We spent a total of 13 days in the UK, most of which were to visit relatives and catch up with friends, but we did do a good amount of walking trails and see some interesting places. Here’s a round up of our trip!
Our first day in UK and mostly recovering from the flight and hanging out with family. Chace got to meet his paternal cousins for the first time and they got along like a house on fire.
We woke up at stoopid-o-clock due to jetlag and took an early morning walk around the Totternhoe Nature Reserve. Much of the site is former quarries for Totternhoe stone, a durable chalk which was used in building Westminster Abbey. This has left steeply sloping spoil heaps now grasslands which are rich in flowers, including many species of orchids, such as Cowslips, which are the favourite food of the caterpillars of the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly. The site is also the best place in Bedfordshire to see the scarce small blue butterfly.
Another early morning for us that started with a walk in the woods nearby followed by a trip to Woodside Animal Farm. On the farm there are many animals to see: alpacas, cranes, flamingos, iguanas, llamas, monkeys, raccoons, tortoises, wallabies and many more! Children are encouraged to get ‘touchy-feely’ with many of them, including the rabbits, chicks, goats, owls and even some reptiles. The kids really enjoyed themselves!
Day #04 was cold and rainy so everyone stayed indoors.
If you’re in or around Buckinghamshire, a visit to the Bekonscot Model Village & Railway is a must! It is the world’s oldest and original model village, opening for the first time in 1929. With over 80 years of history, huge model railway, 1.5 acres of well kept gardens and finely detailed model buildings Bekonscot is a great day out for everyone. Stuck in a 1930s time warp, see England how it used to be, and discover a wonderful little world tucked away from the hustle and bustle of eveyday life.
Another cold day, so an indoor attraction it was. The Royal Airforce Museum was surprisingly huge with lots to see. Chace loved the helicopters, I especially liked the war planes section. The Royal Air Force Museum London, commonly called the RAF Museum, is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome, with five major buildings and hangars dedicated to the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force. Free entry and WiFi too :)
We spent a lovely afternoon at the Whipsnade Zoo (the Uk’s biggest zoo). It’s really spread out and the exhibits are nice and spacious. Feels almost like the animals are in their natural environment. The park covers 600 acres! Due to its size, inside the park, visitors may walk, use the zoo’s bus service, or drive their own cars between the various animal enclosures, or through an ‘Asian’ area where some animals are allowed to roam free around the cars.
It’s starting to get warmer and we had a huge BBQ in the backyard with lots of relatives and friends in attendance. It’s been three years since we’ve been back in the UK so it was good to catch up with everyone :)
A visit to Pitstone Windmill this morning, it’s just down the road from our farmhouse. Dating back to the 17th century, Pitstone Windmill has a rich and interesting past that takes us back to its life as a working mill. This gem in the Chiltern countryside is one of the oldest windmills in Britain.
This afternoon we were lucky to have warm sunny weather, so we did some productive shopping at Milton Keynes followed by a lovely time at Willen Lake, and another BBQ in shorts and tees after!
Nice sunny morning for a walk around Ashridge Estate in search of the Ivinghoe Beacon. A short 3km trail which provided lots of entertainment for Chace who pointed out every beetle and sheep poop he spotted. Strangely enough, he also loved lying front down on the grass… maybe his way of being closer to nature. The outward section of the trail follows the Ridgeway, which is one of the National Trails and might just be Britain’s oldest path, as it leads you over one of the most spectacular parts of the Chilterns.
In the afternoon, we visited Hitchin Lavender Farm. Flowers are not in bloom yet but we still had a good time walking around the fragrant fields. When in season, you can walk through and pick your own fresh flowers from 25 miles of lavender rows. They also grow sunflowers and have a wildflower area.
The weather is lovely and we took a morning stroll in Totternhoe followed by a hearty pub lunch at King William IV with Ron and Doreen, Scott’s grandparents.
Today, we enjoyed a lovely walk around the beautiful Ashridge Estate and made a visit to the Bridgewater Monument. The monument was built in 1832 in memory of the third Duke of Bridgewater who was known for building canals during the Industrial Revolution and once lived in Ashridge house.
Last day of our trip and we chilled out at the Fancott to make the most of the nice weather and our time here. Then zoomed to the airport to catch our flight back to Singapore :)