London, Scotland and Some Canals


Tuesday 11th October, 2022
Wednesday 12th October 2022
Thursday 13th October 2022
Friday 14th October 2022

Tuesday 11th October, 2022

W211 Mac Richard Brian

Mac with Richard and Brian at Banbury

Drop Cap ll packed up after breakfast we said our farewells to the other guests, gave our envelopes to Natalie and Richard and hugged Rosie and Brian. It is sad, but I think it will be our last trip. They have some bookings for next year already but the boats really need some TLC and maintenance and that means money!

Anyway we took the luggage and walked off along the lovely pavement towpath to the station, madly early for our train to London. We waited in the chill of the station for several hours then got our train, plenty of seats, luggage space. Sorted! Arriving at Marylebone we got a black cab to the Bedford, checked in and here we are again.

Botanical Building

Botanical Building on Southampton Row

Drop Cap he room is on the second floor, overlooking Southampton Row and opposite the lovely building covered in plants. Last time we wondered if it was artificial but today the greenery is full of little white flowers. Really different! We went out to find a chemist and bought some eyelid wipes then had a stroll around Russell Square Gardens before returning to unpack. We have decided to eat at the hotel's restaurant Botanica tonight, see how it goes.


Drop Cap e had an uninspired dinner, the basket of hot bread was yummy, my fish and chips were crispy and I enjoyed the cod but the chips were not great, and too many! Mac had chicken escalope and mash but he said it was dry and flavourless, and too much!

So to bed.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Wednesday 12th October, 2022

Houses of Parliament

Refurbished Houses of Parliament

Drop Cap ff after breakfast to Holborn where we took tube to Green Park and changed to the Jubilee Line for Westminster. There we bought tickets on the river boat to Kew. Once under Westminster Bridge the lovely refurbished buildings of Parliament and Big Ben glowed in the sunshine. They were covered in scaffolding and plastic last time we were here. And it was raining!

Thames Bridges

We Passed Under Many Bridges

Drop Cap t was a two hour cruise, puttering upriver at canal boat speeds due to a very low tide. We actually grounded a couple of times and when we reached Kew we couldn't get all the way in to the pier and had to walk the plank to get off the boat. But it was an interesting trip, lots of birdlife, including herons, cormorants and swans, even a black one! We also saw a seal swimming across the river. I had no idea there were so many bridges crossing the Thames!

Autumn at Kew

Autumn at Kew

Drop Cap nce we got to Kew, it was a kilometre walk along the towpath to the Brentford Gate where we were gouged thirty seven pounds for entry. We started with lunch and shared an egg salad baguette with coffee before heading off to explore the lovely gardens. We had a map in the guide we were given and Mac had fun and frustration making it match with the actual terrain.

Kew Palace

Kew Palace

Drop Cap e walked over to Kew Palace where Queen Charlotte (who started the gardens) lived with George III. It was a rather strident shade of orange, made of brick and classic in style, rather like Kensington Palace. We then went on a sort of circular tour in some lovely scenery.

Bronze Bridge

Mac on the Bronze Bridge


Kew Gardens Pond

Lake at Kew Gardens


"Naked Ladies" at Kew Gardens

Drop Cap e crossed the lake on a bridge made of bronze strakes, very attractive, and approached the tree top walk but it was too high and too many steps for me to contemplate. We passed fields of what I thought were crocus (and there were some) but were really what they called "naked ladies" because of bare stalks sticking out from the ground without foliage. They were not the same as our naked ladies which are taller and stronger and pink rather than mauve. But in large profusion they were lovely.

Grand Pagoda Kew

Grand Pagoda Kew



Grand Pagoda Kew

Pagoda from Japanese Garden, Kew

Drop Cap e walked up an impressive vista to find the Grand Pagoda, an oriental building from Victorian times, which was flanked by the Japanese Gate with a garden of raked gravel and boulders. I love Japanese gardens, all it needed was a water feature of some kind.

Bronze Bridge

Rosemary on the Bronze Bridge, Kew

Drop Cap y this time I was wilting on my feet so we made our way to the Victoria Gate exit, which was just a short walk from the Kew Gardens Station. We caught the District line to Earls Court, then walked straight on to the Piccadilly line train back to Holborn. Home to the Bedford by 1730. It has been a lovely day, some clouds, a drop or two of rain but generally good.


Drop Cap fter a rest we decided to go to dinner at Antalya, the Turkish restaurant almost next door, because my feet were still sore. It was very full and had some spiffy cars out front, including a chauffeured Rolls Royce. Ugly thing, looked like an armoured car. There was a large group of serious men in black dining there. And news cameras and a reporter, don't know what it was all about.

I enjoyed my Izmir kofta, not like the kofta I make but quite tasty. Mac had Iskender lamb and thought it was a bit tough.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Thursday 13th October, 2022

Drop Cap t was spitting rain after breakfast but cleared to a lovely sunny day later. Our first trip was to the laundry to find out their hours and found they are open all weekend so we will do it on Saturday.

Regents Canal Algae

Algae Coats the Regents Canal

Drop Cap hen to a gift and souvenir shop where we checked out a carryon bag and decided to think about it and go to Camden Market to see if there were any cheaper. I bought a cap, for me to wear in the sun here but to give Geoff when we get back. Then off to Russell Square to take train to Kings Cross as we wanted to go to the Canal Museum.

Ice Wells Model

Model of the Ice Wells in the Canal Museum

Drop Cap e exited the wrong way and found ourselves beside the Regent's Canal but it was quite a walk around to find the museum. It was quite interesting, focussing on the ice trade from Norway, when the boats would bring ice in, tranship to barges to the ice houses in Kings Cross. They have excavated one of the "Ice Wells" and it is enormous and apparently very lucrative until the invention of ice making machines.

Roses and Castles Kew

Roses and Castles at the Canal Museum

Drop Cap he museum had the back cabin of a working narrowboat, where the boatman, his wife and a large family lived in a space not much bigger than our cabin on the hotel narrowboat. Quite fascinating stuff. There were many exhibits about canal life, including the roses and castles style of decoration and even a model draught horse!

Camden Lock

At Camden Lock

Drop Cap fter we left we walked back to Kings Cross and caught a train to Camden Town, where we explored the street markets but found no bags that suited. At one of the shops we called at, a policeman appeared from the back and quietly asked us to leave the shop. Since the proprietor and staff were in the front of the shop we didn't know what was going on but we left, as requested.

Camden Lock

At Camden Lock

Drop Cap iving up on the bag, we started looking for lunch, but wanted to sit down, rather than eat on our aching feet. Finally found an unpromising looking place beside the canal which had tables so we went in and had bacon and egg brioche bun with chipotle dressing, and a pint of cider each. Draft cider, Aspalls, we liked it a lot.

Regents Canal

Along the Regent's Canal

Drop Cap hen we walked to the waterbus pier but there was no boat there for about three quarters of an hour so we gave up on them and caught the Jason's Trip boat back to Little Venice on its last trip of the day. This was great. Unlike the waterbus it was open so photos were easier. We saw a heron and a couple of squirrels and it was a pleasant little trip.

We walked along from Little Venice to Paddington station where we topped up our Oyster cards which were running low. Alighted at Holborn and walked along to the bag shop and bought it at a discount. It should do well.


Drop Cap e had a Chinese meal tonight, just along the Row towards Holborn. Chicken satay sticks, shredded beef in chili sauce, chicken fried rice. Quite OK and the guy was friendly and had been to Australia to visit a friend in Perth.

To the Globe tomorrow. The tickets have come (to my ipad) but need wifi to access. We plan to go early and try to get printed ones. As it happened however Mac worked out how to take a screenshot of the tickets and save to the photoroll and did not need wifi to show. All good.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Friday 14th October, 2022

Thames Low Tide

Low Tide on the Thames

Drop Cap oday we started out by taking the washing to the laundry. We can pick it up tomorrow. Twenty nine pounds fifty. Then we came back and got ready to go to Bankside. We tubed to Kings Cross/St Pancras and with a fair amount of looking and asking finally found our way to the Thameslink station. Absolutely no signage at Kings Cross/StP. Thameslink is apparently not part of TFL. But the people we asked directed us to the shiny new station where we caught the train to Blackfriars. The southern exit deposited us on Bankside, not far from the Tate Modern.

Ceremony Druidic

Druidic? Ceremony on Thames

Drop Cap e wandered along Bankside, looking down at the mud and stones left behind by the low tide. There were quite a lot of people fossicking among the stones, and swans barely ankle deep. Someone started a swan feeding frenzy by throwing bread.

A large group of people carrying green branches promenaded along the seawall, finally descending to the water and waving them while the first witch (or whatever) sprinkled flowers into the water. It was all being filmed by TV cameras and a sound crew. Nobody had a clue as to what it was all about. But it was too disorganised to be a TV show.

Gate at the Globe

Gate at the Globe Theatre

Drop Cap nyway we finally went into the Globe Theatre and found where we had to go. It was early so we scanned the shop and bought the programme for Much Ado and a T-shirt. Then had a sandwich and coke in the foyer café. I was getting more and more excited to think we were going to actually see Shakespeare in the Shakespeare Globe!

The Anchor Bankside

The Anchor Pub, Bankside

Drop Cap e walked out again for a while, passing the historic Anchor Pub, built in the 1600s, then came back, were admitted and picked up our seat cushions. The ticket screenshot worked fine and was scanned with no problems. In fact the usher was complimentary about having both tickets displayed. The advantage of using an i-pad over a phone!

At The Globe

Us at the Globe

Drop Cap hen we climbed the East Tower to the middle gallery where our seats were in the second row, centre. Great seats (better if they had backs but hey!) Another lady took our photo together which was great and I also took some of the theatre and the stage scene which was beautiful. I think it took some of the groundling space away but it worked really well. Our photos make it look empty but we were madly early, by showtime it was choc a bloc.

At The Globe

Set for Much Ado

Drop Cap hey set the play in Italy in 1945 just after the war and the soldiers came in singing "I Partigiani" which I learned in our Italian class. There was a lot of singing and dancing and quite a lot of Italian, with a nod to "The Godfather" as well. The acting was great, full of energy and the large house of groundlings, schoolkids on excursion, all seemed to have a ball. I know Mac and I did. Forgot my backache, just my feet coming down the tower again.

At The Globe

Interior of the Globe

Drop Cap hen we WALKED from the Globe back home, across Waterloo Bridge, through Aldwych, Drury Lane, etc to Kingsway, Holborn and home. It has been a wonderful day, just a dream come true.


Drop Cap e staggered across the road, thinking of the local pub for dinner but it was a typical loud boozer, so we went to Chambeli where we ordered onion bhaji, lamb rogan josh, vege korma and steamed rice with two little bottles of Californian rose. Very nice too and the staff at Chambeli are really great.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Orange left arrow Back to Previous Page Forward to Next Green right arrow