Picking up where I left off in my last post… I spent the next few days travelling solo during the day. I went back into Manchester and visited the John Rylands Library and the Manchester Art Gallery. I spent a day in Macclesfield and had a private guided tour of the Paradise Mill Silk Factory, and went for a long walk along the Macclesfield canal.
At the end of the week my mother arrived with her car. We went for a brief visit to Jodrell Bank (big telescope, big gardens) and had a day trip to Buxton in the Peak District, where it rained solidly. Luckily we arrived at Poole’s Cavern (big cave) just in time for a guided tour.
Once my husband’s conference had finished, he and I headed to Manchester for the night. We went back to the Art Gallery for a tour and checked out the canal and locks in action. We had a not-that-brilliant night in the Novotel in the city centre, then headed back to Macclesfield to collect mum.
We drove back to Buxton – the weather was perfect this time and we saw an amazing view of the Jodrell Bank telescope sticking up out of the countryside from the hills. We walked around the lovely park in Buxton before heading south on the A515. We detoured through the tiny village of Tissington, the main feature of which seemed to be a manor house and a fantastic tea room.
Onwards we drove until we reached our overnight stop at Warwick. Refusing to pay to go inside Warwick Castle, mum knew of a great place to get a view from the outside – The Mill Garden (only 2 pounds entrance!) Such a good idea, and a wonderful garden. We then drove around looking for another good spot to see the Castle (mum thought she remembered one), when we came across a bridge “affording one of the finest views in England”. We didn’t disagree, and the sunset behind the Castle helped immeasurably.
The next day we headed deep into the Cotswolds. Embarrassingly enough I knew nothing about the Cotswolds before we arrived – only that it was somewhere that old people went on holiday…? So I can now tell you, not only does the region have some of the most achingly beautiful, picture-postcard villages I have ever seen, but it’s also famous for its Cotswold Stone – the building materials of the area.
Our first stop was, of course, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace. The weather was miserable but that didn’t stop us from not paying to get into any of the Shakespeare attractions, and looking at them all from the outside. Just as good I’m sure.
We then wended our way through many other villages, each one more spectacular than the next, until we arrived at Mount Pleasant Farm in Childswickham. This is a true B&B farm house experience, and the view of rolling fields in every direction was breathtaking.
On our final day of travels we headed to Blenheim Palace: “Britain’s Greatest Palace”. We spent most of the day there, exploring the extensive grounds, making plans for our own palace one day (haha), having a tour of the inside, and completing the maze in about 5 minutes. Well, my husband completed the maze: mum refused to even go in it, and I refused to use my brain.
After Blenheim we headed to Heathrow (another Travelodge) for the night. We couldn’t see any planes in the evening, but in the morning we were treated (if you like that sort of thing, which I do) to planes landing on the near runway, going straight over the hotel.
So after my husband had flown back to Boston, I had a few more days with my family in Bournemouth. I went on a work trip with my Dad and we randomly came across Nunney Castle. Just sitting there, doing not much. Amazing.
Photos of the trip are below.