Three and a half days in London

10.14.2016




I'd wanted to go to London since I first watched the film The Parent Trap as a little girl. One of my favorite scenes is when Hallie Parker (disguised as Annie James; both played by Lindsay Lohan) stares out the open window of her cab while en route to her mom's flat in London. She admires all the iconic sites - Big Ben and Tower Bridge, to name a couple - as "There She Goes" plays in the background. Some might find that cheesy, but it's still one of my favorite movie scenes to this very day and instilled in me a desire to visit this beautiful and historic city. That desire was fulfilled three months ago when my family and I boarded a plane from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to London, England.

I've always had a soft spot for the English. I love their films and actors, bands and musicians, history, dry humor, and, yes - their accents. And even though I knew England is home to some incredible architecture, I had no idea just how blown away I'd be by it all. The palaces and towers were even more fairy tale-like than I had imagined, and Big Ben and Tower Bridge were so stunning, it was hard not to cry tears of appreciation while in their presence.

We definitely took a historical approach to this visit (it isn't considered touristy if there's raw, educational history involved, right?) but we did our best to make time for some more local experiences, too (a walk through the Borough Market, a stroll through/dinner in Notting Hill and stops at different parks and bars included). We literally did. not. stop. ... and even so, three and a half days wasn't nearly enough time.

I could go on and on about this city, but my words wouldn't be able to do it justice. While these photos won't either, they deliver a better visual of just how beautiful London is. I'm already saving up for another visit.


The very first picture I took in London, already in awe of the architecture
Richard Madden and Lily James were performing in Romeo and Juliet our first night here
Touristy, yes, but it had to be done

Our first restaurant stop in London: Palm Court Brasserie
Our first of many London meals (also where I fell asleep at the table. The jet lag was real).

After a very necessary two hour nap, I finally felt human again. Loved the weather this first night in the city.
Kicked off our first full day at Hampton Court Palace (we're big fans of the Showtime series "The Tudors," so this and Tower of London were must-sees).

The art here left me speechless
Kings from the 1500s stood in this room. The 1500s.




We stopped for drinks afterward at The Mute Swan, a pub down the street from the palace. My dad took this photo of us with Will, our bartender, who seemed to be crushing hard on my sister.

Just a casual walk on our way back to the hotel. Nothing special about this place

The iconic Abbey Road Studios
Day 3: A visit to the eerie Tower of London, where many were imprisoned and tortured, and famous historical figures like Anne Boleyn were beheaded. Here we are with one of the "beefeaters," the ceremonial guardians of the tower.
Two versions of London: I love that the backdrop to this historic site is an ultra-modern skyscraper

The exact spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded (we were more excited to see this than anyone should be)
One of the many ravens that call Tower of London home. A superstition holds that, if the ravens leave the tower, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.

Tower Bridge (often mistakenly referred to as London Bridge) is even more beautiful in person
A spot in the financial district on our walk to Borough Market
My pick from the Borough market: scotch eggs from Scotchtails.
In love with this shot that my dad got of the city from our pod on the London Eye

Couldn't get enough of this view
More beautiful scenery on our walk back to the hotel
Day 4: We got out the door early to grab Costa Coffee and head on over to Buckingham Palace, where we saw the changing of the guard, the Queen's wardrobe designs and the staterooms. Totally worth a visit. 



Tea and scones on one of the palace's many terraces
Gorgeous walk through St. James Park
We paid a visit to the Churchill War Rooms that sheltered Churchill and members of the British government while they directed the course of World War II

One of the many relatively-untouched rooms
A walk through the city before grabbing the tube to Notting Hill


We fell in love with these flats in Notting Hill on our walk to The Shed, a delicious farm-to-table restaurant
Our hotel, The Premier Inn London (right) in the heart of Leicester Square. 

Breakdown:

Day 1 (7/24)
  • Lunch at The Palm Court Brasserie - great tuna, salmon and risotto with asparagus & peas
  • Walk through Covent Garden, Picadilly Circus, Chinatown
  • Night walk to Westminster to see Big Ben and London Eye 
  • Dinner at Garfunkel's
Day 2 (7/25)
  •  Breakfast at our hotel (we ate breakfast there every day, and it was surprisingly delicious every time)
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • The Mute Swan pub
  • Dinner at Giraffe on the Thames
Day 3 (7/26)
  • Tower of London
  • Walk over Tower Bridge to Borough Market (view of HMS Belfast along the way)
  • London Eye  
  • Topolski bar near Southbank
  • Hall & Woodhouse Brewery & Pub
  • St. Stephen Tavern in Westminster, across from Big Ben and Parliament Square
Day 4 (7/27)
  • Buckingham Palace
  • St. James Park
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Drink at Peyton in St. James Park 
  • Dinner at The Shed restaurant on Palace Garden Terrace in Notting Hill










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