Study Abroad Blog by Pavel Vassiljev

Thursday, May 19, 2011

South of England Road-trip

As promised I took a break from writing the thesis and am taking a walk down the memory lane. (oh God... I do study to hard.) I mentioned previously my great French house-mates took me on a road-trip around South of England. It was mid-May and the weather was mostly kind to us. Of course occasional rains hit us during the road-trip (But, hey, its England!). Nevertheless, let the journey begin:

We headed out of Portsmouth early in the morning of course stopping at the 24H Tesco to grab breakfast and snacks. (Who doesn't). After driving for a couple of hours we got to our first place of interest, which was the White Horse in Westbury. A pretty weird thing to see... A giant horse engraved on a hill... According to Wikipedia: "The origin of the Westbury White Horse is obscure. It is often claimed to commemorate King Alfred's victory at the Battle of Eðandun in 878, and while this is not impossible, there is no trace of such a legend before the second half of the eighteenth century. " As you can guess we took a picture and continued to go. 

Our next stop was a lot more exciting - Bath. When I first heard of Bath and Bath Spa University, I was sure they only teach Spa stuff there :-/ But NO... The city has a name because of the baths Roman empire built there. Its a pretty neat city with nice gardens and old town. The most interesting fact about it is that all of the city's buildings are the same color. Golden-colored Bath Stone all the way. You may be thinking its lame, but no its not! The city has a very special feel to it. It does not really feel like England because of so many Roman buildings and such. 

After a nice walk around Bath and some Starbucks we headed to Cheddar, the village that gave the world Cheddar Cheese! The village located in the Cheddar Gorge has a narrow but beautiful road. Taking a stop at the village we went to sample some fresh cheddar (The French love their cheese you know!) The variety in small family-owned shops was amazing. You name it, they've got it... Oak-smoked cheddar, bacon cheddar, chili cheddar and my personal favorite cider cheddar with pieces of cider apples. The cheese was so fresh that we couldn't cut it, it was so crumbly. 

After eating all that cheddar we got back on the road and headed to Glastonbury, the city that is home to Glastonbury Festival and the mysterious Glastonbury Tor. But first we found Mr Roger Wilkins and his cider farm. The guy was amazingly friendly and treated the non-driving part of the crew to some home-made cider. Never tasted anything better in my life. The cider made our conversation more laid back and Roger in his mid 70's told us he used to drink 12 pints a day, but unfortunately the doctors made him cut down to 6-7... But still he thinks that "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". After a couple of pints we bought another 20 liters and continued with our journey. When we reached Glastonbury it was already getting dark, so we checked in the local backpackers hostel and then went out for dinner. The dinner was in a very, very and I mean VERY old pub, it was screaming the middle ages! After some fish pie and a couple of pints we returned   to the hostel and went to bed. 

The next morning we went to see the Glastonbury Tor, a roofless tower on top of a hill. The view from there was nice and there was a feel of mystery around the tower. There are several myths about the Tor regarding King Arthur, Celtic settlements and many others. If you want to know more... Google it! :)  

After walking around the Tor and taking tons of pictures we moved on to reach Cornwall. In a couple of hours we reached Boscastle a village that changed me. You cannot believe how beautiful it was. A small village in a valley next to hills and cliffs and the ocean. We spend a fair 2-3 hours walking around and climbing hills and cliffs. Took tons of pictures from every angle. I bet you are wondering whether it was scary to make this ------>
picture. YES it was! But I always wanted one so i went for it... Once we got enough of Boscastle (No we didn't, but had to leave) we carried on going to Tintagel, the birthplace of King Arthur and a place where Merlin's cave is. 

It was only a 20 minute drive from Boscastle along a beautiful road over-viewing the cliffs and the ocean. Eventually we found a cheap parking space and went to discover Tintagel Castle. Even though there is not that much castle left it is still impressive. The castle used to be located on two huge cliffs and is believed to be the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur. The atmosphere was quite creepy because once we got to the top everything became really foggy. It was scary to walk around because you could not see where the cliff ends... But yet again we survived. After taking tons of pictures (YES, tons again) on the cliff and going into every single cave below the cliff it was time to start heading back to Pompey...

That two day road-trip was packed with action and beautiful places I highly recommend everybody to visit Cornwall if you have the time. It is A-mazing! 

Check my Flickr for more pictures of Cornwall. 



  1. This question has nothing to do with the road trip...but did you do foundation course? If so, what kind of preparation should I do as a person who will start the course in a few months?

  2. No I didn't do a foundation year. I went straight into the Bachelors. But for foundation be prepared to have a lot of free time to party. Thats for sure!

  3. Is it some course specific foundation year or general stuff?

  4. Thanks to say for posting this blog. We have to get new collection of news from your end. All the best for you best support. Keep updataing your blog. This is really nice job

  5. Thanks, I really appreciate it! Hope to come up with new topics :) If anyone is interested in specific stuff, I can always write about that too :)