History in the Making

My February 2019 UK Travel Plans- Update I

It’s official- my February 2019 UK travel plans are locked in, my trip is booked! I leave Winnipeg on February 8th (arriving in London on the 9th) and fly back home on the 24th, meaning that I will have 15 full days there to enjoy it. I’m a little worried about missing Agnes, but I know that she will be taken good care of, and as I don’t get to travel a ton, I need to take advantage of it and do as much as I can! Although it was slightly rocky getting it actually booked and I have a lot of planning to do, I have it to look forward to…

UK travel 2019

Booking My UK Travel- Flight

Booking my flight to the UK was kind of a giant pain. I have been saving Aeroplan points for 5 years so that I could use it for a trip, only to find out that my “free flight” is going to cost me $700 in fees- I even called Aeroplan because it seemed like it was some sort of glitch in the system, but nope, it’s accurate. And I have an Air Canada credit for my cancelled Seattle trip, but between 3 different agents, they couldn’t decide when I would actually be able to use the credit and they never actually got back to me (thanks, Sam from Air Canada…), so I just went ahead and booked through Aeroplan.

***As I’ve learned now, use your Aeroplan points for North American travel only if you don’t want heinous fees. Sometimes you end up like me and you are planning on a UK trip, and so taking another trip to use up the points isn’t an option, but if you’re still in the planning stages, change your plans now.***

Unfortunately that means that $700 is coming out of the budget, but thankfully I plan far enough ahead that it will be manageable. I was frustrated by the fact that both Aeroplan and Air Canada’s employees don’t appear to listen and/or care about their customers, but airlines being complacent isn’t new to me, sadly. I’m trying to stay positive though, and at the end of the day, the trip is now booked!

UK Travel Plans

So far, I’ve come up with my preliminary plans- of the fifteen days, I’m going to spend three days in Bath, and then three days in Cambridge with one of my best friends, Katelynne. I may try to find one other day trip to do, but having over a week to spend in London itself sounds pretty lovely to me; I usually have to compromise or rush and now I can do whatever I want to do! There is going to be a lot of history, and a lot of shopping (a few specific items I’m looking for, as well as things I haven’t found yet)! If nothing else happens, I have to go to the Dior exhibit at the V&A, and will be booking my ticket whenever they are made available.

Panoramic shot of the Royal Crescent in Bath, Somerset
Via Pixabay

Bath is a three-fold trip. I’ve been dying to go the Fashion Museum to see the Royal Women exhibition for ages now, so I will take my time to soak that up. I also plan on taking in as much Jane Austen as I possibly can, including the Jane Austen Centre (who I have been thoroughly enjoying on Instagram). Also, what kind of historian would I be if I didn’t wander around Bath Abbey? I should say, I don’t plan on going to the Roman Baths- it’s fairly expensive, and I’m not so interested to wait in a line and move through big crowds when I could be walking down the Royal Crescent.

UK travel, lawn of Christ's College, Cambridge University
Via Pixabay

I really went back and forth between Cambridge and Oxford, but Cambridge won because of the fact that it is quieter, and that there is roughly a 2% chance of me running into a few specific historians I wanted to study with. I’m pretty excited to see Ely Cathedral (very close to Cambridge), a few specific colleges, as well as about nineteen different bridges (I never knew I wanted to see bridges until I actually started researching Cambridge)! Overall, it looks fairly gorgeous, and I’m hoping that going in February will mean that there will be less people there.

UK Travel- What’s Next 

For the next few months, I will be saving for the trip! Because I don’t travel very often, I tend to try to treat myself. That doesn’t mean flying first class and only staying in luxury hotels, but I stay in hotels rather than hostels, and I won’t only travel in off-peak times. I will be booking train tickets and a few other tickets in the upcoming months, as I know that I might be able to save a little bit more by waiting but then I also might miss out on a few things that I really want to do.

I will also try to nail down more of my travel plans, and start grouping things in London I want to see for the most efficient plans. I don’t need trips planned out to very minute, but I don’t like just showing up and seeing what happens- I don’t do that in any other area of my life, so I’m not doing it on a once in 3-5 years trip haha. (The more you plan, the more you can see!)

UK travel, Tudor Buildings at the Tower of London

If any bloggers are going to be in London (or Bath or Cambridge) in that time, let me know! I would love to meet up with you and see you in person 🙂 Being marooned here in the middle of Canada doesn’t exactly make it easy to meet up with bloggers normally, so I am excited to meet everyone! (I promise that I am friendly, and not a serial killer 🙂 )

And if you have any recommendations for London, Bath, or Cambridge, please let me know- I would love to hear what your favourites are and what you think I should see!

Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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22 thoughts on “My February 2019 UK Travel Plans- Update I”

  • I’m gonna have a think see if there’s anywhere I can think of 🙂 I really hope we get the chance to meet up 🙂

    • I sometimes think that waiting to travel until life is less crazy is the smart way to do it- if you can travel when life is a bit slower, you can really enjoy it!!

    • I’ve been to the UK several times now, but never just to wander around by myself- I’m quite excited to do whatever I want haha 🙂

  • I can’t wait for our Cambridge adventure!! I’m just so excited to be able to hang out with you! It’s been far too long.

    • I’ve been to London a bunch, and Leeds, York, and Windsor, as well! I’m excited to see Bath and Cambridge, and there is always so much to see in London 🙂

  • I know you’ve mentioned London a few times but I will remind you to see some shows while you’re there: last minute tickets (depending on the show) can be super cheap (I got 2nd or 3rd row seats- usually reserved for cast members parents- to Billy Eliott for 20 pounds!). So if you check what’s playing while you’re there and then go for the day (or two ahead) for the night you want get tickets (HP will not work I will bet you, but otherwise. And yes, having seen Billy Eliott 3x I would see it again. The dancing is amazing!!!).
    Bath- I know you said no to the Roman Baths but for the Abbey (if they’re doing it still) climb the stairs, it’s included in the tour and the view (you get onto the roof) is beautiful! Also the town is small enough you can wander easily (if you discover any hidden alleys let me know 🙂
    Cambridge- watch out for bikes- and cows. No, I’m not kidding about the cows, when I stayed with my cousin and his wife they were there in the field eating. May not be because of the time of year you’re going but just in case. Bikes, definitely be careful, everyone rides them. See if you can rent one while you’re there. It’s relatively easy to walk around but it is pretty much all cobblestones so judgment call on biking or walking for ease of getting around. Comfy shoes are necessary. And they have a market- in the market square- pretty much every day but a bigger one Saturdays. It’s still very much that traditional market town in many ways- with a prestigious university, Caffe Nero and Tesco thrown in. Also if you’re planning to tour the university- not every college is open to the public and if they are each one costs individually (also vary in price I think) so it can add up. My cousin showed me around one or two because he and his wife work at Cambridge so I got to look in for free- which is why I don’t know the cost.

    • I’ve done the cheap theatre tickets (I saw Once and Wicked on the West End), I might do it this time, but it really depends on what is playing and what tickets I can find! I’m very particular about the shows I go to see, so it will really depend on what is playing. (And as much as I love Harry Potter, I don’t need to fight someone to see Cursed Child haha.

      I am absolutely planning on doing the full tour of the Abbey (including the tower) if they do them in February! The Abbey and the Fashion Museum are the main reason I’m going to Bath, so if I do nothing else, it will be those two things. (I certainly plan on wandering, so I will find as many hidden alleyways as I can 🙂 ) Please let me know what area I should be looking for a hotel to be close to the Jane Austen things and the Abbey!

      I’m totally okay to look out for cows- I live in the middle of farmland, so errant animals don’t bother me much! And I am already researching shoes for the trip haha- I am quite specific on shoes with my arthritis and stress fractures, and there was cobblestone all over Dublin, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what I want and I have 6 months to find them, thankfully!! I am doing my research on the colleges- I’m thinking we will probably pick 2 or 3 a day to visit. Some of them I do just want to wander around the exterior, so I think my budget should be safe! I’m also hoping that the fact that we are going in the middle of February will cut down on the tourists a little. It will be a lovely reprieve from a Winnipeg winter but I daresay it will be colder than a lot of Europe at the time. We are also going past to see Ely Cathedral first and then head back to Cambridge, to see as many chapels/cathedrals as possible 😀

      • Places to stay I can’t really help with as I lived there and rented a room in a house. But I think there is a YHA there. I do know there are a ton of B&B’s/ hotels in and around the area. I would just do a Google search. I saw the comment on the Roman Baths- going in February may lessen the number of tourists (but I make no promises). You may be able to get advance tickets or just ask if it’s super busy if you want to go day-of.

        • I was more wondering if there is a specific area I should be looking for? I usually go with hotels (I don’t travel a ton, so spending a bit more when I do isn’t an issue) but the reviews aren’t helping me figure out what location I would want to be in

          • Bath overall is walkable (I was outside the centre and had a 30min/ slightly less walk to work each way when living there). I would suggest closer to the centre if possible- if I remember correctly it means slightly further from the train station but for day trips the bus station is right in the centre of town so that’s still doable (depending on where you’re going). It does mean the price will be slightly higher.
            Sorry I can’t be more help.

            • Thank you, this does help!! I don’t think I will be doing any day drips from Bath, I think that there will be more than enough to keep me entertained in the city haha. Theoretically I will only need to go to and from the train station just the once, so a little bit of a walk is fine by me!!

  • I second the opinion on the Roman Baths. I’m glad I went and saw them and got some great pictures, because I teach a unit on Ancient Rome, but, DAMN. I’m currently planning a post on my experience there. The crowd control is non-existent, as all they want is to take your money. It’s pretty sad, because my mom went in the 70s and she and her friend were literally the only ones in the baths! She was really sad to see the state of them today.

    • Would it be cool to see them? Of course, but I don’t need to just push my way through crowds for 2 hours and $30 CAD. I’m not bothered by having people in pictures but when it gets so crowded that you can’t move properly, I’m bowing out. Also, I’ve been to the hot springs in the rockies many a time, so the sheer fact of heated water springing up from the earth isn’t new to me haha!

  • Well done for booking! Bummer on the fees though!
    I’m in Kent and if the kids are on half term it would make it easier to meet you possibly!!!

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