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.
A 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.
Walking 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.
From 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.
First 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.
The 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.
We 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).
We 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.
From 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.
Next 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.
At 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.
While 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.
Next 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.