Our London Vacation.....

Nov 30th, 1999, 08:51 AM
  #1  
katie
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Our London Vacation.....


Just got back from 8 days in London- we had a great time- all of the advice we received here was invaluable. We stayed at the Strathmore Hotel in South Kensington. We loved the area- very quiet but extremely accessible. The hotel was nice and very clean but the rooms were very small. Hereís what our itinerary ended up looking like if anyone is interested (sorry for the length!):

Saturday- arrived about 10pm and went for a late dinner at Hard Rock cafť- good food & fun.

Sunday- Tower of London- didnít arrive till about 11 due to jet lag but we bought our tickets at the Tube beforehand. It was not that crowded, we did the Beefeaters tour which we loved and then saw the crown jewels and everything else. There was no line for the jewels, we actually went down the conveyor belt about 3 times. Enjoyed everything but found all the history a bit overwhelming. We then did Wes Fowlerís pub walk. This was a lot of fun- thanks Wes!

Monday- took train to Windsor Castle. Practically had the place to ourselves. Then walked over to Eton & looked at the school grounds and the shops- very interesting. We really enjoyed the entire day.

Tuesday- Westminster Abbey- we did the audio tour as the live tour was already full. Enjoyed this but was once again overwhelmed by the history. In the afternoon we went to Harrods which was fun. That night we saw Starlight Express- this is great if you have kids, we didnít and although we enjoyed it, we didnít think it was fabulous.

Wednesday- Hampton Court by train. Once again we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. We took the two available tours and really enjoyed them. The grounds and the maze were wonderful. Totally different that Windsor Castle but equally enjoyable.

Thursday- Madame Tussards. We thought this was overpriced but we had fun and it was a good break from all of the serious touring we had done. That afternoon we took a train to Bristol Parkway and stayed at the Thornbury Castle. This was the highlight of our trip. The castle is in a small, very quaint town, and the castle itself is awesome. We paid for a standard room, about 160 pds, but were upgraded to an absolutely beautiful room with a fireplace. I would highly recommend this place and it was great to get out of the city for a night.

Friday- we took a cab from the Thornbury to Bath. We absolutely loved Bath- a little touristy but it was just beautiful. The Roman Baths were great also and we took a double decker bus tour which we also enjoyed.

Saturday- we took a bus tour in London and visited St Paul. The tour was good in the sense that we got to see some things that we had missed but I would probably take it earlier in the trip as we had already see a lot of the sights. Visited St Pauls- this was one of my favorites, it was so beautiful and if you are in good health, definitely do the spiral staircases up to both the inside and outside of the dome. The views were great and it was a lot of fun, albeit tiring! That night we did the Jack the Ripper tour with London Walks. This was also really good & I would highly recommend it. Our tour guide was Steve and he was an excellent storyteller.

Sunday- checked our bags early in the day at Paddington. I would highly recommend this as there were no lines at all. Saw the Changing of the Guards which I know a lot of people on this forum didnít like, but we were lucky to get a good spot and enjoyed it. Visited the Cabinet War Rooms- this was very interesting and it only took about an hour to do. We ended our day with a long walk through Picadilly Circus and Covent Garden and then our flight home!!

There was very little about our trip that I would change. We felt like we saw all of the highlights that we planned to while still having time to just walk through the parks and the shopping areas, and visit a lot of fun pubs. The weather was great- very little rain and it was a great time of year to go as there were very few crowds! Let me know if anyone has any specific questions and once again thanks for all your help in planning this trip!
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 09:26 AM
  #2  
Lori
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Katie,
Thanks for the wonderful report and I'm so glad it was a great trip. Even tho I've been to London many times it is always fun hearing about someone elses experiences, including places they stayed. Thanks!!
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 11:12 AM
  #3  
Erin
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Great trip report! It sounds like you had a lovely time. London is one of my favorite cities and I never grow tired of hearing others' experiences.
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 12:06 PM
  #4  
Lori
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Great report, sounds like you had a wonderful time!!! I have heard terrific things about the walking tours in London, particularly the Jack the Ripper tour. Having only been to London once, I never had the opportunity to take one. But now brother-in-law is living there for a year, so hey a free place to stay. I also loved Bath!!! Welcome back!!
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 02:48 PM
  #5  
Dru
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Katie--so glad to hear you had such a great time. It really is great to get reports back from those who have so recently visited. My first trip to London will be May 2000 & I have found all the tips and "reports" on this forum invaluable!! I can't wait until I can post my own report. Thanks!
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 05:03 PM
  #6  
kathy
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katie - were there alot of people on your Jack the Ripper Tour. We also took it this past weekend and we also had Steve as our guide. The bad part was that there were at least 150 people who showed up for the tour. Steve didn't seem too upset by it- but he did call for another guide who showed up about half an hour later and took over half of the group. By this time it was half over. Of course, we couldn't all fit into the Ten Bells Pub either. The whole thing was a disappointment. I thought Steve was good, but the tour certainly lost some of the "spooky" flavor when you are surrounded by so many people. My friend took the tour a couple of years ago and said there were only about 10 in her group. I was just wondering if the size of your group was as large.
 

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