Friday, June 20, 2008

Visiting Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle might be the most expensive castle in Great Britain to visit, but I highly recommend visiting it! If you are traveling in England and don't want to deal with the hassle of the traffic and parking, take a bus tour or a train. The train station is very conveniently located within a couple of blocks of the castle. It is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. The art collection, antiques and historical artifacts are magnificent!

The Crooked House of Windsor

Continuing our journey toward London Gatwick on June 10, we stopped in Windsor, one of my favorite places in England to visit. I took AJ and GJ to The Crooked House of Windsor for lunch and our last cream tea of this trip. GJ and AJ were impressed by the little crooked building located next door to the Windsor Guild Hall on High Street where Prince Charles and Camilla were married a few years ago. While we enjoyed lunch, I reminisced about my last visit to The Crooked House with Nancy, Phyllis, Lori and Sandy while participating with the Tea in London Tour in March, 2007.

Visiting Stonehenge

A trip to England would not be complete without a visit to Stonehenge, the #1 tourist attraction in the country! We stopped on our our last full day in England as we drove from Devon toward the London Gatwick area.

Pengenna Pasties and Scones with Cornish Clotted Cream

Everyone told me to wait until I got to Cornwall to eat a real Cornish pasty. And since the Cornish Clotted Cream is legendary, I was geared up for that, too!
We found Pengenna Pasties and Tea Room in Tintagel. Pengenna is well-known in Cornwall for their home-made pasties and their scones using "original family recipes." A pasty is described as a "hearty meal wrapped in a delicious pastry." I ordered the Traditional Pasty (beef, potato, swede and onion.) It was too hearty for me, so I only ate about half of it. Next came an order of their famous scones and "real" Cornish Clotted Cream. Yum! After our walk to the castle ruins, we picked up a few pastries and scones to go at the Pengenna Bakery and to take back to the B&B for a light picnic supper later that evening.
Note: My fellow tea-loving, scone-making Blog friends can just imagine how much I enjoyed stepping into the bakery to watch this scone-making process!! Woo-Hoo!

The North Coast of Cornwall

We didn't have as much time to spend in Cornwall as we would have liked. I wanted to see the coast so we drove across the Bodmin Moor to Bodmin and turned toward the picturesque north coastal villages of Tintagel, Bocastle and the town of Bude on the Atlantic Ocean.
The ruins of the legendary King Arthur's castle and a cave, rumoured to be that of Merlin the magician, are located a short walk from the center of Tintagel. I won't debate the King Arthur legend, but I will say the views of the coast around the castle ruins were spectacular!

Exploring Dartmoor

We visited the Miniature Pony Center near North Bovey and Castle Drogo near Drewsteignton.

Dartmoor National Park

We explored the mystical, magical Dartmoor National Park from one end to the other where the sheep and horses roam freely often refusing to give up the road for the traffic!
Note: The "clapper" bridge was built in the 13th century.

Woodleigh Coach House in Devon

The Woodleigh Coach House near the village of Cheriton Bishop on the edge of Dartmoor was our home for the next 3 nights. I chose this B&B because it advertised being "family-friendly." We had a spacious triple bedroom, on the top floor, with a small sitting room just outside our door. Michelle Vardy, the owner, lives here with her family and together they operate the B&B and Cafe. This building, at one time, was the coach house for the very large house next door. This was a good base for us to explore a little of Devon and Cornwall, especially the dramatic scenery of Dartmoor National Park.

The Bridge Tea Room

Next on our itinerary was a stop for lunch at The Bridge Tea Room in Bradford-on-Avon just 8 miles from Bath. I have wanted to visit this tea room since reading about it in Bruce Richardson's The Great Tearooms of Britain.
The Bridge Tea Room is located in a 300 year old stone building just across from the town bridge in this quaint town with narrow streets. This cozy tea room is decorated with Victorian memorabilia and the servers are dressed in Victorian costume of white frilly aprons over long black dresses complete with little white frilly caps!
We continued our journey toward Devon and were rewarded with a view of a white horse cut into the hillside near Westbury, known as the Westbury Horse. What a delightful surprise!

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