Have you ever been somewhere, that just “feels like home”, but isn’t actually your home? In fact it’s not even on the same continent that you were born onto. It’s a strange feeling I can tell you that. A place that feels familiar even though you’ve never stepped foot anywhere near it. I had that same strange feeling while visiting my friends in England. It was as if I had been there before, like I was coming home.
Sure it was an adjustment riding on the wrong side of the road, but everything else just seemed familiar. When my friend James picked us ( Julie and I) up from the airport we were exhausted. We had spent a little over a week in Northern Ireland and Ireland. We had many adventures while there and were sad to leave, but we were excited about this next adventure. On the way from London to Bicester (where my friend is from) we ran into a good bit of traffic. By the time we got to our hotel it was pretty late so, we spent the evening in with a burger.
The next morning we were up early and off to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire. Before we drove through the park we stopped to see Lemurs and Giraffes and many other animals. After driving through the park we took a stroll around the rest of the animal attractions and toured the Longleat House. It was magnificent! We also strolled through the gardens and grabbed a snack afterwards for our journey to the next stop of the day.
We left our itinerary up to James and just went along with it. I dozed off on the way to our next destination, Bath in Somerset. I had always dreamt of visiting bath after reading Jane Austen’s novels and learning she lived there for a time. We toured the Roman baths and just strolled around the city a bit before heading back “home” to Bicester. We had a busy day and needed our rest for the following few days.
The next day we were off to Oxford, which isn’t very far from Bicester. I must admit I LOVED oxford. I think I liked it even more than London. Oxford is definitely a city I can see myself spending days getting lost in. We made our own walking tour of Harry Potter filming locations and later were joined by some of James’ family for a tour of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. We spent a few hours wandering through the exhibits and marveling at all the museum had to offer. The best part was it was FREE! So, our entire time in the city of Oxford was free with the exception of parking, two filming locations, and drinks. I can’t wait to go back to Oxford and share my love for it with the little ginger.
After spending most of the day in Oxford we headed back towards London. We were on a mission to have a full Harry Potter day! I honestly think this was the best day we spent in England. It was my favorite at least. We arrived at the Harry Potter Studio Tour with enough time to spare to pick up our tickets and hop in line for the next opening. I really don’t think I was prepared for how amazing it would be. Walking into the Great Hall was like walking into the Wizarding World. The tables were set and mannequins lined the top of the room wearing the actual costumes some of the actors wore. I’m not going to go into too much detail on the tour on this post because I would be here forever. So keep an eye out for a post dedicated solely to it.
It was getting pretty late after our tour. I think we spent three hours going through it, but I think I could probably spend more time than that. Once we purchased our souvenirs we made our way back “home” to rest for our last full day in England. Each day it became harder and harder to get out of bed so early. We were starting to become wore out. I think by this point we had walked a thousand miles. At least it felt that way.
The following morning we weren’t up as early but we ran into an issue trying to get to London. We were going to take the train so we walked to the station from our hotel. The lady taking our money for our tickets stepped out of her booth for a minute and ended up making us miss our train. After waiting for what seemed like an hour she came back and we got our money back. Decided to just drive to the outskirt of London and hop on the train from there. We arrived on Baker Street which was SUPER exciting for me since I am such a massive Sherlock fan. Once we had a look at Baker Street we jumped on one of the hop on hop off buses and took a tour of the city.
Eventually we tired of riding around on the bus and started walking. We found Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Park. Unfortunately the palace was closed that day for tours. Still it was exciting to see where the Queen lives! After that we wandered around a bit and found a nice little free art gallery to have a look around in. Then it was off to the National Gallery (another free attraction), where I got to see Vincent Van Gogh’s ACTUAL works of art. I wanted to cry when I finally laid eyes on them. Also Monet is housed there as well. By the time we made it to the London Eye it was early evening. It took us a while to figure out where to buy the tickets but, we found it eventually. I do believe that was the most expensive attraction we did. I know it was the only one that I paid for that day. The views from the eye were totally worth the price though.
Once we had our fill of London we headed back to Bicester and Julie and I began our packing. The next morning we spent at James’ house with his family and washed our clothes for our journey home. Once we had our clothes done we packed up and James drove us to the airport. It was a quiet drive and I was very sad to leave. I would miss my friend very much. It was a hard goodbye for me but reluctantly I joined the line to check in for our flight. We were off to Dublin for a day and a half before we were really headed home. I said a tearful goodbye in my heart to England. I wasn’t sure when I would be back again but I knew I WOULD be back.