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Claudia’s UK Adventures

I’ve posted a great deal over the years regarding London.

Lucky enough to have been numerous times. Great European city. Throughly enjoy being there. Love sharing my discoveries about the city.

Each visit I find something new to explore or experience. Yes I return to places I’ve been before
( i.e. the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, ). I do this because although I travel solo friends often join me and I act as their guide. It’s fun.

I’ve made the decision at the encouragement of other RS posters to report on my visits to London and other parts of England.

A bit of background. Due to my work I travel in either late Fall or around Christmas. This is a plus cost wise as I can get good airfares ( buy in advance and most often fly Virgin Atlantic.) There are still tourists but not hordes of them at this time of year. In fact in 2015 in early December virtually had Hampton Court to myself. Surprised and pleased. Enhanced my 3 Hour wandering.

I like Guinness so my report will always include pub references as my usual days of exploration include a late afternoon or early evening pub meal and a pint. My way of relaxing feet and back muscles, body and soul. Also provides free WiFi most often.

I’m a photographer.

I live and work where the temperature is a near constant 70’s each and every day so I relish wearing coats, gloves, scarves, and hats. Walking in the rain...think Gene Kelly...odd but true

I fly the red eye from LAX to Heathrow.

Start researching & planning my trip in February. By Spring hotel reservations have been made and often my flight bought and paid for. Some times not

I have bid via Priceline for hotels, used AirBnB, but as I’ve gotten older have returned to the same hotel again and again. Convenience, cost and comfort.

From a practical POV the Oyster Card rocks. I keep mine and top it up on arrival.

Here’s my 2017 visit. Stayed from mid Nov to Dec 7.

Travel with carryon luggage. 22 inch roller bag and small back pack. Very precise about my packing list.

Upon arrival at Heathrow at around 11am got through immigration is 30 minutes and was out the door to find the shuttle bus for my rental car. That was nearly 25 minute wait. Picked up my Budget rental ( yes stick shift). Followed the directions my Airbnb host had provided to Lyme Regis, which was over a 3 hour drive. Actually a bit longer. Made a wrong turn, won’t bore you other than to advise get the GPS. Regretted I didn’t. I’ve driven on numerous visits so used to roundabouts, etc.

Lyme Regis is along the Jurassic Coast. Who doesn’t like dinosaurs? Also wanted to see the nearby town where Broadchurch was filmed.

Had beautiful weather for my 2 day Lyme Regis stay. Strolled along the Cobb ( seafront), looked for fossils on the beach past the harbor, shopped at Pug and Puffin, rummaged through the classic second hand bookshop, had pints at the Nags Head ( closest to my Airbnb), the Royal Lion Hotel, ( complete with roaring fire) and with my pub lunch on the deck of the Harbor Inn. Had a bowl of fresh mussels while I watched people strolling by. Young couples with children, others with their dogs,etc. Great relaxing meal. Topped it of with some fudge at Rolys Then walked back up Broad Street to my comfortable Airbnb. Please note this walk is great for stretching out calves muscles and Achilles’ tendons.

Also visited the Black Dog Tea Room which is away from the city center. Too chilly to sit out in their garden but it was very serene looking. Cafe was fine but in all honesty my piece of lemon cake was a little dry. Nice proprietor though.

Favorite spot was the Aroma cafe across from the Lyme Regis museum. Casual, great coffee, good food. The eye opener was sitting on the couch by the front window and watching the bus drivers negotiate their behemoths around the corner.

Need to get ready for work....More later.

Posted by
985 posts

Claudia - it sounds like an awesome beginning! I'm so glad you decided to share your trip with us and can't wait to read more.

Posted by
1826 posts

Thanks for the great read. We visited Lyme Regis on our first UK trip, back in 1989. (Had to see that cobb after watching "French Lieutenant's Woman") Are you heading on to Cornwall?

We always fly Virgin Atlantic. We have flown premium economy with them twice, using only points, Great deal, if planning 11 months ahead.

Posted by
2252 posts

Wonderful start to what promises to be a fun-to-read trip report. It's entertaining and informative! Thanks for posting and I'm looking forward to reading more.

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14580 posts


Thanks for the report. Great cheap flights from OAK to Gatwick to be had on Br Air and from LAX on Norwegian. I got one dep the end of April on Br Air for 38 days OAK to Gatwick for $500. It beats the price paid in Oct of 2017 to London.

Posted by
3803 posts

Thanks for posting. I have really enjoyed reading about the first part of your trip!

Posted by
63 posts

Great post, Claudia. I too love the UK and save all year to be able to travel there every year since 2000. Lyme Regis is such a lovely town; thank you for bringing that memory back. Walking on the Cobb like Louisa Musgrove in Jane Austen’s Persuasion is a must-do! Looking forward to more of your trip reports.

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6603 posts

Thanks, can't wait for the next chapter. I always enjoy your posts.

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8799 posts

Chapter 2
Pre dawn on my 2nd day in Lyme Regis jumped in Lord Nelson ( I always name my vehicles )
and took a pleasant 20 minute drive to West Bay. Specifically to Bridport Harbor to see the cliffs that loomed in season 3 of Broadchurch. Nary a soul as I walked through the outskirts of town and out onto the pier to get photos of the cliffs as the sun rose.

I then meandered taking photos and watching the coastal town start to awaken. Dogs and walkers, bicyclists, and lory drivers were center stage as Lord Nelson and I made our way back to Lyme Regis.

Spent most of the day fossil hunting.

Absolutely loved Lyme Regis. Would return in a nano second but given my frustration trying to find the Budget Rental to return my vehicle at Heathrow I’ll train from London and bus on my next visit.

From Heathrow I took the express to Paddington. Not going to get into a debate about using the Heathrow Express. I like it and because I stay nearby it’s how I travel into London. If my grey cells are working believe I bought my tickets 2 months out. Considerable savings. Printed the vouchers at home.
I believe in paper trails and take a 3 ring binder on each trip with ticket vouchers, room reservations,
Flight info, insurance documentation, etc. Rip pages out as I travel so the binder is empty on the flight home.

Was in my room by 11:30am. Time to take a favorite stroll. Into and through Hyde Park to the Albert Memorial.

While doing my research I read via my online Timeout news letter about a performance called the Classical Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall. I said I’m practical. Never been inside the famed facility so why not get a ticket and spend my first night in London there. Purchased a seat in the Stalls.

Walked around the beautiful building so I’d know where I would enter later that evening. Then walked over to the fabulous V & A for tea and cake. As I’m not one to stay up late took another of the many paths through the park back to my hotel for a nap.

Used my Oyster to travel via the tube to dinner at Lupitas on Kensington High Street. Tasty Mexican food. Ate there more than once during my stay. From there walked to the Royal Albert Hall. Now I'm not a spring chicken but I may have been one of the younger audience members. Made me smile as I knew the preponderance of white hair meant I'd be enjoying British pomp and circumstance.

The 2 & 1/2 Hour Classical Spectacular was just that...Spectacular. Highly recommend it. There were opera performers, Can Can dancers, a choir, flags, sing alongs, cannons, fireworks, lasers, and balloons! All complimenting a brilliant orchestra and conductor. Left grinning. The drum solo from Bolero still resonates. The entire evening was an ideal to way to begin my stay!!!

As an aside, over Christmas watched Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. Final scenes are in the
Royal Albert Hall. Other than the huge white globes dangling from the ceiling for sound quality the interior is exactly the same. Not old and tired, merely the same. It's wonderful!

More later

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8799 posts

Woman's March today so I'm out the door soon. Where is Helen Reddy these days anyhow?

One of the main reasons for the 2017 trip was to act as a guide to a friend who had lost her partner the year before. I've known this couple for over 30 years. They'd planned to join me in 2015 but the night before their flight Judy fell down the backstairs of their deck and was seriously injured. Long story short Dana made the decision that in Judy's memory she'd see London. I'd inquired what sites were most important and received a comprehensive list.

They were both huge fans of the PBS series "Call the Mid Wife." I work in "the biz" so spent a few days contacting colleagues to find out where it was filmed, was there access, etc. Was extremely happy to discover a number of scenes were filmed at the historic Chatham Dockyards near Kent. In fact many tv and film productions film there. Though the show wasn't in production and the Docklands were closed to the general public I was able to secure a private guided tour. More about this wonderful day later in my narrative.

The morning after my night of music at the Royal Albert Hall I was in search of somewhere to have breakfast. It's included in my room rate but I was up before dawn ( that's me ) and at the Lido in Hyde Park. Why?

Serenity that's why. Walking and watching the water fowl, squirrels, runners, pet owners with their dogs beginning their day is enjoyable to me. Temps were in the 40's and I was amused by those intrepid swimmers who plunge into the Serpentine for daily laps. Swimmers stroking slowly by swans who pay no heed. It's an amazing sight to behold. The Lido cafe wasn't supposed to be open, but by 8am it was. Honestly nothing more civilized than enjoying a hot coffee while sitting outside people watching. Dogs on parade. Lovely. Simply lovely. Did this nearly every morning of my stay.

As noted walking was done before the sun was up. Those of you wondering about safety should understand that the gates to the gorgeous park are opened at 5:30am. Joggers, pet owners, even a few bicyclists are out and about.
I never worried about my safety and throughly enjoyed seeing familiar faces after 2 weeks of daily sojourns. My favorite group were 3 woman and their respective pooches. Dogs are free to romp off leash so this intrepid group had adorned their hounds with lighted collars and head lamps. Quite amusing watching the colored lights dash back and forth.

While researching I'd read about a new restaurant called the Dishoom, a newer chain. I wanted to visit the one located near the British Library. I was going there as I often do to shop for Christmas stocking presents in the gift shop.

Dawn is breaking here and it's time for me to take the Red Line Metro train into DTLA. Seems we abbreviate all things in LA. That's downtown Los Angeles. I am Woman Hear Me Roar.

Geez, Mother Nature is roaring as well. 50 degrees outside with possible rain. Ah well. Power to the People!

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Back home. Where was I? Oh yes in search of the Dishoom.

Road the tube to Kings Cross. Wandered into St Pancras to admire the Christmas Tree. Then walked up Pancras Road turning right at the small park. Crossed the foot bridge over the canal. Had no clue what the building behind the fountain was so walked inside.

Years ago I recall this area was rather seedy. Now totally revitalized. The enormous converted warehouse I entered is a satellite campus for St Martins College.

Left via a side entrance. There’s more construction occurring, an adjacent warehouse conversation. The large photo of the design was pasted on the surrounding safety wall. I’ll return this year to check it out.

Turns out the Dishoom is one of a few restaurants that are attached to the college.

Designed to pay homage to Irani cafes that were found in Bombay the Dishoom was fantastic. I ordered fruit in yogurt and a pot of tea. Hit the spot. Ate there twice. Liked the food and the ambiance.

From there I wandered, discovering some great street art and found the brilliant Gas Tower project.
A design firm had converted two empty Gas Towers into condos and the other into a park. Next to the canal was a walking path. There were house boats on the canal adjacent to the EuroStar train tracks. This whole area intrigued me and if I won the lotto I’d move there. Appreciated how a once ugly industrial area had been transformed to an intriguing revitalized neighborhood. There is an entrance to the Underground located in the 1 St Pancras Square business park. GREAT new visually intriguing pedestrian tunnel to Kings Cross. Made for an fab image. Finding new things and enjoying my photography, happiness!

Walked to the Library but didn’t go in. There was a long line for the Harry Potter exhibit. Couldn’t be bothered.

Back on the tube to Holborn station. Got off and made my way to The Blackfriar pub. Discovered this place in 2014. Art Deco. Gorgeous. Very popular spot now. Didn’t used to be but things change.

To walk off the Guinness and chicken and leek pie took the Thames Path. Never fails to please. So much to see.

In November darkness starts around 3:30-4pm and unless I have dinner and or theatre plans a late afternoon pub stop is my final meal of the day.

For the purpose of photography this night I was going to stroll about Hyde Park’s Winterwonderland. It’s fun.
It’s free.

By 7pm I was headed back to my accommodation and done for the day.

Posted by
1486 posts

Just wanted to say thanks for posting your trip report, and keep it coming! I'm really enjoying it:)

Posted by
8799 posts

Emma is right of course. My error. Have corrected the spelling.

Posted by
8799 posts

Thank you all for your kind words.
Pleases me to be able to share my UK experiences. Will write another post tomorrow.

Posted by
8799 posts

Walking is my preferred method of travel when in London. Suits me to meander, camera at the ready. My type of picture taking is at the moment, no framing, simply point and shoot. I'm not shooting to win a contest or be featured in a travel magazine. I'm capturing an instance of time that documents my trip. To do this I carry a small Canon G15 in my pocket. Good zoom, great in low light and as I said fits comfortably in the pocket of my coat. Love this camera.

However, on this trip I realized I used it less and the iPhone 7 more. So much easier with the iPhone to instantly share images via texting or WhatsApp. I highly recommend the latter. Was turned onto it by my friend Maggie who I met via this Forum. It's free. Even the phone calls. Great travel resource. Investigate if you choose.

Each London trip I make plans to meet up with Nigel (this forum's intrepid Nigel) and his wife Carol. We'd been in touch (via What'sApp) before I left California trying to decide what and where our day out would be spent. With decided we would wait to see what Mother Nature had in store and then make our choice. Bletchley Park, Cambridge or London were our options. We agreed upon Cambridge. I'd never been. He and Carol trained in from where they live and we met at the Pret A Manger in Kings Cross station. Before anyone asks, when I'm traveling I'm ready to spend money when needed. So, no, did not save any money on the day of travel ticket to Cambridge. Didn't think about it either. That's what credit cards and or debit cards are made for. Part of being flexible and part of knowing that's "how I roll."

Weather was fine. Some grey, some blue skies. Pleasant train ride. They have been to Cambridge before so I was very pleased to be able to stroll with them listening and learning. We walked into colleges, chapels, meandered in gardens, dined on freshly made dim sum from a stall at the farmer's market. Watched the punters along the Cam. Strolled along the backs (so beautiful), viewed the mathematical bridge and enjoyed tea and cake at Harriet's Tea Room. Although tee totalers, he and Carol took me to the Eagle Pub as well. What a story about the RAF to be found there. Absolutely fascinating. Part of my love of London are my days out with Carol and Nigel. We never fail to enjoy ourselves. Thank you RS Travel Forum for introducing us to one another.

Cambridge is a wonderful day trip. Historic, walkable, great architecture, fun shops, numerous food options. Whats not to enjoy?

Dana was arriving on Friday afternoon. She'd flown with miles so it was SFO to Frankfurt then to Heathrow. I'd planned an early evening first night in London walk depending on her frame of mind when she landed.

More in a bit. Need to get out to my Farmer's market.

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Dana got through immigration in under 25 minutes. Her plane had arrived at around 3pm. We had our advanced purchased Heathrow Express vouchers and made our way into Paddington Station. I'd already purchased an Oyster card for her. Walked out of Paddington onto Praed Street and over to the HSBC bank ATM on the corner at Eastbourne Terrace. Withdrew pounds and then walked to the hotel.

She was up for seeing a bit of London. At the Lancaster Gate Station she topped up her Oyster and off we went. Since darkness had begun to descend I thought seeing Parliament and Big Ben lit up would be the perfect first night in London sight to behold.

Yes, Elizabeth's Tower is covered in scaffolding but the clock face was visible. Trains were crowded but we made our way on the Central Line to Bond Street, changed to the Jubilee Line to Westminster. I like taking people out Exit 1 at Westminster Station. Takes you out to the Thames so when you walk out you see the pier for the Thames River Cruises, Westminster Bridge to your right and across the River you see the London Eye. As they take in what they're seeing I advise them to turn right and look up. There looms Big Ben. Never ceases to make people smile.

We clamored up the steps and walked onto a very crowded Westminster Bridge. Mid way we stopped so she could get a classic photo of the Houses of Parliament. Having walked across that bridge many times a sadness struck me thinking of the loss of life earlier that year. New safety barriers had been put in place but I couldn't help but think about the insanity of man in this day and age.

Across the river we walked near the London Eye watching the city light up. We then headed to Waterloo Station hopped back on the tube and returned to Lancaster Gate Station. Near the hotel is a great pub so we went there for dinner and a pint and to spend time chatting.

Early evening but I knew I was going to show her a lot in 8 days so wanted to make certain she was well rested.

As I don't want to go by day by day I will post highlights of places seen.

In order to participate in the 2 for 1 deal I arranged for us to travel to Kent on the 2nd day of her visit. That way we'd have a train ticket to show in order to get the 2 for 1 deal and save money on Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms and St Paul's.

As previously mentioned Dana had requested to see where the TV series Call the Midwife filmed. With the kindness of strangers I was able to secure a private tour. The train to Kent was from St Pancras so guess where I took her for breakfast. Yep, Dishoom. She loved it.

We got our tickets at the station and after a bit of where-in-the-hell-was-the-gate we found it past the Starbucks up a flight of stairs. Not very good signage which surprised me. Nice train though. Not crowded at all.

Our host had provided excellent walking directions from the train station to the dockyard. There was a bit of drizzle but we both had rain coats so didn't care.

The historic Chatham Dockyard can be viewed in many TV shows and movies. I'd not bothered to see The Crown yet, binged over the Christmas Holidays, and found myself grinning at the scene where Edward returns from the US to England. Stood exactly where that scene was filmed. With the help of computer graphics they created the Queen Mary. Movie magic as we say.

It was a fabulous tour. Spent over 2 hours exploring all that is there. Ever so grateful to be able to fulfill my friend's wish. Great day out and I encourage anyone to visit this wonderful historic place. Here is the link.

Easy train ride back to St Pancras. We then walked over to the British Library and visited the Treasure Room. We also shopped at the gift shop. After it was time for a late lunch so back on the tube to High Street Kensington. 5 minute walk to Lupitas.

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8799 posts

Afterwards faced the hustle and bustle on Kensington High Street as we walked toward Royal Albert Hall. She took pictures and we crossed the road to the Albert Memorial, more pictures and then across Hyde Park to the hotel. Dropped off stuff and headed out to have a pint.

For totally selfish reasons I am choosing to keep the names of the hotel and the lovely pub where I sojourn secret.

Years ago when I first followed Rick's suggestion of staying in the Rue Cler area of Paris I did and loved it. 6 years later when I returned I was devastated to see the charm of that neighborhood has disappeared. It had been found and over run Rick Nicks. Being brutally honest that spoiled it for me. I've not returned to that neighborhood since.

It's like my fear for Cuba. Was in Havana 5 years ago. Plan to return but am fearful I'll find Starbucks and Mickey D's on each corner. Yes a huge exaggeration especially since the change in the administration in D.C. but I think I've made my point or at least tried.

I'll continue in a bit.....

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8799 posts

Well, a bit became overnight.

Still it's early here on the Left coast, 5am. Laundry is running. Coffee brewed....onward...

Besides the Call the Mid Wife locations her wish list included Wimbledon, Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, Tower of London and St Paul's.

Alas, no Wimbledon, no interior of St Paul's, no war rooms nor Windsor. Didn't want to exhaust or overwhelm my friend on her first visit. Also need to remind all that in November sun (if it can be seen) starts to set around 3:30 and by 4:30 it's dark.

Designed our itinerary based on her pace not mine. Thus we weren't out the door at the crack of dawn. No, we ate breakfast each morning at the hotel, waited for commuter traffic to die down (to avoid standing room only in the tube or busses not moving in traffic). Days of exploration began around 9:30am.

Following the excursion to the Chatham Dockyards used our train tickets to secure the 2 for 1 deal vouchers. Got the brochure that included the vouchers at Paddington. Not sure why its recommended to bring a passport sized photo. We merely stood in line for about 3 minutes, showed our train tickets and were handed a nice brochure which contained the tear out vouchers.

First spot we used them were at Westminster Abbey. Got there around 10:30am. 10 people in line to get tickets. Showed the voucher, got tickets and inside we went. Was pleasantly shocked at how few people were there. We spent well over an hour meandering with our head phones. No sardine like moments. No pushing.

It was my 5th time inside and my best visit ever. At one point we sat by where Sir Lawrence Olivier and Dame Ashcroft are interned in the drama corner and people watched. No hurry. Just appreciation of the history, the architecture and the reality we were in church. Gave us pause.

As I am a firm believer that our collective existence as a species revolves around food we decided to have lunch in the Abbey cafe. Lovely room. Wonderful meal. Nice respite.

I inquired if she wanted to head across the road and see the War Rooms. She declined. Wanted to enjoy being outside. Took Birdcage Walk through St James park. As we neared the Palace I noticed that a large number of barriers in place. I haven't watched the Changing of the Guards in a decade so I thought they might be for that. Instead of being able to cross Spur Road to walk in front of the Palace the barricades forced you to walk all the way around past the Mall and the statue of Victoria to the cross walk adjacent to Green park before you could cross back to walk in front of the Palace.

What a PIA! Made no sense to me.

As we approached the Queen Victoria statue I noticed a news truck. Just one. Kept walking.

The flag was up so HRH was in residence. Again, much to my surprise a minimal amount of tourists. Easily less than a 100. Walked right up to the gate and stood there watching the young guards in grey. There was a flurry of excitement as a horse drawn carriage arrived. Gates opened, carriage pulled up in the courtyard and young well dressed man emerged with a manila envelope and walked into the Palace. Rather interesting.

From there we crossed back over and into Green Park. From memory we made our way to the teeny Red Lion in the Crown Passage for a relaxing pint. Late to the party it was there we saw the news of the day, Prince Harry's engagement. Understood the news van.

We toasted Harry and Meghan and tippled. Honestly, nothing pleases me more than relaxing in a pub with or without friends. A true simple pleasure. Not something I would ever consider doing in the states but its second nature when I'm in the U.K. Never fails to be a positive and endearing memory.

Need to tend to my laundry....

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8799 posts

Ahhh... clean sheets.

After our Red Lion respite we emerged to walk back up to Piccadilly to visit Fortum and Mason.

A bit of an aside. If you find yourselves in London late November and early December it's a great time to find Christmas cards. Most churches have them in their foyers, obviously stationary stores and of course museum gift shops. My preference is to purchase mine at St James of Piccadilly church. The boxes of cards are sold on behalf of various charities. I buy mine, get a coffee at the Cafe Nero and sit in the small adjacent park. Perfect resting spot.

Thus after F & M we walked down Jermyn Street, popped into the church, each of us bought a box of cards. Grabbed some java and sat for a few minutes in the park deciding what she felt like seeing next. Our choices were Lillywhites, visiting the Royal Academy of the Arts or the National Gallery.

LOL, had no clue she was such a shopper. 5 minute walk to Lillywhites. Soccer and rugby shirts for nieces and nephews.

When Bill and I were in London years ago he was like a kid in a candy store there. Still smile at the remembrance of the grin on his face as he rummaged in the racks seeking Christmas bargains. Rest his soul that man loved every type of sport jersey!

Laden with shopping bags we made our way back via the Underground to the hotel. She was tired, wanted to nap.

I left and walked over to Hyde Park with my camera. Weather was agreeable that day. Mid 40's early 50's. Great people watching. Sat on a bench observing every day life.

London Parks are wonderful! Encourage each and everyone of you to spend time in them. A few moments without looking at your cell phone, just sitting, watching and appreciating the calm.


Posted by
2252 posts

I'm having so much fun "traveling" along with you and your friend. Sincerely wish I was in truth! You travel the way I do........Saving these posts for future reference when I spend a few days in London next fall with friends who have never been!

Posted by
8799 posts

Thank you Andi in Colorado.....

I mentioned earlier my friend arrived late afternoon on a Friday. What I didn't mention was that the next morning we made our way to Portobello Road market. Started at the Notting Hill end. Got there early enough to get seat at the window of Gail's Artisan Bakery and watch vendors set up.

That morning was the only time in my trip that I wanted to slap some faces. I'd finished my java and pastry first and stood up to put on my coat. The instant I did a hand with a mug of coffee shot out in front of my face and was set down next to my empty one. I looked up and two young women speaking in French were standing there chatting while basically pushing us out of the way. Dana looked up and said something. Both young women laughed and the one who had set her cup down squeezed past me and plopped down. At no time did either one of these girls acknowledge their complete lack of manners or utter a simple "Excuse me." Livid is too polite of a word to describe my emotions. The only saving grace was somehow hot coffee spilled on her creme colored coat. It's a mystery.

Portobello on a Saturday can be madness as it the main market day. However if you are there by 8-8:30am especially in November it's fine. I love it because it's a photogenic tableau. The market also provides a place to search for interesting Christmas gifts. I go every year. And yes for those of you wondering I do bring a shopping bag with me on my trips. My shopping bag is from a 99 cent store. Nice size, packs easily. Used it to cover the Christmas advent calendar I'd gotten when I packed for my return flight. Prevented scratches.

We spent over an hour looking, peeking, engaging, peering, shopping. Each of us got one Christmas gift. I an ornament, she a small framed antique map. Pleased with our choices we walked up under the roadway to Golborne Market. From there take a right and you can walk to Westbourne Park tube station. Enroute we discovered a very nice skateboard park exists beneath the road way. There we enjoyed peering through the fence and watching a group of individuals from ages 7 to about 35 taking skate boarding lessons. Rather amusing. Proved that when little you are fearless. Older, not so much.

If you keep walking past the skateboard park you'll find a pedestrian bridge on your right just before the road runs into Westbourne Studios. Cross over the bridge and turn left between the apartment buildings. Make your way on Tavistock Crescent toward the Metropolitan Pub, turn left and there's the Westbourne Park Underground station. This area is gentrifying. Suspect next visit I'll find large modern condos across from the tube station.

See, walking is the best way to discover London neighborhoods.

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8799 posts

I’ve re read my posts and need a thesaurus to discover more adjectives.

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416 posts

The only saving grace was somehow hot coffee spilled on her creme colored coat. It's a mystery.

Is it wrong that I laughed at this as hard as I did??

Posted by
2210 posts

So I guess I won't be asking you the name of the hotel and pub! I am enjoying reading this report and thanks for taking the time to do it. One of my favorite London trips was in January - few tourists but lots of "dead" umbrellas on the streets! Another bonus was being able to use miles to upgrade to an airline class that I'll never see again because not so many people want to visit London in January.

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8799 posts

No Judy not wrong to laugh. Its' good for the soul.

I will confess that I have visited London in May. 6 or 7 years ago. That trip is always compared to my November/December travels. Completely different experiences regarding crowds.

The May adventure with was an old chum who had been dumped by his wife of 20 years. Known him since college. He'd never been to London and wanted to go. I wanted to see him smile again.

In May touring Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London even with an early start was miserable. Honestly could not move in Westminster with an annoying noise level.

Yes, Spring weather is better and seeing all the things London brought him out of his doldrums which was the purpose of the trek. Pluses. However, from my POV having to deal with the enormous crowds everywhere we went merely solidified my preference to travel in late Fall.

From a practical perspective traveling in the Fall you will find that lodging is cheaper, weather not as bad as you imagine
(mostly sun filled without rain) and the amount of tourists distinctly less. Don't misunderstand, tourism never leaves London. However during the colder seasons you won't find unmerciful hordes ruining your experiences. See London when you can travel. Simply beware that in the Spring and Summer months crowds can be huge.

One of my favorite spots is Leadenhall Market. Like everything it has changed over the years. Much less grit and grime from the first time I happened upon it over a decade ago. Rather polished now. My favorite part is the dichotomy of it abutting the Lloyd's Bank building. An architectural example of how London melds the old and new. In fact if you stand on the corner of Lime Street at Leadenhall Place you can see the glass covered market, the futuristic Lloyd's and The Gherkin. A visually intriguing look on how London has developed.

Have I mentioned I love how the British name their buildings? The Walkie Talkie, The Cheese Grater, The Gherkin, The Bee Hive and The Can of Ham. Look for them on your next visit.

After our morning at the Tower of London, again, blissfully uncrowded, we started to walk up to Leadenhall Market. On the way we stopped at the tiny St. Olave Hart Street church. A gem of medieval architecture it is where diarist Samuel Pepys is buried. If memory serves (more and more questionable these days) I believe it was where he worshiped. During WW2 it was bombed out but rebuilt in the 1950's. An interesting part of the churches recent history is the return of Peter Turner's memorial bust. He was a noted physican. After the Blitz his memorial was looted. Nearly 70 years later it appeared at an art auction. Thankfully it was recognized, the sale prevented and in 2011 the sculpture was returned to St Olaves. Here's a link regarding this:

As an aside the one thing I've learned to do when in London is to check out church bulletin boards. Over the years have enjoyed recitals, choral events, boot sales, Christmas bazaars, all because I read notices, flyers posted on bulletin boards. Permitted brief integration into London lives.

Harry Potter fans can search around Leadenhall for the entrance to the Squeaky Cauldron. Dana and I merely wanted something to eat so we chose Leon's. It's a popular chain featuring " healthy " Mediterranean food. I went for the tasty char grilled chicken aioli wrap. Believe Dana had the Moroccan meatballs. Most enjoyable.

From here we were on foot to One New Change to take in the free roof top view of St Paul's. Then the plan was to go into St Paul's but for some reason that I cannot recall we simply walked by it.

Time to earn my pay check....later

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3285 posts

What a great trip report! Love it! So detailed! Thank you for taking the time! I have been to London twice, but my favorite was the second time with my UK friend from the states. It was like having my own private tour guide as he has an interest in British history!

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1595 posts

I believe it is "One New Change", not "One New Exchange". I looked it up in RS London book and Googled it and that is the name on its web site.
I am using your report to help plan my trip to London this June.

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1301 posts

Hugely enjoyable read even for a UK resident! And I picked up some interesting pointers for next time I find myself wandering through London!

I usually sign off by wishing the poster a great trip, but it's clear you had one!


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2252 posts

More fun places to check out for my trip next fall and I love having the restaurant recommendations, too. Thank you Claudia

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8799 posts

Thank you Ian. Your praise sincerely appreciated.

By writing this lengthy trip report I do hope others will find pertinent and useful information. I love sharing about places discovered in this wonderful historic city.

While writing about the Gas Tower conversion and the St Martins Campus earlier I failed to mention 2 things.

First, there is a walk through fountain on Granary Square in front of the College. In November not something to walk through but I bet in the warmer months families arrive to do just that. They have also built amphitheater like steps along the canal. When temps arise I can envision workers from the nearby office buildings and of course the students sitting there studying and having lunch. Maybe even getting a tan.

Secondly, if when walking up Pancras Road you turn left at the park (instead of right) you'll walk under the overpass. Then turn right and about 200 yards up you'll see trees. Nestled in them is the St Pancras Old church and the Hardy Tree. Nice park to enjoy a respite if you've been walking.

I've not gotten into the church yet but seeing the Hardy Tree is worth the stroll. Peaked your interest anyone?

No time this morning to write more.....but like McArthur...."I shall return."

That reference dates me doesn't it.. ah does this, but I don't mind....

" Age is a question of mind over matter, if you don't mind it don't matter." Satchel Paige

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2783 posts

We went to see The the Hardy Tree in September, glad we went to see it. The church was very pretty inside.

Posted by
3803 posts

Wow, Claudia, most excellent trip report! I enjoyed it very much! You gave so much detail, it was a fun read!
I am taking notes for my next trip to England. Will be adding a lot of things to my itinerary!
Well written and very interesting. Flows well; you have a gift for writing!
We visited St. Olave's Church last time we were in London. Signed the guestbook in the sanctuary. Someone who had signed the guestbook before us had written, "Mrs. Pepys is buried near her husband, keeping an eye on him as she did in life." I got a laugh out of that. Anyone who has read his diaries will know what this implies.
Thanks for the great and enjoyable trip report. And for adding about a dozen things to my next itinerary!

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8799 posts

That's great Robin Z!

Rebecca loved reading about the guestbook entry! Generated a cackle!!!

In trying to recall and compose the next part of the 2017 trip I forgot to mention something of interest that I spotted as I drove towards Lyme Regis on the A31. I'm referring to the wall that surrounds the Charborough Estate and Park, Dorset. Not only does it catch your eye because it goes on for miles but the Lion gate entrance to the estate is impressive. Intrigued me enough that once I got to Lyme Regis and settled in, I Googled (thats a verb now isn't it) to learn more about what I'd driven by. Proved to be an interesting read including the 2013 Daily Mirror article regarding the present owner of the estate, MP Richard Drax. There is also a May 2016 video about driving onto and out of the estate on one of the few days it is open to the public. Seems that there will be dates announced for this May when the public can visit. Here's the website in case anyone is interested:

High on Dana's list to see were the Diana Memorial Fountain and Kensington Palace. After breakfast at the hotel we made our way into Hyde Park at the Italian Gardens. A gift to Queen Victoria by Albert I wonder if more people are taking a gander at them after the popularity of the TV Series, Victoria. Just wondering. There's a new cafe there now (The Italian Gardens Cafe) which I've yet to enjoy. The fountains are adjacent to the path that will take you past the Peter Pan statue, the unique ISIS sculpture (not what you are thinking), the Diana Memorial Fountain to the Lido Cafe. FYI, nice loo adjacent to the Cafe.

Let me explain about the ISIS sculpture. Anyone remember Egyptian myths? ISIS is the Goddess of The Earth and if not shown in female form she is depicted as a bird. It's a gorgeous sculpture.

Another bit of information for clarity and PLEASE someone set me straight if I am incorrect but the Serpentine is what separates Hyde Park from Kensington Gardens.

Logistically Hyde Park is East of the Serpentine, Kensington Gardens and the Palace are to the West.

The Henry Moore sculpture is in Hyde Park and if stand behind it and look thorough it, over the Serpentine you will see Kensington Palace. It was positioned specifically for that view.

The Peter Pan Statue, ISIS, and Diana Memorial Fountain are in Kensington Gardens.

The Memorial Fountain opens at 10am so Dana and I enjoyed hot coffee at the Lido Cafe. We sat outside savoring the view. Afterwards we walked into and around the Memorial Fountain. I appreciated the simplicity and practicality. Designed to inspire reflection and contemplation, there is a serenity to it.

Tomorrow or Friday I'll reminisce about Dora, a sweet deaf dog and Kensington Palace.

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Earthquake! 4.0 trembler around 2:10am this morning. Another smaller 1.7 magnitude a few minutes ago. Been dealing with these all my life yet for some reason cannot fall back asleep. Good time as any to write I suppose.

We headed off to Kensington Palace following a wander about at the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. About a 100 yards after we crossed the carriage road we heard a plea from a frantic dog owner, "Dora, come here, Dora!" At that point a small pooch darted by us followed shortly by a middle aged man in pursuit. Dora slowed and the man was able to scoop her up in his arms with ease. Pleasantries were exchanged and we learned that adorable Dora was nearly 12 and deaf. Must say she was spry for her age. I still think I saw a smirk on her face while she was being cradled in his arms but I was probably imagining things.

I'm a math atheist but do advise if you wish to save money then buying advance tickets can provide savings.

With regards to admission tickets for popular London sites do your research. There are the 2 for 1 deals
( and for the historic Royal Palaces of which Kensington is one, review their website

If we'd chosen to be locked into a certain date to see Kensington Palace buying an advance tickets would have saved about $3.00 on each ticket at the conversion rate. These savings would have been for the concession tickets (concs) which are what senior discounts are called. Instead we arrived at the Palace near opening (10:00am), walked in and bought our tickets. The price (about $20) included admission to the popular exhibition of Diana's dresses and gowns.

We did not join a group with a tour guide but ambled at our own pace. We would occasionally stop to listen as explanations of rooms, paintings, etc that were being provided. The room where the gowns and dresses are on display wasn't large and a bit crowded. With patience you could negotiate up close and personal vantage points though.

All in all I found the Palace a bit drab and in need of some TLC. The gardens are lovely though. I did enjoy sitting on a bench near the Queen Victoria statue watching people meander toward the Palace from the Round Pond. There was an artist with easel capturing the perspective in oils. Nice work.

It was a beautiful day weather wise. Blue skies and sun. Believe it got to 52 temp wise. From the Palace we walked over to the venerable Natural History Museum to watch the ice skaters. Every year in October an ice rink is opened at the museum. Believe it's there through January.

Years ago and I mean years ago, I strapped on ice skates and gave it a try. It was in San Francisco at the Sutro Baths.

One of the baths had been converted into an ice skating rink. It was a field trip. I was a Brownie.

All I remember was the cold and the painful black, blue and green bruise that developed on my butt cheek. Further skating participation never evolved but watching others attempting the ankle breaking torture intrigues.

The Natural History Museum is free and I do love it. Gorgeous building. A must see for me. Never tire of it or the other 2 near by museums, the V & A and the Science Museum. Yes school children rampant most often but as they are there on a school outing, hopefully learning and being inspired by what they see, I'm okay with the cacophony.

Compared to the Tuesday when I visited the V & A solo before my friends arrival and the Saturday we went together was like night and day. So crowded that I stood in line to get the food while Dana negotiated a spot in the dining area. Otherwise we wouldn't have gotten a place to sit. Even at that we shared a table with 3 others. The cafe is a gorgeous setting though and if you've not been you should go. If possible avoid the weekend.

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There is also a rather confusing and not well planned payment system. The cafe is set up cafeteria style with only a few cashiers which quite honestly if you choose you could by pass without paying for your food and drink. Horribly mismanaged. It was so crowded I saw individuals doing that. No, we didn't but some reorganization is definitely needed there.

I like Museum gift stores. Always secure perfect Christmas stocking stuffers from them. After our cafe nosh we shopped.

On my sojourns I take either a cross body travel bag or mini back pack. All depends on where I'm going and what I'll be doing. This trip it was the small nylon Bagallini back pack. A birthday gift years ago its perfect for a small water bottle and easy to pack stocking gift buys. Do I put my wallet in it? No. I have a money belt for my I.D. and larger pound notes. Since money in the UK is mostly in coins I carry an Italian leather coin purse (another birthday gift) It has a tiny slot in front of where the coinage goes and where I keep a folded 5 or 10 pound note. Well worn, well traveled, well used fits perfectly in my jeans pocket.

Accessing the long underground pedestrian tunnel from the backside of the V & A reminded us via tired feet and back muscles that it was time for a pint. At South Kensington tube station we hopped on a Circle line train to Nottinghill and then on a Central line to Lancaster Gate. Exited, walked to the hotel, dropped of shopping. Back out to the tube station and a train to Marble Arch and a 2 block stroll to the Three Tuns pub. Traditional old pub with festive Christmas decorations and a pleasant mix of patrons. Chatted with a nice older couple from Northern England who were in town to visit with their grand daughter. She was shopping with friends at the nearby Selfridges while they preferred a relaxing dram or two.

Interaction and conversation with this couple is why I love pubs. You sit, you chat, you laugh, you learn, you share. It's engaging.

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Camden Lock Market was another shopping destination for Dana and I. We tubed to Camden Town and walked up to the market. Its insanely crowded on weekends. We were there on a Thursday and you could breathe and stroll without being a pin ball. The market has changed over the years. Physically as there have been fires and generally as more cheap china trinkets have appeared. The canal cafe with the motor scooters as seats is gone some new building going up. Within the Stables portion of the market Dana was able to secure a small sweater for her Schnauzer. A rescue she'd gotten him two months before she left on the trip. She also bought nice sweatshirt at a negotiated price.

Lunch was from a pop up stall. Had a great burger.

One of my initial thoughts upon leaving the market was to walk over to and up Primrose Hill for the view. That idea was negated because of shopping bags. Instead we walked over to the Kentish Town neighborhood for a respite at the Grafton.

On the trip I took with my friend Pat we stayed at my first Airbnb accommodation. On Prince of Wales road is an old 2 story book repository building thats been converted into flats. That’s where we stayed. Long story short the owner has become a good friend. Subsequently she sold the flat. Oh if I only had the money. Fantastic flat. Sigh.

While Pat and I were there we'd gone to the Grafton. Run down, dank and dirty. Worst woman's toilet I'd seen in my travels. Dismissive man behind the bar. We felt like we intruded even though only he and two other red nosed regulars were there.

Now, it is polished and pristine. The tired and dirty carpet removed, booths gone replaced by tables and chairs. Friendly young owners. An example of a neighborhood's revitalization that gentrification often brings.

Across the road from this pub (which has good food now) is one of my favorite architectural buildings, the St. Pancras Bath House and Public Hall. Converted into residential flats, my curious nature would love to see the interior.

Over the years I've stayed in this neighborhood and witnessed its evolution. The Oxford Pub was the first to undergo a transformation from a traditional boozer to gastro pub. To this day I remember the fabulous leg of lamb I had there with Pat. Kentish Town road is now dotted with cute cafes and restaurants, there's even a Wahaca above the Tube station.

From Kentish Town we rode the tube back to our hotel. Back out the door and off to the Museum of London. I always recommend this Museum to first time visitors. Does a great job of showing how the city evolved. We spent nearly 2 hours there unsuccessfully trying to avoid school children. None the less the displays impressed, especially the Roman Wall.

If anyone travels in mid November the area around the Museum is where the annual Lord Mayors Parade stages before it begins. I know this because in 2015 I was there to photograph the parade. The horrific Paris attacks occurred the day before. I assumed I would find massive security at the parade. I was wrong and very surprised. Stopped a bobby. He politely reminded me that London has been under threat for years. Business as usual, no panic, no over reaction. Dare I say, remain calm and carry on.

Rain fell on the parade. After taking numerous images and wanting to get dry I discovered a perfectly situated Pret a Manager where I could sit sipping coffee at the front window counter and watch the parade go by. My favorite photos are of parade participants in Mary Poppins attire pulling huge rolling statues of Queen Elizabeth. Hard to explain but frightfully amusing. The Lord Mayors carriage is gorgeous and is one of the three great State Coaches of England. Along the route the largest crowds were around New One Change and St Paul's. Even then you could easily negotiate the sidewalks. See this parade if you can. A fine reflection of English tradition.

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Great report so far, Claudia. I’m taking notes for sure. My son discovered Dishoom last summer as well so I’m putting that on my list. And Lupita’s for Mexican food- I’m sure i’ll get the craving while I’m there so I’ll know where to go. Thanks!

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8799 posts

I've received a few PM's regarding traveling solo, packing, out of the way places and general inquires about safety

Although London has had it's share of terrorist attacks I've not been deterred. CTV cameras are everywhere in London. Big Brother is indeed watching and I'm okay with that. As I am not a late night person I'm not on the tube or walking down alley ways after pubs close. I do both if I've been to the theatre but in over 40 years of UK travel have yet to feel threatened.

I am always aware of my surroundings though and if my "spidey" sense alerts I turn around or disengage. As already offered I'm not a fan of huge crowds. In my mind those are unsafe so I do my best to avoid them. I don't jay walk in London either.

Do I sit in a pub alone? Yes. Pubs are not like bars in the states. By tradition and evolution they are spots where families and friends go to engage. There is a cut off time in many pubs for children and teens but I have seen parents with babies in prams as late as 9pm. Dogs and cats are also part of Pub culture.

For me sitting in a pub around 3:30pm sipping a pint of Guinness while reading a newspaper after a long day of exploration on foot is the proper way to relax. This afternoon imbibing happens only when in the UK. Not here in the states. Haven't had a drink yet in 2018. Heaven forbid you think I'm a sot.

I travel solo by preference. Being able to go where I want when I want is a huge pay off. I do plan an itinerary but always allow flexibility. In 2016 was staying in an AirBnb accommodation in a non touristy neighborhood and noticed an sign at the Underground station regarding the Heathrow Express. It wasn't going to be running on the day of my flight. So I booked a cab. Easy Peasy. Great driver.

Took his card and contacted him last year before Dana arrived. He and I agreed upon a price and route so she could experience a traditional black cab ride. My travel philosophy includes the concept that it's only money, and it's my money so I'll choose how I'll spend it. Yes, I do buy tickets in advance to save money but frugality is not my nature. In my head and from experience I know what my trip is costing. It's a vacation, a time when you are supposed to enjoy everything you are doing. Fretting over the cost of something isn't in my DNA. If its insanely costly, practically wins and I say no.

Ah the art of packing. Oddly I can still over pack. However, I do know what works clothing wise for me at that time of year.

Comfort is the key. Huge fan of the Keen brand of shoe. I have of 8 different pairs from sandals to boots. Simply love them. Pricey but worth the money IMHO.

For UK November travel I take 2 pairs. The Keen Targhee Hiking shoe. The pair I take on trips are 7 years old and look great. They are well made but most importantly, extremely comfortable. My other Keen shoe is the Kaci Slip On. These I wear on the plane and all around London.

3 pairs of Smart Wool socks. LOVE them because they don't smell and prevent blisters. Again worthwhile initial investment.

I take a water proof jacket. Last year I wore my ancient but oh so durable hooded Columbia jacket. Bought years ago at an REI in Portland it has a zip out interior jacket that can be worn separately. Knowing it was never going to get cold enough it was left at home. To lessen what I carry on the plan I pack my coat. Once I'm through immigration I stop, zip open my 22 inch roller bag, retrieve it and put it on. Gloves and my slouchy knit hat are in the pockets so I'm ready for the outside.

BTW I wear a men's jacket. Why? For the simple reason that women's jackets are designed to accentuate the figure not for practicality. Men's jackets are roomier for layering and have a hidden pocket for a wallet or cell phone. I kid you not and who really notices the difference with a zippered front anyhow?!? Besides I've never been a fashionista.

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I wear blue jeans. A well worn Gloria Vanderbilt pair. Like the weight and fit. A second pair in black that are a Cotton/Rayon blend pack well.

2 turtle necks and a lightweight sweater. Long scarf.

Light weight Capilene long underwear pants and long sleeve shirt are my PJ's. Wash and dry easily. Not publicly discussing my undergarments.

As far as things I NEVER travel without:
Twist ties
Zip Lock bags in varying sizes
Disposable Washcloths
Neosporine and a few different sized bandaids
Tin of Dental floss
Pens and a small note book that fits perfectly in a coat pocket
Small roll of Gaffers tape
Kleenex packets
Safety pins
Ear plugs
Coin Purse
Small LED Flashlight
A copy of my medication prescriptions
A copy of my glasses prescription
Chums original cotton eyeglass straps
Business cards in a slim and trim metal holder. Holds 10-12 cards. Fits easily in my interior coat or pants pocket.
And the Oyster Card folder I got at the British Library gift shop years ago. Oyster is inside ready to be topped up when I arrive at Paddington.

More of the trip report later.....

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3803 posts

Thanks for adding the new chapters! Enjoying reading them very much, while drinking a cup of hot herbal tea.

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8799 posts


I'm going to shy away from the 2017 trip in this post. Instead going to share some of my 2015 (my time does fly) discoveries. This was the trip I finally got to see the Cotswolds.

Arrived at Heathrow, got through immigration in under 30 minutes and was on the Hertz shuttle bus in another 15. Got my rental (Dame Agatha). Brand new Peugeot I think. Only 82 miles on the odometer. Took pictures of her. I always do this. Before and after images just in case the agency claims a scratch or dent is my fault I have visual proof it isn't. Adjusted the radio, figured out how to heat up the car, adjusted mirrors, checked my directions and was on the road.

As I've commented before huge fan of the satellite view on Google Maps. Most helpful when I chose to by pass Oxford and take the A40 off the M4.

When I started up Dame Agatha and engaged the clutch there was a smell. Like when a driver leaves the brakes on. I passed it off thinking it was because the car was new. Thinking back that was a stupid conclusion but off I went anyhow. Drive was uneventful, printed directions easy to follow, a number of roundabouts but I'd jotted down towns that I would be passing so was focused. I could easily see why the area is popular. Very bucolic.

I approached Winchcombe on a road which passes Sudley Castle and then comes to a stop right at the main drag of Winchcombe. The clutch had been very loose on the drive. There is a slight grade to this road as it enters the town as well as a stop sign. I was behind another vehicle that had stopped. They pulled onto the street and I attempted to engage the clutch to pull forward. It wouldn't engage. Not in 1st, 2nd, 3rd or even 4th gear. There were 2 cars pulling up behind me. A brief moment of panic. Tried 3 times, all gears, nothing. Put it in park and exited the car. Not wanting to be the older female Yank driver who couldn't drive a clutch I approached the woman driver behind me to explain what was happening. The male driver behind her emerged from his car. He wasn't polite nor rude simply impatient. He got in Dame Agatha and tried to put her in gear. Zilch. Frustration on his face, a bit of I told you so on mine.

4 cars in total now with no where to go so I asked them all to back up so I could roll back down the hill and off the road. They all complied then went other their collective ways. Lo and behold once I was on flat ground I was able to get the car in gear. I was puzzled. The man had been kind enough to tell me another way into town. A bit of a jaunt but found the AirBnb cottage where I was staying, parked the car and knocked on the door. It was late and when I called AAA number we agreed that the next morning would be the best time to send a truck out.

At 9am the AAA truck and driver arrived. As I was explaining what had occurred he opened the hood, jiggled a few cables, got in the car, turned the key, depressed the clutch, turned off the motor and said, " you need a new car." Oddly enough I drove the car behind him to a dealership in Cheltenham. It was still loose so it was a bit harrowing but he didn't speed and I was able to stay with him even through the roundabouts. Got to the dealership. Went inside. He spoke to a man who came over to me and asked for the keys. I had taken the rental paper work from the car. Gave him the keys and asked for his business card which he gave me. I then got into the AAA truck with the driver and in other 15 minutes we were outside of town at a small rental agency. He wasn't the talkative sort so I concentrated on the road signage to figure out where I was exactly. At the rental agency we walked in together. I was told I'd have a replacement car in 15 minutes. It was being washed and vacuumed. The AAA driver said goodbye and I sat in a chair awaiting my new car.

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Throughout this morning adventure I was a bit cautious simply because I was not in control and dependent on others. Most importantly I paid attention to street signs and landmarks which I would possibly need to use to find my way back to Winchcombe.

Got my new ride (Prince Valiant) which the astronauts on the Space Station could see. Bright metallic aqua blue in color. Didn't care. Returned to Winchcombe relieved but wondering what large bill I would receive months after my return to the states. A bill that NEVER came by the way.

I don't believe Winchcombe is on the RS radar which is wonderful. No tour busses, no large crowds (both of which I encountered in Bourton on the Water). A nice unhurried village town. My AirBnb was lovely and I could stroll into town past St. Peter's church in a matter of minutes. I could also go hiking which I did one morning and found a shed with signage that read WTF 1820. Burst out laughing. Snapped a photo or 2 of the What The F&%K Club established in 1820. That's my sense of humor folks. Webmaster forgive me.

St Peter's Church is open daily and I was lucky to be shown around by Arthur a lovely volunteer. He took his job seriously, was well versed in the church and town's history. Answered every question I asked with ease.
What I remember most about this church are the humorous grotesques that loom outside and the intriguing architectural exterior and interior. There is a quirkiness to it.

As I was visiting here near Christmas my AirBnb host had mentioned the festive Sudley Castle Christmas light show.
She advised if I wanted to go to book at ticket. I did and one cool crisp evening walked to Sudley Castle to take in the show. Its very well done. Wasn't crowded and I enjoyed conversing with a family that had driven over from Morten in Marsh to see it.

The next morning I drove over to Broadway in order to follow the trail to Broadway Tower. That one worked up a sweat and my appetite. Upon my return to Broadway I wandered in search of a meal. Found the Market Cafe on the main road and enjoyed a quiche. Spent hours walking about Broadway camera at the ready. Known as the Jewel of the Cotswolds it lives up to the name.

Must say this was a wonderful day out and about. Drove back to Winchcombe, stopping occasionally when there were cut outs to take photos of the rolling hillsides. Parked Prince Valiant and strolled into town to the Lion Inn on North street for a pint. Sat in a comfortable chair by a roaring fire. Need I say more?

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3803 posts

Enjoying this. Love the Cotswolds. Wonderful image of settling into a comfy chair by the fire.

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8799 posts

Very kind Rebecca.

Will get back to the 2017 trip report I'm going to depart from Dana's tour to share another friends weekend visit after Dana flew home.

A dear friend works in Belfast on Game of Thrones popped over for the weekend. The station was nearly empty when she arrived at Paddington on the Heathrow Express at around 9:30pm. I'd walked over from the hotel to retrieve her. While waiting enjoyed listening to a small band of men and women over 50 who were playing Christmas songs. Not perfectly in tune, bundled up against the chill playing their hearts out. Charming, yes I used the word charming because it was. I have video.

As we started off to the hotel my friend expressed an interest in a drink. That was easily arranged. Favored pub was close. A bit more crowded and noisier than at 3pm we were still able to negotiate a place to sit. She was exhausted so her glass of wine could be seen in tired sleep deprived eyes. Walked a few blocks back to the hotel. I'd already arranged for her room key. Told her I'd see her at breakfast downstairs at 7:30am.

After a breakfast of fresh fruit, coffee and cereal we headed out the door to the Underground. Traveled to Ladbroke Grove Station and made our way to Portobello Road. Still early so vendors were setting up which is part of the fun of the market. She went a little nuts buying fresh beets, mushrooms, and other assorted veggies. Guess she knew she could take them with her back to Belfast. She did the same thing later that evening when by chance we came upon Neal's Yard cheese shop. Out she pops from the store handing me a large wrapped chunk of bleu cheese. Fabulous stinky bleu cheese. Evening snacks of crackers, fruit and cheese for the remainder of my stay were much enjoyed.

While researching what we might see and do that day I'd discovered that the Great Christmas Pudding Race
was scheduled to occur at 11am at Covent Garden. We tubed over but somehow missed it. We were disappointed but did enjoy watching the aftermath especially the woman who was HRH's dopple ganger who had presented the trophies to the winning team. She was a audience favorite posing for numerous cell phone selfies. Loved the purse.

It was lunch time. She'd been told of Punjab by a crew member. Normally I'd be leery of a restaurant in one of the more touristy spots of London but I was wrong, dead wrong about this place. Truly fabulous meal. Will return here over and over and over. Yes, I enjoyed it that much. Following more wandering we wound up at the Coal Hole. Her choice. Insanely crowded, none the less were able to secure a table upstairs. She seemed to enjoy the fact that she carried the pints of brew up the stairs without spilling a drop. A very leisurely pint as we peered over the railing people watching. Really is a lovely pub.

Sun was starting to disappear so we tubed to Marble Arch and proceeded to wander about the large and free WinterWonderLand extravaganza in Hyde Park. As night falls all the neon makes for grand photos. We played games, rode a few rides and generally enjoyed pretending we were 12 again. I will admit there was a certain odd brilliance to the bar on the merry go round. A giggly fun evening.

On Sunday we started the day at the Lido Cafe. I'm telling you it's so civilized to sit there and watch day break on The Serpentine. There was a small dog that kept coming up to us. He seemed lost. I was very concerned. We called the number on the tag. A unthankful owner who was seated about 40 feet away came over picked up the dog and walked away. What a twit!

My friend had a meeting that morning in a neighborhood of London I've never seen. Victoria Park. We took a
cab there and while she met with a writer I made my way a few blocks to Victoria Park. It was drizzling just a bit but I knew something would be of interest in the park. Lo and behold while I was trying to be amusing ..

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snapping iphone images of a soccer game and sending them with the heading "Look Sunday football," I over heard a man yell, " Oh look here they come." I turned around and a large pack of Santas was headed our way. Seems I stumbled upon the park's annual Santa Run for charity. Honestly in the selfies I snapped the grin on my face is infectious. Spent the next hour enjoying the fortuitous event. I was so happy. My friend called telling me to meet her at The People's Park Tavern which is right by the entrance I'd taken into the park. Ambled back and upon another recommendation made our way to Vu Viet a small Vietnamese restaurant. Oh my lord that was the best meal ever. Alas, just the past weekend she texted that it had closed. Depressing.

Well, work awaits so I must stop writing....hope I'm not boring anyone.....ta

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Its (Triple) AAA in the states. Paid no heed to what the side of the truck read. Just happy he arrived on time and agreed that Dame Agatha was on life support.

Appreciate the distinction though.

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8799 posts

Thank you Jill.

Nearly 6am here in LA. Been outside watching the Blood Moon evolve. While standing in the road a young man came dashing down the street. He stopped, grinned, and uttered “ awesome!” Hopped in his car and drove away. Suspect he was heading to the nearby Griffith Park Observatory.

Back inside and squinting to type using my iPhone to post. Where are my cheap 99 cent store glasses?
Eureka, I can see.

On the 2014 visit I’d wanted to see the Brunel Museum. My walking trek began at Tower Hill Station. Walked across Tower Bridge pausing to enjoy watching the bustling water traffic on the Thames. From here made my way down some steps to the backside of the Butlers Wharf development.

Saving my sight and switching to the lap top.

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Once a derelict former chocolate factory warehouse the site has been converted into flats and restaurants. As you walk along the Shad Thames path you'll find interesting pieces of street art, shops, cafes. Quite the redevelopment. Great POVS looking back towards Tower Bridge. I can only imagine in good weather this whole area is a popular spot to sit, sip and dine.

On the morning I was walking the tide seemed low. There's a foot bridge that crosses part of Thames that branches off between the converted warehouses. The wooden support pillars were exposed. A favorite photo. It was a weekday, I was there early. Londoners leaving for work were bustling on the path by foot and on bikes. An interesting migration which ebbed around 9am. By that time I was weaved my way to an open space area adjacent to The Angel pub. Appreciated the view of The Thames, The Gherkin, the Cheese Grater and the Walkie Talkie along with Tower Bridge loomed in the distance. Totally different perspective of London that I imagine few tourists have seen. Don't imagine many have the surrounding Rotherhithe neighborhood on their radar either.

As I've previously mentioned I like planning and researching. There was a purpose to this long walk, seeing the Brunel Museum. You can see why I was interested, something unique and different. Unfortunately I was disappointed as the Museum was closed. No explanation why. So this place remains on my "must see" list.

Undeterred I retraced my steps. In walking to the museum I'd come across a couple places that intrigued.
A church grave yard, (love grave yards), the Mayflower Pub and the best find, the Sands Film Studio. A light drizzle had begun so I opted for an interior table at the Mayflower. Would think sitting outside day or night in better weather would be very nice though. The Mayflower claims to be the oldest pub on the Thames. It is also the only pub licensed to sell postage stamps. The locale is the essence of one's imagination of London in days of yore with narrow cobblestoned streets. Pub lovers add it to your list.

I'm not a gregarious person but while at lunch engaged in conversation with 2 individuals who worked at the adjacent Sands Film Studio. Again a fortuitous interaction...

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These kind gentleman invited me to see the studio and the film research library. Aces!!!

This whole neighborhood pleased me.

If I recall properly The Film research Library is open daily. Think on weekends by appointment only. I've kept promising to return there on subsequent visits but haven't done so.

Looking for a hidden gem? Depending on your interests this and the surrounding neighborhood might be it.

From the studio I continued on my walking trek. Made my way to this huge red bridge near the Surrey Quay. My photographers eye loved this non functioning bascule bridge. Bascule is basically a drawbridge. From here I followed a well manicured path beside the Quay. This canal path curved and meandered besides housing complexes. Even in the drizzle people out with prams and walking dogs. Some folks sitting on the benches that dot the path way.

Growing weary with daylight just beginning to fade I came upon the large modern Canada Water complex. Asked a young couple if there was a nearby tube station. Thankfully there was and they provided easy directions.

I was very close. Kismet.

Across from the Canada Water Library and Theatre the glass encased entrance to the underground station and escalators within are stunning eye candy.

Another on foot discovery....

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Amazing what you can find in London just by walking into an area you had not been to before.
Great finds, Claudia! Thanks for taking your time to write a great, detailed trip report.

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Really enjoying reading these -- thanks for posting.

Every trip to London I think "This time I'll take the London Walks Brunel walk" (which includes the museum) but haven't quite gotten around to it. From your description of the area, it's moving up my list and it sounds like I could make a day of it by tracing some of your steps in the surrounding area.

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My sister-in-law lived in Virginia Water near Windsor for several years. I spent quite a bit of time visiting (mostly helping with her 12 kids:). so I've been to London numerous times between that and just traveling. I've been to all of the major sites numerous times so it's really fun to read about lesser known places! Thank you Claudia!!!

The Mayflower pub looks awesome and I've added it to our itinerary for this June. I have a question though. I checked on google maps and the tfl trip planner. It looks like the best way to get there is taking the Jubilee line to Canada Water then changing to "London Overground". Does that mean I would need to buy a rail ticket for that portion of the trip? Or would I be able to use my Oyster card?

Thanks again for spending the time to write such a detailed trip report! I'm having so much fun reading it!

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Oyster works for the Overground.

Pleased to know you are enjoying the posts.

Thank you.

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Accidental Southerner apologies. Missed your post somehow.

It’s an interesting sojourn. I also researched walking further. Seeing more of the Rotherhithe neighborhood.

As Miss O’Hara reminded us “tomorrow is another day.”

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A few folks have inquired if I keep a journal while traveling. My answer is I try. Seems I'm not disciplined enough to write on a daily basis. Ironically, this Trip Report is a marvel of continuity, LOL.

So, yes, I do take a journal. In fact creating one is the part of my preparation I like most. It relaxes me.

I go to the 99 cent store or an Office Depot or Staples to find the cheapest and smallest (as in it fits in a coat pocket size) notebook. Has to be lined. At home I proceed to tear out ad pages from a stack of magazines. What I am seeking is color not the verbiage. I then tear odd shapes of these colored pages and use clear scotch tape to decorate the front and back covers. A collage of sorts. Then, the part I like best, I rummage through the magazines to cut out, phrases, titles, dates that I then adhere to the colored background.

For example my 2014 journal phrases include: Great times, Great Places, London The Only Place to Be, Perfectly Happy, Are We There Yet, Travel On Your Terms, In the Moment Observing, and Through A Lens.** Phrases that reflect my personality. Once I've created this journal I proceed to print out pertinent information to be included within. Flights, Accommodations, Emergency contacts, etc.

I adore watching British TV Series, mostly mystery or police themed. Either via PBS, Netflix, or Acorn TV.

Vera, Shetland, Midsommer Murders, Scott and Bailey and over the years various Inspectors: Rebus, Morse, and George Gently. The latter features actor Martin Shaw who is a particular favorite. First became aware of him in Judge John Deed. The theme to that show is my iPhone ring tone. As an aside for anyone who will be in London in March, through May, he is reprising his role in Gore Vidal's "The Best Man," at the Playhouse Theatre.

I'm a film and TV location scout. Interesting line of work and on my 2014 trip to the UK I made the decision that I wanted to see where Inspector George Gently filmed. When I watch a film or TV show I don't shut off my location brain. Doesn't bother, in fact it enhances my appreciation of the craft on how locations contribute to the story. Within only the last decade has the Location Community be given it's proper respect. Even though the Location Manager for the outstanding Lawrence of Arabia got a front end credit over 50 years ago (probably at director David Lean's insistence) you will notice we're often listed below animal wranglers or craft service point is that we've worked VERY hard bucking the out of date credit pecking order and unfortunate bias about our contributions to the look of the show for years.

The director of La La Land publicly thanked his 1st AD for closing a freeway overpass for a dance scene. 1st AD had NOTHING to do with that. ALL the handy work of the Location Department. We are the ones who provide the canvas for all the other departments to create their magic.

The establishment of our own Guild (LMGI) has helped immensely as have the advent of shows like the X-Files, BOSCH, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones. All shows where locations absolutely contribute to the story lines.

The interesting aspect of Inspector George Gently is that it's set in 60's Britain. While watching it one afternoon there was a scene where his Detective Sargent's light blue car was on a stone bridge with a large cathedral in the background vista. Beautiful visual. I was intrigued, wanted to find that location. Turns out it was Durham Cathedral.

Thus I set about traveling to Durham in search of Inspector Gently.

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Thank you Emma. Have seen Line of Duty. Will check out The Professionals.

MI-5 was another favorite. Saw Peter Firth ages ago in Equus at the National Theatre. We were all younger then.

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This is making for such interesting reading! Location scouting, who knew?!

Regarding travel journals, I take the tiniest Moleskin notebook (2 in by 3 in, I think) and jot down memories each day. For last month's trip, I added a new and useful (for me) step: I jotted down ahead of time the opening hours of the various sights, attractions, shops, churches, etc that were on my "nice to see" list. Having these things in my notebook was so nice because I didn't have Google the same things over and over on my phone or get the phone out to check Rick's London e-guide. Very analog!

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Thanks Accidental Southerner. Love the concept of analog. Yes I text, can blog and use apps on my phone but NO Facebook, Twitter, etc. I even write thank you notes. Generational.

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Contacted the area's film liaison and told her of my desire to write an article about film production in Northumberland. Specified an emphasis on George Gently locations. She arranged a tour. I contacted the Cathedral, secured an AirBnb stay and booked my train ticket in advance.

Left Kings Cross around 7am The three hour train ride North was relaxing. Urban vestiges of London quickly gave way to pastoral England.

A hilly university town Durham lies on the River Wear. The Cathedral sits atop the most central hill dominating the skyline.

A World Heritage site Durham Cathedral has made more than one screen appearance. Most recently host to the Avengers:

At the adjacent Durham Castle there is an admission fee. However maybe it was the season, who knows, but I just walked in and wandered around. Up and down creaky stair cases, into and out of wood paneled rooms, until I happened upon the banqueting hall. At this point I truly expected Dumbledore to appear and shoo me away. Turns out they rent this part of the campus (yes the Castle is part and parcel of the University campus) as an event venue. However the day I stuck my head inside I realized it was where lunch was being served to the students. Laughed out loud. Never in all my years of schooling did I have lunch in a place like that. If you want to see why I thought I was in a Harry Potter film click on this link:

There is a lovely and easily accessible river walk. Walking South away from the cathedral one finds Prebends Bridge. I arrived there and found a young Korean Bride and Groom having photos taken exactly at the spot where the car had sat in the TV series. As noted, beautiful backdrop.

This was a late November trip. During my 2 day stay was lucky enough to be there when they hoisted up the Christmas Tree in the old fashioned market square.

An endearing find was the Ye Olde Elm Tree pub. Nestled in the hills above the center of town it was as pleasant half mile walk to my AirBnb accommodation on Albert Street. After standing on Prebends bridge I retraced my steps and climbed the Silver Street stairs. Sunlight was disappearing as I made my way up Crossgate Street. About 100 yards past St Margaret's Church sits Ye Olde Elm Tree. True neighborhood pub. For George Gently fans if you take this walk look for the red door to the brothel in Season 7. You'll pass it climbling up Crossgate to the pub. Left side of the road. Cheers.

Durham is well worth an overnight or a base for exploring the gorgeous Northumberland country side. I hope to return one day and stay a bit longer.

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Hello again.

Brief respite from posting. Ended an Amazon project on Friday. Caught up with bills, laundry, etc on Saturday. Traveled to Lucerne Valley, CA (about a 2.0 hour drive from LA) to watch the Super Bowl with friends.

They live on a ranch so there are horses, peacocks, goats, cats, chickens, and 4 dogs. So nice to be far from the madding crowd of the megalopolis.

Great game. Had no horse in the race but will always choose NFC over AFC.

Back to the trip report(s).

I'm now recalling previous solo sojourns and discoveries from them. Shared simply for the purpose of offering different non touristy places to enjoy.

The 2016 trip was hastily organized due the unexpected death of my partner Bill in early November. Sitting home one evening I thought to myself I want to be London for Christmas. Searched online for the next couple of days and found a roundtrip $800.00 economy seat LAX to LHR on Virgin Atlantic. Booked an AirBnb accommodation away for the city center in a neighborhood I'd never been to, Queen's Park. My host was traveling and would not be home till Christmas day but her boyfriend would let me into the flat. Was a perfect arrangement.

Arrived 3 days before Christmas. Nice flat. A bit of a walk from Queen's Park station but I traveled light and enjoyed seeing the shops, cafes, etc as I rolled my bag along Salisbury Road. Noticed the neighborhood was in the throes of gentrification. Starbucks, Costa, and restaurants like Ostuni and Hugo's had made a dent.

Christmas Eve morning I'd made a lunch date with my friend Claire. It was her 3 bedroom flat in Kentish Town where Pat and I had stayed. She's British but stays part of the year in NYC and part in London. She'd arrived the night before and was spending a couple days visiting her son in the Ladbroke Grove neighborhood.

The day before I had gone meandering and had walked from the flat past the Paddington Cemetary and Queens Park. Headed south and found a canal. Enjoyed seeing the Christmas decor that adorned many of the houseboats anchored along the canals. Lights, ornaments, small fir trees and even a hand sewn Santa in a small wooden sleigh. Nice photo ops.

There was a Sainsbury's adjacent to the canal so stopped in. Got some water and a sandwich. Continued on the canal path past some Gas Towers. No too far past the towers climbed steps up to the bridge and walked over it. I knew there was a cemetery as I'd kept seeing bits and pieces of it from the path, through hedges and trees. Yet when I walked across the bridge there were long buildings with auto repair shops. The area was industrial including a large recycling place. I kept moving on the street determined to find an entrance to the cemetery.

Let it be known I don't use the cell phone for maps very often. Rather discover something on my own. That's part of the enjoyment of exploring on foot.

After passing those buildings there was another block of two story brick buildings that had been cleaned up. They were studios of some kind. TV or film. Part of me wanted to stop and inquire while the other half of the brain wanted to continue on. Passed them and about 300 years or so past Portobello Press I found the small wrought iron entrance gate into St Mary's Catholic Cemetery.

Large fabulous old cemetery. My kinda of place. Cemeteries provide me solace. After about an hour I realized that St Mary's abuts and becomes the Kensal Green Cemetery. I spent over 2 hours ambling among acres of graves. Once outside their walls I walked over to the church that was on the corner and walked inside. Said some prayers and exited. Noticed a couple of cars driving out of the church lot and discovered the Christmas Forest. Some trees left. Not Charlie Brown Christmas trees either. Lovely blue spruce and firs.

I then began a long walk up Harrow Road is search of a loo.

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Oddly enough I had come full circle without realizing it until I came upon the modern building of flats and pocket park with the blue pedestrian bridge I'd crossed to get to the canal. I laughed and kept walking. Most of the small cafes I'd passed were closed and the need for the restroom was getting more desperate. Finally on a corner spied the purple (yes purple) front of Kendrick's bar. Saw an older man walk out. I crossed the road and walked in.

The outside of the building presents itself as something more than it was. Was merely a neighborhood watering hole, complete with snooker table. Perfection.

Nodded to the older woman behind the small bar and made my way to the loo. I decided this was where Claire and I would meet on Christmas Eve Day. Spoke with the bar maid to be certain they'd be open, ordered a pint and moved to a booth in the back. The average age in the pub was older than me. Quite an accomplishment. Old friends chatting, solo drinkers and one family. Typical mid day in a pub. Felt right at home.

After reviewing my photos and downing my pint I made my way back out onto Harrow Road. I noticed a Lebanese Restaurant and peered inside. Perfect spot for Lunch with Claire. Made sure they'd be open, very nice young man said yes. Just past Soor I decided to head back to the flat. Grabbed a coffee at the COSTA and headed up a residential street. I've always been blessed with a great sense of direction and lo and behold as I continued up this road I could see the large apartment building which I knew was near the Queens Park Station. Thumbs up.

More about lunch with Claire and virtually owning a pub for me, myself and I on Christmas Eve.

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Claudia, Thank you so much for your trip report, It has given me many ideas for an upcoming trip.

I retired in Feb 2017 and made a trip to London in early March 2017. It was a great experience for me seeing the city in the off season.

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Claire is my age and quite the fashionista. To say heads turned when we sauntered into Kendrick's bar is an understatement.

We secured a booth in back and over a drink caught up on what was happening in our lives. Left and went to Soor Lebanese restaurant where we had a lovely lunch. Nicest waiter, tasty plentiful plates of food. We then walked over the Ladbroke Grove neighborhood where her son lives and said adieu.

Wanting to burn off the calories I'd consumed, walked back to the canal path and made my way towards Little Venice. Loads of apartment and condo buildings line the canal path looming high above the countless houseboats banking the canal. Two distinct living lifestyles.

If you take this pathway you will soon find yourself near St Mary Magdalene's church. Can't miss it. I'd researched this church prior to my departure. There's a crypt under it which had been filmed. Would talk my way in. Alas that didn't happen but I was able to see the interior knave. Beautiful. Excellent example of Gothic Rival architecture. Learned from a talkative volunteer and parishioner that the church would be undergoing a major redevelopment. Going to be converted into a community arts center. Here's the link: The redevelopment must be in full swing now.

When I got to Little Venice a spot few tourists realize exists I sat on a bench in Rembrandt Gardens. It had been a rough year. Emotional. Sitting quietly in this small park soothed frayed nerves. Walked up to Wariwck Park Station and took the 5 minute Bakerloo line train to Kilburn Park, exited and made my way over to Kilburn High Road.

Walked along checking out the neighborhood. At Willesden lane turned left heading to my AirBnb. As I knew I wasn't going anywhere on Christmas day wanted to grab some staples from the Tesco Express my host had mentioned. After grabbing a few things I continued on Willesden and spied an entrance to a cemetery. Crossed the road to peer inside the gate and made a mental note to return. Ahead was an intriguing 3 story brick building sitting on the corner. As I got closer I noticed the Prince of Wales above the door way. Oh goodie, a pub.

It was nearly 3pm and nearly dark. Walked inside. An older woman with a Santa hat was behind the bar chatting on her cell phone. I looked around the large interior, was just she and I. She smiled, laid down her phone, and asked me what I wanted. Ordered a pint, walked over to side of the room that had nearly floor to ceiling windows and a large couch. Plopped down in it and smiled.

Traditional boozer is the vernacular for this pub. Hard wood floors, wood paneled walls, dart boards, and a pool table where the couch was.

Alas that was 2 years ago and as things change I now see via a Google search it is being refurbished. That can either be a blessing or a curse. Fingers crossed it doesn't loose it's charm. Loved the place. Comfortable, quiet, traditional. Sat there for nearly 2 hours until another soul sauntered inside. That was my cue to leave. Gathered my groceries and headed back to my accommodation. A pleasant way to spend Christmas Eve.

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You are welcome Joel.

Glad the report has given you ideas for your next visit.

Happy travels.

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3803 posts

Claudia, Enjoying your trip report immensely. Thanks for writing it and for adding more chapters.
I would have to wear roller skates to keep up with you in London!
You really cover a lot of ground on your walks and make some interesting discoveries.
Good to hear from someone who gets off the beaten path of the regular tourist sites and charts their own course.
Well done! I am adding a number of places from your trip report to my itinerary for my next trip to London.

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It's true while on vacation I do walk a lot. Here in the Land of La, not so much.

iPhone users will note there is a health app on your phone. Has a heart on it. If you set it up properly it will tell flights climbed, steps, and walking and running distances. While in London I was averaging between 4-6 miles a day. The week following my return to LA readings were 201 steps, 1 floor, etc.

Went from active to sloth quickly.

It's 4am. Awoke with a raw sore throat. Had the cold virus a month ago. Seems it lurked and has returned. Not happy. Thankfully I'm not working so can rest and drink liquids to contain the damage.

Biggest concern is avoiding bronchitis.

Think I'll bring this trip report to an end. Hope I've provided some interesting tid bits of information.

Travel safe one and all and if heading to London feel free to PM with questions.


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1301 posts

Hi Claudia -

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to write such an in-depth posting. Something for everyone to learn here including us Brits who are not London residents. I've really enjoyed reading about your travels and look forward to reading more extensive postings on your travels wherever they may be!


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9763 posts

Claudia - I consider myself lucky that I just now discovered this thread - so I had the pleasure of reading it all together in its entirety. My condolences to you on the loss of your partner Bill in 2016 - and the thoughtfulness and kindness that you showed to your friend in "hosting" her in London after the loss of hers more recently.

You're so generous to have shared so much of your experience and knowledge with us, and reading about your travel style and what's important to you and how you go about things was fascinating. "I hopped in Lord Nelson" indeed!!!

I'm lucky like you to get to go to London not infrequently, although I'm never able to stay as long as you do. You have such a depth of knowledge of the city from end to end - it reminds me that I've barely scraped the surface. And on top of that, you get to see Nigel and Carol!!

Loved reading too about how you pack (I'm all for packing the coat and retrieving it upon arrival at the airport) and for example how you make your journals. Fabulous.

Anyway, thank you for sharing this rich, textured TRIPS report.

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8799 posts

Too kind Ian. Thank you.

Kim I appreciate your words as well. So pleased you found and read it in its entirety. Enjoyed composing and sharing.

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33113 posts

Having followed in the footsteps (just a few of them - she moves too quickly for me!!) of Claudia and gone to a number of the places she has been to and especially a couple of the restaurants - THANKS FOR DISHOOM!! - I owe a debt.

Thanks Claudia. See you again soon...

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8799 posts

Nigel, I too look forward to our next adventure. Is it November yet?

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985 posts

Claudia, my sincere condolences on the loss of your partner. You were my morning coffee date today as I finished reading of your beautiful meanders through England. I've enjoyed your stories of what one can find when venturing off the beaten track. You make me more determined to incorporate more of that into my travel. Thank you so much for sharing your wanders with us!

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8799 posts

Thank you Nance. Off the beaten path can be so rewarding. Enjoy.

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14151 posts

Claudia, a thanks from me as well. I love London and I'm surprised you are only getting 4-6 miles per day on your app! Seems like about 15 on most days from your descriptions! Thank you so much for sharing your journeys.

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8799 posts

You are welcome Pam. Thanks for reading.

Trust me I would need a major massage and a week's recovery if I did 15 miles. That would be pushing my short chubby legs farther than they'd be willing to be pushed.

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14151 posts

Hahaha!!! So funny! Yes, I've done 12 mile days but wowser...those need some recovery time.

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11433 posts

Amazing report, Claudia! I traveled with you via your words, picturing many of the places we have been in 4 London trips. I concur about parks: not to be missed. Hyde Park, Green, St. James, Kensington all fabulous. We made it to Little Venice on trip 4 and must return. We “discovered” Punjab thanks to Italian friends on our first trip. Now it is a regular stop. Concert at the Royal Albert also highly recommended. We enjoyed a Christmas concert there in 2015. Divine. Even after 4 trips and a total of 5 weeks in London you have me wanting to go again. 2019 perhaps...

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305 posts

Thanks Claudia for your report. You have given me far too much to consider for my meager 3 days this coming May (the real base for that trip is Paris but found more affordable flights from LA to LHR than into CDG so bonus days in London). Where does one find a "small" roll of gafer's tape? We often use it to tape our shoes before tap performances and would love to carry it in my tap bag but alas, can only find huge rolls of the stuff.

Your LaLa Land neighbor,

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751 posts

Claudia, so happy I ran across your post!! I just booked my plane ticket yesterday for a 10 day stay in London this October. This will be my first visit and LOVED reading all about your adventures. Makes me even more excited to go!! Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this.

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I have traveled to London and the UK many times and London is one of my favorite cities. I enjoyed your account and learned about some new restaurants to try when I am there this time. Thanks, also for the pub suggestions. I go to the theatre every night I am there and wondered if you know about returns as an inexpensive way to see plays in London?

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8799 posts

It’s September now. Thought I’d see if other posters had read my trip report.

Most often use the 1/2 price tix booth at Leicester Square. Nowadays easy to look on line and review what tix will be made available. In days of yore ( think the 80’s) you’d find what was available only on an adjacent chalk board. Progress.

Dawn from Denver you are only a few weeks away from your October sojourn. I’m excited for you!!!

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33113 posts

I've lived in LA. In fact I was with somebody from Long Beach just last night.

We've left LA.

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8799 posts

In my usual bluntness if I didn’t work in “ the biz” I’d have left the Land of La long ago. Nigel was smart.

I’m a CA native born and bred but my heart and soul will always prefer Northern CA. Specifically the Bay Area where I grew up.