The unplanned road trip - Days 12 - 19
Day 12 – Monday 29th April
Miles – 38
Total Miles – 784
Such a good nights sleep, I only woke up once in the night as that was because the guy in the room next to us was snoring like a bear and did a really loud snort haha. I thought my husband was a bad snorer but our neighbour is makes him look like a little bear haha.
The bathroom is a little weird to have a shower in because the shower part is a small part of the room but the shower is brilliant once you set the temperature right.
We set off early to Cardiff, I found a great car park down by the harbour which was quite cheap. We headed towards the harbour front and found a Wetherspoons called The Mount Stuart and had one of their classic full English breakfasts. IT has to be done, there is nothing quite like a Wetherspoons breakfast.
We walked along the front to the Pierhead Building which was a great history lesson on Cardiff as I honestly didn’t know much. There is a little exhibit and then a presentation on the creation and growth of Cardiff which I found really interesting.
I took a little time taking in the Roald Dahl Pass, I was a fan of his books as a kid but the Doctor Who and Torchwood fan came out in me as it is the location for a few episodes haha.
We had a look around the Wales Millennium Center, there was unfortunately no shows or anything for us to do but it was very impressive and I loved the little exhibits they had on, one of which was a big board that people had written the best gig they had ever been to.
There was a bus stop outside and it was perfect timing because one of the Big Bus open top buses came along. It’s was only £13.50 each for a ticket so we got on to make sure that we got to see everything in Cardiff and thanks to the Big Bus, we did!
We had to stop and get off at the Cardiff Castle but that gave me a chance to nip into a shop for a magnet and a look around. We found a micro pub called The Hop Bunker to have a chill out and a few drinks before getting back on the open top bus and seeing some more of Cardiff. Although to be honest, I think we went round the National Museum Cardiff about 4 times as the routes kept crossing over each other.
We went round Cardiff and then back towards the harbour but we got to go all the way round it to the BBC studios where Doctor Who, Torchwood, Casualty and Upstairs Downstairs has been filmed so it was exciting to think that something might have been getting filmed as we drove by.
We were very lucky that one of the stops was just round the corner from the car park where we parked the car so got off and headed back to Newport.
We’d been talking about staying an extra day in Newport as it is so fantastically cheap, so spoke to the lady on reception when we got back and she let us have our room for an extra night for £30, happy days!!!
Day 13 – Tuesday 30th April
Miles – 31
Total Miles – 815
A slow start to the day, I didn’t wake up until mid morning so we chilled out and then set off for Castle Coch, pronounced Cork regardless of how my husband insists on pronouncing it.
It’s not a huge castle but the architecture is amazing, to me it looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. It was brilliant driving up to it and seeing the turrets poking out over the top of the trees and then to see it up close, just wow. It’s also the first place we have managed to use our English Heritage cards haha, we got 50% off our tickets so bit of a bargain.
We spent a good couple of hours walking round with our little hand held guides, there wasn’t many people around so we could just walk around at our own pace and enjoy it all.
I didn’t know until a few hours later that the courtyard was used in a TV program I used to watch as a kid called Knightmare where basically 3 kids had to direct a 4th around a medieval England looking for an item. There was a lot of green screens being used and some of it looked terrible but this was the early 90s so to us back then is was amazing haha.
We had something to eat in the little cafe in the castle and then set off back to Newport.
Decided to get as much of our stuff packed as possible to save us doing it in the morning, gives us a bit longer in bed as well.
Day 14 – Wednesday 1st May
Miles – 159
Total Miles – 974
Big big driving day today. We said goodbye to Wales and hello to England again as we drove to Long Eaton to go and stay with my sister. Not going to lie, it was a seriously long drive, we only stopped the once as we just wanted to push through and get to Long Eaton.
We had set off from Newport at 9am after having breakfast and got to Long Eaton just after 12. We saw a car wash place next to the supermarket and thought that our poor Dougie deserved a good wash after all the miles we had driven in him. He did an half sparkle after that wash, can’t believe how dirty he had gotten.
Met up with my sister once she had finished work and went back to her house for a bit. It was nice being in a house, I know that sounds strange but after just being in tents and hotels, it’s nice being in a home again.
We took her 2 dogs for a walk at a huge park next to the West Park Leisure Center and then home for chicken and roast vegetables.
Good day indeed.
Day 15 – Thursday 2nd May
Miles – 4
Total Miles – 978
Today we did absolutely nothing and it was amazing. The most strenuous thing that we did was drive to the supermarket as we forgot a few things yesterday and then drive back to my sister’s house. Dinner was even a take-away so there was no cooking today either. I know we had chill out time on this trip but sitting on a sofa and just watching TV is just perfect after all that travelling around.
Day 16 – Friday 3rd May
Miles – 15
Total Miles – 993
Ever since I was little, I have loved Robin Hood, I used to go round to my sister’s house on a Sunday when we lived in Gravesend and watched videos of Robin Hood starring Ray Winston. I loved everything Robin Hood so when my sister moved up to Nottingham, the land of Robin Hood, I couldn’t believe it. I can’t visit my sister and not have a trip into Nottingham so we drove in and had a brilliant day. We found a car park in the center so not much walking but as we got to the main big square, it started to rain and being the Wetherspoons detector that he is, my husband found one nearby for us to run into. This one is called the Joseph Else, it was quite busy but we found a table to enjoy some hot drinks and some food until it stopped raining. I love the big water feature in the square, had to get some pictures of it.
I remember when I was a kid that my sister took me to a place called The Tales of Robin Hood, it shut down years ago but I remember it was awesome with live actors telling all the old Robin Hood stories, it was so exciting, and you did archery at the end in the cafe. I was hoping there was something else like that and when I looked on Google, I found The Robin Hood Legacy. It didn’t look fantastic but I thought it might be fun and it was cheap. I wasn’t impressed at all, it was a house that was decorated cheaply so it looked terrible and there was no live actors, just rooms full of mannequins and you pressed a button in each room to hear a recording. We soon left once it was all done, won’t be heading back there on my next trip to Nottingham.
Nottingham Castle was closed as it’s being done up but I still got to see the Robin Hood statue and as we walked around to Ye Old Trip To Jerusalem, we could see some of the old caves that I like to think Robin Hood used when he was sneaking in and out of the castle.
Ye Old Trip To Jerusalem is a wicked pub where part of it has actually been cut into the rock under the castle. The front looks like a normal building until you go inside, it’s like sitting in a cave with a pint haha. It also boasts as being the oldest inn in England.
We walked around the little streets of shops taking in the beautiful architecture of the old buildings. Some of them are so old and the detail that went into those buildings is nothing short of incredible.
We did some shopping, drooled over the boots in the Dr Martens shop before heading off in the general direction of the car. We saw a big restaurant called Reds so we went in just to have a drink and chill out. This place is brilliant, it’s a meat lovers dream. The toilets are a bit strange though, you wash your hands in a huge feed trough and the walls of the cubicles are dark curtains in glass. I loved it! It’s a shame that we wasn’t hungry and I think the food would have been interesting too.
Day 17 – Saturday 4th May
Miles – 2
Total Miles – 995
We’d been having a chat about our experience camping and we’ve both decided that it is most definitely not for us so we have been brainstorming what to do with the tent. We thought about selling it but felt like we wanted to do some good with it. After some research online, we decided to give the tent to the Salvation Army, they do a lot of work with the homeless and our 4 man tent could be a nice little temporary home to a few people to keep them out of the bad weather. There is a Salvation Army shop in Long Eaton so we took the tent into them and they said that they would make sure it was passed onto one of the street crews.
The rest of the day was spent checking out the charity shops and pubs in Long Eaton. There are so many pubs haha, we went into The Corner Pin, The Blue Bell, The Twitchel, The Oxford and York Chambers and surprisingly enough, didn’t end up drunk haha.
We had a little chat once we got back to my sister’s and we’ve decided to head home a day early so we are going to set off tomorrow evening. Bank holidays are usually crazy traffic wise with people going home after weekends away and we didn’t fancy getting caught in a 6 hour traffic jam. Slightly different plan but it makes sense to head home.
Day 18 – Sunday 5th May
Miles – 185
Total Miles – 1178
Spent the morning going through our stuff and packing everything in the car, it’s amazing how much stuff we have crammed into our car over the last 2 and a half weeks.
We had a lovely dinner with my sister and then set off home at about 6pm. 10 minutes after we left I got a call from my sister asking if I knew where her TV remote was, I had a quick look in my bag and found it in the bottom, no idea how it got in there but it was easier to turn around and go back then post it to her. Lucky enough, we were just coming up to an exit and we wasn’t far away so it was easy to go back and then hit the road again.
We only stopped once to have a rest and walk around before getting back in the car. We were lucky that there wasn’t much traffic, we got home just after 10pm. It was so weird starting to recognize things as we got closer to home.
Day 19 – Monday 6th May
Well, if recognizing places felt weird last night, waking up in my own bed was super weird. I had to remind myself that the whole trip wasn’t a dream and that I had in fact had the most awesome adventure with my husband, regardless of the weather. That’s when the post-holiday-blues started to creep in. We are already talking about a trip next year, maybe head north next time :-).