Monday, July 30, 2012

Mary + Matthew = Downton Love

Day Four
- Drive across English countryside
- Downton Abbey (actually called Highclere Castle)
- Stonehenge
- Bath
- Jane Austen Center
- Bath Abbey
- Bath Spa
- Sally Lunn Buns

Day four was awesome. We rented a car and drove across the English countryside. London was fun, but the countryside is AMAZING. Its so quintessential. 
My mom was a trooper and drove on the wrong side of the road. (I won't lie, I feared for my life several times, but eventually she got it down! Darn those roundabouts...) Chels navigated and Darel and I annoyed everyone from the backseat.

Our first stop was Highclere Castle, where the 5th Earl of Carnavon lives. 
Its also where they film Downton Abbey.

So we were pretty excited to see it.

Like a lot of things, you are not allowed to take pictures on the inside, but if you've seen the show, you've seen Highclere Castle. They use all the original furniture and decor for the show. They just take down the family photos. But the books in the library are all there! Its incredible. Lord Grantham's library looks exactly the same. They were filming season 3 the week before we got there so Sybill and Edith's rooms were all set up as was Lady Grantham's. We got to see Kemal Pamuk's room too! We got to walk down the staircase and look down into the parlor where Mary and Matthew kissed on Christmas Eve. (Clearly I'm obsessed)

It was so fun walking around. They have a desk that was owned by Napoleon in the sitting room and TONS of pictures of the royal family. I guess the Queen visits there frequently to see the stud. Her racing manager married into the family that lives there so they have formed a close relationship. 
Anyway, the house and grounds are gorgeous. And it really was used as a hospital during WWI. 

My mom is the coolest!

Smallest car EVER. Seriously, I think there's a weight limit - 70 pounds or something.


They have a audio tour that is awesome at Stonehenge. I love audio tours, especially since I don't know everything, so its so fun for me to absorb some interesting info. My mom and Chels had already done Stonehenge, so D and I visited together.

Then we drove to Bath, were we stayed in a Bed and Breakfast called the Cranleigh.
It was hands down the coolest place I've ever stayed in. I felt like Lizzy Bennet Darcy!
When we got to our room (that overlooked Bath) they had hot cocoa, tea, and biscuits laid out for us next to the fireplace. Food = happy.

After checking in, we stopped by the Jane Austen center.

And Bath Abbey

Then we went to the Bath Spa, which is modeled after the Roman Baths in Bath. 
So you're not allowed to take pictures, so I stole some from the internet so you can really absorb the awesomeness of the Bath Spa. There are three levels. The top level is a GIGANTIC hot tub overlooking Bath Abbey and the real Roman Baths.

We went at sunset too.

The second level is a sauna/steam/shower floor. There are four saunas, each with a different scent (Lotus flower, lemongrass/ginger, eucalyptus/mint, and sandalwood) and you are supposed to go in a certain order. Then after each scent, you take a cold shower and then go to the next to get hot again. Then after all four you take a hot shower. 

Then you go to the bottom level which is a warm swimming pool.
It is as unreal as it sounds! I'm definitely going back there.
I'm also convinced that the Romans were awesome.

After the spa we went to dinner at Sally Lunn's.

Sally Lunn is famous for her buns! 
(the edible kind)

Its also the oldest house in Bath.

My pictures are out of order, but I'm much too lazy to fix them. This is us after the spa (pretty sure its illegal to take pictures in a bathroom, but whatevs). 

We all had a Sally Lunn bun with our dinner.

Huge and delicious.

Bath is so incredible. I would definitely recommend it to anyone going to England.
And so would Darel!