George & Dragon pub– Image: Nick Low
To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that most diplomats are poorly travelled in their own countries. And, until I started my previous job building partnerships between local and regional governments in China and the United Kingdom, that was the case with me. You have a sense that your own country will always be there for you, that there’s no hurry. And travelling around the United Kingdom is easy and safe. Climb Kilimanjaro before you’re sixty-five years. But you can take a boat trip to the Farne Islands at eighty-five.
The purpose of this short photo essay is to tell the world that I got every bit as much pleasure visiting regional cities and attractions in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as I did my trips to all thirty-three of China’s provinces and autonomous regions, and indeed to the seventy other countries that I’ve been lucky enough to visit.
Arundel Castle – Image: Nick Low
Let’s start in England, with a visit to Sussex, the county of my birth. I’ve chosen an idyllic country pub, the fabulous 13th Century George & Dragon at Houghton Bridge, and the magnificent Arundel Castle. The pub has a global menu and there are magnificent views of the Sussex Downs from the garden. The Castle is perfectly preserved and, with its beautiful gardens, is a day out in itself.
Giant’s Causeway – Image: Nick Low
Carrickfergus Harbour – Image: Nick Low
From Northern Ireland I am going to pick the Causeway Coastal Drive from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway. Don’t pick the motorway but take the coast road and be rewarded with views to die for. I’ve chosen photos of Carrickfergus Harbour and the Giant’s Causeway itself.
Forth Bridge – Image: Nick Low
Holyrood House – Image: Nick Low
From Scotland, I’ve chosen the famous Forth Bridge across the oddly name Firth of Forth and the superb gardens of the Palace of Holyrood House. Holyrood House is my favourite place in Edinburgh and an absolute must but you’re not allowed to take photos of the interior!
Aberystwyth – Image: Nick Low
Swansea Beach – Image: Nick Low
Lastly but not least to Wales where I give you a view of the “Front” (English term for seafront) at Aberystwyth in Central Wales – this is the British seaside as I remember it as a child. The train journey there through the mountains is wonderful! The second photo is a winter seascape from Swansea Beach towards the fabulously scenic Gower Peninsula.
It’s all there for you! Enjoy!
Blog contributed by Mr. Nick Low, British Deputy High Commissioner, Kolkata