GREAT BRITAIN

I love just the sound of these places: 

Cliveden, Windsor Castle, Penzance, Land’s End, Cornwall. 

St. Ives, St. Mawes, Padstow, Bakewell, Bigbury-0n-sea, Devon. 

Lifton, (like Clifton without the C – neither one is near the sea!) Lynmouth, Lewes, Brighton, Sussex, The Cotswold’s. 

Shipton Court, Shipton-Under-Wychwood, The Cotswold’s

The Shires:  Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Derbyshire, Cambridgshire, Lancashire, Cheshire (Like the Cat), Shropshire, Warwickshire (the second W is silent) and Wiltshire. 

The Cheshire Cat

Yorkshire (Yes!  Like the pudding!), New Milton, Winchester Cathedral.

Yorkshire Pudding

The Isle of Wight, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, Maidstone, Sissinghurst Castle Garden,

The Lake District, (the meres) Windermere, Grasmere, and Buttermere.

Cumbria of course, (birthplace of William Wordsworth.) 

London.  Trafalgar Square, The British Museum, Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court, Hyde Park, Kensington.  Blenheim Palace (Pronounced Blennam and the birthplace of Winston Churchill in 1874)

Trafalgar Square

Big Ben (the newly restored), St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, a concert at St. Martin in the Fields, The Chelsea Flower Show in May, Trooping the Color in June.

Big Ben Under Repairs in 2018

Tea at the Ritz, lunch with the dead monks at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Hadrian’s Wall, The Tower of London, The River Thames, the new London skyline (without the cranes!). 

Cafe’ in the Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square

And don’t forget Bath, Somerset, Southampton, Stratford-Upon-Avon (the birthplace of William Shakespeare), Salisbury Cathedral, and Stonehenge!

Oh my! 

In May of 2018, John and I spent the last 10 days of the month in Jolly Old England. My main reason for booking our trip during that time was to attend The Chelsea Flower Show.  I love flowers, and I’ve heard of this event for years, and decided to plan my trip around it.  We didn’t by any means arrive at the show early, as the first couple days are reserved for members of The Royal Horticulture Society and of course, Her Majesty the Queen, who makes it a point to attend every year.  I think she attended the day before we did in 2018.

 

Clematis – Chelsea Flower Show

I bought my tickets way in advance!  We arrived in London a few days before our ticketed time.  It’s a good thing we did too, because I must tell you, I have never been more jetlagged than I was after flying nonstop from Denver to London.  I’m not as young as I used to be, and I don’t bounce back as quickly as I used to. This is something to keep in mind for the next time I go, or if you’re planning a trip.  Keep your schedule relatively easy and don’t try to do too much the first couple days. I would allow two weeks for a good London adventure along with allowance for travel recovery)

St. Martin-in-the Fields

So then, after arriving at the flower show, I probably spent a couple of hours just photographing flowers.  I was in gardening and photographer’s paradise!  Then, of course, we took care of some retail therapy requirements at the little boutiques they have set up outdoors.  Being from Denver, it reminded me some of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival I used to attend every year.  If you’ve been wanting anything for your home, your garden, or your walls, this is the place to find it!  Of course, being a tourist makes it somewhat impractical to buy much, but you can have some stuff shipped directly to your home, which certainly makes things easier.  I bought a few trinkets I could stash in my bags on the way home. 

Protea at Chelsea Flower Show

You must purchase your tickets in advance if you want to attend The Chelsea Flower Show.  You get a timed entry.  The prices are different during the days and evenings. You can stay all day if you like, but if you leave, you can’t come back.  I also noticed there were no photographers using tripods.  If you like to do focus stacking on your flower macros, this is not going to be an option for you.  Babies in prams are also not allowed.  It does get crowded, and I understand they don’t want various equipment blocking the passageways. 

Chelsea Flower Show Flower Arrangement, 2018

Other places we visited and events we attended while in England were of course Buckingham Palace and The Changing of the Guard, St. James’ Park, The British Museum (at least part of it!) and St. Martin-in-the-Fields.   One day we took a water taxi to Greenwich (pronounced GREN-itch) and stood on the invisible line that marks the longitude of 0.00.  BTW the latitude is 51.48, which is similar to New Foundland, Victoria, Vancouver, and Calgary, in Canada.  Not to mention Inner Mongolia, Ukraine, and The Czech Republic: In other words, pretty far north, latitude-wise. 

Me sitting on the longitude 00.00 at Greenwich

So anyway, it being that same time of year and all, I’ve got this on my mind.  When, as and if I go back, I will stay longer, primarily to allow myself time to recover from the jetlag, and, I feel as though I have barely skimmed the surface with all that England has to offer.  Of The Top 10 Things to see and do there, I’ve done exactly 1:  I’ve been to The British Museum.  At least part of it.  Also, there is one thing any American traveling in England needs to know right off:  Most of the old buildings don’t have air conditioning.  Some of the new ones don’t either (like Heathrow Airport!) This is true of The British Museum.  It was getting quite warm in there on a late May afternoon.  Most of the other buildings I was in were the same.  Some of these places don’t allow you to bring your own water bottle in either, so be prepared.

Dahlia at Chelsea Flower Show, 2018

We rented a car for one leg of the trip in which we were going to spend the night in Burford, in The Cotswolds, a place my husband used to live as a child.  We made it to Burford just fine and stayed in an amazing old hunting lodge called The Shaven Crown.  We were on our way to Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral, when we wrecked the car.  Well, I should say John wrecked the car.  He insisted he knew how to drive backwards and on the wrong side of the road, but of course, he couldn’t.  At one point, he drove over a curb and blew out the tires on the passenger side – my side – of the car – which is the driver’s side in the USA.  I had spent the better part of the day before then yelling out, “you’re too close to the edge!”  He insisted he wasn’t.  He was.  So, instead of seeing Stonehenge, we had dinner and a pint at a pub we found that we could walk to, and then found bus service to get us back to London.  I know some people have no trouble figuring out how to drive backwards and on the wrong side of the road, but if you think you might be one who does, consider public transportation for your whole trip.  This is why God made bus tours. 

One of the Oldest Pubs in London

Some of these ideas are beginning to make more sense to me now. 

The Chelsea Flower Show will be from May 24th to May 28th this year. There are still a few tickets to be had. They sell for around $105  US Dollars. Of course they are sold by British Pound.

The View From Our Hotel Room at Thistle Trafalgar Square

We stayed at Thistle Trafalgar Square and we had a very nice room there at a very good price I think. I loved the view – yes, lots of rooftops, but also, the steeple of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and The Shard. Very close to everything and central to downtown London. From here, I could walk to St. James Park and Buckingham Palace and many other places. It was a great base for exploring London!

Here’s a couple more flower pictures! All taken with my cellphone camera.

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