Salisbury, United Kingdom

Day trip to Salisbury//Stonehenge

4/5

I thought to myself, when in the UK, I have to visit Stonehenge! So I did. Even if it’s a tourist attraction, it’s still a must-do. Travelling from Guildford however, was pretty troublesome because I had to change trains twice, once at Woking and once at Basingford.

And because I didn’t click the details of the trains, I was really surprised when I first found out that I had to switch trains! Thankfully though, I didn’t get lost, phew!

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I took the Stonehenge tour bus, because it seemed like the easiest way to get there. My ticket was 27 pounds, and this included admission into Stonehenge (which is already 14 pounds for admission – student price). The bus ticket alone was 14 pounds, thus I thought that it was more worthwhile to get the bus + Stonehenge ticket, and this included the admission to Old Sarum as well! The Old Sarum mainly consists of ruins from the Roman and Iron Ages and admission is 3.50 pounds if I’m not wrong.

I think that on the website it’s not stated clearly enough that the 27 pounds includes admission into Stonehenge (it says admission into the visitor center) and my first reaction was like what? Only the visitor center? Does that mean that I have to buy my tickets there again? But thankfully, my fears were unfounded.

If you’re not on the tour, you’ll have to buy timed tickets (online preferably) and this means that you can only enter at certain timings. However, if you were to take the bus, you can enter anytime, so your schedule is more flexible! A downside is that the bus only comes every hour in springtime; so if you miss one bus, you’ll have to wait another hour for it, so plan carefully!

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I spent about 2.5 hours in Stonehenge, where you can choose to take the free shuttle bus to the stone circle or walk there (20 minutes walk?) I took the bus there and chose to walk back. There was a free audio guide, which was pretty detailed and informative as well as a museum explaining the mythical Stonehenge. I especially liked the “Wish you were here” exhibition where they showcased how Stonehenge has been constantly referenced in our pop culture.

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I met Swathi from India on the bus and we did Stonehenge together! She was taking advantage of the bank holiday to check out Stonehenge and she was telling me about India, its’ language and its’ foods. Not to forget the dancing in Bollywood movies ha ha ha. I think that’s the perks of solo travel, you get to meet new people and stuff!

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Because I missed the 2.43 pm bus at Stonehenge, I had to wait for the 3.43 pm bus and this completely messed up my schedule so I had to hurry along. I couldn’t even get to see Old Sarum properly because I wanted to see Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta before it closed! There was a siege at Old Sarum, which seemed interesting but I didn’t get to hang around much 😦

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And then I did the #yolotravel thing that people always talked about and hitchhiked! The church was going to close at 5, and the bus was only going to come at 5, so there was no way I was gonna make it so I took a leap of faith and randomly asked this elderly man who seemed to be heading to the carpark and I scored on the first try!! Yay!!!

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

He dropped me off at the edge of the city, and from there it wasn’t too far a walk to the Cathedral and I managed to stop by the Parish church of St Peters and St Edmund, famous for its’ medieval doom painting before going to the cathedral!

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There’s currently a Magna Carta exhibition where it’s celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. There are only 4 original copies in the world, and the one at Salisbury Cathedral is the most well preserved one where all the words and the parchment are still intact!

Before researching, I thought that Magna Carta was some Christian thing, because it sounded very you know Jay Z and Kanye West, like it was what they would name their songs or albums. But the Magna Carta is actually a constitutional document, which states that everyone is subject to the law, including the king, and no one is above the law. Thus, it is the foundation of democracy in England and is an international symbol of liberty today. I think travelling definitely broadens my general knowledge.

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At first I thought I needed a timed entry ticket to enter, but the assistant told me that that was only for busy periods, and usually you can just walk in. And the church/exhibition closes at 5.30pm not 5pm! So I kind of rushed for nothing, but still, hitchhiking is a cool story to bring home.

I didn’t get to walk around The Close because by the time I got out, it started raining already, but I think 1 full day would be enough for a leisurely stroll around Salisbury//Stonehenge.

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United Kingdom, York

Day Trip to York

2 May 2015

I think York has to be one of the most interesting cities I’ve visited so far! I really liked how there were so many museums to visit, and how the city was so compact, everything could be easily covered via foot.

I only had about 6 hours to explore the city, but I think you could easily spend 2 days in York if you wish! The actual bus journey from Manchester to York was only 2 hours! However, I had to change buses at Leeds, and wait in between for an hour that’s why buses take longer than trains – but I didn’t have a choice because the buses were so much cheaper than the trains!

I felt very accomplished, considering I only had half a day because I visited the National Railway Museum (free!), walked along the city walls, visited the Museum Gardens, York Minster, had lunch at Betty’s Tea Rooms, walked through the Shambles district and visited the York Castle Museum! Not too bad for half a day innit.

Of course I would have loved to spend longer at each museum, and spend more time at the exhibits. Unfortunately, I had to rush through them due to limited time. I would have also liked to visit the Yorkshire Museum (they have a Richard III man or myth exhibition!!) and the Jorvik museum about vikings.

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I liked the National Railway Museum for it’s vintage feel, it’s as though you stepped back in time. And even though I’m not a train fanatic, it was interesting to read about all the different trains! Not only do they have royal carriages, and old British trains, but they have the Japanese bullet train as well as other locomotives and steam engines. And it’s super accessible as it’s near the Railway Station itself!

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I thought that the York Minster was really unique and special because it’s just not any ordinary church. It felt more like a museum than a church. Of course, this came with a high entry fee of 10 pounds (9 pounds for students). If you wanted to go up to the tower, it would have been 14 quid. However, not only do you get to see the cathedral, you get to visit the undercroft (which is this huge big underground interactive museum essentially, that explains the history of the York Minster!), as well as learn about stained glass and sculpturing. There’s also an orb showcasing medieval art. So I thought that you got to see a lot of things just by visiting the York Minster! They have really informative write-ups about each section, so I really liked that. It was different from the other churches that I visited.

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This was Sarah’s recommendation! Afternoon tea is such a quintessential English thing, I had to do it. What’s more, I love scones, clotted cream and jam, so it was pretty good, albeit pricey. My set was like 11 quid, which is like 22 sgd for 2 scones and a cup of tea ha ha ha. The whole ambience of the place was really quaint and fancy though!!

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These were taken at the York Castle Museum! I really liked this museum, because it isn’t as much of history as it is of day-to-day Victorian living. I think the York Museums are really wonderfully done and I would recommend it (5 quid for students, 6 quids for both York Castle and Yorkshire Museum). They talk of the common social history, and they decorated the museum to be just like how it was like in the olden days, so it was more of an immersive experience rather than picture-writeup picture-writeup. Sometimes, I could imagine how Tess of the D’urbervilles was living like in those days, so it was really cool! Alas, I couldn’t spend much time here because I had to rush back to catch my bus but I think i could have easily spent 2-3 hours here if I wanted!

They have different sections, like the Victorian living room, how births and death are regarded, dressing of the Victorian age, what jobs were common in that period, so I thought it was really interesting.

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Also, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I realized that Amos was in Manchester as well, and we decided to meet up for an impromptu dinner at this Indian place called Mylahore, where they served really good Indian food. I think i’m having too much asian food deprivation. The portions were way too big for us though, and we couldn’t finish, so I would suggest sharing. But I always love serendipitous moments like this, and we had really good conversations and dinner so yay for social media.

You can tell that I really love York from my pictures, and I think that everyone should seriously consider a day trip there! Such a lovely place 🙂

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