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A Tour of England Journal

This travelogue is excerpts from my parents tours of Great Britain in 1988. It has lots of info on Britain and traveling in the UK just read between the lines: Although some things may have changed since my parents visited 20 years ago, the facts and history of these places in England remain the same.

We by-passed Carlisle which is 70 miles from Newcastle, the site of Hadrian's wall and turned onto A66 heading into the lake district, Renrich, Keswick, Brough, Kendal, Lancaster, Ulswater, Cockermouth. The largest lake, near Windermere is 1/2 mile wide and 12 miles long. Many dry stone (no mortar used, stone walls here as also in Scotland. the lake district was, in her later years, the home of Beatrix Potter who wrote Peter Rabbit. She died in 1946 and bequeathed her property to the National Trust. In the area four miles north of Keswick is a granite quarry.York Minster Cathedral, England

We had lunch today in Grasmere Village where William Wordsworth was buried. We are now about two hours north of Chester. Wordsworth lived in an Ale house. The name was changed to Dove House to make it sound more respectful. There was a flock of jackdaws at the place where we ate lunch, nosing about a small stream that passed the building. We went on past Lake Windermere towards Lancaster, Skelmersdale, Warrington, Stockport and got to Chester after crossing an old shipping canal that runs between Manchester and Liverpool, now used by pleasure craft only.  We checked into the hotel Utell Blossoms in Chester and rested before dinner at 7:45 pm. tomorrow we will get to Stratford Upon Avon,  Many of the buildings, including our hotel, were of mortar and timber construction.


The 26 September, a clear day promised, for we leave at 9:00 am heading for Stratford upon Avon, taking A5 to North Wales and will stay tonight at the Falcon hotel near the river Dee. We see herds of Exterior of Alnwick Castle in NorthumberlandHolstein cows, black and white, appreciated for their milk which contains only 2 and a half percent butter fat. Our guide tells us that in great Britain TV is licensed rather than supported by advertising and that TV owners have to pay a license fee of 70 pounds, for colour, annually. Senior  citizens don't have to have TV licenses in Ireland. Milk is delivered daily in bottles, the only place that this happens in Europe.

Birmingham is a city of about 3 million people (1988), the second largest city in England, London being the largest. So, we passed Henley on Arden, (the Arden forest is no longer existent) some old coaching inns, Nags Head was one, the Tudor House hotel and the Ardenhurst school. Then, Stratford.

Castle Alnwick, United KingdomIn Stratford Upon Avon we visited the Anne Hathaway cottage, the oldest part built in 1470. We saw Chinese Blue Willow ware there, which had belonged to the Hathaway family. Blue Willow came to England in 1780, and it is thought that the family had some - they lived there until 1910. Shakespeare was born here, I think. Dinner at the Falcon at 6:30.

Moving along, it is now September 27. Rain today. bags out and breakfast at 7:30 and the bus goes at 8:30 am. Took pictures of Shipston-on-Stour in the Cotswolds area East of Greater Wolford and in the next village of Evesham. Our guide tells us there are 35 million sheep in England, there used to be 200 million in the middle ages; once raised for their wool, now it is for meat. Next Woodstock,  Winston Churchill's home town and then Blenheim Palace. We are told that Oxford University was founded as a school for priesthood studies, now there are 36 colleges. Pub signs noticed in Kidlinton, before Oxford, included the The Black Bull and the Red Lion. In Oxford, The Lamb and The Flag. Also the Old Bell. We passed what looked like a nuclear reactor tower, but it was a coal fired power station, and what we saw was steam, not smoke. Lunch after Abingdon at Newbury.

On to Highclere, Andover, Thruxton, Exeter, Quarley, Hungerford, Tidworth and then Stonehenge. Rain. We found Stonehenge rather disappointing because we had expected something much larger. Didn't appreciate the rain either. So we went on through Heytesbury and Warminster, after noting several more pub signs like George and Dragon, Rose and Crown.

Next stop, Bath, where we saw the old roman baths and afterwards saw Fran feeding pigeons in Kings Meade Square. Some of the birds ate bread she was holding in her hand and they sat on her head and shoulders as they ate. Rain. We left Bath at 4:45 pm and arrived at Bristol at 5:15 pm. Dinner, incidentally, was at 7:00 pm. Two more pub signs - the Three Lamps and the White Hart. Next a visit to Windsor Castle where we saw the fabulous Queen's doll's house on September 28th. We arrived later at Windsor after the ride from Bristol of about 100 miles, and were there for about 2 hours. Saw also the State Apartments, St. Georges Chapel, the Albert Memorial chapel and the Old Masters Drawings. After visiting Windsor Castle, we went to Madam Tussauds wax museum presentation of Queen Victoria's wedding procession. The people and the horses seemed very real indeed.

September 28 saw us in London, but the tour was postponed until the next morning. We did go to the Palladium Theatre. While in London for 2 days we saw the Oxford street shops, Marble Square, Piccadilly Circus and Westminster. We had several pub lunches, used the London Underground several times and the double decked buses. We saw Parliament buildings, including Big Ben, the Thames river, Trafalgar Square, Holland Park shops, Nottingham Gate area, embassy row, Hyde park, Kensington, the American embassy, Berkley Square, Fortnum, Mason's store, Simpson's Department store, the Regent street shops, Harrods', the Queen Victoria statue, Buckingham Palace and enjoyed our stay at Hilton International on September 29 and 30. We also visited the Wesley Chapel which was a worthwhile visit. On October 1st we flew from Heathrow back to J.F. Kennedy airport in New York City.

Liverpool is a port city and is famous for the Beatles. Liverpool had an important strategic location for the Industrial revolution. 

Newcastle upon Tyne attractions include Sevedunum Roman Fort  museum which is a major attraction in the North East, because it is the last fort on the famous Roman Hadrians Wall (Wallsend). There is a full sized bath house here. Other nearby attractions include Alnwick Castle, Angel of the North. Bamburgh Castle, Beamish Open Air Museum, Cragside House, Eldon Square (shopping), MetroCentre (largest indoor mall in Europe), Newcastle Racecourse, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Northumberland Coastline and more.

Plymouth Attractions include beaches of the South Hams, beautiful Dartmoor, the Barbican where the Pilgrims set sail in the Mayflower for the New World, the famous Hoe and more from this old maritime town.

Portsmouth  is an old town with cobbled streets and Cathedral. Spend a day discovering the famous Dockyard and ships HMS Victory, HMS Warrier and the Mary Rose. Farlington Wildlife Reserve and the historic ships. Local attractions include Nelson's flagship - HMS Victory.

Salisbury - Stonehenge, the New Forest, Wilton House, Breamore House, Broadlands and the Museum of Army Flying.

History of William Shakespeare - Trinity Church, pictures and information on William Shakespear

Stratford upon Avon Tourism -  the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Althorpe House, Birmingham University,  Cadbury World, Drayton Manor Park , Golf Course 6 mi, Royal Shakespeare Theatre 6 mi, Shakespeare Properties, Warwick Castle, Anne Hathaways Cottage, Casino, Warwick Castle, National Exhibition Centre, and more.

Suffolk - The National Racing Museum, Cambridge Thetford, Bury St. Edmunds, the site of the signing of the Magna Carta is an hour from east coast ferry ports and two hours from London.