As if I wasn’t lucky enough to have spent the last month and a half living in Switzerland, this week, I have the immense pleasure of traveling to England for some family time with Robert’s parents. Great Britain’s beauty takes my breath away every time I visit. In the past, I have been extremely lucky when it comes to the weather. On this occasion however, Mother Nature decided to give us some typical November drizzle, wind and bone chilling humidity. Perhaps because of this gloomy setting, I was in the mood to visit some slightly spooky and mysterious destinations. What would be more fitting than caverns and castles? We started our journey by heading to Caernarfon in Wales to visit the grandest castle I have ever toured.

Built on the shoreline, Caernarfon is architecturally one of the most impressive of all of the castles in Wales. Its defensive capabilities were not as overt or as powerful as those of Edward I’s other castles but it was instead intended as a seat of power – and as a symbol of English dominance over the subdued Welsh. All of the initial building took place as a single operation, starting in the summer of 1283 and was completed in 1287. Charles, Prince of Wales, received his title here in 1969; and Edward VIII was granted his title in 1911. I did a search to see how big this castle is but couldn’t find the info. To give you an idea of its impressive size, just one tower is more than 10 meters across at its base. You could easily get lost within the maze-like hallways and staircases of Caernarfon and that’s all part of the fun!

Caernarfon Castle, Wales

castle, uk, united kingdom, great britain, caernarfon, wales

caernarfon castle wales
Bless Robert’s heart for dealing with my public displays of silliness.
caernarfon castle wales
Does anybody else notice something creepy about the lady in the background starring back at the camera? Ghost sighting?

caernarfon, castle, wales

caenarfon, castle, wales, uk

Blue John Cavern 

Coming back a little closer to home (Robert’s childhood home that is), we decided to head to Castleton. Blue John is Britain’s rarest mineral first discovered in Castleton by the Romans almost 2000 years ago and Blue John Cavern is the world’s only known deposits of this extremely rare and beautiful stone. The most common explanation for the name is that it derives from the French bleu-jaune, meaning blue-yellow. During excavations at Pompeii two vases of Blue John stone were supposedly unearthed, evidence therefore that the Romans not only discovered the stone but also appreciated it for its ornamental value. Let’s start with some of the spookier views of this 300 feet deep cavern shall we?

Blue John Cavern, Castleton, england, derbyshire, uk, tourism, cave
Kind of looks like someone sneezed on the walls doesn’t it? Eww!!

Blue John Cavern, Castleton, england, derbyshire, uk, tourism, cave

Blue John Cavern, Castleton, england, derbyshire, uk, tourism, cave
Despite the slimy factor, the interior of the cave is actually quite beautiful
Blue John cavern, castleton, england, uk, britain,
Not quite sure what I am doing here. Having a Lady Gaga monster moment perhaps.
blue john, blue john stone, blue john cavern, castleton, england, uk, tourism,
Now that I have creeped you out with the above pics, here is something a little more pleasant to look at. Blue John stone in its natural state. Purple with pretty sparkles! No wonder I was attracted to visit this site.


blue john stone, cavern, semi precious, stone, england, castleton, tourismblue john, stone, semi precious, castleton, cavernblue john, stone, semi precious, cavern, castleton, england

This is what it looks like after it’s been processed. They inject pine resin or amber to solidify this semi precious stone.


A flash from the past…

Because I don’t want to leave you with a dark and dreary impression of beautiful England, let’s look back at some sunnier days in the English country side. The pics below are from my first visit in May 2011.

street in market Chapel
Love the cobble stone streets in Chapel-en-le-Frith’s market area.

the old clubhouse

Old Hall Hotel
Old Hall Hotel. Where Mary Queen of Scots stayed before she had her head chopped off.
cemetary Chapel en le Frith
Speaking of being laid to rest…
Top of Mam Tor
Top of Mam Tor
cave, cavern, england, uk, britain, travel
My cavern touring days actually started a few years ago. I was a little less brave back then…
sheep, england
Of course, a post on the English country side wouldn’t be complete without a few cute sheep photos.

sheep, england, countryside

lamb, sheep, countryside, england, animal lover
I can hear the collective “aww!” all the way over here.

sheep England 2

sheep, england, country

baby sheep, england, travel, countryside, nature lover

cows, england, travel, britain,

black cow england

castleton, pub, england, travel
A trip to England must include a visit to one of their many charming pubs


Ah the memories… Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the UK and that it has given you a taste for all the beauty it has to offer. If you haven’t done so already, you must book a trip to visit this amazing region. Who knows, if you time things right, you might even have a personal tour guide waiting for you here. ;) If I have now given you wanderlust and you want to keep discovering the most beautiful areas of Europe, just head on over here for my travel diaries on SwitzerlandGreecePortugal, Spain and Costa Rica.


3 thoughts on “Caverns, castles and other beauties from the UK

    • I love, love love visiting the UK! So lucky that my boyfriend comes from there so I get to travel there at least once or twice a year. From your email address and your Instagram photos, I take it you are from the UK? I`ll be visiting this summer with my man when we go to see his parents. I enjoy spending time there so much. It`s beautiful and so peaceful with green landscapes everywhere and of course the cute cows! I am a true nature and animal lover. Thanks for the tip on North Wales and Derbyshire, maybe we could take a detour there when we are in the UK!

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