I’ve been in Reading (pronounced Redding) for almost a full two months now, and I feel like I’m at a home away from home. England is a beautiful country full of history and culture, and truly one of my new favorite places on Earth. I came to England expecting to get experiences I can’t get in the states, and I’m proud to say that it’s provided just that.
One of my first trips here in the U.K. was with our study abroad group to Warwick (pronounced Warick), a breezy two hour drive from the University of Reading. Warwick is one of the oldest historical sites in England, dating back over 1,000 years. When you arrive at the castle, one of the first things you see is the tower, a beautiful thick stone structure that you can climb to the top of and get an unbelievable view of the English countryside.
Just about the entire castle is open to walk through, and most of the areas are decorated to show how the land has changed over time. There is a room in one of the towers dedicated to the history of the trial of Joan of Arc, while on the other side of the building is a lady’s parlour, where an audio track plays to let you in on all the latest gossip of the 19th century. When walking through the grounds, it’s impossible to feel the importance of the land you’re standing on. Kings, queens, and lords from all across English history have walked the same paths you do when you visit, and it’s not hard to see why.
You can view a jousting ring, and a trebuchet across a small river, and just outside the fortress walls lies an area where they train birds of prey – I was lucky enough to witness the largest owl I’ve ever seen in my life fly across this area, and it was absolutely breathtaking. I came away from Warwick with a new perspective on English history, and a reignited passion to learn about the history of this incredible country.