Castles, Distilleries & Pubs Cruise
Sunday August 12 to Wednesday August 15, 2012

Last leg of the trip - a few days in the British capital

The last stop on our 2012 British Isles cruise vacation was that of the capital of the UK - London. We thought a few days in London would be a fitting way to end this vacation that had started in Edinburgh on July 25 and had taken us around the Island of Great Britain with stops also in Ireland and France. A wonderful trip that had just a few days left before we made our way back home to Canada.

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  • Sunday August 12, 2012

    London from Lyme Regis via Southampton and Winchester

    Our Sunday morning started slowly in beautiful Lyme Regis on the Dorset Coast. We had a leisurely breakfast at the Alexandra Hotel hotel together with Rose, Mick & Nicola and then got ready to head to London.

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      Extricating the cars from the Alexandra Hotel parking lot took a bit of effort, but once that one does it was reasonably clear sailing out of Lyme Regis. First stop on the route to London, though, was Southampton so that we could return our rental car and from there Gary travelled with Nicola in her car and Linda travelled with Mick & Rose in Mick’s car to head from Southampton to London. The traffic heading to Southampton was certainly heavier than it had been on the way to Lyme Regis but it wasn't too bad to get there and the car drop off was fast. We made a stop in Winchester for lunch that turned out to be very nice. The venue was Hoel du Vin and some lovely French rosé wine was a great accompaniment to or lunch of tartness and chips. Very nice, indeed. Winchester is a nice city that dates way back - but the current form of the city comes from re-construction in the late 9th century under King Alfred the Great. There is an impressive statue of Alfred at the eastern end of the Broadway close to what once was the the city’s East Gate in medieval times. We actually did take some photos in Winchester but we somehow messed up the storage of the files for this day - so there is no evidence now of the walk through the central part of Winchester.

      For the days in London we we’d being staying at Nicola’s house in Hampton Hill, so we all made our way there before saying farewell to Rose & Mick and they set off for their homes. With nice weather, we enjoyed some time outside in Nicola’s back garden for the afternoon and then later took a walk to the Bell Inn for a relaxed Sunday night dinner. The had some sort of quiz night going on while we were there, so that provided some entertaining for our dinner time. All in all a very nice transition day that started on the south coast and ended in Hampton Hill.

  • Monday August 13, 2012

    Richmond and dinner at Ashlea’s

    For our Monday we rose and had breakfast with Nicola and then we planned for a day in Richmond ahead of a dinner arranged at the home of Gary’s cousin (and Nicola’s sister) Ashlea in the evening. To get there we took the bus from a station not far from Nicola’s home that would take us to the centre of Richmond.

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      One of our must do things whenever we are in Richmond is to go to William Curley Patissier Chocolatier - and this trip was definitely no exception to that. We actually made it our first stop for some coffee and tasty treats for mid-morning even thought it hadn’t been that long since we’d had breakfast. With that done we spent the day strolling and shopping in Richmond. The stretch of the Thames River through Richmond is quite attractive and a stroll along the river is also on our must do things while here.

      Part way through our strolling and shopping we stopped for a very nice lunch at Chez Lindsay in Richmond. This French restaurant with its cooking style originating in Brittany was a lovely choice for us that we’d for sure visit again on a return trip to Richmond. With the return to the shopping after lunch we picked up quite a few things to take home - and even bought an additional suitcase to make the return trip a bit easier with the things we had bought on this trip for ourselves as well as gifts for others.

      We grabbed the bus back to Nicola’s in the afternoon and before heading to Ashlea’s we made a stop at the Hampton Cheese & Wine Company (a very nice shop, by the way) for some things to take with us for the evening. We had a good time at Ashlea’s . . . catching up with family and enjoying a good meal together. A fun evening.

  • Tuesday August 14, 2012

    Central London and dinner in Chiswick

    For the last full day that we’d have in London we decided to make our way into Central London with Nicola. After breakfast we walked from Nicola’s house to the Fulwell Station to take the mainline train into London. We travelled to Vauxhall Station to get us close to Tate Britain - our first destination for the day.

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      Leaving Vauxhall Station on the south side of the Thames River we passed the impressive British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) building before we crossed over the river on Vauxhall Bridge to reach Tate Britain. Of particular interest on this visit was an exhibition called Another London - a collection of 180 photographs taken between 1930 and 1980 by some of the world’s best known photographers to create a myriad of images depicting all that makes up the many facets of London. The exhibition was impressive with some incredible photographs showing so many candid moments in the life of this vibrant city through many eras. It was very much worth the time to see this exhibition.

      From Tate Britain we grabbed a taxi to take us to Soho where we went to Randall & Aubin for lunch. Nicola had recommended the location for lunch andd it was a good choice - we enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere of this seafood restaurant. Being in Soho, it meant we were close to the national Gallery - so following lunch it was a given that we’d head there to take a look at Gary’s loved Georges Seurat’s painting of “Bathers at Asnières”. By the time we were done at the National Gallery we figured we better make our way back to Nicola’s to get ready for our evening plans for dinner in Chiswick.

      When we made it back to Nicola’s were realized it was going to be a bit of rush to get washed up and changed to go - but we did make it more or less on time. The dinner venue for the evening was La Trompette and we were joined by Rose & Mick. We had a lovely dinner that was a nice way for us to close out our time in London and our whole British Isles cruise vacation. It seemed so very fitting that we concluded dinner with a bottle of Peller Estates 2008 Vidal Icewine with dessert. It was nice to see a wine from our favourite Niagara Region winery on the wine list in a restaurant in England. A great last night for our vacation.

  • Wednesday August 15, 2012

    Heading home

    For travel day we woke reasonably early to get ready and also to get packed up before we had breakfast with Nicola. We weren’t in any particular hurry to leave, so we had a bit of time to take a walk to the shops in Hampton Hill - including a return trip to the cool Hampton Cheese & Wine Company before Mick came to Nicola’s to give us a ride to the airport for the early afternoon.

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      Our Executive First flight gave us a quick and easy priority check in as well as being fast tracked through security so it didn’t take too long from the drop off outside the airport to the business class lounge where we could relax a bit with some nice food & drinks prior to the flight home. The actual departure was delayed because of some passenger drama that we didn’t see - just heard about it, but once that was dealt with it was smooth flying home.

      Image

      From start to finish our vacation was just a bit over three weeks long in total and was a wonderful trip with lots of great memories. The image above shows a small sample from each of the locations we enjoyed along the way starting in Edinburgh, Scotland on July 25, 2012 and heading around the British Isles on the way to the final location of London, England on August 15, 2012.

London Image Gallery

Linda outside William Curley in Richmond
Looking along Golden Court in Richmond
Along the Thames River in Richmond
Along the Thames River in Richmond
Terrace Gardens in Richmond
Linda & Rose before dinner at Ashlea's house
View of London from Vauxhall Bridge
Linda & Nicola in the back of a London taxi 
Display in Leicester Square to commemorate 2012 Olympic medals won by Great Britain
Statue of Admiral Nelson decorated for the 2012 London Olympics
Looking towards the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) from Trafalgar Square
Hampton Cheese and Wine Company
About WHITEonline

WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.

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