I’ll admit it…for basically my entire adult life, I’ve been acting like a snob towards London. I never really “cared” to go to London before now; Cities like Paris, Istanbul, Munich and Hong Kong seemed must more interesting, I guess.
I WAS SO WRONG. London is one of my favorite cities to date and here is why:
- London has so much history. I’m the ultimate history nerd, and London has so much to offer for someone like me. Three of my favorite spots were:
- The Churchill War Rooms (Winston’s war bunker/control rooms underneath the city AND a Winston museum)
- Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, a pub down an alley whose patrons include the late Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. You can literally smell history while drinking a pint (well, smell as in the burning hearth and old wood)
- The Tower of London – just because I love some good family drama and the Tudors had PLENTY of it. Also, there were some AWESOME views of London Bridge.
I am going to have to go back to London to experience more of the history in this amazing city. We also stayed in a historic hotel which just tickled me to pieces. Finding a decently-priced, nice hotel in a good location was a bit of a challenge. We chose the Georgian House Hotel, a boutique hotel in Pimlico. $220 a night included breakfast and a nice room. We usually never spend this type of cash on a hotel room when we are sightseeing, but compared to most nice places, this was a good price. London hotels are just expensive, so be prepared.
2. London has an awesome public transportation system. Using the Tube saved us so much money since our hotel was close to Victoria station. One thing we struggled with a bit however was cramming onto the crowded Tube with our luggage. Consider budgeting for a taxi/Uber to and from the airport (lesson learned!)
3. London is such a melting pot, so the food is yummy. Our best meal was Indian food at a restaurant called Dishoom. Also, I never felt like a foreigner in London since there were so many people from so many walks of life, and I really liked that.
4. For the non-history buffs, there are still so many fun things to do. We especially enjoyed seeing Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre (we got tickets at a discount booth called TKTS the morning of the show and got really good seats for $40), and we also loved having afternoon tea at 108 Pantry . The scones and clotted cream – I’m still dreaming about them ::swoon::
We did other things that were completely worth our time which include: Westminster Abbey, Portobello Road Market on Notting Hill (go on a Saturday before dark!), and the British Library.
One thing that really disappointed me was the 2.5 hour line to take a picture at Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. After standing in line for hours at the airport the day before we arrived, I couldn’t stomach the wait, but I took a picture of the platform anyways; I just wasn’t in the picture myself! If this is important to you, be prepared for a line.
A couple other things to note: We went in November so it was pretty chilly and misty, but I was comfortable with my coat. Personally, I’d rather be chilly than super sweaty, and the cold made pubs pretty cozy. Also, be prepared to walk…a lot, so comfy shoes are a must!
I’d move to London if I could; I loved it that much. I can’t wait to visit again.