previously posted on my blog Abroad in London
as a weekly update for family and friends
Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon & Warwick Castle
On Sunday I started out on my ambitious day trip with Kate – this time we were going with a tour group called “Evan Evans Tours” and were going to visit Oxford, drive through the Cotswalds, visit Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick Castle. As you can tell it was going to be a very long day – starting at 9am and ending close to 6pm. And yes, we were able to fit all that in!
The morning started off with a promise of poor weather. But I can’t deny that the view from the coach wasn’t magnificent – with the fog over the fields. I snapped a quick picture of it: Morning Fog.
Our first stop on the tour was to Oxford – specifically the university portion of the town. Let me tell you that this place was outstandingly beautiful. And Kate was itching to get
back there immediately. We were given a brief tour around the immediate campus and then let loose for a little. It was great fun, a bit too short for our liking, but we plan to return.
- University Library: It was this beautiful circular building in between a whole bunch of other Oxfordian buildings. There was a story about the library that I can’t quite remember (at least specific details) but it’s supposed to be quite amazing. They had to expand it underground just to accommodate all the books within.
- Library & Church: This is another view of the library and the surrounding area.
- Bridging the Generations: This bridge was built to connect tow different generations of buildings at the Hertford (I think I spelled that wrong) college at the University of Cambridge. It’s a very famous bridge and quite lovely so I thoroughly enjoyed taking a picture of it.
- University Building: Another building on the campus of the University of Oxford.
I think that the main point of going to Stratford is simply to see Shakespeare’s birthplace. I have to admit that was the draw for me. But in it’s own right Stratford is an amazingly beautiful place and a quaint little city full of life. Kate and I had a blast here and we got to explore Shakespeare’s Birthplace and then the town. I’ve always been a Shakespeare fan so this came as a dream come true for me. Plus.. I finally buckled down to begin on my Shakespearian expedition – I’ve chosen to read all of Shakespeare’s plays alphabetically in order (starting with “Alls Well that Ends Well”).
- Shakespeare’s Birthplace: It’s really a treat to get to see where the Bard began his life. It’s a charming little house in Stratford with a lovely garden and the museum is well laid out.
- Swans: As we were out walking in Stratford we happened upon the Avon (the river) and strolled along a small park there. As we crossed a bridge we noticed the largest group of swans I’ve ever seen. They were gathered to pick up droppings from a benevolent person.
- Town of Stratford: The town itself was something to see. All those timber houses and quaint little shops – hardly any chain stores too.
- Falstaff: Down by the river there were several statues of characters from Shakespearean plays – Lady MacBeth.. Hamlet.. and Falstaff. I particularly liked the statue of Falstaff.. of all people to make a statue of!
The final stop of the afternoon was at Warwick Castle. Now let me tell you something about it.. it’s an old castle from ages gone by that was home to an Earl until he sold it to Madame Tussauds (yes, the wax company). Madame Tussauds is famous for their wax representations of famous people. Anyways.. this could possibly be the perfect group to sell the castle to! They had several lively exhibitions where they portrayed everyday life in the estate and the castle using these wax figures. And the castle itself was a huge attraction with nearly every inch of it open to tourists.