After two wonderful weeks in London, my husband and I were itching to head out of the city and explore the beauty of the English countryside. We had heard so many great things about Wales and Bath, and so we decided to hire (rent) a car, book some hotel rooms, and really make a weekend out of it.
On Friday evening we picked up our little red Fiat and for the first time, drove on the left hand side of the road to Cardiff, Wales. What an adventure that was! In addition to getting used to driving in the opposite lane, we also had a manual stick shift for a car. So its safe to say that I pretty much left it up to my husband to do all of the driving for this trip. Don’t worry though, after just a little getting used to, he was driving that car like a natural and loving every minute of it!
After getting a little lost on our drive to Wales (lame detour), we finally made it to our hotel which was located just about ten minutes away from the main town center of Cardiff. Our hotel here was absolutely breathtaking. Not only was it located on a scenic golf course, but the hotel itself was an actual mini CASTLE! It was so much fun to walk around the golf course and explore the castle grounds, we even had our best breakfast yet in the UK here.. the bacon bap! We had no clue what a “bap” was, but we ordered it anyways only to discover that it was the most delicious breakfast sandwich imaginable. Think really thick and salty bacon topped with a fried egg and veggies… mmmm so tasty!
Once our stomachs were happy and full, we made our way Saturday morning to venture out into the city of Cardiff. Cardiff is the capital of Wales, and is known for their love of sports and the historic Cardiff Castle. We can never pass up a good castle, so despite the rain we decided to go and visit it for the afternoon. Out of all the castle’s we have seen in the UK so far, this one definitely seemed to be the most rugged and medieval! Originally built by the Romans, Cardiff Castle was destroyed and rebuilt countless times through the many wars that happened in the area. It was fascinating to see what was left of each era, and it is also interesting to note that it was used as a bomb shelter during World War II. If you ever visit the castle, be sure to make the journey up the steep steps to the very top of the castle to see some spectacular 360 degree views of Cardiff.
To end our day in Wales, we spent the rest of the evening visiting shops, getting hot chocolate (a must for rainy days), and having some award-winning fish and chips. Although it seems like every single fish and chips place in the UK is known for the “best” fish and chips, Albany Fish Bar really did seem like the best. I am a big believer of Yelp, and the reviews for this place were off the charts. We really enjoyed the fish and chips, but just be prepared for a HUGE serving of food if you go… they literally give you an entire deep-fried fish to eat!
We sadly said goodbye to Wales after our meal and headed to spend our next hotel stay at the cozy Well Cottage B&B in Bristol. This was actually our first time ever staying at a Bed & Breakfast, and we ended up really enjoying it. Our room was on the smaller side but so cozy and comfortable, and we woke up to eat a hearty and traditional English breakfast. This is the place where we truly got a taste of the English Country, and I would really recommend doing a Bed & Breakfast to get that charming countryside feel!
Next we drove to our main destination of the day which was Bath, England. It is pretty obvious why they call this city Bath, because the town is known for the ancient Roman Baths that were developed here long ago. I was completely surprised by the architecture and layout of the area. It looked so different from any other city in England, and it really felt like we were walking around in a different county somewhere in Europe! I have to say that Bath was our favorite part of the trip. We walked down to the main square to find the ancient Roman Baths, a beautiful church, and the most adorable boutiques I have seen in the UK. The buildings were just so magnificent, and such gorgeous flowers were placed all over the town. Live musicians were playing pretty music in the streets by the shops, and the people were so very friendly. We mostly spent our time exploring the downtown by the Roman Baths, but there is really so much to do here. We kind of felt like we were in a fairytale, we just absolutely loved our time spent in Bath.
We journeyed on from Bath to our final destination of the weekend which was Stonehenge. It was conveniently located on our drive back to London, so we had to make the stop to see the famous Stonehenge. Stonehenge is technically just a mysterious circle of big rocks, but seeing it in person is really such a treat. This is a place that I have learned about in school my whole life, so it was incredible to see it for myself. It isn’t that far off from the main road so I really thought it was worth it to stop by for a few minutes and see the historic site.
Stonehenge was the perfecting ending to a fun-filled weekend spent in Wales and the English Countryside. We checked off a lot of the places we have been wanting to see, and fell in love with many unexpected places as well. It was so exhilarating to get off the beaten path, and just explore a country. Having a car to drive around in was the highlight of our weekend and we are so glad we did it. If you make a visit to London and have the time, definitely go and visit the beautiful English Countryside.. it is something well worth seeing!
The Savvy Suitcase Top 3 Picks:
1. Bath, England. A beautiful place full of Roman history
2. Cardiff Castle, Wales. Rugged and lots to explore
3. Stonehenge. An England must-see
Until next time,
*My next post will feature our upcoming adventure to Germany!