I’ve been thinking about what tourists really want. What do I want when I go abroad? A lovely culinary experience, a bit of culture, and most of all some sunshine and sea. I turn my gaze to the typical group I take around the country. They are a bit like me – limited time at their disposal, long list of famous sites to visit and a few items to knock off their cultural list at the end of the day too, plus a spot of shopping to fit in before jumping back on that plane. The visiting list is thus instantly predictable: you haven’t seen London if you haven’t been to Buckingham Palace, seen St Paul’s, been to the Tower of London or shopped on Oxford Street; you haven’t been to England if you haven’t seen Stonehenge, or Bath, or Windsor Castle, or indeed Oxford. There is little wonder that your typical tourist elects to see Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge in one day. This most popular touring route, that I happen to be specializing in, helps you knock three of the most impressive sites England has to offer in one go and clocks you a whooping 300 miles (483 kilometers) in just one day. Most tourists try to top this day off with a famous West End show like Mamma Mia or the Lion King, often forgetting to allow for the fact that so many miles in one day plus the unpredictable motorway traffic at rush hour will exhaust them (and cause them to miss that show).
Far from wanting to paint you a bleak picture, I encourage you to visit all these sites and enjoy them. They are truly beautiful and have much more to offer than the typical tourist has time to experience. In fact, if anything, I urge you to pace yourself and give each site more of your time so they can really unravel their wonders. Spend time in Windsor and get to know the town too, wander into Eton, walk along the Thames, have a coffee in one of the quirky local cafes. When in Bath, wander into the Assembly rooms, stop by Sally Lunn’s, walk along the Crescent and Queen’s Walk, pop into the Fashion Museum and into the Jane Austen Centre. If you allow yourself a little more time, then why not make a day of it and go up the hill to visit Prior Park too? I’ll tell you a secret: the locals fail to properly appreciate these sites for the sheer reason that they are so accessible. If something is on your doorstep then why bother with it now?! It will still be there tomorrow. However, all these sites are there for our enjoyment and deserve your time and attention. Pace yourself and you will enjoy yourself so much more!
And, because I truly and passionately mean my words, I leave you with some photos of these lovely places. I grew up in and used to live in Windsor and miss it – enjoy my view of it. I also took my family to Bath for a long weekend that remains etched in our minds as one of the best outings we’ve had together – aren’t you tempted a little bit by these sights? If you give me the chance I’d love to accompany you and your group on your extended visit to these places and help you discover other famous sites England has to offer. Just get in touch to discuss your visit!