Mommy & Me: UK tour

Mum and I travelled to England and Scotland to visit some of my family and friends for two weeks in winter 2010 and this is a small selection of photos from our adventure.

Read the full recap of our trip here on RyanCentric or go the easy route and read the copied story below. You can also check out smaller stories hereherehere, and here.

Mommy & Me: UK tour

For nearly a decade I’ve wanted to take Mum to the UK with me to show her just how fabulous it is, and I’ve finally done it! We first travelled to England toward the end of February for the annual Ryan Family Reunion then made our way north to Scotland for our second week. We managed to pack quite a bit into our trip but didn’t feel rushed to see everything.

Our first port of call was Wakefield, where we stayed with my sister-in-law, Ann, and Mick for the night in hopes of acclimatizing ourselves to the time change. In the morning we had a short tour of Wakefield so that Mom could see The Chantry Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin and the Wakefield Cathedral. We were extremely lucky to have gone to the chapel when there were workmen in who were kind enough to allow us inside the small chapel on the river – a very rare treat indeed!

After touring Wakefield we made the drive to York where Mum enjoyed her first pub lunch with some of the family – and proper British beer. After lunch, I took a walk into town with my brother-in-law, John (which might have included a stop at a pub, too), before heading back to the hotel then back out for a pub dinner with Mum and more of the family (and maybe more beer, too).

When we woke on Saturday morning, Mom was excited to get into town to see what there was in York. We started the tour with the York Minster, opting to take the guided tour with several family members – all of whom seemed to enjoy the history lesson. After the minster, it was off for an obligatory cup of tea at Betty’s before wandering around the city a bit more, which included a stop at the Shrine of the Saint Margaret Clitherow.

Later that night we headed out for the family dinner at Caesars. With 16 people around the table, it was a bit difficult to really visit with everyone, but we were able to chat more after heading to the pub after our meal. This was my fourth time at the family dinner and, as always, it was full of fun and laughter.

On Sunday we made the drive to Billingham with Paul’s cousin, Olwyn, taking the long way north via small country back roads. On the journey, Mum was able to see a couple of twee villages, some lovely old farmhouses, and even the ruins of a fantastic old abbey. Once we arrived in Billingham we were off to Seaton Carew for my obligatory fish supper at the Almighty Cod! (Yum!)

Monday saw us touring around Billingham and doing a bit of shopping at Dalton Park. It was a beautiful day, and the company was even better!

On Tuesday we began our drive further north into Scotland. Our journey saw us stopping in at Housesteads along Hadrian’s Wall before crossing the border into Scotland later that afternoon. By dinner time, we were settled into a nice little hotel in Jedburgh (Glenbank Hotel, now closed), where Mum enjoyed her first “proper” haggis and a 1/2 pint of McEwan’s 70/. In the morning, she got to enjoy her first “full Scottish” breakfast before we went to tour the Jedburgh Abbey. By Wednesday afternoon we made it to Lindsay’s house in Bo’Ness – by way of a quick car tour of Edinburgh.

On Thursday morning we headed up to Stirling where we visited the Wallace Monument before meeting Rebecca for lunch. After that, it was off to the castle for a nice, long tour. It was the one castle Mum really wanted to see, and she really enjoyed it! Later that evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner with Rebecca at Zingerman’s – where I got to try Jerusalem Artichokes for the first time. Review: Meh – I can live happily without them.

When we woke on Friday we headed back toward Edinburgh with a stop at the Linlithgow Palace. Mum had seen it from the road the day before and was very intrigued; it turned out to be her favourite place of the entire visit! If we’d had more time, we would have stayed longer, but we were heading to Roslin to meet my friend, Adrian, for lunch before heading to the Rosslyn Chapel so needed to get moving! I’m certain she’ll visit Linlithgow with each subsequent visit to the area! Later Friday evening, I headed back into Edinburgh to meet Steve for dinner while Mum stayed in Bo’Ness to rest up for a busy weekend!

Saturday saw us spending a lazy day wandering around the area with Lindsay. We stopped by a couple of stately homes to see how the other half lives then headed to Dalkeith to show Mum Newbattle Abbey College before meeting up with Joanne for a nearly four-hour pub lunch at Justinlees.

Finally, Sunday saw us meeting with another friend for a tour of Edinburgh. We started at the castle before wandering down the Royal Mile toward Deacon Brodie’s for lunch. After enjoying a bit of local cuisine, we took a bus tour around the city so that Mum could get a better feel for the land. She also managed to finally get a photo of her and a Scotsman in a kilt when we stopped in to visit Steve.

By the time we got back to Bo’Ness and packed our bags for the early-morning flight home, I realised that Mom bought out the candy supplies for all of Britain to take home to the grandkids. Of course, I had my own little stash of Jaffa Cakes and Love Hearts, so you’ll not hear me complaining!

It was a great trip, and I am so happy to have been able to share it with Mum. I’m certain that she now fully understands just why I love the place so much. I’m also certain that she will be making a trip back over in the future – with Dad in tow.

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