Chepstow (UK) Travel Team

The Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London, England

Sherlock Holmes is one of London’s most famous characters. To learn the full history behind the name, consider going on the Sherlock Holmes Walking tour on your next trip to London, England. Visit Holmes’ famous residence at 221B Baker Street to see the memorabilia Museum or continue walking to see the other famous buildings that appeared in the Sherlock Holmes literature.

The Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London, England: The first segment

The Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour is designed to give visitors an authentic experience of what London would have been like back in 1895, during Holmes’ time. The walk is not a guided tour, but maps can be found in many of the area’s walking tour guidebooks. There are two sections of the Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London, so you can choose the distance that is appropriate for your fitness level and available time. The first section of the walk starts at the Baker Street underground station. The walking tour travels through the London streets until you reach the tube station at Oxford Circus. This completes the first segment of the Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour.

The Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London, England: The second segment

Once you have reached the end of the first section of the Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour, you have the option of either walking down Regent Street to see other parts of London or taking the tube to the second portion of the Tour. If you choose to continue the walking tour, exit the tube at the next underground stop, Piccadilly Circus. From here, you will walk all the way down to the Covent Garden underground stop. The second portion of the walking tour includes many buildings that were in the Holmes literature, including the Sherlock Holmes Pub, which was featured as the Northumberland Hotel in the popular Hound of the Baskervilles novel. If you complete both segments of the Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London, England, it should take approximately three hours to see all of the included stops.

The Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London, England: 221B Baker Street

Some of the sights you will see along the Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London include 221B Baker Street, Holmes’ residence. Of course, there was no actual address in existence prior to the publishing of the Sherlock Holmes book series, but now there is so much tourist demand that a Sherlock Holmes Museum has been built on the site. In addition to the museum, a statue of Holmes himself and a gift shop now reside along the Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour at 221B Baker Street in London.

Chepstow (UK) Travel Team

Top Things to Consider Before Renting a Vacation Cottage in the United Kingdom (UK)

One of the most popular ways to stay in the United Kingdom (UK) is to rent a vacation cottage instead of staying in a hotel. With renting a cottage often being so much cheaper than staying in a hotel, it’s no wonder so many people do it. Before you rent a cottage in the UK though, there are certain things you should consider, things that will make your UK cottage vacation much more pleasant and stress-free.
What’s The Best Way To Rent a Cottage in the UK? – There’s plenty of ways you can rent a cottage in the UK. You can go through a UK real estate agent, rent through a newspaper or magazine ad, rent through a British friend or relative, or rent online.

Sure, you can rent through a real estate agent, but they tend to be more expensive and getting the information you need about the cottage isn’t always as easy as online, unless they have a good website. You can rent through a newspaper/magazine ad but, again, you’ll usually find the information you receive is limited and with no comments from other renters, you’re not always sure what you’re renting. And, as for renting through a friend or relative, we did this a couple of years ago and, although the cottage our friend choose was adequate, it was not what we would have picked ourselves or up to our usual standards.

Overall, I would recommend renting through an online website. There are many to choose from, most have excellent photographs and descriptions with clear information about the area in which the cottage is located, as well as comments from tourists who have rented the particular cottage you’re looking at. For suggestions on websites, look at the resources section at the bottom of this article.

What Should You Look For In Location When You Rent a Cottage in the UK?

The most important thing is where is the cottage located? The UK has some gorgeous cottages but some of them are in the middle of the moors and miles away from anywhere. While this may sound romantic and very ‘Cathy and Heathcliff’ , when it’s pouring down with rain, which it often does in the UK and you’re in the middle of nowhere – not romantic, really. Make sure the cottage you rent is near shops, public transportation, restaurants and a few local attractions.

What Amenities Should The Cottage in the UK Have?

Most of the time, UK accommodation is not as large as in the US or as luxurious. Many UK cottages are actually quite basic. Make sure, before you plump down that deposit or payment, the cottage has a kitchen, washer and dryer, comes with linens and towels, the beds are large enough, it has TV with cable or satellite, parking (if you’re going to rent a car) and, even that there’s a pub nearby. This might not sound necessary but pubs have some of the best and cheapest meals in the UK and they’re a great place to meet people.

Why Do UK Cottages Not Have Air Conditioning?

Many Americans worry about not having air conditioning when they rent a cottage in the UK. The UK is a pretty cold country, particularly compared to most parts of the US with high temperatures in the summer running only 80 degrees in some areas, and this will only last a few days. You honestly do not need air conditioning in the UK. It will never get hot enough. Heat, on the other hand, you do need as it will definitely get cold enough.

Is There a UK Cottage Rating System?

Yes, the Tourism Council has a rating system where they assign stars depending on the quality of the cottage, what amenities it offers and where it is etc. Look for the higher star ratings. If the cottage you’re interested in however hasn’t been rated, then read the customer comments of other people who have stayed there, as that can tell you a lot.

Research the Area Before You Rent a Cottage in the UK

One of the most important things you should do before renting a cottage in a certain area of the UK is to research the area. If you’ve never been there, it could sound interesting, only to find when you get there it’s the most boring place on the planet. Research the area looking for places of interest, tourist spots, restaurants, art galleries and museums, public transportation system, other towns it’s close to etc – then you can make an educated guess about your vacation cottage.

Staying in a cottage in the UK is a fun way to have a vacation as well as save some money. With cottages being as cheap as £250 for a week (around $415) and hotels being more than double that per room, renting a cottage can be a much cheaper UK vacation, particularly as they’ll usually sleep 2-6 people.

Chepstow (UK) Travel Team

The Best Luxury Mini-Coach Tours of London and Britain

Astral Travels Review

I simply must rave about how utterly marvellous Astral Tours is. Of all the money we spent on our June 2006 trip to London, the £70 each we shelled out for this day tour with Astral was the best value by far. They have any number of tour combinations available. We selected the Stones amp; Bones tour. Now, they do have a tour where you can actually walk among the stones at Stonehenge, but that wasn’t running the exact days of our trip. It is an option for you maybe though.
I won’t go over every tour option here, you can explore at your leisure on Astral Travel’s website to see which will best suit your own whims… but I will tell you all about that Stones amp; Bones tour package.

Astral Travels picked us up right at our hotel at around 7:30 in a very nice Mercedes coach. After picking up the other folks at their hotels, we then headed over to the meeting place in central London to begin the tour. Folks were sorted to their respective coaches dependant upon which tour they had booked. Now, my one moment of consternation was when I saw their brochure in the coach. The price listed for our tour was like £5 less than we had paid at a website called Stonehenge Tours. I suggest you call Astral Travels to book and get the bottom dollar price directly. Still, it was worth it.

From London we headed out with Tony. Now I gotta tell ya, this guy is a load of fun. He is full of offbeat information and that made the initial hour and a half drive to our first stop go very quickly. The man’s got jokes, let me tell ya.

Our first stop was Old Sarum Castle. This stop was part of the reason I had picked this particular package. They all go to Stonehenge, but this one had the castle. I’m a nut for castles. Unfortunately, this is actually the spot where a castle used to be. DOH! William the Conqueror built the place when he made his way here in 1066. He was right keen on castle building everydamnwhere. Problem here was that he chose to build on a high hill and dug a system with two motes as protection… only ummm… there wasn’t any water. Oops. Big cathedral here once upon a time within the castle grounds, what used to be here though has been taken stone by stone further down a bit to build what is now Salisbury Cathedral (our next stop.) What is still here is a very low layer of walls, the moats-cum-ditches, and the privies. There is also a very small gift shop with some pretty cool books on the area. I bought one called Dark Knights amp; Dingy Castles by Terry Deary for £7.99. It’s hilarious.

Next was Salisbury Cathedral in the medieval town of Salisbury, naturally. This is a very old cathedral just rich in history. You do not have to be the religious sort to appreciate this place. I’m not at all into any religion of any kind and I enjoyed this stop a great deal. The one part that did tend to irk me a bit was an overhead announcement to please stop your walking and pray a minute with them. Huh? Well, ok, this is their stomping grounds. I stopped and glanced around at the way-cool architecture while they all prayed. No harm, no foul. There is a goodly sized gift shop here with lots of neat stuff and not all of it is church related at all. There is also a restaurant if you’re hungry. Plus, this is where the original Magna Carta is housed. If you don’t know what that is, or its significance to American history then you need to stop reading this review right now and go freakin educate yourself. Really. We stayed here for about an hour, plenty of time to wander about.

From there we made our way to Woodford Valley and a delightful old pub for lunch. While on the bus we had filled out our menu requests so the food was ready to go when we arrived. Glorious old wood tables here and just a great atmosphere all around. The place just feels like my idea of merry ol’ England, yanno? I had the Ploughman’s Lunch of salad, ham, and cheddar cheese with various fruits and it was perfect for this gentle warm afternoon of sightseeing. Lunch is included in the tour price (as is all admittance fees) but if you crave a pint of ale, you have to go buy that yourself at the bar.

After lunch we stopped for pictures in Uppavon. This little village has just the cutest thatched-roof buildings. I kind of would have liked to have explored a bit here perhaps, but we had two major attractions yet to go so pictures it was and off we went again.

Stonehenge was next on the agenda. I was actually a bit disappointed in this stop. Oh, not by the tour company at all, but by Stonehenge itself. I mean, it was cool and all, but it wasn’t nearly as awe inspiring as our next stop.

After Stonehenge we passed through the Chalk Hills and were amazed at the figure there in the side of the hill. It was a perfectly rendered huge white stallion made by cutting away the turf to expose the natural chalk underneath. WOW. I would have liked to have seen a few more of these chalk figures, actually. There are suppose to be quite a few more in the area. Tony stopped on the side of the road and let us take some photos, then off we went again.

The highlight of this tour, to me, was this last stop: Avebury. I am telling you now, folks, that if you have time for only one stone circle thingy… make it this one. Avebury is a quaint little farming town, which is completely inside the largest stone circle discovered to date. There are several smaller henges inside the outer henge also. This is 14 times the size of Stonehenge, I kid you not. Also, it has not been roped off anywhere. You can walk around here to your heart’s content, stopping to have a nice brew at the Red Lion there on the corner. There is also a nice (but over priced) gift shop there next to the small post office.

After Avebury it was a deadhead back to London where we were dropped right there in Paddington, about a block from our Hotel at around 18:00. Perfect. It was a perfect day.

Even with the pound being double the dollar at the moment, that £70 each was a bargain for the day we had. I would not take it back for the world. I do highly recommend you sign up for one of these tours. Five Full stars for Astral Travels.