I recently went on a trip to the UK. It was my first time visiting England and Scotland and I didn’t really know what to expect. If anything, I was skeptical as to whether I would like it or not. But overall I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve jotted down some of my observations for those who are interested.
What I liked…
- Baskets of flowers everywhere in London – the bursts of colour completely livened up the city!
- Lots of old places and old buildings – they often had fun quirks in their architecture.
- Almost every second shop offered free wifi! This made it extremely helpful to do sightseeing as a tourist…especially when my phone coverage was not good.
- The countryside villages were exactly like what you see on Escape to the Country.
- The pubs are much nicer than Aussie ones – in atmosphere, interiors and exteriors. The food was usually better too!
- Driving around was very easy. We love roadtrips so it was awesome to have a good experience.
- We used AirBnB for the first time. It was fun – stayed in a refurbished church on the edge of Edinburgh next to the water – lovely! Our host also worked for the historical archives, so got us into Edinburgh Castle for free!
What I didn’t like…
- Roundabouts that have traffic lights…one or the other people!
- Edinburgh CBD. We got there the week before 3 major festivals started. There were people everywhere, potholes everywhere and construction everywhere…and because the festivals hadn’t started, there was no incentive to put up with it. Note to self – visit Edinburgh at a different time of year to see if it’s any better.
- Vodafone. The internet coverage was awful. I bought a prepaid SIM for the time we were there so that we could use it to look up items, keep up with emails, family etc. 9 times out of 10, I had no internet signal. They also didn’t mention I wouldn’t be able to call or text international numbers. Not happy Jan.
- Parking and Speed signs were confusing.
- Traffic jams everywhere!!!
- Food and public transport are very expensive.
What surprised me…
- The road into the Scottish Highlands is not actually “high.” I imagined the road would be super windy and steep – but actually the route we took from Glasgow drove at the bottom of the valleys, with the mountains looming either side. I actually found this a fantastic experience – it made me realise how small I am and how big the world is.
- Some roads were so tiny that if we had tried to get out of the car, we wouldn’t have been able to e.g. one road was only wide enough for one SMALL car, with tall bushes lining either side. I had an interesting adventure when I came across a log truck coming the other way…I had to reverse about a kilometre on one of these tiny windy roads!!
- Always take your raincoat with you in Scotland – it can rain at any moment, even when sunny! We started a bushwalk when all of a sudden it began raining cats and dogs. 5 minutes later it completely cleared up, but we were drenched. Some people who just arrived behind us looked at us strangely, as if they were wondering why we had decided to go swimming in the nearby swamp!
- There was not much wildlife around. I didn’t see many animals on our walks at all – which if you’re used to snakes and spiders in AUS, could be a good thing. But it would have been fun to spot more animals.
- I come from a multicultural country, but I was surprised at how multicultural England was! Everywhere you went there were so many different languages being spoken. I guess this comes from being so close to so many other countries….in Australia we are far away from everywhere.
- The weather! I’d heard rumours of holidays with constant grey clouds, but we actually had mostly sunny days – a definite plus (no guarantees this will happen to you if you ever visit though)!
|Another surprise – coming across a bagpipe and drum team practising in a park in the rain!