London’s Hidden Gems

Sylvia Saxon organiser for Saxon Group Travel took 30 people on a Behind The Scenes day trip – an itinerary planned for the group by GreatDays Travel Group. Sylvia said that it was a wonderful day and reporting back, she recommends it to other GTOs.

‘We started from Poole at 6.00am, travelling to London with Excelsior Coaches. Our first stop was the BAPS Shir Swaminarayan Hindu Temple in Neasden, where we were greeted on arrival and watched a short film showing how the Temple was built by volunteers. We were impressed that some 50 volunteers help to run the temple each day. We looked around the magnificent building and then we joined a beautiful eight-minute service, which gave us time for reflection. A talk at the end of our visit outlined Hindu beliefs and customs.

In Harrow Weald, the Norman Shaw designed Grim’s Dyke, the former home of Sir William and Lady Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame) and now a Best Western Hotel, was our venue for lunch. This was lovely; we were welcomed by staff, and the delicious good value two-course meal included tea and coffee.

Our afternoon visit was a ‘Behind the Seems’ visit to Angels Costumes in Hendon. We saw amazing costumes used in films and TV such as Downton Abbey and the new Mary Poppins movie. If the rails were all lined up, they would stretch for over nine miles! We were split into two groups of 15 for a guided tour and we were asked not to talk to any actors we saw, as they were working. It was very informative and we wished we could have stayed longer – two hours is recommended.

The whole day was so different and interesting and enjoyed by all. It was wonderful having GreatDays Travel organise the day for me – their organisation was second to none and made my life a joy!’