Saturday, 21 June 2014

Kew Gardens: London

Our final day in London was cool, but sunny and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Kew Gardens via London Underground.  I can't say enough good about Kew so if you want to "do the tour" via Wikipedia, here is a link:,_Kew

I enjoyed revisiting the gardens via this link.  I loved this sculpture, entitled "The Sower".  Other highlights of Kew for me were the Waterlily House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory.  It was a fine way to end our Spring Garden Tour of England, 2014.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Constable Walk: Manningtree to Dedham

One of our very favourite days in England, and nearing the end of our time in Essex, was the day we walked from Manningtree Train Station to Flatford and Dedham.  We were a bit concerned about getting there because we had to "look for the trail" from the train as it passed through Manningtree on its way from Colchester to Ipswich.  We'd been down this rail twice.  Guide books kept indicating that having a car was necessary.  We didn't believe it!  When we arrived at Manningtree Station, we walked out of the train station and immediately saw a sign for Flatford.  It was a beautiful day and a very fine 4 km walk to Flatford, mostly following the Stour River.  
We loved the NT site at Flatford and it also housed a very nice wildlife garden and since one of our main reasons for spending 3 weeks in England was to look at gardens, it was very fitting.  I wish we had discovered this place a little earlier in our journey because there were plenty of public footpaths to follow in the area.  It is true that the place where John Constable painted "The Haywain" is very much unchanged.

From Flatford, we carried on to the village of Dedham, famous for its creamed teas.  The route was over pastoral countryside and we were accompanied by lots of cattle.  The creamed tea (tea with scones and clotted cream and jam) was a perfect fix for our two hour walk back to Manningtree Station.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Colchester: Britain's Oldest Recorded Town

This is the site of the Balkerne Gate, built by the Romans around 49 AD.  I believe that the original gate was razed by that sassy Bodacia, Queen of the Britons.  However, there is still a really old looking arch here, and the Romans built a lot of walls in the city of Colchester.  I did really feel, often, that I was in an "old" town.  Near this gate, is the old Victorian water tower, used by the city of Colchester until the 1980s.  
We really enjoyed walking in this town and it was a bit ironic that the old Colchester Castle was about to reopen on the day we were returning to Canada.  The public gardens at the Castle were "formal" but the tulips were lovely, and we wandered through old cemeteries and new playgrounds.  A good place to visit.