November 6 / 7, 2014
After a long & eventful evening before, we got a good night’s rest after dinner. We woke up early around 5:30am to get ready and head to the Gare Du Nord station via the St. Michel Notre Dame RER B to catch our train to London.
On this particular day, I was hoping it would be a little chilly outside so I could wear a new cable knit sweater poncho I bought just for the trip! I also can’t leave out the new accessory I received the night before that I got to wear.
Our train ride was a short 2 hours and 20 minutes and when we arrived at the London St. Pancras Station, we headed straight for the information desk to buy our one day travel cards and tickets to the Tower of London. FYI – I recommend buying Tower tickets from the info desk because you save a few pounds. After picking up our map, cards & ticks we headed straight for the tube.
Prior to this trip, I was obsessively on the Tripadvisor forums trying to get directions from place to place. I was nervous about using public transportation because we had heard from others that it is difficult to understand. Once we got to London, we picked up the tube map and figured it out right away. It was super easy and straight forward. Plus the lines are color coded, each line has an easy name to remember and the stops are announced loudly as they approach. To anyone going to London, don’t panic like I did!
Our first stop was the Tower of London. We got out of the station at the Tower Hill stop, crossed the street and arrived in 5 minutes. We paid 18 pounds per person (~$30) and thought it was completely worth it. The museum was ginormous and we could have easily spent 4-6 hours there taking our time to browse. Unfortunately, we had only planned a day trip to London so we were limited to about 2-3 hours there. With no time to waste, we picked up a Tower of London map and explored.
There were so many different parts to the museum but my favorite museum within the museum was The Crown Jewels. Unfortunately we were not able to take photos while in there but everything was so sparkly and eye catching! Anthony’s favorite museum was probably the Medieval one and the one with all of the weaponry and knights in shining armor (of course….) ;).
After our informative time at the museum we took a little lunch break and got some good ‘ol fish & chips in a stand near the museum. It was surprisingly super delicious and the two large pieces of fish were filling. The place was really popular too because there was a line. After picking up our food, we sat near a step and enjoyed our seafood lunch.
We headed toward the tube to catch a train for the Westminister station to check out Big Ben, the Parliament and the London Eye!
The day and time we went was pretty perfect. There weren’t an outrageous amount of tourists so we were able to take our time to take pictures and we didn’t have to push or shove anyone. We strolled along the bridge snapping more photos. We stopped to watch the London Eye go round and round and made our way to the Westminister Abbey church.
One of the sights I hadn’t planned on visiting was the Imperial War Museum. We had read about it on the tube in our Rick Steves’ Guide and saw it on the map included in the book. Anthony loves war museums so of course we had to go. We went back to the tube and caught a train to take us to the St. James Park station where we walked about 3-4 blocks. When we got there we found out the entrance to the museum was free! Score! Once in, we realized why it was free. The museum was under construction so they only had a few exhibits opened. I tagged along while Anthony had his chance to Ooh and Aww over the tanks, bunkers, gear, uniforms and the things that were used in war time. One cool part I remember was an exhibit that portrayed what life was like during war. They had typical household items, food and furniture set up. It was actually more interesting than I thought and I know Anthony enjoyed it. Look at his smile in the picture below: 😛
We headed back to the St. James Park station to catch a train for the Piccadilly Circus station. 3 months prior to leaving, I had made reservations at The Wolseley for afternoon tea at 3:30pm. If you know me, you will know that I have a [sick] obsession with all things afternoon/high tea so it only made sense that I would try it from where it originated! We left around 2:30pm and arrived by 2:45pm. We walked for about 15 minutes and finally made it!
We arrived about a half hour early and because we had already reserved a table, they let us in early! Good thing I made reservations because the place was packed to the rim. Prior to the trip, I had asked Anthony if he wanted to do afternoon tea with me. He said it was too girly for him but he would go with me. I opted for a place that offered afternoon tea and a regular restaurant/cafe menu and found the Wolseley on Tripadvisor. The cool thing about this place is it was converted into the restaurant from an old car dealership. I quickly ordered since I knew right away I was doing tea and Anthony ordered the Plat Du Jour – Austian pork belly entree in which enjoyed. A lot.
For my tea selection, I went for The Wolseley Afternoon Blend that was delicious. It was aromatic and tasted like a mixture of English Breakfast and Earl Grey. When my tier of goodies came out I could see Anthony’s eyes light up! Apparently he didn’t think it was too “girly” anymore….We tried the sweets & tea sandwiches from the tier together and he absolutely loved it as did I!
I loved the tea sandwiches and Anthony loved the scones. Even now, he compares every scone he has ever had to the one from The Wolseley. He is an afternoon tea convert and has a newfound love for it! He is not as obsessed as I am now….Another day, another story.
We did some shopping after tea time and picked up some goodies for fam. One of the coolest things I purchased was a Chelsea FC scarf for my brother who is a big soccer fan. I wish I had planned more time for shopping because there were so many cute shops down at Piccadilly square. Another item I picked up was a small suitcase for only 7 pounds! We had brought a large suitcase and a medium sized carry on with us. I wanted to use this small one for gifts and skincare/makeup products I would be purchasing the day before leaving Paris.
With one hour to spare, we headed for the tube to go back to London St Pancras station to catch our 19:01 train to Paris.
Overall we had a nice time in London and it didn’t disappoint. We only spent about 9 hours in the city but we thought it was beautiful and charming in its own way. We don’t have plans to go back anytime soon, but I’m glad we were able to at least scratch the surface and get a feel for the city.