Highclere is a village in England about an hour and a half (drive) west of London. When I first heard of this village I thought nothing of it. When most people hear of this village they think of Highclere Castle, a filming location for the popular show Downton Abbey (DA.) I’m often behind the times when it comes to watching popular shows, and I’ve still never seen Game of Thrones despite telling myself I would start watching after visiting a handful of filming locations.
My two gal pals that went to England with me are big DA fans, and they wanted to visit Highclere castle. I’m always up for a good castle visit, so I was on board despite the fact I knew nothing about the show. After booking our Air B & B we discovered the castle has limited openings, and we would have needed to book our visit much further in advance.
Alas, we stuck with the plan to visit Highclere and had a lovely morning walk.
We thought perhaps we could catch a glimpse of the castle from the outskirts if we walked nearby, but that didn’t happen. Instead we wandered open fields, small neighborhoods, quiet church yards, and found an old cemetery. We were only in Highclere for an evening into the next afternoon, but it was a nice transition leaving London heading towards our first national park of the trip.
Our Air B & B was lovely, and the hosts left us some croissants and eggs in the fridge for breakfast. I woke up before my gal pals and enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee while staring quietly into the open fielded backyard. It was in this moment that I knew deep in my soul the UK is where I feel most alive.
I can’t tell you what it is exactly, it’s a feeling I will forever struggle to put into words, but I have now been to three of the four UK countries and each one sparks a fire in me that I forget is there until I arrive. I travel to escape, and while it’s a healthier addiction than some of the alternatives, it’s still a way for me to not work through my problems.
I’m not saying this is a good thing, it’s just the truth. People say travel is a way to find yourself, but for some travel is a way to escape yourself. All of my trips bring me joy, but none like the joy I feel when I visit the UK. I hope someday (preferably after I work through my “problems” and stop traveling just to escape) I can find a way to live in the UK.
Any UK readers out there single and looking to mingle, holla atcha girl.
After pondering life, my friends and I made some breakfast before we headed out for our walk. I felt calm, I felt content, and I felt at peace sitting down with two great girls for a meal and some laughs. I enjoyed my eggs and two croissants without any food anxiety.
After our walk we said goodbye to The Leacroft Lodge and headed towards the Lake District.
Before arriving at our next destination, we stopped in a small town called Coventry for afternoon tea. Can you really visit the UK without having afternoon tea? We chose Coventry because it was a good midpoint between Highclere and the Lake District, and because we found an undercroft called St. Mary’s Guildhall that served (very affordable) afternoon tea.
This undercroft is over 700 years old, and sits within the cities historical Cathedral Quarter. The medieval restaurant is new, and the ladies that work there are kind and friendly. The tea cost each of us no more than $10, and my eyes were opened to the world of clotted cream. I knew I loved scones, but English scones are of another world.
I ended up eating the remaining clotted cream with a spoon.
After tea we wandered the town for maybe an hour before heading north to the Lake District. We walked the Cathedral Quarter of Coventry, weaving through the ruins of St. Michael cathedral, and saw a traditional original medieval timber framed house. An unexpected historical stop in the city of Coventry.
I still daydream about those scones and clotted cream. It’s a good thing there were so many opportunities for scones on this trip.
Q: Scones or croissants? Nothing beats a good, thick, soft, English scone with jam and clotted cream.