Stratford-upon-Avon

The birthplace of Shakespeare

So, this week’s blog posts are all about England, since I cannot wait to be back in the land of the Spice Girls, Harrod’s, Harry Potter, Kate Middleton, and, of course, my Englishman! We visited the picturesque town of Stratford-upon-Avon after Christmas (hence the decorations in some pictures); I absolutely loved it!

Apart from the town’s obvious claim to fame, there are plenty of things to see. Stratford is small, walkable, and full of sights and monuments to discover, some of which include the pub that has been serving ale since 1594 (!!!), a fabulous Peter Rabbit store, and the Royal Shakespeare Company Theater. The theater’s nearby river area looks like a scene in a J.M.W. Turner painting. Being there is a surreal experience, almost as if you were transported back to Olde England. Surrounded by English people and their gorgeous accents with a pint in hand, overlooking the river, and with the best company a girl could ask for, my experience in Stratford was exceptional, to say the least.

Location

Located in Warwickshire county, Stratford-upon-Avon is on the River Avon, 22 miles southeast of Birmingham and 8 miles southwest of Warwick.

How to get here

The train from London to Stratford takes about two hours from either London Marleybone or Euston stations. You can find more details on the UK National Rail website. If you’re planning a trip to the Midlands, make sure to check out Blenheim Palace, the Cotswolds and Warwick Castle, all of which are in the surrounding counties of Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire. For more information on Stratford, visit the official city tourist guide.

Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre

The Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre has a fabulous Spring and Summer 2013 season that includes: Hamlet, The Icebook, The Winter’s TaleThe EmpressAs You Like It, A World My Masters, Titus Andronicus, All’s Well That Ends Well, Candide, and Antony and Cleopatra. After the show, head over to the Dirty Duck pub, grab a pint, and mingle with the actors.

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Blenheim Palace: An English Paradise

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting beautiful England.  I fall more in love with this incredible country every time I go. Though, it is impossible not to feel this way, especially if you get a chance to visit to the magnificent Blenheim Palace.

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Blenheim Palace

My handsome Englishman had the brilliant idea of taking a drive over to the palace, and I could not have been happier!  I am a huge Downton Abbey fan, so visiting a palace like my beloved Downton was a dream come true! To be honest, Blenheim Palace is even more beautiful than Highclere Castle, I think…and that’s saying a lot. I will have to visit Highclere this spring in order to confirm, though.

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Blenheim grounds

It was a crisp, gorgeous day; we got so lucky with the weather! The lawns were a bright green that I am convinced can be found only in England.  Walking around the palace and the grounds made me feel like I was in a movie or a dream. It turns out that the house is actually where Sir Winston Churchill was born and where he spent a good part of his life growing up.  There was a fascinating Churchill Exhibition, which I really enjoyed. For those interested in English history, Sir Winston Churchill, and/or World War II, this is definitely a place to visit.

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Queen Pool and Lake

The palace grounds are also the location of the Blenheim Triathlon, which takes place this coming year on June 9 – 10, 2013.  The park and grounds are open year-round for visitors.  It’s a lovely place to walk, run, and take your family  (dogs, too!). There is a little train that kids will love, though the picturesque setting and open fields are more than enough to keep everyone happy and entertained.

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A beautifully decorated Blenheim Palace

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The Gardens at Blenheim Palace

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Water gardens at Blenheim Palace

After a fascinating tour of the castle, take a stroll around the water gardens. Finish the day by treating yourself to a glass of champagne and a delicious mince pie, and enjoy the view.

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A marvelous end to the day at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace
Woodstock
Oxfordshire OX20 1PP

http://www.blenheimpalace.com/