Welcome to the first of several pages showing some of the details of our November 2005 trip to the UK
We had a busy schedule for our visit, we were frequently late because we did try to fit a considerable amount of activity
in to a few days, this was our original schedule, and we managed to do almost all of the activities it contains:
We are flying by US Airways out of Philadelphia (airport code PHL) on November 16th, departing
PHL at 8.20 PM local US time on a non-stop flight (flight number 98) to London Gatwick (LGW) arriving at 8.25 AM local UK
time on November 17th. Flying time is approx 7 hrs 25 minutes aboard an Airbus 330-300 plane. Once at Gatwick and cleared
of all the formalities we will travel to London on a Thameslink train and make the short trip from the Thameslink Kings Cross
station to London mainline Kings Cross either on foot or by taxi....takes about 10 minutes walking, been there, done that......we
will then travel to Doncaster by GNER Mallard train, on the 13.00 (1 PM) train from KX, arriving Doncaster at 14.33 (2.33
PM). There is between one and two hours leeway in the timing which will allow for delayed flight and/or problems crossing
to KX from LGW...if everything is on time, then we will have plenty time for lunch before the train ride....once in Doncaster
we will collect a rental car at Exchange Car Hire (Barry Ellis's company, Barry has discounted the rate for us )and proceed
to our hotel, Mount Pleasant, so hopefully should be there at about 3.30 pm depending how tired we are we might
then decide to make a quick trip out but more likely to make a couple of phone calls and then take a nap.....we have very
tentatively put together the following plan...VERY fluid, so if anyone knows now that it conflicts with other plans etc please
let us know and we will try to work around it to please everyone.....
morning: Depending on the weather we might visit Bawtry and Barnby Moor where the Pilgrim
Fathers set sail for America.....of obvious interest to Jeanne.....
afternoon: We may well visit Doncaster Market.....we don't have anything like that here
so will be a different sort of shopping expedition.....
evening: We would like to pay visits to Steve/Claire (and the baby) and Nikki/Leigh
(and Nikki's new b/friend)....we will get an evening meal out and if anyone wants to join us they are more than welcome....is Thornhurst
Manor still as good as it was?..anywhere else?????
morning: We would like to invite Steve/Claire and the new baby and Nikki/Leigh/friend to
town to go visit some of the larger shops in the morning and hopefully grab something to eat for lunch while there.....
afternoon: We would like to visit Tickhill, and we plan on arrrivng there at
about 3pm and see as many of the family as possible there......Auntie Joan suggested a local cafe and that sounds
good...it would be nice to meet with Yvonne, Nita, Auntie Mary if possible and their families....sounds as though quite
a few will be able to make it and we will perhaps take Neet up on her offer to visit her home later
evening: We would like to meet up with my old friend Peter and possibley Mick and Dena's daughter
Donna as they both live in the same area....we will try to arrange by phone once we are in the UK.....
morning: Time to allow us time to pack then we would like to invite Steve/Claire/Baby/Nikki/Leigh/friend
to Sunday lunch (not sure where yet, open to suggestions)...
late afternoon: We will be dropping off the rental car and leaving for
London.....on the 16.10 (4.10pm) train to arrive London KX at 18.24 (6.24pm).......we will then get to our London
Hotel, maybe have something to eat or depending how tired we are might see London by Night and eat there.....
A full day in London to visit as many of the tourist sites as possible in one day without compromising
time to explore them (we can always visit the others on a different occasion).....we need some time to "hit the shops" on
An early start to LGW airport and we leave by US Airways, (flight number 99) again non-stop
into PHL , departing LGW at 11.50 am local time to arrive in PHL at 3.10 PM local US time......actual flying time is scheduled
to be longer coming back as the airlines time the flights to take account of adverse trade winds......
Our schedule as we did it.....almost the same as the one above.....
All of the details are as above.....we had a really bad storm as we traveled to PHL and the plane waited almost 40 minutes
behind it's scheduled departure time to allow as many connecting passengers as possible to board and not miss their connecting
flight. These passengers has been delayed on their travel to PHL by almost countrywide storms. The plane did manage to land
at LGW on time despite the delay in PHL. Our onward travel to London Kings Cross was largely uneventful although we were already
tired from the flight. We had well over an hour to spare at Kings Cross and chose to leave our suitcases at their "Left Property"
office rather than have to move around with them. We decided to have lunch at Kings Cross and went into the "British Pub"
there, a first time experience for Jeanne as was the pasty and chips (aka fries) we had there. The train journey up
to Doncaster was great and on time, the car hire was smooth, we went straight to the hotel and relaxed a little before venturing
out to a local store to buy snacks and pop etc.
As scheduled we visited Scrooby (well spotted those who saw my error on the initial schedule, we were intending to visit
Scrooby as the Pilgrim Fathers started from there, the reference to Barnby Moor was erranious). We then went into Bawtry and
spent some time looking around the local shops etc. Towards lunchtime we headed for Doncaster and spent a couple of hours
looking round the local market, Jeanne was impressed at this as she had seen nothing like it before. We had traditional British
Fish and Chips for lunch, again Jeanne was amazed at them, we get nothing like that anywhere in the USA, we ate at Rothwells,
perhaps the best Fish and Chip restaurant in the UK.....certainly the best in the area. In the evening we visited Steve,
Claire and baby Beth, our first sight of the baby, Jeanne calls her purrrrrrfect.......we continued from there to visit Nikki
and Leigh and met with Nikki's new significant other Graeme. After some time chatting we went to dinner at Thornhurst
Manor, no changes here, still a really good meal !!
Slight change in plan here, we had intended going to the larger stores in Doncaster but because the main shopping centre
is being expanded and renovated we decided to head for the MeadowHall complex at Sheffield. We had a great time shopping for
the baby, Leigh and others including Steve/Claire and Nikki/Graeme. Once we had finished with all the stores we needed (and
proved the "Shop 'til you drop" theory) we headed off to Tickhill to give a chance of a family re-union and to let Jeanne
meet up with family members. We had a great time and we thank Neet/Roger for their hospitality at home later in the afternoon
and a wonderful traditional British "Tea", being a buffet meal rather than the drink.....following the meal at Neet's
we went on to visit Donna/Jason/Joshua and were also able to meet with Peter and his significant other at the same time. Josh
was asleep but we had fun meeting with the others.
An unexpected addition to the schedule when we were delighted to be joined by Nikki/Leigh/Graeme and Steve/Claire/Beth
for a visit to the outlet complex at Doncaster where we managed to complete shopping for the family before heading off to
lunch at the "Glasshouse". Our local friends will probably better know that as "The Glassmaker" at Kirk Sandall, what a transformation
it has had, a beautiful place and a great Sunday Carvery.....we then returned the car to the rental office and headed for
the train to London, a brief but very emotional good-bye on the train station platform and an uneventful trip to London KX
on the train which was packed like a sardine can, thank goodness for reserved seats....we actually arrived at KX nearly 30
minutes early, just as well, it took that amount of time to wait for a London taxi, which for some reason seemed very few
and far between.....almost unknown in London....the hotel at London did end up having to switch our rooms as the first had
a non-teletext TV and we needed text in the UK for Jeanne's captioned service.
A VERY busy day in London.....we skipped out on breakfast at the hotel and headed for Marble Arch (literally a few minutes
walk), then by taxi to Buckingham Palace (and shop) from there we elected to take another cab to Trafalgar Square to save
time walking down The Mall, we also had breakfast at Garfunkel's in Trafalgar Square......from Trafalgar Square we walked
down Whitehall to see the Horse Guards, Downing Street, The Cenotaph and finally in to Parliament Square to see Big Ben,
Westminster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge where we got a view of the River Thames and the London
Eye. We traveled by "tube" to Tower Bridge station and took time to see the Tower of London (and shop), Tower Bridge etc.....we
then caught another taxi to travel to Piccadilly Circus and Eros and walked up Regent Street before taking a final cab back
to the far end of Oxford Street to complete our shopping.....we could not find a British Pub with any space available so we
grabbed a sandwich and snacks and headed back to the hotel as we were ummmmmm "slightly tired??"......
We decided to take a private hire taxi direct from the hotel to LGW rather than subject ourselves to travel there by
taxi/train and have to deal with no less than FIVE suitcases/bags - we had taken TWO with us and had to buy more, yes the
shopping was good !!......the plane left on time and we got back into PHL approx 40 minutes early......the trip home from
there was uneventful.