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Old 08-11-2019, 01:46 PM   #31
jmark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carolina_yankee View Post
Your post just made think that our next England trip, planned for a summer, might get moved to a May to avoid some of the tourist crowds. When we were at the Churchill War Rooms one January, it was just us.

Abbey is always a crowded mess, regardless of season. They seem to go back and forth on photos. Used to be you could purchase an add-on that permitted for private use.

Looks like you all had a great time! Can't wait for more.

Dirk
We had pre purchased tickets to the tower, abbey and war rooms. The abbey and war rooms had specific times to visit I imagine to spread out crowds. I imagine you would run into less crowds in May. Other than the war rooms which by necessity are cramped already, lines weren’t too bad (although we did have a line to get in the abbey despite buying tickets online). I imagine May would be better for lines but I’m sure you’ll have a great trip whichever time you go.
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:15 PM   #32
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Thank you for this wonderful TR. we're contemplating our first trip to England a year or two from now, and getting very inspired by this TR and incredible pictures. Glad to know it's good to purchase those tickets/tours in advance.
Great pictures of the family. Kids look like they're enjoying it all too! looking forward to hearing more
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:42 PM   #33
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Pre-Cruise London Day 2 (Part 1)

"I don’t want to go to Chelsea
Oh no, it does not move me”

I don’t want to go to Chelsea-Elvis Costello

As I’ve said before, the boy is secretly British. He’s more likely to know the centerback for Man United then the cornerback of the New York Giants. His favorite team is Tottenham and one of the things that was a must do was to go to one of England's football stadiums. Since it was still summer break and there were no scheduled games, our only option was a stadium tour. However, as Tottenham’s new stadium just opened they were not running tours. Also, since the new Tottenham stadium was built to be more akin to recent state of the art US stadiums (it was built in part to hold NFL London games), I thought it made sense to visit an older stadium with a bit of history. Stamford Bridge where Chelsea plays wasn’t too far and fit the bill. If someone from England asked me which baseball stadium in the northeast they should visit. The new Yankee Stadium while nice just doesn’t have the charm of the od stadium (absent the Yankee memorabilia) and it is not so distinct from other new stadiums. It pains me to say it, but I’d probably have to recommend Fenway. (Now the old Yankee stadium vs. Fenway- that’s not even a debate- forgetaboutit).

So it was off to Chelsea for a stadium tour while BH and DD went to the
V & A museum. Like the War Rooms and Westminster Abbey, the tour came with an audio guide that told you where to go and what you were seeing. It also had videos that showed famous moments in Chelsea football history and history about the stadium. Apparently, they had just changed the tour from the traditional tour with a guide (although they would have guides along the route in case of questions). My son seriously loved this and I underestimated how long we would spend at Stamford Bridge.

As we woke up it looked like it would rain but it held off until we got inside. Outside the grounds:







Peter Osgood statute:




Prior to the tour, we visited the museum:




The trophy case:



Stamford Bridge model:



They also had an area for the kids to take some target practice:




There was also an old school photo op with an FA trophy (which I wish was digital):



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Old 08-12-2019, 12:46 PM   #34
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Day 2 Part 2

The tour itself was pretty comprehensive and there was not a lot off limits.



Press room:



Away dressing room:




Home dressing room (the Boy couldn't be bothered to take off the headphones):



Totally missing an opportunity by not hanging a Pulisic jersey in the dressing room:



Walking through the player's tunnel to the pitch:



On the pitch:

photo url

Best bench seats he (or I) ever sat on:



Although the weather held off, as we were just about to leave, the rains came. Even with the rain, I enjoyed the stadium tour and I can see the boy really liked it. It was easily his favorite thing we did in London. After going to the football stadium, we continued being British by going to lunch at a chippie.



The best part of it was that they also had gluten free fish and chips. Bro loved it and declared it his best meal in England (take that Gordon).

Meanwhile BH and DD were enjoying the V & A museu (DD would probably choose to do anything other than go to a football stadium but this was much more their style):



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Old 08-12-2019, 01:34 PM   #35
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Sweet! I bet you pretty much have to be an MP to get season tickets in the first row of white seats.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:06 PM   #36
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Day 2 London- Part 3

After lunch, we met back up with BH and DD. When we had planned London, the kids wanted to go on a double decker bus. Although it was raining pretty hard, by the time we had met up the rain was tapering off. I’m not a huge fan of the commercial bus tours but since London is so huge and everyone wanted to get off their feet, we hopped on a Big Bus. Luckily there was a stop right next to our hotel which was convenient. We had to wait for a seat on the top level and frankly the bottom level was hot and miserable. Luckily, the top cleared up at the next stop and we went up there. If we were stuck on the bottom much longer, we would have probably nixed it. The ride lasted over two hours and was narrated by a live guide. The first guide we had was pretty good but about halfway through they switched guides. The second guide was terrible and it really started to drag. At the end of the day, the bus was not my favorite thing, but DD liked it and it did get us off our feet. So without further ado, a few pictures from a gloomy London day:

More Tower Bridge (with the HMS Belfast):




More from the River Thames:






The London Eye:



Some traditional British Pubs:






Big Ben is undergoing renovations so its not exactly photogenic:



Scenes from near the monument:

[/url]










Where the 1% stays:



The plan was to go to the British museum which had evening hours but everyone was still jet lagged and tired so we decided just to go to dinner and call it a night. I totally regret going on the bus tour instead of the British Museum.

We happened upon a local Thai restaurant Thai Pot in Covent Garden which was low key. The food was good and everyone enjoyed their meals. The Boy ordered spicy fish and the female owner was smitten that he had eaten up all of his fish. As we left she actually gave him a big hug for eating all of his fish which he hated. I really wish I would have gotten a picture of that.

We then walked around Covent Gardens before heading back to the hotel. The area was pretty at night and the nightlife was kicking in. If it was just me and BH, we may have stayed out a bit later.





Next up- our last day in London before the cruise with a visit to Buckingham Palace, the West End and one of several idiotic things we had planned- riding the world’s tallest and longest slide. Then on to the cruise!
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:09 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikthewise View Post
Sweet! I bet you pretty much have to be an MP to get season tickets in the first row of white seats.
I found out the seats directly behind the benches are filled up with players who were not suited (eligible) for the match, lower level trainers and some family members. Even the MP's couldn't get there (although I'm sure they have better seats then the common folk).
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:27 PM   #38
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London Day 3- Part 1

“When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and see you again”
Helter Skelter- The Beatles

Apparently, Charles Manson stole that song from the Beatles, U2 stole it from Charles Manson, and now I’m stealing it for this trip report. (At least the song has some relevance to the trip report). We’ll get to that later. But first, after breakfast at the hotel, it was off to visit Buckingham Palace.

We got lucky in that Buckingham Palace, which only is open for tours a few weeks during the Summer (a/k/a when the Queen wants to get away from London), had its first tour literally the day before the cruise. Again we pre-booked tickets and were glad we did because it was ridiculously packed. I mean Statute of Liberty or Avatar at rope drop packed. I had hoped that with the timed tickets and being among the earliest to enter it wouldn’t be a cattle call, but it was.




It took about thirty minutes to get through security. A video player with screen was provided. The tour covered most of the rooms where the Queen receives visitors. Don’t expect any views of the Queen’s residence or private areas- the tour covered just the areas where the Queen meets dignitaries. Its fun to say we visited the Palace but the tour was crammed with so many visitors that it was hard to take it all in. I also find that like other royal palaces, you can only see so many so many paintings and artifacts before it becomes a bit of a blur. The boy started to get a bit bored and started using his headphones to start a self made game of chicken knock out. Needless to say, I don’t anticipate any state dinners or personal invites from the Queen in our future. While I’m glad we got to do it, I also don’t have a strong desire to revisit whenever we are next back in London. In any event, no pictures were permitted inside so just like the crown jewels:

PICTURES BANNED BY ORDER OF THE QUEEN

Afterwards, we were deposited in the palace gift shop (just like Disney!) which led into the gardens. BH and DD enjoying the photo op while singing along to Lorde:



The boy was not as enthused:



Surprisingly, I was not that impressed by the gardens but perhaps the commoners were kept away from the nice areas.






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Old 08-16-2019, 01:31 PM   #39
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Day 3-Part 2

After touring the palace, we went to the royal mews to see the Queen’s horses and carriages. This only took about an hour but the kids enjoyed it and it was much less crowded then the Palace. There were a bunch of the Queen’s coaches and a few of her horses (I’m betting we only saw the retired horses as again us commoners can’t be let near the Queen’s real horses).




















The boy again was not feeling the photo op:



Since it was actually sunny when we started out in the morning, it meant that it was time for rain. Luckily the rain ended pretty quickly. We had a bit of time before our next stop and just like one must visit Rose and Crown while in Epcot, we were required to visit a proper English pub which was called The Cow (I love the name of British Pubs).



Since we had an earlyish dinner planned we just ordered some loaded fries and wings but it hit the spot. Not exactly English cuisine but we didn’t want to get too filled up before our next stop.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:05 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmark View Post
Day 3-Part 2


Since we had an earlyish dinner planned we just ordered some loaded fries and wings but it hit the spot. Not exactly English cuisine but we didn’t want to get too filled up before our next stop.
Great trip report!
(And surely you mean "chips", right? )
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