Europe train tour + UK

We can highly recommend the tour “Great Trains of Europe,” which we took July 8-20, 2007. This was our fourth trip with Grand European Tours, or GET (6000 Meadows Rd., Ste. 520, Lake Oswego, OR 97035; 800/552-5545,, and we were more than satisfied.

The nice thing about GET is they give you a day of leisure at most stops. We flew to London and stayed three nights, took the high-speed Eurostar to Paris, staying two nights, rode the TGV train (200 mph) to Geneva, bused to the train for Zermatt (no cars allowed), where we stayed two nights, then took the Glacier Express across the Alps to St. Moritz (two nights) and the delightful Bernina Express to Italy and Venice (two nights).

The cost for two was $8,158, including air from Los Angeles to London, with return from Venice.

We were not anxious to return home, so for just $25 each GET arranged for us to return via London Heathrow. We then rented a car for two weeks for $664 from Avis (800/331-1212) and drove to The Barn Farm (phone 01295 254394 or e-mail, where we had stayed in a lovely cottage almost two years before (Dec. ’05, pg. 40). A week’s stay here costs around £300 (near $604) during high season.

It did rain a great deal in England, but we were not affected by the unfortunate flooding, the worst in 60 years! We spent two weeks kicking back, zooming out to see the sights on the sunny days.

Our nicest venture was an overnighter to the Isle of Wight, where we stayed at the Hillside Hotel (Mitchell Ave., Ventnor, Isle of Wright, PO38 1DR, England; phone +44 01983 852271, fax 01983 855310,, a delightful old hotel built in 1789 with a thatched roof and a beautiful view of the ocean. We paid £56 ($114) each for half board.

In Upper Tysoe, Warwickshire, just 10 miles west of Banbury we came across a very nice B&B, Dinsdale House (phone 0044 [1] 295680234 or e-mail — close to the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, Oxford, etc. The home is almost a manor house and rents a double with bath for £70 ($142) a night. A delightful garden and swimming pool are available to guests.

It’s owned by a lovely couple, Julia and David Sewell. She is a Cordon Bleu cook and he a former Grenadier Guard. Julie will prepare a full English breakfast, and with prior notice an evening meal can be added.


Sun City, CA