We were the first ones in the dining room again and this time my friends wake up on time so we had a bigger table for 4 of us. Look, we had the most beautiful seating in the luxurious dining room in Ellenborough Park! We couldn’t help but to take photos of this beautiful room and the couch. I also love the colorful stained glasses.
Before the checkout, more photos of the mansion hotel. The ceiling looked different than the ceilings I have seen, it looked like chocolate bar to me for some reason LOL. The hanging chandeliers added the medieval charm.
Usually this room is occupied by other guests but early in the morning, we were able to have the room to ourselves for photos.
More seating area with a lot of natural light from the glass ceiling.
The lobby entrance with the harp!
We decided to detour from our original itinerary and wanted to head somewhere different…to be honest, we got bored of medieval towns; they all looked similar after you been to a few. We did research the night before and decided to head to the Jurassic Coast and along the way stop by Salisbury Cathedral. Brian was reading a book on the trip and the book mentioned about Salisbury so it was for him to see the actual place LOL. We didn’t know where to park so when we got near the Cathedral and saw a free spot, we parked! From the GPS it looked close but it took us a good 10 minutes walk to get there. We walked through the shopping area of the town and through this gate:
The huge Salisbury Cathedral! I like how it has this big plot of open grass area so it’s great for photographs!
The statues on the west front wall:
I was able to have the whole cathedral in the frame with my wide angle 16-35 mm lens while the other two need had to walk all the way to the back of the field LOL!
Our wonderful time at the Salisbury Cathedral 🙂
There was a mass going on as it was a Sunday so we had to wait a bit after the mass is over to get in. However, we were allowed to check out the area before the entrance gate where you purchase the admission for £6.50. Like other cathedrals in the UK, they are all funded by donations, it was shocking to see it costs £14,000 per day to maintain wow so expensive!
The beautiful details outside the west front wall:
The interior courtyard area, I do prefer the Gloucester Cathedral fan-arch architecture more.
The beautiful dome-room that housed one of the four Magna Carta!
After it, the mass was over and we were able to go in to explore the cathedral. The massive Gothic arches and ceiling were awesome!
Despite the height, unlike other Gothic churches, Salisbury Cathedral has a lot of windows to gain natural light.
There are many flags along the hallway, they looked very old!
Another point of interest is the world’s oldest modern working clock dated back to AD 1386!!!
On the back of the cathedral, there are many sections to explore. The locals decorated the church with pumpkins and fall flowers.
A closure look at some of the statues inside the church and the cravings on the columns:
This one with the miniature of the church on his hand:
I really like the amount of natural light in this cathedral which made it easy for photos with lesser noise!
The cathedral was displaying weaving artworks, look at this “Beauty and the Beast”:
In the middle of the cathedral, you can photograph the reflection of the nave:
We spent a good amount of time photographing the cathedral, it was time to go!!! From the cathedral to the Jurassic Coast was around an hour drive so we better have lunch as we don’t know if there’s any restaurant there. Lots of restaurants are closed on Sundays urggggg and we didn’t want to waste time to find one so we ended up having a quick fast food lunch at Burger King 🙁
Our drive to the Jurassic Coast, the drive wasn’t scenic at all as both sides of the road have those tall bushes that blocked the view.
I was questioning why in the world they design the roads like that and also it passed through villages! The “highway” in the US as well as other countries we had visited are all routed outside of towns and villages and have exits to reach those towns or villages. It was not the case in the Cotswolds (probably other rural areas in the UK) so you might be traveling 60 miles per hour and then it dropped instantly once you entered the town or village. We were almost there and saw a castle ruin on top of a hill – Corfe Castle.
We didn’t stop for a visit; we were thinking if we have time after the Jurassic Coast, we can come back. We parked our car in the parking lot next to Bankes Arms; it is a public paid parking for £4 and the machine took my credit card with 4-digit PIN without issue. It was a long trail to the famous cliffs….it was like 1.5 miles to reach the first viewpoint. Being scared of height and clumsy, Jason hold tight to my arms LOL!
Old Harry Rocks – I guess at one point it was one huge chalk rock and it broke into two due to corrosion, you can see there’s a narrow path that once was able to walk all the way to the end but not anymore! They thought it would be cool for photos but I did not dare to get near! That was the furthermost I could go and not looking down…OMG it was scary!
One snap, done, phew!!! We continued on the trail to the other side for another perspective of Old Harry Rocks.
Besides Old Harry Rocks, there are many cool chalk formations along the cliff! Put the people into perspective, you can get an idea of how massive the cliff is!
The massive cliff, I wonder how this compared to the famous Cliffs of Moher?
The trail continues on for another 3.5 miles but we decided to turn back since the rest of the cliff looks similar. Our next destination was Durdle Door and we passed by a castle! We decided to turn back to make a quick stop at the castle – The Lulworth Estate. We were lucky that we arrived half an hour before it closes so we took some quick photos of this nice looking castle.
It was a surprising find!!! Next, Durdle Door! There’s a parking lot and we also paid by the machine for another £4, it was per some blocks of time so you need to “check in” and “check out”. It was a steep and long way to get down to Durdle Door…..I couldn’t imagine the way walking back up!
That’s Durdle Door…you see that arch?
It was few flight of stairways to get down to the beach. We got there in the late afternoon so it wasn’t good timing as the arch was in shadow.
Due to the short daylight hours in Oct, we had to head back to Bristol…another 2 hours 15 min drive…where we’ll be staying at the Thornbury Castle! It was dark when we reached there and the way into the castle, we didn’t know where to park our car LOL! We pulled into reception, checked in, and then parked our car. The castle was lit up by my favorite color – pink LED lights!
I couldn’t wait to see how it looks like in daytime! Since it was for our birthdays, we splurged to a superior room for $272 which included dinner and breakfast so it wasn’t bad at all, probably due to low season. We arrived around 7 pm and the first dining session was fully booked so we had to go with the second dining session which starts at 9:30 pm. We had plenty of time to settle down, shower, and then to dinner. On the lobby, I saw other guests were dressed up formally for dinner and even guests not staying at the hotel came to have dinner and they also dressed up. Luckily, we brought formal clothes with us for photographs so it wasn’t an issue. Our spacious superior room:
I really like those palace style room, it was like we traveled back to time! The bathroom was odd though; the bathtub was super high and only have this little piece of glass to block water from the shower splashing all over. Furthermore, there was a piece of paper on the sink in both English and Chinese (LOL) to warn guests to be careful not to flood the floor and the guests will be responsible for all the water damage costs. I guess they had an incident before so they clearly stated this.
The symbol printed on the tissues and on the box is the logo of the hotel, super high-class that they have their signature tissues!
We showered and changed! Me & my princess bed haha!
Around 9 pm, we went down to the waiting room where the waiter had an introduction of the menu and served us pre-dinner drink and a quick bite. We never have been to a dinner where we dressed up like this besides attending a wedding!
Look at those two playing with their phone instead of studying the menu 😛
Alright, we decided what we want to eat for our 3-course meal. The waiter also mentioned that the chef does not like people taking many photos of the food as he wants the guests to focus on the food instead. Alright, we got it, we’ll put our DSLR camera away from the food hehe.
The mini bites before our dinner:
We were the last group to be brought into the dining room, OMG, by that time it was already 9:30 pm! The dining room looked very medieval style, very dark, and castle-like.
It was the latest and longest dinner I ever had…I thought French cuisine takes a long time only! We were joking that we’ll eat till midnight and sure it was LOL! Since we were the last group in for dinner, we were also the last group left in this dining room! Here are the pics of our 3-course dinner, we ordered different things to try it out. The butter was soft and tasty:
A fish appetizer, it was very petite in size, Jason thought it was okay only.
I had the foie gras, it was silky but the flavor was not as rich as the ones I had before.
More appetizers from our two friends:
For my main, I got the steak and it tasted great with those orange colored sauce. I am not sure what the sauce was but it tasted sweet. There was a cube of pork belly and it was tasteless! After the first bite, it reminded me of the lean pork meat that Chinese put in to boil the soup with and after hours of boiling, the pork became tasteless and dry. I had Jason tasted it and I said doesn’t this remind you of something? He said the exact same thing LOL!
Jason ordered the fish fillet and mussels:
Dessert was probably the most memorable dish of all!
Dinner till midnight – it was our first time ever! We were super sleepy after that and thankfully (LOL), we weren’t full so we had no issue with sleeping right away instead of with a full stomach hahaha!