Another weekend, another road trip outside of London. This time we headed to Stonehenge, Bristol, Bath and Lacock, all conveniently clustered close to one another 2.5 hours outside of London.
Getting out – and back in – of central London was the annoying bit, especially since sitting in start and stop traffic in a manual car. But once we hit the highways, our spirits were up. The skies were blue and the early summer air cool and fresh.
Our first stop was the pre-historic pile of rocks that is Stonehenge. It was pretty cool seeing these close up; my most enduring earliest memory of it was oddly enough from the Smurf cartoon. That said though, it was during this same period in time when the Egyptians were constructing their pyramids!
We rolled into Bristol in the afternoon, and had a lovely time wandering along the River Avon, visiting the historic steamship SS Great Britain and getting a glimpse what luxury passenger travel looked like in the 1850s. In the evening, we strolled over to the icon suspension bridge to watch the sun set.
Sunday morning, we traveled back in time again, this round to the Roman period when we visited Bath. Pro tip – pre-purchase tickets to the Roman Baths for when it first opens, before the crowds come. We got in early, and had a leisurely time wandering around the premises, listening to the comprehensive and entertaining audio guides. When we left nearly 3 hours later, there were long lines of people waiting outside.
Before we drove back to London, we swung by the small historic town of Lacock, known as the backdrop to many popular movies such as Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey, and Harry Potter. The main attraction in the town is the 13th century Lacock Abbey, which was then converted into a private mansion in the mid-16th century, during the Dissolution (when Henry VIII disbanded monasteries and abbeys after his break with the Catholic Church). It was fascinating wandering through the mansion, as bits of the original 13th century structure still stand, next to mid-18th century Gothic Revival style, and then again through rooms decorated in early 20th century design. From the 18th century the mansion belonged to the Talbot, and in 1835, then lord of the manor Henry Talbot took the world’s first photographic negative of one of the windows in the house. So cool!
Lacock Abbey – the backdrop to a couple of the Harry Potter films. 🙂