This is a long trip report so if details bother or bore you, stop reading now!
Travel group – Experienced RS tour members, lol. I traveled with my brother, SIL and her sister. This was tour #9 for me, tour #4 for brother and SIL and tour #2 for her sis.
Pre tour days: We met up in the SLC airport with me, brother and Sil flying from N. Idaho and her sis flying there from Seattle with an onward flight to Heathrow. Flight from SLC was slightly delayed with a ground stop due to thunderstorms moving thru the area just as we pushed back from the gate. We arrived at Heathrow at 10:40A, cleared Immigration and were able to catch the Noon coach to Victoria Coach Station. We were at our Lime Tree Hotel by just before 1PM. Tickets were 10£ each.
*Brother and SIL got *sent back at Immigration as the Delta FAs announced you only needed one landing card per family. That is not correct and they had to go back to the start of the line and fill out another card for SIL on her own. UK Immigration officers were very nice, extremely competent and quick. We noted a number of others on our flight who were having to do the same thing. I do usually get a survey from Delta so I indicated this incorrect information was being given.
London: I had us spending 5 nights in London pre-tour as none of the other 3 had been there before (well, brother and SIL’s sis were both there in the 70’s or so but remembered nothing, haha!). I got advanced tickets for the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery and the Cabinet War Rooms but nothing else. With the group we had fairly late starts to each day, not really getting away from the hotel much before 10. I’ve spend a lot of time in London so grouped sights as best I could and tried not to frog march them thru my favorite sights! The group didn’t have anything in particular they wanted to see so I created the daily itineraries. I didn’t figure in any shopping time as I’m not a shopper and in retrospect both SIL and her sis would have appreciated time to snoop around in stores.
In general we did St James’s Park/Trafalgar Sq/Café at St Martin in the Fields/National Gallery/Piccadilly Circus (their request not mine, haha! But we got their Oyster cards at the Tube station there), spent what I thought would be the best weather day at Kew Gardens (out on the District Line to Kew Gardens stop on the Richmond line and back on the ferry which was slightly harder to find than I imagined), did Tower of London/Leadenhall Market and some back streets another day and the last London day we did Cabinet War Rooms and Westminster Abbey. No line at Westminster Abbey when we got there about 2 PM on Harry and Meghan’s wedding day.
My brother had said ahead of time he wasn’t interested in churches so I had some options for him to go to while we three gals did Westminster Abbey. In the end he decided to come with us and was shocked he enjoyed it so much. He asked one of the docents a question which got the docent started on stories plus he showed us where Stephen Hawking‘s ashes are set to be interred. That was cool. I know in Italy the opulence of St Peter’s Basilica really bothered my brother and I tried to tell him the British Cathedrals are much different but he needed to see that on his own.
Pre-tour Canterbury: We traveled out to Canterbury on a Sunday, the day before the tour started. The city was rammed all week with school groups from both UK and France but we managed to find some great time along the Stour River path out to some conservation areas. Very lovely along here and we enjoyed nice walks along here every day. There is plenty to see in Canterbury for at least a day or 2 ahead of the tour. We did not see much in town on the tour except Canterbury Cathedral so you’ll want to do your own research to find what’s of interest to you.