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Trip Report London - Harry Potter, Beatles and Royal hot spots!!

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We arrived to Gatwick about 20 minutes early – around 6 am. No the view was not as nice as Heathrow but still nice. Having five in our group Gatwick Express tickets were the best deal – I just asked the agent at the ticket booth and they knew right away. Coach Holiday House Rental greeter met us at the flat. The Pimlico flat was great – no it was not plush but we had plenty of room – kitchen, two bathrooms and an at home feel to it!!! I would recommend them to anyone. Bus stop just outside and tube station down street and around the corner.
Day one was a bit much but we survived. After checking in we headed to the nursery school where Diana worked and then The Goring – I wanted to see where Kate Middleton spent the night before the wedding. Victoria station area is under construction so there was some mess. On to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace. The Albert Memorial also having a little work done. Natural History Museum was not what we expected – not impressed. When then took the tube to Earls Court for the Dr Who policeman box and to see Diana’s flat while engaged to Prince Charles. We jumped back on the tube to Harrods – after asking several people we finally found The Tea Room for afternoon tea – very nice and not too expensive. Stopped a tiny local grocer in St Georges Square and collapsed at home.

Day Two was to Tower of London – used our 2for1 vouchers. From Tower Hill we walked to Leadenhall Market – not used to seeing people stopping in for a pint while at lunch. Stopped at The Monument and London Bridge before crossing the bridge to visit Boroughs Market – found my fav mushroom pate!! Scenes from Harry Potter were filmed on Stoney St – back of the market – photo opportunities. Shakespeare’s Globe was next. We paid a visit to Tate Modern before crossing Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. We took pictures at Brides Church. We walked down Fleet St and picked up some tea at Twinning’s Tea. The Australia House was also used in Harry Potter – more pictures. Quick bus ride to British Museum. As recommended we stopped in at Hung Drawn and Quartered for dinner before Ceremony of The Keys – in addition to the 20 or so people admitted to the Ceremony there were two other groups of guest which made it hard to see and hear the last part of the Ceremony. Long busy day but everyone enjoyed it.
Portabella Road Market was Saturday morning. It was raining so we didn’t spend as much time was we would of if weather would have been nicer. We took the tube to St John’s Wood for Abbey Road Studios – we got a great picture of the zebra crossing – my sons name is Macartney and he took his shoes off to match the album cover. We made our way to Montagu for the Heritage Plaque for John Lennon. My son of course loved this!! I wanted a picture of the hospital where Kate had been- King Edwards. The kids wanted to go to Madame T but when we were heading to the bus stop and they saw the line they changed their minds!! British Library to see Beatles and Magna Carta. Another Harry Potter spotwas nearby where we took pictures – Grimmual Place. We ate dinner at Maxwell’s at Covent Garden.
Sunday was St Patrick’s Day. We continued to have to deal with rain but shopped the markets – Sunday UP, Brick Lane and Spitalfield. I was feeling all the walking by this time and was thrilled for a 15 minute massage at the market –it was amazing!!! The kids stepped over to the photo booth. We had hoped to make it to Trafalgar Square for the parade but just missed it. We did have tea at St Martin in The Fields. We took our treasures home before heading to Buckingham Palace – The Mall and Whitehall. We were able to get great pictures of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey even in the dark. Home on the 24 bus again and went to The Gallery for dinner and a St Patty’s drink.
It was our last day in London. We took the bus to Parliament Square – crossed Westminster Bridge to the London Eye. I am scared of heights so this was not something I was looking forward to but we did not do this last time and I promised my daughter we would do it this trip. We arrived at 9:30 and even with watching the short movie we were quickly on the London Eye. I did have to do some deep breathing and my daughter would tell me when “not to look” and I am glad I can say I have done it – I don’t know if I will do it again. As we are coming down we see a man cleaning windows and was first leaning out the window but then stepped out onto the ledge – no harness – nothing!! Short walk and we arrived at Charing Cross station for our train ride to Cranbrook in Kent where my ancestors have been traced back to the 1500’s. We saw a lot of countryside but also farms and nice scenery. I had decided to take a taxi from the train station into Cranbrook which turned out great. The driver met us at the station and we agreed on a time and place to be picked back up later that day. We began with tea and some shopping. We visited the church where my ancestor had been vicar and there is a gorgeous memorial there in his honor. We headed back to London to National Portrait Gallery and Piccadilly. While walking in search of a place to eat or bus stop my son and I see spot lights and hear music. We knew we would have to find out what it was. The others wanted to stop in for some shopping but when did finally head to the lights and music – lots of people and we see a red carpet – exciting!! We then realized we are at the GI Joe Retaliation premiere!! I love Channing Tatum and a friend of mine is friends with the writers of the movie!! It’s raining and packed but somehow my son manages to get close to the red carpet and we all are pressed up against the barrier waiting in the rain. We did see The Rock, the leading ladies, the director and other cast members but no Channing. It was still exciting!!! Popped into The Gallery again for dinner our last night before heading home for the chore of packing and getting to bed. We were up at 4:30 a.m and home again home again. I already miss London!!

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