First Stop – Salisbury

Today we rented a car and left London. We so enjoyed London and it will definitely be on the list of places to which we will return. The drive out of London wasn’t nearly as crazy as we had anticipated – busy yes, but GPS and Richard’s excellent driving skills  got us out to the country. A drive of about 3 hours found us in the quaint, medieval town of Salisbury. We stopped at the ruins of Old Sarum, a Roman Fortress built over an Iron Age hillfort in 43 AD. Once the Romans left, it fell to ruins but William the Conqueror saw its potential and rebuilt the fort and later a Cathedral on the site during the 11th century. However, the bishop had a falling out with the commander of the fortress and ordered a new Cathedral to be built about two miles from the fort during the early 12th century. The city of Salisbury rose around this Cathedral and the Fortress was eventually abandoned completely. There is very little left of the fortress or the Cathedral but the views from the hills are stunning. It is easy to see why this spot was chosen as the perfect defensive position.

From Old Sarum we drove down to our BNB and because we were a little early, decided to take a drive downtown. We found a parking spot and walked over to the Salisbury Cathedral. This Anglican cathedral is regarded as one of the leading examples of Early English architecture: its main body was completed in 38 years, from 1220 to 1258. We stopped at the cloisters first and were amazed to see a room displaying one of the original Magna Cartas. There are only four left in existence today and we saw one of them!! WOW!! The entire display is very well done. There are simple explanations of the history behind the Magna Carta and how it affected the generations that followed. This is one of those great surprises that are once in a lifetime discoveries.

After viewing the Magna Carta, we entered the cathedral itself. It is very impressive – definitely as impressive as any of the churches that we saw in Europe. Unfortunately, the massive pipe organ is currently under restoration but again, there were explanations as to how the organ works and how they will be restoring it to its former glory. We did get lucky however and were able to participate in the daily Evening Song of Choral Music. We both agreed that this was the best choir that we have heard on entire trip. Absolutely amazing!!

We got to our BNB at about 6:30, checked into our room and headed back downtown for supper. We walked this time because some of the roundabouts in this little town are very difficult to navigate and we decided that we had had enough for one day. A couple of drinks, a little bit of supper and we are ready for another adventure. Tomorrow we travel to Stonehenge, Avebury and Westbury to see the Chalk Horse. It should be great!!

Old Sarum.  Not much left from the original castle and church.


Salisbury Cathedral


I was unable to take a picture of the original Magna Carta so had to settle for these


Cute little street in Salisbury.img_5175

Last Day in London

We spent the last day in London touring the Tower of London, checking out St. Paul’s Cathedral and taking in the entertainment at Piccadilly Circus.

The Tower of London is officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress. The White Tower was built in 1078. The Inner Ward was constructed during the 1190’s and then re-built in 1285. The Wharf and moats were expanded in 1377–1399. The official guards of this fortress are the Yeomen Warders aka Beefeaters. This fortress has housed kings, queens, prisoners and has been the execution site of many influential persons, most notably Anne Boleyn. We toured the building that houses the Crown Jewels. We saw the crown that Queen Elizabeth wore at her coronation and wears at every opening of Parliament. We explored the White Tower which is now an Armaments museum. Though I am sure that this had potential it wasn’t really the history that we were interested in. We did however spend about 3 hours on the grounds and along the ramparts taking in the history of the buildings and the people that occupied them.

From there we walked over to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We took some pictures of the exterior but did not enter the church. We walked along the Millenium Bridge that spans the Thames. We wanted to walk this bridge as it shows up in a couple of scenes in one of our favorite movies – Love Actually. We hopped a bus to Piccadilly Circus which of course is not a circus but actually a traffic circle. However, what differentiates this circus from the others is that there are large advertising screens overhead and entertainment in the centre of the circle. We wandered around there and then headed back home via the tube and then train. We stopped for supper at the local pub The Oval which is close to our BNB. Another great day in the heart of London. We are sure going to miss this city!!


The Tower of London.img_5124img_5122img_5118

The Private Execution center.img_5114

The Chapel of St. Peter AD Vincula.  Anne Boleyn is buried beneath the Easter candle to the left of the Altar.


St. Paul’s Cathedralimg_5138img_5140img_5126img_5131

Monument to the firefighters who worked through the London bombings of WWIIimg_5137

Piccadilly Circusimg_5142img_5132

The Cat in the Pub.  Maybe one day we can bring our pets to the bar.img_5145img_5133