International Travel Blog



Next stop via the Eurostar train under the English Channel is London, Bath, and the Salisbury Plain on Thursday for four days. Sites to see include Avebury Stone Circle and Henge, The Church of St. James, Thermae Bath Spa (giant outdoor hot tub), Bath Abbey, Roman Baths, The Jane Austen Centre, The Circus, Royal Crescent, Old Sarum, Salisbury Cathedral (Magna Carta), Stonehenge (Tina’s most favorite henge), Windsor Castle, London Underground, The Shard, Tower of London (The Crown Jewels), Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye, Elizabeth’s Tower (Big Ben), Palace of Westminster (Parliament), Westminster Abbey, Sherlock Holmes Museum, Double-Decker Bus, Hyde Park (Speakers’ Corner), Green Park, Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Park, St. James’s Palace (Commemoration of King Charles I Execution), Churchill War Rooms, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, The National Museum, 10 Downing Street (Prime Minister’s residence, Evensong at Westminster Abbey, British Museum, Piccadilly Circus.


20140124-122504.jpgWe arrived into London’s King’s Cross railway station via the Eurostar train ready to continue our tour.

20140124-122918.jpgA short and slightly terrifying drive on the left hand side of the road and we were at the Avebury Stone Circle and Henge. This particular henge dates back over 5,000 years and is actually older than the more well known Stonehenge.

20140124-123505.jpgWalking through the town of Avebury we discovered The Church of St. James. The baptismal font of this church dates back as far as 800 to 900 A.D. This may actually be the oldest active church in all of England.

20140124-124105.jpgFrom Avebury we made our way into Bath. In honor of the Roman baths of old, we decided to spend the evening relaxing in Britain’s only natural thermal waters just like the Celts and Romans did in Bath over two thousand years ago.

20140124-124626.jpgAfter our spa, we walked the town to experience a bit of the local nightlife. Dominating the night sky of Bath is the spectacular Bath Abbey.

20140124-2137571First thing Friday morning was a hike back to Bath Abbey to tour the inside. The inside is even more stunning and impressive than the outside believe it or not. Supposedly there are thousands of bodies buried beneath the Abbey.

20140124-214110.jpgRight next to the front of Bath Abbey is the entrance to the Roman Baths. This may be the highlight of Bath. It’s a two thousand year old hot tubbers paradise.

The interactive museum was really well done and the warm murky green water in the baths looks exactly like what one would image the water to look like thousands of years ago (especially after a few hundred uses).

20140124-214237.jpgWe then walked up the hill to The Jane Austen Centre. Jane Austen was an early nineteenth century author most known for her novels Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park.

20140124-214455.jpgNext we visited The Royal Crescent comprised of 30 terraced houses laid out in a large crescent shape.

20140124-214548.jpgThe last site we visited in Bath was The Circus located right behind The Royal Crescent. The Circus in Latin means circle which precisely describes the perfectly circular ring of buildings that surround the round center park where a single very old and very large tree grows.

20140124-214634.jpgWe departed Bath for the nearby (by American distances) city of Salisbury. Here we feasted on authentic English food at a local pub called Bill’s. It was by far our favorite dinning experience of the trip thus far (a bit surprising given the reputation of English food especially compared with French).

20140124-214720.jpgWe then spent the night at a hotel that boasts the oldest hotel in operation in all of Britain. The Red Lion Hotel was built over 750 years ago to help house some of the people who worked on the construction of the Salisbury Cathedral. Now that’s an old hotel.

20140126-000419.jpgEarly Friday morning we set out to see the sunrise over Old Sarum. Sitting on top of a large mound, Old Sarum is the oldest known human settlement in all of England dating back to Neolithic times.

20140126-001724.jpgFrom Old Sarum we ventured down to Salisbury Cathedral. This was perhaps the most impressive cathedral of all the ones we’ve visited so far (including Notre Dame). Salisbury Cathedral towers over the Salisbury Plain with the tallest spire in England.

20140126-002308.jpgNext we traveled north to Stonehenge to see the forty-five hundred year old structure. The sun broke through just as we arrived which made for a spectacular viewing. This was definitely a big one to check off the list.

320140126-002720.jpgLook who showed up for a photo op at the ol’ henge.

20140126-003132.jpgFrom the henge we started making our way back into London with a stop off at the enormous Windsor Castle. This looked to be an extremely large castle as far as castle’s go.

20140126-083021.jpgWe arrived back in London, returned the rental car without incident and met up with Devon to begin our next big city tour.

20140126-083636.jpgWe made our way to the center of the city via the London Underground aka The Tube.

20140126-083801The first structure that appeared in the London skyline was The Shard. I assume it wasn’t melting any cars on a day like today.

20140126-084206We ventured into the Tower of London which looks to be part palace and part fortress.

20140126-084528.jpgInside the Tower of London we were able to view The Crown Jewels.

20140126-084900.jpgWhile walking across the Tower Bridge we were struck by a quickly moving storm cell with high winds, lightening and pouring rain. After taking shelter for a few minutes we pressed on with the tour.

20140126-085417.jpgWe walked along the south side of the river Thames right by the London Bridge. This time we opted not to cross.

20140126-085706.jpgHere we passed by the famous Shakespeare’s Globe.

20140126-085844.jpgWe made a quick stop for drinks and chips directly across from St. Paul’s Cathedral.

20140126-090439.jpgThe highlight of the evening was a ride on the London Eye. The view from up top of London at night was absolutely stunning.

20140126-090655.jpgElizabeth’s Tower (Big Ben) and the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) were by far the most impressive sites of the tour to be seen at night.

20140126-091026.jpgThe last stop of the day before meeting up with Ed for dinner and drinks was Westminster Abbey. Just another amazing European cathedral.

20140126-194706.jpgSunday morning started off with a short walk in the rain to the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The museum is a fully decorated late nineteenth century four story flat.


20140126-200620.jpgWe decided to transit above ground on top of the classic red double-decker bus.

20140126-201715.jpgWe hopped off the bus at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park so that Tina could tell everyone how she really feels about British food. :)

20140126-232519.jpgAt the end of a walk through Green Park was Buckingham Palace. The flag was at full staff which indicated the Queen was home inside (just not answering the door). Directly behind our kiss is the balcony where William kissed Kate on their wedding day.

20140126-233602.jpgNext was a walk through St. James’s Park to feed the Queen’s swans.


20140126-234212.jpgWhile walking past St. James’s Palace we happened upon the annual “Commemoration of King Charles I Execution” that took place on January 30th, 1649. The event is a reenactment that includes an authentic 17th century king’s army marching through the streets of London. If only happens once a year on the last Sunday of January.

20140127-001703.jpgNext was a tour of the IWM’s Churchill War Rooms. This is the underground facility where Churchill conducted the war, It had been preserved just like it was when the doors were sealed shut at the end of the war in 1945.

20140127-003117.jpgLo and behold we find our little friend checking the time the ol’ London way.

20140127-003627.jpgWe paid one final visit to Westminster Abbey to tour the inside and attend Evensong or evening song.



20140127-004711.jpgAfter the service we took a taxi over to Trafalgar Square to see The National Museum and Nelson’s Column.

20140127-010905.jpgContinuing on we passed the home of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.


20140127-011405.jpgTowards the end of the day we visited the British Museum which houses many of the world’s rarest artifacts ranging from a 1.2 million year old human-made “chopping stone” to the Rosetta Stone.

20140127-012305.jpgOur final attraction of the day was Piccadilly Circus which is definitely worth seeing at night.

IMG_2421To finish off the evening, Devon and Ed prepared a wonderful home cooked meal that was followed by some delightful conversation and many laughs.

20140127-012512.jpgSo concludes our visit to England. Tomorrow we fly to Dublin for some new and exciting adventures in Ireland.