Liza & Ben's Travels

Cotswold Villages

We went to the villages Castle Combe and Lacock located at the south end of the Cotswolds (sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides).  Both developed a thriving woolen industry during the Middle Ages.  Like many villages in the area, Lacock is now owned and preserved by the National Trust.  Houses are rented giving priority to locals, some of whose families go back hundreds of years. These houses are old and exhibit the gorgeous texture of weathered oak and limestone, floors worn down by centuries of occupants and stone shingled roofs that still keep the water out.  They’re wonderfully maintained and I…

Day 3: Cheddar Gorge & Cooperative Driving

The last bit of our tour through Somerset was through Cheddar Gorge. Our tour guide suggested we might not enjoy it if we’ve seen the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, but we thought it was beautiful. The town of Cheddar is where the cheese comes from. We opted not to stop for cheese and cider, because we’d all eaten at both Wells and Glastonbury. What surprised me about this part of the tour was how much cooperation is required between drivers going in opposite directions. It was worse when one of them is a wide tour bus, but there were a…

Day 2: Grosvenor Square

With the part of our morning not spent eating, packing, or getting to the train station, we took a walk to Grosvenor Square in Mayfair. All the Regency books set in London (ok, maybe not all of them) have their heroes living in Mayfair, often on Grosvenor Square. If all of those characters actually lived there, there would be many times as many houses as fit around the square. 😆 So we had to visit, while we were in walking distance. It seems like Americans have basically taken over the square. The biggest monument in the park is a statue…

Day 3: Glastonbury (but not the Tor)

Funny story. Apparently today is May Day. We inadvertently picked May Day (or Beltane, to all you Druid/New-Age types) as the day for our tour of Wells and Glastonbury. Even our tour guide forgot that it was May Day, and that Glastonbury, the ur-New-Age town, would be overrun. And I mean overrun. They were all in New Age / Goddess / Green Man / faery / hippy wear, because it’s Beltane. Many had matted hair, swishy skirts, there was a guy in a leafy mask, and a woman with elf ears. There were literally hundreds of people marching from the…

Day 3: Wells & Wells Cathedral

Today we took a tour—turned out to be just three of us, which was a little rough on the tour guide, who has a bus big enough for 16—to Wells and Glastonbury and Cheddar Gorge. More about Glastonbury & Cheddar Gorge later. Wells is a city I’d never heard of. Wikipedia tells me it’s only a city because it’s been called a city since medieval times, largely because it has a cathedral. (I didn’t learn why the cathedral was built there in the first place.) It’s only about 3 km2, and has a population of less than 10k. It’s named…

Day 2: Paddington Station Redux

I found a whole Paddington Bear store at Paddington Station, while we waited for our train to Bath. I was charmed. We did make it to Bath. Our airbnb flat is lovely, with tall ceilings and huge windows, overlooking a park. Other than going to the Sainsbury’s for groceries and to an Indian restaurant for dinner, we haven’t seen much of the town. What we have seen seems to be charming, if touristy.

Day 1: Hyde Park / Kensington Gardens

After we settled into our hotel and rested, we wanted to go for a walk. I’ve read about Hyde Park in tons of Regency romances and historical novels, and it was just half a mile from our hotel. I learned that one side of the Serpentine is Hyde Park, and the other side is Kensington Gardens, where Kensington Palace is, which you can almost see in the background of one of the photos. We didn’t get close to the palace, we were just out for a little walk. On our way there, a couple on the street asked us where…