March 27, 2014

An American in London, Part 1

A while back (aka, January), I went to London for a girls weekend. I totally would have gone with the Hubs, but he was working of course. And I've wanted to visit this awesome city for as long as I can remember. And, I plan to go back with the Hubs eventually so we can attend the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Harry Potter...

Yeah, I'm justifying this a smidge. But what's done is done, and now I can tell you all about it!

Outside Kings Cross Station

We found our flights online at a great rate through RyanAir. You can definitely get some amazing deals through their website, but you've got to book early. They don't fly into the major airport at Heathrow, instead landing at London Stansted. This is about an hour (or two in traffic) outside the city. There are lots of options for travel into London, including trains, buses, and private cars. Because we were a larger group of 8, we rode in on the Stansted Express. Purchasing our roundtrip tickets online prior to the trip got us a great rate which wouldn't have been available at the airport.

The view flying into the airport reminded
me so much of Ireland

This is what I learned in London:

1. The British pound seriously holds its value over the dollar. And the euro. So expect everything to be practically twice as expensive.

2. The accent is as marvelous as it seems. The Hubs is lucky I love him so dang much, or I could easily promise my life away to someone new.

3. New York is still my favorite place ever, but London is such a close second it's hard to tell the difference.

4. The bathroom is a loo, the elevator is the lift, and I love using the word bloody as often as possible now.

5. Royalty is not simply wandering the streets, waiting for me to snap their picture. Total fail.

6. Mind the gap, people. Seriously.

I learned a load of other things too, but that's enough for now. Let's get back on track, shall we?

After checking into our hotel (for those who care, it was the Tune Hotel in Paddington. Relatively inexpensive, clean, and convenient to the underground), we made a beeline for our scheduled Jack the Ripper tour. Boo-Dah-Washy found the tour and booked us online. And I totally don't know what the link is for the tour, whoops. I'm sure you can find a dozen of them with Google. Probably.

View from one of the Jack-the-Ripper
murder scenes 

The tour wound through the back streets of London, with a guide who described each murder and the circumstances surrounding it. We also happened upon the memorial where William Wallace (haven't you seen Braveheart??) was put to death.

The tour was several hours long, and eventually landed us at the well-known Sherlock Holmes Pub. By this time, we were all starving. Though it doesn't look like much, I had the Steak and Mushroom Ale Pie and it was bloody fantastic! Do you like how I snuck that in there?

From there, we wandered slowly back toward our hotel, taking in the sights as we went. I especially loved seeing all the monuments lit up at night.

Big Ben

The London Eye

Darkness falls on the Thames

I was excited for the next morning, when we would start our first full day in London with breakfast and a walking tour. I'll be back soon with the details, and plenty of pictures!

Until then, happy travels!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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  1. I love your list about London...and sad that I won't get to see Baby George! :) Great shots, especially the London Eye. Looking forward to seeing more!

    1. Thanks Abby! I'm hoping to have the next London post up this week, so keep checking back. I really loved the city, I'm definitely going back someday