Solo travelling to the Peak District

In June of last year I travelled to the Peak District in the UK for three weeks, by myself. It was the best gift I could have given myself. Three full weeks of sleeping in, hiking, exploring, enjoying nature, sleeping in a little hobbit-cottage with grass on the roof. I enjoy travelling alone as I tend to worry too much about others needs when going on vacation with family or friends.

As I had such an amazing time then I booked the same little hobbit-cottage again. Two full weeks of sleeping in, hiking and enjoying nature is something I’ve looked forward to for many weeks now.

I was honoured to write an article about my last visit for Flow Magazine. They published a special about travelling and alongside my story, I also made some drawings. You can buy the special here, if you like.

For now, I would just like to show you some photos of my wonderful vacation!

Arriving at Manchester Picadilly to take the little train to Glossop, where a comfy bed was waiting for me.

I couldn’t get over the wonderful light in this little town, just on the edge of the Peak District. Whilst I was there, it hadn’t rained for three weeks and there were fires on the hills.

Manchester

One of my favourite cities is Manchester. Up north of England lies this beautiful city with its red bricks and rough edges. It’s a big city but for some reason it doesn’t feel that way. It has a nice, homy touch to it for me. My favourite part of the city is the Northern Quarter which is filled with lovely shops and nice places to eat. Another thing I love about Manchester (or MCR, as locals will call it) is one of my dearest friends Emma Reynolds. She’s the reason I first travelled to this city.

Manchester tips

My favourite places in Manchester:

Shops
Fig + Sparrow is another great place to enjoy a cup of tea and they sell lovely cards too.
Fred Aldous to stock up on beautiful stationery and to get your photo taken in an old photobooth!
CassArt for all the art supplies.
Oklahoma to get some quirky gifts for friends and family.
Travelling Man is your stop for comics!
Paperchase to get some funny cards (they also sell mine there!)
Waterstones when the city gets too much for you and you need some peace and quiet amongst books.
Manchester Craft and Design Center to buy products from the makers.
Magma for the best magazines and a great selection of books.

Food and drinks
Teacup Kitchen for a brilliant tea and scone with clotted cream, and do try their rainbow cake!
Home Sweet Home for a delicious lunch and the best milkshakes.
Bundobust for great Indian food.
Pot Kettle Black for a great coffee.
Rudy’s for the best pizza I have ever tasted.
Pieminister for the most delicious pies, a proper British dish.
Common to have a drink in the evening.
Albert Square Chop House to get the best English breakfast.

Other
John Rylands Library if you’re in a Harry Potter mood.

When I’m there next week I want to try out some new coffee places!

Macclesfield: Treacle Market

One of the things I absolutely loved was taking the train to Macclesfield, a town with lovely shops, good coffee (go to Monocle Deli) and the wonderful Treacle Market.
A market in the heart of the town with amazing products made by locals. I enjoyed myself pretty much a full day here!

Bakewell

Famous for its puddings, the lady I rented my cottage from took me to this town to get some fresh cakes and have a gander on the market.

And of course as a bit Jane Austen fan, I had to see Chatsworth House, where the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice was filmed.

Back to Glossop


This was my home for three weeks. I had a lovely daily routine of waking up around 8 AM, eating breakfast (preferably crumpets with salted butter), reading books or watching Netflix, or going for a hike, going for coffees, visiting second hand book shops, more hikes, preparing meals for myself and more sleep. There is an Aldi in town which sells my favourite tea cakes, Cadbury chocolate and PG tips. What more could I need?

What I’ve learnt

I need time to myself to relax and recharge my battery. Going on a solo-trip you get confronted very much with yourself, which is absolutely a good thing. I really started to understand what I need and what I want. I also got a bit more confidence. I know what I can do and I’m not insecure about that but I’ve learnt I can do even more than I thought.

During my trip I realised that it’s not solely illustration I want to do. I want to tell stories in words and pictures. So I was really pleased when Flow Magazine wanted me to do an article about my trip. I created the illustrations myself and also did the photography. It was like a new beginning for me. You can read it here!

Also, don’t go to the UK without buying a Whippy ice cream with a chocolate flake. Your trip is not complete without it.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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14 reacties

  1. Just lovely! Bij mij is het alleen reizen er ook pas afgelopen maart van gekomen, op m’n 33ste. Had ik veel eerder moeten doen. Volgend jaar weer, indien mogelijk 🙂

  2. Prachtig! Ik reis ook regelmatig alleen en jouw verhaal in Flow heeft me wel geïnspireerd om ook eens hier naartoe te gaan. Misschien volgend jaar. 🙂

  3. Klinkt heerlijk! Ik hoop ooit ook eens zo op vakantie te kunnen alleen maar doen wat je zelf graag wil doen, alhoewel ik mijn verloofde wel heel erg zou missen.

  4. Your photos are so lovely, the one at the very top even looks like a painting:-) I have always loved England too (I’m German), the style, the architecture, all things old fashioned and vintage, the politeness, the beautiful countryside and so much more! I also lived in London for 7 1/2 years. I never enjoyed traveling on my own though so far. I tried it once a long time ago but I missed sharing all my impressions with someone else. However, the way you describe it (sleeping in for two or three weeks in a row sounds heavenly to me as a mother of three:-)) I think I would even consider giving it another go some time in the future! I think I would feel lost for a couple of days but then might enjoy it:-) Just the thought of cooking just for one instead of five is tempting… I can really imagine that having proper time to think about things without any interruptions must be so special!

  5. Oh, and I forgot to mention that your whole trip and painting on your own in that little cottage on the countryside reminds me so much of Beatrix Potter:-) Have you ever seen the movie about her? I liked it a lot.

  6. Oh how I loved reading this post! Congratulations on your article for Flow Magazine. I’m so pleased that you chose the Peak District for your holiday. Up until last summer I lived and worked in Glossop. I live in London now and miss the peace and tranquility of the hills and go back as often as I can … The Northern Quarter is my favourite part of Manchester too, you got some great photos!

  7. Oh wow; dit gebied moet ik ook op mijn lijstje zetten! Prachtige foto’s!

    Ik ben zelf 2x alleen op vakantie geweest, naar Edinburgh en naar Japan. Het bevalt ontzettend goed om solo te reizen, dus dit ga ik zeker vaker doen. Het is tot zekere hoogte isolerend, wat misschien niet voor iedereen is, maar ik heb ook gemerkt dat je makkelijker in gesprek raakt met locals. Het geeft ook veel vrijheid en je hoeft geen rekening met vrienden/familie te houden. Ik heb er ook meer zelfvertrouwen door gekregen; het geeft rust dat je het in je eentje ook prima redt. 🙂