My Footprints in UK – Part 2
Today we’ll be looking at destinations located mainly in the North West, Central, South West England + Wales! :D
As continued from my previous post:
Sitting at the north tip of Lake Windermere, Ambleside is a quaint market town serving many tourists of the Lake District National Park. Surrounded by the lake, fells and mountain forests, it is ideal as a base to access popular hiking routes. Take the open top double decker from Windermere to the town to relax as you go past pretty sceneries. I didn’t do much at Windermere apart from going up the short walk to Orrest Head – viewpoint for stunning views of the Lakeland mountains and lake if the weather’s good.
12. Peak District
Those who know me know I’m a Peak District freak…I miss my Peak District getaways so badly! Kays, so Peak District is a national park somewhere slightly to the north in Central England = near Manchester. I still think it’s one of the best places for English landscape, cradling traditional villages within the dreamy countryside.
I will go on forever if I put it in words, so let pictures do the job instead. Taken from my trips of hiking, village-hopping and cycling.
This medieval city showcases unique black-and-white architecture on its main streets known as Chester Rows – referring to covered walkways which can be found on the first floor level of the row of shops – very interesting to explore. Chester also preserves a rather complete set of City Walls around its city centre. Only about 3km long in total, the enjoyable walk brings you to most of the city’s main attractions like the Eastgate Clock Tower.
Read more on my – Chester trip!
Liverpool is probably most famous for two things: 1. The Beatles; 2. Liverpool FC. I was there for…Li Yundi’s piano concert. :P Arrived in the city a couple hours before the concert to do a quick look-see in this city beholding a funny accent. Sunshine was in full glory as we wandered around Albert Docks, rather quiet for some reason. The Beatles Story Museum is also located here but it was closed for the day when we went (at least the souvenir shop was still open *consolation*).
Anyway, St George’s Hall where the concert was held is magnificent and Li Yundi is a prodigy, no doubt!
Come feel the elegance this romantic city exudes. Royal Crescent, Roman Baths and Thermae Bath Spa are among the most popular POIs here. As luck would have it, I was running a fever during the visit. The throbbing headache and lack of energy made me want to do nothing but lie down and sleep. So while my parents were admiring whatever that deserves admiring, I played the part of a grumpy visitor. Lunchtime was my happiest time in Bath cause it was like an escape from the pack of tourists and roaming graduates/families.
Still, I can tell amidst my crabbiness that Bath is a lovely place. Another time maybe. :)
At over 800 years old and ranking high internationally every year, The University of Oxford is easily the most significant icon of Oxford. People flock in to see for themselves the grounds of this impressive institution. Apart from the university, there isn’t much to get excited over in the city. I popped into the Ashmolean Museum on my first visit since I had time to spare and walked up to the top of the mound of Oxford Castle. It is far from ‘high’ but you can catch an average view of the spires across the cityscape.
Introducing my favourite area in England! If you’re an English village enthusiast, this is totally a MUST! The Cotswolds is predominantly known for its stone-built villages over the fields and rolling greens. I visited three of them:
a) Bibury: Picturesque is the word to describe Bibury, notable for Arlington Row and its steeply-pitched roofs and gables. Find also a trout stream and trout farm here; try the amazing trout sandwiches ;)
b) Bourton-on-the-Water: High Street is the main street in this model town with River Windrush running alongside. The neat river banks and short stone bridges complement each other beautifully, creating the perfect setting for lunch at one of the cafes or restaurants nearby.
c) Buxford: Another small medieval town perched on a hill slope. My friends and I wandered into this street branched off from the lovely bustling main street and it was just as captivating.
Just outside the Cotswolds limestone belt, this is where William Shakespeare was born and where his grave lies. Naturally, the attractions around town are “Shakespeare-centred”. The poet’s childhood house, his wife’s (Anne Hathaway of the 1500’s) pretty cottage, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and many sculptures featuring characters in his plays, eg. Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, Julius Caesar etc.
Welcome to Wales – the land of challenging pronunciation! How would you pronounce Llandudno? ……Time’s up. It’s supposed to sound like “Klan-did-no”. Betcha got it wrong!
Back to topic, Llandudno sits by the seaside, west coast of UK. The Welsh town presents a rather different image from the English towns with an elegant Victorian promenade running round the curve of the bay. If you climb up onto the Great Orme, you’ll be rewarded with a splendid view of Llandudno Pier and the sea. The Happy Valley Gardens and a long toboggan run can also be found here. FUN :D
Read more on my Wales trip!
Chance #2 of Welsh pronunciation.
Situated within Snowdonia National Park in Conwy Valley, this little village charms tourists with its old English shops and scenic River Llugwy which riverbanks make lovely picnic spots. Approximately a mile north of the village (took us an hour plus’ walk through the forest and highway), is the breathtaking Swallow Falls. You need to pay a small amount to visit but it’s definitely worth it. Bring your lunch and enjoy a break while relishing nature’s beauty.
P.S. My best translation of the pronunciation – “Betoosi-co-id”. Best you google it up yourself X)
1. Lavender Farms
Imagine rows of lavenders spreading across the field around you, imagine the natural scent of lavender ever so calming. I failed to visit Provence in France so I tried to make the most out of English lavender farms – twice I visited Yorkshire Lavender, once each to Mayfield Lavender (near London) and Cotswold Lavender. Piece of advice: Summertime, i.e. mid June – July is usually the best time but check before you go as the weather might affect the full-bloom season.
2. Designer Outlets
Shopping queens and those in need of retail therapy, you’ll be glad to know UK offers a number of designer outlet villages. I’ve only been to Cheshire Oaks (not far from Chester) and Bicester Village in Oxfordshire. Though I’m not a fan of shopping, I must say these outlet centres are so prettily built that it is pleasant just leisurely walking around or wandering into stores with alluring window displays. Most of the brands – from high street brands to high end designer stores can be found here, supposedly at lower prices. And for the shoppers quick to get weary like me, there are plenty of eateries around to catch a rest. :)
Epilogue: UK is awesomee! :D