In and around London

Our plan was to attend the Chelsea Garden Show on May 22, ’03, with the preceding week spent in and about London seeing all the sights. We were warmly welcomed everywhere — I really don’t think I have ever encountered friendlier people. The Brits really miss us, and London is a wonderful place to visit.

Our apartment in Mayfair turned out to be a real gem. Just off Shepherd Market, where there were dozens of quaint shops and restaurants on every corner, the Mayfayre House (22-28 Shepherd St.; phone 44 20 7491 4444 or visit http:// is a short walk from Green Park tube stop, with a popular taxi hangout on the corner.

With one bedroom, living room, fully equipped kitchen and bath, our charming apartment comfortably accommodated three persons and cost $253 per day.

We hired a delightful guide and driver, Harry Norman (phone 44 20 8303 7451, e-mail or visit, for two days outside London. One day we visited Hampton Court and Windsor Castle, and the other day we toured Oxford and the Cotswolds.

Harry was extremely knowledgeable, fun and friendly. His comfortable van accommodates six persons, and the charge for a full-day tour was $395. He does numerous tours and is a true jewel.

The English countryside is beautiful in the spring, with many wildflowers in bloom and lovely fields of yellow rape.

The Chelsea Garden Show was somewhat of a disappointment. Everyone in England must have been there on the day we visited; it was miserably crowded.

Be sure to join the Royal Horticultural Society (visit, which gives you the opportunity to join the society and purchase tickets for the first two “members only” days, which we did not do. Surely, the hordes of people would be greatly diminished.

Don’t stop traveling, especially to the United Kingdom. The Brits stood by us and are welcoming U.S. travelers with open arms. It is a great time to travel abroad.

Lake Charles, LA