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Travel Chat With Heather Cowper

This week I was delighted to be able to chat with Heather Cowper from the very popular travel blog Heather On Her Travels. Heather is an international travel blogger based in Britain and when she is not out exploring the rest of the world you will find her wondering around our little Island.


How does Britain compare with your travels from around the world?


I love the British countryside, and although we’re pretty well populated, you can still find many wonderful unspoilt spots, such as the eco-cottage where I stayed in Shropshire recently and enjoyed some hiking along Offa’s Dyke. Living in Bristol I also love getting down to Cornwall for some cliff walks and surfing (well I enjoy watching my kids surf) and there are some fantastic YHA hostels like the one at Treyarnon where you’re right by the beach. The only thing I miss in the UK is the heat of the mediterannean, so I have to get my fix of sunshine by escaping to warmer climes from time to time.

With so much choice out there for the world traveller, why come to Britain?

I’d come to Britain for culture and to explore our great cities – I was brought up in London and there’s such an endless range of things going on, you’d always find something of interest. Also, so many of our museums are free around the UK, which is a fantastic bonus if you’re travelling on a budget – I’m rather taken aback these days when I do a European citybreak and have to pay to get in to a museum. When I spent a weekend in Manchester, I was amazed at the amount of art and culture on offer from a city that you associate more with football, nightlife & shopping. We particularly enjoyed the Lowry favourites at the Lowry Art centre, the Leonardo exhibition at MOSI and the Don McCullin war photography at the Imperial War Museum – those shows are now over but I’m sure you’d find something just as fascinating.

Your top three places in Britain?

I love the windswept cliff paths of Cornwall, Bristol is a great city with lots to offer visitors but not really on the main tourist trail, and I love the riverside and park at Richmond where I grew up.

Surfers at Constantine beach, Cornwall

What can you not travel without?

Sad I know, but as a travel blogger my laptop is my constant companion these days and I don’t book anywhere without free wifi if I can help it. I’m also wedded to my camera and video recorder these days. If I could only take one bit of hardware it would be my compact digital camera.

If you only had two days in Britain, what would you do in that time?

Two days? Two weeks would be more like it! If I only had 2 days I suppose it would have to be in London, but I’d spend one of the days exploring one area of central London such as the South Bank, and the second in one of the outlying parts of London such as Greenwich or Richmond and Kew Gardens where I was brought up. That way you’d get a bit of green space as well as cityscape.

Millenium Bridge on the South Bank

When do you think is the best time to visit Britain?

It has to be May to September. I think June and early July is ideal so you can enjoy some sunshine before the schools break up. Having said that there are some cities like Bristol where I live which are not really on the tourist trail and are great in August when there are several festivals, like the harbourside festival and many of the locals have gone away on holiday.

If you could live anywhere in Blighty, where would it be?

I grew up in London but when we got married we decided to move out for a better quality of life in Bristol. We’re very happy here, it’s a great city and I’m not planning to leave any time soon.

Bristol City Museum

What annoys you most when travelling?

Rude service in shops and cafes, especially in the UK. Also, travellers who don’t make any effort to learn even a please or thank you in the local language.

Who would be your ideal travel partner?

My husband for citybreaks and weekends in boutique hotels or with a girlfriend for a bit of adventure – I enjoy family holidays but find that my teenage children are not always the best travelling companions, as we all have different ideas of what makes a great holiday.

Laswern Fawr Cottage near Crickhowell, Wales

What has been your best travel experience?

I try to enjoy whatever I do, wherever I go. I’ve most recently enjoyed a sunny walk along by the river at Petersham with a friend when we stopped for coffee and the most delicious cake at the rather upmarket Petersham nurseries. Then there was the weekend in Wales last year when we stayed in a country cottage half way up the mountainside above Crickhowell and nearly got snowed in – the children are still talking about that one! I also have fond memories of staying at Treyarnon Youth Hostel and seeing the children dabbling in a rock pool that’s so huge that it’s locallly known as the Treyarnon swimming pool.

Photo Credits: Heather Cowper

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A big thank you to Heather for talking to The Blighty Traveller this week. You can find out more about Heather by visiting Heather’s blog and chatting with her on Twitter.

6 Responses to Travel Chat With Heather Cowper

  1. The Blighty Traveller Reply

    March 24, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I must take a proper look at Bristol, the only time I have travelled through it was when I went from the airport to the train station last year.

    I completely agree with you regarding rude service. I have come across a lot of it in Britain which is a real shame as it shouldn’t be that way. I put a lot of it down to we Brits not wanting to make a fuss and failing to demand better. I am one of those people I am afraid.

  2. Alastair McKenzie Reply

    March 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I used to live in the Treyarnon “swimming pool” during our summer hols when I was a kid (long time ago!) 🙂

  3. ilaha Reply

    May 26, 2011 at 8:05 am

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  4. Jane Reply

    June 4, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Really interesting article, thanks!
    And though I’ve been living in Britain for 4 days now, I am also astonished with rude service…It is like when you go to the shop and ask something, they look at you like you are an annoying bug…Or like I am trying to sell them something. Can’t get used to that…. I would say that in Catalonia stuff is aggressively rude, in Britain- passively rude. And I cannot decide just yet what is less hurtful:=)

    • The Blighty Traveller Reply

      June 6, 2011 at 7:57 am

      Only 4 days? Where are you from Jane?

      Yes I am afraid one of the things the British are not very good at is giving good service. I don’t know why it is but compared to the rest of the world it is rather bad.

  5. Anne Reply

    August 14, 2011 at 7:08 am

    I agree about the rude service. I enjoyed many holidays in Britain so much that I put up with the disagreeable service in hotels and restaurants but no more. I now travel elsewhere. Shame about that gigantic chip on the shoulder that burdens people in the service industry. They don’t seem to understand that tourism is an essential part of the economy and by extension their jobs and income.

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