Overzealous Planning…Bath and the London Theater in One Day

 

Bath, England

Bath, England

With only three days to spend in England, I was forced to make some hard choices. As a die-hard Jane Austen fan, a visit to Bath was a priority…and no self-respecting tourist visits London without going to the theater. Then there is Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower of London, the Changing of the Guard, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey…so many things to see and do! In the interest of “having it all,” we decided to squeeze a trip to Bath and a theatrical performance into the same day. The wisdom of that decision is debatable at best, although I did inquire of the tour company (London Walks) as to the practicality of such a plan beforehand. I was assured that it should be no problem, so I naively booked both. We caught the train from Paddington Station around 8am and spent a delightful, albeit damp, day touring Bath. (Definitely worth a visit, rain or no rain!!) The return trip to London put us back in the city with just enough time to sprint to the theater, and no possibility of a wardrobe change. I hate to admit it, but I neglected to check which Tube stop was nearest the theater ahead of time, and ended up having to make a wild guess! I do not recommend that method as I was off by one stop and we were left to make a mad dash through the streets of London with mere minutes until showtime. Fortunately, we encountered a bobby in Leicester Square who was able to point us in the general direction we needed to go. Without directions or a map and with precious little time to spare, I was silently berating myself in every possible way. By some miracle—and I do mean miracle—we stumbled across the theater and raced inside just as the lights were going down. There was no time to check our bags, so we had to haul them in with us. As you can imagine, the people seated on our row (who had had the consideration and forethought to arrive on time) were none too pleased with our late arrival—especially since our seats were in the dead middle of the theater. We slipped into place and wedged our belongings between our feet just as the curtain rose. I sat stock-still throughout the entire first half, not even removing my coat for fear of further offending our neighbors. During intermission I was finally able to remove my bags from between my ankles where I had been holding them in a death grip to prevent them from sliding down the inclined floor. The show (Shakespeare in Love) was diverting and once I recovered from the initial mortification I felt regarding the circumstances of our arrival, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Suffice it to say, I strongly caution against any and all attempts to combine a train journey to Bath with an evening visit to the theater! Save yourself the hassle and learn from my mistake!

Noel Coward Theater, London

Noel Coward Theater, London

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