We visited England November 5 – 16, visiting cousins and touring around. We started out in Oxford then continued to Bath, Worcester, Hereford, Martley, Birmingham, and ended up in London. Before starting the city details, I’ll say a few words about traveling in England in November. A great advantage is the relative absence of crowds. I shudder to think about what Westminster Abbey must be like in July.
But first, a quiz: A free pizza to any Yank who can correctly identify the following (no fair peeking at Wikipedia):
baths (not the thing you bathe in and not the city)
white or brown
apple cider faggot
cor blimey (translate into proper English)
please release the shoot bolts
Okay, I cheated—the second and the last items are Scottish. Still, see if you can get them.
TRAVELING IN NOVEMBER:
By sheer happenstance, the dates we chose for the trip included Guy Fawkes Day and the Remembrance weekend and Remembrance Day (which I believe is always November 11). This is the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, which is greatly commemorated in the U.K So we had both the fun of the fireworks in different places (they shoot off fireworks for several days everywhere, randomly, beginning November 5) as well as the deeply moving ceremonies for Remembrance Day.
WEATHER IN NOVEMBER:
Right, on to the weather in November…based on the advice of Fodorites in the weeks preceding our trip, we packed for all types of weather and were prepared to pile on layers when needed and then peel them off. This worked well. And we were able to squeeze everything into one carry-on suitcase each plus a briefcase. The weather, as predicted, included a bit of everything: temps between mid 50s in the day to low 30s at night, grey, damp, misty, rainy, windy, not windy, cloudy, and brightly sunny. Sometimes all of that in a single day. We found it very pleasant to travel around in this kind of weather. Wandering around the streets, going into a cathedral and then into a pub for lunch all took on a kind of Dickensian mood and made us appreciate a meat pie and a pint of bitter in the evening after a hard day’s work.
We took the Oxford Bus from Heathrow directly to Gloucester Green station in the heart of the town, arriving around 11:00 a.m. For all other travel we took trains. Having enjoyed the simplicity of the Italian train system (yes), adapting to half a dozen train companies in Britain was a change. And why don’t they let you print out your tickets on your home computer so you can have them all in your pocket when you arrive? Oh well, other than that, trains were fast, clean, and punctual. In London we simply walked everywhere, except for one tube trip. We usually walked about four or five miles a day, but more on that later.
….next up: Day One - Oxford
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