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Our UK Vacation

If you visited our shop during May, you probably noticed a friendly little pop-up letting you know that we were on vacation. We’re back now, after our first vacation in six years! We had so much fun spending a few weeks exploring England, visiting new places and a couple familiar ones. Here’s what we got up to!


The sand walk at Darwin's Down House

Spending a day at Down House in the company of our friend Natee, we strolled along the sandwalk, where Darwin walked nearly every day, and enjoyed the collections of orchids, begonias, and carnivorous plants in his greenhouse.

The glasshouse and garden beds at Kew.

Kew Gardens is a must-visit when in London. You could probably spend a whole week just at Kew and not see everything! We visited Kew with Natee as well, and stayed long enough to enjoy the late afternoon light.


Euphorbias and shooting stars in bloom at Scampston

We met up with our friends Marci and Alasdair and their son Isaac to visit Scampston, the perfect combination of formal garden design and open parkland. The shooting stars and euphorbia in the walled garden were a memorable pairing.

A winding path through the trees and flowers of Yorkshire Arboretum

Yorkshire Arboretum offered relaxing walks in a naturalistic setting, with many wooded areas carpeted by bluebells.

Woodland garden of Castle Howard

Next to Yorkshire Arboretum is Castle Howard. We roamed around the large gardens. The highlight was the woodland garden, pictured above, with all sorts of rhododendrons, azaleas, and magnolias in full bloom.

Whitby bay, with houses sloping down to the water.

Whitby was a wonderful spot to stay during our time in the moors. This shot was from the top of the 199 steps which take you up to Whitby Abbey.

Jennie's hands hold a newly split open ammonite fossil.

In Whitby, we spent a morning on an incredible fossil hunt with Shae of Yorkshire Fossils. He taught us to spot nodules of stone that were likely to contain spiral-shelled ammonites, and we actually got pretty good at it! We came home with a nice haul of fossils, testing the limits of our luggage.


The stony beath of Whitby

The beach at Whitby is gorgeous and moody, with dark shales and dramatic rock formations.

Sheep in an open field surrounded by dry stone walls.

Starting from the small village of Danby, we hiked a long circular route around the valley of Little Fryup, seeing Danby Castle and many, many sheep.

Lake District

A view of Coniston Water from BrantwoodWe traveled to the Lake District with Marci, Alasdair, and Isaac. They took us to Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin, whose gardens overlook Coniston Water.

A placid lake in the mountains

Hiking north from Grasmere, we spent time soaking up the peaceful vibes of Easedale Tarn, a small glacial lake.

The rock garden at Sizergh Castle

We traveled down to Kendal to visit Sizergh, an estate that dates back to the 11th century. We were blown away by their beautiful rock garden.

Inside Cathedral Cavern, a pillar of slate extending from top to bottom.

We took advantage of a group of knowledgeable locals to fully explore Cathedral Cavern, a slate mine once owned by Beatrix Potter, who gave it to the National Trust. Since the site is fairly undeveloped and has little in the way of safety infrastructure, we were glad to have guides!

There was so much more than we can fit into a blog post, but even more that we wanted to see but didn't have time to. A return trip will just have to happen!