So as many of you may have previously read, last week we had an American friend stay with us, and she requested the out of the box English experience. Since there is SO much that this country has to offer and we had such limited time, we had to stay local. As per my previous blog (Part 1), Brighton Beach was our first choice, coupled with a shopping extravaganza in Bicester Village.
The next day was monopolized by a trip in London for a night out on the town, including the Ice-bar, Porterhouse and Strawberry moons. So the following day was a little fragile – however what is a trip to England without a full English Breakfast, followed by a trip to a local country pub for an English Roast Dinner, followed by a Wispa Chocolate bar, Pimms in the garden and an introduction to RUBBISH British TV such as TOWIE and that Chelsea crap show. M was dazzled by the experience – ha!
Megan had to return to work, so it was left to me alone to organise the next British out of the box experience. Having had to travel to the nearby Milton Keynes for food related requirements, I thought a trip the legendary Concrete Cows was in order. This was more of a unique experience than anything else, as I bet no other tourist has ever seen these marvelous creations. It was so much fun that M decided to mount one of the statues, and promptly slid right off the other side… Priceless comedy…
A quick trip to Marks and Spencers and M’s introduction to a take away, plastic cup of wine (which she was enamored with) was followed by a meal in that quintessential British restaurant – Nandos. Ok, ok I know it’s not British. The reason was actually as we were reminiscing over the time we ate there in South Africa. Yes – Bet you didn’t know that Nandos is South African?
Over lunch we decided that we should actually do something British, so we decided to visit the Woburn Abbey Estate. Woburn is a beautiful estate in the neighbouring county of Bedfordshire, set in over 3,000 acres of idyllic deer park (home to numerous species of deer). It’s a stunning setting and actually free to partially drive through. We saw hundreds of deer of all species, and honestly I wish I had bought my SLR as the imagery was incredible. The antlers on some of the deer were incredible in both size and design.
The Abbey gardens cost us £6.50 each, as we were not too worried about exploring the house itself. But the gardens were worth it alone, absolutely stunning, currently flourishing with all a range of colours that just captivated the eye. I have never been a big fan of walking around estate gardens but these were impressive to say the least. The gardens also encompass a number of sites, such as the Lilly pond, child’s maze and Japanese pagodas. Plus although you can’t go into the house itself, the panoramic view of the house is quite impressive, and M decided this was to be her new home – HA!
M was quite taken with the large estate, as I suppose the only equivalent is the old Plantations in the south of the USA. Although this was not a planned visit, it was a great out of the box experience, and M loved it. Interestingly I couldn’t remember the last time I had visited Woburn and I only lived 20 minutes away. It’s strange that you don’t automatically think of places that are so close to where you live, for a friends visit – but what a gem. A definite, out of the box English experience – and a new Wandering memory for me. Megan and I will be returning so I can photograph those deer – it was amazing.
M was due to leave the next day at 7pm, so what could I do to top Woburn? that is near Heathrow airport? Any guesses?
Check out part 3 here