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.