It's Not All Black and White

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I just bought airline tickets for LONDON!!! For next month!!!! This is my dream vacation. We may hop to Paris (chunnel) for a couple of days. If you live in England or have visited please give me any good info I may need. I'm contemplating getting an eight day rail pass (England). Is this a good deal? I need pounds, right? Not euros for England? Euros for France, right? I still need to book hotels. Where's an exciting location in London? Like I said...EEEEEKKKKK!!!


Anonymous said...

I'm happy for you...I was there in 1969...I bet prices have changed!! I think it is so expensive but who cares? Ya only live once!! Enjoy. Eat something in Paris for me!

Tammy said...

So exciting!!! You are right, pounds for England and Euros for France. Don't have a heart attack when seeing the price in Euros:).

PS. The pastries are sooooo good there!!!

Anonymous said...

Bethany, how exciting is that! You will love it!
Rick was stationed in England back in the days and I used to fly over once a month to meet him. We explored London quite a bit.

Jenn said...

Bethany, I'm so happy for you - you're going to have an amazing time. I haven't been to Paris yet, but have been to London a couple of times. You probably know all the usual things that are fun, Westminster, Buckingham, the Eye; the last time we were there, we just hopped on a double-decker bus and went wherever it was going for hours. Bath is a nice place to visit, and if you can get there, Stonehenge is so cool. Have a blast - I can't wait to see your pics!

Dawn Easton said...

Oh how exciting!!! Congrats! The best part is that you go NEXT month...time will fly by and before you know'll be!

Alex said...

Oh, you are going to have a FABULOUS time!! I just love Europe and have been all over several times (I am military!) but London was one of my favorites! Can't wait to hear all about it!


Charmaine (CharmWarm) said...

WOW! That is AWESOME, Bethany! Sounds like a dream vacation alright!

Anonymous said...

WOW!! How fun. I'm so jealous!! I hope you have a good time.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness that sounds awesome!! What a great time you will have! Can't wait to see all the pics! :)

Jimmi said...

OMG you will love it!
Go to the Ritz and have High Tea! It was the best thing ever!!

and see some shows there, the theaters are so gorgeous!

carole (TruCarMa) said...

How cool, Bethany!!! It's been quite a while since I've been to London, but one of my favorite places in London is Harrod's. Just the neatest store in the world, especially the food department. We studied abroad one summer and were based out of Oxford, but went to London several times (in other words, we were poor students w/o a lot of extra $$$ to spend; and with the dollar in such bad shape the exchange rate is not going to be good, so be prepared mentally for that before you go).

Even if you're just 'window shopping' Harrods is fun and great place to get souvenirs for yourself and family. (You might consider doing a little gift shopping while you're there and ship stuff home. I got a good deal on some oil cloth aprons and bought 10 of them to give as Christmas gifts - unique and easy, and a ton of my shopping was done that year!)

They have lots of fun walking tours, too, and of course you'll want to do Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London -- I love those bus tours that take you every where and that you can hop on and hop off of. And if you like musicals or plays, the West End is the UK version of our Broadway/Times Square area.

Get a travel guide (I love the ones by DK because they have such great pictures) and start reading it now to prioritize what you want to be sure not to miss. And if you use a service like Netflix, I bet you can find travel documentaries that would also be interesting and help you decide what you want to see.

You're going to have soooo much fun!!!

katemade designs said...

I was there 10 years ago and it IS the dream vacation. Get yourself the RICK STEVES guide book for England. He's got a lot of fantastic information on things to see and do. I really liked the guided double decker bus tour that you can get on and off all day for one price - deets in the book.
Must Sees, for me at least:
Tower of London
Globe Theatre
Walking to the top of St Paul's Cathedral,
-great view on a clear day
The eye of London if I were to go today
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace it's a total tourist thing to do but hey, you're a tourist. I would recommend the inspection of the guard at Wellington Barracks though they still put on a show, good music not as crowded.

My second best advice get an "A to Zed map of London when you get there. Choose a tube stop - ask at the hotel about areas that are safest - and get delightfully lost. See things you hadn't expected and would never see if you just followed the tours. I chose Bankside and Southwark.

One thing I found online was the Mechanical Theatre Caberet in Covent Gardens. They have since closed but may have an exhibition somewhere. In searching for them again I came across this: London Museum Pass: free entry to over 70 attractions in London. Google this if you're the museum type.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bethany! Yes, it is 'pounds' for England. You will love it. I will PM you with some links but here is one to get you started -
There are some great Theatre Shows on at the moment too.

Kim Chase said...

Wow! That is super exciting. I have been to London twice and just loved it. I echo what others have said - watch out because the exchange rate is horrible. When we were there, we took the Underground (subway) every where. We stayed in a nice hotel in Kensington which we found to be close to transportation to get to things. Have a great time!!

Unknown said...

Oh you have a fantastic time, I live 2 1/2 hours outside London in Dorset (Weymouth) but london is lovely. You definitely need to visit Madame Tussauds/National History Museum, London Eye etc

Yup you definitely need Pounds, and be prepared for it to be a lot more expensive than the US!!!!

pegg said...

Oh how exciting!! We went to London for a vacation 2 summers ago. Spent 4 days in London and 4 days in the Cotswolds - stayed in some wonderful B&Bs in the countryside about 1-2 hours outside of London. We rented a car, which was quite an experience, but really fun. I like the idea of Paris - but you need to see the South of France too, no?! My thinking is you need to go to Paris for a vacation in itself.

For London, definitely try to get tix to the theater (we saw a Dame Judi Dench play), eat at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant, have tea (clotted cream is the yummiest thing ever ever ever), lots of amazing museums (which are free btw - I could be mistaken but I vaguely remember this). It is quite expensive in London, but you will be ok :) . London is amazing - I really loved that trip. We try to go to Europe once a year!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is going to be wonderful!! Take a big suitcase because I might want to hop inside. I'll be looking forward to pics and hearing all about it!

Christina Smith said...

Hi Bethany,

You don't know me, but I know of you because of your cards I have seen on Splitcoast. I have been visiting your blog for some time now. Being tagged inspired me to finally say "thank you" for sharing your beautiful work. You inspire me!

You have been tagged...

P.S. Enjoy your time vacation!


Libby Hickson said...

Oh how fun! Can't wait for you to post photos from your trip so I can live vicariously through you! :-) I LOVE London, one of my favorite cities in the world! There's already been a bunch of good suggestions, but I'll add the British Library - if you like books. Old hand-illustrated Bibles, original manuscripts by AA Milne, DaVinci's notebook, Shakespeare's first folio - all very cool. And my favorite guide books are by Rick Steves, we always follow his advice and very much enjoy our trips! Have fun!!!

Daniela Dobson said...

Oh, how fun, you are going to love it. You should go to Paris, it is so close.
We stayed at the Premier Inn London County Hall. It is right next to the London Eye and Big Ben is just a walk across the river.
Everything in London is expenseve and this was one of the cheaper hotels and it's close to the underground.
We got a London Pass with Transport, and it saves you money on some major attractions:
I am not sure about the rail pass...We were in London only for four days and barely had enough time to see everything.
I hope this helps. There is a ton of info on line.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! England is AMAZING! You will have lots of fun, London is not a good place to drive itis better if you ride their trollies and busses. Traffic and finding parking can be a pain, comfortable shoes so you can walk all over, don't miss the Change of Guard at Buckiham (spelling) Palace. Same for Paris take the train, food in France is faboulous...if you have time travel outside Pris to a place called Loire Valley, it is very romantic, lots of Chateaus to see, beautiful country side. I lived in Europe for 12 years 6 in Italy 6 in Germany (2 separate tours) and I travelled all over...just moved to Miami 6-7 months ago and I am dying to go back to Europe...enjoy your trip you won't want to come back

Rose Ann said...

Oh my exciting!! Woo hoo for you!!

suezie said...

Hey - so you are coming over to my country! I really hope you enjoy your trip.
Since we have hosted my husbands family from US many times we now have London down pat. With an early start you can get tickets for the London Bus tour which allows you to hop on and off all day long, that way you can stop at any of the sites you want to visit, stop for lunch and if you get the tour which includes the boat ride, take the very last boat. That way after a hard day touring you get to rest & relax along the Thames.

Kristen said...

Wow! how exciting for you! I lived in Oxford for over 16 years and used to love a daytrip to London.

I think with the dollar to pound exchange rate you really have to be very honest with what you want to see.

If you decide to get a railcard - Bath is gorgeous, York and Edinborough (as well as Oxford ;) ) and how could I forget the Lake District! is a good site to find deals for the Theatre. Timeout magazine also have some info - there may even be a large concert at Hyde Park while you are there.

In London it's a nice LONG walk Hyde Park or Oxford Street/Regent Street (Saville Row runs parallel - good for celebrity spotting) through to Picadilly Circus... about a block over is Leicester Square and about a block from that is Covent Garden - All good fun.

Oh and if you want to celeb spot - watch BBC America for their localish ones - I don't think I have ever been to London yet were I didn't spot someone famous - I have sat next to "Footballers" at restaurants as well. LOL Thing is they are pretty much allowed to get on with their lives over there unless they are truly of iconic status.

Just to say that the police ARE very vigilant however I never displayed my valuables in London and always had a bag that zipped closed and that went over my head and shoulder so I could keep it in front of me - arm always on it... men should keep their wallet in a front pocket - unfortunately its crowded and you will be "bumped" so just don't be a victim. Saying that because of this I have never been a victim of theft in London or elsewhere in Europe. Oh and don't put your bag down/hang it off the back of your chair when you sit to eat.

I know I saw an tourist offer for people going to Ireland so be sure to trawl the web and see if there are any deals to be snapped up!

And like someone said before staying on the Southbank is cheaper just don't get to far away from the river as the Southbank goes to sleep earlier! LOL

oh have fun! It really is a great place!

Kristen said...

Oh My Goodness! How could I forget there is a good stamp shop called Blade Rubber.

You can get their info at - and they have some VERY British stamps! I don't think their shop is always completely stocked but I have heard good things about them - so if you see something you like it could be worth contacting them before you go!

Alhambra Club said...

How wonderful, I love London, I love the "Mayfair" district in London, it is close to everything you can walk to the theatre district and to Harrods. There is a Holiday Inn Mayfair it is located right behind the palace and the park so you can also walk to the palace. England takes pounds and Euros, and France is on the Euro, if you go to Paris you have to go to Momart "spelling" but leave your wallets in the hotel, just take what you need for the day. I always use my credit card for everything, and don't forget the Louve, it is so big it is worth hiring a guide to take you to the top spots, Mona Lisa and Winged Victory, etc. have a wonderul time, enjoy.

Anonymous said...

You will have a ball there!
Hotels can be really expensive so look for some of the smaller hotels for better prices.
Places to go:
Covent gardens
A show
The parks
The London Zoo
Take the one/off bus so you can explors all day
Oxford Street for shopping

You will find restaurants expensive. Sometimes they have a "Cover Charge" for the bread and butter etc. One place that you will find good food at reasonible prices is the pubs. Also many pubs serve lunch..and then in the evenings they 'rent' the kitchen to Tahi cooks and you get amazing Thai food..again cheapest way to eat.
There are some lovely hotels near "Princes gate" of regents Park. I can get the address of the area if you wish? LMK

Anonymous said...

Yes, pounds for England, Euros for France. Take as much money as you can afford to. If you have a sweet tooth you will love our pastries. Don't forget to carry a 'brolly' (umbrella). Enjoy!!!