With many of the close destinations crossed off the bucket list, Aaron and I are left with destinations that require a plane to get to. Well, if we want to do them in a weekend, they require a plane. So that's where London comes in. I usually check about 6-7 weeks out for flights (they are cheapest then) for places to go. Flights to London were cheap and fit in our schedule, so we booked them! I have been to London once before - 11 years ago - with my sister, but Aaron has never been. It will be exciting to go back and exciting to show it to Aaron for the first time! An added bonus, one of my friends from University and her family are coming with us!
First, let me say this: London is huge. Like, ginormous. Mind-boggling big. It's hard to figure out what you want to see when you only have a weekend. We compiled a list of places we don't want to miss, some that we would like to see, and left a ton of stuff off the list due to time constraints. In all honesty, I think one needs at least a week to fully enjoy and appreciate all that London has to offer. Alas, we are quickly running out of available vacation time, so we must make some comprimises. So, here are some of the places that we for sure know we want to try to see whilst in London.
The Tower of London
Last time I was there, we missed this, and I was majorly bummed. No way would I miss it again! I would like to hit it up first thing in the morning and make sure we go on one of the Yeoman (aka Beefeater) tours. I hear they're pretty awesome.
Again, last time I was there, we didn't have time to go in, so it was definitely on the top of my list to see this time. This is where Princess Diana was married, Isaac Newton and Anne Boleyn are both buried here, and it's a cathedral. I mean, what else do I need to say (I have a soft spot for big, old, European churches).
Paddington bear, enough said. Plus I think it would be sweet to pick up a stuffed teddy bear and book for the acorn (an idea completely suggested first by my friend, which I happened to find brilliant, so I quickly hopped on board).
Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross
If you're breathing, you've probably heard of Harry Potter. If you happen to be between the ages of 18 and 30, you probably grew up reading the books and watching the movies. Therefore, when in London, one MUST take a photo at the famous place wizards accessed the secret platform to board the train to Hogwarts. Too bad I haven't received my letter yet.....
St. Paul's Cathedral
This one we are going to play by ear since they aren't (understandably) open for tourists on Sundays. If we make it Saturday afternoon, great, if not, it's not the end of the world. I've been here before, and I do find the history, especially he dedication of Londoners during World War II to save the church, fascinating, that's pretty much all I remember. Oh, and the fact that the iconic dome is a whispering gallery. Random trivia floating around up there, I tell ya!
Hamley's Toy Store
This one was suggested by my friend, and I have to say, after looking it up, it's pretty awesome! Not to mention it's celebrating its 250th anniversary. And the fact that 2.5 young kids will be with us makes this a definite place to check out.
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We are also hoping to do some walking in the city to see some of the sights that don't require as much time or a ticket purchase: Big Ben, Piccadilly circus, Trafalgar Square, maybe the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace....so much to see and do, so little time! Oh, and if you happen to know where we could meet William and Kate, please share :)
The only thing we haven't even broached yet are places to eat. We get in late on Friday and leave on Sunday night, so we only have time for 1 dinner. Fish and chips are a definite must on our list, but those would be a good lunch option. So, if you have a restaurant in London that you would recommend, please let us know!
And with that, I'm off to brush up on my British slang and humor!