After returning from Morocco an impulsive London trip was booked. London is one of those places that so many dream about, especially during the Christmastime. Ever seen Love Actually? Well this impulsive trip was going to be quite short since we booked our flight arriving into London Gatwick at 10:30pm Friday night and leaving Sunday morning at 8 am. Anthony Bourdain step aside because these girls know how to do a layover trip!
Anywho, Friday night we arrived and had a series of travel issues. We touched down early into London around 10 pm. After I turned my phone off of airplane mode I saw an email from our hostel stating that we would need to be there by 12 in order to check in. After researching where it was in relation to us (yes I swear I did this before too) I saw that it was about an hour and fifty minutes by train… While we were searching for other possibilities near the center we attempted to figure out how to even arrive into the center. For those who don’t know, Gatwick is London’s second largest airport behind Heathrow and it is MASSIVE. It’s funny how we had an easier time getting around with the Paris metro without even knowing the language.
When we finally figured out our stay for the night and located the correct train to get to the center it was about 1 am by the time we got into London Victoria. A quick 15 minute walk to the hotel and our night just about ended as soon as we got there.
The next day we woke up ready to explore the city! After another delicious meal of eggs benedict (are you starting to see a theme with our breakfast preferences?) We were about 25-30 minutes walking from Buckingham Palace which was just about 20-25 minutes away from many other London sights. It was pretty crazy to see Buckingham Palace in person after hearing about it so many times before! After walking through all the gardens and viewing all the intricate details of the gates we proceeded to go towards Big Ben. On our way we happened upon Trafalgar Square which had many street performers and little shops all around.
While we continued onto Big Ben we saw that there were many scaffoldings on the building with did not allow you to see the clock during the daytime. I was unaware at the time that it was under construction! Even so, we got a good glimpse of it while walking back at night time.
(Big Ben in the distance with scaffoldings)
We had contemplated going on the London Eye much of the day but it carried a larger price tag than we were hoping to pay £26! After going back and fourth on it we eventually caved in. Although some locals told us it was a “tourist trap” I was pretty happy with my purchase, we got some INCREDIBLE views of London from the top.
Many of the famed Christmas light streets were too far away from where we were, determined to find some Christmas themed lights we headed over to Harrods. Harrods is a large department store with many stores like Gucci and Tiffany & CO located inside. It had a beautiful Christmas tree and many strung lights around the store and the adjacent street! We even picked up some Macarons from a local bakery and ate those in about 3 seconds.
Fairly close to Harrods was Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. The park was filled with everything Christmas from food, decorations, drinks and rides. It reminded me of the Tustin Tiller Days I used to go to as a kid. We drank copious amounts of apple cider in the brisk 32 degree weather while trying not to freeze. I even found a place that was serving swedish meatballs! Take that Ikea!
As our trip was coming to a close I felt sad that it wasn’t long enough. It was also such a pleasure to speak English to all the locals. It can be tough sometimes living in Spain because even when you have a general idea of the language, you might not be well versed enough to have a few laughs with your cashier at check out. This was something I definitely missed and truly enjoyed while in London!