It takes a lot of courage to travel overseas alone but it’s got to be one of the most magical and personal experiences an individual could ever have.
Peta Dunlop has truly mastered the art of solo travelling and embarked on a huge, six-week adventure across UK and Ireland late last year. For those daunted by the thought of solo travel, she recommends booking a group tour for half the trip and then hiring a car to return to the places and towns you want to spend more time.
Arriving in the UK, Peta spent a couple of days exploring London before commencing on the 15-day Cosmos Grand Tour of Ireland and Britain, booked through Tara at Lyn McNaught Helloworld Travel.
As an avid fan of all things historical, Peta was incredibly moved by many of the old sites and the rich history of everywhere she visited.
Westminster Abbey was amazing, with spectacular architecture and its creepy history. Peta was particularly enamoured with the huge crypts, the final resting home to many monarchs, royals and celebrities.
Following a whip tour of London, taking in St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, next, it was off to see the Stonehenge.
Peta found Stonehenge, a place shrouded in mystery and intrigue, completely mesmerising. It is estimated that the Druids built Stonehenge around 5000 years ago in the Neolithic period, but nobody truly knows for sure.
After brief stops at Bath, Glastonbury, Plymouth, the tour was off to Ireland. Peta didn’t feel the need to wait over two hours to kiss the Blarney stone, opting instead to wander and peruse the beautiful and picturesque Blarney House and Castle.
The tour continued into Ireland with a drive through the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula and a brief stop in Limerick. Next, the group were off to see the stunning Cliffs of Moher, featuring 8km of breathtaking cliffs up to 509ft tall. This area gets up to 1.5 million visitors annually and Peta could definitely understand why.
The bus continued to Dublin, then back on the ferry to Holyhead Wales, before finally stopping in Liverpool.
Scotland was next on the agenda, with a mini city tour of Glasgow, followed by stop-offs at Grantown on Spey, Fort William and Inverness.
The highlight of that day was visiting Culloden Moor and learning about the battle of Culloden – the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Walking around the battlefield was very emotional and educational.
In Scotland, the tour drove through Perth, Dundee and St. Andrews, which is where golf was invented, then off to Edinburgh, York, Sheffield and Stratford Upon Avon for a quick photo of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Shakespeare’s House.
The group returned to London for their final meal together and a lovely evening of reflection. Next, Peta hired a car and decided to head off on her own, returning to highlights and places missed on the tour.
On her solo tour in the rental car, Peta embarked on some huge days of driving and taking in all the scenery at her own place. There was so much to see: villages, rolling hills, castles, cathedrals, museums, art galleries, and all kinds of historical architecture and tiny townships.
Among Peta’s many highlights from her huge trip was checking out all of the locations used for filming scenes from the TV show Outlander, including Linlithgow Castle, Blackness Castle, Hopetoun House and Midhope Castle. All of these sites are embedded with a rich history and many great stories.
Taking in as much as possible in her rental car solo journey, Peta returned to London to decompress and relax for a few days before heading home.