UK 2009

 

UK 2009

London, Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Keswick and Lakes District, Iron Bridge, Warwick, Bath.

London

In March of 2009, I heard a rumor that British Airways was offering exceptionally low priced flights to London.  After checking online and finding round trip, nonstop flights for $500 including tax, I was prepared to click the “purchase” button when Heidi suggested we invite my parents.  We called them and said they had to make an immediate decision- travel with us to the UK for two weeks in April or stay home and watch Lulu.  They chose to leave Lulu with my aunt Glenda (Thank you!) and go with us.  I bought the tickets before they could change their minds.


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This was our first experience flying on British Airways and we had a GREAT experience. 2009 London01

We took off on April 11, 2009 and arrived at Heathrow on April 12.  We jumped in the Tube and headed towards the Earl’s Court station in Kensington.  2009 London022009 London03

Our apartment was a two bedroom flat in Bramham Gardens, South Kensington near Chelsea.  It was a very nice place with excellent access to the Earl’s Court Tube stop and Hyde Park.2009 London072009 London052009 London04

We had arrived at the apartment around 6 pm and by 7 we were already walking!  These are the beautiful gardens in Bramham.2009 London06

We walked north to Kensington Gardens, enjoying the fresh air and cool London climate.2009 London08

 

The next day we did our best to get out of bed and were having breakfast by 11:00 am.  Not bad for the first day jet lag!  We jumped on a double decker bus and headed toward central London with our first objective being to get a handle on the layout of the city and next to visit the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.2009 London09

We did a quick walk-by of the Tower of London…2009 London10

Walked across the Tower Bridge…

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Admired the spring tulips…2009 London13

And back across the Tower Bridge and to the Saint Paul Cathedral.2009 London142009 London15

Back across the Thames on a really cool foot bridge…2009 London16

Under the Eye, but the “queue” was way too long…2009 London17

So, we headed towards Big Ben.2009 London182009 London192009 London20

…and the Houses of Parliament.2009 London21

After all that walking, it was time to hit the pub and the bed.  2009 London22

 

April 14, 2009.  My 40th Birthday.

First stop of the day:  Tower of London to beat the crowds.2009London2012009London2022009London203 2009London204

Then we walked across the bridge and headed east along the south side of the Thames towards the Eye, back across the the Embankment and hit Gordon’s Wine Bar.  Very cool place.  Then towards Leicester Square and to a pub for dinner.2009London205

April 15- Heidi’s birthday.

The next day was Heidi’s Birthday and we went to the Royal Palace.  No royals making appearances for Heidi, though.2009London206

Snacks were in order.2009London207 2009London208

Then to Harrods for shopping and lunch.  The fanciest fish and chips ever.  2009London209

More shopping.2009London210

The next day we experienced our first bit of British rain, so we went to a market.2009London211

After that, my parents went to a play and Heidi and I did a Ghosts and Pubs tour.  It was really fun.2009London212

 

Edinburgh

April 17 was up early to the tube at Earl’s Court, to King’s Cross to catch an East Coast train to Edinburgh.  The train ride was gorgeous.  We had a perfectly sunny and beautiful day until we arrived in Edinburgh, where it was overcast and REALLY cold.  But the city was stunning.  We did a quick walk around, ducked into restaurants and shops every 30 feet and then rushed back to our B&B to get warm.Edinburgh01 Edinburgh02 Edinburgh03

The next day we walked through the city and into the castle.Edinburgh04 Edinburgh05 Edinburgh06 Edinburgh07 Edinburgh08

View of “New” Edinburgh from the castle.Edinburgh09 Edinburgh10 Edinburgh11

Interior of the castle.Edinburgh12 Edinburgh13 Edinburgh14 Edinburgh15

Yep, it was still cold.  This is Heidi’s new Scottish Wool hat and gloves.Edinburgh16

That evening, the sun came out and we decided to hike up to the top of Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park. Edinburgh17

It’s an extinct volcano and the hike was short and steep.Edinburgh18 Edinburgh19

But the views were gorgeous.  That’s an inlet from the North Sea.Edinburgh20 Edinburgh21

St. Anthony Chapel ruins.Edinburgh22 Edinburgh23 Edinburgh24

Edinburgh skyline.Edinburgh25

Gary having a bit of Scotch!Edinburgh26

St Andrews!

The next day we rented a car and drove to St. Andrews.  The weather was gorgeous with no wind and beautiful sunny skies.  It was a Sunday so the golf course was closed.Edinburgh27 Edinburgh28 Edinburgh29 Edinburgh30 Edinburgh31 Edinburgh32

We decided to walk the entire course and I had to jump into a bunker and rake the sand.  What a blast!Edinburgh33 Edinburgh34

This was an incredible experience.  I only regret not spending the night in St. Andrews and trying to get a round in the next morning.  Oh, well.  Next time!Edinburgh35

After lunch, we drove to the ruined cathedral in St. Andrews.Edinburgh36 Edinburgh37 Edinburgh38 Edinburgh39

 

Keswick and Lakes District

That afternoon we drove down to Keswick for the night.  This is a great bed and breakfast that we found.Edinburgh40

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The lakes district was beautiful and we walked around the town and took in the views.  Keswick03 Keswick04

We visited a local stone circle.  Maybe not Stonehenge, but neat anyway.Keswick05 Keswick06

The Iron Bridge

This was the second mistake of the trip.  Besides not playing golf at St. Andrews, this was the next blunder.  Rick Steves recommended this town.  It was okay, but we would have been much better off going to York.  I’m pretty sure the house we stayed in was haunted.  I was scared.Keswick07 Keswick08 Keswick09

Now granted, this area was pretty and this was the first iron bridge in the world…Keswick10 Keswick11

Warwick

A recommended castle- pretty okay.  Probably better for little kids.  A bit Disneylandish.  We stayed for a few hours on our way to Bath.

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Bath

Our last two days were in Bath, which was gorgeous.  We stayed in a very nice hotel and really enjoyed walking the town, eating great Indian food and poking around the ancient Roman baths.Bath01 Bath02 Bath03 Bath04 Bath05 Bath06 Bath08 Bath10

…to the top!