Monday, October 31, 2016

Family Trip to UK, October 2016: I An overview

My family arrived in the UK through Manchester on the evening of the 30th of September 2016. Having flown on Turkish Airlines, they looked tired. I went to pick them up in a car I had hired from Enterprise - a US based company that works out of many locations in the UK. 

I took my family straight home to my residential quarters in the hospital, where they settled in for the night. From the next morning, we were on the move. We first went to Bath, where we stayed for 2 nights, then Oxford and onward to London, where we spent three nights. Our next destination was York where we would stay for 2 nights, but before that, we stayed one night at Cambridge. After York, we stopped for a night at Durham, then proceeded to Edinburgh, where we stayed for 3 nights. From Edinburgh, we moved to the Lake District, where we stayed near Hawkshead for one night, and then, onward to Blackpool itself, where we stayed for 5 nights. On the 20th, my family took a return flight from Manchester to Mumbai, thus ending a memorable 21 day holiday that had everything in it.

This, then, was the itinerary (as planned and how it panned out):

30/09/2016: Arrive in the UK via Manchester. Stay overnight in Blackpool at my place.
01/10/2016: Travel to Bath, and arrival to Aquae Sulis Hotel. Evening walk to local places. 02/10/2016: Visit to The Roman Baths. Onward to Stonehenge. Return to hotel.
03/10/2016: Drive to Oxford. No stay. Explore the sights and buildings on foot. Punting on the local river. Drive to Castle Comb village for an unique rural experience. Evening train to London. Stay at the Notting Hill Gate Hotel.
04/10/2016: London sight-seeing. Hop-on, hop-off bus tour. London Eye. Thames river cruise. London bus tour by night.
05/10/2016: Museum of Natural History. St. Paul's Cathedral. More local sight-seeing.
06/10/2016: Leave London and drive to Cambridge. Overnight at Cambridge.
07/10/2016: Cambridge colleges sight-seeing. Drive onward to York. Overnight at Clearly Apartments in Bootham.
08/10/2016: Explore York. Visits to the Minster, to the Shambles and other local sights. Overnight.
09/10/2016: Leave York and travel to Durham. Visit to Durham Cathedral. Could not see the castle as it was closed that day. Stay overnight, 
10/10/2016: Planned hot-air ballooning with Virgin. This flight was aborted because of inclement weather. Proceed to Edinburgh. En route, unscheduled halt at the Vindalonda Village (old Roman archaeological site) and Hadrian's Wall. Reaching Edinburgh at night, overnight at Heather's Place (booked on AirBnB).
11/10/2016: Full day bus trip to Scottish Highlands and visit to Loch Ness. Return to accommodation overnight.
12/10/2016: Full day Edinburgh sight-seeing. Visited the Edinburgh Castle and a few more places. Stay at the accommodation overnight.
13/10/2016: Leave Edinburgh and arrive at Hawkshead at the High Grassings Hotel at Outgate in the Lake District. Stay overnight.
14/10/2016: Check out, and drive to Blackpool Stop at Tarn Hows on the way for a few hours of brilliant sights of the Lake District. Drive by ferry to Bowness-on-Windermere. Take a boat trip from Bowness-on-Windermere to Brockhole, then Brockhole to Ambleside, and then return to Bowness on Windermere. Drive back to Blackpool in the evening. Arrive at Blackpool and stay overnight.
15/10/2016: Drive to Manchester. Visit to Manchester United FC. Return to Blackpool.
16/10/2016: Drive to the Birds of Prey Centre at Trubary Woods, Duxbury, Preston. Amazing experience with hawks, owls, kestrels and falcons. Then, drive onward to Liverpool where we spent the evening at the Waterfront. Overnight at Blackpool.
17/10/2016: Local sightseeing at Blackpool, Visits to the Blackpool Tower, Dungeons, Sealife and Madame Tussaud's. Overnight at Blackpool
18/10/2016: I resumed work at the hospital while the family went to the Pleasure Beach.
19/10/2016: Shopping and enjoying the last night with family.
20/10/2016: Drive family to Manchester airport, from where they returned to Mumbai with Turkish Airlines.