London, England

Friday, December 16, 2016

Next up on the travel re-cap list is London!

Before November, I had never been to London, so I was most excited for this part of our trip to Europe. We only got to spend a few nights here over the weekend and I quickly learned that it’s impossible to cover London in three days. But we tried! We hit all the big sights from Westminster Abbey and Big Ben to Buckingham Palace and Oxford Street in all its Christmas glory. 

On our first night there, we were exhausted from our journey since we had almost missed our train from Brussels to London. (Picture three crazy-eyed Americans sprinting through the station and rushing through customs, fumbling all of their luggage, only to hop on the train sixty seconds before it left.) We were so tired when we got to the hotel that we decided to do nothing but park ourselves in a local pub for the remainder of the day. We found the perfect spot right down the street at Three Tuns. It was so cozy and decked out in all kinds of holiday decor. We huddled up near the fireplace, downed the largest dish of fish and chips I’ve ever seen, and drank Elderflower Collins' like there was no tomorrow. Afterward, we took a stroll down Oxford Street, passing all the windows trimmed top to bottom in garland, lights, and sparkle. Between the ornaments and lights strung overhead, the classic black taxis zipping around, the doormen on every corner in their top hats and coats, and the music playing up and down the street, it felt like one big Christmas dream. 

The next day, we were up early to see as much of London as we could. We toured Westminster Abbey and got to see where Chaucer, Handel, Darwin, and Newton were buried. I was fascinated by both the Science and Poets’ corner with so many memorials and graves of some of the greatest scientific and literary minds in history. We couldn’t take photos inside the Abbey, but I was actually kind of thankful for this. It allowed me to focus solely on the experience instead of trying to capture the beauty of the building - which by the way would be impossible to do. You’ve really gotta see the inside of this place for yourself. It’s utterly breathtaking. 

Other notable stops that day were Hyde Park, Big Ben and Parliament, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. We got to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace which was really neat. I’ve never seen a ceremony quite like it! Definitely a must-see if you’re ever in London!

We grabbed pints and lunch at The Clarence Pub on Whitehall where I devoured the tastiest wild boar sausage with bubble & squeak and bramley apple gravy. If there’s one thing London does right, it’s comfort food!

After lunch we ventured on to the Tower of London where we spent as much time as we could exploring, but the place was so big, we got tired before we could see it all. The sun was already starting to set by the time we were thinking of quitting (around 4:00PM mind you - I could never get used to that!) so we decided to venture across Tower Bridge at night on our way back to the hotel. My favorite part of Tower of London though was most definitely seeing the crown jewels. I almost bought a mini crown for Archie in the gift shop, but didn’t want to become one of those dog moms, so I decided against it. Ha! 

We dined that evening at the Maze Grill Mayfair (by Gordon Ramsay) and then started a bit of a pub crawl. Along the way, we met a bunch of people from Poland who had so many questions about the recent American election that they ended up following us to the next bar. Thankfully, we didn’t talk much politics after that, but it was a ton of fun getting to know them! We exchanged contact info so hopefully next year when Mike and I are in Munich, we can meet up at Oktoberfest!

Our third and last day in London was spent nursing hangovers from the night before (London pubs: 1 Laura: 0), shopping, and enjoying a proper afternoon tea. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. My mom and I love to do high tea in Annapolis back home, so it was really exciting for me to be able to have some extra fancy tea in England. 

There is no doubt that I’ll be back to London to continue exploring all this city has to offer. It's so much different than any of the other European cities I've been to, it definitely deserves more attention than a weekend can provide!


  1. Ahhhh your pictures made me miss London so much! You didn't go in the London Eye did you? It was one of the first things we did since our hotel was close by and I remember being so jet lagged and exhausted that I was falling asleep in it. Hopefully jet lag as an adult is a little easier to manage, but at 17 I was done! The changing of the guards is SO COOL! My parents saw the Queen when they were there last year. There are so many amazing things to see in London and I'm so jealous you were there with all of the Christmas decorations! I'm so glad you had a good trip! xoxo

    1. Unfortunately we didn't make it to the London Eye! We got to see it from a distance but I've heard the views from up top are amazing! Thanks so much love! :)

  2. These photos are AMAZING!! It sounds like you guys had such a great time. I have never been to London but I definitely want to get there soon. I was set on making the Ravens game in London but we already have a trip planned for the dates they announced :( You are going to Oktoberfest?! I am so jealous!! I wish vacation days were endless so we could tag along. So jealous of your work trips!

    1. It really was a great time! I miss London so much already and I'm already trying to figure out when we can go back! Ugh, it would have been SO COOL for you to see the Ravens in London! That's such a shame :(