Just a short half hour train ride from Blackfriars Station and you’re in the oldest city in Britain. Roman ruins abound in this charming city, and Ye Olde Cock Fighting Club bills itself as Britain’s oldest pub. The half-Norman, half-gothic cathedral, shown here, is a sight to behold. You’ll need the whole day to see St. Albans’ attractions but you can be back in London in time for tea.
Jane Austen lived here. In fact, she died here and is interred in beautiful Winchester Cathedral (pictured here from the quire). Fifty minutes southwest of London from Waterloo Station, Winchester, England’s first capital city, contains “artifacts” from King Arthur and his round table, boasts a charming and bustling market area, and has one of Britain’s most beautiful cathedrals. It’s a full day to take in the town, the cathedral and the walks around the ruins. Don’t miss Jane’s final home, just steps from the cathedral.
What can you say about Oxford? It’s synonymous with nurturing brilliant minds such as Hawking, Louis, Tolkien, Carroll, Wesley, and on and on and on. Christ Church (pictured here) was founded by Henry VIII and is the inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Great Hall scenes. It’s only an hour on the Oxford Tube (which is a bus), leaving from Grosvenor Gardens but one day might not do it for you. We urge several days to take it the colleges, museums, libraries and immerse yourself in this bastion of higher learning and culture.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
The gardens alone (shown here) are worth the trip, but the Duke of Marlborough’s home is thrown in for a bonus. Beyond Oxford by about a half hour from the busses leaving Oxford train station, you can stroll the immense and well manicured grounds of the palace and learn the history of the Churchill family. Apparently one of the children born here became famous for something. On a beautiful day favour the grounds for an unforgettable stroll through magnificent gardens.
We’re stretching it here with day trips; actually we’d advise this as a day trip from Oxford, being only a 45-50 minute ride further north into Warwickshire. It’s famous for being the home of William Shakespeare and it initially feels a bit touristy. But immerse yourself in the town, surround yourself with genuine Tudor buildings, floors sloping with age, stroll along the Avon’s charming river walks, and you can forget you’re in a tourist town. There’s a walk outside the centre to Anne Hathaway’s home (shown here), but it’s a lovely walk and a delightful thatched roofed building that makes it worth your while.