What do you get when you combine a mini-bus, 7 adults, 7 kids, a white horse and a Mad Max driver? Not Mel Gibson or Tina Turner. We were lucky enough to find out during our day tour on Saturday, June 28th, 2014.
Our gang of 13 all meandered into the centre of Bath for an 8.30am pick-up outside the magnificent Abbey Hotel, North Parade, Bath. Tim, our Mad Max Tour guide and driver, was lovely. As a local resident and a retired fireman, he drove tours twice a week. Tim had lived in Bath for his whole life and provided a fascinating commentary as he expertly drove us around the countryside. He knew all those little tid-bits of interesting information that only a local can know!
We had the whole mini-bus to ourselves so our day tour had a truly wonderful personal quality. AND the kids were well behaved (most of the time!)
Our first stop was Stonehenge. The drive from Bath took about an hour. It seemed to whizz by much more quickly than that though, as picture postcard views of England’s green and pleasant lands rolled by. We all snapped merrily away on our cameras and iPads.
To reach the actual site of the stone monument, there is a little tourist train that takes you out there from the main visitor centre. We arrived at the stones as it started to rain so fumbled with our umbrellas. John’s broke so thankfully I had my trusty pink umbrella with me. (More pink umbrella stories to come…!)
We didn’t stay for too long at the actual monument, thanks to the rain, and spent more time back in the visitor centre shop and cafe. Our next stop, which was another half hour drive away, was Avebury. This is a very picturesque, pretty little village and we took lots of great photos here, too, which captured the quaint, English feel of the place. While the boys all wandered up to have a look at the Avebury stones, the girls enjoyed browsing through the adorable little shops dotted along the main street.
Our next scheduled stop was Lacock, which I have devoted an entire blog post to! #ILoveLacock. On the way to Lacock, however, we did make a noteworthy stop. This stop, epitomised the care taken and personal, memorable quality of this tour. Tim had brought along a bag of apples. There was an actual white horse in a paddock at a spot where, off in the distance, there was a white chalk horse carved into the hillside. The kids all had an absolute BALL getting a turn each at feeding the very grateful four-legged friend.
You can just see the white chalk carved horse on the hill in the distance 🙂 Photos by Esther Colavecchio
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better than it had so far, we arrived in Castle Combe. This stunning yet quiet, unassuming little village at the southern end of the famous Cotswolds, was a delight to visit. I was, personally, still a bit euphoric after the visit to Lacock, yet arriving in this picture postcard slice of England was another piece of heaven! There was a darling little stream running under the bridge at the bottom of town. The day was drawing in and despite it being technically in the middle of summer, it started to spit with rain and we used that as an excuse to duck into some adorable and tiny doorways for shelter and a giggle as we tried to escape the rain.
After a magnificent day, we all headed back (tiredly but happily) to our accommodation in Bath. I’d spoken, whilst in Castle Combe, on the phone to some long-time friends of my parents who live near Bristol, just outside of Bath. We arranged to meet up for a drink and it was so wonderful to catch up with the lovely Ray and Estelle. My Dad went to school with Ray, many years ago, when they lived in Australia. They are warm and wonderful people. They did extend the invitation to John, myself and the boys to come and see them if ever we are in England again! I would love to do JUST that one day. …!