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Missing person’s report: One Oscar Owl

Oscar the Owl

Missing: One Oscar the Owl. Last seen on the Bakerloo Line at Bond Street.

So, I told you about our epic proper British tea. But did I share the heartbreak that had happened just an hour before we waltzed into Grosvenor House?

There we sat on the London Tube – Bakerloo line – mentally preparing for bountiful treats that were awaiting us on that jet lagged afternoon — and we were nearly there. We just needed to change to the Central Line to get to Marble Arch … and the moment we got out of the carriage, my daughter turned and realized that she had left her stuffy, Oscar the Owl, behind.

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A walk on the seawall in Teignmouth, Devon

After Paris, we hopped back on the Eurostar to London and then caught a train down to the southwest coast of Devon. We headed to a quaint, seaside town called Teignmouth, where my mother-in-law and lots of family friends live.

The train takes you right along the coast. Gorgeous views, despite the unseasonably cold spring weather. A few days after we arrived, we took a brisk walk along the seawall, which runs right alongside the train tracks.

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Teignmouth seawall

Teignmouth Seawall

The secret to cheap rail travel

In my younger days traveling around the U.K. for fun, I relied heavily on the Young Persons Railcard (now called the 16-25 Railcard) to get the best train fares.

Fast forward quite a few years and I’m scoping out rail travel for our upcoming trip and holy bejeezus is it expensive to take the train! Our last trip out, we opted for renting a car (which believe me, is NO big discount considering the cost of gasoline in the U.K. but it certainly fared better than the cost for our family of four). It made sense at the time and we had a LOT of luggage.

Family & Friends RailcardBut this trip, we’ve bought our Family & Friends Railcard, which provides 1/3 off adult fares and 60 percent off kids’ fares for a family of two adults, two children. All this for £28! There are a few restrictions – notably, you can’t travel during peak rush hour times (but why would you want to?) and it’s always advisable to book tickets in advance in case seats get sold out.

I’m looking forward to seeing the U.K. by train – it will certainly bring back a lot of great memories! Beautiful patchwork countryside, perfect little villages and when that gets dull, I’ve heard that some of the new trains even have individual TVs on the back of each seat! All aboard!