England, take two!

I tried to post my England blog yesterday, but I suspect that it didn’t go through.  So sorry if you get this twice!  Don’t feel obligated to read it again!

 

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It had been a dream of mine to take a walking tour of the Cotswolds.  So when a dear high school friend invited me to join a women’s trip she was taking, I jumped at the chance. And as long as we were going all the way to England, we had to add on London…and Bath. What a great trip it was!  But now that so much time has passed since I returned I’m inclined to be selective with the details and post just the highlights and a “few” photos.  Procrastination has its advantages (for you and for me)!

On our way from Gatwick to the town of Bath, we were able to squeeze in quick visits to Highclere castle (which was closed for the season but we went through the gates anyway), Avebury Stones and Lacock Village (thanks to our great driver, Brian, from Celtic Horizons)!

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During our four night stay in Bath,  we ventured out to the city of Bristol on the coast (20 minutes away by train), rented bikes on the outskirts of Bath and rode down the scenic canal paths, and took a free walking tour of the historic monuments of Bath itself. These charming towns offered the perfect start to our English adventures.

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Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol
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The Mall – a pub in Bristol
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First Fish and Chips!

Bristol’s Clifton Village has cute pubs, good fish and chips and a stunning bridge.

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Bike riding is such a great way to see the sights!

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Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath

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The town of Bath is quaint and picturesque!  Next stop:  London!

After visiting London’s must-see museums, cathedrals and palaces, we enjoyed the colorful Borough Market, a ferry trip down the Thames to Greenwich /The National Maritime Museum, some great theater (Kinky Boots) and a lively Alvin Ailey dance performance at Sadlers Wells.  Purchasing tickets for the tube and the London Pass in advance saved us time and money!

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After we left London and met up with our Cotswolds walking group, the first stop on our tour was Oxford University.   Our excellent tour guide, David, from Oxford City Walks entertained, educated and serenaded us through this fascinating collection of colleges.

They were filming Endeavor while we toured Oxford!

During the week that followed, we walked from idyllic village to village, hiked across sheep and cow dotted meadows, visited historic castles and dazzling gardens, and stopped in cozy pubs and cafes.  It was better than we ever expected.  On our itinerary were the villages of Moreton-in-Marsh, Lower Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden, Broadway and Winchcombe.   Broadway and Chipping Campden stood out as particularly charming.
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The fascinating Sudeley Castle where Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife is buried.

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Hidcote Gardens
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Picnic feast at Stanway House
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The amazing gravity fountain at Stanway House

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Our wonderful tour guide for the walking portion of the trip, Robert Talbot, from the tour company, Hikes and Bikes,  enlightened us about the area’s flora, fauna, geology, conservation and  history with great knowledge and humor.  He, along Andrew Guppy, who runs Hikes and Bikes, created an amazing journey for us, with fabulous food and incredible hikes.

Touring in a group of 16 women was a great experience.  With daily yoga and journaling, (a bit of sketching) and an abundance of laughing, connecting and sharing, it was a trip like none other I have taken.  I hope to do it again soon!

 

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