I’ve spent a lot of time in England over the years. It’s a natural right of passage for a lot of Aussies to go to London after they graduate from high school (before starting college). We call it taking a “gap year”. In fact, there are well over 1 million Australians living in the UK, and even more Brits down under. Justin was one of them, which is how I’ve ended up married to an Englishman!
Generally when Justin and I plan a trip we try to go somewhere totally new, but somehow we keep finding ourselves back in England. We have family in the UK, so of course they are a huge draw, but there’s something wonderful about the English countryside that we’re yet to find anywhere else…
I think part of what makes England so unique is that it is made up of 48 distinct counties (similar to states or territories), each with their own history and customs. England is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world; to give you some perspective, there are over 1000 people per square mile in England compared to around 80 in the USA. So what you have is a country with thousands of years of history, that is very densely populated, with a huge variety of local customs and culture covering a relatively small area... in other words, loads to see on a road trip without too many long drives. And did I mention the pubs?
Highlights... in pictures!
One of the biggest surprises of our English road trip was discovering Norfolk, a large county located North East of London in East Anglia. It is coastal, very rural, and has a vast network of navigable rivers and lakes known as The Broads. It's capital city, Norwich, is youthful, artistic, and is interestingly the least religious city in England.
the Georgian Townhouse...
We stayed in two great pubs during our time in Norfolk - each quite different from the other, but equally fabulous. First up was The Georgian Townhouse, a hip conversion in Norwich, with a gorgeous walled garden and fantastic pub.
The Gunton Arms...
Next up was The Gunton Arms. Set on a stunning deer park in North Norfolk, near Cromer, the owner is an art dealer from London and has filled the pub with millions of dollars of original art. It's incredible.
This is what happens when you stay in a pub with no TVs in the 12 bedrooms... you make friends, you find a common living room, you break open the board games, and you keep the bartender up past his bedtime ;-)