Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Stars Hollow of England

Maybe it’s the fact that everyone seems to walk everywhere, such as the Saturday morning markets and the abundance of locally owned shops and cafes, or maybe it’s just the general ‘small but not too small’ vibe about the town. Whatever the reason, I’ve come to this conclusion: Grantham IS the ‘Stars Hollow of England’ (and all the Gilmore Girls fans said "Amen’). While I now love the town that I get to call home for the next four months, I had my reservations before I came. Let’s back up.

When I first decided to come to Harlaxton I was beyond excited. But I will admit it, I was a little bummed that I wasn’t ACTUALLY going to live in London. Living in Grantham sounded kind of lame. I was thinking “Man, I’m just going to spend four months in the English countryside surrounded by sheep and some random village completely isolated from society. Lame.” 

Oh, naïve American Lydia.

Seriously, living in Grantham is such an unexpected perk of the entire Harlaxton experience. So if you’re a possible future Harlaxton student, an alumni reminiscing on your time here, or someone just curious about what everyday life is like, read on. This, my friends, is your go-to guide for making Grantham your new BFF.

1. Take the tours. ALL THE TOURS

If Harlaxton College offers it, go on a historical walking tour of Grantham. A history tour? ‘But Lydia, walking tours are only for super nerdy history people.’ Oh please.

Take a leap of faith and get to know the history of the town. I know it’s the cliché of all clichés, but there literally is history everywhere you look. There are beautiful cathedrals to be photographed and cobblestone streets just begging to be skipped down. Go see Isaac Newton’s old school, the 800 year old books in St. Wulfram’s church, and the mayor’s office. If you’re lucky, you might even have the chance to meet her! 

The oldest buildings in America are, what, maybe 400 years old? The history tour puts into perspective how insignificant American really is in the grand scheme of history. Yeah, it’s a bit of an odd feeling, but incredible nonetheless

2. Buy Random Things You (Don’t) Need


Make sure to try ALL of the Cadbury chocolate
The Isaac Newton Shopping Center has a bunch of super-cheap convenience stores. A neat way to experience British culture in a smaller, but still very important way, is brand testing. I’m serious. Give yourself a small budget and try a new type of makeup, chips, or (my fave) chocolate. Buy a pack of pastries whose name you can’t pronounce and just try it. Poundland, Azda, Superdrug, and Morrison’s are some of my go-to's. Also, the escalator in Azda is like a giant moving sidewalk that's slanted. Get excited.

3. Go Out to Eat!

Just like Star’s Hollow has the beloved Luke’s Diner, Grantham has a slew of cozy places to eat. Friends, you can eat salad in America. Soak up this experience and try new things. Granted, I’ve been in Grantham for less than a month, so my knowledge is a bit limited at this point. However, these are the few gems that I’ve managed to discover over the past few weeks.
When you’re in the midst of an intense travel planning session, or doing some late-night review for British Studies, who you gonna call? No, not Ghost Busters, but good guess. I was thinking more along the lines of Pizza King. BUY ONE GET ONE FREE PIZZAS.  Yes, my friend you read that right. AND they deliver! 10/10 I’d recommend the garlic bread.

Apple Tap. A great cozy atmosphere, cheap prices, and DELICIOUS CIDER. My friends and I discovered this place by accident, and we were very pleasantly surprised. Try the strawberry cider, you’ll thank me later.
The Picture Café. This is THE Luke’s Diner. If eating brunch while surrounded by aesthetically pleasing walls is your cup of tea (pun definitely intended), then I’m sure Café. The Picture will quickly become part of your weekly routine.

(Looks like all the pictures of food that my brother makes fun of me for taking have finally found a use)
Also, the bathrooms have only one faucet! #it’sthelittlethings
So there you have it, my guide to getting to know the sights, smells, and tastes of England’s very own Star’s Hollow—Grantham.
Written by: Lydia Anvar


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