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Joyce P

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Joyce P

Joyce P

USA

Dec312008

Tour/Activity

Royal Palaces Pass: Kensington Palace, Hampton Court and Tower of London

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
To do the Tower of London right, you need to give yourself at least three to four hours of walking around time, which doesn't include shopping. A bit warm, surprisingly, in the castle buildings. Lots of climbing up narrow stairways. Be careful! Great event.

Hampton Court is for lovers of the Tudor era. The gardens require an extra hour or so to enjoy. I did not get a chance to see the maze-it was getting dark, so I rushed through the back garden. Extraordinary grounds. Visit the garden gift shop too and especially the Tudor Kitchen gift shop. Wow, what a great place.

Not enough time in one day to see all three-Kensington Palace will have to be another day. The ticket is good for one year from purchase. When you buy this event, you buy all three ticket entrances. You have to find your own way to each. No hotel pickups. There is ice skating at the Tower of London in winter holiday season. That was cool! And also an ice skating rink at Hampton Court too, along with a merry-go-round for kids. Festival-like atmosphere! Should allow 3-4 hours for each of the sites.

Dec302008

Tour/Activity

Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and Dover

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
Wow, a real castle! The moat, the forest, all that is missing at Leeds Castle is a young handsome prince on a horse! Well, there are young maidens getting married at this working castle. Friendly folks. Beautiful serene sites. Did not want to leave. Plenty of places to walk around and just gaze at the wild life, like the albino peacock--a rarity. This tour is free will at Leeds. A nice drive out of the noisy city.

The trip to Dover could have been avoided altogether, allowing more time to spend in Canterbury, which was a shopping frenzy since we arrived right during the great sales. The cathedral was spectacular except for one thing--the priests decided to have a special service and closed access to the main cathedral interests points. I was lucky enough to have wandered early through the cathedral and even to the basement. That you must do. Extraordinary detail and beautiful stained glass everywhere. A royal cathedral!

Skip Dover, although it was fun to glance at Dover Castle above the waterfront--we stood on the rocky soil observing the harbor and the castle. Must see the castle on a different tour. The tour company wants to show you everything, and I truly appreciate their pride and enthusiasm, but it is not realistic to view more than two large monuments per day without feeling too rushed.

So go on this tour and enjoy Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral. Skip lunch if you can to get more time in the cathedral. Get your entrance ticket from the guide if your co-travelers eat lunch first.

Dec292008

Tour/Activity

London Eye: River Cruise Experience

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Thought this was a hoot! On a clear day, it is an incredible view of all of London. Luckily, it was a clear day in London when I rode the EYE. The queue moved quickly if you get there early. I did see the line grow and grow between 11:00am to about 5:00pm. The operators place just the right amount of people in each capsule. Quite nice. Plenty of moving about space and even a bench for those who need to sit during the 45 minute ride.

Dec292008

Tour/Activity

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Tour and Exhibition

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Wow what a neat looking open air theatre. Dress warm during winter months viewing. You are outside when touring the actual theatre. Great guides too. The shop was fun! Bought a mask. The hot mull wine was a nice welcome drink coming in from the cold. Very friendly people. The extra exhibits although few, were good. Stay long enough to watch them show what it takes for a women to get dressed. All the different elements are demonstrated. You can walk from the London Eye to numerous museums sites, and to the Globe theatre and back. Nice long walk along river bank. Entertainment along the way and food stops.

Dec282008

Tour/Activity

Lunch in the Cotswolds from London

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
Wonderful time. Well organized. I would have skipped Burton on the Water and spent more time in Birbey and in Strafford Upon Avon. The first stop was the very best and more time to see the Swan Hotel would have been fun. But given the opportunity to see the beautiful old country villages of England was so inspiring. It just didn't look real but it was! Tour guide was fabulous. This ended up being a bilingual tour-the guide spoke Japanese a lot. I would have preferred a full English only tour. That should have been made known during the reservations. Be sure to ask if the tour is bilingual if hearing another language would be annoying to you during the guiding.

Dec272008

Tour/Activity

London Airport Private Arrival Transfer

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
On time and very friendly warm welcome. That was such a great comfort. Nice vehicle too.

Dec272008

Tour/Activity

Harrods Afternoon Tea and St Paul's Cathedral London Tour

London, United Kingdom

My Rating
2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better

My Review
The tour of St Paul Cathedral was awesome. What a great tour. Obviously need to come back on own time to explore more but the tour was a great glimpse of history. The guide thoroughly knowledgeable. Could have listened all day! The tea at Harrod's was disappointing. We ended up with 18 folks, sharing two tables, and each got ONE scone and enough tea for ONE CUP each. Not worth it. Could have done much better someone else having tea and good tasting scones. I would drop the tea part of this tour and just stick to the St Paul Cathedral touring. And given it was post Holiday and pre New Year's, it was so crowded upon entrance into Harrods, too many people pushing. I tried to get a waiter to provide more tea and maybe some more scones but no one person ever came back to our table once they provided the initial tea and scones.

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