London is quickly becoming one of my favorite places on the planet. I love the crispness in the air, the cheery accents, and the low, gray clouds that often swell overhead. I also adore the culture, people, and stick-to-your-ribs food like scones, fish n chips, and savory pies. Mmmm.
We stepped off the plane and staggered to our hotel in a jet-lagged haze. Though exhausted, the weather was gorgeous and we simply couldn’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy such a quintessentially fall day. Lucky for us, Hyde Park was just across the street.
Later that night, after a refreshing and very long nap, we met up for a spooky Jack the Ripper tour with London Walks. These historical walks are an inexpensive and fun way to learn about the city. The guides are extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and often hilarious!
Sadly, I didn’t bring my camera along. This was my first time traveling with my professional camera, so it was a bit of an adjustment. It’s heavy and we were often doing a lot of walking, so I had to figure out when to bring it and when to leave it behind.
After our walk, we ducked into Nicholson’s Pub for fish and chips with pints and mushy peas. Love mushy peas! Will definitely be making this soon for the blog! Nicholson’s is a UK pub chain and definitely a solid stop for weary tourists without a dinner reservation. Great service, good prices, with a very English feel.
The next day started with a traditional English breakfast at the hotel. English breakfasts are heavy- fried eggs, fried toast (deep fried bread that is surprisingly tasty), hash browns, beans, sausages, toast, pastries, jams and jellies, stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, and you get the idea. There was lots to choose from which gave us enough variety for four mornings. I snapped a pic on my phone.
Next, we headed to the Tower of London to see the sparkly Crown Jewels.
Afterwards, we met up with my friend Mary and her precious five month-old daughter, Martha, at Patisserie Valerie, a French patisserie chain in London. It’s a great place to pop in for tea and pastries and small, savory snacks. I held the baby a lot which was really fun, but made eating tricky!
Next, we spent a few hours in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It’s large and impressive, and feels very much like England’s attic of treasures collected over the centuries. You could lose weeks in that museum. After touring, we headed to Eriki for Indian food in the Swiss Cottage area of London. The food was authentic, spicy and reasonably priced. They also offered plenty of choices for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. I didn’t get many shots of the food because I was so focused on playing with Martha, what a cutie!
Look at those cheeks!
Whoa, I think I might have caught a touch of baby fever.
The next day, we hopped a train to Oxford!
We stepped off the train directly into a walking tour group to see the various colleges.
(The Great Hall of Christ Church for you Harry Potter fans.)
Then we did a bit of sightseeing on our own.
Then, we made our way over to the Old Parsonage for tea.
And feasted on savory scones with clotted cream and fresh strawberry jam. Glorious!
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to London for the night.
The next day, we took in super posh Saville Row and New and Old Bond Streets for a bit of window shopping and then made our way over to the Royal Stables to see where the royal horses and carriages are kept. It wasn’t something I thought I’d enjoy, but the carriages were especially impressive.
I highly recommend seeing this if you are in London.
Afterward, we strolled around a bit, taking in the sights and, of course, more tea.
We ended up getting tea at the National Portrait Gallery (not pictured above) which was perfect for people watching and very reasonably priced. For our last meal in London, we joined one of Nick’s long time friends for ramen at Seto, which was authentic and very tasty. They have lots on the menu for vegetarians so I was happy.
And just like that, we were packing our bags and heading to Paris. Part 2 to come soon!
Other posts you may enjoy: