Study Abroad Series: Travel Outside London




I suck! I meant to have this post up before, but do you ever have those times when you are just cruising along in the train car and then it completely derails and you’re like “AHHHH”? πŸ˜€ Hahahahaha. It wasn’t really that bad, but school and work demanded a lot of time this weekend.

Alas, today I am sharing some photos that I took during my time in London. I did a fair amount of travelling outside the city. I wanted to stay within the UK, because it is so easy to travel there. Of course, I wanted to go to Paris, but one weekend trip was equal to all of these other trips I took. I think I chose the better deal. πŸ™‚

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This is Dover! As you can see, the cliffs are white! It’s a type of limestone that is actually chalk. It’s really beautiful here in Dover. The town was a little sketchy, but once you find the visitor’s center, everything is better. The cliffs are absolutely gorgeous. I sat up there and watched the ships coming into the port. You can also see France. If you don’t know, this is where the chunnel is (at least one). So, on a clear day (it was!) you can look out and see Calais (I think it is Calais; I’m not actually sure about that). There is also a castle in Dover which is really beautiful. You can see it from the cliffs as well.

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This is a photo of some thistle. I love photographing flowers/plants, and I think this photo turned out really well.

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Naturally, I had to visit Oxford. After I watched What A Girl Wants, I wanted to go to Oxford. In high school, I was convinced that this would be my school. I ended up deciding against it. This was definitely a good decision, because I really didn’t like the atmosphere of the town. Something about the town just feels stuffy, like nobody has any fun.

Anyway, this photo is the library. It is a beautiful library, and I would love to go in and explore.

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Next up, Bath. Bath is most famous for the Roman Baths that still remain, but I didn’t really want to see it. It cost 10 or 15 GBP, and it was REALLY crowded. Instead, I went to the Jane Austen Centre. It was a pretty cute little museum, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I expected there to be old manuscripts or her old quill. Instead, it had regency-style clothing (including an opportunity to dress up in some pieces), a quill that you could try out, and some of Jane’s plum pudding to taste. There wasn’t anything really about her. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to have tea in the tea room. It was packed and the wait was very long. However, for the price, I thought it was nice. It was only 6 or 7 GBP.

As far as Bath itself goes, I found it to be very beautiful. The stone buildings (top photo) are just exquisite. It feels like a novel. It’s romantic! Despite being pretty bustling, there was a definite small-town feel to it. I really liked it. πŸ˜€

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Warwick Castle. Wow. I think this may be the most beautiful building I’ve seen. I don’t tour the inside, just because it was expensive. Instead, I toured around the town of Warwick and saw some really beautiful buildings, including the old Hospital and the Collegiate Church of Saint Mary. If I thought that Bath was like a small town, Warwick was even more so.

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Stratford-upon-Avon is a necessary stop for anyone who is relatively interested in Shakespeare. I didn’t go into his house, because it is just a recreation of what it would have looked like. Instead, I took the time to explore the shops along this pedestrian street. They are adorable. When they aren’t pimping out Shakespeare’s name and/or face, they are selling some really unique stuff. There was a Christmas shop and a cute little toy store. I really enjoyed being here, but I was disappointed in the commercialism. When an English major (at least me) pictures where Shakespeare grew up, he or she doesn’t picture a busy, commercialized town that makes its money off tourism. It just didn’t fit the picture I had in my head. Except the people. The shop owners were absolutely fantastic. They were so sweet!!

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OMG. Dead. Basically that was my reaction from the second I saw the sign in Leavesden. Even now, as I’m typing this, I feel that anxious feeling in my chest. I just… words cannot explain the amount of love I have for the Harry Potter series. My family and I would always go see the movies right when they came out. I would pre-order the latest books so they would arrive on the release date. For goodness sake, I used to pretend to play quidditch by sitting on the arm of the couch (which my mom HATED and always yelled at me for). And then, I was here. The place where it all happened. Part of me was a bit sad. Even though I knew it wasn’t real, I didn’t ever think that the set looked the way it did. To give you a sense: Hagrid’s Hut is right near the Burrow kitchen which is right near Umbridge’s office, etc. It was sad to see Hogwarts so deconstructed. But, then again, I got to SEE it. In person. And I was happy about that.

After you go through the first building which has all the sets, you get to go outside where there is a place to purchase butterbeer. It is absolutely delicious, and I wish I could get it on the regular. Ahhhh so good. The Knight Bus, Tom Riddle’s gravestone, Hagrid’s motorcycle, Harry’s front door, etc. were all there. And it even (fake) snowed!

Then you go into the next building that has Diagon Alley, and all the props. My absolute favorite part was probably the concept art. Andrew Williamson, if you ever read this, could you pretty please send me some of your work? Oh my gosh, I cannot explain how wonderful it is. HereΒ is the link to his site. Not all of the work is there I don’t think. But just wow. In real life, it is just incredible!

Then, there is the castle. And I’m not going to lie to you, I cried. So many emotions surround the Harry Potter franchise for me, and I just couldn’t help but tear up when I saw the model of the castle. I may not be a witch, but I still got to go to Hogwarts and see the castle. I can’t help but start to tear up just thinking about it. This was easily my favorite trip of the semester (I bought a replica of Hermione’s wand to remember it by). πŸ™‚ So many feels. Hahaha.

Anyway, those are some photos of my travels around the UK. Like before, please feel free to ask any questions and I’ll answer them as best as I can. I hope you enjoyed the post and that you will forgive me for the delay.

I absolutely love the UK and am strongly considering moving there after graduation. I highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance. And if you do, explore as much as you can. Getting around is easy and cheap!

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