Thursday 11th Main points:
- Visited Kew Gardens in the morning;
- Visited British Museum.
Friday 12th Main points:
- Picked up the hire car: A Skoda Fabia from the Marriott Hotel
- Drove out of London;
- Stopped in Guildford;
- Saw the Castle, had lunch at the Kings Head, a 500 year old pub.
- Major accident on the A3, so we left the main road and did a little country driving
- Checked in to Portsmouth Marriot at 4pm.
We’re very fortunate to be next to Earl’s court station which is connected to the Piccadilly line (where the main attractions are) and to the District line (that goes out to Kew Gardens).
As per normal, we left early, getting a coffee at Costa Coffee next to the station entrance. We also dropped our washing off at a local laundry where a nice old lady washed and dried our clothes for us for ~$30.
The train journey was slightly more enjoyable in a westward direction, against the flow of the commuter traffic. The Kew Gardens station is beautiful and the houses on the road up to the Victoria gate were stunning.
We enjoyed a long visit to the park including lunch at the cafe near the Victoria Gate. There were quite a few school groups visiting too, wearing out the teachers. A group of teenagers was playing on the elevator to the tree-top walk and their teacher did a very good ‘teacher voice’ expressing how the student’s misbehaviour was keeping us from enjoying the park. There were many plants on display and we managed to find one lonely gum tree.
Not wanting to waste an afternoon, our last in London, we trained it back to Earl’s court, picked up our washing and then headed to the London Museum. Bel was pretty exhausted by the time we arrived there and wasn’t up for much gallery walking however I was just glad to see some of the Egyptian and Greek sculptures.
We finished at the Museum at around 5 and found another pub near our hotel for dinner. Bel had the chicken pie and I had the lamb shank.
We began our last day in London the same way we usually did – with a flat white from Costa Coffee. We finished drinking them in the lobby of the hotel before checking out. The concierge organised a taxi who delivered us to the Avis that was part of the Marriott Hotel in Marble Arch. After filling out the requisite paper work our car was fetched and we were on our way… Or so we thought. Another much older Australian couple form Sydney were having some trouble using their hire car’s inbuilt navigation so I showed them how to use the centre-console dial that is common across most new cars. Next Bel and I had to figure out our car: a Skoda Fabia (new, with only 5400 miles). Thankfully the car is made by VW, so the car is fundamentally identical to my Golf, so the adjustment was easy.
We used my mobile/Android Auto navigation to get out of London and eventually on the road to Guildford. We arrived at around 12 after a couple of very stressful hours driving. We found a parking lot and pulled in, then walked the short distance to Guildford castle. The gardens were lovely and the attendant at the small museum recommended a good cheap lunch at the Kings Head pub, just down the road. I had the BLT and Bel had the Fish finger sandwich.
From there we enjoyed a walk around a picturesque Guildford. We found a whiskey shop, enjoyed a couple of samples and bought a small sampler pack to have later.
Back into the car, we drove to Portsmouth where we were delayed by a truck overturned on the road. We were able to get off at the nearest exit, and then guess our way to the next entry back on again. We drove on some beautiful back roads and went past the Bel and Dragon – we may have to come back again just to go there!
Finally arriving at the hotel, we checked in and had dinner at the restaurant’s restaurant.
Total steps Thursday: 19,904.
Total steps Friday: 7,294