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Trip Report Brighton to Bakewell, and London In Between.

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As we sat on the curb at Borough Market sharing a bottle of cider and eating a toasted cheese sandwich hot from the grill, a sense of profound well-being came over me. Could there be a better sandwich, a better city or a better market anywhere? I doubted it.

Background: Blame it on the Janes.
For years, my older daughter MC and I had been talking about getting out into the English countryside. Lizzy Bennett jumping from a stile into the mud, Blandings Castle dreaming in the moonlight, and the greenness of it all; we’ve always wanted to walk those footpaths for ourselves. At her Christmas break from first year at college, snuggled up watching Jane Eyre, MC said once again that we really needed to go, and I once again replied that yes indeedy we most certainly did, someday.

The idea took hold, the pound wavered, British Air came through like champs. Kind Fodorites offered advice and encouragement. Family trip to Yellowstone would have to wait. The news would have to broken gently to my husband and younger daughter. They took it like good sports, and I began the planning process that brightened the late winter. Someday suddenly seemed possible, and we ran with it.

Getting There:
The decision tipping point was British Air’s most excellent sale on tickets. I had browsed kayak.com and asked them to keep an eye on London flights. They sent an email advising of BA sale. The days with the best fares narrowed down as we dithered, but fares stayed low for days allowing a two week window soon after her final exams. BA sweetened the pot with the offer of two free nights in London with our roundtrip airfare from ORD.

Amtrak got us from St. Louis to the Chicago Loop, and light rail to O'Hare.

British Air treated us very well at every step of the way. They are my new airline heroes.

Places to Stay: We Were Very Very Happy with them All
BA provided a list of hotels, and we chose to stay at the Fraser Place Queen’s Gate, near Cromwell Rd. tube stop on Picadilly Line, for our two free nights. http://london-queensgate.frasershospitality.com/
We’d never stayed in that part of town, we liked the idea of a kitchenette, the V&A is just down the street, and breakfast was included.

Fraser Place was over our austerity budget, and we like to stay in or near Bloomsbury, so we looked to move east after our two gratis days. My basic unit of hotel price is the NMS8, based on the basic Northfield MN Super 8 where we stay when visiting MC at college. The HI Regent’s Pk on Hotwire bid was a little less than one NMS8 unit. No breakfast, but --ahem-- in London. On Carburton St., handy to Regent’s Park, Great Portland, and Warren St. tube stops, and quite a few bus lines.
http://tinyurl.com/m8tamy


For our countryside segment, I pulled up a map of Great Britain, saw a green area in Derbyshire surrounding the a town of Bakewell. Quick internet search reveals that this town has restaurants, B&Bs, and some large country homes nearby. I posted a question and got encouraging Fodorite responses. I sent MC an email at college with links to Bakewell, Chatsworth, and Haddon Hall. Her response was a series of OMGs, with, if my memory serves, several exclamation points. Bakewell it is. We chose Everton B&B, across from a park a few minutes’ walk from the center of town. http://www.evertonbandb.co.uk/
The basic price for a few days’ stay is well less than one NMS8.

We needed one night in London before flying out. Why not see what Priceline could get us in the 5 star department? We bid 2 NMS8 units, and got Grosvenor House on Park Lane, newly refurbished and overflowing with creature comforts. Oh, the sheets. The sheets. http://tinyurl.com/6baa8k

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