Looking to secure some travel favorites for your next adventure in Southern UK? Without pretension, here is an 11-day itinerary in this country that was mine during part of my studies.
England is a country dear to my heart as I lived there during part of my studies. It was in fact in Portsmouth that I got my ‘Bachelor in Applied Physics’. It was a joyful but nostalgic experience returning after 17 years, this time with my family. Reminiscing and revisiting the places I used to know, this time through the eyes of a knowledgeable tourist, was an extraordinary experience for me. And discovering new corners of the country, which merit the pride of the nation, was an equally extraordinary activity.
The Charming Places to visit in Southern UK
The Natural History Museum of London
The place with the biggest wow-factor on our whole trip to the United Kingdom was without a doubt the central hall of the Natural History Museum of London. The building is an architectural masterpiece both inside and out, and the blue whale skeleton in the central hall left a lasting impression on us.
The Victoria and Albert Museum
To tell the truth, I had no expectations before visiting this museum, but between the 6 museums of the English capital we visited (British Museum, National History Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum), the Victoria and Albert Museum is our absolute highlight. With its huge exhibition halls and numerous artifacts of all sizes and ages, our two boys were endlessly fascinated and didn’t want to leave!
The most prestigious universities are attractions which contribute to the cultural richness and history of the country in which they are located. Most of them are open-air museums from which the future is designed. We added Oxford University to the long list of campus universities we’ve visited (along with Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Columbus, MIT and La Sorbonne) and I highly recommend making a trip to Oxford if you are travelling around England. And to top it off, Harry Potter fans will also recognize some familiar sights.
Seven Sisters cliffs
In Normandy you can find the chalk cliffs of Étretat. On the other side of the Channel, England has nothing to envy from its French neighbor with the Seven Sisters cliffs of Sussex. The best view of these beautiful cliffs can be found at Seaford and it’s there that we parked the car for an unforgettable stroll to the beach where our boys had never seen so many shells per square centimeter!
Have you ever been following a winding country road when you suddenly you turn the corner and discover an enchanting place you never even knew existed? That’s exactly what happened to us when we came across Arundel village on our way to Brighton from Portsmouth. Arundel is a charming village with an imposing castle and a remarkable church which dominates an exceptional panoramic view. As we walked through the village, we had the impression of being transported to ancient times.
For a better preparation
During the first 4 days we visited the beautiful and eccentric city of London. Then we hit the road to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birth town, with a stop-off in Oxford to visit the prestigious university. We then headed west to visit Bath and Bristol, and stayed in Cardiff in Wales for 2 nights. We made a detour to the famous Neolithic site of Stonehenge, with an obligatory stop-off in Portsmouth in the south of England. We also discovered the beautiful medieval village of Arundel and the breath-taking white cliffs of the Seven Sisters, before taking a well-deserved rest in London for 3 days.
We rented a car to get from town to town. Thanks to our American Express Platinum credit card, we were granted a free vehicle upgrade with Hertz and we found ourselves with a little SUV, a Vauxhall Mokka. The driver’s seat being on the right was destabilizing at first but I quickly got used to it.
In London, we parked the car to get the Tube, as it is a much quicker and more practical way to get around. We took two Oyster cards which helped us save transport costs and which we could top-up when needed using a credit card. The kids travelled free in our company.
We stayed in 3 different AirBnbs for 8 nights, where we were able to do our washing, and also 3 nights in 2 different hotels. We enjoyed the benefits of our Marriott Gold Elite status at the Marriott in Portsmouth, where we received VIP treatment with a free breakfast buffet which would have cost 16.50 GBP (22.97 USD) per person.
We didn’t spend a single penny on activities, as the various museums in the capital were free to visit. We gave change to street performers, but as Mateo and Luka’s favorite activity was finding coins on the floor, we managed to collect a small fortune for extra purchases!
No offense to the Brits, but the culinary specialties and food choices in UK grocery stores are a bit lacking compared to other countries. But there was no way we were going to miss eating the famous Fish and Chips ! Which we had to have 4 times as once wasn’t enough !
In London, we often ate in Asian restaurants. Classic!
All in all, our trip in England with our excursion to Wales cost us:
- 1,601.51 GBP (2,229.89 USD)
- 145.59 GBP (202.72 USD) per day
- 36.40 GBP (50.68 USD) per person per day.
|Expense Category||Amount Spent|
|Flights||143.64 GBP / 200.00 USD|
|Accomodation||645.49 GBP / 898.76 USD|
|Transport (including gas)||375.04 GBP / 522.19 USD|
|Eating out||248.66 GBP / 346.23 USD|
|Groceries||188.68 GBP / 262.71 USD|
|Total||1,601.51 GBP / 2,229.89 USD|
In a nutshell
|Dates||2018-06-08 to 2018-06-19|
|Number of days||11|
|Cities we visited||London, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Portsmouth|
|Inbound||Keflavik to London Luton by plane|
|Outbound||London Stansted to Basel by plane|
|Mode of transport||Subway and rental car|
|Distance travelled (car, subway & foot)||1300 km|
|Number of photos taken||2700 (245 per day)|
|Currency||The British Pound (1.00 USD = 0.72 GBP)|
We loved our stay in the United Kingdom and we would love to return there one day, more specifically to visit the northern regions of England, as well as Scotland and Ireland. England and Wales were the second and third countries visited as part of our world tour.
See you in France!
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