Europe with Trafalgar Tours and Etihad… Part 1: London

We did a city tour, took in all the major sites of London with our local guide Rita

When I was offered a trip to Europe  for 12 days I was pretty excited. But to be honest, the excitement was more about escaping my duties as a mother and wife for 12 days. I have been to Europe a few times and I am not really a coach tour type person. Anyway, to be totally looked after to the point where I didn’t have to think about a thing, whilst still having free time, was a totally new revelation to me and my portfolio of travel experiences and it is one that has changed my mind completely about this way of travelling!

On arrival in London at 7.00am we were met by our Tour Director called Roger or “Hodge”. The Trafalgar coach was parked outside Heathrow airport, where we met our driver for the next 9 days, Claudio. Hodge had organised early check in at the Cumberland Hotel at Marble Arch (opposite speakers corner on Oxford St), our home for the next 3 nights.

Having been to London before, I decided to do something unique and that was a horse ride in Hyde Park. It was a great way to spend an afternoon and it was just me and an employee of Hyde Park Stables. Once he saw me trot on the lead, he decided that I was capable of riding independantly, so I was unhooked! We rode right around Hyde Park and trotted down Rotten Row which has been famous for riding in London for over 200 years. This park is where the Queen’s horses are exercised so the trails are beautiful and you are right in the centre of one of the world’s major cities. Definitely a must do experience.

Apart from this, I considered going out to Stratford by train, and going to the top of the Westfield Shopping Centre, where it is possible to view the Olympic site. I also considered going to the David Hockney exhibition which was supposed to be amazing. Instead I shopped on Oxford St. From the very upmarket Selfridges to Marks & Spencer to Gap and Zara and right down to bargain central Primark – its all there within an easy walk. I feel a bit guilty, apart from going to the theatre and seeing Ghost, I did nothing but shop in my free time.

We did a city tour, took in all the major sites of London with our local guide Rita. As well as a tour director, you have a local guide for your city tour but to be honest Hodge was a google of knowledge, so we didn’t really need her as well.

While in London, we also did an optional day tour to Stonehenge and Bath. Stonehenge is one of the world’s most mysterious places and it reminded me of the Inca stonework in Peru. Bath is a beautiful hillside city and the Roman Baths are interesting.

Stay tuned in the next edition for Amsterdam, Brussells and Paris.

 

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