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We’re making our plans for our trip to England in November. We’re probably going to be an hour and a half train ride from London. So, where should we go? What should we see? Where do we just HAVE to eat? Keep in mind, it’s November and we’ll have our kids with us - Aliyah will be 3 and Shayel will be almost 6.5 at the time of travel and our only means of transportation will be public (or taxi I suppose) We specifically want to visit “missional” and “emerging” and other “progressively minded” faith communities so here’s your chance :) This is sort of a pray and listen trip as well, thinking forward to a potential longer term missional venture in the near future. I think right now we’re planning on a 10 day visit.

Tags: England, travel, suggestions


  1. Ross — March 4, 2008 #

    As well behaved as your kids are, you’ll have a blast… good luck finding any vegetables though, and food is really expensive (well, everything is expensive).

    Where are you going to call home base?

  2. Bonny — March 4, 2008 #


    Do you know Deana? I think she could tell you everything and more than you’d want to know.

  3. Red Wine Gums — March 4, 2008 #

    If you were in Ireland you could connect with my small bunch of crazies but maybe another time :-)

  4. Mak — March 4, 2008 #

    no I don’t, cool thanks Bonny :)

  5. Mak — March 4, 2008 #

    oh I wish we could hit Ireland too, that’s a dream of mine as well. And I LOOOVE crazies! :)

  6. Amy — March 4, 2008 #

    My husband and I toured a bit of England about 7 years ago (before children).

    My favorite place of our trip was Stow-in-the-Wold, in the Cotswolds. We stayed at a great bed & breakfast and ate at “The Fox and the Hound”…absolutely the best pub we visited during our entire trip. They also had an excellent used book store where I picked up a 1913 copy of Sir Walter Scott’s poetry.

    We didn’t check out any faith communities while there, so no advice on that front

  7. Jonathan Brink — March 4, 2008 #

    Mak, If it’s travel for pleasure, visit and stay in Bath and Oxford. The history and beauty is stunning.

  8. Mak — March 4, 2008 #

    Ross - thanks :) our girls are indeed not at all a worry for us, but they do help to shape such a journey hehe.

    yeah, I don’t know what possessed us to fall in love with the 2 most expensive places on the planet - London and Moscow - I guess that shows God has a really great sense of humor. we aren’t 100% sure yet where we’ll be but it looks like we might be getting a friend’s timeshare that they aren’t using this year - - it’s somewhere in Kent (too lazy to look it up right now) and super fancy but the best part is that it has a kitchen, it’s pretty big, and near the train. If that doesn’t pan out we have a few friends asking around for house sitting gigs or other places to crash as we really can’t afford a hotel or flat for the whole time.

  9. Mak — March 4, 2008 #

    Jonathan - that Bahhhth right? hehe… it’s sort of part pleasure, part missions. We’ve gone on one weekend vacation our whole 9 years of marriage and haven’t gone on any vacation together since the kids were born so we are definitely viewing this as a vacation…but a big part of it will be getting the lay of the land as it were. I saw some travel channel thing on Bath, it looks amazing - I definitely want to show my two princesses some real castles - Shayel is really excited about that, she couldn’t believe that England has a queen, she loves seeing the pictures even though they’re a bit disappointing hehe ….the Queen after all isn’t quite Cinderella ;)

  10. Mak — March 4, 2008 #

    thanks Amy

  11. Jonas Lundström — March 5, 2008 #

    Wow. I think you definitely should try to visit the Bruderhof,
    ttp://www.churchcommunities.org.uk/. I am not sure if they fall into your categories, but we (being emerging-friendly) have been greatly inspired by them. On our London-trip (we live in Sweden) we also visited London Catholic Worker and London Mennonite Centre, which I also recommend.

  12. Lyn — March 5, 2008 #

    We have loads of vegetables in England (and fruit!) the supermarkets are full of them! Food is more expensive than the US though - in fact most things are.

    What do you want to see - tourist stuff or are you mainly planning on visiting emerging/missional set ups? There is loads of tourist stuff in London to keep you going for months. Other great places to visit are Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, York and so on. They all have lots of historical stuff, roman ruins etc.

    Again - we have vegetables ;-)

  13. Mak — March 5, 2008 #

    Jonas, cool thanks.

    Lyn, hehe…good to know about the veg.

    both - faith communities and touristy stuff, your comment about tourist stuff is why I need guidance.

  14. Lyn — March 5, 2008 #

    Things to do with kids in London are the Natural History Museum (dinosaurs etc), the Science Museum, The Planetarium, The London Eye, changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace - happens at 11am everyday I think, Madame Tussauds, Hamleys (huge toy shop), Tower of London, Covent Garden - very hip area lots of street entertainers, cute cafes etc. When we eat in london we often eat at Maxwells in Covent Garden, which is very child friendly! Have a stroll in Greenwich and see the observatory (David’s into astronomy right?) also where Greenwich Mean Time hails from! If you have the money and time go and see a theater show - really recommend The Lion King. Lego Land in Windsor is great fun. There are heaps of things to do! Have a look at this website http://kids.visitlondon.com/
    Some things are really expensive. All museums are free though, you might have to pay for a special exhibition i.e. at the Natural History Museum they have a special exhibition about Antarctica at the moment which people have to pay to see, but seeing the dinosaurs etc is free.
    There are tons of castles, medieval churches, roman ruins around. I love York, which is a three hour drive north from London. Where abouts will you be staying? It’ll give me an idea as to what things might be closer to you rather than guessing.
    faith wise you might want to check out Moot http://www.moot.uk.net/

  15. Mak — March 5, 2008 #

    thanks a ton for all that lyn - wow, we could go see an exhibit about America lol

    we’ll probably be in Kent, we are definitely visiting moot.

  16. Mak — March 5, 2008 #

    I do know about the cool free museums but I’m not sure we want to do too much of that.

  17. christy fritz — March 5, 2008 #

    i second lego land for kids and also the greenwich museum. i took my second grade class there, when i taught at an international baccalaureate school in hampstead (north london) and they LOVED it. hampstead heath is a gorgeous open, wild and green space that is right near london. lots of authors, artist, poets, musicians in that district. i really enjoyed my time there.
    covent garden was also one of my favorite place to hang out. kew gardens ( bontanical) is amazing too if you like that sort of thing. and just walking through the parks in the city, was always wonderful.
    i would definitley do a weekend up in the peaks or the lakes if you can. it is easy to get their by train from London. there are so many beautiful walks that are easy to navigate independently up in that area.

    wish you well!

  18. Lyn — March 5, 2008 #

    Well, apart from London the next obvious as you are in Kent is Canterbury - if that interests you. From Ashford in Kent you can get the Eurostar train if you fancied spending the day(s) in France/Belgium. Bordering Kent you have Surrey and Sussex. In Surrey you’ll find Thorpe Park which is a theme park - not cheap though - think Disney prices and Chessington World of Adventures (another theme park). Also Hampton Court Palace. This website will give you an idea of things in Surrey http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g186388-Activities-Surrey_England.html
    Sussex is home to Brighton - too cold for the sea in November, but quite a groovy town. Also has lots of wildlife/farming kind of things http://www.sussextourism.org.uk/STA_attractions.htm

    If you want to go across to Ireland or up to Scotland check out http://www.easyjet.com or http://www.ryanair.com as they are budget airlines. If you book a few months before you travel they will charge you anything from £0.01 to £10 plus taxes. Rail can be expensive across the country, although your 3yo will be free. It might be cheaper to hire a car and travel.

  19. Carlo — March 7, 2008 #

    Cambridge is a couple of hours from London and a real treat.
    Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford in the Midlands is worth a visit and Warwick Castle which is not too far a way is a nice one for the kids. Also Bath, York, Oxford… all good.

    Oh, and yeah we do plenty of the green stuff and believe it or not this country is great for organic vegetables - much better than the US I fink ;)

  20. Duncan McFadzean — March 8, 2008 #

    Mak, speak to Paul Mayers, he’ll have a good clue of the sort of community you’re looking for in London, as will Jason Clark. NT Wright is a bit too far north for you to pop in for tea, but Brodie McGregor might be worth touching base with in Scotland. IKON in Belfast is worth looking at if you’re in Northern Ireland. Enjoy.

  21. Mak — March 8, 2008 #

    thanks Duncan, we’re planning on mooching off paul ;)

    actually we’re in touch with both of them and hope to make it to Jason’s/Pau’s church.

  22. michael — March 8, 2008 #

    I can mainly recommend palces within innner London, but will try to think up some other areas too here, in case you might be the faintest interested.


    HTB (http://www.htb.org.uk) is my home church–a wonderful, vibrant Anglican community. I was confirmed in and grew up there until 19. Funnily enough it remains the only church I would ever really consider “home”–for me, it’s got the right blend, although nowhere is perfect, of course. Although you may find it a bit too evengelical traditional for your liking, I’m confident you will sense the Holy Spirit at work in their service and David would particualrly love the worship, if you figured out how to go then. It is where my wife was born again actually–something none of us were ever expecting!. If you had the fortune to go, you must go to the evening 6:00 pm service. Hopefully you’d hear Sandy Miller or Nicky Gumble–wonderful men, wholly devoted to the love of Christ and incredibly humble.

    For a very adrenalin rushing type service (but watch out, very loud) London Vineyard is an experience–watching all these people from so many nationallitieis all worshipping God together, and, oddly enough, bouncing up and down!

    Only trouble is though, it probably would get too late for your girls and you’d definitely have to take a taxi for expediency’s sake if you weren’t lodged somewhere close, and that gets very pricey!

    For a good tea, go to Pattiserie Valerie’s.

    A lovely walk would be around that way too expensive area of South Ken and behind HTB along the incredibly quiet, almost serene mews. Near there is a a quite well know Orthodox church too you’d find interesting.

    Of course Kensington Garrdens is wonderful–you could go the round pon adn up to see the Peter Pan statue that kids always find so magical.

    Convent Garden is an fun place to take kids if you go on the right market day. There are often performers, jugglers and the like.

    I love cycling over to Hyde Park’s speakers corner on a Sunday morning. You’ll be sure to hear a plethora of issues being raised by various people bold enough to get up on a soap box and shout out whatever iis their thing, from passionate anti American hatred to black pentacostalism to Palestinian dissent, and so on. (You could even get up there, preach egallistarianism and no one would blink an eye.) One can easily lose track of time–the banter is so lively between the audiences that gather and the people shouting. It’s very enthralling. Democracy truly at work.

    If you do get to venture out, I think the kids would love Devonshire, but Yorkshire is so amazing too with the incredible York Cathedral. Standing on those moors, one can almost hear the hound of the baskervilles, or picture James Herriot puttering along it’s barren hedge-rowed winding roads.

    Yes, the Cotswolds must be gorgeous, as would be the LAke Dsitrict (never been there actually) but very much filled with tourists. Still, November wil be a good time to go in that regard!

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