Over the past year or so, I have been fortunate enough to have taken a few fantastic trips, and I think it’s about time I share what I’ve learned and done. The coolest trip for me was to London this past summer. I had never been to Europe before and was absolutely enthralled by the city and the continent. I truly already cannot wait to return.
I won’t go into detail about each specific attraction we visited, but what I will share is the itinerary we followed to hit about as many famous attractions as we possibly could while we were there. Oftentimes we would eat a late breakfast just so we could skip taking the time to have lunch. We weren’t sure when we would be back in London next, so we wanted to make the most of our time there. But overall, our schedule worked perfectly.
Since I was unfamiliar with London prior to visited, I took a lot of time to put together an itinerary, which we followed pretty closely. Below I’ve listed our schedule, starting from the time my work obligations for the week ended. We didn’t hit every attraction in London, but I’d say we hit a vast majority.
Day #1: Winston Churchill War Rooms. This was a fascinating few hour tour not far from the Thames and its attractions, such as the London Eye and Cleopatra’s Needle, as well as St. James Park. After learning about life during World War III, I’d recommend enjoying a walk by the Thames, if you can; unfortunately it was raining the day we were at the museum, so we missed out. I never made it to Gordon’s Wine Bar, but I’ve heard it’s a great spot, and not far from the museum. If you go, let me know how it is.
Day #2: National Portrait Gallery. Unfortunately, we got a late start on our second day, as we were switching from the hotel where I was staying for my work to the hotel where we’d stay for the rest of our trip in Piccadilly Circle. By happy accident, our new hotel was just down the road from the gallery, which made for an easy, interesting afternoon trip from our hotel. For any art or history lover, the National Portrait Gallery is a must-see. We wandered the streets of Soho in the evening, finally settling on a delicious tapas restaurant.
Day #3: British Museum + Dinner in Mayfair. We wanted to dedicate a lot of time to seeing everything the British Museum had to offer (like the Rosetta stone!) so we took the somewhat long walk to the British Museum in the morning, enjoyed a quick but classic English breakfast at the Museum Tavern, and then spent the day at the museum. We finished up with time to walk back to the hotel, clean up, and taxi to our fanciest dinner all week in Mayfair: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. If you go, try the tipsy (pineapple) cake for dessert, even if you’re full.
Day 4: Underground to Tower of London/Tower Bridge. Since the London Tower was a place we could not leave London without seeing and it was quite a ways away, we dedicated a day to it. We took the underground east to the Tower, and spent the day exploring the buildings that housed royals and criminals since the 1100s, and that currently house the royal jewels. After some photo ops in front of the Tower Bridge, we took the tube back to our hotel. That evening, we enjoyed a decadent Indian meal at Benares near Mayfair, and grabbed a drink at the infamous Connaught Bar.
Day 5: Buckingham Palace + Big Ben/Parliament + Westminster Abbey + Trafalgar Square. Our fifth day in London was jam-packed. After a quick breakfast down the street from our hotel, we set out in the morning to make it to see the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, then walked past St. James Palace, and strolled on to see Big Ben and Parliament. We toured Westminster Abbey afterward, and snapped shots of Trafalgar Square on our walk back to the hotel. We ate a late dinner that night at Hakkasan in Mayfair, exhausted but thrilled with all we had seen that day.
Day 6: Kensington Palace + Hyde Park + Herrod’s. For our last full day in London we headed southwest to Kensington. We found a delicious breakfast restaurant (Ffiona’s), then headed to Kensington Palace to explore Queen Victoria’s and now Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s home. After a few hours at the Palace, we walked through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park to reach Herrod’s for some serious shopping. Rather than spend our money on designer clothes though, we ultimately opted for some champagne and oysters at the Herrod’s glamorous food court, then headed back to our hotel for our last night in London.
Did I miss anything in London that I should visit next time I’m back? Let me know in the comments.