Well, here we are at the end of July, and I haven’t done a monthly travelogue yet! As I’ve been watching the Olympics on TV, I’ve seen shots of some of the wonderful places we went outside of London when we were last there, so that’s my inspiration for July, just a tad late!
We stayed in a flat in London during this trip, and didn’t wander too far, but we did a couple of day trips, and managed to see some really lovely things.
The first must-see for us was Stonehenge. My hubby had been there before, but I hadn’t. My niece commented that it might have been fun to be there on a grey, misty, mystical day… but, alas, we were given a bright sunny sky! And it was hot (too hot to make climbing the burial mounds sound like a good idea.) Although the mood wasn’t as dreamy as a fog might have offered, we did get some wonderful shots, and I could have stayed there all day.
Two views of the full circle – the inner stones were brought 240 miles from Wales about 2150 BC, on rollers and rafts!
A closer view of the outer stones, and three of the burial mounds.
Because we went with a tour that included some other sites, we didn’t get to nearby Salisbury, but we did go on to the town of Bath. There we visited the Roman-era baths, and were struck by the beauty of Bath Abbey. As a mini-bonus, we were so far west that driving out of the city, we saw the Welsh coastline.
An outdoor pool at the Roman Baths, and one of the indoor pools.
Views of Bath Abbey
Windsor Castle, near Eton and Ascot (and in the shadow of Heathrow), is easily accessible by train, bus, and car from the city. Queen Victoria had a special train line run out to the castle. For 900 years, it has been a Royal residence with a large working farm around it. It is known for its round towers, and for St. George’s Chapel, where Queen Elizabeth II’s parents and sister Margaret are buried. The art galleries at the castle are spectacular, and there is also a doll and dollhouse exhibit, showing those that belonged to Elizabeth and Margaret when they were children.
Some views of the castle. St. George’s Chapel (lower right).
My mom was almost obsessed with the history of Henry VIII, and so all of our lives we learned about Henry, his accomplishments, his wives, and his children. Henry acquired Hampton Court Palace during his reign, and it was his favorite royal residence. Hampton Court can be reached by boat on the Thames (as Henry arrived), or (as we arrived) by train from London. It is famous for its gardens, but there’s a lot of history inside the palace as well, from the time of Henry and after.
The entry gate and front courtyard, and oh, hello, Your Majesty!
The original Queen Anne Chair – her throne chair from the early 1700′s, and a tapestry made for Henry VIII depicting scenes from Abraham’s life.
Some of the gardens – the rose garden (we were too early in the season for blooms), privy gardens, the maze, and the rear grounds. There are over 60 acres of gardens and grounds at the palace.
On my current wish list for future English trips: More of the Salisbury area, the Costwolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, the White Cliffs of Dover, Cambridge and Oxford, and maybe a trip all the way to Wales. My beloved has some of his own target spots to visit as well, so I guess we’d better start planning!