Matthew and I had really high hopes for our trip to London– after a few months in Switzerland, we were excited to hear English again and we both have our own British obsessions. For me: Downton Abbey and Colin Firth. For him: Doctor Who and James Bond. For both of us: Harry Potter. But in our excitement, we forgot one of the cardinal rules of traveling. Always always always check to see what’s going on in the country you’re about to visit. We had no idea that the very weekend we were going to London, a huge celebration was going on for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. So we went to an already pretty touristy place at not the best time. This didn’t ruin our trip but it definitely altered it. We spent the better part of our first day holding a spot in front of Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of the royal family. And we did! From far away, of course, but Queen Elizabeth was wearing neon green so that helped. Thanks QEII!
But parades definitely have their drawbacks. Close quarters with strangers, including one Italian lady who wouldn’t keep her hands off my sleeping toddler, and a small payout for standing around doing nothing for hours.
But we both got to check items off our bucket list in addition to enjoying a few surprises. My must sees: Notting Hill and Portobello Road, Kensington Palace, and the Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park.
Matthew went to the Churchill Museum while Ella and I rested in the hotel but his other must sees were the Tower of London, Platform 9 3/4 (though he was too embarrassed to take the picture), and Westminster Abbey.
Our favorite surprise was this little Harry Potter museum we happened upon when we were looking for a bite to eat. Our second favorite surprise was that “bite,” a great bao restaurant.
In hindsight, we could have planned our time in London better and I think you need more than four days to do it justice. But overall, it was a pretty fun trip and I’m really glad we went.