Prior to my trip to the UK, I didn’t really know much about the country. My then-minimal-knowledge consisted of visuals of castles, artists I adore, architecture worthy of praise, and music worth listening to.
Before we headed over to the UK early this year, I was asked by my boyfriend (who’s from there) to come up with a list of things and places I would like to see which was to serve as a guide for our itinerary during our one-month holiday in his native country. The list you’ll find below is what I came up with.
As an update, I’ve included what we’ve managed to accomplish in reference to each item I listed. So let’s get started.
1.See a castle
I couldn’t go to the UK and leave without seeing one. First on my list was to see a castle.
Tynemouth Castle | The castle-towers are combined with the ruins of the Benedictine priory where early kings of Northumbria were buried.
The Castle, Newcastle | Here you’ll find the Castle Keep, the castle’s main stone tower, and the Black Gate.
The Castle, Newcastle
The Edinburgh Castle | This is the most visited paid tourist attraction in Scotland.
The Edinburgh Castle
2.See something significant in the art world | Van Gogh/Jane Austen
This has to be my favorite experience in the UK – all the art galleries with so many paintings that have influenced thousands of artists and continue to do so till this very day. I left the country inspired to keep drawing and painting. Here are some of the paintings I got to enjoy while visiting galleries in Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne, and London.
National Portrait Gallery, London
Sunflowers, Van Gogh 1888
Les Oliviers, Van Gogh 1889
Two Crabs, Van Gogh 1889
Portrait of Felix Pissaro, Camille Pissaro 1881
Head of a Peasant Woman, Van Gogh 1885
Portrait of Greta Moll, Henry Matisse 1908
Van Gogh’s The Chair at The National Gallery
My Random Pic at Tate Modern | Didn’t catch the name of this artwork, unfortunately.
One of Monica Bonvicini’s Art Pieces | The Baltic, Newcastle upon Tyne
The Baltic | Newcastle upon Tyne
3.To go to a bar with live music – somewhat Kodaline-ish
We didn’t get to do this but this will be first on our list next time we go! Hopefully, it will really be for one of Kodaline’s shows.
4.Meet Dermot O’Leary
Okay, a bit of context needed here I think. I look up to the guy; I think he’s one of the best radio DJs out there. Not a must, but would be nice to witness his hosting skills in the future.
5.Ride a double decker bus – specifically in London
Admittedly, we failed to do this in London as we did a lot of walking during our short stay in the city. We did, however, get to do it as soon as we arrived in London as we headed over to Abingdon and that is the second pic you’ll see below. We also got to ride a lot of double decker buses in Newcastle upon Tyne but as they are so common there, I failed to take pics. Next time, friends!
Tried my best to find a pic of a double decker bus. 😛 Here’s one taken in London.
6.See a country House
I had to think about this to figure out what I meant by see a country house in the UK. I think, however, this is the closest to the visual I had of country houses. This is the view you get from Whitby Abbey. Ahh, what a sight!
Whitby | Such a beautiful coastal town. It is known to be home to Whitby Abby which served as one of the inspirations behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula
7.Visit any beach
Tynemouth | From Newcastle, we rode a train to visit this beautiful town. Lovely views of the sea. Great fish and chips and a wonderful family that spent the whole day with us to show us around. Thanks to the Tonnesen-Woods!
Tynemouth | Not quite the same as our beaches in the Philippines, but you gotta admit – this one’s a beauty too!
8.See Jimmy’s hometown and spend time w his family!
This was one of the most important items on the list and we were able to spend lots of time with them. As they are a private family, choosing to keep most of their pics out of this blog and out of my vlogs. A big shoutout to them though for being such great tour guides during my stay there!
9.Have authentic fish and chips
Fish and Chips on the beach at Tynemouth – Can’t get any better than that! Here with Lotte
Fish & Chips | Tynemouth
10.Traditional roast dinner with roast potatoes and yorkshire pudding
Had this during the first weekend in the UK and about ten times after again. 😉 Really good!
11.Walk down Abbey Road for the beatles!
As one of my jobs is being a radio DJ for a station that mostly plays hits from previous decades, I could NOT go to London and not walk through this seemingly quiet but in reality really busy street – Abbey Road! I love the Beatles; in fact, my goodbye song every single day for my radio show is Hey Jude and my heart was almost to burst as I ticked this off my list.
Abbey Road | London
Abbey Road Studios | London
Abbey Road | London
12.Go to Shoreditch, London for the arts
We didn’t get to do this as we had such limited time in London. This was the tail end of our trip, but hoping we’ll get to visit next time.
That pretty much sums up the list I came up with and what we ended up doing and visiting during our UK trip.
9 out of 12, not too bad!
And anyway, we got to do other things which weren’t originally on list but still got to enjoy thanks to our amazing tour guides while we were there.
Sharing a few pictures of our other adventures while we were in the UK:
Shakespeare’s Globe | Wikipedia: “Shakespeare’s Globe is the complex housing a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse associated with William Shakespeare, in the London Borough of Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames. The original theatre was built in 1599, destroyed by fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614, and then demolished in 1644.”
Portobello Road | Wikipedia: “Portobello Road is a street in the Notting Hill district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in west London. It runs almost the length of Notting Hill from south to north, roughly parallel with Ladbroke Grove. On Saturdays it is home to Portobello Road Market, one of London’s notable street markets, known for its second-hand clothes and antiques.”
Right outside of Victoria Memorial
We watched Wicked in London! One of my favorite plays, I was in heaven!
Tower Bridge | Wikipedia: “Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London”
Tower Bridge | What a magnificent bridge!
Busy streets in front of the Houses of Parliament
St. James Park
Dinner at The Shard | Thanks to my boyfriend’s family for this amazing gift!
Sky Garden | Thanks to my friend Raya for setting this up – amazing view of the city from there!
Whitby Abbey | Tip: Check the schedule to make sure they are open; we couldn’t go inside when we went but we still got treated to a great walk around the abby with amazing views.
What I love most about this place is the calming view and relaxing vibe.
The church next to the abbey.
Walk down to town.
We couldn’t walk by without taking a pic at this spot.
Northumberland | Sycamore Gap
Known as “The Robin Hood Tree,” this sycamore tree is famous for being featured in the film. This is one of the most photographed trees in the UK.
Tip: Be prepared as it is quite a hike to get to the spot. Stunning views and worth it.
Sycamore Gap | One of the famous trees in the world!
Northumberland | Corbridge
We enjoyed a quiet walk around town and its charming little artsy stores.
Newcastle upon Tyne
Blackett St. | Downtown views, great shopping spots, great and scenic city!
Laing Art Gallery | Posing in front of the wall of Laing Art Gallery
Six @Baltic | Beautiful view, wonderful dinner date had
View from one of the bridges in Newcastle upon Tyne
The Baltic in Newcastle upon Tyne
You can’t have to many bridges!
Scottish National Gallery
Walking around – This is the view you get treated to! I am so in love with this city.
The Balmoral Hotel
The Omni Centre | This was right next to our hotel, The Glasshouse Hotel
St. Nicholas Church
The UK is B E A U T I F U L. It’s almost impossible to see its beauty in its entirety in just one month. From Abingdon to Newbury to Newcastle upon Tyne to Tynemouth to Northumberland to Whitby to Edinburgh and to London, endless sights to see and enjoy. What I love most about it is the abundance of great architecture and beautiful historical paintings. I left the country wanting to create more, draw more, and paint more. And I have this trip to thank for that.
There are lots left to be visited and seen and I can’t wait to plan another trip there in the future!