Obviously, this is not my first time traveling by car for a long distance; I have traveled from Jakarta to Surabaya by car, as well as from Bandung to Palembang. I am not sure how many kilometers we traveled each time, but one thing is for sure it took us almost or even more than 12 hours driving; depending on the traffic.
I’ve done several road trips in the US as well, like driving from LA to San Francisco, as well as from Baltimore to Boston. This time was my experience traveling within the South of England that is from Guildford to Bath and Bristol. Destination wise, this is nothing, only 167.3 km or about 2 hour 5 minutes driving - or at least that’s according to Google Earth, (comparing my epic trip from Jakarta to Surabaya, 826 km or about 12 hr 38 minutes). But every trip is different, the same thing with this, I could not compare this to my trips in Indonesia.
Even though my travel partner who was also my guide was from the area, he currently did’nt live there, as a matter fact we both started our trip from Bahrain, so we needed to book hotels as well as hiring a car. As always, I enjoy planning my trips very carefully, we booked a car for hire before we started. Thus once we arrived at Heathrow Airport, we just went to the car hire desk (this time Europcar), and picked up our car.
It was already very late, so we did’nt plan to stop anywhere so went straight to our hotel, a Travelodge in Guildford. The reason was the hotel was located just off the main road and easy to find late at night. According to my partner, the building of this hotel used to be a car showroom and workshop, but recently they constructed a new hotel….
The Travelodge in Guildford was our first stop of many stops. To be honest, I din’t know where my guide would take me, and I didn’t really mind as he knew this area very well. He knew all the background and history of the places he promised to take me to as well telling me the interesting trivia about the places…. I wouldn’t know if he was lying as well; as most tourists do not know if their tourist guide has lied to them unless of course you check later on with the guide book. Fortunate for him I did’nt check him out.
To my surprise, he still needed a road map for some of this trip!!! The AA road map of UK was really good with the very dense road network in the UK, and all the time I wondered if I had to do this road trip by myself, would I be able to read the map anyway? And I could not help myself comparing to the road map from Jakarta to Surabaya…. I can’t remember whether we used a map or not, how detail the map was and how complicated the network was.
We started our trip the next day by visiting Guildford High street, the main commercial street of the town – every commercial street in UK town and cities are very often called the ‘High Street’, thus ‘High Streets’ are everywhere in many UK towns – and then we visited my guide’s Mum who live in an elderly home, just outside Guildford. Then we travelled on to Windsor, where Queeny and her family reside (sometimes). This is really an outer suburb of West London. I am not entirely sure, but the way people talk about Windsor is as if it is somewhere outside London. Yes maybe it is outside London, but it is more like from Cikini to Pondok Indah, instead of Cikini to Bogor.
To travel from Guildford to Windsor took us less than half an hour, but we needed to take the TM3 Motorway (not quite a Jalan toll way, as we didn’t need to pay).
Except for the Castle, Windsor itself is like any old town with a lot of row houses, as well as a lots of souvenir shops to support the town’s main attraction, Windsor Castle. Unfortunately we were not able to go into the castle even though partially it was open for the public (the Queen still lives at Windsor, on occasions as well as her official home at Buckingham Palace). I think we were not prepared enough to visit Windsor Castle; Next time we must be prepared …..
- Come early and be prepared to park your car for a couple of hours or maybe the whole day, depends on how busy the place is.
- The system to visit Windsor Castle changes from time to time, and certainly it was not like this since my “guide” last visited. We didn’t know thE tourist entrance was away from the main gate.
- Even though March is not a busy tourist season, the queue to buy an entry ticket was already very long and would take hours before we finally could get in, and by that time, we might get another ticket from the police on our hire car. So basically we didnt get to see inside the Castle.
- The visit/tour inside Windsor Castle might take a few hours by itself, depends on how interested you are to see one of the top 20 UK’s top tourist attractions. I guess Queeny and her Castle are still very popular.
We may not have managed to see inside the Castle, but there are other attractions in the surrounding area, (photos click here)
such as the shops and the dining alley of nice pubs and restaurants, as well as
seeing ‘Eton’, the famous old British Public School for the royal family as well as rich people’s children from all over the world.
- Savill Garden – a park within Windsor Great Park for those who like to do gardening and walk around parks.
- Ascot Racecourse – where the most famous Ascot Horse Races are held every summer.