Author’s Excursion – A Trip to the United Kingdom

Join Novel Three on a Author’s Excursion to the United Kingdom! Get ready for photo overload!

Rachel Collett

Backstory

I have always wanted to go to the United Kingdom. I may write fantasy fiction, but I am an avid reader of regency and so when the chance came upon me, I grabbed it. Actually, I grabbed Kate and together we traveled to Manchester, England, then jaunted up to Edinburgh, Scotland in early October for a week-long adventure.

And readers, it was beyond magical.

The Experience: United Kingdom

It is hard to sum up the experience in one blog post, so instead I’ll highlight some of my favorite stops.

Sycamore Gap: Located in Northumberland, walk 13 at Hadrian’s Wall is in one word: amazing.
Hadrian’s Wall: Walk 13 to Sycamore Gap

Pictures cannot do it justice. Everything about this little trek is breathtaking. The ancient wall, the stone paths up a steep incline, the lone tree in the sycamore gap—no wonder this was my #1 favorite sight on our trip to the UK.

Haworth: Be still my beating heart. Our main goal in visiting this site was to tour the parsonage where Charlotte Bronte lived and penned my all-time favorite novel, Jane Eyre, but we got so much more.
Haworth on our way to the Bronte Parsonage

The town is charming, with its cobblestone lanes and its street-lined shops. The cemetery is hauntingly splendid with plenty of fodder for the imagination. I played in the fields with white, fat sheep and friendly horses until Kate dragged me away. (Okay, the animals were behind a low stone wall, but I would have played with them if I could).

York Minster Cathedral: If you want history, culture, adventure, fantastic architecture, and a good workout… go to the York Minster.

We were able to climb a gothic tower, hear the choir sing, witness the amazing acoustics of the vaulted ceilings, and hear the tolling of the bells.

Overall, almost everything I experienced on this trip was priceless and I can’t wait to go back!

Lessons Learned:

  1. As a friend from my favorite breakfast stop, JP Pancake, told me, “take a good pair of boots.” And he should know… he’s from the United Kingdom (England). This advice was huge! My feet were never cold, and we hiked for miles without a single blister. Thanks, Shaun, for the #1 best advice for our trip.
  2. Driving in the United Kingdom is insane. It was lovely having the freedom to go where we wanted, when we wanted. However, driving a small manual rental car on the opposite side of the car, on the opposite side of the street, on carriage-sized roads, with other vehicles zooming past mere inches from side-swiping you… that’s a whole other story. Confident drivers are necessary!
  3. Southern Cross Cafe: Eggs Benedict

    Limit the layovers to ONE if you can. We had two layovers. The trip there wasn’t so bad, but the trip back was a 26-hour ordeal, and for the first time in my life I got plane sickness. Coincidence? I think not. On the plus side, this did save us $300 that went to eating out and souvenirs. Eggs Benedict from the Southern Cross Cafe, in Edinburgh, Scotland, was my absolute favorite meal in the United Kingdom. I have since tried to recreate this fantastic gluten-free breakfast and have failed miserably!

  4. Layer Up!

    Layer up! My daily wear included tights, fleece-lined leggings, wool socks, boots, tank top, sweater, jacket, and scarf. Sometimes I threw on my gloves and beanie. Some might think that was excessive, but I was never really cold, and it is a lot nicer to unwrap when you get too warm, than to freeze because you’re not wearing enough.

Kate’s Take

This was my second time battling UK roads in a rental car. That’s why I made Rachel drive. (Once was enough for me, thanks. PTSD is real.) I adored our treks to Sycamore Gap and Arthur’s Seat. Even though I’m the athletic equivalent of a pudding cup, I would totally hike them again.

We stopped at Gretna Green on our way back from Edinburgh to Manchester, to my literary delight. Pretty sure that’s the point that Rachel pegged me as a complete nutcase. But guys, it was Gretna Green. Iconic.

Jill’s Take