The Train’s Final Stop: Monsal Head


The Monsal Head Hotel overlooks the Monsal Dale and the Monsal Dale Viaduct. In England, the valleys between the many hills are refered to as dales. Our hotel was perfectly placed at the very top of the hill with a view of the picturesque dale below. I couldn’t imagine a better place to end our UK roadtrip. Continue reading “The Train’s Final Stop: Monsal Head”

When Old Luxury Hotels Fall Apart


Our new friends Martin and Andy had strongly recommended that we finish out our roadtrip with a visit to the Monsal Head Hotel. They had both been there numerous times and told us in glorious detail about the amazing view, lovely walks, and wonderful accommodations. We were sold. Unfortunately, there was an international horserace going on that weekend (we were in Derbyshire, after all) and everywhere was booked solid. We could book two nights, but not the long relaxing three-nights stay we were hoping for. We went online and found the best-looking hotel nearby to fill the gap — The Palace Hotel in Buxton. Continue reading “When Old Luxury Hotels Fall Apart”

Nottingham: Home of Robin Hood and Our New Favorite Pub


The drive to Nottingham from Blenheim Palace was at least an hour longer than it should have been. Traffic was terrible. There was construction and back-to-back cars on the motorway. Not the most romantic part of the road trip. Brandon’s back was getting sore from sitting in our tiny rental car and his left ankle was getting stiff from pressing down the clutch.

When we finally pulled into Nottingham our first impression was not good. This place was pretty grungy. No offense to my Portland friends, but this place was like the Portland of England. Dirtier than we expected but also much bigger. This was actually a good-sized city, not a village like the places we had been staying previously.

Our hotel wasn’t all that romantic either. It was a very basic but modern chain called Roomzzzz. Seriously? Of all the ideas that must have up during that corporate meeting and “Roomzzz” was the winner?

But the whole place would quickly grow on us.  Continue reading “Nottingham: Home of Robin Hood and Our New Favorite Pub”

Touring Blenheim Palace: Birthplace of Winston Churchill


Our next stop is technically the town of Nottingham, but the pit stop we made along the way was so grandiose that I feel it deserving of its own post. Blenheim Palace, a “country house” just outside the village of Woodstock is one of England’s largest homes and the only home in the country to be given the title of “Palace” without a connection to the crown or the church. It is also the birthplace of Winston Churchill and where he spent quite a bit of time as a child.  Continue reading “Touring Blenheim Palace: Birthplace of Winston Churchill”