When deciding where to visit in England, we knew we needed to spend a few days where my daughter lives, so that we could have an understanding of what it was like when we talked on the phone. Andover is about an hour out of London and while not a tourist destination itself, there is plenty to see and do both locally and not far away. By Australian standards, nothing is very far in England but even by English standards, plenty is close.
England Tour – Andover
We traveled to Andover by National Express coach which is a very inexpensive way to travel across England. The trains can be quite expensive, so for us, this was the best option price wise, that also allowed us to see some of the country side along the way. We were really excited to reach Andover, if for nothing else than a shower, after there not being a shower at our Chelsea accommodation, we were also very tired after some huge days in London and ready for a days rest.
There were several key places we wished to see while on our 5 day stint in Andover, where Miss R spent her time with the children each week, Downtown Abbey and Stonehenge.
Stonehenge was more amazing than I could have thought. I was blown away by what it felt like to be standing on such sacred ground. Despite the many tourists, it was easy to find some space to just sit and contemplate. An irreplaceable experience. There is so much more to Stonehenge than the stones themselves, the history in this area is amazing.
Next up on our list of places to see, was Stourhead. This is one of the first places Miss R sent photos from, and it not only didn’t disappoint, its beauty made me cry. I found myself overwhelmed by the beauty and history of England on a few occasions on our visit, this spot left me breathless. A gorgeous old home, surrounded by hundreds of acres of manicured grounds with hidden grottoes, Foley’s and Summer Houses, just WOW!
The home on these grounds is still occupied by one of the descendants of the original owners, who so generously offer their home to visitors.
This was them most peaceful of all the Churches we visited in England. I loved sitting here for a few moments.
This folly captivated us all. It had the most stunning outlook over the lake, back to the Church above.
This grotto simply defied common sense. The running water inside, was constructed some 300 years ago. Built out of rocks and shells into the side of the hill, it was a delight for us all. There were statues of both Aphrodite and Neptune deep in the grotto.
Stourhead is truly magical place and I wish we had more time to spend there.
Next up was a visit to my real home, Highclere Castle or better known to us all as Downtown Abbey. Most unfortunately internal photography is banned at Highclere, but it is exactly as you see on the show. This is also a well loved and lived in home, however we were generously given access to the ground floor and first floor. The art work here alone, is worth the visit.
Summer houses are such a thing in Country side England, I have asked The Builder if we can have one at our next home 🙂
Andover saw our first Sunday roast lunch, my goodness there was a lot of food! This was my roast chicken of which I could only eat half. The Sunday pub lunch is a wonderful tradition shared in England, it was wonderful to see so many families out enjoying each others company in the warmth of the pub.
My daughter lives with her host family in Army housing. We were ever so fortunate to stay at her home for 5 days. It is a very comfortable home with plenty of space for us all, such a buzz to finally see where she lives. While it was quite cold by the time we got here, and it rained for most of the days, this home provided us much needed comfort and rest.
There is so much more we did while we were staying in Andover, that I will spread it out to another post. Next week we will explore, Bath, Brighton, Hinton Ampner and Winchester before moving on the following week to the Cotswalds.
Have you been to the UK? Visited Stonehenge? What would you take along for a picnic lunch?