I pondered for weeks about how best to share my recent travel experience in Great Britain. I thought about grouping the posts by type (castles, cities, coastlines, etc.), or posting my favorite photos first, but I have finally decided to “start at the very beginning”! Like the Do Re Mi song in The Sound of Music, it seems like “a very good place to start.” Hey, it worked for Julie Andrews!
The very beginning for us was contacting Adeo Travel. This travel agency based in Cardiff Wales claims to be Britain Vacation Experts, and they truly are! We simply sent them an email with our contact information, and they took it from there. Armed with the knowledge of where we had already been, what we wanted to include, and the amount of time we had to spend, they tailor-made an itinerary just for us. After a few emails back and forth, we had the perfect plan.
Our agent, Luke, set up the car rental, booked the accommodations, and provided sightseeing suggestions, maps, and helpful tips. The itinerary was very well planned, with a pace so ideal it allowed us to see and do all we had requested in the time we were willing to commit. Well done, Luke, and thank you!
We flew overnight into Heathrow/London, rented a car, and drove to Bath for our first two nights. I have already addressed driving issues in my post “We Did It,” so I’ll add no further comment except to say if we had it to do over again, we would consider taking a bus to Bath and renting a car from there after a good night’s sleep.
Before arriving in Bath, we made a stop in the picture-perfect village of Lacock. Here, in 1835, William Henry Talbot Fox captured the world’s first photographic negative… and click, photography was born! After touring the Abbey and strolling through the 13th-century village, it was easy to see why TV and film producers are so fond of filming here. Lacock was used in productions of Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey, Cranford, The White Princess, and others.
Bath is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage City. It oozes opulence and is the home of the magnificently preserved Roman Temple and Baths. The baths and temple were built on a natural hot spring between the 1st and 5th centuries. Next to the Temple is Bath Abbey, founded as a Benedictine monastery. The finest feature in the abbey is the fan vaulted ceiling created by expert stone masons in the 1500’s.
On our second day in Bath, we drove south to the cities of Wells and Glastonbury. Wells was named after a group of natural springs which flow through the city. Around 705 AD, King Ina of Wessex built the first church here, but few traces of it remain. The present church, The Wells Cathedral, was started in 1175 and features stunning scissor arches in the nave. The arches, in the crisscross shape of scissors, are often mistaken as modern but they were a medieval solution to tower support.
Glastonbury is billed as the quirkiest town in England, steeped in history, myths, and the smell of incense. Not only the cradle of Christianity, it is also reputed to be the burial place of King Arthur. We didn’t spend much time here, but we definitely felt the vibe as we walked through town. Quirky indeed!
Our accommodations for two nights were at The Bird Hotel in Bath – what a name! The charming Victorian themed townhouse has an abundance of “bird” décor, lovely guest suites, and a view overlooking the city’s recreation grounds and Bath Abbey. Popular attractions near the center of Bath are an easy walk from the hotel.
Whew…and that was just the beginning! Next on the agenda was six days in Wales. It will be my next post, followed by the Lake District and York, and finally the Cotswolds and London. If you receive this post by email, please go to my blog for proper formatting of photos.