Scenes of Enchantment

 

Not all magical places have a fantastical tale attached to them.

Some merely look as though they should…

Here are some of my favorites!

 

 

Ireland

 

Cliffs of Moher

These magnificent cliffs are among Ireland’s top tourists attractions, rising over 700 feet from the salty waves below. Rent a car or hop on a tour bus from Dublin, and you’ll see why this natural wonder attracts thousands of visitors every year.

 

Glenveagh National Park

Few spots in Ireland exhibit such peaceful beauty as Glenveagh National Park.  A roughly 3-hour drive from Dublin, visitors can hike or shuttle to Gleanveagh Castle, where you’ll find a lovely garden, tea room, and best of all, absolutely stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lake.

 

Banba’s Crown

It’s no wonder that this striking windswept hilltop was chosen as a filming location for Star Wars Episode VIII. Even on a blistering January day, I couldn’t believe the beauty of Ireland’s northern-most point. After you’ve snapped some photos, be sure to grab a pint in the nearby Farren’s Bar; my relatives own it!

Banbas Crown 4

 

 

England

 

Highgate Cemetery

A true London gem, this alluring cemetery looks like something out of a morbid fairytale—a fusion of quaint winding paths, fine funerary craftsmanship, towering trees, and flourishing ivy. Be sure to keep an eye out for the graves of such historical figures as Karl Marx.

 

St Dunstan-in-the-East

Amid the towering buildings of London’s Monument Station area, a picturesque little church can be found tucked away between London Bridge and the Tower of London. A perfect escape from the bustle of the city, take a moment to stroll through its midst and admire its many stone archways.

 

Strawberry Hill House

Is it a house? Or a castle? To me, it looks like something out of Alice & Wonderland. Technically, it’s England’s best example of Georgian Gothic Revival Architecture, designed by author Horace Walpole in the 1700’s. Located in Twickenham in London, you can tour the grounds and stunning interior, before grabbing a bite to eat in the charming tearoom.

 

Stonehenge

Of course, I have to mention Stonehenge—a World Heritage Site, and one of the Wonders of the World. This famous prehistoric rock formation has entranced millions of visitors, and is easily accessible by rental car or tour bus from London.

 

Cambridge

 Want a lovely daytrip from London? One chockfull of striking gothic architecture? Look no further than Cambridge, home to one of England’s most prestigious universities. Not only has it educated such remarkable minds as Stephen Hawking, Sir Isaac Newton, and Charles Darwin, but the extensive campus grounds are magical indeed. Be sure to take a punting tour, which will reveal remarkable views from the River Cam.

 

Cliffs of Dover

Dover’s breathtaking white cliffs are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Accessible via train from London, it’s the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Hike the along the stunning green and white cliffs, stopping now and then to take in the lovely ocean view. The entire walk takes roughly two hours, but don’t turn back early! The trail ends at a historic lighthouse-turned-tearoom, where you can reward yourself with a nice piece of cake.

 

Hever Castle

Remember Anne Boleyn? The infamous temptress who changed the course of British history? Well, she was once a little girl living at Hever Castle. More than a crumbling ruin and more manageable than a giant palace, Hever Castle provides breathtaking garden walks in addition to the wealth of history behind its stone walls.

 

 

Germany

 

Neuschwanstein Castle

I don’t believe there is a sight on Earth more majestic than Neuschwanstein Castle—a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace overlooking Hohenschwangau, near Fussen in Bavaria, Germany. Built by order of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, it acted as a retreat in honor of Richard Wagner, and opened to the public shortly after Ludwig’s death in 1886.

Neuschwanstein 3

 

Schloss Linderhof

Germany is full of castles, but Schloss Linderof feels particularly enchanting. The smallest of Ludwig’s three, and the only one that he lived to see completed, it’s certainly a sight to behold. The castle grounds are undoubtedly fit for a king.

 

 

Singapore

 

Supertree Grove

Not all enchantment comes from ancient, ivy-drenched stone structures. Visitors to Singapore’s Supertree Grove will feel as though they’ve been transported to another world. Part of the city’s Gardens by the Bay, the nightly lightshow mixes entrancing colored lights with music, and is free for all.

 

 

Vietnam

 

Thien Cung Grotto

I’m no stranger to caves, but this grotto in Ha Long Bay was different—like some sort of twisted, other-worldly cathedral. I spent the duration of the tour swiveling my head in all directions, mouth agape. Tours to Ha Long Bay will often include a trip here, and if they don’t, then it’s not the tour for you.