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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Turning Japanese

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood whatever the weather. This post is from Nicola

It takes nine hours to get from Hexham via Carlisle to Plymouth, a long journey to make on my own with the two children but it turned out to be a doddle. Lola had her nose in a triology while I read the first Harry Potter book to Nell, a bit slowly. In the remaining table seat a young woman was reading Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince. When she told us she was trying to catch up with her students Lola’s curious gene took over. It turned out Ros was a teacher in Chester going for a big weekend in Bristol and Bath. Maybe the almost high speed nature of the Virgin line reminded her of Japan’s famous bullet trains as she was soon telling us about her recent year spent teaching English in Japan… And so at last we got a taste of Japan. “My friends used to ask me what festivals the British had, and besides Christmas we don’t really have enough.” Since her return to the UK she’s on the look out for festivals… over the next month there are fetes every weekend; and there’s a few places with outlandish Gunpowder Plot celebrations (eg, Lewes) on 5 November. Her tip for the best Japanese food is to turn east at Top Shop in London and search for Sakura, there’s also a store nearby selling the classic Japanese nicknacks such as “welcome cats”. We never really understood what a welcome cat was (like a nodding dog perhaps) so that’s a short trip to make to Kyoto, via Oxford Street, come the autumn.

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