A Travellerspoint blog

Day 8

Oxford, Portsmouth & Southampton

overcast 8 °C
View JT's 60th Anniversary World Tour on EMTHOMSON's travel map.

I think we were a bit ambitious with our to-do list today! Only managed a couple of items – note to self: don’t try to fit in too many attractions in one day!!!!
We started with an early breakfast at The Cross Hands, and then headed out to Oxford. Fast drive on the motorways but prefer the “B” roads as you see more of the villages which can be really interesting (stone work, thatch, bridges). Loved our tour around Oxford town centre. The colour of the stone was different to other places, lovely honey colour, sandstone maybe?
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Started the walk in misty conditions, but that soon dissipated giving us some sunshine. Still very cold, although lots of tourists around like us, bundled up with hats, scarves and gloves. Standing in the quadrangle at the Bodleian Library was amazing – very hard to get the atmosphere with a photo. Definitely a place on our re-visit list.
Then we headed down to Portsmouth – can’t stay away from the sea long! Aimed for the Naval Museum as JT wanted to see some of it. Visited the small boats display (an entire wharf building I might add) that is a working exhibit where they show small craft from naval history – including the royal pinnacle – as well as restoration projects underway. Very interesting, and discovered a boat supplied by the Woodnuts’ Boatyard of the Ilse of Wight – might be some connection to my elder sisters’ husbands’ family there. Again a place that deserves a full days’ attention to see nearly everything we wanted to.
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We then moved onto Southampton to see where Oli has been working in the wharf complex. Stunned to see all the new cars that are waiting to be exported – 2500 cars a day apparently go out! BMW’s, Land Rovers, Jags, Minis where the ones we saw, but probably others from other wharfs.
Walked around the old wall – Roman ruins, and WW2 damaged buildings. The depth of history keeps stunning us. Had a drink at a pub called The Dancing Man. Located in a very old stone building, the internal ceiling was all beams and plastered daub. Great atmosphere.
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Then it was time to head back to Yate via the New Forest. Managed to see some wild ponies on the way.

Posted by EMTHOMSON 00:32 Archived in England Comments (0)

Day 6-7

Yate, Bristol

semi-overcast 6 °C
View JT's 60th Anniversary World Tour on EMTHOMSON's travel map.

Drove over to spend the rest of our time in the UK with Sarah and Oli. Had a good pub lunch just outside Reading at a little place called Earling, great setting beside a river. Then onto Yate, only 3.5 hours to cross England – the motorway system at its best.
A late dinner in Chipping Sodbury at the steak house with Hazel and Bill (Oli’s grandparents) after Sarah finished her late shift – crazy large meals but very tasty. Arranged to meet at our B&B – Cross Hands – for breakfast the next morning to plan the day.
The Cross Hands is part of the old English pubs chain and is a beautiful old stone building – the corridors go thru all sorts of amazing twists and turns inside! Queen Elizabeth stayed here during a blizzard back in 1981 when her car couldn’t go any further!
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Our first day out around Yate – seeing where Oli went to school, meeting his dad and checking out how the building is going on his new house in Wotton-under-Edge, heading over to the motor racing track at Castle Comb and checking out the helmets, boots and race suits on offer. Then going into the wee village of Castle Combe for a stroll along the lanes and a pub lunch (yes JT and had a Ploughman’s). The village starred in the movie The War Horse – directed by Steven Spielberg, not a movie we’ve seen, but the village seemed to be proud to have been involved.
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The day ended in a trip to Bristol, wandering around the town on a Friday night felt like we could have been in Dunedin. Loved the town, with the dock area and the old area – need to explore more.
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But did go up Christmas Steps, and had a delicious meal at Zero Degrees, then visited a wee bar “The Red Door” for a night cap. You wouldn’t even know this place was there – graffiti covered door with an old style pay phone to contact the front of house staff to gain entry. Sarah and I had a cocktail while the guys had a local beer. Lovely way to end the day.
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Posted by EMTHOMSON 00:31 Archived in England Comments (0)

Day 6-7

Yate, Bristol

semi-overcast 6 °C
View JT's 60th Anniversary World Tour on EMTHOMSON's travel map.

Drove over to spend the rest of our time in the UK with Sarah and Oli. Had a good pub lunch just outside Reading at a little place called Earling, great setting beside a river. Then onto Yate, only 3.5 hours to cross England – the motorway system at its best.
A late dinner in Chipping Sodbury at the steak house with Hazel and Bill (Oli’s grandparents) after Sarah finished her late shift – crazy large meals but very tasty. Arranged to meet at our B&B – Cross Hands – for breakfast the next morning to plan the day.
90_20160122_103844.jpg
The Cross Hands is part of the old English pubs chain and is a beautiful old stone building – the corridors go thru all sorts of amazing twists and turns inside! Queen Elizabeth stayed here during a blizzard back in 1981 when her car couldn’t go any further!
Our first day out around Yate – seeing where Oli went to school, meeting his dad and checking out how the building is going on his new house in Wotton-under-Edge, heading over to the motor racing track at Castle Comb and checking out the helmets, boots and race suits on offer. Then going into the wee village of Castle Combe for a stroll along the lanes and a pub lunch (yes JT and had a Ploughman’s). The village starred in the movie The War Horse – directed by Steven Spielberg, not a movie we’ve seen, but the village seemed to be proud to have been involved.
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The day ended in a trip to Bristol, wandering around the town on a Friday night felt like we could have been in Dunedin. Loved the town, with the dock area and the old area – need to explore more. But did go up Christmas Steps, and had a delicious meal at Zero Degrees, then visited a wee bar “The Red Door” for a night cap. You wouldn’t even know this place was there – graffiti covered door with an old style pay phone to contact the front of house staff to gain entry. Sarah and I had a cocktail while the guys had a local beer. Lovely way to end the day.

Posted by EMTHOMSON 00:47 Archived in England Comments (2)

Day 4-5 Essex

Visiting with William & Caroline

overcast
View JT's 60th Anniversary World Tour on EMTHOMSON's travel map.

Handed in our Oyster Cards and navigated the car out of London, avoiding the congestion charge areas (hopefully). Lovely to have the lone of Oli’s work wagon, us Kiwis to like to be independently mobile.
Wonderful to see Caroline and William again – and have time to sit and catch up on life. Walking the country lanes, strolling along the beach huts at Brightling Sea, wandering around the old town of Coggeshall and visiting Williams’ new business sites.
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The weather even behaved for us, very cold, foggy mornings and a great frost on the last day, but no rain!
William and Caroline have an amazing house that they have developed from an old home.
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You can still see the old timbers in some of the rooms, and the floors have been left on the original camber too. And Caroline uses an Aga like a real pro – it was great to see one actually being used and how great it is to cook on one.
Lots more photos to follow.........

Posted by EMTHOMSON 00:14 Archived in England Comments (0)

London Day 3

Markets - Camden & Covent Gardens

overcast 3 °C

Another bitterly cold day, 3OC this morning – yes it is winter, but still not attuned to waking up to darkness as daylight doesn’t happen until after 7.30am, and then it’s dark again at 4.30pm.
Strolled past a lock (near Chelsea Bridge) – the first we’d seen close up. Like a mini harbour with the berthing and maintenance points.
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Then breakfast at an Italian deli this morning, a good couple of shots of caffeine to start the day – always works for JT and me.
Caught the tube from Sloane Square to Camden Town – changing at Embankment like pros. It was a morning spent wandering around the Camden markets – marvelling at the old horse stable architecture, wooden floors and all the stalls.
Not many people around (Monday and before mid-day). Good for us as we were able to just stroll around, but of course not all the stalls were open but enough to give us a feel of the place.
Saw the second lock for the day – including three canal boats under winter refurbishment!
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After lunch we headed back via tube to Covent Gardens – definitely the high end of the markets. Not many people around again which was good, although again not all the stalls were open. Mostly second hand china, glass & silverware, leather & furs, jewellery & watches.
Then caught the tube back to Victoria via Embankment (getting used to the changes now), and the walk to the flat.
Saying goodbye temporarily to Oli and Sarah as they are heading back to Yate – Sarah has to work the next 3 days. We’ll catch up again on Thursday night. Planning underway for the next week’s adventures!

Posted by EMTHOMSON 09:19 Archived in England Comments (1)

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