London & Ireland trip

Aug 26th, 2009, 03:59 PM
  #1  
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London & Ireland trip

We will be arriving at Heathrow on 9/7 in the am. We will be staying at Heathrow/Windsor Marriott for 4 day and then move to the County Hall for 5 days. We are planning on visiting Windsor Castle, Hampton Court and possibly Bath the first few days. Looking for suggestions of other things to do while in that area in case we don't go to Bath. Also looking for less expensive transportation suggestions to Bath.

We will be moving to the County Hall on 9/11 and the Thames Festival starts the next day. Is that something that is worth occuping our weekend, or is it nice to just check out or do we want to stay far away from it? We plan on doing a number of day walks around the city, visiting some of the sites and some pub crawls at night. We are interest in the architecture and history of London. So any suggestions would be appreciated.

We will be heading to Ireland on 9/16 taking the Rail/Sail to Dublin. We have a full day in Dublin before we join a CIE Taste of Ireland tour and then will have a full day afterwards. We will be staying in the Temple Bar area. We plan on visiting the Guiness Storehouse and the local pubs, but any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
demayco is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew are near Hampton Court. You can add some time in Richmond if you don't want to do it on the same day as HC - there are a couple of stately houses in Richmond and some nice walking paths. Pleasant to walk along the river and have dinner at a pub there.
lennyba is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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In Dublin you must see the Book of Kells and Trinity and /dublin Castle. there are severl interesting museums and a lot of good theater. If you get chance see something by a local - Wilde or Shaw or whatever.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 04:54 PM
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I will add Kew Gardens and Richmond to the list of possibilities. How about transportation from the Windsor Marriott area to Hampton Court? Do we need to go to Heathrow to get there or is there a train or bus that we can take from the hotel area?

The Dublin Castle is part of our CIE tour, but will definitely look into seeing the Books of Kells and Trinity also.

Thanks for the comments.
demayco is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 07:05 PM
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Can't help you with transportation from that direction, but will bump this for someone who can.

When you visit Windsor, make sure you build in a little time to walk across the river to Eton.

One thing you might want to do to get a birds-eye look at some of London's architecture is climb the Monument. http://www.themonument.info/
lennyba is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 01:24 PM
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Any suggestions on the must see things in London or the Thames Festival?

Lennyba thanks for sharing that web site, fantastic view of the city.
demayco is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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demayco, there are a bunch of excellent trip reports here that will give you some great ideas (I'm afraid I'm inexcusably lazy about writing mine). Check out the trip report section. Here are my favorite things to do in London, I've been many times and am always planning another trip:

Museums (mostly free) - Tate Britain, British Museum, British Library, Natural History, Science, Victoria and Albert, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Imperial War Museum, Somerset House

Sites/sights - Tower of London, Greenwich, London Eye, St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey.

London Walks - great for art/architecture lovers like you. We've been on a bunch: City of Westminster, Inns of Court, a couple of ghost walks, Beatles, etc.

Theater - check out londontheatre.co.uk for ideas. You can book ahead or check out the TKTS booth in Leicester square for half-price tix on the day.

Borough Market near the Monument (opposite side of the river) is fantastic. Food heaven.

Parks - Regent's and Hyde are my favorites. On our last trip we spent a Sunday afternoon walking from our hotel near Holland Park through Kensington Gardens, Hyde, Green, and St. James's, ending up at Abbey Gardens by the river.

Posters yk and Cholmondley-Warner have some great ideas for things you don't always hear about - see if you can find their posts. Enjoy your planning!
lennyba is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 03:27 PM
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Although I haven't been there yet... while researching my own trip I ran across this website and thought it would be a fabulous thing to budget for!

http://www.baileyballoons.co.uk/our-...om-cities.html

They launch from Bath, Bristol, and other places. If you take the 12-person basket then they are running a special for 99GBP (down from 125GBP) for weekday morning flights.

I've always been fascinated by hot air balloons and maybe it wouldn't appeal to everyone but what an amazing way to view the area before (or after) exploring it on the ground.
Rosa_Mundi is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Rosa_Mundi: I definitely would think twice before booking a balloon flight while on a short trip to the UK. I have gone ballooning and soaring (gliding) - but I lived there and could always re-schedule if the weather didn't cooperate.

I personally LOVE the weather in England. But you can never (ever) be sure about the weather on any given day during the couple of hours they usually will go up --

If you read the terms and conditions, IF you qualify for a refund (and there are very specific requirements to get any refund at all) there is a 40% administration fee.
janisj is online now  
Aug 27th, 2009, 04:47 PM
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Ohhhh... =( I didn't think of that. Here I was like a little kid in a candy store jumping up and down and clapping my hands! Oh goody, goody!

But how awful if it didn't work out for the couple of days I was there. Thank you! Maybe I will just get up early, grab some coffee, and see if I am lucky enough to watch them taking off. That will still be exciting. =)

demayco: sorry about that. =) I just wasn't using my thinker.
Rosa_Mundi is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 05:12 PM
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You'd sure kick yourself if the days you are there end up glorious, sunny and calm But if its windy/showery/rainy - you can pat yourself on the back . . . .
janisj is online now  
Aug 27th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Rosa_Mundi - Thanks for the info, even though balooning sounds interesting, I have a problems with height, so getting me up in one would be a real problem. Even though I have never been to London, I do realize that the weather is unpredictable so I would have to agree with janisj. Thanks for the comments, please more advise on things to do in London.
demayco is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 10:08 PM
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The Book of Kells is one of those sights - like Stonehenge or Dover's White Cliffs - that disappoints a surprisingly large proportion of those who see it.

It's an extraordinarily beautiful example of ninth-century book illumination - but a visitor can see just one, tiny page at a time, and there's almost always a lengthy queue, so even if you know something about the subject and want to examine it a bit, there's pressure from behind to move on. You also have to pay. If you're seriously interested in early religious books, the Chester Beatty library in Dublin Castle has a far wider range, and you can scrutinise them without being told to move on

The Lindisfarne Gospels, roughly contemporaneous to the Book of Kells, are similar, though less extravagant. They're in the British Library in London and far, far more pleasant and more gratifying to view. They're also visitable for free, and there's a wonderful gadget in the entrance area which lets you view any virtual page at your own pace.

Like the White Cliffs, the real point of the Book of Kells is that the country has chosen to identify it as a national symbol. What makes people feel good about their country doesn't necessarily make for compulsive viewing. I'm very fond of my facsimile of the Book of Kells: I thought the time queueing to see a tiny bit of it a complete waste of time.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 28th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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Flanneruk makes a very good point. I would hate to pay and stand in line to wait to see just a glimpse of something that doesn't have a special significance to me. Even though I have heard of the Book of Kells I am not familiar with it at all. I guess I should do some research to determine if that is something that I really want to see.

Can anyone recommend any local pubs in Dublin that are a must to visit?

I appreciate any comments on other things to do in both the London and Dublin area.
demayco is offline  
Aug 28th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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Still looking for London suggestions. Not really going to plan ahead, figured we would start out walking and see where that takes us. I hear that walking on the Southbank is a wonderful experience in itself.

Answer this for me "If you could only do one thing in London what would it be?"
demayco is offline  
Aug 29th, 2009, 04:04 PM
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Take a tour at the Tower of London - my favorite!
steady is offline  
Aug 29th, 2009, 09:56 PM
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Oh, yes, do walk along the South Bank. You'll find a book stall under one of the bridges near the National Theatre complex, as well as many street entertainers (doing the "statue thing"). I especially like Southwark Cathedral. It's quiet, and there's a nice refectory there as well.

Be sure to wander around Covent Garden. There are more buskers there in the afternoon, and plenty of restaurants in the area.

I love sitting in St. James Park and listening to the chimes of Big Ben.
Merseyheart is offline  
Aug 29th, 2009, 11:41 PM
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What do you mean by less expensive transportation to Bath? Less than a chauffered car? Less than the train? The rail journey from Windsor is about 2 hours but if you travel after 9.30 you can get an offpeak fare. There is a cheaper advance purchase option but that is completely inflexible on the journey you can take there and back.
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