TRAVEL — England is a great place to travel, steeped in history and tea. With easy day-trips from London, you can explore the rich history and learn about the ancient stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge, Roman villas and baths, Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Oxford & Cambridge, Canterbury, the East India Company, Tudors, Shakespeare and much more.
Most flights from Canada will arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick. It is easy to get into London from either airport by train or bus. The Piccadilly line of the subway, or “tube” as it’s called locally, also connects Heathrow to central London.
An excellent option for visitors is the London Pass, a single ticket that includes entry to over 60 attractions including the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
The pass even includes a hop-on hop-off Thames River Boat Cruise that you can take to the Tower Bridge and Greenwich where you can see the Cutty Sark, one of the fastest tea clippers to sail between England and China. A three-day London pass is $164 and a 6-day pass is $217.
Harry Potter’s magical powers are well known, even amongst muggles who like to visit Warner Brothers Studios where they can be immersed in the making of the films. The $115 Harry Potter tour provides transportation and gives a behind the scenes look at props, costumes, special effects and sets including Hogwarts Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid’s cabin, Diagon Alley and Dumbledore’s office.
Fans of the TV series, Downton Abbey, can take a $124 tour that visits the village of Bampton where the show is set and includes a fish & chips lunch in the Cotswolds and a tour of Blenheim palace.
There are many reasonably priced day trips with various combinations available. For example, a tour to Warwick Castle, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon is $81, a Windsor Castle, Stonehenge & Bath daytrip costs $114 and a trip to Leeds Castle, Canterbury and the white cliffs of Dover is $81.
When I lived in London, I would often cross the English Channel to visit nearby France. Paris is only a few hours away and it is an easy side trip. Why not have a glass of good wine and see the Eiffel Tower when you’re so close. A day trip by train on the Eurostar through the Chunnel is $244 return.
If you are thinking about traveling to England, I’m sure Queen Elizabeth would love for you to visit. Return airfare from Kamloops or Kelowna to London normally costs around $1,400 including tax. A one-week air and hotel package from Vancouver on May 15-23 is $1,575 per person, double occupancy.
James Gjaltema is a founding member of the Kamloops Travel Club and a Flight Centre Associate. He can be reached at 250-879-0873 or through his web-site: http://www.flightcentreassociates.com/jamesgjaltema.