Almost two months later, I am ready to re-cap my latest European Adventure. Let’s start at the very beginning
This was a 11 day, 7 country adventure through Europe with Cosmos Tours. Cosmos arranged everything for us from the flights, to all transfers, hotels, transportation, and optional excursions – including all breakfasts, and some dinners. I highly recommend the company, but maybe a less ambitious pace!
Saturday, March 21 6 a.m. – Arrival in London
We arrived very early at the hotel and not all rooms were ready. So we dropped our bags and hit the road. Personally, I love traveling by rail – rarely a delay, no traffic, and I can get to and from on foot – To The TUBE!
Thankfully, we ordered our London Pass before leaving and chose the option with transportation. The pass entitled us to skip lines at many sites, included admission fees to these sites, and the optional Oyster Travelcard got us on and off the Tube all over London. Busses and river cruises were also included.
I’ve left my references and travel things in this just for fun – page numbers refer to the page in the London Pass booklet. Onto the adventure:
TUBE: Hammersmith Station (District Line – green ) to High Street Kensington
- tour Kensington Palace (via London Pass, skip the line, page 55)
Get back to TUBE High Street Kensington (Green/District) to Westminster OR Walk through Hyde Park and Marble Arch to Buckingham.
Refer to page 26
- Westminster Abby
- James Park
- Queen Victoria Memorial & Buckingham Palace, etc
- Big Ben/Parliament (near Westminster Station)
- 13:00 (1p.m.) http://www.londonpass.com/london-attractions/walking-tour-london.html (via London Pass)
- Departs daily 13.00 from The Original London Visitor Centre.
- 17-19 Cockspur St, Trafalgar Square , London SW1Y 5BL
Afternoon Tea, yes, please! We traveled back in time to the 1800’s to Mr. Fogg’s of Mayfair. Mr. Phineas J. Fogg opened his parlor for select patrons in his speak-easy tea house, reminiscent of what I’d expect a mercury-induced hallucination would be like in MadHatter style. Tipsy Tea was a Saturday option. I chose the champagne tea, and my guest chose gin. It was really a champagne cocktail in a lovely teapot served with finger sandwiches and sweets – the perfect way to end the first day in London.
This was close to 36 hours of trans-Atlantic travel and site seeing in one of the most vibrant cities in the UK – we saw much but might have gone to bed shortly after the sun set for the night.
Sunday, March 22 – London Day 2.
TUBE: Hammersmith Station (green District line) to Westminster Station, walk to the Westminster Pier
Walk across the Westminster Bridge – page 30
City Cruises (good for 24 hours from when we pick up the Red Rover ticket that has on/off privileges) Page 110 Sounded great – but the tide was too low to travel from the dock we were at. We could have switched piers, but the other 200+ passengers beat us to it and we didn’t want to wait longer in line. We never made it to the cruise.
Depart from Westminster Pier, get off at Tower Pier:
- Tower of London (skip ticket office & line – page 63)
- Tower Bridge Exhibition (open 9:30am-5:00pm)
We did a lovely day of wandering around the city including a lunch of traditional Fish N Chips with a side of peas.
Trafalgar Square even had a bagpiper blowing his lungs out to ACDC!
Did a walked-by on:
- London’s Eye (45 minute 1x revolution; not included in the Pass)
- Globe Theater Tour (via London Pass)
Afternoon Tea at The Rose Lounge was every bit the proper tea experience we expected. The Lounge bills it as informal, but it was very formal for us American travelers. Thank God they started with a glass of Champagne! They even had a gluten-free option for sensitive tummy’s like mine. (I could have suffered through the lovely regular version, but my 40+ travel mates we were meeting the next morning wouldn’t have liked me very much).
My regrets for London:
- We did not make it to a show at one of the famed Theatres of London.
- Despite our repeated efforts, we missed out on the River Thames (“teh-ms”) cruise. Had I not stopped for the loo….
- No time for visiting outside the city to sites such as Kew Gardens, Windsor Castle, The Churchill War Rooms, or the Beefeater Gin Distillery Tour (all found on the London Pass)
Around 2000, I traveled England for 2 weeks with my beloved Grandparents. We had an apartment in Knightsbridge and really had a chance to absorb British culture, This 2-day trip was very nice, action packed, but it only whet my appetite to return.