We drove anticlockwise around England and Wales last week, a sort of mini road trip.
Starting in Cambridge we headed north up the eastern side of the country. Once at the top, having called in on relatives to say hello, we headed west, across to Carlisle.
We spent the night in an airbnb, an old mill house and went to the wedding party of a friend’s daughter. She looked lovely, as did her mum and we had a great evening catching up with old friends, some I hadn’t seen for years.
Next day, after picking Ziggy up from the kennels where we had left him the evening before, we headed south towards Wales.
The scenery was fantastic, both from east to west and then down the M6.
The road was virtually empty and the weather was wonderful.
Wales took hours to cross from one side to the other, the route has virtually no dual carriageways, just endlessly glorious views. The coast road between Aberystwyth and Aberaeron skirts the edge of the country and red kites accompanied us for most of the journey.
The place we stayed, another airbnb, was a Victorian cottage, beautifully and authentically restored but with a great kitchen, bathroom, lots of warmth and hot water and a tranquil garden, complete with prayer flags – bliss.
The weather was mixed, lovely hot days with blue skies at one end of the spectrum to torrential downpours at the other. We did get to sit in the garden though and had lots of beach walks, so many beaches…
The village next to where we stayed, New Quay, has a thriving harbour. Very picturesque, better out of season as it gets very busy.
We also went on a dolphin spotting boat trip, Cardigan bay being home to the UK’s biggest pod of dolphins. We didn’t see any but did spot quite a few seals with their pups and the views alone would have made the trip worth it.
Aberystwyth was another port of call, Ann recommended it in her holiday to Wales earlier in the year and being so close we had to look around. We spent an afternoon browsing, the town had an out of season feel which was nice and relaxing.
The seagulls were ever present but not much was on offer for them , no handy fish and chip packets in unwary hands for them to steal!
We visited relatives too, this being the part of Wales that Philip’s father’s family come from. It was nice to see members of the family from across the generations, some of the older ones who face challenges with their health and others who are starting out at college. Catching up over the dinner table was good, we don’t see them at all often.
The end of the week arrived before we knew it and we headed back east, completing our circular route . Such a long journey, no motorways or fast routes through Wales, then traffic jams for much of the rest. Music, chatter and a few food stops kept us going.
I had been feeling a bit sorry for myself that we hadn’t organised a holiday somewhere warm this year but I had forgotten how good it can be to get out and about in the UK too. For a small island, it’s very varied and each region has it’s own identity.
I just looked back at the photos I’ve put on and realised how they’re nearly all coast related, I just love looking at the sea!
Have a good week.