Long time fans of the writings and TV shows of the legendary James Herriot, we couldn't possibly pass up on the opportunity to visit this tribute to his life and work. We were NOT disappointed, it was very cool!
Another place of Legend, we all grew up hearing tales of Robin Hood and his home in Sherwood Forest. The tree reputed to be the meeting spot for Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men still stands in the forest, which is a really serene and beautiful spot.
The day we arrived in Kent there were high wind warnings, and it was blowing a gale! All the sea frontage walk ways were closed, and we were just about the only people silly enough to be out. The ocean breaking over the sea walls and the Channel Tunnel was just spectacular!
Back-tracking a few miles, we stayed overnight in a little Inn in Folkestone. Very quaint, especially the bathroom! A drive down to the harbour and a walk out on the ferry terminal gave us the opportunity to view the cliffs of Dover from a distance, and take some great pictures of the angry seas!
Deal is a little fishing town just east of Dover where I used to go fishing with my Dad as a teenager. It has hardly changed, and brought back many memories for me. We would have stopped for a look in the castle, but sadly Deal suffers the same fate as most english towns, in that parking is next to impossible. It must cost them billions in lost tourism.
As we turned north and started to make our way back up, first stop was Ramsgate. Again, we couldn't find anywhere to park or we would have explored and stayed for lunch. It looked to be a very pretty town.
A day out on the Norfolk Broads was an absolute delight. Luckily we took Captain Arnie (The Staffordshire Terrier) along to navigate the perilous waterways! A very memorable day with great friends Jeanette and Colin (and Arnie!)
Next stop was a couple of days with the very hospitable and thoroughly loveable Beth and Ash at Walton-on-the-Naze, where we enjoyed some long walks, and brilliant ecology experience in the bays off Walton, and even went 10-pin bowling!
Next was a visit to cousin Jacqui and her husband Terry, who we had a fantastic time with! We visited an uncle (Clive) who is 93, and absolutely amazing! A quick trip past the house where our family lived before coming to Australia was a blast too!
A trip with Jacqui and Terry to Old Leigh-on-Sea (which I often visited on my Pushbike as a kid) showed us that the place has changed very little over the last 50 years, and is still a really pretty spot.
A walk along the sea-front at Southend, however, showed lots of changes. Some major landmarks (like the Golden Hind!) were gone, and only a small strip of amusement arcades remains. The Kursaal is still there, but is now a 10-pin bowling alley. Still loads to see and do there though, and we enjoyed a sea-food platter for lunch - just brilliant!
After a teary farewell to Jacqui, we hit the road again again for our final drive - into the heart of London where we would spend our last few days in the U.K. We dropped our luggage at our hotel in Bayswater, then returned the hire car. It was a lovely day, so we took a leisurely stroll back to the hotel via Hyde Park. That such a huge and beautiful park can still exist in the middle of London is just gob-smacking.
Same story as Westminster, no photos allowed. I was also surprised to discover that what used to be a mausoleum (if memory serves me correctly) underneath St Pauls has now been turned into a Cafe and Gift Shop??? Doesn't sound very sacred to me..
We finally made it to the Palace and a Changing of the Guard! What happened to all their pretty red coats, I ask? The place was packed, can only imagine how busy it would be in peak tourist season! Very cool!