Group on our tour.

Group on the tour at Loch Lomond

TUESDAY, JUNE 1/99 LONDON, UK

Woke at 5:34 am. Breakfast great. Weather VERY HOT and sunny. Bus left Paragon Hotel at 7:30am. Went through Windsor Great Park and stopped off at Stonehenge for visit. Had lunch at noon in Salisbury and saw the Cathedral. Drive through Devon was so beautiful. Village of Dunfrey, Porlock and Barnstable just so pretty. Exmoor has sheep all over. Saw Bristol Channel water. Hotel in Barnstable ("The Royal and Fortescue") gorgeous. Dinner super. Very noisy outside hotel all night as gangs roamed under our open window and music played from somewhere. (Note: no window screens anywhere in any hotels in UK and also no face cloths). Time on coach today driving - 8 hours

Valerie at Stonehenge

Dunston

Forte and Portesque Hotel, Barnstable

Valerie at Stonehenge

Dunston

Royal and Fortescue Hotel, Barnstable

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2/99 BARNSTABLE, UK

Weather is rainy, foggy and damp. Left hotel at 8:30am and drove to village of Clovelly. Hedges full of wild Fuchsia, wild Roses, and Gloxinia. Arrived Clovelly 9:00am. Took us ½ hour to walk down steep cobbled wet street. Very hard to walk and slippery with rain. Beautiful village - best in UK! Well worth the effort to make it to the bottom. Pat and I dipped hands in ocean. We then got ride back up the hills in a grocery van with a friendly chap. Clovelly is a privately owned village and entrance fee is £2.80. Saw grouse and pheasants in fields. Tour director, Susan Heycoop, told us that Grouse shooting costs £1000/day and Pheasant shooting £250/day. We drove high up through Bodmin Moor on way to Plymouth. Weather very foggy. Drive from Clovelly to Plymouth took 2½ hours. Walked about the huge and historic Plymouth Harbour. Bus left at 3:15 pm. Passing by the Plymouth Citadel we saw that it is guarded with armed guards who are "at the ready" Marines. Arrived Exeter 4:30 pm and visited the Cathedral and medieval walls. Then on to the Holiday Inn Express which is a brand new hotel with lovely décor . Time on coach today driving - 4¼ hours.

Barnstable Waterfront

Pat at Clovelly

Clovelly Harbour

Valerie at Barnstable Waterfront

Pat at Clovelly (you have to visit it)

Clovelly Harbour

Clovelly Harbour

Plymouth Harbour

Marmite truck near Liskeard, UK

Clovelly Harbour

Plymouth Harbour

Marmite - My Brother's Fav Food

THURSDAY, JUNE 3/99 EXETER, UK

Weather was hot and rainy. Left Exeter 7:50am. Ducks were flying everywhere, and hares hopping about. Drove to Bath, arrived at 9:35am and admired the Georgian buildings. Left at 11:30 am for drive across the Cotswolds to Stratford. Arrived Stratford 2:30 pm, looked at all the lovely old buildings, had lunch and left at 4:30 PM. Hot and sunny and rainy. Later on way to Tetbury, where Prince Charles lives, we drove past Camilla Bowles house. After Stratford we went to Warwick at 3:30 pm and saw the Castle. Then on to Coventry to the Cathedral and finally our hotel, the Novotel Hotel. The food great, but the service left a lot to be desired. Went through Bibury(?) and it is gorgeous. Time on coach today driving - 6¼ hours.

Bath

Bath Abbey

Weir and Bridge, Bath

Bath

Bath Abbey

Weir and Bridge, River Avon, Bath

Houses behind Warwick Castle

Back of Warwick Castle

Houses behind Warwick Castle

Back of Warwick Castle

FRIDAY, JUNE 4/99 COVENTRY, UK

Weather 15°C, sunny and drizzle. Left Coventry 8am and arrived at Wedgwood Potteries 9:10am. A wonderful museum there and we watched them making the pottery . Pottery prices very high there. (We found the same pieces in jewellery shops elsewhere priced lower). Entrance fee is £3.20. Left Wedgwood at 10:35am and arrived at Chester 12 noon. Visited Roman Amphitheatre built in 86 AD which was used till 350 AD. Walked for 4 hours all over and had great pub lunch and met some of the locals. Pat played slots and won. I had my photo taken with a Roman Soldier in the amphitheatre. Left Chester 4:18 pm and arrived Leyland and "Jarvis" Hotel 5:25 pm. Crossed River Mersey at Liverpool. Time on coach today driving - 3 hours. Chester is another one of those 'must see' cities.

Clock in Chester

Pat in Chester Roman Amphitheatre

Valerie at Chester and Roman!

Clock in Chester

Pat in Roman Amphitheatre at Chester

Roman Soldier and Valerie, Chester Amphitheatre

SATURDAY, JUNE 5/99 LEYLAND, UK

Weather 15°C sunny/rain. Left Leyland 8:45 pm. Saw Irish Sea at Morecombe. Hundreds and hundreds of rabbits in all the fields. Near Kendall saw loads of deer about. Arrived Bowness 10:30 am and left at noon. On Lake Windermere - it is a pretty village but very crowded. Saw Village of Ambleside which is such a lovely medieval type of village all built of rough stone. (Ambleside and Grasmere are my judge for the most pictureque towns in the whole of UK - and it is also my sister's opinion for Grasmere as being the most beautiful town in the whold of UK!). It is not on the ocean but on a lake. Arrived Grasmere 12:35 pm. Lovely slate roofed tiny village but while we were there it poured rain. This was the first time for rain while we were not inside the bus. Arrived in Scotland (Gretna) at 3 pm. Stopped at Moffat Woollens Mill at 3:50 pm. I walked through the village. Bus left at 4:30 pm. Most homes here in Scotland look all the same - white stucco. Arrived Edinburgh Stakis Airport Hotel 5:45 pm. Time on coach today driving - 6 hours. BownessPhoto taken at Bowness.

SUNDAY, JUNE 6/99 EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Weather is cold and rainy. Took bus to city center in Edinburgh for 2 hour guided tour. Saw Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. Caught bus back to hotel at 1 pm and Pat and I went swimming in indoor pool in afternoon - had a nice time. Needed that time to relax. Breakfast at hotel was superb - so much variety. Enjoyed the haggis.

MONDAY, JUNE 7/99 EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Left Edinburgh at 8:34 am. Weather was damp, rainy, chilly. Had huge breakfast including kippers and haggis. Crossed Firth of Forth bridge between Edinburgh and Fife. Lots of pheasants in fields everywhere. Arrived St. Andrews 10:00 am. Golf cost $225/day to play here. Pat and I rushed to the North Sea beach for a taste of the ocean and for photos. Very expensive in the shops, and American golfers were everywhere. Left at 11 am. In Dundee saw Capt. Scott's ship "Discovery". Arrived in Perth at noon. Saw a lot of wild deer. Arrived Pitlochry at 1 pm. Had lunch then went to dam where salmon jump. Found a 'one-armed bandit' arcade so Pat and I gambled. Left at 3 pm for Blair Castle. A lovely Castle with peacocks all around. Travelled to Aviemore and through highlands saw lots of deer. Climbed 1500 ft. high up in coach. Arrived Aviemore and Stakis Hotel 5:30pm. Bed sheets had not been changed upon arrival even though told the room was 'ready'! Had "Wild Highland Pigeon" for dinner which was delicious. Time on coach today driving - 6 hours.

St. Andrew's Golf Course

Blair Castle

St. Andrew's Golf Course

Blair Castle

TUESDAY, JUNE 8/99 AVIEMORE, SCOTLAND

It stays light till 11pm and dawn is at 3:15 am. Rabbits were hopping all over the hotel grounds. Left hotel at 8 am. So much to eat for breakfast. Arrived in pouring rain at "Battlefield of Culloden" at 8:45am. Sue the tour guide told us great historical stories about everything all along on the tour. Left Culloden at 9:15am. Scotland is 859 miles in length. Gasoline is 72.9 P per litre ($1.83CAN/litre). Arrived at Achnasheen at 10:30 am for tea. Left at 11:00 am. There are lots of one-lane roads everywhere and our bus driver, Ian, did a wonderful job manoeuvring our huge bus along all the curvy roads. We took photos at Loch Carroon in the mountains. Went near Plocton which is the place where the TV series "Hamish McBeth" was filmed. Took photos at Lochalsh and jets called "Tornadoes" zoomed overhead. At 12:12 pm we crossed the bridge to Isle of Skye which costs each car £5.70 and coaches £41.20 one way. Weather was part rainy but warm and sunny all day. On Isle of Skye at Kyleakin we left the coach at 12:30 pm for look about and lunch. Pat and I tasted the ocean salt water, took photos and I took off my shoes and socks and paddled in the North Atlantic Ocean. Water was warm from the Gulf Stream. Left at 1:15 pm. Stopped at Luib for photo of sheep with horns and also thatched cottage with stones hanging down the sides to hold the thatch on in the high winds. The locals told us that as of today it is only one of 23 days so far this year that it hasn't rained. On Isle of Donan took photo of Castle. Arrived Fort Augustus (Loch Ness) at 3:45 pm. Left at 4:30 pm. Canal system at Fort Augustus allows you to go across Scotland from the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea. We drove through the Highlands along Loch Ness and arrived Inverness 6:00 pm, then on to Aviemore and Stakis hotel again. Time on coach today driving - 7 hours.

Culloden

Pat at Kyleakin, Isle of Skye

Kyleakin Harbour

Valerie at Culloden

Pat on beach at Kyleakin, Isle of Skye

Kyleakin Harbour, Isle of Skye

Thatch at Luib

Thatch with stones at Luib

Loch Ness

Thatch and goat at Luib

Thatch with stones - Luib

Fort Augustus (Loch Ness)

Glen of Lochalsh

Glen of Lochalsh

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9/99 AVIEMORE, SCOTLAND

Weather hot and sunny. It is dark here at 11:30 pm and light the next morning by 3:15 am. Left at 8:40 am and drove to Ben Nevis Mountain which at 4406ft is the highest mountain in UK. Some folks took the gondola ride to the top. While on the bus got blitzed by planes - "Tornadoes". Arrived Fort William at 10:35 am and left by 11:45 am. Drove along Loch. Took photo of bagpiper at Bannock Moor which is 1141 ft above sea level. If you tip the piper he then plays for you. Stopped for lunch at Tyndrum at 1:05 pm. Left at 2:00 pm. Really sunny and very hot. Drove out of highlands to Loch Lomand in lowlands at 2:25 pm. Left at 2:50 pm. Arrived Tarbet to pick up folks who took Lock Lomand (£8 cruise) 3:00pm. Shanghaied a stranger to take a group photo at Loch Lomand of us all. Immediately 35+ cameras appeared and our 'stranger' did a great job for us. Left at 3:46 pm. Crossed Erskine Toll Bridge on way to Glasgow. Arrived Glasgow at 4:45 pm. Filthy Quality Inn downtown hotel was called Central Station. So filthy. We changed rooms as original room had no clean sheets on bed, carpets, windows, bath filthy, TV broken, lightbulbs gone, and painted shut window wouldn't open. The next room did have clean messed up sheets and clean bathtub but everything else still filthy, and Pat said she heard mice running up and down inside the walls all night. Dinner was delicious though but the 'sweet' was like porridge cement! Wonder what state the kitchens were in though? Everyone complained about their room and the dirt. Over coffee in the lobby Pat spilt her coffee all over herself when the couch springs let go as she sat down! Everyone broke up with laughter from the strain of the horrible hotel. Went for a walk to the City Center with some folks from the tour and we all took photos. Not a nice city to be walking about downtown on one's own at night. Time on coach today driving - 4¾ hours.

Ben Nevis

Loch Lomond Cruise

Piper - Bannock Moor (only piper we saw in all of Scotland)

Ben Nevis Mountain

Cruise - Loch Lomond

Piper - Bannock Moor

THURSDAY, JUNE 10/99 GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

Weather sunny and warm. All very happily left Quality Hotel in Glasgow at 8 am. Passed Lochabie air crash site 9:15 am on highway M74. Stopped at Gretna Green, Scotland which is famous for its weddings (No parental consent is needed for age 16 back in the 1700's). Marriage was done back then by declaration only. Arrived 9:35 am. Left at 10:25 am. Really pretty. Had last view of salt water in the "Solway Sands". Road A69 is the route of Hadrians Wall which we arrived at 1:20 pm. We pulled over, I climbed a fence and explored Hadrians Wall. The original wall was is 75 miles long. The roadway now covers the wall in many areas. We drove through Newcastle-On-Tyne and the view of the terrace house roofs all aligned was very pretty. Arrived City of Durham 12:20 am and left at 1:50 pm. Took photos of Castle. Bought lunch. Passed by RAF Leeming and 2 Tornadoes came in for a tandem landing. Arrived York 3:20 pm. I toured all over and saw the Minister, Jorvik (Viking) Museum, Shambles, Market and shops. Left at 5:27 pm for Stockton and arrived at Swallow Hotel 6:30 pm. Time on coach today driving - 5¾ hours. Yes - York and Chester are my two favourite cities.

Glasgow City Center

Valerie at Gretna Green

Gretna Green

Glasgow City Center

Valerie at Gretna Green

Gretna Green

Hadrian's Wall

Durham Castle

York Cathedral

Hadrian's Wall

Durham Castle

Cathedral at York

Tudor Building at York

Jorvik Museum, York

Tudor Building in York

Jorvik Museum, York

FRIDAY, JUNE 11/99 STOCKTON-ON-TEES

Weather 50°F and cloudy. When taking shower in Swallow Hotel (which is an excellent hotel and super food), I burnt my thigh when stepping out of the shower on the hot towel rack. Shower curtain was fixed in the centre of tub so had to climb over scalding hot towel rack to get out! (These hot towel racks are great though for drying clothes on). Went for early morning walk along the waterfront. Took photo of old 3 master sailing ship which is a replica of the "Endeavor". Left Stockon at 8 am for 6 hours ride to London through Cambridge. Stopped at 9:35 am in Nottinghamshire for tea/toilet. Left at 10 am. Tour guide told us that the distance of the whole trip covered is 3740 KM or 2310 Miles. We stopped at Cambridge from noon to 2 pm. Onto London and arrived at Paragon Hotel at 5:30 pm. Time on coach today driving - 6 hours. Final total driving hours for whole tour- 57 hours.

Endeavour  at Stockton

Cambridge

"Endeavour" at Stockton

Cambridge

SATURDAY, JUNE 12/99 LONDON, UK

Weather overcast, cloudy, temp 50°F. We woke up at 5:30 am, showered, then caught cab to Buckingham Palace. Took super photos as no cars nor anyone was about at 6:50 am! Today is the "Trooping of the Colour" by the Queen so all the flags were about. Walked down the Mall to Trafalgar Square and then caught cab back to hotel as all the roads were to be closed off at 8 am for the Queen's birthday parade. Back at the hotel had breakfast and chatted with friends from our coach tour. Caught shuttle bus to Heathrow at 11:30 am and boarded plane at 1:24 pm. Had those horrid bulkhead seats again! Arrived Toronto 5 pm and caught shuttle bus to Best Western Hotel. Said goodbyes to Pat at end of flight as she continued on by bus to Sarnia.

Buckingham Palace Gates

Flowers at Buckingham Palace

Avenue off the Mall

Pat at Gates of Buckingham Palace, London

Flowers around Buckingham Palace

Waterloo Place, London

These photos were supplied by Peter and Carol Pearce, New Zealand

People on our tour.

People on our tour.

People on our tour.

People on our tour.

SUNDAY, JUNE 13/99, TORONTO, CANADA

Caught plane at 8:30 am for North Bay. Plane arrived at 9:40 am and it was the best sight to see Ken waiting for me.

Trafalgar coach, tour guide and driverSue (Tour Guide) and Ian (Coach Driver)

We were very fortunate to have guiding us a very experienced and interesting lady named Susan Heycoop. She told us so much about everywhere as we travelled along and definately added another dimension to the trip. Our super tour coach driver, Ian, manoevoured the huge bus around some very tight corners and one-way lanes.

MY OWN OBSERVATIONS AND NOTES:

· Most Interesting City in UK = Chester Most Picturesque Town in UK = Ambleside, Cumbria .

· The bus to Coventry (Flight Link) was so easy to catch as it was right outside Terminal 3. We went up to the second deck and watched the scenery roll by over the tops of the hedges. Lovely fields and lambs.

· Most homes in the Midlands have "Net" curtains on their windows. (I called them lace tablecloths!), white and all alike. The gardens in the houses in the Midlands are full of flowers and really pretty. Mostly everyone carries and constantly uses a mobile phone in the Coventry and Leicester areas.

· In grocery stores loads of wonderful multi-ethnic foods. Great variety of cheese, display of seafood, meats, and many choices of pre-prepared foods.

· Fresh fish abundant in supermarkets (crab, mussels, whelks, winkles, cockles, huge prawns, shrimp, and many varieties of fish).

· Roses and Poppies grow abundantly wild in the fields and are large in width and height.

· Most all women of all ages wear skirts, nylons and sandals instead of pants like we do. This was prevalent all over UK.

· All hotels had 'trouser presses' which were totally useless considering the type of clothes one wears nowadays - some rooms had irons, which made more sense.

· Noticed that there were no outside thermometers.

· In the Midlands there were many women smoking compared to the remainder of UK. Restaurants had smoking areas unlike our restaurants which, thankgoodness, do not.

· No facial tissues or face clothes in any of the major hotels.

· In each hotel room there is an electric kettle but the instant coffee is horrid and undrinkable.

· The milk is left at room temperature and because there is a lot of cream at the top you have to stir it in before you pour it else the cream curdles in your coffee or tea.

· Most hotels have dual electric voltage for shavers and hair dryers.

· All of the hair dryers were bolted down in the bedroom area instead of in the bathroom area.

· In some hotels there were hot towel racks to keep the towels hot - (great place to hang wet hand washed laundry to dry!)

· The tubs are twice the height of our tubs so climbing out was hard.

· The plumbing was very hard to figure out in each hotel - especially the shower and bath fixtures. In England we had to repeatedly prime and pump the toilet to get it to flush but in Scotland the toilets all flushed on one pump.

· "Free House" pubs still brew their own beer.

· To be called a village you have to have both a pub and a church but if the village only has a pub it is just called a hamlet.

· Lack of security in most old hotel rooms. Many doors did not have a deadbolt lock nor a chain. There were no screens on any of the windows and lots of the windows would not open for fresh air as they were painted shut. Some rooms looked right out onto a rooftop patio and in one hotel the staff had chairs to sit on right outside our windows and could just walk right into our room through the open window! So make sure you get a room on the 3rd or higher floor.

· Restaurants, Tea Houses, Hotels - all the food here is expensive so eat in the pubs. The food there is great and low in price and you get to meet the local people which is alot of fun.

I would recommend Trafalgar Coach Tours for anyone. We especially liked the idea of not having to drive on the other side of the road, no luggage to haul and load (thanks again Ian), no hotels to check into and find, and no resestaurants to go searching for. We just sat back and enjoyed (all except for the Quality Station Hotel in Glasgow!!!!!). We were also fortunate in having a fabulous group of folks on board from Australia, New Zealand, US, Singapore, South Africa, and Canada. Everyone helped each other out and we all had alot of laughs.

Site Revised November 12, 2007
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