Good places to travel around the United Kingdom With so much history on what is a relatively small island, there is plenty to and see in the UK that is free, or at least very cheap, however if you are planning on spending a decent length of time you might want think about investing in [...]
Good places to travel around the United Kingdom
With so much history on what is a relatively small island, there is plenty to and see in the UK that is free, or at least very cheap, however if you are planning on spending a decent length of time you might want think about investing in a membership to the National Trust. At the time of writing a single membership is 50.50 GBP or joint for 2 adults 83.50 GBP. If you are American, you can join the Royal Oak Foundation (55 USP for an individual, 80 USD for dual and 90 USD for family.) It’s a bit of an outlay to start but when you consider this gains you free admission to over 300 historic houses, castles, gardens and other properties it’s really not a bad investment. The best thing to do is to have a look at the website before you travel and see how many of the properties were on your “to see” list anyhow. You might find that the membership is cheaper than what you were going to pay in individual admission fees.
With that in mind, what else is there to see…
Stonehenge and Other Rockin’ Sites
This is of course one of the most visited sites in England. The mystery and awe that surround this World Heritage site are legendary. So are the throngs of tourists. Tickets aren’t cheap at 7.50 GBP per adult but they are free to National Trust members if you decided to go that route (see above.) Yes, it’s impressive but if you are on a budget, there are some great free alternatives.
The Avebury ring is only about 20 miles north of Stonehenge and is believed to be the oldest stone circle anywhere in the world. It also dwarfs Stonehenge in size as the entire village of Avebury is nestled amongst it’s intertwining rings. You are welcome to walk amongst the stones, feeling their energy for yourself. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?
From Avebury it’s only a hop-skip-and-a-jump to Silbury Hill, a 37 metre high Neolithic mound that is is still every bit as mysterious as the Stonehenge. While everyone agrees that it is man made, no one can agree exactly what it was for. It is now known however that a Roman village the size of 24 football pitches eventually sprung up around it. Perhaps the first attempt at a UK ski resort? And again, entrance is free. Onward from Silbury Hill can also see nearby West Kennet Longbarrow, a chambered long barrow probably started around 3600 BC. Again, entrance is free. Getting the idea here?
Be aware that all these sites are very rural and good sturdy footwear is strongly recommended, especially in poor weather as they do get very muddy.
So you’ve spent the day tramping around ancient pagan sites. Where do you go from here? Follow the A361 southwest and you’ll come to one of the most eclectic towns anywhere in the UK. On the High Street in Glastonbury shops selling yoga mats, spellcrafting materials and Tibetan imports jostle with Angel healers, crystal shops and used book shops. 99% of the shops are independently owned. 100% are fascinating. Plan to spend the day here at least if not a lot longer. Besides it wouldn’t be the first time a traveller came for the day and never left.
If shopping isn’t your thing, take a hike up to the top of the Tor. It’s currently crowned by St. Michael’s Tower but the legends surrounding the Tor go back much further than this 14th century ruin. It was known by the Britons as Ynys yr Afalon and is commonly believed to be the Isle of Avalon know in Arthurian legend. Indeed from your viewing perch atop the Tor you can see down to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey where in 1191 the monks claimed to have discovered the grave of King Arthur himself. After energizing yourself by standing on the node atop the Tor which is the crossing of 2 major ley lines, head over to Wearyall Hill to see the Holy Thorn tree, reputedly growing from the spot where Jospeh of Arimathea struck his staff into the ground on the hill. Climbed both the hills in one day? Go back to town and reward yourself with a hot meal at one of Glastonbury’s many vegetarian or vegan cafes!
Besides all the brilliant mythology surrounding Glastonbury, the best thing about the town is its spirit of community. It is a very welcoming place for backpackers and vagabond travellers. You’ll not only find cheap resources but like minds as well. This is hippy-central in the best of all possible ways!