If you love England, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t, you are always thinking of the next visit. It’s a difficult task because, if it were just me, I’d go back and forth across the country until I was able to see every area including Scotland and Wales.
My next visit will probably be a foursome with my husband and our good friends, driving Southwest to Devon and Cornwall and looping around to visit Bath. My bestie’s family is from Christchurch and though we have been to England together, once in 2005, we didn’t get to visit there. I think it’s so important to go where your family originated if you can. Go to the church and the churchyard, look for those names that you’ve heard your whole life in family stories or read so often in your research.
My first trip over in 2001, we headed south through Cornwall to Land’s End and up the West Coast to Wales, I absolutely loved it there. I want my husband and friends to see some of it and for Suzanne to be in the places where her family came from. I hope she has the overwhelming feeling of home that I had the first time I went to Sussex and walked in the footsteps of my father’s family. I hope you get to Cornwall and revel in it’s Celtic history and beauty.
The history of Cornwall is fascinating and extensive. There are lots of books and information online. There have been people there since 4000 BC, so there is not enough space here to delve into that subject. I think I am most impressed with the fact that the Cornish people have held onto their culture and are now considered a distinct Ethnic group by the UK government.
We’ll go to London first, our friend Bruce hasn’t had the opportunity to go there yet and there is so much to see. Of course you can’t do London in one trip, unless you have unlimited time and money. Hopefully this will be the beginning of several visits over for them. I will write about what we saw and did after the fact since, as of now, in the early days of planning I’m not sure which attractions we’ll get to see.
While in London each of us will plan a day out, as well as take a day on one of the jump on and off London bus tours. Afterwards, we’ll head south by train to Christchurch and spend at least most of a day there, we’ll go to the church, explore the town and have lunch. A few years ago my cousin Claire gave me a book, “Footpaths of Britain”. There is a lovely walk in Christchurch along the harbor to Hengistbury Head, it’s about an hour with nice views of the Isle of Wight, a nature reserve and the beach at Sandspit.
Whether or not we find this town interesting enough to stay the night remains to be seen, but after our visit, we’ll hit the road and head towards the West Coast, stopping along the way at anything that looks interesting to any of us. I love this kind of a trip and I did it in 2001 and again in 2005. You drive along and take in the countryside, looking at maps and signposts until you see something that looks so delightful you just have to stop. In the afternoon when you start thinking about dinner and bed, you stop in a town and visit the tourist information office. These places have books and maps for sale, leaflets to give away and loads of advice on things to see or do. After a conversation with the helpful staff, you just let them know how much further you’d like to travel that day or if there is a particular place you want to stop. They have catalogs of B&Bs and hotels with photos, so you have a general idea of what to expect. They ask you what you’d like to spend on lodging, and will actually call ahead for you to let them know you’re coming, give you directions and send you on your way with a plan.
Sometimes that kind of visit won’t work because of time constraints, event dates, etc., you wouldn’t want it to be so loose. Then booking ahead online is the way to go. With sites like Tripadvisor, Travelocity, and Air B&B you can easily make it all work.
I’ve had people tell me how brave I am to go on an adventure without concrete plans like this one. I guess it’s a kind of adventure, but really, you are in a civilized country that speaks the same language. The people I’ve met along the way are always welcoming and helpful, so it’s not the kind of adrenaline filled travel in the darkest forests of the Amazon. It’s fairly tame and you just might discover something off the beaten path that will make it amazing!
I recently added a channel app to my streaming that has lots of British TV shows. One of them is “Britain’s Best Bakery” and I’ve decided that we have to stop and taste the fabulous offerings of some of the Cornish bakeries that were showcased.
That’s pretty much the plan for this next excursion. It’s fairly easy planning I think, pick the date, buy the plane ticket, keep saving to pay for it all. Then just pack and go! We already know we would be staying at Fox Hill B&B because it’s my favorite place in London, the rest is up to fate and whimsy.