Beer, Chips, Beer, oh and some sight seeing =)
Derby Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
My trip to England was different than most of my trips to visit my family. It was different because this time I was doing the touristy stuff and introducing my boyfriend, Steve, to a part of my life as well as a different country than his own. It was his first plane trip and his first time in another country. It was fun being able to play the tour guide and explain “English” things to him. Since he is a beer fanatic we spent pretty much every night in the local pubs in Derby, mainly the Wilmot because it had a pool table. And every night we had fish and chips..or in my case sausage and chips..or curry. Sadly I found out the Wilmot closed soon after we left. So Steve and I stayed at my grandparents house and my sister and her boyfriend Nate stayed with our Aunt. Neither of us have taken boyfriends on vacation before so it was definitely a different experience. We took them to Elvaston castle which is a 20 minute walk from my grandparents. They experienced the English 99 ice cream with a flake which is amazing. They thought it was great that they could just walk anywhere, to some nice grounds, the pub, the super market, anywhere, because of course here in CT we have to drive everywhere.
We also took a trip to Nottingham one day and took them to the Trip to Jerusalem, the oldest inn and pub in England. That is always a great thing to check out, the inside is so cool and all stone. We had some chip baguettes and then headed to Nottingham Castle. Also by the Trip to Jerusalem theres a little museum type place that shows you what life was like in Nottingham during, and around, WWII which is pretty interesting to take a look at. Also if you are a student you get a discount. Actually most places offer student discounts so always make sure you ask.
We took a 2 day trip to London. National express is a good coach service to take and is fairly cheap, just under 20 pounds. Once in London I highly recommend buying one of the big bus tour tickets, you can get on and off them all day and they take you around all the tourist sights in London. You can stay on the same bus if you want (although you might go numb) it takes about 2 hours or so to drive around to each sight. They have open roofs as well which is really nice unless you are unlucky like we were and get caught in a huge downpour! Instead of going inside the crowded bus we risked the terrible weather because we were determined to sit on top of an open double decker bus! Haha! It is a fun experience though. We went to Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, Big Ben, and The Tower Bridge just to name a few. I recommend going inside the Tower of London and the Jewel Tower, theres amazing things in there from weapons to amazing diamonds, something for everyone! The London Aquarium was also fun to go to, I got some excellent shark pictures! We found a really nice pub to have dinner at called the Kings Arms. Let me just say it was the BEST bangers and mash I have ever tasted in my entire life. Honest to god truth. We stayed at a student hostel in London, not exactly the nicest place to stay but its cheap which is all that matters, especially in London! If you're only staying a night it is the best option and there are plenty located near the hot spots.
A really cute village to visit on a sunny day is Matlock. It is located on a hill and it is really nice and on the way to Chatsworth House. Chatsworth House is a huge mansion and has beautiful grounds. We got there later in the afternoon so we didn't have time to actually go inside the house but I hear it is really beautiful inside and next time I go (probably next year) I will make sure to go in. We had a nice picnic by the lake, it was a gorgeous day...yes they do have those in England every now and then! I actually got burnt walking around outside the 2nd week I was there!
We experienced some of the night life down town in Derby but it was mostly bars and clubs we went to. We soon discovered we much preferred the pub atmosphere. Its basically the same as night life in the states except you don't have to drive there, much safer. There were a lot of cigarettes nearly burning us which was the downside but since July 1st that will no longer be an issue. The smoking ban is in place so no one can smoke inside any public building which is great news.
We also visited Stratford-upon-Avon which is very interesting as well. We visited Shakespeare's grave as well as Anne Hathaway's cottage. It is great because they have women in the cottage that explain exactly who Anne Hathaway was and her relationship with Shakespeare, plus all the information on the way life was back in those days. Stratford is a cute little town and its great to spend the day walking around.
We also took a trip to Warwick Castle which was a really really awesome castle. It is also a lot of fun because they put on different shows. When we were there they had a bird show with eagles, falcons and vultures which was really amazing and I got a great shot of the eagle flying right at me! Just be careful when you stop to eat because the swans can be dangerous, one bit my grandads hand trying to get at his cob sandwich! The castle is really amazing though you can climb inside and walk the entire perimeter..its tiring and the stairways are small and dark so I recommend it to the exceptionally fit person! Theres also a “haunted tower” and they put on an act to try to scare you to death! The grounds are also really beautiful of course.
Something else fun to do if you are into theme parks is to go to Alton Towers, even if you don't like rides (like me) you can appreciate it. The theme park is built on the castle grounds which are really beautiful! The rides are also really great and much better than six flags. I took a couple good shots of my family enjoying them too. I enjoyed the tea cups..haha.
When you are in England you have to go to the country side because there are such beautiful fields. We took a walk down the canal near where my great grandparents used to live. It was a gorgeous sunny day and so perfect. We walked to the locks and came across a couple Australians who had rented a canal boat for a week and hadn't quite figured it out yet so we helped them get through the lock! If you have the chance to go on a canal I recommend it, it makes a change to being on a bus or in a car and you travel through some great scenery too.
So that was my trip to England in a nutshell. There was a lot more I wanted to do but with only 2 weeks it can be really difficult to fit it all in. Theres always another time to do it and you don't want to end up rushing everything otherwise you won't really appreciate it. Oh and I didn't get my money's worth out of the great Britain heritage pass only because we didn't do half the stuff I had planned on doing. If you are going to go to at least 3 or 4 places listed in the book then it is worth getting, i was able to use mine at Warwick castle for instance. But if you are going to spend some time in London I recommend the London pass which grants you entry into pretty much every tourist attraction in London for about 40 pounds.