Back from heavenly England

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Jun 20th, 2010, 05:28 AM
  #1
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Back from heavenly England

I'm just back from 5 and a half weeks in England...a heavenly trip.Thanks all the fodorites who gave me so many helpful tips!
Moonrise
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Jun 20th, 2010, 05:34 AM
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I'll come back to the report in stages as listed below as there is so much tell.
1)London 2)Canterbury and surrounds 3)Winchester and surrounds 4)Bath and surrounds 5) York and surrounds 6) Keswick 7)Stratford-upon-Avon 8)second round of London.
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Jun 21st, 2010, 01:05 AM
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London was glorious. As I was driven to my hotel all i could see and wonder at were the cherry blossoms lining the streets!
My hotel for the week was in Holland Park, a beautiful area.The hotel was the Hilton in Holland Park Ave.A Lovely hotel with bright happy staff, a huge room and in a tree lined street. I would certainly recommend this hotel but don't accept the 2nd floor...smoky, unless you smoke of course,They gave me that floor first even though I'd booked a non smoking room. However, no hassles moving elsewhere ...6th floor with the same big room set up. The room overlooked the lovely leafy street and and surprisingly was quiet.
The next day i walked around the area and found the actual park called Holland Park. What a joy! It was the the most beautiful place with different areas ...a field like area, a woodsy area, formal garden area etc. Even had a quaint ice house which was being used as an art gallery.Peacocks wandered around the Japanese garden area with their great glorious tails outstretched ...spoilt only by their terrible screeching! Then caught the bus to Kensington Gardens...took my breath away...so green!Saw regal swans on the lake and many other water birds along the way. Saw the Peter Pan statue and was surprised by how big it is...expected a small, delicate stature surrounded by flowers. The Italian fountain are was most attractive and had tulips everywhere!Had a small stroll through a bit of Hyde park was growing rather tired so went back to Holland Park where I had mushroom soup and coffee and in a nice little cafe.Later had sandwiches and strawberries in the hotel and an early night!
To be continued...this is going to take me ages to write up.
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Jun 21st, 2010, 01:40 AM
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Great start, looking forward to more.
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Jun 21st, 2010, 05:01 AM
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tod
 
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Lovely start to your trip report Moonrise ( I have a business acquaintance with the name of Moonlight, and that is her genuine name!)
I remember Holland Park so well - My mum and I spent a happy couple of hours there.
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Jun 21st, 2010, 06:40 AM
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Even if it "takes you ages" please continue with all the wonderful details. Thanks!
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Jun 21st, 2010, 07:42 AM
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yes, please, we'd love to hear more!
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 03:31 AM
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What a lovely response!
Next day I caught the lovely red bus to Westminster area.Amazing place! Went on a tour of the High Court...a grand building with highly decorated stone work in the facade.3 beautiful courts especially the third one on the upper floor which had the most amazing carved wood everywhere. Very helpful guides who offered to take photos of me.Downstairs in the sort of basement there was a cafe and I had a coffee and biscuits...I need these breaks!
Went over to St Margaret's church and enjoyed the many plaques about famous people, even had Sir Walter Raleigh interred there!!Sat and listened to an organ recital and felt all the ghosts rising from behind their plaques and softly blowing the candles...well not really but it was certainly atmospheric.
Took pictures of Westminster Cathedral but didn't go in as there was quite a queue. Took pictures of the houses of Parliament and the general area. Even found a mass of daffodils growing by St Margaret's church. Toured the Jewel Tower which is opposite the houses of parliament. Well worth the steep winding climb to the top...marvellous view.Had another coffee in their cafe and took the bus back to the hotel, exhausted but happy.
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 05:36 PM
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Keep it coming moonrise, please!
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 05:42 PM
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Oh boy, I can hardly wait!
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 06:04 PM
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Great beginning! I am really looking forward to more!!!
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Jun 24th, 2010, 04:06 PM
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Next day walked to Leighton House in Holland Park...an incredible place. This is Lord Leighton the painter who lived in this house for many years...(born 1830 died 1896)
The exterior looked rather forbidding but inside the colours were brilliant,deep emerald green,strong blues and gold and quite exotic. Each room was furnished as he had it which was fascinating and there were paintings everywhere. We also saw his studio, a huge light room with many props.I tagged onto a group who kindly welcomed me to take part in their tour so i learnt a lot along the way.The servants quarters however were certainly a contrast to his living quarters!
I then had to pack and take a cab to Jurys Hotel at Heathrow because next morning I was to meet the Literary tour very early in the morning in the reception centre.This hotel is fine if basic, quite clean and everything you would need for an overnight stop.
Next morning I met the group. Some were like me having had a few days in London but mostly they were straight from Australia and suffering 'plane fatigue'. We had introductions then bundled into a coach for the trip down to Canterbury.We had two guides, one the literary guide and the other a sort of manager of practical affairs. The Lit. guide talked to us during the trip about things we passed and about Canterbury.At last we reached Canterbury!!!I was ecstatic . Wonderful old buildings everywhere you looked. Our hotel was the Abode which was fabulous in every way. They served us a huge brunch in the reception room then we were given our rooms(huge, clean and quiet) highly recommend this place which is the centre of the city in the main street yet I found it quiet at night and had no trouble sleeping.We then went for a tour of the main spots in Canterbury to get our bearings with the guide pointing out things along the way. we visited the great Cathedral and I took masses of pictures.Back at the hotel a few of us had soup and sandwiches in the hotel plus a drink...or two, in the bar...very cosy.Later I went for a short stroll looking at the the places nearby then stopped by in a sweet little cafe and had lemon tart and ice cream and a coffee!Felt a bit indulgent.
Next day we had a generous breakfast and we climbed into the coach for a trip to nearby Chalk, a rather plain town but we stopped at Charles Dicken's house where he had his honeymoon. A double storey white timber place with a penny farthing bicycle in the front. It is occupied so we couldn't go in but took lots of photos...looked like a seaside cottage amongst all the rather dull brick houses nearby,We went onto Cobham to the Leather Bottle Inn, a place Dickens frequented. A most beautiful Elizabethan type structure with masses of flowers everywhere including window boxes of pansies and wisterian in full bloom growing up the walls. We had coffee and biscuits here and looked at the pictures and bits and pieces there about Dickens.
More later ...
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Jun 24th, 2010, 06:30 PM
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moonrise, maybe I missed something but what was the name of the literary tour group you traveled with please? How many days and what other destinations? I ask because I was browsing various literary tour sites today. I am a history and English literature buff and will keep info for future reference. Just read Michael Slater's new bio CHARLES DICKENS which has whetted my appetite. Dickesn really got around!
Thanks so much...
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Jun 24th, 2010, 07:46 PM
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It was a literary tour with the Australians Studying Bbroad company. We journeyed for 21 days.
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Jun 24th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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Sorry I meant to type Australians Studying Abroad. This tour is a one off but the company does other tours, all leaving from Australia.The main places we toured, with many side trips which I'll mention in this report later,...
Canterbury and surrounds 2)Winchester and surrounds 3)Bath and surrounds 4) York and surrounds 5) Keswick 6)Stratford-upon-Avon 7) London.
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Jun 25th, 2010, 12:49 AM
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We then went ot Cooling where Dickens got his inspiration for the graveyard setting for Great Expectations.Took some pics then on we went to Rochester, another place Dickens loved and used as backdrop for some of his stories. It was May Day and there was a great festival in the main street so we saw lots happening including May dancing.So much to see in this charming place!!!This is where we grabbed a quick ,late lunch too. got back to Canterbury about 5pm had hot chocolate in the bar. Met the others in the Weavers Cottage for dinner, a lovely olde world place by a small river but after waiting over an hour to be served I left and had coffee and fruit in my room then flaked out, exhausted.
Next day was damp and chilly 6 degrees c.WEnt by coach to the outstanding Sissinghurst Gardens! Even in the wet and cold it was fantastic. After lunch there in their cosy cafe we headed for Knole , Vita Sackville West's childhood home.It is known as a House but is really a castle, a castle of grandeur too. We spent a long time going trough it but every room held new wonders.
Next day , feeling rather tired, we went to Rye, a beautiful village to see Lamb House, Henry James's home.Well furnished and well looked after. Had tea and scones with a few of the others in a perfect little tea shop.We then went on to Burwash, Kipling's home called Batemans...very grand indeed!!1634 inscribed above the door!This is in Sussex. The garden was outstanding Cold but not raining.We then drove on through Ashdown Forest known as The Hundred Acre Wood in the Winnie the Pooh book., then wended our long way back to the hotel.
more to come
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Jun 25th, 2010, 09:33 AM
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Moonrise, I am ejoying your literary adventure...I love Henry James.
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Jun 25th, 2010, 10:02 AM
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Wow -- I would love to take a tour like this. Wonder if there are any US equivalents.
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Jun 25th, 2010, 10:18 AM
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azzure: If you find out of a tour like this in US respond back and let me know.

moonrise: Nice trip report
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Jun 26th, 2010, 04:37 AM
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Azzure and Sue,Check out Lynott Tours at lynottours.com. I have not taken one but they look quite appetizing for those interested in literary excursions. Their offerings are extensive. Has anyone heard of this company? Many other literary jaunts are offered by other agencies, mostly out of London. Also enjoying this thread….
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