About PJ

PJ Adams is a psychotherapist and best selling author who splits her time between California and Europe. She enjoys learning French and writing about travel, self help, and other topics. Follow her on Twitter @PJAdams10Facebook, YouTube.

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    PJ Adams

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    « Brit Bite #1: Adventures in Wonderful & Weird England | Main | Paris Top Tens for Spring »
    Thursday
    Jun012017

    England 2017 Here We Come

    England 2017. Before returning to France in the fall, I decided a summer trip to “the green and pleasant land” of England was in order. I spent some of my time as a student in London, and ventured out to the countryside whenever possible. So this upcoming visit will give me the opportunity to revisit some of my pastoral favorites, as well as my London haunts. My journey begins in the countryside. On the agenda: Cambridge, Stratford, Glastonbury, Bath, the Cotswolds, and time permitting, Stonehenge. 

    First Stop Cambridge. Cambridge is a city on the River Cam in eastern England. It’s home to the prestigious University of Cambridge, dating to 1209. University colleges include King’s, famed for its choir and towering Gothic chapel, as well as Trinity, founded by Henry VIII, and St John’s, with its 16th-century Great Gate.  Here, the Cam River wends through the campuses—and punting (boating) on a flat riverboat propelled by a “punter” is a must. (If you’ve been to Venice, this is England’s version of a gondola.)  The End House B&B will be my abode in this university enclave. From here, I can wander through the colleges, and stroll downtown for shopping, high tea, and some pub visits. I’ll most certainly stop by Fitzbillies for some world famous Chelsea Buns, the best cinnamon buns in England. A few hours at the Imperial War Museum in  Duxford is also on the schedule. This fantastic military exhibition specializes in UK and US military aircraft like the Douglas C-47 Skytrains my uncles jumped out of as young WWII soldiers when they landed on the Normandy Beaches in northern France nearby. 

    Next Stop Stratford-Upon-Avon. Shakespeare, the Bard, was my long time companion throughout my college years—or at least his writing was! As an English Lit undergrad, I spent four years with my nose buried in Shakespearean plays and poetry by the likes of Byron, Keats, and Shelly. Woodstock Guest House, a pretty cottage covered in English roses and petunias, will be my next accommodation. It’s just a stone’s throw from the Swan Theatre where I’ll be seeing a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Vice Versa. (And I can walk to it. From my B&B! So a stop at a pub on the way--and perhaps after--will be de rigueur. Sorry for the French.) I’ll probably revisit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s grave at the Holy Trinity Church and commune with the literary muses as I begin my next book.

    I’ll also stop in at Warwick Castle, a stupendous medieval fortification built by William the Conqueror—who was in fact French (in case you forgot). I’ll also wander Stratford, probably lunching at my favorite hotel, The Shakespeare, where I did some business in the 90’s. From there, I’ll meander the rolling hills and adorable villages of the Cotswolds—which are straight out of a Jane Austin novel.

    Roman ruins and healing waters in Bath. I’ll next make my way to Bath. Bath is not only home to the only Roman Baths in England, but it’s a Regency-period darling. That is, this charming “R&R” town became the hot spot during the Regency period (1795-1837) for nobles and rich merchant families who “took the waters” and hobnobbed with the social elites. Many of their mansions and summer homes remain to this day. Three Abbey Green—a spectacular 1689 B&B shaded by a giant English Oak—will be home for the weekend. I’m particularly looking forward to a classic English High Tea at the Bath Priory, a grand 1835 Georgian manor on 4 acres of gardens. Our tea will no doubt include cucumber sandwiches, petite fours, scones with jam and clotted cream, and plenty of tea. (And perhaps a glass or two of champagne). 

    In town, I look forward to viewing the baths again (where I took my mother some years ago) and ending up in the Pump Room Tea Room. Here we’ll actually drink a little of the famous waters of Bath. And of course we’ll have more tea (but I may be ready for a latté by then). A drive through ethereal Glastonbury and a climb up the famous Tor (tower) are on the itinerary as we head back to London via Stonehenge. I first visited Stonehenge some years ago when visitors could still touch the stones. Alas, no more. It’s roped off now like a crime scene, keeping visitors at a circumspect distance.

    Final stop, London—and memories of my flower-child youth. As a student I had the good fortune to spend a summer at the London School of Economics (LSE) about the time former alumni Mick Jagger was making his first millions as a rock star. (We both studied in the LSE’s Shaw Library. But I suspect Mick was  working on lyrics to Satisfaction rather than writing a scholarly treatise.) Of course I will wander by the LSE this trip and go by the Lincoln’s Inn Field Law enclave nearby. I trekked past all the “solicitors” (lawyers) each day during my college summer because I had to cross through Lincoln’s Inn to get from my LSE dorm to the campus. By the way, when I first moved into the dorm, I was astounded to find they had a pub in the basement! (Beer on tap was a big temptation.) 

    This time, no dorm room for me. Instead I will be the guest of the famous Savoy Hotel, the icon of hostelry on the Strand near Covent Garden. From here, friends and I will be seeing the royal sights like Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the Crown Jewels, Houses of Parliament, the British Museum, the London EYE, and much more. Naturally I’ll be popping in for some shopping at Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason. (I may skip Harrods as I was there the Christmas before last).

    We will also take in three plays at these famous London theatres: the Royal Haymarket, the Duchess, and  Shakespeare’s Globe where we’ll sit on old style benches as in Shakespeare’s Day (shown). (The good news is I rented cushions for all of us at £5 a piece. I’m tempted to make a cheeky comment about my grateful derriere, but I will demur.) 

    Dining will be everything from pub food like fish and chips with malt vinegar to Indian bhajis to high-end dining at the Mandarin Oriental. At the Mandarin we’ll enjoy Dinner by Heston, which is a two-Michelin-star experience. I will also stop in to my beloved Rules for at least an after dinner drink; Rules, you may or may not know, is the oldest restaurant in London. It’s also the place where Q dines in the James Bond movies. 

    Finally, I’m looking forward to three stellar experiences at the Savoy Hotel itself: High Tea, Beef Wellington at the Savoy Grill (now helmed by Gordon Ramsay), and jazz in the Thames Foyer as the pièce de résistance of my trip.

    I’ll post photos and stories along the way on Facebook and Twitter of this extraordinary adventure. And I hope to build relationships with my old and new pals as I research a new book. Cheers!

     

     

     

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