Destinations/ England/ Travel/ Western Europe

The UK countryside. Wareham, Corfe Castle, tanks, and monkeys.

Brendan at the gates of Corfe Castle with the UK countryside behind him.


When we asked Katy’s step-son Brendan if he could choose any place in the world to visit, being a Russian history major, and barring Moscow, he chose the Bovington Tank Museum, the largest tank museum in Europe. Bovington is a small area in Dorset county at the southern tip of England a bit west of the Isle of Wight near Poole.

This seemed a bit random at first but it was a great excuse to take a train into the beautiful UK countryside and apparently if you’re into tanks this place is the shiznit.

We chose to stay nearby at the small town of Wareham, where the train from London stops and where we could find a hotel and few pubs. Wareham was really great. A stone village with a fish and chips joint, little boats, old world pubs with traditional food. It was slow and grey and just perfect.


We booked three rooms at the Anglebury Hotel and Bar. Very cute, good food. T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) and Thomas Hardy both lived nearby and frequented the restaurant (there’s a little plaque).

The Anglebury Hotel




A little patio out back.




Full English breakfast

The town itself has loads of charm. Picturesque street scenes and a cute park.

The hearth at another local pub.


The clocktower at the center of town.


Chipperies. The local fish and chips joint. It gets mixed reviews.


Th park at the far side of the bridge.


The boat dock at the near side of the bridge.


A gate to a private field beyond the park.


The Bovington Tank Museum and Monkey World

The big day. We booked a car to the museum. Now personally war, and things which seem to glorify war, aren’t personal interests of mine. It’s an important part of history, one of the main themes of humanity, but war to me should be presented as a cautionary reality. War museums, torture museums, anything involving real human suffering, make me uneasy. My thoughts gravitate to the horrors of war, not to the victories. So walking around a museum filled with Nazi machine gun nests and walk-through replicas of trench warfare kinda freaked me out to be honest. One section funneled you through a low WWI trench with recordings of war, rats, soldiers huddled in the mud crying, and all manner of awful depictions. Dioramas with war horses being run over by tanks.

The 12 year old boy in me did kind of get a kick out of the tanks. It’s like the G.I.Joe toys of my youth come to life. And lots of kooky vehicles which were quite cool if you could forget their primary purpose was for killing other people.

German machine gun nest.


Huddled figure in the trench exhibit. The sounds of crying and a mental breakdown were played over the top. This place was creepy.


One of several tank display rooms. They did have a lot of tanks.


Hey look, another Nazi tank.


Ok, this thing was pretty cool.


Katjia clowning around at the Tank Museum.



Monkey World

Katjia on the other hand was pretty bored straight off. We walked around for about an hour having fun with the kids displays but then decided to walk the 2 miles to a monkey themed zoo called Monkey World, which turned out to be lots of fun on its own. Katjia enthusiastically got behind the monkeys and lemurs and we had a fun time there for a few hours until Brendan had gotten his fill of the tanks.

Happier at Monkey World.



Selfie with Buddha.




Corfe Castle

Following the road from Wareham to the sea, you drive straight through the town of Corfe Castle, named for the castle now in ruins on the hill. Built by William the Conqueror at the end of the 11th century, it was later destroyed in 1645 by Parliamentary forces after it’s defeat to prevent it from being used by royalists. There’s not much left but it’s a fun exploration. The surrounding town (built mostly from castle stones) is very charming and we had a great post-castle snack at Corfe Castle Village Bakery. A cream tea with scones and clotted cream. Then a couple pitchers of Pimm’s. Fun for the whole family.

The ruins:







So naughty.


Katy and Katjia


Katy and Brendan


The UK countryside from atop Corfe Castle.


Getting cream tea:

Tea, scones, and clotted cream.


The town of Corfe Castle:

The main intersection of town.


Kind of looks like a movie set of an English village.


Ooooh, rebel.


Random backyard.


Random backyard.


Trying to figure out the bus back to Wareham. It was an awesome red double decker!


They had a cool ancient graveyard.


Katjia getting in touch with her inner goth.


A local store dedicated to Enid Blyton. In her day she sold over 600 million books but not all of them translate so well to today.



Train Back to London

Early the next day we headed down to the train station for the trip back. I didn’t have many expectations for our little trip but it turned out to be loads of fun and to an area I probably would not have visited otherwise. Thumbs up for sleepy Wareham and Corfe Castle.



How could I pass up a Buddha selfie?


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