We will be arriving in London on the morning of December 20th. Karen was primarily responsible for planning what we were doing when in London, so I'm not sure what is supposed to happen, but we will be seeing Hansel and Gretel, the opera in original German, visiting the British Museum (yeah!), the Keys Ceremony, and a bunch of other cool things. We will be in London until the 24th when we will hop onto a train and head to Oxford. Once in Oxford, we will pick up our rental car, and head to Stratford-upon-Avon, home of William Shakespeare. We will be there for two days, having Christmas Dinner at the Dirty Duck, taking the City Walk tour, and touring Anne Hathaway's cottage. We will then head south with the plan to visit Bath and see the Magna Carta in Salisbury.
On the morning of the 27th, we are scheduled to take the Special Access tour of Stonehenge. We are very excited for this, only 26 people per day get to do this! After Stonehenge we will visit it's sister site, Woodhenge, before heading to Avebury to see another megalith site. Avebury is built in side of the stone circle and you can actually touch the stones here. I also hope to see one or more of the chalk horses this day. After our morning of mystery, we will head into Wales, visiting Tintern Abbey, several castles and ruins and staying in Llangollen that night.
After wrapping up our brief Wales visit, we will head to lake country in northwest England. We won't have a lot of time here, but it will be nice to see Hilltop, the inspiration for Beatrix Potter. We will also be visiting Hadrian's Wall while in the area. Our evening will find us staying in the county of Dumfries located in southern Scotland, just miles west of Lockerbie, site of the tragic 1988 Pan Am flight 103 bombing.
We will head north to Oban, setting the stage for our next day's travel along Loch Ness, were we WILL be solving that mystery. After tracing Loch Ness, we will arrive in Inverness, experiencing the small but vibrant "Capital of the Highlands" and checking out the local music and food scene. We will proceed to Stirling the next day to see the old bridge, visit the Wallace National Monument and then cap the year celebrating Hogmanay with the locals at the Stirling Castle. Should make for an awesome evening, especially since a Madness tribute band is on the bill!
The next morning we will return our car in Edinburgh before catching our return train to London. We will arrive at King's Cross (Harry Potter fans will understand the importance of this!) in the early afternoon, giving us 24 hours to explore the Notting Hill and Portabello Market areas before catching our return flight on the 2nd. We will be in NYC for nearly 12 hours overnight, so our new lighter packing method will become a huge asset as we explore NYC, hopefully with Karen's college friend, Erica.
So, that's the basic plan, hope to be able to bring daily updates while we are there!
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