U.K. Holiday: April 2017

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Sunday, 9 April - Arrival in the U.K.; through London to Bath

Our plane left DFW about 6:15pm on Saturday, which put us at London Heathrow around 9:15am Sunday morning. We had already decided against spending any time in London. So we hopped on the Heathrow Express train for the 20 minute ride to Paddington Train Station to catch our train to our first destination: Bath. Our first adventure began with the trains. Since it took till after 10:00 to get through customs, and a while to get out of Heathrow to Paddington, catching our scheduled 10:00 train from Paddington to Bristol proved impossible! We met a nice lady from Bath on the train who talked to us quite a bit about stuff around England and Scotland, and where to go in Bath. Along the way, we found out that the Bath train station was closed for the weekend for upgrades, so we took a train from Bristol and stopped at Chippenham, where we were loaded onto a coach (bus) which took us into Bath.

Photos of the journey (7 images)

The hotel was a bit out of the city limits, so we had to figure out how to get out there upon our arrival. Instead of going straight to the hotel just to drop our bags and turn around, we found a baggage storage storefront to drop off our stuff for cheap! That gave us plenty of time to wander around the city and see some of the main sights.

Our first site was Bath Abbey. Events at this location go back at least as far as 973 when Edgar I was crowned. The current structure dates back 500 years. The doors weren't open, since it was Sunday and they had to work in general visiting hours between services, so made plans to come back.

Lunch was a Cajun chicken wrap from street vendor on one of the main squares. We continued our walk by going around the Alkmaar garden with its center obelisk, then over the River Avon bridges, took in a few minutes of cricket watching at the Bath Cricket Club. We went in the abbey just before the 3:30 service, but didn't stay because it was service time, not general walking around time. So we continued exploring -- we wandered into the beautiful Henrietta Park with its sunbathers and dog walkers and gorgeous flowers in full bloom throughout. As we walked more North to try to get a view of houses on the hill, we happened upon a bonus ruin, St. Mary's Churchyard with its roofless chapel and surrounding cemetery.

Photos of walking around Bath (18 images)

After procuring some takeaway Cornish Pastries for dinner, toward the evening but well before dark, we picked up our bags and hopped on a bus that took us to about a mile away from the hotel, only to find out that the mile we'd need to walk was a very unpleasant, busy, narrow country road with no sidewalk. We must have looked pretty miserable, because a Good Samaritan asked us if we needed a ride. God bless that woman, wherever she is! We loaded into her car and she drove us right up to the door of the hotel.

We were staying at the Homewood Park Hotel and Spa, a small but beautiful estate outside of Freshford, about 20 minutes outside Bath proper. Our room had a gorgeous view overlooking the garden and grounds. After checking in, we ate our pastries for dinner and had time to walk around the grounds some before dark. We made taxi arrangements for the next day, had a cup of tea, planned out the next day's trip, and went to bed really tired.

Photos of around the hotel (11 images)