London…ah what an eventful trip…
This past trip we learned a lot about travel. We wanted to be a little more adventurous… when I say ‘adventurous’ I mean we made our final destination decision in the airport.
We hopped on a plane departing from JFK and ended up in London.
Day 1: Airbnb upset
We landed in London and as soon as we deplaned we received a notification that our Airbnb in Notting Hill had CANCELLED. It would not have been as bad if we were still in our home country, but being in a country that we have never been to before the panic sort of set in. After looking through the few that were left we found ourselves in East London.
East London is like the Brooklyn/Queens of NYC. We really enjoyed the ambiance of East London. Our only complaint was that it was not our original choice. Where we stayed was once an old hospital, little scary I could have lived not knowing that, ha.
We enjoyed the area, every morning we window shopped and we visited a coffee shop on the street corner named “The Beehive” it was a great way to really get the taste of living like a Londoner.
**Sidenote: Airbnb not only gave us a full refund of the cancelled Airbnb; they gave us a coupon to use on our next stay.
Day 2: Touristy things
We got up early the next day and headed to the tube. The tube took us to Waterloo that is where the London eye and the Big Ben can be found. For those planning to travel to London soon, the Big Ben is still under construction and you can only see the clock itself.
On this day it was very windy, we jumped from shop to shop to stay warm. On this day I witnessed my first in person protest. I am not sure what they were protesting, but it was kind of crazy.
We wandered around the beautiful Abbey Temple, and hung out in the courtyard behind the church and enjoyed the view.
We were in the mood for an afternoon pick me up, we headed to Elan Cafe near the Buckingham Palace. This cafe is Instagram famous for its chic floral decor. The desserts were delicious! I got the hazelnut creme cake and Kyle got the German Chocolate. Be prepared for a short wait due to its limited seating and high popularity.
Day 3: London Fever
I have never been sick before while traveling…there’s a first for everything right? The night before I felt that feeling you do before you get sick and I thought I was a little jetlagged, I woke up the next day and I was not feeling my usual self. As bad as this is, I took some medicine and I powered through it I did not want to waste the day laying in bed. By dinner time I was about as useful as a white crayon, but hey at least we got to tour London.
Getting sick in another country is very frightening no matter where you are in the world. I recovered quickly, within 24 hours I managed to feel somewhat back to normal. Hallelujah!
We took time to tour a few museums a the Trafalgar plaza is a beautiful destination to visit while in London. Take the time to visit the National Gallery the architecture and artwork is breathtaking. After, we found ourselves in a pub down the road, you will notice that every day of the week after 4 PM the pubs are full of people.
Day 4: More touristy things + our pub experience
Oxford Street is the place to be if you love to shop! We spent most of the day cruising around the shops. We did purchase a few things during our shopping spree. In was the most windy day and our coats were not breaking the wind, stopping into the Uniqlo we purchased two windbreakers (that we wished we had from day 1). After, I purchased a Longchamp bag for travel. P.S. A lot of stores do the VAT tax refund in store, when you arrive back to the airport you must provide them with the form filled out completely to receive your refund.
Day 5: Last day in London- the London Tower
This was by far our favorite experience in London. The Tower of London is beautiful with a lot of history to take in. Be prepare to spend between 2-3 hours touring the Tower. There is a lot to see and it is very popular. We went on a Sunday, there were a lot of people touring the tower too. Week days may be slower, either way the place is huge you won’t notice the crowd.
Overall we had a lovely time in London, as I said in the beginning though we did learn a lot about travel on this trip. The learning part is what makes traveling fun and we are happy to share with you our thoughts and experience. We will share with you the things we wished we would have known before we touring London.
- Buy an OYSTER pass tour the tube- totally worth it (for the most part you will only need it for zones 1-2)
- Buy a round trip for the train when you are leaving the airport the day of because prices change and the round trip is the CHEAPEST option
- It is OKAY to not stay in an Airbnb when traveling. The last night we stayed in a hotel that was in a more central location, the hotel had better heating, was a comfortable size and was the same price as the Airbnb we stayed in. We wished we would have done the hotel sooner because it would have been a better living experience (London is cold in March)
- DO YOUR RESEARCH
Can’t wait to see where we end up next- do you have travel suggestions? Email them to me! I would love to hear.