Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2056: Family Trip to London and Ireland
By L. AnnMarie from Ohio, Summer 2013
Trip Description: In June, ouur family of five travels to London for six days and Ireland for eight days.
Destinations: Countries - United Kingdom, Ireland; Regions/Cities - London
Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Vacation Rentals; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; Adults and Teens
Page 1 of 4: Arrival in London
Saturday June 8, 2013We were scheduled to fly American Airlines from Cleveland to Chicago and on to London Heathrow. However, AA cancelled our flight to Chicago (after sitting on the plane for over 30 minutes) and we were re-routed on United through Newark. We were lucky to get the last five seats on the plane. But, instead of extra legroom (I paid extra since the three guys are large - my 19 year old is 6’3”) we were scattered throughout the plane in middle seats. Not United’s fault.
Sunday June 9, 2013We arrived on Sunday, June 9th and our driver from Simply Airports was waiting for us as he described. (I sent them and our landlord an urgent email from Newark with our revised arrival times). He was a courteous, friendly driver. He helped with our luggage and took us right to the apartment. The car was large enough to handle the five of us plus all our luggage. We are not light packers. Our cost was as indicated in my prior correspondence with the company, £51. We were very happy with the service and in fact, called them to take us to the airport for our flight out of Heathrow.
Olga, our landlord was waiting patiently at our apartment rental. She showed us in detail where everything was and how to work appliances, showers, TV, etc. She had a few items to start us off such as bread, butter, cheese, coffee and fruit. There was soap in all the bathrooms as well as other necessities. The apartment was beyond our expectations and I would definitely recommend it for a family. We had three bedrooms (a total of four beds) and 2.5 bathrooms. Plenty of space for us to spread out and be comfortable. There was wireless in the apartment, which worked well and a beautiful private garden. There is not a lot going on in the area; it is mostly residential but the Tube stop was just a 2-3 minute walk so we could easily and quickly get to our sight seeing destinations. There were pubs, markets, restaurants and a wonderful patisserie all nearby as well as a laundry around the corner. We found out about the apartment through HomeAway.
On the first day we went to the train station (just a 2-3 minute walk) and purchased our paper travel cards. We did not need the passport size photos as was indicated in some topics. We used the coupons for two for one deals where appropriate and paid the student or child rate for our youngest. Some places gave us the family discount. The TravelCard was a great deal and we used the Tube all the time. Much more so than when we traveled to Paris or Rome. We lost one card partway through the week and replaced it with the Oyster Card, which we had to keep topping off; this really illustrated how worthwhile the TravelCard proved to be.
We spent the first day just walking around London - Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Big Ben, 10 Downing street etc. We did take the Route Master Bus #15 but I would not recommend that. I think a hop on, hop off or another sightseeing bus that talked about the sights would have been much more beneficial and enjoyable.
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