Series – Family Adventures Across Great Britain
Come on a journey with us as we share favorite family moments along our twelve day adventure across Great Britain. Walk with us as we explore several of London’s most iconic sites. Meander through the streets of Old Town Edinburg, experiencing Scotland’s past, and its present!
Stand at the summit of a Scottish Highlands munro, gazing upon incredible scenery. Step beneath the arches of a medieval abbey, amazed by centuries-old architecture still standing today. Walk trails once traversed by ancient Roman soldiers as they patrolled an empire. Yes, this will be a family vacation of epic proportions! Will you join us?
Explorations of Iconic London
Our adventure begins in iconic London, England, home of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, The British Museum, The Tower of London, and red telephone booths! We will experience each of these well known sites, and a few lesser known ones as well, during our four days in this dynamic city.
We’ll wander the halls of the amazing British Museum, witnessing ancient treasures from across the globe. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Climb to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral and gaze upon London from high above. We’ll stand before The Globe Theatre, imagining how Shakespeare might have seen it “back in the day.”
We’ll go inside The Tower of London and stand before London Bridge. Take a ride on the London Eye and walk the halls of the Imperial War Museum. And when evening comes, we’ll experience London under cloak of darkness. A trip to London isn’t complete without an evening stroll along the Thames, witnessing Big Ben beneath a setting sun.
Along Edinburgh’s Famed Royal Mile
Alas, our time in London is up. Our northbound train is ready to board and our three days exploring Edinburgh’s history, hidden gems and local culture is about to begin. First stop? The iconic Royal Mile and Castle Hill, the center of action in Old Town Edinburgh.
We’ll walk the Royal Mile, top to bottom, bottom to top, and a few side streets too. We’ll stand before Holyroodhouse Palace at one end, and Edinburgh Castle at the other. Along the way, we’ll meet a few locals, explore quaint shops selling trinkets reminiscent of days long ago, and perhaps pick out a kilt of our own!
We’ll spend a morning inside Edinburgh Castle, where we will step inside St. Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh’s oldest building. Then head outdoors in the afternoon for a hike up Arthur’s Seat and spectacular views across Edinburgh. Last but not least. we’ll explore the ruins of a small medieval chapel set on a rocky outcrop overlooking Edinburgh.
We’ll meander in and out of Old Town’s side streets. See where Harry Potter sprung to life. Witness thousands of years of history at the National Museum of Scotland. Stop to catch a street-side show, then end our time here in a Scottish pub sampling local fare and drink. Good food. Great company!
Adventures in The Scottish Highlands
Enough cities! It’s time for the great outdoors and the Cairngorm Mountains along the southern edge of the Scottish Highlands. Though our time in the Highlands was limited, our experiences and adventures provided a taste for the amazing Highlands, and a desire to return again one day for a more in-depth exploration.
Follow along as we tackle our first hillwalk at Meall a’ Bhuachaille. Experience the incredible beauty and wilderness of the Cairngorms as the hike winds through ancient pines, along a windswept ridge with amazing views, and past a brilliant blue loch. Bring an extra layer. It’s cold at the summit!
Check out the echo-abilities along the trails of Loch an Eilein and its 13th century island castle. This is a relatively easy walk, but one certainly filled with interest. Ask yourself: why was the castle built on a remote island anyway? And yes, there really is an echo, once the optimal location is discovered!
Go back to the time of Scottish clans, kilts, and battles at Urquhart Castle, set high up on the banks of Loch Ness. Experience glimpses into a 1,000 years of Scottish history that have passed through these storied buildings. Who knows? Maybe you’ll spot Nessie the Loch Ness Monster out there in the water!
Inside Scotland’s Border Abbeys
The last leg of our Great Britain adventure finds us exploring along the Scottish and English borderlands. We will experience first hand three magnificent 12th century abbeys, their structures long ago abandoned, yet remain today as a testament to the devotion of those who built these marvelous medieval masterpieces.
Walk with us as we go inside three of the famed Border Abbeys. Stand before Melrose Abbey, perhaps the best known, and most preserved. Founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks on the request of Scotland’s King David I, these hallowed grounds are said to house the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce! But the question is … where?
Walk within the remains of Jedburgh Abbey’s ancient cathedral halls, established in 1154 by Augustinian monks. Explore the grounds where Scotland’s Alexander II was married in 1285. Admire the same rose window that he and his bride also gazed upon.
Continue along the Border Abbeys journey to Dryburgh Abbey, built in 1150 by an order of Premonstratensian monks. Sit for a moment and comtemplate 12th century monk life here in remote Dryburgh. Imagine the simplicity of their daily lives, and the harshness as well, in what was once a massive, monastic enclave.
Hiking Along Hadrian’s Wall
Last but certainly not least, our journey finds us standing at the edge of civilization, or at least how the Roman Empire viewed these lands! Our last two days will be spent hiking along the ancient Hadrian’s Wall, once guardian of the furthest north-west reaches of the ancient Roman Empire, and now a World Heritage Site.
Hadrian’s Wall cuts a 73 mile long swath along the border lands that separate England and Scotland. Some say it was designed to keep “the barbarians” out. Mostly, it represented the expansion efforts of Emperor Hadrian, who in 122 A.D. ordered its construction to protect Roman holdings in this vast frontier land.
Walk the very footpaths once traversed by ancient Roman soldiers as they patrolled the last bastion of Roman controlled lands. Stand inside a Roman Milecastle. Step through the remains of a Roman gate. Walk past a Roman fort, its foundations still visible. Witness a land divided by a massive stone wall. It will be most memorable!
That’s A Wrap!
As they say, all things soon come to an end, as does this fabulous family adventure in Great Britain. But wait. There’s more to come! Stick around as we go in-depth on each of our main adventures. Learn more about each experience, and what we witnessed. See more photos of an epic adventure this family will long remember.
Meet a few locals along the way. Meander along ancient paths, and across grassy fields. Go underground into an alley long ago swallowed up by the streets up above. Stand before iconic sites renown the world over. See you soon!
All images by C.Biederman.