|A window sill inside the main tower|
The castle is an imposing grey building perched at the top of a green hill. Its outer walls protect the central tower and hide many underground tunnels. When we entered the castle, a few of us decided to venture off and explore since the castle wasn’t busy yet. We found a great area to take some pictures, but at the same time we inadvertently led another group of tourists up to the same area, which meant that by trying to avoid crowds we had now put ourselves in the middle of one. We instead chose to explore the medieval tunnels under the castle. We had a ton of fun climbing stairs, walking through passages, and finding (unwelcome) spiders! After the tunnels we were able to spend some time in the gift shop before heading towards the main exhibit and tower. On our way we met a wonderful woman that hosts ghost tours at the castle, and had an entertaining chat with her. The exhibit explained how and when the castle was built and its importance to the area, while the tower showed how the residents would have lived at the time. We had a great time admiring the architecture and fancy furniture! We were also able to take a brief look at the World War II tunnels that were used as barracks for soldiers. After walking up and down hills, tunnels, and castle stairs we were exhausted, but had had a great time at Dover Castle!
|The outside view of Canterbury Cathedral|
|The Winchester Round Table|
After Stonehenge we traveled to Winchester. We visited the Great Hall at Winchester Castle to see King Arthur’s Round Table. Although the table is painted to show King Arthur and his knights, the table is believed to have been built for King Edward I of England in the 13th century and was later painted for King Henry VIII. The large table is actually hung on the wall to allow visitor to view it without exposing it to possible damage. The paintings show Arthur’s knights placed around the table with Henry VIII in Arthur’s place above a Tudor rose. I have always loved Arthurian stories, so seeing the admiration and respect that kings of England had for the legends was amazing. Like Stonehenge, the mystery and stories surrounding the table and King Arthur intrigue me. Along with the stained glass coat of arms, the table makes the Great Hall a magnificent room. I also loved the small garden outside the Great Hall that was built for Queen Eleanor. It was a beautiful small space that would have been perfect for a queen to use as a private garden escape. Before leaving Winchester we were able to stop by the wonderful cathedral where Jane Austen is buried. We saw the plain stone marking her grave in the floor of the cathedral, as well as the more elaborate dedications that were added by her nephew and the public celebrating her writing. We had a great weekend seeing so many important sites of England!