A magical adventure around the English countryside

I’m way behind on my blogging, so I’ve decided to pump out a few entries this week. This one is about the last two weeks of March, which I spent in London. The following entries will be about my Easter break in Belgium and Paris! But first, I finally did a little bit of exploring around other parts of England!

Two weekends ago I decided to go on a day trip to Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Warwick Castle. Oxford is, of course, the town where Oxford College is located and Stratford-Upon-Avon is the quaint little town where Shakespeare grew up. Warwick Castle was one of many castles that existed in a great ring of protection around London, but is one of the only ones still remaining. I found a tour company that travels to all three locations, although my main interest in going had little to do with culture and more to do with wanting to see where Harry Potter was filmed at Oxford.

Oxford town was the first stop; the whole place had a medieval feel to it and wherever you looked there was some ancient building or castle wall still standing. Oxford College is pretty much Hogwarts and I’m incredibly envious of everyone who goes there. One of the residences is called Christchurch, which consists of a Great Hall where students eat their meals – it’s also the Great Hall where filming took place for the first few Harry Potter movies. The biggest disappointment ever was that the Great Hall was closed for university ceremonies when I visited and I never got to go in; all part of the heartbreak of being a muggle!

I went to Shakespeare’s house in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which has now been turned into a museum. It was pretty nice, but it was a beautiful day and honestly I got more enjoyment sitting in the sun by the river afterwards. Warwick Castle ended up being my favourite. It’s currently owned by Madame Tussauds, the company that makes all the waxwork figures of famous people and then charges a fortune to go see them. I loved Warwick though. They had preserved everything about the castle, but had added in all these wax figurines, dressed as they would have been in medieval times. You could climb the towers of the castle and walk around the outer wall. I thought it was a lot more fun then all the other castles I’ve been to!

Last weekend I had a wonderful day with my English and Australian friends, Alex and Tavao. We met for pancakes in the morning, which I have been craving for ages! We went to this place called My Old Dutch Pancake House and it was just the best place ever! I went on a bit of a berry bender and had a raspberry smoothie and a pancake filled with every kind of berry you could possibly imagine! After gorging ourselves we spend the afternoon at Portobello Market, one of London’s most famous street markets. The market consists of stalls set up all along Portobello Road, selling pretty much everything: handmade jewelry and handbags, fresh fruit and vegetables, and even a stall that sold antique cameras and magnifying glasses. Alex took us to this tiny bakery called The Hummingbird where I had the most delicious black bottom muffin with cream cheese icing!

We finished the day by visiting the newly reopened (just in time for the Olympics) Kensington Palace. It was the home of Princess Diana and I’ve been informed that it technically belongs to Will and Kate, although it’s been a tourist attraction for ages. It had a couple nice exhibits, the highlights being one on Queen Victoria, the longest reigning British monarch, and another that had a collection of Princess Diana’s evening gowns on display.

Tune in again soon to hear about Belgium and Paris!

Love Maria


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