IT’S a crisp London spring morning and I’m waiting bleary-eyed at my tour pick-up point at Kings Cross.
I’m freaking out because I’m a tiny bit late and am wondering if I’d missed my tour but it wasn’t long before the friendly guide arrived and got us into the van. Crisis averted.
Luckily for us, we only have a small group so it’s not long before we’re on the road heading to Oxford.
Home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford has educated many gifted minds, famous leaders and talented athletes amongst its graduates and I wonder if I can gain a few IQ points from simply walking through the intelligence-saturated medieval streets.
Our knowledgeable guide leads us through the main sites of interest with plenty of interesting stories and facts while I gawp at the history and splendour of the old buildings.
We visit the well-hidden Turf Tavern which is the location where our former Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a Guinness World Record for drinking a yard glass of ale in eleven seconds. It is also the site where Bill Clinton allegedly smoked the special cigarette “but did not inhale.”
Before we head off I decide to pay the entrance fee to gain admission to The Great Hall in the Christ Church College, which is a magnificent historic room in itself, but has also received greater attention as it was copied in the Harry Potter films as Hogwart’s Dining Room. I was also gobsmacked to learn that Christ Church only began admitting female students in 1978.
Next stop was to the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, best-known for being the hometown of the great William Shakespeare.
We wander through the rooms of his house and see where Shakespeare was born, where his father earned his living as a glove maker and where his famous writer admireers, including Keats and Dickens, left their marks.
Back into the van again and we drive through the pleasant English countryside known as the Cotswolds. We pass through some gorgeous small villages and see lovely old stone cottages and old lodges. I even saw my first pheasant roaming freely out in the fields.
We stop at a small town for a scrumptious cream tea. To the uninitiated this includes scones and clotted cream and the most delicious jam you can imagine, accompanied by a pot of tea. We enjoyed this tradition in front of a wonderful open fire which warmed us up. It was the perfect end to a big day of sightseeing. Bellies full, we hop back in the van and head back to London.
Tour Britannia: top spots to visit to get the full UK experience
Tours are a great way to see as much as possible in one day plus a passionate and experienced tour guide will really enhance the day and what you get out of it. Anderson Tours offer a range of day trips and short breaks across the UK and Europe.
Anna Boffa travelled with Anderson Tours.
Anderson Tours offers a wide range of short breaks, weekends away, and day excursions aimed at the independent traveller. With scheduled departures every week. Anderson Tours itinerary stretches from day excursions to Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford and Stratford Upon Avon, Cambridge and Warwick Castle to two, three or four day tours to Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest and Brussels.
A a full range of the trips Anderson Tours offer, visit their website: www.andersontours.co.uk