By now you all know that I have been to London and can’t wait to go back. I have been compiling a list of things I want to do when I go there…which has way too many things on it to get to in a week or two (or eight), so I’m back to highlighting the things that I definitely must do on my next trip. Even though we packed a lot of touristy stuff in our last trip, we missed some crucial bits and need to make that right. I feel like half the time we spent there went by super-fast and the other half was totally relaxing. I’m not sure how long we’ll be there this fall, since we also want to spend more than a few days in Paris and actually get a better feel for the city – and try some good food that doesn’t come from a street vendor.
High tea is my number two must this time on my visit. You’ll see in a minute why it’s not number one. You’d think for spending over a week in London and being such a food lover, I would have forced my new husband to have afternoon tea three or four times, but alas, I didn’t make reservations before leaving home, so we kept putting it off and then we were back home!
This photo of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I should have started with the top of my list, but I fear it makes me look like a total nerd and someone who doesn’t know what traveling is all about. I promise I do, but since I found out that Leavesden Studios (owned by Warner Bros.) has opened its doors to the public to take tours of the Harry Potter movie sets, I’ve been foaming at the mouth to get back. Judge me all you want, but I had the best time at the Harry Potter Exhibition when it came to Seattle. This is like that, but times a thousand to me – plus it gives me a chance to see the English countryside. Is that a valid excuse?
This photo of Changing of the Guard is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The Changing of the Guards! Should I be beat about the head and neck for not figuring out when this happened and gone to stand and stare with all the other tourists? Probably. In the fall, the pomp and circumstance that is the Changing of the Guards outside of Buckingham Palace only happens once every other day. I did go to the palace and took my photo in front of the gates. Yeah, I know that’s not the same thing.
This photo of Portobello Road Market is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I want to shop the markets! Again, poor planning on my part. I’m so much better at this now and I will be hitting up Portobello Market as well as Spitalfields Market in order to gorge myself of fresh fruits and veggies – hey, I might even take some back to my room to eat later – take a million photos and browse for some fab souvenirs.
This photo of Kew Palace and Queen Charlotte's Cottage is courtesy of TripAdvisor
A day-trip to Kew Gardens is right up there on my list, too. How can I miss the Royal Botanic Garden in all its splendor? Since attempting to grow my own vegetables and herbs I’ve had a whole new appreciation for plants of all kinds. There’s also this awesome country estate, restaurant that serves afternoon tea and a seed bank. Again, it’s the whole “English countryside” aspect that is drawing me in and the chance to maybe bring back some fancy plant seeds. Anyone know any native English plants/veggies that we don’t have here?
This photo of Bread Street Kitchen is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I missed out on so many restaurants in London the last time. Granted, I ate at so many London restaurants last time, but it was some of the best food I’ve eaten and I want to try more, especially Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. It’s not astronomically priced and I can pronounce the foods they serve. Uh, and it’s Gordon effing Ramsay. I was lucky enough to get a table for afternoon tea and the Boxwood Café at the London West Hollywood and I loved it. I can’t wait to see how delicious the food is in the chef’s own country.
This photo of Harrods is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Being the handbag, shoe and designer clothes lover I am, there are some shops I simply need to pop into on my sightseeing around the city. I may not buy anything, but looking never hurt a girl, right? Harrods only got a quick run-through last time and I would love to take a bit of time to stroll the racks and browse the food hall a bit more. Lulu Guinness has amazing (and crazy expensive) bags that I love. Is it wrong that I just want to touch one in the store? I don’t think so.
Ride in a black cab. Yeah, I know. They are stupid spendy and I should be happy to have taken a picture of one, but I just want to say I took one once. I have no issue with walking and taking the tube. In fact, I think it’s fun, but I’m totally making Eric take photos of me getting in and out of one and then it’ll be out of my system.
My big thing last time was that I was going to see the skyline from OXO Tower and then go check out the Victoria & Albert Museum’s fashion collection, but did I do those things? No. We spent an unnatural amount of time at both the British Museum and Tower Bridge and never made it to either of those things. The good part is that we had amazing views of the London skyline from the bridge walkways and learned a bunch about bascule bridges and the plague.
This photo of ZSL London Zoo is courtesy of TripAdvisor
If you’re like me, you enjoy visiting zoos. We were only able to visit the two things out of three and the London Zoo lost out to the SEA LIFE Aquarium and Eltham Palace – which won out over Windsor Palace. Now, I still want to see Windsor Palace, but I’m also pretty keen on hitting up the zoo. Probably more so, since it doesn’t require me to take a train to get there.
Okay, this list seems pretty long already and I haven’t even added everything I plan to do. I better be realistic with my time and budget when it comes to really planning my trip, but I have a good feeling that we will be able to do all of this and more once I start putting it all down on paper.
What have I missed that you think I should include? Any restaurant recommendations?