SKIP­PING TOWN

CAS­TLES, MANOR HOUSES AND HARRY POT­TER

Style Magazine - - Travel - BY JEFF BROWN

In Septem­ber we spent three weeks in the UK vis­it­ing fam­ily — a few days in Lon­don, Wales and Royal Woot­ton Bas­sett, be­fore head­ing off to south­ern Ger­many for two weeks.

Not far south of Royal Woot­ton Bas­sett, is one of our favourite vil­lages — Ave­bury — with its an­cient stone cir­cle con­nected to Stone­henge (not far away), a clas­sic English coun­try pub called the Red Lion, and a re­cently re­fur­bished Tu­dor manor house that was fea­tured in a doc­u­men­tary hosted by Pene­lope Keith (To the Manor Born).

This was high on our must–see list; a Tu­dor manor house where you are ac­tu­ally en­cour­aged to lie on the four–poster bed, dress in Tu­dor out­fits, and sit on the oak chairs.

We also dis­cov­ered La­cock (an­other fas­ci­nat­ing me­dieval vil­lage) nearby.

It too has a manor house, crooked–walled pubs, half–tim­bered houses...and thou­sands of tourists.

La­cock’s church fea­tured in a Harry Pot­ter film and the vil­lage cen­tre (owned by the Na­tional Trust) was used as a set for Pride and Prej­u­dice and Down­ton Abbey.

On the day we first vis­ited La­cock, signs ad­ver­tised that film­ing for the Down­ton Abbey movie would be hap­pen­ing the fol­low­ing week.

We made sure to be back for that, join­ing in with the like–minded, cam­era–wield­ing throng.

I man­aged to ‘pho­to­bomb’ a snap taken by the Daily Mail of Lady Mary Craw­ley (Michelle Dock­ery) as she was wait­ing for her scene and, all I can say, is that film–mak­ing is a tir­ing busi­ness.

Our favourite dis­cov­ery in Ger­many was Füssen, a me­dieval vil­lage right on Bavaria’s south­ern bor­der with Aus­tria.

We ar­rived late on a driz­zly af­ter­noon, and didn’t get to see the Alps un­til the next day when the clouds cleared and showed the high peaks tow­er­ing over us with a fresh layer of snow.

Un­der a bril­liant blue sky, we toured the enig­matic Neuschwanstein Cas­tle — the fairy­tale in­spi­ra­tion for Dis­ney’s cre­ation.

The views from the cas­tle are ab­so­lutely stun­ning, with Alpsee Lake shim­mer­ing in shades of teal and aqua.

Climb­ing fur­ther up the moun­tain over­look­ing Neuschwanstein, we crossed a 90–me­tre–deep gorge on Mar­ion’s Bridge.

All this was like be­ing in a fairy­tale and it makes you hun­gry to ex­pe­ri­ence more.

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