Follow Northstar students on their journey to London, Windsor,
Bath, Stonehenge & More!
Our First Day in London
We hit the ground running with a movie themed walking tour, including
Charring Cross Station and Trafalgar Square, ending up near Big Ben.
We learned right away that London can be chilly and misty, but a quick ride on the crowded London Tube warmed us right up.
Dinner tonight was at Wildwood, an Italian Restaurant near Gloucester Road. We were hungry and sleepy, but we powered through and made it to desert. Yum!!
Day Two: London Sightseeing
Morning City Tour with Sean our local ‘Blue Badge’ guide.
Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Parliament, and much more.
After a flight on the London Eye, we went to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone and objects from all over the world and across all of human history.
(Not too shabby…)
Dinner Tonight: Classic Fish & Chips with mushy peas, and Sticky Toffee pudding.
Day Three: Introduction to London Theater
Our morning began with a Royal Drury Lane Theatre tour, with guides in fun costumes showing us backstage and underground in a 200 year old theater. On this site, plays have been performed for more than 300 years, but due to two different fires the only remains of the first playhouse are in this underground tunnel.
At lunchtime we explored the classic English shops at Covent Garden.
We spent the afternoon at Windsor Castle, historic residence of the monarchy.
After a delicious dinner at a Spanish restaurant, we attended the hilarious comedy
The Play That Goes Wrong in the London theater district.
Day Four: The Tower of London & Globe Theater tours
Cleverly beating the crowd at the Tower of London, we entered just before opening to watch the centuries-old tradition of the Tower Guard opening the gates.
Of course we visited the Crown Jewels (no photos allowed in there, and references to the new BBC Sherlock series were seriously frowned upon). We also visited the other towers, dungeons, weapons displays, and shops, and strolled the medieval ramparts.
Across the Thames, we toured the historically reconstructed Globe Theater and saw a demonstration on the specialized art of theatrical fencing.
A delicious lunch at a Greek café on the Thames boardwalk. We sampled 12 different dishes that are classic Greek and Mediteranean cuisine, and finished off with Baklava as a gift from the cheerful Greek owner.
Next, we took in St. Paul’s Cathedral, a stunning work of beauty by architect Christopher Wren in the late 1600’s.
We ended our day with a spooky Jack the Ripper walking tour in the famous and elegant East End neighborhood. Our starting point was a 2000 year old Roman wall.
An Unforgettable New Year’s Eve!
Stonehenge: Ancient & Mysterious
The Roman Baths in Bath: spa of caesars and centurions
The Romans knew how to enjoy a proper swim!
These springs still produce millions of gallons per day at 95 degrees, creating an aromatic mist over the waters.
After free time in the charming village, we experienced traditional Cream Tea at the oldest teashop in England.
Back in London, we enjoyed a festive New Year’s eve dinner party. For those who were up to the chilly evening walk, we went to Parliament Square to watch the fireworks.
Happy New Year!
The Bartholomee Pop Culture Tour
Dr. Who fans at the police call box at Earl’s Court station.
Abbey Road’s iconic street crossing, now crowded with Beatles fans.
London’s Natural History Museum, a cathedral to knowledge, now included in the ‘Night at the Museum’ movie series.
221b Baker Street, “home” of Sherlock Holmes.
Harry Potter fans enjoyed Platform 9 3/4, now a crowded photo op.
Piccadilly Circus: not a circus, but a grand show just the same.
Comic and Pop Culture Shopping Extravaganza: Forbidden Planet
Drama in the Dr. Who aisle
(that’s right, a whole aisle of Dr. Who stuff-and more on the other floors)!
Dinner found us enjoying Artisanal Italian pizza and pasta.
After dinner, we split into two groups: Harrod’s or the Hard Rock.
The Last Day…the one we never want to end.
First, a river cruise to the village of Greenwich to visit the Royal Observatory.
The world’s clock is here at the Prime Meridian,
setting the time and date for the entire globe.
Isaac and Ian step across the Prime Meridian, while Carson checks out Newton’s telescope.
After enjoying free time in the original Greenwich Village, we returned to London’s Covent Garden for a farewell dinner of traditional English cuisine.
A Sweet Homecoming!
“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Preparation & Packing Information
Questions about Money?
The very best way to get cash in Europe these days is to put your ATM into a machine after you get there. You will get the local currency at the best exchange rate with minimal fees.
Another good idea is to ask your local bank to get some British Pounds for you and take that instead of dollars. It usually takes 1-2 days, and you’ll get a good rate there, too.
Exchange Rate: $1.60 = One British Pound
Check today’s exchange rate: xe.com
Remember that the official exchange rate is what the banks give each other. Mere mortals like us will pay a bit more. Every credit or debit card will charge something for international purchases. If you can keep your fees around 3%, then you’ve got a good deal.
Information to help you prepare for our trip:
Defensive Touring – England (Safety First)
London Films (One of our tours is movie themed. Check out these films to get ready.)
The Night at the Museum crew goes to London’s British Museum. Should be a fun preview of the city!
Rick has figured out how to stay in Europe for months at a time with just a carry on size suitcase! I’m not there yet, but he has a lot of good ideas.