Sunday, 4 November 2012

London and More with the Grandparents

We are just back from a week (+) in London for our October half term break.  As you can tell from above, we had some visitors as well.  Kuk's parents were able to join us from the States.  I thought it would be easier to base out of London rather than Derby for their visit so that's what we did.

This is our 3rd trip overall but definitely our longest stay.  We visited friends in Windsor for 3 days in 2009 (only 1 day in London) and spent 3 nights in the Mayfair area last February (blog link).  As such, we didn't have to run around and see all the "must sees" because we had already been to Westminster, St. Paul's, etc. previously.  (Besides, there so much to see in London you can't fit it in a 1-2 weeks anyway).

We stayed in a nice 3BR/2BA apartment ("flat") in the Fitzrovia area for about the price of a single hotel room.  It was very centrally located with many groceries and restaurants close by.  Our nearest Tube station was Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines) but we were a 10-15 minute walk to 4 other lines and stations -- very convenient.  We enjoyed the extra space and the ability to eat breakfast (and some dinners) in.

I'll have some other travel tips at the end for those interested.

Day 1 (Friday) -- Meeting Up, Settling In, British Library & Museum

The Kims' flight into Heathrow arrived at 7 a.m.  Knowing that it would take some time to get through Immigration, Customs and London traffic I decided to use a pick-up service (Just Airports) to bring them close to the apartment.  We took a 7:30 train down to St. Pancras and planned to get there at 9:30 or so.  Perfect plan, though I realized that I didn't have a very good back-up plan since they didn't have a mobile phone that would work.

Fortunately, a back up plan wasn't needed and it all worked well.  We cooled our heels at a cafe until we could drop off our bags at 11 a.m.

We had 8 full sightseeing days.  Our Tube travelcards were only good for 7-days so I targeted walkable sites on the first day.  I also thought a little walking would help with our visitors' jetlag.

First stop was the British Library.   This was a great stop.  We toured the "Treasures" area (no photos) and saw an original copy of the Magna Carta, early maps and religious documents, original Shakespeare, the score for Handel's Messiah and more contemporary pieces like Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Yesterday.  Really enjoyed it.

There were also some nice East meets West ancient Oriental documents that were particularly interesting to the grandparents.

Interestingly, they also had the "On The Road" scroll by Jack Kerouac on loan from none other than our hometown's Jim Irsay (owner of the Indianapolis Colts).

The Library took a little over an hour so we had time for our stretch goal of the day:  The British Museum.  Now, we did a tour back in February but this is one huge museum.  You can't really see it in a day and it's best to take it in chunks anyway.

We dashed up to the top floor (which we didn't see before).  This also had an Asian theme.  Here's a Samurai suit from long ago.

"Portrait of a Retired Townsman" -- many successful townsmen took Buddhist vows and lived like a monk as they grew older.  Townspeople believed that by making portraits like this one they would preserve the success of the family.

This is a similar photo from the February blog, but one of my favorites.  This is a 5000 year old accidental mummy.  He was preserved well in the desert.  Amazing.

"Queen of the Night" -- ancient Mesopotamian goddess.  Made during the time of Hummurabi about 3800 years ago. 

Nicole and a sphinx

Lewis Chessman:  found unexpectedly on a beach in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland in 1831.  Dates back to 1150-1200 AD.

moai from Rapi Nui (Easter Island) -- as with many things here you aren't sure exactly how the items were acquired (gift, purchase, or taken)

photo from inside the British Museum Courtyard

 the famous Rosetta Stone (also seen back in February)
Walking back after our first (but soon daily) run to the grocery store.  I couldn't resist the photo op.  Only later did a see the "EgoTrips" bit -- even better.

3 generations chilling in the apartment after our successful first day

Day 2 (Saturday) -- Science Museum

[internet photo] -- thought we all might like a visit to the Science Museum.  Thought we might be able to also squeeze in a visit to the V&A Museum but we ended up spending most of the day here (and then we were too tired to do much else)

Without knowing any different, we tried the same tactic of heading straight to the top floor and worked our way down.  We may have over done it as the top floor was a very detailed display of medicine through the ages.  Here's a fairly well preserved mummy head.  Kinda gross I guess.  Plenty of queasy feeling to come (who needs the London Dungeon).

Early teaching tools.  It's amazing what we know now and what we take for granted.  Recall that there was quite a market for grave diggers because doctors were so interested in learning more from cadavers.  [so much so that even less scrupulous diggers didn't always wait for the income source to die (i.e. murder)]

Tongue Scrappers (1790) were often used to remove "fur" from the tongue after meals.  Yum.

Lithotomy Instruments -- used to remove urinary calculi or stones (1775).  Yikes.

 Edward Jenner (smallpox vaccine guy) lancet (early 1800's) -- glad we've progressed to small needles

Eye-couching from 11th century Persia.  Ouch.  Notice the binding of the patient.  Couching was early cataract surgery where the cataract was pushed to the side (and the lens with it).  Sometimes worked.  Sometimes didn't.  Always hurt.

scene from a naval surgery in 1800 -- there goes the leg

 moving ahead quite a few years, but we got a chuckle out of this one (sorry to the kiddies in the audience)

Though quite informative, the medical history was a little tiring (no seats and lots of reading).  After a lunch break we went to the 3rd floor for the interactive exhibits.  This was a big hit and where one should focus with kids on a short visit.  Alex is using electrolysis to launch a rocket above.

Even Grandma was getting into the act with some magnets.  [Feels weird to say grandma as the kids call her "Harlmony" which is the Korean name (though it doesn't really translate to the English alphabet.]

Lots more interactive things but I don't have any more photos.

Finally, we went down to the basement and the Google Chrome Web Lab (link):  " a series of interactive Chrome Experiments made by Google that bring the extraordinary workings of the internet to life".  One of the activities was to have your photo taken and then watch it be drawn out in the sand.  That's Alex above (believe it or not).  Pretty cool stuff but I will say that we were pretty wiped out by this point.  Back to the apartment for a well deserved rest before dinner.

Day 3 (Sunday) -- Greenwich

Greenwich is a short day trip on the Tube and DLR (Docklands Light Railway) and is covered by our Zone 1-2 travelcards.  We really enjoyed it and it was one of the pleasant surprises of the trip.  Nice visitor's map here.

We are pictured in front of the restored Cutty Sark above (more on that later).

Nice one with me in it this time.  My father-in-law is always complaining that I'm not in enough of them.

Our first stop was the Royal Observatory on the top of the hill.  On the way we passed the National Maritime Museum and this huge ship in a bottle.  It's Horatio Nelson's HMS Victory and was purchased for the tidy sum of £362,500 (!) according to this press release.  The bottle is 4.7m long and 2.8m in diameter.   That's roughly 15' and 9' for the metrically challenged.

View from the hill.  Queen's House in the middle; Old Royal Navy buildings behind it.  Remaining temporary stands from the Olympics (Equestrian) in the foreground.   The locals are quite ready to see that eyesore depart from the few that we spoke to.

Outside the Royal Observatory (established 1675).  This was quite the geekfest for Kuk and me.  We really enjoyed this.   The Shepherd Patentee slave clock (master was inside the observatory) was the first to show Greenwich Mean Time to the Public (1852).

The Royal Observatory was established to tackle the "longitude problem".  Seafarers had reasonable methods for establishing their latitude (angle of the sun/stars above the horizon, etc.) they had no way of determining their longitude (east/west position).  A prize of £20,000  (millions today) was establish for whomever could solve the problem and the observatory was built as a start (for all of £500).

The difference in longitude is "simply" the difference in local time between two locations (imagine the earth as 360 degrees therefore 1 hour is 15 degrees; 1 minute is 1/4 degree, etc.).  Two main methods exist for figuring this out.  One is to have an accurate map of the night sky over the course of a year (and where the Observatory comes in) and the other is to build an accurate time piece to keep "home" time while on a ship.

I did not appreciate how time and astronomy where so closely related and that all of this started so that safer (and let's not forget more lucrative) sailing could occur.

 Here are the kids straddling the Prime Meridian (0 degrees)

A good portion of the museum exhibited the astronomy aspect (telescopes, octants, charts, etc.) but they also had a section on time.  John Harrison was at the forefront for tackling the accurate sea-going timepiece.  This elaborate mechanism was his third effort and took 19 years to develop (1759).  It had over 700 precisely engineered parts.  However, it still wasn't quite good enough.

Harrison changed tactics and went with a much smaller design that wasn't prone to the issues with unstable heavy balances.  His 4th design is arguably the most important time piece ever made and finally solved the longitude problem (though it was still very expensive and difficult to make).

Odd sun dial outside the observatory.  Odd that it's dolphins and odder yet that anyone would think a sundail would work in England.

We also took in a show at the Planetarium.  It was fine but nothing spectuclar.  Can be skipped in my opinion.
Next stop was the National Maritime Museum.  We had to squeeze this in between the Observatory and the walking tour we wanted to take so we just had enough time for a quick walk around (and lunch).

This is an early (or perhaps not so early) political cartoon of King George III.

One of the most important Naval battles in history is Nelson's victory at Trafalgar.   He perished in victory however and this was the waistcoat he was wearing.  It even has the bullet hole in the left shoulder!  His body was shipped back (over months, preserved in rum) and kept in Greenwich before ultimately sailing along the Thames to his final resting place in St. Paul's Cathedral.

 kids shot outside the museum -- I took this one because it reminded me of . . .

 . . . . this one -- 4.5 years earlier in Pearl Harbor (aw, cute huh?)

We took a walking tour from the Visitor's Center.  It was okay but not fabulous.  We were the only ones on the tour and the retired fella giving the tour had to go backwards from his usual plan due to an activity in the chapel and that threw him off.   We had a really good tour in Bath and that has set the bar pretty high.

Old Royal Navy buildings above.  Chapel on left and Painted Hall on right.

Early royal connections from Greenwich (I didn't realize that before hand).

 inside the chapel

 and the Painted Hall

Funny aside:  there was a model of the Painted Hall down in the basement.  The guide couldn't get it to turn on.  Having been fooled by the outlets here on occasion, I checked the plug in the floor to make sure it was switched on.  It wasn't even plugged in.  Ta da.

 and eventually back around to the Cutty Sark mast head

The Cutty Sark was a clipper sailing ship built in Scotland in 1869.  The best price for tea went to the fastest ship who could get back first.  However, shortly after the ship was built, the Suez Canal was opened up which turned the advantage to steam ships so it was short lived.  It then turned it's trade to wool from Australia.  It was badly damage during restoration (2007) and just opened back up in April 2012.  We did not have time to tour the inside.

From wiki:

The ship was named after Cutty Sark, the nickname of the witch Nannie Dee in Robert Burns' 1791 poem "Tam o' Shanter." The ship's figurehead, the original carved by Robert Hellyer of Blackwall, shows Nannie Dee in a stark white carving of a bare-breasted woman with long black hair holding a grey horse's tail in her hand. In the poem she wore a linen sark (Scots: a short chemise or undergarment), that she had been given as a child, which explains why it was cutty, or in other words far too short. The erotic sight of her dancing in such a short undergarment caused Tam to cry out "Weel done, Cutty-sark", which subsequently became a well known catchphrase. [She gave chase and he narrowly escaped on his horse though she did just grab the tail.]

Really enjoyed our day in Greenwich.  Still more to see so perhaps we'll make it back another day.

Day 4 (Monday) -- Tower of London

I had originally planned a day trip to Dover for this day.  However, the time/cost/hassle and most importantly really dodgy weather forecast made room for Plan B:  The Tower of London.  We had been 4 years ago but figured it was a worthy repeat (for us) and a much closer castle.  Hope to get to Dover one day.

Note:  The Tower of London isn't cheap but it is a 2for1 if you have train tickets (see tips below).

Strategy for the Tower is to get there when it opens (check) and head straight for the Crown Jewels (check).  We passed the White Tower (above) along the way.  This is the central and oldest tower in the complex and dates back to William the Conqueror in the 11th century.

 required photo in front on guard outside the Crown Jewels

 and with kids

and the trip down memory lane (though at Windsor Castle) 3.5 years ago (Nicole is still growing in to that sweatshirt)

No photos of the jewels allowed.  You can read about them here and see some photos here.

After the Jewels we backtracked to the entrance to catch a "Beefeater" tour.  This guy was hilarious and skillfully made fun of Americans, English, French, Italians, kids and Mel Gibson.  Really enjoyed it and learned a little along the way as well.  Highly recommended.  I think I could do multiple of these just to hear the different takes.

One of 6 ravens at the Tower of London.  From WikiThe ravens of the Tower of London are a group of captive Common Ravens which live in the Tower of London. The group of ravens at the Tower comprises at least seven individuals (six required, with a seventh in reserve). The presence of the ravens is traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the Tower; a superstition holds that "If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it."

Though a fortress/castle, the Tower is most famous for its executions.  Most occurred out on Tower Hill though the most famous (like two of King Henry VIII's wives) were inside the grounds.  Denoted here with the pillow to catch the lopped off head.

Various displays inside the White Tower include armor and weapons.  They had a young/skinny Henry VIII suit of armor and this older/fatter version.  The kids were quick to pick up on the excessive room for his "junk".

interesting dragon artwork comprised of various weapons, etc.

 chopping block from last beheading (I believe)

Since our last visit, they moved the torture devises to a seperate tower which required a separate queue.  Might be worth doing that early as well as the wait/visit ratio was high.  This scavenger's daughter made relatively quick work (too quick?) by painful compression.

 and the opposite:  stretching on the rack

Tower Bridge Shot (same as the leading photo)

A shot of the "Gherkin" (British for pickle) from the Tower walls

The Tube was generally crowded even during "off peak" times.  Perhaps it's always like this and maybe the school half term break added to it.  This is more of  a rush hour shot at Tower Hill, our most crowded wait.

The Tube is great though.  Very easy to figure out (the kids were getting into it).  The Kims were a little overwhelmed at first but even they got the hang of it by the end of the week.  Alex was sure to tell them when we were getting off at the next stop though. 

Day 5 (Tuesday) -- US Embassy and the Churchill War Rooms, Covent Garden & Lion King

We had some administrative work to take care of while we were in "town".  The kids' passports are only good for 5 years and were set to expire next Spring.  Since we were here, we decided to take care of it before our Christmas trip back to the US.

It took about 30 minutes to get there and about 75 minutes of waiting/processing.  Very strict orders on who could enter (grandparents could not) and what to bring (no electronics -- phone, camera, etc.).  The photo above is from the internet as I didn't take my camera.

Given the early appointment, we let the grandparents sleep in and rest up.  We then spent the afternoon at . . .

The Churchill War Rooms (another 2-for-1 btw).  From wiki:  The museum comprises the Cabinet War Rooms, a historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War, and the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of British statesman Winston Churchill.

This was very interesting (though my photos were largely crap).  I didn't get much history on Churchill stateside so I learned quite a bit.  I was surprised to learn of his political failures prior to WWII and the fact that he actually lost the election in 1945 as well.

Churchill was certainly a great statesmen and quote.  This is one of my favorites.  My boss mentions this one (and others) quite a bit actually.   He also has his stamina.  Churchill was known to work 18 hour days and be very demanding but also created a great sense of loyalty among his staff.

Required shot of Big Ben while walking home.  We didn't go out of our way to see any of the famous sites though we did walk past a few (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Trafalgar Square, etc.).

Next stop was at Covent Garden for a little entertainment, shopping and our only dinner away from the 'hood.

Alex loves the street performers.  We could have spent all day here if it were up to him.  Not sure how this guy was doing this as there didn't appear to be anything clear that he was sitting on.

 juggling act

 man in a tutu juggling

and a magician (sorry for the photo quality) -- notice Alex up front in the crowd

The girls got some shopping done and then we grabbed dinner at a chain restaurant.  Then we set off for . . .

 . . . ta da, The Lion King.  We all wanted to see this so I purchased the tickets (well) ahead of time (for full price) rather than try our luck with specials on the day.  It's pretty eye-watering to buy 6 tickets but then again, it was probably the most memorable aspect of the trip.  Well worth it and glad we went.

pre-show shot #1

 pre-show shot #2

We got quite a surprise after the show.  We slowly filed out and headed up the street to the Tube stop.  Some formally dressed folks were walking back down the other opposite way.  All of a sudden a siren sounds and the Queen's motorcade comes through.  It wasn't quite as close as the internet photo above, but I'd say we were within 15' or so.  I wasn't quick enough for the photo but it was quite a memorable experience.

Turns out, she was at the Royal Opera which had just let out.  News story here.

Here we are in the small elevator at the apartment.  I always felt like the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) when standing in there with the rest of the family so I had to get that shot once.

Day 6 (Wednesday) -- The Zoo

The Zoo?  Why go to the zoo when we are in one of the greatest cities in Europe with oodles of free museums?  Well, one can only do so many museums and this was a welcomed break.  We spent the day here and really enjoyed ourselves (another 2for1 too--good thing).

The zoo is slightly to the north of "center" of the city in Regent's Park.  We took the Tube to Camden Town and then walked 15-20 minutes from there.  It's not unlimited space, but it's more than you might expect in such a large city.  We thought it was well done.

As we learned at the Tower of London, they used to house all sorts of exotic animals there.  They finally realized it would be better/safer to have them elsewhere in a purpose-built facility so that's what started the London Zoo.   Established in 1828, it's the oldest scientific zoo in the world.  Enjoy the photos below.

 colorful bird


 penguin beach
 Nicole's favorite:  the burrowing owl (he did some running across the stage as well)

the otters were "interesting" -- you can just see the one on its back under the log.  I couldn't tell if it was hurt, pregnant or submissive but it continued to stay prone like that despite the others practically attacking it.  It looked a lot more nefarious than playing and it made some ugly noises in its defense.



 meerkats (the ones at Twycross were actually better)

 aardvark -- a first for me I believe

albino porcupine  (the handler was actually inside feeding them) -- she mentioned that more lions die from porcupine wounds than from any other animal

 yellow monkey of some sort -- we were actually walking among them at this point

 tiger quickly coming at us (it was hard to get a decent photo)

A very large python.  Harry Potter fans will note that it was at the London Zoo where Harry "talked" to the snake in the first book/movie

 our only group photo of the week -- our little zoo

Day 7 (Thursday) -- Oxford

We decided to take a day trip to Oxford for one of the days.  It's an hour train ride from Paddington.  To get the cheap fairs we needed to travel off-peak which meant taking the 9:21 train.  With a brisk walk to the Visitor's Centre we could just make the 10:45 walking tour.  Unfortunately this tour was very disappointing.  It didn't cover as great an area as I expected (that's my fault) and the guide was not very good (that's not).  He was not very dynamic and stammered quite a bit.  This was our biggest "miss" of the trip.  Don't know if all of the tours are this disappointing or not but ours certainly was.

The University of Oxford is made up of 39 independent colleges.   It is the oldest university in the English speaking world and 3rd oldest (Bologna, Paris) overall.   One of the more well known is Christ Church College which has Harry Potter connections.

Our tour started off at the Jesus College.  The college was founded by Elizabeth I on 27 June 1571 for the education of clergy, though students now study a broad range of secular subjects.

Inside the Dining Room with Queen Elizabeth I front and center.  

Back outside (and the rain) and a side view of the Bodleian Library (2nd only to the British Library in size in the UK).

 side view of the Sheldonian Theatre

Hertford Bridge,  the Oxford version of the Bridge of Sighs (Venice)

Radcliffe Camera, home to the Science Library

All Souls College courtyard

University Church of St Mary the Virgin

interesting building near the Divinity School -- sorry I missed the name

 inside the Divinity School

walking back through Golden Cross Shopping Centre -- note the 1193 date.  This was supposedly a coach inn/rest stop for many including Shakespeare between Strafford-upon-Avon and London.  Now, a Pizza Express.

After the disappointing tour, we headed to the Ashmolean Museum (Art & Archeology), apparently the world's first university museum.  We just went for a "taster" tour of sorts as we walked through.

this monkey with a dragonfly on a stick and a large Buddha caught my eye 
 and another Samurai

 china as far as the eye can see

 Sir Anthony van Dyck's painting of John, Count of Nassau-Seigen, and family

Back outside and now on our own self-guided tour.   Here's a somewhat typical site of an old building next to modern stores including a Burger King.

 interesting decoration of an entryway

 back to All Soul's (I believe)

 Queen's College

 looking back down High Street and St. Mary the Virgin

Looping back south through some fields and we spotted some deer.  More exciting than the animals at the zoo for some of our crowd.

 Finally Christ Church College

 a poster board view

 and one more looking back

We decided to also make one last stop in the History of Science Museum.  Quite a few interesting items including these slide rules

and the super computer version
on the way home on the Tube

Day 8 (Friday) -- Imperial War Museum and Borough Market

Our last day before heading back.  Off to the Imperial War Museum.   This one didn't quite live up to expectations but I think we were starting to suffer a little museum fatigue by this point and that had something to do with it.  Two of the main exhibits (Holocaust and War Crimes) were not suitable for children so we missed out on those as well.

Note that the museum will be closed for 6 months for renovation starting in January.

They also had a Blitz Experience that was pretty lame.  I can't believe folks were waiting in a long queue for this.  Perhaps it's because we heard some of it before during our travels.

They did have a nice exhibit on a family's experience during WW II.  This sign was a reminder that many children were evacuated from the city (and their families).

 backyard shelter

 various war time aircraft in the main hall

 German tank destroyer

 check out this range finder

Interestingly enough, we were actually evacuated during our stay due to "unforeseen circumstances beyond their control".  Not sure the reason but we were eventually let back in.  At least it was a nice day.

For our last activity, we made our way to the Borough Market for a late lunch and some shopping.  Food stalls of all sorts.  Too bad we couldn't come here earlier in the week to pick up some tasty treats (but it's not open early in the week).  I was a little concerned about transporting the food home so we didn't buy much but it was fun to look around.

Phew.  Quite a week.  It's not easy touring but I think we did pretty well.  The general favorites were the Lion King, Greenwich, the Tower of London and the Zoo.   Kuk liked the Science Museum.   Alex liked Covent Garden.  The Kims liked the British Library.  And Nicole liked the Zoo and the Tower.


No food photos this time.  In general the meals were good though few were outstanding.  Other than the one night in Covent Garden, we walked to each from our flat.  We tried

Koba (Korean)
Nizuni (Japanese)
Spaghetti House
Ozer (Turkish)
Le Pain Quotidien

and surprisingly we ate in 3 nights using prepared meals from Marks and Spencers.  That not only saved a little money but it was also good to just sit back and relax in the apartment and not worry about going back out.

Toptable was helpful to sort by area and cuisine.  Tripadvisor is nearly worthless for a city the size of London in my opinion.

Travel Tips

As promised, I thought I would give a few travel tips for anyone interested.  London is a big place but easy to get around.  I'd recommend getting a decent map (I like the one from the Rick Steve's Great Britain book) and the Tube map.  Remember that the Tube map isn't necessarily to scale so you need both.  Group activities by location so you aren't zipping back and forth across town.

Never pay cash for the Tube.  The system encourages you to get an Oyster Card and/or a travel card.  If you are there for 5+ days, it will likely pay off to get a 7-day Zone 1-2 travelcard.

Tube Map
Tube Travel Planner
Oyster Card

One wrinkle in the Oyster Card decision is the availability of 2for1 offers.  These are set up to encourage people to take the train into town.  If you have a round trip ticket AND print off the voucher you can get the 2for1 deals (for families that means not paying for the kids).  So, our round trip tickets from Derby qualify.

What if you don't take the train in?  Well, there's a back door.  You can buy a travel card (1-day or 7-day) from a National Rail Train station (not the London Underground) and that qualifies.  That's what we did for the Kims.  They had to bring a passport size photo and have the slight hassle of using the paper card instead of the Oyster Card but we saved oodles at the Zoo, Tower of London, Greenwich Walks and Churchill War Rooms.  Well worth the hassle!

2for1 offers

One more tip for day trips.  We were able to get "Groupsave" tickets for Oxford with 4 adults and would have for Dover as well.  That allowed us to wait until the last minute to decide without incurring extra cost.  That may be dependent on the particular operator though so do check.

For off-peak return tickets, I found it helpful to print out a timetable that showed all the options for the trains (some fast, some not).

National Rail "Pocket" Timetable

My general advice which worked well is to have a good plan but be flexible!  It worked for us.

Thanks for reading and have a good week everyone.


  1. Great post Steve. Loved the old kids photos.

  2. Nice post! Although I got a bit befuddled when I read the caption of the naval surgery scene ... my brain read it as "navel" surgery, and I couldn't figure out (1) why they were operating on the navel and (2) how you could lose a leg over it! Oops ... My bad! :)

  3. pretty thorough trip to London. It can be difficult herding that many people around.
    Several things I would have included by my taste:
    1. Madame Tousaus(?) wax museum. Yes it is touristy, long lines and pricey, but it is the best of these, so I would see it once.
    2. Greenwich- recommend taking the boat down the Thames from the Tower and come back using the tube. Probably not covered by the oyster card, but wrth it.
    3. Prefer Stratford to Oxford for a day trip

    No, walking does not help jetlag! Nothing helps besides time.

    Good trip, but don't skip the food!
    Ray B