As I mentioned below, the main purpose of this trip was to take advantage of our English Heritage membership. As I also mentioned below, we made a stop at one non-English Heritage site along the way because it's one of the most famous castles in England and was pretty much in our direct route anyway. What we did not know is that Warwick Castle charges a hefty 17.50 GBP per person! Plus 3.00 for parking! Holy crap. Even Windsor and Buckingham only cost 14.50. Even though it was pretty cool, it was most definitely not worth the thirty-eight quid we forked over. Anyhoo, here are some photos around the castle grounds...
The main tower
The Victorian boathouse
And another expense, a few quid for two packets of Quavers and a bottle of water. At least I was able to enjoy my delicious snack food in the splendor of the rose garden.
By the river...
Next stop, Kenilworth Castle ruins. The original keep dates back to the early 1100's and Queen Elizabeth I visited here several times during her reign in the mid and late 1500's.
The last stop of the day was Ironbridge Gorge. This is the first iron bridge in the world and was built in 1779.
Day two begins with the road of death. Yes, this road is two-way. And yes, we met more than a few cars coming straight at us. Terror reigns supreme.
However, the road of death is actually lovely when it affords you views of the autumn leaves.
Despite traversing the road of death for many miles, we finally made it to Stokesay Castle. It was built in the 13th century and the one of the coolest things was that, in one room, you could still see red paint in a decorative pattern on the walls. It was around the top, kind of like how people use wallpaper borders now.
Next up were the amazing gardens and remains of Witley House. It was built in the Victorian era but was destroyed by a fire that started in the ballroom in 1937. Since it was too costly to restore, the owners stripped it of its surviving fixtures and abandoned it.
Last on the agenda, the remains of Longtown Castle. And surprise! Croeso i Gymru! (meaning: Welcome to Wales) We didn't realize we were going to but we crossed over the Welsh border. I could kick myself for not going back to take a photo of the border sign.
Even though it was a bit hazy and cloudy, the views of the Black Mountains were amazing.
Look honey! I climbed up the wall of this 800-year-old ruined castle I found! All by myself!
Even though I didn't get a photo of the Welsh border sign, I managed to take this blurry one of a road sign on English and Welsh.
Crossing back into England via the bridge in Newport
Jason's ingenious cookie dispensing contraption for the ride home. That's the arm of the driver's seat which opens up and, coincidentally (or not), is the perfect size for holding a sleeve of chocolatey-chippy goodness.