The UK and Ireland were not originally on our list for our world tour, as we knew they would be expensive countries. However, with enough house-sitting, we made the trip very affordable. Thankfully, this allowed us to stay for about a month and a half while seeing some top sites and even getting out into the countryside. Being in some English-speaking locations for a bit was refreshing. Seeing what felt like America’s great uncle was also fascinating as there were so many similarities. Here is a sampling of some places we visited and a short video with the highlights from this part of our world trip.
The city of London has more to do than our five days there would cover. That is all the more reason to go back another time. Being from a city with a river and many bridges, there was a small element to the place that felt like home. Tower Bridge is beautiful to view from any direction and lovely to cross on foot. The city felt very walkable, so we reserved those double-decker buses for longer distances. One of the most memorable moments was seeing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Their hats were fuzzy enough to pet like a cat.
We had a Couchsurfing guest stay with us who is from Bristol. Before heading there, we contacted him for recommendations and he practically wrote our itinerary. The place was much more laid back than London, and we especially enjoyed the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Clifton Observatory, and the cat cafe. We stumbled upon a place where people were sliding down some rocks near the Observatory. Aaron did a good job doing more stumbling than sliding going a little too fast. You might want to leave this slide for the kids. There is plenty to see here, and we could go back for another visit.
The Roman Baths were a delight to see as they are nearly a thousand years old and not in ruins. We spent a lot of time here taking photographs and wandering the grounds. Afterward, we treated ourselves to a much-needed break by enjoying Britain’s only natural thermal spa. It has steam rooms, indoor and outdoor hot pools, and many floors full of relaxation. Travel wears down on you after a while, so it is important to treat yourself. This place was perfect for doing just that.
Going to Howth was a suggestion from yet another Couchsurfing host. It was an easy day-trip from Dublin, and we lucked out with some good weather for the day. Some highlights were Howth Castle ruins and Howth Pier, which has a lighthouse at the end. Just walking around and getting some coastal air was refreshing. Taking a simple train ride and bus gets you there in about 35 minutes from Dublin city center.
Greystones to Bray Hike
We did a day trip from Dublin to the town of Greystones. From there we hiked along the coast and took a wonderful hike to the town of Bray. The sea cliffs bring you high over the waves below. We took an unnecessary detour by trying to go straight up the hill through the bush. It didn’t work out so well, but we eventually made it up to the official trail. At the very top near Bray is a giant crucifix which ended up being a good spot to take a break before descending into town. We recommend connecting with locals whenever you can for these insider tips.
The video highlights many of our favorite spots throughout the British Isles, so you can see our experience first-hand.
More to Come
We have a lot more material to cover this region. You can look forward to posts on Stonehenge and Northern Ireland, and more in-depth posts on the cities we touched on in this post.
If you could go to just one place mentioned in this article, where would it be and why?
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