Last weekend I went on a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon with Veronika. We decided kind of last minute to take our bikes with us. They advise you to make reservations, but we couldn’t so we just took the chance.
The train from Norwich to London has lots of room for bikes!
On the website of the London underground I found a journey planner that also let you choose a cycle route. So we decided to cycle from London Liverpool Street station to London Marylebone station, about 8 kilometers. We had very detailed maps (so detailed that we had often already passed the street we needed, cause we didn’t realize the scale). It was rush hour, so busy everywhere, and cycling between the double deck busses is quite a challenge! It was supposed to take 25 minutes but it took us almost 45 minutes. We still made our next train, that took us to Stratford. It was about 4 km from the station to the youth hostel, so we were happy that we had our bikes with us!
The next day we woke up early, at 7:30 (!!) and we started our cycle tour at about 8:30. We cycled from Stratford to Warwick, about 10 miles, it took us less than an hour. Very nice route, and the weather was wonderful!
A house we passed close to the youth hostel
Warwick is a very pretty town! We were lucky that they were having a French market that day, so we bought some great food for lunch there.
We visited the cathedral, that was quite impressive, especially all the graves of Earls of Warwick, here are some examples:
One has a swan on his helmet, and apparently has his hands open so that he can look at Maria… the others have wide open eyes, strange!
Warwick is famous for its castle. It is owned by the Tussaud Family, and it costs 16 pounds to visit!! We didn’t think it would be worth the money, so we just looked at the castle from outside.
It had started to rain in the mean time, but we still decided to continue to Kenilworth, to visit another castle. This was about 4 miles from Warwick, but we didn’t have a good cycle map so we just cycled along busy roads.
The castle/ruin in Kenilworth
We then cycled back to Leamington Spa, which is right next to Warwick. To my surprise I found out it was linked to Heemstede, very close to where I am from in the Netherlands! Very surprisingly as well is the fact that Leamington Spa was a spa town 😉 and we visited the free museum in the Pump House. Well most of the time we were relaxing in those chairs and eating chocolate 🙂
We went to the train station to see if we could catch a train back to Stratford, but we had just missed it and the next one was in 2 hours. So we decided to cycle back, it was only 5 PM so we had enough time.
We found these huge fields of rapeseed, very pretty! We couldn’t resist going into one of those fields to take some photos 🙂
We stopped for dinner at a pub in Wellesbourne. Good choice, we had a really good meal there and it wasn’t expensive. They played good music, so we stayed there for quite a while, enjoying the nice atmosphere.
The next day we cycled to Stratford-upon-Avon. It is a very touristy town since Shakespeare is from here. But it’s really pretty and it wasn’t that busy except with people coming for the (half) marathon that was taking place.
The start of the marathon, some pretty houses and canal boats in the Avon river.
Shakespeare is everywhere in this town, you can visit the house where he was born, where his mum was born, where he died, where his wife grew up, etc… We also found this nice statues in the park.
Veronika finally found her Prince, and I had a good conversation with Hamlet 😉
We walked through the park against the half marathon people who were already finishing (in 1h20min, impressive!) This is the Shakespeare Theatre:
We then cycled to Shottery, very closeby, to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Shakespeare’s wife). We saw many beautiful cottages in this area! Veronika wasn’t very interested though…
Veronika looking for food 😉
We didn’t visit the cottage but looked around for a bit, laughing at the tourists. They are useful though, we asked one of them to take a photo of us.
Veronika was complaining that I didn’t give her enough breaks, she was exhausted 😉
We left Stratford at 2 PM, this time it took us more than 8 hours to get back home!! London Marylebone was closed for the weekend so we had to change trains in Banbury. Somehow we got into the wrong on
e, and didn’t realize until we reached the final destination: Reading!! So from there we took a train to London Waterloo, it stopped at every 3 houses so it took quite long. From Waterloo we took the bridge to get to the Embankment tube station, so that we could get on the Circle Line to London Liverpool Street. Outside of peak hours you are allowed to take your bike on the tube (for free!)
Posing in front of the Millennium Eye, and with our bike at Embankment
When we arrived in London Liverpool Street, they cancelled 3 trains going to Norwich, so we had to wait for 1,5 hour. We bought some food and went to a nearby park to eat it. Finally at around 10 PM we arrived home. It was a great weekend, lots of fun! I really enjoyed taking our bikes on the trip and will certainly do that again.
This week the weather in Norwich has been great, which makes it difficult to stay in the office. The lake and surrounding fields are sooo tempting!! There is a lot going on this week, courses, a symposium, and also the symposium dinner tomorrow night. Then there is also the Norwich Festival going on, so lots of things to do. More about all that later!
I also still plan to post the photos of the weekend that my parents were in Norwich! If I can find the time 😉