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Harry Potter and the magic roundabout

UNITED KINGDOM | Saturday, 29 September 2007 | Views [3839]

A view of Stone Henge with no tourists!

A view of Stone Henge with no tourists!

If you are a Kiwi travelling to the UK, it is seriously worth signing up to the NZ Historic Places trust before you go (www.historic.org.nz). For around $50 for a family membership it will get you into all the National Trust (NT) places (and some of the English Heritage (EH) sites if you smile sweetly) in the UK. With the Kiwi-Sterling exchange rate being what it is, chances are it will have paid for itself after one day qnd you'll be getting into stuff for free before you know it!

For us it paid for itself with our trip to Stonehenge (technically EH but the lady on the gate took pity on us). Apart from being full of tourists, the audio tour dragged on a little too long and the light was rubbish for taking photos (if you could get an angle without tourists in it). But we ticked the 'seen it box' nevertheless.

Our next stop was Swindon to stay with my Aunt Pauline and cousins Anne and Sean. Appropriately named the city of roundabouts, the local roading engineers seem either obsessed with them, or just never discovered traffic lights. However, it was fast approaching rush hour in central Swindon when we unexpectedly stumbled upon the legendary 'Magic' roundabout. Five small outer roundabouts centred on a single counter-rotating inner roundabout... surprisingly coordinated madness! After much furious indicating, cursing and gesticulation, we somehow survived to tell the tale without compromising the bodywork of our little French roller skate.

The next day, after a good night's sleep and a feed of Aunty Pauline's famous Chinese Chicken, we set off for Oxford. There we had a guided tour lined up from Charles, the oldest child from the family that we were working for on the IOW, and his girlfriend Freddie who are studying there at Worcester College. Worcester was 'wow' with its private cricket pitch and huge gounds, while Christ Church College took things to a whole different level with MASSIVE grounds, its own cathedral and the enormous Great Hall, where they filmed Harry Potter. It certainly put the little chapel and grounds at College House, where Catherine and I went at Canterbury in perspective. 

Tags: Adventures


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