When in The UK I’m sure you have a “bucketlist” list of things to do and most of the lists I have read on Pinterest or online have the same mainstream things – Buckingham Palace, (Ok I have that too), Tower of London, London Bridge, Westminster Abbey…
I want you to adventure past London to the very heart of The UK where the sheep wander the highways and the icecream is made from the berries in the paddock behind.
1) Obviously Buckingham Palace and The Changing of the Guards should be on everyone’s list. It’s not my most memorable moment of my trip BUT I love all that pomp and ceremony. It’s in honour of The Queen afterall.
2) Drink British Tea in one of those gorgeous cafes in the little villages with all those cobblestone lanes, whilst eating scones and jam and eavesdropping on everyone’s lovely British accents. I totally fell for Keswick, Helmsley, Rye, and Hawkeshead. Loved York too but that’s a city.
3) Take your camera and your hiking boots to The Yorkshire Dales where the narrow lanes are edged in stone walls and the stone farm buildings are dotted all over the landscape. Where sheep graze all over the road and you can hike yourself silly through some spectacular countryside courtesy of the local farmers and then find some local farm shop to gorge yourself on the local cheese.
4) Perve at people’s houses. From the stone country estates, to the village houses with their delightful cottage gardens, there is plenty of jaw dropping real estate available to perve at.
5) Go window shopping. After perving at all the houses, turn your attention to the shop windows and their fabulous front displays. My absolute favorite was The Orchid House in Keswick where the inside of the shop is just as fabulous as the window display.
6) Find one of those low ceiling, dark old fashioned pubs dating back to 1503 that have these equally fabulous garden bars with the fabulous names such as and Dog and Gun and drink the local brew from the pump.
7) I know you will see lots of Cathedrals and Castles and probably be totally cathedralled out but get yourself to Durham to see St Cuthbert’s Cathedral. It’s free which is a bonus but it’s one of the most intact medieval Cathedrals in Europe and its incredible. Built to house the remains of Saint Cuthbert, the hermit Saint was revered because everytime they dug up his remains, his body was free of decay. Pillaged by William The Conqueror’s army, many of the relics have either been stolen or hidden by the monks but it’s still full of beauty particularly the stained glass work. ( Sorry no inside photos as we’re not allowed).
8) Eat Wensleydale Cheese from the Wensleydale Shop in Hawes. Their sampling room is beyond huge. There are no stingy sample slivers here, you will be sampling at least 20 to 30 different cheeses all from very generous baskets while the cheeseman keeps slicing slicing. Best of all the cheese is actually worth sampling.
9) Buy some British Antiques. Get down to the village fete, church sale or general junk shop and purchase yourselves a set of bone handled knives for a fiver or a genuine period tea set. There are bargains to be had and history to be admire. I’m also a fan of the local Oxfam shops where I have bagged the odd High Street label for a fraction of the original cost. Rye which is very close to Dover is a particularly treasure trove town and the local cafes make a cracking cup of tea too.
10). The Borough Market. It’s fabulous. There are many market towns throughout the UK but none so fabulous as London’s Borough Market with its beautifully presented stalls and produce that just sings to you. The other thing is that it’s near to London Bridge and The Tower of London so you can continue with the other bucketlist lists.