You know, I can’t get enough of London. I love, love, LOVE that city, and I dream of living there for a year or two if I ever have the opportunity. This year marked my second trip to London, and every other moment, I would feel a catch in my throat, thinking how beautiful this city is. I didn’t have the chance to spend that much time in London though, because we actually took quite a number of day trips out to explore the surrounding regions! And there is really so much that UK offers. It is such an amazing country with such diversity, and I love every bit of it. Though I was torn between staying in London and simply breathing in the whole atmosphere and venturing out to check out the other places, I’m glad I managed to do a bit of both on this trip! Road trips are always such fun ^^ (especially when I’m not the one driving…haha). Random fact – UK has tonnes of roundabouts, it’s pretty insane. I think we went through consecutive 20 roundabouts while heading to one of the outer regions from London, and I was totally dizzy by the time that was over. But anyway, here’s a bit more about the trips that we took:
These two pictures show the drastic weather we had in the UK. Taken just an hour apart, the skies poured one moment, while the sun came out and blazed in another. We visited the majestic town of Cambridge, and had the chance to learn more about the university through one of their guided tours. This is probably one of the most traditional, classic English towns, where our guide spoke with the Queen’s English and did not have a hair out of place despite the constant drizzle during the length of our tour. It was an informative tour, and it was fascinating that the town was literally the entire university campus, with colleges scattered all around.
Distance from London: ~1.5 hours drive
We visited the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and fell in love with this quaint little town with its charming Tudor architecture. I really enjoyed these trips where we learned so much about the rich history of these towns. Never quite thought I would be the kind to be excited about history, but I was! We went on a guided walking tour around the city as well, and learned a great deal about Shakespeare’s background.
There is no need to pre-book a spot for the tour, just turn up by the Swan fountain on Waterside, near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Tours run once on Mon-Fri at 11am and twice on Sat-Sun 11am & 2pm. Each tour is approximately 2hrs, and costs £6 per adult.
Distance from London: ~2hrs drive
3. The Cotswolds
One of my favourite day trips had to be our visit to the Cotswolds :’) It’s one of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is an area of countryside in England that has been designated for conservation because of its significant landscape value. And there’s a good reason why it is. I fell in love with the Cotswolds. It was simply, naturally breathtaking. Comprising of several towns/areas – Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and more , we only made it to the former two due to time constraints. We only visited for half a day, after we went to Stratford-upon-Avon in the morning, but I highly recommend that you spend a whole day at the Cotswolds because each destination has its own unique, beautiful landscape.
4. Harry Potter Studio
You’ve probably had enough of me gushing over UK’s gorgeous scenery by now, so here’s something different. Any Potter fans out there?! :D It is an absolute MUST to visit the Warner Bros Studio where you can immerse in the entire experience of the Making of Harry Potter. Thronged by enthusiastic kids around us, we streamed into the Great Hall as if it was our first day at Hogwarts. And we couldn’t help but feel awed by the magnificence of the place.
Crazy fans of the Harry Potter series as we are, we were thrilled to see every part of Hogwarts come alive around us as we explored the studio. It was then I realised the amount of sweat and blood that went into making the 8 Harry Potter movies. The number of crew behind the scenes, the time they put in and the attention to detail rendered me at a loss for words. It was an epic amount of fun (we spent close to 6 hours in there) and yet a very humbling experience. It was magical.
Tickets are priced at £35 per adult. You can check out the opening hours and purchase tickets online at their website.
Duration from London: ~1hr drive
Have you visited any other places outside of London? Do share them with me in the comments below!
All photo credits to my sister <3