Saturday, November 29, 2014

Churches, Castles and Tea Rooms

While the idea of living abroad can sound quite glamorous, in my experience you usually end up in a routine similar to one you'd have at home: going to work (or in my current situation, trying to find work), going out for a meal or to the movies, going for a jog or taking the dog for a walk... it's easy to forget that you should be taking advantage of your new surroundings. Well, this past weekend Ben and I did just that, and took a day trip to Ludlow, a quaint (I feel like I use that word too much when talking about England, but it's just so fitting most of the time) medieval market town in the county of Shropshire.

The adorable streets of Ludlow

As Ludlow is known for its array of culinary delights and fantastic sounding walks in the surrounding area, I've no doubt that we could have easily spent a whole weekend there - but I feel like a day was enough to see the main highlights: 

Climbing to the top of the St Laurence Church

Not only is Ludlow's St Laurence Church the 13th most popular free attraction in the West Midlands, it's also one of just 18 churches given a five-star rating in England's Thousand Greatest Churches by Simon Jenkins. Okay, so maybe its claims to fame aren't that impressive but if you're up to climbing the church's 200 steps (in a very narrow staircase - claustrophobes beware) the rooftop does offer some truly spectacular views of the Shropshire countryside.

Exploring the ruins of Ludlow Castle

Dating back to the 11th century, this castle has aptly been described as the 'very perfection of decay'. It's in tact enough to be able to explore its many rooms but its derelict state still leaves plenty to the imagination. Notable castle tenants include Prince Arthur (brother of Henry VIII) and his bride Catherine of Aragon (whom Henry VIII later married and subsequently executed).

Having afternoon tea at DeGrey's Cafe

It might not have made BuzzFeed's list of 21 charming British tea rooms to visit before you die but DeGrey's still had plenty of old English character. Having tea and scones with clotted cream and jam has definitely become one of my favourite things about living in England.

All in all, it was a lovely day in lovely Ludlow. Not only that, but it reminded me that I need to break out of my routine more often and take advantage of all the churches, castles and tea rooms that England has to offer!

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