At Marylebone station, just after coffee and breakfast at Patisserie Valerie, we board the train on platform B, heading towards Birmingham.
At around 11.13, we change platforms at Dorrige for the London midland train to Stratford Upon Avon. A very convenient train ride I thought, seeing as it bought my sister and I quality time to catch up and gossip about everything.
Moments like that can be very difficult to achieve with this crazy general addiction to phones, gadgets, tv and a very busy life we all have. We FaceTime her kids and I end up speaking briefly to my cute niece, nephew and my mum not without noticing the imp seated opposite me who wouldn't leave me any leg room and thought he would spread his legs and intimidate me to coil into terror on my seat. I stamped his feet and said sorry.
Arrived SUA at approximately 11.40. Wandered around the old town and explored the vintage shops. We bought books from the Blue Cross charity store.
I got travel books and my sister got my niece, more books!! We head to Shakespeare's birthplace on Henley street where we had a deserving tour of the world's greatest literary icon's home and family heritage.
What a beautiful experience and an honor to visit William Shakespeare's home. A legend whose works I buried my brain deep and endlessly for years studying and trying to figure it all whilst in university.
We do the entire home and galleries. It was absolutely rewarding and refreshing.
We head to a restaurant in the old town square area for light lunch. I had a lentil and carrot soup served with some bread and some peppermint tea. My sister had chicken and chips and a cappuccino. Don't ask me about the combination of flavors stemming from my meal. We walked to the well renowned butterfly farm taking in the breathtaking scenic views of the town and lakes. Again, such a fascinating experience of the butterflies filled with nature, colours, and beauty in its finest.
I must add it was very warm in the flight area but it was bloody worth it. Loved every moment of the fame. Is it Sod's Law or could I tag it as the highlight of my day when a butterfly decided to clasp onto my jeans for nearly 10 minutes and wouldn't fly away even after gently nudging it. Oh wow! It felt wonderful. I was loved by this butterfly.
We then head to the Grosvernor Hotel just around 0.4 miles from the farm for Bubbly Afternoon Tea. It was prebooked weeks ago in anticipation of my sister's visit. Looked forward to it. Anyway we tried teas we had never had before.
We went for the Royal bouquet, a caffeine free tea with lots of rich fruity flavors which is meant to be enriching and nourishing, 2 glasses of prosecco, (thank you very much!), scones, some fine hand-cut sandwiches and all sorts of sweet treats that we barely touched. It was great! No it wasn't. Not only had my sister and I gone into this monstrous argument where we were (regrettably, I must add) raising our voices to an extent that the staff approached us to ask if everything was ok but the hotel was actual shit.
There was a wedding happening as well so it was a little chaotic. Definitely not my class nor style. Seemed very dull and disorganized. The tables were all untidy which put me off already. The staff weren't so friendly and I just got bored. There was no ambience whatsoever. If it's not Claridges, Harrods, Ritz and other top class high tea rooms in that category, never again will I sit in a low class hotel to have tea. I may as well drink fine tea in the ambience of my own home. But I had to use the tea voucher as it had been gifted and I activated the voucher months ago which then left me with a redeemable expiry bracket.
Stuffed and in need for air after two pots of tea and two glasses of prosecco, we head out. At 16.20, we walk back to SUA station. No, we actually ran as we were running late at this point and had the 16.40 train to catch to Leamington Spa for a change to London Marylebone. We made it. Through each station across the Warwickshire geographical footprint lay shades of generally grey, miserable and rainy England. The train ride was bleh and they were a bunch of arseholes who boarded the quiet area and roared the whole time. Oh well... But overall, we were honored to have had this beautiful experience and ticked one or two things of the bucket list.
As we couldn't make it to the Anna Hathaway cottage, it would be at least the one singular thing that will certainly bring me back to Stratford Upon Avon. We arrive London Marylebone at 18.50, through the gates and to the Bakerloo line, home bound.