Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Eerie Evening Tours at Kensington Palace

Okay, this is the most awesome thing I have ever heard about a tour at Kensington Palace in London. I love that things never stay the same at the Palace.


Not matter what eerie subjects interest you death, disease, love or loss the tour will explore 300 years of secrets.  You will walk  in the footsteps of kings, queens and courtiers through the shadowy passages of Kensington Palace.



Tours begin at 18.45. The Palace never truly sleeps and you will learn about the mysterious things that have been seen and heard and unexplained happenings.

You will be guided through the state apartments and hear the stories that make history come alive in an eerie way.


Dates:

Thursday 29 October 2015   

Friday 30 October 2015

Saturday 31 October 2015 - Halloween special

Saturday 12 December 2015 - Christmas special

Friday 8 January 2016

Friday 15 January 2016

Friday 22 January 2016

Friday 29 January 2016

All tours begin at 18:45 and finish at 20:15.
Prices & Tickets

Tickets £27.50 each

Advance booking is essential, tickets will not be available to buy on the night.
 

Go to the official site for details and to order your tickets. I can't imagine anything that would be more fun to do in London. 

Death, disease, love and loss - explore 300 years of secrets and tread in the footsteps of kings, queens and courtiers as we invite you to the shadowy world of Kensington Palace after dark.
Tours begin at 18.45 on select dates in October, December and January.
- See more at: http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/WhatsOn/EerieEveningTours2015#sthash.4qMliWwL.dpuf

Eerie Evening Tours

Eerie evening tours
Death, disease, love and loss - explore 300 years of secrets and tread in the footsteps of kings, queens and courtiers as we invite you to the shadowy world of Kensington Palace after dark.
Tours begin at 18.45 on select dates in October, December and January.
Buy tickets online
When all the gates are locked and the lights are out, is the palace truly asleep?
Join us for one of our Eerie Evening Tours to hear the tales of mysterious sights and unexplained happenings and be guided through the shadowy state apartments to relive the sorrow of heartbroken kings and queens. You will hear accounts of medical disasters, painful illnesses and undignified deaths and the lasting legacy they have left behind.
You’ll need to hold on to your cloaks and ready your lanterns as we immerse ourselves in Queen Victoria’s macabre mourning for Prince Albert and explore the weird and wonderful world of Victorian spiritualism.

Dates

Thursday 29 October 2015
Friday 30 October 2015
Saturday 31 October 2015 - Halloween special
Saturday 12 December 2015 - Christmas special
Friday 8 January 2016
Friday 15 January 2016
Friday 22 January 2016
Friday 29 January 2016
All tours begin at 18:45 and finish at 20:15.

Prices & Tickets

Tickets £27.50 each
Advance booking is essential, tickets will not be available to buy on the night.
Please note that due to the content of this tour we recommend that it is not suitable for anyone under 16 years.
Buy tickets

Please note:

  • Advance booking is essential – tickets will not be available on the night.
  • Due to the content, this tour is not suitable for persons aged under the age of 16.
  • Photography and filming is not permitted at any time during the tour.
  • The tour does include several flights of stairs and low light levels. If you have any special access requirements please contact the Eerie Evening team beforehand.
  • Please note that Kensington Gardens will be closed to the public – entrance to the palace will only be from Studio Gate on the south side of the gardens. Nearest tube is High Street Kensington - see map for details.
- See more at: http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/WhatsOn/EerieEveningTours2015#sthash.4qMliWwL.dpuf

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

First Time Visitor's Ireland Guide

I got a request this weekend to suggest what someone should see on a first time trip to Ireland. While I don't claim to be an expert on Ireland, I have visited four times and what I can do is to give you some suggestions on how to decide what to see. 

In case you are not aware, the island of Ireland contains two countries, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In the Republic, the currency is the Euro, in the North it is the British Pound. Knowing this will help you to decide what type of currency you want to bring with you. 

Most people will fly into Shannon (SNN) or Dublin (DUB). Shannon is on the west coast of the Republic and Dublin on the east. No flights go directly to Belfast in the north so you will need to take a connecting flight. 

Driving in both countries is on the left side (British style) so it requires a little extra thought and care to travel around. Driving however, is the best way to be able to see some of the more rural parts of the country. 

When it comes to accommodations you have the same choices that you have anywhere else. Hotels and bed and breakfast abound. Another option is self-catering (rental cottage or apartment). If you like to move everyday then you will choose hotel or B&B. If you like to have a base and return there every night self-catering is great. 

If you are nervous about driving, you can take an organized tour or you can hire a driver by the day. Our tour driver took us for 10 hours for $200 and it was so worth every penny. 

For some people seeing all the tourist sites is important, I am not going to tell you that since it is not something I do. I go to places that most tourists miss. Sorry, but it is just the way I am. 

Kerry is one of the most popular places to visit it Ireland. It does have the Lakes of Killarney which are massively popular and the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Pennisula. I did visit Killarney but only because it is where my Donahue family is from. I visited in December when we were just about the only tourists in town. 

If you like lakes, Cavan has more lakes than any other county and it is very untouristy.  For a relaxing visit and a good base I highly recommend it. 

Beyond that, decided what a visit to Ireland means to you. Do you want to see where Waterford Crystal is produced or Belleek China? Is kissing the Blarney Stone a must? Do you want to be impressed with the Rock of Cashel or discover Ireland's past at Newgrange? 

I am happy to help, answer questions or share about some of the places we really enjoyed, just drop me a line. 

I suggest finding a good travel book about Ireland and let it help you to decide what you want to see. You certainly can just visit Dublin and feel as if you have had the Irish experience or use it as a base for day trips.






Monday, September 28, 2015

Entertaining Yourself on a Long Flight

Flying these days is not fun. The amount of space has shrunk so that it is near impossible to even cross your legs and when you are taking a long flight, you may well wonder how you can pass the time. 

Having just returned from Ireland we had to deal with a flight of around 6 hours. Of course you are in your seat at least a half hour before departure and then with landing etc. it is long. I will say that on the way back west, the movies were so good on the in flight entertainment that I watched three. When combined with having lunch and a snack, before we knew it we were landing in Boston. 

In addition to movies we could play games, listen to music and watch TV. My screen froze after the 3rd movie and I was not able to use it again. A request for help from staff went unanswered, but that is for another post. 

Other ways to pass the time on a long flight include reading. I brought along a book and several magazines for just this purpose. Playing cards is also fun and something that Al and I have done many times. Travel games are designed to be used under these types of circumstances. 

If you are traveling to a country where a different language is spoken, using the flight time to listen to language recordings on an iPod or iPad is a great way to arrive with a little extra knowledge. 


Our flight had WiFi so you can feel free to use your laptop, tablet or smartphone. I did play games on my phone. 

While long flights in economy can be uncomfortable and boring, today's planes offer plenty of opportunities to entertain yourself. If all else fails, you can always take a nap and dream of your destination.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Photo Friday: Views of Donegal Bay

On our recent trip to Ireland, Kathy want to see the Atlantic Ocean. We drove from Cavan to Belleek and then on to Donegal. The beach was quite rocky and the water icy cold but it was a very pretty sight. 




Thursday, September 24, 2015

Flashback Thursday: Walking Down the Strand in London






I love London. I love walking in London. There are many streets where you can walk and see history at every turn. The Strand is one of them. 

The Strand is one of the older streets in London with roots going as far back as Roman times. It runs for three quarters of a mile from Trafalgar Square to Fleet Street and certainly is one of the most interesting streets in London. It was for many years the home of very wealthy lords who had large homes with back yards that went right down to the Thames. 

Its route gave them a straight shot between their homes and the seat of power at Westminster. Those days are gone for the most part but the street still has much to offer especially to tourists.   


Where to stay


Staying on The Strand puts visitors in a good location for dining and enjoying the theatre. There are two hotels of interest. 


The Savoy Hotel is one of the top hotels in London. It is located on the site of the former Savoy Palace. The Savoy Palace belonged to John of Gaunt, one of the most powerful men of his time. He was the son of King Edward III, the brother of the Black Prince and the uncle of King Richard II. 

During the Peasants Revolt in the late 14th century, the frustration of the lower classes against the system was taken out on John’s beautiful palace and it was destroyed. 

He certainly would have approved of the high-end hotel that has taken its place. While most visitors can’t afford to stay there, one of the best afternoon teas in London is served there on a daily basis and it is a tea dance on Sundays. This is a way to get in the door and see all this luxury without going bankrupt. Rates at the hotel start at about £350 per night and go way up from there. 
The Strand Palace has a  location as outstanding as The Savoy  without being riverfront but at less than half the price. It is a historic property dating from the early 20th century and the carvery restaurant is a popular place to eat before a show. A carvery is an extensive buffet that offers several courses with joints of meat and all the sides that go along with them. 


Where to dine
 

Simpsons on the Strand is an icon restaurant that has been serving customers for over 150 years. If you visit here you will be following in the footsteps of many famous people who have chosen to dine here. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer a fixed price menu until 7 p.m. which makes them a great choice for a pre-theatre nosh. 

You will feel very special as the carver comes to your table rolling the antique trolley and then slicing your Scottish beef which has been aged for 28 days. This is the perfect place to try roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish. 


Theatres


The Strand has long been the home to theaters. The same holds true today. The Adelphi, Vaudeville, Savoy are all located here. Check the London Theatre Guide to see what is showing when you plan to visit. 


Churches


There are two churches located on The Strand. Thanks to the widening of the street they are literally on The Strand. They both sit on an island in the middle of the street which makes visiting them interesting. The two churches are St. Mary Le Strand and St.  Clement Danes. 

St. Mary sits on a very historic site though the church itself dates from the early 18th century. St Cements has a long history but the church that is there today was designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century. It was almost totally destroyed bombing during World War II but has been beautifully restored. 

Historic Buildings


Somerset House got its name from the original large home that was located on the site. Edward Seymour was the brother of Queen Jane Seymour the third wife of King Henry VIII. He became the protector of his nephew King Edward and fell out of favor toward the end of Edward’s reign and was executed. 

His home fell into disrepair over the years and was finally demolished to make way for the current building in the late 18th century. Today it houses the Courtauld Institute Galleries which include among other things a magnificent collection of Impressionist painting. During the winter, there is an ice skating rink in the court yard at Somerset House


Taking a walk through history down The Strand is something that every visitor to London should do. It will not disappoint.