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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 10th, 2012, 10:49 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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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.


Off topic for poor JerLon, but I love the school calendar here. Lots of opportunities for taking week long holidays! (October, Christmas, Easter, June, + summer). February too, but that usually gets a pass. Lucky me.
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 11:24 AM
  #42  
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Not off topic for me at all I work in education and am very curious about the education system. I frequently stop and look around the schools when we pass them and listen in on the school groups at the various sites.
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Jul 10th, 2012, 11:35 AM
  #43  
 
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Independent schools break up earlier for the summer because they can count half-day Saturday classes as part of the school year. As I recall, my daughter's school used to break up after the first week of July (very handy for getting a head start on summer holidays). February half-term is popular for ski trips to the Alps.
Heimdall is online now  
Jul 10th, 2012, 08:37 PM
  #44  
 
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Sorry about the rain and the headaches! I guess I'm glad you found a drug of choice! How did you plan a trip to England and not pack umbrellas?
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Jul 10th, 2012, 09:10 PM
  #45  
 
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Independent schools break up earlier for the summer because they can

I think it stops there. My daughter's school has fewer days and there aren't any Saturday half days, etc.
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 10:23 PM
  #46  
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Day 7, Tuesday, July 10 -

We headed out towards the St Paul's Tube stop to meet up with the London Walks tour of St. Paul's (the Secrets and Splendors of St Paul's). We arrived just on time as our train had been delayed getting into the city. The 9:28 train did not arrive until 9:38. This was the first delay for one of the trains we needed. So, I can't complain.

This walk costs £19 with the London Walks discount card and is well worth it. The tour goes first through the first floor of St Paul's and then through the crypt. Our guide was Judy and she did an excellent job. Her stories of the second World War and St Paul's were the highlight for me.

After finishing the tour, she took those of us who wanted to (about half of the group of 20) to climb the steps to the top of the dome. Most of our group was only climbing up to the whispering gallery however three of us went all the way to the top of the dome and had an amazing view of the city.

Once walking down the steps, we walked across the millennium bridge (in the rain) and headed down towards the Borough Market to see what it is like for a weekday lunch. About 20-25 shops are open of which all but 2-3 are prepared food stands. So, it is a good option for a quick lunch. I had Caribbean curry chicken and my wife had a wild boar sausage from a different stand. With drinks, it was around £10. Can't beat the price.

We walked back along the south bank and headed into Tate Modern quickly. Certainly not our cup of tea but a quick stop was worth it just to see the immense building. I found the building and architecture to be far more impressive than the artwork.

We then walked next door to Shakespeare's Globe and signed up for a tour. We had about 30 minutes until our tour and walked through the exhibits. The best part of the exhibit is the part that tells of how they planned and constructed the new globe. I spent most of my time there. We then sat and watched some sword fighting workshop being given to school children.

Our tour was a bit different than normal as they were in the midst of a full technical practice for Richard III which is beginning this weekend. I enjoyed this more than the show I saw here back in 2005. It was great seeing all of the costume based mistakes being discovered and hearing the director and costumers figure out how to fix these errors. They let us sit and watch for about 30 minutes before concluding our tour.

It was one of the clearest moments (weather) when we left and we decide it would be a perfect time to go ride on the London Eye. So we headed that way and arrived at the Westminster tube stop to a downpour. The weather changes quickly. We walked towards the Eye in the wind and rain. Our umbrellas were not holding up well and were not doing the job. Given the storm we decided not to ride on the Eye (I mean, we saw the city from the top of St Paul's, can it get better??) and set out to find some new umbrellas. I did some quick phone searching and we decided to go check the department stores on Oxford Street. Once there, we checked a Debenhams that only had a small selection of Totes branded umbrellas that didn't seem sturdy. The John Lewis down the street had a large supply of Fulton Umbrellas and we got two. Our two £5 umbrellas that we purchased from a newsstand were put to a quick burial in a garbage can.

With the hour and the weather we decided against the Old London Pub walk and headed home. Today, Oxford.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 08:30 AM
  #47  
 
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ah, you can't beat good old john Lewis.

no, really - you can't!
annhig is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 05:09 PM
  #48  
 
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Your grandfather had been asking me if you had been to the Whispering Gallery. He will be happy to know about this portion of your trip!
Kayren_Lonneville is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 06:07 PM
  #49  
 
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I'm joining the crowd od vicarious fellow travelers! Thanks for the ride!
taconictraveler is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 07:51 PM
  #50  
 
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Great report, thanks. We were in London last year and this brings it all back.
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Jul 11th, 2012, 10:17 PM
  #51  
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Day 8, Wednesday, July 11 -

We headed out early to get to Paddington Station for our London Walk day trip to Oxford and the Cotswolds. Rail and Tubes are significantly busier around 8:45 than 9:45. Far more rail delays, way more people packed in... I now understand all of the complaining recently in the papers about on time trains and overcrowded trains.

Once at Paddington we joined the London Walks group. There was a £4 discount for us as we had purchased their discount card earlier (for £2) and the total cost was £47 per person. This included the tours, rail ticket, and the motor coach once we were in Oxford. I don't think I could have beat this price by much if planning it on my own.

The train trip to Oxford is about an hour through the countryside and once at Oxford we immediately boarded a coach to head to a village in the Cotswolds. The village we went to was Minster Lovell. After a brief walk through the village and a stop in some ruins and the church (all amazing) we boarded the coach and headed into Burford for lunch. There were many options at all price levels.

We then boarded the coach and headed back into Oxford and had around a 2 hour walk of Oxford. We headed quickly to grab some photos an stop in at the Eagle and Child (Bird and Baby). At the end, there was about an hour of free time to roam before boarding the train back to London. We were back in London by around 6:20 in plenty of time for those going on to see a show. For us? We were shot and knew we need to get some rest before a day trip to Bath today and then a busy week in Rome ahead of us.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 04:51 AM
  #52  
 
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Following and enjoying your travels. Thanks for sharing.
irishface is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 04:22 PM
  #53  
 
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Well done, and not all that bad for a quick day trip to Oxford. It would have left me salivating, however!
taconictraveler is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 11:44 PM
  #54  
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Day 9, Thursday July 12 -

Headed out early to get to Paddington again for a London Walks day trip to Bath.

We made it in good time and met up with Simon who was filling in for the usual guides. The trip to Bath includes your train ticket, a morning walk, and an afternoon walk. It also includes a quick stop on the Bath Abbey and a quick stop in the Bath Assembly Rooms.

To keep this one short, it was a nice quick day in Bath. Maybe we were just worn out but I didn't find the walks to be all that great. Just roaming the streets and talking about some History of Bath and some architecture. No real game plan, lots of doubling back on ourselves, and no real flow to the historical component of the talk.

I did enjoy getting to see the Royal Crescent and having an hour at the end to go into the Roman Baths. This is not included in the price and cost around £10 per person.

We made it back into Paddington around 6:15 PM and made it back to our apartment around 7:15. Just enough time for dinner and beginning to pack.

Today we head out to Rome. This evening or tomorrow I will post a final post on our trip back to Heathrow and our attempt to get a refund on our Oysters and our deposit back. Then I will link to the separate Rome thread.

Again, thanks for all of the help in planning this trip.

I'll keep up on this thread and answer any questions once we are back in the states.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 11:46 PM
  #55  
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And for those curious folks following, the wife ate fruit and yogurt for lunch. I had a sausage roll and a beef Cornish Pasty for lunch. We ordered in Indian for dinner again.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 05:51 AM
  #56  
 
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Great report, very interesting. John Lewis is a good supplier of reliable goods. Magna Carta (I think you will have seen one of the 4 first level copies as the original is long gone)
bilboburgler is online now  
Jul 13th, 2012, 08:51 AM
  #57  
 
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Sound great! Glad you enjoyed a pastie! I'm curious as to what Indian food you both ate this time around!
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Jul 13th, 2012, 12:38 PM
  #58  
 
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Thanks for doing the "running" report. Can't be easy!

Fun in Rome!
taconictraveler is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 09:58 PM
  #59  
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Day 10, Friday, July 13 -

Easily made our way through Paddington and navigated the tube out to Heathrow.

It is humorous that every app and website instructed me to go through Paddington and use the Heathrow Express ($$$$) when it was extremely quick and easy to just take the tube the whole way for a total cost of (from Kent House Rail Station to Heathrow Terminal 5) of £4.60.

At the tube exit stopped and turned in our Oysters and easily got back out deposits an remaining pence on the cards. Unlike what others have said in other posts, I didn't have to register the cards before receiving the deposit.

Quickly through Heathrow Security. For all of the horror stories, we navigated check in, customs, and security in under 30 minutes. This was much faster and easier than leaving Rochester or Chicago on th way to London.

The flight was quick and we had a great view of the Alps. The flight was, however, rowdy. It was a normal BA flight but it was the oddest flight I have ever been on. People constantly trading seats and moving throughout the cabin. People standing up in groups and leaning over seats. Flight attendants constantly up and down the aisles, squeezing past these congregated groups and not saying anything. Truly odd.

Landed in Rome, baggage was slow to arrive. Once through, the ATM would only work in Italian. This was stressful but I manage to get Euros. Our driver brought us into our apartment in Rome on record time. How many mph is 175 kph? .

Last night we ate dinner at a restaurant right below our apartment. Amazing and not too pricey. Al Braciere on Via Della Chiesa Nuova. We walked through Piazza Navona an I joked that we could accidentally bump into the Pantheon if we took a wrong turn. 5 minutes later, we rounded a corner and there was the Pantheon. Amazing view at night.

Wifi is spotty right now so I won't do Rome updates until that gets settled. Maybe once we are home if it doesn't work out well.
JerLon is offline  
Jul 14th, 2012, 05:20 AM
  #60  
 
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was this your restaurant?

http://www.ristorante-albraciere.it/il-ristorante/

we stayed nearby but didn't eat there, which looks like a shame.

I love the photo of the chef!
annhig is offline  

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