The excitement of this trip began immediately when we got onto our Air New Zealand (ranks right up there with Virgin Atlantic in case you care). We saw Phil Keoghan, the host of The Amazing Race on our flight. I was very good and didn't bother him.
We spent the first week at my brother's new house in Horsmonden, Kent (southeast of London). What a wonderful place they have! It is the old rectory of the local church and was built in three sections: late 1400s with a "remodel" in the mid-1500s (this portion is unlivable at this point), 1700s (Georgian), and 1800s (Victorian). Very relaxing with sheep in the fields, quiet, and a number of day trips. I think my daughter's favorite part of the house was the trampoline.
- Penshurst House/Gardens-- we did a Maize Maze (get it? A corn maze), which was fun and complicated and we toured the old house and gardens
|This "Tiny Book Store" was irresistible|
|The British pack a beach and let it all hang out!|
- Rye--this is a quaint seaside town built mostly in the Tudor time (1400s to 1500s) then we moved on to the beach at Cambersands. Typical Britain on a sunny day: packed beach with bouncy houses, game rentals and wind breaks.
- We went into London two days and hung out in the Covent Garden area. My daughter danced at Pineapple Dance Studio where she was invited to dance in a class with professionals by an agent! Too bad we don't live in London! We also saw the musical Matilda, which was fantastic! It truly was magical
One of my favorite days was the Harry Potter Studio Tour! We drove to Watford (north of London) and had a blast. All the sets are there as well as the schematics and models, wigs, costumes, and props. I was like a little kid when we walked into the Great Hall: eyes wide and giddy!
The second week of the vacation we spent up in St. Neots (near Cambridge) staying in my aunt and uncle's house. They were out of town, but I saw my cousins and my grandparents (age 93 and 96!). It's tough when Nanna says, "I won't be here the next time you visit." During that week we saw more Olympics, went into London for more dancing, and relaxed.
Now, I am really jet lagged, falling asleep at 7:00pm last night!