S: England 2011
FC: England 2011
1: My dream to visit England finally came true through a very generous gift from one of Dad's colleagues. These are my memories from those wonderful five days.
2: I flew to England via a "buddy pass," a ticket that gives a seat on the plane if there is one available. Dad's friend, Randy, kept an eye on the seats for me so that I could get to England and back! I flew from Indianapolis to Atlanta, and then took an overnight flight to Manchester, UK. It was a long day, but completely worth it when I landed in the UK!
3: Atlanta was an interesting airport - the largest I remember flying to. I had a 6 hour layover due to flight changes, so I passed the time reading and watching the planes. I eventually found a gentleman playing the piano, which was perfect!
4: Somehow, I got incredibly lucky for my flight to England. My buddy pass allowed me to sit in any free seat, including first class. So, for my first trip abroad, I flew first class!! So much leg room! | It was amazing! I felt a little out of place. After a hot towel and a glass of champagne, I settled in for bed. I had a feather pillow, a warm duvet, and cozy socks to snuggle in!
5: The sunrise was beautiful from the plane! We flew over Ireland, and then there was England!
6: I met Dad in Birmingham, which is actually about an hour and a half from Manchester. I got anther British experience, the train system!
7: When Dad and I met up that night, I had a lovely time meeting his team and having dinner. Afterwards, I got to meet the Skoda Fabia that would serve as our transportation! They are part of the Volkswagen family, but they aren't sold in the USA. So much fun to ride in! It was odd being on the other side of the car. We drove to Stamford that night, a small town in the Midlands.
8: Stamford is "the closest to an Austen-esque town left in England," according to my travel guide. It did not disappoint! Between the estate home, cobble stone streets, and quaint, small-town feel, it was the perfect way to start seeing England.
9: We stayed in the beautiful William Cecil Hotel. Because it was comprised of several old buildings right next to each other, the connecting stairs were very interesting! Our room, Lady Betty, was very small, but lovely. The shower was so small that you couldn't put your arms up! After a yummy breakfast, I started walking around this beautiful town!
10: My first area to explore was the area around the hotel. It was completely dark when we drove in, and I thought it was important to get a feel for the area. | I discovered a lovely garden area with English Lavender and roses! It smelled so good! I walked on a small path back into the woods and I found the back pasture of the estate house, Burghley.
11: The walk to the main gate of Burghley House took me just to the outskirts of town. It was worth it to walk in the main gate! | Stamford
12: This is the main entrance to Burghley House. Turning this corner was the moment that I realized I was in England. A place filled with history and ancient things. From this front gate, it took me a good half hour to walk to the house!
13: The walk took me so long due to the beautiful grounds! I have to admit, I pretended I was a character in an Austen novel on her daily constitutional. There were so many unique trees on my walk, and the scenery was absolutely stunning! When I saw the house appear over a hill, I felt like Elizabeth Bennet seeing Pemberly for the first time!
14: The last big surprise before the house was the game on the grounds! These deer roam freely, and are the remnants of what was shot during hunting parties long ago. The weren't really fazed by people, but they did hop up if you got too close.
15: Burghley House
16: Burghley is an estate home that was built by William Cecil, the Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. It is currently being lived in by Miranda and Orlando Rock. Miranda is a descendant of Cecil. It took 32 years to build the one-hundred-plus-room house. Cecil designed his own home, which seemed to be the trend of the time.
17: The main gate is a part of the north side of the house. There are beautiful roses of many shades that go around the edge of the drive.
18: It even has a stable courtyard! I could just imagine the horses and carriages pulling up after dropping off members of the peerage at the front door.
19: After spending time up at Burghley, I walked a long way around into town. I passed some people from England who asked me for directions. I guess I fit in! The top picture is of a girls' school. One of Dad's co-workers that I met said that part of the fun of a new place is looking down alleys. So I did, and the picture on the far right is my alley. The bottom picture is the town gallows. Now it's the sign for another hotel.
21: While making our way down to London, we stopped at the Peterborough Cathedral, the resting place of Catherine of Aragon. We couldn't take pictures inside, but plenty outside! | Dad got to attempt parallel parking...and he did it in one shot!
22: After a night at our interesting hotel in Ilford, Cranbrook, we hopped on the tube and made our way into downtown London! We got off at Leicester Square, the middle of the theater district. Of course, the first major place I recognized was the Wyndham, where David Tennant and Catherine Tate performed "Much Ado About Nothing." At the time, "Driving Miss Daisy" was playing with James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave! We just started wandering, and ended up in Trafalgar Square! We decided to jump on a double decker and do the tourist tour...
23: ...but first I was greeted by this British icon. I think I fell in love a bit!
24: Welcome to Big Bus Tours London! You can hop on and off when ever you like! | Enjoy the sights of London! | Twinings Shop | 10 Downing St.
26: Ode to the Clock Tower and Big Ben...
28: Leftover damage from the London Blitz | A statue by Henry Moore, who designed the statue in front of the Columbus library. | Some really interesting spots... | Welcome to MI-5. | Westminster Abbey Main Entrance
29: As Mom always said, "Going to London to Visit the Queen!" Unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth was not in, but we did get to walk around outside of Buckingham Palace! And no, we didn't take tea there either!
30: My favorite picture of the whole trip.
31: After a quick walk through nearby Green Park... | ...we hopped back on the bus. | We drove through the Royal Boroughs Kensington and Chelsea (rather posh), saw Harrods Department store, drove past both the Victoria and Albert... | ... and the Science and Natural History museums, and saw Kensington Palace. While we were in Kensinton, I thought it might be fun to take a trip in time and space...
32: Hello! I'm the Doctor and things are about to get a bit wibbly-wobbly... | Things did get wibbly-wobbly at the Doctor Who Experience! The experience was divided into two parts: an interactive section and a museum of costumes and props. You couldn't take pictures in the interactive section, but the museum displays were fair game! In there interactive part, we helped the Doctor fly the TARDIS and defeat the Daleks! The coolest part was when the TARDIS appeared in the room with us!
33: Welcome to the TARDIS! They had the 10th Doctor's TARDIS set up to walk in.
34: There were so many fantastic things to see that it would take another book to fill them. Here are some of my favorites!
35: After our adventures in London, we started heading back into the center of the country to hunt down Robin Hood! We drove up to Nottingham to see the castle and take in the folk lore. The only down side is that it was incredibly foggy, which made it impossible to find Sherwood Forest later in the day. We did have a great time exploring the Nottingham Castle! As it turns out, it is one of the best art museums outside of London.
36: The area around the castle doesn't have any remnants from Robin's time except for where the outer wall used to be, but there is a gazebo for music performances, a huge open area, room for kids to re-enact Robin Hood stories, caves, and beautiful landscaping.
37: Robin Hood and Little John fighting on a bridge. | Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Friar Tuck with hounds fighting Guy of Gisborne's men. | King Richard the Lionheart joins the hands of Maid Marian and Robin Hood. | Robin Hood shooting his last arrow. | A trip to Nottingham would not be complete without Robin Hood. The statue and reliefs are a gift in honor of a visit made by Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1949.
38: The Trip to Jerusalem Inn is the oldest in England. It was a stopping point for knights on their way to the Crusades. It is at the bottom of the cliffs where Nottingham Castle sits. There is also a brewhouse right next door that most likely originated where the inn is now, but has been around longer. There is a cave system that people used for the ale that still isn't completely mapped. Who knows what things are still hidden down there!
39: Our journey came to an end by getting lost trying to find Sherwood Forrest. We ended up in the city of Mansfield where we had the best meal! Kitchens don't open until later, so a glass of wine and Angry Birds helped pass the hour. We shared paella that was AMAZING! Since it was Sunday, it was also Quiz Night! We enjoyed answering the trivia questions, and didn't do too horribly! After dinner, we made our way to Manchester for the night. I caught my flight home in the morning, and Dad drove to Birmingham to catch his flight (which ended up canceled, but that's a other story). So ends our fantastic three days taking in the country of England.
40: I will never forget my first adventure in another country, and I'm so glad that I got to spend it with my dad. I'm ready for the next stamp in my passport and all the adventures that await me there!