CASTLES, MANOR HOUSES AND HARRY POTTER
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.