We woke up just before 10 AM (finally slept in!). Our plan was to head to Leeds Castle for the day. We didn’t have time to catch the 11:18 AM train after getting ready, so we decided to shoot for the 12:18 PM train instead.
We called the concierge desk at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel to ask which station the train to Leeds Castle departed from and were told Waterloo. As a result, we took the Tube to Waterloo and waited in the general ticket line. When we got to front of line, we were told that we needed to buy the tickets from Waterloo East instead! By the time we got this news, it was already too late to get the 12:18 PM train, so we decided to try for the 1:18 PM train instead. We decided to double-check with the Southwest trains information desk and they said to go buy tickets from the original ticket area that told us they didn’t have them! After getting clarification from the travel center next to the ticket line, we were told the real story – all three people had given us incorrect info – the train to Leeds left from Victoria Station instead!
At this point, we said screw it and decided to go to Hampton Court Palace instead, which had originally been planned for Sunday. We bought tickets to Hampton Court from the Waterloo travel center (combo train fare/admission). After having breakfast at a bagel shop at Waterloo, we boarded the train for the 30 minute ride to Hampton Court Palace in East Molesey.
We started our tour by getting audio guides and proceeded to the Henry XVIII State Apartments, King George Apartments, the Tudor Kitchens, and finally the gardens. While I had been to the palace before, it was great to visit again with Stacey and not be with a larger group. We journeyed back to Waterloo after grabbing snack at convenience store (strange cheese and jalapeño on bread + candy bars = healthy!).
Once at Waterloo, we left the station on foot. I took Stacey to the old ‘hood and Schiller International University (where I did my study abroad). While *it* hasn’t changed much, the area around it certainly has undergone a huge revitalization (new IMAX theatre directly across from the entrance). We walked down Waterloo Road to the junction of the Thames path and took the path to the new London Eye for an 8:00 PM “flight”. This is also something that didn’t exist in 1998. It gives a unique perspective on the city and I’m glad that we went! We bought a couple of souvenirs, and then walked across the new Millennium Bridge to have dinner at the Sherlock Holmes Pub (recommended by Rick Steves and our tour bus guide from the first day). It is near the Charing Cross/Embankment tube stations. Stacey and I both had fish and chips, a pint of “Sherlock” (house brew), and prawns for an appetizer (I also *had* to buy a souvenir pint glass). We took the tube back to the Millennium Mayfair hotel around 11 PM.