Day trip to the shores of Irish Sea, Blackpool

England, UK

Blackpool is an attraction for all during summer in the UK. It is an old town on the seashore of the Irish Sea, welcoming thousands of tourists every year. I had an opportunity to visit this place as a first to see the seaside in England.

DSC_0167

It is true, that the most rewarding time of the year in there is the hot summer days, however, we’d to be happy with windy and somewhat cool weather; but, nevertheless, we had a great time, because of what Blackpool had to offer.

Getting there

If you are coming from the south, as we did, one of the best ways is to use the coach coming from Manchester Piccadilly, which wasn’t expensive at all and takes something like an hour and half to get there. They would drop you off at the coach station, which is the centre of the town, and you would be able to see the Blackpool tower already, in which you can get in, however, it was too expensive for us.

DSC_0012

Blackpool Tower

Staying in Blackpool

We stayed in one of the hotels, located in the central part of the town, while booking through Booking.com, it was a cheap deal at that time, 28 pounds for a double room per night, however, I do think that prices vary on the season and demand. You can view property here, it was clean and had what we needed, our needs being…humble. The best part was that it was in the centre and the coach and train stations were within the walking distance.

What to do

DSC_0004

Comic Carpet

First day was rainy and very windy, so we took our time to look around at the moments that weren’t so damp; walked around the town and visited seaside, which was refurbished and fairly modern, and you can see the Comic Carpet in front of the Blackpool Tower. We also had a lovely dinner at Bella Italia, which was one of the few open in the evening, since it wasn’t the tourist season, they had vegan options, so I chose Lenticchi and it was good. Blackpool has a shopping centre, so if you find yourself bored, you can spend some time browsing shops.

On the second day, we thought that we have a long afternoon for such small city, knowing that swimming in the sea or tanning weren’t our options during this weather, we thought, we could go to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, an amusement park. We made our reservations a day before online, apparently this way it is cheaper. The park is a bit further away from the centre, so it took us around 40 minutes of walking to get there. Little piece of advice, if the weather is somewhat sketchy, do purchase raincoats in city centre souvenir shops, because if you are in the amusement park, they will be much more expensive and some rides can get you wet!

After we got our wristbands, we went to deposit our backpacks into safe lockers, because it would be tedious to carry them around and went in to have fun. Honestly, we spent more than 4 hours there until we got exhausted, but there is so much to do. Rides vary from mild ones and the ones designed for very small children to extreme and aggressive ones. You can purchase some merchandise and food in there, however, none of the stalls that were open that day seemed to have vegan or vegetarian options, so you might need to think beforehand.

DSC_0158

Pleasure Beach

We tried almost every ride in there, getting wet, scared or screaming; the Big One, was actually really really high for my standards, so I must admit, however am I brave, it got me scared as hell.

That park got a lot of to offer to keep you occupied and I think it did its justice for the price. Blackpool also has some other amusement sites including aquapark, but we had to choose an option and I wasn’t disappointed with the Pleasure Beach.

All in all, I must say, while Blackpool was definitely a different England experience for me, I wouldn’t spend more than 2 or 3 days in there, because if the weather is not good enough, the town is way too small to keep you occupied. However, for a family or couple daytrip it is a very much suitable place.

Day trip to Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon

England, UK

Not exactly a day trip, more like a day and a half; was quick, sweet and asks to be repeated. While I kindly ask you to excuse my poorly taken photos (at that time I was trying my newly bought camera), I would like to shortly introduce why I liked these little English towns and what makes me want to go back.

Warwick is a very small town, by my judging, surrounded by beautiful nature. Located in the county of Warwickshire, region of West Midlands. Small population. A lovely place to live for middle-class people, yes. I had an opportunity to visit St. Mary’s church, although most of the photos were ruined due to the lack of my ability to work on manual settings. This church was founded in 12th century by Roger de Newburgh, Earl of Warwick. The only original part of the building left is the Crypt. While it was interesting to see such archaic pieces of architecture left, I was more impressed by the exterior. Gothic buildings were always my passion and this particularly is impressive due to its size. The entrance to the church is free when not in service, open to donations. You are allowed to visit the Crypt and other rooms, take pictures. The cemetery and the backyard behind the church is worth seeing as well.

DSC_0025

DSC_0017

Warwick is not big of a town, but there are things to see. Especially the Warwick Castle. While I had the time and the funds only to see it from afar and not to visit the inside, it certainly took me a moment to appreciate. The original castle was built in 1068 and the one today is rebuilt and changed bit by bit, the historical location remains the same.

DSC_0062

Another place I would definitely suggest seeing is Lord Leycester Hospital Garden, I do not remember paying anything for it, but it was lovely, it had this Egyptian urn; I had to take pictures! However, as it was not the season, it was not blossoming and giving the full effect, so it is smart to visit the garden in spring/summer.

DSC_0095

Food: Afternoon tea experience in Thomas Oken Tea Rooms: a tudor house just right in the city center. Cutesy, teeny tiny house with that ‘medieval’ feeling. Generous amount of tea served in vintage china. We ordered afternoon tea, which included sandwiches with side salad (sandwiches had vegan&vegetarian options; vegan one being hummus and chutney?), two scones with jam and clotted cream and there were also options to choose a cake, however, not too sure if any of them were vegan, but you always can ask. Despite being a bit pricey for my pocket, it was a good English experience and I would certainly recommend it.

DSC_0031

Getting to and around in Warwick: I caught some cheaper train tickets via Birmingham, however, best it is book online through trainline.com very well in advance. English trains are a luxury here and buying them on the day is going to hurt your wallet badly and earn them money they do not deserve. I was lucky to be picked up from the station by a car, but Warwick Train Station itself is only 10 minutes away from city centre by foot, unless you get off somewhere earlier, like Warwick Parkway which will be 2,5 km away from city centre. All attractions are within walking distance in here.

Second day in Stratford-upon-Avon

The second afternoon was spent in Stratford-upon-Avon, however, I believe it needs at least two days to fully enjoy and visit everything. I did not take that many pictures and there is a lack of them in this post, sorry for that.

DSC_0130

So, it is a prominently tourist town, therefore, consider your SEASON of travel, otherwise it might be ruined by mass tourism that this tiny place attracts. As you would expect, everything about Stratford will be themed around William Shakespeare from souvenir shops to museums, streets and whatever. Lots of medieval-themed buildings, alleys, great fun for children or adult sized children (me).

DSC_0164.jpg

I will have to be honest, I did not go to the Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the main museum; why? I could not bring myself to pay over 20 quid for an entry. It was really disappointing, I wish I could and I want to blame every single person who made this national treasure into unaffordable business for people like me. It was all blocked by a wall and bushes, so I could not even peek at it. However, I made myself a promise that when I am back there, I will definitely go and make sure I savour and devour all of it for those bloody 26 or so pounds.

DSC_0119

Thou shalt not pass; this I gathered.

However, I went to a souvenir shop few steps away and bought some Shakespeare themed goodz, I could not hold myself from that. Then, as I clearly remember, we went to see the Royal Shakespeare Theater (I mean the building from the outside) and I did not imagine it was so… architecturally… unappealing? It was one of those experiences of old buildings being mated with modern buildings that look always out of place, however, do not get scared. Because it is supposed to look impressive on the inside, that is why I will be going back there to see an actual play, because it is in my so-called bucket list for all things England.

Startford has a lot of independent medieval-looking shops and I think one of the bookshops looked particularly Harry Potter styled. Maybe. Definitely worth visiting and seeing. Especially the candy shops, so adorable. Go there. I did not see too much in inside and museum wise, however I walked around the main streets and I strongly suggest going to Stratford, especially to experience what you primarily came to England for. There are couple things I did not see, including the University of Stratford, which I do not think of a loss though.

DSC_0120

Getting around in Stratford: I did not use public transport, but there is all information on here.