So we decided to head down to London for a week to test out our Sterling 4 berth touring caravan. We decided on a park that was about three quarters of an hour out of London, Seer Green in Buckinghamshire. We drove each day to the nearest underground station and caught the tube in. The weather decided to do what it does best over here and turn ugly on us. But it meant we got the true feeling of being in England!
We left Howden on Monday the 16th of April and arrived mid afternoon to Highclere Farm / Caravan Park. We bought an awning for the van and it surprisingly didn't take too long to put up - and no arguments were had!! After doing many many camping trips, caravanning is so much less setting up and packing up - we are so far loving it. Over here, because of the weather, you spend much more time in the caravan than sitting outside of it...but so far it hasn't felt too crowded.
The van is fairly easy to tow, though because the caravans over here are much lighter than Ozzie ones. They do tend to move around on the road a lot more. The towing speed limit for caravans on the motorways is 60 miles and hour. Once you get over this they are much harder to tow. Other differences with caravans here are there are no on-board water tanks and not many parks have water hook-ups. Everyone carries their own water drums and fills them up at taps located througout the parks and you have a little water pump that pumps the water into the van. It's the same with your waste water...it is pumped out of the van into a waste drum and you then carry that over to the dump points at the park. The vans also all come with double-glazed windows and central heating - even our dunny has central heating!!
The following tuesday afternoon we caught up with my good friend Ellen, who I worked with at John Deere. We had a lovely dinner at a little Italian restaurant in St Albans.
Wednesday in to London on the Tube, visiting the Tower of London in the morning and a Duck tour in the afternoon. The Duck Tour is onboard an amphibious vehicle that takes you on a tour of the city and then a cruise down the Thames. We thought the the Duck tours were good but it is one of the only attractions where we had to pay for Cara.
We had a rest day the following day to give Cara a break and then the day after we went in and did the red bus tours of London. We got a 48 hour ticket so we could use it the following day as well. So over these two days we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, we did a cruise down the Thames to Greenwich, had dinner at a real Chinese Sichuan Restaurant in China Town (Loche was in his element). We took Cara to see the M&M shop that has three storeys of M & M merchandise. Hamleys (the big toy shop) on Regent Street was another of Cara's favorite shops with more toys than she had ever seen. We had a quick look through the British Museum and Kensington Palace. Toured the London Dungeons, which looked like they could be quite scary but we were told Cara would be okay. But I wouldn't recommend taking kids in there, especially if they are prone to nightmares. Luckily Cara dozed through most of it (I'm not sure how). The London Dungeons was a fantastic tour and showed you how people lived in old London, through the plague, Jack The Ripper and many more things.
Suprising facts we learnt:
- William Wallace (aka Braveheart) and Guy Fawkes were excuted in the London Tower,along with some Kings and Queens who were out of order.
- The current London Bridge was built in 1970's and the old one was dismantled and rebuilt in the USA as a tourist attaction.
- London was called Londinium.
- Buckingham Palace Guards are fulltime military soliders, who are honoured to guard the Queen.
- Districts in London are called Burrows
- You cannot see Big Ben from the road, Big Ben is the name of the bell within the bell Tower.
- London tubes are easy to get about on.
- Pigeons no longer visit Tragalfar Square.