Last Sunday, I decided to leave the crowded city, and explore some of the more rural parts of England. One of the spots dated back to more than a thousand years ago, when Anglo-Saxons still ruled the country. In a small coach bus in just 11 hours, we visited some of the most important spots outside of London.
My bus left at 8:00am from Victoria Coach Station. Our first stop was Warwick Castle, located near a small town about two hours north-west from the city. Our tour guide spent our ride there telling us some interesting facts about the Royal Family and the government. She explained, to this day, about 30% of land in the country belongs to the Queen. Well-known areas such as South Kensington and Chelsea are property of the Royal Family. Due to this, people can’t buy houses in these districts, they can either rent, or request to lease it for a maximum of 99 years. She kept talking and, before we realized, we were already at the castle site!
Warwick Castle rises up with a beautiful medieval facade at the top of a hill as majestic as I had imagined. The site originally dates back to before the 11th century, but it wasn’t until William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, took over England that they started expanding it into what it is today. It was used as a Royal residence and a fortress for many years, and is now a tourist and entertainment attraction.
After about two hours in the castle, we went to the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon, where William Shakespeare was born, raised, and later lived with his wife and children. We had the chance to walk into his birthplace: a 16th century traditional English home. There was a beautiful garden right behind it where young actors working for the Shakespeare Centre recited some of his most famous plays and sonnets. It was a beautiful scene to commemorate the genius and most well-known play-writer of all time.
For our last stop, we went to Oxford, one of the most famous college towns in England and in the world. The tour guide took us into one of the college’s courtyard and explained the strict schedule and guidelines that students have to follow, but how, because of this, students are so successful. After this, we had some free time to explore. As I roamed through the beautiful gothic buildings of the city, I found an alleyway to a famous 12th century tavern where people such as Stephen Hawking, and the Harry Potter cast had been. It was the cutest place! After this, we came back to the city.
It was amazing to see some parts of the countryside, and traditional British spots and their background. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to visit other parts of the country during my remaining time here.