It’s no secret around this Old House and my blog that Dear and I are very fond of traveling to Great Britain. This is my fond farewell post of our latest travels back in July.
Our final two days were spent just outside of Windsor. On our final full day we spent some time on a boat trip on the Thames, a walk across the bridge to Eton and shopping on High Street in Windsor. Here are some photos to show our adventure.
We saw a few loaded boats with students learning to row as we started off our river tour and then we came upon this scene…
Oops, looks like they need a little more schooling on rowing properly.
On our way back we saw the kids bailing the water out of the boat!
After our lovely cruise we took a walk across the Thames on this bridge to explore a little of Eton.
After all this cruising and walking it was time to find a spot to eat…
We chose the Duchess of Cambridge.
After we were full and satisfied we did some souvenir shopping in town.
Here’s our one and only Selfie that we decided to take outside the Selfie London store on High Street!
This was a shop I had to check out since I’m quite a fan of T.J.Maxx in the U.S.A. I was happy to find a souvenir nicely priced.
The Crooked House was a restaurant that served coffee and Afternoon Tea. They advertise that they are Royal Windsor’s only tearoom.
Windsor is another town that I wouldn’t mind re-visiting.
I took this picture as we left our hotel on the way to Heathrow to fly home. Why yes, I do hope to come back soon! Toodle Pip!
This time around on our trip to Jolly Old England Windsor Castle was our only tourist attraction that we had to buy tickets for and to que up for. It was worth the lines and the hoard of people milling about. Photography is not allowed inside the castle but you can click away on the grounds of the castle. We were also treated to a changing of the guard during our time there. At Windsor this event is not as grand as at Buckingham Palace. You can check online to see the scheduled days and times for this event. Windsor is a great town to get the flavor of the Monarchy without the sea of humanity you find in London.
Since I’ve shown some fences and walls and gates in my post on Windsor Castle I’m linking up to
After our one bad hotel experience the Oakley Court in Windsor was the balm we needed to end our time in England on a very good note!
Oakley Court is situated along a stretch of the Thames known as Water Oakley. It was first shown on maps around 1800 and the name appears to originate from Cornish Breton in which it appears as “Warhta Eog Lee” – The Upper Salmon Place.
We enjoyed all the interesting architectural features of this grand hotel. A link to some interesting history is here.
…when website photos lie. I already moaned about our hotel in Henley-on-Thames here, but I’ll be moaning a little more with chuckles thrown in and tell you more about our experience which sadly we had to pay dear money for.
When we checked in we took our suitcases to the room with no help offered. The room looked nothing, absolutely nothing like any of the rooms shown on the Website. The website showed photos of a nicely appointed hotel with nice rooms. Our room charge was 150 pounds so we were surprised when this was the condition of the chairs in our room. We left for a walk into town for lunch. When we came back to the hotel to freshen up before doing some more walking, the water in the room was not working. When we went down to the front desk there was a sign stating the water would be off until 6:00 P.M. Just a sign no one attending the desk. We didn’t understand why they didn’t inform us of that little fact when we checked in. After dinner and an evening walk we returned to the hotel and we went into the hotel bar to order a drink. The very young bartender said he was sorry but they did not have any gin. No Gin in a British bar? I just chuckled. We headed to our room and managed to get some sleep with our window open for air and the large portable fan on.
The early morning views were beautiful and still could be appreciated over the noise of the early delivery trucks on the road below our window. We got ready for breakfast and we headed down to the lobby to try to find where breakfast would be served. No one was in sight. No one at the front desk. When we checked in the person behind the desk had pointed in the general direction of where breakfast would be served. We walked that way and spotted a room with tables set for service and took a seat.
Our first thought was well this is nice maybe breakfast will make up for our less than comfortable night until… we waited and waited and waited and then Dear went out to try to find someone who would serve us some breakfast. There still was no one at the front desk. He finally found someone and we had to leave this nicely appointed room and head further down the hall to another room without flowers on the table.
The breakfast staff consisted of two young guys who didn’t seem sure of what they were doing. It honestly felt like they were pulled off the street that morning and shown quickly what to do. Notice our empty coffee cups. It took a long time to get coffee and a longer time to get our breakfast. We checked out, shook the dust off our shoes and headed to our next location for our last two nights that proved to be the balm we needed after this disappointing stay at the Red Lion Henley. We were so glad we had only booked one night here.
We do not recommend The Red Lion in Henley. We would love to re-visit Henley-on-Thames but we will do some better investigating on where to stay…
In Henley-on-Thames there is a River and Rowing Museum that has an exhibit devoted to The Wind in the Willows.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing –
half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
The book tells the story of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad and their adventures of the riverbank. Beneath the surface, his animal society is used as a vehicle for social comment with the story representing the passing of the old world and coming of the new.
“The river, which plays a central role in the book, is thought to have been inspired largely by the Thames from Cookham to Pangbourne where Grahame lived for much of his life. A permanent exhibition at the Museum uses 3-D models, theatrical lighting and audio guides to recreate the story, while a display in the River Gallery looks at the life of Kenneth Grahame and the development of the book. This display includes a selection of the Museum’s Wind in the Willows collection including a first edition produced by Methuen in 1908.”
The ride is of course influenced by this Children’s Classic. “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a dark ride at Disneyland Park. It is one of the few remaining attractions that was operational on the park’s opening day in 1955.” I need to get back to Disneyland and take a ride again now that I’ve read the book and walked along the River Thames.
I read The Wind in the Willows for the first time in 2008 and that same year Dear and I went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market where I saw and purchased this teapot by Sadler from their Classic Stories series.
I don’t want to totally ignore the fact that this was a River and Rowing Museum so I will show you a couple photos from the larger part of the museum.
Do you like to mess about in boats? I have enjoyed canoeing on a lake and we tried Kayaking which was fun. If I can see the shore I don’t mind being in a boat but I’m not fond of being on water without a shoreline in sight.
While we were in Henley on Thames we had some wonderful walks.
We had several fun encounters with these three ladies as we walked along the banks of the river.
You could really feel the inspiration behind The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. We found the Wind in the Willows museum along this stretch of The River Thames along with a Rowing Museum and I’ll share the photos soon.
“This has been a wonderful day!” said he, as the rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. “Do you know, I’ve never been in a boat in all my life.”
“What?” cried the Rat, open mouthed: “Never been in a – you never-well, I-what have you been doing, then?”
“Is it so nice as all that?” asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leaned back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.
“Nice? It’s the only thing.” said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing.”
The first time I read The Wind in the Willows was as an adult and just a few years ago. If you’ve never read it I would highly recommend it.
In the spirit of the tales in this book I will share the saga of the hotel we stayed in while in Henley-on-Thames in a future post. We only had one night in Henley and we were glad to check out of the hotel but we could have explored the lovely town for another day. Maybe in the future we’ll re-visit with a better choice of lodging.
Hope you all had a nice weekend. We did here at this old house.