Tasha & Kiri's Winter En France travel blog

Greenwich the Prime Meridian (0 degrees longitude)

Tower Bridge

Queen's residence at Tower of London

Kiri mimics the bowman at Tower of London

Victoria statue London

at london zoo with winnie the pooh

St Pancras Stn

at Canada Gate Buckingham Palace

Salisbury Cathedral

Avebury Henge

thatch squirrel Wiltshire

Stonehenge and the crowds we avoided

Did you guess what is wrong with our photo? That's right! - We're not in France!

In fact, that photo was taken at the Tower of London, with Tower Bridge in the background.

We spent 8 days in London; there was so much to see and do. We took advantage of one sunny day to cruise the Thames River to Greenwich and the Royal Observatory there (on the Prime Meridian); another day at the Zoo; a whole [rainy] day at Tower of London; another visiting a wonderfully creative and interesting exhibit at Kensington Palace, while it is being refurbished; of course, a stroll past Buckingham Palace and Canada Gate, and through the surrounding parks to Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament to listen to Big Ben chime the hour; an afternoon at the British Library (since we passed it every day going to and from our hotel), repository of some of the oldest books and manuscripts in the world. (Kiri opted for the kids' reading room of the St Pancras Public Library instead, having had enough of museums by then!) We got more than our fill of World War history visiting the Winston Churchill Museum and London War Rooms, to prepare us for seeing our London Theatre production of War Horse, which was AMAZING! (Life-sized puppets for the animal characters, very beautifully constructed and skillfully manipulated. An excellent production that wowed both Kiri and me.) We travelled around mostly on the double-decker buses (thank you to the Hoeves for their indispensible bus route map, which was hard - nay, impossible! - to come by even there!) And we learned that our daily Travelcards, if purchased from the National Rail station rather than the Underground, were great value for money, since they also qualified us for 2for1 entry fees at most of the places we visited. Some days we took the bus just to ride the bus! (Especially when we got caught out in the rain.)

Of course, there was tons more that we could have seen and done in London; and there was a temptation to stay on, once we had found a comfortable hotel to live in and learned our way around... But that wasn't what we came over here for, was it?

But before leaving England, I wanted to see Stonehenge... but not on a bus tour! Turns out it's not all that easy to see it any other way. But we did. Took a train to Salisbury (Kiri loves trains), where we visited the famous cathedral, and hired a car for two days, in order to travel independently to Stone- and Avebury Henge and to tour through the Cotswolds. Well, driving was an adventure in itself! -- on the "wrong" side of the narrow country roads and spinning around the roundabouts in the more major towns and motorways! Fortunately, I didn't need the extra insurance coverage I had decided to pay for!

We had a picnic lunch right amongst the stones at Avebury, with sheep grazing around us. The route took us past several of the "white horses" of Wiltshire Downs. The afternoon touring around Cotswolds country was beautiful, but the travel time was much longer than I'd anticipated based on the relatively short distances... Got "home" rather late.

The next day, when we picnicked (outside the fence) at Stonehenge, we observed the tour buses arrive and the crowds perambulate the perimeter en masse, and were glad that we were not on a bus tour.

Both of us loved the small guesthouse in Amesbury that was our home for two nights and the manageable small size of the town. We would have easily been able to just settle down there for a longer while, but... on to Brighton (which didn't give us a good first impression, but we did have "real" fish&chips for dinner that night) and so to Newhaven ferry terminal and across "La Manche" (the English Channel) to Dieppe, FRANCE.

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