Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive June 2004:
Hey! I read on the vacation post that you are going to England and Scotland in a few weeks. Have you been before? Where are you going? The reason I ask is that DH and I went to London for our 10th anniversary and if you have never been before I have some recommendations for great things to do and things not to waste your time on, if you are interested. I figure you have already made all of your arrangements, but we stayed in a GREAT Bed and Breakfast in North London for really cheap!! London is a very expensive city and our room (with a bathroom "ensuite" and a full breakfast each morning) was something like 45 pounds, which was about $65-70 a night.
Next year is our 15th anniversary and we are planning on either going flyfishing in Montana or going back to England and tacking on Scotland--how diverse are those ideas??--LOL. So, I'll be very interested to hear about your trip and what you saw and did in Scotland. You're going to have a blast!!! How long will you be gone?
We have made all of our accommadation reservations but any other "bits of wisdom" you would like to pass along would be great. We will fly into London and stay there for 4 days then move on to Durham for the family reunion for 2 days then on to Edinburgh for 2 days and then back to London for the final 2 days. We are excited! We have a sketchy plan of some things we would like to visit but would love to hear more of your ideas ! Thanks.
My DH and I would both highly recommend the "Original London Walking Tours" (http://london.walks.com/). You can see the schedule on the website and you don't need to make a reservation or anything--just show up at the appointed place at the right time. They cost about 4-5 pounds each, which is very reasonable. They have tours on everything from pubs, to ghosts, to writers, to political figures, and everything in between. We did the Jack the Ripper night walk and it was awesome!!! KInd of creepy, but also very educational. We also went on a walk of WW II sites and really enjoyed Winston Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms. The Tower of London is a must-see!! I didn't care much about the crown jewels, but if you see them go there first thing in the morning because the lines get really long. The actual Tower is very interesting and you see where all of Henry VIII wives were beheaded on the grassy area. Ick! They Beefeaters also give some very interesting lectures about historical figures and events related to the Tower and how prisoners were torured. London is a very gruesome place in some ways. The Globe Theater was awesome. We didn't have time to see a play, but that will be a definite priority when we go back. You learn a lot about Wm Shakespeare and theater in general during Elizabethan times. I would highly recommend seeing a play on the West End too. When we go back we would try to schedule at least 3 plays. We saw "Les Miserables" while there and absolutely loved it. Harrod's is fun to walk through, esp. the Food Hall. I was personally not a huge fan of the castles, other than the Tower of London, because it seems like once you've seen one castle you have seen them all and they cease to impress. One of our favorite relaxing times was spent eating a meal and hanging out in Covent Gardens. There are a lot of street performers and it makes for good people-watching too. We also stopped by the classic tourist places like Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, etc. but they didn't leave a huge impression with me. Again, you've seen one cathedral, you've seen them all. Sure, different cool historical things happened at each and different historical figures (with effigies) are buried at each, but I would prefer to spend my time doing other things. There is just so darn much to see and do!!
We did some daytrips out to Stonehenge (really enjoyed!), Bath (loved!), Oxford (great!), Leeds Castle and Canterbury (okay, but wouldn't recommend), and Dover (okay). We went to Oxford on our own and on mini-tours for the other trips. We definitely preferred going off by ourselves. The tours are expensive and you spend more time traveliing than actually touring and then the guides pressure you for a big tip. It is easy to find transportation by bus or train to all of these places and then each place has their own tours once you get there, plus you can eat and shop whenever/wherever you want without feeling rushed.
Have an absolutely wonderful time and I can't wait to hear about your trip when you get back!
Thanks. I sent this to DH and he responded that most of the things that you listed were already on our list... Thanks again!
I went to London a few years ago and, while I didn't do everything on Pam's list, I agree with 100% of her recommendations on the things I did see. I am so jealous! I hope you have a great time. Sorry for butting in on your thread.