Day 2–a short drive out of London to Royal Holloway, also part of the University of London system, although not located in London. The most immediately arresting feature of the campus is  this building:


In a word, Hogwarts. But really, the Founder’s Building above was inspired by the Vassar campus–and Royal Holloway was initially established as a women’s college (at the suggestion of founder Thomas Holloway’s wife, Jane). University is highly ranked and most popular graduate degree programs are English, History, Media Arts. Distinctive courses: Holocaust Studies, Public History, and Crusader Studies. And yes, weather on this day really was as glorious as it looks in the photo!

Then, slowed by traffic for the Royal Ascot (horse race; I had to inquire), on to the University of Reading. Located in the Thames Valley (Britain’s Silicon Valley), it’s about a 3o minute ride to Paddington Station. Ten departments are ranked in the top ten; major focal areas include climate change, food security, health, and sustainable environments. You can read more about the 2008 RAE evaluation here. Definitely some noteworthy departments, including philosophy and archeology.