I know what you're thinking, "There's no way I can see the sights of London in just two days!". But, there is! This two day itinerary is going to help you maximize your time and allow you to visit all the major sites that this big city has to offer!
James and I arrived at LGW (Gatwick Airport) at 7:00 am on a Friday morning from Orlando. Fighting the jet lag, (jet lag is no joke btw) we began our commute by train to our hotel located in the business district of London, Canary Wharf. It took about an hour and fifteen minutes to arrive to our final stop but the ride there was beautiful. Once we checked in and changed, we left straight to see the sights! Our goal here was to see as many sights as possible, that were near to each other, without too much down time.
1. Tower of London
Our first stop was the Tower of London. This is the castle were the English Crown Jewels are kept and also where many executions where held. If you are into seeing the crown jewels and touring the tower, you can purchase your tickets here or buy the London Pass where it's included in your purchase. In our case, we opted out of touring it since we were on limited time BUTTT we did take a ton of pictures in front of it, so that's kind of the same thing, right? If you do plan on touring it, I would say plan on having 2 hours available to be able to take it all in.
2. Tower Bridge
Just off to the side of the Tower of London is the beautiful Tower Bridge. Now, don't be mistaken. So many people confuse the Tower Bridge with the London Bridge, heck, even I did! It wasn't until the night of the attack on the actual London Bridge that we realized that they're two completely different bridges. (More on that night later).
Now if you're just wanting to walk the bridge and see it from the outside to take some pretty incredible pictures, then feel free to roam around! However, you can actually go inside of the touring center of the bridge where they have all this awesome information on how the bridge works and the history behind it all! There's even a section where the floor is glass and you are walking over the water! Now, there is a cost for this tour and you can find out so much more about it here. We personally did not do the tour, but from what I can see, it's an incredible experience, especially the glass walkway! When we were getting ready to leave, we finally saw food at a little hot dog cart under the bridge. We picked up some hot dogs and kept on trucking!
3. HMS Belfast
This incredible ship is just on the opposite side of the Tower of London, on the other end of Tower Bridge. A very cool and fun fact is that the HMS Belfast was used in both WWII and the Korean War. If you call yourself a history buff or are a lover of ships, then this is a "must do" for you. I'm not a boat connoisseur or anything of the sorts but this was definitely something so incredible to see. They offer tours on the boat but we opted just to see it from the outside. When we were done admiring the beauty of this ship, we jumped on the Tube and headed to the...
4. Houses of Parliament aka Palace of Westminster
This is basically the English version of the US Capitol here in London. All of London's politics takes place here and it's also the home of probably THE most famous landmark in all of London........BIG BEN! It was honestly sooo surreal being able to see this in real life instead of just staring at a tiny replica in a snow globe! We of course took tons of pictures of it and in front of it, like the real tourists we were. And then, the best thing happened, the bell started to ring! It was just so great to be able to experience that! If you can plan accordingly, I highly suggest being in the area at the top of the hour to be able to hear the bell go off! Again, just so surreal.
5. Westminster Abbey
After taking in as much of Big Ben as we possibly could, we walked up the road just a bit and ran into the beautiful Westminster Abbey. Again, there is nothing like seeing these landmarks in real life! Being able to feast our eyes on the work of art that it is, was giving me so much life! Every arch, every carving, you could tell that this was created with so much passion and standing in front of it, you couldn't help but feel passion yourself. It's no wonder that the Royal family gets married here and that so many have chosen this place to be their place of rest once passed! Plan to have at least an hour to tour the inside, but again, if you're like us, seeing it on the outside and walking through was just enough for us! I also hear that if you end up being in town during a mass, you can attend a service that is open to the public! Sounds pretty cool to me! Just be sure to wear clothes that go pass your knees and to cover your shoulders.
7. Milk Train Cafe
After touring all these beautiful sites, we worked up an appetite and needed food asap! So naturally, we decided to go eat ice cream ;) We grabbed an Uber and headed straight to Milk Train which is the home of probably the prettiest ice cream cone you will ever see! Now, expect to stand in line for at least 30 min, and that's on a good day! Don't let that queue time scare you off though, it's 100% worth the wait! Not only will it make for the cutest Instagram picture ever, but it's also actually delicious! The ice cream was super creamy and the toppings complemented each other so well! In my opinion, it was definitely worth the wait! I'm sure James would agree too ;)
After eating ice cream, we decided to let our diet go with the wind and ended up at a UK McDonald's! The menu was pretty much the same but it's crazy how different everything tasted! Again, not a bad difference, we just didn't feel as guilty after eating!
We had dinner reservations at Elliot's on Stoney Street in the Borough Market but we were so jet lagged, we felt it was a perfect time to head to the hotel and rest for the night, and boy am I glad we did.......
June 3, 2016
We were sleeping when all of a sudden, we were awakened by someone banging on our hotel door. I'm not just talking about a little "knock, knock", it sounded like someone was literally trying to break down our door. James and I woke up startled, not knowing what was happening and not knowing if we should respond. Suddenly the man on the other side of the door started shouting "Wake up! Your family from Florida is trying to reach you to make sure that you are okay!!!". We answered him confused that, yes, we were okay and then that's when he told us that London was under attack and then he just left. James and I both popped up out of bed and reached over for our phones, first to call our parents to let them know we were okay but then to see what in the world was happening. After trying to calm my mother on the other side of the globe, reassuring her that we were safe, we saw that terrorists had attacked the London Bridge and were stabbing people in the Borough Market RIGHT where we were supposed to have dinner! Unfortunately, 48 were severely injured and seven people lost their lives that night. We are so grateful to God for protecting us and for leading us back to the hotel early in the evening. It was very difficult to fall back asleep but we forced ourselves to prepare for another day of adventure, because we believe in a God that will protect us from all harm and we refused to let fear ruin our adventure.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early, so we decided to find a place to have breakfast. I personally wanted an authentic English Breakfast but James was not feeling the idea of having baked beans for breakfast. Being that it was our 1 year wedding anniversary that day, we compromised and went to this super cute restaurant called Bill's! It was fairly near the center of the city and the food was super tasty. We even sat by an open window and got to enjoy people watching while eating our breakfast! Everything was so fresh and of great quality! Highly recommend them!
2. Hillsong Church
We had just finished eating our breakfast when we grabbed an Uber to take us to what we had originally planned to do which was the Kennsington Palace. As we were driving, we saw Hillsong Church preparing for their service and we HAD to stop the Uber Driver so we could attend the service! It was such an incredible experience. Being in another country, another continent, yet we were all worshiping under the same roof, the same God. It was a beautiful experience that I will never forget.
3. Buckingham Palace
We finally arrived to the Buckingham Palace, the Queen's humble abode, after some much needed Jesus time! Because of our stop at Hillsong Church, we did miss out on the changing of the guards ceremony but that also meant we missed out on all the crowds, so it was a lose/win situation. However, we did get to see guards switch spots which was pretty cool in itself! My absolute favorite part, other than the palace itself, was the beautiful park we walked through called Green Park, and boy was it green! Trees lined the entire pathway to the palace and it seemed like a perfect place to get away from the sun during the summer! We walked back up into the city and wandered the beautiful roads of London until it was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for our 1 year wedding anniversary.
4. Bob Bob Ricard
It was our last night in London and it was also our 1 year wedding anniversary, so naturally we had to pick somewhere special for dinner. When trying to pick a place to have our anniversary dinner at, we were faced with many, many delicious options. We wanted a place that was elegant yet had a fun vibe going on and that is exactly what we got at Bob Bob Ricard! They have this beautiful blue velvet dining room with pink accents everywhere and even a "Push for Champagne" button! The service was impeccable, unlike anything we had experienced, and the food was just as good! After our delicious dinner, they even surprised us with a free (sparkly) dessert for our anniversary! If you're ever looking for a place to have a fancy yet fun dinner, please make reservations here! It was a perfect way to close out our time in London and I'm sure it will make a great addition to your next trip! Trust me, you will not be disappointed!
We headed back to the hotel to catch some zzzz's before our 4 a.m departure to our next destination, PARIS!!!! Be on the look out for my three day itinerary for the "City of Lights"!
Did I miss any of your favorites from London? Comment below what you think is a "must do" while visiting!
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