Having arrived back from Europe the previous afternoon, we now looked forward to a slightly more leisurely tour of Great Britain. We made an early start from the hotel and managed to successfully navigate the London underground to the car rental agency. After having sorted out a few formalities, we were on our way! Thanks to Peter's fine map reading skills, we made a quick exit from London and were soon circling on the M25... fortunately, the rush hour traffic was travelling the opposite direction!
First stop was Cambridge, where strolled through the streets admiring the various University colleges. After a lunch stop along the way, a next destination was the medieval town of Lincoln.
Lincoln: 4 June 2001
The main attraction in Lincoln was the Cathedral, parts of which date back to about 1250. The scale of the building is awe inspiring - probably even more so, when the date of construction is considered! A minor curiosity within the church is the Lincoln Imp - a small stone carving above one of the pillars. Legend attributes the imp to builders who turned a troublesome evil spirit to stone!
The town also features an ancient Roman arch, which would have formed part of the city walls.
We spent the night at a farmhouse bed and breakfast near the small village of Redmile. After the hustle and bustle of all the major cities that we had visited, it was great to relax in a country setting...
York: 5 June 2001
After a full English breakfast, we set out on our journey to York. At Deon's request, we travelled via the Sherwood Forest (yes, that of Robin Hood fame) and it was certainly worth the minor detour. The forest features many walks - something we did not have time for this trip, but certainly will consider doing at a later stage.
York still stands out as one of the best towns visited. Not only is the town tourist friendly and interesting, it is also great fun to expore! The centre of the town is pedestrian only, and each interesection has convenient signs pointing in the direction of all the major attractions.
Our first call in was the York Minster (completed 1472). Another fine example of the Gothic style, the Minster is also impressive in terms of its sheer size. It also features excellent medieval stained glass, and the Great East Window contains the world's largest area of medieval stained glass in a single window.
A browse through the Shambles and surrounding streets was another highlight. The Shamble's is a narrow medieval street with well preserved half-timbered houses that lean toward each other over the street. The shops were a delight, selling everything from clothes to hand crafts, leather, wool products, food, etc...
Other highlights included a visit to Clifford's Tower (a stone fortification dating back to 1270) and a walk along a portion of the historic town walls.
We may have ended the day tired and with sore feet, but it was worth every step - if you have not already been, a visit to York is highly recommended!