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Just back from London, Thanks to all for your help!

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Jan 25th, 2005, 06:18 AM
  #1
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Just back from London, Thanks to all for your help!

Just got back last night from a too short, 4 day jaunt to London. The worst part of the trip was the drive in snow and ice to and from Newark airport through the Poconos. Awful, terrifying and might actually not travel during the winter months because of it!

We flew Virgin's premium economy and really appreciated the extra leg room. I am 5'10" and my 13 year old is 6'1", so we need the extra room! We were upstairs on a 747. The aisles are extra wide, also and that is nice. The food is mediocre at best. I wasn't really expecting it to be any better, though!

I used Justairports.com for a car from Heathrow to and from the hotel. The ride to the hotel was 29GBP. Our driver was 15 mins. late. I was just about to call justairports when he arrived.

Our hotel was the Renassaince Chancery Court Hotel . It is said to be a 5 star hotel, but is no more than a 4 star. The lobby isn't anything impressive and the rooms are like an upgraded standard Marriott room, but the bathrooms were really nice, the beds comfortable, housekeeping very accomodating and a great Irish concierge. They messed up my billing, but it was straightened out easily. Our fist night was $450 for just room, but then dropped to $270 including breakfast. I thought that was a bargain. You can order room service or have the buffet in the lounge. The room service is better!!

The hotel is REALLY close to the tube (which is incredibly easy to use) and with in walking distance to Covent Garden, theatre, that kind of stuff!!! Simple places to eat are everywhere. I would stay here again because it is fairly nice, a good price and easily accessible.

Our first day we were rather tired (I have never figured out how to sleep on those planes)! So we walked to the British Museum and spent the afternoon there. My son was very interested in the Rosetta Stone, Eqyptian stuff, coins from all ages, etc. He really liked it here. We ate quick at the cafe and the food was good. In the evening we walked to the Cittee of Yorke pub (claimed to be the oldest pub in London). The ground floor was extremely crowded with the young business crowd, so we went downstairs for meat pies and ale (soda for the 13 year old!) Food was okay and very inexpensive. Later that evening we walked around and went to the Virgin Record store. My son liked the guitar section the best.

The thing that I wasn't ready for that I thought I was ready for, was how expensive everything is because our dollar is so low. We didn't buy as much as we usually would have. My son is very practical and I had to keep saying, "It's okay, we're on vacation, you can get it". Food isn't outrageous, but clothing, cosmetics, handbags,etc, are.

On Friday we spent hours at Harrods, then went to Westminister Abbey, Parliment, Cabinet War rooms (really interesting), and popped by the Palace. We used the tube the entire day. For dinner we ate at the hotel restaurant the Pearl. They have a set three course dinner for 23GBP, I think. The food was unusual but very, very good. I am glad we did this. A little fancier than where my son usually eats, but it's good to start them out young, don't you think? Wine, $23 a glass!! We then went to see We Will Rock You. THE SON ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. I liked it because he liked it and it brings back memories of being a teen myself. The music is all from the rock group Queen.

Saturday...Tower of London.........What can you say that hasn't been said. What an unbelievable experience. Mamarosa, your son will love it here. You can spend easily one half day here. Definately take the tour with the beefeaters. They are funny and the kids eat that up. We ate right there and took lots and lots of pictures. Then onto St. Pauls, and London Eye. My son didn't love it like I thought he would, but he liked it. We went to Hard Rock Cafe because when you are a teenager, that's what you do. It was a long wait, but it you go downstairs there is a bar there where you can sit, drink, watch videos and look at the cool stuff. Oh, we also were walking around Covent Garden, went past the Savoy, and it was 10 minutes till Blithe Spirit, we checked to see if they had tickets available, they did and we went. Son loved it. He loves the dry British Humor.

On Sunday, we went to Greenwich. I loved it. So did my son. We took the Holburn tube to Bank, then the DLR. Take the Cutty Sark exit and you are there! All is within a short walking distance. We didn't check out the Cutty Sark. When you live in eastern US, you have tons of chances to get on old ships, but we did walk around the Naval Academy and my son actually enjoyed that. It was a cold but sunny brisk day, so walking was nice. He loved the Maritime museum. That was right up his alley. It is all about maritime exploration. Once again any preteen and teen boy would like this. We went to the Queen's house. He hated it, but placated me and endured it while I looked!! Then we tried to get into Trafalgar Tavern for lunch. Too busy so we ate fish and chips at the Yacht next door. It was on the water so had a nice view and the food was good. Not great, but good.

Next it was a walk uphill to the Royal Observatory. If your kids like science, this will be quite a treat. As you walk in you cross the prime meridian, then when you go inside, it's all about how they finally nailed down longitude, lots of clocks, all that science stuff. We spent quite a bit of time here as my son loved it. He was interested in the how they did it, what they used, all that. When we were done, we walked around the town of Greenwich. There is a market there on Sunday. Very nice day.

We left on Monday. Again Just airports 24GBP. I only had two twenties and don't you know the driver didn't have change, so it cost me 30GBP. I guess that's okay. He got me a luggage trolley after all!! Virgin said to be at the airport three hours ahead which is way too much time because the airport has way too many nice shops! My husband is getting a Thomas Pink shirt and tie because of this and I hit Burberry, Liberty and MAC. See, way too much time!!

We had a great trip and thanks to all for your help. Can you tell that I normally talk alot?

Suse
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Jan 25th, 2005, 06:39 AM
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Jan 25th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Suse, I was wondering when you were coming back! I will show my son your report after school today. It sounds like you had a great time, short, but nice. Thanks for the details.

Sorry to hear about your drive to Newark. Where in the Poconos are you? We were there for three years, came back to FL last year! Boy how I DO NOT miss the snow/ice!

Thanks again!
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Jan 25th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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Sounds like a fun trip and makes me nostalgic for London. Sorry about your reentry but most of us in the Northeast were experiencing the same thing and we didn't have a lovely trip to London to show for it!
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Jan 25th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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Hi, Mamarosa.
We are in the Danville area, which is past the Poconos, but all of our trips east are through the Poconos. Where were you? I envy you for getting away from the snow, and especially, the ICE!

Have a great time in London. We had so much fun that we are already talking about what we have to see the next time we go!
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Jan 25th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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Your son might be interested in a book and movie called "Longitude." It's about John Harrison, the guy who built all those magnificent timepieces on the top floor of the Observatory museum, and his quest for recognition as the conquerer of the longitude problem.
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Jan 25th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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Really pleased that you had a good time - and managed to pack so much into 4 days!

Most shocked at $23 for a glass of wine though! I've lived in London for 10 years - I used to live around the corner from your hotel - and that's about the most outrageous I've heard - or should I assume that wasn't the cheapest on the menu?!
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Jan 25th, 2005, 10:01 AM
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Tallulah,
It was 12pounds something, so I rounded up to 23 american dollars. And, you are right, it was for a glass of Vueve Cliquot, then 9gbp for a of gavi de gavi which is still $18. As you can see, I still paid it, and it was delicious, just expensive. This was at the Pearl, and no I didn't get the cheapest. I am sorry if it sounded like a complaint, I really enjoyed the restaurant and highly recommend it.

To all, I have just reread my post and fear I was suffering from jet lag! I did not mean to sound like I was complaining. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed every second (okay, except for the Poconos part). I would do it all over again, except I would have stayed longer!!
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Jan 25th, 2005, 10:11 AM
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Suse,

We were in Bushkill.....Saw Creek Estates, just up the 'hill' from Fernwood, off of Route 209.

I am becomming quite impatient! I can't wait to go back to the UK. The kids and hubby are getting excited too!
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