I’m feeling nostalgic today. We’ve lived in Iowa for just over a week and are starting to feel settled. We still don’t have a couch, but we do have a table! We’re the kind of couple that always makes eating a priority.
As much as we’ve enjoyed the winter weather in Iowa and being reunited with our puppy child, we’ve both been feeling a little homesick for Scotland. These are my top 10 reasons why you should never miss an opportunity to travel to the U.K.
1. The Landscapes
With its volcanic origins, there’s no surprise that the landscapes of the U.K. are so dramatic. Ranging from the English moors to the highlands of Scotland and everything in between, no matter where you are the scenery will take your breath away.
2. Football is Life
Ever dreamed of experiencing a football game in the midst of thousands of passionate fans? If so, prepare to make your dreams a reality. People in the U.K. are passionate about their football teams and show up in force to all of the games rain or shine. For just a few quid you too can experience the pandemonium at one of these games. Be sure to purchase your tickets online ahead of time to make sure you can get a seat!
3. Because Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling lives in Edinburgh. She wrote the books in Edinburgh. They filmed the movies in Scotland and around London. You can visit pretty much every location they used. You can even ride the Hogwarts Express! You can basically become a Hogwarts student during your trip. What are you waiting for??? Read more about Harry Potter tourism in the U.K. at Visiting the Real Life Hogwarts Castle and The Most Magical Harry Potter Locations.
4. Everything is Within Reach
Almost any place in the U.K. can be reached in a day’s trip. This means that you can explore nearly the entire country without ever having to hop on a plane or waste precious days of your time travelling between destinations. The train system is well developed making travel a cinch. Just grab a book, enjoy the scenery and relax! Be sure to check out the Virgin East Coast line for great deals and buy well in advance for the best prices.
5. Tea Time
Who, as a little kid, didn’t have tea parties? On your visit to the U.K. you can have those tea parties grown up style. Afternoon tea is simply divine. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time as the best places will not have room for walk-ins. If you’re in Edinburgh, I highly recommend tea at Mimi’s on the shore.
6. Fish and Chips
The classic, not to be missed U.K. dish. You can find chippies (the shops that sell fish and chips along with any other fried food you can imagine) around every corner and sometimes even more frequently. There are some shops that are better than others, but in general they’re all pretty good. The best fish and chips we ate while living in the U.K. were in Mallaig just before taking the ferry to Isle of Skye. That being said, we really enjoyed nearly every plate of fish and chips we got!
7. Believe it or not, Haggis
Before we moved to Scotland, I had no intentions of trying haggis. Absolutely none, zilch, zero, nada. I don’t know if it was something in the Scottish air or if the travel made me brave, but not long after we arrived I broke my promise to myself and did in fact try the national dish. And I am so glad that I did! Haggis is wonderfully peppery and doesn’t have the offal flavor I was dreading. While we lived there, both Blythe and I ate Haggis on a regular basis. If you’re brave enough to try it, I recommend ordering the traditional dish with neeps and tatties at Makar’s Rest in Edinburgh on the Mound. You won’t regret it!
8. The Highlands
The highlands hold a special place in my heart. It’s a barren, yet incredibly dramatic landscape that has inspired poets, authors, and musicians for centuries. While the U.K. is full of beautiful places, you’ll be missing out if you don’t make the trip up to Scotland to see the highlands.
9. Tangible history is everywhere
People have lived, loved, and left things behind in the U.K. for thousands of years. Because of this, you can explore the history of the land and its people quite literally anywhere you go. There are countless castles to visit, palaces to explore, and estates to tour. The best part? Most of these places are still in use meaning that even while walking down random streets you should keep your eyes open for plaques marking places of special significance. There are so many, you’ll miss them if you’re not on the lookout!
In the U.K., pies are not a sweet treat. Instead, pies are a portable way of eating a delicious meal on the go. Every town and city has at least one pie shop where you can get the classics like steak and ale pie and cottage pie along with some new favorites like macaroni pie. For the most delicious classic pies, it’s always advisable to visit the local butcher. Try to show up before lunchtime though or they may be sold out!
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