Here are some of the best places I visited the last couple of years.
Another year has passed, quicker than I ever imagined. I don’t know about you but I personally don’t like looking back. I always say that the lessons I’ve learned in the past I got them with me, they’re part of me. Therefore, I don’t have to look back. Only this is different, this time I’ll stop and share with you some amazing places I have seen in 2017/18. So maybe you’ll decide to give them a go in 2019.
Some of them are easy to visit. Other ones require a bit of a feel for adventure and the want to escape the ordinary…
My favourite places are…
Highlands of Scotland
Without a doubt, Scotland is at the top of the list. This wild land, still not entirely discovered by me, remains the gem of the United Kingdom.
The summer just gone, we’ve been camping in the small village of Contin. This is very close to both Inverness and Ullapool. From this point, anywhere you head to in the Highlands of Scotland it’s pure beauty and a great variety of landscapes. We so loved this little place as you didn’t need to walk far to be amazed. As part of the village are Tor Achilty Forest and Rogie Falls.
The Rogie falls are well seen from an impressive suspension bridge and during August and September, there’s an excellent chance of seeing wild salmon leaping upstream. We are lucky to have seen it! Yay!
By the way, the surrounding rivers (Blackwater & Conon) are filled with trout and salmon. So, make sure you sneak in your fishing rods (of course without the wife knowing haha!…she might decide that space you’re “wasting” is perfect for some more spare clothes for the kids instead.
I love Scotland for its beautiful beaches, and there are so many that you have the chance of being the only person on the beach for the entire day. We even started giving them names and pretended they’re our family hiding place. Because that is what they are, places where you are wrapped in a bubble of beautiful creation. Sometimes you see boats passing by and that’s one of those moments when you realize you’re not the only humans around.
I cherish Scotland because of its small villages, where the community is extremely friendly and open to show you the surroundings and their values. Because you get to buy delicious homemade berry jam from almost any household nearby.
Not to mention there are over 31,000 lochs (lakes) to choose from and to make one of them the closest to your heart. For us, Loch Ness is one of our favourites, not for its beauty alone but for the mystery that’s floating in the air…or on the water?!
I’m in love with Scotland for its wildlife. When you choose the right spot, you get to watch dolphins dance, seals waving at you, whales and puffins. Some of the best places we have tried to spot these sweet animals are:
- Chanonry Point, in Cromarty ( The dolphins are often visible off Chanonry point, particularly on an incoming tide when they play and fish in the strong currents). Of course, we didn’t know they’re coming with the tide, so we waited a very long time. If you want an entire day at the beach it doesn’t matter but when you’re with a bunch of noisy little humans asking every second where the dolphins are…you might want to go there just on time.
- John O’Groats, where you can spot Atlantic Puffins during their breeding season which runs from late spring to early summer, generally May to July. Also, you can watch the grey seals all year round. I wouldn`t want to miss the Orcas (killer whales), which are regularly seen off the coast.
- The Isle of Skye is another great destination for wildlife watchers.
- Ullapool, I was so surprised to see how close the seals get to the beach here. They seem to be so used with the people and you don’t have to wait long until you notice their heads popping-out the water like skittles.
I admire Scotland for its history and for the castles that seem untouched by time, for the whispers of its legends and myths.
And there are many more reasons to add Scotland on your list of places to visit this year.
I suggest you try the Highlands in the summertime because the weather isn’t as scary and camping gives you the opportunity to truly explore this land (cheaper than any other form of accommodation and less sophisticated). You can find plenty of campsites on www.pitchup.com.
Cornwall, my tropical peninsula
Next on my list is Cornwall. Again, I don’t think I can stop writing about this south-west region of England as it’s inexhaustible.
What I can do instead is mention a few places that have moved me deeply.
Kynance Cove, famous for its white sands, turquoise sea and the gorgeous cliffs surrounding the cove. Kynance has been on the tourist map since the early Victorian era when it became fashionable to go on excursions. It’s on my list because of the serpentine walk along the South West Coast Path, which links Kynance with Lizard to the south, and Mullion to the north. This walk has some gorgeous wild scenery to offer.
I don’t know what Paradise looks like but if it’s anything like Porthcurno, I’m happy with that.
Apart from its natural beauty (white sparkly sands and turquoise water), there is something more that attracts me to this place. Porthcurno used to be the telecommunication centre of the world and it’s occupying an important place in history. It incorporates tunnels used to house top secret equipment during the Second World War. If you are curious to find out more and the waves are not calling for you, then visit Porthcurno Telegraph Museum instead.
On the cliffs to the west of Porthcurno is the world famous Minack Theatre. It was built in the 1930s by theatrical visionary Rowena Cade (who lived in the house just behind the theatre), and her faithful gardener; which you can visit all year round (summer being the best season).
Why is it so famous?… First of all the location alone is incredible. Perched high on the cliffs above the turquoise sea. Next, the view you get to see from here might distract you from the actual play. Then, the hard work behind the scenes and the ambition of this lady to leave something behind.
The epic Snowdonia, Wales
Of course, it’s not my intention to diminish any other splendid places in Wales, as there are plenty. But Snowdonia ( a region in northwest Wales concentrated around the mountains forms the massive Snowdonia National Park), seems to impress me at every corner. You might want to climb the highest mountain in Wales and England. Or you would like to experience the world’s fastest zip wire. All of this is up to you…and other over 100 attractions. For me, it’s the pure mountain, fresh air and amazing natural beauty. If you decide to give it a go, try to organize it well as you need adequate equipment.
With the risk of repeating myself, I suggest visiting these places in the summer.
First of all, because the weather allows you to explore your surroundings much more easily and gives you more attractions to choose from.
Second of all, we all know how expensive accommodation is in the UK, maybe one of the most expensive in and around Europe (in my opinion and from my travel experiences). Therefore, summer offers the possibility of being almost as comfy in your own tent( for free). I never used to be a camping person because I wasn’t prepared and always ended up being wet and cold. But since I started doing my homework related to what’s the best and the essential gear for a family when camping, things took a completely different turn.
Now I can simply say I love camping…nothing compares with the return to a simple nomadic life, your bed, a cuppa and a clear starry sky in front of a fire.