“A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else” -Unknown
Day 1: Keep Calm. You’re Going to London.
After a short delay in Texas and a 9.5 hour flight, we finally made it to London.
I planned a 2-week trip that included other countries, so I knew we weren’t going to be able to see London in three days. I felt okay with it, because as soon as I stepped out of the airport, I knew we’d be back very soon.
Don’t forget to check out my video here:
Where We Stayed
I had my first experience with Uber in London and I totally recommend it!
The driver picked us up at the baggage claim door and dropped us off in front of the house we rented in the South Bank. Since public transportation in London is a bit pricey, I found that in this particular situation, Uber actually worked out for the best.
We found a beautiful home to rent using AirBnb. Since we planned the trip with 2 of our very good friends, we ended up sharing the apartment. It worked out great AND we were about to go on a 2-week adventure together! The home also had 2 cats living there full time and they were great hosts.
First Thing’s First. Where Do We Eat?
Since one of our friends had a very long flight delay with his connecting flight from Istanbul, we had to go to our first restaurant without him. We visited The Oval Lounge and decided to go with classic London dishes. I had roasted beef, parsnips and carrots with Yorkshire pudding and the boys went with Fish & Chips. Sooooo good!
We needed to cross the River Thames so we got an Uber and driver dropped us off right in front of the London Eye.
We started walking and taking in the view. As we got closer to the Thames, it got windier and colder so make sure to bring a jacket if you go. We continued to walk over the bridge towards the Palace of Westminster, then the Westminster Abbey and through Parliament Street towards Trafalgar Square.
I wasn’t sure what to expect on Trafalgar, but I guarantee you It wasn’t 2 giant finger sculptures pointing at each other. We completed a full circle and ended up back at the London Eye, ready to get back to the apartment and meet with our 4th member, Franco, who was finally on his way to the house.
On the way to Trafalgar Square we walked by a fancy looking restaurant called Caffe Concerto. It had a cake and dessert display on the front window. Even though we’d just had dinner about an hour before, I managed to convince the boys to go inside and have dessert.
The place was beautiful on the inside complete with crystal chandeliers, live piano music and elegant furniture. I ordered my dessert; one chocolate hazelnut macaron. Then I saw they had tea, so I ordered that too. And then some champagne cause I felt like celebrating my macaron and tea.
Day 2: The English Breakfast that changed our lives (kind of)
We love to eat. Especially when visiting a new place. I’d heard about English Breakfasts but I hadn’t tried one yet. Since I wanted the complete London experience, I started looking for a place that had it on the menu. We ended up at the Regency Café. It wasn’t fancy but it was very efficient. The line moved quickly and our order was ready in under 3 minutes. Not knowing what to expect, we ordered the full English Breakfast that included baked beans, eggs, hash browns, black pudding, bacon and a side of toast… Best decision ever!
This was the most delicious and comforting breakfast I’d had in years! We actually had English Breakfast the next day too… and we got so obsessed with it that we tried ordering it in Prague but it didn’t even come close. So take note, “English Breakfast at Regency Cafe”. You’re welcome.
The Tower of London
After breakfast we made it to the Tower of London where we joined a very cool walking tour offered by one of the Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters).
He told us stories and fun facts about the castle town and how it evolved from a fortified royal residence to the infamous prison and execution site for those who opposed the Crown. The entry cost 22£. The Beefeater tour is free (once you’re inside).
TV Shows and Movies
If you’re into English Monarchy shows or movies, then you will geek out in the Tower for sure. I saw Anne Boleyn’s execution site, the Traitor’s Gate, the White Tower, the apartments where so many monarchs were held captive and the Bloody Tower were it is said that the young princes Edward and Richard were murdered during the War of the Roses.
[Not so] Fun fact
When a person was sentenced to die, they still had to pay the executioner who was about to cut off their head off. This came to be known as severance pay… I’ll let that one sink in.
Museums and Shops
The Tower has so many things to see so take your time and enjoy them. I would advice you to allot 2 to 3 hours. Visit the museums, the shops, have a bite to eat, check out the royal Crown Jewels and learn a bit more about the city’s amazing history.
The Tower Bridge
After finishing our tour we walked towards the Tower Bridge which stands right over the river Thames outside the Tower of London. We didn’t do a tour here because we needed to go home and change for a very cool reservation we had later that evening.
Afternoon Tea at The Goring
A cup of tea is a vital part of everyday life for the majority of people in the UK. And perhaps more than anywhere else, London is synonymous with Afternoon Tea. So much, that they used to have the London Tea Guild which recognized and awarded the best establishments that served the delicious drink.
For two consecutive years The Goring Hotel held the prestigious title of best tea in London so I went ahead and booked a reservation about three months before the trip.
Afternoon tea at the Goring was a splurge but it was worth it because it turned out to be all I ever hoped for! The staff was very attentive and they would go out of their way to make us feel like royalty. From the moment we stepped in front of the double doors, they were opened for us and we felt so welcomed. We were served strawberries with creme, champagne, sandwiches, scones, pastries and I ordered the house blend black tea which was superb!
Our server Phillip was very delightful and after finishing our tea service, showed us the way to the beautiful garden out back so we could take a stroll and enjoy the view.
After Afternoon Tea we went back to the house, changed and met with our friends. After walking around, we stumbled into Chinatown! It was very pleasant and full of restaurants and pubs. We didn’t go during the day but I will definitely go back again.
To be Continued: Why I split this post into a 2-part series
London is a very special city. It has so many places to see and we did so many things during our 3-day stay that I feel posting them all here would be a little too much for one sitting. Since I want you to enjoy your reading as well as feel like you’re part of my adventure, I felt splitting London in to 2 parts would make it more fun and enjoyable. I’m currently working on part 2 so make sure to check Kilotravels.com next week! Hint: I visited Buckingham Palace!
My Pocket Guides
The Rick Steve’s Pocket Guides never leave my side. I use them before the trip to help plan my days and take them with me wherever I go. They’re light, easy to read and even bring a fold-out map. I recommend them 100%.