May 25, 2014

An American in London, Part 4

I can't believe this is my last London post… until I go back, of course! Right now, I've plans to go back again at least once this year. That's how much I loved it there (plus, I have lots of company coming that wants to visit as well). If you want to catch up on this adventure, check out Part 1, Part 1.5, Part 2, and Part 3

For the rest of you folks, here's to the last day of our adventure! A visit to Stonehenge was in the offing… and a trip to Bath. And an evening in Stratford Upon Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare! I was a little excited, can you tell?

There are lots of tour companies that provide day trips outside the city of London.  But if you want to travel a wee bit cheaper, check out Groupon deals before your visit. Our whole day was half price, thanks to a well-timed Groupon purchase, and yours could be too. 

I have to be perfectly honest here… I didn't find Stonehenge as exciting as I thought it would. I'm happy I went once, just to have seen it, but I don't feel the urge to ever go back again. There were a ton of people there, naturally. And you can't get close to the stones, of course. Our tour was rushed as we were seeing so many things in one day. I think we had about an hour or so get to the stones, walk round, and get back to the bus. 

Don't let me discourage you from going though! I did enjoy it, just not the way I expected. I think if I was to return, I'd prefer a private tour where you can actually walk into the stones. That would be awesome. 

From Stonehenge, our tour continued on to Bath, home of the famous Sally Lunn Buns. My pal Bobbi and I (the Magic Sunglasses lady) were determined to try a bun in the hour we had to wander Bath. And I am soooooo glad we did, they were fantastic!

 "Legend has long been certain that a young Huguenot refugee – Solange Luyon – came to Bath in 1680 after escaping persecution in France. She found work in the kitchen of the bakery in the street known in those days as Lilliput Alley, and originally sold the baker’s wares from a basket in the lanes around Bath Abbey. But Solange – who, due to her colleagues unfamiliarity with French pronunciation, became known as Sally Lunn – had arrived in England with a unique skill to share. She began baking a rich, generous brioche bun similar to the French festival breads that she would have been so familiar with before she fled France. The bun – designed to be enjoyed with either sweet or savoury accompaniments – quickly became a very popular delicacy in Georgian England, and it seems that customers were soon visiting the Lilliput Alley bakery specifically requesting the Sally Lunn bun.

Today, Sally’s original creation has earned legendary status around the world." - excerpt from Sally Lunn's website.

Because it was lunchtime, Bobbi and I tried the savory preparations. They were fabulous! In fact, the buns are so good, Bobbi took a whole box home with her (I wish I had too!).

We had a few minutes to wander town after lunch, before the bus arrived to take us to Stratford Upon Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. Bath is a beautiful area, I can see why this is a popular vacation destination. On my next trip to England, I hope to spend more time here.

 Our last stop was the home of William Shakespeare! After many semesters studying his work in college, it was pretty cool to visit Stratford Upon Avon. First we had a champagne and scones reception, and then we were free to wander the house and grounds. And, of course, shop in the gift store.

Champagne and Scone reception

Birthplace of William Shakespeare 

Because our visit was on a Sunday, most of the town was closing down as we arrived. So be careful booking your own tour here, ok? Check the hours of local businesses.

After a full weekend of touring merry old London (and the outskirts), I have to say it's one of my favorite places so far. And I can't wait to go back, hopefully one day soon!

Until next time my friends, happy travels! 

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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