Over a year ago, 12 Girl Scout Cadettes applied for and were accepted to the Intro to International Travel: London. For the following months, the middle school girls planned all aspects of the trip, from the restaurants and the sightseeing to the public transportation and budget. Here’s an account of their trip!

Recently Girl Scouts from our council voyaged over the Atlantic on their own UK excursion!  Our council’s Cadettes planned and organized the trip as well as contributed travel journal entries recounting their trip. We hope you enjoy them now.

Day 1 & 2 by Girl Scouts Katie and Kathryn

We couldn’t be more excited when our parents dropped us off at O’Hare’s Terminal 5, before walking through security.  We purchased our own dinner and snacks in the terminal before meeting the other Girl Scouts joining us on our trip. Soon after that, we boarded the plane. Our flight took off without a hitch. About two hours into the flight, the flight attendants served our first meal (or second dinner). We had warm mashed potatoes; a choice of chicken or beef; and adorable, little salads, with tiny bottles of olive oil. It was super fancy and super delicious! The flight was easy and fun and we got to watch new movies and listen to music and read and get to know all the other Girl Scouts who were with us on the trip. When dinner concluded we fell asleep and were awakened in the morning with a breakfast: yummy turkey and Swiss cheese sandwiches with apple juice and a baby cinnamon rolls that were gooey and delicious. Shortly after, the plane landed in sunny London.

We got off the plane and went through customs. We then, got onto the coach bus which took us to Pax Lodge, where we were staying. We were all mixed up from the jetlag but we have time to get settled in to London. We quickly unpacked and relaxed for a moment before going out for pizza at Franko Manco for [Katie’s] 14th birthday! After our delicious dinner we went to the grocery store to buy some snacks. Did you know that London’s Doritos are way better than ours? After our snacks were collected, we planned our adventures for Day Three and then organized our own campfire program at Pax Lodge. Our first day in London was a blast and we couldn’t wait for the next day, but we were tired and straight to bed we went!

 

Day 3 by Girl Scouts Dorothy and Megan

When we woke up, we ate a traditional English breakfast (blood sausage included) at Pax Lodge. Then, we got ready to leave for the London Eye, something we were all really excited about. The London Eye was an amazing experience and it was so much fun seeing the entire city of London! After that, we were schedule to go to Buckingham Palace, but instead we found a local Girl Guide shop. It was cool to see the differences between Girl Scouts and Girl Guides – we have different names for the levels of girls, books, and badges. Some of the girls purchased patches and other items there to commemorate the trip. They also had a super cool place inside the shop for us to sit down for lunch. After lunch, we left the shop and continued walking toward Buckingham Palace for a quick photo.

Next we went to the bus tour. We got to see lots of new and different sites, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square. We learned a lot of new information about London – did you know that London is not as big as you think it is? Many people think that Westminster is London, but it’s actually its own city! We hopped off of the bus at the Tower of London. We got to tour the tower; it was very interesting and really cool learning about the history of the fortress, plus the tour guides were really entertaining and they wore the coolest outfits. After touring the tower, we hopped back on the bus and went to Harrods; a HUGE department store in London. We ate dinner at the Burger Bar that was located inside in their food court. After dinner, we went shopping for souvenirs and other items. After shopping, we took the tube back to Pax Lodge. We then started to plan for tomorrow. Our second day in London was definitely a success!

Day 4 by Leaders Isabella + Riley

It was cold in the morning when we woke up and left Pax Lodge at 9 am and went to a river tour down the Thames River. Our older girls then bridged on Tower Bridge, with all the girls handing them a bead symbolizing a different aspect about being a Girl Scout. The group went to have lunch at “The Coal Shed” and they had a nice selection of delicious food to choose from like mac ‘n cheese and steak. We all went shopping at Leicester Square, the girls saw many street performers, and went shopping in the stores they wanted to go in, because they were split up based on shopping interests.

We headed uptown to 221B Baker Street and checked out the Sherlock Holmes museum and poked our heads in a few random shops down the strip. After that we took the tube to Kings Cross Station and saw platform 9 3/4 and went shopping in the Harry Potter shop there. When in London! From there we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner and came back to Pax with desserts and had those before we played games for an hour. It has been a busy first few days here in London and everyone [planned] on hitting the hay early [that night] because we are excited for what [the next day] brings. Our time in London is going by too quickly but we are having plenty of fun!

 

Day 5 by Leaders Calla + Paige

We had an incredibly busy Day five. First, we all met down in the dining hall for breakfast and some of the girls went to Starbuck’s. After that we went grocery shopping for snacks for our day’s excursions. Next we visited a small, local bookstore before heading to brunch at Dominique’s. We returned to Pax Lodge before heading to the bus, which would drop us off at our most anticipated location… Warner Brother’s Studios!

When we went inside we were astounded by what we saw. There props, sets, and saw so many set photos we didn’t know where to look first. We saw some of the original costumes, sets, props, and other magical items from the World of Harry Potter. There were three gift shops and we all bought a lot of stuff including keychains, scarfs, and lots of candy! After sadly finding out that two cafes were closed we went to another bookstore before finding one that was open. It was a nice French restaurant where we all had very good food. After that we went to a Crepe place for dessert, of course with Nutella and then walked back and went to bed. Only two days left!

 

Day 6 by Leaders Rowynn and Ande

Although it was very early when we woke up, the group was buzzing with excitement for today’s adventure. At 7:00 am we started out by taking two taxis to Victoria Coach Station. Upon arrival our girls wove their way through the crowd of other pedestrians to the coach bus. At first glance, the bus was nothing special, but it would be our home on wheels for the day. We set out on route to Windsor Castle, where we were astounded by the detailed buildings, gorgeous landscape, and even the site of the royal wedding. Once we had seen most all of what was there, we set out again on our stiflingly hot bus. We arrived in Bath at around 1:15 and the shade from the buildings was very gratefully accepted. We split into two groups based on what we wanted to see, and set off. Bath was a lovely town, with street performers and fudge that was amazing! Cathedrals and Romanesque buildings decorated the streets, and although we didn’t stay very long, we enjoyed ourselves very much. At 3:30 we arrived in the tiny town of Lacock. We ate lunch in an adorable inn, and saw the real Godric’s Hollow. The bus had to be swapped out for one with working air conditioning due to how uncomfortable we all were. Once we set out again, we could hardly contain our excitement for our final destination.

“If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?” – From Disney Pixar’s Brave. The last leg of the trip was to Stonehenge. The climate was much cooler, due to clouds, and one could hear the noises of the local farms from the site. Stonehenge itself is really quite indescribable. Standing at 8 feet tall, and weighing in at 4 tons each, Stonehenge was a very grand structure. The bluestone used can only be found 240 miles away, so one must wonder how it was done. At 6:40 we headed home with our heads hung low. For dinner we stopped at Nando’s, and some girls tried the extra, extra spicy hot sauce. Once we were all full, we shuffled down to ride the underground for the very last time. After waving goodbye to the station we were headed back to Pax Lodge, where we ended our journey for today. The girls packed their belongings and tucked in to bed. Our final full day in London was definably one that was memorable in so many ways.

 

If your Troop is interested in planning their own trip, joining a council-sponsored trip, or if you are interested in traveling with other Girl Scouts via GSUSA’s Destinations, head to our travel site to learn more! Email travel program manager, Ashley Christensen, with questions or to start your journey!

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2 thoughts on “London Calling: A GCNWI Adventure

  1. Looks like a blast! I’m wondering how much it cost per girl, how much they offset the cost with fundraising, and how they raised enough funds for the trip? Asking because I have a big troop of girls with very mixed incomes, and this sort of travel seems cost-prohibitive.

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    1. Hello Geri, I hope this answers your questions:
      It was approx $2,000 per person, however the individuals on the trip decided their own form of fundraising with each girl earning their own money separately whether through our Cookie Program, Fall Product Program and other fundraising options. We ALSO have travel scholarships for girls traveling on council-sponsored trips like this ones as well as Destinations (for individuals not troop travel). The best way to gather funds is to get your girls involved in Fall Product and Cookies Sales. These girls planned their trip two years in advance. I was a great way for them to collaborate and structure an activity that they could truly call their own.

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