Dave's Online Trip Page
Last update 10/09/2k
England Trip Sep. 2000 Pictures....
I went to a two day meeting at Conoco's England refinery near Grimsby and
since this was my first time to visit England I took Sherre along.
We left on Sep. 23rd and arrived at Heathrow airport on Sunday morning
about 11 AM. You loose 6 hours when going 'over the pond' and it's also
about an 8 hour trip so it makes for one VERY long day. After arrival we
hopped on the Heathrow Express train for our very first train ride and
then on our very first subway ride to King's Cross rail/subway station
where we caught another train up to Doncaster which is not too far from
the refinery, this was about a 2 hour ride. This refinery was built about
1969 on a large farm near Grimsby, England. They kept the large farmhouse
that is on the property and turned it into a hotel for company visitors
to the refinery since there isn't a town nearby. It's a VERY nice place
with 5 bedrooms, all with their own bathroom.
It's called the Walmer House. Here's a shot of the room
we were in, it is the largest room and a shot of the large bath.
The front looks like this
and the back
has a nice large yard where the rabbits like to feed in the evening. There's
also a 'football' (soccer) field next door but I didn't get a shot of it.
is right across the street and the tank farm for the refinery is right
behind the building. It's surrounded by the big oil tanks.
All the bedrooms are upstairs, downstairs there is a nice living
room (with one of the Conoco engineers doing his email there), and
a large dining
room. They fed us all three meals here each day, very good traditional
After two days of meetings on Monday and Tuesday we took a rent car
and drove to York to see the sights. I quickly learned to drive on the
left side of the road and how to navigate the traffic circles. After you've
done a few of them they start to make sense. It was about an hour's drive
to York, I'm glad it wasn't any longer! This little
car is made by Rover and was a 5 speed standard, it was really strange
shifting with the left hand. Most of the cars there are very small like
this because gas (petrol) costs about $5 a gallon! This is partly because
they have a 75% tax on gas there! The government REALLY wants to discourage
On the way to York we went over this toll bridge, the Humber
bridge which at one time was the longest single suspension bridge in
the world. Once we got to York we turned in the rent car and found our
way to the central part of town.
The first place we visited was the York Minster which is one of the
largest churches in England. It was started in 1291 and is decorated in
a Gothic style. It's VERY large, here's a shot of the main room, the Nave,
this is only HALF of the building. It is a Church of England church. I
have several pictures of the inside but didn't notice until we got home
that I didn't get any pics of the outside! Here's a shot of the
screen between the two halves of the church, it has statues of several
of the kings of England. I also have several shots of the various windows
but they didn't come out very good.
We visited several other places in York but I didn't get any pictures
of them. Late in the afternoon on Wednesday we visited the National Train
Museum just before catching the train back to London. This is a VERY large
museum, the largest train museum in the country. Here's a shot
of me next to one of the old engines.
Everyone told us on our first day in London we should take a bus tour
to get a feel for the whole city and then decide what to go back and see
in detail. So, we did this, we went on a London
since we could get a 50% discount using our London
for Less coupons. I found this London for Less book on the internet
and ordered it, cost was $20 and we saved a lot more than that on the trip
using the book and it's coupons so it paid for itself many times over.
This bus tour also included a short river cruise so it was really worth
As we drove around I took shots of the most famous places. Here's the
Gallery with a church in the background, I didn't get the name of this
where all the royals get married and the coronations occur since
1066. Another shot of the front
Here's a shot of the Thames
with the new London Eye in the back ground. I have a closer
shot of it here taken while on the boat tour. This was just built in
2000 and is a very slow Ferris wheel type ride, it takes 45 minutes for
one revolution but is very tall and they say you can see many miles from
the top (but that's only on clear days and there aren't many of those in
London, ha!). We didn't fight the crowds to ride it, too many other things
Here's the Houses
of Parliament with the famous Big Ben clock on the right. A better
shot of Big Ben
Near Trafalgar Square is this Admiralty
Arch, built in 1910 as a regal entrance to this area. Not far away
is Piccadilly Circus which is just a fancy name for another traffic circle,
anyway it's their version of Times Square and has all kinds of fancy
signs. We went by St.
Paul's Cathedral several times but I didn't get a good shot of it.
A shot of the new Globe
Theater which is a reproduction of the original where many of Shakespeare's
plays were performed, notice the thatch roof.
Near the Tower
of London is a small piece of the original
Roman wall that surrounded London when it was a Roman city.
This is the type
of boat we took our river tour on. From the river we could see many
of the major attractions in the city. Like London
Bridge and a close
up of it. This bridge is called the Millennium
Bridge, it was built just this year and only open one day, when it
was full of people (it's just a foot bridge) it swayed so much they had
to close it down!
The HMS Belfast
a cruiser that is now a floating naval museum. Here's another shot of the
of London from the river. This is called Cleopatra's
Needle, a granite obelisk from Egypt that was made in about 1500 BC.
It was given to the British in 1819 in recognition of their help by Lord
Admiral Nelson at the Battle of the Nile.
After seeing most of the city we decided to take in the Tower
of London tour. We were able to get the last guided tour of the day
and here's a shot of our Beefeater
tour guide. He was very interesting and humorous. He's the youngest person
to be a tour guide, he told us they are all ex-millitary men and must have
at least 22 years of service before they can be accepted as Yeoman Warders.
They are the official guards of the Tower and also live there with their
families. The Crown Jewels are also kept there but they wouldn't allow
pictures of them, they wouldn't even let me try them on! I did get one
shot of a suit
of armor along with horse armor, I forget who this is made for, one
of the Kings of England, I think. I don't remember much of my English history
but from the stories our guide told it sounded like it's not such a good
thing to be an English King or Queen, sure were a lot of them executed
On Friday we toured Buckingham
Palace, it is only open in August and September and this may be the
last year it is open to the public. Here's a shot of one of guards
out front, we got there before the changing
of the guard ceremony and stayed to watch it. It's a long and drawn
out ceremony but rather interesting. Again, they didn't allow pictures
inside the Palace, but needless to say, it's FANCY!
We also toured the Cabinet War Rooms but I didn't get any pics. This
is where the English government worked during the bombing of England by
the Germans in WWII. It was all left just like they used it during the
war and was turned into a museum. It's all several feet under ground and
protected by a thick layer of concrete and steel.
After leaving there we went by Westminster
Abbey to see it. VERY large. We also went to see Marble
Arch which was built in 1827 as the main entrance for Buckingham Palace
but was too small for the grandest coaches so it was moved in 1851. This
is not far from the famous Harrods store but I failed to get a picture
of it. Let's just say the prices there are as large as the store and it's
about a full city block! ha! (The restrooms are free, however, which isn't
true of all the stores in town, ha!)
On Saturday we went to the Science Museum, I didn't take my camera
because I thought pictures wouldn't be allowed but they were. This is the
largest Science Museum I've ever seen and was very interesting for me.
Sherre wasn't so interested but she stayed awake. We also did some more
touring and shopping. We traveled around London on the tube (subway) by
buying a 7 day travel card which allows you to travel anywhere in the central
part of the city. I didn't get any shots of the tube but it's pretty nice
except during rush hour, we got stuck one day riding it during rush hour
and it was VERY crowded. Imagine the last time you had to get on a crowded
elevator and then imagine that elevator moved sideways (heavy acceleration
and deceleration) over bumpy rails! Not fun. Seems they breakdown often
too. That happened several times to us the week we were there but not to
the train we were on, it just delayed us.
On Sunday we did more shopping along Oxford street which is the main
shopping district. It's several miles long as is covered with all kinds
of stores. It was interesting to me to see all the McDonald's, Burger Kings,
and KFCs along the street. There were also plenty of the red double decker
buses and the black taxis everywhere you look.
Later we took a quick tour of the British Museum. It was amazing to
me to see all the ancient Egyptian
artifacts that were out in the room where everyone could touch them.
They were badly worn from all the fingerprints over the years. About the
only thing that was covered up was the Rosetta
Stone, this shot was made while a tour guide was standing in front
of it. There are miles of rooms and each area has it's own theme. You could
spend days in the place if you're a real history buff.
By the way, many of these places are found on this web site for Historic
Royal Palaces. Also, the English
Heritage group has a website too, many of the places we visited are
on this website.
On Monday we took a Frames Rickards bus tour to Bath and Stonehenge.
This was about a 2 hour ride to Bath where there is a Roman
bath that was rediscovered about 100 years ago. It is much larger than
I imagined and about 15 feet under the present street level, that's how
much the ground level has gone up in the last 2000 years or so. The museum
was quite large and detailed but I didn't take but a couple of pics. We
also visited the Bath
Abbey which is right across the street from the Roman bath. Here's
an inside shot
and a shot of the newly restored pipe
After we left Bath we went on to Stonehenge,
this site dates back to about 5000 years ago, the stones
that are there now were constructed about 3500 years ago. No one knows
why the place was built but there are lots of theories. A cold wind was
blowing the day we were there so we didn't stay long. Because so many people
visit this site each year they were having trouble with errosion near the
stones so they've moved everyone back a few yards from the stones. I didn't
realize there are MANY other sites in this area that are also about the
same age, some of them are burial
mounds. We didn't get back to London until after 6 PM so we got caught
in some of the rush hour traffic.
On Tuesday we went to Greenwich which is on the other side of the Thames
from where we stayed. By the way, we stayed at a Comfort Inn very near
King's Cross rail/subway station. It wasn't the nicest place I've ever
stayed, in fact, it was close to the worst but the price was right. Everything
is rather expensive over there. Outside our 2nd story window was this Jaguar
dealership, fancy, huh?
Anyway, in Greenwich we walked to the top of the hill to visit the
Old Royal Observatory. This place was established in 1675 by King Charles
II to solve a problem that faced all sailing nations. They needed
a way to define the east/west co-ordinates which we call longitude today.
Finally in 1884 after all those years of study they found a way to define
and measure longitude and 0 degrees longitude was defined to be at the
Old Royal Observatory there in Greenwich. To measure longitude an accurate
way to measure time while at sea is also required so part of the problem
was to develop a clock which could do that. It wasn't done until 1763 by
John Harrison when he developed the H4 clock which looks like a large pocket
watch. This was after he failed on the H1, H2, and H3 clocks. Oh well,
enough history lessons. It was all very interesting to me and Sherre was
They wouldn't allow pics inside so all I got was a few outside. From
the top of the hill where the Observatory is you can see most of London.
It was a hazy day but here's a overall
shot. The Queen's
House was completed in 1637 but is no longer used by the Queen. The
Dome was built for just this year as a tourist attraction but has been
a major disappointment, I heard they are now talking about what to do with
it next on the 'telly' news. I read up on it and it sounded pretty lame
so we didn't visit it.
in front of the Queen's House and here I
am standing with one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one in the
west on top of zero longitude. Here's a shot of a telescope
made in the 1700s with Sherre looking out of one of the windows. They have
several telescopes there but my pictures of their large 28" refracting
telescope didn't come out well, it was too dark in there and too large
of a room for my flash to work. They have this ball
on top of the main building that they drop at precisely 1 PM every day
so sailors can set their clocks, they've been doing this since 1833 and
we were there when they did it that day, I didn't see Dick Clark anywhere!
The clipper Cutty
Sark was down near the river, in 1871 it was the fastest ship
on the sea.
We did some shopping in the downtown part of Greenwich and ate a late
lunch (fish and chips again, I could get used to that!). Then took the
train back to Oxford street in London to do some more shopping. We got
caught in rush hour tube traffic that evening which made us homesick again.
I'm sure glad I live out here in the wide open spaces!
On Wednesday the 4th we got up early to beat the rush hour and took
the tube to Paddington station where we were able to check our luggage
in and take the Heathrow Express train out to the airport. We caught our
plane with plenty of time to spare and hopped on the big 777 headed for
Chicago. After a long 8+ hour flight to Chicago we caught another flight
down to Tulsa. Got home about 7 PM and tried to stay up as long as possible
to get over the jet lag as quickly as possible. We were up 23 hours that
day with just a few short naps on the planes.
Overall we had a good time, got to see lots of interesting things but
we were sure glad to get back home! Let me know if any of these links aren't
working, I didn't have time to check them all, hope you enjoyed our story.