’m a voracious reader. I always have been. Maybe that’s why a trip to England was so extraordinary for me. To actually walk through so much of the history I have read about was amazing. To stand in front of my favorite author’s homes and to stand a top their graves in Westminster Abbey was surreal.
Oliver and I had originally planned to visit England in May, but a certain Royal wedding changed our plans. We were going to do the famous trek across England, from Coast to Coast. We would hike from town to town and stay in charming little inns, hotels, and B&B’s along the way, But with Harry and Meagan mania, it just wasn’t meant to be. So we walked across France and Spain instead.
In the end, a trip to England ended up working out as the best way to get home and not overstay our 90 day visa in the Schengen area. As it turned out, we left Portugal right at the ninety day limit and could not return to the Schengen area countries for three more months.
At first I was worried about the weather, but as it turned out December was a perfect time to visit London. There were no lines for the Big Eye, the Crown Jewels, Windsor Castle or anything for that matter.
We were able to capture the last two tickets to Tina Turner’s musical on the West End. The show was fantastic and though the southern accents drove Oliver crazy, the references to Mississippi made us both homesick.
London and the towns and small villages we visited were beautifully decorated for the holidays. Watching ice skaters glide across now frozen castle moats and the smell of roasting chestnuts, just made our winter visit all the more special. For the first time on our journey, I was homesick. I was ready to go home for the holidays.
From the moment our plane landed from Morocco Oliver was in heaven. Reese’s were for sale on every candy isle and he could recognize everything on the menu. We indulged in Fish and Chips, Sheppard’s Pie, and all of the comfort foods of home. Obviously, he didn’t enjoy Morocco’s Mediterranean food as much as I did.
Our one bedroom AirBnB was located just a short 15 minute Tube ride from most attractions in London. We also had a wonderful neighborhood pub on the corner with a roaring fire to come home to in the evenings. After managing the Tube and having a pint in the evenings we felt like proper Londoners.
We were only in London for seven days, but we made the most of it. We travelled to Windsor and Bath and visited all of London’s iconic attractions.
We spent hours walking through history in the British Museum, where we saw the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Marbles, Egyptian mummies, artifacts from Mesopotamia, the Renaissance, and Medieval times.
We also spent hours strolling through London’s parks and historic neighborhoods. We were childlike in our enthusiasm for taking pictures in the iconic red phone booths and funny black taxis and posing in front of the houses where Harry Potter was filmed.
A visit to Stonehenge was remarkable as there were very few visitors there. We soaked in the surrounding countryside and marveled in its mysteries.
The countryside homes with their thatched roofs, neat hedges, and kitchen gardens, made me put our English Coast to Coast hike at the top of our to do list. I could see us walking from village to village, enjoying a pint, and the warmth of the local pub in the evening.
I admit that I loved visiting Windsor castle and all sites royal. I particularly loved seeing Duchess Meagan’s wedding dress up close. I think Ol enjoyed trying to get the palace guards to smile.
When we visited Parliament, we walked by crowds of Brexit protesters. The numbers seemed pretty even for both sides and yet both were outnumbered by the International media.
After our visit I look forward to rereading some of my favorite English authors and watching the latest episode of the Crown. A visit to England really made history come alive for me.