Last week I shared with you the royal highlights of my whirlwind girls’ trip to London (including spotting Harry and Kate, plus top tourist attractions). I also posted about our incredible meal at Clos Maggiore.
Today I’m back with some of the less-royal tips and highlights!
- London Pass: we purchased this in advance, and it covers admission to more than 60 attractions (many that we visited), plus a day on the Hop-On-Hop-Off tour bus. London Pass holders often skip the lines and have their own entry lanes to attractions as well. We also opted to include an Oyster Pass for London’s public transit, and I found the tube (subway) system to be incredibly easy to navigate, and super quick (we used it extensively and never waited more than a minute or two for the next train).
- Cruising the Thames: it’s always nice to get a view of a city from the water, and this quick cruise, included in the London Pass, was lovely.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral: the original was built in 1000 and rebuilt hundreds of years later after a fire. It was fascinating to explore architecture in London so old compared to the buildings at home in Canada
- Theatre – Kinky Boots: we started with a list of about a dozen interesting options (London’s West End Theatre life is very vibrant and varied) and whittled it down until we agreed on Kinky Boots, which was extremely fun and entertaining (especially with second-row seats!)
- Bluebird restaurant in Chelsea: as part of my research for Today’s Bride (William and Kate have been known to visit), Bluebird hosted us for cocktails and snacks, and everything was fantastic – as you can see in the photo below, the cocktails were even served in creative containers like teacups and watering cans! (The more formal restaurant is upstairs, and cafe/courtyard on the main level.)
- National Gallery: while I have very little knowledge of art, I was drawn to the image below of the two little girls, and since we had already been away several days I was also moved by part of the description: “The children’s attempts to grasp the butterfly suggest the impermanence of childhood”. By that time I was getting ready to return to my little loves (and my big love!) I also was really interested in a particular exhibit at the gallery called “Take One Picture”, showcasing work from schoolchildren all over the country inspired by the same piece of art chosen by the Gallery. Schools are selected for exhibition based on the investigative approach, process, cross-curricular learning, community involvement and links to the focus painting. Very neat!
- Morgan Hotel: we were extremely impressed by our centrally-located accommodations at the Morgan – for a very reasonable price we had a small apartment that comfortably slept three, with foyer, separate living room and kitchenette, and a washroom split in two location: one for a toilet/sink, and one for tub, shower and another sink. Also very convenient for three women getting ready at the same time! The price at the Morgan includes hot breakfast each morning, which is another great bonus.
- Notting Hill: We went on a Saturday morning to check out the Portobello Road market – didn’t buy anything, but fun to look, especially if you’re a vintage sort of person. We took a break at Trip Advisor’s #1 rated fish and chip shop (The Fish House of Notting Hill), where the food was delicious and the male/female washrooms labelled very creatively! We did stop for a photo op in front of the door used as Hugh Grant’s in the movie Notting Hill, but because of the yellow tape and the “Beware falling debris” signs, the photos aren’t really worthy of sharing!
If you have any questions at all about visiting London, please don’t hesitate to ask! I will leave you with a cheesy tourist shot – you can’t visit London without stepping in a phone booth!