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BritRail Day Trips out of London (15 August to 6 September 2017)

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No  part  of  this  web  page  and/or  photographs  may  be  used  without  prior  permission.
This trip, seven years since my last one to England, involved more than a few celebrations, careful planning, not to mention industrious saving, to become a reality.  Firstly, I had been looking for somewhere to spend my 60th birthday.  It looked like Costa Rica or even a short Caribbean cruise would be the ticket.  However, my niece was getting married at the end of August and my octogenarian parents and youngest brother were coming over from South Africa, so England it was!  Besides, I would also be able to see my other brother and sister-in-law and nephew!  Let's not forget my best friend Bronwen, with whom I would be based in Barnes.  We're trying to see each other more regularly, and since 2013 we've managed quite well!

Stonehenge, Salisbury
Links to Day Trips
Deal / Sandwich
The Wedding
Family Reunion

The idea behind this trip was to base myself in London and take day trips on British Rail trains to places I'd not been to before.  (I couldn't afford to spend nights in all the places I visited so the day trips was the next best thing.)  This sounds easier than it was; deciding where to go, which BritRail Pass to get, how many days to buy and which places to spend a night gave me more than a few headaches.  Thankfully it worked out in the end.  I eventually settled on a 15-day Flexi England Pass as that would cover where I wanted to go.  I paid £330 (including the £12 shipping fee and 2.5% commission for credit card payments) which worked out to be $449.60 (and included the 3.5% foreign transaction fee on my credit card!)  Needless to say, I didn't use my credit card again!  I used cash only.  You can travel on any train and at any time which is great if you're having a good time in one place and want to stay a little longer.  As I was turning 60 a couple of days before my first day trip, I qualified for a senior pass and saved quite a bit!

Throughout my trip I kept seeing fantastic pub signs, incredible store signs, amazing weathervanes, pretty doors and interesting door knockers.  And naturally, for me, I had to include some wildlife and flowers!  You couldn't help but fall in love with flowers, as everywhere you looked there was an abundance of colorful hanging baskets or flower pots or gardens.  I was also interested in the blue plaques scattered around London (and England) so I've included some of these too!  I hope you enjoy reading about my day trips!

Pub Signs | Store Signs | Weathervanes | Door Knockers | Doors
Street Art | Clocks | Wildlife and Flowers | Blue Plaques

Pub Signs

Store Signs


Door Knockers


Street Art
      street art in London  


Wildlife and Flowers

Blue Plaques

  Day Trips:   London | Salisbury | Whitstable | Oxford | Hereford 
  Stratford-upon-Avon | Winchester | Hastings | Broadstairs | Deal / Sandwich | The Wedding  (Family Reunion)

Marine Hotel - 32 - 33 Marine Parade, Tankerton, Whitstable, Kent CT5 2BE
Tel: 01227 272672
Web: www.marinewhitstable.co.uk/
Avoid this hotel as our linen was disgustingly dirty and hidden!  See my review!

Mercure Shakespeare Hotel - Chapel Street, STRATFORD UPON AVON CV37 6ER
Tel: (+44) 2477 092802
E-mail: H6630@accor.com
Web: Website
Facebook: Facebook
Twitter: Twitter
Instagram: IG
Rates from £79 ($103) but contact for up-to-date rates.
My Trip Advisor review.

Fleur de Lis Hotel - 6-8 Delf Street, Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9BZ, United Kingdom
Tel: 01304611131
Web: fleursandwich.com/
Email: fleursandwich@gmail.com
Here is my Trip Advisor review.

International Rail
The less expensive of the four official BritRail Pass merchants.  (Currency conversions correct at the time.)
Keep your pass handy at all times as the train conductor can often appear out of nowhere.  Or not at all.  You have to have it validated on the day of your first trip and then you fill in the date of each next day you travel.

The Train Line
Excellent website for looking up times and duration of potential trips.  I found this an invaluable tool when planning where and when to go by train.

Oyster Card
Web: tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/oyster

Underground (Subway) Information
London Bus Information

London Bus MAP
Web: Download the pdf map.
I used this find bus numbers on routes I might want to take.  It is really helpful and you can download it to your phone.  I only have wi-fi on my phone so having a map downloaded really helps.  Unfortunately I can't remember where I found this map so just do a search for London bus route maps and look for a pdf file to download.
Blue Plaques (English Heritage)

London Wetlands Centre - Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London, SW13 9WT
Tel: 020 8409 4400
Web: www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/london/
Email: info.london@wwt.org.uk
Visit their website for up-to-date info.

Tel: 1-800-940-9345 (Toll-free in USA) or (201) 942-1029
Email: support@justairticket.com
Web: www.justairticket.com
I got a fantastic airfare from justairticket.com and flew from Denver to London on British Airways and returned on American Airways from London to Chicago to Denver for just $815!!!  I chose to fly from Pueblo, CO to Denver and not from Colorado Springs, CO as the fare was less than half and I could leave my car at the Pueblo Airport for three weeks for free.  It's easier and less stressful than driving to Denver or getting someone to take you or taking the bus.   I flew on a little Great Lakes plane for $122 return from Pueblo to Denver!  Beat that if you can.

TIPS: - Always take a bottle of water with you when you leave for the day, as well as a few snacks.  You never know if the station you depart from has food for sale or if the train you're taking has food for sale or not.  It's horrible being stuck on a train without access to food.  Be prepared.
- A little umbrella will not go amiss especially when those showers appear out of nowhere.
- Make sure your walking shoes are good ones as you don't want to end up with sore feet or blisters the size of silver dollars, like I had!
- A little notebook and pen is always handy to jot down names and places and names and phone numbers of people you might like to stay in touch with.  (I know many people use their electronic devices but in case yours runs out of battery, what you gonna do?)
- Make sure your Oyster card has sufficient credit.  You don't want to incur any hefty fees.  This saves time too as you might get back into London without any money (or enough money) to add to your Oyster.  Being prepared saves time and stress.
- I used www.thetrainline.com to find out the length of some trips, the times I might be able to use, which station in London they depart from, the times of the return or connecting trains, and so much more.  This was invaluable to my prep work!
- I bought my BritRail Pass from International Rail in the UK but not without hiccups.  They delivered my pass to the wrong address and no one was the wiser until I queried why it hadn't been delivered to my friend!  I saved about $30 doing it this way rather than mail it to me in the States.
- The Southwestern Railway trains (Winchester and Salisbury) had wi-fi and a food cart but no electrical outlets that I saw.
- The Greatwestern Railway trains (Oxford, Stroud, Worcester, Hereford and Stratford-upon-Avon) didn't always have wi-fi but some trains had electrical outlets.
- The Southeastern Railway trains (Whitstable, Deal/Sandwich, Broadstairs, Headcorn and Hastings) rarely had wi-fi and no food carts.
- Most trains I went on were really cramped with tiny seats, some facing backwards, some with little tables which were useful, and often nowhere to stow your suitcase/s.
- Because I don't have internet on my cell phone and rely soley on wi-fi, I downloaded walking and bus route maps so that I could call them up whenever I needed them and didn't have to search out a wi-fi hotspot.  I preferred not to have to incur international cell phone charges and managed just fine.
- I made a list of free things to do in London so that I didn't have to spend too much money, and there are so many free things to do!  Like the British Museum, the Saatchi Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery, the Museum of London, and the Tate Museum for starters!
- Click on the thumbnail photos, then click again for much more detail!

E-mail:  travel2@live.com
or pettprojects@yahoo.com

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