Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sunday thru Wednesday - Ireland, England & Guernsey

Sunday morning and up at 5 am as I hadn't packed the night before - tired after a Guinness or two! Drive to Shannon Airport took only 25 minutes, but the return of the hire car took another 29 minutes. Very helpful shuttle driver helped with the luggage, and the Aer Lingus check-in went smoothly. Had assistance to the plane and at Heathrow Terminal 2. I was amazed that I didn't go through Immigration at Heathrow.

Thankfully the assistance at Heathrow took me directly to the taxi stand - very friendly London cabbie took me to the Kew Gardens Hotel, obviously in Kew near the Kew Gardens. Arrived about 11:30 am and of course my room was not ready however the staff were most apologetic and offered me a cup of tea. The bar at the hotel is very comfortable and relaxing.

View from my room at Kew Gardens Hotel

Kew Gardens Hotel

After checking in I thought I would get myself organised to visit The National Archives (Kew) on Monday, but when I checked the opening times I found that TNA was closed on Monday! Not a problem. 

I caught the Tube - the District Line -  from Kew Gardens Station to South Kensington. I was going to visit the Victoria & Albert (V & A) Museum and was able to follow the subway tunnel from the tube to the side entrance to the museum. I wanted to see the jewellery and Victorian exhibitions in particular and was thankful for a volunteer guide's assistance. This kind person offered me a wheelchair and guided me to the cafe for a cuppa and then to the Jewellery exhibits and the Victorian exhibit.  Many thanks to the V & A volunteers.
Cafe at V & A Museum

Tea & scone at V & A Museum
The exhibits I saw were spectacular, and I have photos below of three diamond bow brooches and a large Victorian silver centrepiece.

Diamond bow brooches V & A Museum

Victorian silver centrepiece V & A Museum
After viewing the exhibits at the V & A I took a London black cab to Liberty of London where I had a light lunch at the Liberty Cafe. What a wonderful store, so many beautiful things to look at and dream about owning.

Tuesday morning

Off early to TNA at Kew, the hotel is very close just a short walk to the Kew Gardens station and through the subway tunnel to the archives. Managed to get my reader's ticket with no problems and then off to the Reading Room. Delighted to see the original parchment records of three of my convict ancestors. I had previously seen transcriptions but seeing the original documents was amazing. Interestingly TNA does not require researchers to wear gloves except when viewing photographs. Of course, I visited the bookshop at TNA and sent eight books home - difficult to resist the temptation.

Tuesday night was my last at Kew Gardens Hotel and I enjoyed an early dinner of soup and dessert with a glass of Chenin Blanc or two. I would recommend this hotel for anyone researching at TNA, very welcoming and friendly staff, nothing is too much trouble for them.


Up early - 5:30 am - as I needed to be in central London by 8:00 am to begin my Back Roads tour of the Channel Islands and Northern France. I had a taxi arriving at 7:00 am and the driver was on time and very helpful. We arrived at the Wellington Hotel at 7:45 am in plenty of time. There were already three people waiting in the hotel forecourt. The coach (a Mercedes 16 seater) arrived at 8:40 am as the tour guide had problems with the London traffic. This extra time gave us time to meet the fellow travellers, a total of fifteen. There are three singles and six couples on the tour All from Australia except for one delightful couple from Toronto, Canada.
Back Roads Mercedes coach
Off to Windsor Castle where I stayed in the town as the hill was a bit too steep for me. After lunch, we travelled to Winchester Cathedral where interestingly enough Jane Austen is buried. Then off to Corfe Castle in Dorset for overnight at Morton's Manor House hotel and dinner. We left early the next morning as we had to make the ferry to Guernsey at 10:30 am, a three hour trip. I found that I don't have sea legs as it was very rough in the Channel and my balance was not the best. The ferry arrived on time at 1:15 pm at St Peter's Port, the main town on Guernsey. We are staying on Guernsey for three nights so no packing and unoacking as we did on the first night. I am glad we stop for three nights at most hotels. 
St Peter's Port Harbour, Guernsey

Harbour with Castle Cornet in the distance

Delicious lunch at the Octopus Bar & Restuarant, quite the best classic fish soup I have had for a long time. Then off for a tour of Sausmarez Manor.
Sausmarez Manor & Angel sculpture
Sausmarez Manor has an interesting history dating from 1117. You can read more about this fascinating family and how they progressed to today here.

We are staying at the Duke of Richmond Hotel in Cambridge Park, St Peter's Port.
Duke of Richmond Hotel, Guernsey
I waqs absolutley exhausted on Thursday night that I slept for three hours then had a snack and slept for another ten hours.


  1. You certainly are having an adventure to remember... great that so many have been so helpful.

  2. Sounds fab.I'll take note of that hotel for my next visit to Kew. I have been contemplating that Backroads tour since reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as it looks like a beaut way to see the Channel Islands. I'll be following your further posts with interest. Enjoy!

    1. The Channel Islands part of the trip has been fabulous. Our tour guide/driver June is amazing both as a driver on narrow roads and her knowledge of out of the way places to see