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Report 2056: Family Trip to London and Ireland

By L. AnnMarie from Ohio, Summer 2013

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Page 2 of 4: Five Days in London

Monday, June 10, 2013

We pick up breakfast pastries and coffee from Patisserie Deux Amis in Bloomsbury located near our flat. They are wonderful and reminiscent of our trip to France. We get a late start (teenagers) and go directly to the Tower of London and grab the last Yeoman Warder Tour at 1:00 before they close the gates for the gun salute. If I were to do it again I would devote more time to the Tower and perhaps do a private tour and take advantage of some of their other tours or presentations. Our Yeoman Warder Tour group was large and it was nearly impossible to hear him unless you fought your way to the front of the crowd. There were many small school children on field trips that added to the difficulty in hearing the guide and seeing many of the exhibits.

After the Tower we walked across Tower Bridge and then along the Thames past the Hinde to the Tate Modern where we had Afternoon Tea. Then a quick walk through the Tate, walk across the Millennium Bridge and to the Black Friar pub. We enjoy a pint while sitting outside watching the bicycle commuters. More walking to the Jerusalem Pub and then walk home. Dinner at the Norwalk Arms near our flat.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Today we go to see the Churchill War Rooms. It is a very worthwhile site. We all do the audio guide and it is very informative. Based on reviews on some travel forums we then have lunch at the Crypt Cafť at St. Martins of the Field. I would not necessarily recommend this. The food was average at best - the soup was very bland. And the atmosphere was not nearly as intriguing as described. I donít think anyone in our family would recommend it. One good point was that since it is cafeteria style we got our food right away. Around 3:00 we walk to Westminster Abbey and there is no line and we get in right away. We have missed the Vergerís Tour so we all get the audio guide that I think is fine. Dinner is at the Museum Tavern near the British Museum. Food is average. Then we walk to Covent Garden area and look around.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We take a late morning train to Salisbury. By the time we arrive it is raining, blowing and a bit chilly. We purchase tickets for the bus to Stonehenge but as it doesnít leave for a while so we walk to the Cathedral. We were all more impressed with Salisbury Cathedral than we expected to be and were glad that we took the time to go in and look around.

The weather at Stonehenge is abysmal. It is too windy for umbrellas and the rain is driving down upon us. We did our best to tough it out and listen to the audio guide. I donít think I would recommend seeing Stonehenge without an audio guide or detailed information otherwise it would be rather dull. You would miss much of the significance of the sight.

After our return to Waterloo Station in London we have dinner at the Giraffe near the London Eye. This is good ďAmerican StyleĒ food which two of my kids were happy to have. We have a very long dinner conversation and were happy to not be rushed out.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

We go our own ways in the early part of the day. Three of us head to the British Museum. We are close enough to walk. It is very crowded and again there are a number of school trips with young children running around. Therefore, some of the more popular displays are very difficult to see. We use the audio guides but we found them to be a bit trying. We tried to hit the main attractions at the museum and then went to the areas that interested each of us. You could spend days at the museum.

We join back up after lunch and walk through the park to go to see Buckingham Palace. Then walk to Harrods. A friend suggested we head for the food and toys, which we did. We were all in awe. Lots of fun just looking at everything. Millionaire Gallery in Harrods, just outside the toy department, was interesting as well.

We continue our walk past Kensington Palace to the Churchill Arms Pub where we have dinner in the Thai restaurant in the back. The atmosphere is worth the trip alone but the Pad Thai was delicious!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Our late morning and early afternoon is spent shopping at the Portobello Market. Good food and fun souvenirs. We all enjoyed our leisurely stroll through the Market.

The weather is clear (one of the only clear days we have had) so we decide to go to the London Eye. The area around the eye is full of people and street performers. Great, active, fun vibe. Unfortunately, the Eye is closed due to mechanical problems.

We take the tube back to the apartment and regroup. We go to the Giraffe restaurant near us as we are meeting up with some of my sonís friends.

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