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Trip report 25-30 March 2009

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ohio
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93 posts
23 reviews
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Trip report 25-30 March 2009

The flight to UK was wonderfully uneventful. Getting in and out of Heathrow at 6:30am was very quick - 30 mins tops. We booked with Dot 2 Dot and arrived at our Hotel with no problems. Left baggage and tubed to Victoria to purchase travel cards at the Rail Station. Victoria was crowded but the signage was great and easy to follow. First we grabbed the HOHO bus from Victoria (yellow line with live guide) and got our overview of London. It was quite chilly and rainy gave me a reason to shop for a scarf and gloves. We decided to get off the HOHO at St. Paul's and were turned away due to a special service. The gentleman did give us a 2 for 1 pass to use later though. Our first lunch in London was fish and chips at the Golden Hinde. Yummy! On the way to the restaurant we stopped in Carphone Warehouse and bought a phone for 4.95 and 10.00 worth of airtime. Calls to the US were 4p/minute. Later in the day we went to The National Army Museum which my husband found interesting (2for1 tickets). Thursday morning we headed back to St. Paul's and did get in this time. Lovely and not crowded early. There were more crowds arriving as we were finishing up. We took the #15 Bus to Piccadilly Circus. Husband wanted to get a jersey at Lillywhites but they didn't have any from his team. I was able to find a mohair blanket for my daughter at a shop around the corner. The next stop was Marks and Spencer to grab some food for lunch. We got some yummy cheese and some bread. We head back to the Hotel with a detour to King's Cross to pick up the tickets for our day trip to York on Friday. Traveling between places is easy but takes longer than we planned for today so no time for lunch as it's getting on 4:00. Glad we have a small fridge in our room for the cheese. We have pre-theater dinner reservations at Arbutus and tickets for Wicked. The dinner at Arbutus was very nice and the service was excellent. We both had a beef dish that came with gratin dauphinois which was delicious. Wicked was AWESOME! We both enjoyed it immensely. We had seats on the aisle in row M. We should have gotten there much earlier to pick up our tickets though. I thought 20 mins would be enough but the line to collect tickets was long and we barely made it inside before the performance started. On Friday we took a day trip to York. We paid 12.50 each way for the tickets in advance. On Saturday we went to the Borough Market. Easy to get to and lots of samples to taste. We got several things and some good photos. Too bad we didn't have some way to get cheese home. I got some chocolate and cinnamon covered almonds which were really yummy. Next we headed for the Imperial War Museum which we both enjoyed alot. There were quite a few school age children there though and many of them weren't aware that others were looking at exhibits too. In one group, 2 of the boys started wrestling on the floor near us! I especially enjoyed the Spy exhibit area and the Holocaust exhibit. We head back toward the hotel, stopping for dinner at a pub called Porcupine on the way. Sunday we go and peruse Covent Garden and pick up a couple of things there before going to the Transport Museum. We both liked it and had fun looking at all the exhibits and getting photos in the old trains and buses. The gift shop was great too! I was surprised to see the items made from the upholstery of the various seats of trains and buses. The young woman working there said they sell alot of furniture with it too. She showed me a pair of shoes that had the same material and then told me that the rubber sole was made from the rubber tires. They were quite pricey though. We had Sunday Roast at Porters and used the 20% off coupon I found from a link on TA. My husband wanted to see the Rugby Museum so we head out to Twickenham. We took the train from Waterloo Station and it was 3.50 each way. After we get back into London I really wanted to have a cream tea so we head for the National Portrait Gallery. They were set to close in 15 mins but let us in for tea. We got a wonderful seat by the window with a great view. The waiter was very nice and friendly and the cream tea was yummy. They closed the doors but never asked anyone to leave until they were done. It was nice. We took a break at the hotel after tea and then went to the Tower of London for the Ceremony of the Keys. We liked all the history of it and the guard giving us a brief explanation of how it started. I got some great night photos of the outside of the Tower and also Tower Bridge. On our last day, Monday, we went early to the V&A museum which turned out to be my favorite. I could spend a whole day there easily! The jewelry exhibit was fabulous as well as the fashion. I had to pick out the areas I really wanted to see as the V&A wasn't our only stop for the day. We did a quick visit to the Old Operating Theater. As a nurse I really wanted to see how it was done so many years ago. It was small but with our 2for1 coupon it was worth it. We had to get a few more things for the family at home so we did some final shopping (mostly for chocolate). The next morning Dot2Dot was right on time and the time to check our bags and head through security was only about 15 mins. We had good luck at the airports this trip. Thanks to TALFers past and present for all the good tips and ideas that helped make this trip great!

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

What a great trip report! You saw a few things that are on my "to do" list, like the operating theatre and the Transport museum.... I'm very glad to see that they are worthwhile. I'm shocked about the price of the mobile phone you bought... was it really only 4.95? If so, what an amazing deal! The Imperial War Museum was one of my favorite stops, as I have quite an interest in WWII. Glad to hear you and your hubby enjoyed it as well!

Athens
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18,811 posts
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2. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

Great report, thank you!!!

You've done so many things but it looks like you didn't rush either, the prefect balance!

ohio
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93 posts
23 reviews
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3. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

leslyjo- Yes the phone was only 4.95! It was a basic model with no special features but it was fine for what we needed.

Perth, Australia
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4. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

Fantastic report linscoright. I cant wait to get to the V&A myself. Glad you had a great holiday.

Boston...
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5. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

Thanks for the report Linsco. How long did you spend at the Imperial War museum?

Trying to get an idea how much time to budget as it is on our agenda also.

ohio
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93 posts
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6. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

flannan-It all depends on how many of the placards you want to read. Each display case had several items with descriptions of each one (some of them had 10-20 pieces in them). I love to read the descriptions of the things but had to skip many of them for time sake. At the 3 hour point we had to pick up the pace a bit as we weren't through all the levels. We were there about 4 hours total (including the gift shop of course!).

New York
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7. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

Great report!

Vienna
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8. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

Thanks very much for your trip report with more places to add to my "places to visit" folder!

Lizby

winnipeg
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9. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

Just was wondering about your day trip to York..where did you get tickets ahead of time, what did you do while in York and so on...I was looking at York for a day trip myself.

ohio
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93 posts
23 reviews
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10. Re: Trip report 25-30 March 2009

I got our tickets for York by calling the number on the website for National Express East Coast.

http://www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com/

We took an early train and arrived at 9am. Our first stop was the York Minster which was gorgeous. It took us about 10 mins to walk there from the train station. After that we strolled to the Jorvik Viking Center which I must say was the one disappointment of the day. It may be more enjoyable for small children but IMO it was a waste of money and time. We shopped in the Shambles and walked on the city walls. The lunch we had at Betty's Tea Room was delicious and the atmosphere was great. I considered going to the castle museum but the woman working at the tourist information center at the train station said we would need more time than we had to see it so we omitted that but I would do it if I had more time. It is very pedestrian friendly there and lovely. If you have more time than we did you can see the Castle Museum and the Rail Museum which has positive reviews. It was definately worth it to go to York.