One balmy summer’s day,
the sun began its journey to the west,
we started ours to the north
to see life outside of the nest.
Weather not so dabby
moors not too shabby
you, me, the road and a car
we traveled lands afar.
– ME (copyright)
Channelling my inner Wordsworth in this article because well, thats what a trip to the UK countryside does to you. Brings out the poet in you.
Poems apart, if you’re on the verge of planning a weekend getaway from Manchester, drive up to ‘Ye Olde Scotland’! Land of scotch distilleries, shortbread, bagpipes and castles.
Plunge into the stunning wilderness of the Scottish countryside. Venture into the legendary isles and unravel the mysterious beauty of moors.
We started from Manchester and made it to a few golden spots before entering Scotland border. Lucky for us, it didn’t rain the entire duration of our road trip, which is a miracle in Scotland!
Lake District National Park
Our first stop on the way to Scotland was at Lake District National Park. The sheer number of lakes in this national park gets you curious but it really does live up to its name. I promise you’ll be pulling over every few minutes and snapping away the camera shutter like crazy. I finally understood what William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets said about this place in their literary works. We spent some time gawking at the beautiful Windermere lake before moving ahead to our next stop.
Home to the famous author Beatrix Potter, the Wray Castle is a gothic style castle, now preserved by the National Trust. It’s an interesting place to get a sense of life in the 1800s on the shore of Lake Windermere. We grabbed some food from the cafeteria and had a picnic on the castle grounds. Walking down a narrow path along the meadows lead us to the shore of the lake. Calling it beautiful would be an understatement. Potter must’ve had a pretty good life here.
Next stop was at Keswick, a small town on our way that was surprisingly adorable. Either that or the combination of sunny weather, surrounding mountains, greenery, a flowing river and cute houses, all made it look picture perfect. A walk along Station street and a gelato from Casa Bella wrapped our time in Keswick.
First stop in Scotland territory was Glasgow. We reached Glasgow well after evening and it was still light at 10pm. How bizarre is that!
First things first, brace yourself for the accent people! My man was completely lost while asking for ketchup at a McDonalds. (Every place else was closed.) It was hilarious to watch him try to understand the person behind the counter. FYI, ketchup costs 10 pence in the UK. Again, bizarre! We were accompanied by my sister who is a Glasgow university graduate so we were practically being shown around by locals. Around midnight we strolled along Buchanan Street, George Square and Bath Street. The city looked beautiful even in the dark.
Early next morning we headed straight to Edinburgh to see the famous castle. We purchased tickets at the venue and it cost us £18.50 instead of the £17 online ticket price. We also purchased a map and audio guides to hear the fascinating history about the castle and Scottish culture. The 3 hour self-guided tour was definitely worth the price. Since we didn’t feel the need to hire cab/taxi, we walked down from Castlehill towards the town market area. We were spoilt for choice when it came to picking a scotch/whiskey distillery for tasting. I’d recommend going to The Scotch Whisky Experience atleast once even if you’re not a hard liquor person.
The next day we set out to see The Kelpies in Falkirk. These are 2 gigantic steel horse heads amid a garden area. At dusk when the horse heads are lit up, they’re quite an impressive sight to witness.
Last stop on our roadtrip! A man-made engineering marvel, the Falkirk wheel is a rotating boat lift that connects 2 canals that are at different height levels. The surrounding area is full of smaller engineering exhibits and play ground, perfect for a day outing.
Being short on time and having an upcoming train reservation, we headed back to Glasgow to catch that train heading down to London. The next time I visit Scotland I will be marching straight to the Highlands and Isles. There’s still so much to see – Loch Ness, Isle of Skye, Inverness. The real Scotland has that raw grandeur to it. Its like reading Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and playing it scene by scene in your head but with a real landscape of cliffs and moors in front of you. I also have the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Western Highlands. This rail bridge has been featured in the Harry Potter movies and is a visual treat.
Another blog focused on things to do in Edinburgh will be up next. Hope you enjoyed this one!