Vacation Part 3: London

This has been the most fun part of the series to write, not because London was so much more fun than Norway, but because I’ve been back at school for over a week now and all the positive effects of vacation had worn off until I started writing and remembering. Sadly London was also the end of my vacation.

Because we had some time between when the boat got in and when we had to be home, and we didn’t know when we’d be able to afford to come to that side of the world again, we decided to take a whirlwind tour of London before we went home. And I do mean whirlwind. When we got in we dropped our suitcases at the hotel and immediately hopped on the Tube. We set out for Picadilly Circus first.

picadilly circus


It really was reminiscent of Times Square with more interesting architecture. After that we fought our way through the crowds to get a peek at Buckingham Palace. It was really pretty absurd trying to get any decent pictures of any part of it, because there are always 700 other people trying to get the same exact picture, and they’re usually closer. Then of course there’s the fact that to get the whole palace in a photo, you have to be far enough back to also get the crowds and the traffic lights and street lamps in the photo! I was actually a little surprised not to see a huge green in front of it like you get with old plantation houses(the closest thing to a castle we have here in Virginia)!

buckingham beefeater


Since we were there, we decided to hang out in St. James Park for a while afterward and try and regain a little peace, so to speak. We quite enjoyed the famous pelicans and the fuzzy adolescent swans. And yes, that is September Storms in the photo. London was chilly!

st. james park fuzzy swans


Our next big visit on the list was Westminster Palace/Abbey and Big Ben. Getting there was just as crowded as Buckingham, but thankfully the area around it wasn’t quite such a zoo. We were also excited to discover Parliament just down the street. I’d never realized just how centralized a lot of the Big Stuff is in the “City of Westminster”, which was another term I’d never heard used before.

big ben westminster


We were unfortunately unable to visit the Royal Mews (people who know me in real life will know what a horse nut I am and how disappointed that was) because there was a rather large horse show going on, and the line to get in was so long we couldn’t even ask about ticket prices or we may have gone to the show instead. Instead we took some photos of the iconic London Eye across the Thames (I was too chicken to go up in something that high) and then went to the Portrait Gallery.

london eye portrait museum

Imagine pretty much every picture of a historical figure you’ve seen on Wikipedia in one building. That’s London’s Portrait Gallery. It really puts D.C.’s to shame. I was particularly in awe of the Tudor wing.

We also hung out in Seven Dials (how’s that for a neighborhood name?) for a while enjoying their poetry and art festival, and then did some more nothing in Trafalgar Square, because how can you not?

seven dials 383

Later that afternoon we wandered into the Theatre District, but sadly did not have time to actually see a play. Instead we enjoyed seeing what was playing where, and then had the most stereotypically British dinner we could manage in one of the nearby pubs. It was pretty crowded, so we wound up sharing our booth with an awesome pair from Scotland who’d come down for a girls’ weekend/ play marathon. That’s Speckled Hen we’re drinking, if you’re interested.

national theatre pub dinner


You want to know the really amazing part of our stay in London though? Hubby asked for a sweater. Not a store-bought sweater, thank goodness, but for me to make him a sweater. Hubby never wears sweaters, and barely wears hand-knits. But he saw a sweater he actually liked in a store window, looked at it and literally said, “Ew, it’s made of acrylic. You could probably make something like this, right?” Then he asked if we could go yarn shopping for it soon. I about fell over dead. So excited!

10 responses to this post.

  1. One of my favorite place London!


  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I get to walk by the Palace of Westminster at least twice a month (and go inside it as I’m a pass holder) and I’m always struck by how amazing it is. So pleased you had a good hols – and as for hubby commenting on acrylic, how adorable is that! Knowing the difference between yarns is as good as wanting a jumper!!


  3. It’s so nice to hear appreciation of the ‘London’ near where I actually work! I am British, used to work in London years ago, took a break for years, now back there again but in a different area. As I come into London on my morning train I see The London Eye, Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament from the window! I walk alongside Trafalgar Square and The National Portrait Gallery on the way to work and I actually walk through Seven Dials to get to my office! (I love Seven Dials, it’s like a cute little village, French shops, sweet pavement cafes). I am seeing London through totally different eyes myself at the moment, I still feel like a ‘tourist’ just like you! It is a great place, definitely best in fine weather. If you were here last week you had such bad luck – it was cold and grey – other weeks this summer have been beautiful, at times too hot and sunny! Good luck with the sweater!


    • What a fun commute you must have! Although I imagine you’ll grow jaded about it before too long, the same as people who work in D.C. do about driving past the monuments or the White House. Seven Dials is definitely an awesome little artsy, indie sort of neighborhood though.


  4. You know, I lived in London for four months, and I think you saw more of it than I did. That’s pretty shameful really. What a fabulous holiday you had! And what a major coup that your hubbie asked for a sweater!


    • We knew we weren’t going to be able to go back for a good long time, so we really crammed in as much as we could! I think living in a place really kills the urgency to see all the highlights of it, regardless of where that place is, because you feel like you’ve got so much time. I’m still bouncing up and down about the sweater!


  5. I have to say I love London but don’t go that often. If you like horses you should come to Newmarket. Traffic has to give way to them and there are studs all over the place. I do hope you have cadet on that sweater before he changes his mind? By the way I was shocked how cold it got it got in the middle of August!!


    • I’m kind of glad to hear that the weather in London while I was there is not typical! Newmarket sounds lovely; there are parts of Virginia that sound similar (albeit not New Market, Virginia sadly). Hubby and I have an “appointment” to look at patterns, and begin sketching if he doesn’t find one he likes, when he gets home today!


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