About a month ago we went to London for a weekend. And because we like to keep ourselves busy, we came up with an insane plane for the three days there. We brought our aunt, who has never been there, so naturally, we had to plan on doing all sorts of touristy things that we haven’t done in years. This was actually quite amazing because we haven’t seen some of these places in forever since we’ve avoided these “tourist traps”.
We flew in early Saturday morning, which meant the whole day was free and we took complete advantage of it. After taking the bus from Stansted airport to Victoria Station, we dropped off our luggage in storage and set out for our walk around town. Victoria makes a great central point, you can easily walk to many beautiful spots in the center of London and the Circle, District and Victoria tube lines stop there.
We decided to start our trip by walking towards Westminster – Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben are a must for anyone traveling to London for the first time. Though we didn’t go into the Abbey and Big Ben is currently under construction, the area is still breathtaking. Just be prepared for huge crowds.
We continued on to Whitehall, where you can see horse guards and Downing Street. If you keep going down Whitehall, you will hit Trafalgar square, another great stop. For art lovers, the National Gallery is free for everyone, so you should definitely pop in! If the gallery is not your thing, walk through Admiralty Arch to the Mall. There, you can decide whether you want to continue walking up the Mall or through St. James’s Park. Either way, you’ll make your way up to Buckingham Palace.
At Buckingham Palace, take a tour of the State Rooms if possible. The State Rooms are only open for 10 weeks each summer when the Queen isn’t in the palace. Quick tip though, reserve your tickets ahead of time. That way you’ll have a specific time guaranteed, rather than having to adjust your plans by what time is available at the last minute. On the tour, you get to see parts of the palace that are still being used for official business today. Just a quick warning, you can’t take pictures inside. However, after you walk through the rooms, you can grab coffee (or tea) in the palace garden, where you’re allowed to take pictures.
On Sunday, we took the tube to Tower Hill and walked around that area a little bit. We saw the Tower, Tower Bridge, and the docks. Though we didn’t walk across Tower Bridge this time, we have in the past and definitely recommend it, if you have the time.
We then went on to St. Paul’s Cathedral. In the past, we’ve gone up the dome to see the view from the top. If you want to do this, don’t go St. Paul’s on a Sunday, as it’s closed for Sunday service.
In the afternoon, we went for the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. This was absolutely amazing. It was the first time I ever went for afternoon tea, and it was delicious. We chose the Mad Hatter’s because it had great reviews and offered gluten-free options for me. They give you different tea options you can try out and bring you sandwiches and mini desserts. I recommend you try all of the food, or as much as you can eat because it is all delicious! Make sure to reserve a time beforehand if you want to go for afternoon tea anywhere at all because this is a popular activity in London.
As the sun was setting, we walked to Piccadilly Circus through Soho, which was just starting to light up. We continued back towards the Mall and Trafalgar Square, which looked completely different at night.
Monday was our last day in London. We only had until about 4:30 in the afternoon before heading to the airport. Everyone had been raving about Sky Garden, so we made a reservation for the afternoon. I must say, I am so happy we got to do this. The view of London from up there is gorgeous. You can see the Tower, the Tower Bridge, the Shard, St. Paul’s and much more. It’s a great place to grab a coffee or a drink and just sit and enjoy the view.
That sums up this trip, but there’s so much more you can do around London. If you get the chance, go watch a musical or a play in West End. Camden is a great place to go for food if you like a hipster-y vibe. Definitely just walk around and don’t be afraid of getting a little lost! You can also easily take day trips out of London to Oxford or Cambridge.
If you have any question, please comment! And come back to read about more of our trips!
Here are a few more pictures from our trip 🙂
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