Picked up a very nice BMW 520 Diesel at Victoria Station at 9:30 am. GPS is a must as there is always a learning curve driving on the left side of the road.
Drove to Windsor Castle and arrived at about 11. Very light crowds as it was threatening rain, but the tour did not disappoint. Beautiful collections of gold and silver work, paintings by Hans Holbein the Younger (who painted Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell in the 16th Century), and amazing tapestries.
We then continued west and drove to the village of Lacock in the county of Wiltshire.
After a quick pint of a Wadworth Swordfish Rum Infused Ale, we finished the drive at our Hotel, The Bird, in Bath.
We went into town and visited the Jane Austen Center, well worth it for the animated presentation, and costumes to be tried on.
We walked through Bath and were amazed at the shops, restaurants and social scene.
We finished up with Fish and Chips and two Gin and Tonics at The Saracens Head, the oldest pub in Bath.
After visiting a few pubs during the walk from Somerset House to St. Paul’s Cathedral, we fortunately came across The Viaduct Tavern. It is ground zero for fabulous Gin Drinks. We had two:
The Gin of the week, No. 209, served with grapefruit, thyme and Fever Tree Tonic. Amazing.
The second was a Monkey Tree 47 with nectarine garnish and Fever Tree. Outstanding.
The ambience was lively, the decor charming and the staff very friendly.
Oh, and the ice was chipped off a block of ice.
Set out at 9 am across Tower Bridge and experienced South Bank.
Borough Market is a must visit and it delivered delicious stall after stall of every cheese, meat, vegetable and savory or sweet foods.
We then continued along the Thames for a quick view of Shakespeare’s Globe, followed by a tour of the Tate Modern.
We then hopped aboard the Tate Boat for a trip to the Tate Britain at Millbank. This is the home of the largest collection of J.M.W. Turner paintings in the world.
John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough are also in abundance.
Headed north to Buckingham Palace before walking through St. James Park to the National Gallery.
The National Gallery is amazing. A must visit for Renoir, Van Gough, Monet and Rembrandt.
We finished up with a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral and a great final walk along the Thames to the hotel near The Tower.
Leave Los Angeles on a 4:15 pm flight…arrive at Heathrow at 11 am.
Heathrow Express to Paddington Station in 20 minutes.
Grab a Black Cab outside and enjoy a great ride to your hotel near the Tower Bridge.
Check into your hotel and walk over for a 2-3 hour tour of the Tower of London.
From an Eater.com online article:
The light is different, higher contrast. Real-life chiaroscuro. And sound is muted, still, almost absent. Except when the wind is kicking up a tremendous, otherworldly, howl. And the city looks so small, innocent, like a child’s train set, the Statue of Liberty a tchotchke in a tourist shop. Sixty-mile views that reach the Hudson Highlands up north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, and, much closer, planes landing and taking off at three major airports.
There are few New York City restaurants more storied than Windows on the World. The restaurant made its debut on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower in 1976, offering sweeping views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey — the earth itself peppered with the buildings, the bridges, the Statue of Liberty; the sky with tourist helicopters. “Windows was a shining ambassador for New York, an escape from a city that was, in decades past, drug addled, dirty, and crime-ridden below,” Eater NY’s Ryan Sutton reminisced in 2014. “Even if you didn’t know much about fine dining, you knew such a dream-like place existed, and you knew that it came tumbling down on September 11, 2001.”
To read more: https://www.eater.com/2019/9/17/20862698/world-trade-center-restaurant-windows-on-the-world-history-design-book-excerpt
From an New York Times online review:
Revere’s place in history was cemented by the Longfellow poem, published in 1861, more than 40 years after Revere’s death. Longfellow “was flexible about the historical details,” said Debra Schmidt Bach, who coordinated the exhibition for the New-York Historical Society. “I mean, it was a fictionalized poem,” she said. “It was not intended as a detailed examination of the ride.”