Another British Ramble – Days Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 9

Distance Walked: 14 Miles

Writing Soundtrack: ITV 3

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

I don’t have much to say about Day Thirteen as I spent a lazy day in the flat until it was time to meet a friend for dinner.

Day Fourteen was spent at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew which is my favourite place to visit while in London. I had a window of good weather (it only briefly drizzled) and was able to spend quite a few hours happily wandering. The bluebells have bloomed and there were blankets of blueish purple throughout the woodland areas…actually, they could be found pretty much everywhere. Even with a full day to explore, it would be quite a challenge to cover everything there is to see, but since I was pressed for time this visit, I focused on some of my favourite sections and Kew Palace, since I’d never ventured inside before. And lunch at The Orangery is always a good idea. I really can’t recommend Kew enough and if I lived in/near London, I’d probably find my way there quite often. An adult admission with donation is £18.50 and the Victoria Gate (the main gate) is just a short walk down Lichfield Road from Kew Gardens Station. The Temperate House has been closed for refurbishment during each previous visit but is scheduled to open May 5th after an extensive restoration (hopefully I can catch it next time.Later that evening, I met a friend for dinner and we saw Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre. It featured Edward Fox, Freddie Fox, Frances Barber, Nathaniel Parker, Sally Bretton, and Susan Hampshire…and was absolutely superb.Day Fifteen was my last full day in London before I fly home tomorrow. I had planned to walk along the Embankment and then wander through a couple of the parks on my way back to the flat, but the wind and the rain thwarted that plan. So instead I caught a Thames Clipper at Embankment Pier, rode it to Greenwich, had lunch, then rode it back to Tower Gateway Pier and caught the Tube back to Paddington from Tower Hill.

I may not make a post about the final trip day as it’ll just be a travel day from London back to San Francisco, but I just want to thank any and everyone for following this little adventure and taking the time to read these little ramblings.

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Another British Ramble – Days Eleven and Twelve

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 8

Distance Travelled: 8 Miles

Writing Soundtrack: ITV 3

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

I don’t have much to say about Days Eleven and Twelve. The former was spent hanging out with a friend and the latter just involved sleeping in and then venturing out for some walking, some tea, and some groceries (the Victoria Embankment Gardens are always a lovely place to wander, even in the rain).

Another British Ramble – Days Nine and Ten

Distance Walked: 4 Miles

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 7

Writing Soundtrack: Marvellous Musicals Playlist

*** All photos are property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

Day Nine was mostly a pack-travel-unpack day, but I did finish it up with The Moderate Soprano at The Duke of York’s Theatre. Starring Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll, it focuses on John Christie – the founder of the Glyndebourne Opera – and his wife, Audrey Mildmay. The cast also featured Anthony Calf, Paul Jesson, and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd and the production was absolutely fabulous.

I spent most of my time out on Day Ten at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a place I’d never visited before and always wanted to. I realised as soon as I walked in the door that the volume of content would completely overwhelm me, so I decided to focus mostly on one of the museum’s current exhibitions, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style. The exhibition extensively covered the history of transatlantic liners – even their use during the wars – and everything from engineering to decor to onboard food and fashion. It was rather fascinating and well worth the £20 ticket. As with most museums, the V&A is free, but the featured exhibitions require tickets (although they’re free to museum members); the standard £5 donation request applies and for those short on cash, they even have a terminal where you can donate £5 with a contactless payment method (I used ApplePay). I also spent a bit of time in the Britain 1500-1760 section.

The Garden Café features a variety of delicious dining options (I can absolutely recommend the Mediterranean wrap) and the selection of offerings at the museum’s stores is extensive. And the museum is connected to the South Kensington Tube station by a subway tunnel, the convenience of which was much appreciated when I left and the rain had resumed.

Another British Ramble – Day Six

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 4

Distance Travelled: 460 Miles

Writing Soundtrack: Marvellous Musicals Playlist

I don’t have much to write about today since it was spent travelling. I flew from Edinburgh to London Heathrow and despite getting off the ground late because of having to queue for airspace (or something like that), the flight arrived on time. The day as a whole was rather a headache (I won’t go into boring details) and in the future, I think I’ll stick to the train, but I had airline points to use that made flying a more economical option this trip. And the views from the plane were fabulous. I finally made it to Oxford which is one of my absolute favourite places, so I’m happy.

Adventures of a Wanderess – Day 23

Final salmon sandwich trip tally: 17
Distance flown: 10,702 miles

*apologies for this post being a day late – I was completely shattered after a VERY long day of travel*

I woke up on Day Twenty-Three on my last morning in London, wishing I could pause time and stay a little – or a lot – longer. Sadly, I couldn’t, so I said goodbye to the flat just before 10am and made my way to Paddington one last time with PJ in tow where I grabbed the last salmon sandwich of my trip and then caught the 10:25 Heathrow Express to Terminal 5. After checking PJ and going through security, I headed to British Airways’ South Lounge, curling up in a comfy chair with a cup of tea for an hour or so before I caught the transit out to Gate C65.


It wasn’t long before it was time to board and the A380 pushed back from the gate pretty much on schedule, although runway traffic at Heathrow meant an inevitable wait to take off. But we were eventually airborne. Settled into my Club World pod, I watched Sing during the main in-flight meal, rewatched How to Steal a Million (because I adore it), and then managed three hours of sleep. A Call the Midwife episode, Ratatouille, and a light meal later (part of which was smoked salmon), the Airbus touched down in a rainy San Francisco nearly eleven hours after taking off from London Heathrow.





After a short wait in customs and baggage claim, I caught BART to Concord where Dad was waiting to drive home through the heavy rain.

It never gets any easier to say goodbye, but I’ve had another absolutely amazing adventure that added more stars to my travel map. A massive “Thank You” to everyone who has followed this latest round of wanderings. I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on this little bliggity blog.

Adventures of a Wanderess – Day 22

Distance travelled: 5 miles
Salmon sandwich trip tally: 16

Day Twenty-Two was my last full day in London and the last non-travel day of my trip so I decided last night that I would cram as much wandering into it as my energy level would allow. I was ready to face the outside world just before 10am so I headed to Paddington to catch the Circle Line to Westminster in order to catch the River Bus down to Greenwich; I visited the Royal Observatory there on my last trip, but the weather was so wet and windy that I didn’t spend much time exploring and since I travelled on the Underground, I spent quite a bit of time on the three lines to get there and back. So, I thought a trip down the Thames in the sunshine would be a nice change in mode of travel. Once I’d alighted at Greenwich Pier, I spent some time wandering through the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College/University of Greenwich, glimpsing the Royal Observatory atop its hill and knowing I wouldn’t be trekking up there again this trip.




Anticipating grabbing a quick bite at Costa, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a Bill’s just down the street so I decided that that would be where I enjoyed the last lunch of my trip (and I did). After a yummy meal, I checked in for tomorrow’s flight (*sniffle*) and then meandered through Greenwich Market to the Cutty Sark before heading back to Greenwich Pier to catch the next westbound boat. 





I had intended to to disembark at Westminster Pier and take the Tube to Sloane Square so I could visit Saint Columba’s Church on Pont Street and then walk through Hyde Park and back to Paddington, but time and waning energy meant adding Saint Columba’s to next trip’s list of things to visit. So after hopping off the boat at Westminster, I caught the Jubilee Line to Green Park, made my way to and through Hyde Park (where the bluebells were out), and grabbed a final Costa panini at Paddington Station before heading back to the flat to do some packing. 


There will be one final post for tomorrow since my journey isn’t quite over yet, but as always, my time here has flown by and I’m not ready to say farewell. But it’s been another wonderful trip.

Adventures of a Wanderess – Day 21

Distance travelled: 6 miles
Salmon sandwich trip tally: 16 (still…although I did have a bagel with salmon spread, so…)

My plan for Day Twenty-One was to revisit the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, a place I’ve visited on my two previous solo trips and is probably one of my favourites. I managed to get up and moving and functional early enough to be ready in time to head to Paddington by 9:30, catching the District Line to Earls Court where I changed to a Richmond-bound District Line train, finally getting off at Kew Gardens, the Tube stop only a short, scenic walk from the Victoria Gate entrance. Although I’d visited twice before, the sheer size of the gardens and their seasonal changes mean there’s always something new to see, so I made a point of wandering paths and areas that I hadn’t on previous visits. I was so very glad I did when I came across a badger sett along the southern border (although the fluffy inhabitants were napping for the day); I saw quite a few other badger setts later on in areas I’d explored before, but without seeing that first one and its sign, I’m not sure that I would have known what they were.





There’s always an interesting juxtaposition at Kew as you walk through nature, often quiet except for beautiful birdsong…while every twenty or so seconds a jet goes roaring overhead with its gear down on its approach to Heathrow. Anyway, a little while later, a flash of blue in the woodland was something I had been desperately hoping to see on my visit: bluebells. I’m just a little bit obsessed with them as that particular bluebell isn’t found in North America at all (Virginia bluebells are a different plant) and a bluebell wood in bloom is a wondrous thing to behold. My first UK trip was in April and May during the height of bluebell season while my later two trips have been about a month earlier. Last year, I missed them completely so I was crossing my fingers that they would begin to emerge before I head home to the States on Thursday. Luckily, the bluebell gods smiled on me and while there weren’t the huge swatches of purplish blue that there will be later in the month, there were quite a few of them out and about throughout the gardens.





After going ga-ga over the bluebells and wandering through the rhododendron dell – which I always leave with the opening of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca running through my brain (“The rhododendrons stood fifty feet high…”) – I made my way to the Orangery for a bite of lunch, sitting outside to enjoy the cool weather while constantly being monitored by a magpie who would hop around on the umbrella above me and then peer down over the edge (I think he was eyeing my brownie). Side note: A sign in the rhododendron dell explained that scientists have found that the poisonous nectar of the invasive plants is toxic to honeybees (Read more…).










When I’d finished, I wandered over to Kew Palace and its Queen’s Garden before continuing on around the rest of the perimeter to the Alpine House, the Princess of Wales Conservatory, and the rock garden before passing the Palm House on my way back to the Victoria Gate and the garden shop in search of any new bluebell swag.









Successful, I said goodbye to Kew and walked back along Lichfield Road to the station to make my way back to Paddington, grabbing some groceries for dinner at the station’s M&S before heading back to the flat. Tomorrow is the last full day of my trip and I’ve a bit of an idea of how I’ll spend it.