Arrive in England and head off to your overnight stay, in a grand Gothic Revival castle perched high on a hill overlooking the Welsh borderlands.
A drive through the Cheshire countryside to the ancient city of Chester. Chester was founded by the Romans and is one of the few remaining walled cities in England. Famous for The Rows, its black and white, half timbered shopping area, and St. Werburg’s Cathedral dating back to the 11th century.
Heading south to Shrewsbury. A town naturally fortified by a loop of the River Severn and the setting for the Cadfael Chronicles of Ellis Peters. Then continuing the journey via Stokesay Castle. A 13th Century fortified manor house, with a Jacobean timber framed gate house in a picturesque rural setting in the Onny Valley. Ending the day in Ludlow. The seat of the Welsh Marcher Council established by Henry VII to oversee the border lands.
Ludlow Castle, started by the Normans in 1086 stands on a promontory above the River Corve and has been the scene for many battles and sieges throughout history. Ludlow is one of the hidden gems of Britain. Not on the normal tourists routes, but it has been described (by the locals) as the perfect historic town. Also the location of De Greys Tea Rooms. Afternoon tea at De Greys is a tradition to be savoured.
A peaceful day exploring Ludlow. Sampling the local fayre at the market, strolling by the river and climbing to the top of the tallest tower of its Norman castle.
Into Herefordshire. A largely unknown corner of England, with traditional black and white architecture, cider orchards and some of the most picturesque villages in the country, with a profusion of timber framed and thatched buildings, the occasional village pond and ancient church. The day ends at your next base in the book lovers paradise of Hay-on-Wye. A unique Welsh border town which claims to have the largest concentration of new, second-hand and antique books in the world in its many bookshops.
A full day to browse around the bookshops and antiques shops of Hay-on-Wye, or Y Gelli as it is know in Welsh.
The Golden Valley. An accident of translation by the Normans gives this area of Herefordshire its grand name. It is however one of the most delightful corners of England, with small villages such as Peterchurch, Vowchurch and Turnastone, sitting on the banks of the River Dore. An ancient abbey and a rare example of a Celtic church, with iconography seldom seen on a Christian building outside this area.
Hereford. Little narrow alleyway and streets and a magnificent medieval cathedral, which houses one of the best examples of a chained library in the country, plus the Mappa Mundi. This is one of the earliest maps in the world, dating back to the early 1300.
Turning back north as we head along the limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge to Ironbridge. A World Heritage Site and not surprisingly, the home of the world’s first iron bridge. Dating back to 1779, this 200 foot bridge spans the Severn Gorge at what was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. We then head off to Blists Hill Victorian Town. A reproduction of a Victorian industrial town, where you can gain a fascinating insight into how life was lived in Victorian Times.
An unplanned day. This is not because we cannot think of anything for you to do today. We always like to keep some days free, so that you can fit in some unforeseen delight which may only become apparent as time progresses.
Back home with lots of good memories and hundred of photographs.