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Recently home from a two week European vacation, I’m now recovered from jet lag and the feeling that I never wanted to walk again (I averaged about 15,000 steps per day; that’s far too many, I’ve discovered). Many of you have asked me to share the images from my trip and so for the next month, I will be sharing four different parts of my travels. Today’s post will cover my three of the trip during which I stayed in London and made a day trip to the lovely northern town of York.
After a grueling 24 hours of traveling by car, train, and plane, we made it to London around lunchtime after taking the underground from Heathrow to Pimlico, the neighborhood in which our Airbnb was settled. In hindsight, I’d probably choose to stay in SoHo, but that’s for another post.
After an early wakeup time, David and I headed to King’s Cross Station to board a train to the charming town of York. After about two hours, our train arrived and we rented a car to drive to Castle Howard. With David driving on the left side of the road, I was a nervous wreck as we drove along the narrow roads to our destination. I found it easiest to play Candy Crush on my phone so as not to see what was happening.
Arriving at Castle Howard, a gorgeous English country house, felt like a scene out of a movie. It’s too bad I never saw Brideshead Revisited, as it was actually filmed there. It’s now on my watch list! As you drive toward the property, you see this beautiful beautiful entry house that has you wondering if it’s the castle itself when you’re just far enough out. It’s not. It’s really not even close to the exquisite features of the actual castle (which technically isn’t a castle as we know it, but rather a home build on the site of a former castle).
Every single detail of this predominantly Baroque estate featured such a great deal of history, purpose, and elegance. Because the estate took such a long time to build, the designs of the final portions of the property were build in the newly fashionable Palladian style. That fact alone is something I find so interesting. You’re able to witness two completely different styles of architecture and design under the same roof as a result of the time it took to build and the opinions of the man in charge of such decisions at the time. After departing Castle Howard, David and I drove back to York where we explored York Minster, Shambles Street, and a few other spots around town. Based on reviews and recommendations, we had lunch at a fish n chips restaurant in town. Honestly, it was about as good as everyone notes British food to be ;-)
As our last full day in London, this Friday was packed full of activities. Although it was raining, we were happy because our first activity was a visit to the cozy indoor Natural History Museum. After a twenty minute wait in line, we made it inside, rode an escalator through a planet? (not sure) and enjoyed seeing the different exhibits about rocks (ok, David enjoyed this part more than me), plants, and animals.
Next, we ventured to Hyde Park and happened upon Kensington Palace. With a hefty entrance fee of £18 per adult, we passed on the palace and headed west to grab a cookie from Ben’s Cookies (not pictured, but so tasty).
Having stopped by our apartment for a quick freshen up, we took the bus (recommended because you get to see so much of the city) to the National Gallery. Full of beautiful and iconic paintings and other works of art, the museum was a definite must-see. In college, I adored my art history class, so seeing many of the works I studied was such a treat!
As the most anticipated meal of our London stay, Sketch’s Lecture Room was what I was most looking forward to about this day. A two star Michelin restaurant, Sketch offers an award-winning tasting menu in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties. I felt a little too embarrassed to use my DSLR inside the actual restaurant (the lighting would have been hideous anyway), but here’s a nice few photos from the drinks we had downstairs before our meal.
That’s it for our UK adventures. Stay tuned for Part Two on Friday! It includes a ton of Paris pretty! Also, here’s Part Three.