Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My favorite places in England

Next time I go back to England I'll be sure to revisit these wonderful cities/towns. I couldn't have anticipated which places I would fall desperately in love. For many of my favorite places, I wished I could have spent weeks exploring everything it has to offer. 

1. Bath
Amazingly, this entire city is honored with being named a World Heritage Site. Which is remarkable because most Heritage Sites are historical monuments such as the Pyramids and Stonehenge. Upon arriving, I quickly understood why this city has been bestowed with such a prestigious title. The looming Georgian stone architecture draws from ingenious Roman design to create an awe-inspiring atmosphere. The city is nestled in a slopping valley with houses dotted across the hillside. The Roman Baths had once been a place of healing and worship in the Roman times, and then again restored in the Georgian times for the aristocracy. The city is the most eye appealing in England. Streets are clean, people are friendly, and it feels like one steps into a Jane Austen book.
                                                                                          The Royal Crescent
Must see sites:
The Royal Crescent, The Circus, Roman Baths, expansive parks, and shopping.  

2. York
The city has always been an important stronghold since Roman times. It has been the location of many important historical events such as: when Constantine declared himself Emperor in 306 AD, once the prosperous viking city of Jorvick, Battle of Stamford Bridge (the last viking attack on England) in 1066, site of The Peasants' Revolt in 1396,  and in 1644 (Civil War) was besieged by the Parliamentarians. The city is a collection of pieces of time over the last two thousand years. Its history is exceptional because it has been the first defense against 'barbarians' from the North and the Seas. Some of my favorite features were the original cobble stone streets and towering medieval walls which stand upon original Roman foundations (almost completely encircle the city). York Minster is one of the largest Gothic Medieval Cathedrals in all of Europe. The city hosts many famous museums that are world acclaimed such as Jorvick Viking Center. The streets meander and weave you back into the Medieval period. The city is also famous for its many ghost stories. There are as many as eight ghost tours that operate daily from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. We partook in a ghost tour by a man dressed in a Victorian physician outfit, and some of the stories were very chilling.
                                                                                          Medieval Wall
Must see sites:
York Minster, Jorvick Viking Center, Medieval Walls, The Shambles (medieval butcher street), and Ghost tour.

3. Cotswolds
The many villages that make up the Cotswolds are a trip in themselves. The famous stone architecture was constructed by the wool merchants in the 1400s, 1500s, and 1600s. They create a picturesque vision and induce a feeling of stepping into a fairy tale land or specifically into SnowWhite :). The villages are surrounded by even more gorgeous pastures of sheep grazing in hedge lined plots. The villages have been the backdrop to many motion picture films such as War Horse. Cotswolds also offers many great shops and opportunities for antique shopping.
                                                                     Castle Combe
Must see villages:
Bourton on the Water, Bibury, Castle Combe, Burford, Upper and Lower Slaughter, and Stow on the Wold

4. Rye
Rye was once an important port city in the Middle Ages. It became an important city for ship building during the Medieval times and boasts helping build the Armada fleet for Queen Elizabeth. The river silted up and so the town is no longer located at the Sea. It has cobble stone streets, jutting buildings, meandering street, and many antique shops. Johnny Depp used to own a house on the famous Mermaid Street, called 'the house opposite'.
                                                                                           Mermaid Street
Must see sites:
Mermaid Street, Mermaid Inn, St. Mary's Church, Antique shops

5. Cambridge
Established by students from Oxford in 1209. Ever since its beginning it has been a world leading university. The head of Cromwell is buried in the grounds of Queens College and is only known by two people in the world (England) at one time. The University is known for its famous bridges and architecture. Cambridge is one of the only punting cities, besides Venice, in the world. Our family had a punting tour of Cambridge which gave an exclusive look at the magnificent University.

Must see sites:
St. Johns college, Trinity college, Kings College, Queens College, and Punting on the River.

*all pictures taken by my Dad

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