From Stirling we rocketed down the M6 until we ran out of will at Lancaster. No rooms in town so we settled on the Best Western down the road a bit – a decent hotel, reasonable rate, nothing too fancy.
We found a small strip of restaurants in an industrial-looking section of town by the river. At Simply French the chef yelled a lot and banged pots all night; the waitress said that was normal. A few doors down the crowd at the Horse and Wagon spilled into the street – the band played nonstop Merseybeat classics for a charity gig. We had a pint or two on the sidewalk across from the river.
Recalling the World War 2 Avro Lancaster bomber I half-heartedly looked around for an aircraft manufacturing plant. Hey, Avro were the people who brought us the mammoth delta wing Vulcan bomber. Good thing I didn’t spend too much time on it – Avro was absorbed into Hawker Siddley in 1963. In Manchester.
We hit the road at 9:15 and were in Stratford by 11:30. This was the most crowded spot of our tour. Shakespeare’s house, all that.
Oxford’s a lot busier than you might expect. A lot of the last millenium’s heavy hitters studied here, and it’s worth an afternoon’s visit.
Windsor is within striking distance of Heathrow, with plenty of restaurants for that last dinner of the trip. The Hearth and Garter Hotel offered us a castle view for 80 pounds – a classy way to close out the trip.