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4 mates, 1 car, 7 days. The entire length of mainland UK.
1st night. Just a few miles from Lands End, the "beginning" of our trip (we actually started in Surrey, drove down on the Friday evening). Can't recall the hotel, but it was very friendly, the owner stayed up specially because we were late and kept the bar open until we wanted to go to bed. Famous throughout the world through Gilbert & Sullivans "The Pirates of Penzance". We didn't actually get to see any of it cos it was late and we left early.
The most westerly point of England, 874 miles to John O'Groats. Windy on the day we were there, but clear. Has some attractions, but not exactly a whole day out.... onward!
Now we're talking, proper tourist stuff, worth seeing. A huge biosphere project housing a variety of different climates and plant life. Much more interesting than it might sound. Last chance to get a Cornish Pasty in Cornwall (although they are available everywhere else in the country).
It's a big gorge... with a road running through it. It's not going to impress anyone who's seen the Grand Canyon, but it is beautiful scenery, quaint tea shops, etc. There's some caves for the non-claustophobic types too.
2nd night. Bath, beautiful historical city of Roman baths (recently restored), good shops, restaurants, bars etc. Fanastic Somerset on your doorstep. The hotel is ok, has a bar, breakfast, 5-10 minute walk to town, what more do you need? Spent the evening exploring town, having a great meal, then dancing the night away at a cheesy club.
Shakespeare country. Nice little town with some good pubs, theatres etc. Would make a great base for exploring the Midlands. We just had lunch and a wander.
3rd night. Fantastic deal online meant that we stayed at his 4 star hotel smackbang in the city centre for Â£25 each (Â£50 per twin room). Lovely decor, very modern, large rooms, and fluffy, cosy cisp white bed linen. Modern bathroom with frosted glass galore. Perfect base to explore the lively and historic city of Nottingham with the castle, Robin Hood exhibition, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (Britains oldest pub) and fantastic nightlife (lots of students, one of the highest female to male ratios in the UK....)
Simply beautiful scenery with some gorgeous views, villages and obviously great for hiking should the fancy take you.
Little town in the Peak District, our stop for lunch, at the Dog Inn. Good wholesome food, friendly people, just had to mention it. Pay it a visit if you're in the area.
4th night. "The Vegas of the North"... Allow me to be controversial... I'm not too keen on Blackpool. It has thousands of hotels, pubs, clubs, cinemas , the famous Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Pleasure Beach with its theme park rides. Thousands of people flock there every year for fun and debauchery (lots of hen and stag nights). That's the main problem. There we were, 4 blokes, no room booked in advance, low season. Could we get a room.... no. "sorry, no groups of lads", "er...4 lads.... no we're full... oh hi girls, come on in..." "So 2 of you is it, double bed?... No, so you're not gay.... sorry, no groups of lads." we felt thoroughly pariahed for having a Y chromosone and either not travelling with our girlfriends, or being gay. Eventually we did find a cheap "apartment" for the night... We left very early the next morning vowing never to return. Having said that, lots of people LOVE Blackpool, just make sure you book in advance if you're in a group of blokes.
The Lake District... wonderful. Too many tourist come to our great country to see Buck Palace and Harrods but don't get out into the countryside. A must see for lovers of mountains, lakes, walking and Beatrix Potter. We stopped for lunch in Ambleside, we could have stayed for much longer but we had a schedule to keep...
As famous for eloping a getting married in the UK as Las Vegas is in the US. Not much to see if you're not planning to get hitched, but worth a stop.
5th night. A must see, the bonny bonny banks are truly... bonny. Looks great in the early morning with the mist fingering its way across the water. We stayed at the Loch Lomond Youth Hostel, in a lovely old country house... We regretted it, in our eagerness to save some money we forgot that youth hostels often require sharing with strange people who snore a lot...
In retaliation for saving money by staying at a hostel, we ate here.... Fantastic food, good wine list (we had a few bottles) and friendly staff. Recommended.
Highland town with a nice little town centre, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Uk's highest peak. Great base for the walkers amongst you.
No trip to Scotland would be complete without seeing Loch Ness. We didn't see Nessie, but this place was a nice diversion. Note, we had planned to spend a night here, but decided to press on.
Our destination, kind of. A long, winding drive up the coast from Inverness (see below) to this northern outpost. A sense of achievement, slightly tempered by hunger, fatigue and an overwhelming desire to get to Edinburgh. Worth going to just to say you've been, it has slightly less to recommend it than Lands End. But then again, most things were closed when we were there, so I might have a slightly skewed opinion.
6th night. The observant amongst you may have noticed that we have driven from Loch Lomond, past Loch Ness, to inverness, up to John O'Groats and back to Inverness in a day (about 380 miles). I don't recommend it, but ending in this beautiful city was worth it. We stayed in a small hotel, one of many lining the banks of the river. The town has some great architecture and we certainly enjoyed the nightlife. Lovely.
Monty Python Fans!! You can hire coconuts to pretend to trot around this impressive castle used in the filming of the Holy Grail... Worth it just for that.
7th and 8th night. We'd made a special effort to get 2 nights here. Can't remember if we booked, but its a nice hotel, decent location, good sized rooms. Edinburgh itself is fantastic. A must see for the visitor to the UK, a great castle, great city centre, great nightlife and restaurants, and, of course, the Edinburgh Festival in summer. A great end to a great trip. If only we'd had 2 weeks.... We then dropped off our hire car at the airport and flew back to London, taxi home.