After meeting 50 of our closest friends for the next 11 days, we began our journey towards Plymouth, with a visit to the ancient monoliths of Stonehenge along the way.
While we were in Plymouth, we sailed across the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean during a tour of its harbour. One of the highlights was when our guide pointed out the statue of Sir Francis Drake on the site of Plymouth Hoe, where he was allegedly playing bowls before venturing out to defeat the Spanish Armada.
Another highpoint of the trip was stopping off for lunch at Blackmoor farm on our way to Cardiff. The family who own the farm served up a delicious, filling meal in their 15th-century manor house. There was shepherd’s pie, ice cream, pavlova rolls and strawberries, complete with scrumpy or a few glasses of wine to wash it down.
When we visited the Lake District, we were dropped off in a quaint little village called Haverthwaite and boarded a steam engine for a picturesque ride to Lakeside. We hopped on a boat and sailed down Lake Windermere; we saw some amazing properties and the autumnal scenery provided a lovely backdrop.
There were plenty of photo opportunities in the Scottish Highlands too. We witnessed the stunning beauty of Loch Lomond during a cruise, and the Glencoe Valley and the soaring peak of Ben Nevis were just as scenic.
Our next stop was Loch Ness. As we drove towards the viewing area, a low cloud and mist hung over the area, adding to the sense of mystery about the place. But by the time we’d arrived, it had cleared into another day of perfect weather. Nessie didn’t make an appearance (not while we were looking, anyway!)
In Edinburgh, we naturally visited its castle. The fortress is made up of a series of buildings, including the houses of kings and queens and memorials to soldiers. It also houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, which the Scots hid and then forgot where they’d put them for almost 100 years!
On our last day we visited Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. We learned that Shakespeare had had a much larger house close by, and that he’d turned this house into a tavern and accommodation, which he did very nicely out of. Despite struggling early on, he profited considerably from his works and was the equivalent of a modern-day millionaire.
We arrived back in London on our final evening and caught up with our fellow travellers over dinner and drinks. We met some really nice and interesting people throughout the trip, and it was lovely to toast the journey.
Find out more about the ‘Best of Britain’ trip here.