Recently I planned a spring break trip to Belfast to meet my Mom and spend some time exploring this up and coming city in Northern Ireland. Living in Central Texas my options for international flight includes Dallas, Houston and now Austin. Austin Airport has numerous options for direct flights from Austin to London. I flew into Gatwick and decided to opt for a layover in London so I could spend the day in London and cross off a bucket list item – The National Gallery.
As I only had a day in London, I limited my sight seeing escapades to a small area of London, Westminster. I headed from Gatwick to Charing Cross, about 35 minutes on the train with a change at London Bridge.
Once you emerge from Charing Cross station a short walk around the corner and you will find yourself in the middle of Trafalgar Square. Obviously, a visit to Trafalgar Square is on most people’s "London List" because of the history of this area. This vibrant square is in Westminster and steeped in history it is also surrounded by museums and churches.
Rallies and demonstrations are frequently held at weekends on different political, religious and general issues. The Mayor of London supports this democratic tradition and gives access to the square for such causes.
St.Pancras train station opened its doors to its first trains and passengers in 1868 .It is one of the finest examples of Victorian engineering found in England. It is a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic Architecture and one of the most elegant stations in the world. I recently had the pleasure of taking an hour and savoring the splendor of this building. On route from my hometown of Sheffield to Gatwick Airport I stopped here, before scurrying along with all the other passengers ,to enjoy sometime at the longest champagne bar in Europe.
St.Pancras Champagne Bar By Searcy's
If you ever have the opportunity to visit St.Pancras Station be sure to take some time and indulge your senses at the longest champagne bar in Europe-a truly fabulous experience. This really is well worth a trip to this unique train station. The Champagne Bar by Searcy is amazing in every way and every detail has been paid attention to including heated leather seats and blankets for chilly winter evenings, a button to press for a champagne refill and soft lighting. Champagne can be ordered by the glass or bottle, there is a drinks and food menu. I loved the quail scotch egg and I loved everything about this amazing bar. Check out the website for all of the information you need to make your stop here memorable. stpancrasbysearcys.co.uk/
Unexpected Layover- Shannon, Ireland
After a disastrous trip caused by Kiwi.com -blog in the works-I unexpectedly found myself in Shannon Texas for 10 hours. At this point in my journey I was beginning to feel like Tom Hanks in the movie Terminal so I decided a layover adventure was seriously needed.
After taking sometime to make sure I actually had a connecting flight I headed to the information desk of this tiny airport where I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t have too many options but I had one that fit the bill perfectly…………………
At the information desk I was directed first to a luggage drop off where this kind gentleman will store a suitcase for a mere 4 euros approximately $5-the best airport deal I have ever found.Next I was told to head right outside and find the #343 bus which would take me directly to Bunritty Castle ; easy and the return cost was just 7 euros. The bus-ride was only about 20 minutes and I was dropped less than a half mile walk to the castle.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
I discovered the world of "stop overs' on a trip home. ......Why haven't I been doing this for years?
I discovered that I could fly Iceland Air and get a totally free stopover in this amazing country. New country,break up the flying time this was too good to not explore.
So off I went to discover this new country- it was one of the best travel experiences I have ever had; so much so when I traveled next with Gene we took a three day stop over and he also fell in love with this amazing country.
If you ever get the opportunity to plan a trip to Europe consider a stop over here you won’t regret it. Iceland is expensive but it doesn't have to be. Below are some tips for seeing the sights on a budget.
Tips for Travel In Iceland: