Sunday, November 11

Mum's Visit: London

Friday morning we had to rise before the sun to get ourselves up, out and ready to catch a train to London first thing. The wife at the bed & breakfast was absolutely precious and prepared us a delicious breakfast which we had to scarf down to catch a taxi to the train station. We had four days in London and we wanted to get as much done as possible!
Day 1: Our train rolled into Euston station and we took the underground to Camden Lock area which is where we were staying. Dropping our luggage, we hit the pavement to start off our whirlwind time in London- straight to the Tower of London. We did a Yeoman tour which was hilarious and yet very informative, our guide was quite cheeky! We even got to go into the chapel where Queen Anne Boleyn was buried, which I didn’t get a chance to do last time I was there. We saw inside White Tower, the Bloody Tower, and of course, the Crown Jewels which were stunningly spectacular. The sun was setting as we left the Tower of London and headed to take pictures of the Tower Bridge which was illuminated blue. Grabbing our first Starbucks of the trip, we just sat and reflected on the day, chit-chatted, and tried to figure out what to do that evening. We finally decided on going to the London Eye. The Eye was a great experience, you could see for miles around London and it really showed you how large the city was. Not sure what was going on, but fireworks popped up in the sky all around us which was fun. After that, we wanted to cross over the river and see Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster by night. While we were over there, we stopped in at this beautiful looking pub that was right across from Parliament. The food was delicious, and they had my brand of favorite apple ‘cider’, so we were all quite happy and full by the end of the night. 
Day 2: We started off our day with a trip to Notting Hill to visit the Portobello Market. The Market was fantastic, which antique dealers, food shops, jewelry stores, typical “London” stores, and so forth. There were street performers and singers on the street that added to the atmosphere. We ended buying several treasures and bumming around most of the morning. We stopped off in Notting Hill town center for a Starbucks, yum, and then stopped in a couple of adorable stores on the way. We were so close to Kensington Palace, we decided that we’d walk to Hyde Park and then go tour the Palace. Kensington was beautiful, and the fact that Queen Victoria grew up there, Princess Diana lived there, and now William & Kate are going to be residing there…well it was surreal to visit. After closing Kensington down, we took the underground to the fabulous Harrod’s to go to the Laudree for tea. Harrod’s was absolutely stunning and extravagant; I’ve never seen so many designer names under one roof. Laudree was such an experience, and we all got to share some delicious sweets. We dotted around town for a bit, seeing all the Christmas lights of Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, and Oxford Circus before heading back towards Camden Lock for dinner. We went to this chic Italian restaurant which had incredible authentic Italian food. Yum!
Day 3: Sunday was our day for a small outing from London city: Windsor Castle. Windsor was one of my favorite parts of our London trip. It was absolutely grand and stately, definitely worthy of royalty. The interior was stunning, beautiful furnishings, lush fabric panels, grand fireplaces, breath-taking chandeliers…it was definitely worth the trip out to Windsor! I found it incredible that the Queen still resides at Windsor and parties and holidays are still thrown in those very rooms. It was quite cold that day, probably one of the coldest days there; so after spending several hours walking through Windsor we wanted a warm lunch or tea. We ended up at the Drury House, which was established in 1645. There was a blazing fire in the fireplace and the interior was old and charming. We got to have a traditional Sunday Carvery and tea, which was lovely :) Afterwards we bummed around town which had tons of shops and places to see before heading back into London for the night.
Day 4: Our final day in London was literally a jam-packed day, where we had to finish everything we hadn’t seen yet. First things first, we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral and got to experience the opulence of St. Paul’s. The Cathedral was stunning, there aren’t many other ways to explain it other than that. After St. Paul’s we went to Westminster Abbey. If any of you know me, you know how much I love William & Kate…so the fact that I was walking down the same aisle she walked down to become Princess Catherine…eek! I loved every moment of it. Talk about a surreal experience. Next we went down to Green Park and walked through the park to Buckingham Palace and got to experience that. Then finally, to end our time in London we had high tea at Kensington Palace in the Oragnery. It was a peaceful and relaxing way to end our pavement-pounding weekend in London.