We arrived to our adorable hotel, The Ampersand, in South Kensington. Just minutes away from the tube, it’s the perfect location. The hotel itself has oversized velvet headboards, heated bathroom floors, monogrammed robes, and just a touch of over-the-top artsy decor. Needless to say, I loved it.
We headed out to Buckingham Palace. Afterwards, we walked to Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. I was on a mission for my special birthday dinner. I eagerly waited months for the cheeseburger bomb and freakshakes at Maxwell’s Bar & Grill. The cheeseburger comes with a CUP of hot, gooey cheese to drizzle over your burger. You know, because you can never enough enough cheese. As for the freakshakes, well, watch the video (below) for yourself. I got the Oreo freakshake, which was delicious right down to the fudge adorning the glass.
Several people suggested doing the Big Bus tour to get a better sense of the layout of the city. I typically avoid overtly touristy things, but I caved once I realized just how much there was to see in London. It really is a great option for those who are on a very tight frame. You can stay on the bus and see the entire city or hop on and off. We decided to get off at the Tower Bridge and make our way to Borough Market.
Foodies, Borough Market is an absolute must. Dozens of stands offer everything imaginable, from fresh oysters to pad thai. I scoured Instagram to find a few options beforehand, so I would know exactly what to eat. I opted for Scotch eggs from Scotchtails and doughnuts from Bread Ahead. Of course, there was plenty I didn’t eat. More reason to go back next time…
We had our doughnuts in the Jubliee Gardens, which sit right under the London Eye. It was too crowded for my liking and we made our way back to the quiet South Kensington. On the walk back, we weaved past Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abbey. That evening, we made a visit to Harrod’s. Be sure to set aside plenty of time to walk around and soak it all in. There are several places to eat within the store, albeit overpriced. We ended our evening with gelato near our hotel.
Our last and final day of this European adventure!
After a quick stop to King’s Cross for a certain Harry Potter lover, the day started out in Paddington Canal as we made our way to Little Venice. It’s a very quiet area with a handful of cafes and restaurants on the water. I imagine this area is only going to become more popular in years to come. You can follow the path to Camden or the London Zoo but we opted to head towards Kensington Palace instead. On the way, we made a pit stop at Portobello Market. It’s an antique market with everything from furs to china.
We then walked around the Kensington Palace Gardens. Kensington Palace is most commonly known for where quite a few royals live. Admittedly, I didn’t know it was broken in several apartment complexes within the palace until we visited. These days, it is known to be the home of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
For our last dinner in Europe, I knew I couldn’t leave without fish and chips in a traditional pub.
Last thoughts? Most of the museums in London are free. We were really bummed not to be able to squeeze in a couple free museums, let alone the British Museum. I think in another visit, we’d also be more curious to venture outside of London to see what else England has to offer. I’d love to see Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and the Cotswolds.