This past August, Nate and I took our first trip to Europe together, my first time ever! We were there for 10 days, spending the first 5 days in London and the last 5 in Paris. I wanted to spend a good amount of time in each place instead of squeezing more cities in during our time there. I’m glad we did this because we got a good feel for the cities and all their charm. My only regret is that we couldn’t stay in London longer so that we could do a few day trips to some surrounding areas like Oxford and Cotswolds. With that said, we did have an entire day planned to Oxford (aka Hogwarts) that we ended up canceling because of bad weather, womp womp. I figured London was a bit cloudy since it has such a reputation but…whoa. It really was. And not only cloudy but it drizzled almost everyday we were there (sunny for an hour, pouring the next, you know the drill). So prepare for this if you plan to visit, because even in the summer you’ll need pants and a sweater most days (at least in my experience).
Carrying on…London was HUGE. I didn’t expect it to be so big and spread out, and I wish we had more time to explore all the neighborhoods. The architecture is stunning, and I love how adorned the buildings were, covered in flowers and painted pastels. And the public trans? It put nyc to shame, truly. Over all we really enjoyed London and since we’ve been back from our trip, I’ve had a lot of friends ask what I recommend to do, eat, and see while there. So I’ve compiled a list for you all! Keep in mind that I’m a gluten free pescetarian who mostly enjoys activities involving flowers and things laced in gold. So. Yeah.
My absolutely must-do list.
– Tour of Buckingham Palace (this only happens at certain times of the year, so check before you book your flights!)
– Afternoon tea, the full experience, with champagne. Duh.
– Walk around Notting Hill and Chelsea neighborhoods. Super cute houses and shops!
– Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens
– Columbia Road Flower Market (only on Sundays)
– Do a bus tour of all the big sights…(Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly, etc.) this sounds lame but it was really fun and we got all the touristy stuff checked off the list in one day.
– Do a proper tour of the Churchill War Rooms
– Westminster Abbey (inside and out)
– Eat at all the places listed below
Favorite places to consume calories.
Coffee: Workshop Coffee or TAP coffee
Breakfast: Farm Girl Cafe
Afternoon tea: Claridge’s for the best tasting, The Lanesborough for prettiest.
Lunch: The Good Life Eatery
Dinner: Honest Burger
Drinks: Sketch (sit in the pink room for champagne) or Experimental Cocktail Club
Things I wish I knew.
– If you can’t take the train/bus, I liked using the cabbies more than Uber
– The weather will most likely be shit, this is ok, plan for it and carry on.
– London is not New York, everyone says it’s similar and I just didn’t see it. This would have made my expectations different going in.
– The food isn’t awesome (people told me this, I didn’t believe them), but there’s a lot of other things London is good at. This food thing just took me a bit to get over.
– The city seemed like it virtually shut down on Sunday’s, so make sure to check when everything is open!