England - London, Windsor, Dover and Cantebury
July 12 - 20, 1996
This trip came up suddenly as an opportunity not to be missed. I had to make a four day business trip to Bordeaux and then needed to spend a day in the London office. We made arrangements so that Jeanne could meet me in London where I would take five days of vacation and spend one day in the office.
I flew in from Bordeaux and Jeanne flew in from Houston. We met at Gatwick and took the train in to Victoria Station. The cab driver couldn't find the Strathmore Hotel at 41 Queens Gate Gardens, off Cromwell Road in Kensington. He was sure there was no hotel there but I made him circle the block until we spotted the sign. It was a very convenient location being only 2 blocks from the Gloucster Road tube station.
Today we visited Westminster Abbey. We did a full tour and then spent quite a lot of time in the cloisters looking at the rubbings then spent more time purchasing a few. We had lunch at the Red Lion on Whitehall. This is not the best pub in London but it is one of the few in this area. After lunch we took a ride down the Thames to Greenwich and stayed until almost dark.
This was our first day trip by train. On this one we visited Windsor Castle and Eaton. Windsor Castle was quite interesting. There were lots of rooms and lots of armor and weapons. After going through the castle, we toured the gift shops nearby. We got Jeanne a pendant made out of a farthing. I had never seen a farthing but, of course, had always heard the saying, "Not worth a farthing." It used to be the smallest English coin and was worth a quarter penny. They were last minted in 1956. After lunch we walked across the Thames to Eaton. Unfortunatey visiting hours ended just as we arrived at the college so we had to be content with peering in through the gate. We walked back to Windsor and settled in at the Royal Oak pub to await our train back to London.
Tower of London, Hard RockCafe.
Tuesday, July 16 - London
This was a work day for me. The office was in Leatherhead so I took an early train from Victoria Station to Escher where there was a company provided bus to Leatherhead. Jeanne spent the day shopping and wandering around.
Today we visited the British Museum. We arrived as it opened and began to browse. By one o'clock we were in complete cultural overload. There is just too much to see. We moved across the street to the Museum Tavern for a bitter and a pub lunch. This was Jeanne's introduction to "Bangers and Mash". She thought they were delicious. Plan to allocate a couple half-days to the British Museum. A full day all at once is just too much. After lunch we took the tube to Whitehall and watched the changing of the Horse Guards.
There is a tube strike today. We manage to get a cab to Victoria Station and take the train to Dover. We wander down to the shore and walk out on the Prince of Wales Pier for a fine view of the "White Cliffs" and Dover Castle. While on the pier we were treated to the sight of the Hovercraft Ferry coming in from Calais. It made quite a lot of noise and threw lots of spray. We had lunch on the waterfront at the Churchill Hotel which was recommended by the lady in the information booth at the rail station. Of course we both had Dover sole. Both the the food and the view were excellent. After lunch we wandered back to the rail station and boarded the train to Cantebury.
We didn't realize we'd be able to visit Cantebury until we noticed on the way out that some of the trains went via Cantebury rather than Ashford and Folkestone. We decided to return via Cantebury and arrived in early afternoon.
Friday, July 19 - London
Saturday, July 20 - London to Houston
Copyright © 2004 by J. E. Rickenbacker. All rights reserved.