UK Trip Planning

My dream is finally coming true. We are going to visit UK this summer. I have been dreaming about visiting London for god knows how long. It was at the top of my must see before I die list and part of every bucket list I ever made for myself.

I grew up reading British classics like Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes. As a kid, I also read Enid Blyton’s books where the children spend their time eating scones and drinking lemonade on their picnics. But more than all these books, the one series that made me want to desperately take a plane to UK was Harry Potter (nobody is surprised to hear this, I guess). The descriptions about the telephone booths, King’s Cross station, Hogwarts express, Hogwarts castle – basically that series made me want to visit London very badly. To add to all these, Harry Potter and the cursed child play is being screened in London. If all these were not enough reasons to visit, even the Harry Potter Studio tour is in London and it is supposed to be a great experience. They have preserved the Great Hall and lot of other sets from the movies. More than 15 yrs back or so, I had subscribed to a newsletter from a Scottish castles website from which I would get wallpapers of some great castles. For as long as I have known, I have been wanting to visit Scottish castles. So I am finally going to London and Scotland.

We are skipping Ireland because of lack of time. Also that will give us an excuse to make another trip to UK (hopefully). Even though Game of Thrones was also shot in Ireland and Scotland, I am not that keen on visiting the filming locations for it. I am not a huge fan of the show since I prefer the books. But Harry Potter is different. I love the movies and the books both, even though books were a lot better. I have seen few episodes of Outlander but I want to read the book first. I also have not watched Downton Abbey so not keen on visiting Downton Abbey or Outlander locations. I am a huge fan of Hercule Poirot TV show but I am not sure if there is anything related to that or Agatha Christie in UK. I heard there is Sherlock Holmes museum and a Tintin shop. Also there are some amazing bookstores all over London. I am not sure how many of these I will be able to visit during my short stay there.

I have been watching “The Crown” and “Victoria” TV series for sometime now which are about the two British Queens – Elizabeth II and Victoria. I like both of series, but Victoria seems to be better. I even got their companion books since I loved the TV series so much. I also want to watch “The Tudors” sometime.

I am also reading some books in preparation of my trip. I owned most of these books already even before I planned my trip. I bought few of these books in anticipation of the trip. I am currently reading “Doomsday book” which is a time travel book that explores Medieval England or rather Oxford during the outburst of plague. I tried reading “From Hell” by Alan Moore which is about Jack the ripper, who was a serial killer in Victorian London but it was too gruesome so ended up DNFing it. I will see how many of these books I will be able to get to. This is just a tentative TBR, which may change. I am definitely going to read Longitude next.

I want you guys to help me with my trip planning.

Suggest me

-> tourist places to visit
-> literary places that I must not miss
-> books that I should read
-> movies and TV shows that I should watch
-> packing tips
-> anything else you think would help me on my trip

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33 thoughts on “UK Trip Planning

  1. Oh I am so excited for you. All of these places are on my bucket list too. I hope to get to them in a couple of years but please post updates and pictures so that in the meantime I can live vicararioulsy through you. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow! I am so excited. England is one of my all-time favorite places. It’s great that you are a history buff, you will definitely enjoy the place.

    Some do not miss places are:

    Bath – read Georgette Heyer’s Bath-based books for inspiration
    Scotland – Outlander, books on Mary Queen of Scots
    In London, the usual places – Westminster Abbey (I got the chills walking across the place, and suddenly realizing I was standing on Newton’s grave, Tower Bridge and castle, Hampton Court, Buckingham Palace. There are a lot of London city tours you could take, there are hop and hop off tours, which allow you to spend as much time as you like in any place.

    This is the best time for traveling. The weather will be beautiful! Enjoy!

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  3. So happy you will be visiting UK. We have visited there 4 times so far. It is a great place to β€œvisit”. Please visit Stonehenge. It is a day trip from London. Tour buses are available. You will love it. Stonehenge is a pre-historic monument supposed to be constructed around 3000 BC.

    I put visit under quotes because I would not want to live in UK.

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  4. Oh I’m so pleased for you – it’s lovely when we can finally achieve some of our bucket list items! πŸ˜€

    As a London resident and a regular visitor to Scotland, some recommendations if you have the time:

    * In London – you’re likely to go to St Paul’s Cathedral (and it’s beautiful, so why not) – while you’re there, head north on St Edward’s Street past the ruins of Christchurch Greyfriars (it’s like a ghost church half-made of gardens, very cool) and then cross St Edward’s and go into Postman’s Park (low-key gate into some gardens just before Less Britain – which is a street!). Postman’s Park is a cute garden – but it’s the home of the memorial to our unsung heroes, which is just amazingly cool, a little Victorian tiled niche celebrating people who gave their lives for others (it has showed up in movies like Closer, but is generally unknown, which is such a shame, it’s one of my favourite spots). From here you’ve got two options: go out the eastern gate to Postman’s Park and head north towards the Museum of London (which is worth a visit in its own right!) – the remaining ruins of the original Roman wall of the City of London are in a small park on the north side of London Wall (the street); OR go back out the west gate of Postman’s Park and head north up the side of St Bart’s hospital to Smithfields. St Bart’s is where they executed William Wallace; and the entrance to the new MI6 HQ in Bond/Skyfall; and Smithfields is the spectacular Victorian meat market. So lots of good food round here too! All of this will take max an hour out of your day, if that πŸ™‚

    As a bibliophile, the British Library is a lovely stop-off too (right by St Pancras/King’s Cross, so handy on your Harry Potter peregrinations!) – it has a permanent free exhibition that usually has amazing works of classic literature on display – Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens – which rotate regularly, so you’re never sure what awesomeness you might see today.

    * Getting from London to Scotland – take the train if you can and do it in daytime; the scenery in the north is stunning and you can enjoy it as you zoom past rather than missing it by flying. If you have time to go by road and/or stop, Durham Cathedral (total bias; it’s where I’m from) is one of the most stunning in the UK (aaaaaand a big Harry Potter location).

    * In Scotland – it’s just gorgeous, so don’t stop at Edinburgh – get a car and go up to the Highlands. Hogwarts (and specifically Hagrid’s hut) is in Glen Etive (also a Bond location in Skyfall – that shot of him and M staring down a glen is the turn-off to Etive) and it’s _stunning_. It’s on the A82 north from Glasgow to Fort William (and you get to go across the outer reaches of Rannoch Moor, which will look familiar from the Hogwarts Express too); and when you come back out and head north, the A82 goes through Glen Coe which is the site of a famous clan massacre and also one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of Britain. Fort William isn’t so pretty but is nestled at the foot of Ben Nevis (our biggest mountain), and then I’m guessing you’ll be out of time. You can head west to see the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct (Hogwarts Express ahoy), in which case ALSO stop off and see Neptune’s Ladder, because it’s an engineering marvel (a ladder of locks to get up from sea level to the lochs that lead to Loch Ness) – and then go north out north out of Fort William and turn east on the A86 through Spean Bridge (Rob Roy country!) and back to the A9 (main north/south road through the Highlands) to get back to the more famous/accessible locations around Stirling and Edinburgh. If you DO have time for more than a day trip, oh my, I could keep you going for weeks πŸ˜‰

    I’ll stop there. It may show that I’ve done lots of tour suggestions for all our foreign relatives visiting the UK πŸ˜‰

    Don’t forget your umbrella, make sure it’s a proper strong one that can cope with strong winds or it will be useless. If you need to buy a Proper Umbrella, go to James Smith & Son north of Covent Garden on New Oxford Street on London – it’s an honest to god walking stick and umbrella store – utterly unique, very cool, and excellent umbrellas for about Β£20 (which is expensive, but they’re amazing).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow. It already sounds like you have loads to do. But if you’re a fan of the sherlock TV show you could visit where they filmed it (it isn’t actually 221b Baker Street!) but otherwise I’d say read Peter pan and visit Kensington Gardens /Hyde Park and see the statue. I saw the play preformed outside in the park at night for my birthday years ago and it was AMAZING.

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  6. Try out Windsor in the outskirts of London, very easy to get to by train. You can see the castle, take a tour (something I haven’t done even though I live ten minutes down the road), changing of the guard, walk around Eton College, but don’t go there on 19th May!!

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  7. I’m so excited for you! I’ve been to England twice, but both before HP was as huge as it is now. King’s Cross Station had a small 9 3/4 nod, but no gift shop or anything like they have now, I guess. I do recommend trying to get to a book store, though, so you can pick up an English copy of HP as a souvenir.
    I also recommend trying to pack only in a carry-on so you don’t waste any more time in the airport than you need. I also recommend packing everything into a backpack because roller wheels and cobblestone streets don’t mix. It makes navigating the tube easier too. I highly recommend checking out everything Rick Steves: books, forums, tv episodes. He and his followers have so many great tips for traveling in Europe.
    How fun!

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    • Definitely going to visit King’s Cross station and I even booked room for a night right next to station. I am planning to buy some books while I am in England. They have SO many bookstores. We hardly have any good ones in US. I got Rick Steves travel guides and they helped me a lot in booking hotels etc. I need to check out his tv episodes. I didn’t know about them. Thanks for letting me know.

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    • Thanks Katie. I did try to listen to the audiobook of Neverwhere few years back but I quit half way since I wasn’t used to listening to audiobooks back then. I have been better that now. I want to give the book another try in physical form soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I so badly want to see that series. I did not watch it when it was on Netflix. Now I want to watch it, but I don’t think it’s available for streaming anymore. 😦

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