Monday, October 6, 2014

London, England

London, BABY!!! (I can't go to London without thinking about those amazing episodes of Friends and quoting Joey.)

Team Neill loves London. We studied here, we called it "home" and technically, this is where we met and formed a sweet friendship.

London is a great place to start any trip to Europe because they speak English and it's so easy to get around despite its size. Plus - there is so much to see & do!

We decided to take it easy this time around since we had done all of the major attractions a couple years ago while we were studying abroad.

The day we landed we simply walked along the south bank to see everything including the London Eye and the Tower of London. We took our time & popped into the Tate Modern and a pub when we needed a break.

One of my desired “to-dos" was going into the original Twinings tea shop. You can take tours and do tastings, but we just bought some tea and got out of there-- it is tiny!

We had fish & chips at The Clarence and it was tasty, but the best part was the view of Big Ben from inside while we ate.

Day 2 was spent walking around Westminster Abbey (the lines are extremely long so purchase tickets in advance if you plan to go inside), Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. The changing of the guards only occurs on certain days so make sure and check the schedule before you go.

We had lunch in Hyde Park and then headed to the National Gallery to meet up with our dear friends!

There is a lot of great art at the National Gallery and it's free so this is a great place to pop in & out of as time and your schedule allows. After the National Gallery we headed next door to the National Portrait Galley. This is also free and the photographs are truly amazing works of art. 

We decided to take a break and head to Fortnum & Mason- my favorite tea shop! The store is so beautiful and it's fun just to walk around and look at all the specialty food items. We grabbed "the world's best chocolate cake" and my first cronut to-go and chowed down in the Hooper's hotel room right next door.

At 5:00pm we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral for their free Evensong service. This was not quite what I expected but it's a great way to see the beautiful cathedral for free :) This is not a traditional service so feel free to leave whenever you are ready (we didn't stay the whole service and it was easy to quietly sneak out.)

For dinner we tried going to Chando's but their kitchen was closed so we got drinks instead and headed to a nearby pub for food, which was excellent.

Day 3 started out early as we headed to Notting Hill to try and beat the rush at Portobello Market! The market was fun but got really crowded really fast. 

We spent the afternoon in Hyde Park and even ventured over to Harrods for a bit. We had an appointment for tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace. This was my second time to have tea here and I LOVE it. I highly recommend doing this if you are ever in London.

We dined at another pub for dinner and then headed to see the musical Jersey Boys. Going to the theatre in London is also one of my favorite things to do and this show did not disappoint. It was a great last night in London!

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