Quaint Villages in the Countryside

When visiting a foreign country it is always tempting to go to the big city and hit up all the famous tourist attractions, however, I suggest taking the time to explore the rural country side and get a feel for the true culture, not just the tourist catered attractions. In England there are many quaint towns outside of London.

Bath is an especially beautiful town with a great history. Less than 2000 years ago, taking a bath was a luxury. Bath is home to a large Roman Bath House made for emperors. It is a natural hot spring that has been guided into three specific pools. The water is graciously warm for the rainy, windy weather in the United Kingdom, at roughly 95 degrees Celsius.

roman bath

Aside from the bath, there are many other scenic and beautiful place in Bath. My absolute favorite place in is Prior Park. This was once the large estate of Ralph Allen, a very wealthy man who owned a majority of Bath. This park is beautiful and very well maintained and it is now owned by the National Trust. The small dirt path that runs in a circle around the park gives a sense of adventure and goes by a picturesque lake with swans, goose, and a nice tea shed.

prior park

Tea houses dot the entire town. Afternoon tea is very popular in England so many stores serve tea with sweet pastries. I took my first real sip of tea in Sally Lunn. Unfortunately I am not a very big fan of the taste of tea but I did love the pastries (which were cinnamon buns; they taste much like an American cinnamon roll). Many small towns in England also have fresh food markets. Cotswold has many farmers markets selling a wide range of items from fresh fruit to paintings.

In addition to visiting the towns themselves, the drives to each city are worth experiencing. For any American reader, you will find the roads are extremely narrow and everyone drives on the wrong side of the road. Roundabouts are also quite common on highways. The fields on the sides of highways are home to numerous sheep and other animals like pigs, cows, and horses. Overall, the landscape is quite hilly; personally I think driving in the streets feels like a roller coaster. In addition, this landscape gives a great view of the entire town before you get to it.

rural sheep steep road

Overall, I really appreciate the rural districts tend and feel that they hold a lot more of the true culture than a few tourist attractions may in the heart of the main city. Next time you visit with the countryside!

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