London’s weather was out of this world…not a cloud in the sky & the sun shining. So when we arrived we quickly checked in to our hotel (Saint Martin’s Lane Hotel), freshened up & we were out the door!
Our first to-do was to locate The Original London hop on/hop off bus tour – these bus tours are the perfect tool to get to know any city like the back of your hand! After a quick loop on the bus we decided to hop off the bus & hop on the boat cruise that treks you around the Thames River (came free with our bus tour). The views on & around the river were breathtaking – The London Eye, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey & Big Ben to just name a few! We popped off the cruise at the Tower of London, which not only holds some of of the most precious jewels in the world but also has numerous crowns & adornments that the Queen still wears today. Hey, how can a girl resist seeing real crowns with thousands of diamonds!?!
Seems only fitting that we rounded out our first night with a meal for a king…at Zuma. It was recommended by the one & only Gwen P. Well, it was recommended by her, on her blog in 2008 – but who really cares. It was absolutely fantastic! Their specialty drinks, miso eggplant, seaweed salad & sushi rolls were out of this world!
Keep on reading to hear about the rest of our visit in good ol’ London…
The change of the guards was a must do, so the following day we got to Buckingham Palace at 10.30am before the shift change at 11.15am. The tourists start filling up the space pretty early! If you don’t get a front row gate view then I would recommend standing on the top tier of the stairs from the statue round about facing the palace (this is where we posted up).
From the palace to portraits we went. National Portrait Gallery has a wonderful restaurant called Portrait on the top floor, with a view over Trafalgar square to Big Ben. The view & food were both up to par – water chestnut, arugula, orange, capers & fennel salad was two thumbs up! It was such a nice day, so we only poked our heads in the Gallery to see a few portraits. And a two thumbs down goes to the artist who painted my girl Kate Middleton. Yikes – the artist not only aged her about 10 years, but also made her look tired!
Next, we slowly made our way over to Saint Paul’s Cathedral – this is a must do! We climbed all the way to the tippy top through a “whispering room” and took in some of the most amazing views of the city! This is quite a bit of stairs, but I was able to do it in heeled booties – so you best be getting up there! After about 600 stairs up & 600 more back down we decided to relax with a lil’ tea time at the Flemings Mayfair Hotel. Mint tea, scones, brownies & cakes filled my belly with content (all vegan – one of the only places in London that offers vegan). After a snack like that, we needed to walk it off – Hyde Park & St. James Park. Both beautiful with green grass & happy Londoners taking in the sunny weather. The foot bridge in St. James Park was a great place for pics and we saw ducks building a nest in the pond!
To round out our day we decided to head to Westminster Abbey for Evensong. What is an Evensong you ask? Well, it is 45 minutes of prayer that is sung mostly by the Westminster Boys Choir. I initially thought this was just a quick in & out, see the choir sing and on to the next thing. But no, we pretty much went to mass without the communion. At least I can say I did it, right? 🙂
After a bunch of meditation & prayer we were off to our last stop before dinner, The London Eye. No matter what, pay up and get the fast track pass. The line was major for the normal tickets – we got right in & went around in 30 minutes. Easy peasy. Dinner wasn’t as easy – we got so many great recommendations from friends & family on places to go & we we didn’t know what to pick. Finally we chose Scott’s, a fresh fish restaurant that was delicious – the grilled shrimp appetizer & the squash with chickpeas main were both perfect!
London is a magical city – sounds silly, but I can’t believe they have a Queen & a palace! That is from a storybook ya’ll! But truly, London exceeded my expectations by a longshot! I will not only come back here, but next time I want to roam the streets to see the nooks and crannies around the city now that the major sites are checked off my list.
And guess what…we saw Prince Charles & the wanker Camilla leaving Buckingham Palace. He is the future King!!
Now off to the next leg of the trip!!! AND yippie to Kacey on guessing my location correctly!
To get involved in the guessing our next location, check out the details here.