Sub caption: Bloomsbury to Wiltshire to Winchester to Alton
We awoke bright and early to leave the hotel by 7am to head to Stourhead Garden. The Harlingford Hotel gave us a last farewell by packing breakfast to-go for us to eat on the bus. It’s about a 2 1/2 hour bus ride, and I believe most of us fell asleep. There was one point where we were startled awake by Debbie saying, “Look, there’s Stonehenge!” We all sleepily jumped up to see it as we passed by. Some of us even got a couple blurry pictures.
Stourhead Garden is lots and lots of beautiful things all in one place. It was about 50 degrees when we arrived and warmed up only a few degrees during our time there. When you first enter the Garden, you descend a hill that takes you to the bridge that Kiera Knightly ran across in Pride and Prejudice. The lake is beautiful, and you can see the Pantheon behind it. Here’s our group in a selfie so I could be included.
The Garden is made of fields, flowers, greenery, temples, ponds, waterfalls, a waterwheel, a grotto, and lots of cute ducks, geese, and even a crane. Our group split up after our group picture, and we were able to move about at our own pace. I ended up walking around alone for a while, just taking pictures of all these beautiful flowers.
The Temple of Apollo, and the Pantheon allowed visitors to walk inside and view sculptures and detailed ceilings. Since the motto of the Garden is “a living work of art,” the area around and between the temples is full of green and colorful flowers.
There was a 300 something-year-old grotto that contained statues, beautiful views, and an ode. The stones are jagged and missy, but it was the most beautiful place to be.it was cool and misty: the perfect morning.
Leah and I found a little grove of giant trees that stretched at least four or five stories up, but one of them grew horizontally out from the ground before jutting upward, creating a nice place to lie down. Once there, you could look directly up and see the tentacle-like branches of the huge trees. In another place, there was a place that was PERFECT to sit on.
We also made a duck friend who walked in step with us for five whole minutes before rejoining her duck friends. Meet Bluebell who was named by the cute little English girl we met in the Garden today. (And also some geese just because we were really close to them, and they were cute.)
We walked and walked, finding all kinds of little adventures along the way. Overall, the Garden is my favorite place we have visited 🙂
After the Garden, we hopped back on the bus for another hour to head to Winchester Cathedral in Winchester (obviously). This place was HUGE. For our literary class, our mission there was to see Jane Austen’s grave. We observed the exhibit in her honor, and we saw her grave, memorial plaque, and inscriptions. We also wandered the cathedral, listened to the choir singing, and theorized about the rising of the dead in the apocalypse.
Our last stop for the bus was the Alton House Hotel, where we will stay just for tonight before heading to Oxford tomorrow evening. We explored a bit and found the pool which prompted this question: if, in the U.S., we open our pools on Memorial Day and close them on Labor Day, what is the English equivalent? The answer: there aren’t actually many outdoor public pools because it “doesn’t get warm enough.”
We explored Alton a bit tonight and decided to eat at a pub. Now these are all church kids. Good kids who don’t drink, and therefore do not frequent pubs. So we went into a bar, sat down, and then had a conversation about how no one had ever been to a pub and didn’t know what to do. There also wasn’t anyone looking at us, and we ultimately decided to run back out the door. Hysterical, right? Yes.
We did end up going to a hotel pub where we ate some DELICIOUS chicken and pie. We were there for a couple hours because who could pass up English dessert? Poor Megan never got her pie, but a crumble instead (also good). Fun fact: custard is WONDERFUL.