Results tagged “Attractions” from UK and Japan 2010

So was awake for two and a half hours in the middle of the night cause it hurt *sigh*

Got up around 7:20 and convinced the sweetie to get up too.

Had a repeat of Maccas breakfast and then headed for Paddington.  Discovered the different ticket machines give different priced tickets - go figure.  Found one that did a return for the same price as a single (again, go figure) and booked it.  9:21 to Oxford.

Had a pretty good day in Oxford.

It rained nearly all day.

First headed for the Bodleian Library to get on a tour of the Divinity School and the Duke Humfrey's Library.  Had twenty minutes to spare so wandered around and got the sweetie a coffee.


Sheldonian Theatre
Sheldonian Theatre

Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs

The Bodleian Library tour went for an hour and was quite interesting.  I would have enjoyed it even if it wasn't a Harry Potter location ;)


Divinity School
Divinity School

Convocation House, next to the Divinity School
Convocation House, next to the Divinity School

The Tower of the Five Orders
The Tower of the Five Orders

Silence Please!
Silence Please!

Went and climbed the University Church tower for some nice views

Radcliffe Camera from the University Church
Radcliffe Camera from the University Church

Looking into All Souls College
Looking into All Souls College

Looking into Brasenose College
Looking into Brasenose College

The University Church of St Mary the Virgin
The University Church of St Mary the Virgin

The University Church of St Mary the Virgin
The University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Next went to find some lunch.  As we were both low on energy levels it took us a little while to find something suitable.


The Saxon tower of St Michael at the North Gate
The Saxon tower of St Michael at the North Gate

After lunch wandered back up to where we'd seen a walking tour advertised.

The walking tour turned out to be really good.  The dude took us into four colleges (Jesus, Exeter, Lincoln and New), and we saw quadrangles and dining halls and chapels for most of them.  It was just nice cause he took us behind doors and down paths we probably would not have thought to have gone down if we were doing things by ourselves.  Even came across a couple of Australian Rhodes Scholars (a girl from Brisbane doing law, and a guy (who looked about 16) from Adelaide doing inorganic chemistry).  They'd only been in the country a few days.  The tour finished in the cloisters of New College, where Goblet of Fire was filmed :)


Entrance to Jesus College
Entrance to Jesus College

Jesus College dining hall
Jesus College dining hall

Jesus College quadrangle
Jesus College quadrangle

Jesus College chapel
Jesus College chapel

Jesus College chapel
Jesus College chapel

Exeter College quadrangle
Exeter College quadrangle

Exeter College chapel
Exeter College chapel

Exeter College chapel
Exeter College chapel

I love the detail on the organ of Exeter College chapel
I love the detail on the organ of Exeter College chapel

Exeter College chapel
Exeter College chapel

Exeter College quadrangle
Exeter College quadrangle

South side of the Divinity School
South side of the Divinity School

Radcliffe Camera
Radcliffe Camera

Lincoln College quadrangle
Lincoln College quadrangle

Lincoln College dining hall
Lincoln College dining hall

New College quadrangle
New College quadrangle

New College grounds including the old Oxford city wall
New College grounds including the old Oxford city wall

New College chapel
New College chapel

Beautiful stained glass in New College chapel
Beautiful stained glass in New College chapel

Crook of the crozier of William of Wykeham
Crook of the crozier of William of Wykeham

New College chapel
New College chapel

Cloister of New College featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Cloister of New College featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

New College quadrangle
New College quadrangle

New College quadrangle
New College quadrangle

New College quadrangle featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
New College quadrangle featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Draco gets turned into a ferret under this tree
Draco gets turned into a ferret under this tree

After talking to Cedric, Harry walks through this gate
After talking to Cedric, Harry walks through this gate

So next headed down to Christ Church to go in and see the hall and cathedral.  The hall being the inspiration for the great hall in Harry Potter, and they used the entrance staircase in Philosopher's Stone.  So that was pretty squee.  


Christ Church college
Christ Church college

Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church quadrangle
Christ Church quadrangle

There's a shot of Ron and Hermione at the top of these steps at the end of Chamber of Secrets
There's a shot of Ron and Hermione at the top of these steps at the end of Chamber of Secrets

Entrance to Hogwarts!
Entrance to Hogwarts!

Steps used in the first two Harry Potter movies
Steps used in the first two Harry Potter movies

Steps used in the first two Harry Potter movies
Steps used in the first two Harry Potter movies

McGonnagal stood at the top of these stairs to welcome the first years
McGonnagal stood at the top of these stairs to welcome the first years

The kids all walk up here
The kids all walk up here

The real entrance to the Great Hall
The real entrance to the Great Hall

Christ Church dining room
Christ Church dining room

Christ Church dining room
Christ Church dining room

Christ Church ceiling - does it look anything like Hogwarts?
Christ Church ceiling - does it look anything like Hogwarts?

Christ Church dining room
Christ Church dining room

The fireplace with the
The fireplace with the "long necks" that inspired Lewis Carroll

Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

Another Christ Church quadrangle
Another Christ Church quadrangle

Feet were dead by this point and we were hungry so we headed back to London.


Bicycle parking at Oxford Station
Bicycle parking at Oxford Station

UK trains with built-in GPS and airline style entertainment system (that you had to pay for)
UK trains with built-in GPS and airline style entertainment system (that you had to pay for)

Stopped at a Chinese restaurant near the hotel for dinner - had some very nice szechuan twice fried pork and bok choi in oyster sauce.

Got back to the hotel and my world fell apart...


Geotagging - Day 21
Geotagging - Day 31 

Geotagging - Day 21
Geotagging - Day 31

Photos on the Canon: 294
Photos on the Sony: 158
Photos on the Video: 1
Videos on the Video: 10
Steps walked: 15637
Pounds Spent: ?
Had another crappy nights sleep.  Was too hot (even with aircon on full) and stressing over my dumb body and then the building started humming.. loud enough for at least one other person on the floor to complain about it.  No idea what it was.

So got up fairly late.

Had breakfast at the local Scottish Restaurant (for £5 for the two of us instead of £30 the hotel would have charged).

Then hopped on a tube train then a regular train out to Charlton to walk up to the Thames Flood Barrier (past a half marathon in progress which closed off the road we walked up).  The flood barrier stuff was pretty cool.  Interesting to see how they built it and how it works.  Had a toasted sandwich in the cafe there for lunch.


Security cameras at Charing Cross station
Security cameras at Charing Cross station

Rows of houses outside Waterloo station
Rows of houses outside Waterloo station

Marathon runners on Woolwich Road, Charlton
Marathon runners on Woolwich Road, Charlton

Thames Flood Barrier 
Thames Flood Barrier 

Thames Flood Barrier 
Thames Flood Barrier 

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Model of the flood control system
Model of the flood control system

Stu ponders the denting caused by stress-testing the scale model
Stu ponders the denting caused by stress-testing the scale model

Scale model of the flood control system used for testing the design
Scale model of the flood control system used for testing the design

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Instead of walking back to the station and training it two stops, we decided to walk for a while back along the Thames.  You can actually walk all the way along it, but we cut across the Greenwich peninsula (and cut across the end of the half marathon, and even saw the exact same girl wearing an Elmo on her back that we saw the first time two hours ago!).  


Thames Path National Trail tunnel
Thames Path National Trail tunnel

This wall showed the length and height of the Thames as it comes down from its headwaters
This wall showed the length and height of the Thames as it comes down from its headwaters

Thames heights near Runnymede
Thames heights near Runnymede

Looking towards London and the North Greenwich Arena
Looking towards London and the North Greenwich Arena

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

Elmo girl!
Elmo girl!

Buzz Lightyear was also running
Buzz Lightyear was also running

So headed into the park at Greenwich and up to the observatory.  Joined the hordes trying to get their photo taken on the prime meridian.  Also had a look at the old telescope buildings.  And got filled with rage at people taking photos of the telescopes when it says all over the place that photography is forbidden :(:(  Epic grunt.  Should have taken some myself :/  The GPS doesn't actually line up with this, as the meridian for GPS is actually about 102m east of the prime meridian.  Go figure.  Headed back to the station and found another marked location of the prime meridian, with (hurrah) no tourists! Win! :)


Sundial in Greenwich Park
Sundial in Greenwich Park

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum

North Greenwich Arena
North Greenwich Arena

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Shepherd 24-hour Gate Clock and Public Standards of Length
Shepherd 24-hour Gate Clock and Public Standards of Length

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Stu on the Prime Meridian
Stu on the Prime Meridian

Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Trained it back to the hotel.  Got our washing together and went and put it on, and had Thai for dinner next door.  Two mains, two desserts and a bottle of wine, and suddenly we have a $100AUD bill :(  This country is so expensive it's more than just a little ridiculous.  Put on the drying and had a McFlurry then back to the hotel to research tomorrow..

Oh I forgot to mention.. I got THE BEST value for money deal possible in this country tonight - sixteen 500mg paracetamol caplets for 16p!!  Yes, that's 1 pence per tablet!!  At that rate I considered buying a whole bunch to stock us up for the next few years .. altho customs might have had something to say about that!!


Geotagging - Day 30
Geotagging - Day 30

Photos on the Canon: 163
Photos on the Sony: 24
Photos on the iPhone: 6
Photos on the Olympus: 9
Photos on the Blackberry: 6
Photos on the Video: 21
Videos on the Video: 11
Steps walked: 18641
Pounds Spent: ?
Fairly standard night and breakfast.  Still think it's probably the best hotel we've had so far this trip.  

I went for a walk down to the beach while Stu was getting ready.  Not a terribly nice beach, and separated every twenty metres or so with walls to stop erosion.  Walked west to get a better look at the circus tent looking thing.  Didn't find out what it was until I looked it up just then - it's a Butlins Holiday Park.


Beach at Bognor Regis
Beach at Bognor Regis

Bathing Boxes at Bognor Regis
Bathing Boxes at Bognor Regis

Bathing Boxes at Bognor Regis
Bathing Boxes at Bognor Regis

So we headed off.  First stop was Brighton to have a look at the pier and the Royal Pavilion.  Was quite surprised that Brighton actually has no sand beach at all - it's all small rocks!!  Bizarre.  Found the place very noisy (from traffic) and not very pedestrian friendly.  Was quite happy to get out of there before our first hour of parking was used up.


Grand Hotel, Brighton
Grand Hotel, Brighton

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

West Pier at Brighton, finally destroyed by fire in 2003
West Pier at Brighton, finally destroyed by fire in 2003

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Brighton Clock Tower
Brighton Clock Tower

Next headed for a view of the Seven Sisters at Beachy Head.  As we pulled up there was sun on the cliffs.  So jumped out with just my camera and headed off down the path to get a better view.  Well of course, that was my first problem.  Five or ten minutes later, just before I got to the cliff, it decided to start raining.  Rather a lot.  So I ran for the cover of a tree (which was actually quite successful I have to admit - an Australian native would offer no such protection from rain).  Waited waited waited.  Finally it stopped so went down a bit closer to take some photos.  As I was heading back, the sun started to come out on the cliffs.  But this was of course after I'd left the best position to document them.  It was just fail on so many levels.


Seven Sisters at Beachy Head
Seven Sisters at Beachy Head

Seven Sisters at Beachy Head
Seven Sisters at Beachy Head

Decided to skip another view of the cliffs and a drive through Eastbourne in favour of getting to Dover at a reasonable hour.  Actually went past the Long Man of Wilmington which I'd not listed in the day's activities thinking we'd be going around the coast.


Long Man of Wilmington
Long Man of Wilmington

Drove drove drove.  Stopped at a Scottish Restaurant for lunch.  


Getting stuck behind flocks of sheep is a minor hazard travelling in England
Getting stuck behind flocks of sheep is a minor hazard travelling in England

Saw France on the way into Dover :)

And finally made it to Dover Castle just after 4pm.  The place closes at 6pm.  And it was raining.  Have I mentioned how much it rains here?  Decided to go in anyway.  £13.90 each.  We definitely should have gotten English Heritage membership :/ They asked us if we wanted to go on the 5pm secret war tunnels tour and we said yes.  But that was way at the bottom of the castle, and the tower etc were way up the top.  Which meant we had a grand total of half an hour to explore the castle :(:(:( Which was a shame because it was a very cool castle to explore.  Rather than directing you in one way and out another, you can go in and just explore little nooks and crannies and rooms and stairways and corridors.  It was a lot of fun, but we just didn't have the time to do it justice :(  In fact I actually managed to lose the sweetie which was quite stressful because we had to get down to the tunnels. 


Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Entrance gate at Dover Castle
Entrance gate at Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Interior of Dover Castle
Interior of Dover Castle

Interior of Dover Castle
Interior of Dover Castle

Corridor in Dover Castle
Corridor in Dover Castle

View of Dover from the top of the castle
View of Dover from the top of the castle

Top of Dover Castle
Top of Dover Castle

Top of Dover Castle
Top of Dover Castle

English Channel from Dover Castle
English Channel from Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Dover from Dover Castle
Dover from Dover Castle

St Mary in the Castle church
St Mary in the Castle church

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Interior of Dover Castle
Interior of Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

After much stress, we both made it to the tunnels by 5pm. But of course you can't take photos :(:(:(  So was really stressed out and then grumpy as well.  Blah!!  But it was pretty cool to see the tunnels anyway.


Entrance to the tunnels
Entrance to the tunnels

So left when the tour was done and headed for the hotel.

Stopped at the Battle of Britain Memorial.  It was raining.  A lot.  And windy.  Which was bad for my camera but in one way it was good because there was noone else there.  Had the place to myself.  Managed a couple of photos, with and without rain on the lens.  


Battle of Britain Memorial
Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain Memorial
Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain Memorial
Battle of Britain Memorial

Supermarine Spitfire Mark I replica at the Battle of Britain Memorial
Supermarine Spitfire Mark I replica at the Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain Memorial sign
Battle of Britain Memorial sign

Got to the hotel.  Internet access is a pain cause you really need a wifi username and password for each device.  And the fire alarm has gone off for ten seconds tonight.  Yay.  But the nicest thing about this hotel is its location, with an outlook to the English Channel.  Can see France! :)  The moon over the water was amazing before.

Went out to get a pizza for dinner.  At the local Pizza Hut.  Most expensive pizza I've ever eaten.  £11.99 - which is $25AUD for a standard size pizza!! Gah!!!! Just a plain old pepperoni pizza.  Insane, totally insane :(  Still, it was actually quite nice.

Hoping for five minutes of sunlight tomorrow morning to see the cliffs, that's all I'm asking.  It can rain the rest of the day, but some sun on the cliffs would be nice... kthxbai!

Photos on the Canon: 242
Photos on the Sony: 7
Photos on the Video: 6
Videos on the Video: 10
Steps walked: 15414
Pounds Spent: ?
Another small B&B last night so a lot more personal.

Had a bit of a slow start, then headed into town to do our washing.  While the washing was on we went for a walk down to the beach, and while the drying was on we went for a coffee.  Well the sweetie did, I had an OJ :)


Tourist train in Newquay
Tourist train in Newquay

Newquay
Newquay

Beach at Newquay
Beach at Newquay

Cool house on top of rocks in Newquay
Cool house on top of rocks in Newquay

Beach at Newquay
Beach at Newquay

Beach at Newquay
Beach at Newquay

Beach at Newquay
Beach at Newquay

Bridge to the isolated house at Newquay
Bridge to the isolated house at Newquay

Fountain at Newquay
Fountain at Newquay

Having lots of weather here on holiday - yeah, story of our holiday!
Having lots of weather here on holiday - yeah, story of our holiday!

Came back to the hotel and repacked our suitcases then headed out.

First stop was Padstow because Stu was interested in Rick Stein's restaurants.  We had trouble with parking.  The first car park was full, which mean a drive through pedestrian-infested streets trying to get out.  Then the second car park was also full, with about ten cars in front of us trying to find parking.  So tried for the top car park.  Got a park there but the machine wouldn't take money (for me or the people in front of me).  A city car park person came by and had a look and said yep, machine is broken (often happens in the rain)  (did I mention it was raining?).  So we got free parking!  Do you have any idea how exciting that is in this country??  Anyways, so wandered down the hill in the rain.  Had a bit of a wander around.  Found Rick Stein's "The Seafood Restaurant" but they didn't have any tables.  So went and found his cafe which is a bit more casual.  Had some lovely seafood there.  Our most expensive meal so far, but that was the point of going there.


Port at Padstow
Port at Padstow

The Seafood Restaurant at Padstow
The Seafood Restaurant at Padstow

Port at Padstow
Port at Padstow

Cornwall
Cornwall

So then headed south west and went out to the tourist trap known as Land's End.  We got there at 5pm, but paid a pound too much for parking (£3 instead of £2 if we'd just waited two minutes for 5pm).  Went down to the cliff edge and thought well that's lovely.  Took photos of ourselves with the "overnight" Land's End sign that they put up after 5pm and don't charge £9.95 to stand in front of.


Stu at the entrance to Land's End
Stu at the entrance to Land's End

Lighthouse at Land's End
Lighthouse at Land's End

Rocks at Land's End
Rocks at Land's End

Rocks at Land's End
Rocks at Land's End

Signpost at Land's End
Signpost at Land's End

Stu at Land's End
Stu at Land's End

Karen and Cutie at Land's End
Karen and Cutie at Land's End

Then headed back past Penzance (and the pirates thereof?) to St Michael's Mount to attempt to photograph it in the horizontally blowing rain (horizontally blowing *into* the direction of my camera, not away from it :( ).


St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount

St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount

St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount

At least the parachute wind surfers were having fun
At least the parachute wind surfers were having fun

Then back to the B&B.

It's raining here.  Severe weather warnings and everything.

Have I mentioned the rain?


Geotagging - Day 26
Geotagging - Day 26

Photos on the Canon: 168
Photos on the Sony: 27
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Photos on the Blackberry: 1
Photos on the Video: 3
Videos on the Video: 11
Steps walked: 8479
Pounds Spent: ?
Being a B&B the place was tiny.  There were four tables in the breakfast room and only two were set, so I assume there was only one other room taken last night.  Breakfast was decent enough though.

So checked out and headed into Bath, parking at the big "Pay on foot" parking area off Charlotte St.  


Street in Bath
Street in Bath
Headed into the main bit of town first.  On the way passed lots of decorated lions, setup as a public art project, much like the Bears of Berlin some years ago.  Some of them were pretty cool!  I think my favourite was a gold-foil wrapped chocolate lion :) Or the QR code one or the scrabble letters one.  


Lindt Gold Lion? :)
Lindt Gold Lion? :)

Scrabble Lion
Scrabble Lion

Starry Night Lion
Starry Night Lion

Got into the middle of town and Stu stopped for a coffee so I went to find an ATM.  The first two I found were broken, so had to walk like a mile just to find a working one and then back to Stu.  

Went into the roman baths first.  I'd only ever seen pictures of the outdoor bit of the bath (which used to be indoors) so didn't realise the place was so extensive.  Was actually really cool and spent nearly two hours wandering around the place.  Took one look in the Pump House and thought it looked too fancy for the likes of us, so took a picture of the room and left.


Entrance to the baths 
Entrance to the baths 

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Statue
Statue

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

This is where the hot water spring surfaces
This is where the hot water spring surfaces

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

Roman Bath buildings
Roman Bath buildings

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

Lead pipes
Lead pipes

For some reason they drained out where the spring surfaces
For some reason they drained out where the spring surfaces

Pump House
Pump House

Then went next door to have a look in the abbey.  As Dave2 had shown, it was indeed quite beautiful.


Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Organ in Bath Abbey
Organ in Bath Abbey

Ceiling of Bath Abbey
Ceiling of Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

It was getting late by this point, so we headed up to The Circus (and couldn't get "Who will buy?" from Oliver! out of my head - you can see where they got the inspiration for the scene (which was actually filmed on a set - they built the whole thing from scratch)).  And then onto the Royal Crescent, where we saw our first rays of sun for the day.


The Circus
The Circus

The Circus.  Who will buy this beautiful morning?
The Circus. Who will buy this beautiful morning?

Royal Crescent
Royal Crescent

Left a couple of minutes before four hours for parking and saved a pound, hurrah .. only to find the boom gate was broken and we could have left without paying the 5.40 at all - doh!!

So we didn't have time for the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, or the Cheddar Gorge and town.

Just went straight onto Wells.  I'd seen a documentary some months back about the Wells Cathedral - and how the unique "scissor" arches were actually to stop the whole thing collapsing after they put on a tower extension.  So of course I had to see it :)  It was pretty cool.  Although seeing a cathedral and an abbey on the same day has not helped with remembering the details of each one.. hrmm.. :)


Glastonbury Tor from the A39 north of Wells
Glastonbury Tor from the A39 north of Wells

Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral

Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral

Ceiling of Wells Cathedral
Ceiling of Wells Cathedral

Scissor reinforcing in Wells Cathedral
Scissor reinforcing in Wells Cathedral

Scissor reinforcing in Wells Cathedral
Scissor reinforcing in Wells Cathedral

Altar of Wells Cathedral
Altar of Wells Cathedral

Organ of Wells Cathedral
Organ of Wells Cathedral

Quire of Wells Cathedral
Quire of Wells Cathedral

Stairs to the Chapter House
Stairs to the Chapter House

Chapter House.  Stunningly beautiful, but I needed a wider lens!
Chapter House. Stunningly beautiful, but I needed a wider lens!

Chapter House
Chapter House

Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral

And finally south west.  Stopping at a Burger King on the motorway for Linner.  And onto Newquay, arriving around 7:15pm.  We were just a little too late going up to the headland to see the sunset but had a nice walk anyway.  Then into town to have a look around and find the laundromat opening times.


Welcome to Cornwall!  Stu was pretty excited to see this
Welcome to Cornwall! Stu was pretty excited to see this

Cornwall
Cornwall

Sunset at Newquay
Sunset at Newquay

Came back to the B&B via a supermarket to pick up snacks and drinks.

Then watched some telly (including Australian Border Security!) and used the internet.  

Hopefully will get a sleep in tomorrow.. unless I get hungry .. prolly a good thing too, it being 11:15pm and all.. :/


Geotagging - Day 25
Geotagging - Day 25

Photos on the Canon: 492
Photos on the Sony: 27
Photos on the iPhone: 9
Photos on the Blackberry: 6
Photos on the Video: 23
Videos on the Video: 43
Steps walked: 15432
Pounds Spent: ?
Hey it wasn't raining when we got up!  Just a bit overcast.

Got up early and headed out without breakfast to make it to Stonehenge by 8am for the stone circle access tour.  Which, after Dave and Di got up my expectations, they say that you can NOT in fact touch the stones.  So that was a bit of a bummer.  Not that it would have been that exciting, I mean they're just stones right?  But it was pretty cool to walk around in the middle of the circle that you can't do normally.  After the access finished (ours went from 8am to 9am), we waited for the ordinary access to open at 9:30 so we could go round on the audio tour (and actually take better photos of the outer ring without all the other stone circle access people in the way).  It's true what I read somewhere - either pay to go on a stone circle access thingie, or just look in from the fence on the road.  The audio tour isn't that great, (face it you can read about it on the internet) and the best view (with all the horizontal plinths) is from the road anyway.


Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

So it was nearly 10:30 before we headed for our next stop - Longleat Maze, in the grounds of Longleat House.  £3 for just the maze.  I decided before I came away that I wanted to do a maze, and why not pick the biggest? :)  Well it was fun for about 3/4 hour before I kept ending up in the same place no matter where I turned and walked around and around in circles (meeting up over and over again with another couple who were equally frustrated).  After an hour and a half I went out and bought the postcard with a picture of the maze to see what I was doing wrong.  Only took one turn from the picture to get me to the place I wanted to be an hour ago, and solved the thing (this was after standing on the bridge and directing at least two couples to the right place that I couldn't get to).  The other couple went a different way, and we ended up solving the thing at the same time.


Tank Crossing
Tank Crossing

Longleat
Longleat

Longleat Maze.  The objective is to get to that tower in the 

middle
Longleat Maze. The objective is to get to that tower in the middle

It's looking a long way from here..
It's looking a long way from here..

Made it!
Made it!

Longleat House
Longleat House

So after nearly two hours in the maze we headed off again.  Drove by the Westbury white horse.  Got very frustrated with UK signage that thought the best way to see the thing would be to take you to the top of the hill which it's on - ie, so you can't really see it at all.  Bumheads.  So drove all the way back down to find a better view of it.


Westbury White Horse
Westbury White Horse

Next stop was Lacock - because they used Lacock Abbey and a house in Lacock for Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets.  As a location it was a bit disappointing (and £10 entry which is a bit pricey too).  Especially since so many things I'd seen about the place were just plain wrong.  Even the abbey itself put up the wrong information - they put up pictures of Durham cathedral cloisters, and said it was filmed at Lacock.  Well ok yes it might have been filmed there, but not the shots you posted.  Dumb.  The Sacristy and the Chapter room were the only things that were recognisably correct.  Took a bunch of photos anyway.  What was actually more interesting was the rooms upstairs that had been converted to a private residence with the dissolution of the monastries by Henry VIII.


Entering Lacock Abbey
Entering Lacock Abbey

Lacock Abbey
Lacock Abbey

Sacristy of Lacock Abbey
Sacristy of Lacock Abbey

Sacristy of Lacock Abbey.  This room was used in Philosopher's 

Stone as Snape's potions room
Sacristy of Lacock Abbey. This room was used in Philosopher's Stone as Snape's potions room

Corridor in Lacock Abbey
Corridor in Lacock Abbey

Chapter House of Lacock Abbey.  This was the study room in 

Chamber of Secrets
Chapter House of Lacock Abbey. This was the study room in Chamber of Secrets

Info board about the movie.  Showing shots from Gloucester and 

Durham cathedrals
Info board about the movie. Showing shots from Gloucester and Durham cathedrals

This was in the Warming House.  I don't think it was used in the 

movies, but the cauldron looks pretty cool
This was in the Warming House. I don't think it was used in the movies, but the cauldron looks pretty cool

There's a shot of Harry in this corridor in Chamber of Secrets
There's a shot of Harry in this corridor in Chamber of Secrets

Lacock Abbey
Lacock Abbey

Chaplain's Room, Lacock Abbey
Chaplain's Room, Lacock Abbey

Corridor upstairs in Lacock Abbey
Corridor upstairs in Lacock Abbey

Lacock Abbey rooms
Lacock Abbey rooms

Lacock Abbey rooms
Lacock Abbey rooms

House in Lacock used in Philosopher's Stone as James & Lily's 

house
House in Lacock used in Philosopher's Stone as James & Lily's house

House in Lacock used in Philosopher's Stone as James & Lily's 

house
House in Lacock used in Philosopher's Stone as James & Lily's house

And then we headed for the hotel.  Had to get past peak hour traffic in Bath.  What a pain.  I think noone lives in Bath, they all live in Bristol, and we had to share a road with them all the way to our hotel :/  Hotel is the closest to a real B&B we've had.  I didn't really have to check in at all, the dude just gave me a key.  Very odd.  Went across the road for a couple of pints and some food, then back here to try and book hotels and figure itineraries...

Oh yes, and we finally had a clear night that I could go out and look for stars.  After much peering through sodium (?) vapour lights I finally saw what I thought was the Big Dipper and North Star.  The time on the EEE PC must have been wrong, cause it actually put the thing upside down so took longer to find it.  Had a stone fence to mount the camera on, and it was low enough in the sky that I actually got some semi decent photos of it...!


The Big Dipper
The Big Dipper.  Loses something in the resizing! 

Geotagging - Day 24
Geotagging - Day 24


Photos on the Canon: 469
Photos on the Sony: 8
Videos on the Sony: 1
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Photos on the Olympus: 75
Photos on the Blackberry: 1
Photos on the Video: 13
Videos on the Video: 14
Steps walked: 17139
Pounds Spent: ?
Woke up by Stu's phone buzzing at 5:30 and couldn't get back to sleep :/

Breakfast - same.

Today we decided to go our own separate ways for the day. The sun was out so I wanted to do some touristy things while Stu had a relaxing day off.

So my first stop was Buckingham Palace. I considered going in, but the sun was out! So decided to go down past Westminster station to photograph the barriers (a la Order of the Phoenix), across the Westminster bridge, and up the London Eye.

Buckingham Palace in sunlight
Buckingham Palace in sunlight

Queen Victoria Monument in sunlight
Queen Victoria Monument in sunlight

Buckingham Palace gates in sunlight
Buckingham Palace gates in sunlight

Westminster Station, as seen in Order of the Phoenix
Westminster Station, as seen in Order of the Phoenix

London Eye
London Eye

London Eye
London Eye

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Had about a fifteen minute wait in the queue to get tickets, then a fifteen minute wait to get on. There were some pretty annoying people (a couple of girls and also a bunch of guys that just wanted to pose for each other non stop through the whole ride). The view was decent enough and the clouds parted enough for me to get some ok photos.

Charing Cross station
Charing Cross station

The Thames
The Thames

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

At the top of the London Eye
At the top of the London Eye

Guys taking photos of themselves
Guys taking photos of themselves

Government buildings including 10 Downing Street and Treasury
Government buildings including 10 Downing Street and Treasury

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Tower of Big Ben
Tower of Big Ben

Clock tower and Westminster Abbey
Clock tower and Westminster Abbey

Hopped on a train (when I eventually found the right line at Waterloo station) to London Bridge. And from there went across and up Tower Bridge. You go up in a lift in the north tower, then you walk across to the south tower across the top. There are all these info boards setup to read. Then you can go across the top on the other half as well - this part was only opened a few months ago. Then you take steps most of the way down the south tower (there is a toilet near the top of the south tower you can use - this would be one of the cooler places I've gone to the toilet :) ).  After the bridge tour you can also go see the old steam engine rooms that were in use until 1976. They were pretty cool to look at with lots of useful info.

Waterloo Station
Waterloo Station

Crossing Tower Bridge I had to stop because it was opening!
Crossing Tower Bridge I had to stop because it was opening!

Interior of Tower Bridge
Interior of Tower Bridge

Tower of London
Tower of London

London office buildings
London office buildings

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

Looking up the Thames
Looking up the Thames

Inside the top of Tower Bridge
Inside the top of Tower Bridge

Looking down on the road
Looking down on the road

Furnaces
Furnaces

Engine room
Engine room

It was pouring with rain at this point. !? So walked across the bridge and it was already clearing up again.

Tower Bridge, with tide as high as I ever saw it
Tower Bridge, with tide as high as I ever saw it

At this point I didn't know what to do next. Stu would have been interested in the Tower of London. But it was just there. Or I could have gone into Buckingham Palace. Either way I was going to miss out on the Monument because it was getting too late in the day. Even considered doing the Monument and the Belfast. So sat there for about ten minutes trying to decide what to do. In the end I went to Tower of London.

Went in around 3pm and stayed til closing at 5:30. And probably only saw half of it - and a lot of that was rushed :/ The place generally works pretty well in terms of crowd control - everything has an entrance and an exit so you're not battling through people going the other way. However some of the rooms are quite small so it's still a people battle that I find quite stressful. And that was late in the afternoon when the numbers were dwindling - I'd hate to see the place in the morning!! Anyway the main thing I wanted to see were the crown jewels. Which are spec-fricking-tacular :) The Cullinan I diamond in the sceptre is truly a sight to behold. Would loved to have been able to take photos, but alas not. Did a bit more wandering until closing time.

Tower of London
Tower of London

Traitors' Gate from the outside
Traitors' Gate from the outside

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

Traitors' Gate from the inside
Traitors' Gate from the inside

State room
State room

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

Buildings in the Tower of London
Buildings in the Tower of London

Buildings in the Tower of London
Buildings in the Tower of London

The Crown Jewels are in there!
The Crown Jewels are in there!

Model of the Tower of London
Model of the Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

The Rack!  Part of the torture exhibition
The Rack! Part of the torture exhibition

Canons
Canons

Tower of London
Tower of London

Obligatory me in front of Tower Bridge shot
Obligatory me in front of Tower Bridge shot

Last stop of the day was The Leaky Cauldron!!! This was the first one in Leadenhall Markets. Extremelly squee :):):)

The Leaky Cauldron!
The Leaky Cauldron!

Harry and Hagrid walk here in the Philosopher's Stone
Harry and Hagrid walk here in the Philosopher's Stone

And then back to the hotel to collapse.

Last night of guaranteed internet for who knows how long.  So I've been trying to do things that require internet.  And not succeeding very well and doing any of it :/

Geotagging - Day 13
Geotagging - Day 13


Photos on the Canon: 443
Photos on the Sony: 40
Videos on the Sony: 1
Photos on the iPhone: 2
Steps walked: 16056
Pounds Spent: 148.57