed record. If you’re feeling energetic, climb the many fells, hills, and groups of mountains  found in the  Lake District and experience the stunning views that will stay with you forever!

5.Stonehenge

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Mystical Stonehenge

 

 Cross Salisbury Plain to visit Stonehenge, the world’s most famous prehistoric monument, and stand in awe at the mystical stone monoliths. This ancient stone circle has baffled scientists, tourists and historians for centuries and new theories are surfacing all the time about its mythical past. Admire and enjoy this magnificent monument for what it is now and acknowledge that its true meaning may never be known!

Boat Trip to Riva del Garda and Malcesine

It was a warm morning in late September 2013 when I set out for Riva del Garda. I waved goodbye to my wife Sue and our dog Coco as we did not possess the required muzzle to bring Coco on board.  So it was a day trip on my own. The fast ferry was covered on the top deck, but not enclosed at the sides. Going out this morning it was a little cold once the ferry got up to cruising speed.

Lake Garda

Setting out for Riva del Garda

We called at three ports on the way including Limone. Riva and Malcesine are both much more commercial than Gorgnano, but have more of a centre you can walk around exploring. They both have old castles to visit. Riva has a tower in the square too. It’s castle is located high above the town so would be an uphill walk away, whereas Malcesine has the castle in the town. You can rent boats and pedallos in Riva. As an option this may be a good time to buy a new custom powerboat for recreation.

Lake Garda
The further north in the lake you go, the more sports you see. Sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, even paragliding off the steep mountains that tower above. In Malcesine you can take a cable car ride up the mountain. The slow ferry is best in fine weather – it has an open top high up and the seats swivel to give you breath taking 360 views!  This is the Riva to Malcesine leg of the journey.

 

I took tour 8 which gives you an easy timetable to follow with approximately 2 hours in each place. It costs 25 euro with a promo card from your hotel. One of the boats incurs a supplement for going faster. You can’t pay the supplement when you buy the ticket. Due to procedure adopted by the ferry company you must pay it later, but before you board! Don’t buy the all lake day ticket unless you are really good with timetables. See the tour plans below.

Coco kept Sue company for the day at our dog friendly hotel, the Villa Sostaga A large  male dog called Lupo had arrived at the hotel and Coco was beside herself! I would recommend this hotel and restaurant for the stunning views and good service.

Enjoy tours of the entire Italian Lakes region with Trafalgar’s Highlights of the Italian Lakes  or Cosmos Magic of the Italian Lakes

 

Garda ferry tours

Celebrate New Year in Edinburgh on a ‘Real Britain’ coach tour!

Book  Trafalgar’s ‘Real Britain’ coach tour in December 2015 and you could be in for a real treat. I’m not kidding, the tour takes you to Edinburgh on the 3rd day for two nights which means you will be there just in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve in style. Unbelievably, places are still available for this date and I’ve booked mine through Global Coach Tours.

I’ve double checked the itinerary and the small print and it definitely states that departures on the 29th December 2015 will celebrate New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh. You are provided with a delicious meal with champagne at your hotel before being given tickets for the Edinburgh Hogmanay. Apparently, this party below Edinburgh Castle is the largest New Year’s event in the world! It also advises that this special New Year’s Eve celebration dinner will replace the included dinner in the Lake District on Day 2, which reminds me to mention the other tour details on this wonderful ‘Real Britain’ coach tour.

Not only do you get to see Edinburgh in all its glory on New Year’s Eve, you also get to visit some of the most wonderful and fascinating places Britain has to offer.

 

The itinerary is amazing as you start your trip in London on day 1 before visiting Salisbury and its majestic Cathedral, the mysterious Stonehenge steeped in pagan history and the Roman baths in Bath, before finishing the day off at a Welcome Pub Reception in Bristol.

From Bristol on day 2 you go to see the Roman Walls at Chester before heading to the Lake District for dinner. Day 3 is also spent at the Lake district before embarking onto Grasmere and Gretna Green which historically is popular with eloping couples. Then it’s off to Edinburgh for two days for those all important New Years Eve celebrations.

After two days sightseeing in Edinburgh, the tour takes you to view the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey in the Scottish borders and the dramatic landscape of Northumberland National Park. Your journey then takes you to the ancient Roman City of York to see the famous Shambles and the majestic York Minster before enjoying a memorable farewell dinner.

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It’s not over yet though because on the last day you will leave York to head to Coventry and then go on to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. A scenic drive through the beautiful and picturesque Cotswolds then brings you to the end of your holiday back in London.

Wow! Trafalgar’s ‘Real Britain’ coach tour does pack in a lot of miles and places to see, but personally, the highlight for me is going to be those New Year celebrations.

A grand way to tour on a budget.

I hadn’t really thought about going on a short break in a while but was soon prompted when I found out some long lost relatives would be visiting from abroad! I really had to rack my brains for a solution to make sure they all would be entertained without us all having to fork out a lot of money. Image my relief when I came across a travel website that offers budget short and long breaks by coach travel. Not only that, it also ticked all the right boxes for all my family’s needs regarding dates and costs.

The tour we chose was the Taste of Britain 4 day tour which covered a lot of the places my family wanted to see. The tour started in London and we travelled on a luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and on-board restroom.

 

Our first stop was at Cambridge with its famous University. We viewed the colleges which are part of the University and these were truly fascinating to see. Next we headed to York where we went on an orientation walk to be shown all the splendours of the city. These included the beautiful Minster and the famous Shambles. We also noticed a lot of ghost walks!

 

On day 2 we headed to the City of Edinburgh for a lot of sight seeing including the magnificent  Edinburgh Castle. We also saw  Hadrian’s Wall on the way which is a  very, very long defensive wall built by the Romans in 122 AD.

 

The very long Hadrian’s Wall ( 80 Roman miles).

 

The magnificent  Edinburgh Castle.

Day 3 was special as we travelled through the stunning views of the Lake District before stopping at the village of Grasmere where  the great poet William Wordsworth lived.

Enjoying the view.

We next went on to Liverpool before arriving at our very comfortable hotel for the night in nearby Haydock and enjoyed an excellent dinner and breakfast the following morning. After breakfast we travelled to Chester and particularly enjoyed the sights of the black and white timbered buildings which are known as the ‘Rows’.

 

The ‘Rows’ in Chester.

We next visited  Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, before arriving back where we started from in London.

The family fully enjoyed this trip and went on for weeks afterwards about their wonderful experience. I can truly recommend this tour and may even go on a longer coach tour of Britain in the future. Try it for yourselves – you won’t be disappointed.