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Just Back......Great Trip

Succasunna, NJ
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Just Back......Great Trip

Thanks to everyone who helped us plan our Trip to London and The Cotswolds. If you don't mind I'd like to give you a very brief overview of our time there.

We were in London for three nights, the Cotswolds for five and then back to London for three. We rented a car while in the Cotswolds, taking the tube out to Heathrow to pick it up....much easier than trying to get out of the city.

We visited the usual sights so I won't bore you with those details. Living in close proximity to New York, I thought the cities would be similar in many ways and in some they were. Of course London has much more history and I found the car and foot traffic to be about the same. I think the biggest difference was how few Brits I found in the city. I thought NY was pretty ethnically diverse but it doesn't come close to London. There were times I felt I was somewhere other than England and that bothered me a bit.

The city itself was beautiful and the different areas fun to wander though. We tried to walk as much as possible trying to take in as much as possible.

The food was actually much better than I thought it would be with a wide range of choices everywhere. If you can't find what you want in this city then my guess is you're not hungry.

We did a lot of people watching also.........sitting in Hyde Park or St James and just watching the city and people go by.

We were able to see War Horse which was just amazing. I have read that there are plans to move it to Broadway at some point and I'd be curious to see how it translates there. I also understand Steven Spielberg bought the movie rights, which should be interesting. A very unique and well done show. Seeing a play in London was a great experience. Free water during intermission without charging you 8.00 for a bottle? How civilized of you. I found the crowd to be a little more reserved but that also didn't surprise me.

The five nights we spent in The Cotswolds were a real treat. I've read on these boards, on and off from some people, that The Cotswolds is overrated. Well, I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion but I have to say that there were times I could have sat in those fields along a walking path and been content to not move again. Anyone who claims that area is overrated just doesn't get it and anything I say here won't make a difference.

I have to tell you, the driving in the country is crazy. Narrow roads complete with hills and bends where barely two cars can pass and sometimes only if one pulls over into some brush. And people come at you pretty fast....I guess familiarity breeds confidence. But the lavander fields and peacefulness make up for the rest. We stayed at a B&B (The Chance) in Chipping Campden for four nights and in Castle Combe for one. We visited Broadway, The Slaughhters, Bourton, Stow, Burford, Bibury, Moreton, Stanway Manor, had afternoon tea in Stow and looked out the window as 1909 and 1910 Stanley Steamers pulled in and parked.

I could go on but I don't want to bore you. I'm sure I haven't hit everything but you get the idea. If anyone who is planning a trip has any questions, please feel free to email me.

Thanks again to everyone. I hope to see you again one day.

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for Amesbury, London
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1. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

Well I may be a local, but I thoroughly enjoyed your trip report - not at all boring. Interesting observations, and thank you for posting!

Watford
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for London
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2. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

Thanks for posting. Where did you stay in London and how did the trip to Heathrow to pick up the car work out?

Regarding the lack of English people in London: it is reckoned that one third of the population of 7.2 million (census 2001) is made up of first, second and third generation immigrants and that's isn't taking into account the current wave from eastern Europe. Factor in all the tourists and you have a city that really is a cultural melting pot.

Succasunna, NJ
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3. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

Adam...we stayed at the Atheneum both times in the Mayfair section on Piccadilly. My daughter was in town for business and was staying in the same hotel so we decided to make it easy.

The ride to Heathrow wasn't bad. We took the tube from Green Park Station to Terminal 1, picked up the Hertz van and did the same on the way back. The steps were not fun with a heavy suitcase, (we consolidated to one for the sake of convenience) and the ride back from Heathrow was crowded and hot that day but it was an easy enough event and much less expensive than taking a cab or car service. I think fare for both of us was nine pounds.

SYD-LON-MUC
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for Honeymoons and Romance, Richmond, Bondi, Katoomba
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4. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

great trip report. As the above I loved it even though I live here too.

<< Regarding the lack of English people in London >>

Sorry but had to comment on adamhornets comment (light heartedly).

yep us folks from New Zealand and Australia are coming back to the motherland. We were shipped so far away (for stealing loaves of bread) that it was impossible to swim back. Now with planes we can all get back here.

; )

No offense intended as you know the the Brits, Aussies and Kiwi's love their little banter : P

London
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for Thirassia, Fira
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5. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

Brad - I worked out years ago why all the Kiwis and Aussies stay in London so long. Its 'cos they can't face the 27 hour flight back!

And, yeah, I've done that flight myself - about 10 return trips in 20 years. Its the only time I'm pleased I'm short.

Edited: 30 July 2010, 22:23
London
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for Thirassia, Fira
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6. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

Taletimes - how rude of me. That you for taking the time to post your report. Very enjoyable and so pleased you enjoyed yourself. I agree - people watching can be a great way to while away the time.

SYD-LON-MUC
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for Honeymoons and Romance, Richmond, Bondi, Katoomba
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7. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

people watching - definitely. wife and I love it.

Soon based in Sydney (for a few years) so only in London once a month : (

Succasunna, NJ
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8. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

Adam....I found your numbers interesting and searched a more recent 2007 census which was also interesting. When I was there, I found what appeared to be a heavy middle eastern influence, or so it seemed, though that doesn't reflect in the census numbers. But it is an incredibly diverse city and I think, that more than anything, surprised me the most. I was also wondering how locals feel about this diversity, if it has created any problems or if they have welcomed the changes that go along with this influx. Just curious.

London, UK
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9. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

For most of its history a majority of the population of London was not born within its borders. While not denying that there are problems and examples of intolerance, in general I think we are quite proud of our diversity.

Oxfordshire
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10. Re: Just Back......Great Trip

" I was also wondering how locals feel about this diversity, if it has created any problems or if they have welcomed the changes that go along with this influx."

1. The census measures only people declaring themselves on census day (usually the end of April): typically too late for the Easter rush of European tourists, and too early for the summer influx. Add the fact that most resident Londoners are in offices or at home when tourists are walking the streets, and London looks, on the streets in the middle of tbe day, more cosmopolitan than the census would reveal.

2. A huge amount of London's alleged cosmopolitan-ness comes from temporary residents: whether Middle Easterners escaping their ghastly summer, Oz kids on OE or New York bankers here for a two-year fixed job, a great deal of what strikes tourists as extraordinary scarcely inpacts many Londoners. Whereas many Americans think foreigners in their country are either tourists in hotels for a week or so or immigrants waiting to be naturalised, we're much more attuned to the expectation that lots of people living in London houses and flats will be gone in a year or so.

3. Which said: attitudes depend on how immigration and temporary residents affect you. They obviously drive up the cost of property: they equally drive down many wages. Crudely: if you're a hotshot lawyer and your husband's an investment banker, having loads of cheap Oz or Slovak au pairs around makes getting childcare a lot easier, whereas if you're a manual worker, all those Polish labourers are cutting your income while longer term refugees from unspeakable places are getting priority for social housing. Meanwhile, our healthcare system is hugely dependent on immigrants for everything - from the poshest surgeons, through nurses, to the cleaners and porters without which hospitals just can't function.

Overall, though, our social security blanket, allied to our generally phlegmatic attitude to most things (and if we're honest, a torrent of pro-immigration propaganda from a very substantial chunk of the media), has made the changed ethnic composition of our big cities far less emotive for most people than has been the recent case in the US.

This is obviously true in London, where continuing economic growth has limited the impact of immigration on most ordinary people's personal prospects. It's less true in the "white trash" ghettoes around some of our rustbelt cities, where the issue is far more sensitive.

It's worth noting that the main anti-immigration party, the BNP, won not a single Parliamentary or local council seat in the May elections, and UKIP, the right-wing party often regarded as its softcore near-clone, lost its deposit (ie got less than 5% of votes cast) in most of the seats it fought. However, that's at least in part because the main parties agreed on much tougher policies against non-EU immigration, and because a lot of the migrants from the poorer EU nations went home during the 2008/9 recession.

It's also worth noting than beneath the phlegmatic tolerance, there's a great deal of saloon-bar anti-migration grumbling: often from people better informed (frequently to the point of obsessive insanity) than the pro-migration propagandists - but equally often from pig-ignorant bigots. There's also in London and some of its high-status exurbs (like Brighton and Oxford) a common anti-patriotism patriotism that goes "Greater Greater London is the centre of the universe precisely because we don't do that flag-waving crap, all my neighbours were born abroad, we all spend our summers in Tuscany or Florida and that's what makes this country great". This isn't quite the kind of national pride Sara Palin would recognise: but it's surprisingly common among most of Britain's rulers.

This is not a country where you can generalise about "the locals"