For day three of our amazing summer adventure, Pam and Darlene and I headed off once again in a lovely climate-controlled coach for a day-long trip to Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon (home to William Shakespeare), and finally Oxford University. It was the only day during our entire trip that it rained and was cold, so that was a bummer, but it was still a lot of fun!
Our first stop was Warwick Castle which dates back almost 11 centuries! Inside they have tons of art and antiques including paintings, armour, statues, and busts, and several rooms are roped off and displayed with wax figures from Madame Tussaud's portraying various people who lived or stayed at the castle throughout the years. They also have a variety of shows and activities at the Castle (those actually made it feel a bit theme-parky to me; not that that's a bad thing!), but we pretty much only had time for a tour of the main castle (sadly no time to tour the dungeon!) before moving on to Stratford-upon-Avon.
In Stratford-upon-Avon, we had the opportunity to tour Shakespeare's birthplace and grab some lunch. I was hoping to visit Gower Memorial in Bancroft Gardens that has all the statue of Shakespeare and some of his characters, but I wasn't sure exactly where that was, and the cold and rain made the idea of just walking around a bit unpleasant. Still it was fun to see Shakespeare's birthplace! The house was staged with furnishings and clothing items as it would have been when he lived there, and they had costumed actors and guides who share historical information and insight into his life. (I thought this was a lot more fun than the wax figures - as fascinating as they were - at Warwick Castle!) By far the most popular room was the Glover's Workshop where John Shakespeare, the playwright's' father, made gloves. It was packed, and I wasn't able to get any good shots of the demonstrator, but it was still fascinating, and I recommend checking it out if you get the chance!
After lunch we hopped back on the coach and headed for Oxford to tour the University, and do a little shopping in town. The University campus is gorgeous with cobbled walkways and amazingly ornate buildings! After the tour, we had a few moments to do a little shopping in town which was a Harry Potter fan's dream come true! Nearly every shop had something to do with Harry Potter - T-shirts, scarves, novelty glasses, beer steins, and replica wands just to name a few. My friend Pam and I discovered the Fudge Kitchen, and bought ourselves some delicious treats! And, of course I had to stop by a small churchyard that was right in the middle of town. They graves were very old, and most of them covered with ivy or moss. It was really beautiful and so peaceful!