United Kingdom, Romania · 11 Days · 29 Moments · October 2017

Ebony's adventure in United Kingdom

23 October 2017

1666- terrible fire destroyed all of London
It was hard to get up because we knew that as soon a we did, our trip would be over. But we got up and got ready, before heading out for a quick walk to m&s and a few other shops coz Hannah still needed to find something for her Mum. The toilet in our room was straight under the vanity, and the whole time we were convinced we were going to drop something in it. It took us until we were just about to leave, but Hannah managed to drop her toothbrush in there. We got back to the hotel and caught a taxi to Paddington station, and caught the Heathrow express from there. It’s amazing that the train only takes 15 mins from central London to the airport! We were there 3 hours early (as required for international) and enjoyed time shopping and eating before boarding our flight.

22 October 2017

We went to hamleys, the biggest toy store in the world! There were 4/5 levels filled with toys!! It was incredible! We raced through because we were running out of time, but I found myself a little British guard to take home before we left. We found Covent Gardens by accident along the way, and fell in love with the cute market and stalls and shops there. We caught the train to the West End and saw a show called ‘the play that goes wrong’. It was HILARIOUS! It was set up as a play called ‘murder at hamley mansion’, but the whole thing was filled with all sorts of humour. I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever laughed that hard. By the end, the whole stage had fallen apart and they were all sitting on the floor. We were both exhausted, so decided to catch a taxi home. We got back and showered, ordered a little bit of food and packed up our suitcases. It was a sad moment, but we knew it needed to be done. We both slept well again, it had been another HUGE day!
We joined a group tour of the Tower of London with a beefeater (what they call people who have served in the army for more than 22 years). It was a rather large group, so it was really hard to hear, but he was very entertaining. He told us a lot of history about the Tower and we wandered around. Eventually we left the group because we weren’t really engaged in the talk and we wanted to see the Crown Jewels. We saw a changing of the guard and then lined up to see the jewels. Again, so much history and beauty! There were a lot of different golden and jewelled objects and crowns from history, all the way through history, and the coronation gown that queen Elizabeth wore. It was all very fancy. After that, we caught the train to Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. We took photos and found somewhere to have a beautiful high tea. We ate scones and tea and lots of sweets. We then went shopping and enjoyed the views.
We knew we had a lot to get done, so we had to get an early start. My opposite knee from the knee I hit in the bath was in a considerable amount of pain as we began walking and caused trouble through the day. We walked to Kensington palace first and saw some squirrels on the way. Kensington palace is a beautiful place and so full of rich history! There were displays about past kings and queens, and a large display on Diana and her dresses. It was all beautiful! There were beautiful displays on queen Victoria and prince Alfred- around the rooms she grew up in and the love affair between the 2 of them. Kensington was the home of royals for hundreds of years. So much history and beautiful decorations. After we were done there, we looked in the gift shop and caught a train to the Tower of London. We had some lunch and tried to sort out some tickets for a show that evening.

21 October 2017

The bus was VERY slow again, and we had to wait while the bus drivers swapped over, but we enjoyed the views and hopped off at Big Ben. It’s all under construction atm, but could still see it through the scaffolding. We then walked around the area and saw Westminster Abbey, the Eye and then walked to Buckingham Palace. It was so cool to see where the Queen lives! From there, we caught a taxi to Kensington palace, in the hope that we’d get in before their closing for the day, but we literally saw them lock the door and they wouldn’t let us in. That threw our plans in a bit of a spin, because that left us with a LOT to do the following day. So we made a quick decision to catch a train to see Sherlock Holmes’ house and the Notting Hill blue door. We were both exhausted by the time we got back, so we watched Gilmore girls and had room service (again) and enjoyed a great night sleep. I slipped as I stepped into the bath and hit my knee.
We were both exhausted and didn’t want to get up. We ended up having breakfast in bed and just spent some time relaxing. We also tried to contact Budget to sort out their screw up with our receipt. Once we started getting ready, Hannah heard from Lisa (Hannah’s close friend) that they were coming back through London to pick up their car (her and Owen (her husband) were travelling Europe at the same time as us), so were in town for a few hours. We met up with them at kings cross station and had lunch with them. It was so lovely to have lunch with them and to share stories. I think it was really helpful for Owen and Lisa to see some people from home because they’d had to leave their son, Seth, at home. From there, we took a selfie together in front of a red bus, and said goodbye to them. From there, we caught a train to London bridge and hopped on our hop on/hop off bus to have a bit more of a look around.

20 October 2017

From there, we walked back to the Lyceum theatre and found our seats. I was in awe! I was bursting with excitement from the second we walked in! I had goosebumps nearly the entire performance! It was my childhood favourite, live on stage! The costumes were incredible and so detailed, the actors and dancers were so talented and the sets and extra songs just added so much depth to the story. There aren’t enough words to describe the brilliance of it all!! Everything that I was worried about how they were going to do, they did so beautifully! They added some extra songs, but they did really well! The songs were written in conjunction with the movie musicians! Was super special!! Afterwards, we bought a programme and walked to the train station. We caught the train home and listened to the music in our room while we got ready for bed. We were on a high as we went to bed. But we’re both exhausted, so fell asleep pretty quickly.
From there, we went for a walk and got some coffee and then went to the shard. It’s the tallest building in Europe and has an amazing view! You catch a lift to level 33, then up to 69 and then walk up a few flights of stairs to level 70 for a 360 degree view of London and then up to 72 for an open air 360 view of London! It was all incredible! It makes you realise how small and insignificant we all are! Was really cool to see and identify all these buildings we know and have seen up close, from up high. We stayed up their for ages and just took in the views. It got even prettier as the sun started to go down and the city was covered in a golden light. By the time we came down, we decided to take a taxi to the Lyceum theatre and went to find dinner from there. We found a burger place and had some great food! It’s the closest burger I’ve found the the sloppy Jose from burger theory! Was great!
Eventually we hopped off the bus next to the London bridge and the Thames river. We went for a wander and found the cutest Italian restaurant for lunch and then headed to Shakespeare’s Globe. We walked through the museum and tried to grasp a bit of an understanding of it all. We realised we didn’t know heaps about it, so were grateful for our audio guide to help us out. We then had a tour with a guide through the actual Globe. Was really cool to hear stories and context and stuff about it all. The current Globe is the 3rd to be built and is about 300m from where the original one was. It was a lot smaller than I expected, but was really cool! They were packing up from their summer season of performances in the stage. They also have a winter, indoor stage solely lit by candles, but they had a dress rehearsal happening, so we couldn’t see inside. We saw pics and it was gorgeous!
Our day started abruptly when housekeeping knocked on our door at 8:30. We lay around a while longer and started getting ready. We’d bought banana bread the day before for breakfast, but had no way to cut it, so used a teaspoon instead- surprisingly successful. We headed to the train station and figured out how and which train to catch. We hopped on (and were impressed with the signage around the place) and even managed to swap trains when necessary! We got to Leicester square and bought cheap stickers to see the lion king on stage and then found where we needed to pick up our London Pass tickets and began wandering around (semi aimlessly) trying to find where to hop on the bus. Eventually we found it and hopped on one. We weren’t super motivated to hop off anywhere, and the bus was moving really slowly (we later found out there were lots of detours in place because a pedestrian had been hit and killed). The bus crawled along and we listened to a history lesson on the dig guide.

19 October 2017

We spent a while in the gift shop, but didn’t feel overly inspired by any of it. Eventually we caught the shuttle back tot he train station, but had a bit of trouble finding a train to catch back. We missed the first one and then there was congestion, etc that meant the train we were waiting on seemed to take forever to arrive. When we got back to the train station, it was raining, so I jumped out onto the road and hailed a taxi (like a proper Brit 😂) and we jumped in and headed back. When we got back to our room, we had some tuna salad we’d bought earlier in the day, but our fridge had been too cold, so it was frozen. We also watched some Gilmore girls until it was sleep time.
From Watford junction we caught a shuttle bus to the Harry Potter warner brothers studio for our tour. Initially I wasn’t going to do the tour, but last minute a ticket came up, and I’m so glad I went! I would have been so sad to miss it and hear Hannah come back buzzing! It was amazing! I didn’t expect it to be anywhere near as in depth and extensive as it was! There are a bunch of original sets, costumes and props and some recreations of these things. So much to see and do and take photos with! You can walk into the great hall, dumbledores office, the forbidden forest, privet drive, Knight bus, platform 9 3/4, diagon alley and lots of other places. It was incredible to see all the behind the scenes stuff! Because it’s October, they were doing some extra ‘dark arts’ demonstrations and stuff. Was great to see aragog, how they make dragons blood, a battle between wizards and dementors and some wand magic. It was all pretty specky! I don’t know that I’d have a favourite! It was all
Because of the hurricane, Hannah’s asthma had been playing up terribly and the medication wasn’t helping. So she got up early to walk over to a doctor, but they sent her away with no appt. She brought back muffins and juice for breakfast and managed to make an appt at another doc close by. We walked over and waited for ages. The doc was really thorough and encouraging. Hannah had some blood tests and we walked back towards our hotel via a chemist, a lunch place and marks and Spencer’s. We ate lunch in our room, relaxed for a while and made a plan for the following few days. We got ready and caught a taxi to the train station. We caught a train to Watford junction.

18 October 2017

We eventually got to London about 4, but went to the wrong hotel initially, so got some directions and headed to where we needed to be. We dropped the car off and caught a taxi back to our hotel. It was a proper British taxi! Was a bit exciting really! The hotel was a busy, happening place. We checked in and went to our room. We discovered wifi and chromecast un our room. We were both exhausted, so lay down on our beds for 3 hours or so. Eventually we realised it was 9pm, but neither of us were up to going out, so we spoiled ourselves and got room service. When our food arrived, the server said it was going on our room fee. We ate (it was good and filling) and curled up in bed to watch ‘my name is doris’ (which was super cute). But we got a call from room service saying we needed to pay now. We called reception to organise it, but they said they couldn’t take it, so room service sent up a machine and we sorted it. The movie finished and we fell asleep.
We were both so exhausted from the rest of the trip, that getting up was hard work. We got up and packed up everything, had breakfast, wrote in the guest book and said goodbye. We drove to bath to go to the jane Austen museum. We fell in love with bath! It was stunning! The buildings and the fog were magical together! The museum was lovely and filled with pretty old things and great info, but life outside the building was my favourite! It was so beautiful! We were running out of time, so we did a drive by photographing of most of the city and got on the road. We drove to London, but of course, traffic wasn't the kindest. So we called the car place to let them know we were running late (they said they shut at 3 and the gps said we wouldn't be there till after3...) but fortunately they had a 24 hour drop off place.

17 October 2017

We drove a scenic route out of pt isaac and headed to tintagel (where we were supposed to be staying the night before) and then started the 2 1/2 hour journey home. Little did we know the journey that lay ahead... we got stuck in terrible traffic and the journey home ended up taking closer to 5 hours, rather than 2 1/2. Bristol/English roads have not been kind to us! We were SO glad we'd cancelled dinner, because part way home we realised it was not gonna be able to happen!!! We organised with ben that we would pick up dinner on the way home and we were gonna pick up a thank you present for them, but it got so late and when we got to the pizza shop, it was shut for an event. So we ended up trying a different pizza shop (the waiter had little English and it was a long wait) and didn't get them a thank you present. We got back to bens just after 9, ate dinner and watched die hard (they were both shocked I'd never seen it) and collapsed in bed! Was a HUGE day in the end!
Port Isaac was super exciting for hannah because it's where they film doc Martin. But, it's also flipping beautiful! So I loved it too!! We tried to drive to the doc Martin house, but the roads were some of the narrowest we've driven down (and unlike most others, were lined with buildings, rather than bushes). We crossed paths with some vans wanting to come up the other way, so we had to reverse nearly the whole way back up, through people. We survived and went to find somewhere to park. We then walked down through all the pretty roads and took in the views and saw some stuff connected to the tv show. I managed to cut my finger on a rock when I picked it up to move it off the road. So we went into a cafe so I could wash it and stop the bleeding. We then had some tea and walked back to the car. Ben had arranged to take us to a Michelin star restaurant, but we realised we were both exhausted and feeling under the weather and that it wouldn't happen. We emailed ben and apologised.
The cold air and left over stuff in the air from the hurricane left hannah feeling pretty awful with her asthma. She took some strong tablets, but it wasn't helping, so I drove the next section. We drove on to Newquay, where the sights were different, but just as stunning! We got out and went for a walk. And then went for a drive around the town (so many one way roads it drove us crazy trying to actually get anywhere!) and found somewhere different to park to get a different view of the bay and to grab some lunch. We got lunch and sat in the car. The view was alright, but our chips were horrendous! They were barely cooked and had no flavour! Hannah drove us again and we headed to port isaac.
Because of the weather the day before, we'd decided to skip the night we were supposed to spend in cornwall and just do a day trip instead. So we set off at about 7am and drove to our first stop. Cornwall is a county and isn't just one place to visit, so even when we left, we didn't quite know what we were gonna do. We made a bit of a plan and off we went. We started at a place called perranporth because it was supposed to have a great beach, but we got there and it was nothing special. I did a bit more research and discovered that the beach was NEAR perranporth. So we drove to chapel porth beach and it was amazing!! The view as we pulled up was stunning, so we got out and went for a walk. I had no idea just how far around the stunning cliff faces went, so we ended up down on the beach for ages, taking photos and investigating. I saw my first squirrel while we were driving too!! at one point I accidentally lead us down a dead end street that resulted in some skilful reversing.

16 October 2017

Ben had to pick Daniel up from the train station, so we went for a drive across a suspension bridge designed by Brunel (the guy who made the boat) and then went to marks and spencer (and SUPERmarket- with everything not just supermarket related) to buy stuff for dinner, but ben being ben, ended up buying a lot of other stuff and lots of junk he wanted us to try! We heard a lot about bens life while we were waiting to pick Daniel up from the train station and then listened to an every day political and statistical convo between ben and Daniel. When we got back, hannah and I had some down time in our room until dinner. We ate dinner with the family and then helped with clean up and went back to our room for Downton and bed time. We stayed up far too late with Downton- but it's just so addictive!
Ben took us to see the SS Great Britain - a super old and slightly revolutionary boat (Brunel the engineer behind the boat created a new rudder or something) and did a number of voyages and had a range of uses over its long life. Since it was deliberately sunk by its crew, it has been rescued and, repaired slightly and set up as a museum, with rooms and decks recreated to be as similar to their original uses (dummies and all sorts put in place)! It's a really great set up! By the time we finished in the boat, the weather had completely changed and the sky had cleared and we had blue sky. We caught a ferry across the river to a beautiful restaurant on the river. We sat outside to soak up the sun, but when we got our meals we realised just how windy it was and how difficult eating would be, so we headed inside and finished eating.
Ben is so lovely and generous! He's super under the pump with work, but he took the day off to show us around. So when we got up and ready, he took us to show us his workshop (which is huge and the size of a big house! Schools would be lucky to have what he has!) and then we headed out for the day. There had been a hurricane off the coast and we were getting the tail end of it, so the weather was super weird! It was really muggy and the sky had a weird red tinge and the sun through the clouds glowed bright red! It felt a little mysterious. We went to pick up some legs for one of bens projects and then headed into Bristol.

15 October 2017

Windermere to Bristol. Had plans to stop and take scenic route. Took 8 hours instead of 4... traffic incredible awful! Message for ages saying part of the motorway was closed... spent ages not moving... Went a little crazy. Stopped for food and pee stops. Ended up doing Disney singalong and recorded them. We were in hysterics for some of it! Read a few chapters of our book. Listened to Shakespeare, Peter rabbit and Jane Austen. Sunset was stunning! Found bens house. Amazing place! Roast dinner (so good to have home cooked food!!). Helped with dishes and stuff. Planned for tomorrow. Ben showed us his work and showed off his sound system. http://www.splinterworks.co.uk Glad to make it to bed! Exhausted!!

14 October 2017

We headed down to the pub attached to the hotel (I actually think it's the other way around). I had a tap cider called bee sting (that was really good!) and nachos. We can't access internet from our room so, we brought our iPad down to keep downloading downton. It was also the first time we noticed we were sitting at an unwobbly table. They all seem to be wobbly here!!! Once Downton was finished downloading, we headed up to our room for showers, devotion and more Downton. I
The shops along the way were gorgeous and filled with all sort of random stuff! I found myself taking lots of photos of all sorts of quotes on different items. Hannah and I also bought matching rings from Pandora. They will forever be out '10 year rings from Windermere'. Once we'd explored the area, we headed back closer to home and explored some shops there. Again, we found lots of different things (all realistically made for tourists) and enjoyed seeing all the cute little things. We then headed back to the hotel where there were no car parks. I went inside and the waitress told us to park behind the managers car (coz they wouldn't need to go anywhere - of course an hour later they did). I realised we hadn't got any postcards, so I went for a walk and got some. On my way out I saw some cuter Beatrix potter ones but I had no money left on me. So I went back to the hotel and hannah drove me back down there. We spent some time napping, organising and watching Downton before dinn
We got there and it was adorable! So many little figures and scenes created! The attention to detail was gorgeous! It started with a little film about Beatrix and her inspiration. And then we went through the exhibition and took a lot of photos and relived the stories from our childhood. My favourite part was the outside area that had Mr McGregor's garden! Was all so gorgeous! We continued around until we got to the gift shop! We were like kids in a candy store! It was all so adorable and we spent too much money. Eventually we finalised our purchases and walked around the area. We found some lovely gift shops and other shops to explore, before walking down to Lake Windermere (and seeing the swans), and heading to a pub for lunch. The pub was beautiful from the outside and was a bit cute inside, but there was a group of super noisy guys there that kinda ruined the whole experience 😂
We woke up with the intention of rolling out of bed and going downstairs for breakfast and then going back up and getting ready for the day, but we got downstairs and there was no real sign of breakfast or what we were supposed to do, so we went back up, got ready and headed out for the day. We drove around for a long time trying to find a car park. We found one and got out before an Asian couple told us we couldn't park there. We then discovered it was a disabled park. We continued driving around and eventually found one. We went to the cafe we'd chosen for breakfast and were about to sit down before we discovered they only take cash, so we went to get cash out. Eventually we sat down for breakfast! After that we decided to head to the Beatrix Potter experience.

13 October 2017

Our plane was tiny and was jet powered. Hannah and I were exhausted so ended up laughing half the way there. When we landed, we found our stuff quickly and caught a shuttle bus to the car hire place. Our lady took FOREVER to get us sorted and she very sneakily added on lots of extras by asking but not really asking (as they all do). So we ended up with a good car, but it cost a bit more than we expected... Traffic was AWFUL and there were road works everywhere. But eventually we got out of the city and we were on our way. We stopped for some subway along the way and cranked a Christian radio station we found. We got to our hotel and it wasn't as cute as it was in the pics. We got settled in and then discovered there was no wifi in the rooms and that Netflix had taken Downton abbey off!!! 😭 So hannah and I took shifts in the hallway while we very slowly downloaded eps off iTunes so we could watch them in bed before sleep.