Europe 2013 #1 – UK (Out of London)

Recently, I’ve been away for a considerably long trip to Europe. This trip was filled with food and I think I’ve possibly had the best this world can offer!

I flew by Singapore Airlines with an open jaw ticket to London, coming back from Paris. Overall, it was pretty apparent to me that they’ve been cutting costs somewhere. They even gave King’s ice cream instead of Haagen Dazs which they used to give, and that’s a pretty big disappointment to me. For my meals, I ordered the Non-Carbohydrates meal for fun and honestly, it was pretty bad.

However, on account that the flights are direct, it’s still the right choice of airline.

The first destination was the Stonehenge so I put up at Holiday Inn Salisbury for a night. It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but nothing the navigation system couldn’t find.

Holiday Inn Salisbury

Salisbury, SP4 7SQ

Headed to Salisbury city center to hunt for dinner and some supermarket essentials.

I hadn’t planned any meals for that day so I just picked a place which seems crowded. They were having Steak Night on Thursday at Qudos and this portion of steak, fries and red wine costs about £10.

It isn’t the best but pretty much edible.

Qudos

Castle Street , SP1 1BN Salisbury, Wiltshire

The following morning’s plan was road tripping around England and the first stop was Stonehenge.

There are many car rental companies available at London Heathrow Airport and for my case I used Hertz. I highly recommend getting out of London and going on a road trip because it was very enjoyable to me. London was quite boring in fact, especially to second time visitors like me who isn’t interested in the tourist attractions. I wished my road trip was longer actually!

Try to reach around 9am because it’s much less crowded. The tour groups starts flowing in from 10am.

For those who don’t already know, this was made in 2600BC and was truly amazing because it was no easy feat for man to carry those heavy stones and even piling them up like that in that era.

To get there, you can join a tour group or drive there yourself. The entrance fee is £8 for Adults and if you have a student pass, do bring it for discounts. They won’t really know if it’s valid so if you still look young, you can just take your old student passes along. If heritage sites are your interests, there is an Overseas Visitor Pass valid for 9 days which allows you to visits multiple locations for just £24.00 for 1, £44.00 for 2 or £49.00 per family. This will be worth it if you visit 3 sites or more managed under English Heritage.

Stonehenge

A344, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE, United Kingdom


After Stonehenge, it was time to drive down to Weymouth, a coastal town. It’s summer and it’s pretty packed there. I wasn’t heading for the beach though. If beach is your thing do bring your beach attire.

Lunch was at The Handmade Pie & Ale House in Weymouth.

I liked my Steak & Ale pie and though it isn’t the best pie ever, it’s really not bad. The steak was tender and juicy and the ale in the gravy complements it well.


The Handmade Pie & Ale House

2 Queen Street, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7HZ

After lunch was sightseeing again. I love natural sights like this – vast seas and plains. This was the Jurassic Cove at Dorset, pretty near Weymouth. There are many sites to check out and this is just one of them. At this site, you get to check out the Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.

To access these sights, you would need to walk a bit. The car can be parked in the premises of Durdle Door Holiday Park, and you can walk along the mountain paths while enjoying the view.

Durdle Door Holiday Park

Lulworth Cove, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5PU

It was about 3pm and the next stop was 2 hours’ drive away. For the 2nd night, I chose to stay at Reading simply because it was relatively near to Bray and there were better selection of hotels in Reading than in Bray. If you rent a car, a 20 minutes drive is quite manageable so you don’t have to actually stay really near your destination.

I put up at Hilton Hotel and it was pleasant, but wasn’t exactly fantastic. Parking’s complimentary so that’s good.

Hilton Reading

Drake Way, Reading RG2 0GQ, United Kingdom

For dinner, I planned to have Jamie’s Italian. It’s located at Oracal Mall in Reading. This mall is pretty big and has many international brands.

Italian Spiced Chicken

Spaghetti Vongole

Sausage Pappardelle

The food at Jamie’s Italian were generally better than what I get from most normal Italian places in Singapore and quite a good choice (assuming the Vivocity outlet produces the same standard), but wasn’t out of this world. The pasta here seems like it was handmade and that make their version distinct from other places. It was interesting how the normal clams weren’t used for their vongole.

Jamie’s Italian

Unit 1, Riverside Level, Reading RG1 2AG, United Kingdom

I did a search for breakfast places in Reading and I found this recommendation on Trip Advisor.

Eggs Benedict

English Breakfast

This was probably my only ‘traditional’ breakfast meal for England and it was pretty decent. I know many other food bloggers from Singapore has probably had 31239173 eggs benedict but for me this is my first! To redeem myself, I’ve had eggs florentine, but not eggs benedicts with the english muffin, ham and hollandaise. I would say it’s pretty good, not bad!

Café YOLK

44 Erleigh Rd, Reading, West Berkshire RG1 5JP, United Kingdom

The next stop was Windsor Castle which was about 30 minutes’ drive away. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect and I thought it was just a nice building to look at.  However, I realised it was more than just that and in fact a very popular tourist attraction. The queue for entry was very long when I arrived at 10am and the entrance fee was quite high at  £17.75 for adults ( £16.15 for students). The building itself may look like just any castle, but it’s what’s inside that’s the real attraction. There is the State Apartments, the Drawings Gallery, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and St George’s Chapel to check out, but due to time constraint I only managed to check out the State Apartments (which was beautiful). The recommended time to cover everything is about 2.5hours – 3hours as stated on their website, but I had only about an hour to do finish this before my lunch reservation.

No photography is allowed unfortunately, so I didn’t get to take any pictures of the State Apartments. Most memorable to me was the intricate details of each rooms and paintings, as well as the display of ancient porcelain. There was one particular exhibit of the pineapple porcelain collection which left me in awe.

I highly recommend checking out Windsor Castle if you happen to be in England! I am not sure what else is there in the  Drawings Gallery, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and St George’s Chapel though and may probably head back there one day.

Windsor Castle

Windsor, West Berkshire SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom

What follows is probably the most exciting meal of my life, the reason to fly halfway around the world… Stay tuned!

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