If you are interested in historic cities, Lancaster is a must. From our gorgeous lodgings at The Fenwick, in the rolling countryside on the outskirts of the city, we spend 48 hours exploring the city, discovering some amazing Lancaster attractions, finding out about the city's roots and sampling some of the best steak and seafood we've had the pleasure of tasting.
We were invited along to enjoy three days in the historic city of Lancaster by Visit Lancashire
Getting to Lancaster from Scotland
Lancaster is just over 2 hours away from Edinburgh and Glasgow by train so makes an ideal weekend city break. The trains are direct and leave frequently and I found tickets for as cheap as £30 per person if you book in advance! It's also just off the main M6 motorway if you fancy a road trip.
Our stay at The Fenwick began on Friday evening, the darkness had fallen on a crisp dry day and we didn't get to fully appreciate how utterly charming this country pub was until the next morning. What we had experienced though, from our drive through the picturesque landscape, with rolling green fields and chocolate box villages, was just how delightful Lancashire was.
We couldn't wait to explore this beautiful city, and we had came at the ideal time, off season is a great time to explore new cities. Attractions in cities rarely close over winter and the tourists have left so the streets are quiet and calm and you don't feel rushed or stressed.
Lancaster feels less like a city and more like a big town, it is in fact the county town of Lancaster, but its mighty cathedral gives it city status. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of the centre and the bus and train station are located there too so you'll never need to walk far.
Lancaster is one of England's Heritage Cities and if you know me at all you'll know I love nothing more than meandering historic streets but there is something else we were looking forward to on this trip, we had heard rumours of some top class food and we were hoping they were true!
The town of Dunfermline, in Fife, used to be a Royal Burgh and is the most populated town in the county so it's an ideal place to base yourself so you can explore the Kingdom of Fife and further afield. There are so many things to do in Dunfermline and it's close to many pretty towns and villages, including Culross (where Outlander was filmed). The town itself has an impressive history dating back to at least the 11th century and there are many historic sites around the town such as Dunfermline Abbey where Robert the Bruce is buried. Dunfermline is also well connected by bus and train and is around three miles north of the Forth Road Bridge.
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A wee bit of history
Although the first written record of Dunfermline was in the 11th century when Malcolm III married Saint Margaret, discoveries including flint arrowheads, a stone axe and a stone ball date the area back to Neolithic times. It was Malcolm III who established Dunfermline as a seat of royal power and no less than 18 royals are buried here. The town was Scotland's capital until 1603 when the union of Scotland and England occurred. The loss of any royal connection happened when the Scottish courts relocated to London and the town declined following a major fire in 1624 when much of the town burnt, The town began to flourish again after the introduction of the weaving of linen damask. Dyeing, bleaching, soap making, rope making and brewing helped to keep the town prosperous in the following years.
What's the town like today
Dunfermline today is a busy and popular town with all the amenities you'll need if you decide to base yourself here during your vacation. The High Street has many of the usual shops, and the road off the main shopping street has some delightful independent shops. The main supermarkets are located in the retail parks on the outskirts of town and Duloch park, which is just outside Dunfermline and is reachable by bus from the town's main bus station, has a multi screen cinema, bowling alley, restaurants, crazy golf and a large gym and spa. The town is popular with locals who enjoy the shops and cafes and tourists love to visit the historical sites which are some of the most important in the country. With so many things to do in Dunfermline it's a lovely town to use as a base while you explore the country.
Things to do in Dunfermline
Undoubtably one of the most popular things to do in Dunfermline. We can date Dunfermline Abbey back to 1070 when King Malcolm III married Queen Margaret. She loved it so much she brought in Benedictine monks from Canterbury to set up a religious community. Her son turned the church into a rather more grand abbey after 1128. You can still see the original nape here when you visited, the attached Abbey Church, which is still in use, was built in 1821. Queen Margaret later became Saint Margaret and she is buried in the grounds. Many of the buildings were destroyed uring the wars of independence and Robert the Bruce helped greatly in the rebuild and he is also buried here, minus his heart. In 1587 James VI granted the Abbey to his wife, Queen Anne of Denmark who's son, Charles , was born here. The Abbey and the remains of the palace are today looked after by Historic Scotland and they are well worth a visit.
Glasgow is a buzzing, exciting city. If you are planning on spending time here during your vacation then these boutique hotels in Glasgow would be ideal. There are some fantastic options, and they aren't as expensive as you may think. Many of these are 5 star hotels in Glasgow, some have 4 stars but what makes them all so special is the attention to detail, the little extras, the comfort level and the quirky, unique touches.
To help you decide which hotel to go for I've included all the features of each in the list below along with a handy map so you can find the best boutique hotels in Glasgow, in the location you want. Hotels tend to be cheaper out with the middle of summer and during the week as opposed to the weekend if you have flexibility. The best luxury hotels in Glasgow tend to fill up quick too so I'd advise booking in advance, you can check up to date prices and book using the links at the foot of each hotel description.
During this time of uncertainty, with travel off the cards, you may well have had to cancel your trip to Scotland. I look forward to a time when we can fly again but until then how about some books about Scotland to keep you inspired and excited about your future trip? I know it's one of the only things keeping me sane at the moment. Books are a wonderful escape and will help you wile away the hours being stuck at home. These books may also give you some ideas for when you are planning for your future trip.
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If you hike in Scotland there is a good chance you will stumble across a bothy, abandoned buildings which are often old farmsteads or crofts, which are free to stay in should you need. They are as basic as they come, and all entirely individual. This brilliant book is a complete guide to these little gems and includes maps, directions and all the information you need about facilities and nearby attractions. One of my favourite books about Scotland.
Walking the Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast in England is one of the most famous outdoor areas in England, and it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Walking the Jurassic Coast is a wonderful way to spend time, and there are plenty of jaw-dropping places to see along the coast. Truth be told, there are so many things to see in the area that you could spend a month exploring it in-depth.
From Durdle Door, a massive natural arch over the sea, to the long sandy beach of Chesil beach stretching on for miles and miles, you’re definitely in for a treat.
This post was kindly written by Kevin from KevMRC Travel and Photography
English towns are some of the most beautiful in the world. Well known for being welcoming and friendly places, with characteristic houses, charming churches and parks and cafes and restaurants serving delicious food, these prettiest towns in England deserve to be explored.
Windsor, Berkshire by Liliane from My Toronto, My World
Windsor is one of the prettiest towns in England. It's most known for Windsor Castle which is one of the Royal Residences and one of the major tourist attractions in England. The Queen uses the castle as her weekend home and now hosts just as many banquets and official state dinners there as she does at Buckingham Palace. If you're exploring Windsor Castle your ticket also gets you entry to St George's Chapel which is the location of many of the royal weddings!
Besides Windsor Castle, the town has plenty to offer. It's a beautiful little town with a nice main street filled with shops and restaurants worth exploring. There's also St John Baptist Church to visit which has a beautiful painting of the last supper and the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum which focuses on the history of the area. If you want to explore more of the nature side of Windsor you can't miss walking along the River Thames, walk the 2.65 mile Long Walk in Windsor Great Park or take in the flowers at Savill Garden.
If your itinerary doesn't include visiting other parts of the country besides London, then you can still see Windsor because a day trip to Windsor from London is quite easy and only requires a train ride that's just under the hour mark
Recommended hotel Macdonald Windsor
When it comes to showing off the prettiest villages in England I knew I'd struggle to whittle them down. England is rich in picturesque quaint villages, each of them unique and special in their own right. Pastel coloured cottages with hanging flowers baskets, winding cobbled lanes and churches which have stood proud for centuries. Close knit communities with locals who know each others names and meet for a chat while buying the newspaper in the morning. These villages have been chosen by some of the Uk's top bloggers as their all time favourites.
Corfe Castle, Dorset by Sophie from Escape to Britain
Nestled in the Purbeck Hills in Dorset, the stunning village of Corfe Castle is an absolute must-see on your next British adventure. Close to the salty sea breeze and surrounded by the kind of charming countryside that is so synonymous with West Country England, 'Corfe Castle' is not only the name of a village but also that of a historic castle which stands high and proud above the rest of the settlement and is well worth a visit in of itself.
There's been a fortification on site since at least the 10th-century, though it wasn't until the Normans arrived around a century later that the castle grew to true prominence in the surrounding region. During the Middle Ages, Corfe Castle was often said to be the 'most fortified castle' in England. Unfortunately, the complex of buildings were badly damaged during the Civil War, and today romantic ruins can be explored for a small fee.
Elsewhere in Corfe Castle, there are a myriad of delightful corners to discover, including several eateries and the smallest town hall in England which houses a free to visit museum. A visit to Corfe Castle parish village and its castle can easily be combined with a trip to the nearby Jurassic Coastline, making for the perfect English escape
Recommended place to stay Mortons House Hotel
Are you coming to Scotland? You could consider glamping. Fife, half an hour from Edinburgh, has some amazing options to have an alternative and quirky stay. If you are bored with hotels and B+B's and want something a little different, but don't quite fancy carrying a tent on your travels then glamping could be for you. Glamping is technically posh camping and as it has become more and more popular the accommodation has grown in variation, from shepherd huts and cabins to beach huts and bothies. When 'glamping' first became a 'thing' the options were limited to wigwams and a few yurts in Scotland but there is now a diverse range to choose from and property owners are stretching their imaginations and creating some wonderful places to stay.
Fife is a good option, not only because it's super easy to base yourself here and travel to other must-visit areas on day trips but also because it's an absolutely beautiful area in its own right. It's only 30 minutes from Edinburgh, across the stunning Forth Bridges and has many pretty, colourful villages, lots of history, bustling towns and plenty of forest, beach and countryside walks. There are 117 miles of stunning coastal path and the new Pilgrim's way from North Queensferry to St Andrews, a 64-mile walk following in the footsteps of Pilgrims who once trekked to St Andrews.
Check out these options for glamping. Fife is a brilliant region and has something for everyone and imagine doing it all and then laying your head down at night in one of these gems.
Catchpenny Safari Lodges, Elie
A collection of super-sized luxury safari tents which overlook the water and are on the edge of the Fife Coastal Path, perfect for glamping Fife. These tents aren't just tents, they have proper and extremely comfortable beds, a hot shower, a wood-burning stove, a delightful cabin bed, a full kitchen with gas hob and fridge and lots of cosy cushions and blankets to keep you snug round the fire pit in the evening. Each tent sleeps 6 people, with two doubles and a twin room. Catchpenny is also dog-friendly so you can bring the pooch and is situated near the cute little village of Elie in the East Neuk so you can browse the independent shops, eat at the fantastic restaurants or buy goodies to take back to the tent from Ardross Farm Shop. DOG-FRIENDLY
Scotland has some seriously impressive highlights such as the mountain ranges, the islands and the road trips but I do love to find little colourful and quirky towns and villages. Here is our pick of the cutest villages and towns in Scotland. They are often an excellent place to base yourself while you explore, as the accommodation is nearly always quaint and cosy. One of my favourite moments of a road trip is stumbling upon a tiny village, the little worn place name sitting squint by the side of the road welcoming passers-bys. The houses painted in an array of colours which you would usually never put together but somehow just work. The wee shops with handmade tablet and locally produced marmalade and a chatty local behind the till. Local artists displaying their work in the community centre, flower baskets hanging outside the village museum which tell stories of the homes and jobs of families long gone. I love wandering the lanes, admiring the doorways and gardens, poking about in the shops and treating myself to a second-hand book and a fridge magnet (always!). Finding a cute little cafe with a window seat so I can enjoy a cup of tea and watch the locals go about their day. Scotland has some fantastic towns and villages and I encourage you to spend time in some, it’s a lovely way to immerse yourself in the Scottish way of life.
This list is some of my favourite towns and villages I’ve discovered on my travels around Scotland but I’m nowhere near finished so I’ll be adding more as I find them.
Cutest towns and villages in Scotland
Portpatrick, Dumfries and Galloway
You don’t have to visit the north-west for outstanding coastal views, Portpatrick sits on the west coast of the Rhins of Galloway peninsula and the scenery rivals any that can be found up north. This town is cute as a button, the pastel-coloured houses surround a small bay with beautiful clear water and are backed by impressive cliffs.
If you like the idea of camping but don’t want to be pitched next to other people, or you fancy wandering off into the mountains with everything you need for a night of wild camping, you are in the right place.
This post will give you an overview of wild camping in the Lake District, where you can do it and things to pack and consider. By the end, I hope you will be inspired to give wild camping a go for yourself.
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Why wild camp?
Wild camping offers an escape from civilisation and if you are searching for solitude, you are likely to find it. Uninterrupted views, peaceful sunsets and unreal sunrises.
Popular wild camping spots, by design, are quiet and tranquil. If you wanted to be surrounded by other people, you would book a spot on a camp site. The back-to-basics approach to wild camping allows you to reconnect with nature.