Saturday, 6 January 2018

Travel Bucket

Following on from the first post of the year, which was about the new year’s resolutions, the second post of the year is about the bucket list, because I can’t be bothered to make this blog something that people who aren’t personally me would want to read.

So recently The Housemate said we have to book in our holiday for this year NOW but I haven’t even thought about it properly yet.  Last year we visited Oxford and it turned out to be the greatest place ever made by man, so I kinda just want to stay in Oxford forever, but if everyone moved to their favourite vacation spot, we’d all live in Cleveland.  Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of 30 Rock.

My ideal holiday destination would combine natural beauty, 
Land's End, Cornwall, 2013

historic buildings 
New College Cloisters, Oxford, 2017

and animals (wild or in a rescue sanctuary).
Whenever I feed the birds, I always get distracted by swans or geese on the water then turn around to discover others have snuck up on me from behind to cut off retreat, à la the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. Petersfield, 2016.
Sat on a bench by the river to eat my lunch, suddenly had friends.  Oxford, 2017.
Often seen birds rushing at me when I walk past a pond, lake or river but never seen fish do it before.  Exbury Gardens, 2017.

Ignoring the greater world and places I’d obviously like to visit one day like Egypt, Rome and New York, and just focusing on the country I’m already in (or those attached to it), these are the places I want to go look at:

Bernard Shaw’s House – he seemed like a cool guy.
Bletchley Park – I just reckon I’d have been a good codebreaker is all.
Brecon Beacons – they have caves, I like caves.
Cambridge – coz we loved Oxford so want to see what the rivalry is about.
Cheddar Gorge – this looks like the most visually stunning place in the country.
Edinburgh – possibly timed with the fringe festival.
Haworth – to Brontë it up.
Isle Of Skye – can this place even be real?
Lake District – classic natural beauty, right?
London Duck Tour – looks so cool, motion sickness be damned.
North Wales – used to enjoy holidaying here as a kid; they got mountains and caves.
Peak District – Elizabeth Bennet said this was a decent fall-back if you can’t make it to the Lake District.
St Michael’s Mount – looks magical but when I tried to visit it was closed (see next entry).
The Needles – every time I try to visit, it goes wrong, don’t even care any more, but I hold grudges.

Which of those to do this year? this space?

What UK vacation spots and tourist attractions do you recommend?


  1. Oooh, travelly planning! Always exciting!

    My own two pence / cents / Pfennige / Groschen:

    Isle of Skye: I haven't been there, but I have got as far as Mallaig (the port where the ferry to the Isle of Skye leaves from). That entire area of the highlands is very scenic indeed. I stayed in Fort William with my dad. Fort William is the self-proclaimed Outdoors Capital of Outdoorsy Outdooring in Scotland, Outdoors. It certainly has good outdoorsy things to look at / walk on / paddle around / drown in: a beautiful Loch, some genuinely big mountains, forests, mushrooms, midges - very pretty outdoors. Also, the train journey from Glasgow to Fort William is beautiful, and the train journey from Fort William to Mallaig is considered the most scenic train journey in the world by Man in Seat 61. (I'm not sure it's The Most Scenic, but I can confirm that it is certainly Very Scenic). Also, Fort William to Mallaig is served by a steam train every day - the steam train & route which stood in for the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies. So, if you travel to the Isle of Skye, I would recommend taking the train up from Glasgow!

    Talking Scotland: Edinburgh is a stunning city. Well deserving of its Unesco World Heritage Site status. Fiendishly expensive during the summer festival, and very crowded, but absolutely worth visiting. (Also worth visiting: St Andrews - if you like scenic university towns full of very posh students, St Andrews is second only to Oxford for atmosphere - way ahead of Cambridge)

    Brecons - why? I dislike the Brecon Beacons. Found them very underwhelming each time I passed through. Admittedly, there are some nice corners (waterfall country in the Neath Valley), but for the most part, they are hills without forests, which makes them quite barren and underwhelming to look at. It takes a big sky & dramatic lighting to make them look interesting. Most of the time, the sky just drizzles... that said, some of the Good Day Out vouchers / experiences might appeal to your animal-loving side (

    Cheddar Gorge - nice place. A bit over-touristified. I stayed there on a farm once (which had alpacas, among other animals). I liked staying there because it was away from the town by the entrance to the gorge, which basically felt like the entrance to a theme park. If you visit & stay overnight, stay on the farm with the alpacas!

    North Wales: I liked Llandudno, Conwy (nice castle!), the steam trains from Conwy to Porthmadog and the Blaenau Ffestinog to Porthmadog steam trains.

    May I make some additional recommendations?

    Have you thought about visiting Norfolk / Cromer & Blakeney to go on a seal trip? There are several times a year when different types of seal have pups, and the boat tours are a nice way to visit them without intruding ( Check online when the seal pup season peaks - I seem to recall one type of seal has pups in one month in summer, the other type of seal has pups for a month or so in winter.

    One thing which was on my UK bucket list which haven't got around to is to visit one of the places where puffins can be found. I would have really liked to see & take photos of some puffins. So, I humbly suggest you seek out some puffins!

    Happy travels!

    1. Thanks for your input. I believe that there are boat tours around the Inner Hebrides that include puffin-watching. Though I'd be more interested in seeing some dolphins and whales. But that actually covers so many islands (including Skye) that I'm not sure they could be done in one holiday without a car. Generally Scotland seems to be very photogenic - one of the blogs I follow is by a woman living in Scotland and it seems like every day of her life is some magical fairy adventure. I haven't been there since I was very little, so I don't remember it. I read a year or two ago that Glasgow has a lot of vegan places. It's definitely high on the list, but it's also there furthest away from where I live, so will take the most planning. Plus of course it being an entire country, it's hard to narrow down which bit to do first.

      Brecon Beacons is mostly just considered to be a nice scenic walking holiday type place that's easier to get to from where I live than the peak or lake district. Mostly I just want to see the Welsh National Showcaves. I really love underground caverns and tunnels.

      Thanks for the Norfolk suggestion. Not really considered it but baby seals sounds cute. I think my Grandfather/father-ancestors were from Norfolk so maybe I should give it a glance.

  2. There are some really lovely places around this Sceptred Isle. We're mainly following the Comic Con train this year with a weekend in Oxford in April, Cardiff in June and the Lakes in October. Been to all three before (though not with Russ) and all highly recommended.

    Would also recommend lindisfarne for history and nature.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation; I'll look it up. I hope it's balmy weather up north this October for the lakes. I can't say I'm impressed with Cardiff, having lived outside it for three years. It would be like getting excited over Portsmouth. Do you enjoy comic cons? We've never been to one.


I look forward to your enthusiastic and loving comment.