Canal Boating, The Ultimate In Peace, Quiet & Tranquility

When planning our current 5-month holiday in UK, I checked out theĀ RCI website, the timeshare exchange organisation, to determine what timeshares were available in UK that we could exchange for our Worldmark credits. Our goal was finding options in Yorkshire, Lake District, East Anglia, Cornwall and Devon.

Signing into the RCI website, I found options for all the above except the Lake District, but another very interesting option was provided – a week on aboard a canal boat cruising the inland waterways. This was something Judi and I had discussed previously and had always planned to give it a try. Mentioning it to Judi, she immediately responded, after a nano-second of thought, with a resounding “Yes”.

Remembering the adage, “Happy wife, happy life”, the canal boat immediately jumped to priority status, so the Canal Boat Club at Union Wharf, Market Harborough, was the first exchange I reserved, and it did not disappoint. Continue reading

Alnwick Castle a.k.a. Hogwarts

As a huge Harry Potter fan, Alnwick Castle was one of the first items on Judi’s list of places to visit. Located on the south bank of the River Aln, it is the 2nd largest inhabited castle in U.K. after Windsor Castle. However, it is more than the stately home of the 12th Duke of Northumberland – Ralph Percy, as aficionados of the “Big Screen” and TV Documentaries will recognise it from numerous productions. The castle was used as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films, Downtown Abbey 2014 Christmas Special and the final episode in 2015, and many other productions dating back to 1964. Click here to view the list.

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Touring Northumberland Coast AONB

What is an AONB? – it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, that is protected. In Canada and the USA, I believe the equivalent is our National, Provincial & State parks. Having spent a full day driving the local roads, this area is an exceptional candidate for this designation. It also means that it is popular with tourists.

A couple of nights before leaving Strathkinness, I phoned a couple of the B&B’s I had shortlisted, OMG – none of them had any vacancies and it was the middle of May.

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Farne Islands – National Trust Bird Sanctuary

The Farne Islands Bird Sanctuary is a National Trust attraction, a few miles off the NE coast from the fishing port of Seahouses. It comprises Inner Farne, Outer Farne, Brownsman, Staple Island and a number of rocks that are awash only at low tide. Access is only provide by one of the local boat operators from Seahouses.

It is one of UK’s premier bird sanctuaries, with over 23 species of birds, some which have thousands of nesting pairs. There are an estimated 37,000 pairs of Puffins on the islands. In addition to the birds, they have a large colony of sea lions, with over 1,000 pups born every Fall.

In addition, the islands have a number of structures dating back to the 7th Century.

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Greenwich Royal Museums # 2

The first post on Greenwich covered the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory and Queen’s House, so this one will cover the Cutty Sark, Greenwich Market, taking a stroll under the Thames and a couple of the pubs we visited.

I spent 2 days in Greenwich and still felt rushed, as I could easily have spent more time at some of the attractions, especially the Observatory.

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Royal Museums in Greenwich # 1

When visiting London and you want some respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, I highly recommend a trip out to the Royal Borough of Greenwich, commonly referred to as simply Greenwich. The 4 Royal Museums of Greenwich are definitely worth a visit – National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark. Visiting all 4 in a day is possible, but I preferred a more relaxed schedule and took 2 days.

As a retired mariner, I was in heaven, but Judi also thoroughly enjoyed her single day, especially the Observatory & Prime Meridian.

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