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England Trip - Preparation by michael ,  Jul 24, 2013
Great Britain at a Glance England 
▲ ▲ ▲ London Thriving metropolis packed with world-class museums, monuments, churches, parks, palaces, theaters, pubs, Beefeaters, telephone boxes, double-decker buses, and all things British. 
▲ ▲ Greenwich, Windsor, and Cambridge Easy side-trips from London: famous observatory at the maritime center of Greenwich, the Queen’s palace at Windsor, and England’s best university town, Cambridge. 
▲ ▲ ▲ Bath Genteel Georgian showcase city, built around the remains of an ancient Roman bath. 
▲ ▲ Near Bath England’s mysterious heart, including the prehistoric-meets-New Age hill at Glastonbury, spine-tingling stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury, enjoyable cathedral towns of Wells and Salisbury, and rugged sights of South Wales. 
▲ ▲ The Cotswolds Remarkably quaint villages— including the cozy market town Chipping Campden, popular hamlet Stow-on-the-Wold, and handy transit hub Moreton-in-Marsh— scattered over a hilly countryside and near one of England’s top palaces, Blenheim. 
▲ Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare’s hometown and top venue for seeing his plays performed, plus the medieval Warwick Castle and Coventry’s inspiring cathedral nearby.

Warwick and Coventry England’s best medieval castle, in pleasant Warwick, and the stirring bombed-out husk of an ancient cathedral, in Coventry. 
▲ Ironbridge Gorge Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, with sights and museums that tell the earth-changing story. 
▲ Liverpool The Beatles’ hometown, an increasingly rejuvenated port city. 
▲ ▲ The Lake District Idyllic lakes-and-hills landscape, with enjoyable hikes and joyrides, time-passed valleys, William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter sights, and the charming home-base town of Keswick. 
▲ ▲ ▲ York Walled medieval town with grand Gothic cathedral, excellent museums (Viking, Victorian, Railway), and atmospheric old center, with the windswept North York Moors at its doorstep. 
▲ Durham and Northeast England Youthful working-class town with magnificent cathedral, plus (nearby) an open-air museum, the Roman remains of Hadrian’s Wall, Holy Island, and Bamburgh Castle. Wales 
▲ ▲ ▲ North Wales Scenically rugged land with the castle towns of Conwy, Caernarfon, and Beaumaris; natural beauty of Snowdonia National Park; tourable slate mines at Blaenau Ffestiniog; colorful Welsh villages like Beddgelert and Ruthin; and charming locals who speak a tongue-twisting old language.

Steves, Rick (2013-01-08). Rick Steves' Great Britain 2013

Daily itinerary

Walking Key

  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
Day 1: Welcome to England

The beautiful Georgian city of Bath is a 90-minute train ride from central London. We'll meet around 5 p.m. at our hotel for a "Welcome to England" get-together. Then we'll take a short neighborhood walk and get acquainted over dinner. Sleep in Bath (3 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Roman and Georgian Bath

Our day begins with a walking tour of Bath's charming streets, including its medieval abbey square and the imposing sweep of its Royal Crescent. Next we're off to tour the town's remarkably well-preserved 2,000-year-old Roman Baths where you'll have a chance to drink from these natural mineral springs in the Pump Room. The rest of the day is free to make your own discoveries in this historic town. You might visit the colorful Fashion Museum or — as Roman travelers did — bathe in a mineral spa. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 3: Glastonbury and Wells

Today we'll explore and learn about mystical Glastonbury, the legendary resting place of King Arthur, where we'll also enjoy a picnic in the shadow of the abbey ruins. Later we'll tour England's oldest completely Gothic structure — the graceful Wells Cathedral — before returning to Bath in the late afternoon. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Blenheim Palace and the Cotswolds

This morning we'll take a walking tour through the wonderfully-preserved medieval village of Lacock. Farther up the road, we'll stop to tour Avebury's mysterious, prehistoric stone circle. Then we'll drive north to Blenheim Palace, touring this gilded mini-Versailles that was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. We end our day with a cobbled-lane, flower-boxed orientation walk through the Cotswolds market town of Stow-on-the-Wold, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Cotswold Villages

Today we'll take a scenic Cotswolds drive, stopping at the ever-so-English Cotswold village of Stanton. We'll explore the village as well as visit Stanway House, home to the local aristocracy. This afternoon you'll have free time to explore more picturesque villages on your own — or join your guide for a leisurely country walk past cottages and sheep, through fields and kissing gates. Tonight we'll enjoy dinner together at a country pub with the sounds of local folk musicians, where you can try a sip of Scrumpy, the local farmhouse "hard cider." Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 6: Ironbridge Gorge and Into Wales

We'll begin our day visiting the historic bridge and tollhouse at Ironbridge Gorge, where breakthroughs in the smelting and casting of iron — and the invention of the steam-powered locomotive — gave birth to the Industrial Revolution. After lunch we'll bid cheerio to England and drive into neighboring wonderful North Wales. We'll end our day overlooking the Irish Sea in the castle-topped, harbor town of Conwy, where we'll share dinner together and sleep (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Caernarfon Castle and Welsh Slate

Today we'll see and feel the rugged character of North Wales, touring impressive Caernarfon Castle, where we'll learn about the system of English garrison castles Edward I built to enforce English rule over North Wales 700 years ago. After lunch, we'll visit the Welsh National Slate Museum to learn how this local industry shingled the roofs throughout Europe. The rest of your day is free to roam along Conwy's multi-towered city wall, historic houses and laid-back harbor. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Gardens and Lakes

This morning we'll explore the manicured lawns, terraced beds, and extensive botanical collection of Bodnant Garden. Then we'll cross back into England and make our way to the spectacularly serene Lake District, favorite haunt of poets and painters. Sleep at a family-run hotel in Keswick (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 9: The Lake District

Today we'll explore the natural beauty of the Lake District. You can join your guide for a refreshing hike 'twixt lakes and mountains and a leisurely boat cruise on the island-studded Derwentwater — or strike out on a little expedition of your own, thanks to a wealth of hiking opportunities along well-marked trails. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 10: Hadrian's Wall

We'll travel back in time today with a tour of Hadrian's ancient Roman wall, once considered the boundary dividing civilization and barbarity (though the Scots might disagree). We'll then stop for lunch before winding our way through the moors and dales of North Yorkshire — James Herriot country — to the bustling cathedral town of York. Tonight we'll indulge in England's favorite ethnic food with a tasty Indian dinner together. Sleep in York (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: York Minster and the Medieval City

We'll begin our day marveling at York Minster's stained glass windows on our tour of the largest Gothic church north of the Alps. Then we'll take a walking tour beneath the leaning, half-timbered houses of The Shambles in the city's marvelous medieval center. You'll have the rest of the day free to enjoy more of this enchanting city. It's a great night to enjoy an ethereal evensong choir performance in the Minster. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Literary London

Today we'll board a train and make a beeline past the Midlands for London. We'll start with a visit to the fascinating British Library, followed by an entertaining guided bus tour, hearing tales about Big Ben, the River Thames, St. Paul's Cathedral, and more. Later this afternoon, we'll check into our hotel and get oriented to our neighborhood and London's Tube. Tonight is a perfect evening for the theater (book something in advance from the Colonies or pick up a ticket in London). Sleep in central London (2 nights). Train: 2 hrs. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 13: Historic and Lively London

This morning we'll head out for an energetic day of sightseeing. Our first stop is Westminster Abbey with a local guide, where England's kings and queens have been crowned and buried since 1066. A thousand years of English history lie within its stained-glass splendor and under its stone slabs. After absorbing so much history, you'll be ready for our scenic and relaxing cruise on the Thames. Then we'll tour the Tower of London with a witty Beefeater, see the majestic crown jewels which include the world's largest cut diamond — the 530-carat Star of Africa — and ponder the executioner's block that dispensed with Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More, and many others. You'll have the rest of the afternoon free before our final group dinner together, where we'll share travel memories and toast new friends. Cheers! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

Heathrow and Gatwick airports can be easily reached by Tube, train or bus from our London neighborhood. For those not ready to return home yet, London is a great jumping off point to Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam and many other exciting destinations. Cheerio!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Great 1 Week London Itinerary from Rick Steves

April 30, 2010 By Jonathan2 Comments

Rick Steves recently posted the ideal 1 week London itinerary on his blog – and I can’t find anything to disagree with.

It’s pretty packed but you can see everything in London worth seeing in a carefully scheduled week.

Here’s his take on the perfect 1 week London Itinerary:

Day 1: 9:00 — Tower of London (crown jewels first to beat the crowds, then Beefeater tour, then White Tower); 13:00 — Munch a sandwich on the Thames while cruising from Tower to Westminster Bridge; 15:00 — Tour Westminster Abbey (consider Evensong service at 17:00); 17:00 — Follow the self-guided Westminster Walk. When you’re finished, you could return to the Houses of Parliament and pop in to see the House of Commons in action.

Day 2: 8:30 — Take a double-decker hop-on, hop-off London sightseeing bus tour (from Green Park or Victoria) and hop off for the Changing of the Guard; 11:00 — Buckingham Palace (guards change most days, but worth confirming); 12:00 — Walk through St. James’s Park to enjoy London’s delightful park scene; 13:00 — After lunch, tour Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum; 16:00 — Tour National Gallery. Have a pub dinner before a play, concert, or evening walking tour (for ideas, see the Entertainment chapter).

Day 3: 9:00 — Follow the self-guided City Walk from Trafalgar Square to London Bridge, inserting the full St. Paul’s Tour in the middle; 15:00 — Follow the self-guided Bankside Walk along the South Bank of the Thames, then walk the Jubilee Promenade from the Millennium Bridge to the London Eye. Cap the day with South Bank sights or experiences open in the evening: a ride on the London Eye, a Shakespearean play at Shakespeare’s Globe (19:30 in summer), or the Tate Modern (open Fri and Sat until 22:00).

Day 4: 10:00 — Tour the British Museum; 14:00 — Take the self-guided West End Walk to see Covent Garden, Soho, and the Regent Street shops; 17:30 — Enjoy an afternoon tea (at Fortnum & Mason or at The Wolseley).

Day 5: Spend the morning at an antique market. Spend the rest of your day at your choice of major sights. Depending on your interests, choose from the British Library, Tate Britain, Museum of London, Imperial War Museum, or Kew Gardens (cruise to Kew, return to London by Tube).

Day 6: 10:00 — Cruise from Westminster to Greenwich; 11:00 — Tour salty sights of Greenwich; 14:30 — Ride the DLR train to Pudding Hill Lane to see the Olympics 2012 site; 16:00 — Ride the DLR to the Docklands for a look at London’s emerging “Manhattan”; 18:00 — Tube back to London.

Day 7: 10:00 — Tour the Victoria & Albert Museum; after lunch (or a picnic in the park), stroll through Hyde Park. Spend the afternoon at Harrods or other shopping.

Be sure to check out Rick Steves’ Blog Gone Europe here – he’s in London right now and writing all about it.

Also, check out all the great Rick Steves London and Britain related videos we wrote about a couple months ago.

Our Top Picks For England

  • 1London

    England's capital. Britain's cultural melting-pot. Europe's largest metropolis. The world in one city.

  • 2The Cotswolds

    Classic rural scenery. Picture-postcard villages. Antique shops on every corner.

  • 3 Lake District

    England's highest mountains, with stunning views, tranquil lakes and hiking a-go-go.

  • 4Bath

    Grand Georgian terraces, Palladian parades and one of the finest Roman bathhouses in the world. If you only explore on English city outside of London, make it this one.

  • 5Manchester

    England's Barcelona. Renowned for fine arts, modern architecture and unstoppable night-time activities.

  • 6Oxford

    Ancient university, manicured colleges, evocative architecture - reeking of history.

  • 7Yorkshire Dales

    Rolling hills, scenic valleys, sturdy villages. Rural northern England at its reet best.

  • 8Liverpool

    Reborn city with famously rugged cultural identity and up-to-the moment music scene.

  • 9Hadrian's Wall

    Follow the footsteps of Roman centurions along this stunning World Heritage Site.

  • 10Durham

    Famous cathedral and historic university; a truly stunning World Heritage site.

  • 11Warwick Castle

    England's finest castle; preserved enough to be impressive, ruined enough to be romantic.

  • 12Cambridge

    Historic university town; towers and spires, and touch of punting.

  • 13York

    Viking heritage, medieval city walls, spectacular cathedral - and the country's best railway museum.

  • 14Bristol

    A fierce mix of rich history legacy modern outlook with a music scene to rival hip northern outposts.

  • 15 Canterbury

    Gorgeous medieval buildings; one of the finest cathedrals in

London is the start and finish point for most international tourists. It offers countless museums and historical attractions. To truly experience England, however, you must venture out of the hustle and bustle of the capital and see what the rest of England has to offer. You will find the rest of England very different to its capital city; indeed, if you only visit London, you haven't seen 'England' - you've seen one city that bears few similarities with the rest of the country.

If short on time, you may find it more convenient to base yourself in a regional city and take day trips to the National Parks, coast and smaller towns. If you have plenty of time, then you could base yourself in a B&B (Bed and Breakfast) in any of the above. You will find that public transport to and within cities and large towns is acceptable, but that in smaller places off the beaten track then you should research your journey carefully, or consider hiring a car.

Popular places to visit include the counties of Yorkshire and Cornwall, the National Parks listed above, and the historic cities such as York, Bath and Lincoln.

If short on time, then it is possible to use larger cities as a base for day trips, either by train or coach. For example Leeds, the largest city in Yorkshire makes a great base for day trips to the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire Moors, York and Whitby, whilst offering its own selection of attractions such as the Royal Armories, famed nightlife, theatre and designer shopping in stunning Victorian Era arcades.

Similarly Plymouth makes a good base for exploring Dartmoor, whilst allowing day trips to Cornwall and offering its own range of attractions and museums.

Bristol, the West Country's largest city makes for a very enjoyable weekend break. Although until recently overlooked by other Southern English cities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Brighton, Bristol has come into its own thanks to its leftfield attitude, laid back easy going groove, the West Country's largest shopping complex, and above all its stunningly creative and brilliant music scene (a back catalogue containing the likes of Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky). Although Bristol doesn't have any specific sights (apart from the Clifton Suspension Bridge), it's a city to just browse and glide through at your leisure and soak up the mellow, amiable vibe of Britain's most relaxed and laid back city.

Cities in the Midlands such as Birmingham offer the opportunity to go for many day-trips and sightseeing within a short driving distance. Typical English towns like Stratford-upon-Avon offer the chance to experience Shakespeare in his hometown, with sights such as Shakespeare's birthplace, Shakespeare's tombstone and the RSC theatre. Birmingham offers many other experiences, for example, Cadbury World and the Back-to-Backs, in addition to fantastic shopping in the Bullring and great nightlife on Broad Street. As well as this, Birmingham is the most culturally diverse city in England, and therefore the cuisine is excellent, with Birmingham curries especially noted- the chicken tikka massala was invented in Birmingham.

If you have a little longer, you may be able to spend a week more locally based, for example staying in Ambleside in the Lake District.

If you want white sand beaches, turquoise sea, Arthurian atmosphere and a raw, misty eyed Celtic landscape head to the West Country coastline of Devon and Cornwall - particularly, the magnificent surf blasted beaches of North Devon's Bideford Bay and King Arthur's birthplace in North Cornwall's Atlantic coastline (Bude, Tintagel, Padstow, Polzeath etc).

England: Recommended Reading and Viewing

Books: Nonfiction

For a serious historical overview, wade into A History of Britain, a three-volume collection by Simon Schama. Literary Trails (Hardyment) reunites famous authors with the environments that inspired them.

In Notes From a Small Island, Bill Bryson records his witty notes about every British foible. For more good memoirs, pick up any of the books by Susan Allen Toth on her British travels. If you'll be spending time in the Cotswolds, try Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee's boyhood memoir set just after World War I. Animal-lovers enjoy James Herriot's adventures as a Yorkshire vet, told in All Creatures Great and Small and its sequels. And the obsessive world of English soccer is illuminated in Nick Hornby's memoir, Fever Pitch.

Books: Fiction

For the classics of British fiction, read anything — and everything — by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and the Brontës. Mystery fans can't miss with any of the books by Agatha Christie.

Pillars of the Earth (Follett) traces the building of a fictional 12th-century cathedral in southern England. For a big book on the era of King Richard III, try The Sunne in Splendour, one in a series by Sharon Kay Penman. The Other Boleyn Girl (Gregory) sets its intrigues in the court of Henry VIII, while Restoration (Tremain) returns readers to the time of King Charles II.

Set in the 19th-century Anglican church, The Warden (Trollope) dwells on moral dilemmas. Brideshead Revisited (Waugh) satirizes the British obsession with class, taking place between the World Wars. A rural village in the 1930s is the social battlefield for E. F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia. For evocative Cornish settings, try Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca or The House on the Strand.

For a more contemporary read, check out Bridget Jones's Diary (Fielding), Behind the Scenes at the Museum (Atkinson), White Teeth (Smith), or Saturday (McEwan).


Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) is set in a boys' boarding school during Victorian England. If you're in the mood for something completely different, try Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), a surreal take on the Arthurian legend. Chariots of Fire (1981) ran away with the Academy Award for Best Picture.

A Room with a View (1985) includes scenes filmed in rural England. Among the many versions of Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth is the winner. The all-star Gosford Park (2001) is part comedy, part murder mystery, and part critique of England's class stratification in the 1930s. Hope and Glory (1987) is a semi-autobiographical story of a boy growing up during WWII's Blitz.

Shadowlands (1993) tells a fictionalized account of author C. S. Lewis' relationship with his future wife. In The Full Monty (1997), some working-class Yorkshire lads take it all off to pay the bills. Calendar Girls (2003) has a similar setting and premise, if a slightly more noble cause.

Harry Potter Film Sites and Locations

Where was Harry Potter filmed? Harry's story is set in a magical Britain, and all of the places mentioned in the books, except London, are fictional, but you can visit many real film locations. Many of the locations are closed to visitors, though, or are an un-magical disappointment in person, unless you're a huge fan. For those diehards, here's a sampling.

Spoiler Alert: The information below will ruin surprises for the three of you who haven't yet read or seen the Harry Potter series.

Big Ben
Big Ben welcomes Harry to the big city.


Harry's story begins in suburban London, in the fictional town of Little Whinging. In the first film, The Sorcerer's Stone (2001), the gentle giant Hagrid touches down on his flying motorcycle at #4 Privet Drive. There, baby Harry — who was orphaned by the murder of his wizard parents — is left on the doorstep to be raised by an anti-magic aunt and uncle. The scene was shot in the town of Bracknell (pop. 50,000, 10 miles west of Heathrow) on a street of generic brick rowhouses called Picket Close. Later, 10-year-old Harry first realizes his wizard powers when talking with a boa constrictor, filmed at the London Zoo's Reptile House in Regent's Park (Tube: Great Portland Street). Harry soon gets invited to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he'll learn the magical skills he'll need to eventually confront his parents' murderer, Lord Voldemort.

Big Ben and Parliament, along the Thames, welcome Harry to the modern city inhabited by Muggles (nonmagic folk). London bustles along oblivious to the parallel universe of wizards. Hagrid takes Harry shopping for school supplies. They enter the glass-roofed Leadenhall Market (Tube: Bank) and approach the storefront at 42 Bull's Head Passage — the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron pub (which, in the books, is placed among the bookshops of Charing Cross Road). The pub's back wall parts, opening onto the magical Diagon Alley, where Harry shops for wands, cauldrons, and wizard textbooks. He pays for them with gold Galleons from goblin-run Gringotts Wizarding Bank, filmed in the marble-floored and chandeliered Exhibition Hall of Australia House (Tube: Temple), home of the Australian Embassy.

Harry catches the train to Hogwarts at King's Cross Station. (The fanciful exterior shot in The Chamber of Secrets (2002) is actually nearby St. Pancras International Station.) Inside the glass-roofed train station, on a pedestrian sky bridge over the tracks, Hagrid gives Harry a train ticket. Harry heads to platform 9¾, where he and his new buddy Ron magically push their luggage carts through a brick pillar between the platforms, emerging onto a hidden platform. (For a fun photo-op, head to the station's western departures concourse to find the Platform 9¾ sign and the luggage cart that looks like it's disappearing into the wall, between tracks 8 and 9.)

A red steam train — the Hogwarts Express — speeds the boys through the (Scottish) countryside to Hogwarts, where Harry will spend the next seven years. Harry is taught how to wave his wand by tiny Professor Flitwick in a wood-paneled classroom filmed at Harrow School in Harrow on the Hill, eight miles northwest of London (Tube: Harrow on the Hill).

In The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry careens through London's lamp-lit streets on a purple three-decker bus that dumps him at The Leaky Cauldron pub. In this film, the pub's exterior was shot on rough-looking Stoney Street at the southeast edge of Borough Street Market, by The Market Porter pub, with trains rumbling overhead (Tube: London Bridge).

In The Order of the Phoenix (2007), the Order takes to the night sky on broomsticks, zooming down the Thames and over London, passing over plenty of identifiable landmarks, including the Tower Bridge,London Eye, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. They arrive at Sirius Black's home at "Twelve Grimmauld Place," filmed at a park-like square called Lincoln's Inn Fields, near Sir John Soane's Museum (Tube: Holborn).

The Millennium Bridge is attacked by Death Eaters and collapses into the Thames in the dramatic finale to The Half-Blood Prince (2009).

For Order of the Phoenix (2007) and the first Deathly Hallows (2010), the real government offices of Whitehall serve as exteriors for the Ministry of Magic. Also for the first Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron, and Hermione fight off disguised Death Eaters in a Muggle café, filmed in the West End's bustling Piccadilly Circus. Other London scenes, like Diagon Alley, only exist at Leavesden Film Studios (20 miles north of London), where most of the films' interiors were shot. Leavesden recently opened its doors to Harry Potter pilgrims, who come to see many of the original sets and props.

Finally, cinema buffs can visit Leicester Square (Tube: Leicester Square), where Daniel Radcliffe and other stars have strolled past paparazzi and down red carpets to the Odeon Theater to attend the movies' premieres.

Near Bath

Many scenes showing the mysterious side of Hogwarts were filmed in the elaborate, fan-vaulted corridors of the Gloucester Cathedral cloisters, 50 miles north of Bath. In TheSorcerer's Stone, when Harry and Ron set out to save Hermione, they look down a long, dark Gloucester hallway and spot a 20-foot troll at the far end.

In TheSorcerer's Stone, the scene showing Harry being chosen for Gryffindor's Quidditch team was shot in the halls of the 13th-century Lacock Abbey, 13 miles east of Bath. Harry attends Professor Snape's class in one of the Abbey's peeling-plaster rooms — appropriate to Snape's temperament. (You can visit with recommended Mad Max Tours.)

Outdoor scenes from the first Deathly Hallows, in which Harry, Ron, and Hermione take refuge in the woods, were filmed in the Swinley Forest area of Windsor's Great Park.


Hogwarts, Harry's prestigious wizarding prep school, is a composite of several locations, many of them real places in Oxford.

Christ Church College inspired two film sets familiar to Potter fans. In The Sorcerer's Stone, the kids are ferried to Hogwarts and then ascend a stone staircase that leads into the Great Hall. Christ Church's high-ceilinged dininghall was a model for the one seen throughout the films (with the weightless candles and flaming braziers).

Later in The Sorcerer's Stone, Harry sneaks into the restricted book section of Hogwarts Library under a cloak of invisibility. This scene was filmed inside Oxford's Duke Humfrey's Library. Hermione reads about the Sorcerer's Stone here, too.

At the end of The Sorcerer's Stone, Harry awakens in the Hogwarts infirmary, filmed in the big-windowed Divinity School, on the ground floor of the Bodleian Library; Ron also recuperates here after being poisoned in The Half-Blood Prince. In The Goblet of Fire (2005), Mad-Eye Moody turns Draco into a ferret in the New College cloister.

Durham and Northeast England

In TheSorcerer's Stone, Harry walks with his white owl, Hedwig, through a snowy cloister courtyard located in Durham's Cathedral.

Harry first learns to fly a broomstick on the green grass of Hogwarts' school grounds, filmed inside the walls of Alnwick Castle, located 30 miles from Newcastle. In TheChamber of Secrets, this is where the Weasleys' flying car crashes into the Whomping Willow.

Southeast England

In the second Deathly Hallows (2011), the pivotal scene at Lily and James Potter's home in Godric's Hollow — when Harry becomes the "Boy Who Lived" — was shot in the medieval town of Lavenham, Suffolk, about 75 miles northeast of London.

Northwest England

Harry and Hagrid speed through Liverpool's Queensway Tunnel on Sirius Black's flying motorcycle in Deathly Hallows: Part I, as they flee a pack of eager Death Eaters.


Shell Cottage, home of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour and a hideout for other characters, appears in both Deathly Hallows movies. The cottage temporarily sat on Freshwater West beach in the southwestern region of Pembrokeshire. It's the same beach where Harry, Ron, and Hermione wash up after leaping off the back of a dragon in Part II.


Many of the movies' exterior shots — especially scenes of the Hogwarts grounds — were filmed in craggy, cloudy, mysterious Scotland (much of it in the Fort William and Glencoe areas).       

The Hogwarts Express train that carries Harry, Ron, and Hermione to school each year was filmed along an actual steam-train line that runs between Fort William and Mallaig (tourists can ride this Jacobite Steam Train — see page TK). The movies show the train chugging across the real-life Glenfinnan Viaduct, where, in TheGoblet of Fire, the Dementors stall the train and torture Harry. A train bridge opposite Loch Shiel near Fort William popped up in TheChamber of Secrets and was used again when the Dementor boarded the train in ThePrisoner of Azkaban.

Also in ThePrisoner of Azkaban, Hogwarts Lake was filmed using Loch Shiel, Loch Eilt, and Loch Morar near Fort William, and Hagrid skips stones across the water at Loch Eilt.Steal Falls, a waterfall at the base of Ben Nevis, is the locale for Harry's battle with a dragon for the Triwizard Tournament in TheGoblet of Fire.

Other scenes filmed in the Highlands include a desolate hillside with Hagrid's stone hut in Glencoe, which was the main location for outdoor filming in ThePrisoner of Azkaban. Exterior scenes for TheHalf-Blood Prince were filmed in Glencoe as well as in the small village of Glenfinnan.

Arrival in Windsor 
Follow signs from the M-4 motorway for pay-and-display parking in the center. River Street Car Park is closest to the castle, but pricey and often full. The cheaper, bigger Alexandra Car Park (near the riverside Alexandra Gardens) is farther west. To walk to the town center from the Alexandra Car Park, head east through the tour-bus parking lot toward the castle. At the souvenir shop, walk up the stairs (or take the elevator) and cross the overpass to the Windsor & Eton Central Station. Just beyond the station, you’ll find the TI in the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre. 
Yet another, even cheaper option is the King Edward VII Avenue car-park-and-ride, east of the castle on B-470, which includes a shuttle bus into town.

Steves, Rick (2013-01-08). Rick Steves' Great Britain 2013 

Parking King Edward VII

Location: King Edward VII Avenue Windsor SL4 6HX (On right hand side of King Edward VII Avenue after roundabout) Maps online link to King Edward VII Avenue



This is a Long Stay Pay & Display surface Car Park.

Classes of vehicles: All vehicles except commercial, caravans, trailers and coaches.

A Free Bus Service runs from the Car Park to the Guild Hall every 15-20 minutes from 07.00hrs to 21.00hrs, Monday to Friday. For full details of the bus times please see: Service Number M4.

There are no designated Disabled Bays but Disabled Badge holders may park for FREE if displaying a badge.

PAY BY PHONE: To Pay by Phone please see Pay by Mobile page. ZONE: 7556

Charges between 09.00hrs - Midnight, unless otherwise stated:

Daily charges between 09.00hrs - 19.00hrsWithout Advantage Card With Advantage Card
Up to 1 Hour £1.00 *
1 to 2 Hours £2.00 *
2 to 3 Hours £3.00 *
3 to 4 Hours £3.50 *
4 to 5 Hours £4.00 *
Over 5 Hours £5.00 *
Evening (19.00hrs - Midnight ) £1.50 FREE
Midnight to 09.00hrs FREE FREE
Sundays & Bank Holidays Daily Charges apply *
Season Tickets - Annual Charge incl VAT £800.00

Link to Enforcement for further information regarding penalty charges.

Car Park Security Car Parks are regularly patrolled until 21.30hrs.

Parking Alexandra Gardens

Location: Alma Road Windsor SL4 3HY Multimap directions to Alma Road (Please note that the postcode listed does not totally link with multimap for the car park)



This is a Pay & Display surface Car Park.

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I am running out of places to photograph. I seem to struggle quite hard when we have low tide at the sunset. Sometimes I only have just over an hour to get somewhere, so closer to Bristol is better I thought this could be a handy thread to share scenic locations. My favourites are: Bristol: Clifton bridge, Brandon Hill Park, Blaise castle, harbourside, Severn beach Portishead: marina and Black nore point lighthouse Clevedon: pier Weston supermare: coastline Burnham-on-Sea: lighthouse Bath: centre Wells: Cathedral Glastonbury: tor Ashton windmill 
Bristol: Arnos Vale Cemetery - fantastic, but closes at 5pm. Ashton Court Estate Snuff Mills
Bristol: College Green/Park Street, Brandon Hill, the Observatory/Suspension Bridge, Blaize Hamlet Bath: Dundas aquaduct/Kennet & Avon canal Sharpness: Docks/canal/River Severn I'm always seeing places I'd like to photograph as I drive around but never seem to have the time to go back there
Thinking of rock climbers there is also a couple of sections along the Portway (under the Clifton Suspension Bridge) where they operate, generally training sessions.
may not seem a toggers paradise (and its not) however I went to Barry Island on Monday for a family day out. Last time I went was about 15 years ago and I thought it was a HOLE, but it seems to have had a bit of investment and looks lovely. It has a nice coastline and also a marina, Anyway! As i was coming home about 7.30pm the tide had gone out and all the boats on the marina were sat on what was the seabed. Looked a GREAT photo opportunity and im contemplating going back just for this shot. But kids were kicking off big time so had to pass it up. Nice place
Gloucester Docks is great for some low light stuff, just watch out for suicidal drunk old men....
also the shipwreck on berrow beach and the beach itself in general.. shapwick heath near glastonbury... more of a bird place but can still make nice landscape... burrow mump in burrow bridge if you a bit further south.. The concrete barges are still there with the exception of one that's been refloated and is now at the waterways museum in Gloucester. None of the wood barges have been removed, but some have amost completly disapeared due to decay and the increasing ground level. There has also been a certain amount of vandalism. As for as the rail bridge is concerned all you can really see is the stone tower from the swing section. There also also apparently some debris in the channel you can see at very low tide.
This might be a bit of a spoiler, but a photographer I know has found a photo from the late '60s, she's then recreated the same shot as it is now. EDIT: I would help if I'd included the bloomin' link wouldn't it.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ll already know that Bristol is jam-packed full of brilliant places to take your cameras and camcorders out for a spin. There are some places in and around the city that I think are a cut above the rest when you’re feeling snap happy. Here’s a run-down of a few of my favourites.

Nelson Street

I blogged about the See No Evil project on Nelson Street in August and it’s this movement that has put it on my list of top photography spots in Bristol. Prior to the project Nelson Street was a pretty mundane place, but the bright, colourful and original graffiti that now lights up the buildings along this street has made it one of my favourite places in the city to take a stroll with my camera.

Arnos Vale Cemetery

If you’re looking to capture the creepier side of Bristol, Arnos Vale is for you. Opened in the early Victorian era as a garden cemetery, the graveyard is rife with listed buildings, beautiful landscaping and ethereal monuments. During the daylight hours, Arnos Vale has resplendent scenery to immortalise on film and during the darker winter afternoons you can grab some truly spooky shots.

Brandon Hill

Britain’s oldest park is stunning and there are a lot of photo opportunities to be found amongst the trees and wildlife. The vistas from the hill are particularly impressive and can be a breathtaking shot if you catch the view at dusk.

Blaise Castle Estate

The entire estate is full of photo ops, though you might need to ask nicely to get permission to shoot inside the truly awesome mansion house. The sham castle on the hill is a brilliant place to clock through a couple of shots and the old dairy house is a sight to behold.

lifton Suspension Bridge, Balloon Fiesta (coming up soon), Bristol Harbour Festival (can't remember when it starts but it finishes 1st August), Christmas Steps, Industrial Museum, Watershed, Pero's Bridge, the plaza in front of the Hippodrome, Queens Square, SS Great Britain, Bristol Zoo, St Pauls Carnival (on tomorrow), Cabot Circus, general street scenes, Clifton Downs, Banksy's graffiti.... Bit further afield - Ashton Court, Tyntesfield House (Wraxall), Portishead (Marina & Battery Point lighthouse), Clevedon Pier, Weston-super-Mare Pier, Second Severn Crossing....
Avebury, Glastonbury, and Wells make a wonderful day out from Bath. With a car, you can do all three in a day if you’re selective with your sightseeing in each town (no lingering). 
Avebury is the connoisseur’s stone circle: more subtle and welcoming.
Wells is simply a cute town, much smaller and more medieval than Bath, with a uniquely beautiful cathedral that’s best experienced at the 17: 15 evensong service (Sun at 15: 00), though the service isn’t usually held in July and August. 
Glastonbury can be covered well in three to four hours: See the abbey, climb the Tor, and ponder your hippie past (and where you are now). Just an hour from Bath, Salisbury makes a pleasant stop, particularly on a market day (Tue, Sat, and every other Wed), though its cathedral is striking anytime. 
In Wales: 
Think of the South Wales sights as a different grouping. Ideally, they fill the day you leave Bath for the Cotswolds. Anyone interested in Welsh culture can spend four hours in St. Fagans National History Museum. Castle-lovers and romantics will want to consider seeing Tintern Abbey, the Forest of Dean, and the castles of Cardiff, Caerphilly, and Chepstow
For a great day in South Wales, consider this schedule: 
9:00     Leave Bath for South Wales. 
10:30   Tour St. Fagans. 
15:00   Stop at Tintern Abbey and/ or a castle of your choice, then drive to the Cotswolds. 
18:00   Set up in your Cotswolds home base. 

Near Bath at a Glance 
▲ ▲ Glastonbury Abbey Once a leading Christian pilgrimage destination, now a lush park with some of England’s finest abbey ruins— along with the purported gravesite of Arthur and Guinevere. Hours: Daily June-Aug 9: 00-20: 00, Sept-May 9: 00-17: 00, Dec-Feb until 16: 00. See here. 
▲ Glastonbury Tor Holy hill topped with the remnants of a church tower and worth climbing for its sweeping views. Hours: Always open. See here. 
▲ ▲ Wells Cathedral England’s first wholly Gothic cathedral, with an ornate facade and heavenly evensong service (except July-Aug). Hours: Daily Easter-Sept 7: 00-19: 00, Oct-Easter 7: 00-18: 00. See here. 
▲ Bishop’s Palace Home of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, with spectacular gardens. Hours: Daily April-Oct 10: 00-18: 00, Nov-March 10: 00-16: 00, often closed on Sat for special events. See here. 
▲ ▲ Avebury Stone Circle Giant stone circle 16 times the size of Stonehenge— but with a fraction of the tourists. Hours: Always open. See here. 
▲ Ritual Procession Way Double line of stones that once served as a route for ritual processions. Hours: Always open. See here. ▲ Silbury Hill Pyramid-shaped chalk mound— and the largest man-made object from prehistoric Europe. Hours: Always open. See here. 
Stonehenge and Salisbury 
▲ ▲ Stonehenge England’s most famous stone circle, unique for its horizontally hanging stones. Hours: Daily June-Aug 9: 00-19: 00, mid-March-May and Sept-mid-Oct 9: 30-18: 00, mid-Oct-mid-March 9: 30-16: 00. See here.

By Car: Drivers can do a 133-mile loop, from Bath to Avebury (25 miles) to Stonehenge (30 miles) to Glastonbury (50 miles) to Wells (6 miles) and back to Bath (22 miles). A loop from Bath to South Wales is 100 miles, mostly on the 70-mph motorway. Each of the Welsh sights is just off the motorway.

Guide to The Cotswolds

Guide Contents

What To See

GARDENS BATSFORD ABORETUM Batsford Park, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire (01386 701441; Open daily from 9am. COTSWOLD FARM PARK Nr Guiting Power, Cheltenham (01451 850307; Home to more than 50 rare breeds and a great family destination as children can touch the animals and help feed them. Open 21 March-6 September (then weekends only until 18 October). HIDCOTE MANOR GARDEN Bartrim, nr Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. (01386 438333; One of the country's greatest 20th-century gardens and hardly a secret; but a visit is enormously worthwhile. Open 28 February-20 December. KIFTSGATE COURT GARDENS Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire (01386 438777; Exhilarating private gardens, founded by Heather Muir in the 1920s. Various opening times; see website for details. SNOWSHILL LAVENDER Hill Barn Farm, Snowshill, Broadway, Gloucestershire (01386 854821; ). Shop open 23 May-31 August, from 10am. WESTONBIRT ARBORETUM Near Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QS (01666 880220; When the Forestry Commission calls Westonbirt, which is the national arboretum, one of the most spectacular tree gardens in the world, they aren't lying. With over 3,000 trees and shrubs - many rare or endangered - from across the world on 600 acres of land, the arboretum is a fantastic place to relax, inhale some fresh air or learn more about the trees of this world. There are live music concerts often (check the arboretum's website for more information), along with workshops, walks and exhibitions. HISTORIC HOUSES BERKELEY CASTLE Berkely, Gloucestershire GL13 9BQ (01453 810332; If it is a local castle you are after, they don't come much more splendid than Berkeley, which has been inhabited by the same family for nearly 900 years. Built originally in the 12th century, Berkeley has been added to over the years and the result is an impressive Norman fortress with an enclosing wall. There are events at the castle throughout the year, allowing visits to discover it on ghost hunts or candlelit at Christmas. CHASTLETON HOUSE Nr Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxfordshire (01494 755560; Open Wednesday-Saturday, 1 April-31 October. HAILES ABBEY Near Winchcombe, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 5PB (01242 602398; An English Heritage-run ruin, Hailes Abbey was founded in 1246 and was once a celebrated pilgrimage site. The Cistercian abbey was dissolved on Christmas Eve 1539 and its sculptures, stonework and other objects are displayed in the on-site museum. If you find you have time on your hands, you ought to pay a visit to the local parish church, in which you'll find medieval wall paintings. NORTHLEACH CHURCH Mill End, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54. Officially known as St Peter and St Paul, the magnificent parish church in Northleach dates back to the 12th century although most of what can be seen there today is the result of donations from the town's wealthy wool merchants in the 15th century. Don't miss the font in the south aisle, carved by an East Anglian craftsman in the 14th century, or the 15th-century stone pulpit, one of few pre-reformation pulpits left in the county. The stained glass windows are also excellent. SEZINCOTE Nr Moretonin-Marsh, Gloucestershire (01386 700444; House open Thursdays, Fridays and Bank Holiday Mondays between May and September. Garden open same days between January and November. SNOWSHILL MANOR Snowshill (near Broadway), Gloucestershire WR12 7JU (01386 852410; Snowshill Manor is a traditional golden Cotswold manor house set in the village above the Vale of Evesham. The terraced hillside garden is arranged in a number of rooms and is strictly organic, and you will also find work by the eccentric architect and artist Charles Paget Wade there. Fun for both children and adults. STANWAY HOUSE Stanway House, Stanway, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 5PQ (01386 584469; This Jacobean manor house is very pretty indeed, and it has fantastic histories to discover. The 18th-century water garden has been restored to its former glory (it includes the highest fountain in Britain), and teas, cold drinks and ice creams are served on the grounds. The fountain plays twice a day for half an hour, weather permitting. SUDELEY CASTLE Winchcombe, Gloucestershire GL54 5JD (01242 602308; An impressive castle with a good programme of events, Sudeley is a good place for little boys and girls who are fascinated by knights and armour. The castle was once the home to Katherine Parr, the only surviving wife of Henry VIII, and many other royals, including Elizabeth I and Charles I, also stayed there. The castle was restored in the 19th century and has enough gardens to keep you busy for hours. TEWKESBURY ABBEY Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL20 (01684 850959; This former Benedictine abbey, consecrated in 1121, has the highest Norman tower in the country and is, allegedly, the second largest parish church in England, beating stiff competition from 14 cathedrals. It is a fantastic place to visit for history and architecture buffs, as it has medieval stained glass windows, sculptured tombs and chantry chapels, and was the site for a massacre following the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury. The Refectory serves meals and tea with homemade cakes. THE ROMAN VILLA AT CHEDWORTH Yanworth (near Cheltenham), Gloucestershire GL54 3LJ (01242 890256; These are the remains of the largest Roman villa in the British Isles, discovered by accident by a gamekeeper in 1864. Don't miss the fine mosaics, and look out for the Living History events that will bring the archaeology to life.

One-Day Driver’s 100-Mile C Blitz: Use a good map and reshuffle this plan to fit your home base: 
9: 00       Browse through Chipping Campden, following my self-guided walk. 
10: 30     Joyride through Snowshill, Stanway, and Stanton
12: 30     Have lunch in Stow-on-the-Wold, then follow my self-guided walk there. 
15: 00     Drive to the Slaughters, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Bibury; or, if you’re up for a hike instead of a drive, walk from Stow to the Slaughters to Bourton, then catch the bus back to Stow. 
18: 00     Have dinner at a countryside gastropub (reserve in advance by phone), then head home; or drive 30 minutes to Stratford-upon-Avon for a Shakespeare play.

Steves, Rick (2013-01-08). Rick Steves' Great Britain 2013 

Bourton-on-the-Water and the Slaughters (upper and lower) are picturesque places. 

Stow on the Wold, Bibury, Broadway Village and Tower are all worth a visit 

Broadway tower always good, I prefer Bourton on the Water to Stow, but also head up into the arboretum of Morton on the Marsh. There is a Bird of Prey Place there also. Bibury and Arlington Row are worth a view. Try getting up a bit, the Slaughters can be good, as can the view across the fields at the moment.

plus of course Blenheim Palace isnt too far away in Woodstock.

It really does depend on how far you're willing to travel from your base. In the North there is Chipping Campden / Broadway / Stow / Moreton in Marsh - all have their own delights, in the south there's Painswick / Sheepscombe / Tetbury / Cirencester and of course Bath and Cheltenham are THE jewels. (Stroud and Dursley aren't up to much). Just hope for sunshine and put an 81a or b filter on to enhance the stonework. Stow / Chipping Campden / Cirencester and Northleach have fantastic "wool churches" with their immense perpendicular square towers + there are numerous small villages and riverside pubs. Have a great break and pray for sunshine! 

You could add in Gloucester and Tewkesbury for their cathedrals, waterside locations and historic architecture. If heading Painswick way, then check out the Rocco gardens and Prinknash Abbey. Good source of info would be SoGlos

If you DON'T want to be among the hords of tourists and coaches go towards Tetbury, Minchinhampton, Stroud, Rodborough Common, Bisley, Painswick, Uley ...etc... These are lovely little towns/villages, nature reserves, hills, forests, canal ...etc... Google those places or pm me for more detail. Depends what you want to see. JNC

Photo: Daffodils near stone wall, Guiting Power, England

Photograph by David McLain

In "Waking a Sleeping Beauty," a feature story in Traveler's September 2009 special issue on road trips, writer Stephen McClarence and his wife, Clare, explore the back roads of south-central England's Cotswolds region. "If there's a choice between a minor road or an even more minor lane," McClarence writes, "we think minuscule, taking the byways, not the highways." That approach leads them to numerous idyllic villages including Guiting Power, pictured here. Photographer David McLain traced the same route through this charming region of gently rolling fields and wooded hills.

Chipping Campden and Nearby 
▲ ▲ Chipping Campden Picturesque market town with finest High Street in England, accented by a 17th-century Market Hall, wool-tycoon manors, and a characteristic Gothic church. See here. 
▲ ▲ Stanway House Grand, aristocratic home of the Earl of Wemyss, with the tallest fountain in Britain and a 14th-century tithe barn. Hours: June-Aug Tue and Thu only 14: 00-17: 00, closed Sept-May. See here. 
Stanton Classic Cotswold village with flower-filled exteriors and 15th-century church. See here. 
Snowshill Manor Eerie mansion packed to the rafters with eclectic curiosities collected over a lifetime. Hours: July-Aug Wed-Mon 11: 30-16: 30, closed Tue; April-June and Sept-Oct Wed-Sun 12: 00-17: 00, closed Mon-Tue; closed Nov-March. See here. 
▲ Hidcote Manor Garden Fragrant garden organized into color-themed “outdoor rooms” that set a trend in 20th-century garden design. Hours: May-Aug daily 10: 00-18: 00; mid-March-April and Sept Sat-Wed 10: 00-18: 00, closed Thu-Fri; Oct Sat-Wed 10: 00-17: 00, closed Thu-Fri; Nov-Dec Sat-Sun 11: 00-16: 00, closed Mon-Fri; closed Jan-mid-March. See here. 
Broad Campden, Blockley, and Bourton-on-the-Hill Trio of villages with sweeping views and quaint homes, far from the madding crowds. See here. Stow-on-the-Wold and Nearby 
▲ ▲ Stow-on-the-Wold Convenient Cotswolds home base with charming shops and pubs clustered around town square, plus popular day-hikes. See here. 
Lower and Upper Slaughter Inaptly named historic villages— home to a working waterwheel, peaceful churches, and a folksy museum. See here. 
Bourton-on-the-Water The “Venice of the Cotswolds,” touristy yet undeniably striking, with petite canals and impressive Motor Museum. See here. 
▲ Cotswold Farm Park Kid-friendly park with endangered breeds of local animals, farm demonstrations, and tractor rides. Hours: Mid-March-Oct daily 10: 30-17: 00, closed off-season. See here. 
▲ Keith Harding’s World of Mechanical Music Tiny museum brimming with self-playing musical instruments, demonstrations, and Victorian music boxes. Hours: Daily 10: 00-17: 00. See here. 
Bibury Village of antique weavers’ cottages, ideal for outdoor activities like fishing and picnicking. See here. 
Cirencester Ancient 2,000-year-old city noteworthy for its crafts center and museum, showcasing artifacts from Roman and Saxon times. See here. 
Moreton-in-Marsh and Nearby 
▲ Moreton-in-Marsh Relatively flat and functional home base with the best transportation links in the Cotswolds and a bustling Tuesday market. See here.
Chastleton House Lofty Jacobean-era home with a rich family history. Hours: April-Sept Wed-Sat 13: 00-17: 00, mid-late-March and Oct Wed-Sat 13: 00-16: 00, closed Nov-mid-March and Sun-Tue year round. See here. 
▲ ▲ ▲ Blenheim Palace Fascinating, sumptuous, still-occupied aristocratic abode— one of Britain’s best. Hours: Mid-Feb-Oct daily 10: 30-17: 30, Nov-mid-Dec Wed-Sun 10: 30-17: 30, park open but palace closed Nov-mid-Dec Mon-Tue and mid-Dec-mid-Feb. See here.

Steves, Rick (2013-01-08). Rick Steves' Great Britain 2013 
Drivers staying in Conwy who have just one day can follow this ambitious plan: 
9:30 Leave after breakfast 
10:00 Visit Bodnant Garden 
12:00 Pop into Trefriw Woolen Mills 
13:00 Lunch in Llanberis and tour the Welsh Slate Museum, then drive to Caernarfon 
16:00 Catch the 16:00 Caernarfon Castle tour (castle open until 18: 00 July-Aug) 
18:00 Browse the town of Caernarfon 
19:00 Drive back to Conwy to follow my self-guided town walk (at 19:30) and have dinner (at 20:30)

Steves, Rick (2013-01-08). Rick Steves' Great Britain 2013
I can highly recommend Ely Cathedral which is about 25mins away from Cambridge just off the A10. In fact Ely itself has its fair share of interesting and historical buildings. Obviously the various University and College campus's in Cambridge are quite grand as well. As for windmills, Norfolk is probably your best bet there, the Fens and the Broads. A useful site for Norfolk if you are ever out that way is A good site for inspiration is Keith Taylors - there's some great images there of places for you to explore for yourself

Stanborough Lakes

Park with beautiful lakes, River Lee runs next to main lake, lots of wild life birds, plants, fish, boating and people fishing.

View Stanborough Lakes


Another Place at Crosby Beach

This is a fantastic collection of 100 life sized statues place on the beach in various locations. You really need to catch the sunset at low tide to see this magical place come to life.

View Another Place at Crosby Beach




Stanborough Lakes

Park with beautiful lakes, River Lee runs next to main lake, lots of wild life birds, plants, fish, boating and people fishing.

View Stanborough Lakes


Stanborough Lakes

Park with beautiful lakes, River Lee runs next to main lake, lots of wild life birds, plants, fish, boating and people fishing.

View Stanborough Lakes


Fountain's Abbey

A World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal is a huge estate of beauty, contrasts and surprises including the largest abbey ruins in the country and one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens. The perfect place to escape from it all and enjoy a great, full day out, there’s so much to see and do at Fountains. Set your own pace to explore over 800 acres of naturally beautiful countryside, with ten historic buildings to discover spanning 800 years of history and acre after acre of open space. Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the valley of the river Skell, on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales, only 30 miles from the historic city of York and 9 miles from the A1.

View Fountain's Abbey


Conisbrough Castle

Conisbrough Castle boasts the finest Circular Norman Keep Tower in the UK. This testament to the Stone Masons of medieval England was built during the 1180s by the fifth Earl of Surrey, Hamelin Plantagenet half brother of the most powerful of the Angevin Kings of England, Henry II. Once one of the de Warenne family's northern strongholds, it is reported by 1539, that a section of wall, the gatehouse and one of the floors of the Keep had all fallen.  By the time of the English Civil War of the 1640s the castle was pronounced to be indefensible by the Parliamentary Forces of Oliver Cromwell, thereby escaping the destruction that awaited so many of England's finest castles. Since that time, little had been done to preserve the fabric of the monument until the middle of the twentieth century, when the castle was given into the care of the state.   Today Conisbrough Castle, now in the care of English Heritage, attracts over 30,000 visitors per year from all over the world, each one takes home a lasting impression of one of the finest buildings of Medieval England.

View Conisbrough Castle

London: Recommended Reading and Viewing

Books: Nonfiction

A History of London (Inwood), topping out at a thousand pages, covers two thousand years. London (Ackroyd) takes the form of a biography rather than a conventional history. Elizabeth's London (Picard) re-creates 16th-century life in the era of England's first great queen.

Originally published in The New Yorker magazine, Letters from London (Barnes) captures life in the city in the early 1990s. The book 84, Charing Cross Road is a collection of letters between a stiff-upper-lip London bookseller and a witty writer, Helene Hanff, in the post-WWII years. (Also worth reading is the sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.) While not specific to London, Notes from a Small Island is chock-full of Bill Bryson's witty observations about Great Britain.

Books: Fiction

Describing the classics of British literature is a book in itself. But some favorites that feature London include Pygmalion (Shaw), the story of a young Cockney girl groomed for high society; Persuasion, a beloved Jane Austen book partially set in Bath; andCharles Dickens' tale of a workhouse urchin, Oliver Twist.

Dating from the turn of the century, P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves series, with a problem-solving valet as the lead character, have endured. A Study in Scarlet (Doyle) introduced the world to detective Sherlock Holmes.

Edward Rutherfurd's London, which begins in ancient times and continues through to the 20th century, is as big and sprawling as its namesake. The Jupiter Myth (Davis) takes place in the days when the city was called Londinium. In The Great Stink (Clark), the sewer system is also a metaphor for the blight that plagued the city.

Lucia in London (Benson) sends the protagonist of this 1920s series to the big city. Helen Fielding created another well-loved heroine in her Bridget Jones books, which began in the late 1990s as a newspaper column (and inspired two fun films). Confessions of a Shopaholic (Kinsella) continues the Bridget Jones formula. Nick Hornby explores a young male perspective of life and love in Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, and About a Boy.

London's movers and shakers commit bad deeds in the detective story, In the Presence of the Enemy (George). Murder in Mayfair (Barnard) is based on a true crime from the 1980s. Rumpole of the Bailey, created by Sir John Mortimer, is a popular detective series, spawning both books and television shows.

Ian McEwan's highly praised post-9/11 novel Saturday takes place over the course of a day all over the sprawling city. Many recent works feature the city's thriving immigrant communities, including The Buddha of Suburbia (Kureishi), White Teeth (Smith), and Brick Lane (Ali; also a 2007 film).


For a taste of Tudor-era London, try Shakespeare in Love (1999), which is set in the original Globe Theatre. In A Man for All Seasons (1966), Sir Thomas More faces down Henry VIII. For equally good portraits of Elizabeth I, try Elizabeth (1998), its sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and Elizabeth I (2005, a BBC/HBO miniseries).

Written and set in the early 19th century, the works of Jane Austen have fared well in film. Persuasion (1995) was partially filmed in Bath.

Equally genteel was the Edwardian era of the early 20th century. Howard's End (1992) captures the stifling societal pressure underneath the gracious manners. In The Elephant Man (1980), the cruelty of Victorian London is vivid, starkly portrayed in a black-and-white film.

Wartime London was captured in many fine movies, including Waterloo Bridge (1940), a story of lost love between a woman and a WWI officer. In Passport to Pimlico (1949), an explosion in a Tube station is the source of riches and comedy in a time of post-WWII rationing.

In the 1960s, two blockbuster Hollywood musicals were set in London: Mary Poppins (1964) and My Fair Lady (1964). British acts were all the rage in the States, thanks to a little band called the Beatles, whose A Hard Day's Night (1964) is filled with wit and charm.

During this time, "swinging London" also exploded on the international scene, with films like Blowup (1966) and Georgy Girl (1966). (For a swinging spoof of this time, try the Austin Powers comedies.) In To Sir, with Love (1967), Sidney Poitier brings order to his undisciplined students.

For more recent films, watch Hugh Grant charming the ladies in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and Notting Hill (1999); Gwyneth Paltrow living two lives in Sliding Doors (1998); and A Fish Called Wanda (1988), in which John Cleese is embroiled in love, revenge, and exotic fish.

For something completely different from the typical Hollywood fare, see My Beautiful Laundrette (1986), a gritty story of two gay men (one of whom is played by Daniel Day-Lewis). For another portrayal of urban London — and the racial tensions found in its multi-ethnic center — look for Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987). Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) is a violent crime caper set in the city.

In the last decade, Billy Elliot (2000), about a young boy ballet dancer, and Bend It Like Beckham (2003), about a young Punjabi soccer player, were both huge crowd-pleasers. In The Queen (2006), Helen Mirren expertly channels Elizabeth II during the days after Princess Diana's death.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) combines comedy and horror, when the city's residents turn into zombies. The same team more recently merged cop/action films and comedy in Hot Fuzz (2007). V for Vendetta (2006), based on a British graphic novel, shows a sci-fi future of a London ruled with an iron fist. Sweeney Todd (2007) captures the gritty Victorian milieu.

If you're traveling to London or Great Britain with children, consider watching A Little Princess (1995), Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, any of the Wallace & Gromit movies, Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean television series and movies, and the Harry Potter films.

The best places to take photos in London!

Are you traveling over to London soon and looking for some cool spots to take some great photos?  Maybe you just want to see some cool sights?  Perhaps you want to see a couple of spots that are off the beaten path?  Well, read on and let me show you what I have learned in my travels to this wonderful city!

I travel to London sometimes on business, and always make sure to bring along my trusty Nikon and my tripod, because this town offers some incredible spots for photographers of all skill levels.  Are you interested in historic architecture?  Do you love bridges?  What about Big Ben?  There is so much to see and do there, and I can never get to all of it, but I wanted to share some of my favorite spots that I have come across thus far.

I also have to give some credit to two of my friends who are photographers, and also based in London.  I met up with them on a photo walk there earlier this year, and although we hit some big, well-known spots, they also showed me a couple of cool spots that I would never have found on my own.  So, take a minute and head over to their sites and check out their work - you will not regret it!

Mike Murphy:

John Esslinger:

Also, if you want to see all my blog posts about London, you can do so by going here:

Ok, so here it goes, in no particular order:

1) Big Ben, Parliament

Ok, so if you are like me, you are thinking about Chevy Chase right now.  That's ok, I'm sure there's a support group somewhere for us.  Anyways, to stay on topic...Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are beautiful iconic structures that to many folks represent London.  Photos of these places are recognized worldwide, and for good reason - this place is awesome!  I love when I get off the tube, come up the stairs, and BAM! there's Big Ben staring at me.  Such a cool place.  As far as photographing it goes, I recommend you cross over the River Thames and head off to the right.  There are some great views from that spot. In fact, here is a shot from there...

And here it is while walking towards it from the tube station...

2) The Tower Bridge

I love this bridge.  I mean, I actually love all bridges (one of my photographic addictions) but this one is just so cool, I love it even more!  I spent a few hours there on my last visit, and took all sorts of shots of this wonderful structure.  I recommend you line up on the south side of the River Thames, and over by their City Hall (another great building to shoot).  There is a wide pedestrian walkway there, and I am sure you will meet a lot of other photographers standing there, waiting for just the right light.  I know I did.  Anyways, be sure and get some shots of this iconic structure (I think I will be saying that a lot in this post!).

3) Red phone booths!

I know this is not a location per se, but man you just gotta get at least one shot of these awesome red phone booths!  With cell phones being so common these days, I doubt these get any use (assuming they even work) and it would not surprise me if they disappear one day, so hurry up and get the shot!  You can find several just a short walk from Big Ben and near Westminster Abbey (and probably some other places in London too!).

4) Buckingham Palace

I have to admit, I only spent a short amount of time at this beautiful palace, looking thru the gate at the Palace Guards, before I had to run on to my next destination.  So, I do have some shots but on my next visit I plan to do this a bit more justice!  It is a majestic place (you know, the Queen stays there and all that) and is pretty darn large in person!  Be prepared for crowds!

5) The London Eye

Or as they might say in dang big ferris wheel!  Honestly, this thing is massive.  I walked under it and just gawked like a tourist (well, ok I am one at times) but it is worth a close inspection!  I did not ride on it, though I hear it is fun (albeit pricey).  It resides on the edge of the River Thames, and is literally a stone's throw from Big Ben (although on the opposite side of the River).  So, you can do lots of touristy stuff without walking all over town!

6) The British Museum

I love going to museums and admiring all the art.  As a photographer, it gives me a lot of inspiration.  I had heard about this place, and wanted to visit, so I squeezed in a quick stop there last time I was in London.  I got to see some incredible art, and of course I took a few pictures.  I highly recommend that as soon as you enter, you head for the stairs off to the side, and you will come to a little window of sorts that looks down into the wonderfully large court that you see here.  It's a great view and worth a little exercise!

7) Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel

Ok, this one counts as "off the beaten path".  It's this crazy tunnel completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) covered in graffiti.  When I was photo-walking with Mike Murphy and John Esslinger, they mentioned this as an interesting place to go grab some shots.  I loved it!  This many not appeal to your inner photographer, but I really enjoy taking shots of graffiti as well as cool signs, so this was like being in hog heaven!  It is a short walk from the London Eye - maybe 5 minutes.  Just Google it and you're all set!  I took many pictures here that night, so check the blog for new ones coming soon!

8) Street signs

Ok, so much like the red phone booths, street signs hardly count as a place.  But as I mentioned above, I love signs and I think they really give you a feel for a place.  So, don't forget to snap shots of cool signs you see - it really helps you remember things too!

9) St. Paul's Cathedral

Talk about an awesome Cathedral - St. Paul's is a beauty!  Though I am not a frequent church visitor at home, I sure do visit a lot of them while on the road!  (of course, I bring my camera haha)  Here's another tip, this one from Mike Murphy - go to a shopping center called One New Change - it's about a block or so away from St. Paul's Cathedral.  Take the elevator to the roof, and voila!  You now have a great view of St. Paul's and pretty much the rest of London too!  But note that the security folks there are not always too keen on you breaking out the camera there, so either do it in stealth mode, or make something up.  :)  Here's a shot from the ground, as I was approaching St. Paul's en route to meeting Mike up on the roof of One New Change.

10) The Millenium Bridge

Yes, I have a thing for bridges, so you might get an extra dose of that when you visit my blog here, but hey they make great subjects!  The Millenium Bridge is a pedestrian-only bridge and it crosses the River Thames sort of half-way between the Tower Bridge and the Westminster Bridge (down by Big Ben).  As you can see from the photos below, it also gives you a direct shot at St. Paul's Cathedral, so it makes it easy to hit all these great spots when you visit!

11) The Shard

Isn't this an awesome building?  I know, it's not finished, but when it is I suspect it will be pretty awesome looking!  I believe I read somewhere that it will be the tallest building in London when completed, so next time I am there I hope to get a shot of it all done!

12) Paddington Station

I love train stations, and always find cool stuff to shoot in them, beyond just the trains.  Usually I find the architecture is pretty sweet.  Though most of my time in and around London takes me through Waterloo Station, when I am heading home I depart the city from Paddington Station because that one has the direct train out to Heathrow Airport.  Early one morning, I was about to board the train to Heathrow, and just had to take this shot!  It's awesome looking right?

13) Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a huge Gothic church right in the middle of London. You can't miss it really - it's basically next door to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and we both know you are visiting those places right?  I am a huge fan of churches and cathedrals as they always have such rich architectural details (this one is Gothic, which always rocks in my opinion) so be sure and have the camera ready!

14) English Pubs

I think in some respects London is known for its English pubs as much as anything else.  You can find them on all sorts of street corners.  I don't know what it is about them, but they are just so...British.  Plus, they have cool names!

15) The London Skyline

I love skyline shots, and I think that the skyline of London is beautiful.  I took this shot from the Tower Bridge, and recommend that you do the same when you are there (see #2 above).  There are plenty of good spots to stand (and set up a tripod) and either side of the river offers a great view (this happens to be looking to the North side).

16) Leadenhall Market

This place is incredible.  You're going to swear you stepped into Diagon Alley in a Harry Potter book.  It's awesome.  Go there now.  You can thank me later.

17) The Natural History Museum

This place reminds me so much of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books.  The architecture is incredible, you really do need to make time to see this place!

Well, that concludes this rather lengthy list!  I do appreciate you taking a few moments to read through this!  London is a great town, and there are many, many more sights to see and photograph, that just didn't make this list yet (for example, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus).  This list is just the top ones that I have encountered while wandering around there with my camera.  I hope that it proves helpful for you and thanks again for stopping by!

If you want to add some additional spots, please feel free to add them in the comments section!

The not so obvious: Top of Primrose Hill for the view Walk around Soho at night. Street Markets Greenwich Battersea Park Hampstead Heath Highgate Hoxton & Shoreditch for street life The limits of "the city" - lots of old meets new around the fringes Bank & Monument Hungerford Bridge (from Charing Cross Station over to the National Theatre) The Obvious: London Eye - done to death but find your own twist. Tower Bridge Docklands Trafalger Squ Whitehall (take your rights card!) Batersea Power Station St Pauls Tate Modern (along with the Milenium Bridge) The South Bank - concrete, Corbuzier, skaters, buskers, bikers