Great Britain – Revisited

Gre­at Bri­tain offers a lot to the tra­vel­ler. You can explo­re so many fasci­na­ting pla­ces the­re! In the sum­mer of 2018 we tra­vel­led along the south coast and out to Corn­wall. In the text below you can read about our adven­tures there.

This time we went on holi­day as a group of four friends with a cara­van, a small tent and our car. Some of the pla­ces that we visi­ted are alrea­dy men­tio­ned in the last text about Gre­at Bri­tain. All of them are real­ly worth a visit!

Fin­ding a camp­si­te near the coast had been a bit pro­ble­ma­tic on our last fami­ly trip to Gre­at Bri­tain, so this time I deci­ded to reser­ve a place at the camp­si­tes befo­re we left. This worked very well.
We star­ted our trip ear­ly in the morning of July 7. At 5.30 am we got into the car and dro­ve off. It was still a bit dark and we were all very hap­py to be on the way to a won­der­ful holiday.

The way to Calais is qui­te long. We dro­ve on and on. Some­ti­mes we stop­ped for a short break, but we could only dri­ve slow­ly becau­se of the cara­van. At around half past eight (8.30 pm) we arri­ved at the Les Tama­ris camp­si­te in Calais. The owner the­re was real­ly nice and the camp­si­te is beautiful.

Of cour­se, we were tired after this long trip, but we were also real­ly hungry. So we put up the cara­van and the tent and then we made a litt­le bar­be­cue to cele­bra­te our arri­val. Then we wat­ched the beau­ti­ful sun­set and went to bed.

The next day was a Sunday and we wan­ted to relax at the beach. The beach near Calais is lovely and we spent the who­le after­noon out in the sun.

It was warm and peace­ful. The sound of the waves was very cal­ming. After our time at the beach we went to the city of Calais. We had a cof­fee the­re and wal­ked around the harbour.

This day was a very good start for our jour­ney to Gre­at Bri­tain. The camp­si­te was near the fer­ry port (about 15 – 20 minu­tes away) so we could stay the­re one more night and dri­ve to the port ear­ly in the morning.

Off to Gre­at Bri­tain! At around 5 o’clock we got up and pre­pa­red ever­ything for cros­sing the chan­nel. Then we che­cked in at the fer­ry port of Calais.

We had boo­ked our tickets direct­ly on the P&O Web­site and did not have to wait very long to enter the huge fer­ry. Wow, the fer­ry was real­ly impres­si­ve! During the jour­ney to Dover we spent some time wal­king around on the fer­ry and enjoy­ing the fee­ling of the wind out on the deck. We also bought spe­cial sti­ckers for our car head­lights. Tho­se are nec­cessa­ry for not dazz­ling other dri­vers when dri­ving on the left side with our cars.

The time pas­sed quick­ly and soon we could see the first sign that we were arri­ving in Gre­at Bri­tain – the cliffs of Dover!

The­se white cliffs are the first impres­si­on you get when you tra­vel to Eng­land by fer­ry. They are like a gree­ting for tra­vel­lers and look beau­ti­ful on a clear day. We enjoy­ed the sight and were glad to dri­ve out of the fer­ry and to our first camp­si­te near Ash­ford, the Drum Inn Pub.

The land­s­cape that we saw was magnificent.

We put up the tent and the cara­van and very soon we were on our way to the city of Dover itself.

The­re were a lot of seagulls ever­y­whe­re. We ate lunch and wal­ked around the city cent­re for some time. Then we went to Dover Cast­le, which is situa­ted up on the cliffs.

What a sight! The cast­le is majes­tic and has a very good stra­te­gic posi­ti­on for fights. The first parts of it were built in the 1180s by King Hen­ry II.

You can also see the insi­de of the cast­le. Ever­ything loo­ks like it did in the Midd­le Ages and you see old fur­ni­tu­re and items of dai­ly life. The­re are also peop­le insi­de who tell you about the histo­ry of the castle.

If you are in Gre­at Bri­tain for some days and would like to see some of the famous sights, you could buy an Over­seas Visi­tors Pass of Eng­lish Heri­ta­ge. You pay once and then you can visit all the Eng­lish Heri­ta­ge Sights with this pass. If you visit more than one of the big­ger sights, it is a lot che­a­per than paying ever­ything sepa­r­ate­ly. We bought this pass valid for 9 days at Dover Cast­le and then used it for many other sights, like for examp­le Stone­henge or Tintagel.

After wal­king through the grounds of Dover Cast­le we also went to the roof. From the­re you have a fan­tastic view of the cast­le and the harbour.

After this his­to­ri­cal tour we went to the foot of the cliffs. The­re are a lot of flintstones on the beach. From down the­re, the cliffs look even hig­her and more impressive.

What a fan­tastic first day on the island!

On our second day in Gre­at Bri­tain we dro­ve on to a camp­si­te near Batt­le. Dri­ving on the left side slow­ly beca­me more natu­ral to us.

Again it was a camp­si­te behind a pub. We had the who­le field to our­sel­ves – the­re were no other cam­pers around.

Many of the old pubs in Bri­tain are char­ming and look very spe­cial. Cam­ping the­re is often che­a­per than at a usu­al camp­si­te and most of them offer also electric hook­up and bathroom facilities.
We were alrea­dy very fast at put­ting up ever­ything and were in Batt­le soon. The­re you can take a walk through the town its­elf, or you enter the Batt­le Abbey and the site of the Batt­le of Hastings.

This is an Eng­lish Heri­ta­ge site again so you could use an Over­seas Visi­tors Pass. Batt­le is the place whe­re the famous batt­le of Has­tings took place in 1066. It was a very long batt­le bet­ween the Eng­lish army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold God­win­son and the Nor­man-French army of Wil­liam, the Duke of Nor­man­dy. The Normans won the war and the time of the big­gest influ­ence of French on the Eng­lish lan­guage started.

When you are insi­de the walls of this site, you can walk on paths under the trees.

Along the path, you can see sta­tu­es that show you what the batt­le could have loo­ked like. We went along the­se paths and over the fiel­ds, whe­re we could see a lot of sheep.

Then we had a look at what is left of Batt­le Abbey.

The buil­ding was still very beau­ti­ful and also the other buil­dings on this site were magnificent.

Final­ly we went on top of the gate­house and had a won­der­ful view.

Now it was time for some­thing else. We wan­ted to go to the coast and cho­se Brighton as the next place to visit. What you see in the next pic­tu­re is cal­led the Brighton or Roy­al Pavillion.

It was built as a sort of holi­day home for Geor­ge, the Prince of Wales. The buil­ding works began in 1787.

After wal­king around in the gar­dens next to the Pavil­li­on, we strol­led down to the beach. If you go to Brighton, you should real­ly see the Brighton Pier. It is a so-cal­led plea­su­re pier that reaches out into the sea. On it, you can see fer­ris wheels, a carou­sel, a motor-racing cir­cuit, … and a lot more.

It is tru­ly a beau­ti­ful place to be – espe­cial­ly when the wea­ther is sun­ny and warm.

How quick­ly time pas­sed for us! Soon it was evening and we had to go back to the camp­si­te. What a lovely day!On Wed­nes­day we dro­ve on to Salis­bu­ry. The­re is a peace­ful camp­si­te a bit out­side which was per­fect for us. As usu­al we left our cara­van and tent the­re and were off on our next adventure.

The first site on our list for today was Old Sar­um. This is the place whe­re the ear­liest sett­lers of Salis­bu­ry lived. It is an Eng­lish Heri­ta­ge pro­per­ty that you can visit with your Over­seas Visi­tors Pass.

You can see the remains of an old fort­ress and you can read about the histo­ry of this ear­ly settlement.

Then we went on to the high­light of the day. Stone­henge!

Stone­henge is extre­me­ly famous all over the world. The­re were so many tou­rists the­re! You can enter the site with your Eng­lish Heri­ta­ge pass and after­wards you can take a free shut­tle bus from the visi­tor cent­re or you walk to the stones.

We cho­se to be lazy, becau­se it was a very hot day, and took the bus. The others had never seen the stone cir­cle and were very curious.

Even from a distance it loo­ked impres­si­ve. As we came nea­rer, we rea­li­zed how tall the stones were.

Stone­henge is a real­ly mys­tic prehis­to­ric monu­ment. So many details about it are still unknown. Sci­en­tists belie­ve that it was con­struc­ted bet­ween 3000 and 2000 BC, but what it was used for is unclear. A high­light of our trip!

After so many new impres­si­ons we were all a bit tired and very hungry. We deci­ded to have din­ner in Salis­bu­ry.

First, we wal­ked through Salis­bu­ry and loo­ked at the gigan­tic cathe­dral there.

It was not pos­si­ble to go insi­de the cathe­dral. A church ser­vice was in pro­gress. We wal­ked through the city cent­re ins­tead and then found a good restau­rant whe­re we ate tra­di­tio­nal fish and chips.

A last look back at the city and we retur­ned to our campsite.

The next day was alrea­dy our fourth day in Gre­at Bri­tain and we wan­ted to spend it in Win­ches­ter. Befo­re we went the­re, we enjoy­ed a full tra­di­tio­nal Eng­lish bre­ak­fast.

It was deli­cious. As usu­al for this type of bre­ak­fast we got toast, sau­sa­ge, ham and eggs, baked beans in toma­to souce and addi­tio­nal­ly we got a fried toma­to and mushrooms. We did not choo­se the trad­tio­nal Eng­lish tea, but drank cof­fee or hot chocolate.

In Win­ches­ter the­re was also a huge cathe­dral. The wea­ther was a bit clou­dy, but still friendly.

Almost next to the cathe­dral is the Old Bishop’s palace. The walk the­re is short and you can take a look at the old ruins for free. On the way the­re I had to stop – second-hand book stalls! I was fasci­na­ted, and of cour­se I had to car­ry back a lot of them.

The pede­stri­an zone in the city cent­re was also fasci­na­ting for us. The­re were many shops and peop­le everywhere.

After an after­noon in the city we retur­ned to the camp­si­te to have a barbecue.

On Fri­day we con­ti­nued our trip to a cosy pub in Lyd­ford, the Fox & Hounds.  They offer pla­ces at a camp­si­te behind the pub, with elec­tri­tiy and sani­ta­ry facilities.

We also tried the regio­nal cui­sine and were deligh­ted. They offe­red very good food and a deli­cious Eng­lish bre­ak­fast. From the­re we went out to the coast, to Tin­ta­gel.

Tin­ta­gel is the name of a vil­la­ge and of the cast­le the­re, too. Legends say that it is the cast­le of the hero King Arthur. Do you know the legends of King Arthur? He is the famous legen­da­ry king who pul­led a sword out of a stone. The­re are a lot of adven­ture sto­ries about him and the knights of his round table.

Tin­ta­gel is an Eng­lish Heri­ta­ge site. You can walk down to the coast and then climb some stairs up to the cliffs. The land­s­cape is extre­me­ly beautiful.

The blue sea, the high cliffs and the ruins of an old cast­le make it an unf­or­gett­able expe­ri­ence. We spent a lot of time the­re and were fasci­na­ted by all the impressions.

But that was not the only natu­re high­light of this day. We dro­ve back on the nar­row coast roads and after some time we arri­ved at Dart­moor Natio­nal Park.

This moor is pro­tec­ted as a natio­nal park and you can see sheep, catt­le, hor­ses or many other ani­mals run­ning around or lying on the street.

If you walk up one of the hills, the view is breath­ta­king. The natu­re you see all around you seems to be untouched and peaceful.

As soon as you get hig­her up the hills, you see stones and the land­s­cape loo­ks very different.
It was a gol­den evening for us. The sun­light was friend­ly and enchan­ting. At some pla­ces in Dart­moor you find so-cal­led clap­per brid­ges, made out of stones piled on top of each other.

The sun­set was very calm and we enjoy­ed the beau­ti­ful colours.

Have you ever seen a Rosa­mun­de Pil­cher film and noti­ced the won­der­ful land­s­cape? On Satur­day we had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explo­re whe­re some of it was pro­du­ced – we did a small Corn­wall roundtrip.

We star­ted our day at Lan­hy­dro­ck House. It is a beau­ti­ful coun­try house with lar­ge esta­tes and magni­ficent gardens.

As a visi­tor, you have many opti­ons. You can visit the house and gar­dens, the house or gar­dens only, or, as in our case, you walk the esta­tes. We did not have a lot of time, so we deci­ded to take a look at what we could from the outside.

After this walk, we moved on to a spe­cial spot at the coast – Minack Theat­re.

This open-air theat­re seems to be almost in the sea. You can expe­ri­ence many per­for­man­ces here.

The wea­ther was per­fect for a trip to the coast. The sun was real­ly hot and the sea was spar­k­ling. Two of us even went swim­ming in the sea.

Next we dro­ve on to St Michael’s Mount. This is an island that is not always easy to access. If the tide is high, the way over is floo­ded and you can­not walk the­re. When we arri­ved, the peop­le at the par­king lot told us that we could not cross over to the island that day. That was no pro­blem for us. We sett­led down on the beach, rela­xed and loo­ked at the beau­ti­ful pic­tu­re the island made.

When we retur­ned to the camp­si­te we were real­ly tired but very hap­py to have seen such extra­or­di­na­ry places.

On Sunday we dro­ve for some hours, until we arri­ved in Oxford.

The­re we stay­ed at a farm camp­si­te. The­re was a lar­ge field for cara­vans and tents and a small sho­wer block. It was well-organ­sis­ed and peace­ful. As we had some time left, we went to Oxford for an evening walk and some­thing to eat.

The city was full of life, even on a Sunday. We also spent the first half of Mon­day in Oxford.

What is very spe­cial about Oxford are its uni­ver­si­ties. A lot of the most beau­ti­ful buil­dings of the city belong to a uni­ver­si­ty. The pic­tu­re abo­ve is the so-cal­led Rad­clif­fe came­ra. Insi­de you find a libra­ry with count­less books.

This bridge seems to be a bit simi­lar to one in Veni­ce. It is some­ti­mes cal­led the “Bridge of Sighs”.

Here you can see the Cove­r­ed Mar­ket. The­re are many small shops under the same roof. We took a slow walk through it and did some win­dow shopping.

In the after­noon we dro­ve on and went back to the camp­si­te whe­re we had stay­ed first, the Drum Inn near Ash­ford. We left our cam­ping equip­ment the­re and went to Can­ter­bu­ry. The­re are some impres­si­ons below.

Slow­ly but surely the end of our trip was near. The­re were so many ter­ri­fic pla­ces that we had seen! The south coast, Corn­wall, cities in the east, … unbe­liev­a­ble that the time had pas­sed so quickly.

Return on the fer­ry: On Tues­day we star­ted our return trip in Dover. We had boo­ked both pas­sa­ges on the fer­ry online in advan­ce, so we did not have to wait very long at the check-in. Howe­ver, our fer­ry was delay­ed and so we had some time to pass at the terminal.

Then we could go on board of the fer­ry. It was qui­te com­for­ta­ble and the sea was smooth – no big waves, as we had fine weather.

We said “good­bye” to Gre­at Bri­tain for the time being and pre­pa­red our­sel­ves for the arri­val in Fran­ce. What an extra­or­di­na­ry beau­ti­ful coun­try! I belie­ve that all of us would like to go back the­re as soon as possible.