Yep, that’s right. I am planning to travel the whole of the UK starting this spring. And I’m mostly going to do be doing it on my own.
Why, you might ask, do I want to go wandering around my home country? And why would I go on my own? And where is your husband, you’re probably thinking?
Well, first things first… the husband is here and well. He’s not going anywhere! Somebody needs to look after cats so he’s staying home. He’s a stay-at-home-cat-dad!!!
OK, that’s not the entire truth. Raj has a pretty full-on job and needs to stay in Birmingham most of the time. So yes, we he will be home with the cats, but he’s got his own shiz to be getting on with.
I, on the other hand, need to go stretch my legs.
And what better place to stretch the pins than discovering more of my own little island. Yes, we Brits like to think our country is big, but it’s really not. I live pretty much in the centre of the country and it’s not more than 2 hours to get to the coast.
I have been incredibly lucky to visit some amazing far-off lands on the other side of the world, but there is so much I don’t know about where I am from. I feel like to appreciate who I am and the people around me I need to make the effort to get out there. What makes me British?
I want to appreciate what’s on my doorstep
Travel doesn’t have to be all about international exploration. There is so much to see and do right here just a few miles down the road.
I want to connect with people from my home country
The UK is going through some changes right now, and I think now, more than ever, we could do with connecting with one another more. Travelling the UK is one way I hope to meet interesting people from all walks of life, in totally different places to my home.
I want to discover and learn
There is something deeply fulfilling about learning something new, discovering something you didn’t know. I hope to fill my brain with lots of new things.
I want to seek enlightenment
I’ve always found that the times I make progress in developing as a person have always been through travel. It’s just how I make sense of the world, and who I am. Enlightenment is a progress, it’s a journey. So whilst I’m physically moving around the country, I hope I make some space in my mind and my heart to find peace.
I want to share what I find
I love sharing awesome things and experiences with people. I am hoping that by doing this big trip maybe I’ll find some amazing stuff to share with you, maybe it will inspire, maybe it will empower. But ultimately I am hoping it might encourage us all to get out there and discover the world around us, and the people in it.
THE PLAN TO TRAVEL THE UK
Visit all 4 countries of the UK
I intend to visit all 4 countries of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Try to get some island visits in as well
I would also like to get in some visits to the smaller members of the British Isles. Did you know the British Isles actually consists of 6000 smaller isles alongside the larger islands of Great Britain and Ireland.
Of course, Ireland is a separate country, but if the opportunity arises to pop over for a visit, it seems silly not to as it’s so close.
In terms of other islands, of course there is the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey – these are known as Crown Dependencies. Plus there is Anglesey in Wales, Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly in the South, and of course, just off Scotland is Shetland Islands, the Inner Hebrides, Outer Hebrides, and the Orkney Islands.
Start in the spring
I have a rough plan to start my trip in the Spring, with the end of March pencilled in as a start date. I imagine the travel will take around 3-4 months to complete in total.
I am not going to be travelling non-stop. One of the benefits of travelling in my own country, and that country not being very big, is that I can come home fairly easily. Unless I’m at the far reaches of the country, I will rarely be more than 2 hours away from home (another benefit of living in the Midlands).
So I plan to do my UK travel trip in short bursts rather than one long journey. This means I can come home to see my husband and cats. I can regroup and rest when necessary. Plus get any ‘life admin’ stuff done as and when.
I’ve done plenty of solo travel in my time so I don’t feel the need to overly challenge myself or anything. If anything I’d be happy for the company at times, I like sharing travel moments with other people. So hopefully Raj will join on me on some sections of the trip, or come out to visit me, or something like that.
Happy for others to join me
I’d really like this trip to have a collaborator-y feel to it. Like I said, I don’t feel the need to be the brave, intrepid explorer. Rather, I want to meet people along the way. I’d like to make new friends, meet up with old friends.
I’d be happy for friends or family to join me for sections of the trip. I’m pretty open to going with the flow as much as possible and see what life and this trip brings.
Maybe I’ll spend a week on my own in one location, and then a weekend with Raj somewhere else, and then a few days with another person in a new spot. Who knows?!
Rough circle route
OK, so my rough plan so far is to start by heading down from Birmingham, where I live, through the Cotswolds and on to the south coast. There I will visit Hampshire and Dorset before heading east along the south coast until I hit Kent. From there I’ll head to London then all the way up the east coast, zig-zagging in and out through counties such as Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincilnshire, Yorkshire, etc. until I get to Northumberland.
From the I will head into Scotland and make a circular journey around the country in an anti-clockwise direction. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to visit some islands. Once I get to Glasgow near the end of the Scotland leg, I will catch a flight over to Belfast and from there I’ll explore the six counties of Northern Ireland.
I’ll hop back over to Glasgow, then continue my journey down the west coast via Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester, and Cheshire. Then I’ll head into Wales and make another anti-clockwise journey covering the north coast, Anglesey island, west coast, and south of Wales.
Finally, I spend the last leg of trip heading down through the south west of England before finishing up at Land’s End in the summer. I love Cornwall in the summer!
I will mostly be getting around my public transport. I don’t actually drive so for the majority of the time I will be using trains, coaches, buses, trams, boats, or whatever is going. I imagine if I do travel any portion of the trip with other people we might drive. But I’m pretty happy to be trying to do as much as I can on public transport.
Where will you stay?
Again, I’m pretty open-minded with this. I imagine I will stay in range of different accommodation whether that’s hotels, B&Bs, or even glamping. I might stay with friends I already know in particular locations. Or I might be in a youth hostel. I could easily be in a chain hotel, or I could be in a quirky indie spot. I’d like to try a bit of everything, but for me, I doubt I’ll be going too ‘budget’. I’m getting a bit old for slumming it with the young, funky backpackers.
Again, who knows?!
WHERE DO YOU RECOMMEND?
I have already asked this question on my Instagram stories, but I’ll ask here too:
Where do you recommend I visit in the UK?
I am making an epic list in my trusty spreadsheet (ooooh, I do love a good travel planning spreadsheet), and I’d love to where your favourite places are in the UK.
Also, what should I DO on my travels around the UK?
It’s one thing to visit a location, but what British things do I need to be experiencing. I’d like to be trying different foods, learning about history and culture, exploring landscapes, etc.
Finally, where shall I stay?
Do you have a favourite hotel, Airbnb, or sleep spot that I should stay at?
I would be super grateful for any input from you and I shall keep you posted on my plans and the trip.
Wish me luck!
P.S. Things I am definitely going to be fitting into my UK travel trip = eating delicious foods, hitting up some luxury spas if I stumble upon them, taking awesome landscape photos – especially if they’re epic sunsets, and trains… I bloody love trains.