The rugged mountains and coastline of North Wales attract many…
When you visit a country, let alone start a new life abroad it is inevitable to make some travel goofs. Or is it not…?
1) Left on a bank holiday after 8am
Because the UK have hardly any National Holidays, the government introduced so called bank holidays so that people can have rest days just like most countries in Europe. (For instance 1st May is a working day here unlike in the majority of the European countries.) These bank holidays always fall either on a Monday or a Friday which is great as it allows people to have a long weekend and they do not need to work on a Saturday the week before. But because of this the whole country is on the move on Friday or Saturday depending whether it is a Bank Holiday Monday or Friday, therefore everybody tries to depart as early as possible to avoid traffic on the roads. On one particular occasion we planned to go to Dorset & Somerset which is in the West Country but we made two mistakes:
- we left after 8am,
- we were heading to the West which is one of the most popular destinations (mind you, in this country what would not be…?)
We had been driving for more than 2 hours and were unable to get to Swindon. We tried to abort the motorway and take the country roads but that seemed to be equally busy. It was just madness. In the end we had to give up and return.
- You have to leave as early as possible.
- If possible chose less popular destinations for bank holiday weekends.
- Take country roads instead of motorways.
- Check the traffic before you leave.
- Alternatively, where possible use the P+R.
2) Fined for parking
You have to pay for parking almost everywhere in England. I only know a few places where you do not need to pay, however, after 2 or 3 hours you equally have to get a ticket and pay. So far we have been fined for parking three times – below is perhaps the funniest of all.
We went to the next town to meet a friend and have dinner together. As it is difficult to find parking spaces, we left earlier to allow us time to drive around the block should it be necessary. We seemed to be lucky as there was one parking space right in front of the restaurant so we got out of the car and checked whether we had to pay, but we did not find any signs, so we just happily walked in to the restaurant. After a pleasant evening and meal there was a yellow pack on the windscreen with a lovely fine. Of course we did not understand why we were fined as to our mind nothing implied we should have had. We started to look around again and we found a pole with a sign above our heads partially covered with the leaves of a tree which did say parking was not free until 8pm. The icing on the cake was that we arrived a few minutes before 8pm…
Look around carefully even above your head to check if parking is for free or not. Yes, even above your head! Also make sure you only park in a correctly marked space and do not run over the time allowance, not even in the smallest village. (As you may have guessed, these were the other two reasons why we were fined.)
3) Forgot about an attraction
Oh yes, I did forget an attraction when we were on holiday in Cornwall. We visited Land’s End which is famous for its rocky seashore and being the most westerly point of Britain. Perhaps the most famous rock here is the one with the arch, called Enys Dodman which I forgot to have a look at in the end… We walked along the shore, had a picnic, enjoyed the sunshine laying on the grass, we even checked the map of the site, yet the penny did not drop. All in all we spent good 2-3 hours at Land’s End. It did eventually… in the evening when we got back to the apartment. I almost started to cry, what an idiot I was and because it was not sure we could go back as our schedule was quite tight for the rest of our stay, plus did not really fancied to buy the tickets again… It is not a place where you just simply pop down at another time, as it takes at least 6 hours to get there from our Berkshire home. In the end we did manage to return in the following days at the end of our day trip. We were prepared to pay again as we did not want to leave Cornwall without having seen the famous and beautiful arched rock. As we stopped by the barrier and explained to the ticket controller that we were there the other day but we forgot about the rock with the hole, he started to laugh and because we arrived 1 hour before closure, he just let us in for free. Since, I always make a list of the attractions whenever we go on a holiday…
Always make notes in advance…
4) Underestimated the good old English weather
During the same holiday in Cornwall I learnt not to underestimate the English weather. Although the weather forecast said it would be 17-18C for the entire week, I only packed jeans and some short sleeve tops, cardigans, jumpers and a rain coat. I did not bother to consider
- the weather could change,
- 17-18C feels much differently in England especially by the seaside.
As a result, you can imagine, I was cooking in my jeans…! The 17-18C was in the end 20-21C which felt like 25-26C.
Never underestimate the English weather and be prepared for all sorts of weather.
5) Spent our holiday in rain
This is not a failure really, it could be classified as a classic luck or Murphy’s Law when you are on holiday at last and it rains all the time. During our Easter holiday in 2018 it was freezing cold and it rained all the time. At the beginning I was disappointed but I tried to follow the English mindset which says: ‘It does not matter what the weather is like whether it is raining or not, we just get on with it and enjoy things.’ As soon as I could put my frustration behind and focus on the things we did and not on the bad weather, I enjoyed every minute of the trip.
Do not be frustrated if it rains, any trip can be enjoyed as long as you have wet weather gear with you and the English mindset of course…
I certainly have learnt all the lessons and I can ensure you, since I have been fine with travelling in and outside the UK.
You do not need to make the same goofs when you visit England and you can avoid all these troubles by signing up for my tours. Of course I can not guarantee the weather (not sure anyone could), but I can ensure you that I learnt the lessons! 🙂