While living in Italy when Bob’s Dad was stationed there, his parents did a lot of traveling around the continent, but they never made it to England and never saw London. So the four of us headed into the city for an overnight trip. We didn’t have a lot planned, but figured we could still do quite a bit. Bob and I may have (as we usually do) underestimated the length of the walk to the hotel, but it provided some great views of Hyde Park.
The hotel itself was gorgeous.
An old building with a beautiful facade and the charm continued inside where the history of the building was respected.
Long, winding halls, heavy fire doors and windows that, if not original, kept the architecture in mind when determining how to keep the elements out.
We started our visit with a Hop on Hop off tour to get an overview of the city. The bus is not the most efficient way to travel in London, but the views are pretty great.
Bob’s parents also wanted to do the river cruise that was part of the bus tour. We made sure to find seats with lots of air flow and headed down the Thames.
We got off at the Tower of London with the intention of touring that mildly historic (please oh please tell me my dry humor came through there) place. However, we would only have an hour and that isn’t enough to really see it and none of us wanted to be rushed. So we settled for a few pictures of the views
and hopped back on the bus to get more of an overview of the city. We rested up a little before heading back out to visit Harrod’s.
The first time we went to London we visited Harrod’s. I have never felt the compulsion go back as it was/is a very large, very sectioned, very closed feeling store. By that, I mean it is an entire city block and very, very few windows. To be fair it was almost Christmas that time and the crowds were crushing. This time we took the tube to Harrod’s about an hour before it closed. Just to wander a little.
We found a chocolate and confection room,
a cheese and prepared foods room and the fine jewelry and watches room. Made for a much more pleasant experience and a far less anxiety provoking one. Pretty sure if I checked the price on the earrings I fell in lust with I would have had a panic attack, but we will just dream that they were in my price range.
The next day we decided to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral then head back to Brad and Emmie’s. We were going to take the tube, but decided to take the Hop on bus again so the parents could continue seeing the city. The bus was great, but traffic was not. It ended up taking us far longer than anticipated (about three hours) but once we got there, it was well worth it.
You can’t take pictures in the Cathedral but if you climb the steps up to the dome (376 of them) to the Stone gallery, you can get some great pictures of London.
I decided my legs would not make it up the additional hundred something steps to the top of the dome, so I didn’t get pictures from all sides. And it was a rainy, gray day, so the views were a touch obstructed by fog. Bob and the parents decided to make the climb also, although I do wish they could have taken the lift, at least down, but they all made the entire climb (excluding the final tower) with the stairs. Given the sheer number and the spiral staircases, I was pretty impressed – it is not an easy climb.
After St. Paul’s we headed back to Brad and Emmie’s. Emmie made special arrangements for dinner so we could celebrate Bob and Brad’s parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.
We could not have asked for a better place to celebrate. The Crown has a great, family friendly atmosphere with world class food. The old building is charming and the gardens are beautiful. Pretty sure the steak here made up for the one Bob’s Dad had in Paris (where ‘medium rare’ was more like very well done).
It was a fun, but exhausting two days. I’m pretty sure we tackled over a thousand stairs and more than a few miles of walking. In the end, however, it was worth it. We have some great memories of these two days.
Nicely written … we did London in 2 days in May and were craving for more. Wished we had more time …