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Post Captain

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    Thames & Hudson
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    Furness Bermuda Line

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  1. I've heard of the Bovington Tank Museum but hadn't ever given it much thought until you mentioned it, so I looked it up. Sounds like a "hubby" sort of place indeed! Next time I'm in the vicinity, I might have to persuade the First Mate (aka Mrs Post Captain) to give her hubby leave to visit it.😉 Are you staying in Southampton at all before your cruise? It's a much shorter train journey to Wool (the station for Bovington) from Southampton (just over an hour each way) than from London Waterloo.
  2. Max and Ruby ~ Whitechapel is somewhat to the east of my regular patch of London, so what I know of it these days is only what I read. (Apparently a trendy/"buzzy" artsy/ethnic neighbourhood, rather more popular nowadays than it was back in 1888!) That said, although it looks "out of the way" on the map, you will find it easy to get into central London via the Underground from there. For example, the Tower of London is just two stops away (on the District Line) from Whitechapel tube station. You can get to Madame T's (virtually next door to the Baker Street tube station) directly from Aldgate or Aldgate East stations, whichever is closest to your hotel. Sorry I can't help with any information about the London Pass; I've never used it. I will say that whenever I walk past Madame T's, I have to push my way through the throngs of tourists that congregate in front of that establishment. (However, I haven't been inside since 1966.) As with the Tower, it might behoove you to get there as early as you can.
  3. Orchestralpal, I think you might be confusing the Beverley Hotel (13 Belgrave Road, SW1; rated 4.5 on Tripadvisor) with the Beverley City Hotel (142 Sussex Gardens, W2 -- i.e., Paddington; rated 2.5 on Tripadvisor). I have no personal experience of either hotel, but I wouldn't be worried about the former, whereas I'd definitely steer well clear of the latter. (Personally, the SW1 Beverley wouldn't be my first or even my fiftieth choice, but that's entirely a matter of individual preference.)
  4. Day 1 basically sounds like a good plan, subject to how well you respond to jet lag. What I've finally realized (after several decades of dealing with jet lag) is that it my reaction to jet lag has more to do with the amount of sensory stimulus I'm subjected to--or, in other words, the amount of brain power I need to use--rather than whether my arrival day activities are indoors or outdoors. The day I arrive in London after an overnight transatlantic flight, a literal walk in the park is, for me, a walk in the park (metaphorically speaking), whereas spending several hours giving my full attention to exhibits in a museum tends to make my brain go rather fuzzy by mid-afternoon. Wending my way through Harrods and/or Selfridges while jet-lagged, my synapses likely would be overloaded trying to deal with too much stimulus (crowds, noise, a plethora of products for sale) at once. (Personally, given the choice between the V&A and a giant department store on arrival day, I would much prefer to take my time sauntering through the former. But I'm one of those men who has an innate aversion to department stores at the best of times, so perhaps take my advice with a grain of salt.😉) Assuming your flight lands at Heathrow at 9 a.m. and you are taking a National Express coach to Victoria Coach Station, I wouldn't expect to arrive at your hotel much before noon, so you wouldn't get to Knightsbridge/South Kensington before 1 p.m. (And, as my father used to say to me, "Don't forget to eat!") The Underground (Circle Line or District Line) from Victoria Station (Underground station, beneath Victoria railway station, not Victoria Coach Station; a 10-minute walk from your hotel) to South Kensington takes only five minutes, so temperature or crowds shouldn't be an insuperable issue. After a few hours at the V&A, the walk up Exhibition Road to Hyde Park is quite pleasant. I also recommend a slight detour to see (from the outside) the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial. Sounds eminently doable. Greenwich deserves at least a half day--not just for the Cutty Sark, but also to visit the Painted Hall, the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, the Royal Observatory, etc., and just to wander among Wren's magnificent buildings and through Greenwich Park, and to enjoy a meal and/or a drink at any one of several pubs in the vicinity. (A couple of months ago, I ventured though the Greenwich Foot Tunnel for the first time. Not necessarily something I'd recommend, although the iconic view of Wren's buildings from across the Thames was certainly worth it.) Note: the southern terminus of the Emirates Air Line isn't located in Greenwich itself but in North Greenwich, a reasonably short ride by boat or bus from Greenwich. I haven't done the aerial trip myself. Too ambitious? Not at all; in fact, a well-constructed itinerary. (NB: It's Covent Garden.) A couple of suggestions to add to this itinerary, if time permits and you're in the mood: --- St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden. 17th-century church (ca. 1633) designed by Inigo Jones. Among the notable/unusual features: numerous plaques dedicated to famous actors who have had some connection to the church. (You'll be surprised!) --- Somerset House. (Even if it's just to pop into the main courtyard, right off The Strand, for a quick look-see.) --- The Inner Temple/Middle Temple. An oasis of calm, off Fleet Street. I regard the Inns of Court as the anti-Covent Garden. (CG being mobbed by tourists morning, noon, and night. The courtyards and alleys of the Inns of Court feel like they're a hundred miles away, whereas in fact they're less than a mile from CG.) On the whole, it sounds like a good plan for the time you have in London. Buses can be slow-ish (but no more so than in NYC), but they give you an opportunity to see things you wouldn't see if you only take the Underground. As for the Underground: as long as you avoid certain stations at rush hour(s), you shouldn't find it a problem. On the whole, London Underground trains and stations are far more pleasant than their New York City counterparts. However, many stations (particularly in central London) are quite deep underground (much deeper than typical NYC subway stations), with long escalators and often stairs as well as pedestrian tunnels. For short-ish trips, I usually find it more convenient to walk than to take the Underground.* I'm sure many of the regulars over at TripAdvisor have lectured you about Oyster Cards, contactless credit cards, and standing on the right on escalators!😁 *(During my time in London, I typically find myself walking anywhere from 9 to 16 miles a day; generally an average of 12 miles a day, if my pedometer is to be believed.😲)
  5. Exactly! One thing I've noticed in various NYC travel forums and in hotel listings is that the term "Times Square" tends to get used for places that aren't really in Times Square but are in fact a number of blocks away. For example, I notice that the aforementioned Hampton Inn is designated as "Hampton Inn Manhattan Times Square South." I guess that sounds better than calling it the "Hampton Inn West 39th Street, just south of the Port Authority Bus Terminal."😁 I chuckle at Ashland's mention of the Martinique as "a great hotel and a perfect location"--only because I well remember the days (in the 1980s) when this building was a decrepit SRO (single-room occupancy) welfare residence and the immediate area (Herald Square) was, shall we say, rather sketchy. Now it enjoys a certain cache as a four-star establishment whose full formal name is "Martinique New York on Broadway, Curio Collection by Hilton."
  6. Just to add my two cents/ tuppence to the comprehensive information given by John Bull and Cotswold Eagle... Bath makes a great base, and the train journey between Southampton and Bath is quite pleasant. In my experience, the simplest/ easiest Cotswolds do-it-yourself day trip from Bath by public transport is a visit to Lacock. Train from Bath Spa to Chippenham (less than 15 minutes), then bus X34 from Chippenham to Lacock (another 15 minutes). (Chippenham railway station and Chippenham bus station are about a 10 minutes' walk apart.) https://visitlacock.uk http://www.faresaver.co.uk/timetables/5b9628124035b.pdf You might also consider Bradford on Avon as a day trip (or half-day trip) from Bath. BoA isn't quite in the Cotswolds, and it's a town rather than a village, but it does have something of a "Cotswoldsy" look and feel and is well worth visiting. It's a short train ride from Bath, or a bit longer by bus. http://www.bradfordonavon.co.uk As JB indicates, Bath to Moreton-in-Marsh (for "the Cotswolds") is a bit less convenient by train, and given your time constraints, it might not be worth actually staying in the Cotswolds during your trip. For what it's worth, MiM could be considered the "gateway to the northern Cotswolds" by virtue of its railway station, and from there there are relatively frequent buses to Stow on the Wold and Bourton on the Water, with (if memory serves) slightly less frequent bus service to Chipping Camden and Broadway. The "Explore the Cotswolds" pdf booklet gives helpful information and shows the various bus routes serving Cotswolds towns and villages: https://www.cotswolds.com/plan-your-trip/getting-to-and-around That said, if any of the coach tours of the Cotswolds from Bath on JB's list appeal to you, that might be your best option on this occasion. (I don't have any personal experience of the Mad Max tours, but I have seen them recommended in other travel website forums.)
  7. Thanks. That makes the "London Bridge Experience" sound even more of a tourist trap than I thought it was. 😁 I have no personal experience of those bridge "Experiences". On the other hand, I'm thinking of marketing my three favorite bridge experiences: "the Blackfriars Bridge Experience"😉 (coming & going via train and the tube), "the Waterloo Bridge Experience"😉 (the number 59 bus to/from Waterloo Station), and "the Charing Cross Bridge Experience" (walking across the bridge between the Embankment Station and the RFH--wonderful views, especially at night, post concert.)
  8. I concur with the general advice already given by most of the other posters here. I would just add, as an aside, that while a HOHO bus tour can give you a basic introduction to/ overview of London, you should not rely on it as a mode of transportation. Frankly, "must-see" is a term that doesn't mean anything to me. You "must see" only what you, personally, feel you "must see." In dozens of visits to London (in addition to extended periods of residence) over more than 50 years, there are still "sights" (and "sites") I haven't seen; there are also specific places that I frequently revisit that probably wouldn't much interest the majority of tourists. In other words, my number one piece of advice would be not to think that you can or should try to "See it all." You can't. Instead, select a core handful of places that you really want to see, and spend time at those places getting to know them, rather than making a long list and checking off as many items as you can. You'll thank me later.😉
  9. I have no personal experience of either hotel, but based purely on the location/ surrounding neighborhood, I would have a strong preference for the Embassy Suites.
  10. The short answer is Yes, absolutely. My wife & I have done it a number of times. For more details, see the following discussion from a few days ago:
  11. Yes, the walkway is somewhat narrow for about the last hundred feet or so before you reach the pier 88 gate, but the pedestrian lane and the bike lane are still two separate and distinct lanes--they are well marked, but you just have to be alert, watch your step, and keep on the pedestrian pathway. The gates are closed in this particular streetview picture (no ship in port at the time), but they are open whenever there is a ship docked at the pier.
  12. Here's the route on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/Zz6haWeJDZKAAMnR7 You might also want to check the route on streetview, just to familiarize yourself with how it looks on the ground.
  13. The cocktail lounge is a restored/remodeled Lockheed Super-G Constellation: https://www.twahotel.com/cocktail-lounge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4itdemDz19A
  14. Sunny AZ Girl ~ Just to address the particular concern you have cited above: You absolutely do not need a car in order to enjoy a satisfying land-based visit to Britain. The rail network is so extensive that you can take trains just about anywhere you would want to go, and there is also a very good coach (long-distance bus) network. In more than 40 years of independent travel to and within the UK, including several extended periods of residence, I have NEVER driven a car, yet I have visited numerous small towns and villages throughout the British Isles. I would also emphasize that you do not need to take a land tour. With a little advance research, you can easily manage a "do-it-yourself" trip. Again, in my 40+ years of travel in Britain, I have never taken a comprehensive tour, although I have occasionally joined short local tours (mostly walking tours around particular locations, plus a few one-day bus tours to more remote areas). Of course, you can take a week- or 10-day long coach (bus) tour if that is your preference, but you don't need to do so. A round-the-British-Isles cruise can be an attractive way to get a taste of Britain, and it has the advantages you have mentioned. But as with a land-based coach tour, it doesn't allow you much leeway to linger in any particular place and do things at your own pace. For a first-time land-based trip, I would suggest staying in London for a week or so (depending on the number of days you have for your entire trip). This would enable you to explore some of the highlights of London, and also do a few interesting day trips. (For example, Oxford, Cambridge, Winchester, Salisbury, Canterbury, and Bath are all less than two hours from London by train, and any of these would be well worth visiting on your first trip to London.) Beyond that, for a more rural experience, there are dozens of small towns and villages in Dorset, Devon, or Cornwall where you could spend days. For rugged scenery, head to the Lake District. If you want to add Scotland to your itinerary, you could take a train to Edinburgh, stopping at York en route. In any case, I would definitely avoid rushing from A to B to C to D, and so forth, which would entail dragging luggage about and checking into a different hotel or guest house every day or two--something you quite understandably don't want to do! This is all just by way of saying that the possibilities are numerous and various. For planning, start with a couple of good guidebooks, and also familiarize yourself with the transportation network, just to get some ideas about where you could go and how to get there. The National Rail website is the go-to website for planning trips by train: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/default.aspx Hope this is helpful. Cheers, P.C.
  15. Just to add to my comments above re. cheap-ish accommodation in central London: There are also a number of budget B&Bs in and around Argyle Square, just a few minutes' walk from St Pancras and King's Cross stations. None of them are any great shakes, as far as I'm aware, but they offer single rooms priced well under the equivalent of $100 US. You might also check Travelodge, a well-known British low-budget hotel chain with several hotels in this area. Travelodge offers a non-cancellable, non-refundable "saver" rate. Prices fluctuate according to the date(s) of your stay, but if you can book well in advance, you should be able to find prices (in pounds sterling) that are well under $100 per night. https://www.travelodge.co.uk/uk/london/hotels-in-london Disclaimer: Again, I have no personal experience of any of the aforementioned hotels/ B&Bs, but I would consider them if I was on a very tight budget. A train from St Pancras will be your cheapest and fastest travel option from London to Gatwick Airport -- definitely cheaper, and faster, than using a car service. The train is my default method of travel between London and Gatwick, although I tend to travel relatively light.
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