Did you say that in the Austin Powers voice? I sure hope so.
I took a bit of a blogging break over the weekend! I had every intention of wrapping up my honeymoon recap and sharing all my favorite spots with you by Sunday but you know what they say about intentions…Oh, you don’t? Me neither. I’m sure there’s a philosophical quote out there somewhere about intentions like “Intentions are only completed when one is not surrounded by bottomless mimosas” or something like that. It was Plato, I recall.
Well, anyways, here you are and here I am and here goes my rundown of London (so excited to be in an English speaking country for a few days after Paris!), my favorites, a blow out with my new husband, and what I think you should and should not do!
I’ll get to the blowout first because I’m on my honeymoon, what could possibly go wrong!? Well, ladies and gentlemen, when you look at a map, just because the distance LOOKS the same as say, I don’t know, the same distance on an Amsterdam map, IT IS NOT. My adoring husband does not plan anything which is one of the reasons we work. I plan eveeeeerything and he’d rather “play it by ear” (I died just writing that) and he wanted to surprise me with a trip to The Globe Theater because I am such a Shakespeare nerd. Unbeknownst to him, an inch on the map may have been a 1/4 mile in Amsterdam but in London I swear to the heavens, it’s like 67 meters. We were walking for so long, honestly two hours with no end in sight, and I was so tired and so hangry and so over it and had a complete breakdown. Poor man. After he let me cry for a few minutes and pity my entire life, he wiped my tears and we finally hopped on the tube and got off near the theater. It was SO WORTH IT once we got there and the fight was over but he’s not allowed to ever look at a paper map again without clarifying the distance with GPS on his phone. Thank goodness we live in the 21st century. #FIRSTWORLDPROBLEMS (The pictures below are almost all of him so there’s proof we made up)
Quick Recap: London is NOT walkable. Here are our favorite stops THAT WE GOT TO BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.
We stayed at The Kensington Hotel in South Kensington and it was absolutely GORGEOUS!
The staff was so wonderful and accommodating and I would absolutely suggest a stay here. It was a great area of the city, very relaxing, which is what we needed for a day in the middle of our trek. My favorite experience, maybe in all of London, was the afternoon tea we booked at the hotel. I don’t know if my favorite part was the incredible champagne, the delicious snacks or that my husband, who is a mortal enemy of all things seafood, accidently ate tuna in one of the sandwiches. We were bloody entertaining to watch, I’m sure. If you do anything in London, have traditional Afternoon Tea!
We needed to burn off all the incredible food we had been eating so we headed to London Tower and walked across the bridge which was such an experience! It might only be me, but you see these monuments and structures a million times on TV and in the movies, but it is still so surreal when you are actually there in person!
There’s also a really great bar that’s a bit hidden under the bridge with a really interesting viewpoint! Turn right when you get off the bridge and keep walking (it’s going to look like you’re going into an alley) and you’ll see in on your right! We loved it because it was almost all locals so we knew we were in the right spot and were obviously in need of a libation.
Alcohol is funny in England. Being from the West Coast of the United States, we are used to the strong, high alcohol content of beer and ciders being on the lighter side. Well, I don’t like beer and my husband doesn’t like cider so as we were drinking our respective drinks, I was getting a bit more goofy than he was and we realized that ciders in England are not only much stronger than most we have here, but it’s much stronger than most of the English Ales! We both got a kick out of that. Oh! and don’t look on the labels if you are drinking out of a bottle, they’ll tell you how many drinks you should be having and how many the one you are drinking accounts for. You’re on vacation and it will only make you sad so just don’t. I warned you.
By this time I had a serious hankering for some Fish and Chips. We started wandering all around the city and walked into a few pubs looking for what we wanted. Another thing to note about eating and drinking in England is if you are looking for local spots instead of chains, like we strive to do, there are so many chains that look like local pubs! It’s so worth using a bit of data to see if it is indeed locally owned or if they just have a master designer that makes them look local (but still have corporate food). After finding a few of those, we finally stumbled upon Borough Market and OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS! This place has EVERYTHING! It’s a great outdoor market with stands from cheese and fresh bread to flowers and a butcher and everything in between. It’s the perfect mix of locals and tourists and so worth the stop. I got some Fish and Chips which were everything I had been hoping for and even found some homemade Sangria…TO GO! With a straw and everything. I was the happiest person alive. My husband found something that consisted of Meat and Potatoes, his life blood, and of course, even on the other side of the world, he found a Sierra Nevada beer…
A few other notable restaurants we loved were:
- Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese: This is a great pub that has some serious history, originally built in the 1500’s and rebuilt after the Great Fire. It has some really great ambience, an almost complete lack of natural light (or light in general) and you feel very private with the low ceilings and windy corners. I’m serious with the ceilings too, they even have a guy at the front that warned every one as they walked in, did my husband still smash his head as we headed down the stairs? Of course. The pub also has some great literary history! Charles Dickens and Mark Twain were regulars which if you’ve read my other posts, makes me giddy AF. I had the Fish and Chips (for the billionth time) and my husband had some Bangers and Mash (SHOCKING). We met a great couple that was on vacation from North Carolina so we chatted with them over a couple ales. It was a wonderful dinner!
- We stumbled upon this great boutique distillery by the name of East London Liquor Company. It has some of the most beautiful interior! My phone was dead (of course) but it’s worth a google search! The bartenders were great at describing their story and what makes each cocktail unique and delicious. We tasted some regulars like Negroni and Whiskey Sour and then when the gentleman serving us got an idea of what we liked, he started creating some drinks for us to try. SO FUN! They also have a stone oven which I always think makes food taste even better. Or maybe that was the Gin…
Another great spot, regardless of food because I honestly couldn’t tell you what we ate if you gave me only two options, but that’s because it’s allllll about the view! It’s called Duck and Waffle and so worth it for the ‘gram, fam. When you go, make sure you go through the entrance for the restaurant that is tucked off to the side of the main entrance. The main entrance is for the businesses and I imagine the security guard gets sick of telling people they’re in the wrong place so he’s a little gruff. Which is fair. Oh, and if you’re scared of heights, close your eyes in the elevator as it’s glass and you can see yourself leaving the ground quite rapidly.
Our last stop on our last night was the Champaign Experience at the London Eye (a.k.a That Massive Ferris Wheel). I hiiiiighly suggest taking a ride on the wheel and buying tickets ahead of time to save yourself what could potentially be a horrifically long wait. The Champagne Experience was great because you got to show up early, go into this boujee little room and enjoy some bubbly before the ride!
It’s also WAY less people on your ride than the regular rides so it’s worth it for pictures and actually enjoy it without feeling like a sardine. The view is gorgeous obviously but also you have a designated tour guide that gives you more of an idea where everything is, the history of some of the sites and there to answer all your questions. This picture is horrible quality but it shows a bit of the view so don’t judge me.
We absolutely LOOOOOVED London! The people were incredible, the food was always available in fried form, the public transportation is so easy to use and it’s an absolutely beautiful city. I cannot wait to go back and see even more of them.
We are about to head to our last destination of our European Honeymoon….IRELAND! We rented a car so we are basically lucky I’m not writing this from the other side. Can’t wait to share all about Ireland with you soon!