London in May

Post your experiences of travel, especially for the Douro region. Make recommendations for places to stay and visit or ask advice from those that have already been there.
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Glenn E.
Graham’s 1977
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London in May

Post by Glenn E. »

Kari and I will be in London May 10-17, with the primary reason being the Graham's vertical on May 14 and the Taylor Single Harvest tasting on May 16. But since London is much closer to Sweden than Seattle is, she plans to use this opportunity to visit her "Swedish brother" in Sweden during the week. (He was an exchange student who lived with her parents during high school.)

She has strategically chosen Tuesday through Thursday for that visit leaving me free for dinner on Wednesday between the two tastings on Tuesday and Thursday.

My likely default will be The Port House unless advised otherwise, and I would welcome anyone else who will be in London and free for dinner that evening.
Glenn Elliott
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rich_n
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Re: London in May

Post by rich_n »

Glenn E. wrote:Kari and I will be in London May 10-17, with the primary reason being the Graham's vertical on May 14 and the Taylor Single Harvest tasting on May 16. But since London is much closer to Sweden than Seattle is, she plans to use this opportunity to visit her "Swedish brother" in Sweden during the week. (He was an exchange student who lived with her parents during high school.)

She has strategically chosen Tuesday through Thursday for that visit leaving me free for dinner on Wednesday between the two tastings on Tuesday and Thursday.

My likely default will be The Port House unless advised otherwise, and I would welcome anyone else who will be in London and free for dinner that evening.
After our efforts to meet up last year were foiled by Covid I'm keen to come up to London while you are this side of the ocean - I'm on the waitlist for the Graham tasting but if I don't make that I may well try and pop up for the day on Wednesday and will let you know if so.
Last edited by rich_n on 11:57 Tue 09 Jan 2024, edited 1 time in total.
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flash_uk
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Re: London in May

Post by flash_uk »

Glenn E. wrote: 22:50 Fri 05 Jan 2024 Kari and I will be in London May 10-17, with the primary reason being the Graham's vertical on May 14 and the Taylor Single Harvest tasting on May 16. But since London is much closer to Sweden than Seattle is, she plans to use this opportunity to visit her "Swedish brother" in Sweden during the week. (He was an exchange student who lived with her parents during high school.)

She has strategically chosen Tuesday through Thursday for that visit leaving me free for dinner on Wednesday between the two tastings on Tuesday and Thursday.

My likely default will be The Port House unless advised otherwise, and I would welcome anyone else who will be in London and free for dinner that evening.
Wouild be great to have dinner that night Glenn. Will I receive permission for three nights in a row? Hmmm. May need to play by ear nearer the time :D
Glenn E.
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Re: London in May

Post by Glenn E. »

Over the years, particularly while we were doing virtual tastings during COVID, I may have promised to bring various bottles to open with various members of TPF the next time I'm in London.

This trip is that next time.

Sadly, I seem to have forgotten all but one promise, and the recipient of the one that I remember has forgotten it! I do not wish to fail to deliver on a promise, so if there is a bottle that I have promised to share with you please remind me.

Sadly I checked my refrigerators and could not find any 1896 Dow or 1851 Warre. So if I promised you one of those, I must beg forgiveness.
Glenn Elliott
Glenn E.
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Re: London in May

Post by Glenn E. »

I realize that it is a super touristy thing to do, but ... I have time. So ... is it worthwhile and do I need some kind of reservation to tour the Tower of London? And perhaps more specifically, do any of you recommend any tour provider over the others?
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mcoulson
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Re: London in May

Post by mcoulson »

well can't recommend a tour guide and your right the Tower of London is about as tourist as it gets .....

If you want to visit somewhere a bit off the tourist map then you could try here

https://www.soane.org/

have a look here for an indication of whats there

https://explore.soane.org/

it's a really fab building with a collection created over a lifetime by one man
winesecretary
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Re: London in May

Post by winesecretary »

Why not go to the Tower of London? Tickets are 35 from historic royal palaces ( hrp.org.uk ). An audio guide is an extra £4. Tell me what it’s like if you do as I’ve lived in London for 29 years and never been.

I agree with Martin that the Soane museum is interesting but it’s also more than slightly mad and obsessive. Would wouldn’t appeal to any of us oh no.
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: London in May

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

From time to time, we’ve had annual passes from Historic Royal Palaces and so have visited the Tower of London several times, with and without children. If you’re into history, it’s definitely worth a visit. We were last there a couple of years ago.

There’s a gun salute every day at 1pm, which is a shock if you’re not expecting it but entertaining if you are.

Your ticket includes a guided tour of the castle by one of the Yeoman Warders (aka Beefeaters, who are all retired servicemen who have earned the right to live in the grounds of the Tower). There are other tour guides who operate, but why would you use one of them when you can be taken round by a resident?

If you go on a Sunday you might find the chapel closed for part of the day for services to be held (although you can still go in and join the congregation for worship).

Opening hours in May are 10.00-17.30 Sunday and Monday and 09.00-17.30 Tuesday to Saturday. Last admission is 15.30.

Tickets cost £35 each for full access to all the public building plus Yeoman tour. Buy your tickets way in advance. If you book now for May you’ll guarantee being able to get the date and time you want - but don’t leave it too long. There is already limited availability for the 10.00 visit on Tuesday 14 May!
Top Ports in 2023: Taylor 1896 Colheita, b. 2021. A perfect Port.

2024: Niepoort 1900 Colheita, b.1971. A near perfect Port.
Glenn E.
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Re: London in May

Post by Glenn E. »

When traveling from London to Porto with wine in your suitcase... how does that work? Do you have to declare it, or can you just breeze right through Customs without having to worry about it?
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: London in May

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

Coming in to the UK the duty free limit is 12 x 75cl of Port per adult. In theory, if you have more than that you need to use the red channel and declare the excess. The only time since Brexit that I tried to use the red channel I waited about 10 minutes for someone to appear before giving up and walking out. Just as I was leaving someone stopped me and asked why I was in the red channel. I told him and he told me to go.

I’m not sure what the allowances are going in to Portugal, but they are less generous than the UK. I usually use the green channel and on the couple of occasions when I have been stopped and asked what I have in my bag, have told the truth that I am carrying X bottles of wine to share with friends at dinner over the next few days.
Top Ports in 2023: Taylor 1896 Colheita, b. 2021. A perfect Port.

2024: Niepoort 1900 Colheita, b.1971. A near perfect Port.
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nac
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Re: London in May

Post by nac »

Glenn E. wrote: 23:48 Mon 18 Mar 2024 I realize that it is a super touristy thing to do, but ... I have time. So ... is it worthwhile and do I need some kind of reservation to tour the Tower of London? And perhaps more specifically, do any of you recommend any tour provider over the others?
Despite having worked in London for 30+ years, I still occasionally do touristy things there.
Recently did the guided tour of the Houses of Parliament & can highly recommend it - https://tickets.parliament.uk/timeslot/ ... ageSize=30
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mcoulson
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Re: London in May

Post by mcoulson »

winesecretary wrote: 07:35 Wed 20 Mar 2024 I agree with Martin that the Soane museum is interesting but it’s also more than slightly mad and obsessive. Would wouldn’t appeal to any of us oh no.
What exactly George are you suggesting about me :-)

In life I've come to the conclusion that mad and obsessive is actually a good facet to possess.

Of course this meshes in well with being a pharologists and I bet Soane was one of them as well

Hey Ho ....
Glenn E.
Graham’s 1977
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Re: London in May

Post by Glenn E. »

Alex Bridgeman wrote: 08:00 Thu 21 Mar 2024 Coming in to the UK the duty free limit is 12 x 75cl of Port per adult. In theory, if you have more than that you need to use the red channel and declare the excess. The only time since Brexit that I tried to use the red channel I waited about 10 minutes for someone to appear before giving up and walking out. Just as I was leaving someone stopped me and asked why I was in the red channel. I told him and he told me to go.

I’m not sure what the allowances are going in to Portugal, but they are less generous than the UK. I usually use the green channel and on the couple of occasions when I have been stopped and asked what I have in my bag, have told the truth that I am carrying X bottles of wine to share with friends at dinner over the next few days.
Thanks, Alex. My friend Lisa offered to transport the bottles to Portugal for me so that I don't have to worry about bringing them through customs twice. Although it now seems like I do not need to worry about it anyway because they'll be below the duty free limit. But at least I have the option.

This also means that the story I tell about entering the UK in 2014 carrying a case of 2011 Quarles Harris was a mistake! We did not have 24 bottles between us, so shouldn't have stopped and declared it at all. I think we might have had 4 + the case. But no matter, the total charge was only something like 40-50 GBP.

Technically, the limit entering the US is 2 liters, but the duty is so small that I've never seen a Customs Agent actually charge anyone. That might have to do with the fact that the agent has to fill out a separate form for each different wine you bring in, so sure Mr. Agent I have 14 different bottles of Port worth a total value north of $4,000. Do you really want to spend 45 minutes filling out forms to collect 14 * $0.83 in duty? (That may not be the exact duty, but it's a ridiculously small number.)
Glenn Elliott
Glenn E.
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Re: London in May

Post by Glenn E. »

nac wrote: 10:26 Thu 21 Mar 2024
Glenn E. wrote: 23:48 Mon 18 Mar 2024 I realize that it is a super touristy thing to do, but ... I have time. So ... is it worthwhile and do I need some kind of reservation to tour the Tower of London? And perhaps more specifically, do any of you recommend any tour provider over the others?
Despite having worked in London for 30+ years, I still occasionally do touristy things there.
Recently did the guided tour of the Houses of Parliament & can highly recommend it - https://tickets.parliament.uk/timeslot/ ... ageSize=30
Sadly there are no tours available in May on days that I will be available. Otherwise that sounds like a great tour!
Glenn Elliott
Justin K
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Re: London in May

Post by Justin K »

Glenn,

I have used the service of a brilliant tour guide who knows London like the back of his hand. His charges are neglible (in fact he's anyones for a glass of decent Port or even a coffee and a pasteis de Nata); step forward Alex!
Glenn E.
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Re: London in May

Post by Glenn E. »

Ha!

I was doing some further research regarding things I might like to do while in London, and discovered 2 things that were not at all as I expected.

1. Seckford's is not in London. For some reason I associated "Dock Lane" with the docklands and thought it would be easy to pop by and take a look just to see where my Port is stored. Not so much.

2. The tank museum that I thought was in a suburb of London is, in fact, a good hour on the other side of Southampton. Oops. Guess I won't be going there, either.

A friend of mine from here in Seattle was in London recently and discovered a bar/restaurant that sounds pretty amazing. There's one in Bevis Marks - The Alchemist. Anyone have any experience with these? Old Street and St. Martin's Lane are probably not out of range for me, too, if either of those would work better. I'm considering this for dinner on Wednesday night instead of The Port House.
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: London in May

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

Seckfords is easy to get to by train - it takes about 95 minutes from Liverpool Street. The warehouse is about a 10 minutes walk through a lovely riverside park from Melton train station. You could easily do it as quite a pleasant half day excursion.

Assuming you were talking about the Bovington Tank Museum, that's less easy to travel to using public transport. As an alternative, consider a visit to the Imperial War Museum, which has the double advantage of being in London and being free (although you are asked to give a donation to help support the museum).
Top Ports in 2023: Taylor 1896 Colheita, b. 2021. A perfect Port.

2024: Niepoort 1900 Colheita, b.1971. A near perfect Port.
winesecretary
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Re: London in May

Post by winesecretary »

The Alchemist chain is fine so long as you like house music (and not talking). Your experience may vary.
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