|Central & Northern England|
Hampton Court Palace
Windsor Castle -drive by
Ann Hathaway House
York City Wall
Old Roman Road
Bay Horse Inn
Saturday, April 6, 2002, we started our tour of the British Isles with Cosmos Tours. A group of 34 hearty people embarked at 0800 from London - 34 Australians, 8 from the US and 2 from Canada. Our tour guide was Stephen Russell who lives in Chiswick and the coach driver was Adrian who lives in Cambridge. Stephen told me he spent a few days in Tucson and visited the "graveyard" for storage of old airplanes. There are thousands of planes all lined up by type of aircraft. Couldn't believe our tour guide was actually in Tucson.
Our first stop was the gardens of Hampton Court Palace which Kirsten and I visited 3 days before. This time we were there in the morning, so the garden pictures might look a little different. We received a lecture on the Magna Carte (basis of western law) as we drove by Runnymeade were it was signed in 1045 by King John. I took a couple of pictures as we drove by Windsor Castle from the opposite direction of the local town where we entered the castle the week before.
Our next stop was at Bladon to see the burial place of Winston Churchill, at St. Martin Parish Church Cemetery. Next was a brief stop at Blenheim Palace for a few pictures. We then entered the Cotswalds with rolling hills, sheep, agricultural farms and limestone quarries.
Then north to Coventry which was heavily bombed in the blitz, Nov. 1940 - 98% of the city was destroyed. We visited the old bombed cathedral which was never rebuilt, although a new cathedral was built next to it. Our guide then told us of the legend of Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom. We were supposed to stay only a block away from the cathedral but our tour was "bumped" to another hotel because of a special service for the Queen Mother. Many dignitaries were supposed to attend and needed hotel rooms close by. So we had to settle for the very nice Coventry Tree Hotel up on a hill on the outskirts of town.
The next day it was on to York, the capital city of Yorkshire. We walked the city wall, visited the Shambles area of Old Town, and walked the cobble stone streets. Close by is the oldest gothic cathedral in Europe - the York Minster. It has quite a history. We climbed the 275 steps to the church tower for a great view of the Old Town.
Going north we stopped in Thrisk, "a market town." It was the home of James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small fame). Roaming around we went by his veterinary office and the market clock square. That night we stayed in the Scotch Corner Hotel.
The next day we were headed north to Roman Emperor Hadrian's Wall built about 122 A.D. The wall was 72 miles long and 10-15 feet high and used to control travel to and from the north. The Romans left England somewhere between 350 and 422. Many of the present-day roads were built over former Roman roads. Nearby is the town of Washington, named for George Washington (ancestors from that town). The local area of Newcastle (pop. about 1 million) was famous for ship building and coal which is no longer mined - all imported from Australia.
On our way to Scotland we traveled over the Moors - high marsh land, very acidic, not very good agricultural land. We then stopped at the Bay Horse Inn in the Reed River Valley for a rest stop. After a short ride we crossed into Scotland.