Nothing is more fascinating than exploring a country by driving through it. I have fallen in love with road trip after my first journey in New Zealand in 2016. Driving a car is very different from being a passenger. Although the scenery is the same along the way, the feeling of holding the wheel, controlling on speed, deciding on rest stops, and the most important thing is not missing a single scene of the journey, is an amazingly FREE.
Enjoying the magnificent landscapes passing by along the way, admiring when the scenery is transformed after a turn or a high hill, tensely navigating through dangerous zigzag roads under heavy rains are unforgettable moments that only the driver can feel.
Great Britain is a perfect destination for a road trip as the picturesque landscapes are spread from North to South and the distance among them is not too far. Public transportation is quite frustrated as it just connects big cities. In order to explore fully this beauty of wild nature, as well as the remote vintage villages, the best option is driving a car.
Our original plan, in fact, had covered the entire of Great Britain, including England, Scotland and North Ireland. However, when we started planning the detailed itinerary, we decided to skip Ireland as we didn’t want our schedule was too packed. 2 weeks was just enough for us to explore selected places of England and Scotland. It was a combination of sight-seeing in big cities, wanderlusting in small towns along the way, being amazed at the charming beauty of fairy-tale villages, as well as spectacularly experiencing the winding highland roads with the view of various as-large-as-ocean lochs/ lakes .
Day 1-6: Strolling through mythical Scotland
Thinking about Scotland, what immediately come to your mind? Gloomy year-round weather in a sparsely populated land, or muscle men in red checquered skirts, playing traditional bagpipes, or mysterious lochs with their legendary monsters.
To me, Scotland is much more mythical and fascinating. There are big cities in which the modern ambience comes from its medieval appearance and the tranquility is like countryside. It also has an immense natural setting with countless zigzag highland roads, big and small valleys and hilly glens, which are not brilliantly spectacular, but distinctly faint as Scotland’s features.
I fell in love with Edinburgh at the first sight because of its idyllic old town and charming houses covered with trees. Relaxing in the enchanting scenery of the Neist Point lighthouse, admiring the white clouds hovering on Loch Ness lake, listen to the whistling wind in the drizzle on twisting hilly roads of Glencoe highlands were memorable experiences in my journey strolling through mythical Scotland.
Day 7-15: The noble and enchanting charm of England
The most mentions about England are probably the city of London, its world-prestigious universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, the royal stories in Buckingham Palace or the coldness and arrogance of English people. However, this trip made me realize that the authentic uniqueness of the country not only reflected in the noble splendor of the ancient castles, the sophisticated architectures in major cities, but also in the rustic and quaint charm of fairy-tale villages.
I was really fascinated by the magical beauty of charming villages, as if they had come out of fairy-tale world. Clusters of ancient stone cottages with mossy fences, old bridges that stretch over winding streams, narrow cobbled village alleys and quaint pubs, all evoke the romance of a time gone by.
(Click to the links to read our daily itinerary)
Finishing our 2 weeks road trip through England and Scotland, the impressions that set me apart are the differences between major cities and countryside towns. It sounds obvious, yet what I want to emphasize not only the visible differences of the scenery, but also the sensations that I have experienced.
If the big cities in England and Scotland have a classical noble look which is somewhat gorgeous and luxurious, and their vitality comes from young crowd rushing on the streets of Edinburgh, Oxford or London, the rural towns with their primitive natural beauty which is orderly tidy feature a melancholy, if not to say lack of liveliness. These places seem to be forgotten by the local youth, there are only the elderly living quietly and lonely in the countryside, with their pet, as old as them.
Another interesting thing that I learnt from this trip is the prejudice of the cold, arrogant and fussy British seems to be outdated, or it was used to describe ancient aristocrats. Today, all of British people we have meet on the trip are very friendly and enthusiastic. Therefore,seeing is believing, we should only believe what we truly experience.
Traveled in Sep, 2017