Traveling to London

 So you’ve all seen our posts on Scotland, but we also were able to spend some time in London while we were in the UK!  Since we were flying in and out of Heathrow, we knew that we didn’t want to waste nights in London hotels if we weren’t going to see anything, so we planned to spend about 2.5 days seeing the best of London.  We wanted to stay in a central area with good access to the Tube and walking distance to some areas so we chose a decent hotel on Oxford Street.  The area was very nice, close to the northeast corner of Hyde Park, with a 2 minute walk to the Tube.
Our first day was supposed to be the time for us to pick up the London Passes we had ordered and possibly get a sight or two in.  However, our plans went poof when our train was delayed for 2 hours and rerouted, making us arrive 4 hours later than scheduled.  This of course threw our site-seeing off for the trip.  After checking in to our hotel we remade our plans for the trip.  We knew that we wouldn’t be able to fit everything, so below is the itinerary we wrote up.

Day 1:

  • Was supposed to arrive in London early afternoon on train from Edinburgh
  • Train delayed 2 hours then rerouted.  Train arrives 4 hours late and London Pass office is closed for the evening
  • Dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby

Day 2:

  • Got up early and strolled past Piccadilly Circus in search of breakfast
  • Explored Trafalgar Square

    Trafalgar Square

    Trafalgar Square

  • Picked up London Passes from office
  • Caught the Tube to Tower Hill Station to visit Tower of London (free entrance with London Pass)

    Tower of London

    Tower of London

  • Tower of London is a must, but plan to arrive early in the day (especially if you want a free tour from the Beefeaters) and plan to spend several hours there

    Tower of London

    Tower of London

  • Ate fish and chips (because you are in Britain)

    Tower Bridge

    Tower Bridge

  • Explored Leadenhall Market (for all you Harry Potter fans out there ;0)

    Leadenhall Market

    Leadenhall Market

  • Headed across the river to visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theater (free entrance and tour with London Pass)

    Globe Theater

    Globe Theater

  • Tour is worth the time, plus the atmosphere around the Theater is awesome!
  • Stopped into a really atmospheric pub to dry off and warm up while trying to find a place to eat
  • Dinner at the Black Friar’s Pub

Day 3:

  • Got up early and caught the Tube to Westminster station
  • Grabbed breakfast and ate right by Parliament whilst being serenaded by Big Ben himself
  • Toured the GORGEOUS Westminster Abbey (free admission with London Pass)

    Westminster Abbey

    Westminster Abbey

  • Walked through St. James Park and caught the tail end of the changing of the guards.

    Changing of Guard

    Changing of Guard

  • Caught the Tube back to Charing Cross station (Trafalgar area) and browsed through the National Gallery (donation suggested)

    National Gallery

    National Gallery

  • Enjoyed high tea in the Gallery Cafeteria (recommended by the guidebooks)
  • Went back to the hotel and rested for about an hour
  • Caught the Tube to Tottenham Court Road station and visited the British Museum (donation suggested) for their extended hours

    British Museum

    British Museum

Day 4:

Portobello

Portobello

  • Got up early
  • Caught the Tube to Notting Hill Station
  • Perused the Portobello Road flea market while munching on breakfast and coffee
  • Headed back to the hotel and finished packing
  • Caught the Tube to Heathrow

    Doors of Portobello

    Doors of Portobello

    Doors of Portobello

    Doors of Portobello

Portobello Market

Portobello Market

Using the Tube system is by far the quickest and most convenient way to get around the city.  We typically just purchased day passes (to use after rush hour) and were able to get easy access to most of the sites from the stations.  Just be sure to keep to the right 🙂 .

If you are heading to London for the first time, I would suggest planning 4-5 days just in the city.  We didn’t get to see quite a few things that were on our itinerary wish list simply because we didn’t have enough time.  The London Pass is worth looking into if you plan on visiting plenty of museums.  Unfortunately for us we had to cut an entire day out of sightseeing due to travel problems so we weren’t able to get full use out of our passes.  However, they were very convenient to use and most attractions that we visited had a skip-the-line lane for pass holders.  If we had more time in the city, we would have definitely made the most of the passes.
If you have any questions or any other tips, share in the comments below!

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