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London Trip Report - April 2019 (fourth trip to London)

London Trip Report - April 2019 (fourth trip to London)

Old May 27th, 2019, 08:05 PM
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lucky you seeing the glass sculptures.
DH and I found the Sir John Soames house very messy and difficult to see things. We didn't like it all.
enjoying your report.
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Old May 27th, 2019, 08:25 PM
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Thank you, northie!

Same here: I was not too impressed with Sir John Soane’s Museum but maybe because I expected to see something similar to The Wallace Collection.

Yes, Chiculy’s glass sculptures were breathtaking... One of the nicest surprises of my trip.
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Old May 27th, 2019, 08:39 PM
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I really like Sir John Soane's Museum -- And even more since more of it has been opened to the public. But I knew pretty much what to expect - I can understand how it could seem a jumble and a little chaotic. But things are displayed as he intended 200 years ago
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Old May 27th, 2019, 08:52 PM
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Yep, it is true, Janisj! The objects at Sir John Soane’s Museum are displayed exactly how the collector himself placed them, and it is an interesting concept to keep his arrangement, but I am struggling to grasp it. I am still glad I made it there.
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Old May 29th, 2019, 03:59 PM
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Day 8

London Trip Report - April 29th 2019 - DAY 8

Day trip to Canterbury

What a lovely trip I had despite hordes of teenagers on vacation!

Everything was nice and smooth. I already picked up my pre-booked tickets from St.Pancras Station to Canterbury, took a 10:09 am train, and arrived to Canterbury around 11 am.

Walked to the Westgate, passed through the mighty gates, and stopped on the bridge over the River Stour to take a couple of pictures of punting. I easily found the Tourist Information right on the pedestrian High Street and bought my tickets for the 2pm walking tour (£10 per ticket).

I lingered a bit on very atmospheric old Butchery Street and was at the gates of Canterbury Cathedral around noon. The line to the Cathedral was very short, but The Old Buttermarket with its lovely timber houses was mobbed by school groups. Luckily, they were more interested in one extremely loud street band than in the Cathedral itself.

It was a bit disappointing to see the beautiful facade of the Cathedral in scaffoldings, but I still managed to take some decent shots of its amazing portal. They actually looked pretty good after some editing.

I quickly joined the Cathedral tour and spent maybe 90 minutes learning about the history of the Cathedral and its construction, visited the Martyrdom (the site of Thomas Becket’s murder), took a leisurely walk in the lovely Cloisters, explored the Chapter House and the Crypt, and decided to I return in the afternoon to explore on my own.

Around 1:30 pm, I stopped for a light lunch at the little Cafe Lazix on Butchery Street, had delicious scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and a cup of much needed coffee.

Headed back to the beautiful Cathedral Gates for the town walking tour and was pleasantly surprised: I was the only one to join the walk with my amazing guide, Liz.

She showed me the sights which tourists are not allowed to visit; for example, the premises of the Kings’s School, where every building has its own story of turbulent and fascinating past. We also visited beautiful Cathedral Precincts, walked along the old streets, each one with its own unique historical sights, like the old inn, where the four knights stayed the night before murdering Thomas Becket and another old inn, where pilgrims of medieval times stayed at the start of their journey to Santiago de Compostela.

It was one of the most informative and interesting walking tours I have ever had. Liz was an amazing guide and such a charming person.

After the tour, I revisited the Cathedral, walked to the St.Magdalen Church Tower on my way to the ruins of atmospheric St.Augustine Abbey.

Then I walked back the Westgate and even had enough time left for the loveliest Riverside Walk.

At 5:30 pm, it was time to take my to St.Pancras, where I arrived around 18:30pm, had a quick bite at the King Cross “Patisserie Valerie” (bagel, salmon and cream cheese and guacamole), and took a tube to my hotel. I had to start packing...
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Old May 31st, 2019, 01:37 PM
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DAY 9 - Hampton Court

London Trip Report - April 30th 2019 - DAY 9
Hampton Court

It was my second visit to Hampton Court, but last time my husband and I were there in November after Thanksgiving, so we had totally missed the beauty of the Palace Gardens.

It was very easy for me to get to Hampton Court, but I am not sure if I picked the most pleasant journey. I took Piccadilly Line from Earls Court to Hounslow East, then Bus 111 (direction towards Kingston) to Hampton Court Gardens, Stop A. The bus ride was uneventful but very boring and long (45 minutes) - passing by one rundown neighborhood after another was not too exciting. In hindsight, I would have been better off taking District line from Earls Court to Embankment and then a train from Waterloo Station to Hampton Court.

The weather was gorgeous - lovely warm and sunny day excellent for walking in the Palace Gardens. And there were no crowds at all - kids went back to school.

My RHP membership included all sights and audio guide in Hampton Court, so I picked up my audio guide, which was very informative by the way, and started with the Henry VIII apartments, admired magnificent Great Hall, other rooms, gorgeous Chapel and the Picture Gallery, where I found one wonderful Caravaggio and very unusual portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Andy Warhol.

I especially enjoyed “The Cartoon Gallery” with the tapestries of Rafael’s cartoons. Hampton Court has the copies and I was fortunate to see the originals at V&A Museum.

Then I moved on to the familiar territory, Henry VIII kitchens, which I remembered very well. Well, Henry VIII definitely knew how to entertain and feed his guests, that’s for sure.😊

Inspired by the kitchens and vivid presentations of cooking techniques of Henry VIII’s time, I noticed a lovely cafe, “Privy Kitchen”, where I had my delicious lunch: broccoli and cheese pie with mashed potatoes and gravy and a cup of coffee. This pie was really good but way too big for me - I needed a good long walk after it.

I headed to the gorgeous Palace Gardens and basically spent my afternoon there. The formal Great Fountain Garden with multicolored tulips in bloom was unbelievably beautiful... the elaborate wrought iron gates, the fountain, the flowerbeds, the alleys - everything was stunning. Moved on to the equally lovely Privy Garden and Lower Orangery Garden, visited the Mantegna Gallery and learned about the famous Palace vine production in the Great Vine glasshouse...

Then I spent some time exploring beautiful William III and Mary II apartments with outstanding displays of Dutch porcelain and elaborate inlaid furniture.

My last walk of the day was in the charming Kitchen Gardens and “The Wilderness”. I did not have time to browse in “The Maze”, so I just took a quick look.

It was around 6pm, I headed to the bus stop, took a bus to Hounslow East and was back in my room around 8pm. Still had to finish packing.

Unfortunately, it was the last day of my wonderful trip. Early flight home tomorrow.

Last edited by vinonobile987; May 31st, 2019 at 01:51 PM.
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Old May 31st, 2019, 01:49 PM
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Day 10 - flight back home - May 1st

I was promptly picked up by my driver around 7 pm, had a comfortable ride to LHR in a beautiful Mercedes (expensive but worth it - £60), and enjoyed some time shopping at Duty Free shops. Bought a lovely Swarovski necklace for my daughter-in-law, had a light breakfast, and it was time to board. My flight was on time and I landed in Boston 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Nice!

My husband was very excited to pick me up at the airport and find me safe and sound after my solo trip. I bet he is is sorry that he did not join me, he is just not admitting it😊.

I was so good to come back home, to see my family and enjoy my big new house after my tiny room at AC Marriott Xenia... I love coming home after my trips😊.

I would like to thank again all Fodorites, and especially Janisj, who made my trip truly amazing and so predictable. I miss London already and am planning to return soon, this time with my husband.


Last edited by vinonobile987; May 31st, 2019 at 01:52 PM.
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Old May 31st, 2019, 03:01 PM
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Bus route 111 is not pleasant, areas are not nice along that route until past Hampton. Love the Kitchen Gardens @HCP, I buy produce from them in season.
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Old May 31st, 2019, 03:16 PM
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I cannot agree more with you, Odin! Bus 111 is OK, but the neighborhoods along the route are not for tourist enjoyment - that’s for sure.

You are very very lucky to buy produce from the Kitchen Gardens. I loved how their cabbage and herbs looked. I wish my husband could grow something similar in our herb garden😊.
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Old May 31st, 2019, 08:27 PM
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>>I miss London already and am planning to return soon, this time with my husband.<<

You are totally hooked

Such a lovely report.

I leave 5 weeks from tomorrow . . .
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Old May 31st, 2019, 08:44 PM
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Thank you, Janis! I am sure you will have a wonderful trip and super good weather!

I am planning our 5th trip to Spain now, this time Burgos, Basque Country and a couple of days in my beloved Madrid. We will be driving!
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Old May 31st, 2019, 08:51 PM
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We will be in London in September (our second trip) for a week, and this wonderful report will help in planning how to spend our days. If you love Chihuly, the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle will take you breath away. Truly amazing collection of his works. https://www.chihulygardenandglass.com/
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Old May 31st, 2019, 09:02 PM
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So glad my trip report will help you, milaedg!

I adore Chiculy’s art. Thank you so much for the link! We have never been to Seattle and hopefully will go some day. Chiculy’s Garden and Glasshouse will certainly top my list.
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Old Jun 4th, 2019, 12:44 PM
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Wonderful trip report. I spent 10 days in London 12 years ago, with side trips to Canterbury/Dover and Oxford. So many other places to go for the first time but your report makes me want to make my next overseas trip back to England. Especially want to visit Winchester. Thank you!
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Old Jun 4th, 2019, 01:41 PM
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Thank you, CLBTravel! It is so much to see in England that the more I go the more I want to return... Isn’t Dover wonderful? We had spent a whole day exploring Dover Castle - amazing how it did not lose its significance from the 12th century to the WWII days.

Yes, Winchester was lovely... the river walk is so picturesque and peaceful... wonderful town with ancient history and gorgeous Cathedral.

Hope you will come come back to England soon!
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