London Adventure London Adventure, 2015

Our London Adventure, July 2015

Marguerite decided we needed another cruise so we selected Iceland as a destination since our last Panama Canal Cruise was so hot and unsatisfying. But to get good airline tickets we had to go a week early which forced us to do London again before doing the Cruise out of Harwich, UK. Below is a spread sheet of our planned vacation as it materialized. The summer crowds, the old age, and the been-there-done-that made George's London's tour expectations a fantasy.


We arrived in London about 10 AM and checked into hotel. We then went to Westminster Abbey and discovered why people say never go touring in the summer. The downtown section of London was way over crowded. But we muddled through a tour of Westminster Abbey and the next door Parliament building which was prebooked months in advance.


The next morning we slept late (12 hours of sleep) and decided to do an easy day and go see Selfridges of PBS fame and compare it to Harrods. Selfridges was great with its display windows, large isles, 5 restaurants (we had lunch on the 4th floor, best food in London), and upscale employees. We then went to Harrods Department Store and George could not handle going into the crowded facility. So he sat on a bench while Marguerite went in to shop. She came out in 5 minutes saying way too crowded, way under Selfridges quality, let's go back to the Hotel and rest. So much for the second day in London.

Boat to Greenwich

With a little more gas in our tank, we were off on day three to Greenwich Village, home of Greenwich Mean Time and the zero meridian. To do that we took a boat ride on the Thames from the London Tower to Greenwich and back. We were then going to tour the London Tower again, but with the crowds and our age, that option went by the way side. We just toured it from the outside.

Boat ride to Greenwich was great where we toured the Naval Museum, Naval College, and Naval Observatory Museum. We saw the Cutty Sark (fastest sail ship in 1870's) but were too tired to tour. The walk up to the Observatory (on a hill) about killed us but the view of London was spectacular. On the way up we found a Mime artist which Marguerite enjoyed. In a previous trip we have a picture of Marguerite and Gar straddling the Equator, in this trip we have a picture of Marguerite and George straddling the zero meridian. We slept well.

Hampton Court

Ah Wednesday, time for a train ride to Hampton Court. This is where Henry VIII had his six wives. Also many other Kings lived here until George III bought Buckingham Palace. We had much more planned for today, but after walking all over, we decided to go back to the Hotel and recover. George was here in 1989 with his wife Kathy but Marguerite had never seen it. Something to see and easy to get to by train.

Highclere Castle

This is the big day, Marguerite was very excited. Today we rent a car, George drives on the wrong side of the road, and we go to Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle and Blenheim Palace and finally Oxford University. George was hoping to also see Stonehenge but traffic was too bad so we had to skip that.

Marguerite got tickets to Highclere six months in advance and this is to be the highlight of our trip. She is a major Downton Abbey fan. She also got tickets to Blenheim Palace three months in advance. We were here a few years ago but it was closed. We also went to Oxford to see the colleges. Big mistake. We got there at 5 PM and the traffic was unbelievable. We had dinner and were stuck in a parking lot for 45 minutes. These old cities not made for modern traffic. UK has great well maintained roads, they just do not have enough of them.

Wellington's Home and Queen's Home

We toured Wellington's Home (given to him by a grateful nation for defeating Napoleon) and walked around Buckingham Palace. The Queen was still there so we could not do a tour. We really did this but we have no idea when.

HMS Victory

Our last full day in London, finally. We were so tired and we could not believe our vacation was to START tomorrow with our cruise to Iceland. We were so looking forward to a sea day where we had nothing to do. But not today, off to the train station and then a two hour ride to Portsmouth (home of the English Navy). Portsmouth is an old town with a tourist theme. We got a tour of the bay and the military ships and then went to the Navy Museum. We saw the first UK Iron Clad sailing war ship, the Mary Rose which sunk in Henry VIII time period, and the Victory, the ship where Admiral Nelson died. Needless to say there was tons of walking and we were so tired when we go back to the hotel to pack for our train ride to Harwich, our departure point for Iceland.

Return to Home Page