Category Archives: London

History, culture and scenery — just across the pond

Do you hear London calling? Perhaps you’d like to see if you can spot the Loch Ness monster, picnic with a puffin or steep yourself in the mystery of ancient ruins? Then a holiday in the UK, arranged by GetAway Travel is just for you! 

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is the birthplace of Shakespeare, The Beatles, Chaucer, Robert Burns, Charles Dickens and JK Rowlings. 

Charles Dickens

There are so many amazing things to do and see in England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland. Think museums, cathedrals, castles and country estates, iconic landmarks, art galleries, music festivals and, in spite of what you may have heard, some great food. 

 Experience England 

 London offers the full-range of royal history, monuments, ruins and the changing of the guard! There’s the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the famous River Thames, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Parliament Buildings. 

South Kensington has some of the city’s finest museums including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum. Of course you must shop at Harrod’s Department Store and visit Trafalgar Square. 

Harrods Department Store

You can still really take a bath at Bath where travelers have used the healing waters for 2,000 years. The waters contain 43 different minerals. 

You can go surfing in Cornwall. (Really, surf’s up!) 

Cornwall

Stonehenge, one of the oldest UNESCO Heritage sites in the world, is still a mystery and still captivates the imagination. Nearby Salisbury has one of the country’s most famous cathedrals and the original Magna Carta. 

Stonehenge

The university towns of Cambridge and Oxford are home to some of the world’s top academic establishments and Canterbury is home to the archbishop of Canterbury and is also a UNESCO site. 

Canterbury Cathedral

Liverpool will be forever famous for The Beatles. The Cavern Club in the renovated Albert Docks area is where they used to perform and indulge in your own version of Beatlemania by taking a bus or walking tour of Beatle sites. Manchester is a sports town if there ever was one. Two of the country’s most famous soccer (football) clubs are headquartered there and have their own stadiums. 

Liverpool

Make your way to Belfast in Northern Ireland and immerse yourself in all things related to the Titanic. 

 Scenic Scotland 

 Scotland’s largest city is Glasgow which offers a unique high concentration of gothic, Victorian, and Edwardian architecture as well as some pretty great shopping along the “Style Mile.” You can picnic with a puffin or two on the Isle of Lunga. Visit Islay, a Hebridean island that has whiskey distilleries and there’s an extravaganza of archeological ruins in Jarlshof in Shetland. 

Glasgow, Scotland

The Isle of Arran is an island off the southwestern coast of Scotland it has standing stone landmarks, more whiskey distilleries, castles, castle ruins, golf courses, misty moors and coastal scenery. It is a sort of microcosm of the entire country. 

Isle of Arran

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is one of the country’s most beautiful cities. Its historic buildings are faithfully preserved and it is home to the awe-inspiring Edinburgh Castle. Towering above the city, the 13th Century fortress is perched on a rocky, barren outcropping. View the Scottish crown jewels in the Royal Palace while you are in Edinburgh, tour the Scottish National War Museum and save time for the Royal Botanical Garden and the National Gallery of Scotland. 

Edinburgh, Scotland

Old Town’s Royal Mile in the city is an eclectic combination of great architecture, boutique shopping, cafes and restaurants. 

The biggest, wildest street party in the world is held every year on New Year’s in Edinburgh. No one celebrates the dawning of the new year like the Scots. They call it Hogmanay. 

Hogmanay

You may not have a Loch Ness monster sighting in Loch Ness, but the area has some of the best scenery in all of the UK. Check out the Loch Ness Centre for some great history tidbits. 

Loch Ness

 Wander in Wales 

 Cardiff, the capital of Wales boasts fabulous national parks, great scenery and historic castles including Cardiff Castle which was built on the ruins of a Roman fort. Tour the state apartments, the Clock Tower and the chapel of the nearly fully restored castle. Wales actually has the most castles per capita than any other European country, and more sheep than residents. 

Cardiff Castle, Wales

A fun Wales fact, there are 10 million sheep and 3.1 million residents! Wales is home to the famous Badger Face Mountain Sheep which have striped faces like badgers. 

Yep, Badger Face Sheep!

The city’s redeveloped waterfront has shopping, restaurants, clubs and the World of Boats which features the development of sea vessels and boats from around the world. 

The most visited attraction in Wales is in Snowdonia and it is Snowdon Mountain. Enjoy a variety of hiking trails or take a tour on the Snowdon Mountain Railway.  

Pembrokshire is thought to be one of the most beautiful corners of the country. There is not a bad spot to take in the views along any of the area’s 50 beaches. It also has an up and coming food scene. 

Pembrokshire, Wales

 A word or two on the cuisine 

Beef Wellington

 Ok, admittedly a country that has a dessert with a name that also doubles as street slang for a piece of male anatomy and serves jellied eels and pies with fish heads sticking out might not be considered a bastion of world class eats. Ignore that. The UK draws residents from China, Vietnam, Turkey, India, West Africa and the Caribbean and they put their best food forward. Chicken tikka masala is as tasty in the UK as fresh fish and chips. The country is home to 750 kinds of cheese, bacon so good you will weep, Welsh cakes, trifle, scones, craft beef, chocolate and Beef Wellington. You won’t go hungry. 

Spotted Dick

Are you ready to go? At GetAway Travel we can design a full-on UK experience, or tailor a trip to London for you. We can be reached at:  (262) 538-2140, e-mail: sue@getaway.travel or paul@getaway.travel 

 

Largest Grape Vine in the World

Planted in 1769, the Hampton Court Palace grape vine is the largest in the world.  The vine even has a certificate from Guinness World Records to prove it.  “The largest vine is the Great Vine at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, UK, which has a circumference of 3.8m (12 ft 5 in) and branches typically measuring up to 33 m (108 ft) long.  The longest measures 75 m (246 ft) long as of January 2005.”

view our previous post about Hampton Court Palace here

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Guinness World Record Certificate

The black dessert grapes ripen in August and are sold every year during the first 3 weeks of September.  Average crops are about 600 lbs – all from just one vine!

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A view of the greenhouse where the vine resides.

The vine is currently 245 years old!

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View through the window at the base of the vine

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The vine climbing the trellis system within the greenhouse

Hampton Court Palace – a “Gift” for a Tudor King

Here is what Frommers has to say about Hampton Court Palace

“The 16th-century palace of Cardinal Wolsey can teach us a lesson: Don’t try to outdo your boss, particularly if he happens to be Henry VIII. The rich cardinal did just that, and he eventually lost his fortune, power, and prestige, and ended up giving his lavish palace to the Tudor monarch. Henry’s additions include the Anne Boleyn gateway, and the aptly named Great Hall, with its hammerbeam ceiling, as well as a Tiltyard (where jousting competitions were held) and a “real tennis” court.”

Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York and chief minister to Henry VIII spent lavishly to build the finest palace in England at Hampton Court.  Wolsey however did not live at Hampton Court for very long.  His fall from favor was swift as he was unable to assist Henry with his desire to have the Pope annul Henry’s marriage to his first wife Catherine of Aragon.  The property was given to Henry who then went on to separate the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church and very famously have 5 more wives in his attempt to have a legitimate male heir.  Along with St James’s, Hampton Court is one of the only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by King Henry VIII.

Today the palace is open to the public and is a major tourist attraction, quite easily reached by rail from central London.  The architecture is amazing with stunning brickwork and of course the beautiful gardens.  The palace is cared for by an independent charity and receives no funding from the Government or the Crown for upkeep.

Put Hampton Court Palace on the list of places to see when you vacation in London.  We can help make this happen – contact us today!