Saturday, May 30, 2009

London Trip Report and Pics

Finally got my trip report and pics done! Yay!


Left for London out of Detroit at 650 PM via Northwest Airlines, direct flight. Overnight flight with the time change……


Arrived in London at around 7:00 a.m., about an hour early! Whoot. I love shorter flights. We were pretty tired, having slept on and off, but not enough. Our luggage was there quickly, and our driver met us there right away. I found a driver that was cheaper than a cab, and it being so early, I did not want to try to figure out the Tube and find the hotel, I just wanted to be at the hotel. We got to the hotel, and could not check in as our room was not early. BOOO. It was not supposed to be ready until like 300 PM, so not the hotel’s fault, but I was tired…….So, we left our luggage and went and walked around the area of the city our hotel was in, and had breakfast at a buffet at the Millenium. We went back to the hotel at 1030 AM and our room was ready! Yay! They also upgraded it for us, since this was my bday trip! Yay for them. Oh, we stayed at the London Kensington Forum. After a long nap, we got up and took the Tube to the center of London in order to see some sights. We saw the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the area where the Prime Minister lives, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, many awesome stautes throughout London, and so on. Got back to the hotel and decided to have dinner at a Japanese place called Taro. The food and service there was excellent. No wait for a table. We had miso soup, split two sushi rolls (shrimp roll and California roll), and had tuna and salmon teryaki for dinner. All good. Went back to the room after that and crashed, as we had to get up really early for our first tour.


Got up early to be picked up for our first tour, which was an all day tour of the city of London through Golden Tours. We were picked up at 655 a.m. and taken to the main station to get on our bus with others taking the tour. We went ALL over the place this day. We went to Buckingham Palace, where we got to see the Guards all lined up practicing for the Queen’s Birthday celebration. This was pretty kewl, as we were lucky to be there right at the perfect time to see this. There was a band marching, a ton of Guards marching and on horseback, some riding down the middle of busy roads in London. We then had lunch in Covent Garden, where we could eat anywhere we chose, so Kurt and I chose a traditional English pub called The Opera Tavern. Kurt had fish and chips and I had a tuna melt. The food was very good. Then, we visited the Tower of London, which is a former prison in London. Very kewl building, and inside we saw the Crown Jewels and a lot of old artifacts. The only thing I did not like about this place was the crowds--it was a little claustrophobic. After this, we took a boat ride on the Thames River, and ended up with a ride on the London Eye, which is a huge ferris wheel that gives you a complete view of the city and the Thames. Went back to the room after this, then headed out to dinner at a place called Pasta Brown. Got a table right away here, service was very fast and the food was awesome. I had a lobster linguine that was very tasty. Went back to the room as we had another early morning.


Got up early to be picked up for tour two through Golden Tours, which was an all day tour of Stonehenge, Bath and Windsor. Started out with the drive to Windsor Castle, where we got to tour part of the Queen’s country home, which was absolutely stunning. The “antiques” there looked new they were in such perfect condition, and we also got to see the Queen’s Dollhouse, which was the most extensive dollhouse I have ever seen. Headed to Stonehenge after that, and I was so excited to see this!!! I have always wanted to see Stonehenge and finally, I got to. Very, very kewl. I thought there would be a ton of crowds there, but there were not many people at all. Headed after that to Bath, which is a really gorgeous small town where the Roman Baths are located. We got to tour the Baths, which was awesome, then had free time to roam around Bath and shop. Such a cute town. Oh, we had lunch that day at a place outside Stonehenge called The Stonehenge Inn, where we had a traditional vegetarian pot pie. Got back to London, rested some in the room, then headed to dinner at The Spaghetti House. Food here was good as well, and service was quick. The place had a very laid back atmosphere, but the food was very authentic and portions were large. Went back to the room for another early morning ahead.


Third tour! This time of Leeds Castle, Canterbury, Dover and Greenwich, Leeds Castle was spectacular. I wanted to purchase it as my second home, however, the nation does not have it up for sale. Haha. Anyway, we were the first group in the Castle, so I felt like Kurt and I got to explore the Castle alone. It was awesome. There are 500 acres surrounding the castle, with a ton of birds and water. Beautiful. After that, we headed to Canterbury, where we had lunch at a place called Café Venezia. It was a little café, and the food was good, service was quick. I had a really yummy banana milkshake there. We walked around Canterbury and walked through a really kewl church called Canterbury Cathedral. We then went to Dover, where we got to see the White Cliffs of Dover and Dover Castle, and took a walk on the stone covered beach there. Really pretty coast town. After that, we had another Thames River cruise, and got back to the hotel. Had dinner that night at an Indian place called The Delhi Brasserie. The food here was incredible! I highly recommend. Service was perfect and everything we ate was awesome. The place was packed, but we still felt like the service was attentive and great.


No tour today! Except the one we conducted ourselves. We went shopping at Harrod’s where we found a really kewl sink for $68000 pounds (haha), then headed to Portobello Market to do more shopping. Kurt bought a little statue of George Washington from an antique store, and we walked around there for quite a while. After that, headed to another area to shop, and found a place to get massages at, that had appointments available immediately! Yay! Had massages, then headed to dinner at Wahaca, a Mexican place I had been wanting to try. Big mistake. This was some of the worst service I have EVER had. We were sat, and the waiter did not come to our table for like 20 minutes. Once he did, he took our order. Our order started to come out in weird pieces, and we still did not have drinks after 20 more minutes. We sat with two of our ‘sides’ and no meals and no drinks, and finally, a manager came to the table to ask how things were and we told him. He started to figure things out, and eventually our meals came. One was made with chicken (since we don’t eat meat, HUGE problem). Anyway, once everything was right, the food was very good. We ended up getting all our food for free. But, it was the second time in my life I did not tip. The waiter did not come back to our table, after taking our order, until he cleared out plates. It was horrendous. If the service were better, I would recommend this place, but I personally would not go back because it was SOOOO bad. Went back to the room after this and crashed, as we had an early pick up for our flight back to the States. Boooooo.


Got picked up for the airport and our flight was great and left on time.

Click here to see all the pictures. Warning, there are a lot! :).


Brittany said...

Sounds like it was a great trip! Love your pics, as usual!

Rachael said...

Awesome! Great pics, as usual!

Sony said...

Wow, you guys sure packed a lot into the time you had in London. I'm so jealous that you went to Stonehenge. ...I wanted to go but my brother wasn't too keen on the idea. :( Oh well, next time. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Rebecca said...

Great pics as always! I wish I would have been able to go on the Eye when I was in England, but a 4 hour trip seemed a bit far :)

Cheryl said...

Wow, what a great pic! Some of those pictures are amazing... I wish I had more than a half day stopover in London now :)

Nicole said...

Fantastic photos, Lori! It's funny to think that the guards are probably photographed hundreds of times a day and are now featured in the pictures of tourists from all over the world.

Candice said...

Sounds like a great trip!!

.................Nancy said...

When you say you 'found a sink', do you mean you bought it ??

Lori H said...

I hope that was a joke, Nancy....LOL. Of course we did not buya sink that cost that much! It would be kewl to have though, but I would be afraid to use it, haha.

Lisa said...

Love the pics! Sounds like a great and busy trip!