Monthly Archives: December 2017

What Did it Cost?

As with each of our previous trips, the final job is to tally up the cost.  This time I kept a running total but this did not necessarily influence our spending.

The grand total for 28 days and nights was $13,613.54 which was proportionally slightly more expensive than our previous trip UK trip 3 years ago.  However, I am still very happy with the outcome as the airfares were  a greater percentage of the total since the trip was for 4 weeks rather than 6 weeks and I am sure that prices have increased in the intervening time.

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This is how it was broken up.

Airfares $     3,655.32
Accommodation $     5,307.80
Insurance $         226.97
Transport $     1,099.37
Food/Drink $     1,451.42
Sightseeing/Tours/Events $     1,461.13
Souvenirs/Gifts $         60.87
Other spending $         350.66

It is interesting to see where the money went.  Once again, accommodation was the biggest single cost.

Transport was trains to Wales, Paris, Brighton and Cambridge as well as our Oyster card credit in London.  This category was proportionally much less than or previous UK trip as there were no hire car costs.

Food and drinks included everything that we ate or drank from restaurant meals, drinks at the pub, groceries to an occasional ice-cream or cup of coffee.

Sightseeing etc was made up of admission costs as well as various movies and shows.

We do not need souvenirs to remind us of our trip so this category was very modest.  I bought a jigsaw puzzle which I will enjoy sharing with other family members, a CD from a concert we attended and small gifts for our granddaughters.

The final category of ‘Other’ was a birthday gift as well as a couple of scarves for myself and a new lens for my camera.

The trip was several months in the planning and we had pre-paid a total of $10,130.74 (about 75% of the total) before we set out.

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Cambridge – Colleges and Cold

The last two nights of our trip were spent in Cambridge.  We had visited Cambridge during our last trip in the northern summer of 2014 and took a punt tour on the River Cam on a glorious sunny day (you can see the photos here) so the focus was slightly different this time.

It was about an hour and a half trip  from London on the train.  We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and had time to arrive at our accommodation, change and freshen up before setting out again.

Our destination was King’s College Chapel as we wanted to attend Choral Evensong.  The service was scheduled to begin at 5.30pm, by which time it is dark at the end of November.  We had a brief wait in  short queue in the quadrangle before we were ushered into the chapel.  This was most welcome as the weather was cold and drizzling with rain as well as being dark.

King’s College Chapel is the venue for the annual BBC program “A Festival of  Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College” which is also broadcast in Australia so I was familiar with the view and layout of the interior of the chapel, however, nothing prepares you for the reality of actually being there.  Naturally, there are no photos permitted, however, here are a few that I took of the exterior during daylight hours.

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We also managed to squeeze in a couple of meals at beautiful historic pubs.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos.  The first one was The Free Press which is tucked away in a quieter corner of Cambridge.  It was the perfect spot for dinner after Evensong at the chapel.  Since it was well after dark I could not take a photo of the exterior of this historic pub so here is one with compliments of the internet.

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Grantchester is a tiny village outside Cambridge which we visited the next day.  We caught a bus to the urban fringe of Cambridge and then walked a couple of kilometres to Grantchester where we had a late lunch at the Red Lion.  Once again, I had to resort to the internet for an image as I had chosen to take a break from photos.  The thatched roof was of particular interest.

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On our final day we had a real taste of winter as the temperature struggled to 3C.  We rugged up and took a stroll around a few streets in the heart of Cambridge.

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There was even an historic windmill in the backyard adjacent to the rear of the property where we were staying.  Apparently it is over 300 years old and had fallen into disrepair but is being restored by the current owners.

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It is also worth noting that the temperatures dropped significantly during our 4 week trip with the second half of the month barely reaching double digits and the last few days were particularly cold.  It was time to go home!  In fact there were very light snowfalls in London within 12 hours of our departure.

The short days and cool weather were part of the reason that we chose November to visit London.  It was a completely new experience for us as each of our previous trips to the northern hemisphere have been during the summer.  As with everything, research and planning are the keys to success.  We were not bothered by the shorter days because most of our plans for for indoor activities such as galleries, museums and shows. The few outdoor activities were easily accommodated in daylight hours on a number of bright, sunny days with which we were blessed.

This is the penultimate blog entry for the trip with a final one tomorrow with the all important financial wrap-up.

Thanks for coming along for the ride and I hope you have enjoyed reading about our experiences.

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