Discovering the UK: A Resident’s Top 5 Summer Bucket List

by Tilly-Jane Kidman

credit: Lizzie_Lamont

The UK is a fantastic place to travel, to work and to live. This is something I only realised in my twenties. As a UK citizen I spent my teenage years longing to jump on a plane and head somewhere a little more exotic with a warmer climate, cute surfer boys and plenty of beaches. Why couldn’t my family have been born in California or Australia? The grass is always greener, but I’ve definitely found a new love and fondness of my home country, although Australia is still very much on the list for one day. I hear the vegan food in Melbourne is great!

Let’s get back to the UK, the reason I’m writing this post. I recently spent a month in California, yes I finally fulfilled my dreams of living in The OC if only for just four weeks. I absolutely loved it, but it did leave me questioning what’s stopping me from jumping in the car and heading on the road in the UK, after all there’s still so much for me to explore. It became apparent that I haven’t made enough of the UK when American citizens would ask me if I’d been to X, Y and Z and I sheepishly replied “umm no not yet”. Sure, we might not always have the climate but we do have areas of stunning, natural beauty and plenty of cities to feed any cravings for culture. I’d overlooked the United Kingdom and started to feel a little guilty about it. So what did I do? I got out there! My partner and I have been making a conscious effort to utilise our weekends to jump in my trusty VW and drive a few hours down the road to explore somewhere new. The vastness of California really did make me realise just how tiny the UK is, and how I really had little excuse for not exploring all four corners.

I still have a list of locations to tick off, but we’re getting there! Who knew travel at home could be so fun, it definitely provides the sense of adventure I desire and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper too. Check out my UK Bucket List for the rest of summer, perhaps it could help your travels around the UK too…

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Roman Baths in...Bath credit: oversnap

The Roman Ruins of Bath

A city I would 100% recommend you visit whilst in the UK. Bath is actually classed as UNESCO World Heritage Centre and is mostly known for its Roman-build baths. There’s plenty to do here, so don’t be concerned about filling your time. I would recommend a minimum stay of two nights, this is what we did and found it just the right amount of time to explore everything we wanted to, although it would have been nice to have an extra day to peruse the city. Of course, you have to visit the Roman Baths and these didn’t disappoint. Audio headsets are supplied and it’s a great little lesson in history. There are also various combination ticket offers, so if you also want to head to the Fashion Museum or Victoria Art Gallery I’d recommend buying these to save some cash. The Jane Austen Centre was another interesting attraction, and of course you must sample a famous Sally Lunn bun!

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The Lake District credit: Michael_Conrad

A Hike in the Lake District

The Lake District is truly beautiful! I’ve just booked a trip to head here in August, staying in the Ambleside area. Our hikes in the USA at the likes of Yosemite led me to booking a few ‘outdoorsy’ trips and the Lake District was top of my list. It has actually just been awarded World Heritage status putting it up there with the likes of the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon. I read that Ambleside is a lovely part of the district to stay, situated at the head of Windermere and foot of Kirkstone Pass. I’ve booked in to stay at the Vegetarian guest house, Ambleside Manor which might be handy for any fellow veggie/vegan readers! If you fancy being at one with nature then you could of course pack your tent and camp for the weekend instead. Just remember to bring your hiking boots!

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Pedn Vounder Beach, Cornwall credit: john shepherd

Beautiful Beaches of Cornwall

We have some beautiful beaches here in the UK that aren’t to be missed! Cornwall is well worth a trip and there are many different parts to explore. It’s a good idea to plan a small road trip to ensure you get to see as much of it as possible! This is exactly what I’ll be doing in August, whilst I’ve been to a couple of different areas of Cornwall before, I’m still yet to visit St Ives and Penzance which both look just magical. For surfaholics Newquay is your best shout, it’s a super fun, young area and I have quite a few friends who have made the move down there. Whilst I don’t get too involved with the surfing, I do enjoy watching from the comfort of the beach. I love the carefree vibes down in Cornwall, it just feels so free and when the sun is shining it’s a fantastic place to be.

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Billingford Mill, Suffolk credit: RobHowarth

Fresh Countryside Air of Suffolk

My home city is fairly close to Suffolk yet it’s a county I’ve only dipped a toe into a few times. My girlfriends and I decided to go low key on the holiday front this year, and we’ve swapped our usual crazy week abroad for a relaxing spa weekend at the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa. I’ve previously visited the hotel side here once before and it’s the perfect destination for an idyllic countryside retreat. If you want to zone out from technology, breathe in that fresh countryside air and just relax, well, I couldn’t think of anywhere better! Rooftop hot tub, extensive spa facilities, cocktails, restaurants – what more could you want? I can’t wait to nestle away for a few days with my closest friends and have a girl’s weekend!

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Scottish Highlands credit: Swen_Stroop

A Road Trip to Scotland’s Gems

There are so many wonderful places to visit in Scotland from Edinburgh to Glasgow and the Highlands. I always take a Christmas trip to Edinburgh as it’s so cute and festive during December. It’s a city that I never tire of, but I’m yet to discover the more rural side of Scotland that is the Highlands. A quick google will show you just how stunning the Highlands are, with a slightly dark and mysterious side. You can choose to hike or even take part in a horse trek, both of which seem equally great ideas. In terms of accommodation, how about a stay in a castle? Yes, a real life castle! You can feel like the ultimate prince or princess, and enjoy the surrounding gardens, nearby loch and little luxuries. A road trip is the perfect way to see all of Scotland in its glory, and that’s what I’ll be doing come September!

If you’re thinking about spending some time here in the UK then I hope this bucket list will help you to plan a few trips! Given the size of the country, it really is a great place to easily explore, I guess I just didn’t realise it until recently…

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Get out on the road credit: fotoVoyager