UK Road Trip Diary: A Catch Up With An Old
Friend and Alnwick Castle
Destination: Embleton (Via QueensFerry)
Route: A9 South
Weather: A beautifully sunny day.
We’re getting pretty good at hooking and unhooking the van now. But somehow this slower pace of life is taking over and it’s just after 10 before we are back on the road. Today we leave bonnie Scotland for the North East of England. But first we stop off to see a good friend of mine, one whom I don’t get to see enough and someone who was there for me during a tough chapter of my life.
After a little traffic, an emergency toilet stop and crossing the old Forth Road Bridge we reach Queensferry. We get excellent views of the new bridge. Pops tells us that’s the bridge she went over last week with my friend on the way to the safari park. I love how they have no concept of space and time. She also asked if it’s night time at home!
We rock up at my friends house in this massive motorhome, much to the amusement of her 2 daughters. They can’t wait to get in and explore. My other half smiles and whispers “I hope it doesn’t stink in there!”.
It must be 4 years since I’ve seen her and it’s the first time I’ve met her children. It feels like only a few months since we’ve caught up though. We could have talked all day. The spread she put on for us was amazing, a homemade lasagne, salad, garlic bread, homemade brownies and fruit. Absolutely delicious.
After a lovely catch up and a delicious meal it’s time to go. I shout up to Pops giving her a 10 minute ‘we’re going’ warning. No answer! It’s getting late afternoon and Pud is now having a tantrum, he’s tired so it’s definitely time to go. Pops however has decided that the girls are her new best friends and can’t possibly leave. My friends daughters are upset too. So funny how after only a couple of hours they get on so well. With teary eyes we make our departure. We hope to catch up again soon.
Our journey takes us around Edinburgh and the road takes us along the coast and what a beautiful route it is. The coast of south east Scotland and north east England is so rugged and yet so pretty.
Finally we signs for Alnwick so I know we’re near. Pud had a nice long sleep awaking for the last 20 minutes of the journey and the iPad has lasted long enough to keep Pops occupied.
Our next stop is Dunstan Hill Camping and Caravanning Site. Part of the Camping and Caravanning Club. It’s a small site but perfectly formed. A lovely little playground and two amenity blocks to choose from. The showers were clean and fit for purpose.
I think Pops found this the best one for riding around on her bike and scooter. Yet again she makes some friends to play with. We have a full day here tomorrow and plan to visit Alnwick castle. It’s here I realised I’ve been saying it all wrong! I’ve been pronouncing it ‘Alnwick’ but it’s actually pronounced ‘Annick’.
For tea we have a roast dinner, yes a roast dinner in a motorhome. Well sort of, it’s all the essentials of a roast in a tray. It was actually quite nice but nothing beats a good old roast dinner.
Destination: Alnwick castle
Weather: Dry (woohoo)
One of the issues with using a motorhome are days out whilst hooked up. It’s not a massive ordeal to unhook and put things away but you wouldn’t want to have to do it every day in my opinion. I know people who tow a small car with their motorhome so that is a possible solution.
We decided to get the bus from the caravan site to Alnwick. Conveniently the bus stop is right outside the site. We arrive at Alnwick and it takes us about 10 minutes to walk to the castle. Entry was easy and considering it was school holidays we didn’t have to queue for more than 10 minutes. Our tickets are also open so we can visit again within a year free of charge.
Today was when Pops would finally get to do the broomstick training she’d seen and loved. She’s become a Harry Potter Fan and for those of you who don’t know, Alnwick Castle is where they filmed some scenes of Hogwarts. It was also the scene where the new student witches and wizards learn to train their broomsticks. First we go to the Dragon Quest area to get time slot tickets before heading to get the broomstick training tickets. As Pud is asleep we decide to stop to get a bru. As usual mid bru he wakes up.
We head over to get these precious tickets only to be told (at 10:45 am) they are sold out. I was so disappointed for Pops, she looked up at me with her big green eyes and asked why they were sold out. I could tell she was upset as she didn’t throw a wobbler, her face said it all. We bought her a broomstick from the souvenir shop in hope that she could she join in.
The training was no extra cost on top of the entry fee. She stood near the next group at her own request but was totally ignored, so she took a step back and watched on with her broomstick between her legs. I asked if she wanted to go but she insisted on staying. My heart sank for her and I really wish they could have just included her in the group. It was all she had talked about in the run up to today.
The Dragon Quest was next. Pops got to dress up as a knight or a princess, she chose Princess of course. We were all going to go in but Pud had other ideas. He did not want to queue, persistently running off and thinking it hilarious so Daddy decided to sit this one out and spend the next 10-15 minutes doing laps after him. With hindsight this was not such a bad idea as the quest was pretty scary but really well put together.
Next we made some soap. This was really interesting, we were told about how they made soap in medieval times and got the chance to make a little soap ball. Pops loved it.
There is quite a lot to do at Alnwick castle but some areas you can’t take a pram in so if you can I’d advise using a carrier. I’d also advise getting your time slot tickets early!
We head back after a fun day and chill out by the van. Pops on her bike and Pud on his little JCB ride on.
Another lovely day, we are shattered but happy.
Make sure you check out the next part of our trip, Embleton Sands and Bolton Abbey.