Warwick Castle, Stratford on Avon, and Oxford and Hogwarts Infirmary
So we once again, from Victoria Coach station, we leave London to head north to Warwick Castle. We’ve heard of this castle but never had an opportunity to visit it. Were we in for a surprise. Warwick is a medieval castle
developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068. It is on the River Avon. In most of the castles we’ve visited, we have had to really imagine what it would have been like in its heyday. But not in this one. It is truly a family destination. It is a little like a small theme park. There are tableau's in each room showing what went on there. You can actually go into the dungeon. There is also a Birds of Prey show which stated out with a beautiful American Bald Eagle flying all around. We walked the manicured grounds of the glass conservatory with dozens of magnificent peacocks all around. Of all the castles that we have visited this would be the very best for children to really gain an appreciation for medieval life.
Our next stop was Shakespeare country,
Stratford-upon-Avon, a medieval market town
in England’s West Midlands. It is the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare. Possibly the most famous writer in the English language, Shakespeare is known for his sonnets and plays such as 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Hamlet'. Shakespeare's birthplace in 1564 is a large restored 16th-century half-timbered house situated on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, England. There is a beautiful garden in the back and “thespians” doing short versions of his plays in the garden. We also went by the Falcon pub which is a few blocks away and the place where Shakespeare died while having a pint with his friend Christopher Marlow.
One more stop today and that is about 30 minutes away through the Cotswold's. We had looked forward to seeing this part of England but were surprised that the Cotswold area is simply beautiful rolling green plains with lots of canola fields. We thought they would be small mountains.
Finally we arrive in Oxford. This is the site of the University of Oxford which is made up- of a series of colleges, with their own separate buildings. No one knows exactly when it was founded but there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096,
making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest surviving university. We walk through the campus with its beautiful old buildings and clock tower. Students are all over going to classes and the most notable thing about the campus are the bicycles. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Students are not allowed to have cars on campus (there’s no place for them anyway), so they all use bikes. As we move into another courtyard we see a magnificent building and are told it is part of the library but… it is also the “Hogwarts Infirmary” in the Harry Potter movies. If you’re a Harry Potter fan then you don’t want to miss Oxford ;-)
As we walk through Oxford, we see, in stone, the mark in the street where martyrs were burned at the stake in the mid-16th
Century. Now it is the middle of the street but in times past it was a ditch between two sides of the town. Besides the university, today the main industries are car manufacturing and making vehicle parts as well as publishing and there is a flourishing biotech industry in Oxford.
We find a nice coffee spot and
sit in the window to watch people go by. Then…there were Sharon and Dave going by so we wave them in and visit for a while before our 2 hour ride back into London.
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