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Trip Report Whirlwind tour of London and Paris

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This was the year to take our granddaughter to Europe. It was a present for her 13th birthday. We finally chose a date in June between school, sports, and camp, 9 days was all we could get. Considering 2 days travel time, a week was not long but enough to give her a taste of London & Paris.

We have been to Paris many times but London was new for us. A different way of traveling for us, we chose a tour instead of going on our own. Why a tour? 4 days in London and 3 days in Paris is certainly not enough and we wanted to maximize our time to see the highlights.

Globus offers a family tour with 1 day touring London, the Chunnel, and 1 day touring in Paris. the rest of the time is on your own unless you wish to sign up for extra tour sites. We chose it for the skip the line sites plus the fact that there would be other kids on the tour days, and we would have time on our own to explore.

So off we go!

Our British Air flight from Chicago to London was comfortable and noneventful---just what you want. Upon landing a Globus fellow was there with our name on a sign to take us to our hotel. An hour long, jerky ride in heavy traffic took us to the PARK PLAZA WESTMINSTER BRIDGE HOTEL.

A bit corporate, but a very nice surprise. Arranged by the tour we expected to be underwhelmed. This is an excellent property. Right across from Big Ben, The Parliment, & Westminster Abbey, and very close to The Eye, we were in a position to walk almost everywhere we wanted to go.

It was only 10am but our room was ready. New, modern and larger than we expected, it had a separate sitting room with a comfortable pull out sofa bed and it's own large TV. The big, again modern, bath separated this from our bedroom with a king bed and another large TV. Not that we planned on watching much TV but our GD liked it before bedtime.
We were to be there 4 nights ( 1 pre-tour and 3 included in tour price.) At $432US for the 1 pre-tour night we were totally happy with this property.

We went out for a walk & lunch. The weather was beautiful---is this gray, rainy London? The restaurants along the Southbank walk were all packed so we walked on. Found Bar One and had lunch. Fish & Chips, Steak sandwich, plus a shrimp starter & a bowl of edamame for our GD, it hit the spot at 38BPS.

After a nap we headed out for dinner. Seeing the weather was warm & clear again the Southbank restaurants were all full with lines waiting. After searching for about an hour we ended up at MacDonald's. We were starving and jet lagged and just wanted to eat. Big mistake, we should have gone back to the hotel restaurant. This was the worst McD's we've ever seen. Oh well, it was food and we needed to sleep.

Actually the whole Southbank experience was not impressive at all. Full of mediocre-crammed full restaurants, street entertainment you could see anywhere, and lots of bums, it was not a place we wanted to spend time.

That said, it was a good place to walk along the river to some of the sites without encountering traffic.

So that was day 1 in London. we were looking forward to the next day of famous sites before joining the group. I'll try to include websites and prices where I can.

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