We’re leaving on Sunday to explore England for 8 days. If you’ve been reading the site for awhile, you’ll know that we take a yearly research trip; usually around February. This year we’re splitting our trip into two parts – southwest England and then London.
These research trips are very important for Anglotopia, they give us an opportunity to research articles for the next year, see latest exhibitions and report on the latest happenings, take pictures for our calendars and enjoy England the way we like to. Our little Anglotopettes are not coming with us, they’ll be well cared for by family (and they are excited for us to leave because they love it when this particular family member comes to stay!). We couldn’t travel like this without her help and we’re very grateful to have it. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll all go as a family in December, our first time traveling as a family since 2013.
Last year, we visited London to take a special Hidden London tour of the abandoned Tube Station Aldwych (which we wrote about in the magazine). We loved the tour so much, we watched out for the next release of Hidden London Tours and when they were announced, we quickly booked a tour of Down Street Tube Station; famous as a bunker for Britain’s wartime government. Our tickets were for February, so it fit into our plans for our yearly research trip.
Last summer, I approached British Airways about doing a feature for the magazine about BA’s heritage and history, as well as the current in-flight experience and they kindly jumped on board (no pun intended); offering us our tickets for the trip (in Club World no less). We’re very grateful to BA for this opportunity and we can’t wait to take off on Sunday. We’ve always flown BA from Chicago to London and we always have a great experience. Stepping onto their plane at O’Hare’s International Terminal is routine for us and we can’t wait to do it again.
So, the big question is, where are we going?
We’re spending the first half of our trip staying at Updown Cottage in Dorset, our most favorite place in England. It will be a quiet week pretending to be locals; with us exploring corners of Dorset we haven’t had a chance to see yet. We’re looking forward to hardy pub lunches, teas and cakes at National Trust properties and walks in the surprisingly warm winter weather (must pack the wellies!). We’ll have a hire car and be able to cover a lot of ground, I love driving in England so I can’t wait to pick up the rental car. We also want to explore some of the smaller cities in the Southwest – number one on our itinerary is Winchester. It’s been voted not only the top place to visit in Britain but also one of the best places to live – so we think it’s worth checking out. We really wanted to go North again, but time is short (we don’t want to leave the kids longer than a week) and the weather in the winter up north isn’t as favorable. We have something big planned to be able to explore Northern England, stay tuned!
After our time in Dorset, we’ll head into London for the last half of the trip. We’ll be doing the aforementioned abandoned Tube Tour but also visiting some of our old haunts, testing the latest London phone apps (including the taxi ones), popping out to Greenwich, visiting friends and checking out the latest happenings in London. We’re staying at Hazlitt’s Hotel in London and their sister property Batty Langleys as their guests – we can’t wait to share our experiences at these hotels are – keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram. We will also review them! We also plan to do a bit of shopping – the pound/dollar exchange rate is very favorable right now, so things we normally wouldn’t be able to buy are now affordable. I’m also planning to relieve Foyle’s in Charing Cross of as many books as I can cram into my baggage.
I have quite a few feature articles on my list to research, so while we’ll be traveling, there is much work ahead for us. But it is not work when you’re doing what you love every day. We can’t wait to share it all with you.
P.S. For those wondering where your copy of Issue #5 of the Anglotopia Magazine is, it’s being printed now – as are the 2016 Omnibuses. We wanted to have them done and shipped before we left, but production delays prevented that. They’ll be ready for us to ship as soon as we get back. The Great Gardens special has been delayed to late March. Don’t worry – everything will be shipping soon! If you haven’t reserved Issue #5 yet – please do so now as we have ordered limited copies.