One last post about our road trip through the UK to highlight the Prior Park Landscape Garden and the beautiful Palladian Bridge. Built in the 18th century, the garden is located south of Bath. It was designed by Alexander Pope and Capability Brown (great name!) with funding from Ralph Allen. Arriving when the garden opened for the day, Marcus and I had the place to ourselves. The entrance is at the top of hill and the path leads to a clearing with a view over the garden and Bath in the distance. A winding path took us through the foliage, past a herd of grazing cows, until we reached the bottom of the hill and the bridge.
We returned to the Cotswolds for the remainder of our trip for a second round of rolling hills and sunny weather. Our base was a bed and breakfast in Gloucester, a town with fantastic pubs, easy access to nature, and an impressive cathedral.
The highlight of the Gloucestershire region was the Forest of Dean, an ancient woodland said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien while writing Lord of the Rings. Wandering among the trees, you could almost sense the motivation for the Ents. We made our way to Woorgreens Lake, but had to take a detour when we came across a wild boar and her piglets scavenging for food.
The next day, Marcus and I visited several nearby towns, such as Cheltenham and Painswick, centerpieces of the Cotswolds charm. In the morning, we slowly made our way to Bath to return the rental car and then took the train to London for the last night. For as much as we saw, there is still much more to explore.
Our fantastic UK road trip has been over for about a month now. I spend a lot of time planning for each holiday and when it’s over, I can’t help but start planning for the next. What are you upcoming travel plans?
The Lake District. The land of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter greeted us with a downpour as we headed to the northernmost point of our trip. Marcus and I stayed in the bustling town of Keswick, which sits on the shores of Derwentwater Lake. When the sun came out on our second day, we made our way around the lake and picnicked on the shore with a flock of ducks. The unpredictable weather prevented us from hiking, but we did get the chance to visit the prehistoric Castlerigg stone circle.
During our last night in Keswick, the rain came in torrents. We were lucky to have such good weather for most of the trip, but when we woke in the morning, we quickly packed the car, grabbed coffee to go, and headed back south for a second round of the Cotswolds’ sunshine.
After leaving Bath, we headed one hour north to The Cotswolds, an area filled with rolling hills, stone cottages, and green meadows. We rented a yurt in a field owned by an organic farm to be in the midst of nature. Our days began with the sight of cows grazing on the fog-covered hills and ended around a campfire with the last bits of sunlight streaming through the trees.
We hiked through fields, spotted a fox, climbed over stone walls, cooked dinner on the campfire, and enjoyed the pubs and farmers’ market in Cirencester. And we discovered the Budding Pale Ale made by the organic Stroud Brewery, one of the best drinks we’ve come across yet.
Our road trip started in Bath primarily because we didn’t want to pick up the car in London and have Marcus learn how to drive on the other side of the road in city traffic. Still, I was excited to see the place Jane Austen once lived in and a town so teeming with history that the entire city is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
When we arrived in Bath, it was sunny and warm. A nice welcome to England and the forecast for almost the entire trip! We dropped off our luggage and promptly went out in search of a pint. After getting in a properly relaxed mood, we headed towards the circular row of houses known as The Circus (images 2, 6, 7). It was beautiful and the sun shone warmly on the houses. Soon after, we found a fantastic vegetarian pub and then took a meandering walk back to our hotel among the old buildings.
The next day was dedicated to seeing The Royal Crescent (image 1), visiting the Jane Austen Centre, and picking up the rental car, which resulted in a long walk along a quiet canal. We left Bath and traveled 1200 miles (about 2000 kilometers) around England and Wales over the next ten days. At the end of our trip, we returned to Bath for the afternoon and had the chance to visit Prior Park (post to follow) and the Pulteney Bridge (images 3, 4).
The last weeks have taken me across England and Wales, on a road trip dedicated to spending as much time in nature as possible. (And admiring the ease with which Marcus could drive on the left side of the road.) I’m still awash in the experience of waking to foggy hillsides and hiking across the Welsh countryside. More about the when, where, and how to come in the next days. For now, a few images from my Instagram feed.
The next adventure is almost here! Soon, Marcus and I will head on a journey through England and Wales. We’ll go by train from Amsterdam, through the Channel Tunnel, to begin our travels in Bath. We’ve both been to London numerous times and want to get to know the countryside. Since we’ll be making our trip around by car, we’ll have the freedom to explore at our leisure.
If you have any tips or suggestions for England and Wales, I’d love to hear them!
Photo of the Cotswolds by mazzle