Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Loving London

Good morning, everyone! Since Ryan and I are currently planning our next vacation to Italy next summer, I thought I could recap our trip from this year! 

Sit back and relax, this is a long one!

As you know, when planning a trip, you can never have enough advice or suggestions for travel! This past summer we traveled to both London and Paris for ten days, and it couldn't have gone better in my dreams. It was PERFECT!

We wanted to start our trip in London first, but the problem was that the flights from Atlanta to London were much more expensive than flights into Paris.What we ultimately ended up deciding was to fly into Paris and then immediately get to the Eurostar on the two hour train ride to London. It really wasn't that bad, and it was nice to get all of the traveling out of the way at the same time.

London St. Pancras International. I felt like I was in Harry Potter.



Once we arrived in London, we made our way to our Airbnb on the Underground (subway system in London). Our flat was located in Zone 1, which is a perfect location and in close proximity to all of the major attractions in London. We kept it simple on the first night, as we were super exhausted from traveling all day/ all night. We had dinner at a casual restaurant called Nando's and called it a night.

The next day, we hit the ground running! We basically sectioned off the city, and visit attractions that were in close proximity to each other, each day. Our first stop was to Big Ben, obviously!



Such an incredible sight to see and so much bigger than it looks in pictures! Next, we walked a very short distance to Westminster Abbey. Seeing where Kate and William got married was very high on the "to-do" list! It did not disappoint.




In order to save some money, we were careful about what attractions we wanted to spend our money on. Since it was our first time in London, we opted out of going inside of Westminster Abbey. Next time, we will for sure make a point to go inside. After taking in all of it's beauty, we made our way to lunch and scarfed some fish and chips at The Laughing Halibut. I'll have to say that fish and chips are delicious and it was cool to eat something "traditionally English." Mushy peas were also a favorite! :)



Who doesn't take a touristy photo booth photo?! They're literally EVERYWHERE!

Next was Buckingham Palace and that was amazing! The whole area in general, including the gardens and statue were so impressive! You see pictures of these places all the time, but it's nothing compared to being there. Just wow!




Another visit on our list this day was Abbey Rd. I 100% do not recommend wasting time on this unless you're a big Beatles fan for 3 reasons. 1) We literally walked in the rain for 3 miles one way to get there. 2) It looks like every other intersection in the city. 3) It's a super busy intersection, and people honk like crazy when you stop to get a photo. Lesson learned the hard way.

It was a filled day full of walking and taking in the initial sights. 

Day two began with our bike ride through Hyde Park. London relies HEAVILY on rental bikes throughout the city. They're amazing! You rent one from one location, and can drop it off at any other. They're super cheap too. We agreed that the bike ride was one of the highlights in London.

Here we are on our bikes! After looking through my pictures, I found that I don't have many of the park. Mostly because it's hard to ride a bike and take pictures at the same time. Trust me, it was beautiful. 


Our next stop was Trafalgar Square, which has many fountains, statues, and is the home of the National Gallery. It was a great place to stop and people watch. We grabbed a gelato from Amorino and rested our very tired feet! 




A little piece of home!


Not far from Trafalgar Square is Piccadilly Circus. It's an amazing shopping district and often referred to as the Times Square of London. Having been to both, I see how they make that comparison, but it's nowhere near as large!

It doesn't seem like we did much each day, but being in London, you want to take in all that you can. Lots of time is spent just staring at all that the city has to offer. We didn't want to just check things off of our list. We wanted to fully experience it.

Day 3 started with visiting the Tower of London. This might be number one on my list of favorite things to do! So much interesting history, and cool things to see.



Actual ravens are flying around, totally ready and waiting to be photographed. Haha! I snapped this one on our way out.


This may have been my favorite day in general because we also made time for afternoon tea! There are so many options for having afternoon tea in London, and it's all a matter of what you're willing to spend and the scenery that you want to be around. We had tea at The Swan at Shakespeare's Globe. It was right on the Thames river and so quaint and romantic! It was about 25 pounds per person, and that included unlimited tea and goodies on the tray. A deal in my book! I highly recommend The Swan!  Reservations are necessary.



Would you take a look at that tray! I loved the china and would have been willing to drop some big bucks on them, but the artist only makes them for the Globe. Wah.


Here we are leaving after being stuffed with tea and pastries. Anyone who tells you afternoon tea is overrated, is lying to you.


We made our way over to the Borough Market, which has excellent restaurants and fresh food to purchase. Thank goodness we were stuffed! 


Some other stops that we made this day were to the Tower Bridge, and St. Paul's Cathedral. All equally beautiful and highly recommended! 

Our last day in London was spent revisiting our favorite spots and casually walking around the city some more. 

If you're headed to London anytime soon, here are a list of MUST do's while you're there:

Tower of London
Hyde Park for a bike ride
Afternoon tea- wherever you may choose
Big Ben/ Parlament
Westminster Abbey
Buckingham Palace
Piccadilly Circus for great shopping

Come back tomorrow for our second half of vacation in Paris! 

XO,
Leslie






7 comments:

  1. Just a tip for your next London trip- you can go into Westminster Abbey at 5 o'clock in the evening for Evensong (evening prayer service) FOR FREE!!! I think it was the most favorite thing I've ever done in my entire life.

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    2. Wow! I had no idea and wish that I knew that before we went! I'll definitely have to do that next time. Thanks so much, Kelly!

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  2. Hi Leslie, I'm going to London in 4 weeks and I was curious if you brought your flat iron or curling iron with you and what you used as a converter. I'm having a hard time finding one on Amazon since most say not to use with a flat iron for hair. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Lizabeth! Great question, as it was something I struggled with before my trip. I ended up buying two converters. I'll post the converter that I got below! Very inexpensive. I curl my hair with a wand more frequently, so I opted out of bringing my flat iron for packing purposes. I used my Bedhead wand with the converter and also my blow dryer. They both worked in London, but the blow dryer did get significantly more hot than it should have. It also smelled like it was burning after using it for several minutes. I would use it for a few minutes, let it cool off and then use it again. Both still work perfectly fine back home. I would consider purchasing a cheaper flat iron to take with you, just in case it stops working. You wouldn't want to mess up a nice iron!

      This is the converter that I bought and it worked great. The other one that I purchased came from T.J. Maxx and only cost about $6. Have an awesome time on your trip. I want to hear all about it.

      http://www.target.com/p/travel-smart-all-in-one-adapter/-/A-16346751?lnk=rec|pdpipadh1|related_prods_vv|pdpipadh1|16346751|1

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  3. I loved the Tower of London. It was so much fun. I went on my first trip to London and thought it was the best. I went on the London Eye and I would NOT recommend it. But I loved seeing your take on all the sights and it brings me back to my trip a month ago.

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    1. It's funny that you say to skip the London Eye! That was very low on our "to-do" list! We didn't feel like it would have been worth it at all...glad to know you felt the same way.

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