Friday, March 11, 2011

London is calling...

But for now I have to let it go to voicemail. :(
I want to go to England.  Like, BAD want to go.  (If you are new to my blog and want to see what a hopeless (hopeful?) Anglophile I am, check out this post and this post from a few years ago.)

I have the money.  Jake and I both work hard and although we've been hit with more than a few of life's curve balls, we're trying to save every cent we possibly can.  If I lost my head completely and up and decided to book the trip, it would take up almost all of our savings.  So that's one (Huge) reason why I don't do it.  Another, even bigger, reason would be that I don't have a passport yet! :P
Still, there is that ache.  There's a longing that defies explanation, like I've been on a journey my entire life and not made it back "home" yet.  So much of the whole history and culture of England is familiar.  I can't help feeling that once I do finally get to go for a visit, I will fit in comfortably and totally at ease. I feel like my heart has an England shaped piece missing that will finally be found and make my soul complete.

My mom has a similar draw to all things British.  She has friends who are from Leeds who came to visit us twice when they were visiting the States.  They've become my friends by extension and have graciously offered hospitality and a place to stay when at last I board a plane from Atlanta to London.
Since I can't go now, though, I have to console myself with planning out my trip.  Here are 10 places I want to see when AT LAST I do make it across the pond. :)  They are by no means the ONLY 10 places, and are in no particular order.  I'm sure I'll be listing another 10 in another post in the near future. :)

Jane Austen's House at Chawton
(You knew the very first one was going to have something to do with Jane!)
Jane wrote Emma (my personal favorite) while living here, during the last 8 years of her life.

When I first began discovering the marvels of English tea, I bought a variety package of black teas at Kroger that looked like this:
What resulted is a daily addiction to Twinings Earl Grey blend.  I found out that the original shop, opened in the early 1700s by Thomas Twining, is still there and thriving. Thus, I more or less have planned my entire day in London around visiting this shop! :)
 Photo By: Jim Bahn

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, Peak District
Photo By: John Dalkin
Used as the fictitious "Pemberly" home of Mr. Darcy in the 2005 Focus Features film "Pride & Prejudice".  My favorite scene in the movie is where Elizabeth Bennett (Kiera Knightly) travels to the Peak District with her aunt and uncle.  When the carriage breaks, they decide to visit Pembery, despite Elizabeth's pleading that they don't. Her aunt says "He won't be there, anyway. These great men are never at home." So when the carriage is repaired, to Pemberly they go and Elizabeth sees in full scale and to the letter, the property she herself might have been mistress of, had she not shot down Mr. Darcy's proposal of marriage when they were both at Rosings.  I found this fan made Youtube video of some of the best scenes, including my favorite. Kiera Knightly's expression as she steps out of the carriage is fantastic!

The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds

Being right in Leeds, where my host family's home is, I want to spend most of a day here.  I especially want to see this elephant armor and possibly have a go at fencing.

Hatchards is the oldest surviving bookshop in London, since 1797.  I would have known nothing of this bibliophile's fantasy come true, if not for Pamela Terry's blog, From the House of Edward.  

Photo By: Roberto Sgarbi
I told my friend whom I'll be visiting that I want to see something of the English Seaside while I'm there. I asked if I should spend a day in Brighton? No, came the answer. Go to Whitby.  For, Whitby has the best fish and chips in all England (here's the restaurant website as well), Abbey ruins, is famous for Bram Stoker's Dracula and Captain James Cook, and also is only an hour and 45 minute journey from Leeds, whereas the south coast takes much longer to get to and takes up valuable touring time. (Brighton= 4 and 1/2 hours; Plymouth= 5 and 1/2 hours)

Victoria And Albert Museum
If I see nothing else in here but Fashion Room 40, I could go home perfectly happy.  Drool. Drool. Drool! (But I'm sure that's only the beginning of what I'll see at the V&A!)  Fashion Room 40 is closed right now for architectural restoration, says the website, but is scheduled to reopen in Spring of 2012. Perfect, since my trip definitely won't likely be before then.

Afternoon Tea at Kensington Palace
The Orangery Restaurant

I can't go to England and not have a full out afternoon tea!!! I surfed a bunch of tour info websites and links and I like this place the best!

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Photo By: Ed O'Keeffe

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is my favorite Shakespeare play. 
"The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was." - Bottom, End of Act 4, Scene 1

221B Baker Street, London

Jake and I are both avid Sherlock Holmes fans.  I'd love to take a peek inside the Victorian flat of the world's most brilliant (albeit fictional) detective!

So there is my first list of 10!  I want to do everything I can to save up funds and go over next summer.  Of course with the 2012 Olympics happening then, that might not be such a great plan, but we will see. 


  1. What about the crown jewels, Westminster Abbey, the tower of London, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and Harrod's? You also need to try/see Scotch eggs, and other pub food, including the Ploughman's lunch specials in rural pubs, huge grave markers in small town cemeteries, sheep in the middle of the road, gorse shrubs, the Lake District, Hadrian's Wall, Alnwick Castle, and Sherlock Holmes Pub in London! ( The planning of any trip is 2/3 of the fun! You're going to have an AMAZING trip one day!The more you plan, and the more you research your agenda, the more you'll get out of it when you go. I've been to England twice! The first time, we went on a Friendship Force Tour. The Friendship Force is "people to people" exchanges. We had a couple come and stay with us for a week, and then they stayed with another couple for a week. The following year, we went and stayed with the couple who stayed with us, for a week, then we opted not to stay with another family, and, instead, traveled independently (throughout England and Scotland) for a week. Friendship Force was a cheap way to travel, and a great way to get to know Brits, and their friends/families, in their homes! We still stay in touch with our British friends we met in 1980! They live in Sunderland. (We have also hosted guests from Kazakhstan!) Also look at "'--You could start hosting British visitors!

  2. I'd give anything to host British visitors, but it's not my house! :) And some of the places in your list are in the next list of 10 coming up soon. Remember, I said it wasn't the ONLY 10, just the first random 10! :) Planning the trip makes me work that much harder to make it happen sooner, rather than later!

  3. PS- I have had a Ploughman's lunch before. Mom and I ate at the Rose & Crown Pub in the England section of Epcot's World Showcase when we went to Disney in 1999. It was fantastic!

  4. I love your enthusiasm for your impending visit! And thanks for the list - I live here and haven't done most of them! I would say afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason is rather nice, too. :)

  5. You know, dear friend, that I wish to go with you most avidly! Might I add two more stops along the way? I wish to see the "Pemberly" of A&E's Pride and Prejudice (in my opinion a much better version than the one with Kiera Knightly!), and I want most desperately to take the Harry Potter tour!! (Yes, I am a dork secretly at heart...though if I just posted this where anyone can see, I suppose it's not so secret anymore...)

  6. Comment published, dorkness duly noted. ;D Just teasing you. You know, I thought about the HP tour, but I saw most of it through Youtube vids, so I'm good. But the next trip, you and I and A&E's Pemberley. :)

  7. The Globe theatre is amazing - we watched a performance of 'The Taming of The Shrew' there - and of course, the costume and fashion dept. of the V&A is a must! But PLEASE, do venture outside the capital if you possibly can! And don't just pick out the usual 'main attractions' - try that tucked-away old country pub, or explore the Cumbrian coast, the Black Country Living Museum, the Peak District; or try a canal boat holiday (esp.if you choose the Oxford canal because it's beautiful and it runs about 5 minutes from my home! :-) )

    Black Country Living Museum

    Peak District Tourism

    Cumbria Coast Tourism

    Canal Boat Holidays

  8. Thank you, Sue! I was actually going to do another set of 10 for E's post (England!!!) :) but I'm on vacation and I remembered how long this one took me to post with all of the links and pics! LOL How do you post links in a comment? I need to learn how to do that! I will definitely check out all of the things you suggested! I CAN'T WAIT for my trip!!! :) :)

  9. You post the links exactly the same as you would with any other document - using the HTML code!



  10. Whitby is a great place. A ploughman's lunch? When my grandfather used to plough with a horse he used to take a doorstep of bread, a hunk of cheese and a bottle of cold tea. he never understood what they sold in pubs under the name of "ploughman's lunch". C'est la vie.

  11. Well at least they got the bread and cheese part right! lol I don't know either, but it was tasty! :)