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.

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