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10 days in London - Staying outside city - Running Trip Report

10 days in London - Staying outside city - Running Trip Report

Jul 7th, 2012, 05:23 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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On the train ride home yesterday, a gentleman on the train had the Murray match (Brit trying for the Wimbledon finals in Tennis) on his phone and the entire car was huddled around his phone for the end of the match>

lol, JL, I don't think you needed to tell us who Murray is!

now Marray - that's a different matter. [brit who has made the men's doubles final, along with his swedish partner].

I know, we don't have any male finalists for 70 years, then 2 come along together.
annhig is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 05:47 AM
  #22  
 
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Really enjoying my London trip, vicariously of course!
Kayren_Lonneville is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 06:54 AM
  #23  
 
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I'm enjoying following along. Hope you're having lots of fun!
lantana is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 11:01 PM
  #24  
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Saturday, July 7 -

We got up and navigated our way to a second local train station (on a different line) after a quick breakfast. We used a train and the Docklands Light Rail to get into Greenwich.

When we arrived in Greenwich (a bit after 10) it was an empty town. We walked down towards the water and saw the Cutty Sark. We didn't pay to go in but it was amazing to see from the outside. An impressive ship and an impressive tourist set up.

We then made our way to the Maritime Museum and walked through several of the exhibits. It was getting close to noon so we walked over to the Greenwich market and looked around for a while. We both enjoyed this market far more than Portobello Road. We could have eaten lunch here but decided to wait for a bit and go to a market famous for its food, this was a good decision.

In Greenwich, we could have gone up to the Royal Observatory and stood on the Prime Meridian but decided against it for the sake of time and money. The wife did take the extra minutes we gained to get some tea and a scone with clotted cream. She was impressed.

We hopped on a Thames Clipper (river boat transport system) and headed in to the London Bridge station. While riding under the Tower Bridge I was very impressed with the Olympic Rings hung from the Bridge. I can't imagine what it took to get those up.

Once at the London Bridge, we headed to the Borough Market and were amazed. I can't say how many samples we tried but it was a lot. After walking through the market, the wife decided on a frittata (sp?) egg omelet thing in the shape of a pizza. She said it was amazing. I should have had the duck sandwich (think Philly steak but with duck) but instead just grabbed some smoked sausage sticks. They were delicious. Definitely the best smoked sausage I have ever had. I had their spicy sausage and some venison.

We intended to head out toward the Olympic Park and go on the London Walk Olympic walk. I knew what line we had to get on and that we needed to get to the West Ham station. We were rushing and just made the train. I quickly looked and saw West Hamstead station and assumed it must be the same station. Well, this was my first navigation mistake. We went about 30 minutes in the wrong direction before going an hour back to get where we intended. We missed the walk but enjoyed walking around the area a bit and going to the store built with a platform to view the Olympic Park. Im glad we got to see something Olympic.

We needed a respite from the crowds as thought the National Portrait Gallery would be nice and quite so we headed back towards Leicester Square. Well, for a variety of reasons it was a lot more hectic than we intended. The portrait gallery was busy and far louder than the National Gallery had been. Maybe because it was a weekend? Maybe it's always this way? Or maybe it was the drunk and rude crowds from the events in Leicester square? I don't know.

We did find a quite place to sit in the Crypt of St. Martin in the Field. Reasonable prices and good atmosphere. Very quite and all of the profits they make go to charity. After tea, we headed up to the church and watched a bit of practice for a string group. Very nice.

Knowing that we had a show at 8 PM, we found a quick place to eat and quickly grabbed some food before finding our theatre. And, for those Americans following, by theatre I mean someplace smaller than your average high school auditorium. Seated around 450. Two levels. Everyone was very close to the stage. I don't know if everything on the West End is like this but it is quite different from broadway. I now understand what actors mean when they say they prefer the intimate atmosphere of the west end.

We had purchased two tickets for around £20 from the TKTS booth in Leicester Square. We were in the middle of the sixth row. The show was spectacular. Very interactive, laughing much of the time, and just insanely impressive. Maybe there are YouTube videos that do it some justice but I can't begin to explain how good it was. There was a family with five kids in front of us and the kids loved very second of it. Maybe more than the adults. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn't seem it yet.

After the show we headed back home to crash. The tube was the busiest we've seen it yet. I believe there was a concert in the park plus the rally in the square all with large crowds heading home. Mix that on with weekend traffic and it was quite busy.

Today has the Tower of London and a walk along the south bank in store.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 11:06 PM
  #25  
 
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We had purchased two tickets for around £20 from the TKTS booth in Leicester Square. We were in the middle of the sixth row. The show was spectacular. Very interactive, laughing much of the time, and just insanely impressive.

This was Stomp, right? I believe you mentioned that earlier in the thread. We also enjoyed it as did our kids.

Enjoying following your journey
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 8th, 2012, 04:33 AM
  #26  
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Yes, Stomp.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 8th, 2012, 04:49 AM
  #27  
 
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The whole Trafalgar Square/Leicester Square/Soho area would have been extra crowded yesterday - it was the World Gay Pride event. Presumably there'd have been an overspill of people into the NPG café as well.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 11:39 PM
  #28  
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Day 5, Sunday, July 8 -

Well, the weather made this day a bit more difficult than the others but we still got through a fair bit.

We were out of our apartment by 8:30 in order to get to the Tower of London by 9:45 in order to beat the crowds and see the crown jewels without a crowd. This plan worked fairly well, it was raining while we waited for the ticket booths to open but we managed. By 10, each ticket booth had 50-100 people waiting in line. Again, we used our 2 for 1 pass and asked them to remove the voluntary donation from the price of the ticket. This saved around £20 off the list price.

We walked right for the crown jewels and were able to linger and go by the jewels several times. There were less than 100 people in the building at the time. We went back down to wait for the 11am beefeater tour. After waiting (with several other people) for some time, the nearest Yeoman Warder walked over and announced that they would not be doing tours due to the rain.

So, we went back and bought two audio guides and went through several of the audio guide tours. They were fairly interesting and helped us navigate through the majority of the tower in a reasonable time. By around 1 PM we had seen enough and needed lunch so we decided to walk down to the Borough Market (down to the London Bridge and across it). Unfortunately, once we got there we found out that it was closed. Weather or Sunday???

So, we continued down the south bank knowing we wanted to get to the Imperial War Museum. On the way we found a burger restaurant that had vegetarian options right down the alley from Vinopolis. We both enjoyed the restaurant and we ate for under £15. We continued on and stopped in at the Globe to see if they had any tickets for Monday or Tuesday. I couldn't find any online in my planning but figured I would stop in. However, they don't have shows this Monday or Tuesday. We will go back for a tour but no show. Oh well.

We walked toward the Imperial War Museum. I'm sure we didn't take the best route but it took a while. There is a tube stop around .5 miles away, Elephant and Castle, and maybe we should have gone that route rather than walking there from the Tower of London. Once we got there, we sat down on a bench for a while to rest and then went through the museum. The weaponry, tanks, and planes are nice but the highlight is the holocaust exhibit. It was extremely well done and informative. I've always said I would like to do a study of foreign media coverage of Hitler and the Holocaust prior to the US entering the war. This exhibit did have a fair bit and did a fair job of covering why others didn't get involved.

By the time we were done in the museum, we were beat. We hopped on the tube and made our way home. For the first time, we picked up our train at a station other than Victoria. We were happy to figure it out and saved a lot of time doing so. At the end of the trip, I'll do a review of the apps I used and one of the has helped immensely with planning tube journeys. Tube Deluxe made by Malcolm Bradley is great.

Once home, we quickly stopped at Sainsburys to restock on some breakfast foods and thn ordered in Indian before crashing early. It had been a long five days without a break.

For my friends following, yes, I ate Indian. Chicken Madras (a spicier curry). And, Courtney ate Chicken Tikka. Yup, chicken. Needed protein . It was an adventure.

We were going to try to fit in a stadium tour on Monday morning but decided against it and slept in a bit. Really wanted to do Craven Cottage but the highlights on that your are shut down for construction. The only other stadium I would consider is Wembley. However, it is a bit of a trip out there and not enough history there to excite me much (a different story if it were the old Wembley). Skipping this just gives me a reason to get back again during the Premiership season to see a match at Craven Cottage.

British Museum and British Library today. Maybe the Eye if the weather breaks.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 9th, 2012, 12:29 AM
  #29  
 
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Sounds like you did very well considering the horrible weather yesterday!

Borough Market is only open Thurs - Sat unfortunately: http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/

Enjoy your day!
jamikins is offline  
Jul 9th, 2012, 05:29 AM
  #30  
 
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Sorry about the weather and closings, but glad you still had a good day! I'm most surprised by your food selections! Out of the box for both of you!
Kayren_Lonneville is offline  
Jul 9th, 2012, 05:38 PM
  #31  
 
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I have made a note of the Borough Market days/hours (thanks jamikins). I'm sorry you missed it, JerLon

Can't wait to read about today's touring.
lantana is offline  
Jul 9th, 2012, 05:45 PM
  #32  
 
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RE. Borough Mkt, the site says

Open for Lunch
Mondays to Wednesdays: 10am-3pm

Full Market
Thursdays 11am-5pm
Fridays 12pm-6pm
Saturdays 8am-5pm

JerLon, I'm afraid you tried to go the one day they're not open at all
lantana is offline  
Jul 9th, 2012, 10:55 PM
  #33  
 
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Lantana...interesting about the lunch hours, that must be new...will have to check it out!
jamikins is offline  
Jul 9th, 2012, 11:26 PM
  #34  
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Day 6, Monday, July 9 -

We headed out and managed to get to the British Museum by around 10:15. It was already quite busy and loud. I'm not sure if it is always this busy in the summer but the crowds were such that it was difficult to get a good site of many of the more popular objects.

It seems as if there are many your groups and many school field trips at the museums. The tour groups I expected. I assumed they would all be jammed into the time frame prior to the Olympics. The school aged children in uniforms... Do they not get a summer break???

One could easily spend a full day at the British Museum. We spent around 3.5 hours. I found their multimedia guide to be lacking and not worth the expense. Others may disagree. However, the tours it guides you on try to take you through missing exhibits and closed stairwells which became extremely confusing if trying to follow the tours.

We stopped for lunch on our way back to the tube (the wife has had a lot of success at the many Pret A Manger's that are on every corner in London) and headed to the British Library. We went through the exhibit where they have their most prized possessions. It was quite good. They have the Magna Carta, the Messiah, a Gutenberg Bible, a Wycliffe Bible, and much more. Definitely worth a stop and they have a decent, albeit overpriced, cafe for a quick rest.

The wife has been looking for a specific necklace so we headed to Camden to look through the various markets here. Even on a Monday, it was busy. There are three or four separate sections. Make sure you stop and look at the locks and stop and see the sitting benches which are the seats from various mopeds mounted along a bench to hold your food. Pretty cool.

Given how busy these next three days are for us, we called it a day and came back to our flat for dinner and a movie. A couple London walks today, and day trips coming each of the next two days before flying out to Rome.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 9th, 2012, 11:33 PM
  #35  
 
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Sounds like a good day!

School here ends this week I believe. They get shorter summer holidays than in north America but more breaks throughout the year.

Enjoy your walks!
jamikins is offline  
Jul 9th, 2012, 11:59 PM
  #36  
 
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How could you not have told us whether she found the necklace??
tarquin is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 06:42 AM
  #37  
 
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tarquin- I totally agree!
Kayren_Lonneville is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 09:24 AM
  #38  
 
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The school aged children in uniforms... Do they not get a summer break???>>

yes, but state school summers hols start round about the beginning of the last week in July and last until the 1st week of september ie 6 weeks or so. private/public schools [ie the sort you pay for] break up earlier and go back later.

School here ends this week I believe. They get shorter summer holidays than in north America but more breaks throughout the year.>>

not yet, Jamikins - 2 weeks to go!

FYI - as well as the 6 weeks in the summer, they get 2 at Christmas and 2 at easter. [give or take!] this gives us three terms.

there are also one week holidays in the middle of each terms, called half term holidays.

all in all, they get about 13 weeks.
annhig is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 10:39 AM
  #39  
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Real update to come soon. But a few things;

1. This rain is annoying. (I'm sure I'll be complaining about the sun and heat in Rome later this week)

2. No necklace. You can find Pocketwatch Necklaces by the dozen but she wanted a specific design, style, and quality. No go.

3. If buying an umbrella in London, find a department store and buy a decent umbrella. We upgraded to Fulton umbrellas today. Could have saved £9 if we had gone this route in the first place.

4. If low pressure systems give you migraines, ibuprofen with codein is like magic here. Why is this not sold on the states?
JerLon is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 10:49 AM
  #40  
 
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JerLon - on behalf of the British Isles, i apologise about our climate.

to be fair, this summer is even worse than last year and the year before that. 5 years or so ago I remember that it was so dry that I didn't mow my lawn for 6 weeks - at the moment it needs mowing every 6 days, but it's too wet to get on it.

just be grateful you don't live here!
annhig is offline  

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