10 April 2017

TRAVEL | London, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick, oh my!

Last month, I got the amazing chance to explore London, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Warwick Castle with my friends and classmates. It was a school, English-focused weekend trip; English is my all-time favourite subject, so a trip dedicated to Shakespeare was the dream getaway...

It all began at four in the morning in Dublin Airport. Tired, but ecstatic for the trip ahead, we boarded our flight to Stansted. Upon arrival, we were driven to a nice Travelodge outside central London. We left our bags to head to the heart of the city.

Our first stop was at the Natural History Museum. Inside, we explored many exhibitions, having a laugh while playing interactive games and going through the famous spinning globe on the escalator. Afterwards, we all ‘tubed’ to Oxford Street for some shopping, at Victoria’s Secret PINK in particular. I picked up a pair of super cosy lace-up boyfriend tracksuit bottoms; I’ve been living in them these past few weeks!

While casually roaming London, I spotted a particular police box. I’m quite the Doctor Who fan, so a photo with the T.A.R.D.I.S. was obligatory - even if it was just meant to be a police box (surely not).

Following a wonderful meal at Pizza Express in Chinatown, we attended the West End show ‘Jersey Boys’ in Piccadilly Theatre - a-ma-zing. Based on the lives of the 60’s rock and roll group The Four Seasons, ‘Jersey Boys’ was a feel-good, energetic show; we all found ourselves singing and tapping our feet along to ‘Oh What a Night’ and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’. The production, props and set movement were very impressive, and we all walked out of the theatre praising the performance. I’m a sucker for musicals, and to say ‘Jersey Boys’ was one of the best I’ve ever seen is quite the statement.

It was a rainy morning the next day at Shakespeare’s Globe. We were given a tour of the famous theatre, learning the ins and outs of acting life in the Globe from actors in the Royal Shakespeare Company. I found the theatre’s decorative backdrop beautiful. We all returned inside for a ‘King Lear’ workshop. As we are all studying the tragedy for the Leaving Cert, this acting workshop was very beneficial, but also entertaining. I gained valuable insight into how one could act and stage the significant ‘Love Test’ scene. An acting workshop - that’s how you get me buzzed for the day.

We had the option to return to Oxford Street for a bit before visiting Camden Market, which I chose with my friends for more valuable shopping time. I gave in to the sales at PINK and bought a nice, simple blue hoodie. We then tubed to Camden Market, an adorable area of quirky buildings and random stalls. Full of colour, music and life, the market was a place I had never been to before but would love to go to again. I tried a delicious Oreo brownie whilst there, and my friends were kind enough to snap my OOTD.


That night, after dinner at Bella Italia, we went on a Ghost Bus Tour of the city. I was really interested in the stories of horrible historic deaths and Jack the Ripper. There was a funny storyline throughout the journey involving a certain Mr. Hinge, who sat with us and gave me a good few frights, espeically during the hilariously staged seance. I frightened him in return as I fangirled hysterically over the Sherlock filming location we passed (the building Benedict jumped off in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’!!). A funny end to our second night.

The most London-y photo... at M&M's World!!
On our third morning, we packed our bags to head to Warwick, near Stratford-Upon-Avon, to visit Warwick Castle. We had a lovely sunny day free for exploring the medieval castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, the site is now a fun tourist attraction. With the girls, I got to walk along the stunning grounds and gardens. We climbed a hill to see the castle from high up, and took a selfie, of course.

Inside the castle, rooms were recreated and refurbished beautifully to depict the lives of the previous generations of the castle. I love history, and looking at the gorgeous decor made me feel like I was being transported back through time, having dinner with Henry the Eighth or working as a servant in the 1800’s - I’m talking ‘Downton Abbey’ vibes here!

The highlight of the day was certainly the Castle Dungeons. It was not for the faint-hearted; while I had a laugh, there were, I can safely say, times that I really did jump out of my skin, especially throughout that finale! I was gripping onto poor Sarah’s arm, clenching my teeth. I was well aware it was all fun and games, but I’m just not so good with jump scares, clearly!

That night, after settling into our lovely B&B Quilts and Croissants, we all dressed up in our best outfits for an evening performance of ‘Snow in Midsummer’ at Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon. I wore my black culottes with my green bell-bottom sleeves and Ted Baker jewellery. It was so much fun dressing up, and I was looking forward to the performance.

We had no idea what to expect from this show; most of us didn’t even look up the plot. We were surprised at the start by techno dancing, while a very dramatic storyline unfolded, emphasised by impressive, sometimes scary special effects. We came out of the theatre quite dumbfounded by the plot-twists, and I thought the acting was superb. Our final night of the trip was certainly not a disappointment, especially when we found out the star from the show, Katie Leung, played Cho Chang in ‘Harry Potter’!

The fourth and last day of the trip had arrived, and we could not believe how quick the trip had flown by. We spent our final hours touring Stratford-Upon-Avon, visiting many significant places like William Shakespeare’s birthplace, his daughter’s home Hall’s Croft, and Trinity Church, where Shakespeare’s grave is. Learning more about the incredible playwright and poet was very interesting. I was enthralled to hear an actor recite Edmund’s monologue from ‘King Lear’, right in the building where Shakespeare grew up. I have to say, my appreciation for Shakespeare and his literary work grew immensely. Since he is a literary hero that is so idolised, it was refreshing to see his childhood home, and learn of his ordinary life prior to his writing days.

“As to the legitimate: fine word,--legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for b**tards!” - Edmund, 'King Lear'

This trip was probably one of my favourites ever; I got to learn more about Shakespeare, saw two theatre shows, explored a medieval castle and the city of London, and shopped - that’s four days well spent in my eyes.

Have you ever been to London, Stratford-Upon-Avon or Warwick Castle?


  1. Nice post! I went to see Jersey Boys last year when I was in London and I loved it. I want to see it again when it comes back to Dublin, it is one of my favourite musicals.

    1. Yeah it is amazing! I'd love to see it again, and thank you <3


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