England & Wales
We have travelled together in the UK twice now, in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 it was only for two weeks but in 2013 it was for 5 months. Having Aida present meant I saw a lot more of the country than I ever have before. We travelled extensively in 2012 and saw lots of the country whereas 2013 had us preparing for our wedding and spending time in my home town of St.Helens (close to Liverpool).
On both occasions we travelled to London as Aida’s cousin Javaneh lives and works in the capital. I must admit that my previous trips to London just involved going to Wembley Stadium and I’d never really saw much of the sights. As a Northerner, I’d never been a real fan of London but I have to be humble and admit that I actually found it a remarkable city with such a great history. With Megabus from Liverpool to London being so cheap (about 5/10 pounds each way) and staying with Javaneh meant the trips where so much cheaper than getting a train and staying in a hotel. Eating out whether it was in a restaurant or in Tesco’s was actually no different to ‘up north’ so that myth was also exterminated. Whilst in London we also visited Stone Henge which is truly remarkable, Stratford-upon-avon and Bath (both beautiful cities surrounding my lush green countryside). We also got to go to two West End Shows: Jersey Boys and The Commitments which is also a must if in London.
The good thing we have in the UK (compared to somewhere like Australia) is that our towns and cities are so close together. As well as seeing the whole of St.Helens and watching the Saints Rugby League team in action, Aida also got to visit Wigan, Warrington, Manchester and Liverpool all via train from St.Helens. Liverpool is the closest big city and is a great place for shopping, with the Albert Docks being completely regenerated in the recent past means there is plenty to see and do especially when the sun is shining.
A short bus ride away are the historical towns of Chester and York. Both retain their historical feel and although not quite Rome are worth a visit if you are in the north of England. Also worth a trip if you like the outdoors is the Lake District in Cumbria. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind to us when we went (good old British rain) but we still had a great time and enjoyed some of the great fish and chips on offer. If you like the seaside, then trips to Blackpool and/or Southport are worth a trip. We went to Blackpool on a Saturday so Aida got to see the Blackpool stag do / hen night culture. People drinking beer on the train at 10am is not something you see in many countries around the world. Not quite Las Vegas but its where many of us 30 somethings spent many weeks when we were young!!
We did venture into North Wales on a day trip to Caernarfon Castle and the surrounding areas. It is so good to see the history that we have in the UK and Aida enjoyed seeing the castle and being able to wander around inside, even though it was a very windy morning.