11. Rick Steves England
I learned so much! I wish I had read it before I purchased my ticket to the Shakespeare places in Stratford-Upon-Avon because if you take a walking tour, you get a discount on the tickets! Oh well! I am not absolutely sure we will take the tour though, but it is an award winning one!
He covered in detail most of the places we are going (not all) so it was very helpful.
Our general itinerary is as follows:
London - 4 1/2 days, and we are hitting almost all of his three and two triangle places: Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, British Library, British Museum, Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Victoria and Albert, Tate Modern (and maybe the Tate Britain), Courtauld Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Changing of the Guard, The London Eye, Shakespeare's Globe, Harrods, Selfridge's, Trafalgar, Soho, and Covent Garden. And we are going to sit in the McDonald's that once was 84 Charing Cross Road and imagine Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.
Then it is off to
Oxford - 1/2 day to do a self-guided C.S. Lewis walking tour going inside Magdalen College and eating at the Lamb and Flag where the Inklings gathered. We also hope to stop by Blenheim Palace on the way to . . .
Chipping Campden - 3 nights
Stratford Upon Avon - Day trip from Chipping Campden seeing all those fabulous places of the Bard!
Cotswolds - We rented bikes for a full day of cycling through cute Cotswold villages.
Worchester Cathedral - I have a picture in an exhibition here and the main reason we are doing this trip sooner rather than later.
Avebury - Spend one night in a vegetarian bed and breakfast in the middle of the ancient stones. We hope to get up at sunrise and snap lots of pictures! On the way to Avebury we will drive through other Cotswolds places we could not reach by bike and maybe even stop to go water skiing outside of Cirencester.
Bath - 1/2 day to see the Roman Baths and walk by the Royal Crescent and the Circus. I have a Jane Austen walking tour that I can stream on my iPhone too.
Stonehenge - We have inner circle access to the stones at sunset. There were only nine spots left out of thirty when I checked four months in advance and before they had even posted it on their website! SCORE!
Highclere Castle - 1 night at the Carnarvon Arms and afternoon access to the castle the next day. We will spend the morning hiking up to Beacon Hill to have views of the castle from a high point. There are many hikes on the property that opens at 10:30 in the morning.
Alton/Chawton - We spend two nights at St Marys Hall, a former Catholic Church converted to a bed and breakfast. It is close to the Jane Austen Museum (the home she lived in after her father died). We will tour that the next day at opening and then travel to Beachy Head to see the chalk white cliff and may come back to go to Pooh Sticks Bridge and other 100 Acre Woods places in the Ashdown Forest (it is not that far out of the way on our return).
Heathrow/Windsor - The last night we will be near the airport, check into our hotel and have that afternoon or the next morning to go to Windsor or go back into London for anything we might have missed.
It is going to be fun, and Rick Steves helped me plan the fun!