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Favorite places of England's most famous

By Haley Seger
On April 13, 2012

LONDON - Although I've spent plenty of time in London

and a few weekends traveling to different countries, I hadn't really taken the opportunity to see many areas just outside of London. There are plenty of places in England that are only a short train or bus ride away from London. In the past couple of weeks, I've done some exploring in these outside

areas, particularly in Windsor and Oxford. Windsor is particularly well known for its castle. (I love Europe and its castles, in case you couldn't tell.) The castle is still the

official home of the royal family today and it really is the foundation of the town. Because it is still used for official functions and is a residence for part of the year, unlike the rest of the castles that I've visited this semester, the feeling

inside was much more modern, which created an odd contrast to the outside of the castle, which looked just like any other collection of 900-year-old towers and walls.

Near Windsor is the town of Eton, which formed around Eton College the same way that Windsor formed around the castle. Eton College is an all-boys boarding school that used to be where all of the nobility would send their sons. In fact, it was the school that Princes William and Harry attended. However, 'college' is a bit inaccurate to the American mindset; the students are middle school

and high school-aged. The school wasn't open to tours, so we wandered the town instead. It was strange to see groups of middle school boys wandering around in the long, robed uniforms. Both Windsor and Eton felt more like

an old English town than any part of London that I have seen. My next trip was to Oxford. Oxford University, made up of 38 privately run colleges, definitely dominates the town. Like Windsor, Oxford felt a bit like a tourist trap, but I think it might have had something to do with the lack of students because who were on break this week and the fact that there was a chocolate festival in the middle of town.

Overall though, the town itself was nice. We toured a couple of the colleges, and although we saw the colleges where Harry Potter was filmed, we didn't go inside any

because of the entrance fee. We also visited the tavern

where C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien used to talk about their books, and we ate at the pub where Bill Clinton used to hang out when he went to Oxford. These small towns definitely offer a different perspective from the much larger city of London. Just seeing these two towns has made me want to see more of Britain outside of its biggest city.

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