It was the week before spring break, and as I looked at my depressingly uneventful week ahead, I decided to be spontaneous and do something about it. Having a friend in England who was happy to have me stay, I hopped on Expedia, started looking for flights and booked it!
I was headed to London in 5 days.
I flew into London-Gatwick airport, hopped on a train headed towards Victoria Station, met up with David and we headed out into the streets of London. Over the span of two days, we got to ride the London Eye, explore Westminster Abbey, take a stroll past Buckingham Palace, shop around in Harrods and listen to the chiming of Big Ben. I found so much beauty in the preservation of tradition and history combined with the innovation of the present. It was such a beautiful balance of old and new that I had never seen before. After taking in as much of London as we could, we hopped on a train to Birmingham, his hometown and our home base for the rest of the trip.
Staying with a local makes for an incredible experience because you can see the parts of the country that you otherwise wouldn’t. The tourist attractions are great, sure. But on this trip, I got to see the REAL England.
We planned out a series of day trips where we would get to explore beautiful central England.
Our first adventure was to the town of Warwick, where we toured Warwick Castle, a breathtaking fortification whose construction began in the year 1068. We got to walk all around the grounds, up to the towers, down to the dungeon and inside the castle all while learning about its history and it was AWESOME.
Next, we journeyed to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the beloved Shakespeare, where we strolled past his house, visited his tomb, and touched the very font he was baptized in in the year 1564. This town was filled with shops, adorable restaurants, and so much history. The old buildings added character with their warped wood, thatched rooves, and thick wooden doors. The feeling I had while walking around such a historic place was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and I definitely would recommend visiting!
Our final adventure was to Malvern, England where we hiked up to the Beacon – a beautiful and scenic walk that ended at the top of a massive hill with an unbelievable view. All the way up we could hear the church bells ringing from the Great Malvern Priory and it was like a dream. It was a tough walk up and it was a pretty steep incline, but the view at the end was DEFINITELY worth it. It was the perfect way to end my trip.
I can honestly say that I left my heart in England, or maybe I left a bit of my heart in all of the places we went together. It was such a special experience and I am SO glad I made this spontaneous decision to go.
Life is too short to have a boring spring break!