A 10 Day Summer Itinerary In England, Complete With 7 Tips For The Middle-Aged Traveling With Adult Children


Travel recommendations are so particular. My fun might evoke your despair. So rather than advice about travel to England on a general level, here’s the story of  what my daughter and I did on our summer vacation. If we arrive at wider insights, bonus points for all.

Our Somewhat Jaw-Dropping 10-Day Itinerary

First, the not-short 10-day itinerary. Links included for those who want yet more information. In sum, we spent 4 1/2 days in London, 2 days in Oxford, and 2 days in a Cotswold town called Chipping Campden. Chipping Campden. Isn’t that lovely? Onward.

Not-Sleeping-On-The-Airplane

Sunrise is beautiful except at 2am in an airplane seat the size of a saucer

Monday:

  • Land at 7:15am, after 10 hours in United Economy Plus. Take the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station, freak out at Tube prices, take a cab to the Shangri-La at the Shard. Wonder whether it might have been cheaper to take a cab all the way.
  • Get early check-in, feel incredibly grateful, eat breakfast, drink 6 gallons of tea.
  • Go straight to St. Paul’s Cathedral, remember you don’t like ornate anything, feel grumpy, get audio tour, realize it’s all about Christianity instead of architecture, feel grumpier. Daughter decides to climb to top, mother sits listening to services. Feel even grumpier. Fall asleep sitting up in a chair meant for worship.
Tea-Service-at-the-Ham-Yard-Hotel

Tea service at the Ham Yard Hotel

  • Head off to tea at the Ham Yard Hotel with Jane Potrykus of simple+pretty. Feel much better. Turns out that keeping on the go does go a long way to prevent the effects of jet lag.
  • Sleep coma.

Tuesday:

  • Grab coffee and tea at the Borough Market, just outside the Shangri-La. Meet friends at Southbank, where their children will be able to play inside and out. Arrive late because mom mistakes the time of meeting. Eat Mexican food, which apparently is now readily available in London.
  • Walk to the Horrid Vortex Of Tourist Hordes, where one can visit the Houses of Parliament and the National Gallery in one afternoon. Both well worth braving hordes. However, recoil in shock at the cost of historic venue tickets (~$40USD), wonder if free museums compensate, muse on the pricing of power over art.
  • Walk to a nice small plates dinner with friends at Polpo Covent Garden, and spectacular cocktails at the Savoy after. Sit just outside the jazz bar, so that you can actually hear each other talk.
Lady-Taking-iPad-Photo-at-the-Savoy-Hotel

Woman taking iPad photo of the Savoy Hotel. I did not know her.

  • Sleep coma.

Wednesday:

  • Be first in line for the Tower of London. Once inside, make a beeline for the Crown Jewels. Ooooh and ah, enjoying the newish display layout. Take the moving walkway past Big And Sparkly more than once. Enjoy the history, and the pleasant docents, very much indeed.
  • Eat lunch back at the Borough Market. Mom devours a hog roast sandwich, daughter Ethiopian vegetables, both delicious.
Lunch-at-the-Borough-Market

Ethiopian and Hog Roast “Bap” from the Borough Market

  • Gird our loins for more tourism, visit the slightly quirky Tate Britain Gallery, in hopes of some Turners, appreciate English buses as long as daughter is the one interpreting the posted schedules, move on to the fascinating Churchill War Rooms, finish at Westminster Abbey in hopes of evensong. Find no evensong, only a service. Briefly wonder if my atheism has offended someone or some thing.
  • Eat dinner in Pimlico, at a family restaurant, with actual family on my father’s side. Gawk at the beautiful skies.
Pimlico-in-Amazing-London-Light

The skies above Pimlico

  • Sleep, in a little less of a coma.

Thursday:

  • Take the Tube to Notting Hill, walk around
  • Proceed to walk through Hyde and Kensington parks, with a surprise visit to Kensington Palace Gardens. Serendipity begins to work in your favor.
Kensington-Gardens

Kensington Palace Gardens. Yet more sky.

  • Lunch, at Dinner. Absolutely fantastic food, not the best service, or maybe Americans just like to hurry more than everyone else.
Lunch-at-Heston-Blumenthal's-Dinner

Heston Blumenthal’s “Dinner.” I thought his name was “Hester” for the longest time.

 

  • Wander through memories at Brompton Square and 17 Tregunter Road, visit the equally important Margaret Howell shop and Buckingham Palace. Or at least the outside of Buckingham Palace. In short, I would want to wear Howell but I wouldn’t want to live at Buckingham.
  • Adventure up to North London for dinner at another friend’s house. Yes, we were quite lucky in the friends and family department. And there were others I would have loved to have visited, had we but world enough and time.

Friday:

  • Wander Shoreditch, appreciating graffiti and the remains of London’s industrial day.
Shoreditch

Shoreditch

  • Lunch back at, you guessed it, Borough Market. Eat burgers, drink some ale, enjoy.
  • Take the Oxford Coach from Victoria Station to, you guessed it, Oxford.
  • Check in to the exceptionally pleasant Old Bank Hotel, where they blend modern luxury and old style very well, eat a reasonable dinner at its restaurant, Quod.

    The-Old-Bank-Inn

    The Old Bank Hotel

  • Sleep. Turns out to be necessary every dang night.

Saturday:

 

Museum-of-the-History-of-Science

Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. Where one can also see a blackboard covered in equations that Einstein wrote in his own hand. Totally cool.

Daughter-On-A-Punt-In-The-Rain

Ballet-trained daughter balancing on the front of a punt, having pushed us away from the banks, where we sheltered briefly from rain

  • Experience the great pleasure of punting, complete with brief rain showers, and a subsequent ale at the pub
The-Cherwell-After-A-Rain

The Cherwell River after a rain

  • Revel in homemade cake and tea with said generous and highly hospitable friends.
  • Wander about looking for a pub for dinner, find sunset instead.
Oxford-at-Sunset

Spires of Oxford

Dinner back at Quod. Dreadful service.

  • Sleep. Wake up at midnight in annoyance at two women drinking and talking in the courtyard. Note to travelers, take a room on the street side.

Sunday:

  • Try to visit Christ Church college, find out the courtyard is closed until 2pm, walk through the meadow instead. Sigh at the verdant vista.
How-The-English-Love-To-Garden.2

Borders at the Christ Church college meadow

 

  • Take the bus up High Street to Oxford Station, and a train to Moreton-on-Marsh in the Cotswolds.
  • Get picked up by the wonderful Reg in his taxi, having arranged the service previously, and dropped at our “cottage,” found via TripAdvisor’s “holiday lettings.”
  • Pick up a few provisions ’round the corner, head off for a 6-mile walk on the Cotswold Way to Broadway. Traverse a lot of meadows, and only a few roads.
  • Have Reg pick you up again and take you back to Chipping Campden. If you do this walk earlier in the day, on the right day, you can manage with buses.
Biker-Rider-In-The-Cotswolds

Bike rider in the Cotswolds. Best clouds in the world, England.

 

Broadway,-A-Village-in-the-Cotswolds

A house and denizen of the Cotwolds village, Broadway

Monday:

  • Peek out the window to see a steady downpour. Take some time to enjoy having a kitchen, eat breakfast.
  • Walk the village. See Grevel House, built around 1380, and wander up to the church and graveyard. Don’t bother with the Arts and Crafts museum.
  • Have a proper English tea at Badger Hall, which perhaps needless to say includes memorable scones.
Afternoon-Tea-At-Badger-Hall

Afternoon tea at Badger Hall

Tuesday:

  • Make the long journey back to Heathrow. Perhaps a day into which we could have crammed more sights, but it felt good to have time given only to the blank slate of transportation.
Moreton-On-Marsh-Railway-Station

Moreton-on-Marsh railway station. Note that locals call it simply, “MoretonMarsh.”

 

  • Determine that despite the attempts of Mr. Tourist Information to sell you a coach ticket, the public bus takes you to Bath Road for free. It’s the Number 111, in case you’re wondering.
  • Enter the netherworld of airport hotels at the Sheraton Skyline Heathrow. It is wholly unobjectionable.
  • Eat Indian food, which turns out to be plentiful and good in the area, at Annayu,

Wednesday:

  • Take that same free bus back to the airport and fly on home. The return trip is apt to be less miserable than the flight over, however, someone may spill a full 7-Up and rum on your new Max Mara coat, so do put it away.

Those Promised 7 Tips On Travel With Adult Children

1. Planning, Or More Accurately, How We Didn’t

Both my daughter and I, ordinarily, are big planners. I thought she’d want to run the show, she thought she’d like her mom take care of it. We forgot to communicate as much until halfway through the trip. Luckily, English-speaking destinations forgive a lot of bumbling, but it helps to talk about a journey with your companion in advance, even when you’ve known her for 27 years,

2. How Much To Do In One Day

People who are 57 are 57. People who are 27 are 27. In my experience, the first species likes to do 1-2 things per day, the second, more like 12. Meet in the middle. You’ll feel amazed at your capacity, she may see her mother’s aging for the first time and that’s not bad.

3. What You Need To Know About British Transportation

Get an Oyster card at the first Tube station you find with a staffed ticket counter. This is a stored value card that saves you money and time, on both the Tube and the buses. You put down a small deposit for the Oyster but it’s easy-peasy to return at Heathrow on departure. And I’d say London cabs, like almost everything else in the city, costs more than twice as much as a New York City taxi. Caveat Hailor.

4. Hauling Your Belongings

In my opinion, carry-on baggage is overrated on a non-stop flight. And beware your expert packing skills. Whatever you stuff into a bag at home you’re going to have to restuff each time you move. Oof.

Suitcase-in-Oxford

A very old suitcase being put through its paces

Bring two handbags, one tote (for cameras, umbrellas, the Valentino heels you want to wear to dinner) and one small crossbody or other zipup (for money, Oyster and credit cards.) Establish a place for everything and stick to the plan. I lost my camera case after one too many It’s Off It’s On It’s Off It’s Ons.

5. Wearing The Right Clothes

England’s changeable climate, in conjunction with midlife’s decreased ability to regulate body temperature, leads to You’re Hot You’re Cold You’re Hot You’re Cold. The trench and the Barbour became British style icons for good reason, one piece of outerwear and you’re set. They are also easily removed in un-airconditioned Tube cars. Bring scarves if you suffer from fashion boredom, just make sure they are appropriate for the season. My long pink cashmere muffler was too hot for even a British summer. Duh, to everyone but me. BTW, even if you can make room for more than 4 pairs of shoes, don’t. Make sure you have waterproof city and country options.

6. Budget Priorities

This one’s simple. Budget where you don’t care, spend where you do. My daughter and I were happy to forgo cabs, traveling by Tube and enjoying the hustle, or walking in great peace and contentment through London’s parks. We ate either at street markets or at one of the best restaurants in the world, where we chose expensive wine. If you’re going big, don’t niggle the small bits.

7. Midlife Compensations And Joys

The middle-aged are not the young. See #2. We have trouble hurrying, our feet hurt, we see less well than we used to. And let’s share a collective moment of silence for our short-term memory. Wait, what were we talking about? So set yourself up to minimize the need to orient and any resultant fumbling. Most of this is solved in #4 and #5, by good shoes and carrying strategies. But you’ll minimize dithering if you keep a list, on your phone or even paper, of what happened yesterday and what’s supposed to happen today.

Luckily, serendipity and a boon companion favor us all. I wish you every happiness in your travels and time to see what is still new.

 

Note: My daughter just texted me to say I had forgotten the Victoria and Albert. So I had. We slipped that in on the way to Buckingham Palace;).

 

Hotels on TripAdvisor included the Shangri-La at the Shard, in London (room rates of $400 seem to be the lowest possible but you might want to check across several dates), The Old Bank Hotel in Oxford, a cottage rental in Chipping Campden, in the Cotswolds, and a pre-flight night at the Sheraton Skyline at Heathrow Airport. Links may generate commissions.

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40 Comments

  • Excellent suggestions. My other piece of advice is to get a very small fold-able umbrella and always carry it with you. I can’t tell you how many times it would be clear and sunny and five minutes later, it would be chucking down.

    09/04/14
    8:24 am
    Lisa said...

    @pigtown*design, Absolutely – luckily I had one of those. Definitely needed the tote to house it:).

  • Great itinerary. We went to London in July and it was crazy hot. You missed my favorite museum though. The Wallace Collection is amazing and free. Just blocks from the Churchill hotel where we stayed. I could have visited twice just to see everything this amazing family collected. Thanks again for the itinerary, I may duplicate it when we go back to England.

    09/04/14
    8:25 am
    Lisa said...

    @Nikki Lehnhardt, That was on the list but we did Tate Britain and visiting my old haunts instead, memory over good taste, next time we’ll see it!

  • I loved this! Though I’ve lived in London for the past 15 years (American expat) I find myself a bit jaded and stuck in my own neighborhood. It’s so nice seeing the city from the eyes of an interested traveler. I hope you get to visit Kew Gardens, in my neck of the woods, when you’re next here.

    09/04/14
    8:25 am
    Lisa said...

    @Deborah McDonnell, I remember Kew Gardens, from my childhood. Be really fun to go back.

  • I feel like checking luggage is one of those things where if you’re going halfway around the world, why niggle over $35 and a few minutes wait to pick it up.

    09/03/14
    11:39 am
    Prue said...

    @RoseAG,
    Ah, but try lugging a regular size suitcase on and off the tube and up those steps onto trains. Then you’ll be SO thankful you stuck to one carry-on!

  • Charming write-up. Loved the bits about how the young and the old travel. Though, having just spent a few days in Germany with my 23 year old son, I realize that he crams so much into a travel day because in his/my youth that’s the example I gave him of How To Travel. Experienced a few moments of bone-weary regret about that as he pushed to add “just one more thing” to our daily itineraries.

    09/04/14
    8:27 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kathryn, Thank you. Are you saying I’m responsible for my daughter’s drive? Surely not. Something so big cannot have some from me:).

  • Ah! Its been so long since I have traveled abroad, the things like tired feet and the shocking price of things might put me off. I often forget how old my body is. Still, I would like to visit the places I have before and others with my husband.

    09/04/14
    8:28 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kerry Steele, I think as long as you go in full knowledge, you can plan to keep the good part of travel and avoid the rough spots.

  • What a delightful tour you have given us! Thanks!

    Did you consider seeing a play?

    09/04/14
    8:37 am
    Lisa said...

    @Amy, Thank you! We did consider a play, but our nights were all taken with seeing friends and family. Good problem to have:).

  • It’s not about the fee for checking luggage, not at all. A number of years ago, I had my checked bag taken off the luggage carousel at JFK by someone whom I presume mistook it for theirs. Instead of returning it to where they’d found it like a decent human being, the jerk abandoned it by one of the exit doors. Since I was in a wheelchair at the time (don’t ask), I was in no position to run around looking for it. The lost baggage woman was no help. So there I was in New York City in November with nothing more than what I had on my back and in my handbag. Shopping for replacement items would have been near impossible (see wheelchair). I was in tears. It was the man from the airline who was assigned to push my wheelchair who came to my rescue. He ran all over the terminal searching for it, and after about twenty minutes, he found my bag. After that experience, I resolved that I would never check a bag again, and I have kept that promise. We spent a month in Paris last summer and had no problem living out of a 20 inch carry-on. We always stay in an apartment with a washer and dryer, so that makes it easier. And we don’t move from city to city when we travel. We have a home-base and take day trips.

    09/04/14
    8:38 am
    Lisa said...

    @Wendy Bird, Yes, to have luggage lost is awful. And if you don’t move around, I agree, the repack problem doesn’t arise. And for connecting flights, I’d carry on.

  • Thank you for the great trip schedule and description! London is my favorite city outside the US, and when I visited about 6 or 7 years ago with my family (kids were teenagers) we had a great time.

    I think my side trip would be to Bath and hopefully Lyme, because I am a big Jane Austen fan, and I want to be like Tennyson and say “Now take me to the Cobb, and show me the steps from which Louisa Musgrove fell!”

    I hope to go back in the next few years, with my husband or one of my kids!

    09/04/14
    8:39 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kate, Thanks! My daughter and I watched the whole BBC series of Pride and Prejudice, as well as Sense and Sensibility, and a series of Emma, at nights before bed:). So I wholly understand your thinking.

  • I’m fascinated by how much you like the skies and the clouds. Having lived in London almost all my life, I certain take those for granted. Although have spent lazy mornings in bed looking for faces in the clouds. Great that you had such a good time – it is not the itinerary I would put together for a visitor but evidently one that you enjoyed enormously.

    09/04/14
    8:40 am
    Lisa said...

    @Ruth Slavid, I wonder what you might notice California that I in turn take for granted. Now I’m curious, what itinerary would you put together, and why? If you feel like sharing.

  • Very interesting – so much variety & I admire your stamina . I’m glad you enjoyed our clouds , we were very taken with the clouds of New Mexico a few years ago . If there was only one shop I was allowed to visit in London it would be Margaret Howell . Her clothes are fabulous quality & seem to look good forever . And you appear to have more friends in England than I have !
    Next time – York

    09/04/14
    8:42 am
    Lisa said...

    @Wendy, Next time, York. Agreed. And London friends are really fun to have!

  • I’m exhausted from reading your post. London is always our first stop when we go to Europe and have a sort of routine, that’s age appropriate, and sort of geared to getting over jet lag. Curious which restaurant you’re referring to as one of the best in the world? The food (as you know) used to be so bad there, but it’s so great now. Sounds like you had fun and loved your descriptions – had me laughing.

    09/04/14
    8:42 am
    Lisa said...

    @kathy, The restaurant is Dinner, Heston Blumental is the chef. I think I was too busy to be exhausted on the trip, but the return, well, lots of rest required.

  • We’re going to London next year as a pre-river cruise jet-lag remedy. The last time we were there, we didn’t make it to Hampton Court, so that will be at the top of our itinerary next time. We stayed very near the Albert-Victoria, and that was wonderful. Did you get to Hampton Court, and if you did, what did you think?

    09/04/14
    8:43 am
    Lisa said...

    @E. Jane, No, we didn’t get there. A river cruise sounds wonderful – in Germany?

    09/18/14
    12:58 pm
    E. Jane said...

    This will be our third river cruise. The first one was from Paris to Normandy and back; the second was on the Danube from Amsterdam to Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary, ending in Budapest. The one next year will be on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Germany, France, and ending in Basel, Switzerland. I guess we’re hooked on them now. It’s a wonderful way to see Europe and be pampered at the same time.

  • We were last in London 15 years ago. SO was working, and 11 YO DS and I saw the sights. My favorite was the Sir John Soane’s Museum. He was the architect of the Bank of England. When he died he gave his country house to the government to become a museum. His “country house” is practically downtown London (he died in 1837). He liked collecting stuff. His house was full of things, and best of all, there weren’t any other people there. At all. One of the docents (or employees) there gave us a private tour.

    09/04/14
    8:44 am
    Lisa said...

    @AK, That sounds really fascinating. I liked the V&A particularly for the domestic history, to see how houses and design proceeded from the aristocracy and out.

    09/04/14
    4:19 pm
    Dinny said...

    If domestic history is your cup of tea, and you want a more intimate, more tightly parsed journey through its key incarnations in English history than the sprawling V&A offers, then the next time you visit Shoreditch be sure to drop in to the Geffrye Museum. Takes about an hour to traverse the Tudor to the late 20th c via set piece room interiors, dressed with original artefacts. Not a pastiche but a telling social commentary of bourgeois aspiration and social innovation. The crazy world of Victorian manufacturing, spawning industries which churned out out mass produced household furniture and goods that people had hitherto never imagined they needed (fish knives anyone?), was in chaotic, dizzying chintz contrast to the restrained, elegant, multi-functional furniture world of the preceding Georgians. Wonderful wonderful museum.

  • What a wonderful time the two of you must have had! And my, what gorgeous places you stayed in.. . .I think we must have had sandwiches from the same stall at the Borough Market a few London visits ago . . . .yummy! (somehow the image reminded me of eating carnitas with you in SF! Good times)
    So why is the Tate Britain quirky? I just remember some great Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and a very long walk to our hotel because we made one seriously wrong turn. Quirky I can’t remember. . . .

    09/04/14
    8:45 am
    Lisa said...

    @Frances/Materfamilias, Carnitas! Must do that again some day:). And since they separated the Tate Modern, I found the Tate Britain to be less spectacular than the old unified Tate. More focus on less well known British artists. And William Blake, I mean, doesn’t he define quirky?!?!:)

  • Phew….a what a whirlwind. London…Oxford…the Costwolds..punting and afternoon tea…sounds wonderful.
    Loved your descriptions, especially the part about getting “grumpy” at St Paul’s. We had a similar reaction at York Minster a few years ago. Loved the building and history but after one too many effigies of clerics reclining on tombs, Hubby’s grumpiness turned into audible grumbles….and acoustics being what they are we left before he offended someone.

    09/04/14
    8:46 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sue B @highheelsinthewilderness.blogspot.ca, Yes. Exactly;). Happy to know I’m not the only one.

  • Wonderful roundup of your trip and great advice! As a 54 year old travel agent and traveler, I say your advice and observations are right on target!

    09/04/14
    8:46 am
    Lisa said...

    @Christi, Why thank you! So nice to have expert validation.

  • Thank you, thank you! Printed and put in London file. It was awfully kind of you and Beautiful Daughter to scout for us :)

    09/05/14
    5:34 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, Any time. Where do you want to go next:)?

  • I LOVE the Cabinet War Rooms and have been twice! So interesting! LOve the Borough Markets too x

    09/05/14
    5:35 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Faux Fuchsia, Did you love the details? The rugs!

  • Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Every time I go to London I nearly faint at how expensive it is… Fortunately, I (like you) have friends to see there and being invited for lunch or dinner is a wonderful treat.

    09/05/14
    5:35 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Rubiatonta, Oh the kindness of friends and family:).

  • Your travel tips are so very wise. Love the budget advice…it’s so essential to splurge on the special, may-never-have-this-chance-again experiences, and picking up an inexpensive picnic at the market in England is a joy. Observations on the travel abilities of the young and the older are spot on, and actually makes me realize I should be more patient when traveling with my elderly parents…the middle-aged sometimes grow impatient with the fumblings of the older generation. We all do what we can.
    So glad you had such a glorious trip!

    09/05/14
    5:36 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Julie, Thank you. I think the key is expectations – if you prepare for the trip you’re actually going to take, with the companions you’re actually going to have, I think things go much more smoothly. Certainly that’s true for me.

  • I recall paying US $4.50 for a small glass of orange juice in Paris, 1975. In spite of the price shock, I hope you indulged. What a lovely explore you had and how much you accomplished in such a short amount of time. Is there any one location that stands out to you that would be enjoyable to retire?

    09/05/14
    5:37 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Candace, In England? I’d love a flat in Pimlico:). But in the world, I think California is not so bad, right?

  • Oh, delightful- and brings back memories. I simply cannot cross 6 or more times zones and get off a plane and do anything (without a tantrum). So I have found it’s an entirely sensible indulgence to get a hotel room the night before, so that you have access the minute you land (assuming you are landing in the a.m.)
    A shower, a nap, a real change of clothes- priceless.

    09/05/14
    5:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Duchesse, It felt like such luxury to check in that we didn’t even nap! I think it might have been the Shard view that drew us out?

  • The distaff nyreaders will be gracing Venice and Florence in February and I will be pointing nyreader the youngest to your comments about travel with adult children. ..particularly the 27/57 split. In our case, it will be a 23/58 split, but let us not quibble, shall we?

    09/05/14
    5:39 pm
    Lisa said...

    @nyreader, Let us not. And surely the young always prefer their advice from those who are not their parents:)?

  • Lovely itinerary in one of my favorite countries to visit. If I had known you were going, I would have encouraged you to plan ahead for the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. It’s the locking-up ceremony that has been held nightly without fail for more than 700 years. Absolutely worth dragging your exhausted self back out at 9 p.m.

    Chipping Campden is another favorite and I am so happy you were able to visit.

    09/05/14
    5:40 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jen on the Edge, You’ve been to Chipping Campden! How fun! And I don’t like to tell in advance about trips, even when Significant Husband stays behind, just for security’s sake:(.

  • Borough Market is alway my first stop in London! There is a stall at the back with duck sandwiches and pink wine, and then I walk through to Neal’s Yard and buy too much cheese.

    I am impressed that you stayed at the Shard, but did you not go up to the observation deck? On a sunny day the view is all the way to Greenwich and the Kentish Downs…

    09/05/14
    5:41 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Maryn, So. Much. Cheese;). And we stayed at the Shard due to Significant Husband’s Shangri-La group loyalty points, but it didn’t even occur to me to go up to the observation deck:( As I said, our planning wasn’t the best this go-round.

  • The clouds? They look just like clouds in the eastern U.S.

    Now I am curious. Do clouds look different in California?

    09/05/14
    5:42 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Anan, We don’t really HAVE clouds in California:). And in my time in New Jersey and New York I didn’t see light like I saw in London this time. Maybe you are in New England?

  • Charming description of your trip. I was terribly grumpy at St. Paul’s and it is nice to see I am not the only one. It is overwhelmingly too much. And the “Horrid Vortex Of Tourist Hordes” really made me smile. It sounds like the two of you had a wonderful time.

    09/05/14
    5:42 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, It was wonderful – perfect for us. Next time I go to St. Paul’s, if there is a next time, I’m bringing some fellow grumps to share it with:).

  • I so enjoyed reading your London trip notes.

    SSG xxx

    09/06/14
    8:58 am
    Lisa said...

    <3

  • What a lovely trip! As a Brit who’s recently returned home after two years in the Bay Area, I know just what you mean about the light. It’s quality is so different in Northern Europe to Northern California, but beautiful in both.

    09/06/14
    8:59 am
    Lisa said...

    It was lovely. And happy to hear you noticed the light difference too – always glad to have data points indicating I haven’t lost my mind:).

  • Wow amazing trip you had I loved this post! England was beautiful this summer. We had a much different trip travelling with our daughters, who at 12 and 19 are basically both teenagers. It was all about the wifi for them!
    Thanks for sharing your excellent tips Lisa.

    09/06/14
    8:59 am
    Lisa said...

    My pleasure! As you know, I loved the Rascal accounting:).

  • Sounds like a whirlwind tour. You packed a lot into ten days and obviously enjoyed your mother daughter time together. You have shared some wonderful spots with us and I thank you for your research and links.
    The Cotswolds cottage rental really appeals to me but I could not venture across the big pond without taking in the galleries and sights of London.
    Your jet lag sleep coma makes me think I need to go to Paris a few days ahead of the tour so I can be alert and fresh.
    Where do you plan to visit next?

    09/06/14
    9:01 am
    Lisa said...

    Hostess, I think you could love the Cotswolds. The Arts and Crafts movement really held sway there. And no plans as of now for more trips, except Hawaii in December. I’m still enjoying the memories of this one! I do recommend arriving 2-3 days early for recovery, a very good idea.

  • I’m in the North Carolina mountains. We have staggering beautiful clouds here.

    Oddly, I was just thinking “today is a superior cloud day” a couple of days ago! There were giant white clouds stacked on top of each other from the horizon on up.

    Perhaps the difference is that it rains a lot here, whereas it doesn’t in California.

    09/06/14
    3:48 pm
    Anan said...

    @Anan,
    Cumulonimbus Clouds.

    Like these:

    https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrBT8qkjgtU7WoAdPJXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0anRob2ZiBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDI4MV8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=yfp-t-250-s&va=Cumulonimbus

    09/07/14
    8:46 am
    Lisa said...

    Those are gorgeous. I am sure our lack of humidity is the reason for our paucity of clouds. The English clouds were less spectacular than what you show, but the late summer light and the sense of a very high sky played a big role in how they struck me.

  • Sounds like you had a fantastic time – next time let’s have coffee at Monmouth/Borough Market! – you’re so right about the Barbour/trench and the comfy shoes and the all-weather aproach.

    09/07/14
    8:45 am
    Lisa said...

    I’d love to meet up – anywhere you like:). BTW, I completely have adopted your chandeliers with jeans idea and couldn’t live without it now!

  • Thank you for your pictures and travel notes. Haven’t we all been grumpy over prices and places?
    :-)

  • You were in my neck of the woods!! Reg and his taxi teee heee,often partake of coffee at Badger,Chipping Campden/Chipping Norton called by us locals “Chippy”:).Agree we have the most beautiful skies/clouds.Hope the Monday mentioned was not the ghastly wet Bank Holiday….never come to England on a BH always rains!!! Barbours/hunters are all a gel needs here.

    09/09/14
    6:28 pm
    Lisa said...

    Yes! We were there for the rainy Bank Holiday:). We didn’t mind at all. Had I known that was your neck of the woods I should surely have suggested sharing a cup of tea one day. Lovely part of the world you’ve got there:). I’m going to call it “Chippy” from now on, if you permit…

  • DH and I went to Paris and London back in May. As far as being middle-aged and how much to do, I hear you! We are 63 and 64 (at the time, we were 62 and 63 – no difference, I assure you), and we got TIRED! We stayed near the Eiffel Tower…and even though we had tickets to go up one night at 10:30 (the view would have been lovely), having already been there to catch a bus earlier, and having been all over, we were too tired to walk over at 10:00. Comfy shoes were a must, and luckily, we were well-equipped. In London, we took a food tour of the East End…it rained the whole time. Having already brought a brolly, we just figured it was a more authentic experience!

    Hope to go back in about 2 years…Paris was gorgeous, but we’ll probably go for a much longer stay in England, so we can tour outside of London. Next year going to Disneyworld with the grandchildren…for a few days. They’ll stay on with their parents (who also love it) and we’ll leave and go on a cruise.

  • It sounds amazing, Lisa, and inspires me to do the same with my daughters, who would undoubtedly be annoyed at mom’s putziness! Glad you found Margaret Howell.

  • Found you today via Femme D’Un Certain Age Facebook post. I’m going to England in March next year on my own. First solo trip abroad as a personal quest. Making notes from all the posts, comments. Packing, sights. I’m in Los Angeles and notice light and clouds all the time. No clouds, no rain. Lovely blog. Will bookmark.

  • Book writing is changing: Read this gem, Belfast Tears and Laughter 1957-1977. (Take a lovely trip down memory lane with me to various UK locations). We’ll travel from Scotland to Liverpool, Leeds, St. Albans, Weymouth with a few days in Guernsey and the chaos that ensues when three madcap Northern Irish teens are loosed upon the city of London. All of these await you within this memoir, each woven in alongside harrowing tragedy as a poignant reminder of how life goes on even in the most unforgiving of circumstances. newbooks1@outlook.com

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  1. […] Affiliate links may generate commissions. You can read the agenda of the trip I was packing for, and more on why I really needed that nylon tote and a small cross-body bag, instead of the Bottega Veneta, here. […]

  2. […] even going to talk about chartreuse. I guess we’ll let the Cotswolds keep on with aquamarine, if they […]