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Weekend trip September 8th to 11th

London is one of the world’s greatest and vibrant cities with 2000 years of history. It has been welcoming immigrants and people seeking refuge politically and religiously, rich and poor for at least 500 years and now is one of the culturally richest places on Earth.

This year we will explore some of its diversity and history over a long weekend from the 8th to the 11th September.

Arriving by Eurostar from Brussels a coach will take us first to Highgate cemetery. In the early 19th century, London was expanding rapidly. Most burials had been in graveyards attached to churches, but now lack of space and a perceived disrespect to the dead as these graveyards were being constantly re-dug, lead to a decision to create 7 huge cemeteries around London. All still exist, but the most famous is Highgate, where, amongst others, is buried Karl Marx. After we have been guided around the highlights our coach will take us a few miles to Neasden, a nondescript suburb of North West London that houses the most wonderful Hindu temple, in carved Indian marble and hardwoods. Following a vegetarian lunch in their restaurant, we will have a guided tour around the complex

At the end of the afternoon, we will check- in to our accommodation at Imperial College It will be a long day, but down the road is one of London’s finest museums, the Victoria and Albert. I am arranging vouchers for supper from their self-service restaurant, so that time can be spent or not around the galleries of the museum and a meal eaten when wanted.

After breakfast on Saturday we head off by public transport to Hampton Court, for the day. The palace, originally built for Cardinal Wolsey, England’s last and most famous Price Bishop became an out-of-town home for Henry VIII and subsequent monarchs. The palace provides individual audio guides allowing time at one’s leisure around the palace(s) and superb park and gardens. Mid-afternoon we take a river bus down as far as Richmond then back for supper in South Kensington.

On Sunday, a coach will take us firstly to two adjacent museums in Kew, one in the original pumping station for fresh water for the rapidly growing London, which is now a museum of steam and water and the other a collection of working mechanical musical instruments. There will be time for lunch in the museum café. After lunch, we head off to Syon House and Park, owned by the Dukes of Northumberland, whose coal mines were one of the sources of the fuel for the pumping engines.

The day will end with our traditional dinner in the Polish Club in Exhibition Road.

Around the main Court of Justice grew up over the centuries the chambers (cabinets) of the principal lawyers who pleaded at the Court. On Monday, we will have a morning tour around the “Inns of Court”, with its squares and halls and churches. This finished, there will be time for any personal activities before we meet up for the return to St Pancras Home.

Accommodation:  Simple, en-suite single, double or twin-bed rooms in Imperial College’s South Side Halls of residence