National Holiday coach trips are a great way to get around Britain and having travelled with them before we decided to visit London and Windsor Castle.
7.00am on a Saturday morning and there we were, waiting blear-eyed at the coach station in Blackpool for our weekend away to see the sights of our capital city and one of the royal palaces. The coach duly arrived and we departed on time. Our driver Bernard, after introducing himself, told us briefly what our itinerary was and then left us in peace to enjoy the ride down to London. We had a stop of 45 minutes on the way to stretch our legs and use the toilet. We obviously hit the traffic when we reached the outskirts of London and it was about 1.00pm when we finally managed to get off and explore. We had quite a dash around but we wanted to see as much as we could before having to get back on the coach to go to our hotel. The Tower of London, Big Ben, the London Eye, these were some of the sights that we were looking to visit while we could. We had been told that Camden Town Market would be worth a visit. It was! Apparently, it was started back in the 1850s in some stables and there’s plenty of evidence around to show for it. Many big bronze statues of horses and horse and cart figures. We managed to get a few photos which we hope you will like. We managed to buy a few things, as we always do in markets. As the time was getting on, we felt that we had to make our way back to the coach so we wandered along to Camden Town Tube Station. It was chaos! Right on the evening rush hour, they were curbing the crowds by shutting the gates to the station and only letting a certain number through at any one time. We were starting to get worried about getting back to the coach on time. Eventually we got on the tube (subway) back to Charring Cross. After the all the dashing about, we were glad to get back on the coach for the short journey out to Watford for our overnight stay at the Ramada Hotel. We were rather concerned about the hotel because we had problems with a Ramada Motel in Florida (we will tell you all about that in due course in a trip to Florida) When we arrived we were greeted by a wedding party, so the hotel was very busy and we had a job getting to the bar!! We then made our way to our room. The hotel is like a rabbit warren, the signs showing the room numbers weren’t much help either. We managed to get lost a time or two and had a good laugh about it along with a few other guests who were having the same problem. After freshening up we made our way back along the maze to the dining room. The evening meal was very nice and there was plenty of it although we had to wait for nearly twenty minutes to get seated. Generally speaking, hotel bars are notoriously expensive so we tend to take our own drinky poos with us, this trip was no exception, so immediately after our meal, we high tailed back to our room for a night cap or three. Ahh bliss!!
We were told by Bernard (our driver) that breakfast was from 7.30am until 9.00am and that we were to get our cases down to the coach by 9.15am ready for the coach leaving at 9.30am as we were booked onto the Windsor Castle tour at 10.30am. Well, after negotiating the maze of corridors again, we finally found the dining room at about 8.00am, only to be told that there was a 30 minute wait for seats. Slight panic, but as it turned out, we managed to get our breakfast (again, a very nice meal) in time to get on the coach as planned. We had an uneventful trip to Windsor, arriving outside the entrance to Windsor Castle exactly at 10.30am. We had to wait on the coach while the driver was supposed to sort out the tickets. He got back on and informed us that we weren’t allowed to get off but he had to take us to a coach park, which was on the far side of town. Mad dash. We made our way back to the castle through the town looking like a party of school children. When we arrived back at the entrance, even though the trip was supposedly booked for 10.30am, we were made to join the back of a very long queue, allegedly because we were classed as a party. Single visitors and couples were being shown straight into the entrance hall!! We eventually got in via the airport style security and were left to fend for ourselves. At least the weather was being kind to us as there is a fair amount of walking out side the castle. We headed for the State Apartments where we found a queue a mile long for the Apartments plus Queen Mary’s Doll’s House. The queue for the State Apartments alone was about 10 yards. Guess which one we joined? Once inside, it was still fairly busy but we could keep moving. Despite large notices saying NO PHOTOS, NO VIDEOS etc, there were many people taking pics with their mobile phones. In a moment of madness, I tried taking a pic and was immediately pounced on by a security guard who told me in no uncertain terms that he could confiscate my camera if I had taken any pics or videos. I felt that I was on my way the Tower of London to do a stretch (why me). So, SORRY, we have no pictures of the inside of the State Apartments. (What outdoor pictures we did take will be in the gallery very soon). It was all very grand. A large part having recently been fully renovated after the catastrophic fire a few years ago. As it was Sunday, St Georges Chapel was closed to the public, so no joy there either. We eventually made our way back to the coach after doing a little shopping in the town. Setting off back right on time, we got back home at just after 9.00pm after a very uneventful trip. All in all, we felt that it was good value for the money.