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Lifestyle + Travel

London, England | Travel Guide

CHEERIO everyone!
*disclaimer: this post is pretty long, but it is so worth the read! This is your one stop shop travel guide for the ultimate London vacation.*

Man, it has been way too long since my last blog post. I'm not sure exactly what has been going on with me, but it has been very much a struggle getting these blog posts written and out in a timely fashion. I have so much content planned to share with you, so I promise to try really hard to do better. I think what happened was that I had a routine for so long and now that my routine changed, it was hard for me to find the right times of the day to sit down and just write.

I want to apologize because on my Cabo San Lucas Travel Guide post, I promised not to take forever to get this post out to you guys and well.... I lied. It has been about two months since we have been back from London, so this post (as well as my Ireland post) is WAAAAY overdue and I am so sorry. We, as bloggers, get into a 'writing rut', as I like to call them, sometimes and it is difficult to pull yourself out. However, you can only take one step at a time right?! So, here is my first step.

The London Travel Guide is here and I am so excited to share this trip with you all! I had such an amazing time in London and being over there seriously changed my life. There is nothing like experiencing life through the eyes of Non-Americans. I feel like we take so much for granted here in the US! Anyway, I'm not going to get into all that right now. Let me just warn you again that this post is very lengthy, but I promise it is worth the read. Especially if you are planning a trip to London!

First, I'm going to share a few tips for a seamless, fun trip with you guys. If you're just here for the guide, scroll to the bottom! :)

London Travel Tips


1. Get an Oyster Card!
It will take you everywhere you want to go. Just find the nearest tube station, read the signs, and you will be on your way! A lot of people compare 'the tube' to the subway system in NYC and although they are similar, the tube is SO MUCH EASIER to navigate! Seriously, it took me a long time to figure out how to get around in NYC because there's so many numbers and letters and lines.. a lot to keep track of. London does a great job of posting signs everywhere with CLEAR instructions. You should be fine after day one!

2. Be Prepared for Rain... AT ALL TIMES.
Sometimes the weather will let you know it is going to rain, other times, it'll just start raining out of nowhere. This is normal for London no matter what time of year you go, so I would suggest having an umbrella on hand no matter what. I would also suggest packing layers. The weather is just so unpredictable!

3. Visit AT LEAST One Museum
If it's only going to be one, I highly suggest the British Museum. It is HUGE and you could spend all day there if you wanted to, but they have some historical things on display that you can't find anywhere else. We went to two or three museums (I can't quite remember), but I know we saw something cool in each one. We didn't spend an entire day at any of them. Just a couple of hours will do.

4. Get Lost in A Cute Neighborhood
Most of the days, my husband and I would have one place in mind we wanted to go to. Then, once we got there and saw what we wanted to see, we would just start walking! We would walk until we were tired and I swear we saw some of the cutest, quaint neighborhoods and sites that we probably wouldn't have seen if we had just rode one of those 'hop on, hop off' tour buses. Nothing against those though! Because I actually wanted to do it (it just rained so much and I would have wanted to sit on the open top), but walking will get you a cooler experience. Just don't forget comfortable shoes!

5. Take ALL the Pictures!
There is so much beauty in London from the architecture to the people! Be sure to snap it on up and be the touristy person you are because these memories will last you forever. Even my husband that is usually BEHIND the camera wanted to get some shots in because I mean, it's London! I have so many and I will treasure them until the next time I visit London.. and then I'll take more! :)
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Alright! Let's get into this travel guide!

WHERE DID WE STAY?
We stayed at Park International Hotel, London. It is a small, cute, boutique like hotel in South Kensington. After searching online for weeks trying to find the perfect hotel that was budget friendly and not too far from attractions and touristy things, I found this one and I'd say it was pretty nice. It is an older hotel and like I said before, it has a boutique feel because it is small. When we first arrived, they put us in this super tiny room. It was so small that my husband could touch both walls with his hands if he stretched them out! However, we went to the front desk and expressed our concerns and they were super accommodating and allowed us to change rooms and I will say our second room was much better! I think it is a great hotel when you aren't planning on spending much time in the room anyway (I mean, you're in London, explore love!) because it is like 5 minutes walking distance to "the tube", which is the London train system. They have a restaurant and they host 'tea time' which, if you visit London, you have to do at least once! I would for sure recommend this hotel. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of the hotel, but there are plenty online like this one!

I do not own the rights to this photo.

WHERE SHOULD WE EAT?
Okay, let me just tell you this very quickly. London is NOT for you foodies. Because of that, I don't have any restaurants to recommend to you that we ate at. We would literally just search for a place that was near us at the time that had something we thought might taste okay on the menu. I honestly don't think I had one meal in London where I just felt like I had to rave about it to everyone I met. Well, we did go to this chain burger place there (I forgot the name) and our burgers were very good, but in a London type of way! Their beef doesn't taste like our beef in the states. Other than that, we ate a lot of sandwiches and chicken. Now, they are known in London for the fish and chips and unfortunately, my husband nor myself eats seafood so we were unable to sample that culinary delight. If you like seafood, I suggest when you visit London to go for the fish and chips! :)

I will use this section to talk about tea. You HAVE to go to a cute little tea place and have afternoon tea when you visit London. It is one of the most "London-ish" things you can do because they are tea people there! I have to say, before going to Europe, I was NOT a tea person at all. However, I was introduced to some teas there that I loved and now I drink hot tea at home! We went to two cute tea places. One was called Candella Tea Room (my favorite! so cute!) and the other was called The English Rose Cafe and Tea Shop. Both very cute and I enjoyed myself! Now, take a look at some of the food my husband and I indulged in.. you'll see what I mean!

Ham and Cheese... nothing special haha

This was pretty good. It was like an open faced chicken, bacon, cheese sandwich. Still nothing too special.
Now I enjoyed this pasta very much! The name of this restaurant is Ask Italian and it is walking distance from the hotel we stayed at.
Here's the burger! Delicious and that homemade lemonade was too!


Candella Tea Room :)
Yum dessert waffle at Wafflemeister on Oxford Street!
Best hot chocolate I have EVER had at the English Rose Cafe.
Sandwich lover. :)

WHAT TO DO?
There is SO MUCH to do in London! We were there four days and we could have stayed even longer because there's so much to do, see, and take in! Here's some things I believe are musts when visiting, especially for the first time!

RIDE THE LONDON EYE
This is such a cool experience! We rode it on a day where it had been raining so our views were a little distorted, but to just be that high above ground taking in all London has to offer is amazing! Plus, it's iconic!

VISIT BUCKINGHAM PALACE
And if you can, go on the day when they are doing the "change of the guard ceremony". It is definitely something to see! First of all, the palace is GORGEOUS. Just seeing all of the architecture is enough to justify the visit. However, the ceremony of the guards changing occurs I think at like 9am or 10am and it is pretty long and pretty crowded (get there early!), but worth it especially if you can make it up to the gate for a clear photo! :)
Also, the Queen herself resides here at Buckingham Palace and during certain parts of the year, they open up a part of the palace for the public to tour! The next time we visit, I hope it will be available for us because I bet it is stunning inside just as it is outside.

VISIT THE TOWER BRIDGE OF LONDON
It is huge and beautiful! We walked the bridge and if you really want to get the full experience, they have an attraction where you can ride an elevator to the top and then there's a glass floor underneath. My husband wasn't really feeling the idea of that, so we passed, but definitely check it out if you go! This is also right next to the Tower of London, where the crown jewels are housed!

VISIT HARROD'S
One of the oldest department stores in the world! It reminded me of the Macy's in Herald Square in NYC, only nicer and much more pricier items. I didn't buy anything here, but it was cool to see!

SEE A SHOW -- LION KING
My husband surprised me with tickets to The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre and I was SOOOO excited! The show was absolutely AMAZING. I could definitely see it again and again. I highly recommend that you see this show while visiting London and if you don't want to see this one, just go see a show. They have so many!

VISIT KENSINGTON PALACE
We walked to this palace from our hotel and it is beautiful in person! I mean, can I have this gate at my house please?! This palace allows you to take tours inside and right now, I believe they have a special exhibition on Princess Diana's fashion. Also, FUN FACT! This is where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine reside as well as the newly appointed Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan. :)

GO SHOPPING GO SHOPPING GO SHOPPING
I mean, did you think I was going to leave this out?! AHHH..NO! :) Shopping in London is EVERYTHING! Not only do they have so many great stores that are exclusive to the UK, but they have the VAT refund for travelers! What is that you ask? VAT is short for Value-Added Tax, which is a 20% sales tax levied on most goods and services in the UK. If you are traveling for leisure purposes, you might be eligible for the VAT refund. If you are, at the retailer you are shopping at, they will give you a special form when you check out (VAT 407 form). When going through customs, you will present the forms (and sometimes they may want you to show the items you bought), and then depending on how much money you spent, they may give you the tax refund in the airport or you might have to have it shipped to you later. Either way, you are basically shopping tax free! It's AMAZING! You can read more about the VAT tax here.
Want to know where to shop? Oxford Street is popular, but will also most likely ALWAYS be crowded. I liked it though! There's Regent Street, Bond Street and Mayfair, Westfield Mall, Covent Garden, and so many more! We spent majority of our shopping time on Bond Street. Don't forget about Harrod's and Selfridges & Co! Very nice department stores.
If you visit the Gucci Store on Bond Street, tell my friend Thomas I said hello! :)
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Oh London, I could seriously go on and on about it's beauty. I got all in my feelings just writing this post! I want to go back like right now!

It is seriously one of the most beautiful places and I hope you all get to visit if you haven't already and just take it all in. I promise you will not be disappointed. Normally the rain and cold wrecks my mood, but in London, I was as happy as lamb which made me look at the cold and rain differently and not so much in a negative light. You can see some of the other things traveling abroad taught me in my blog post here

Here's a couple more pictures for you guys!


Hi Handsome! :)

Love this man!
That is Big Ben, but it is under construction and will be for four years! :(





Okay so this post was very long, but I hope you guys feel prepared and ready to hit the ground running in London! Have you visited? Where are some of your favorite places? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading!

21 comments

  1. I have been dying to go to London!! It's on top of my bucket list of places to visit!

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  2. I've always wanted to go to London! Keeping these tips in mind for when I do.

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  3. What an awesome trip! I would love to visit Buckingham Palace :)

    -xo, Azanique | www.lotsofsass.com

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  4. I really want to visit London! We actually have friends living there so it's pretty sad that we haven't gone yet. It's on our bucket list and hopefully we can go soon!

    xo, Laura

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  5. London is on my list- need to bookmark this!

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  6. I loved visiting London! I'm hoping to go back so I can check out those adorable tea rooms!

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  7. Everything looks amazing! I really want to visit London it's been on my bucket list forever! I love the place that you stayed!

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  8. London is one of my favorite cities. I even looked into moving there for a while!

    Greta

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  9. So many great tips and suggestions. London is one of my favorite cities. Oyster Card is a must!

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  10. This is such a great guide; thank you so much for sharing! I absolutely LOVE London, and totally agree with all your points. I got an Oyster card and saved so much money that way. Also I am obsessed with Buckingham Palace and seriously could stand and stare at it for hours haha.

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  11. My husband actually lived in London for a few years growing up. We've been dying to go back and visit. Looks like you guys had a wonderful trip!

    xx, Danielle | Pineapple & Prosecco

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  12. Such a great guide! England is one of my favorite places!

    xoxo
    Sarah Lindner

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  13. Looks like you guys had so much fun! England is on my bucket list and I will definitely be pinning this for future reference.

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  14. Love this travel guide! I cant wait to go back to London! My husband was born in the UK we used to go back every other year!

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  15. This looks like such a fun trip! I love all the food you ate! The blue drink looks really fun. Love this post!

    XOXO
    Cathy

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  16. london is sooo up there on my travel wish list! looks like you had such an amazing time!

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  17. This is such a great travel guide! London is the best, such an amazing place to visit!

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  18. Anonymous6/30/2018

    Everything looks amazing!!!!! That food though!!

    xoxo,
    Angelle
    www.dashingdarlin.com

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  19. London is one of my favorite places in the world! This is such a great guide!
    xo Jessica
    www.whatsfordinneresq.com

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  20. I am dying to go to London but have never even gone to Europe!!! Love this travel guide. :)
    xx
    Lauren

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