Oxford, Bath and Stratford Upon Avon, United Kingdom

Oxford, a city in central southern England, revolves around its prestigious university, established in the 12th century. I joined Oxford Royal Academy for Summer school when I was 14 and it gave me great exposure to living on my own in the UK! As part of the program, we visited Bath and Stratford Upon Avon (Shakespeare’s birth place). Here are my recommendations:

  1. Try study and/or live within an Oxford University. I was part of Oriel College.
  2. Moo Moo’s milk shake in the covered market – Oreo and Nutella ❤ One day i’ll open a milkshake shop 🙂

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  1. Punting, don’t fall in!

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  1. Christ Church  College, beautiful architecture and famous for it’s film location for Harry Potter. In fact, the whole of Oxford is known for it’s different campuses with beautiful architecture.1930459_45816358848_5961_n1934118_45826428848_2648_n1934118_45826443848_3530_n
  2. Visit Bath known for its preserved Roman Baths!1934118_45827708848_9987_n
  3. Visit Shakespeare’s home town and watch a play in the traditional Shakespearean theatre. I caught Taming of the Shrew.

Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Yorkshire is a historic county in northern England. It’s known for its Roman and Viking heritage, as well as its Norman castles, medieval abbeys, Industrial Revolution-era cities and 2 national parks. My recommendations:

  1. Hike the Yorkshire Dales! I did a circular 20 mile loop from Grassington and stayed overnight at Grassington Bunk barn the day before to start early in the morning.
  2. Yorkshire Moors and Whitby day tour. This tour takes in the highlights of the area in including Goathland, the stunning seaside town of Whitby, Helmsley and the Vale of York.
  3. York Minster, Betty’s tea room, spot random cat sculptures and cute pubs throughout the beautiful town centre!
  4. York Chocolate story and the Shambles. I didn’t realise brands like Smarties, After Eight, Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Kit-Kat came from York! You get to make your own chocolate too during the tour. The Shambles is known for its timber buildings that look like they are going to collapse as they lean in towards the road.
  5. York Castle Museum and Cliffords Tower. I really enjoyed the museum with plenty of history to be learnt and remembered.

Accommodation recommendation in York: Air B&B YO1 9TJ Steve was my host. Probably the only AirB&B in the town centre!

Lake District, United Kingdom

The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. Trains run from London Euston to Oxenholme in Cumbria where I picked up my rented car because all the cars were fully booked elsewhere! Next time, I would suggest renting a car from a major nearby city such as Leeds or Newcastle to then drive to the Lakes. Like most tourists, I stayed in Windermere where you can easily park on the roadside overnight.

Note: Never trust the weather forecast! The weather can change continuously throughout the day.

Here are my top 6 recommendations:

  1. See lake Windermere by catching a ferry ride from Bowness-on-Windermere. Here you can also visit Beatrix Potter’s World and its gardens which was displayed at the world’s famous Chelsea flower show in London. As well as have lunch at the beautiful Angel Inn!

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  2. Have fun at Brockhole on their tree-top adventure 20294216_10156777266218849_6794403258070892868_n
  3. Take a walk around Fell Foot Park with its unique boathouse cafe and shop
  4. Stop by Newby Bridge for the beautiful Swan hotel and spa. Enjoy a tea outside if the weather is nice or admire the typically British interior design. 20245354_10156777265893849_6847417200659773709_n20264804_10156777265988849_2186674450762020292_n
  5. Visit Coniston and Coniston Water (another lake) where you can do all sorts of water activities and pass by lovely houses with well kept gardens
  6. Sign up to the ‘best of the lakes’ mountain goat tour so you don’t have to stress when driving through supposedly two way roads! No joke, the roads were so narrow you spend a lot of time reversing because there isn’t any other way. Plus this tour allows you to cover a lot of the Lake District in one day starting from 9am to 530pm. 20264997_10156802405218849_387409074594078326_n 

    You will enjoy:

    • The Langdales & Blea Tarn – Dramatic scenery and views of the Langdale Pikes.
    • Castlerigg Stone Circle – Walk around the 4000 year old circle, surrounded by fells.
    • Wastwater – The deepest lake in England, voted ‘Britain’s Favourite view’.   20293168_10156802406503849_8016407739444512_n
    • Ennerdale, Loweswater, Crummock Water and Buttermere – Untouched and unspoilt lakes with more sheep than people.

North Wales, United Kingdom

What brought me to North Wales for the first time was my graduate Midnight Snowdon hike challenge in support of Alzheimer’s Society. sixteen graduates from GVA set off to conquer Mt Snowdon over night and succeeded in under 4.5 hours! I then extended my trip to tour around myself, first time traveling solo, and I loved it.

Note: Expect North Wales to rain and have grey skies. I was only lucky in Caernarfon!

Here are my recommendations:

  1. Visit Llanberis and climb Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, at an elevation of 1,085 metres above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles south of the Scottish Highlands. 

  2. Visit Anglesey, an island off the north-west coast of Wales. Specifically, visit Menai bridge on the way to Beaumaris famous for its castle, coast and pastel coloured houses. Also try Beau’s tea shop, it has such beautiful decor. 

     

  3. From Beaumaris, take a ferry to visit Puffin island and Trwyn Du light house, or Black Point which dates from 1838, and guided sailors through the passage between Penmon and Puffin Island.19397173_10156642004533849_8713041693481194888_n19247571_10156642002813849_3895077496144114257_n
  4. Visit Caernarfon Castle, a medieval fortress on the eastern shore of the Menai Strait, opposite the Isle of Anglesey19424495_10156642698848849_7503409698617401662_n19424194_10156642693573849_5561285517140394384_n
  5. Visit Llandudno a seaside resort, town and community. Make sure you catch the Great Orme tramway to visit the Great Orme, a prominent limestone headland on the north coast of Wales. You can even go further via a cable car but I didn’t have good enough weather to bother with this.19399300_10156646339803849_732351528926752664_n19430060_10156646339543849_8260118457623678123_n19400174_10156646339388849_4854750953815478246_nOther: I used Bangor as my base and stayed at a wonderful hotel called Bangor Garden hotel. This was above a cantonese restaurant,  family run so everyone was super friendly and helpful.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital. It was the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, which famously struck an iceberg and sunk in 1912. As Belfast is quite a small town, I did a full day tour visiting the countryside and coast using this company: http://www.gameofthronestours.com/

  1. Titanic Quarters. A great educational museum presenting the history of Belfast and its shipping industry, as well as the the events that lead up to the famous and tragic event of the Titanic sinking. There is even a short ride inside the museum as part of the tour! You can spend a good 2 hours visiting the whole place. 18766038_10156537768448849_2423457743891510165_n
  2. Queen’s University. The exterior looks incredibly beautiful 20170527_162836.jpg
  3. Go on the well-known Game of throne’s tour. Most filming was done in Northern Ireland and most of the support role actors/actresses are from here too!
  4. Cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. You have to get lucky with the weather like I did in order for the bridge to the open for crossing. 18699816_10156532974868849_2409087796334240924_n.jpg
  5. Giant’s Causeway. Unique rock formation with no one really knowing the real truth behind this place. You can apparently find such formation in Scotland too. 18836804_10156537777358849_1680685730415260528_o

Others: Ulster museum and botanical garden, City Hall, Opera House where I watched a show called ‘Crazy’ and St George’s Market.