Entries in England (8)

Sunday
Feb022014

UK adventures {Oxford, Stonehenge edition}

Welcome back! We're still in the UK on the blog :) But this is the grand finale of sorts!

We had a 3 day school weekend in early November and decided to rent a house with some friends of ours in Oxford. Turns out, our friend David, studied at Oxford and was actually the curate at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. So he was the perfect tour guide for our holiday! Of course, i was completely geeking out the whole time as Oxford was the home of so many literary greats. We saw the door that was the inspiration for CS Lewis's "Lion, Witch the Wardrobe", enjoyed a pub crawl that included the Eagle and Child , where CS Lewis and Tolkien kept court, admired the "City of Dreaming Spires" atop St Marys and even saw the dining hall at Christ Church that was inspiration for the Hogwarts Dining Hall. On an early morning run, we saw rowers on the fog covered Thames, had dinner at lovely Gee's and rode atop a double decker bus! So a great time was had in Oxford. Here's some of my favorite photos to share..
First stop: a great view down onto the Radcliffe Camera of the Bodleian Library from top of St Mary's

the "dreaming spires" of oxford
See the wooden pulpit on the right of the photo below? That's where our friend would deliver his sermon! Not too shabby of a perch, huh?
Christ Church:
I loved this courtyard..

and the "hogwarts dining hall" that our friend had dined at several times before in his priestly days...

The next day was beautiful and sunny and we met up with David's brother and adorable fam at Blenheim Palace, which was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The grounds were lovely and we enjoyed the palace inside and out.. but the company the most!

We enjoyed one last breakfast at the house and packed up and headed thru the edge of the Cotswolds on our way to Stonehenge. We stopped at a couple of cute villages and had tea and cake along the way. How British of us :) We ended our day at Stonehenge!

So that concludes our UK adventures for 2013! I think we saved the best for last :)
I think we're mostly done with our UK trips, but don't put it past me to sneak at least one more in before our time is up here.. who knows!
Thanks for looking and happy adventures to you and yours.. next stop: France!!

Saturday
Feb012014

More UK adventures {Bath & Cotswolds edition}

Hi! So today I get to share about a quick weekend trip we took to Bath, UK, last fall. My son had a LAX tourny in western London, so we decided to try and squeeze in a bit of sightseeing before joining him to cheer him on!
Bath has been on my Bucket list for some time. It's home to some amazing history: from the Roman Baths, to Georgian architecture at it's finest to Jane Austen hoopla. Something for everyone! Since we had only miss C in tow, we decided to forego seeing Stonehenge this trip (Since K would really have wanted to see it), and opted for this little adeventure instead.
* it's a good 5+ hours from Brussels, so we drove to Calais and slept there on the Friday night, which broke up the drive and made it more doable for a weekend. We crossed the chunnel with our car and were in Bath by 9:30am ready to start our walking tour!

We got a great overview of the town from the walking tour that started at the Baths themselves..
Here's some of the sights we saw..
while you can see the weather was quite iffy and chilly, the leaves were beautiful.. (esp for we southerners who are still in awe of "autumn!" )
John Wood's Circus in Bath..
After the walking tour, we happily escaped the drizzle by heading indoors to have afternoon tea at the Jane Austen Center.. Can you believe i didn't get any great photos there? Oh well.. it was a tight space and I spent the time savoring my warm tea and crumpets rather than stressing over cool photo ops..
We then headed back to the center of town to tour the Baths, which were really a treat. The engineer in the family seemed to like it the most! C and I were already out shopping for quite some time before he finally emerged :)
That night we drove a little and stayed above a little pub closer to the Cotswolds, in Corsham. I have to see it was a pretty cool experience and quite handy for a little night out :) We set miss C up with movie upstairs and had a nice date night there at our very own "Royal Oak Pub" down below! ha!
First thing the next morning, we headed to the Cotswold village of Castle Combe, where the parts of the movie War Horse was filmed. We even bought some breakfast from a little "honest table" set up outside a residence. We each had a homemade bread! Delish!
One last stop: Avebury Stone Circle. ok, so we said we wouldn't do Stonghenge, so we did "#2" instead :) I mean, we were *this close! haha.. Dated at 2500 - 2200BC, it's the largest stone circle in the world. And we happened to catch it on a somewhat blue sky day!


That's a lot of history in 48 hours as you can tell! BUt we enjoyed every minute of it! I have one last UK adventure to share.. and perhaps I've saved the best for last :) So check back soon!

Tuesday
May142013

Easter in the UK, finale :)

well hello there. Anyone still reading this sporadic blog??

The ONLY reason I don't feel more guilty about my poor blogging is that I've had enough adventures in the last 6 weeks to keep me busy blogging until the end of year!? Hopefully, it won't take me THAT long to report, but in the meantime, here I sit.. 6 weeks later, trying to finish up this little Brighton trip that has turned into a month long post! lol. Let's do this thing!

ok, so in case you've forgotten, you can read up on our Brighton Loop here and here.

On our final day, we headed to The Brighton Aquarium, which has the honor of being the oldest aquarium in the world! It still had some nice old interiors from the 1800's, but was mostly modern, informative and entertaining to the old and young. I didn't get ANY pictures for some reason, so here's one I pulled of a vintage postcard.. it's not nearly as cute as that anymore from the outside, so I prefer this anyway.


We  bid adieau to Brighton and made our way back towards the Chunnel making sure we time for one last stop: Leeds Castle (often billed as the "most beautiful castle in the world") in Kent, England. It had been on my bucket list for a number of historical geeky reasons and was certainly fun to see in person. The grounds were massive and would be spectacular in the summer. It was a sunny afternoon but was chilly and VERY windy, so we really were all about getting to and from and not lollygagging in between! :) But your ticket is valid for an entire year so I could see locals enjoying going there in the summer and enjoy the castle grounds!

Some of my faves from our Easter Monday at Leeds!



and one final image to prove that these blue skies were quite deceptive!?
haha.
Well, don't feel too bad for me. The next week I was on a plane to Sicily and got my sun fix in a BIG way.. the next week it was Amalfi, then Lisbon and Madrid.. eek! So much fun to share! But I'm back for a few days in a row and hoping to organize these thousands of pics and share the fun soon. Thanks for looking and not giving up on me.
Bisous, Mac ;)