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A peek inside my trip to the English Countryside including Gold Hill, Shaftesbury and Old Wardour Castle.
At the end of September my sister and I travelled to England to visit with our dear friends. My sister, who is not one for planning ahead (apparently!), gave me a call on Wednesday and asked if I was interested in going to England with her ‘next Friday’. I checked my calendar and saw that, while the first weekend of the proposed trip was free, I had a wedding the following weekend so a trip couldn’t work for me. When I told her the news (10 seconds later), she replied ‘OH! I meant this Friday! Do you want to go to England this Friday?’.
So the stars aligned and 2 days later we were off! It had been about 5 years since my last visit to England but it is such a special place to me. I always say that if I were a place (ya ya, not possible, I know) I would in be the English countryside. Lucky for us, our friends live right in the heart of the beautiful rolling hills and my English countryside yearnings were going to be well satisfied.
So, before sharing the beauty, I’ll start with the travel details. We flew with Air Transat who I’ve flown with every time I’ve gone to Europe. We were lucky that they had seats available with such a last minute booking and we were doubly lucky that the cost of our flight wasn’t more expensive because of it. My sister and I both agreed to pack carry on only which made our journey seamless. I’m all about the quick convenience of grabbing your bag, walking off the plane, and heading out to explore!
Air Transat flies into Gatwick Airport. I prefer Gatwick to Heathrow because it is a bit more low-key. There are plenty of train and bus connections into London from Gatwick and, once you are in London, you can basically travel all over England with their vast train system. We considered using the train to get around but decided on a rental car so we could have lots of flexibility. My sister is the real trooper in our duo and she handled driving on the opposite side of the road like a pro. However, if you are not 100% comfortable as a driver, I might recommend against this! Most of the rental cars are manual transmission and the traffic (especially leaving the airport!) is not exactly straightforward or slow. Steph wasn’t too intimidated though and we made out very well in the end!
Below I am sharing some of my favourite shots from our trip. I’ve split my photos from the trip into 2 posts starting today with our time in lovely Wiltshire County. Seriously, be still my damn heart. This place is beautiful.
Our friends showed us all the lovely sights of the area starting with a country walk to Old Wardour Castle. Only in England can you walk through fields and forests and wind up at an amazing historic castle. Old Wardour Castle was built in 1390s and was badly damaged during the civil war. It now stands as a beautiful ruin which is open for tours to the public. We were too late in the day to go inside the castle but the walk to Old Wardour and around the grounds was plenty for me!
Our forest path eventually opened up to this view of Old Wardour through the trees – so lovely!
Can you spot the small (but not in reality!) building near the centre of the picture? That is the New Wardour Castle which, for the last few years, has been a luxury apartment building with 10 grand units (seriously, Google it…they’re beautiful!). I love how this beautiful rural setting is such a contrast to the luxury apartment buildings that we have here in North America.
Stone archways like this were not uncommon even on the infrequently travelled forest paths that we walked along.
Wilf, the sweetest (and tiniest!) farm dog.
I can only imagine this wall in the spring when all of the rhododendrons are in bloom!
Came across some ponies and made friends…obviously!
We stayed with our friends in their lovely farm house – it couldn’t be more perfect in my eyes!
The window in the bedroom – so old, so beautiful.
Venturing to the Wessex Heavy Horse Show felt like such a quintessential English Countryside outing but it really was a perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon (and we were not the only ones who thought so!). There were classic cars, heavy horses, antique steam engines and more dogs than one could identify. So much tweed and so many wellie boots…I loved it!
My cool sis who also became my photographer for the week – she learned quickly!
Shaftesbury was a lovely town with many small shops and restaurants and is located in Dorset . We had lunch, ate ice cream, and walked the famous Gold Hill. The picturesque view of Gold Hill is entirely worth the visit to Shaftesbury, even if that is all you do.
My kind of pub!
And my kind of patio!
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