Popping into London, England for some fish and chips in your rain boots? Justin and I spent five days exploring the city. Overall, we felt it was super walkable, safe and friendly. We were relieved by the familiar language too. My biggest issue was actually finding vegetables to eat and I felt this way all throughbout our trip (London, Lisbon & Barcelona). I think it may have just been the time of year, but when we did find vegetables, they were like gold.
When in Europe, always remember your Student ID! Even expired, it will allow you discounted pricing at attractions. We visited in November, making admission prices a bit cheaper to begin with in the off-season. We stayed in Kings Cross which was a great central location for taking the tube (train).
National Gallery: A free museum in Trafalgar Square. Justin and I learned quickly that we don’t love art. We much prefer architecture and history. If you love art and paintings, definitely stop by this museum for a bit.
British Museum: A free history museum loaded with millions of artifacts. This was much more our speed. The vast amount of exhibits could take one hours to view, we suggest picking a few favorites unless you have a whole day to dedicate.
Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens: These are probably much prettier in the spring and summer, but it was still a lovely stroll through the gardens. We made our way to view the Marble Arch here as well. I thought Justin might propose in the park, but the flowers had fallen with the winter and it wasn’t as romantic as I had imagined.
We made a reservation at Darwin Brassiere in the Sky Garden for dinner and I was once again almost certain Justin was going to propose. I’ll note here that I began the trip with a full face of makeup every day in anticipation (this is totally unlike me). I also wore my grandmother’s scarf this night because I thought it would be sentimental. Anyways, he didn’t. But the restaurant was romantic and the view a scenic skyline, nonetheless.
Buckingham Palace: Check the schedule for seasonality and arrive early for a good viewing spot of the Changing of the Guards. Yes, even in the off-season, ARRIVE EARLY. We stopped by Regency Café on our way for a traditional English breakfast.
Big Ben, House of Parliament & St. Paul’s Cathedral: We viewed all of these from the outside, opting not to pay to enter. London boasts so many beautiful cathedrals, landmarks and museums, we found it hard to decide which were worth our pennies. I would definitely recommend making these decisions before your trip.
Westminster Abbey: A medieval Church with tons of history. We waited in line in the rain and the admission was a bit pricey, but it’s a must in London. The admission provided a headset and a recorded guide for a walking tour.
Victoria & Albert Museum: The world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design! A free entry to view ceramics, furniture, fashion, glass, jewelery, metalwork, photographs, sculpture, textiles and paintings. I remember we were very interested at first and then lost interest and enjoyed the free wi-fi for a bit. I’m telling you, we are not art people.
Natural History Museum: Hundreds of exciting, interactive exhibits featuring fossils, evolution and space. This free museum was one of our favorites!
Harrods: The most luxurious department store ever. They have EVERYTHING. Of course I head straight to the grocery department. I had been craving a kombucha and remember the excitement of finally finding one, JARR Kombucha, and purchasing it for an equivalent of almost $8! That’s what I call addiction.
Dinner at Caravan at Kings Cross was one of my favorite meals in London, mostly due to the abundance of healthy options and vegetables. Hallelujah!
Tower of London: Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, a historic castle well worth the fee for a guided tour and a glimpse at the Crown Jewels.
We stopped at Poppie’s Fish & Chips for a big basket of traditional grease in this old-fashioned spot. I couldn’t visit London and not eat fish and chips. That’s like going to Disney and not eating Mickey Mouse ice cream ears. But if I were to do it again, Justin and I would have just shared a basket of fried fish and French fries. Anywho, I left feeling very greasy and with some weird noises going on in my tummy.
Tower Bridge Exhibition: This was a cool view, but we didn’t feel it was worth our pennies.
The Shard: A 95-story skyscraper, it’s the tallest building in the United Kingdom with a breathtaking view of the city. When we arrived, I had butterflies. It might have been the fish and chips, but I was super giddy and started bouncing around from window to window looking at the panoramic view of the city. This is where Justin proposed! Our pictures aren’t so great, but the moment was just perfect. I had asked a woman to take a picture of us with the skyline and he bent down to move his jacket out of the way from the floor- when he turned around on one knee. Oh & I said yes!
We took a day trip to Bath which was very poorly planned. We opted for the bus rather than the train, although it would take much longer, it was also much cheaper. We stopped at the Grand Pump Room for afternoon tea upon arrival and although it was a very ‘London’ thing to do, the food was terrible. We quickly rushed to our free walking tour that we then had to cut out early on to catch our bus home. Long story short, we didn’t even see the bath. Makes for a good story though, right?
We stopped for breakfast at 49cafe for some solid avocado toast & on to Lisbon we went!