The UK with Karin: Day 7

Like I said in the previous post, our AirBNB in Nant-y-Derry was a DELIGHT, even though it didn’t have WiFi. Instead of scrolling on our phones in the evening, we watched whatever British game show was on the TV. It was perfect.

How adorable is the house key?

This is the view from the living room.
And this is the view from the front patio.

Like so many AirBNBs in the countryside, this building is a converted barn, and it’s updated and stunning inside.

Our original plan was to drive to Pembrokeshire (along the western coastline), but the weather was so wet and dreary that we didn’t want to trek too far. Instead, we drove south and stopped in Caerphilly, which was halfway between our place on the southern Brecon Beacons National Park and Cardiff, the largest city in Wales.

Still can’t read a thing in Welsh!

Caerphilly Castle was originally constructed in the 13th Century as part of the Anglo-Norman movement into Wales. It’s the second-largest castle after Windsor, but no one has lived here for many centuries. In its greatest time, Caerphilly Castle was a magnificent fortress with an impressive moat.

Taking pictures was tricky on account of the rain, but I muscled through.

We got back on the road and headed for the coast, this time landing on Dunraven Bay. It would’ve been lovely to see the coast during better weather, but nothing was going to keep us from the seaside. A beach is restorative no matter the climate.

Karin took some time alone – just her and the water.

It’s on this coastline in Southern Wales where we took my favorite photo of us of all time. We are the cutest.

For the second time, Chuck gave Karin a quick UK-driving lesson on the backroads. She did a stellar job!

Before heading back to our AirBNB, we made a quick stop in Cardiff just to poke around. We visited a few tourist shops and got a good view of Cardiff Castle before it closed. We were losing steam, and we were soaking wet, so going back home to our cozy converted barn sounded like a good idea.

We had one day left, so in the morning, we headed to Bath.

The UK with Karin: Day 4

To Windsor!

We hopped the train again, this time westbound to the tiny town of Windsor. Last year we visited Windsor Castle a few days before Princess Eugenie’s wedding, so St. George’s Chapel was off limits for tourists.

BUT NOT THIS YEAR.

Flower boxes are my fave!

After watching the changing of the guard, Karin and I bolted for the chapel. I didn’t want to miss it a second time.

St. George’s Chapel

Of course, no photography was allowed inside, but here’s a link to the official site and some stunning photography. Karin and I were so pleased to see the resting places of monarchs and the space where so many royals have gotten married.

Taking photos inside the castle isn’t allowed either, but I snapped a ton of photos last year and posted them here. Windsor is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. Much like our luck at Buckingham, the Queen was not in residence when we were there. Maybe one day our schedules will align.

With time and weather on our side, we hopped the train back to Kingston and bolted for Hampton Court via a cab. This would be Karin’s only opportunity (on this trip) to see Henry VIII’s favorite place to hang. (Ha!) We got to Hampton Court with an hour to spare.

Since I’d just been there in May, I was reserved with my photos.

The Great Hall

The sun started to set as we finished our quickie tour of Hampton Court. I couldn’t believe the perfect weather. In the weeks leading up to our trip I’d fretted about possible rain – and there was rain coming, trust me – but for all of our trekking and training, we’d not experienced a drop! Overwhelmed with gratitude, we walked back to Kingston instead of taking a cab. I wanted to soak in as much Kingston as I could.

River Thames

We ended the day with wine and Sticky Toffee Pudding at the hotel. We’d managed four days in and around London on foot, on trains, and in cabs. Thankfully, our cross-country driver would be arriving the next morning to take us to Wales.

The UK with Karin: Day 3

When Karin said she wanted to see Hever Castle, I didn’t mind one bit. Interestingly, it was on our third day of the trip last October when I went to Hever for the first time. Even though the castle itself was a repeat, Chuck and I didn’t explore the gardens. There was still something new to see there.

Karin used the train rides to catch up on her British news 🙂

Still gorgeous!

If you’re into gardening, you’ve come to the right place.

This was an area of the property I didn’t explore last time. At the end of this corridor of foliage is a large pond that connects to the River Eden.

Honestly, I didn’t even know The Loggia existed, so it was a brand new discovery.

We did tour the inside of the castle, but having already taken so many photos of the home last year, I used incredible restraint and only snapped a few with my phone.

Had you told me then that I’d be back at Hever one year later, I wouldn’t have believed you.