After returning to London from Paris on Thursday evening, our first stop was an English pub for dinner and a few drinks… So my first conclusion is that English pubs beat Aussie pubs hands down… Fortunately there is no shortage of them… I am keeping an eye out for quirkily-named establishments; today for instance, drove past ‘The Slug and Lettuce’. Top points for creativity, if not as noble a patronage as some of the loftier titles!

After a lesiurely start on Friday morning to avoid peak hour on the tube, we began our open top red bus tour around London. While the traffic might be painfully slow, I loved every minute of the sights themselves – we made it through an impressive list, including The Tower of London (must return to look inside), The Globe Theatre, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Westminster (also must return at some point), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, before a boat trip down the Thames back to the Tower. Braved the extraordinarily crowded tube to Covent Garden and picked up discounted tickets to Billy Elliot for that evening. While not quite assuaging my sadness at not being able to get tickets to see David Tennant and Catherine Tate in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, it was still an absolutely fantastic show, and all the better for being seen in England, I’s guess. Possibly the best bit of the day was sharing a drink afterwards with my brother, who I don’t often get to see in Australia… A great end to a great day! I am, by the way, feeling as happy as ever to be one of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects and feel a definte pull towards England’s fair pastures.

Today (Saturday) began our Trafalgar tour… We headed straight out of London and to our first destination:

Stop 1: Stonehenge
What a fascinating place. I felt a bit like an idiot walking around with a talking radio at my ear, but well worth it for the extensive history lesson as I walked around. Unsurprisingly, it feels a very mystical place. I had no idea of much of the significance of the architecture and pattern of the stones, or the genius behind it. Very cool.

Stop 2:Salisbury
Obviously our first stop was the Cathedral, which is extremely beatiful. I especially love reading the old plaques dedicated to long-gone saints, which say things like ‘Who bore a most trying affliction with Christian forebearance and whose faithful virtues deserved a longer life.’ Noice, eh?! From the Cathedral, we ambled around Salisbury, paid a visit to Marks and Spencers and headed back to the bus for:

Stop 3: Bath
I want to live here. I mean REALLY want to live here. Like stopped-and-looked-at-property-prices want to live here. The natural springs that provide for the Roman Baths (originally the Aquae Sulis) lie in the centre, and are fascinating to explore after a major renovation, which makes them effectively a museum of Roman life, as well as an exhibition of the Baths themselves. The other major visit of this stop was to Bath Abbey. It is so very stunning. There was a particularly beautiful exhibition of illuminated manuscripts and accompanying textiles that I could have looked at for hours. I know I am less than a week into this trip, but anyone who suggested I’d get sick of looking at churches, I can’t see it happening. Fortunately we had a couple of hours here, so there was time to stroll the streets and take in the positively gorgeous architecture and scenery and enjoy Bath culture.

Afetr dragging us all away from Bath, we made our way to the last stop of the day:

Stop 3: Bristol
So far, we’ve taken a quick drive around and are shortly heading out for dinner, so I guess I’ll tell you about it next time!