Cruising the Kingdom that is United
Trip Start May 04, 2011
91Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
3 diff hotels
What I did
York, Banbury, Salisbury
We left Edinburgh by carting our luggage in the rain to the rental car location 10 mins down the road. This was the first time it had rained for us in Edinburgh and although annoying, it was fortunate that it hadn't rained the whole time as is so common up here. Before too long, we had crossed the border into England and were enjoying some spectacular hilly countryside despite the rain. This scenery proved to be the nicest of the whole drive actually with towns packed into tight valleys and roadways entirely enclosed by the tree canopies above, just waiting for Robin Hood to swing out and hijack us
First stop (after getting misguided by the GPS numerous times) was 'Roman Vindolanda Museum and Fort’, which is right next to Hadrian’s Wall and consists of ruins from a Roman fort during the period that the Roman Empire extended into Britain. Not much left of the fort or the town nearby, but the museum had incredibly well-preserved artefacts that have been discovered in the archaeological site. No photos allowed, but there were leather shoes, coins, jewellery, blankets and even a child’s sock! All from 1800 years ago! The little museum was one of the best I’ve been to and I’m amazed that some of these artefacts are not in bigger museums in Rome or London. Hadrian’s Wall itself is a bit underwhelming and not much left that is distinguishable from a typical farmers stone fence that are common around here. Nonetheless, it was cool to see and even (inappropriately) stand on the wall.
We rolled into York fairly late in the evening and struggled to find a restaurant that still had its kitchen open. The streets are skinny as I had been told, but it was good to arrive this late cause all was quiet and even when I mistakenly drove the wrong way down 1-way lanes, it was ok and only pedestrians gave me dirty looks. York was good
We did a day trip out to Blenheim Palace, which was the birthplace of Winston Churchill and is the homestead of the Duke of Marlborough gifted by Queen Anne in the 1700’s for fighting the Blenheim battle in France. Every generation since that first Duke has lived in luxury in this Palace. A nice venue and holds an exhibition on Winston’s life. From there to Oxford and a tour of Christchurch College. I had wanted to come out to Oxford in 2009, but ran out of time, so it was good to explore for half a day. Lots of inspiring architecture and great to wander around.
From Banbury, it was off to Salisbury and a tour of Stonehenge