We will travel again!
As the world stands still, waiting for this storm to pass over, I am reminiscing good times, as many others are, when we all travelled across the length and breadth of the world. When we return to a new normality, we may not have the luxury of flying off to far away destinations, rather we should take this opportunity to explore places locally. Indeed there are so many places within England that it probably will take a lifetime to visit each one of them!
One such visit that I am looking back at, was our trip to the beautiful county of Warwickshire in West Midlands. It was one of discovery, history, delight and of awe. Planning for this weekend trip was done at a short notice. Few clicks on various comparison sites and we zeroed in on a beautiful 16th century converted farmhouse hotel in Kenilworth to spend a couple of nights.
“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Like Milo and his faithful companions in the Phantom Tollbooth, we too enjoyed our car journey. On a crisp sunny morning in August, we drove through a stretch of 123 miles from southeast to the west of England. England is blessed with such beautiful landscape, with rolling hills and meadows covered in flowering trees or greens, that your journey will never seem arduous. Or so it was for us, as we devoured each scenery that passed by us! Oh yes, nearly forgot, a common interest ( very important!) in music will help a lot, for moments when you do not have any words to speak.We had a pit stop, at one of the many motorway services, to refresh ourselves with a much needed loo break and coffee!
Our first destination was a historical landmark - Hatton Locks in Hatton, Warwickshire.Also known as 'Stairway to Heaven'
An amazing feat of old British Engineering, Hatton Locks are a flight of 21 locks on the Grand Union canal which stretches for about 2miles and has a total rise of 145m. We marvelled at this beautiful structure that was opened in 1799 and it was widened in the 1930s.This was once a busy canal route with boats ferrying coal, sugar, tea and spices.It was a vital trade link in a chain of waterways connecting London with the Midlands. It still is, very much in use and functional, albeit for recreational purposes. You can hire boats for your entire holiday or for a day trip.If you've never seen how these locks operate, you will be as amazed to see them in action, as we were. It was an impressive sight to watch two boats raised up by altering the level of water in the canal by locking the gates. The boats enter the lock when it is nearly empty, it is then filled up and then they cruise out of the other end! This way canals can go up over hills!
We hadn't planned on a boat trip, hence we spent time appreciating the surroundings. The weather was bright, sunny and the classic English pub - Hatton Arms was quite inviting, well located, overlooking the locks. The pub was quite busy with weekenders, holiday makers. The menu looked impressive with usual pub grub to fish & chips and roasts. As we had our homemade sandwiches packed with us, we bought couple of drinks and enjoyed a little picnic on the grassy grounds outside.
We then went down the Hatton walks, which is a circular route that takes you along the canal and then into the countryside and woodlands. It goes alongside all 21 locks. We enjoyed our walk and the wild flora and fauna around it. You will need a lot of drinking water esp. if its a hot summer's day and good walking shoes. En route we came across old world farm buildings, local residents out dog walking , lots of wild ducks, moorhens and swans. There were other wild life which unfortunately I am not too familiar with! You can go cycling along the route too, if you are a cycling enthusiast.There are kids friendly activities organised by canal river trust.
We returned slightly exhausted but with all our senses fully satisfied and popped into this lovely, homely cafe - Hatton Locks Cafe. At the end of our walk we were hungry and decided to go for the special afternoon tea which included homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and tea. We sat out doors and enjoyed tea and scones watching the colourful narrow boats as they moved through the canal. Such a peaceful location and what a nice way to wrap up the day!
And so our jouney continues...I'll be back with our next story of this trip! Until then stay safe, read our blogs, take care and keep healthy!