A decade ago, I stood in front of family and friends in a beautiful dress to vow that I would ‘have and to hold’ the English bloke that managed to steal my heart. Time has flown by so fast, that before we know it, it’s already our 10 year wedding anniversary.
For the second night of our Stratford-upon-Avon staycation, we went deep into the countryside. (Well, as deep as 20 minutes in a cab could get away from the train station.) We booked at night at the Billesley Manor Hotel for some much-needed relaxation time.
Set in 11 acres of parkland, Billesley Manor is a stunning 16th-century Elizabethan manor house. Located just 3 miles from Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, this historic property is steeped in history and charm. Once referenced in the Domesday Book, the grounds feature an 11th-century church and an ornate topiary garden, which was planted 100 years ago to replicate a chess board.
Being totally honest, when I went down to Bournemouth it was without any plans, other than watching the sunset with my book in hand and wandering along the beach for an ice cream. So when I was kindly tipped off that Rick Stein has a restaurant just along the bay in Sandbanks, Poole, I knew that I needed to get a little organised and book myself a last-minute lunch table there.
One of the hardest things that people find about solo travelling, is eating by themselves. Weirdly it hasn’t ever really bothered me – though I’ll confess to ordering room service more often than not – but I’d do that regardless of who I was or wasn’t travelling with – except when it’s in a super busy restaurant, and they seat you at the bar to talk to the bartender.
England to me is personified in 3 words; beauty, history and a touch of the surreal. There really isn’t quite a country like in the whole rest of the world. (I could write thousands more words on this Island – and have done – but let’s stick to 3 for the sake of this post not topping out at 18,000 words.) Enter stage right the annual Kington Langley Scarecrow Competition.
From intrepid explorers conquering the globe, to the sheer satisfaction taken in a well-made cup of tea England is a nation that has fascinated me for over a decade now(!), not least for the curious festivals that you find.