A very short while ago, hubby and I ventured across the pond to travel Europe as part of my 30th birthday and Luke’s graduation from uni. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to travel there, especially to see the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Whilst planning for our trip, we added London for a few days to originally visit Luke’s cousins who at the time were living there, but from our initial booking to when we actually went, they moved back to Australia – the bonus was, extra time for us to explore London!
After an excruciating 27+ hours of travelling, with three plane changes, we finally landed at London Heathrow at 4:30pm and then had the difficult task of finding where the heck to go to catch the train to Kings Cross. This was no easy task as we soon learnt as there was an above ground train and the underground one which we needed to get as it was A LOT cheaper, may have taken a bit longer, but the cost factor was a driving force behind this decision. We finally found where to go, how to create an Oyster Card and purchase it, then made our way to wait for the train. It took just under an hour by train to get to the station closest to our hotel, and from there a short 10 minute walk to our hotel apartment. We were staying at Studios 2 Let Serviced Apartments, Cartwright Gardens as based on reviews and cost, it seemed like a good place to stay. It was in a fabulous location, short walk to the main train stations we would need to use during our stay (Kings Cross, St Pancras and Euston Stations) and there were loads of food options around.
Check in was easy enough, but then we had to haul (by ‘we’ I mean my husband) our suitcases and hand held luggage up five flights of stairs to our room. Narrow stairwells, heavy luggage and tired tourists = not a good combo!
As someone who hasn’t been to London before, I could not believe how TINY the room was. Especially the bathroom, it was the teeniest thing I had ever seen. Our floor space ended up being taken up by both our suitcases, then we had showers, ordered McDonalds through Uber Eats (soooooooo cheap and they HAD A VEGETARIAN MENU!) and ate Maccas in bed before passing out from lack of sleep on our many flights.
The next morning, we woke up nice and early, got showered and mapped out our day. We discussed some of the main things we wanted to see while in London, picked Buckingham Palace as our first stop, and began our day. On the way to the station, we stopped by Maccas and had a pretty scrumptious breaky of bagels, pancakes and juice then we were off to Kings Cross Station to board the train to see the Queen! (Not before a sneaky visit to Platform 9 ¾ )
We got off at Green Park Station, walked through Green Park to see the majestic Buckingham Palace. It is so much bigger in real life than I expected it to be. We then proceeded to walk through St James Park to head to the Changing of the Guard and here was one of my highlights of London… The squirrels! There were so many and they kept coming up to us, they were adorable! We also saw Geese, Swans… It was an awesome park to venture around.
After watching the Changing of the Guard (man those horses are HUGE) we went for a walk along the River Thames. Along the way we saw what we could of Big Ben and Westminster as they were both covered in scaffolding, and saw the Monuments to the RAF which were beautiful statues, the details in these monuments were unbelievable.
We continued with our walk along the Thames, saw the London Eye, a River Pub, walked to Trafalgar Square, stopped by Festival Gardens (I am not kidding, I want this set up in my next house, that fountain as a pool would be pretty epic), stood in awe of St Paul’s Cathedral, had Nando’s for lunch (best Nando’s experience ever!), crossed the Millenium Bridge (let’s see who knows why I had to!) and went (briefly) into the Tate Modern Museum. From there, we hopped on another train to Piccadilly Circus where I had to go and buy a pair of sneakers as my sandals were filthy from walking around on the sooty roads. All up, we ended up walking over 15kms in that one day! Fair to say, it was another evening of Uber Eats being delivered to our room – sourdough pizza – and staying in before curling up for a blissful nights sleep.
The next day, we were up for an early visit to Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour with our good friends from America who we hadn’t seen for over five years. I’ll post about this visit in my next blog post, Harry Potter will always deserve a blog post of its own!
As we were flying out of Gatwick, we decided to catch the train from St Pancras which was about an hour and it was one of the cleanest and smoothest train rides I have ever experienced. Highly recommend the train to Gatwick!
Once we arrived at Gatwick, it was super easy and super quick to check in for our flight to Venice, we had over three hours to kill before boarding time for our flight to Venice. So off to Nando’s it was! Now, for any Aussie’s reading this, Nando’s in the UK is next level, with their wraps/burgers/pitas, you have the option of a few different fillings (Grilled chicken, sweet potato and butternut, broccoli and kale, Portobello mushroom and Halloumi and chickpea mix) which is pretty awesome, plus you also have unlimited soft drinks! This meant sitting around killing time for a few hours was easy done. Then, it was off to Venice, Italy!
We enjoyed our time in London, and ticked off the major things we wanted to see and do. If I ever ventured back to England, I would love to see more of the countryside, and make my way up through to Wales, Scotland and Ireland. We were there for three nights, with two full days to see landmarks and we spent one of those days at Warner Brothers Studios, so was jam packed, but we aren’t really the type to linger in one spot too long, that’s just us! Would we recommend visiting London? Of course! It is a city rich in history that you have to explore, at least once in your life.
Have you been to London? What was your highlight?