It is a bit hard to believe that a mere 58 hours ago, I was in a totally different country across land and sea. Less than two days ago from time of writing, I landed at LAX from a long-awaited holiday in the United Kingdom with my family. And though I am happy to be back in the States attending an education conference, I wouldn’t be quite honest if I didn’t say I missed it already.
We decided on the U.K. for this Thanksgiving break holiday for two reasons. One was that the older kids were hoping to take an international trip that wasn’t Canada before they left home to begin their adult journeys. As Jacob actually celebrated his eighteenth birthday on this trip, our time with all our babies at home is quickly diminishing. The other reason was that airfare from Los Angeles International to London was super inexpensive. Like $400 USD roundtrip inexpensive. I figured that it was a sign, and so we decided that there was no better time than the present to finally take a long-haul flight across the pond to our ten-day dream trip to Great Britain.
We departed the Sunday after school let out for the American Thanksgiving break. We flew Virgin Atlantic nonstop both ways, and I was extremely happy with the service we got on the plane. Not only were our flights on time, but check in and boarding were really easy. We were also well fed on the flight and the free in-flight entertainment ensured that the kids were not bored for a minute. Although, the abundance of movie choices, games, and music did mean that they were not working on the homework they were supposed to make up for the three days they would miss school.
We landed at London Heathrow the following morning. It was a quick jaunt to pick up the rental car for the six days we would be spending on the English coast in Lymington, Hampshire. The drive out of the airport, on the other hand, was a different story. That adventure is shared eight posts from this one in Our Great British Transportation Adventure. And yes, my daughter so kindly got some funny video of my second and possibly third time around the airport. Those roundabouts…
Our time in Hampshire took us to some interesting and beautiful historical sites. We were a mere hour south of Stonehenge, so we stopped there on our second day in England. During our stay in the English country, we also visited Salisbury, Bath- made famous by Jane Austen’s writings- Oxford, and Winchester, home to King Arthur’s Round Table. On our sixth day in the United Kingdom, we dropped the rental car back at the Enterprise at Heathrow and made our way via the Piccadilly Line into Greater London for the rest of our stay. There we were reliant on London’s renowned public transportation system, which actually made getting around the city much easier and much less stressful.
We had originally talked about visiting Scotland on this trip, however we really didn’t feel we had the time to make the eight-hour drive north. I confess that I didn’t realize how large Great Britain really is, especially when driving it. I do wish we had driven into Wales, as that wouldn’t have been too far from Bath, but as it was, we didn’t quite see everything we wanted to see on the trip anyway. There were just too many places of natural and architectural beauty, historical sites, and fun adventures. I think we will just have to make plans to visit again.
The next several posts will feature details of the places we visited, as well as some tips we picked up from the experience and what we learned from our mistakes. The United Kingdom is truly an amazing place to adventure.
And my apologies to Canada. British Columbia is one of my absolute favorite places in the world, but the kids decided that it was a bit too much like America, only kinder. Happy trails!