Tuesday, December 30, 2014

London Time

I am in the beginning of my second week of Christmas break and I have recently returned from London. It is raining outside, it's quiet, and I have nothing to do, except read (Hooray!!), so, I thought that I would share a bit from my time in London.

My mom and I flew out on 20th December and landed in London on 21st December. The first day seemed long and filled with amazing things and then it was time to go home. Why do vacations pass so quickly?!

We purchased our plane tickets eight months ago, so I had plenty of time to make lists and lists of things that we wanted to see and do. We also purchased tickets for things like afternoon tea, tours, and musical delights!

Our flight was delayed for some reason and then once we were all boarded, we were delayed for about an hour, because a passenger decided that they did not want to fly after all and all of the luggage on the plane had to be taken off so that their 9 bags could be removed. Then everything was re-loaded and we were on our way. I've never heard of someone changing their mind to fly once they are already on the plane! The removal of the luggage was a security issue, so I was totally ok with it. Right after we landed, my mom and I set out on foot, in the dark of the evening, to see what we could find. It just so happens that we stumbled upon the London Eye and the winter market that they hold there, on the Southbank.

Monday- Our first full day: We took a tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath. I was extremely excited for this tour, especially the bit in Bath. I am a self proclaimed Jane Austen fan and I was in such a state to be where she once stood and also see sites that she has mentioned in her books 'Persuasion' and 'Northanger Abbey'. So, I was quite disappointed when we barely got to spend and hour here. I was able to see Bath Abbey, but my mom and I had to run through the Roman Baths. I just have to get back there some day and spend a proper amount of time weaving through the streets and seeing all that there is to see... Jane Austen's house for one!

The guards marching up the hill to the castle, for the changing of the guard. They came drumming and fife-ing along.

A street in Bath.

Tuesday- Day two: We were supposed to take a trip to Oxford. I couldn't believe that I was going to be able to eat at the same pub where C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkein used to hang out. However, at the last minute, my mom decided that it would be too expensive to travel there, so we walked around London and did a little sight seeing and shopping.

Did I mention that we went to the Twinings tea shop? Established in 1706... still family owned!

The Embankment along the Thames, going toward the Houses of Parliament

Wednesday- Day three- Christmas Eve: We spent our time walking around Piccadilly Circus and we also visited Fortnum and Mason. This is an amazing place. I had researched it ahead of time and I knew that I wanted to buy some tea and a teapot from them. It turns out that they have been the grocer to the Royal family for hundreds of years! If you ever make it to London I really suggest a visit to this location. It has beautiful window displays, especially at Christmas and there are many floors to explore. Although, it can get busy, it is nowhere near at crazy as Harrods! Don't even bother with Harrods, it's a diaster. You can barely move in there. After doing some shopping, we went to the Piccadilly Theatre and saw 'Jersey Boys'. It was pretty good!

We then headed directly to Royal Albert Hall, for my most favorite part of our entire trip. We attended the last performance of the season, of  'Carols by Candlelight'. The orchestra was dressed in Regency clothing, wigs and all! There was Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, etc. and everyone in attendance sang carols in between pieces that the orchestra played and songs that the choir sang. It was great! What a lovely venue as well. It was a magical night!

Royal Albert Hall

Inside Royal Albert Hall

Thursday- Day four- Christmas Day: We did an all day walking tour of London. We saw many things that we had already discovered on our own, but we were also taken down many side streets and alleys that we never would have found on our own. I wish that more historical information was given throughout the day, but we did have a pretty substantial amount given to us. However, it did seem that many things were glossed over and hardly any time was spent on picture taking. My mom and I met a lot of great people that were in our group and it was an enjoyable experience. If you don't want to put on any weight during the holiday season, may I suggest a 14 mile walking tour??!

A great thing about this tour, is that we started at 6 am and London was practically deserted. So, we had the very great opportunity to take some photos with no one in them!

The Royal Courts of Justice
This reminded me of 'Bridget Jones' Diary'... He's a top barrister!

Friday- Day five- Boxing Day: We went to afternoon tea at the Berkeley. What a hotel! I am pretty sure that I would never be able to afford to stay at this hotel. The tea was 49 pounds per person! I keep telling myself, that the price was well worth the experience that we had. We had the Berkeley Blend tea and the tier of sweets were based off of winter's fashion moguls and their new fashion pieces. It was pretty fun. Our server was great and we had a very nice gal chat us up about our Christmas and she also offered to take our photo. My mom was having a hard time feeling like she should be in such an expensive setting, but I told her that we all paid to be there and we deserve to be there just as much as the next person. I enjoyed our time there!

Inside the Berkeley


Aren't the sweets fun?!

Saturday- Day six: We headed home. Our flight was delayed because there was a problem with one of the pilots and they had to call in a replacement. He had to come from Essex, so our delay time was about an hour and a half. Luckily, they boarded us quickly after he arrived and we were safely on our way. We had a pretty smooth flight and although I miss London, I am happy to be home.

I would love to visit England again and spend more time in Bath, make my way to the Costwolds and Oxford, and also spend a bit of time in Lyme. I hear that the countryside is lovely. I just had a fabulous experience. I highly recommend a trip to London!

I had to bring some tea items home, of course!!
I forgot to mention that I went to the Dickens House Museum. It is in one of Charles Dickens; old homes! It was really neat.

If you are interested in any of the things that I mentioned, you may go to my London, Oxford, Bath board on pinterest! Anything that I found interesting, I posted to this board. 

I hope that you will stick around, because I hope to do a recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding soon! I ate some in England and I just had to have it again!

Happy new year! 2015 already! How did that happen?!

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