FINALLY getting around to writing this up. Going to try to keep it a bit brief, however I am not known for my “short” stories…. that is also why I am going to try to break this up into a couple days at a time.
DAY ONE- THURSDAY
First up, we took a non-stop overnight flight from O’hare to Heathrow- thumbs up to that. We did not plan on how we would get into London exactly from the airport, but so glad we didn’t. We bought our metro card at the airport and EASY PEASY took it in. Would do that again in a heartbeat- especially because the trains were so easy to take and we took them multiple times while in London.
We stayed at a ibis London Blackfriars in the SouthBank/Southwark while technically not right in the touristy stuff, it was a SUPER central location that made it within walking distance to pretty much wherever we wanted to go- and was literally right next to a train station too if we needed it! Decent sized room, clean, nice staff.
We got to our hotel and checked in, quick bite nearby, and 1 hour nap ( I argued Tim about it, but it ended up being golden). From there we were refreshed to get walking around. And we just started walking and walking and walking… we saw London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace. First evening and already BOOM. Even obligatory photo with a telephone booth! ha
DAY TWO- FRIDAY
I had read that one should make sure to do the Tower of London/Crown Jewels on a weekday morning, preferably closer to when it opens. So if we had one thing ‘scheduled’ Friday, it was to do this. We got a coffee on our way and just started walking again. On our way to the Tower of London, we saw the Tate Modern, Globe Theater , walked across Millenium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the London Fire Monument.
No lines and no crowds when we got to Tower of London, which worked out pretty well. We also got the headphone tour which was worth it to get the history of the place and a detailed tour at our own pace, like the Crown Jewels… the spot where Ann Boleyn was beheaded… and the legend of the Ravens. I mean this place was built in the 1080s… and added to over the centuries. Crazy.
Bonus about Tower of London- great opportunities of pictures with Tower Bridge.
After Tower of London, we grabbed lunch at Leadenhall Market (a little inspiration in Harry Potter for entrance to Diagon Alley- look it up)- so gorgeous. Also, never before have I had fish’n’chips, so it only seemed appropriate to get them in London!
From there, we turned it into a mini pub crawl-with a break at the British Museum (free entrance- plus we went when they had a late night) to see the Rosetta Stone and Easter Island Heads- as well as exploring other areas such as Trafalgar and Picadilly, China Town, and the West End. One of our favorite finds was a pub called Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese; a friend had recommended it and then we came upon it organically and it was fate. Seriously, this place was rebuilt in 1667 and has ties to Dickens and Mark Twain… it may have even been a brothel or monastery before it was a pub. Very cool atmosphere- we sat in a couple different spots in the cellar-y areas. RECOMMEND IT.
And we walked home very cheerily that night with ‘crisps’ in hand. 🙂