As I write this, I am sitting on an airplane from Edinburgh, Scotland back to the United States. My husband and I have just spent a glorious 10 days exploring London, the Cotswolds, and Edinburgh. This trip was absolutely wonderful! Neither of us have ever been to the United Kingdom, so we’d been looking forward to this trip for quite some time.
We started our trip with four nights in London. We arrived at Heathrow Airport mid-afternoon and took a taxi to the Qbic Hotel in East London. It is just a quick tube ride from all of the popular tourist destinations, and they pride themselves on being a “green” hotel.
Since this was our first time in the city, we were not familiar with the Underground (or “tube”) yet. Retrospectively, we should have taken that from the airport. It would have been much cheaper, though our cab driver was friendly and informative. For the rest of our time in London, we used our Oyster Visitor cards on the Underground and buses, which we ordered online a few weeks before the trip.
After checking into our room and getting freshened up from our long flight, we explored the nearby area to find some dinner, followed by a drink at our hotel’s bar, and then called it an early night.
The next day, we did a free walking tour during which we saw several historical sights in London, including Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Statues of King George VI and the Queen Mother, and more.
Of course, you can’t think of London without picturing the London Eye. We bought advanced tickets online that allowed us to skip the queue. The view from the London Eye was amazing, but honestly, I probably would have been disappointed if I stood in a really long line for this. I recommend getting the advanced tickets if you are able to.
After the London Eye, we went back to the hotel to get ready for seeing Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre. The seats and rows were tight, but the theatre was gorgeous and the performance was wonderful. The show definitely lived up to all of the hype.
We didn’t schedule anything for the next day so we would have more freedom to explore. After sleeping in a little bit, we set out to see more of the city. We started at Camden Market for some shopping and lunch. We then ended up walking through Kensington Gardens and visiting Kensington Palace. We didn’t pay to go into the palace but we walked around the well manicured grounds and had some tea and Victoria sponge cake at the palace’s cafe.
After that, we tried to go to Platform 9 3/4 (Harry Potter) in King’s Cross, but there was a line to take a picture that was over an hour long. This was a little disappointing. If you plan to do this on a trip to London, make sure to carve out extra time for it.
Next stop: Harrods. This massive department store is any shop-aholics dream. Floors and floors of clothing, shoes, accessories, and more. Some super luxury designer, some a little more affordable. There are even restaurants, deserts, and a salon. We bought some treats for our dog as a souvenir in the pet department (yes, I get my dog souvenirs, don’t judge). Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, you have to stop in just to look around.
On our last full day in London, we scheduled a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. Despite leaving the hotel early, we got on the wrong tube line, and so we almost missed our tour coach. After that little bit of stress and chaos, the rest of the day was really lovely. This day trip was well worth the time and money.
The next day we headed out for two nights in Chipping Campden, a lovely village in the Cotswolds. After Chipping Campden, we had several hours to spare in London before catching our sleeper train to Edinburgh, so we visited the Natural History Museum and grabbed some dinner.
While the whole trip was spectacular, I really truly loved London. I felt that there were still so many things to do after we left. I can’t wait to visit again someday!