The endless amounts of tea I drink made this city an obvious choice for me. London was the perfect first-stop destination on my United Kingdom tour. And if you were wondering…the tea, chocolate and “royal” history did not disappoint.
Easily one of the most touristy spots we visited, but a check off the London Bucket List. It’s a little strip with fun shops (I recommend Cath Kidston) that made for a fun day. This busy spot was full of traffic (people and cars) and was accompanied by a street performer doing covers of Ed Sheeran songs. This spot is very accessible via “the tube” if you’re in the mood for a buzzing part of London.
Poppie’s Fish n’ Chips
A local shop worked had recommended “Poppie’s” fish n’ chips to us if we were looking for authentic British food. We ventured out of our way just to try it, and it was hands down the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. This is coming from someone who before this trip did not eat fish in any form. In the moment, I told myself, if I’m going to try fish, it’s going to be in England. I’m so glad I did and when I’m back, you can bet I’m going here again!
The London Eye
The London Eye was a fun experience. There were other London activities that were much more cost effective, but in hindsight I’m glad we made this one of our stops. The history behind the materials that went into building this landmark was very interesting to learn about. I do have to say that I would not wait in the mid-day “queues” to go up the wheel. We lucked out in how this experience played out: I would recommend buying your tickets ahead of time and not the day of. This way, you have your ticket ready to go without the dreaded first line before the real line. Make a morning of it! Stop for breakfast (cuppa tea and bacon roll photographed above), stroll through empty pathway while people are still waking up, and get in line a few minutes before the attraction opens. This minimizes your wait time and you still have the rest of the day for other sightseeing activities.
The Big Ben
Not far from the London Eye, The Big Ben is glorious even on gloomy days. It’s no wonder this clock is a London staple; beautiful intricate architecture and the alerting sounds that make this building come alive. I know the clock is undergoing repairs, but I would make a visit to London when this clock goes off. Another easy stop to visit, we came straight from the London Eye.
Unfortunately, Queen E II did not open the gates for afternoon tea, but I admired her home through the slits of these gates. Buckingham Palace was at the top of my list for things to visit in England and it did not disappoint. Everything about this Palace was so grand. As you can imagine, the crowds around here are insane, so when you have a chance to snap your “long-distance selfie” with the Queen (she’s in there somewhere I swear), take it.
The Tower of London
While on the subject of the Royal Family, another stop to make is the Tower of London. A highlight for me was seeing the Crown Jewels and the history of Queen Elizabeth II. She is the definition of a boss lady. If you’ve watched The Crown on Netflix, you know what I mean. There is so much to see in the Tower of London that it really is a day-trip in itself. I wish we had a little more time, because we were unable to get around to all the sections. Something to keep in mind is that the Crown Jewels line is extremely long; be sure to plan your time wisely in order to see them along with the other exhibits. My sister had already seen them and volunteered to wait in line (bless her!).
St. Paul’s Cathedral
For reference, I’m standing in front of this famous Cathedral and I look like an ant… This is right in the city! We did not have time to go inside, but it’s something I want to see one day. We took a long walk back to our hotel after visiting Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and passed St. Paul’s Cathedral in all it’s glory.
Side note: The Globe Theater was honestly my favourite experience in London. We walked over to see the Globe and ended up standing in a separate line for last minute tickets. We scored super cheap tickets for a performance of Romeo and Juliette (standing room), and it was a beautifully done show. The performance and atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The performance and atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. My legs might have hated me (
Shakespeare didn’t cut corners with the story line
or dialogue…) but my soul was happy.
The first day we arrived in London was at 8am after a 7 hour flight. The hop-on-hop-off bus tour was a great way to see the city with the little energy we had left before checking into our hotel. These tours really give you additional information with the luxury of choosing which stops you want to spend a little more time at. Above are a few pictures I was able to capture during the drive (or when we “hopped off”). I lived all my Amanda Bynes “What a Girl Wants” dreams by seeing double decker buses and the iconic telephone booths plastered all over the city.