United Kingdom – Wales, Bath, Bristol, Devon, Cornwall, Jurassic Coast, Windsor & London

From the Wirral Peninsula, we drove an hour to Conwy Castle, one of the best preserved fortresses in Wales. This is a pretty lofty accolade considering Wales has 427 castles! We loved Conwy Castle – magnificent views overlooking a picturesque harbor and town. Good thing we chose to splurge and knock out the best castle right away because we didn’t feel guilty deciding to skip the hefty entrance fees for the other castles we stumbled upon afterwards. After Conwy, we made our way to Beaumaris Castle followed by a visit to a town with the longest name in Europe! A Druid neolithic tomb was next, followed by a few more castles (Caernarfon, Harlech and Aberystwyth Castle). The next day, we visited the coastal town of Fishguard, the Blue Lagoon of Abereiddi, St David’s Cathedral, Pembroke and Manorbier Castles, and the lovely seaside town of Tenby. This gorgeous harbor town would have been an ideal place to overnight but we had to drag ourselves away to visit Neath Abbey, Henrhyd Falls, and three more castles – Caerphilly, Red Castle and Cardiff Castle. From Cardiff, we visited the Roman Baths in Bath, followed by a whirlwind visit to Bristol. We definitely didn’t budget enough time in Bristol as it has a youthful, friendly vibe and some amazing street art. Instead, we pushed on to Devon, stopping in Ilfracombe for a bit before reaching our B&B near Clovelly. Clovelly was an unexpected highlight – some reviews about paying to enter a privately owned village were off putting but we loved the steep cobbled & traffic free streets and traditional cottages overlooking the sea. From Clovelly we drove towards Cornwall and visited Padstow, St Ives and Mousehole, three gorgeous Cornish harbor villages. Then we had a reunion with Gill who let us stay at her lovely home in Falmouth. After leaving Falmouth, we visited Fowey, Polperro (wow!), Looe, and Darmouth before driving to Exmouth where we stayed with our friends Kate and Danny for the night. From Exmouth, we made our way to West Bay for another reunion with a friend we met in the Falklands and Rene gave us a tour of the Jurassic Coast. We were able to squeeze in a visit to Durdle Door before driving to Southampton where our dear friend Danny had organized a BBQ party and invited two of our other overland friends Tom and Cat. So much fun to see these guys over amazing food and drink and get caught up!! The next day Tom joined us for a tour around Windsor Castle which was pretty amazing. Such a pity photography isn’t allowed inside the Royal Residence though. From Windsor, Tom showed us around his neck of the woods as we hiked the beautiful Surrey Hills. We had a surprise reunion with Giles before making our way to London where we checked into our hotel, dropped off our rental car and hopped on the Tube into the city for a dinner with Marissa, our friend from Antarctica. The next day was all about London as we walked around the city visiting some of our favorite spots. Our last reunion was with Matt and Denise over lunch and a visit to the Sky Garden, which is London’s best kept secret! It is free to visit (the only catch is you must sign up for tickets in advance) and offers amazing views of the city. Overall, our 3 weeks in the UK flew by. Catching up with so many of our travel friends was amazing and our cheeks hurt from non stop smiling as we explored this gorgeous section of the world. We will definitely be back one day to spend more time here! Next up on our European adventure is our last country of the trip – Bulgaria here we come.

Conwy Castle is the most intact set of medieval royal apartments in Wales View of Conwy from the castle The flag of Wales Interior view of an amazingly well preserved fortification - Conwy Castle Anglesey Eisteddfod is a Druid stone circle situated near the waterfront at Beaumaris St Mary and St Nicholas Church; Beaumaris Stained glass window of St Mary and St Nicholas Church; Beaumaris Sign for a traditional holiday cottage in Beaumaris Beaumaris Castle Menai Suspension Bridge Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch - Town with the longest name in Europe! Bryn Celli Ddu burial chamber/Neolithic tomb Caernarfon Castle is a medieval fortress in north-west Wales Looking across the River Seiont towards Caernarfon Caernarfon town walls Harlech Castle Barmouth Bridge is a single-track wooden railway viaduct near Barmouth, Wales Pretty drive through Wales Fishguard Fort Fishguard is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire; Wales Abereiddi's Blue Lagoon Robby on an arch at Abereiddi's Blue Lagoon Rock formation near the Abereiddi's Blue Lagoon St Davids Cathedral in St Davids, Britain's smallest city St Davids Cathedral's ceiling Pembroke Castle Manorbier Castle The beautiful, walled, seaside town of Tenby; Wales Tenby north beach Colorful houses in Tenby Harbor A long queue for a Tenby boat trip to explore the South Pembrokeshire islands The Tudor Merchant's House is a 15th-century town house; Tenby Yummy pasties at the Cornish Bakehouse; Tenby Henrhyd Falls is the tallest waterfall in southern Wales at 90 feet Caerphilly Castle Castell Coch (Red Castle) is a 19th century castle built on the ruins of a 13th century fortification The Alliance is a 25 meter (82 foot) sculpture in the center of Cardiff; Wales A bear on the Animal Wall section of Cardiff Castle. (The Animal Wall is a sculptured wall depicting 15 animals in the Castle Quarter of Cardiff) Carving of a lion on the Animal Wall with the clock tower of Cardiff Castle in the background North Gate of Cardiff Castle Commerce and Industry sculpture by Paul Raphael Montford; Cardiff Crown Court Cardiff City Hall Road leading to the Pump Room; Bath Bath Abbey Temple pediment and Gorgon's head; The Roman Baths Minerva's head - the gilt bronze head of the goddess Sulis Minerva is one of the best known objects from Roman Britain; Roman Baths A handful of Roman coins uncovered at the Roman Baths The water in the Great Bath is green due to algae (but during Roman times, a roof over the bath would have prevented the algae from growing); Roman Baths The Sacred Spring in the Roman Baths; Bath Gaol Ferry Bridge; Bristol The King William Ale House dates from 1670 and is currently owned by Samuel Smith Old Brewery; Bristol The Hatchet Inn is an old 1606 Tudor style pub; Bristol Street art by JPS on Frogmore Street. This scene depicts two little boys, one of them pulling a knife out on the other, both encircled in a 'don’t do it' sign; Bristol The Wills Memorial Building is a neo-Gothic building that was started in 1915 and opened 10 years later. It is considered the last of the great Gothic buildings built in England; Bristol Interior of Willis Memorial Building; Bristol Well Hung Lover - a mural by Banksy in Bristol Bristol Cathedral Solar panel tree where visitors can charge their phones for free; Bristol's Millennium Square Bristol's mirror ball is part of the city's science museum View from Bristol Floating Harbor Avon Gorge Clifton Suspension Bridge is an iconic symbol of Bristol Ilfracombe harbor at low tide Damien Hirst's controversial "Verity" bronze sculpture stands on the pier at the entrance to the harbour in Ilfracombe; Devon Rocky coastline of Ilfracombe Ilfracombe beach access Our quaint B&B in Clovelly Clovelly is a quaint, privately owned harbor village in Devon We were the first visitors of the day to Britain's "most Instagrammable village"; Clovelly Clovelly village does not permit any motorized traffic so the only way to get here is by foot. Cargo is transported by sled or donkey We both agreed that Clovelly is Devon's prettiest village Traditional cottage in Clovelly There are about 150 people living in 83 cottages in Clovelly. All new incoming candidates must pass an interview process first in order to be selected to live here! Clovelly sits about 300 feet above the harbor and Bideford Bay Lower part of Clovelly Village as seen from the harbor wall Clovelly is famous for its sustainably caught lobster and it even has its own annual "Lobster and Crab Festival" Padstow harbor and quayside The London Inn opened in 1803 and originally housed three fisherman's cottages; Padstow Porthmeor Beach; St Ives View of the seaside town of St Ives from the harbor The lovely Cornish fishing village of Mousehole Historic houses by the harbor in Mousehole The Mousehole shop in Mousehole Marazion Town Hall Saint Michael's Mount is a historic island castle off the coast of Marazion Reunion with Gill at her beautiful home in Falmouth The Ship Inn is Fowey's oldest pub Polperro is a quaint, old Cornish fishing village Polperro harbor steps Cave of notorious pirate Willy Wilcox; Polperro Polperro harbor; Cornwall Chapel Pool - a tidal pool in the Cornish Sea; Polperro The Net Loft is perched on the cliffs above the harbor entrance to the old Cornish fishing village of Polperro Harbor sea wall protecting the quaint seaside cottages of Polperro Seagull warning sign in Looe The beautiful seaside town of Looe View of Looe from St Nicholas Church Door knocker in Darmouth; Devon The inner harbor; Dartmouth Retro tin sign - Let's Get Lost! Staying at Kate and Danny's lovely home in Exmouth and meeting their dog Reggie! The harbor at West Bay; Dorset West Bay is a gateway to the Jurassic Coast, a region that stretches from Dorset to East Devon. It is considered the most extraordinary fossil collecting site on Earth With our friend Rene near the Hardy Monument At the Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast Man O'War Cove Reunion with Danny, our amazing Oasis overland tour leader! Epic BBQ thrown by Danny and we were thrilled that Tom and Cat could show up too; Southampton Danny, Robby and Tom drinking free flowing cocktails St George's Chapel; Windsor Castle Guard performing sentry duty at Windsor Castle Detail of St George's Chapel Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world Norman Gate and the Round Tower of Windsor Castle The Two Brewers - a tiny pub on Park Street outside Windsor Castle Flag for the Queen's 70th Royal Jubilee. Sadly, we missed the festivities by a few days! A horse-drawn carriage tour near Windsor Castle The Union Jack proudly displayed on Thames Street; Windsor Box Hill's stepping stones Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty A surprise reunion with Tom and Giles! Red Chinese lanterns in Chinatown; London Seeing our dear friend Marissa at Ceviche Soho in London! The Queen's Guard marching on The Mall; City of Westminster The Mall looking towards Buckingham Palace Admiralty Arch A girl poses for a photo at one of the Trafalgar Square Lions Fountain at Trafalgar Square Horse guard at the Household Cavalry Museum; London Façade of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) building; London King Charles Street; London HM Revenue and Customs Building; London Boudiccan Rebellion sculpture near Westminster Bridge Palace of Westminster St Paul's Cathedral Interior view of The Folly Restaurant; London Going to the Sky Garden with Denise and Matt. The Sky Garden is London's highest public garden and free to visit View from the top of the "walkie talkie" skyscraper building (Sky Garden) Amazing view of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge from the Sky Garden Sky Garden - be sure to sign up in advance for the free tickets because getting them on the day of your visit is impossible The Lloyd's building - home of insurance institution Lloyd's of London. This building is considered a prime example of bowellism architecture (a modern style described as flippant) Leadenhall Market; London The Gherkin building is one of the most distinctive buildings in the financial district; London Tower Bridge video lightboxby VisualLightBox.com v6.1

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