Hey, just thought I'd update with the final results!
We arrived, very jet-lagged, on a Tuesday.
We drove from Germany through Belgium, where we went to the Mini Europe exhibit, then to a house on the Belgium/France border where we spent the night, which was a fantastic place (took a picture of the kids right outside our front door, one in France and one in Belgium). We did a little day trip to the maritime museum in Dunkirk (Dunkuerque). Then we woke up super early the next morning to head to Calais and the ferry to Dover.
We went from Dover to London first, and we did one of those hop on, hop off bus tours, so we saw a lot of London stuff that way. We stopped at the Tower of London and did the tour there (and got fish and chips, which I am now addicted to), and we went to the London Eye and on a short little boat cruise on the Thames. We got stranded one evening because the bus driver told us there would be another bus behind him and there wasn't, so we got to take the underground back. Very exciting, that.
We also got library books at a library near London (I have a friend in that area and she checked with a librarian acquaintance and discovered that we would be able to), and then we took them with us around on our travels and returned them to London at the end.
After London we stayed a night in Birmingham and went to Blists Hill Victorian living museum, which was a lot of fun. Then we went up to York and did the National Rail Museum and Jorvic Viking Centre. We moved up to an awesome place to stay in Seahouses (on the North Sea) and went to Beamish outdoor museum, Alnwick Castle, then went west to the Roman Army Museum so we could see Hadrian's Wall. We got some pictures at Alnwick Castle that show us having a "broomstick lesson" on the same lawn where they filmed the first Harry Potter movie with the broomstick flying lesson.
We spent the night in Scotland in Gretna Green, which was fun because I used to read a lot of Regency novels.
We went through the Lake District (wow, it really is beautiful!) and went to Aira Force (the waterfall and hiking spot) and to the Beatrix Potter Museum. We thought about going to a coal mining tour but ran out of time, so we just walked a bit around Bowness-on-Windermere and the kids bought their souvenirs there (they got a bunch of Sylvanian family sets).
We went to Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, and then up to Symonds Yat to see the fantastic view of the Wye Valley, and saw the hill fort. Then we spent the night in Wales. (The Welsh signs were fun.)
After that was Bath, and we went to the Jane Austen Centre and the Roman Baths. We drove past Stonehenge on our way back to London. We went back through London and returned our library books, then to the Roman Villa somewhere east of London, and then to Dover. We walked around the top of the cliffs a bit before getting our ferry back to Calais (and I had the best Kentucky Fried Chicken of my life--I am *so* jealous of you all now). On our way back to Germany we went through Luxembourg city and found the playground that the kids have rated the best playground of all time, and we walked around the city for a few hours.
So, I guess the short version is:
Mini Europe (Belgium)
Maritime Museum (France)
London tour, including London Eye and Tower of London, boat cruise
Blists Hill Victorian town
National Rail Museum
Jorvic Viking Center
Beamish Outdoor Museum
Roman Army Museum/Hadrian's Wall
Brief stop in Scotland
World of Beatrix Potter
Bowness-on-Windermere (walked around the town)
Brief stop in Wales
Jane Austen Centre
Luxembourg with awesome playground
We had a great time, but it's good to be home and settled again, without moving house every 3 days and running out of laundry constantly.
I will miss the fish and chips, though! I think I had it 4 times. I'm trying to make a grocery list, and my oldest daughter asked me to get fish and chips when I go shopping. Heh.
I think our favorites were Beamish, Jorvic Viking Centre, Hadrian's Wall, the World of Beatrix Potter, Puzzlewood, and the playground in Luxembourg.