15 Favorite places in the UK

A personal reflection of my ongoing UK adventures …

Part 1 of a 3 part series

Note: Not including my home city of Leicester as I will do a separate list for local places of interest. Also, not including London, as that will possibly cover several such lists because the capital is so vast and rich with hidden treasures. Northern Ireland isn’t on my list I’m afraid as I’ve not been there (yet) but you will find Scotland and Wales included.

The Anticipation

1.Edinburgh

I feel mildly obsessed with Edinburgh, despite it being a new city upon my ‘ticked done’ list. I long to return and would gladly go tomorrow if I could without hesitation, as I know that there is so much more to discover and explore and I have only just scratched the surface of the hidden treasures to find there. So I keep finding out little snippets of information, saving details for future visits for I know that it won’t be too long before I shall be back there.

Earlier this year, I was determined to go by an exhibition of Ray Harryhausen and his creations, someone I have admired since childhood and I was not prepared to miss this and as the exhibition entered it’s last few weeks, I made the step into the unknown and booked tickets! Ironically it was cheaper for me to travel from London to Edinburgh than it was for me to try and get from Leicester, so I had a cheeky stay over down the old smoke first. However it was upon this first solo trip to Edinburgh where I not only got to see the creations of the late great Ray Harryhausen, that I also got drenched to the skin and fell head over heels in love with the city.

Prior to this year, I had only ever visited Edinburgh on day trips usually as a passing stop when travelling elsewhere. This year I faced a difficult decision, push myself out of my comfort zone, step away from my usual obsession with London and travel to Scotland for an exhibition – or miss the exhibition …

Following my late Father’s funeral, I returned to Edinburgh once again as I just needed to get away by myself and travel to ease my aching heart. This second trip to Scotland opened my eyes to just how much more there is to explore, despite having crammed as much as I could into four days, at least this time it didn’t rain.

2. York

I have a permanent scar on my ankle from when I first visited Yorkshire as a child, carelessly wearing flip-flops in bracken I was bitten by an Adder, the UK’s only verminous snake (having a whole week off school as I recovered). Needlessly to say, York had left it’s mark on me and I have returned various times throughout the years, most recently in June. I am attracted to the history, the Vikings, Tudors and legendary Highwayman Dick Turpin. I admire the architecture of York Cathedral and the small rambling Shambles. The air feels thick with ghosts and near every pub you enter has it’s own spooky tales as they’re rich with history and local ales.

York is also home to the impressive Railway Museum – Here you will find a small part of my own family history – The Swannington Incline winding engine is preserved here. Doesn’t sound too exciting I realise, however there is/was a huge wall sized image of the old pump house and cottages, where upon my Mother loudly declared during one visit: “I was born in that window” … This maybe worth a blog on it’s own?

My Dad’s ancestors came from Yorkshire, so there is a little of this district within my blood and just as Edinburgh I feel drawn to return and explore more. I am returning at Christmas for a day trip on my way to Whitby, which brings me nicely to my next place upon this list …

3.Whitby

To this day the Whitby Goth Fest still remains on my to do list, however I have had the pleasure of finally getting my dark little heart to the North Yorkshire seaside town in true Bram Stoker homage. I am drawn to many places for many reasons, history and literature are significant interests which guide my wandering soul to various locations throughout the world and for Whitby it was the whole Gothic subculture alongside the alluring pull of the Dracula myth (I have since took this passion one step further and journeyed to Transylvania – but hat’s a blog for another day).

Whitby is beautiful and relaxing, a quirky English seaside town with all the trappings you would expect at the coast, fish and chips, seaside rock, arcades and souvenir shops. It holds a special place in my heart because for a long time, it felt like a dream, like it was somewhere way beyond my reach, somewhere I would never be able to get to … My doubts were cast aside as I found the first steps towards embracing adventure and travelling and Whitby was my first goal, giving me confidence and freedom!

For Christmas this year I am going away alone to Whitby, to get away from painful memories and to create new happy travelling adventures instead.

4. Snowdonia

This dates back to my teenage years, so forgive me if there are no recent photographs, neither have I visited Wales in such a long time. Yet it holds a nostalgic place in my heart and therefore made it onto this list to share with you. I feel this ache within my soul when I ponder over old memories of Wales, another me, younger, fitter, keen to try mountain climbing and various other outdoor pursuits that I think now I would struggle with (but would still try). We, my school friends and I, would visit the stunning Aberglasslyn Hall each summer for a week of activities, packed lunches and late night pub crawls, somewhere between a child and adult. Collecting experiences and memories along the way.

Having climbed Mount Snowden, Hiked the Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr & Tryfan trail and visited Gelert’s Grave in Beddgelert, among other activities. Snowdonia National Park is full of rich wild nature, steeped in legends and history. Hopefully one day I would like to return once again and re-visit this wonderful part of the country and awaken happy memories along the way.

Aberglaslyn Hall – Picture from Wiki

5. Nottingham

A close neighbour to Leicester, a mere 20 minuets upon the train. Nottingham is a frequent place to visit, having only just popped there on Monday to visit on my day off work and planning on a return trip to catch up with friends in two weeks. This city holds a fond place in my heart for many reasons, from gigs at Rock City – back in the day when this nightclub hosted some huge names in the metal scene, to it’s quirky ancient pubs, great dining and it’s rich history, thick with the folk law of Robin Hood and his merry men.

Beyond the city itself you will find Wollaton Hall, which is also known as Wayne Manor in the Christopher Nolan Batman Films. The Castle has had a recent facelift, meaning visitors are finally able to return to this historic landmark after being closed for so long and the entire city is built upon a vast network of caves, these have had various uses throughout history from wine cellars to air raid shelters. Nottingham also hosts (one of) The oldest Inn in History ‘Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem’ which too leads to the caves.

There are many places and many good friends within Nottingham which keep drawing me back regularly, which is why Nottingham has made it’s way upon this list. I shall be covering a few places within Nottingham in their own blogs in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for those.

For now I’m going to wrap this list up there, as I failed to narrow this list down to a top 10 and decided to make this a three part blog which 5 locations explored in each part.

Hopefully this will serve as a good way to get myself back into blogging once again and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my favorite places and near adequate photography. – Until next time …

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