Archive for December 2012

So…when you’ve been to London eight times….   Leave a comment

When I booked this trip, DH immediately asked where my spreadsheet was with my itinerary (does he know me or what!). Geez, I’d only booked my flight that morning! Frankly, with the crazy airfare prices, I wasn’t sure that I’d be going, so I hadn’t given my trip much thought.

But DH’s question made me feel like the gauntlet had been thrown down! So, the next day I began researching for my first solo trip to London!

I’ve been curious about traveling solo. On one hand, you’re alone at meal times, but on the other, you can go where you like (and are more likely to meet interesting people). As much as I enjoy sharing “my” London with “newbies”, I found myself looking forward to a trip where I wouldn’t feel obliged to walk past Buckingham Palace or visit the Tower of London.

So I began my search. The first thing I discovered, to my delight, was that Spamalot was playing! It is the one play in the universe that I want to see and it’s the first time that it’s been playing while I’ve been in London! Bonus! The theater (excuse me, “theatre”) is two blocks from my hotel. Score! Tickets purchased for the Saturday of my visit.

Despite the fact that I’ve been to Windsor many times I checked its website to see what the current exhibit was. Not only was the exhibit interesting (photos/paintings chronicling the Queen), the semi-State Apartments are open (I’ve only seen once before…very opulent…similar to rooms in Buckingham Palace) AND the day I arrive is the last day to tour the Great Kitchens! Not only do you get to tour kitchens that have been “open” for 700 years or so, you get access to other parts of the grounds normally off limits. Sold! I ordered my tickets on-line…and received my REAL tickets via Royal Mail a week later!

I think that a trip to Windsor is a good place to visit after a red-eye flight into London. There’s a ton to see in the castle itself, the town is lovely and the the walk across the bridge to Eton worthwhile. Windsor will keep you awake without making you feel exhausted.

What else to do as a solo? I went to http://www.walks.com to check out their evening walks (I’ve taken several walks with them and they are excellent and affordable). I see ghost walks and pub walks offered on the nights I have free. Excellent! Always wanted to do both!

I also want to visit Hampstead Heath. I see that there is a walk offered the day I plan to visit. A very nice option if I get there in time for the start of the walk.

I make note of the opening times for Boroughs Market. I’ve never been and a food market sounds fantastic!

I also make lunch reservations at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill (much cheaper than dinner!). The last time I was in London I had lunch at his Mesa Grill and it was one of my best meals ever. I hope the Savoy Grill lives up to that memory!

Well, these are a few “new” things I’ve tagged for this visit. I just read today that there’s a Marilyn Monroe exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. A hop-skip-and-a-jump from my hotel (and one of my favorite places for a reasonably priced afternoon tea) I can easily add that to the schedule!

I’ve made notes of the times for the Vergers’ tours at Westminster Abbey…I’ve been several times, but the Abbey remains my favorite place in London. The Vergers’ tours give you a personal guide and access to areas of the Abbey off-limits to the rest of us visitors.

I think I have a good start! Less than 7 weeks to go!

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Posted December 28, 2012 by cubechick in London

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Merry Christmas!   Leave a comment

Hope everyone out there has a great holiday!

Posted December 25, 2012 by cubechick in Random Travel Thoughts

Perseverance Pays Off!   Leave a comment

I have been watching the airfare to London for months. Finally, about 6 months out, I found prices as “low” as $740.

To me, this was high…especially since I was looking at February. Talk about off season! Friends assured me this was a good price, but I hesitated, and the price shot up $100. 😦

Oh well. I told myself this was one trip I could walk away from (it is just me traveling this time) so I could be patient.

I’ve been watching prices like a cat at a mouse-hole to no avail…until today!

$650 r/t from Boston to London on Aer Lingus. Yes, I have to change planes in Dublin (here begins the great “Check a bag/Take just a carry-on.” debate), but to save $200? A little inconvenience is worth it!

London, here I come! 🙂

Posted December 18, 2012 by cubechick in London

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