London Trip Report

Old Jun 1st, 2006, 04:39 PM
  #1  
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London Trip Report

My wife and I just returned from 8 days in London! We went to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It was my 2nd time and her 1st. I will try to keep it brief so it doesn't get boring. We arrived on Tuesday morning (May 16th) at Gatwick. The line for customs was extremely long. We withdrew pounds from an ATM and bought tickets for the Gatwick Express. We needed to have paper tickets so we could use our London 2 for 1 coupons, which turned out to save us a lot of money (almost 100GBP) on attractions and restaurants. At Victoria Station we purchased 7 day bus passes and 1 day travel cards for the 8th day. We took a taxi to our hotel, the Royal Horseguards. We both loved the hotel. They gave us a free upgrade to a king size bed and room with a view. We could see the London Eye, the Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral from our room! During our visit, we managed to see all the major sites. I will mention my favorites. On Wednesday morning, we got to see the Queen and Prince Charles entering Westminster Abbey for the Order of the Bath service. That was an unexpected treat. Wednesday night we saw "Billy Elliott". We really enjoyed it. It was really different from the movie, more of a comedy. Thursday morning we toured Westminster Abbey and paid the extra 4GBP for the verger's tour. It was well worth the extra money. The verger gave us plenty of extra information and even took us to a couple places that others were not permitted. Saturday we visited G.F. Handel's house. I am a fan, so that was special to me. We met a sweet Irish lady who is a volunteer at the house. We spent a good half hour talking with her. She told us how she loved New York City and we told her how we loved London! It was interesting that she thought New York was cleaner and safer than London. I would have to disagree. Saturday night we had reservations for the London Eye. I had booked them more than a month before on the internet. When we tried to enter County Hall to retrieve our tickets, we were stopped by guards who informed us that the Eye was closed for the day, because a private company had reserved it. I argued for a while, but was turned away. I asked another guard at the Eye itself and he referred us to a gentleman in a suit. We explained our situation and he immediately led us into County Hall to get our tickets and then escorted us onto the Eye! We even got a free glass of champagne, compliments of whatever company had booked the Eye! Sunday we managed to squeeze in 3 church services. We enjoyed them all! (Westminster Abbey (we sat in the Quire), All Soul's Langham, and St. Paul's Cathedral). Sunday afternoon we attended an organ recital at Westminster Abbey. The Bach was great! Sunday night we had tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys. I highly recommend this to anyone who is going to visit in the future. It was very interesting and a lot of fun! Just don't forget to order tickets ahead of time. Monday night we saw "The Sleeping Beaty" performed by the Royal Ballet. Although it was very good, I thought that "Swan Lake" was even better, last year. Tuesday we took the Tube and a bus to Hampton Court Palace. It was very grand and worth the trip. During the week we also visited Kensington Palace (my wife loved seeing the Princess Diana exhibit), Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Windsor Castle, Tower of London and Camden Locks Market. We took a Thames Cruise (from Greenwich) and a boat ride on the Grand Union Canal (to Camden Locks). And my wife's favorite part: stores, stores, and more stores! She absolutely loved the shopping! The food was great. I tried authentic English fish 'n chips for the first time and tea and scones with clotted cream too. It was a wonderful trip. We both are in love with London. The people are so nice (we talked at length with 3 or 4 locals). We both commented on how polite everyone is. We can't wait to return, but unfortunately, for financial reasons, that won't be for a very long time. London is fantastic!!
jeffrx is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2006, 05:17 PM
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jeffrx

Enjoyed your upbeat trip report. What a lovely way to celebrate your 25th. Congratulations.

As much as you enjoyed London there are lots more places waiting for you to explore outside London.

Sandy
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 05:34 PM
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Thanks, Sandy! I did get to see some of England on my first trip and I loved every minute of it. It's just that there's so little time and so little money!!
jeffrx is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2006, 08:01 PM
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jeffrx
Thanks for your report. My husband and I are leaving next week for a four night, five day visit to London. I want to do it all, but know that we will have to make choices. We have both been before, but for a day trip or two from my aunt's home in Northants. This will be the first time we stay in London, and one of only 2 0r 3 times we have gone anywhere without the kids in 16 years! Thanks for sharing, I am printing out your report and stashing it in my carry on bag.
TallyAnna is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2006, 08:14 PM
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Thanks for the report. We're planning our first trip.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 02:28 PM
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Great report. My wife and I are on our way in two weeks for a 10 day trip. You mentioned "London 2 for 1 coupons". Could you provide some specifics on them? We will be using the gatwick express also. Glad you had a great time...we hope to do the same!
pushmataha is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2006, 02:45 PM
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I really enjoyed the trip report. You did some very interesting things, and managed to squeeze in so much! We went to London for 6 days in March and are lucky enough to be able to fit 5 more at the end of our Scotland trip in August (and a night in York on the way from Glasgow to London). After that I will start dreaming of a possible future England/Wales trip.
noe847 is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2006, 03:25 PM
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pushmataha:
Unfortunately, the 2 for 1 coupons are only good from October through May. Have a wonderful trip! (I wish I was going too!) And thanks everyone for the nice comments.
jeffrx is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2006, 03:28 PM
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Great report and thanks for taking the time to post it.
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