"I want adventures in the great wide somewhere" Beauty and the Beast

Friday, 13 October 2017

UK Roadtrip - Kenilworth

13th October

The last full day of our Holiday, the last day of Mum's course.

Nanny and I slept in this morning after we waved mum off to drive to work.  We were up and about not much later though, getting ready for the day.  Our lovely land lady had offered to drop nan and us off somewhere this morning, so at about 10 am we set off, ending up in Kenilworth.

Though we had already wandered the little town, nan and I wandered the town centre and shops again before walking down to the Castle.

Kenilworth Castle was built over several centuries. Founded in the 1120s around a powerful Norman great tower, the castle was significantly enlarged by King John at the beginning of the 13th century. Huge water defences were created by damming the local streams, and the resulting fortifications proved able to withstand assaults by land and water in 1266. John of Gaunt spent lavishly in the late 14th century, turning the medieval castle into a palace fortress designed in the latest perpendicular style. The Earl of Leicester then expanded the castle once again, constructing new Tudor buildings and exploiting the medieval heritage of Kenilworth to produce a fashionable Renaissance palace.

Kenilworth was partly destroyed by Parliamentary forces in 1649 to prevent it being used as a military stronghold. Ruined, only two of its buildings remain habitable today. The castle became a tourist destination from the 18th century onwards, becoming famous in the Victorian period following the publishing of Sir Walter Scott's novel Kenilworth in 1826. English Heritage has managed the castle since 1984.

We wandered the Castle grounds and the park surrounding before heading off to find somewhere to have Cream Tea.

Nanny had been requesting to have Cream Tea the entire time we have been away, so I decided to indulge her. We went to a little tea shop called Time for Tea and had a toasted sandwich, scone with jam and cream and a lot of tea.

After that we wandered back to the centre of town, through Old Kenilworth and Abbey Park.

When we arrived back in the town centre, we bummed some Wi-Fi off the Holiday Inn and sat in Starbucks waiting for mum to come collect us and take us home.

Once mum arrived, we squeezed in a quick trip to Poundland and Sainsbury's before heading home to tackle the big job of packing.  Which, it all fits in our cases, the question will be how over weight we are!?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

UK Roadtrip - Coventry

12th October

Day two of Mum's course at Warwick, we left at 8am to fight the traffic into Coventry.  Mum drove into the city centre where I disembarked and she continued onto the uni. 

Heading into the city, I spent the morning wandering the shopping centre.  I found Coventry Uni as well as the Cathedral and the Transport Museum. I also found lots of little shops to look through. 

Just after midday I begun the hour walk to Warwick University. Getting side tracked along the way with parks and more shops, I made it to the uni by 2.30pm, Just in time for afternoon tea with mum.

I set up camp in the foyer and waited for mum to finish her course that day by reading on my kindle.  On the way home we stopped at Tesco and Aldi to pick up groceries and have a browse!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

UK Roadtrip - Warwick University

11th October
Today was the first day of Mum's course at Warwick University.  Warwick University, as we found out a couple of days ago when we were scouting out where she had to report to this morning, is actually in Coventry, not Warwick.
Anyways, we left Nanny at home for a day of relaxation and reading her books on the iPad, and headed off early. Though it was only a 25min drive we left an hour early and due to traffic still only just made it on time.
Once she was safely in her classroom, I headed off to explore the campus, returning to mum at lunch time for food!
After lunch I headed off to the local shopping mall, wandering through Tesco and Wilkos.  I wandered back to mum through the campus and waited for her to finish her final class before we headed home.
On the way home, after waiting in traffic, we drove past the Hatton Locks and the Canal Boats, more Rosie and Jim houses!
Once we got home, though I had smashed my step goal, mum was dismally behind on hers, so we went for a walk and found some cows to talk too before coming home and having beef mince for dinner!

UK Roadtrip - Warwick and Surrounds

10th October
Our plans changed this morning after I had had an epiphany in the shower. We decided that we would do Warwick Castle on Saturday morning the morning we leave, so we have something to do rather than hanging around randomly. This meant we had this morning free.
We still headed into Warwick, for a general drive around and wander around the city centre shops. 
Next we headed into Coventry, to figure out where Mum has to go to attend her course tomorrow. Once we found the University we realized we had left the specific instructions of where she had to go.  Still, we managed to find the building which ateast gives us a general idea for tomorrow!
Our final destination was Baddesley Clinton and on the way we stopped at the town of Kenilworth.  Here of course, we had a wander through the town centre and all the shops!
Baddesley Clinton is a beautiful moated manor house, located some 13 km north-west of Warwick. The house probably originated in the 13th century, when large areas of the Forest of Arden were cleared for farmland. 
In 1438, John Brome, Under-Treasurer of England, bought the manor, which passed to his son, Nicholas. Nicholas was responsible for the extensive rebuilding of the nearby parish church dedicated to St Michael, done as penance for killing the parish priest, a murder reputed to have taken place in the great house itself. The house from this period was equipped with gun-ports, and possibly a drawbridge. When Nicholas Brome died in 1517, the house passed to his daughter, who married Sir Edward Ferrers (High Sheriff of Warwickshire) in 1500. The house remained with the Ferrers family until 1940, when it was purchased by Thomas Walker, a relative of the family who changed his name to Ferrers. His son, who inherited it in 1970, sold the estate in 1980 to the National Trust, who currently manages the site.
Just down the road from Baddesley Clintion is another of England's great houses, Packwood House. Packwood House is a timber-framed Tudor manor house near Lapworth, in Warwickshire. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1941, has a wealth of tapestries and fine furniture, and is known for the garden of yews. 
The house began as a modest timber-framed farmhouse constructed for John Fetherston between 1556 and 1560. The last member of the Fetherston family died in 1876. In 1904, and the house was purchased by Birmingham industrialist Alfred Ash. It was inherited by Graham Baron Ash (Baron in this case being a name not a title) in 1925, who spent the following two decades creating a house of Tudor character. He purchased an extensive collection of 16th- and 17th-century furniture, some obtained from nearby Baddesley Clinton. The great barn of the farm was converted into a Tudor-style hall with sprung floor for dancing, and was connected to the main house by the addition of a Long Gallery in 1931. In 1941, Ash donated the house and gardens to the National Trust in memory of his parents but continued to live in the house until 1947 when he moved to Wingfield Castle.
We continued on our ways and headed through Dorridge, Knowles and ending in Solihull.  We were after a grocery store, and though the first two towns had them, we continued exploring as much as we could before the dreaded 5pm... when everything closed.  We were in Solihull when this occurred, so we headed to Morrisons here and bought our groceries for dinner before heading home to eat them!

Monday, 9 October 2017

UK Roadtrip - Stratford-upon-Avon and Royal

8th October

After a very late night up talking  to the early hours of this morning, there was a slow start to the day.  Eventually we got up, dressed and fed before setting off to Stratford-Upon-Avon. 

Stratford-upon-Avon is a medieval market town in England’s West Midlands, famous for the16th-century birthplace of possibly the most famous writer in the English language, William Shakespeare. A gorgeous little town, we arrived and walked down the main strip where the original Shakespeare residence is.  The small cottage sits on the main street with the Shakespeare Birthplace Centre next door.  We didn't go inside the building, deciding instead to continue walking through the town.

We walked down to the locks where the canal boats were moored, they looked exactly like off Rosie and Jim, the old children's TV show.  Down at the canal we found markets to wander through, before continuing on around the rest of the town.  We stopped for McDonald's (I didn't abbreviate it Rachael!) for lunch, using some vouchers we had been given at WHS, when mum bought a new SD card for her camera. 

Thanks to Danielle, we found the golden mail boxes, celebrating the two gold medals won by James Roe in the 2012 London Paralympic Games in Rowing: Mixed - Coxed Four and LTAMix4+. 

We finished up in Stratford-upon-Avon and piled into the car and continued onto the Royal Leamington Spa.  Here we found more markets and charity shops (chazza's as Rachael has decided they should be called), which we wandered through. There was an antique section where we taught Rachael and Danielle how to determine the good tea sets and crystal glasses from the cheap versions!

We dropped Rachael and Danielle off back at Coventry Train Station to make their journey's home before we headed back to Warwick.  We quickly drove through Warwick, to mentally map where things were, before heading to the Fleur de Les, the local pub to Finwood Cottage.  It is a gorgeous little pub with pokey corners and low doorways you have to duck under before you step through.  Next to the pub was another canal with more Rosie and Jim boats, and on the way home we drove over another operation lock!

Shakespeare's Family House

Some of the cute houses


Trying the teas at Whittard's
The Golden Letter Boxes

The Sweet Shop

Owls out to play at the Markets


UK Roadtrip - The Wedgwood Factory

9th October

First up this morning we drove the hours drive up to Stroke-on-Trent, home to the Wedgwood factory.

In Barlaston, just outside Stroke-on-trent, the home of Wedgwood, World of Wedgwood.  Here you can visit the museum, walk through the factory, browse the shops and enjoy a pot of tea. 

The factory tour allows you to observe the Wedgwood craftsmen at work in the heart of the Potteries, utilising unique artisan skills and techniques honed over 250 years. We didn't realise how much work went into each individual piece of Wedgwood design.  The tour offers an indepth view of all aspects of quality ceramic production including casting, figure making, pattern decorating and hand painting, ornamentation and gilding. Each handle of items such as the cups and tea pots are hand fitted to the pottery. Each embellishment on the plate hand pounded into a mould, removed and placed upon the item itself by a team of craftsmen.  On average 14,500 pieces are made each week, which is not a lot when you realize this factory supplies the entire world.
Walking through the shops after finishing the factory tour, there was lots to buy and lots that was way out of our price range! Next Door was the Wedgwood Museum and Collection. It is one of the most important industrial collections in the world and a unique record of over 250 years of British ceramic production.

 After our morning of education we decided to stop for a cup of tea in the 'Dining Room'.  Served in a Wedgwood tea pot and Wedgwood cups and saucers of course!

Heading home, we took the long way and stopped at the towns of Stone, Rugeley, and Stafford, rather than taking the direct route of the motorways home.  It quickly became dark and when the main street shops closed at 5pm we headed to Sainsbury's to buy some things for dinner. We had stopped at the local farm shop yesterday and bought some homemade bacon and sausages. The bacon we are last night but we had the sausages tonight and needless to say they were delicious!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

UK Roadtrip - York to Warwick

7th October

Today we packed up the car for the last time and headed down to Warwick.  We had booked a little cottage just outside Warwick, called Finwood Cottage.  It was to be quiet an extensive drive between to two and we had lots to stop and look at along the way. 

First stop was Selby, a smaller town just south of York.  Here we strolled the town centre and shops before heading off again. 

Next was the bigger town of Doncaster. Here when we found the town centre we also happened upon the local markets. So of course we had to walk up and down them as well as the local shops before continuing on. 

Heading towards Nottingham, we stopped at Sherwood Forest to visit Robin Hood and Maid Marion along the way.  There was a festival or something on, with people folk dancing and preforming within the visitor centre.  We walked through the Robin Hood exhibition before walking out to see the Major Oak tree.  Major Oak is a huge oak tree situated within the Sherwood Forest.  According to local folklore it is beneath the branches of Major Oak that Robin Hood and his merry men rested.  Though a beautiful old tree, if you believe the original stories from the 11th and 12th centuries, this tree would not have been the landmark that it is today, so an older, larger oak would have been the original tree.  But the stories of Robin and the outlaws span several centuries, and other outlaws would have taken up the same name.  Names such as Hood, Hode, Robin, Robyn and Robert were fairly common during these times and records by court officals before the 1300's show at least eight people who were given the surname or nickname of 'Robinhood'.  So it is possible that at least one band of merry men used this tree as a meeting place. 

Continuing onto Nottingham, we drove through the centre and up to the castle, though because it was quite late in the day they had closed their doors.  So we admired from the outside instead  before continuing onto Finwood Cottage, in a little town just outside Warwick.  This was to be our accommodation for the next week.  I am unable, however, to put house names into the nav man and so we ended up at the local pub trying to call the owner to find out where we were supposed to be!! The very nice bartender allowed us to use the pubs phone and we got in contact with the owner who directed us to the property - down a little laneway, off the already little road.  Once we arrived the cottage was beautiful and perfect for what we were here for.

We didn't have much time to admire the cottage (and the cobblestone floors!) for long, unpacking the car and piling back in to head to Coventry to pick up Danielle and Rachael, friends from my time at Our Chalet, who were training it in to meet us for the evening and day after.  With a little stress and confusion, we made it into Coventry train station and found Danielle and Rachael. We headed to Nandos for dinner and then back to our cottage for a teenagers style sleepover!

Robin Hood

In Sherwood Forest

Major Oak