In 2021, instead of planning for a huge trip outside of the UK, we did some small trips close to home. This not only gave us a break from the monotony of remote working but also helped us pay a little back to the economy. The trick was to be safe and ensure that we choose places that aren’t going to be too crowded.
I almost forgot to post about them as these were done in short bursts and I had to get back to work immediately after the trip and had very little time to write about them. Looking back I realized that I rather have them catalogued in my blog now than later.
In August, during the scorching heat, we decided to do a quick trip to Stratford-upon-Avon (the Shakespeare’s place). It was a time when the restrictions were relaxed and England had just then removed the mask mandate. We decided to follow Welsh regulations and had masks on all the time. We had booked a B & B which was the only available place and since it was advertised as covid-safe and all we decided to take a chance (and also both of us were double jabbed by then). We stopped at Tewkesbury on the way for lunch. What a lovely little place that was. It has a history of its own and you can see so many heraldry flags in various old buildings there. The Abbey was a blissful place. It was so peaceful and quiet. I really really loved Tewkesbury. Wouldn’t mind going back there again, time permitting. Maybe a canal trip? Hmm…interesting thought that. Let’s see. Even if it is just for a stopover, you cannot miss Tewkesbury if you are near that area and if you like history. Here are a couple of photographs from that place. The abbey gardens were a respite from the scorching sun.
After a sumptuous meal, we drove down to Stratford-upon-Avon. It took a while to find the parking lot of the B & B and we had to take the help of the owner to finally get there. It was so obscure but perfectly placed to get to the city centre within 10 mins of walk. We had a room at the top most floor and since air conditioners are not a thing in this country especially for old buildings now serving as B & B’s, it was boiling inside 😀 We had an extra fan to ensure that the circulation was good. Thankfully there were no high rises there and we had enough open air for some kind of circulation. I was half roasted, to be honest.
After getting settled, we decided to go and scout the place and get some snacks for dinner. We decided not to eat out much and only choose takeaways where we can just to be safe. We were able to get to the city centre quite quickly and decided on some of the places we would visit the next day. We had booked for two nights and one day as we weren’t sure if any of the places like the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) would be open at all (it wasn’t). It took us a long time to get to sleep because of the heat. We chose the peak of the heatwave to visit this place.
The next day, after having our nice English breakfast, we headed towards the Church where Shakespear’s grave is, but it was closed so we took a stroll via the Avonbank Gardens. You get a beautiful view of the river from the gardens and it was such a welcome place given the heat.
This path takes you towards the Royal Shakespeare Company, but on the way, you can also see an open-air theatre that is being readied. We saw a few actors and actresses in full costume getting ready for their rehearsals. The shows weren’t on yet but the rehearsals were going on.
Instead of going across the river, we decided to check out the centre first to see what kind of shops and places are around. We went through all the small roads and gaps, explored Bridge Street, checked out Shakespeare’s house, the town hall etc. There is so much to see there. We were supposed to take a walking tour, but given the heat, we weren’t sure if we would survive the 2 hours of walking. Didn’t want to be tied down to a strict schedule you see. So we winged it. Of course, we didn’t pay to see inside Shakespeare’s new place or anything like that. Just enjoyed the places from outside. we also had our lunch in a very cute but very yummy Thai place (close to the Townhouse). Thankfully it was just us there as they had just opened for lunch so it was good. The food was amazing.
After having been energized, we decided to come around to the marina area for some cooler breeze and walk on the other side of the river. There was a lady playing the violin for almost 2 hours (that’s how long we were there enjoying the scenery and just relaxing under the shades). She was very good.
We just walked around the area, enjoying the gardens of the Gower Memorial, the boating club, the swans and the geese harassing people for food 😀 and just chilling under the shade getting some respite from the scorching sun.
We also managed to find a place called Magic Alley, a unique shop for magic lovers (got a few Christmas presents. Yes! I did that in August, don’t judge me) and got around to seeing Shakespeare’s statue too.
Since we were there only for a day, we decided to head back to the B & B drop off our purchases and then walk across the Shottery fields to Anne Hathaway’s place. It was a 30 min walk which we thought would be good given that it was close to 4 pm or so (or was it 5 pm, I don’t remember that now) but in that heat, it felt longer. When we finally reached the place, it was closed 😦 But we saw it from outside and rested there enjoying the calm and quiet for a while.
The walk back didn’t feel that daunting as we took our time to just enjoy the leisurely walk. But the walk does take you via some small pathways and sheltered roads so that’s a plus. When we were back it was time for us to try and get our room to become a little bit cooler and we were knackered to do anything else. A whole day of walking around this place to cover as much as we can, was a lot for us. We could have done with another day, to be honest, but it was a last-minute plan. We just enjoyed the Swifts (the birds) who were having their time in the Sun. Never saw so many swifts at the same time. Their song helped us relax. They are swift when they fly… It was hard to get a photograph of them.
The next day we were about to check out but the landlord told us that we could leave the car for a while if we wanted to check out a few more places. We were only glad to take up on his offer and decided to visit the church and see Shakespeare’s grave. And then we again roamed a bit around the places to see some more of which we had missed the previous day and then by around 11 or so we decided to make a start.
On our way back, we decided to stop at Ross-on-Wye for our lunch (a different place to visit). It isn’t as grand as Tewkesbury, but quaint nonetheless. There weren’t many places that we could eat except for one which turned out to be very good. We spotted so many knitted stuff around the city centre which was very funny and quirky. Not sure the reason behind it but it was fun spotting them.
The highlight of Ross-on-Wye was the visit to the river after lunch. There was practically no one there except for some ducks and swans resting in the river. It was a gorgeous view.
After some relaxing times near the river, we head back home.
When we decided on Stratford-upon-Avon, we didn’t think of other places that we could visit to and from there, but the choices we made were good and it was like we saw three places for the price of one. We chose Stratford-upon-Avon after the Shakespeare and Hathaway detective series 🙂 believe it or not. We love that series and wanted to check out some of the places that were filmed there, but didn’t realize that you could spend a whole weekend just exploring the place on its own. For the record, Shakespeare and Hathway (detectives)’s offices are not located in Stratford-upon-Avon. They were filmed elsewhere. So don’t go looking for that.
I definitely enjoyed the trip and I’m glad that we got to cover these when we could. More on other short breaks coming up.