There's only one thing worse than being in an hotel at a major airport, it's being in that same said hotel that's right at the airport and because it's so close it has neither opening windows (cause really, who wants to sniff airline fuel) nor air-conditioning that works properly. So what you're left with is an incredibly humid room, with no fresh air and two occupants who are rapidly getting cheesed off with the situation, and of course same said occupants then spend the entire night repositioning themselves on 'cool' areas of the bed to try to ease the uncomfortableness. Suffice to say it was a VERY long night. Come the morning though and the room was cooler, the hotel in general much better, and being so close to the airport became somewhat of a boon – given the 'hotel hoppa' bus was direct to the terminal from there, which is great when you discover the bus you'd intended on catching left 10 minutes earlier due to a schedule change. At any rate both parties were able to find each other in the melee that is LHR Arrivals at Terminal 3, and the return trip on the 'H/H' a smooth run, given we were the only passengers. A quick shower later and we three were on our way!
Our first stop was actually a spur of the moment detour. When we were originally planning this trip we had scheduled to stop off and visit this attraction, but as the flight was early we couldn't really justify hanging around or delaying ourselves long enough to be there at opening – some three hours after the LHR arrival – so we'd crossed it off the itinerary. Then when the flight was changed and arrived three hours later we thought 'no, it's too late now', given we had to drive from London to near Penrith which can be quite the drive (300 miles/5 hours constant driving). Yet somehow as we approached the sign that pointed to that attraction we couldn't refuse, so a quick left and a slightly larger than planned right – okay, so we took the scenic route – and we finally found ourselves at the first sightseeing sight I visited 20 years ago on my first trip to Britain. Bekonscot Model Village and Railway is a truly wonderful place, and I'm relieved to say it's as magical now as it was two decades ago – or even six decades if you ask someone else in our party. Should you ever find yourself in Beaconsfield, do stop off and have a look, it's a wonderful small park with the most impressive model village with pretty much everything and anything you could or would expect to find (or, if you can't wait, they have a website!). From there we headed a little further north before stopping for lunch, or rather a mid-afternoon snack, in Stratford-upon-Avon, a baguette by the river, a stroll through the peaceful green lawns and gardens is not to be missed on a lovely spring day, which is exactly what we enjoyed.
The drive from Stratford to our digs near Penrith was remarkably easy, given we had to deal with the M6 and its multitude of roundabouts, turn-offs, and construction that slowed everything down to a navigable speed. We had a pit-stop outside Preston before the final push and were mighty pleased we missed the rain that was just starting to fall as we finished unloading the car at our wee cottage, nestled quietly in a small country village that turns out to be not so quiet, but more on that later. Once the bags were hauled inside and up stairs, our limited groceries stored away in the fridge and cupboards, we turned in for our first night of our holiday. It's been a wonderful day, everything you could want a spring day in England to be, and we're looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.