Highlights From My London Trip

Apr 5th, 1999, 12:52 PM
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Highlights From My London Trip

I will try to keep this short. My mother and I booked a trip to London & Paris via EuropeVacations.com. The reservations EuropeVacations made for us were excellent and everything went well. We will defintely use them again.

We stayed at The Royal Sussex Hotel in Sussex Gardens, located 3 blocks from Paddington Station. We were a little concerned at first because others said this part of London was seedy with hourly rooms and prostitutes. We didn't see any prostitutes or rooms to rent by the hour. Most of the people we saw were fellow budget tourists dragging their luggage from Paddington station and looking for hotels. The hotels are all converted townhouses and looked very interesting. Our room wasn't huge, but it was inexpensive, clean and quiet. And besides, we barely spent any time there. There are plenty of places to eat (Greek, Indian, pubs) a block from Paddington station.

We did a daytrip to Bath via train. Since we bought our tickets a day in advance, it only cost 24.50 pounds and we saved 13.5 pounds (around $22). The clerk told us that if we bought the same ticket on the day we wanted to travel, it would have cost 38 pounds. The train line is Great Western, it departs from Paddington Station and takes about 90 minutes to get to Bath. The train station in Bath is about 3 blocks from the Bath museum and Abbey.

We did tea at The Ritz. I made reservations on The Ritz website 2 months in advance for the 5:00 seating. It's expensive (24.50 pounds) but we enjoyed it. The waitstaff dress formally in morning coats (what we call "tails"), so you do have to dress up. We wore black pantsuits and most other women had on similar outfits or dresses. The waitstaff is very friendly and helpful, even after my mother spilled her coffee on the linen tablecloth (I can't take her anywhere).

On Saturday, we went to Brixton and Camden markets. For those of you not familiar with Brixton, it's the African and Caribbean part of London. It's urban and gritty, but the market has character. It's a functional market that is a vital part of the community, not like others in London that only sell antiques or trendy clothes. The Brixton Market has fruit and vegetable stands, butchers displaying plucked chickens with the heads on and sides of beef, and clothing and food stands. I did notice Brixton is becoming more gentrified than the last time I was there…now there is a Body Shop across the street from the tube! Let me know if you have any questions.

Apr 5th, 1999, 04:50 PM
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Thank you for reporting on Europe Vacations. My husband and I are going to London in May on a similar trip with that company and I haven't seen alot of reports on them. The prices are almost too good to be true. Did you have the transfers from and to the airport included in your plan and did that work out smoothly? We aren't going to Paris, just London, and we're extending our stay for two additional weeks to travel on our own. Do you foresee any particular problems with this plan?
Apr 5th, 1999, 07:50 PM
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Good to hear about EuropeVacations, now Go-Today. We too have booked a London Vacation for May and are extending 1 week. Good to Hear about Sussex Gardens, but alas too late, we were so concerned about the area's rep rhat we decided instead on the Bloomsbury area. Thanks for the info on the Brixton and Camden Markets, we had planned to do the Portobello on Sat but I think you may have changed our minds.
Did you do any Shows or the Walks? Also do you Have to reserve that far in advance for Tea at the Ritz or could we reserve when we get to London? Thanks?
Apr 6th, 1999, 10:20 AM
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You just can't beat the prices that EuropeVacation.com offers. Before I booked through them, I went to travel agents to see if they could offer a better deal. The only thing they could offer was a similar trip that cost $300-400 more.

KRISTIN: Our arrangements with EuropeVacations went so smoothly. Our plane was delayed in Atlanta for 3 hours, so by the time we got to Gatwick, we just missed the shuttle. The shuttle company made back up arrangements for us to take the Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station and pick up the shuttle there. The back up plan was actually better than the original one. With all the traffic, it's such a pain to take a shuttle from the airports to central London. Three weeks in the London area should be more than enough time. I wished we stayed longer and could see more of the countryside. It is relatively inexpensive to take trains to places like Bath and Bristol.

CARL: This time, we didn't have enough time to do any shows or any walks. Last year we did the Jack The Ripper Walk offered by The Original London Walks Company. That was phenomenal. For Tea at The Ritz, they have three seatings. The 3:30 and 5:00 seatings are reservations required and the 2:00 seating is open to all. If you decided to go for the reserved seatings, it is recommended that you make reservations at least 2 weeks in advance. All you have to do is go to their website and you can post a reservation there. Make sure to follow up with an email to confirm the dates and time. Enjoy!
Apr 7th, 1999, 05:41 PM
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Hi Erin:
I will be in London for 5 days in early
June. Did you do any train trips besides Bath? Were you there on a Sunday, and if so, what did you do on a
Sunday in London? Did you buy all of your transportation tickets in London?
Thanks Kathy
Apr 8th, 1999, 09:26 AM
Bill Irving
Posts: n/a
I have taken a number of daytrips from London by train. I have used Britrail passes purchased in the states, but for a 5 day London stay that may not be fesible. Have gone to Bath, Cardiff-Caerphilly Wales, Portsmouth, Windsor, Salisbury(Stonehenge), Dover, Nottingham. These were all out & back from London in 1 day, have also done trips to Edinburgh taking overnight train there & late afternoon train back to London the next day. There are many more day trips that I want to do in future vacations to London. My favorite day trips have been to Wales, & because I like ships - to Portsmouth. On various Sundays I have been in London, I have done the following: Take a boat up the Thames to Greenwich & walked through the sites there. Gone to Madame Tossauds(which is very busy on Sundays). Also have gone to Windsor & toured the castle & then take a boat ride on the part of the Thames out of Windsor - that gives more of a prospective on the countryside view along the Thames, rather than the city view in London.
Apr 8th, 1999, 03:18 PM
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Nice feedback and ideas! I have some suggestions for day trips on my London Page at http://london.cjb.net Bath is an excellent choice as are Winchester; Chichester or Rye. Sundays in London are similar to any other days - most shops, restaurants etc are open, although some pubs close between 3pm and 7pm and all close early at 10:30pm.



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