Hello all. Syderelli and I just returned (well, Sunday) from 10 days in London (with 1 day trip to Paris). This was our fifth trip, so we decided to take a more relaxed approach, given that we had already been to many of the major tourist attractions on previous trips. I will try to be brief, but apologize in advance if it's long :)
Flew out on BA leaving NY at 7:30pm. Second time on British Airways and it is definitely my fav airline. Arrived London Heathrow around 7:30am Friday, took the HEX one stop to Terminal 3 and switched to the tube. Free and very easy. Bought single adult zone 6 pass and took the Picadilly line to Gloucester Rd. Took about 40 minutes. Arrived at the Millenium Bailey's at roughly 10am, dropped off luggage, ate bkfst across the st. at La Liason, walked around the area, checked in at noon, unpacked and took a nap. Showered and got ready, went to Ask Pizza around the corner (which was very good, ate there twice) for dinner, then met up with some friends who live in London and went bar hopping. Ended up at the Club NME night at Koko in Camden. Very good fun.
Headed to Notting Hill around 11. Bought our weekly pass for zone 1 and 2 today. It was lightly raining so I think that helped with the crowds a bit. Really beautiful area, a nice walk, tho not much we were actually interested in to buy. Basically just wandered around for a while, stopped at the Earl of Lonsdale pub, decent beer (Heffeveizen and a Prindz?) but so so food. Still a nice little place to sit and soak up the atmosphere. Walked back to to Notting Hill Gate tube area, then down to Kensington High Street where we did some shopping, checked email, walked around. Dinner at Cafe Pasta on Ken High St. (formerly Marzano's), excellent. Walked back to the hotel, freshened up and attended School Disco at the Hammersmith Palaise.
Headed to Covent Garden in the early afternoon. Met up with friends and walked around, did some shopping. Walked all through CG and Soho, down to Oxford Street and then back to the Piazza. Had coffee at a nice outdoor cafe in the piazza, dinner at Belgo Centraal. This may have been our favorite meal of the trip, and the Hoegarden battered fish and chips were definitely the best I've ever had. Tube back to Gloucester and tried to get a good nights sleep before our day trip to Paris.
Day trip to Paris. Did the Louvre, Champs d'Elysee, walked around. I will say it is long trip for just a day. It can be done, esp if you don't want to be out of London for too long (like us). However, you will be tired. Eurostar back to London at 7:30, pit stop at hotel, then met friends at club called The End for a night called Trash.
Slept in and decided to take a leisurely day. Tube to Picadilly Circus and walked to Oxford Street. Went to Top Shop for about 2 and 1/2 hours. Love that store. Walked a bit through Soho, stopped at Slug and Lettuce gastropub. Cold Kronenbourg and some delicious food. Nice atmosphere. Walked some more, headed to the internet cafe, bought a bottle of wine and some snacks from the Waitrose on Gloucester Rd, headed back to the hotel for a relaxing night. Nice long baths in the soaker tub with the windows open, looking out on Gloucester Road at night. Perfect.
Got an early start and after bkfst headed to St. Paul's Cathedral. Man those are a lot of steps! Definitely worth it. Overcame some mild vertigo on that last series of windey spiral steps, but absolutely beautiful views of the city. Walked back down (calves tingling), visited the crypt briefly, then walked across the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern. Being a big fan of modern art, this was my fav stop, though one gallery was closed (they are currently putting in the Frida Kahlo exhibit, opening June 9th) and 1 floor seemed to be only for members. Saw some great pieces by Picasso, Twombly, Warhol, couldn't find the Kandinsky I had wanted to see but oh well. Also a very interesting installation called Scrapheap Services (cant remember the artist). Very powerful. Walked back across the Millenium Bridge, stopped a pub called Centre Page, lovely Kronenbourg and a Kronenbourg Blanc (mmm). Tube to Tottenham Court Rd to meet up with our friend, then walked a bit and went to another pub to watch the beginning of the Liverpool game. Tube back to the hotel, dinner at Pizza Organic, nothing special.
Slept in, took the tube to Picadilly (I think...) walked around. Ended up at Marble Arch, window shopped, walked through Hyde Park, rode the swings in the playground, sat by some fountains, and enjoyed the beautiful day. Walked through to Kensington Gardens, looked all over for the Diana Memorial but couldn't find it (despite the signs, met a few other people having difficulty). Lawn chairs available by the Serpentine, exited the park by Royal Albert Hall. Walked up Ken High St. to Wagamama for dinner, which was great. Headed back to the hotel for a bit, then split up, Syd doing her own thing and I met up with an old boyfriend for some bar hopping in Covent Garden.
Bkfst together at La Liason, then split up to do our own thing. I took the tube back to St. Paul's and walked across the Millenium Bridge back to the Tate Modern for a bit. Then walked around bankside, had another Kronenbourg Blanc outside at Centre Page. Tube back to Holborn, walked all around, back through Covent Garden area, to Trafalgar Square. Apparently the warmest day in London in May in nearly 50 years? Beautiful. Hung around that area for a while, met back up at Oxford Circus tube stop at 5:30. Looked for a place called Digress in Soho but couldn't find it. Headed back to Kensington for dinner at Ask! again. Freshened up and went to venue called Barfly in Camden to see our friend DJ.
My birthday and our last full day so we decided to walk around Kensington some more (our favorite area), up and down streets we hadn't been before. Birthday beer at Stanhope Arms, finished up some last minute shopping, internet cafe, wandered and got lost a few times. Eventually found our way back to Cafe Pasta on high street for dinner. On the walk back came across pub called Builder's Arms. Interesting Belgian fruit beer called 'Fruti', more like punch, very sweet but good. Back to the hotel and then out for the night to a club called Afterskool. Very good indie night, lots of fun.
Check out at noon :( Left baggage and headed to Covent Garden one last time to walk around. Lunch at Wagamama. Basked in the sunshine, relaxed and took in our last few hours in London. Back to hotel for bags, then tube to Heathrow, HEX one stop to terminal 4, and plenty of time to check in and relax for 6:30pm flight.
This was (for me at least) the best trip so far. Nice to be able to take our time and take in everything at our own pace. We were extremely lucky weather wise (light rain two morning then sun the whole rest of the trip). Thanks for everyone who posts on here, reading every entry on here helped to make us excited, give a wealth of information, and provide plenty of ideas for places and areas we wanted to see. Thanks for all your help!