The end of my OxTrad adventure marks the beginning of the United Kingdom tour with my parents. We’ve affectionately named our vacation Anarchy in the UK. It started in southern England with a trip to Highclere Castle, otherwise known as Downton Abbey. The castle and the grounds are magnificient and proved to be a great photo opportunity! Additionally, the history of the house is incredible; for example, like in Downton Abbey, it was used as a hospital during World War I.
We then explored Wales by driving along the coast and stopping in Swansea and Aberyswyth, two beautiful coastal towns. Along our drive up the coast (which, let me tell you, was nervewracking with my father driving) we stumbled upon a town called Fishguard, in which there was an old fort overlooking the sea. This is my favoite place so far because the sea was so stunning.
After our journey up the coast, we stayed in Holyhead in order to catch the ferry to Dublin the next day. To be honest, Dublin was not my favorite because it is pretty gray and industrial, but the food is great! While there, I toured Trinity College—an historic university renowned for its huge library and the Book of Kells. As a committed bibliophile, I could have stayed in the library all day. It was wonderfully overwhelming.
After a couple of days in Dublin, we took the ferry back to Wales and continued to Derby, England. We caught a production of Pride and Prejudice at Chatsworth House. The spectacular manor was Jane Austen’s inspiration for Darcy’s Pemberley, not to mention the Keira Knightley version of the film was shot there. So it was an especially appropriate location for the show. We had a picnic on the lawn while we watched the stage production of the novel, and the next day we came back to explore the house and the expansive gardens.
Finally, we rounded out the week with a trip to Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda. Since I am a Latin student and active member of my state’s Classics League (dorky, I know), this was fascinating for me. The Roman fort and village has survived for over 1800 years! They even have shoes, jewelry and letters in the museum which have remained intact.
We are now in a cottage in Cupar, Scotland, where we will stay for the next week while doing daily excursions within Scotland. A little more than a week left, and I’ll keep you all posted!