England, Scotland, and Wales

Mike and Judy Henderson
May 13-26, 2018

I'm going to leave the map of our trip at the beginning of each page so you have a reference as to where we are.

5/14/2018 (Monday) We met Judy's cousin Jean for breakfast.

At 8:30 we loaded up on the bus and headed to Holyrood Palace which is the official residence of the British monarch while in Scotland. This is a panoramic view so the image is slightly distorted.

Photography is not allowed in the residence so I don't have anything to show you.  I was struck by the similarities, in a certain way, to The Palace of Versailles.

Here's our group prior to our entrance to the residence.

After our visit to Holyrood Palace, we went to Edinburgh Castle.  Here's an aerial view of the castle, with the red arrow pointing to the entrance.

And here's a view of the entrance that I took yesterday.

We visited the military memorial building.

It was built after WWI, when they thought there would never be another world war.

We also visited the crown jewels of Scotland, but pictures were not allowed.  Then we went to the Great Hall, which is similar to the Great Hall at Stirling Castle.  Notice that the roof structure is almost the same.

We visited the prisons but I didn't take any pictures.  There was a small cemetery for the pets of the soldiers who were stationed at the castle in years past.

There's a great view of the city from the walls, with the river Forth in the background .

After we felt that we'd seen enough, we walked down to Grassmarket Square on GrassMarket Street.  There are a lot of restaurants on the square and we chose an Italian one.

 Judy and Jean are at the restaurant, with many Edinburgh natives enjoying a warm sunny day.

We walked back to the hotel and took a nap - and I worked on this blog until time for dinner.

At 6:30 we boarded the bus to go to the Scotch Whisky Experience for dinner and a whisky tasting.  Here's the group in the restaurant.

The restaurant provided three whiskies for us to taste - one for the appetizer, one for the main course, and one for dessert.

Here's the description of the whiskies.  Some people tasted each one, and some people gave their samples to their spouse.

Most of the people took the bus back to the hotel but Judy and I walked, just to enjoy the cool air and exercise.

5/15/2018 (Tuesday) We leave the hotel this morning and head down to England.  Bags were picked up at 7am, with departure scheduled for 8:10.  Here's the group ready to board the bus.

We drove generally south through the countryside.  What's striking to us from California is how green the land is.  This area gets a lot of rain.

As we headed south, we stopped at the little town of Jedburg.  Jedburg is known for the ruined Jedburg Abbey, which was built about 1118 and was destroyed during the Scottish Reformation in 1560.

Departing Jedburg, we drove to Humshaugh where Chester's Roman fort (also known as Cilurnum - the name in Roman times) on Hadrian's Wall is located.  Cilurnum defended a river crossing and collected taxes on goods passing the wall.

The area has been excavated and you can see the ruins of the Roman fort there.  This picture just shows a small part of the excavated fort.

We then drove to a site where we could view Hadrian's Wall.  Along the way, we sighted this dramatic cloud display.

Hadrian's Wall was built across the English Island to control raids by tribes living in what is now Scotland.  Here's a view of one small section of the wall.  Compared to the Great Wall of China, it's fairly rough in construction.  But it was still a tremendous construction undertaking.  When you consider the amount of stone that had to be quarried, transported and then laid, it's a marvel that it could be built with the equipment they had at that time.

By then, it was time for lunch and we were taken to a manor home owned by Giles and Penelope.  The manor has been in his family for many years but was in need of significant repairs when they took control of the property.  They now host luncheons for Tauck tours in this area.  Here's a shot of the manor.

Here's Penelope talking with Judy prior to lunch.

And Giles at the same gathering.

The group divided into two and went to separate dining rooms.  Giles joined us and was a wonderful host, drawing out stories and information from the Tauck guests.

After lunch, we headed to Grasmere where William Wordsworth's childhood home is located.  Judy and I didn't go visit his home but we did some shopping in Grasmere.

Then we drove to the Landgale Hotel in the Lake District of England.  We had a nice dinner in the Stove Restaurant at the hotel.

Here's Jean and Judy at dinner.

That ended a long day on the bus and we headed to bed.  Our day starts a bit later tomorrow.


You can see more of our adventure here.