Just a quick recap of my time in London during the Open House weekend in September. Such a great time of year to be in London.
RE: THE STRAND PALACE HOTEL
First, a big thank you to latedaytraveler for mentioning this hotel. WOW--amazing location. The Strand Palace Hotel was such a perfect, super-cheap and incredibly convenient hotel. I booked my room about 10 months out (as soon as I learned the date of the Open House Weekend) and got a fantastic rate. The room was very clean and comfortable. However, next time, I'll ask for a room on a higher floor as the street noise was, at times, disruptive. On Friday night, I saw Mark Ryland and Saturday, Eddie Redmayne, just walking down the sidewalk. (I couldn't have asked for 2 better celeb-sightings. Maybe Emma Thompson. Maybe Colin Firth. Add in Benedict Cumberbatch and there's my top 5.)
RE: OPEN HOUSE LONDON (Sat-Sun)
So I was far less ambitious than my first Open House experience in 2013. (I saw loads that weekend...if you click my name, you can see how many places I was able to see.) This year, I visited the Royal Overseas League, the Linnean Society, the Reform Club, the Royal Geographical Society and Home House. I have many pics on my blog and on my pinterest boards (accessible via my website), if anyone's interested.
RE: GTG with FlannerUK and Patrick London at The Salisbury in Covent Garden
Wonderful to finally meet the wry-witted Flanner and reconnect with lovely Patrick, and a theater friend of mine from Chicago. GTGs are wonderful to glean a little how the English live, and I had a wonderful time. Though I don't think I'll have pear cider again. It was oddly potent and made me sweat.
RE: LONDON WALKS - Dickens Victorian London
Loved this tour wandering the streets of Southwark. Sue was our guide and so full of fantastic information. A perk of this tour is that you end up very near the wonderful Borough Market for eats and, if inclined, you can get a half-price admission to the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret.
RE: London Chinatown -- LIDO Restaurant
Okay. I'm really into dim sum lately, so I ordered a bowl of congee and steamed bao (mixed mushroom-filled steamed dumplings). Was a perfect meal on a cold, damp day. Incredibly delicious.
RE: Moreton in Marsh, the Secret Cottage Tour, the Spice Room
The Cotswolds were the highlight of my trip. I so love that countryside. This time, I chose to stay at the lovely Bell Inn in Moreton-in-Marsh. Had a huge, gorgeous room, and the proprietors were absolutely fantastic. I understand the Inn has been recently refurbished so I'd look only at the more recent tripadvisor comments from June on. Moreton-in-March was great starting point for a circular walk to Batsford Arboretum and Sezincote, and I had the BEST meal in my entire time in England at The Spice Room. (I had Chingri Ruposhi, which was king prawns in a tomato-based sauce with green peppers, and warm, buttery naan bread. I inhaled my meal.)
Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate to allow me a hike one day, so I booked a last minute slot in the Secret Cottage Tour. Such a great decision. Was wonderful to be carted about with a group of lovely tourists from all over the world, to the prettiest Cotswolds villages that are a bit inaccessible by public transportation. The best part of the tour are the three returns to the thatched roof cottage owned by the proprietor for tea and food. Actually, I blogged about that as well if you wish to see some pics. Highly recommend. And you are fed amazingly well all day long.
Another wonderful trip. Can't wait to return!
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London Open House Weekend and Moreton in Marsh