My husband’s family lived in England before moving to Australia. After they moved to Australia, he was born and lived there until ten years old. His grandmother and some cousins still lived in London. Before migrating to the United States, his family went back to London and lived with his grandmother for two years.
As we continued our travel journey, we wanted to go to Europe with London being part of the itinerary. We bought the land tour package and purchased separate air tickets because we wanted a flexible flight schedule.
My childhood friend Shirley lives in London. We arrived five days before the travel tour. Shirley and her husband took us to the cities outside London. We went to Stonehenge, Longleat, and Bath.
During my husband’s eleven and twelve-years-old in London, there was no fence around Stonehenge. He remembered going around and under the stones. Due to tourism and preservation of the historical site, there was a fence with signs prohibited tourists to get close to the stones.
Longleat is in Wiltshire, Somerset, 97 miles west of London. It is the first stately home open to the public. The Longleat estate includes the first safari park outside Africa.
Bath is famous for its Roman-built baths. While in Bath, we visited Jane Austen Centre. I am a Jane Austen fan, so the visit was a treat. Our visit was after the BBC Masterpiece Theatre broadcast the show Pride and Prejudice. The handsome actor’s portrait was on canvas painting, stationeries, CDs and other souvenir items.
My husband’s cousin picked up us from the hotel, took us to visit the house where his grandmother lived. We also visited the school he attended. There were two entrances to the school courtyard, with one marked Boys and the other one marked Girls. He bought some candy from his favorite store.
Another cousin lived by a river next to his backyard. He would take us on a boat, but there was a pouring rain. We had a barbeque and a good visit, catching up with the latest news.
When the tour started, the coach took us to go around Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, and Westminster Abbey. Some members wished to visit these sites on their own, the coach took them back to the hotel. The others who paid additional for the excursions went with the guide for the guided tours. We were on the guided tours.