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Who needs London

Thank you helpful users, especially @Golden Girl, @Isn31c, and @Helen for all the feedback and support. I just got back from my 15 day first trip abroad. We went to York, Whitby, Conwy, Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Bristol, Dartmoor, and Cornwall. In Cornwall we had an airBnB in Truro that we used as base to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Tintagel Castle, Newquay, Mousehole, and Penzance.

Hidden Gems
Newquay is a great beach town with a hip, young and friendly vibe. Dads chasing kids on the shore, people swimming around boats, young people working in shops and rescuing birds. Great vibe.

Monmouth Brecon Canal between Abergavenny and Crickhowell is a flat and beautiful walk. I really wish I had more time for hiking here. Wales in general was so nice. Bodnant Garden out of Conwy, Conwy Castle and the town, Llandanado, all of it is worth your time. Strangers are friendly and chatty. Great food too.

Bristol is a really cool fun city. It reminded me of San Fran and Seattle. There is street art on every building and all of it was good. People are super friendly. Great music scene. We went to a place called Wake the Tiger. 10/10 recommend for something really different and fun.

Postbridge in Dartmoor. I want to go back to Dartmoor so much. We did Rick's drive outlined in his England book, walked up a tor and saw the ruins of a bronze age fort. Stop in Postbridge and walk over the stone slab bridge. Get a cream tea at the little cafe next to the tourist office. There is a great little hike right by the tourist office that takes you through a bronze age village and burial cairn. So cool.

It was my perfect trip. I met lots of friendly people, walked miles everyday, ate great food, and saw tons of flowers, birds, and countryside. It made my hobbit heart full.

Posted by
587 posts

What a wonderful trip! I’m so glad you had a good time. Great that you went to Bristol - yes, definitely a San Fran/Seattle vibe with that mix of seafaring history and hip culture.

What an adventure for your first trip abroad - come back soon!

Posted by
6777 posts

Thank you for that lovely trip report.

Nice to see Newquay mentioned- a town I really like, but which doesn't get too much love on here. Totally agree on the vibe there, and the magnificent surfing beaches. Also one of the cheapest fish and chip shops in the UK!! as an aside. The one opposite the railway station.

The Mon and Brec (as it is colloquially known) is the only part of the open inland waterways system I haven't properly visited (done parts of it), end to end- largely because it is disconnected from the rest of the system.
That is a reminder to me of one of my outstanding trips.
The Mon and Brec (for the benefit of anyone else reading) as a through 33 mile walk is one you could easily do in day stages by staying at the HF House at Brecon.

Posted by
587 posts

The first time I went to Newquay it just happened to be the week after the end of school exams: GCSEs and A-levels and I hated it, to the point of feeling threatened by the sheer amount of public drunkenness, teenagers being sick or lying unconscious on the beaches and in the streets early evening… but I was really unfortunate with my timing.

I’ve been back since, at different times, and it’s a stunning place. And yes, I love @kittycate’s attitude - it has that casual young vibe which keeps it buzzing, which makes it unique in Cornwall I think. So I feel I’ve probably been churlish about it in the past due to that one really bad experience.

Posted by
2017 posts

I was a Londonphile until I went to Yorkshire and York. I loved the city and the surrounding countryside and people seemed a lot more friendly. Glad you had a nice time and yes there is more to the UK than just London.

Posted by
6777 posts

Now this is an amazing coincidence- a new U tube video has just dropped about the Poppy Fields of West Pentire, near Newquay (a National Trust site).
I have never heard of them, but they apparently bloom in late May/early June- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj89t-6khps

If in the area at the right time that looks like a nice side trip.

The fun way to get over to Crantock is to take the high tide Fern Pit Gannel ferry over to Crantock from East Pentire, Newquay- the ferry runs on demand. At Low tide the ferry is replaced with a retractable foot bridge- a unique arrangement

Posted by
241 posts

A lot of work has gone into Newquay in the last 4-5 years to eradicate underage drinking and deter stag and hen parties. It is having an effect and the place is much improved.

Posted by
1196 posts

I’m glad you had a good time. Wake the Tiger is brilliant and SO Bristol. Quite difficult to explain what it is - you just have to go!

Posted by
4359 posts

Thanks for the report! Some of these places are on my “future visit” list but

Bodnant Garden out of Conwy, Conwy Castle and the town, Llandanado, all of it is worth your time. Strangers are friendly and chatty. Great food too.

I will be here in a few weeks, so it’s nice to have your positive experience!

Posted by
1010 posts

I know the poppy fields at West Pentire very well as we used to go to the Crantock Bay Hotel there every year from when our boys were born until they no longer wanted to come and then again with my mother-in-law as she got elderly. The hotel closed down about 10 years ago and was converted into very nice apartments and in July we will be back with my eldest son and granddaughter to start the cycle again. Too late for the poppies but it's still a wonderful walk across the headland to Porth Joke or Polly Joke beach. A stunning little cove and beach, where we once swam with seals.

The main beach at Crantock is one of my favourite beaches anywhere - a huge expanse of sand which almost disappears every high tide. As Stuart says the ferry across the River Gannel is a fun way to get there from Newquay.

Posted by
461 posts

Great trip report.

Am also HUGELY impressed that you also avoided the Cotswolds and Bath. Both vastly over-rated imo.

Posted by
442 posts

Thanks for your report. We just booked flights to UK for October. Wales may be our focus of the quickly planned trip. Will be eager to hear about your trip TTM.

Posted by
15728 posts

Who needs London

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford.

-----Samuel Johnson

Posted by
81 posts

“London is a splendid place to live in for those who can get out of it.” - George John Gordon Bruch, Lord Balfour of Burleigh

Posted by
2077 posts

It makes a change to read about someone who didn't go to London. There's a lot of England out there waiting to be discovered!