London Trip Report for my photos

Old Oct 30th, 2006, 09:14 AM
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London Trip Report for my photos

This is actually a repost, but I sort of buried the trip report in with a thread just on my photos, so I wanted to make sure to have it's own thread (for anyone who is interested in our London trip, which actually was a lot of "outside of London" visiting!) Photos are at www.neesie.org:

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We landed in London on September 6th - the start of the flight was, well - there was a storm and we had to sit on the tarmac for an hour before taking off. It was interesting as the storm rolled over, the plane shook from the wind as it made its way over. I was glad they waited it out!

Did I mention that I dont like to fly?

Id booked a little bit later of a flight, so we didnt hit the ground running in London too early. What I didnt realize is that our Bed and Breakfast hosts actually anticipate early guests, and would have been fine with it. Wed shown up early last year to a hotel in London and had to wait a couple of hours (so I figured Id cut that off at the pass!)

Id gotten a good deal on the Gatwick Express, which was quick and easy into London and then we bought 7 day zone 4 cards (as we were there 5 days, and the Arnos Grove stop is a bit out of London). Getting to the Bay Tree House B&B was maybe another half hour after that - but it was well worth it! James and Janice are wonderful hosts, and greeted us like they already knew us.

After bringing out luggage to the room (actually, James did - even though we could have!), we headed out to Buckingham Palace. Id booked us a tour of the palace with tea at a restaurant afterwards. It was well worth the money to actually go inside the palace during the time it is open, and there was a charity event going on in the courtyard - and Prince Phillip, Prince Edward and Sophie were there. So that was a pretty interesting first day!

Our tea was non-descript. The scone was very good, and the tea was good (as I recall, at Chez Gerard) - but it was just a slow time at the restaurant and the service wasnt really much to speak of. I think we were the only ones from our tour group that even made it back for tea! (the tour was just picking up the vouchers for tea and the palace - it was about 10 minutes or so with everyone before scattering).

Day 2 London


I had booked us a trip to Bath/Lacock/Stonehenge. We had already done Stonehenge last year, but Steve wanted to do the inner circle tour, where you actually touch the stones. So we met the bus down to Victoria - and we had quite an interesting tour guide, you can look at the photos.

Bath is a lovely city, apart from the Roman Bath exhibit. Of course, this is a tour - so we didnt have time to look around much, except for from the bus - we did go to the Roman Baths. To find out more about the museum of Bath, this is the site to look at: http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/

We stopped in Lacock for dinner - it seems like on any tour, you have 3 stops. One is a small city for shopping and/or a meal. Lacock Village is small, but full of history (dating back to the 13th century). Lacock Abbey was used for the Harry Potter films. We ate at the George Inn, which is one of the older buildings in the village. The food was good, and it really was just a nice stop along the way.

Our last stop was Stonehenge - we arrived just around dusk. If you want to go to Stonehenge, I really recommend doing the inner circle tour. Seeing it from behind the ropes just isnt the same. The tour guide divided the group into 2, and we each had maybe 15 minutes or so to hang out and take photos around the stones. It does cost a little more, but I highly recommend it! There was noone else there at that time but our tour group.

Day 3 London

This was laundry day for me - which was funny to James and Janice (our hosts at the Bed and Breakfast), as I told them when I came back how far Id gone to do it! Steve and I had stayed at the Gloucester Road metro area last year, at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum. Its a great area - its got a Sainsburys, Waitrose, a nice internet cafe, and a laundromat (the machines eat money like there is no tomorrow!) - oh, and a post office. I loved this area and knew it well, so I packed up some laundry into my large backpack and headed down. It is a long ride - 45 minutes! But I did get some grocery shopping done while waiting for the laundry - and found a lovely cookie called Huntley and Palmers Knobbles (as well as the Ginger Nuts) for sale, buy 1 get 1 free. Yum! The mint and orange Kit Kats were also on sale, so I stocked up on that and tea for gifts for home. Plus for me. Prior to leaving home, Id ordered some items from Whittard (they have a reasonable shipping fee) so I didnt have to worry as much about souvies for home. Whittard makes GREAT hot chocolate, for those who dont know! Brilliant! (my favorite English term!)

For those who might want to ship anything home themselves - dont! I bought a box to ship some items (including Sainsburys chips, which are a favorite of Steves). But the cost was going to be like 80 pounds to ship! Some really large amount. So pack really light - and bring an extra bag! The box came in handy - James and Janice held it during the rest of our trip, and it kept the chips from breaking apart on our way back. Id maybe even just pick up a box next time on our last London day (since I prefer to fly into London for our Europe trips) and pack it full for our flight.

For those who are looking for any Big Ben sightings, we didnt really even make it down that way this trip! We did obviously make it to Buckingham Palace, and Gloucester, but that is about it for downtown London! As Id mentioned, James really rided me on the Gloucester trip! Hell now be telling everyone how much better it is down at Gloucester for laundry!

Steve had wanted to see Slough. For those who have never heard of Slough, watch the British version of The Office. The opening scenes are there (did I mention it was one of the best tv shows, ever?) I was nervous about going there, from what has been said about it on message boards and in the tv show. But it was quite a lovely city, we really enjoyed it! We spent some time in the city center area (quite lively with nice shops), and then took a taxi to see the opening sequence areas from the show. If you get to Slough, head to the museum and ask for Stella! She is quite a live wire.

We actually spent more time at Slough then intended - and it had taken us longer to get there due to Kings Cross being closed (we had to go the longer way to get to the train station). We did make it to Windsor, but not into the castle! We stopped at McDonalds, and walked along the Thames and to Eton - it is a very pretty area, and Id like to spend at least a full day there next time (maybe a night or two). The shops were actually interesting as well.

We headed back to our Bed and Breakfast, stopping at a reasonably priced Chinese restaurant around the corner and I think we headed to Asda that day. I really like grocery shopping in London (and anywhere in Europe, actually!) It is just about my favorite thing to do!

Day 4

This is our last full day in London, and Id REALLY wanted to go to Hampton Court Palace last year but we never made it. There was so much to see in London, and still so much Id like to see (including a day trip to the Cotswolds, to Greenwich, back to Hampton Court and Windsor - to the Tower of London, etc.). There really is so much to see there, but its nice to be able to keep going back!

Id decided before we left home that wed get the annual pass for Hampton Court/Kensington/Tower of London/Kew Palace. It was 55 pounds for the two of us (not each), and its good for a year - and just the Tower of London tickets cost like 15 pounds each. We didnt make it to the Tower this time, but we did get to Hampton Court and Kensington, and do plan to go back within the year. I really recommend this if you plan to hit all of these palaces, or just 2 or 3 of them - it gave us a book as well (the cost on it was 10 pounds normally), and discounts on shopping and dining. They also send us a newsletter, which comes several times a year. They do have events that cost less for members. Here is the link to the information: http://www.historicroyalpalaces.org/...nt.asp?ID=1138

I am looking forward to hitting each palace next year with no additional charge!

I really loved Hampton Court Palace. The surrounding area outside of the Palace/Gardens isnt as nice as Windsor (at least for the part we saw), but the Palace is lovely. We were there a few hours - and Id like to have had more time. The trip out took quite a while - Kings Cross was down during the time we were there, and so the trip was even longer than it would have been. We had lunch there (the food was good, better than what we had at the Tower last year). We did the maze, which Id been looking forward to last year (but never made it there). The gardens are lovely, and just a nice place to spend time - and I really enjoyed the Palace. They had carriage rides (Id like to do that next time as well) around the gardens as well. For information on Hampton Court, the official site is here (oh - and if you do get the membership, there is a nice little members-only room to hang out in, especially great when its a hot day!): http://www.historicroyalpalaces.org/...mpton_home.asp

After Hampton Court, we went to Kensington Palace. Wed just made it, they were barring up one entrance and we went into the other. Id wanted to see the Princess Diana gown exhibit - which is what I remember most, that was a lovely exhibit. It was very neat to see the gowns she wore for state functions, and the one she danced with John Travolta in - I was glad we got there!

On our way out, Id stopped in the park to feed some squirrels - and Steve kept saying that something was going on. I had no idea what he was talking about, and didnt think much about it. Well, something was Prince Charles and Camilla landing in their royal helicopter! I didnt see Camilla, but I could see Charles waving in the distance. We got close as they were getting into their limo and driving off, and the helicopter then took off. So we had two royal sightings during our stay, which was pretty cool.

Kensington Gardens was really nice - we walked through there a bit before leaving. We actually stayed close by on our last day of our trip at the Copthorne Tara (which wasnt a hotel I loved) and I finally went into Marks and Spencer (their food area anyway) for the first time. What a great place! That area is another one Id like to visit again next time. There is just too much I want to revisit!

Id thought maybe itd be nice to get to St. James Park, and to see a little of London - but we were both tired and headed back to the Bed and Breakfast (and probably stopped at the Chinese restaurant on the way!) Most evenings we ended up spending some time with James and Janice - they are so personable, and I cant wait to head back there. If you do stay at their Bed and Breakfast (Bay Tree House) and want to bring a small gift, they really like Perry! You can get it at Asda, it was only like $1.00 or $2.00 for a bottle (its a type of champagne). We picked up a couple of bottles for them at the end of the trip - if Id known it was so cheap, Id have gotten them something else from our trip too!

I am sure I missed something - but hopefully next time well make it into downtown London more too!

nbodyhome is offline  
Old Oct 30th, 2006, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for posting this report. It sounds like a fun and comfortable return trip for London 'regulars.' Nice pictures - you saw a good variety of things on your trip!
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Thanks! I am hoping to see more next year - you can never "do" everything you want to, and there is so much I want to see again.

Denise
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Great trip report and pictures Denise! I too am returning to London for the 5th time next spring and there is so much to see, yet never enough time!!
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Old Oct 31st, 2006, 01:13 AM
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nbodyhome - Enjoyed reading about your trip and looking at your pictures. Well done.

Sandy
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Old Oct 31st, 2006, 03:31 AM
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Great trip report!! Loved the pictures. Getting ready to go to London next week & reading your report really got me excited!!
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Old Oct 31st, 2006, 03:54 AM
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You sound like real fans! Glad you had a good trip.

(but Perry is not a type of Champagne for anyone who now buys it and is disappointed! It's basically a version of cider - the alchoholic UK stuff - made with pears instead of apples)
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Old Oct 31st, 2006, 04:42 AM
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I am sorry, we had the Perry and it tasted like a champagne! I guess I'm not familiar enough with all things alcoholic. But our hosts at the Bed and Breakfast LOVE it (and it is cheap!)

I am glad everyone enjoyed the pics and such - we didn't go into London proper as much this trip as last. Maybe sometime I'll throw up last years photos, which include the London Eye, Tower of London and such.

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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:45 AM
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I enjoyed your trip report, though it doesn't look like you hit too many major London city sights!

I am interested in Slough - I noticed the reference on the Paris report yesterday. Can you make a stop just for an hour or so and see the Office sites? And how long was your Stonehenge tour?
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 04:05 PM
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No, we did the London sights last year! We did go to Buckingham Palace, and Kensington Palace. Not much else in central London. I was most disappointed to miss St. James Park that was a favorite park of mine. Hopefully next year.

As far as Slough - you can either take a bus (we didn't) or take a cab - which cost us like $20 US to see the few sights from the beginning of the office. It was much quicker to get the cab. We also walked around downtown Slough for an hour and a half or so, it's really quite nice.

The Stonehenge tour was pretty much all day, from like 11am until 9 or so pm, as it stopped also in Bath and for dinner.
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 04:21 PM
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I'm curious as to what you didn't like about Copthorne Tara? Not that you can't dislike it or anything - everyone has their own experiences, dislikes and expectations. We stayed there last summer for a week for our honeymoon and it was pretty cool (especially for the $75 a night we paid on Priceline!)

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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 04:40 PM
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Hi!

I *think* I noted it on my Edinburgh trip report (which also included our last day in London). I also just posted on the other thread about the Copthorne Tara, but here it is in a nutshell (both good and bad).

Good - nice lobby, employees seem friendly and such. Location is very nice, though there are lots of great locations to stay in London.

Bad - the bathroom tub looked really old, the handle looked chipped or something. The tray with the glasses was quite dusty (i.e. - I didn't use them!) We got two separate, single beds and there was some sort of stain on the sheets that I had. I didn't find the beds terribly comfortable, but not the worst I've ever been on either.

It was the worst place we stayed in during our trip, every place else we stayed in was fantastic. For the Copthorne, it was only one night, our last - so it wasn't as big a deal. But I'd not recommend it. For the same price earlier in our trip (around $104.00 US), we stayed at the bed and breakfast - with two full breakfasts, tea and such in the evening (or wine), bottled water to take with us, a nicer bed and bathroom and toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc. in the bathroom! Not that I expected much at the Copthorne, we'll just say that that is what they delivered.

There may be really nice rooms, I don't know. I've stayed in hotels that were partially renovated, so it might be that part of the Copthorne is like old and 80's, and there is a great area that is much nicer. That seems to be the only explanation for such widely diverse opinions.

I did like the HI Kensington Forum. We stayed there last year, and that is where I'd hoped to stay on Priceline.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 03:22 AM
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Oh - Soon2Travel, I totally forgot. If you are going to Windsor also (and Slough is just a few minutes away by train - so I'm assuming you are doing that), let the train station workers know. I think they let us out and in an alternate gate (to not use up our ticket).
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 12:45 PM
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Thanks Nbodyhome, I'll keep that in mind.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 07:01 PM
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Great Stonehenge pictures, just what I was looking for. Thank you.
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Old Jan 18th, 2007, 08:36 AM
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You are welcome! If you do a Stonehenge Tour, definitely do the inner circle tour. We've done both.

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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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How did you find the B & B that you stayed in for your trip? My husband and I are traveling in June and trying to find a nice, less expensive place to stay.

Also, what tour did you take to go to the inner circle for the Stonehenge trip?

And, I love your pictures!
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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Great Rip Report - Love your pictures!
I'm leaving April 27th for 2 weeks and can't wait.
What time did you land in London? And how long from landing till you got to your Hotel? I'm debating if I should plan anything that first day, because I can't really estimate what time we'll be settled.
I booked the Stonehenge Inner Circle Tour and can't wait. By your pics, you can really see the size difference of a person and the Stones. Can't wait.....I booked directly with English Heritage, and they've been very helpful.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 10:45 AM
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haydeedoll,

How are you getting there and getting back from the Stonehenge? Did you rent a car?

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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 12:41 PM
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Hi Kstridrick

Yes, we are going to be renting a car, and coming from the Costwolds. So, I booked directly with English Heritage and not a tour. I emailed the first request and they gave me an available time for the day I was asking about. When they gave me an available time, I then filled out the PDF paperwork and emailed it back (with my credit card info). Then they sent me a confirmation.
I did have to reschedule, which I had to do by phone (a little hard because they are only open 9am-1pm, which is 3am my time haha) But they were very accomadating and changed it no problem .

Here's the link below. Download the PDF at the bottom which gives you the email address.
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.878

Let me know how it goes
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