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Just got back from England, Norway!

What a great trip we had! Twas our first w/o the kids, so it was like a second honeymoon.

I arrived at T3 in Heathrow (after sleeping all night with a strange man – the one in the seat next to me), spent about 30 min. getting through customs, found my way to the coach station and bussed it to Swindon. The next day I left early to head for Bath and had a lovely day in there. Got there before the Roman Baths opened, so I walked around and was greeted by a Starbucks Chai Latte. Took my time in the baths, did the walking tour and most of us went our own way once we got to the Cresent. Went to the Fasion Museum from there. It was nice, but didn't meet up to all the hype, I thought. Got a pastey at the Cornish place across from Starbucks, then headed to the Abbey and looked around there. Then went to my 2:30 reservations at the PumpHouse. That was quite lovely! Then I walked around looking at shops and went across the Putnam bridge, waiting for my husband to pick me up. He didn't arrive until about 6pm and I felt like I'd seen all I wanted to see at that point. I'm not sure what i would do if I'd been there for 3 days like some had suggested!

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We then drove to Stonehenge and although it was closed, there was still enough light to see it from the road. I don't know what it costs to get in, but unless I could have walked in between the stones, seeing it from the street was just fine.

We then drove through Avebury on our way back to Sindon.

the next morning we headed for York. We checked into the Bootham House and that place is just darling! LOVED it! We went to the York Minster and looked around there and climbed up to the top of the tower - 'bout killed myself doing it, too. I should have stopped at the first little cross-over bit. The view was great, but my legs were shot afterwards. We stayed for Evensong, which was beautiful! We headed for the wall and got most of the way around, then were greeted by the man closing things up, so we had to turn around and walk all the way back. It was quite romantic while there, though!

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We walked around for a bit more, looking for a place to eat, then headed back to our room. The next morning, we headed for the Jorvik Viking museum - we were having a hard time deciding if we should do the walking tour first or skip it. We were still tired from the climb the day before (made worse for me after walking around for 9 hours the day before), so we skipped the walking tour.

Also did the Castle Museum and the Tower which I really enjoyed. They were having a food festival, so we ate some things from a few different places there. We walked around some ourselves, making sure we saw the Shambles, enjoying all there was to see.

York is such a lovely town! It was my absolute favorite in all of England!

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The next morning we headed for Warwick castle and loved that whole experience! Then we went to Oxford and had dinner at the Eagle and Child (or bird and baby or whatever it's called). They had a vegetarian sausage and mash that was AMAZING! RS mentioned they're not known for their food, but that was one of our top 2 meals in England! LOVED it!

Then we headed to Heathrow to drop off the car, picked up our Oyster cards and headed to the Charlotte Guest House - got there around 10pm. Didn't know we needed exactly 5# cash for a key deposit, though, so my husband had to go back to a store that was fortunately open and get change. Would have been nice to know that before hand, - especially since it was a bit of a walk from the tube station. We eventually got our key and walked to the end house, up a couple of floors.

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I think this was the worst part of our trip. The smell was awful. There room was dark, my husband wasn't happy about having 2 twin beds with a table between them. We moved the table out and pushed the beds together which worked, but wasn't ideal. My husband wanted to check out and find something else, but after all the work I’d already done finding a place to stay, I did not want to go through that again!

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Eventually, after opening the windows, we grew accustomed to the smell. I was relieved when we pulled back the sheets and they seemed to be clean and fresh. The bathroom left much to be desired, though. As long as I didn't look down at the black mold growing around the bath faucet, and avoided the nail heads sticking up from the floor in the bedroom, I was okay. and the natural light at the bedroom window was nice for putting on makeup since I couldn't see into the bathroom mirror (in the corner with a toilet blocking access). Breakfast good, although there was no room for adjustments.

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Our first day in London was very difficult. We hadn’t quite figured out the whole bus/tube thing and did a lot more walking than we should have. But, we did manage to see the things we wanted to see in the 2 1/2 days we had there.

On our way back the last night, we stopped to look at the train/bus map and a very nice couple stopped and asked us if they could help. I told them I was trying to figure out how to get to Standsted airport the next morning. They told us exactly what we needed to do/where to go and we walked back towards our place with them, chatting until we had to go separate ways. Lovely couple!

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On check-out we had to leave before anyone was in the office, so we didn’t get breakfast or our 5#’s back. We then headed for the airport and got to Norway and rented our car and that was all so easy. We had a great time there visiting with family. It was like having our own personal tour guide that showed us the history of the area – Aryndal and Fyrsedal - all of it pertaining to our family! Very cool!

We got back to London 2 days later and made our way to the hotel via the tube. We walked out of the station, looked to our right and there on the corner was the Hilton. It was such a wonderful sight! So close and easy to find! We checked in, cleaned up a bit, then headed out for a bit of shopping and dinner. We ended up getting take out from a place called Halal, just down the street and ate in our room. The room was sooooo nice! Clean, smelled good, conveniently located. It was just wonderful!

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And to think, we only paid 1# more a night to stay there than the Charlotte House! A HUGE difference for practically nothing! Next time, if it’s not in RS’s book AND gets good reviews at other sites, I’m just going to stick with the big/known places! Cultural experiences are great and had we got a good one at Charlotte, it might have been worth it, but there is something to be said for cleanliness, convenience and comfort.

Sunday morning, we left the hotel early to the tube station to get to Heathrow. They didn’t start until 7:06, but the first 1 or 2 were cancelled, so we didn’t leave until about 7:30. That BARELY gave us time to get to Heathrow, go through security and passport checks and get on the plane. I was hoping to shop, have some breakfast, etc., but oh well!

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This time I got to sleep next to my husband, although neither of us really slept much.

We got the 7 day British Heritage Passes and I’m very glad we did! Some places I didn’t spend a lot of time in and might not have spent the money to go in, knowing I wouldn’t have a lot of time there. But, having the card, knowing it was already paid for, I didn’t mind going in even if it wasn’t a place I was keenly interested in. Some places I didn’t expect to enjoy but did. Other places I thought would be great and ended up being okay. So glad we got those passes!

The other thing we got was the 7 day Oyster card. I never figured out how cost effective that was, but the convenience was priceless!

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So, to sum up – London was my least favorite place, York was my very favorite, with Norway in 2nd place. Loved all of our lodging except the one place. We had a wonderful time and are really looking forward to our 2009 trip to (our planned places at this point) Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Paris Disneyland and Saltzburg.

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Sounds like you had a great trip. Glad to have you back with us. Always enjoy your spunk!
The 5# exact cash key deposit...It's a real money-maker. 5# doesn't sound like a lot but when you consider how many guests have to check out early and/or forget to collect the deposit...it adds up. Not to slam reception procedures or the employees. Been there, done that.

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31435 posts

Scrapper, nice to hear from you again! I was in England (London, Bath & The Cotswolds) for two weeks and who knows, we might have crossed paths! I'm still in Europe at the moment, on the RS 14-day Ireland Tour. It's been fantastic so far! Our Guide (Declan) & Driver (Peter) have been exceptional!

York is also one of my favourite cities. I'm looking forward to returning there in the near future. I enjoyed London and used one of the Hotels in Rick's book (Cartref House). It was wonderful! I saw as many things as possible in the week I was there.

I also did the Walking Tour in Bath, and enjoyed it. However, I didn't spend as much time there as I would have liked, as I hired a Car and did some day trips to Bovington and Yeovilton (Military Museums).

Glad to hear you had such a great time!

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Hey Scrapper, now that you're recently back from the UK maybe you can addd a few creative extras under the "Jargon/BritSpeak" thread!

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I got all my photos today - will be putting them into an album tomorrow!

I looked at that other thread - I'm afraid I can't add anything, though. The ones I know have all been mentioned.

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1736 posts

You didn't mention which Hilton (or maybe i missed it). We had a similar experience (although our dissatisfaction was space, not smell).

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It was the Hilton Metropole. I think it was outside the Edgeware Road tube station. Such a nice place!

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Speaking of pictures...Wouldn't it be neat if this message board had icons or pictures? I always enjoy those!